A/N: This started as a way for me to deal with my agony after the end of the season, then a comment on the lj community got me thinking and I decided I couldn't pass it up. And yes there will be hints of JunexOptimus as well as RatchetxWheeljack just because I lean that way. ) Wrote June's pov to the song Leave by R.E.M. from the Life Less Ordinary OST. Recommended listening. ^_^
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners (Hasbro et. al.). The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended.
The ground still shook with secondary explosions. Smoke partially obscured the giant warship hovering over what had been my son's second home. Wrapping my arms around my middle I tried to control the shaking.
"It's gone . . ." A tear burned its way down my cheek. "The Autobots . . . they're gone . . ."
"We can't know that. We have to assume they made it out."
"Jack . . ."
"Mrs. Darby, Optimus would do anything to make sure your son was safe."
That's what I was afraid of. Jack was smart and brave. He'd grown up so much since meeting the large aliens. He was everything I'd ever wanted him to be. I knew he was alive. A mother knows. But Optimus . . .
I yelped flinching as two aircraft roared by overhead. One looked like an F-15 the other was most definitely alien.
"Megatron." Agent Fowler growled even as he put an arm around my shoulders. I turned into the comforting embrace.
"What do we do now?"
"There isn't much we can do."
"No, I suppose not." What could we, two small humans, do in the face of these beings?
"I'll find Jack, I promise you that, June. But we need to go before we are spotted."
He flew us back to Jasper. It was eerie. The streets deserted. A stray dog barked in the distance. Even from my house I could see the giant structure that Agent Fowler had told me was probably Megatron's new fortress. What kind of power could build something on that scale in a matter of moments? One hand clutching the front of my shirt I tried to contain the well of terror threatening to drown me.
Once in the house I wandered. I knew I should pack. Agent Fowler would be back to escort me to what we hoped was a safe house. At the moment I didn't think I would ever feel safe again. Going to my closet I pulled out a few garments, not even bothering to look at what I grabbed. It all got shoved into a suitcase. Something prompted me to go to Jack's room and do the same with his clothes. I had to believe I would see him again. I had to.
An hour later I found myself sitting on the couch staring at the television. I hadn't even bothered to turn it on. Shaking my head I got up. Instead of going to finish the packing I ended up in the garage standing in the middle of the empty space. Jack's bicycle was still leaning up against the wall. I covered my mouth as a soft sob escaped.
No. No he was not gone. Optimus had promised and if I knew anything about that stoic red and blue being it was that he valued his word.
"Oh Jack . . ."
Wiping away the tears I looked at the bicycle. Taking a deep breath I nodded to myself. Going back inside, I wrote a quick note for Agent Fowler.
It took me nearly an hour and I was exhausted by the time I reached the crossroads. Rubble still smoldered on the ground around me. The smell of burnt wiring and melted metal filled the air. The ship was gone as were the support aircraft. Propping the bike against the stop sign I started forward, picking my way around boulders and other debris. I had to climb once I reached the side of the mesa, but only about twenty feet or so. The hollowed out base lay exposed reminding me of patient with their chest cavity cracked open. Nothing looked like it should. Steel girders lay warped and twisted amongst the rubble like compound fractures. In the middle nearly covered with soot and debris was the Autobot's symbol.
Climbing down I skirted what had been the ground bridge. The command console was nothing more than a few bits of broken glass and some metal sticking up from the floor. Standing in the middle of the devastation my nerve nearly failed me. There was no way anything, human or Cybertronian could have survived the epicenter of the explosion. Looking toward what had been the medical bay I glimpsed something through the wreckage. It was probably just my imagination but I might as well look while I was here. It was why I had come, wasn't it? To prove to myself that none of the bots had been inside the base and therefore neither had my son.
I hissed as I accidentally touched a still hot piece of metal. Was I seriously doing something this dangerous? What if those Decepticons came back? Though looking at the level of destruction, they had to believe there was nothing here to find.
Ducking under what looked like a mangled section of catwalk I straightened and nearly cried aloud. No. No this wasn't possible, I knew that arm, that hand.
Before I had time to consider it I was tugging at the sheet of metal. It slid a few feet and stopped. Nearly whimpering in frustration I climbed over it and shoved from the other side. It fell back with a resounding clang. I found a section of metal pipe to start dislodging the chunks of concrete and rock. I didn't realize my hands were bleeding until the pipe was too slick to hold.
Looking down I could barely see his head under the debris. The soft blue light was gone. Closing my eyes for a moment, I gripped the pipe harder.
"How dare you. How dare you die on me you giant lumbering idiot." Jamming the end of the pipe between two pieces of rubble I pulled, throwing all my weight into it. After what seemed like ages the small boulder started to move. The rest of the pile thundered down with it, leaving Optimus' head and upper torso exposed. That was when I saw the steel girder sticking out of his abdomen.
