She had asked him an impossible question, but he had given her the best answer:
I don’t blame ya for anythin’ that took place … he told her … I can’t answer yer question, but I can forgive ya.
His words could have brought tears to her eyes, had she not found the resolve to hold them back. After everything that had occurred—the details of which she could not recall, but only imagine—in some saintly manner, he was still willing to grant her forgiveness. She was truly touched, and wholeheartedly convinced she did not deserve such a friend, nor possibly even a second chance. She took notice of every time that he stepped before her, keeping himself ahead a little, trying to guard her, protect her from the wrath she’d potentially incur from the others. And with every movement, Arcee made a mental note to herself that she would pay Blackjack back for this. She would prove him absolutely right—she could, in fact, be trusted. And if she had to give up her life to show it, she would.
As they neared ever-closer to the Autobot meeting point, Arcee felt her body tense and her stomach turn. How was she going to handle this? They would surely be confrontational, perhaps even belligerent to start. As the others came into view, Arcee could see the expressions on their faces turn angry and sour when they realized who walked with Blackjack. She observed that he gripped his rifle a little tighter … this was not going to be easy, and she felt sorry for making Blackjack go through this on her behalf. Rattrap immediately jumped on his case, but Arcee had bigger things to worry about in Dinobot’s fiercely-glowing eye…
Traitor he spits, holding Sludge back. How did you get here, traitor? Where is Rodimus?
Rodimus … she had nearly forgotten. The truth was, she didn’t know his fate—for all she knew, he very well could have been responsible for her being left for dead. She opened her mouth to speak, but Dinobot was not finished with her.
You both should be thrown in the smelting pools for what you’ve done!
Arcee hung her head. What could she possibly say? She had no justification, and as such, could hardly bear to look the others in their eyes. Their anger and hatred was warranted, and she was stupid to hope for any sort of welcoming. Dinobot motioned toward her, hungry for a piece, but Rattrap held him back. She turned to Blackjack, pulling him aside.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. She briefly glanced back at the others, who stood in solidarity against her. It frightened her to realize that she could no longer remember what it felt like to be standing alongside them. I don’t want to cause a fight between you and them. You shouldn’t have to go through this—not for me, not after what I’ve done. She looked out at the barren horizon, wondering if she’d be able to make it back to civilization alone. It would certainly provide a fitting punishment.