Actions

Work Header

Gone Honeymoonin'

Chapter Text

It was inevitable but it didn't make it any easier. The sulky pout, the shiny optics that threatened tears and the whining, oh Primus, the whining .

“You're leaving me again.”

Drift tried not to feel irritation at the fact that last time he left, that there wasn't exactly a whole lot of other options. It was like Rodimus didn't quite remember how it went down but whilst the captain had been living with guilt, he hadn't been living with the crushing loneliness and feelings of hopelessness that Drift had endured. He'd gotten an apology for all of that though, so he buried the small flicker of anger and instead found something less scathing.

“Roddy, I'm going to let that slip.”

“But… we're best friends forever!”

“Yes.” his blue optics flickered, “but that doesn't mean we can't do separate things.”

“What if I need you?”

“You could call? I mean we do have direct comm links and a comms array in the shuttle.”

“And a shuttle?! Really?! We could have gotten  you a ship!”

“A shuttle is fine for us, it's cosy, and it'll get us where we want to go.”

Rodimus pulled his feet off his desk and folded his arms with a scowl. He didn't want this, he'd spent so long without his friend by his side that he didn't want him to leave again. He scolded himself inwardly, don't be selfish , but that only deepened the scowl at himself.

Drift tried not to laugh at Rodimus’ sulk, he was sure that wouldn't go down well, and instead ex-vented in an effort to regulate his emotions. Obviously he was going to take it hard. At any hint of anyone leaving him, Rodimus took it as rejection, but it was perfectly fine for him to take off half way across the Universe because he wanted to.

“I'll miss you,” he shrugged where he was lounging in a chair opposite the desk, “I just want to spend some time with Ratty just…”

“I know what you'll be doing.”

And then suddenly Rodimus was grinning wryly and Drift tsked at him, but he returned the expression all the same.

“Not just that.”

“I know it was you who scratched my desk by the way.”

Rodimus prodded a finger down at it for effect and Drift couldn't help himself from laughing this time. Luckily, Rodimus had gotten over the mark on it when he'd found it mysteriously and perfectly buffed out.

“I suppose if it stops you defacing my furniture, you can go.”

“I wasn't in here asking for permission.”

“I don't give a frag, I'm giving you permission. So, whad'ya need? Apart from engex and goodies and ahem , plenty of solvent in the wash rack?”

“We've done this before on the bare minimum, we can manage with what's in the shuttle.”

“Driiift,” Rodimus rolled his optics, “it's supposed to be a vacation, do it properly, sheesh.”

“I'm going to regret saying this but, if it makes you happy, you put whatever you want in the shuttle for us.”

“As long as you make sure you pack your own incense and dress -”

“It's a cloak and it's very important to Spectra-”

“Yeah, yeah, look, you pack the boring, sorry, important parts and leave the fun things to me.”

Drift stood and eyed Rodimus seriously. Just as he was about to say something, there was a knock on the door and Thunderclash was edging nervously at the doorway.

“Oh, Rodimus, sorry, I wasn't aware you were in a meeting.”

“Nah it's fine, s'only Drift.”

Even through the jibe at him, something that maybe would fool anyone else, Drift could see that Rodimus was suddenly a little edgy and he tried to catch his friend's gaze, smirking. Rodimus wasn't biting and was instead suddenly very intensely interested in something in his desk drawer, his shoulders drawn up a little defensively.

“I just wanted to see if you were coming to Swerve's, after you've finished all of your important jobs.”

“Yeah, I'll see you down there later Thunders, alright?”

Even if he had noticed the slight impatience in his tone, Thunderclash didn't seem at all phased, giving Rodimus an even smile before pleasantly saying goodbye to them both. The door was barely closed before they started talking at once, Rodimus snapping his helm up and Drift leaning onto his desk.

“Don't you dare-”

“-I didn't think he was your type.”

Rodimus rose from his chair, managing to smile a little alongside his friend. He knew sooner or later Thunderclash would become a little braver, and whilst it wasn't anything serious by a long shot, just spending some time together, Drift would inevitably find out.

“I don't always go for handsome speedsters you know.”

“No, but they're definitely the best in a berth right?”

“Get outta my office,” Rodimus was grinning, “before I tell you you haven't got permission anymore.”

“And I always was terrible at listening to orders.”

They were stood facing each other only a few strides apart when they abruptly flung themselves at each other, embracing tightly. There wouldn't be any false anger or disappointment or hurt at this goodbye, only affection and love and understanding. Rodimus couldn't help himself from giving Drift a smooch on his finials and the white mech laughed in return, nuzzling into him. When Rodimus spoke down Drift's audials it was all fuzzy as they were so firmly entangled together.

“Seriously, you better call.”

“I will.”

“And I wanna hear all about it when you get back. Ugh, no, not all, just the stuff where it doesn't involve you and Ratchet canoodling.”

“You'll be okay right?”

“Yeah, I don't need you anyway,” Rodimus squeezed him, “ much.

“We won't be gone long, and if you need me-”

“Well I won't so don't even bother saying it.”

With one final squish, they pulled away, smiling at each other and Drift patted Rodimus’ shoulder. Wordlessly he left, and he really hoped that Rodimus would be okay without him, but then he thought back to Thunderclash and decided perhaps that would be a welcome distraction for him.

Chapter Text

“Ratty?”

Drift was busying himself at the navigation controls on their love shuttle, but he couldn't help but glance over at where Ratchet was sullenly looking out of the windshield not saying a word. He was worried that maybe his conjunx had changed his mind on eloping across the universe and that he wanted to go back to the Lost Light before their journey had even really begun.

Some of the crew had come to wave them off, the rest having said their goodbyes when they'd seen them around, and true to his nature Rodimus was aloof until it came to hug Drift goodbye. He'd also turned a stern glance to Ratchet and told him to promise bring his friend back at some point.

“Oh, and yourself of course, gotta have you rolling your optics and calling me childish, it wouldn't be the same otherwise!” Rodimus had grinned in his usual, charming way.

First Aid and Velocity had insisted until their vocalisers had to reboot that they would be fine, that if anything went really wrong, it wouldn't matter because Ratchet would be too far away to help and that by the time he'd gotten back, all he'd be able to do to help is clean spurted energon off the ceiling or piece dismembered frame parts back together. They'd both grinned and laughed, and whilst Ratchet rolled his optics, he knew deep down that they would be okay.

Obviously Minimus had been there, with a gentle reminder of the inter-galactic code, and that if they got into any trouble that they only had to mention his name and threaten to get in touch and definitely to not mention Megatron. As he'd said that, he patted his friend's elbow and the ex-Decepticon smiled a little.

Overall, apart from the sulky captain's pretense that he wasn't, everyone was happy that they were going to be relaxing and enjoying one another's company, because Ratchet definitely deserved a break and Drift deserved to be freed from being Rodimus’ babysitter for a while.

So now they were here alone, why did Ratchet seem so glum?

The medic turned his helm with a hm? and when he saw the concerned gaze he was receiving, he realised he had barely spoken.

“Sorry I've been quiet haven't I?”

“Yeah,” Drift smiled tentatively, “just wanted to make sure you were okay? Not changed your mind? Not worrying about First Aid and Velocity?”

“No, they'll be fine and if they're not, then they'll have to learn from it.”

Drift laughed, “ever the caring mentor.”

“They don't need me now, they're both capable.”

And when the silence stretched on again, Drift nudged him nervously, absently flicking his digits across the navigation screen.

“But?”

Ratchet ex-vented, running his hands all over his face before he went back to staring out of the window.

“Just… you sure you wanna do this kid? Just you and me? Last time you had no choice, I came to find you but now you do. I mean, we can go back any time.”

“Ratty, I suggested it, I thought it would be nice, but if you're not happy…”

Ratchet reached across to lay a hand on Drift's leg to console him and gave him a genuine smile.

“I'm with you, how could I be unhappy?”

Drift raised an optic ridge, “ugh soppy doesn't suit you, go back to being sullen.”

Ratchet laughed, his optics twinkling in delight and giving the leg he was holding a quick squeeze. Drift smiled at the sound and content that this is what they both wanted, turned his attention to the datapad he had tucked into the back of his seat that held a rough itinerary for their trip.

“So where first, captain?”

“Captain?” Drift smirked, “does that mean I get to throw tantrums when I don't get my own way?”

“Throw a tantrum at me, I dare you.”

The white mech was still smirking when he made sure the shuttle was on course for their first stop and happily piloting itself when he clambered out of his chair and sat himself heavily down on Ratchet's lap facing him.

“Oomph, give me a warning next time.”

“You're strong, you can take it.”

It didn't take long for Ratchet to catch onto Drift's intentions as he felt the heat between them and the wild look in his optics. He was sure that the Lost Light was still in their sights but his lover had obviously only one thing in mind and that was making the most of having their own space.

Gently, Drift nuzzled against Ratchet's neck, giving short and sweet kisses at the cables there. Ratchet let himself relax into the seat at the touch and he tilted his helm back to allow Drift further access, his optics dimming too. Drift's hands caressed Ratchet's upper arms slowly and he grumbled in gratitude at the touch, sometimes a more passive approach was needed and he was grateful. Right now he needed the love and affection, to be felt like he was desirable because the voice that had been echoing around his processor was saying the opposite. It was hard to believe that Drift wanted Ratchet all to himself, but when the white mech started to kiss him on the mouth passionately and without any haste he found it a little easier to believe. The hands travelling his upper frame, teasing but appreciative and the heat that was building as Drift wriggled himself against Ratchet were incredible. He had to speak, let him know how much he enjoyed this.

