Translation: Farewell Forever. This is a little something for the best Autobot that didn't get the send off he rightfully deserved... Here's to you, big guy. I wanted to express myself over one of the most traumatising deaths I'd ever seen. Devestating, brutal, and barbaric. A death that shouldn't have happened on my account, but understandable. The image still upsets me. I'm haunted by nightmares, and I get choked up whenever I think about that final scene we last see of him. I don't know what anyone thinks, but I did it because I wanted to do something to get it out of my head. I'm not very good when it comes to emotions, but I tried my best with this scene. Forgive me if it's crappy... ----------------- Emptiness. Cold, bitter emptiness filled my spark. All I could feel was the bittersweet air that surrounded me as the other Autobots, and humans stood all around me. Everywhere I looked I could see sorrow written all over their faces and even sense their confusion over the losses we have suffered over the past five years since our arrival on Earth. Deep down, I knew that each and every one of them was hurting. How could I not when I have gotten to know them without telling them how much we have become as close as a family? I knew that they were battling with inner demons over these losses we have suffered, but I am eternally grateful for my long experience at hiding my emotions. Long I have built a wall around my spark to prevent myself from going through the pain of loss. However, I cannot admit to them that I too was close to breaking point, but chose to keep myself as silent as possible. I glanced down at the humans who stood beside my feet, their heads bowed and their mouths whispering prayers to their human God. Sam, Carly and Bumblebee were standing a short distance away behind Colonel Lennox and Epps. Bumblebee was doing everything he could to console the two, but even I could tell that he was leaking tears at the corners of his optics. But it was Lennox that had my most attention. Like the other humans, he too had his head bowed, and my sensors told me that he was crying as well. We were all finding ways to deal with our grief, and I found it hard to understand how humans can express themselves so strangely. While I was used to their ways, there were times when they often baffled me to the point where I didn’t understand until they explained to me what was going on. My gaze shifted to the several tombstones that lay before us. Each tombstone is encrypted with names of those who had passed away during the Great War on Earth. And each name is a reminder to us of who those people once were and why they fought. Those tiny words in English and Cybertronian were carefully engraved with incredible delicacy that would put even an artist to shame. I can hear the words of the priest as he pays his respects to our dearly departed, saying words that somehow do not mean anything to me. Deep down, I believed myself to be the most affected by their deaths. Each mech and femme who had died had been close to me, but none more so than that of my closest friend – Ironhide. I hadn’t known about his death until Ratchet told me as I arrived on the scene to find our base dismantled, but I can recall Ironhide’s cries through the com-link that rattled me to the core. “Wha... what are you doing?” Sentinel’s response? “Reliving you of your duty.” Ironhide had been brutally slain by Sentinel Prime, shot in the back by his cosmic rust gun. Even as I had come across Ratchet, who was scanning the remains of Ironhide’s body, I had felt nothing but shock and loss. There had been nothing left of my proudest warrior and dearest friend, there had been nothing left except his head. The rest of his remains had been eaten away by the rust. Ratchet had told me that Ironhide’s death had been quick and painful. And on that day, as I had knelt by what was left of Ironhide’s body, I swore upon my life that I would avenge my old friend and make Sentinel pay for what he did. And I did... Out of rage and pure emotion, I took the life of Sentinel Prime, staining my hands with his own energon. I hadn’t wanted to do it, but I couldn’t let Sentinel hurt anymore lives. I was tired of fighting, I was tired of watching innocent lives perish before my optics. “All I ever wanted was the survival of our race. You must see... why I had to betray you.” “You did not betray me. You betrayed yourself.” And then he was gone, just like how Ironhide was ripped away from our lives. Sentinel Prime... my father-figure, mentor, and friend. He was that someone who had made me what I am today. And as I send my message to the universe, one final thought had entered my processor: Was it well and truly over? Someone taps me on the shoulder, pulling me from out of my train of thoughts. I look to my right and find Ratchet looking at me with great concern in his optics. It took me a few astroseconds to realise that nearly everyone was gone, the funeral was over, and that Ratchet was trying to get me to follow the others back to what remained of our base. I should’ve known better. Ratchet was hurting as much as I was. He and Ironhide were like brothers, perhaps even closer than brothers. My other oldest friend tries to pull me away again from the graveyard, gently taking my arm in his hand. But I stand firm, my insides telling me that I needed to do this. “May I have a moment, Ratchet, please?” I requested. The