Disclaimer: This is a piece of fiction. No harm was intended in the creation of this work. All rights belong to the original creators.
Warnings: MechxMech pairings, Spiritual experience and yes, there has been a canon death, again! *hides*
A/N: Just a little plot bunny that has plagued me in the days since posting Burn it to the Ground (but not related to the story) and as I usually have fights with my muse on an epic scale, I was not going to ignore this little bunny.
The title is stolen from transformers season 3 episode 17, but the stories are not connected.
Solar-cycle - day
Deca-cycle - week
Sunstreaker tossed and turned in his berth. He was so very tired, exhausted even, but once again recharge eluded the front liner. When eventually he would manage to fall into recharge, he would be beleaguered with thoughts and images that would make themselves known the instant he cycled down. He truly felt that he was going out of his processor, that his sanity barely hung by a wire.
Eventually, a crimson and white arm slid over his golden frame as Sideswipe folded himself around Sunstreaker in order to sooth him, placing a barely there kiss on the back of his twins black helm before settling down behind him. Tensing at the contact, Sunstreaker's plating gently vibrated before he became limp, relaxing and pressing into Sideswipe's soft embrace, he vented sadly before finally cycling down into recharge.
Elsewhere, a white and red mech sat slumped in his office chair, the high-grade that he had consumed lulling him into the recharge that would otherwise be hard to come by. He ex-vented heavily as his chin rested on his chest and he occasionally grunted at the thoughts that tried to invade his processor.
Sideswipe watched him from the door way, helm slightly canted to the side as he took in the intoxicated mechs form. Once he had been confident that Sunstreaker was deep in recharge, he sought out their lover. Usually Ratchet looked peaceful in his recharge, content to lie between his golden and crimson lovers but that peace had gone and in its place a scowl, a permanent frown.
Quietly moving through the med bay office, Sideswipe stood in front of the mech that had been his and Sunstreakers rock for so many stellar-cycles and he lightly traced the grey chevron, his soft touches eliciting a gentle vent in unconscious pleasure. Moving his servos to the medic's broad shoulders and dropping his mouth close to Ratchets audial, Sideswipe whispered. "Sunstreaker needs you Ratchet."
Ratchet grunted in response before briefly blinking on dulled optics. "Leave me be!" he rasped as his optics flickered uncertainly before shuttering again, taking him back into his own world.
Sideswipe pulled himself upright but his servos remained on the white shoulders, gently gripping them in reassurance. He wanted Ratchet to know everything would be alright, that they could get over this and live their lives again but the tender squeeze was shrugged off by the older mech, as though it were an annoyance and his frown deepened.
Both Sunstreaker and Ratchet looked so sad, so broken, and it tore at Sideswipe's very soul that he could not do a thing to help them.
Sunstreaker cycled out of recharge with a jolt. The memory fluxes taunting him with what he had done, or rather had not done. Shaking his helm to clear the images, the younger twin looked across the berth that only he occupied. Once it had been a place of both content relaxation and energetic activity but now it was cold and uninviting. Not able to stand it, he pulled himself off the berth and wandered through to the living room he shared with his twin and his lover, neither of whom were to be seen.
Checking his internal chronometer he noted that he had barely taken two joors recharge and it was still a joor before most mechs would rise for the day-cycle. Not wanting to return to the empty berth, Sunstreaker decided he may as well collect their energon before the rec room started to fill up as he was not in the mood for making small talk.
Walking through the vacant corridors his gait was slow, heavy, and as he approached the rec room Bluestreak exited, halting the front liners approach. The door winged mech had just returned from night patrol and pausing briefly at the doorway, he looked to say something but then just nodded his helm silently before leaving.
The golden mech watched the unusually subdued sniper make his way to his quarters and Sunstreaker found himself alone, yet again. Not that he wanted it any other way right now but at the same time, he could not bear the emptiness, inside or out.
Relieved to see the rec room was indeed empty, he made his way to the energon dispenser. Leaning his forearm on the front of the machine, he laid his fore-helm against his arm and listening to the fluid sound of energon filling a cube in the silence of the room. Suddenly he caught a movement in his peripheral vision and frowning, he gently shook his helm to clear the static of a bad night-cycles recharge.
"Do you plan on ignoring me forever?"
The golden warriors frame tensed as he snarled in response.
"You need to acknowledge me Sunstreaker, acknowledge what has happened otherwise how can you move on? How can any of us move on?"
