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An Arms Reach a Million Miles Away

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Wayside rushed through the halls of the spire, dodging other couriers and passerby as she made her way to Ironhide’s office to deliver a report. The silver and white bot was nearly wiped out by an incoming load of supplies, and did all she could to dodge the over hanging boxes. On a better day she would’ve called for the hauler to watch out, but this was not a better day. Late coming in, missing two deliveries, losing one report. In short it was less than ideal, borderline disaster. Luckily Ironhide was a forgiving mech. Certainly more forgiving than Starscream at any rate.

Wayside scurried into her superior's office, placed the report on the desk, and scurried out, barely hearing the “Thank you,” as she hurried away. If the reports weren’t all delivered by the time her shift ended then she’d have to stay late, and staying late was not an option. Despite how many times she put herself in that position.

Two datapads to Rattrap, three to Windblade, one at every seat of the Council of Worlds meeting table, and one to be handed off to Starscream’s secretary. Not too hard. Not too many, and certainly less than some days.

At the end of her shift Wayside set down the last data pad on the table, checked her internal clock, then quickly allowed herself a fist pump of satisfaction. No staying late today. She punched out, said a goodbye to some co-workers, and headed out into the city. As soon as her pedes hit the pavement she transformed and took off into the sky. Only a second after that, however, she stopped short, nearly face planting as she hastily transformed back into the street. A couple of walkers dodged the crashing jet, telling her to watch where she was going and to be more careful. “Sorry,” she apologized quickly, climbing to her feet and rushing off, not even sparing a glance to those she inconvenienced.

Wayside rushed into the book store and immediately ran to the desk. “Hi, yes, order for Wayside,” she requested in the kindest voice she could muster.

The mech at the desk didn’t even say anything, probably catching that she was in a hurry. He went to the back and came back a moment later with a bag which he placed on the counter. “Uhhh,” he drawled, looking at the tag. “Paid?”

“Yes,” Wayside answered hastily, picking up the bag. “Thank you!” she called, rushing out before the worker could say anything more. Once outside Wayside leaped back into the air and headed off to her destination.

It was an apartment building, not too far away from the Spire, but far enough to be out of the more prosperous neighborhood. The landing at the door was much more graceful than her first landing before the book shop. She leaped up the steps and swiped her card, shoving the door open. Three flights of stairs and five stumbles later, Wayside arrived at her destination.

“Broad-Way!” she called almost as loud as she could before opening the door. “It’s Wayside, I’m coming in!”

“Ehh!?” a rough voice called from inside. Wayside just rolled her eyes, smiling as she shoved open the rusty door. “Geez, Broad, we really need to fix our door,” she mumbled, sub-spacing her key card and throwing the bag up on the nearest table. “Broad-Way!” she called, approaching the enormous Tankformer sitting on the couch by the window. “What?” the larger called, looking to her new guest.

“I said I need to fix our door!” Wayside called back, pronouncing her words a bit more carefully as she pulled the objects from her bag. “I’ll fix it next week.”

“Oh, okay,” Broad-Way agreed, going back to her program on the vid-screen.

“I brought you some games and stuff,” Wayside said, turning down the volume on the vid as she passed by.

“Oh, hi,” Broad-way greeted, her gaze following her unexpected guest around the room. “Who are you?”

“It’s me, Broad, it’s Wayside.”

“Oh, Wayside,” Broad-way nodded in understanding. “Uh, what are you doing here?”

“I live here, Broad,” she placed one of the new data  pads on the table. “I got you some new books. You wanna play a game?”

“A game?”

“Yeah, a game, a memory game.”

“Does Markshot know you’re here?”

“No…” Wayside paused. It was always the hardest part, and she knew she’d have to clear this up twenty times throughout the evening. Every time she’d just forget. Wayside kept reminding herself of that. She took a seat beside the much larger bot, placing a hand on her friend’s arm. “Markshot is dead, Broad, she’s been dead for six hundred years. Do you remember that?”

