Difficult to say how long he'd been running. Blurr was built for speed, but also endurance – he could run very fast for a very long time. Which was good as he was being chased – by what or who, he didn't know. Only that it was awful, horrifying, and his spark chilled in fear.
There – he found a little alcove to hide in. Where was he, anyway? All he saw were tall grey walls – a nondescript maze, both alien and terribly familiar. Had he been here before? He didn't think so. Yet it was familiar – like something from a dream. No, a nightmare. At the moment it didn't matter. Right now he would just rest his frame for the few kliks that he could, in a nook which his pursuer could not possibly follow.
Pain twinged his systems. That was mysterious and worrying, too, considering he wasn't injured.
As Blurr gasped down desperate intakes of air, managing to slowly assuage his overtaxed systems, a realization struck him: his earlier thought had been quite literal.
He didn't know how long he'd run.
Or from what.
Panic throttled his systems again and Blurr struggled to choke it down. Panic wouldn't help him – he had to figure out what happened. Memory glitches did not make him feel less like panicking, but he stomped it down to the chittering of an Earth-creature rather than an uncontrolled rush.
Facts, what were the facts? Blurr took a deep, calming intake, folding his arms over his chassis.
He was on the run – he couldn't remember why, but there was a multitude of possibilities. He was a spy, after all. But he did know something chased him, something that seemed right out of a sparkling's nightmare, with long claws and a pitiless red optic and calculating purpose. Who it was – or who it was associated with – he didn't know, but he knew that much. It rang true in his spark, even if his processors could not be trusted right now.
He was in some unknown location. Imposing grey walls rose far above his head, stood in his way, kept him from progressing. If he didn't know better, he'd say the walls shifted and moved and kept him going in circles.
What he could see of the skies told him he was on Cybertron. But that was impossible, wasn't it? He'd been on a long-term mission, far away from home...
Blurr felt sick. Doubtless that he'd be allowed this reprieve for long, but now –
What had he been doing before this? he wondered suddenly, with painful clarity. What had he been doing? How had he ended up here?
Again, he couldn't remember. He could vaguely access memories related to his mission on Earth, but they were jumbled. Confusing. And not even related to all this, not really – no, no, no, some internal voice persisted, it was related, there's important information there, vital information, but what was it? What was it? He was on Earth to –
A dreadfully loud thud fell near his hiding place. He'd been found.
With an embarrassing chirp of terror, Blurr dashed out of his hiding space and started running once more. Better that than have the walls pushed in on him. Being crushed wasn't how he intended to end up, no sir.
What did all of that matter, anyway? Right now, running was the only important thing, as long as he moved faster than his pursuer.
What was going on here?
It wasn't the first time Blurr wondered this, but now he began to doubt his sanity. Once, he considered that he was in a nightmare, and it only felt like he'd been here for a long, long time; soon he would wake up, perhaps be frightened for a while longer, but then it would slip away. Become less real. He was no stranger to nightmares, but at some point they had to end. He'd either wake himself up, or Longarm would, or something.
But what he experienced was startlingly vivid, though it seemed on repeat. He would run from the terror he could never quite glimpse – not completely, not really, and if he did it slipped from his mind as easily as the rest of his memories seemed to have done – run until he was exhausted, until he thought he surely would fall apart. And then he'd find some hideaway to crouch in, recover himself for a moment, and try so hard to remember where he was and how he got here and what he was running from. Or why such pain flashed through his frame when he was entirely uninjured – or why he couldn't ever relax in these spaces, because he was terrified the walls would close in on him.
He still had the awful feeling that he was going in circles.
He did call up memories – though they had to be dreams, because he had no context for these memories, none at all – but they were more terrifying than the loop he was stuck in... Blurr shivered.
There was no time to dwell on it. He was running again, and he had to keep going.
What he wouldn't give to hear Longarm Prime's voice again, even by long-distance datapacket. Longarm might not have any better clue about this than Blurr did, but his voice and his calm manner always soothed – especially when he was lightyears from home. Or frightened, even though he tried to show no such weakness.
Blurr gazed at his surroundings – a dim grey box. He'd backtracked and weaved deep enough into this endless maze to have shaken the thing following him for now, and now his systems cried for much needed rest.
If this was a dream, could he not call his superior into existence here? Could he not have the guilty pleasure of curling, exhausted, in his arms?
If this wasn't a dream, could he not rest and have such a comforting dream? He was sure his rest would be all the more efficient if he could.
Curious, how he only craved rest and escape, but felt no need for fuel. His tanks never complained once and his processors told him he functioned at optimum efficiency.
Blurr felt a curious sensation, like waking up. But he'd really fallen asleep, hadn't he? This dark room – he knew it. But he'd dreamed it, this couldn't be reality. No, he was dreaming again. The other reality (or the other nightmare) made no sense either, but this – this was so dreadful that he knew it must be fiction, somehow the result of his terror and exhaustion.
No dreams of Longarm Prime, it seemed. Had he really expected to be so fortunate? If he shuttered his optics, would he be able to call up the memory of his face, or his voice – maybe the touch of his hand – even in a nightmare?
