Elita-One was just sitting down in the commissary, enjoying a cube of one of the multitudes of new flavors they now had available, when Toriel walked in.
“Good morning, Toriel,” she nodded politely with a smile and gestured to the human (and monster) sized chairs and table sitting on the edge of her mech sized table. “Would you like some company?”
The offer was met with a smile. “If you do not mind some company!”
“Of course not! And I have been meaning to get to know you. You are the Queen of the monsters, yes?”
“I am, though I admit I have been somewhat negligent of my position as of late. What with the negotiations with humans complete, there has been little need for me to do any leading, and, well, I have always wanted to be a teacher…”
Elita grinned. “I, as bondmate of the Prime and with our people still at war... Well, I was a sort of teacher, before the war,” the pink femme offered, optics going slightly dim as she pulled up old memory files. “I worked as an archivist in a library. As the public education systems were failing and lower class mecha weren’t able or allowed to attend, many went to libraries to learn and attempt to better themselves, as much as they could in the old caste system. I hear through the gossip mill that you and your fellow monsters are attempting to set up a school. Will you teach there?”
“Yes, hopefully! If we can successfully set it up. There are very few monster children in the kingdom at the moment, and we may have to rely on human attendance for enough funding… Unfortunately, humans still have much of the same fear of monsters as they did before the war.”
The pink femme nodded. “Yes, fear is a powerful and dangerous thing... I do have confidence that you and your monsters will be able to mitigate much of it, though. That young human you have with you, Frisk, seems to be doing a wonderful job as ambassador, and every monster I’ve met is kind and respectful. Perhaps with the exception of Gaster, but... he is unique. And still, he seems to want peace, so I do not believe he will do anything to endanger anyone.”
“Well, yes, even Gaster, in his own way, does what he can to keep the peace, but…” Toriel glanced away. “It was not the monsters who started the war. Humans… Frisk is a special case, but humans can be unfortunately stubborn.”
Laughing, Elita-One took a drink of her energon before replying. “Yes, they can be. The humans who keep us company have taught us that much, as well. Spike Witwicky and his father, Sparkplug... often get themselves into trouble by being stubborn.”
Toriel laughed. “Yes, that is a unique talent of humans. Even Frisk got themselves into a fair bit of trouble! Do you know, when I caught up to them in the Underground, they were about to fight Asgore?”
“Oh, my,” the femme gasped. “That does not sound... pleasant. Asgore... What little I’ve seen of him, he seems gentle, but one does not remain the leader of a race at war without...” Elita trailed off, thinking about her own partner, and how he’d changed after the start of the war.
Toriel frowned, her muzzle scrunching up angrily. “It was the second war that changed him, though one can hardly call a decree of slaughtering scared, innocent children a war.”
“Killing children? Why... Why do people constantly turn to such...” the femme sighed. “Shockwave... I don’t know that you know who he is. He is Megatron’s Chief Scientist, still stationed on Cybertron. He... after the war was well under way, and most of Cybertron was already destroyed... He decided that a good way to get more troops for the Decepticons would be to upgrade sparklings... to force their undeveloped sparks into a mech frame and mech processor and give them coding... They were made into...” Elita hesitated, obviously stopping herself from saying “monsters”. “Into…”
“Into beasts,” Toriel finished.
Elita nodded. “Forgive my slip. Yes, they were beings of complete darkness, twisted beyond reason. Literally. They were programmed to kill anything with this-” she tapped her Autobrand “- and kill they did, in the most heinous ways. They had no morals, no doubts, no knowledge of anything but slaughter.”
“... That sounds unfortunately familiar. The humans gave us no mercy.”
“Yes. Many forgot the meaning of ‘mercy’. Why, though, would Asgore kill children? It does not seem like him.”