Broad-way seemed to space out for a moment. Wayside leaned over to look at her face, paying close attention. “Broad?” she questioned. “Are you okay, Broad? Do you remember that?”

“She died of Cybercrosis,” she finally said. “Six hundred years ago.”

“Yes, and she had a beautiful smelting, do you remember?”

“I know, I remember,” Broad bobbed her head. She looked down at her smaller companion. “You were there.”

Wayside perked, allowing herself to smile. “Yeah, that’s right.”

Broad-way seemed to pause. “Oh hi,” she greeted. “Who are you?”

Wayside’s smile fell. Carefully she drew in a vent, trying to calm herself. “I’m Wayside, Broad-way, Wayside.”

“Oh, Wayside, right, right.” Broad-way nodded as if she understood. “That’s nice.”

Wayside, after a second, shoved herself off the couch and made her way to the energon dispenser. “Have you had your energon today, Broad?”

The Tank didn’t answer. Wayside glanced over her shoulder. “Broad?”

“Huh?”

“Have you had your energon?”

“Oh,..I don’t know.”

“Well are you hungry?”

“I’m...what?”

“I said are you hungry!” Wayside called a little louder, filling a second cube. She placed them both on the table beside the dispenser before making her way back over to Broad-way and taking her by the hand. “Come on,” she urged. “Let’s go have some energon.”

Wayside helped steady her friend as the enormous bot climbed to her feet. As she did her body creaked and cracked. The process was slow and cumbersome. Broad-way’s body wasn’t what it used to be. Many of her joints liked to freeze and lock, or rub together so bad it hurt to move or walk. Wayside tried to get her to a doctor, lubricate her joints, clean her up, replace the broken parts of her frame, but Broad-way was a stubborn bot. Every time they began to make progress Broad-way forgot. She’d get mad, not knowing why she had to do these things, and not remembering that they hadn’t been done. She couldn't remember the pain she was in, and so did nothing about it.

Wayside winced, hearing her friend’s joints creak. “There we go,” she eased. “Nice and slow,” she put a hand on the back of Broad-way’s elbow and helped to steady her, keeping her hands in place as Broad slowly shuffled to the table beside the energon dispenser.  Carefully Wayside helped her friend down into the seat. Broad-way outweighed Wayside by twenty tons, but that never stopped the smaller jet from helping her friend to stand, or prevent her from toppling over. Broad-way was war class, one of the first tankformers born on their planet. She was old. Older than Wayside could count, older than the Decepticon and Autobot war, though, not by too much. Seven Million, that was the assumption. Originally she was from Caminus, along with Wayside, and her conjux, but they’d moved to Cybertron for new opportunities. Markershot moved them to Cybertron, in hopes of finding a cure for her condition. Wayside tagged along, not really having anyone else in her life, and searching for a job.

The job she found was as a courier, while Markershot found one in the energon distillery and Broad-way got one in construction before she couldn’t work any more.

Wayside eased Broad into the chair before glancing back at the couch and sighing. Frustrated Wayside pinched the rim of her brow. Broad had emptied her tanks. Great. She’d been sitting in her own mess for who knows how long. While Broad-way sipped at her cube Wayside cleaned up the mess and opened the window. After that she pulled a new game from her bag and set it on the table as she sat down. “Hey broad,” she called. “Do you wanna play a game?”

“A game?”

“Yeah, I got you a new one today. It’s based on one of the games from Earth. Do you remember earth?” before Markershot died, she, Broad-way, Wayside and Wayside’s amica endura Flashpoint visited Earth for half a cycle. It was a nice trip, one Wayside hoped would stay in Broad’s memory longer than it did.

“Eart? No, I...I don’t know what that is. Who-- who are you? Where’s Markershot?”

“Markershot is dead, Broad, she’s been dead for six hundred years, do you remember?”

Broad, after a moment of pause, nodded. “Oh.”

“And I’m Wayside. I’m your friend.”

“Are you?” Broad shrugged. “I guess I’ve gotta believe you.”

“Yeah, Broad, we’ve known eachother for five Million years.”