“Mm. When was the last time we did this?”

Drift's optics were also dim, “this? A few nights ago, why? Too long ago?”

Ratchet had to smile back at the cheeky grin he was being given and cupped the other's face in his hands delicately.

“I meant taking it slow. It's nice.”

“Oh?” Drift teasingly bucked his hips, “I thought you liked being thrown down onto a berth whilst I pinned you or telling me what to do.”

“I do, it's just…”

Ratchet felt embarrassed, dropping his hands and his gaze away. He wasn't sure if he wanted to divulge his fears and insecurities even though he trusted Drift explicitly. Mentally he shook himself, what was going on? He'd been away from the Lost Light for barely any time and yet here he was feeling lovesick and vulnerable now he wasn't aboard it, almost like now his responsibilities were gone, his guard had disappeared alongside it.

Drift brought him back with another roll of his hips, his cheeky expression still present as Ratchet looked back.

“Just?”

“I like feeling wanted.” He spoke quickly, “and appreciated.”

“Oh trust me, I appreciate this strong frame plenty.”

And then Drift was placing kisses down his neck, along one shoulder, down onto his chest and across to the other shoulder. Ratchet stifled a groan as the heat built between them, and almost subconsciously he opened his panel to allow Drift access. With a chuckle, he returned the favour and now Ratchet could feel the heat and the wetness of Drift's valve sliding against the length of his spike. This time he groaned louder, urging Drift to ride him like he wanted but he wasn't done making Ratchet know exactly how much he liked his frame. Drift nuzzled against him, pressing them snugly together, so he could speak huskily into Ratchet's audials.

“I appreciate all of you, I know you don't understand what I see in you but frag Ratchet, you do things to me that I don't understand, you made me want you like nothing else I've ever wanted,” he nudged him gently, “no, be shoosh, I mean that. Even… the syk didn't make me feel the way I do when I'm around you. We've barely left the Lost Light and I'm pouncing on you, so if that doesn't make you feel wanted and needed, nothing will.”

Effortlessly Drift lifted himself and sunk himself all the way down onto Ratchet's spike, making them both moan and arch with the pleasure. Ratchet was feeling almost dizzy he was that excited, the words Drift had spoken so sensually and intensely to him had left his fans kicking on rapidly. Even when he was making Drift submissively beg in front of him still didn't make him nearly as aroused as he was now.

Drift rode him gently and steadily, rolling his hips and pressing himself down hard before pulling nearly all of the way off of Ratchet's spike before plunging it back in. That in itself was exquisite but what made it even better was the whimpers and the words Drift was saying as he did it, holding onto Ratchet's sturdy shoulders.

“Oh Ratty,” he murmured, “I love watching you as I 'face you, you make me so hot .”

Ratchet grabbed onto his hips, grunting in return, helping Drift ease himself up and down.

“Well you're a hot little tease.”

“I’ll be whatever you want as long as you let me do this.”

Drift clenched around Ratchet and kissed him hard, grumbling as his charge steadily grew. His hands were roaming now, grabbing Ratchet's helm as they kissed with one hand and the other grabbing hard onto the back of his shoulder to give him the leverage to writhe against his lover. He didn't increase the pace, he wanted to feel every inch of Ratchet inside him and the medic was enjoying his thoroughness and the intensity.

With a loud moan, Drift pulled away from Ratchet and threw his helm back in esctasy.

“Ratty, oh frag , I love you,” he whimpered, “you are amazing .”

Ratchet buried his face against Drift's chest, groaning and mumbling as he gave it intermittent kisses. He knew it wouldn't be long until he overloaded but he wanted to make the most of this beautiful speedster interfacing with him whilst declaring his love and admiration, so he didn't dare online his optics. If he watched Drift's face contorted in bliss and so much as glanced at his sleek frame, it would be over way too quick.

Ratchet's hands had roamed up and onto the lower part of Drift's backstrut, teasing sensitive seams and it made him arch back into the touch. He loved the talented hands that had saved him and repaired him, especially when they were being used so tenderly and with those little touches, he was soon overloading, grinding himself against Ratchet and clenching his hands against his strong shoulders.

Ratchet grumbled as his spike was squeezed and teased, but he was determined to hang on just a little longer. Unfortunately Drift was adamant he was going to overload and hard. He upped the pace just a little, enough for Ratchet to grip slightly tighter onto Drift's hips.

“Come on Ratty,” Drift was whispering, “I want your gorgeous frame shaking underneath me, I want your beautiful hands holding me tight as you overload inside me.”

And then he kissed Ratchet hard, the glossa flicking over his own and the insistent valve grasping his spike was enough. Ratchet groaned loudly into their kiss, gripping Drift and pulling him all the way down hard onto his spike.

Exhausted, Drift flopped himself against Ratchet's chest, his fans still humming as they worked to cool him. Ratchet onlined his optics, smiling at where Drift had rested his helm onto his shoulder, his own optics closed in a sleepy contentment.

“M’glad it's on autopilot, need a nap.” He mumbled against his lover.

With an ex-vent, Ratchet brushed a soft kiss against Drift's finials, and the mech shuddered.

“S’not fair. Makes me tingly.”

And as if to prove a point, Ratchet's spike was given a small squeeze. He laughed soundlessly and instead stroked the pointed parts of Drift's helm, earning him a purr of satisfaction. When he felt Drift growing heavier, he easily picked him up, closing both of their panels and cradled him across his lap. Drift's helm tried to pull up, but he was too weary and instead wriggled himself closer to Ratchet, humming happily as he did.

With a glance over at the navigation controls to make sure the shuttle was still in control, he decided a quick snooze would be good for both of them.

Chapter Text

Ratchet woke when he felt a soft kiss brush his lips and when he onlined his optics, he found Drift leaning over him with a impish grin on his face.

“Wakey wakey, you needed that nap huh?”

He stretched his legs out and pulled himself forward in the chair, gazing out of the windshield as he woke himself up.

“We here? Wherever here is.”

“Nearly.”

“Why are you being so secretive?”

“Because this one is a surprise.”

Ratchet frowned a little, “a nice surprise?”

Drift flopped back down into the chair with his legs over the armrest and his optics twinkled.

“Would I ever give you a bad surprise?”

“You nearly gave me a spark attack when you hid under my desk. You painted my favourite wrench luminous pink. You made Swerve give me a cocktail called the 'Fiery Slam Dunk’, whatever that was-”

“Okay, okay, this is a nice one alright?”

Ratchet gave him a glance out of the corner of his optics but that only made Drift laugh. Pulling himself up so he could stretch as much as he could in the shuttle, he realised that he'd obviously needed the rest.

He finally felt the years of just pushing himself through and keeping himself busy at whatever cost to his own health, both physical and mental, had crashed over him like a wave. When he recharged now, especially with a warm frame against him even if it was a fidgety one, he did so for better but also longer. Even though he'd replaced his hands, some of his other joints were stiff at times, and when Drift offered to oil and massage then he was grateful.

The one thing he couldn't get used to was sitting still, not doing much. If Drift was meditating and had told Ratchet to just relax, he found he couldn't, waiting for his comms to chirp to life or some emergency come bashing at his habsuite door. Even worse the times when Drift was on duty and the medbay didn't need a spare pair of hands he was left aimless. He couldn't concentrate on anything for long, not without the reassurance of Drift's presence.

So often he had been flung into the chaos that now that there wasn't any, he was poised and tightly wound, waiting to be thrown. But the urgency never came. The disasters never came. It was exhausting.

He went into the back of the ship where their berthroom was and he couldn't help but roll his optics at the way Drift had it set up. Cosy blankets, his incense arranged nearly on a corner table ready to be burnt, his weapon rack on the wall and a bookshelf above the berth with…

“Drift?”

“Yes?” He stretched the word out.

“You put these datapads in here?”

Silently, Drift made his way through the ship and peered around the door at where Ratchet was holding a datapad in his hands, slight frown on his face from where he'd read the index.

“No? I thought you'd pack your own reading material seeing as you're so picky .”

“I did, it's just, I wanted to read this.”

Drift thought back to Rodimus saying he was going to fill the shuttle with fun stuff and smiled to himself. Who knew that Rodimus had a soft spot for Ratchet, or maybe it was just so Drift didn't have to entertain him all of the time. He'd already found the picnic hidden under his seat when he'd first come aboard. When he'd pulled it out and found the cheeky note sighed with lots of x's he'd been really touched, he really thought Rodimus was going to fill their shuttle with pranks and… other things.

Turning his attention back to where Ratchet was going through the other datapads, he smiled.

“Imagine having the time to read a whole book without anyone bothering you, Ratty.”

He grunted, “like that'll happen. You hate it when I want to sit and read.”

“Only because you don't talk to me, but it's fine, I'm going to be busy doing a journal .”

Ratchet raised an optic ridge in Drift's direction where he was looking pleased with himself.

“Really?”

“Yes really,” he scrunched his face up, “I thought it'd be nice to read back on.”

“Well if it keeps you quiet. I never knew Rung had written so many books.”

“I thought you thought that was all, you know, fragging scrap.

