A/N: Sorry for the lack of updates, everyone, but here is your new chapter =) As always, reviews are welcomed and encouraged!
Prowl was greeted by every entbot as he made his way to the second level to talk to Starbreaker. On their way, Prowl explained why they were going to see her. Firebolt was skeptical to say the least. "So, the femme who would normally never give you a second glance just proclaimed her love to you while you were in stasis lock? Granted, I might give you some credit if she weren't already dating another mech," Firebolt reasoned rather loudly, drawing a few looks.
Prowl ignored his brother until the last sentence, where he paused in his steps. "She's… what?"
Firebolt gave Prowl a strange look before it hit him. "Right, you were in stasis lock the whole time. About halfway through the metacycle of you being in stasis lock, Starbreaker started dating Orion. Since he's more part of our crowd, it was kind of a surprise, but he wasn't going to complain. Primus knows that mech is nervous enough without a partner," Firebolt said, continuing their walk to the second floor.
As they made their way to the second floor, Prowl and Firebolt found Starbreaker and her group not too far from their own group of friends. Starbreaker's group normally consisted of previous war veterans or just average brutes, femme and mech alike. Arrowheart, the normally hot-tempered femme, glanced up first from the group as Prowl and Firebolt made their approach. She quickly nudged Starbreaker, who stopped her flirting with Orion at seeing Prowl.
Two others sat with Arrowheart, Orion, and Starbreaker. They were the two entbots beside Prowl when the decepticon ship fired, Crosshatch and Fallout.
Arrowheart was the only one offering a small smile while the rest were stunned. Orion was the next to grin at Prowl. "Well, look who's out of stasis lock," he said, trying to break the strangely tense silence.
Prowl smiled at him and nodded. Prowl's optics soon landed on Crosshatch, who gave him a small nod of thanks. Prowl just nodded back and then quickly turned his attention to Starbreaker. "Starbreaker, do you mind if I talk to you privately for a breem?" he asked, trying to sound as professional as possible. The others in the group gave a confused look to Starbreaker, but she didn't take notice of them as she stood up and followed Prowl away from the others.
"Did you visit me when I first started to hear in the medbay?" Prowl asked quickly, needing to know whether he just imagined everything.
Starbreaker looked surprised, but whether it was because Prowl remembered or because Prowl was making it up, he couldn't tell. "No, I didn't," she stated with confusion.
Prowl stepped back a little and then sighed. "All right. I must have imagined something then. Sorry for taking up your time," he said, quickly backing away from the group with Firebolt in tow.
Arrowheart walked up to Starbreaker, who was staring after Prowl as he was greeted with hugs, shouts, and cheers by his friends. "You didn't tell him the truth, did you?"
"Why should I? I'm happy with Orion," Starbreaker lied, while Arrowheart shook her head.
"You know that's not true, but if you can convince yourself of that now, I guess I won't bother convincing you otherwise," Arrowheart sighed, returning to their group.
Prowl lifted his head from his berth to see his brother come in. "Hey, 'Bolt," Prowl said as his brother tried to move around quietly, thinking Prowl was recharging.
Prowl snickered at Firebolt's surprise. "I thought you were in recharge."
"I have to much on my processor," Prowl explained with a frown. After a pause, Prowl then asked, "Firebolt, where is everyone?" The red optics of his brother flashed over to him for a klick then lowered to his berth. Seeing Firebolt's hesitancy, Prowl tried to elaborate. "Carrier… Icescape…"
The 'con vented a sigh and then there was a tense silence until Firebolt finally explained the entire situation to Prowl on how no one knew where Icescape, Hothead, or Razorclip had gone and how Moonseeker had been deactivated. After Firebolt had explained all that he could, he moved from his berth and sat beside his brother. "You okay, Prowler?"
"Fan-fragging-tastic," Prowl replied tightly, glaring up at the ceiling. A silence followed until Prowl looked over at Firebolt. "What did you do when you found out?"