“Five Million? Well that’s a long time.”

“Yup, a real long time,” Wayside started setting up the game. “Now we’re gonna play a game, alright?”

Broad-way readjusted herself in the seat. “Oh alright,” she agreed, not really understanding. She watched as Wayside set everything up. She put down the board and distributed the letters. “We’re making words,” she explained. “You make words for points alright?”

“Alright.”

They started to play. Broad-way phased out a few times throughout and had a few moments where she didn’t know where she was. Wayside had to re-explain the rules about twenty times during play. It wasn’t a surprise, considering the game was new and Broad-way’s processor couldn’t hold new memories. Wayside was told by some processor specialist that keeping Broad’s mind active, though, could bypass the glitch and deterioration. Five Hundred years later and Broad-way had just gotten worse.

Everyday Wayside came, every night she stayed, every morning she was a little late for work because she had to make sure Broad was up, clean, and fueled before she left, otherwise the tank would get up and wander around confused and possibly hurt herself. On her breaks Wayside tended to rush home and check on Broad-way, clean up any messes, remind her to refuel, the works. It wasn’t uncommon for her to be late back from break. It happened so often that Ironhide had to give her a warning, but he had yet to give her another despite the continued tardiness on all accords.

After Broad-way lost all interest in the game Wayside took a good couple of hours to talk to her. It was another exercise, keep her talking, see what she recalled, see what she didn’t. Markershot was the most prominent memory in Broad-way’s data banks. She seemed to be the only person Broad-way could remember at all any more. It made sense, considering they once shared a spark.

“How was your day today?” was the way Wayside always started.

“What did you say?”

“I asked you how your day was.”

“Oh...that’s nice.”

“No, how was your day? What did you do?”

“What did I do?”

“Yeah. Did you take a nap? Did you watch the vid-screen?”

“Yeah, I watch the vid-screen sometimes. I like that show, the one about the city speakers.”

“They don’t have that one over here, Break, you watched that over a thousand years ago.”

“A thousand years ago? Oh, that’s a long time.”

“Yeah, it is...do you know who I am Broad-way?”

“Huh? No, I-I don’t know.”

“I’m Wayside, I’m your friend, we’ve known eachother for five million years.”

“Five Million years, that’s a long time.”

“Yeah, it is. Do you know where you are right now?”

“Well, I’m in our apartment.”

“That’s right, what planet are you on?”

“I’m on Caminus, of course.”

“No no. Do you remember? Do you remember seven hundred years ago when we moved here? Where are we, Broad?”

Broad-way just shook her head. “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about. Where are we, where’s Markershot?” Broad-way suddenly stood from her seat. “I-I have to find her, I-- she’s probably worried about me.”

Wayside flew from her seat and grabbed her friend by the arm. “No no,” she insisted, halting her friends soon to be rampage. “Come on, Broad, calm down, here-” she began to ease the much larger towards the couch. “Come on, sit down, Markershot will come find you.” Wayside lied. It was the only way now, the only way to get her to calm down. Sometimes Broad-way came back. The old Broad-way, the Broad-way who remembered. That was rare, though, nowadays. Sometimes the best way to handle her was lying, because seconds later she wouldn’t even remember what she was upset about. “She asked you stay here for now.”

Broad-way spaced out for a moment. “Alright.” she agreed, though not entirely sure what she was agreeing to.

Wayside vented a sigh of relief. After Broad was settled Wayside made her way over to the shelf and brought back a data-pad for Broad-way to read. It was the only thing she really did these days, besides watch something on the vid-screen. As Broad read Wayside grabbed her own datapad and began looking up apartments. Theirs was a bit small for Broad-way to fit comfortably in, but it was the only one they could afford at the moment. Wayside’s amica endura, Flashpoint, had often offered to move in with the two so she could help pay rent and they could get a bigger place where Broad-way had more room to move. Wayside never took the offer, not wanting Flashpoint to feel obligated to help her take care of Broad, or accidentally get hurt by the tank former. As a laser pointer Flashpoint was small, smaller than Wayside, who quite often accidentally suffered some abuse at Broad-way’s hands. The tankformer was big, when she panicked she lashed out, and when she lashed out Wayside sometimes ended up in the crossfire.