“And I thought you didn't really swear and that's like the fifth time since we've been onboard.”

“Hey! It's different when we're 'facing.”

“Right. Sure.” Ratchet grinned and nodded at the berth, “talking of that…”

“Nope, we're nearly here!”

And he was gone, racing through the shuttle to his chair. Ratchet smiled at him, shaking his helm. He barely ever saw Drift this excited and he was glad to see it on him. Wistfully, he put the datapads back and made a note to tell Rodimus thanks, although he was sure that Towards Peace had been put up there as a small joke.

“So you gonna tell me where we are?”

But as he stood behind Drift's seat a picnic basket was flung at him and Ratchet blinked slowly, peering at it carefully.

“What is this?”

Drift was concentrating on landing the shuttle, glossa sticking out just a little and brow furrowed. With a slight jolt, they were down and Drift was jumping up out of his seat, grinning widely. Grabbing Ratchet's elbow, he tugged him down towards the external door, talking quickly.

“I was going to leave this planet until we needed a rest day but Rodimus packed us a picnic and well,” he smiled cheekily, “apparently you need a rest.”

Ratchet was about to retort about how he was just a little tired when Drift palmed the door and the shuttle opened up, making the medic stop in his tracks.

It was absolutely beautiful. Luscious plant life everywhere, of all colours. Big gnarled trees draping their limbs over others branches or over the floor. Smaller trees that would only come up to their knees. Big fluffy bushes that jiggled and shuddered and smaller spiky bushes in bright blues and purples. Flowers were everywhere they looked, great stretches in the distance of rainbows, little red flowers  cosied together around the base of the trees, tall flowers bending with the weight of their frilly heads, flowers chained together in little weaving rows. The whole place was chattering with life that they couldn't see and as Drift sprung down onto the soft ground he laughed a little.

“Okay, so maybe not as exciting as some of the other detours I have planned but it's pretty right?”

Ratchet nodded slowly. It was beautiful, the total opposite to Cybertron. Tentatively he stepped down, suspicions couldn't help but rise up in him as he looked around. Too good to be true.

“Drift, it is safe right?”

He quirked an optic ridge in return, “I might not enjoy reading about what fuel line goes where, but I researched this thoroughly thank you . Anyway, Blaster took a vacation here and we're only stopping for a picnic.”

Ratchet closed the shuttle door behind them and knew he was being slightly ridiculous. Of course Drift would make sure that they were safe and not about to be set upon by aliens that were partial to Cybertronians, but he couldn't help but worry, that's part of what he did and who he was.

They walked for a little while, Ratchet quietly in awe of their surroundings whilst Drift was picking out the path in front of them carefully. He suddenly stopped and turned back to his companion, nodding ahead.

“Just a little further, it'll be worth it.”

The terrain was hard, not because it was rough or hilly, but because they were both aware they were huge beings on a planet not usually inhibited by them and were being careful not to step on anything, or anyone , just in case there was anyone home.

Drift was right, it was worth it. Just a small incline, easy work when you had big strides, and they were atop a hill overlooking a glimmering, wriggling lake of turquoise. The source of light was two suns in the sky, that they could see of anyway, Drift telling Ratchet that apparently the reason this planet was so luscious was the copious amount of rain and the fact there was always at least one sun in the sky.

They settled down to enjoy their surroundings and their treats, Ratchet gleeful that Rodimus had packed more than enough sweet things to satisfy his cravings. Drift flopped down onto the ground on his back, dimming his optics as he stretched out his struts, enjoying the peace. For a while they sat in silence, until Drift made it obvious he'd been thinking.

“So was this a nice surprise?”

Ratchet was rifling through the basket to see what else it held and nodded.

“I suppose so.”

“You suppose so?”

“You know I'm not a fan of surprises.”

“Well, you can always read the itinerary.”

Drift could see it now, Ratchet scathingly going through his list of planets to visit and things to do and he was sure there would be a lot of optic rolling from both of them, and some protests.

“No.”

Drift tipped his helm back so he could see Ratchet, frowning deeply.

“No?”

“I trust you,” Ratchet shrugged, finally taking his optics off the picnic, “keep it a surprise.”

“What?” Drift laughed the word out, “you want more surprises?”

“Well, I've enjoyed the ones so far.”

Silence fell over them again, and Drift rolled himself onto his front so he could give Ratchet the look of disbelief and skepticism he wore so well at times. With a snicker, Ratchet leaned back onto his hands and gazed up at the sky.

“I'm not too old to change, right? And my life has changed a lot lately, might as well go with it.”

“Well,” Drift was still unsure, “you know where the datapad is if you change your mind.”

Ratchet merely shrugged in response, not looking down. He felt Drift move to lay in his lap, his finials tickling Ratchet a little as he wriggled to get comfy and then he heard a little ex-vent of contentment.

If this is what their vacation was going to consist of, Ratchet was fine with a few surprises.

Chapter Text

The berthroom was quiet, the incense nearly burnt out in the corner and the lights dimmed low. Laid on the berth with one of the datapads Rodimus had left for him, Ratchet was enjoying a quiet moment for once, finally able to actually relax a little. Maybe it was the change in environment or maybe it was because he knew that Drift was currently no further away than the wash rack and in no danger, either way, he was glad he didn't feel anxiety tingling down his back strut.

When Drift joined him again he threw himself down at the opposite end of the berth tangling his legs into the other occupant. Ratchet didn't move his optics when he spoke to him.

“You're still wet.”

“Oh, sorry.”

Before Drift could hop back off the berth, Ratchet started to rub at one of the legs draped over him and his optics flicked offline at the touch. He was so glad that Ratchet had such skilled hands.

Relaxing back into the berth, Drift enjoyed the massage whilst Ratchet was still reading, seeing as he was good at multitasking too. This is exactly what Drift had in mind when he'd tentatively suggested a vacation and he sighed contentedly.

“So, how long till we're at our next destination?”

“If you want me to give you something more accurate than not long, I'll have to get up and check the nav controls and nope, I'm not moving whilst you're doing that. How's your book?”

Ratchet sounded shifty, “it's fine.”

“You’re not reading porn again are you?”

Its called Erotica , but no.”

Drift pulled himself up swiftly, grinning. Ratchet was amazed, and envious, of the way he moved so quickly. 

“Okay, so what?”

“Nothing!”

Ratchet placed the datapad down next to him with a small frown but Drift had that mischievous look about him. Before he could think about moving it again, Drift had pounced, half of him laying over Ratchet's legs and as he got a grip of the offending item, the medic did too.

“Let me see!”

“No! You'll be an aft!”

“I'm an aft anyway! Ratty pleaaase!”

“Drift!”

But Drift knew exactly how to get to him, with his other hand he dived it down between Ratchet's legs, tickling the cables at the back of his knees. Ratchet laughed, squirming and he finally had to let go so he could shove Drift away. Victorious, Drift scrabbled to the other end of the berth again and smirked when he found what Ratchet had been reading.

“Oh Ratty, ” his optics glinted, “I am surprised.”

“I wanted to see what the fuss was about!” He paused, “did you ever read it?”

“I became a Decepticon because I felt I had nothing else, I didn't need to read Megatron's book. What's it like though?”

“Eloquent,” he shot Drift a glare, “don't give me that look, I'm not saying I agree!”

Drift shrugged with a roguish grin and handed the datapad back to Ratchet, but now his peace had been disturbed, he didn't feel like reading anymore. He placed it on the shelf above the berth and sat himself up carefully, avoiding the low shelf he'd already bumped his helm on numerous times.

“Well, now you've ruined that, let's go see how far we've got to go for surprise number three.”

They made their way through the ship, Ratchet tutting at the puddles on the floor from the wash rack but Drift merely laughed, dancing between them. He sat down at the controls, Ratchet leaning over his chair and watching out of the windscreen. They were definitely approaching on something, and Ratchet had an idea of where.

“We can land and refuel the shuttle here at least, and top up any supplies we need, although Rodimus has us covered I think.”

Ratchet nodded, noticing the small cubby hole just above Drift's head and he wondered about opening it, when his attention was pulled back.

“And we've got to buy tickets.”

“Tickets?”

Drift tipped his helm back, “you said you wanted a surprise.”

“I'm pretty sure I know Velocitron when I see it,” Ratchet gave him a look, “racing?”

“Yeah, if they even allow old, slow ambulances in anyway.”

Ratchet tickled Drift's finials and he squirmed in his seat at the touch. It always made him feel funny when Ratchet did it and he hunched his shoulders, snapping his head around with a sulky pout.

"Hey!

“Then don't be cheeky.

They made sure they had all they needed, and Drift expertly landed the shuttle at a refuelling station. He was excited to be here, he'd always heard so much about it and even though Ratchet perhaps wasn't a big racing fan, he was hoping maybe he would enjoy tsking over the injuries the racers would undoubtedly sustain. He never did have much sympathy for self inflicted wounds. Besides they had to do things both of them would enjoy, if it was up to Ratchet, they'd probably end up visiting every Mederi centre the Universe had to offer.

They made their way to the nearest race track and found that the next set of races weren't on until later, so they brought tickets and spent some time mooching around Velocitron, finally finding a cosy bar to go grab a drink in.

By the time that Drift had woven his way back to their booth with their drinks, Ratchet had a heavy scowl on his face. He flopped down onto the booth bench opposite, pushing Ratchet's drink across to him.

