Author's Notes: Well, this is the end. Thank you reviewers! I can't thank you enough for every time you bothered to push the 'review' button (or just write a 'comment' now, I guess). I may revisit this AU again (you'll see by the end) maybe not. Maybe I'll rewrite season 2. The possibilities are endless. Another huge thank-you to balrog_roike, who let me write this bunny.
"I have made mistakes. Monumental ones."
That was the understatement of the solar cycle, Starscream reflected dryly.
"I realize now…I am who I am. And who I was always meant to be."
He stood, monologue finished, feeling his backstruts stretch as his pedes hit the floor in rhythmic steps.
The Nemesis was quieter now than it ever had been before. The Vehicon repair crews were reporting a lack of needed repairs on the usually run-down warship. Starscream would know, as he was the one tasked with overseeing them.
It was truly a wonderful thing, to walk without pain. Breakdown repairing his wounds with unnecessary roughness was one of the first sensations he'd experienced while being able to fully control his body in recent memory. Though the past decacycle mostly consisted of fragmented bits of data – like knowing Soundwave's pass code – Starscream had become aware, at a certain point, of what his other half had been up to.
And he'd let it go on. Stupidly, until he'd realized he could claim no control over the insane part of him, when the rest of him had tried to kill Soundwave where he lay. Then his 'bad' self had shoved him back into the farthest subspaces of his mind. Then the other half of him had been so close to killing Megatron…but even he had failed, and left Starscream alone to face the consequences.
Starscream hesitated just as he was about to enter the bridge. This would be his first meeting with Megatron after his failed attempt to take the warlord's life. The appointment to oversee the repair crews – also known as a demotion – had come from Soundwave, who had visibly stepped backward when Starscream approached to take the datapad from him. Mentally, the Seeker filed that bit of knowledge away for later use. That might be the only good thing to come out of this mess, but it was something.
He walked in.
"Starscream. Just in time."
Starscream's wings folded backward instinctively. Megatron was there, certainly. Accompanied by a familiar bulky Seeker who looked at Starscream with one raised optic ridge.
"Skyquake?" this was the wrong time to reunite with the zombie-Decepticon. He began to step backward, but the newcomer's words stopped him.
"Dreadwing." The other Seeker's voice was a deadly purr. "I have heard that you have information on my brother's whereabouts."
"Dreadwing here will be my new second in command, until I have decided you a capable of instilling confidence in those around you once again."
Sourly, Starscream thought of the way Breakdown had repaired his wounds and how Soundwave wouldn't come near him. And Knock Out. The thought of his onetime first lieutenant's body being sent to the incinerator today made his fuel tanks churn in disgust. Another wasted opportunity.
"Of course, my master. I live to serve." Once empty words, but now he was obligated to force some meaning into them.
Megatron peered down at him, but offered no further comment.
"Now where were we?"
The boiler room was stifling. More so when it had something new to consume, such as the Energon of one deceased Decepticon automobile enthusiast. The general idea was the incinerator would remove any trace of Energon and fluid, leaving behind only a charred husk as even the incinerator wasn't hot enough to melt their species armor. Then that would be thrown into the ocean, since the Nemesis was closer to Earth than space at the moment. He'd even put the broken Spark chamber back in Knock Out's chest, not wanting to keep any reminder of his partner around.
Breakdown had not been the one charged with disposing of Knock Out's remains, but he'd taken the task from Fixer quite forcibly, ignoring the concerned looks the Eradicon had sent his way.
He also ignored the new voices in his head, urging him to get up and run, to leave the Nemesis and the Decepticons because they were watching his every move, they knew his every thought before the thought even came to his mind.
A small noise behind him sent him wheeling around abruptly, ready to attack at the intruder.
It was Soundwave. Breakdown instinctively stepped back as the other Decepticon stepped forward slowly, arms held slightly away from his body.
"You've been watching me." Ever since he'd brought the maddened Seeker to the bridge.
"Why?" he couldn't keep the accusation out of his voice. "Because Starscream was telling the truth?"
Soundwave hesitated, then nodded again.
Breakdown had expected a flat denial. He was left flailing about, and he didn't appreciate it.
"Why did he have to die?" Breakdown was shouting. "Why was I the one who had to kill him?"
Soundwave walked forward, until he was next to the former Wrecker. He moved as if to touch him, but thought better of it and drew his hand back.
Letting out an angry huff of air, Breakdown turned to watch the flames consume his partner.
Like an army, falling one by one by one