Author's Note:

SO SORRY it's taking me forever, but I WILL get this done. Somehow I'll wrap it all up next chapter. I'm afriad the ending's gonna flop cause I can't remember what happened after this chapter...

But! I finally finished it while eating ravioli and with a cheerleader friend! :)

Enjoy! Hope it makes up for the forever gap of not updating!

It was deathly silent inside the base. Ratchet worked diligently, but there didn't seem to be much he could do to help at this point. Weak breaths rattled in and out of the great metal being prostrated on the medical berth, Dirge's missiles having blasted him open from back to chest. The gaping wound leaked, unable to be staunched.

Rochelle felt her chest seizing. This couldn't be happening, this couldn't be happening . . . Sensing her despair, she felt her spark mate brush up against her conscience, a faint, supportive brush. It made her want to cry, but she didn't. She couldn't. The sparklings were quiet, staring in confusion, not quite sure what was going on.

She watched his chest heave, rising and falling with each labored breath. She felt her own chest expand and contract in tandem, and she tried to breathe evenly, as if it could help him. Dirtbreaker chirped, inching forward despite Ratchet being deep in his work, sneaked a nuzzle to his hand, and he bolted away, as if not knowing if he was allowed to touch him or if he would care for the touch.

Finally, she felt a soft communication in her spark.

Rochelle . . . It's going to be okay . . .

Hot tears stung her eyes. She fought back a sob, clenching her arms around her chest, as if to push the pain away. No, it's not.

Rochelle . . . Trust me . . .

No! I don't! You can't . . . It—I can't . . .

Yes, you can.

No I can't! I can't go through this!

You have to. Your sparklings need you.

And they need HIM!

The hot tears began to slip out. She stubbornly brushed them away as his hand lifted, weakly waving Ratchet away.

"Leave me be," he rasped thickly. His chassis rattled in another labored breath. "Your works will not save me now."

Ratchet growled. "You're not giving up until you're dead."

Shockwave's one optic flashed as sharp as it could even in his weakest state. "Desist! I only wish . . . to be with my sparklings, and Rochelle."

Optimus stepped forward, placing his hand on Ratchet's shoulder. He shook his head, saying softly, "Honor his last request."

Rochelle ushered forward the sparklings, and they clambered up on the berth with him, crowding around the edges, pressing into his hand and nuzzling his cheek with worried chirps. Rochelle stood where she was, hot tears streaming down her cheeks.

Frag you, Primus. Or God. Or whoever's up there. Send me both the mechs I love at the same time and then rip one away. And what for? To break sparklings hearts?

Shockwave was speaking to them softly in their native tongue, voice rough and halting as he talked to them, explaining what was happening, what would happen, and how strong they would need to be. Take care of their mother when he couldn't.

Rochelle didn't move, feeling that it wasn't her place, but the barest gesture from his hand beckoned her forward. "Rochelle . . ."

That breath was almost drowned out by the crying of the sparklings. For once, Rochelle didn't look to Optimus for his approval, but just walked up to Shockwave, climbing up and looking him in the optic. That one optic slowly dilated as he looked at her.

"You wanted . . . to hear me say it . . ."

Rochelle's heart froze.

"I love you."

The hot tears spilled over again. She tried not to cry, she tried, but they came out anyways, spilling down her cheeks, a part of her heart breaking. A low grumble caught in his chassis.

"Take care of our sparklings."

She nodded furiously. "I will."

"Let go. They . . . need a father."

That did it. She broke then, falling to her knees and hugging him, burying into his neck. "Shockwave—You—You stupid . . ."

A shaking breath expelled from him. "I will . . . give up anything . . . for my sparklings . . . what is best for them . . ." His optic drifted to Optimus, forcing the Prime to accept his challenge as well as both make a promise. The Prime merely nodded. With that, Shockwave's body relaxed.

"I will wait for you . . ."

That last rasp would tickle her ears as one last breath sighed from him. The red glow of his optic flickered and died, and with it, the glow of his spark.