“Okay, I know racing isn't really your thing but is that face really needed?”

“It's not that,” he mumbled, “it's the looks you're getting.”

Drift subconsciously touched his helm, thinking back to when he was the other version of himself and wondering if he'd ever killed any Velocitronians. He would hate to be recognised for what he used to do and he would rather they were recognised as members of the Lost Light. The crew of the fated ship were no strangers to some amount of fame. 

“No, not what you're thinking. They're looking at you .”

Drift was confused for a moment, blinking slowly. It was only when Ratchet nodded at the bar and he caught the gaze of a purple Veloctronian mech that he understood. 

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

Ratchet was looking glumly down into his drink. Of course Drift would attract looks, especially on a planet full of speedsters, and he was feeling disappointed in himself at the level of jealousy he felt. He never wanted to be possessive and overbearing, he'd been through that himself, but he wanted to say no he's mine. With a sip of his drink, he tried to push away the other thoughts, the ones saying Drift could have his pick of anyone.

Before he could drag his helm up and try to apologise for his misery, Drift was leaning over the table, cupping his face and kissing him hard. Slightly shocked, Ratchet kissed back half heartedly and then pulled away quicker than maybe Drift wanted. He was being given a puzzled look.

“What’s the matter?”

“We're being watched.”

“I don't care. Do you?”

Ratchet shook his head a little, lost in the way Drift was looking at him. He grinned and kissed him again, Ratchet feeling a little warmer to it this time and he had to push Drift back into his seat.

“Stop it, otherwise we'll miss the race.”

"Why?”

“Because you'll be back in the shuttle begging for mercy.”

“Oh.” Drift tilted his helm, “maybe after?”

But Ratchet had turned solemn again, ex-venting quietly and Drift could see it in the way his shoulders dropped.

“Ratty?”

“You said yourself, I'm an old, slow ambulance. You could do better.”

“Don't be stupid. Besides, I like old, slow ambulances.” He grinned then softened it to a smile, “it’s not just about looks, Ratty, you give me everything I need. I wish you would stop berating yourself lately.”

Ratchet knew it was true. Since they'd left the Lost Light he'd had a lot to think about and it had left him too serious and morose. It was supposed to be a vacation, but he couldn't help but feel lost. It was only when Drift reached over the table and squeezed one of his hands that he felt better.

“So, you're telling me you're not looking forward to watching some of the fastest, sleekest speedsters race around a track?”

Ratchet smirked, “I'm partial to watching a speedster sure.”

Drift swirled his drink around, a small smile playing on his face as he did. Ratchet thought about how he could watch him do anything and feel amazed at his fluid, purposeful movements.

“I’ve always wanted to come see racing here, Rodimus said we'd go one day.”

“So why bring me?”

“Because, even if you're not as excited as I am, I wanted to bring you.” Drift frowned a little, “it's okay right?”

Ratchet shrugged, “sure, I'm happy if you're happy Drift.”

By the time the race was over and they were making their way back to the shuttle, Drift was enthused and animated and Ratchet was watching him with a smile. He didn't quite see the appeal of watching cars go around and around, and when there was a nasty crash he couldn't help but tense, but the Velocitronian merely limped away to the sound of cheers. To see Drift so happy though, he'd do anything.

“Hey, why don't we book a room instead tonight? Might be nice to not have to worry about hitting your head if you sit up too quick.”

“Sure, sounds good to me.”

Drift grinned at him and found his hand to hold. Ratchet smiled back, giving his hand a squeeze. They were both tired and ready for some time to recharge. It would end up the way it usually did, with Drift sprawled across the width of the berth, propping a leg onto Ratchet's or throwing an arm over him to make sure he was there. Ratchet would curl himself up nearly on the edge, hoping for some respite from the wriggling. Neither of them cared where they rested, as long as they had each other close. 

Chapter Text

There was panic and fear. It had no place here, in their happy place but they both should have known it would come barging in sooner or later to disturb their peace.

Ratchet was pinned down to the berth with an arm pressed against his neck. He tried to stay calm, not prise it away like his instincts insisted on doing but instead spoke as well as he could under the circumstances.

“Drift, it's okay. It's just me. Drift.”

It took Drift a few panic stricken seconds to realise it was his current name being called and not the other one. His optics were wild and bright as he looked down at Ratchet. He’d obviously identified him as a threat in his semi-conscious state and when he realised there wasn't any danger, he quickly removed his arm from across Ratchet's neck, feeling horrified with himself. He threw himself away from Ratchet as he tried to calm his bristled plates and heavy venting.

“Sorry, m'sorry, I didn't… I don't know.”

Ratchet pulled him back down to lie, gathering him up into his arms as he waited for the shaking to stop, shushing him and brushing his helm. When he was calmer, Ratchet spoke.

“You always find it hard in a different place. I understand.”

“But I hurt you.”

“You're not so tough,” he muttered with a smile, “I'm fine, but you're not. Wanna talk about it?”

“No.”

“Well, I didn't wanna hear about it anyway.”

That managed to make Drift laugh a little, and Ratchet tried to pull him closer but there was still shame and guilt and anger burning away at him, and he didn't want it anywhere near his beloved. He wriggled out of Ratchet's grasp to lay on his back, staring up at the ceiling and the medic knew better than to push.

“I don't mean that, you can always talk to me, but I'm sure I have a pretty good idea of what it's about.”

Drift hesitated. He wanted to get the images out of his processor but he didn't want to burden Ratchet either. He decided to focus on how he felt rather than what he'd relived.

“I finally feel I have somewhere that I belong and I'm terrified it'll be wrenched out of my grasp.”

Ratchet frowned into the darkness, reaching a hand across just in case Drift wanted any kind of touch.

“Why would it?”

“Because…” he stopped himself, “I don't know. Maybe because I don't deserve to be happy.”

“Am I going to have to break out my stern voice? At this ungodly hour?”

“But it's true, Ratchet, after everything I've done, I don't deserve it.”

“Everyone deserves happiness, and a second chance. I didn't think I would find happiness again.”

“It's hard,” Drift clenched his fists, “to feel deserving, like I deserve anything good.”

“Well, you wound up with me, I'd hardly brag about that.”

Drift wasn't sure what to say, because he knew if he insisted that Ratchet was the best he could have ever hoped for they would have ended up in one of their stupid repetitive arguments where one denied it and the other insisted. He was too tired for that, and so he let the silence stretch on but he knew Ratchet was still awake from where he could see his optics were illuminated to the side of him.

“What can I do?” Ratchet spoke gently.

“Nothing.”

“Not even this?”

He brushed one of Drift's finials which made him nuzzle back into Ratchet's hand. With a sigh, he wriggled back over to Ratchet and nudged his way under his arm.

“You can carry on now.”

“I'm here. You're safe.”

Ratchet hoped as Drift's frame eventually went limp in his arms that the intrusive memories would stay away for the rest of the night.


When Drift pulled himself from his recharge the next morning, he was startled to see that Ratchet was gone, and his fuel lines ran cold. Maybe he'd realised finally what a danger he was, even now, even though he'd tried so hard to bury all the past and all the violence down, but it always came creeping back if only ever in his dreams.

With an angry huff, he slid off the berth and went over to the window, knowing that if he tried to use his comms to contact Ratchet it would only end up in vicious words and someone cutting off the call. He felt abandoned, he felt furious.

Drift placed the floor, ignoring the hustle and bustle and the beautiful city lights outside. He couldn't concentrate, he felt panic start to grip him and all sorts of scenarios going through his processor. What if Ratchet came back and said he wanted to go back to the Lost Light? And that actually, he wasn't sure if he could do this anymore seeing as Drift might try to kill him in his sleep again. What if he was scared of Drift?

The more time that passed, even though it was only a short while, the more agitated he got and when Ratchet walked back in with a smile, anticipating a warm welcome, it quickly fell.

“Drift?”

The white mech's optics were hard and glinting as he turned from where he was pacing by the window. His hands were clenched into fists and Ratchet understood that he was treading a very fine line between fight and flight and he didn't want Drift to feel he had to do either.

“I didn't think you would be up yet, I'm sorry, I just needed to go do something.”

“Do what?”

Drift's voice was as harsh as his gaze and Ratchet stepped forward with an ex-vent, holding out a small bag with one hand and reaching out with the other. Drift's optics moved from his face to his hands and back again.

“I wanted to get us breakfast, and, I needed to speak to someone.”

“Who? Rodimus?" His tone was accusatory, "You want to go back, already .”

“No! Of course not, why would I?”

“Because-!”

But the words escaped Drift. He turned back to the window and stared down at the cold city in front of him. Everywhere he looked there was someone in a hurry, or just merely going that fast because they could and he tried to focus on what he could see, rather than what he could feel. If let himself feel the emotions he was feeling, there was no knowing what damage would be done.  

Ratchet placed a hand on his shoulder, gripping a little so he couldn't just shrug him off. He spoke sternly but quietly.

“I know that you had a bad night, but that doesn't mean I want to run off. I was trying to just do something nice, to take your mind off whatever it was haunting you, but I didn't think about how you would feel if I wasn't here, I didn't understand that you might feel abandoned. I'm sorry.”

Drift shook his helm imperceptibly. With kind and understanding words the anger dissolved. Ratchet wasn't going to call him a monster or a murderer or look at him like he was worthless, and deep down Drift knew that, but the other voiced still liked to torture him with these thoughts.