Wayside glanced over to Broad-way. She hadn’t turned the page in ages, Wayside wasn’t even sure if she was still reading. “Broad?” she asked, leaning over and putting a hand on her friends. “You okay there, Broad-way?”

Broad-way perked. “Huh?” she glanced to her friend. “What?”

“I asked if you were okay.”

“Oh yes. I’m fine.”

“You-- liking that book I gave you?”

“What book?” a second later she noticed the datapad in her hand. “Oh this, this...how did this get here?” the last question was to herself. She looked around the apartment for a moment. “Where am I?”

“You’re in your apartment, Broad, our apartment. Here,” Wayside took her friend’s hand and eased her off the couch. “Come on, let’s get you to bed, it’s getting late.”

Broad-way absently followed Wayside into the wash racks where she proceeded to let Wayside help her take a shower and brush her teeth. There were a few short moments in which Broad would lash out, but they were brief enough that Wayside got everything done and nobody got hurt. Any protests was short and just as soon forgotten.

Wayside read Broad a couple chapters from a datapad before putting on some music and turning out the light. With a soft smile she leaned down and gave Broad a kiss on the head and a quiet goodnight before vacating the room for her own.

 


 

Wayside awoke with a start, her vents hitched as her eyes popped open. It took a moment for her to process what woke her up. It was a sound, someone fiddling with something, someone...someone at the door?

No.

Someone trying to open it.

With a groan Wayside lifted herself from the berth and shuffled into the living room. Broad was up and at the door, struggling with the lock and knob.

“Broad,” Wayside called. “Broad what are you doing?”

Broad glanced at the new face, barely seeing Wayside in the dark. “I-I’m trying-- Why can’t I get out of here!? I-I don’t know- I don’t know where I am, I need to find Markershot, Markershot is looking for me, she’s worried.”

Wayside was too exhausted to deal with this subtly. With a groan she ran both of her hands down her face. “Broad-way! Markershot is dead . Please, please come go back to bed!” Wayside begged, taking a step forward, but being careful not to get too close.

Broad-way paused, turning her full attention to the smaller bot. “No,” she whispered in disbelief, as if trying to draw something from the depths of her mind. A second later her expression hardened, shooting a glare to Wayside. “No!” she practically roared, stepping away from the door. “No, you’re lying! Where am I!? Tell me where I am! I-I don’t--! Let me--” she paused, her eyes widening in a panic. “I-I don’t where--?”

Wayside took a hesitant step forward. “Broad?” she practically whispered, putting a hand up to almost touch.

A second later Broad-way was back in a rage. She back handed the much smaller bot, sending her to the ground. Wayside hit her head on the table as she went down, which came close to knocking her out. After a second of the world spinning Wayside managed to gather her head. When her vision cleared she found Broad wandering back to her berth room. “Thanks Primus,” the small jet  vented, before falling unconscious.

 


 

“She freaked out again, didn’t she?” Flashpoint inquired before Wayside could even sit down.

“She didn’t do it on purpose, you know that,” Wayside defended, not looking at her amica as she sat down across from her.

They were meeting at a small cafe during Wayside’s lunch break. It was something they’d been planning for weeks and Flashpoint had threatened leaving money in Wayside’s apartment if she flaked out again. It was likely Broad-way was just on the couch watching the vid-screen. The small chance that she wasn’t was always enough to stress Wayside out.

“I know,” Flashpoint said, fully understanding, and almost used to lunch breaks with a dented up friend. “But I also know you’ve got too much on your shoulders.”

“If you’re going to tell me to get her a nurse, I already told you I can handle this.”

“No, ya can’t. Have you looked in a mirror!? Prima, Butterfly, just look at’cha. This is the third time this month she’s done this, as it’s just gonna get worse. You need some help. She outweighs you by, what? A few tons? An’ she’s huge! An’ if you haven’t noticed,” Flashpoint closed one optic and punched her friend’s face between her fingers. “You’re kinda small.”