lime green mech seemed to hesitate at my words, but he nods and moves away, joining what was left of my Autobot army. Sideswipe spoke to Ratchet as he reached them, and then glance in my direction before nodding. I knew they were communicating over the private com-link, but I didn’t even want to hear anything. I walk up to the tombstone that holds the one mech’s name that I will never forget. Ironhide. I kneel before the tombstone and gently place a hand upon it, bowing my head as I finally reach my breaking point. Tears well up in my optics, my shoulders shake. No longer able to control myself, I then slam a fist into the dirt beside the grave, raise my head to the heavens above and crying out the one word that forever plagues my processor: Why? And as I bellow in rage, I know that Primus cannot provide me the answer that I want. Deep down, I knew there would be sacrifices in this war. I just never thought that Ironhide would be the one to perish. He had been there since the day I had become Prime after Sentinel had been missing he made my burdens easier to bear. He was always there when I needed something to take my processor off of things. He was the one who always suggested a good sparring helped whenever I was pissed about something. My tears fall faster and onto the tombstone where Ironhide’s remains have been buried. I ignore them. Without Ironhide, I felt like I am nothing. If only I could make up for the mistake I had committed. If only I could turn back time and prevent it from happening. If only I hadn’t brought Sentinel back online. If only I hadn’t been so desperate of ending the war. There’s so much I could’ve done. Something touches my shoulder. I look up, but there is nothing there. No one is near me, and my sensors hadn’t even detected someone’s presence. My head bows again, grief-stricken. I get the same touch again. I glance in the direction where I had been touched and my jaw drops in shock. There, standing right before me was Ironhide. At first I thought it was him, but when I looked closely I could see right through him and I realised that it was just a figment of my imagination. Obviously my grief has made me see things that I didn’t want to see. And as I stand up to look into the face of my old friend, my spark somehow tells me that it really was him standing right before me. “Hide?” I ask, my voice choking at the sight of him. “Yes, Optimus. It’s me,” the ghost of Ironhide says, but his mouth plate doesn’t move. The voice was coming from inside my cranium. I try to reach out to him, but something tells me that I shouldn’t, and I stopped. “Why?” I ask again. “Why did it have to be you?” “You know the reason, Optimus,” Ironhide responds, his tone sad. “Sacrifices have to be made for the greater good.” “Why are you here?” “Primus granted me passage to come and say goodbye to you before I truly leave this world. Only when you give me peace can I go.” I didn’t want to give Ironhide peace. I needed him too much to fully accept that he was well and truly gone. My spark reached out to me, telling me that I had to for the sake of Ironhide. It would be cruel and selfish of me to not let Ironhide go and be with those that he loved. But how can I? How would I be able to move on without him? Ironhide seemed to chuckle as if he sensed my thoughts. “I understand how you feel, Optimus.” He glanced in the direction of the others, unblinking, his body unmoving. “You don’t need me anymore, and I can see for myself that Sideswipe will make an excellent second in command for you. He was my best student, and perhaps my greatest achievement yet.” He looked at me again. “I know Ratchet is taking it as hard as you, but he has already accepted that I am gone. Now, it’s your turn.” “But... I don’t know how!” I cried at the top of my vocal processor, not caring if I drew attention to myself. “The Autobots still need you, Hide... I need you!” He bowed his head slightly and then his gruff gaze settled upon me once more. “You know just as well as I do that there is nothing left for me. In order for you to move on, you just have to accept. Remember what I taught you, Optimus? That no matter what happens, everything you fought for is bound to leave at some point?” I feel my tears prickling my optics. “But...” I tried to say. “Let it go, Optimus.” Let go? Those two words sounded so easy to say, but for me, it was like asking me to accept that I’m forever the last descendent of the Dynasty of Primes all over again. I didn’t want to be alone, but I also knew that I would only make things harder for my Autobots if I continued to wallow like this. Despite my processor battling my spark to choose what I should do, I knew that the answer lay right in front of me. I bow my head again as I take a deep breath, my spark finally winning over. “Go, my old friend,” I whisper. “Go and be with the ones you love. You may be gone from this world, but you will forever be in my spark.” Ironhide seemed to give off a ghost of a smirk. It was faint, but it was gone before I could properly consider it was there in the first place. “Thank you,” he whispers, and he slowly vanishes away, leaving me alone once again. I raise my head up high, the tears drying as I send my final prayers to the heavens, wishing Ironhide a safe journey to the Allspark. And as I walk back towards my waiting Autobots, a final thought enters my processor: Be at peace, Ironhide, wherever you are.