Firebolt looked down at his servos in shame. "Drank mostly. It's weird because that's not usually my style. I mean, when I usually get upset, I don't do that. I just…" he stopped short and stood up, grabbing his guitar that sat in its stand in the corner. "I write music," he finished with a small smile. He sat down again on Prowl's berth and handed him a blank datapad and a stylus. "Write away, Prowler." Firebolt then brought his guitar up and began strumming some chords repetitively until he saw Prowl writing lyrics to accompany it.
The following weeks were spent with Prowl remaining silent for most conversations and writing songs at night. Firebolt never complained if Prowl ignored him. After all, he did much worse when he found out all that had happened. Others on the ship quickly realized that Prowl wanted to be left alone, but the medical staff, Firebolt, and Mixtape remained at his side, despite his quiet requests to be left alone.
Prowl walked beside Mixtape one day. She was discussing at great length how her day was. She knew Prowl was done listening to her, but just knowing he wasn't harming himself or going into a depression was enough to keep her at his side. "Stop," Prowl mumbled. Mixtape dismissed this and continued with her ranting. "Mixtape! I said stop!" Prowl yelled, gaining the attention of the majority of the ship. Mixtape shrank back like she had been struck and others looked on with fear.
It was well known that the two were good friends, but, under the circumstances, the entbots were preparing for a fight. Some waited to lunge at Prowl, who remained tense. It took a few klicks for Prowl to stop giving Mixtape a deathly glare and another few klicks for him to relax his posture. Everyone watched Prowl carefully as he began to look around. Looking a little confused and lost, he looked back to Mixtape, who had relaxed and even smiled a little at him.
"C'mon," she said quietly. Reaching for his servo, she flinched as Prowl pulled back.
"I'm sorry… I just…" He paused as he felt everyone near him staring. "I can't."
Mixtape nodded understandingly. "Okay. That's fine."
Prowl then walked away from her and down a few hallways until he found himself in the same room Mixtape had brought him to when they were younglings. They had watched the meteoroids shoot across the sky in this room and, since then, he had almost forgotten about it. It was a very small room, but very tall with only a single window at the top of the room.
This room was where Prowl tried to come to terms with everything that had happened. Sitting against the wall, he thought about what he could have done. If that laser hadn't taken him down when he saved Crosshatch, would Moonseeker still be here? Would he have been able to save Icescape, Razorclip, and Hothead? Why did he save Crosshatch? That last one took him awhile to come up with an answer. Crosshatch should have been deactivated. He was a stubborn jerk that gave Prowl problems even when Prowl tried to save his life.
"Primus, what's wrong with me?" Prowl leaned his head against the wall.
"Be more specific," Crosshatch chuckled from the hallway.
Prowl glared at him. "Get the frag away from me," he growled, standing up.
Crosshatch stood his ground, but didn't look the way Prowl remembered him. It was definitely Crosshatch, but he didn't look like he wanted to start trouble. There was no smirk or crossed arms. His stance was actually very casual. "I'm not here to start trouble. I saw you yell at Mixtape and walk away and I thought you might want some-"
"Company?" Prowl questioned with a glare, his visor darkening with agitation. "No, thanks." Prowl resumed sitting on the ground, trying to make it apparent that he didn't want or need Crosshatch there.
As Crosshatch turned to walk away, he heard Prowl say, "Why you?"
Turning back to face the sparkbroken entbot, Crosshatch raised an optic ridge. "What do you mean? Why did I follow you here?"
"No," Prowl shouted. "Why did I save you? I should have let you get deactivated! If you would have been deactivated, then I wouldn't have been in stasis lock, and I would have been able to save my carrier!" By now, Prowl had advanced on Crosshatch to the point where he was nearly standing on top of him. Crosshatch remained where he was, staring at the agitated entbot without much worry.
After a small pause, Crosshatch answered, "I don't know why you saved me, but you did, and I couldn't be more thankful to you if I tried." Seeing Prowl was still tense and devastated, Crosshatch continued. "Maybe you never thought that Moonseeker could be taken away from you, and you figured that she could take care of herself if you risked your life."