Wayside was tempted to smirk. “Like you’re one to talk.”

“True, but I ain’t the caregiver of an eighty ton former wrestler.”

“She wasn’t a wrestler, she was a boxer, get your facts right,” Wayside joked bluntly, taking a peek at the menu. “And that was only for a thousand years, give or take. Maybe not even.”

Flashpoint smirked. “Sorry, sometimes the history of you two and Markershot gets jumbled. Hey, isn’t the anniversary coming up?”

“Uh, yeah, I was planning on taking Broad back to Caminus for a day of remembrance. That is if she doesn’t lash out.”

“You know what would help you do that?”

“Don’t say a nur--”

“A nurse ,” Flashpoint restated, snapping a point at her friend. “An’ don’t you say you can’t afford it, I know you can.”

“I’m trying to afford rent right now for a new apartment, I’m not about to drop my savings on a caregiver.”

Flashpoint sighed. “What about a day time one? I know you don’t like her bein’ alone all day. Why not get someone to take care’a her during the day until you get off work? There,” Flashpoint slapped the table. “Solution, right there, boom. Not too expensive, don’t get in your way, does what you can’t. How can you possibly argue with that? Answer? You can’t,” she pointed at her friend. “You’re welcome,” her eyes smirked, having too much pride in her own decision for her own good. Though that was nothing to bat an optic at. Flashpoint was known to be intense. It matched her bright red paint and even brighter laser light. The quick talking and fast mind was probably what helped her become a sale’s person when she touched down on Cybertron. When they arrived at the gate she promised herself, and everyone around her, that she would own this town, and she was damn well close.

Wayside smiled at her friend’s enthusiasm. Her lip twisted with consideration. “I...guess that would work,” he gaze fell to the table with thought. “I really don’t like her being alone during the day.”

“Great, but what’s stopping you?”

“Budget.”

“Ask for an advance.”

Wayside puffed a laugh. “With my reputation? I’m lucky I still have a job, I’d be insane to ask for an advance.”

“Hey,” Flashpoint shrugged. “I hear Ironhide’s a pretty cool guy, I’m sure if you asked hard enough he’d be willing to give you an advance. Ya know, ‘cause he’s merciful an’ all that.”

Flashpoint, despite not working on the tower herself, often managed to get information through her friends on the inside. One particular friend being Wheeljack, who she often drank with and had a crush on that she’d never admit to.

Wayside smirked. “Oh yeah?” she questioned, cocking a brow. “Who’d you hear that from? Your friend Wheeljack ?”

Despite the purple rising in her cheeks Flashpoint put on an insulted stance. “I do have other friends you know.”

“Mhmmm.”

“Don’t look at me like that.”

“Don’t look at you like what?” Wayside joked innocently.

“That face, you’re giving me that face,” Flashpoint stood up on her chair and pointed a sharp finger at her friend. “I don’t like that, stop that.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 


 

After coming back from her break Wayside worked double time. She planned out her deliveries to make sure she hit Ironhide’s office last. If she was going to ask for an advance she wasn’t going to let it get in the way of any other work. That gave her a marginally better chance of having her request granted.

After delivering the last datapad before Ironhide’s Wayside took the much too long walk to her superiors office. On the way she planned out and re-thought everything she was going to say. Stuck in her mind Wayside managed to run into several wall edges, a support beam or two, and completely trip and fall on her face, nearly breaking the data pad in her hand. Quickly she hopped back on her feet, shook it off, and approached her boss’ office with confidence.

Before entering she took in a vent and huffed it out. Then she shoved through the door, walked to her superiors desk, placed the data pad down, and...turned around, heading back to the door.

The short walk back to the entrance felt like an eternity. Wayside could hear Flashpoint’s voice in her head. It was yelling at her “ Turn back you coward!

So she did. Right before the threshold Wayside stopped. With one quick move she turned back to face Ironhide, who was nose deep in a datapad.