Gold plates of armour pulled in tight to his protoform, shielding his vulnerability. If he ignored the questions, ignored his twin, then what had happened could not have transpired. It would mean all this misery was a bad memory flux or some sort of virus, maybe he should ask Ratchet to check him over. He winced as he thought of Ratchet. The medic had turned his back on him, clearly blaming him for something that as far as Sunstreaker was concerned, could not have happened, so he would seek out First Aid instead. Yes, that was what he would do, seek out First Aid and have his systems defragged and rebooted.
Sideswipe patiently watched his twin and he felt a distant ache for him. Why does this have to be so difficult? He thought. "Sunstreaker, you have to stop blaming yourself!"
"I don't" He growled. "I blame you!"
The front liner berated himself for answering the voice inside his helm. That was the first small step to acceptance and he did not accept, not for one moment. Turning his helm to the side, he looked over the empty expanse of the rec room and he ex-vented angrily, willing the energon dispenser to finish. Finally the sound of flowing liquid ceased and scooping up the three full cubes, Sunstreaker stalked back to their quarters, Sideswipe silently in tow.
Sideswipe had not refuted his twins barbed reply because he knew that Sunstreaker did not mean it, he knew his golden counterpart blamed himself even if Sideswipe did not blame him, and admitting to that was just as hard for Sunstreaker as accepting what had occurred. Accepting that life would never be the same again yet they had to move on, all three of them.
Ratchet walked into the dark quarters he shared with the twins and turning on the lights, he startled when he saw Sunstreaker sat there. He sat on the edge of a chair, arms resting on his upper legs whilst his helm was bent low between his shoulders. Glancing up at his lover, Sunstreaker's optics momentarily brightened before becoming dull and unfocused again as the medic gazed at him with a mixture of love and hurt.
He had always hated seeing either of the twins like this, miserable, hurting, but what he hated more, was not being able to do anything to help. He wanted to say something, anything, but he could not as he just did not have either the words or the strength to give what was needed. With his helm still fuzzy with his high-grade induced recharge, he glanced over at the door leading to their berth room and looking straight through Sideswipe who was stood leaning against the door frame, his optics landed on the berth beyond. How he wanted to lay on that berth, lay with his lovers and be happy again but that was all gone now and he only had himself to blame.
Casting a glance back at Sunstreaker, the younger mech nodded his helm towards the table next to him and as Ratchet looked at three cubes there, waiting to be consumed, his optics flickered as sadness streaked across them before he walked to a side unit, pulled out a couple of cubes of the twins high-grade and made his way back to the door out to the hall way.
Whilst the door cycled open Ratchet took a quick look over his shoulder and momentarily watched Sunstreaker watching him and before he weakened, before he gave in to Sunstreakers sorrow, he turned away and went to walk through the open door. Just as he was about to step through, the door cycled shut again and the room seemed to vibrate as Sideswipe growled, his energy commanding their attention.
"Enough! What is wrong with you two? You walk around blaming yourself, ignoring each other when clearly you need one another." Sideswipes words wavered slightly as his energy waned.
Both of the mechs that he had addressed kept their stances, Ratchet facing the closed door, Sunstreaker sitting dejectedly in his seat, neither able to answer, neither able to acknowledge. However, fear now marred their faces; fear that the time had finally come when they could not deny this any longer.
Sideswipe spoke again, this time more serenely, ghostly. "What happened to being there for each other, to never letting each other down?" The crimson twin faltered. He had so much to say but no way of conveying it.
Ratchet's shoulders sagged and he slowly turned around, facing where Sideswipe now stood, seeing him but not seeing him. "Oh Sideswipe, I never meant to fail you but this time…this time it was just too much."
"You didn't fail me Ratchet, you never could."
Sunstreaker shuttered his optics and bowed his helm again; he refused to be part of this. Refused to accept what Ratchet seemed so willing to assent.
Sideswipe focused back on his twin, he felt so weary now. He needed to rest but he could not, not when Sunstreaker would not let him go. Ratchet's vocaliser attracted the older twins' attention again.
"It's not just Sunstreaker who can't let you go Sideswipe, I can't either. Nor do I want to!"
"But I'll always be here, right here."
The medic's chest plate tingled and for the first time in deca-cycles, his spark felt soothed. "Sides…"
"SHUT UP!" Sunstreaker all but screamed from where he sat. "Just…shut…up! This is not happening! This did not happen!" He vented heavily. His dull optics were now fired up with his rage, his hurt. "This is just a bad memory flux, a corrupt file. Maybe I have a virus even but none…of…this…is…real!"
Sideswipe was instantly by Sunstreakers side, his black servo's roaming over golden plating, soothing, calming, but the golden front liner shook off the sensation as he rose and angrily stepped towards the medic.
"None of this is real!" He hissed. "I'm either in recharge or I'm off-line on your med berth, recovering from whatever, but this conversation you think you are having, it isn't real!"