“No I… I'm sorry. I should know that isn't how you are, you'd never just leave.” He smirked a little, “not without the last word.”

Ratchet laughed lightly, “exactly, but kid, don't put a brave face on for me alright? I know you're hurting, don't pretend you're not. I guess… I should have asked you what you wanted to do today instead of just disappearing, I know you've got this all planned out.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh,” Ratchet grinned wryly, “I went back down to the race track, and when they finished laughing at me, for you know being old and slow , and I mentioned Blurr, they paid a little more attention.”

Drift turned to him, the smile this time a little more genuine and his hands relaxing at his sides.

“Oh?”

“I said that there was this nimble speedster I knew who might like a little practice lap around the track, if they did that sort of thing. As a matter of fact they do.”

Drift was taken aback and he started forward.

“You… did that for me?”

“You needed cheering up. I didn't want you sulking for the next however many planets.”

Ratchet blinked as Drift threw himself heartedly into him, wrapping his arms tightly around his waist and pressing his face into his chest beaming brightly.

“Ratty, thank you.”

He smiled and patted his helm, “no probs kid.”

By the time they'd reached the race track, Drift was jiggling with excited energy and Ratchet had to keep a hold of his hand to make sure that he didn't race away.

The Veloctronian that Ratchet had spoken to earlier on was there to meet them at the gates, and he quirked an optic ridge in their direction as he opened them.

“So this is your speedster friend,” the mech made a show of looking Drift up and down, “I've seen worse, but I've seen better.”

With a small smile, he held out a silver hand and Drift shook it, trying to hold back his excitement as he glanced at the building just behind knowing what lay beyond it.

“Pursuit.”

“Drift.”

“So, you ever been on a track before?”

Drift smiled fondly of some of his better memories, “not exactly a track, but I'm not going to crash, if that's what you're implying.”

“Hey,” Pursuit shrugged broad grey shoulders, “I figured that's why you brought your own personal medic, just in case you did.”

Ratchet merely rolled his optics good naturedly and Drift squeezed his hand. Pursuit was only teasing, smiling all the while, and with a nod, he ushered them through to the pit lane, tucked away from the grandstands. There was already a steady roar of engines as others were out on the track, and Ratchet watched Drift's face light up at the sight of it.

Pursuit led them to a small pit garage, opening the shutter door at the back and showed them in. It led out directly into the pit lane and it was stocked with various fluids and tools on a workbench on the side. Ratchet was slightly impressed and Pursuit caught his expression.

“We do look after ourselves, believe it or not.”

Ratchet shrugged, “of course, your medics are just a little quicker than me right?”

“Ahh we were only kidding you before, it's just RB can be a little frosty if she doesn't know you. Anyway, this kid is going to blow a fuse in a minute if we don't let him out there, you just gotta sign this buddy, just a little waiver y'know, don't blame us when you scratch your pretty paintwork or catchonfire .”

Drift laughed at Ratchet's alarmed expression and took the datapad off Pursuit eagerly, scribbling his signature and thrusting it back.

“All yours. You need a break or anything, you come back here alright? And don't push it, we see enough crashes on race day.”

But Drift was barely listening, it had been so long since he'd really been able to drive, if you didn't count him and Rodimus trying to sneak a race in the top corridors of the Lost Light without Ultra Magnus finding out anyway. All of the pent up emotions he'd felt would be gone as soon as he was concentrating on throwing himself around the bends and pushing himself on the straights.

He transformed into his alt mode, and gave his engine a little grumble as he crept out into the pit lane, speeding up to join the track when he saw it was clear.

“Wanna go watch? I know you medics, gotta keep an eye even if you're not on duty right?”

Pursuit led Ratchet upstairs above the pits to an open area with a balcony where a number of other emergency personnel were on hand just in case they were needed. The cool air fluttered around them and Ratchet was glad for it, there was something about hearing Drift's engine that made him hot and bothered.

Leaning over the railings, Pursuit having wandered off to chat, he spotted Drift's sleek alt mode weave past a dark blue Velocitronian and race through a wide bend, hugging the apex. He was a little startled when he got a comms request through and when he answered, all he got was a giddy Drift nearly squealing.

“Ratty!! This is amazing, I missed it so much!”

“Kinda hard to use your full potential when you're trying to sneak around Magnus huh?”

Ratchet was met with giggling, and he smiled as he watched Drift come up fast behind another Velocitronian who obviously wasn't trying so hard and floored it away from him. With a laugh, Ratchet smiled at Drift's muttering about how he wished he was just a little faster.

After a few laps where Drift was really starting to throw himself into it, drifting around the corners like he knew how to do so well from tearing around Japan's mountain roads and joining in with some of the touge racing, Pursuit joined Ratchet, holding onto the railing and jutting his jaw out.

“Not bad for a little Cybertronian.”

“He used to do some driving on Earth. I knew he missed it, so I appreciate you bending the rules for him.”

“Ah that stupid rule about Velocitronians only we don't pay attention to anymore. RB only holds a grudge that she got beat by a Cybertronian, I don't know why she still tries to uphold it. If racing makes you happy, then I don't care as long as you're not purposefully trying to come cause a wreck.”

Absently, Pursuit rubbed at his arm and Ratchet could tell he was thinking about something the way his expression grew serious out of nowhere.

“You race?”

“Nah, not really anymore, well, not much for a Velocitronian anyway. Just for fun you know? How about you?” Pursuit grinned, “ever raced?”

“The only time I'm ever quick is if I'm trying to save a life. Well, I don't even really do that anymore either.”

With a shrug, the other mech turned his frame to speak to Ratchet, staring him down with that same seriousness he'd had when he was lost in the past.

“Slowing down ain't so bad, I mean, the young ones would hate me for saying it but it's true. Gives you a chance to think and enjoy life, y'know?”

“Yeah.” Ratchet nodded, “I do know.”

When Drift was finally done, having spun himself out a few times when he'd overcorrected on a bend and nearly shredded his tyres, Ratchet went back down into the pit garage to join him. When he transformed back to root mode, he was filthy and stone chipped from one of the gravel corners he'd spun into but he was grinning widely. He chucked himself at Ratchet, kissing him hard and pulling away quickly to gush his thanks.

“That was the best Ratty, thank you!”

“Seriously, don't mention it. You ready to go,” Ratchet furrowed his brow at the dust clinging to Drift's legs, “and make our shuttle all wet again?”

Drift smiled wryly, “only if you join me in the wash rack this time?”

They found Pursuit down a few garages looking after a tired racer and exchanged goodbyes, the grey mech making sure they knew how to get out.

“Hey, you guys come back anytime alright? It's nice to have someone who listens to me around here, even you ambulance , you ever want a go you tell your pal Pursuit and I'll make sure they let ya.”

Drift slung an arm over Ratchet's shoulders as they walked back to the refuel station that they'd left their shuttle at, ex-venting tiredly and Ratchet slid an arm around his waist affectionately but also to support him.

The medic was hoping that after blasting his way around a race track, Drift would be feeling better but he knew they would have to talk too. As Drift pulled Ratchet into him tighter, and he felt the warm frame against him, he decided that could definitely wait until after their shower.

 

Chapter Text

The wash rack trickled down onto their frames, washing away the grime and the worries from the night before. Drift had Ratchet pinned against the wall, kissing him tenderly whilst red hands massaged his back strut gently. He pressed himself closer to Ratchet, murmuring into their kisses and there was a definite heat building between them with the small gestures of affection, Ratchet enjoying exploring Drift's frame and in turn enjoying the passionate kisses he was recieving in exchange.

Drift pulled away to look at Ratchet, his optics searching his face and he smiled sweetly. In response, Ratchet lifted an optic ridge questioningly.

“This was a good idea.”

“This? Yeah, you were filthy, no way were you sharing a berth with me like that.”

“I meant-”

“I know,” Ratchet grinned, catching him in a short kiss before speaking again, “you have good ideas sometimes right?”

Drift arched back as Ratchet's digits found a sensitive seam, exposing the cables in his neck and it was too good of an opportunity to miss. Ratchet brushed his lips over the sensitive area and then gently nipped with his denta, causing Drift to utter a little groan. He ran his hands down to Ratchet's array panel and he opened up for him whilst kissing his neck more insistently.

Drift found that Ratchet's valve was already slick with lubricant and he rubbed his whole hand over the wet lips slowly, making the medic grumble in return. He traced the entrance with one digit, feeling Ratchet quiver a little then slowly entered him, quickly adding another digit. Ratchet gave up trying to concentrate on kissing, instead resting his helm down on Drift's shoulder and opening his legs a little wider. Drift's hand was moving quickly now, rubbing at a cluster of nerves inside of Ratchet's valve and he relished in the little squeezes around his digits, knowing that soon enough his spike would be receiving them instead.

He opened his own panel to relieve the pressure and Ratchet groaned as he took a hold of Drift's spike, giving it a gentle stroke. Drift offlined his optics briefly, enjoying the touch but he was determined to give Ratchet at least one overload before he got any pleasure, and he added another digit carefully. There was a hiss of pleasure down his audials and he grinned to himself, he loved hearing Ratchet make noises because it usually meant he was doing a good job. Drift couldn't help but squeal or moan at any touch.