She cleared her throat, not necessarily intending to grab his attention with that, but it did the job. Ironhide looked up from his work. As soon as he saw the bot he seemed taken aback. “What in the sam hell happened to you?” he asked. Then waving for her to come closer. “Come’er, have a seat,” he offered, gesturing the seat before his desk.

Wayside certainly wasn’t expecting that. A hand went to the marks on her face. She’d nearly forgotten they were there. Unlike a few bots in the building Wayside, despite being on the smaller side, wasn’t at all intimidated by the rough voiced red bot. The head of security was big, sure, but not nearly as big as Broad-way, and his ability to not loom over bots smaller spoke volumes. Some may be intimidated by his stature, but to Wayside it was just another day at the office.

“You don’t usually stick around,” Ironhide commented. “Got somethin’ on yer processor?”

“I do,” Wayside said, with as much confidence as she could muster. “I was wondering...if it would be possible for me to get an advance...on my pay…” she trailed off, not having anything else to say but leaving the request feeling incomplete.

Again Ironhide seemed taken aback. “An advance?” it wasn’t what he was expecting. After a moment of consideration his eyes narrowed. “There ain’t someone else out there askin’ for this is there?” he asked carefully, his calm suddenly turning to something more fight ready. It wasn’t directed at Wayside, however, and she understood what he was getting at. “‘Cause if there is, you can bet I’ll take care of ‘em,”

Wayside quickly put her hands up. “Oh no no!” she insisted hastily, before Ironhide went on a rampage. “You’re...I know what this looks like, and I can promise, it’s not what you think,” she assured, letting her hands fall back into her lap. ‘It’s...It’s complicated, I can’t quite,” her hand went to her face. “This-- this was an accident.”

Ironhide eased back, scowl still set on his face. “That story sounds mighty familiar. An’ don’t think it’s the first time I’ve noticed, you’ve been comin’ in dented and bruised before.”

“I have, I know I have, and I know what it must look like to you but--” Wayside didn’t want to tell him about Broad-way. She didn’t want to tell anyone about Broad-way, especially someone like Ironhide. The head of Security was her boss, not her friend. Though it started to look as though explaining the situation was becoming more and more necessary the more wary Ironhide became.

“I don’t even have a conjux,” Wayside blurted out, though not entirely on purpose. Mentally she slapped herself. “And my Amica and I don’t live together,” she was trying to be as vague as possible, that was the goal. “But I have another friend, a roommate. She’s kinda…” what even was it? Wayside trailed off looking for a good word that didn’t give too much away. “Out of sorts. Sometimes she panics, and,” she gestured her bruised face. “That happens. It’s not her fault, though, she can’t help it. I need tha advance so I can get--” Nurse didn’t feel like the right word, but that was exactly what she’d be getting. “Someone,” she landed on. “To spend time with her during the day.”

“Like an aide?”

Aide , now that was a good word. A better word. A less dependent failure word.

“Yeah,” Wayside agreed. “Like an aide. She...she can’t really take care of herself.”

See? Now that wasn’t too hard. Just vague enough, not giving too much away to her superior-not-a-friend.

“What kinda problem does she have?”

Wayside wasn’t anticipating questions. She stiffened, not wanting to answer. Luckily Ironhide eased back. “Unless you don’t wanna share,” he said. “I understand. Not a ton’a my business,” he sighed. “you think this aide’a yours’ll get you here on time?”

Wayside put on a sheepish smile. “heh, yeah it should...Help with that,” she coughed after her voice ran down. “Uhm, in any case...Is that a maybe?”

“It's a yes,”

Wayside couldn't hold in the fist pump.

“On one condition. You get here on time, an’ you don't lose any more data pads,” he leaned back. “I would ask you quit tripping over everything, but I think that's beyond your control.”

“Uh, yeah, bad stabilizer functions,” then she smiled. “I'll be here,” she agreed. “On time...From now on,” her whole body seemed to ease. “Thank you Iron-- I mean, sir. You have no idea how much this means to me.”

