Cybertron - Autobot city
He sits there, alone in his quarters. The ceremony is about to begin. He should be there by now... what is keeping him from going? Is it his emotions? How can he even explain, it he thinks to himself. He should be happy he thinks, and he is.. But he is also filled with sadness. Why? It has been only days since the return of Optimus Prime. He is happy he is alive and well. He knows that giving Optimus back the matrix and mantle of leadership was the right thing to do... right? So why does he feel this way? So... empty.
He was Hot Rod once upon a time, immature and rash. Then he was reformatted into Rodimus Prime as the wise Autobot Leader. Now... now he wonders who he is. What place do I have amongst the Autobots? He is neither Hot Rod nor Rodimus Prime no longer. He speaks quietly to himself...
" Who am I..."
" What a silly question Rodimus. What are you still doing here all by your lonesome? "
She stands at the doorway to his quarters. He must have been so deep into thought, he didn't notice the door slide open. Arcee. His friend and close Autobot companion. She has always been there for him he thinks. He is not surprised to see her now at this time. He had been so busy recently with the mantle of leadership, that their friendship had seemingly drifted further apart. He had a job to do... and so did she. What now? he thinks to himself. Is this the beginning of something new? What new events will life throw at him now...
" Arcee. What are you doing here? "
" Rodimus, I... The ceremony is about to start. I didn’t see you there. I just came by to look for you... what are you still doing here? "
" It's just Hot Rod now Arcee... There’s only one Prime now, and that Optimus."
" ...No. Hot Rod is gone. You've changed since then. No... you're Rodimus. And if it's any consolation, you'll always be Prime in my book."
They stare at one another for a brief second. What is this feeling that envelops his being? He is uncomfortable at the moment.. He’s got to say something, anything...
" Arcee...I..I was just gonna get going, I just had some errands to do that’s all..."
" Why do you always do that Rodimus? I mean, I let it slide when you had your leadership duties, but you don't have that burden any longer... You can't just ignore your feelings. Why do you always push me away? "
" What?!!.. I don't know what your talking about..."
" Fine Rodimus. Be that way... I'll see you at the ceremony. Dont trip and break a fender on your way there..."
As she turns to leave, he feels a tug at the center of his being. Don't let her walk out that door just yet he thinks to himself. You've always run away from your emotions. Don't do it now... say something to her. She has always been there for you.. if you’d just let her in...
"Arcee, wait...o.k., you're right. I don't handle my feelings very well, I know that. In fact, lately.. I've just been kinda in a "funk" or something, I don't know how to explain it. I'm happy for Optimus, you know? But as for myself, there’s a sense of emptiness. A lack of purpose i guess... I don't know. I guess I'm just afraid of what the future will bring..."
She walks back in, and stands before him, taking him by the hand.
" Oh Rodimus... I can't imagine how it feels, to have walked in your shoes. But if its one thing I’ve noticed about you, it's that somehow, someway.. you'll persevere. You always have. I just want you to know... whatever happens, I’m still here. There’s never a reason to feel emptiness..."
" Arcee.. I .."
More words may have been said.... had they not been interrupted. Neither of them had noticed their comrade walking into the doorway.
" Hey Rodimus, get yer no good fender outta bed and... oh... hey Arcee. What’s..what’s goin on here? "
Rodimus shakes his hands loose from Arcee's and responds to his best friend.
" Springer !!! What are you doing here? What is this, walk into my room day or something? "
" Heh, don't flatter yerself buddy. I just took it upon myself to drag yer lazy butt into the ceremony.. Ultra Magnus sent me. Everybody's just waiting on you..."
" They are? I mean...yeah, I was just headed out... Arcee and i were just talking..."
" Talking? About what? I mean, Rodimus, you and i are best friends... there’s nothing you couldn't tell me, right? "
" Of course bro !! It was nothing important, just small talk is all. Arcee came to get my lazy fender out as well, heh. C'mon, lets get outta here, we’re late... Arcee, you coming? "
" Yeah Rodimus. Ill catch up with you and Springer shortly, I promised i'd pick up Daniel before the ceremony... I’ll be right behind you guys..."
" Alright.. lets get going Springer. "
"Sure, lets get. Oh, and Arcee? If there's ever anything you got on your shoulders, I'm also available to chat with... I'll see ya around. "
As they leave, Arcee stands there briefly before leaving herself, thinking about what has just transpired. She heads towards the doorway, muttering below her breath...
" Yeah Rodimus... Nothing important..."