Guilt engulfed Ratchet as he realised how badly he had not only let Sideswipe down, but Sunstreaker too. While he had be wallowing his own self-pity over what had happened, his own denial, his own grief, he had forgotten Sunstreaker and clearly the distraught mech was slowly unravelling.
They had all expected Sunstreaker to perish, to follow his twin after Sideswipe's spark finally gave up the fight but he seemed to cling on between life and death, hovering between spending eternity with Sideswipe and living his life with Ratchet. It was not that Sunstreaker had sustained any life threatening injuries but as Sideswipes life had ebbed away, so had Sunstreakers. But something stopped Sunstreaker's spark from slipping away and Wheeljack had later told Ratchet that he believed that it was the three way spark bond that Ratchet shared with the twins, was what had saved Sunstreaker from his demise.
Ratchet kept vigil at the golden front liners side and as he watched over the off-line Sunstreaker, he had time to think, time to analyse what he did or did not do in order to save his crimson lover, Sunstreakers twin. He had never failed them in the past but this time the damage was just too much, even with the help of Wheeljack and First Aid, they could not do enough and could only watch as his life guttered out. Yet he blamed himself, he should have been able to save him.
This guilt was only further fuelled when Sunstreaker finally came on-line to discover what had happened to Sideswipe and Ratchet found that he could not comfort the mech, that he was not strong enough, so he left Sunstreaker to his grief whilst he consumed high-grade in order to numb his own pain.
Sunstreaker had never been alone, Sideswipe had always been with him whether it was physically or through their bond but even with Ratchet in his life, he had never felt more alone as he did now. The medic had clamped down on his end of their spark bond and Sunstreaker not only ached for his twin, he ached for his lover too. This is why he could not accept and move on, as far as he was concerned, there was nowhere to move on to. Sideswipe was gone and Ratchet had rejected him.
Sideswipes frustration echoed through the room, sending a shiver down Ratchet's spinal struts. "You have to be there for him Ratchet as he won't be able to do this without you."
Lifting a shaking servo up towards Sunstreaker face, Ratchet placed it on a pale cheek plate and caressed it as the younger mech lent into the contact. For a moment, all the hurt that had etched itself in Sunstreakers face melted away, it had been too long since either had any physical contact and they had both craved it. Tentatively, the medic drew the front liners face towards his own and when he could feel the warm gentle vents from the mouth in front of him, Ratchet moved his own helm in order to make contact with Sunstreakers lips.
Sunstreaker keened as emotion washed over him, everything he had been holding in finally rushing to the surface, threatening to overwhelm him. Pulling away from the kiss, his vents were rapid and irregular, to not have his twins feelings in the back ground was an entirely new experience, one he was not sure if he could live with.
Finally he acknowledged that Sideswipe was not here, that he would never be here again and any small amount of self-control he still had, shattered. Falling to his knee-joints, he pulled Ratchet down with him and clung to him as though his very life depended on him.
"He's…he's gone." He sobbed. "And it's my fault. I wasn't there, I told him to stop bothering me and that I would be there when I finished slagging Skywarp. But I never got to him. I moved onto a new target, leaving him alone. It's my fault..." Sunstreakers words petered out as his distress suffocated him.
Ratchet supressed his own sobs and fighting to maintain control of himself, he re-opened his end of their spark bond. With the connection re-established, Sunstreakers emotions slammed into his spark causing him to catch his vents as the pain was excruciating, unbearable, but he absorbed it all. Never again would Sunstreaker be alone, never again would he turn his back on the feelings of his lover and he realised he needed Sunstreaker as much as Sunstreaker needed him.
Sideswipe silently watched from a short distance, the need to be there in their embrace taunting him whilst at the same time, feeling that he was intruding. He could feel their resistance to their acceptance as they still were not ready to let him go and if he was honest, neither was he but he needed to move on, to return to the Well of Sparks where he could keep watch over his lover and his brother, silently guiding them in their life together. Being here, in this ethereal form was exhausting, energy draining.
Looking around their quarters he took in everything that was familiar, Sunstreaker's art, Ratchet's medical data-pads, his bits of scrap waiting to be used for his next prank, nothing had changed yet everything had. Looking back at the two mechs, sadness settled in his soul. Never again would he be able to touch them, to feel their touch on him. Never again would he laugh with them, fight with them, make up with them.
He had desperately tried to hang on, his spark had fought to survive and he remembered the pain, there was so much pain. He felt that he had watched on from a distance as Ratchet fought to save his life and he could see the medics own agony in his face as he watched Sideswipe's once vibrant spark, finally give up and darken. Even then though, Ratchet insisted that they still work on him, even as the crimson, white and black colours that defined Sideswipe's frame dulled and greyed, he insisted that they had not lost the fight to save him.