It didn't take much longer for Ratchet to overload, gripping onto Drift's spike as he did. Drift made sure that his lover had recovered enough before he started to kiss him again, his engine giving a small rumble in appreciation of the touches.

“Don't,” Ratchet laughed into his shoulder, “that's what got me going in the first place.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, sorry, I like all the noises you make.”

Drift nuzzled him softly, “except when I'm being cheeky right?”

“Even that.”

Drift revved his engine a little, sniggering at the way Ratchet snapped his helm up to narrow his optics playfully and he couldn't help but kiss him again. He was full of love and appreciation and he wanted to make sure Ratchet knew that. Ratchet brought his arms up to rest over Drift's shoulders. The white mech put his hand between them, to rub Ratchet's valve a little and then grabbed his spike, moaning as he played with himself.

“Ohh yeah,” Ratchet's vocals were husky, “moan for me.”

And Drift complied, stroking his spike earnestly. Before he could get too carried away, Drift spun Ratchet around, pulling his hips into him. Bracing his hands against the wall of the wash rack and opening his legs, Ratchet groaned as Drift pushed into him hard. He wanted Ratchet so badly and this time he wasn't going to be gentle about it, thrusting into him as fast as he could. He was moaning as his spike was worked over by Ratchet's very wet valve and he wasn't sure if it was because of the wash rack still trickling over them or the fact that Drift was being noisy and making him more aroused.

He 'faced Ratchet energetically, gripping his hips and trying to hold back his overload, and when he felt his spike being squeezed tightly, he let himself be consumed by lust too, throwing his helm back in esctasy. 

Both of them had their fans kicking on high and Drift's chest was heaving with the exertion as he leant over Ratchet's back. Gently, they pulled away from each other and Drift leant back into the stream with a loud ex-vent.

“Maybe I can finish washing you now.”

“You can put those amazing hands on me any time.”

Drift enjoyed how gentle and thorough Ratchet was, and by the time the wash rack began to barely spit out the last of its solvent, they were both sparkling.

“Better not get any filthier for a while until that recycles itself.” Ratchet smiled bemusedly, “think you can manage that?”

“No promises.”

Ratchet made him towel off a little bit better than he had the last time he'd used the wash rack then ushered him into their berth room, to meticulously dry every inch of him, and by the end of it, Drift felt thoroughly pampered.

“Here,” Drift helped return the favour, “all the bending over to dry your legs won't do your creaky joints any good.”

Ratchet threw the towel at him in response but Drift was already tugging it from his finials and crouching down to polish it over his frame. When Drift edged his hands tenderly between his upper legs, Ratchet couldn't help his fans turning on lowly.

“And you say I'm the insatiable one.”

Ratchet grumbled, “I told you, it was all the engine noise.”

Drift shook his helm with a smile and briefly dried Ratchet's hips before the towel was taken from him again. Ratchet finished drying himself, throwing the towels haphazardly into a corner and went to lay down on the berth when he caught the look he was being given.

“What?”

“This trip has changed you, you've left towels on the floor .”

“So?”

“Oh, you're going to pretend you're not Mr. Meticulous are you? And you enjoyed watching me race, you enjoying watching someone doing something you'd usually say was stupid and careless.”

“Oh come on, like I wouldn't enjoy watching your- oh stop grinning like that and come here.” They snuggled up, Drift dragging copious amounts of blankets up from the storage under the berth to be more cosy and made them a nest. He pulled Ratchet into him and the medic rested his helm against his chest, hearing the comforting pulse of his healthy spark. It always did help him relax.

“We don't even need blankets, but you love swaddling yourself in them, any reason?”

Drift pulled one around Ratchet a little tighter and managed a one shouldered shrug as he fussed.

“Living on the streets was tough, not ever having anything to be comfy, I guess it just makes me feel safe.”

“Oh.” Ratchet squeezed him a little tighter, “well, you're safe with me.”

“I know. I love you.” He yawned, “I don't say it enough.”

“Who's being soppy now? But yeah, love you too.”

Drift felt his weary frame start to relax and he couldn't help but offline his optics. He was comfortable and he was safe, and he dozed off into a peaceful recharge.


 

There were gentle caresses down his shoulders and Drift stretched into the touch, onlining his optics at the sight of Ratchet laid next to him in the berth and examining some of the scuffs and chips in his paintwork. He softened his gaze when he saw Drift was awake.

“Any excuse to touch me right?” He said drowsily, “sorry I guess I was more tired than I thought.”

“It's fine.”

Ratchet knew from holding Drift whilst he recharged the night before he hadn't exactly rested well and with all of the racing he probably needed a little nap. He didn't mind, he used the quiet time to catch up on some reading, fragging Megatron and his book, and then he'd noticed how much Drift needed his paintwork attending to. His digits gently travelled over the tiny dents and Drift couldn't help but shiver a little at the sensual touch.

“Sorry, not my intention, was only going to say I'll help you touch up your paintwork.”

Drift stretched again and grinned, “I don't care what you do as long as you carry on touching me.”

At the remark, Ratchet smiled and threw off the blankets with a flourish, Drift narrowing his optics at the intrusion.

“Hey!”

“Trust me, you'll overheat if you stay in there.”

And then Ratchet's hands were travelling his chest, down his sides and kissing him softly. His glossa slowly entangled with Drift's, who let out a little purr of enjoyment, and his hands carried down to rest on his hip, close, but not close enough.

Ratchet stopped kissing him to nuzzle his way down his neck and onto his chest, leaving a trail of soft kisses. Drift tipped his helm back, sighing contentedly with the gentle affection and he gasped a little as he felt the kisses stop across his chest and then suddenly start on his array panel. It didn't take much persuading for him to open up and Ratchet murmured when he caught sight of Drift's valve, glistening already.  

Ratchet wriggled Drift's legs up onto his broad shoulders and moved his hands underneath him to cup his aft. Drift tried to arch in anticipation but Ratchet had him steady. Tentatively, he trailed his glossa just around the entrance to Drift's valve, earning him a little moan and he was hoping it wouldn't be long before he was groaning and his engine was growling. Ratchet used long, firm licks across Drift's valve and then little flicks across his anterior node.

Drift was lost in the bliss. Sometimes he knew he was too eager to please Ratchet and too excited to do anything than 'face him hard but this he loved. Letting Ratchet take the lead, even if it meant a slower pace at times, was always wonderful.

By now, Ratchet had slid two digits inside as he occasionally teased his anterior node and Drift was building towards his overload fast. Ratchet knew exactly what would help.

“Oh, you like this huh?”

Drift turned his helm and tried to wriggle his hips more into the touch, but Ratchet slowed his pace, pulling his digits all the way out before ramming them back in again. The white mech tried to speak but found he couldn't manage much apart from a begging moan.

“If you don't, I can stop-”

“No!” He pulled his helm up, “no no no, don't stop.”

And he watched with wide optics as Ratchet didn't break eye contact, withdrew his fingers and dived back in, licking and sucking fervently. Drift threw his helm back down, his engine giving a louder rumble which only spurred Ratchet on more. He pushed his glossa into Drift before pulling out with more long, firm licks and rubbed his anterior node with his digit.

Drift overloaded hard, trying to push himself into Ratchet more and making plenty of noise. There was a small second Ratchet hoped that the shuttle was well soundproofed seeing as they were grounded, but that quickly disappeared when he gently placed Drift's legs back down as he recovered, and took in the beautiful sight before him. The speedster was still murmuring, one of his arms flung over his face and Ratchet let his gaze roam every inch of him. He loved his broad shoulders, his strong legs and he grabbed his hips, pulling him closer.

“Ratty?”

“I'm not done with you yet.”

And Ratchet thrust his spike into Drift, who threw his legs around him. They wanted each other desperately, the oral only a teasing start and now Ratchet could give him his all. They moaned together, Drift pulling Ratchet into him tighter with his legs whilst the medic pinned his weight down into him, the way he liked. He withdrew his spike and teased the entrance to Drift's valve before shoving all of it back inside of him. A few more times of doing that and Drift was a mess, bucking his hips into the touch he deeply wanted but Ratchet had him pinned tightly and exactly where he wanted him. He started to nibble at Drift's neck cables and in return, his strong back was being searched for sensitive seams in his plating, murmuring when one was found.

Ratchet continued to thrust his spike into Drift eagerly and he was being pulled in with the legs wrapped around him. They began to kiss, soft moans and sighs escaping as they did, when Drift's vocals went up a pitch, his frame writhing and Ratchet withdrew, causing his lover to cry out.

“No, no, no, I need you, please, please.”

And Ratchet slammed his spike fully back in, Drift grabbing him with his hands now too, frantic for the overload he was teetering on the edge of, he just needed one more touch, some other sensory input, like Ratchet groaning down his audials and that was it. He was lost, spiralling down into the pleasure that came up rushing up to meet him.

When he finally realised he was being spoken to, he blinked up at where Ratchet was still leaning over him, looking slightly bemused as he touched his face softly.

“Ratty?”

“I think you're done, kid.”

Drift barely registered Ratchet withdraw or how he cleaned them both up. He only became more aware when Ratchet was tucking him back into his nest of blankets tightly, snug against the medic's frame. He yawned tiredly, offlining his gaze as he snuggled his face against Ratchet's shoulder.

“I am really tired today.”

Ratchet laughed, “I'm not surprised, all that racing and 'facing.”