Toriel sighed heavily, one hand rising to rub at her face. “No. You are right. Even as he did it, I have no doubt that he was full of sorrow. And-... He was not like that, at first. The first child to fall Underground… They were like a second child to us… but then, when they died and our son absorbed their Soul… Asriel was killed, simply for trying to return the child’s body to their original home. He only just managed to make it back to to the castle before-...” She cut herself off. “...And that is when Asgore declared that any human to fall must be killed, that their Souls could be used to break the Barrier. That is when I left him.”
Elita shook her head sadly. “War changes people. Optimus... had some hard times. He was a dock-worker before the Matrix chose him. It... is essentially a direct line to Primus. Optimus, seeing as how he was actually chosen by it and bonded to it, not chosen by the Senate and unbonded to the Matrix as were many so-called ‘Primes’ before him, is... it would be very hard to corrupt him. It would have been very hard to corrupt him before he took it as it was... But if that was the only way out of your prison, and the humans were the ones who bound you... I can understand. Even if it is terrible. Even if I do not agree. I can understand. War is terrible, and makes people do terrible things.”
Toriel scowled again. “No. There are so many better ways he could have done it. Take the soul of the first human to fall and use that to cross the Barrier and negotiate with the humans. Or, at the very least, take care of all the humans that fell Underground and only take their Souls when their death came naturally. There is no excuse for what he did.”
Elita nodded. “I am not excusing. Only understanding that desperation makes people do things they would not normally. I of all people know this. I have done... terrible things, in the name of fighting a war I never wanted to be part of, in the name of my people. It does not forgive things. I simply understand.”
Toriel just nodded slowly. “I suppose. I still have no inclination to forgive that pathetic whelp of a king any time soon, though.”
Elita hesitated. “I... Will not try to convince you. But I will tell you, the first time Optimus authorized an assassination... I did not speak to him for a decaorn - a week. I left Iacon... He... my absence caused him to... I could have made a difference, and I will leave it at that. Me being gone... Things... Some things could have been different.”
Toriel was still unconvinced. “But was Optimus sending an assassin to kill an innocent child? Someone who had already lost such faith in humanity that they would climb a cursed mountain and jump into a pit, without the intent of surviving the fall? Someone who was scared and lost an without love?”
Again, Elita hesitated. “It was authorization to assassinate a captured spy who had very important intelligence. Had Soundwave broken into that mech’s processors... Ricochet was a good mech, and a loyal Autobot, but there was no way to get him out, and everyone knew it. If the Decepticons had gotten the information he carried, the war would have been lost. It was a decision all of the intelligence division must make, that their lives are forfeit if need be, but for a time, I could not forgive Optimus for allowing the death of one of our own.”
Toriel nodded sadly. “... But… that is still a casualty of war… Asgore… He was killing children, Elita. Innocent children, so soon after our own had been taken from us.”
Nodding, Elita took another drink of energon. “War makes killers of us all. Again, Toriel, I do not presume to tell you what to forgive. I just understand desperation and choices made in desperation. They are often not the wisest decisions.”
“... That is true, yes… but he should have listened to me.”
The femme chuckled. “Indeed. The universe would be a better place if people just listened to their bondeds,” she said with a wink, attempting to lighten the mood. Things had taken a dark turn into the past, and she was, nowadays, trying to live in the present.
Toriel laughed. “That is true! Do you know Alphys and Undyne? Undyne has, on more than one occasion, burned down her house because she pressured Alphys to make her a stove on which you could not turn down the temperature! And poor Alphys…” She chuckled more. “Alphys tried, every time, to tell Undyne what would happen, but…”
Elita-One laughed out loud. “That sounds entertaining! Though, why someone would want an implement to cook on which you could not adjust the temperature... Well, Undyne is unique.”
Grinning, Toriel nodded. “That she is. Though, once we get the school set up, she is determined to be the P.E. teacher… Something, I have little doubt, she will excel at!”
“Oh, indeed, knowing her.”
The Femme Commander of the Autobot Army and the Queen of the Monsters continued talking for hours, back and forth, sharing stories and tales of quaint domestic life and horror filled war alike.