Author's Note – For "tf_speedwriting" on LiveJournal. The prompt was "addiction".
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.
"The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug."
- opening quote by Chris Hedges, The Hurt Locker
He worried about them sometimes. Actually, no, that wasn't quite true.
He worried about them a lot of times.
As diverse as they were, everyone had the same cares and concerns when it came down to it – stranded on an alien planet, one threatened by a menace they themselves had brought upon it, while their beloved home continued to lay ruined, stagnant, near to death. Not a one of them had escaped scarring by their experiences in this long and ragged war that had gone on far beyond what any of them had anticipated or wanted.
They all dealt with it in different ways. He himself turned to a meditation of sorts, finding comfort and reassurance in the whisperings of the Matrix that he was in fact doing the right thing, the best he could. Ratchet buried into his work, repairing and maintaining everyone to top condition and triple-checking his supplies when he didn't have someone to patch up, something else to do. Wheeljack buried into his work as well, determined to stay a step ahead of their enemies with the very latest in every offensive and defensive gadget his brilliant mind could think of for the best protection of his friends as well as the planet and its people they now defended. Prowl would lose himself for hours in the study of past skirmishes, coming up with new battle plans for every scenario he could imagine. Mirage spent hours on the firing range. Hound spent hours on patrol, even when he wasn't assigned. Windcharger never slowed down from . . . anything he did. Beachcomber never sped up, not if he didn't have to.
Some concerned him most of all, though. It was as though they found their comfort, their escape, their release only in action of the most dangerous kind. The Autobots weren't without violence among their ranks. It wasn't their way, to be violent, but some just were, and some the war had made so.
Sunstreaker and his twin Sideswipe, two mechs who had been born for mischief and action, regardless of the form it took.
Cliffjumper, who was young enough that war was all he'd ever known.
Ironhide, who was old enough to remember when war was completely unknown.
When battle came and the action was hot and heavy around them, he'd seen it – these four especially were the most alive. They'd deny it if asked – he had asked Ironhide once, and his old friend had been genuinely shocked by the question. But it was still there in his optics, in his movements, in the savage energy of a kind that didn't apparently exist at any other moment.
The anger in him – in all four of them – was undeniable, but none of them were hateful mechs by nature. They didn't do what they did because they hated, and that was good. Still, the thrill he saw in them when they were in the heat of battle, he couldn't ignore.
He just wished he knew what to do about it. Or if there was anything to do.