“Oh you're a poet now, huh?” Drift wriggled, like he was good at, “I'm okay here, you do what you want, like read in peace or something.”

There was a small pause and Drift thought maybe Ratchet was hastily grabbing his datapad once again to read, but instead he felt the arm around him tighten and a light touch on his face. It made his spark thrum.

“I'm okay here too.”

With realisation, Drift snuggled himself closer. This is exactly what he'd needed after a night full of ghosts, some love and some time to recuperate, and he knew he'd be eternally grateful to Ratchet for always being his safe space.

Chapter Text

Drift was jiggling his leg where he sat in front of the navigation dashboard, eyeing the status of the ship and then huffing when nothing needed his attention. Writing a journal was hard work and required a degree of concentration he wasn't sure he had right now, unless he wrote about the interfacing anyway. He was sure Ratchet would enjoy reading that.

The medic was preoccupied with refilling the wash rack, even though it recycled the all of solvent it could, apparently between Drift being filthy and staying in for as long as they did, it was running low. Drift could hear a string of curse words from where he was sure Ratchet was fighting with the fragging thing and when he considered helping, or more likely getting in the way, there was a chirp from the shuttle’s comms.

He leapt over into the seat where Ratchet usually sat, his face breaking out into a wide smile when he answered the video call and saw Rodimus scowling, his helm turned to the side and pointing aggressively off screen.

“Seriously Megatron, one more word- DRIFT!”

“Roddy! So you managed to hold out this long before you called me?”

“Well, when I tried the other day Megs told me I was being a nuisance and I told him if he wanted to see a nuisance, I'd show him one. Anyway! How are you doing?! How's your 'face-cation?”

Drift laughed, “we're being tourists!”

“Yeah, revved up, 'facing tourists,” Rodimus smirked, throwing himself back into his chair, “seriously though you look happy.”

“Yeah! And you'll know why when I tell you where we've been and what I got to do, and jealous.

A while later, when Ratchet emerged from the wash rack having finally defeated it, he was scowling but that quickly changed when he heard Drift's laughter. He waited for a moment, and when he heard him speaking to Rodimus, he decided to leave him to it. The two had an amazing bond and Ratchet knew even if Drift didn't admit it, he missed his friend and he didn't want to interrupt. He sloped off to the berth room to dry off.

“-and then Swerve nearly set the bar on fire.”

“Well, what does he expect if he's trying to make flaming cocktails with something dangerous?”

“Yeah, well, Mags has ordered him to have at least six fire extinguishers within reaching distance of the bar, and another four scattered around just in case. Oh, and he said no more Death Shots, that's what he called it. He needs to use some imagination with his names.”

Drift laughed, rubbing at his shoulder absently, feeling the damage in his paintwork. He was hoping Ratchet would help him patch it up later and it was like Rodimus had read his mind, narrowing his optics a little and pointing at the screen.

“Ratchet is looking after you right?”

“Of course he is,” Drift rolled his optics with a smile, “you know better than to ask that. But what about you? How is Thunders treating you?”

Rodimus looked about shiftily, his tough facade gone, pulling himself up in his chair and fidgeting, brushing a helm flare almost self consciously.

Fine.

“Oh come on, that's all you're going to give me? I thought we were amicas?”

“Nah, I told you, BFFs sounds better.” Rodimus smirked then it dropped, “we’re just hanging out, y'know? I mean, let's face it, he can be pretty exhausting in big doses seeing as he's so perfect-”

“You're not fooling me.”

“-and all the fangirling from the crew? You wouldn't catch me doing that-”

“Sure.”

“-and honestly, he's just a little bit too nice.”

“Rodimus, don't be a jerk.”

“What?!” He laughed nervously, “it's not like it's serious .”

“Just treat him nice okay? Don't be… yourself.”

“Hey, wipe that stupid look off your face, I've matured .”

“Mmhm, and I'm here just for the sight seeing.”

Rodimus’ attention was pulled away briefly as someone spoke to him, and Drift twisted in his chair to look for Ratchet, but he couldn't hear anything from the wash rack and decided that when he'd finished his call, he'd go find him and make plans for what they were doing next.

“Sorry buddy, I gotta go, duty calls and all that.”

“Minimus is making you do a ship check you mean.”

“Ah, no, actually, he told me, and I quote, your desk is in violation of every health code in existence , just because I left a bottle or two on it, and maybe some oil cake wrappers. Jeez. At least he didn't look in it, otherwise he'd be dragging my aft down there right now.”

Drift softened his gaze, “You know you can always call if you feel down, or if you need me, I'll come home.”

But Rodimus shrugged it off, plastering on a grin both of them knew was fake. Even though he'd gotten his forever adventure, the previous ones had taken their toll on the captain of the Lost Light and the losses they'd suffered still plagued him. Drift had caught him once or twice a little too intoxicated than he should have been and it worried him. The last thing he wanted was to see his friend spiral into the same horrendous place Drift himself had been in.

“Nah, you enjoy the time in your love shuttle, just don't forget about little ol’ me right?”

“I mean it Rodimus, you need me-”

“And I won't, I don't, so shut up, and go find that grumpy old medic and tell him I said hi.”

“Oh,” Drift smiled slyly, “thanks for the picnic, and Megatron's book. Guess what he hasn't put down?”

“No way! I don't believe it,” Rodimus slapped the armrest with a hearty laugh, “I’m totes telling Megs, he'll never guess who his latest fan is!”

“Go do some work before you get in trouble.”

“Yeah, yeah, just come back in one piece alright?”

“Call me soon, whenever you get a chance.”

“Yeah, I'll find time in my busy schedule for you, maybe.”

Rodimus blew him a kiss and laughed as Drift gestured rudely in response, but they were both happy to have finally spoken to one another. Best friends didn't quite cover the bond that they had and all that they had been through. The distance was tough on both of their sparks.

When they'd ended the call, Drift clambered out of the seat and grabbed the datapad he'd been trying to compile his journal on to go find Ratchet. He found him tidying up their berth room, folding the numerous blankets they'd only just retreated from into a neat pile and he turned at the door opening. He smiled at Drift and carried on.

“Hey, good chat with Rodimus?”

Drift shrugged, “Yeah but I'm worried about him.”

“Still taking things hard?”

“Yeah,” he decided not to divulge the drinking, “but I said he could call whenever.”

“And if you want to go back-”

Drift shook his helm, “I know, but he said he's okay, you know what he's like, if I push, he'll pull. I'll speak to him again soon and I can always ask Minimus to keep an eye on him.”

Ratchet nodded, finally having folded the blankets and leaving them at the end of the berth, but he noticed Drift looked like he wanted to say something else.

“Hm?”

“I just… wanted to ask if you'd read this,” he held up the datapad, “sometimes I struggle writing.”

“Of course, now?”

“Just whenever you get a chance.”

Ratchet smiled. He knew this was important to Drift and wanted to help him out however he could, even if it was merely some proofreading.

“Now is good.”

They settled on the berth, Ratchet leaning against the wall and Drift lay between his legs, helm tipped back onto his chest. As he read, he stroked Drift's helm gently whilst the other mech fidgeted nervously. He knew that his writing wasn't exactly sophisticated but trusted Ratchet to be kind and tactful.  

“It's good, but don't be afraid to put emotion in it, Drift, maybe express how you feel a little.”

“And we both know I'm not great at that. But it reads okay?”

“Yeah,” Ratchet kissed his helm, “no errors anywhere and it reads well.”

Drift took the datapad back with a sigh and looked at it briefly before chucking it down at the bottom of the berth, a slight pout on his face. Taking compliments was still hard.

“I'll never be Megatron though.”

“Frag, I wouldn't want you to be. So, we heading somewhere else soon or staying here on Velocitron a while longer?”

“Well, if you don't want to stay for anything, there is somewhere I have in mind next. We're stocked and fuelled so we can leave whenever.”

“Okay captain.”

Drift tipped his helm back to give Ratchet a look and he felt his chest move underneath him as he laughed.

“Oh, maybe before we go, you could help me fix my paint? I think there's some places I can't reach.”

“Sure.”

Drift hopped off the berth and came back shortly with a small bag he'd packed for them both, spare paint, some wax, some oil for massaging Ratchet's stiff joints, some cloths, some delicate paint brushes and his spray gun just in case. The handle still had flecks of blue from where he'd helped Rodimus respray himself.

Ratchet studiously applied the paint over the chipped areas, furrowing his brow in concentration but every so often he'd watched Drift expertly flick the spray gun over himself and he was enthralled with how skilled he was with his hands.

“You ever thought of a different colour?”

“What? Like I did for Roddy? I like these colours. Why, have you?”

Ratchet shrugged, “was just thinking I guess I don't have to be red and white if I didn't want to be.”

“But you won't change,” Drift chuckled, “because that's just you.”

“Actually, I was going to say I'd let you, if you wanted to paint something on me.”

Incredulous, Drift turned around and looked at Ratchet with both of his optic ridges raised, lowering his spray gun down. Rodimus asking for his help was one thing, but letting Drift go free reign on Ratchet was another. He smirked a little.

“Wanna match?” He indicated at the marks under his optics.

“Anything but something religious, you aft.”

Drift scrunched his face up in thought and then shuffled around to hold out his hand, facing Ratchet.

“You trust me?”

“I don't know if you're having to ask.”