Prowl seemed to accept this answer a bit more than the previous one. It made sense a little bit more now. Besides, trying to think of ways it could have been avoided wouldn't bring her back. Crosshatch leaned against the side of the hallway. "And, from one entbot to another," he began, getting Prowl's attention once more, "I don't think Starbreaker and Orion are that serious." With a wink, the green and yellow entbot walked away. Prowl smiled a little after Crosshatch was out of sight and remained in the room a bit longer, but with happier thoughts.
Firebolt looked up from his guitar as Prowl entered their room. "Hey! I've got the song all finished up. You want to practice for a bit and then head downstairs to perform it?"
Prowl, now much happier with his thoughts, decided to put his thoughts of his mother to rest with this last tribute. He gave his brother a smile, something Firebolt hadn't seen for awhile, and a nod. Excited by his brother's new attitude, Firebolt stood up from his bed and began to play the opening chords. Sitting down at the drum set they had borrowed, Prowl joined in and sang back up vocals. After they closed the song, Prowl gave his brother a strange look as Firebolt went to take a sip of energon. "Are you really going for that scratchy quality in your voice?"
Firebolt shrugged. "I thought it made the emotion a bit better. I mean, we are pretty pissed off in this song, right?"
Prowl smiled and shrugged, taking a sip of energon himself before continuing with practice.
I don't wanna feel like this tomorrow
I don't wanna live like this today
Make me feel better, I need to feel better
Stay with me here now and never surrender
Put me back together
Never surrender, make me feel better
You make me feel better
Stay with me here now and never surrender
Prowl and Firebolt played the last remaining chords of their song entitled: "Never Surrender". They had a pretty active audience, for it being the middle of the night. At night, the rest of the Ark IV was either recharging, working, or using the music as background noise as they talked. However, with Prowl just getting out of his bubble, more were gathering around to see what they had written. Surprised at the strange mood the music expressed that was so unlikely for the performers, the audience was pretty pleased, applauding for the two brothers.
The brothers returned to their group, sitting on the couches that were already crowded before they approached. Lounging around, they broke down the song for their friends, saying how each lyric had a meaning to them individually. Prowl smiled a little and gave a vent as the conversation moved onto normal topics of conversation. "So, Prowl, I hear you want to get a feel for Starbreaker's cables," Owlflight taunted with a good-natured smile.
This seemed to be new news for half of twelve mechs and old news for the second half. "Well, Owlflight, you were wrong about the decepticon warship and you're wrong about this too. You really need to get your facts straight," Prowl replied, taking a sip of high-grade.
The group laughed at this, but Owlflight had his own games in mind. "Well, Prowl, if you really don't have feelings for Starbreaker, then Mixtape has to be next on the list." The group grew quiet at this and Mixtape grew quickly uncomfortable on the crowded couch. "I mean, you two work together, have a lot of alone time together, and you guys have been known to sneak off time and again." The sneaking off that Owlflight was referring to happened before the attack and it was to discuss Mixtape's interest in medicine. With Prowl being very close to the top notch medics, he was easily able to get her some training. However, the more that they entered the medbay to see the medics at work, the more Mixtape began questioning herself. After all, working beside Riffraff or Dasher was pretty intimidating. This was the primary reason why neither had mentioned it to the group. If Mixtape was still questioning the profession, they didn't want Riffraff to get a hold of that information and force her into it. Of course, he wasn't a mean mentor, just an overly welcoming one that was likely able to convince Mixtape that the medical field was what she wanted. To summarize, neither of the two wanted to tell what was going on just yet, but they also didn't want their "friendly chats with Riffraff" to end either.
The group waited for either of them to say something, but they just continued to look over at each other. Mixtape finally looked down at her servos, waiting for Prowl to tell them and all chaos to break loose in the medbay. "Well, um," Prowl started, then released a sigh. "We're together."