It was Wheeljack who had forced Ratchet away from the med berth, pulling him down to the ground in an embrace, crushing him in his arms. Sideswipe silently watched as Ratchet's rage at Wheeljack, rage at himself turned to sorrow and he sobbed and all the while Sideswipe could only watch on helplessly. He did not think that he would be able to feel pain in this form, but he did and the pain for everything he had been taken away from, seared through his otherworldly being and if he could have vented, it would have taken his vents away.
As Ratchet's sobs echoed through the med bay, Sideswipe looked over to where Sunstreaker lay. First Aid was checking over him after the monitor readings had surged just as Sideswipe had passed away and although weak, Sunstreakers stats were holding out, his spark beat, though erratic, was still there.
First Aid called over his shoulder as he double checked everything. "Umm, Wheeljack, I think you should see this."
Wheeljack looked up from where he sat, still holding the distraught medic. "What is it Aid?"
"Well, Sunstreaker is still here. His spark beat is weak and a little erratic but he's us still with us."
This had caught Ratchet's attention and slowly, extracting himself from Wheeljacks embrace he hesitantly made his way to the med berth, purposely ignoring the now cold and grey frame of Sideswipe.
Sideswipe stood next to Sunstreaker on the opposite side to where Ratchet stood, his servo hovering over the golden chest plates. He was torn, torn between wanting his twin with him for eternity and wanting him to live. Looking at both Ratchet's and Sunstreaker's faces in turn before lowering his servo down to Sunstreaker's chest, he whispered, "Live life for the two of us Sunny and when you've finished, I'll be waiting right here."
The monitor surged again as Sunstreaker's spark beat became a little stronger and as he lay there off-line, recovering, Ratchet took that vigil by his side. But Sideswipe knew that the guilt had already set in, Ratchet's guilt at failing the twins and as he sat there willing Sunstreaker to come back on-line, Sideswipe knew that the medic did not believe he could be there for the front liner, that he was not strong enough for the two of them.
Sideswipe was brought back to the present as he heard Ratchet's vocaliser. "Sunstreaker, none of this is your fault. If you could have been by your brother's side, you would've been."
"But I wasn't." Sunstreaker choked. "All the stellar-cycles that we fought side by side, I was not there when he truly needed me. I was too busy fuelling my own ego by taking on the Seeker trash"
"And if you hadn't taken on Skywarp then there may have been more 'bots lying in my med berth. You did what you had to do!"
Sunstreaker bristled. "I don't give a frag about the others, it was Sideswipe who needed me and Sideswipe who I let down."
Ratchet vented. Maybe they were all to blame. Sideswipe for getting himself into that situation, Sunstreaker for not making it to his side and he, for not saving him. But if it happened all over again, would they have done things differently? Could they have done things differently?
"We can't change the past." Sideswipe's words floated all around them. "Grieve, adapt and move on, isn't that what this war has taught us?"
It seemed so cold, so clinical, but that was war for you. War was not emotional, just made up of the emotions of those who fought it. War did not care if others mourned a lost life for it had bigger things to move on to, it's only objective, destruction.
"As long as you two are there for each other, I will live on. I live on in Sunstreaker's paintings, in your processors and in your sparks. You only have to think of me and I'll be here." Sideswipe wished he felt as strong as his words.
Sunstreaker and Ratchet found themselves looking at the paintings that lined their walls, a lot of them where images of Sideswipe from over the stellar-cycles, moments lovingly recorded by Sunstreaker, just as he saw him. He had been so vibrant when he was alive, so full of life, complimenting his twins' quieter personality and Sunstreaker had captured him perfectly.
For the first time since Sideswipes death, Sunstreaker acknowledged his distant presence as something more than a voice in his helm. "But they can never compare to you. I would never paint another picture again if it meant I could have you back."
Painting was the one of the very few things that kept Sunstreaker sane in the madness of this war and here he was, offering to give it all up if he could just have his twin in his life again.
Sideswipe looked at his brother sadly, reflecting the look in Sunstreaker's optics and clasping is twins' face in his servo's he gently said, "There is no exchange, no way of changing what has happened and now you have to let me go."
Sunstreakers gently shuddered under the touch on his cheeks and he tried to imagine Sideswipe knelt in front of him, real, alive. "But what if I don't want to?"
"Do you really want to continue living like this?"
"I don't want to live without you!"