Little Rock nudged her father first. When he didn't respond, she pushed harder. Then, she began to scream, angrily, sadly, Rochelle wasn't sure, but she kept hitting him, and she could practically translate the Cybertronian herself:

Wake up, Daddy! Wake up!

Over and over she said the same thing. The other sparklings realized his death as well, each handling it differently, some crying quietly, some crying loudly, hugging each other, and they all crowded around Rochelle. She cried too, hugging them all as well as she could, comforting them even as she felt herself breaking on the inside.

There came another faint brush from Optimus.

Rochelle . . . I'm sorry . . .

She flinched, cringing away, but he stole his way into her spark, wrapping his love around her, comforting her and holding her up when she was broken. She drowned in that feeling, throwing herself at him again.

Heal me . . . fix me, please.

She heard his chassis rattle from where he stood. I will. Someday, somehow, I'll make it all right, I promise . . .

Please! Fix me NOW!

It can't be right now. I know you're wondering when . . . but you are the only one who knows when, Rochelle. When you can finally let go. I promise you, I WILL make it right. This I swear upon my spark.

Rochelle shivered, struggling to stop her own crying so she could comfort the sparklings. It was a losing battle, but eventually they all managed to die down to little hiccups and sniffles.

She whispered whimsical little nothings to her sparklings, kissing the tops of their heads and nuzzling them, touching them here and there for comfort's sake. After several moments, Rochelle wiped her nose on the back of her hand and stood, walking around to Shockwave's gun. She knew Optimus needed the Matrix back. As she struggled to work the mechanism to open the hatch up, Optimus's gentle voice rumbled, "Rochelle . . . Let me—"

It popped open before he could finish his words, and Rochelle just shook her head, saying roughly, "It's all right. I've got it."

Rochelle reached down, grabbing the Matrix. Her hand clamped down on it, and it flared brightly.

Rochelle jerked and shrieked, hand burning on contact, but though she tried to let go and drop it, her hand felt fused to it. She fell on her back, a high-pitched ringing shrill in her ears.

It was only through her spark she could feel Optimus's worry and the shouts of her name. Above the roaring that pressed from all sides, Rochelle couldn't hear anything. The bright light flared until it engulfed her, and she felt her consciousness stripped away, and she swirled away and into darkness.

She groaned. She felt light-headed, and that light was still blazing her face. When she opened her eyes, she shielded her face from that light that burned right into skull. Oh wait, that was the sun.

Wait . . . No it wasn't . . .

Rochelle groaned, sitting up and squinting her eyes out into the distance. Jutting rocks, spiked and strange. Barren wasteland. Bright lights. That's all she had?

"Hello!" When nothing was forthcoming, Rochelle walked forward some, casting her head left and right as she looked around for something a little more . . . land-marking-ish. "Hello! Am I dead? Because the afterlife SUCKS if this is it! The hell happened? HELLO! Primus? Did you zip me here through the Matrix and then just forget about me? Hey!"

Heavy thumps sounded. "Well, ya sure did get zapped here. But not by Primus I don't think."

She froze. Her head craned up. Hot tears beaded in her eyes. She shook her head. Her hand clenched around her necklace.

"I really am dead, aren't I?"

Warm laughter. "Well, you better not be or I've got a bone to pick with these Primes."

Rochelle ran up before she could stop herself, flinging herself over his foot without energy and care as she flopped down on the mech she had missed with all her heart. The tears seeped out.

"Ironhide . . ."

She heard the familiar pattern of pops and gears grinding as he knelt down. "Hey now." His finger prodded her back. "What happened to my tough Rochelle?"

She sniffled, leaning into his touch. "I think she died with you. But that's okay, I think. I don't think my hard-ass old self would have been a good mother."

He vented softly, the warmth passing over her head. "You might be right there." His finger stroked up and down her back. "Miss you."

Rochelle flipped over and clung to that finger with all her might. "Me too."

A heavy rumble rattled his chassis as he picked her up, pulling her to his chest. "You look shaggy. You need a haircut."

She sputtered on a laugh, halfway between laughter and crying. "Ironhide, you're an aft." And she smacked him.