No time to find out.
As always, he first realized he couldn't move. He couldn't even turn his head, but he could still struggle – he had wiggle room. And after a moment, he could feel the restraints, holding him down. With his spark plunged in cold terror, he couldn't think about that, about why he couldn't feel them at first.
And then the pain hit his systems, like being slapped by the hand of Primus.
What was this? Even in his dream he couldn't help wondering where he was. But all he could see was a dark ceiling before his optics began glitching. The pain was terrible, yet he couldn't make a noise. Panic vaulted his systems again – how had his vocalizer been turned off? Why couldn't he turn it back on?
Distantly, he heard pedefalls, and his limbs began to tremble with more than just the pain burning through his frame. His optics flickered back in and he tried turning his head again; he wanted to see – no. No, he didn't. He wanted to know, but he felt he'd regret it.
Suddenly he was certain that the presence he heard in the room was the same one that chased him in his dreams. Wait, no – no, it was the other way around.
He didn't know, didn't know, couldn't think through the pain. His vision was going out again, and he would have shouted if he could activate his vocalizer. He just wanted to see –
That voice. That voice. He knew that voice. He'd heard that voice on Earth, in secret transmissions, but how –
It changed. The thing changed. There was terrible laughter and it changed and – this was proof! Proof this was a dream. Now it talked to him with his Prime's voice. He felt like laughing in mad glee because this was proof! It wasn't real! Wasn't...
But the pain was real. And he still had no source for it. This monster (Decepticon, his mind whispered) could have, but his diagnostics all read clean. No dents, not even a scratch, no internal damage... so why was he in so much pain?
He was cold. Scared. Fading away again. He couldn't move anymore, but he fought fiercely, trying to online his vocalizer, his optics, anything – but it didn't work.
A cool calm fell over him, dragged down by heavy, soothing tendrils. Like the soothing touch of Longarm's hands. This was wrong, his mind screamed. But that part was shutting down. No, it was okay.
He'd heard Longarm's voice again.
He was running again.
He was so tired. He hurt so much.
But he couldn't stop running.
Going around in circles wore on him – and Blurr was now sure that he was. Physically. Mentally. His pain faded in and out, but it slowly improved as time wore on.
Not that he could rely on his chronometer. It reset every other orn.
How was this possible? His self-repair had not activated, so what was with the pain – and its fading away? How could he run for orns, rest for only a few cycles, and still function so well? He hadn't had energon since he was aware of being in this place, yet his tanks read full. 'What is going on?' was the question of every moment now.
Blurr shook his head. He had to keep running – that had also been a mantra of late. Had to keep going, even though he went nowhere. This was madness, wasn't it? Doing something over and over and expecting different results? He rounded a corner, and skidded to a stop. That was different.
A dead end.
He whipped around, moving backwards until he hit the wall. Jumping, Blurr looked at the walls on either side of him. Were they closer together? Was it just his imagination?
Blurr cursed. He should just run, before the walls closed in on him. Where would he go? – Not that it would matter, he'd gotten nowhere this entire time. No, it didn't matter, just as long as he wasn't in such a close space; he swore he could see the walls inching in.
Before he could take off, he heard the terrible progression of pedesteps shook the ground beneath him. Ice struck through his spark and he momentarily froze. An impossibly large figure blocked his exit path.
His pursuer. And suddenly – more like finally, his mind insisted – a precious new piece of information surfaced in his processor. A name.
There was that cruel laughter again. He'd heard it in his dreams – hadn't he? Or was this the dream? Impossible to say. But he was trapped. He couldn't avoid the claws reaching for him.
Blurr awoke. This time, he wasn't restrained. He wasn't in pain, his vocalizer was offlined – everything read normal. He bolted to his pedes, systems ready to flee, his sensors taking in his surroundings as quickly as manageable.
This wasn't the room from his nightmare. He must be awake now – truly awake. Had he really been dreaming the whole time?
Before he could even voice his question out loud, he heard a voice. Warm and familiar, yet it struck horror through him. “Blurr.” Blurr turned. Longarm. Imposter! that internal voice screamed. It was that thing, that thing in his Prime's guise.
Blurr brushed it away. That had been a dream, after all.
“Longarm, sir.” He saluted. Longarm waved the formality away, as he always did, a smile on his face that was as warm as his voice. Blurr smiled back, the panic in his spark dying. The nightmare faded away, with Longarm's presence. He knew it would. And yet... Blurr glanced around. “Where are we?”
Longarm's smile flickered, but widened. “A bunker. It's complicated,” he added, obviously reading the confusion on Blurr's faceplates. “A lot has happened. I promise I will explain, but for now...” He looked aside, looking vaguely uncomfortable. Blurr smiled, optics glowing; that subtle shyness he picked up from his commander always melted his spark and endeared Longarm to the spy.
“I missed you, too,” Blurr said softly. Longarm looked back at him, smiling again. Blurr had no problems going to him. He was too busy shrugging off the unease from his dream – dreams? – to read into the look his commander gave him, or notice how the circular crest on his helm gave off a soft glow.