Ratchet shuttered his optics as he heard the words that left Sunstreakers mouth, he hurt for Sunstreaker and he hurt for himself. What if he was not enough for the twin? The medic knew he meant what he had just said; the desolation that bled through their bond was undeniable. Then he would have to make himself enough; he would have to show the lone twin that they could go on with their lives, so long as they are there for each other.
Pulling Sunstreaker tight to his chassis, the older mech did what he should have done deca-cycles ago and threw everything he could through their bond, love, protection and his promise to always be there. Somehow Ratchet had finally found the strength he needed for both he and Sunstreaker. He knew it would be difficult, that they would never get over losing Sideswipe but he also felt that they could go on and the medic had no doubts that Sideswipe would be there watching them, guiding them through the rest of their lives together.
"We can do this Sunstreaker, you and me."
Sunstreaker studied the medics face and for the first time in deca-cycles, the dark frown that had adorned it was gone and Ratchet looked at Sunstreaker with all the love he had for him. It was everything the broken twin needed, the foundations with which he could begin to rebuild his life with Ratchet, without Sideswipe.
Sunstreaker vented with the pain that the thought brought to his spark. "Will it ever stop hurting?" He whispered.
The medic knew that whatever pain he felt in his spark for the loss of Sideswipe, it could not be comparable to Sunstreaker's. His own agony was for the loss of his spark-mate, his lover, and he still had his bond with Sunstreaker to sooth some of that hurt, but Sunstreaker's pain was a physical loss. Never again would his spark be whole, never again would he feel the other half of his life force.
Tightening his embrace and needing to convince himself as much as Sunstreaker, Ratchet vented gently into his audial, "Given time it will be easier to live with and before you know it, you won't notice it so much. It will still be there, it will be your reminder of your love for one another, your connection to each other but eventually, the pain will be part of who you are."
Sideswipe took in the grief in Sunstreaker's optics, he would always remember how it made him feel when his twin held him in the gaze of those optics, he always felt the most important mech in the room and he knew nothing could touch him when Sunstreaker was around. He then turned his attention to Ratchet, the love of their lives and the mech that put him and Sunstreaker back together time and time again, in more ways than one.
He and Sunstreaker had lived through a lot and survived times that would have even the Gestalts quaking in their armour. They had lived hard and played hard, taken lives and protected. They did what they had to do and after the crowds had gone, after each battle was over, they had been left wanting, needing. Then they met Ratchet and he was everything they were not, yet everything they desired.
Now he, Sideswipe, was the protector, their guide, and the once boisterous mech would spend the rest of eternity watching over his lover and his twin, as they both had watched over him.
Musing over the time the three spent together, a smile ghosted over his lips. "It was a blast wasn't it!"
Ratchet and Sunstreaker pulled away from each other slightly, amusement briefly flickering in their optics as they settled on Sideswipe's light. The light flickered and flashed in front of them before fading, settling into a more sedate shimmer.
"When will we see you again?" Sunstreaker missed his twin so very much. His energy, his stupid, beautiful grin and the way he dragged him along in his pranks. Sunstreaker loved his peace and solitude but only when Sideswipe was nearby.
"Each and every time you think of me."
"You will forever be in our thoughts Sideswipe." Ratchet struggled with his words.
He did not want Sideswipe in his thoughts he wanted him here, where he could touch him. The twins were his spark-mates, his light and his dark. They drove him crazy yet kept him sane. They overwhelmed him but without them, he felt he could not vent and now fate had decided to take one of them from him, and fate would be in for one pit of a glossa-lashing when Ratchet would finally be claimed by it.
Sideswipe knew his time was finally upon him, that the loves of his life were prepared to let him go and he found the energy to flare brightly one more time. "I'll be waiting right here."
The words quietly echoed as Ratchet and Sunstreaker felt Sideswipe's presence evaporate.
"I love you!" Sunstreaker quietly keened into the now empty feeling room. "We love you."
Pain burned through Sunstreaker's spark when, for the first time in his life, he did not hear Sideswipe return his declaration of love and just as the desolation started to envelope him again, Ratchet wrapped the golden warriors spark with his own love, letting him know that it would never be alone, he would never be alone.
In the silence of the room they basked in one another's embrace, each feeding of the other's love. This was their life now and with Sideswipe watching over them, they knew that they could survive; they had to survive so that between them, Sideswipe would live on.
A/N: Yes, I do seem to be on a bit of a death roll here at the moment, actually what am I talking about, it has been for a while if I think back to the two Prowl x Jazz stories from earlier this year, then again the first fic I wrote had the twins at deaths door! -.- I do always seem to like to hurt the twins in some way, even if they are my obsession, then of course, if I hurt the twins I naturally hurt Ratchet too. Damn, I really am horrid.