"Oh Optimus . . ." Climbing down until I was standing on his chest I looked at the damage. It was catastrophic. No human could have survived and it seemed not even a massive, intelligent robot could either. Letting my gaze travel up I met the dark optics. The lower half of his face was covered by his battle mask. Carefully walking forward I reached up till I could touch the side of his face. The once living metal was soft and chill under my touch. My hand looked so small and I felt a smile tug at my lips as I thought about the first time I'd seen him.
He'd been so imposing, yet there was also vulnerability in his eyes, something I never would have believed possible if I hadn't seen it for myself. For a being millions of years old, he'd seemed so young. Battle weary yes, but there was an innocence and a yearning there that couldn't be missed.
"You tried didn't you. You really tried. If you are here then I know Jack is safe. I know it's not fair but I'm glad in a way. I know Jack. If it was up to him he would have given his life to save yours. I know he would. So thank you. Thank you for trying so hard. Thank you for everything you've done. For what you've stood for and fought for. Your sacrifice won't be in vain. Your friends will see to that. So will I. I admit I wasn't sure about you when I first met you. You just seemed too alien, too different. I know better now. You are-were one of the bravest-" I paused to catch my breath as a sob wracked me. "you didn't deserve this."
Leaning forward I rested my head on the top of his battle mask and let the tears come. Of everything that had to happen this was the one thing I had not expected. He'd just seemed so competent and invincible.
"I wish there was something, anything I could do." I let my fingers trail over the scared edge of the mask, leaving behind bloody smears. I knew I should leave, yet I didn't want to leave him alone like this to be found by his enemies. If they returned there would be nothing I could do to stop them, I just didn't want him to be alone.
"I never gave you the credit you deserved. It was just so hard to comprehend. Millennia of war? It's hard for us humans to even comprehend a century of conflict. Yet you struggled through it all, through the terrible losses and setbacks that I am sure you faced. How hard must it have been for you as the leader? You never shirked your responsibility, never wavered in your ideals. You made the hard decisions and then had to live with the consequences but I have a feeling you never once complained." I patted the mask and sat up looking down into his face. "You have to be the most amazing person I've ever met Optimus Prime. And I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to know you better. It is truly my loss."
Wheeljack stood in the middle of what had been the Autobot base, vents cycling rapidly as he looked around. There were no life signs, not even a flicker. Brushing at the trickle of energon down his chin he limped forward. He had to believe someone had survived. The Autobots weren't stupid, they would have evacuated. That's when he heard the voice. Someone was speaking, but he didn't recognize the voice pattern. It wasn't one of the Autobots, it sounded human. Recalibrating his sensors for human life signs he nearly flooded his engine when he saw the signature pop up.
"What the scrap . . ." Moving as silently as possible through the debris he peered down. What he saw made his spark clench. Optimus lay partially buried under rubble, impaled by a steel beam, his optics dark. Laying curled up under Optimus' chin was a dark haired human woman. Her eyes were closed as she spoke.
"I will miss you Optimus Prime. You gave Jack hope and someone to look up to."
He sighed, this must be Jack's mother. Bulkhead had mentioned her. What was her name?
She jumped a startled scream echoing around the debris. He stepped back startled as she suddenly brandished a length of pipe. "Don't come any closer! He's already dead just leave him alone!"
"Whoa, easy there lady. Name's Wheeljack, I just came to see if there were any survivors."
"Wait . . . Wheeljack? Agent Fowler mentioned you. You are a rogue."
"Uh, yeah well . . . about that . . ."
She was glaring up him now, tiny hands on her hips. "And just where have you been, mister? They needed you."
"Hey! I showed up!"
"Late I might add. They obviously needed your help or I wouldn't be here standing on Optimus Prime's corpse!"
"Well the comm goes both ways ya' know!"
Her eyes narrowed and for a moment Wheeljack thought she was going to come after him. "Don't you even take that tone with me. You and I both know that Optimus would never- would never . . ." Her voice faded and she let the pipe fall, kneeling down she buried her face in her hands. "Oh my god, he's dead. He's really dead."
Wheeljack stood there watching her sob shifting his weight as he tried to decide what to do. He really needed to make sure that Optimus was indeed offline and not just in stasis. Going to a knee beside Optimus he touched the big bot's grill. There was a faint warmth under his hand. Optimus' spark was still there but very, very weak.
"The name is June. June Darby."
"Okay, June. Optimus is not dead. Not yet, but if we don't move him and get him triaged he is going to go offline."
"What do you need me to do?" She wiped her face in her sleeve and ran her hands down her jacket leaving trails of red liquid.
"Stay here. I'm going to go see if I can salvage anything in the medical bay."
"You aren't a medic though, Ratchet-"
"Oh yes, the good doctor. Well he's probably thousands of miles away and I do have training as a battle medic. Us Wreckers didn't depend on the Autobot docs to tend our wounds."
"You certainly have a way of inspiring confidence."
Wheeljack raised an eyebrow. "No need to be sarcastic. Just stating a fact. I'll be right back."
"I'm not going anywhere."
Leaving the pair behind Wheeljack wondered what he was getting himself into. Treating the gravely injured Prime was going to be difficult enough without help and with the Decepticon army literally a stone's throw away, but now he had a human to contend with as well.