Ironhide smiled. “Ironhide is fine, and it’s no problem. I hope your friend gets better.”

Wayside’s good mood seemed to falter. “Yeah,” she agreed. “Me too.”

 


 

Apparently finding and hiring an aide to work in someone’s home was a lot more of a hassle than Wayside expected. It didn’t help that Flashpoint was trying to sell her on nearly every one they came across, which wasn’t many.

“Oo, what about her. Former Decepticon field medic, you know what that means,” Flashpoint said, elbowing her amica in the arm. “Tough, probably has some experience with big bots, but can heal a wound with some stickers and a toothpick quicker than you can say Primus on a Unicycle.”

“I don’t know,” Wayside said warily. “What if he’s too tough? I mean, this thing Broad has...it’s not like it’s common, you can’t just give her some tough love and she’ll behave, two seconds after she meets the aide she’ll be asking her-- him who he is. I...I don’t think a ‘tough’ bot is quite right, lets keep--”

Flashpoint interrupted, putting her hand over the datapad and stopping her friend from scrolling. “Wayside,” she started in a soft tone. Wayside turned to look at her. “You’ve found a problem with every single one’a these bots. One excuse after the next. Next you’ll be tellin’ me that we shouldn’t get one ‘cause they’re all ‘he’s.’ You’re resistin’ with needs to be done.”

Wayside pulled her optics away. “She’s...Not a lot of people know about her, about this. Do you have any idea what I’d have to explain?”

“Yeah, I do, Butterfly, and I’m tellin’ ya, any one’a these bots can handle taking care’a her. Ya just gotta give ‘em the chance.”

“What--” Wayside cut herself off, all of the possibilities running through her head. “What if the Aide gets hurt? You know how she gets, what if-- What if one of these strangers gets hurt, and something bad happens to Broad? Bots like her, bots with her ‘condition’ are just...they’re just out of their processor to the rest of the world. I don’t want that for her.”

“It won't happen.”

Wayside seemed surprised by her friends immediate and confident reply. “but--”

“Noooo no no,” Flashpoint put a finger to her fiends lip. “you listen to me. You worry too much,” she removed her hand. “and I can understand that.  But Wayside, you need this. She needs this,” she selected the former Decepticon on the data pad. “An’ he is the perfect applicant. Please please, Wayside, for all our sakes. You have ta do this,” she put a hand on Wayside's shoulder. “give it a week,” she proposed. “see how it feels. Then you can decide whether to do this full time or not.”

Broad came to sit beside them on the couch, her slump sending both into the air. The tank didn’t seem to notice them.

Wayside despite the talk, still seemed wary.  “What if...What if Broad doesn't like it?”

Flashpoint took it upon herself to shake her friend by the shoulders. “Wayside. She doesn't understand what's going on.”

“”But--”

Flashpoint leaped up. “here, want me to ask 'er? Let's just ask,” she climbed upon the massive tank and pulled herself up to Broad's head. The laser pointer waved a hand in the larger face. “hey!” She called. “hey Broad, how’d you feel 'bout an aide comin’ in?”

“Huh!?”

“An Aide! How’d you feel about an aide!!?”

“What's an aide?”

“A nice guy.”

“Oh…” she trailed off, falling back into her own mind. After a moment Flashpoint leaped off. “See?” She said, planting herself beside Wayside again. “no problem.”

Wayside still seemed wary. She glanced between Flashpoint and the datapad. “Okay,” she sighed, reluctantly. “One week. I’ll give it one week.”

Flashpoint pat her on the shoulder. “That’a girl.”

Despite still being somewhat hesitant Wayside forced herself to press the contact option. Flashpoint watched as she typed up an email and pressed send. The email was short and sweet, simply requesting a meeting, then a possible job offer. The candidate replied back almost immediately.

“Look at that, he’s almost as eager as you,” Wayside commented, opening the note. It was an acceptance email, proposing a time and place to meet as well as a day, which happened to be the next one. Wayside replied back and they went back and forth for about an hour. Flashpoint watched with interest, making sure her friend stuck with it. At one point she grabbed the data pad and put in a few additions, one including herself at the interview. Wayside was quick to snatch it back but didn’t delete the additions. Flashpoint would be a useful asset.