That rough laughter sounded in her ears again, rumbling all around her. She could get lost in that sound. "My pleasure."

Rochelle cuddled with him a moment longer, uncaring of doing more than that, but, she knew she HAD to ask . . .

"So if I'm not dead, where am I?"

Ironhide shrugged a shoulder. "I don't know. Well of All Sparks, I'm assuming."

Rochelle snorted and rolled her eyes, but didn't move away. "You're helpful."

"Well, where do YOU think you are?" Ironhide said gruffly, and she heard that familiar irritation bob up in his voice, affronted that she didn't find him helpful. "I'm assuming I'M in the Well of All Sparks cause it sure as hell ain't the Pit or else I bet things would be a lot more painful."

Rochelle laughed softly. "Yeah. I could spend a LIFETIME here . . ." She snuggled closer to him, sighing happily.

"I am afraid that is not possible, Rochelle."

Both Rochelle and Ironhide looked up, more bots filling their line of sight. Rochelle blinked at them, not recognizing any of them, but Ironhide seemed to. He gaped in shock before falling to a knee, bowing his head and setting Rochelle down.

When she gave him a look, he finally whispered, "The Primes of old . . ."

She blinked. She looked up. She stared at the beings that towered as tall as mountains. "I am confused as fuck."

Her bland response caused Ironhide to growl shortly. "Watch your mouth," he muttered to her. "Show some respect."

She squinted her eyes up at them, getting a major crick in the neck from trying to look up at them. "Well, I might consider it once they tell me why the hell they beamed me here."

Another growl. "All right, calm yourself, ya little tigress! Or do I need to pin you down again?"

A little squeal slipped her lips. "No!" and she flung herself on him again, clutching his metal tight. "I just needed you to call me that again!"

She grinned up at him, and though he huffed in irritation, she saw his lips pulling into that smile she missed so much.

Big laughter filled her ears, and she looked behind her at the Primes again. One stepped forward, saying, "We have brought you to this place to inform you of the truth about a little know prophecy and the role you play in it."

Recognition dawned across Ironhide's face while Rochelle just gestured around, saying, "I'm still confused as fuck."

Ironhide nudged her. "Remember?" he said quietly. "When we first realized that we had to take the Heart of Cybertron? The Decepticon that attacked your house. He called you 'the prophecy'."

Rochelle turned, curious, but she still said, "You know, I think this information is about ten years late."

The first Prime laughed while some looked bemused and another completely irritated. "No, I do not believe we are late with this information, but quite on time." Rochelle rubbed a finger in her ear, ears popping at how loud and deep and powerful his voice was. "Rochelle, you are the Heart of Cybertron."

She blinked. She felt Ironhide blinked behind her, heard the shutter of his optics. "Um. Yeah. Care to explain that? I know I've got it in me, it's right here. Do you need it?"

When the Prime just laughed at her apparent lack of knowledge, another stepped forward. "No, Rochelle, you misunderstand." His voice was powerful too, but smoother. "You ARE the Heart of Cybertron."

Rochelle rolled her eyes. "Okay. I get it. I'm this weird rock in my chest. That still doesn't make sense. So unless you've got a helluva explanation-"

She felt Ironhide knock her in the back of the head. "Rochelle."

She rolled her eyes dramatically. "Explain this to me so my oh so LOWLY mortal human mind can comprehend it."

She heard another irritated vent from Ironhide, and she smiled, biting her lip as she heard it. She missed that sound. "Rochelle," the Prime said, "you ARE the Heart of Cybertron. When you touched the Heart of Cybertron, "becoming one" so to speak, you became the very heart of Cybertron."

Rochelle blinked. "I still don't get it. How did I become the rock?"

She heard an impatient sound, and someone pushed his way to the front. "Mechs," she heard a most DEFINITELY feminine voice say. She knelt, saying with a quirk of her lips, "Let me explain it for you, sweetspark. The Heart of Cybertron-the green rock you so affectionately refer to it as—is merely a vessel. It would find its way to the one being in the entire universe, across galaxies and time, until it found YOU. You would be the only sentient creature that would be able to harness its power. It chose you because you would be the one to bring the divided Autobots and Decepticons together."

