“Michiru? There’s nobody else who would call at this time. I was sleeping! Right now? Iwake Beach will still be there tomorrow and the day after. It’s an inconvenience. … Just wait, I’ll be there soon.”
You know what sucks? Being a complete and utter failure. What’s worse is knowing it, admitting it, and then someone telling you you’re not a complete and utter failure. Because it takes a really long time to accept your mistakes. It takes even more time to forgive yourself. So when you’ve tormented yourself for days and nights and weeks and months and years and then you finally get a peaceful nights rest, a day without wanting to hide in shame, it’s a touch of freedom. A release. Then someone comes along and says that all that suffering, all those nightmares, were for nothing.
And you know they’re lying.
Because these things don’t linger without a reason. This isn’t a misunderstanding. This is a learning experience. Don’t tell me I’ve been learning off of nothing because then I’ll have actually not learned at all.
And you’d still be lying.
Don’t get me wrong, I might linger on these things longer than others, but I think that’s because they forget where I come from. Where I’ve been. What I’ve done.
And I’m not talking about just “being Hot Rod” or the time during the war or the things that gave me my reputation that haunts me everywhere I go. Yes, I am the Hot Rod that royally fucked up his first mission as a leader and got his whole team killed. I am the Hot Rod that broke into the prison on Styx and broke out someone I thought was my friend who promptly betrayed me. Yes, I am the Hot Rod who never got along with Grimlock and the rest of his team. I am the Hot Rod who stayed behind on Earth to look for Sunstreaker when no one else would (and I will never not be angry about that, trust me).
I am also the Hot Rod that told off a Prime when he sat in a corner while his soldiers were being held captive. I am also the reason Ironhide died while trying to do something good for once. I suggested we put our stupid differences aside when we were on Earth and work together to get away from humanity and the things they had done to us so far. I also made the mistake of working with Swindle. I stole Ultra Magnus’ ship, still one of my finer moments to be honest, even if I was running from myself more than my allies, and chased after the Matrix that everyone seemed pretty okay with leaving in Starscream’s hands.
I was the Hot Rod that carried that damn Matrix. Although, I guess I shouldn’t be too angry about people not knowing about that. I’ve haven’t told many people the details about that weird trip with Wheelie and those I did tell I definitely didn’t give them the whole story.
I tell people I never want to be called Hot Rod again, but honestly? I kind of miss it. Yes, Hot Rod was reckless and egotistical (more so than some would argue I still am) and yes he made way more mistakes than I do now, as Rodimus. Hot Rod was also the one that looked back on those mistakes and learned and grew and changed. Rodimus hasn’t changed very much.
But let’s get really real now.
Hot Rod was the one the pulled the trigger back in Nyon.
That is what people forget. That is the line that everyone seems to forget for me. To them, my story starts with a vague retelling of me shooting at Orion Pax’ team to me being in the academy to everything else that followed.
Let’s all just forget the thousands of lives I took with the push of a button. I don’t blame them. I don’t, but I do. It’s an ugly side of me. It’s literally the worst thing I’ve ever done and, let’s be real, I’ve done a lot of awful things since then. I’ve made more bad choices than I can ever keep track of, but that… Nyon wasn’t a bad choice. It was the right choice. Right for what was necessary at the time.
It is the reason I might have more flowers growing around my pedestal back on Censere’s planet than any other Autobot out there. I don’t know for sure, I didn’t go look. I couldn’t. But Optimus never blew up an entire city, that much is for sure. It would have eaten him alive and I’m not just saying that to make myself sound better or more badass. It’s the truth. He wouldn’t have been able to pull that trigger.
I did. I did and that’s where I come from. That moment is what made me Hot Rod and that Hot Rod is who made me Rodimus. Now Rodimus is this weird ambiguity of a bot who knows where he comes from when the rest of the world has forgotten who he was.
Now I’ve forgotten a lot about myself over the years. I’ve forgotten because everyone else ignored it. Going to Censere’s made me remember. The idea of just how wide my blue field expanded out to the horizon made me remember. Megatron, of all forsaken bots in this damn universe, Megatron made me remember. Working with him, talking with him, watching him made me remember the streets I came from. Made me remember the streets I burned because he burned his streets too. Because he and I are much more alike than I would ever admit to anyone out loud.
Hot Rod was the bot that destroyed the city he was born in. He is the bot that has always believed in Primus and the All Spark and Vector Sigma (before I saw it in person) and never pushed it on others. He is the bot that grew up in a city of religion where temples were abandoned and life was anything but easy. He was a bot that gave his all to help the homeless. Who helped anyone he could because he had to have a reason for living. Who became a leader before he became an Autobot. Who was personally approached by Megatron to join the Decepticons before Orion Pax had even heard the name Hot Rod. Because I was out in the world making stuff happen. Seeing things as they really were.
I wasn’t hiding under a rock or denying things to make it easier for myself.
I’ve been around the block more than once. I’ve been around a hell of a lot longer than anyone ever wants to admit. I might not be as old as Ratchet or Rung, but I’m not young. I know I’ve fumbled. I know I’ve messed things up more than once. More than normal and for awhile I was listening to everyone. I listened to their lies. They told me it wasn’t my fault. That it couldn’t have been helped and when I believed them I forgot who I was.
Hot Rod never listened to anyone. He changed. Rodimus might have listened too much. I need to stop listening. I need to start learning again.
My Coded Files character analysis bit me again! Always with my favorite Hot Rod.