With a sigh Wayside sent the last of the emails. It was a confirmation and a thank you. The datapad fell with a clink into her lap as she let her head fall back on the couch.

“Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?” said Flashpoint, taking the datapad and putting in on the table. “How’s about you me and the tank go out tonight. Give ‘er a little fresh air, spend some time, celebrate Wayside taking a risk for once in her entire life.”

“You know I can’t afford that.”

“My treat.”

“Flash, I can’t--”

“Wayside, you need a break and you deserve a treat, and Broad hasn’t been out in ages. Just let me do something for once, I’ve got more than enough shanix and no one to spend it on. Let me do this, just this once.”

Wayside bit her lip. If there was one thing she hated it was feeling like a burden, which often meant she didn’t let others to do thing for her whether they were offering or not.

“Maybe tomorrow,” she proposed. “We can go out after we meet the aide. It’s my day off, we can go then.”

Flashpoint rolled her eyes, knowing it was nothing more than an excuse brought on by Wayside’s nasty habit of feeling like she’s more trouble than she is.

“Alright,” Flashpoint sighed. “If you insist. But I’m holding you to it, and if you don’t hold up I will physically drag you, and her, out of this apartment and to a restaraunt.”

Wayside lifted a brow. “You know, I would ask how, because you’re a foot tall, but I honestly believe you.”

Flashpoint merely nodded before leaping off the couch. “Well if we’re not going out, then I’m out. I have work in the morning...Maybe, we’ll see. In any case, see ya both tomorrow.” she gave a wave goodbye before shoving the heavy door open and taking her leave.

Not long after Wayside decided to put Broad-way to bed. The tank was getting antsy and was on the verge of lashing out before Wayside gave her a warm cube of energon and lead her to the berth. They sat up for a while, Wayside sitting beside the bed reading her old friend the book until she dozed off into recharge.

With a sigh Wayside shut it down. She spent a solid hour just sitting there, staring at her friend. Thinking on what they were, and what they should be versus what they are and what they’d become, and the road it took to get there. Broad used to be lively, intelligent, strong and fair. After Markershot died, though…

Things just took a turn for the worst. It went from the occasional loss of memory and lacking only short term, to eventually losing almost everything entirely.

Wayside’s hand clenched around the data pad as she thought about it. The years before the fall, the years when she remembered, before Markershot’s joints froze up and her optics failed, the years when Broad was soft and kind and lively, a gentle giant, so loving. Those were great years. Great days Wayside wouldn’t trade for all the universe. Watching the tank as she fell in love, and watching Markershot recipericating. Wayside smiled at the memory. It was the purest, most loving relationship she’d ever seen in all her years of living.

The smile fell.

As quickly as their lives had.

It started with little things. Leaving weapons and data pads where hey didn’t belong. Forgetting the day ten times a day. Asking the same question over and over and over again. Back then Broad still remembered faces, and she never forgot, not even the smallest detail, anything about Markershot. Broad-way remembered anniversaries, dates, events, everything surrounding her conjux was implanted in her mind, never to be tainted. When she planned something she remembered it, when Markershot gave her an answer she didn’t ask again. Wayside could only assume it had something to do with their bond. How could one forget the bot they shared a spark with?

Later, after Marker shot was diagnosed with Cybercrosis and her condition began to decline, Broad declined with her.

Broad was the only one there when Markershot died. With a smile on her face Markershot slipped away, hand tightly grasped in her conjux. After that Broad-way’s condition declined at a rapid pace. Soon she couldn’t even recognize her own friends. People she’d known for millions and millions of years. Anyone they left on Caminus was first to go. Then Flashpoint was erased from her memory banks. After that came Wayside, who occasionally still came up on Broad’s processor.

With a sigh Wayside stood, tucking her stool into the corner and placing the datapad back on the shelf. Reluctantly she left, closing the door behind her.