Springer and Rodimus head down the corridors towards the great hall, where the Cybertronian ceremony for the return of Optimus Prime is about to commence. Springer is the first to speak.
" So buddy. Wanna tell me what was going on back there? "
" I told ya Springer.. it was nothing really. Arcee was just wondering where I was, and then you walked in. That’s it."
" Really? Hmmph. Well, whatever man. I just got one question for ya..."
" yeah? what’s that? "
" ... Just what the heck do I call you nowadays ? Hot Rod or Rodimus Prime ? "
He looks up, and ponders a bit before responding. He thinks of Arcee, and her words echo in his mind. He understands.
" ... It's just Rodimus now. "
Cybertron - Autobot City Grand Hall
He can hear them beyond the curtain. They call his name. It feels good he thinks to himself, good to be back. To be amongst his friends and comrades once more. But then his thoughts turn elsewhere.
He has heard of what had happened to him. How he became Galvatron, a more powerful, yet more maddening version of his former self - Thanks in part to his predecessor, Rodimus Prime. This is his day he thinks to himself, but he just cant shake the feeling that something bad will happen. If ever the Decepticons were to strike, it would surely be this day. It is his nature... he cannot stop thinking about the welfare of his people. Thankfully, he has companions to shake him out of his thoughts from time to time...
" Earth to Prime, Earth to Prime.. anyone there? "
" Bumble Bee... we are on Cybertron, not Earth."
" Geez Optimus, I now that. Get a sense of humor. What’s buggin ya big guy? "
" The Decepticons... I think they may attack today. It's what Megatron would do. "
" Megatron? That guy is gone now Prime. The only guy you gotta worry about now is that loony, Galvatron."
" Bumble Bee... We must still be as ever vigilant as possible with the Decepticons. I want a perimeter set up around the hall. Where’s Magnus? I want him leading the duty..."
" Relax old timer, I'm right here. "
Ultra Magnus walks in to room. He walks over, and puts his hand on his long time friends shoulder. He speaks.
" Optimus. Don't worry. Its already been taken care of. Kup is leading the duty, along with Jazz, Blaster, Jetfire, Grimlock, and the other Dinobots. Today is your day. Enjoy it. Quit being the great leader we know you are, and just be,,, Optimus for a day, hmm? "
"... You left the Dinobots in charge of perimeter duty? "
" Prime !!! "
" O.k, O.k., Ha!! Alright Magnus, you win for today. Lets just get this over with. You know how I am with ceremonies. I'd have been fine without one, but you kept insisting..."
" I know. It seemed right. We always have one when a new Prime takes leadership. And now we'll have one for the return of a Prime. Besides, it wasn't all y idea. Bumble Bee here took on most of the planning..."
Bumble Bee looks up at Magnus, and then Prime. He speaks.
" Aw shucks guys, what, you trying to turn my paint red? I just got this yellow coating finished !!! "
Prime looks at two of his greatest friends, and can't help but remember those that couldn't be here to share his moment with him. He lifts his fist up into the air, and speaks once more.
" To old friends who couldn't be here with us... Prowl...Ironhide...Ratchet. If only they could've been here. So many lost in this ever raging war. When will it end Magnus? How many of our comrades will die before this is over? "
" Ah Optimus. Were soldiers. We all new the risk. Today.. today, we just want to celebrate having you back. Hold on, I have a surprise for ya. I called in a favor, and had a special invitation sent out for ya. Bumble Bee took care of the transportation here as well. Come Bumble Bee, i need you to run over to Jazz and give him a message for me...I've also gotta get going, gotta find Rodimus if we're ever going to get this thing started."
" You do? But I’m gonna miss the ceremony..."
" Bumble Bee !! Get out of here now..."
" But why? I just wanna...ooooooh, yeah, right. Gotcha Magnus. Leaving Now..."
Optimus Prime watches as his two friends leave him. He speaks...
" Where are you going? Where's Rodimus? Isn't the ceremony starting now?..."
Then he hears the voice. It has been a long time since he has heard it. He is surprised as he is happy to hear it once more...
" Optimus. I would think that Rodimus would be the last thing on your mind, or at least hope that I was at the top of your mind..."
" Elita One !!! what are you doing here? I mean, * ahem * What a surprise. I'm... I'm Glad you came. "
" Oh Optimus... I wouldn’t have missed this for the universe. I'm just so happy you're back. I was able to get away from my leadership duties. I left Chromia in charge and when I got the invitation from Magnus, I just..I had to..."
No other words need be spoken, as Optimus takes her into his arms. The embrace speaks for itself.
" It's good to see you to Ariel..."