Author's Note – For "tf_speedwriting" on LiveJournal. The prompt was "Scenario – unable to let go".

Disclaimer – "Transformers" and all related characters, events, and concepts belong to Hasbro, Takara, and any other related owners/distributors/producers. I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters.

"Cycle"
by DragonDancer5150

The late morning sunlight is warm on his armor. Last night, he was grieving, though he can't remember why. Probably just a dream, a nightmare of some kind. He still gets those sometimes. But no matter. Today is a new day.

He's practically skipping, headed out to the landing pad. It's been months since he's seen his "brother" last. Ratchet had returned to Cybertron with Optimus and the others who were now stationed at the secret bases on the twin moons of their homeworld. He himself had stayed behind to head the Engineering Department responsible for ensuring that Autobot City ran smoothly in all its aspects. He's so happy. Ratchet is coming along specifically to visit him, taking the time while the shuttle is being loaded. The two old friends are going to spend time drinking high-grade and catching up. It's been too long.

Confusion. Realization. Horror.

A gaping hole in the side of the ship. Billowing smoke. It's losing altitude far too fast, even as it overshoots the landing site. Decepticons pour out of the hole. Many of them, too many! Does he go to his friend? Does he answer his spark or his call to duty?

He bolts back for the city, barely making it in through a gate as the massive complex begins its battle transformation sequence. Terror. Pandemonium. Fury. He finds his way to a defense turret. One of his creations, Windcharger, joins him there. The Minibot doesn't have to be told. No doubt he can see the anger and grief in his creator's optics.

Fight. Fight hard. Don't think. Take down as many as possible. If the battle can be done with quickly enough, he can get back out to-

A cry of pain and dying. A limp body falling back into his arms, red-and-deep-silver armor darkening rapidly to dead grey. NO! A fresh burst of fury, a reckless act – a leap at the nosecone of the Seeker who did it as he comes around for another pass. Take the slagger down no matter what.

You killed him! You killed all of them!

Fire. A drilling agony piercing his chest through the laser core, cascading reactions flashing through every system of his body. Failure. NO! Please, no!

I'm sorry…

Consciousness. Slow to return, a dragging void from which he climbs with great effort. The light is dying in the west, and he can see the column of smoke still rising against the emerging canopy of stars. He doesn't want to go, but he must. He doesn't want to know . . . but he must. He tries to resist but to no avail.

Not again, please . . . please, don't make me . . .

The gaping hole in the bulkhead leads right into the back of the bridge. Four bodies, all of them barely recognizable. A head almost entirely missing but for the pieces scattered across the floor. A slag-filled shell, gutted by a chain reaction of internal explosions. A body perforated by weapons-fire and crushed by an unknown weight. A shattered windshield, the substructure behind scrambled into a jigsaw puzzle of useless fragments.

I'm sorry.

Loved ones. Two long-time friends, a creation, a brother. Gone.

I should have-

He can't even touch them, his hand passing right through like they're not even there. Heavens, how he wishes that were so! Then, they wouldn't be dead!

Ratchet.

It had been his idea that the medic hop the shuttle to come visit. Ratchet had been busy – Ratchet was always busy – but he'd convinced him to come anyway.

This is all my fault.

Should have left well enough alone. Now he's gone. Ratchet, his best friend, the one he loves as a brother. The one to whom he owes so much. He owes him this too.

Ratchet . . . forgive me . . .

He curls up huddled against the side of the cold, sparkless body, an arm draped across the ruined chest, hugging as best he can without being able to actually touch what remains of his best friend, his brother. He sobs long into the night, eventually losing consciousness to his exhaustion and grief.


The late morning sunlight is warm on his armor. Last night, he was grieving, though he can't remember why. Probably just a dream, a nightmare of some kind. He still gets those sometimes. But no matter. Today is a new day.