Rochelle blinked slowly. "But . . . I didn't . . ."

The female Prime nodded. "Yes. Therefore, you are not the rock, the Heart of Cybertron, but rather, the 'heart' itself of planet Cybertron."

Rochelle slowly shook her head, disbelieving. "No . . . No, no, you don't understand. I didn't bring the 'Cons and 'Bots together. That was Shockwave!" She flung her hand out, shaking her head more vigorously. "No! That was Shockwave! HE was the one that created the sparklings! The sparklings brought them together! Not—Not ME! It was Shockwave's doing!"

The female Prime stood back up shaking her head as another male began to speak, the first one. "Shockwave was but a piece of this puzzle, as were the sparklings, as was you're spark bonding with Ironhide, and consequently, to Optimus Prime." Rochelle hand tightened on Ironhide for support. The giant Prime's brow arched. "If you ever had paused to think about it, your full title would be Rochelle Audrey Evans Prime."

Rochelle gaped.

That Prime's lips twitched at her shock. "Yes, you are indeed, Prime. The second you bonded with Optimus Prime you gained the honor of being a Prime. Thus, Primus knew exactly what He was doing when He chose you to be the one that the Heart of Cybertron would choose." The Prime arched his brow. "And thus why you were transformed into a Cybertronian." He then shrugged, a very un-Prime-like thing for him to do. "If you wanted to get very technical, we would be related, albeit a far relationship."

Rochelle blinked, and she felt the world swim. She sank, plopping on Ironhide's foot. "I think I'm gonna hurl . . ."

"Not on my foot," was the quick response.

Rochelle groaned, dropping her face into her hands. "TOO much information at once . . ."

"But you understand?" a different voice piped up, sounding more youthful than the rest.

Rochelle nodded. "I . . . Yeah, I understand, but . . . What I don't understand is why ME?"

The first Prime waggled his brows. "What other annoying little human could make both the Decepticon leader and the Autobot leader fall madly in love with her?"

Rochelle blushed hotly, but she looked up at Ironhide. He was staring down at her in a new way, with a mixture of reverence and love and pride. It about broke her heart.

She stepped up to him, pressing close to his warm metal. "I don't want to leave here. I don't want to leave you."

Though his touch was tender as he scooped her to his chassis, his words were gruff. "Quit trying to run from destiny, Rochelle. It's not gonna work."

"Shut up." She pressed into him desperately, the tears stinging again. "I'd rather just die and stay here with you. I don't want this. I didn't ask for it! I don't . . . I don't want . . ."

Ironhide let her trail off. After sniffling a couple times, she finally whispered, "I have to, don't I?"

"I'd kick your tiny little aft if you didn't. You've got 18 sparklings waiting for you."

She winced a little, thinking of how it would devastate them to lose their father AND mother. "I hate you."

"Hate you too."

She could feel her consciousness slipping away from him. She grasped tighter, but he only seemed to slip away. "I love you, Ironhide. Please, don't leave me . . ."

"I never did . . ."

Rochelle jerked back to the real word on a thin gasp. She stiffened once, feeling her heart sputter before it settled, as she felt the Matrix ripped out of her hand.

"Rochelle? Rochelle, are you all right?"

Microwaves were beeping—no, the sparklings. They were cuddled around, nervously and worried. Optimus's face filled her vision as he held the Matrix in his grip, optics dilated wide and bright in worry.

Tears beaded her eyes. Her brows cinched in confusion, as if she still couldn't believe all that had just happened. Finally, her hand stole up to clench at her Tooth Fairy necklace.

"I saw him."

Her voice was choked. Optimus didn't need an explanation for who she meant—he could feel it in her spark. He reached down, brushing the hair out of her face. "How was he?"

Rochelle took a steadying breath, nodding as she lied flat on her back. "He's good. Hard-assed as ever."

His cool finger touched her forehead. She didn't realize she had been sweating until she felt how cool and nice the gesture felt. "How are you?"

Her mouth opened. It shut. "Weird. I've got . . . a lot to tell you . . ."