Author's Notes: Crossfire! I find myself reaching levels of anxiety I haven't felt since seeing DOTM. But no fix-it fic. Yet. Sorry about the shortness.

Title: A Million Pieces

Universe: Prime

Character: Knock Out

Summary: Knock Out hears the news.

"That's IT!"

Soundwave's recordings were nearing perfection in sound quality. Knock Out could just imagine his partner stomping through the forest in pursuit of Arachnid.

Then the scream.

The last time Knock Out had heard that scream, it had been on Cybertron, as he and Breakdown frantically tried to save Motormaster's spark from extinguishing. As its silver light faded, Breakdown had felt his gestalt bond shatter into a million tiny pieces, as he described to the medic a million years later.

A million pieces.

Knock Out wasn't bonded to his partner in any way. He knew, intellectually, that what he felt was nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what Breakdown had felt on that day.

His legs swung on the medical berth, one after the other. Left, right. Left right.

Soundwave had to be wrong. (But Soundwave was never wrong) Knock Out's claws clenched, denting the metal of the berth. Why couldn't the slagger have finished her when he had the chance? He'd stepped on her, for Unicron's sake.

Any moment, Breakdown was going to walk in, proud of dispatching Arachnid. Fully intact.

Knock Out stared at the door hopefully. He didn't know for how long. Time didn't matter to their species. Maybe an Earth hour. Maybe an Earth day.

"Say uncle! Say it!"

He hadn't been with his partner. Again. What he had been doing didn't matter to him any longer. He couldn't even remember what he had been doing.

One optic felt like it was bulging out.

"You stupid hotheaded…" Knock Out was talking to himself. "'Patch things up?' Eyes to eye?"

The only consolation was the death sentence on her head. Megatron was completely capable of taking her out. And the leader of the Decepticons knew about her attempted coup. And he was not one to let his enemies live.

Knock Out took comfort in that, but his memory files insisted on replaying those moments he had been so close to the technorganic. Close enough to rip out her spark.

Everyone had had a chance to kill her. Even Breakdown. If he had just smashed his back into the wall. He would have squished a bug and saved his life.

The door opened. Knock Out was jerked out of his rumination and he could only stare as the huge, hulking figure tromped in.

"Knock Out."

The medic couldn't look away.

"Where were you?"

The other Decepticon decided to play dumb.

"I'm sorry?"

"Where were you when she dismembered by partner?" his voice sounded empty. It was empty.

"I told him to wait. She does have a way with mechs, you know."

She'd had Breakdown wrapped around her finger from the moment they met. She knew what buttons to push.

"I know."

"Megatron will kill her."

"I know."

Dreadwing bent to look into his optics.

"You know what she wants you to do."

"Yes." Knock Out thought about what he could carry by himself if he was going to go AWOL. Not that much. His prod. Maybe some Energon.

"And you are not going to do that." Dreadwing straightened and made his way to the exit. Knock Out got to his feet, ready to prepare for his departure. "Therefore, my first act as first lieutenant is to confine you to sickbay."

He shut the door as Knock Out charged, crashing into the door just as it sealed.

The medic swore, dragging his claws down the metal of the door.

He could have shouted at Dreadwing. He could try and melt the door down. But it had finally hit him.

Breakdown was dead. Dreadwing was right. Soundwave was right.

He was never going to see his friend until he became one with the Allspark.

Knock Out found himself sitting at the sickbay door, leaning his head in his hands.

And his spark did feel like it had been shattered into a million pieces.

Final notes:

I was thinking about writing a prequel to Prime in which Knock Out and Breakdown meet during the war, which would include gestalt drama, friendship etc (I was thinking about this right before I saw the episode actually). Would anyone be interested in reading that?