“Ratty,” Drift smiled, “I won't do anything offensive and if you don't like it, I've got plenty of paint with me.”

Ratchet hesitated for a moment then held out his right hand. Drift laid down the spray gun and took one of the paint brushes, thinking for a moment and bringing Ratchet's hand into his lap. He bowed helm over so he couldn't see what he was doing.

Desperately, Ratchet tried not to think too much about the delicate flicks with the paintbrush on somewhere sensitive to him, instead turning his attention to where on the wall by the door they had started a little souvenir collection, the tickets from the races newly pinned up. Somehow Drift had also gotten him into one of those ridiculous photo booths, but the sight of his optics lighting up as he pleaded was enough to make Ratchet relent. His hands still managed to tingle.

When Drift was done, he tilted his helm a few times, added a few more dabs and then looked up, and Ratchet could see the nervousness on his features once again, his brow a little furrowed and his lips pursed.

“Okay, so you probably won't like it, but…” he shrugged.

Ratchet pulled his hand back, and even though he probably never would have chosen to have what Drift had painted onto him, he decided he did like it. There were a few white flowers and a few loose petals around them painted right into the middle of his hand and he flattened it out so he could see them better.

“I do like it. What are they? From the first planet we went to?”

“No,” Drift dropped his head, “after… everything, when I was in Japan on Earth there were these trees and they had these flowers on them, the petals would fall to the ground and it would look like snow. They're called cherry blossoms. It was really beautiful, and I guess at that point in my life I started to feel like maybe I was going to be okay. Then I met you again, and I knew I'd be okay.”

With his other hand, Ratchet nudged up Drift's chin and lifted an optic ridge at him. His optics were a whirl of emotions, open and honest at someone he trusted with all of his spark and Ratchet appreciated how hard it must be for him. But, as he smiled at Drift, all he could think was how sweet he looked.

“You’re cute, you know that right?”

“Ratty,” Drift sighed exaggeratedly, “I thought you might tell me off for painting flowers on you.”

“I'd rather have flowers than a dedication to Primus but,” he held out his hand again, “you better put a top coat on, if I'm keeping them.”

“Really? I didn't think…”

“I like them.”

And he wiggled his hand impatiently and Drift grinned the whole time as he made sure that they were there to stay. He wouldn't put any pressure on Ratchet to say yes, but to him, putting the trust to pull out his creative flair meant a lot.

“So, you want to paint me?”

“If I paint you it'll be a smiley face or a cross,” he indicated at his own symbols, “only things I can do.”

“You did a good job of my shoulders.”

“C'mere, missed a spot.”

And as Drift trustingly leant back into Ratchet, he mischievously swiped the paintbrush that was tipped with red over his white helm. Drift touched tentatively and turned back with a horrified, yet amused expression.

“You did not just do that.”

“I slipped. It's this old, shaky frame.”

Ratchet was grinning and daring Drift to retaliate with the cheeky glint in his optics, and for a moment he thought maybe that wasn't going to happen. Drift turned back away, dropping the paintbrush onto the berth then in one fluid movement, grabbed the spray gun and leapt onto Ratchet, aiming for his chest. The red Autobot insignia that was displayed proudly was promptly splattered in white and Ratchet laughed hard, trying to get another red swipe over Drift's helm, but instead, he managed to get him across the face. Ratchet stopped dead, knowing that now he was in serious trouble and Drift widened his optics. Just as he was about to apologise, fearing it had gone too far, Drift sprayed his chevron giggling manically and then leapt off the berth to go hover in the doorway.

“Don't you dare, we're even!”

“Oh kid,” Ratchet touched the wet paint with a smirk, “we are so not even.”

And as quickly as his frame would let him, he chased off after Drift, who was squealing with laughter and sprinting down the very small amount of space he had to try and get away.  

When they were done chasing each other with paint, venting hard with laughter and collapsed down into their chairs before the dashboard, Ratchet threw the paintbrush over at Drift half heartedly.

“So who's cleaning up?”

“You started it!”

“And I just finished it too.”

Drift merely shook his helm, trying to wipe away the paint that was stubbornly drying across his face, spoiling the marks under his optics he'd spent so long on. He was glad to see this side of Ratchet, especially as it never seemed to appear unless it was the two of them and it made him feel special that the workaholic managed to let himself relax in his company.

He got himself up, leaned over to kiss Ratchet against the cheek and whispered down his audials.

“Well, I'm going in the wash rack, and we both know there's room for two.”

“If you use all the solvent again, you replace it kid.”

Ratchet grumbled but there was a hint of amusement in his vocals. Drift scrunched his face up and held out a hand to lead the way, a little flutter overcoming him as Ratchet laid his newly painted hand into his.

If it weren't for Rodimus, Drift would have happily stayed in their little shuttle forever.

Chapter Text

In the absence of the ex-CMO and third in command, the Lost Light was still managing to run smoothly enough, thanks to Megatron and Minimus mostly. Rodimus had spent most of his time skulking between the bridge, his office and Swerve's, doing his duties either without any fuss or with a huge tantrum depending on his mood and no one was sure which was worse.

The captain was sat sulking at his desk in his office after Minumus had ushered him down there after his video call with Drift but he hadn't bothered tidying it just yet, the mess didn't exactly bother him. He wanted to just sit on his own and wallow. He missed Drift desperately, nothing was the same without him and he couldn't quite get out of the habit of wanting to knock on his hab suite door, the calming scent of incense and his friend's sparkling optics meeting him as he opened it. Or he wanted to send him a comm ping with some terrible joke whilst Drift was on duty and would undoubtedly get him in trouble for giggling. With a flicker of anger, he kicked a bottle off of the desk and it landed with a dull jingle.

There were three taps at the door, and Rodimus knew if he answered or not, the mech on the other side would come in anyway. He pulled his feet off the desk and put his helm down into his arms, hoping that maybe if he pretended he was recharging or dead, Minimus would go away.

“Rodimus.”

No such luck.

“I know you're not recharging. And don't tell me-”

“-I'm dead.”

“-you're dead.”

Minimus sighed. He was sure he preferred the tantrums, at least those eventually burnt themselves out. The sad little sighs and wistful glances out of the window he couldn't deal with quite as well because he had no idea what to say.

The green mech took some steps forward, ignoring the twitch of his hands as he passed the rubbish on the floor and sat in the chair opposite the desk, crossing his legs over neatly at the ankles. Rodimus was still slumped over his desk, and when he spoke his vocals were muffled by his arms.

“If Drift was here he'd be slouching, and you'd be trying to fight down the urge to tell him to sit straight.”

“For someone so disciplined when it comes to battle, he has awful posture when he's sat.” He shook his helm, “but stop talking about him like he's the one who's dead.”

“He's so far away he might as well be.”

Minimus wanted to say 'stop muttering and sit up’ but that approach never exactly worked. The more Minimus pushed, the more Rodimus pulled and huffed. Megatron had told him to try something new, something a little less like an order and so as he twiddled his moustache, he picked his words carefully.

“I understand you miss him, Rodimus, but you need to let him do what he wants to do.”

“I know but I don't have to like it.”

“I thought speaking to him would make you happy?”

“It did but now I know he's off doing things that… I wanted to do with him.”

“You'll get your chance.”

“Will I?” He snapped his helm up, optics wide, “because he seems fine without me.”

“I hate to say this, because I know how this conversation will end up, but you were the one who wanted,” Minimus gestured all around, “this.”

And Rodimus reacted the way that was expected of him these days. He scowled, he threw his fist down on his desk and he swore.

“I fragging know! And look where we ended up! Some of us hurt, some of us dead , some of us halfway there, and that's all on me Mags! I don't know why any of you bothered following me, believing in me, because I sure as scrap wouldn't.”

He got up from his chair, shoving it back angrily and leaned against his desk with his back to the room. He didn't want to look at anyone, he didn't want anyone to see how he was really feeling.

“We believed in you because you have a way of making us believe in you. Maybe you dished too much of that out and didn't leave any for yourself. I'm not going to sit here and stroke your ego, because I'm not Drift, but I'm not going to let you sit here and bury yourself under a pile of guilt and regret and grief either. You didn't force anyone at gunpoint to do anything they didn't want to do.”

“No, but some are too loyal and trusting that I didn't have to use any kind of force. Leave me.”

“Rodimus-”

“Leave me.”

The captain heard the small steps retreating away to the door and he felt like he might able to finally be able to let go of where he was gripping the table so tightly he thought it might snap when Minimus spoke again.

“You are a good captain, even if you make questionable decisions. I couldn't have done a better job, nor would I have wanted to do the job in the first place. It takes a lot of spark.”

The door closed. Rodimus dropped his helm onto his chest, trying to fight the tears back down that were burning his optics. All he wanted was his friend back.

It was a little while later, when the more explosive emotions were done with and under wraps again for now when there was another knock at the door. This time Rodimus didn't pretend he wasn't there but he didn't pretend to be happy either.

Thunderclash edged in, closing the door behind him and waited for Rodimus to acknowledge him. The flame coloured mech had been avidly cleaning and tidying his office, a bag of rubbish in the corner ready to be disposed of, and his desk shining from where it had been polished. The stench of oil and hot fumes that assaulted the senses when the door was opened had been fanned away, and the patches of sticky, spilt engex had been cleaned off the floor.

Rodimus was sat in the chair, not his captain's chair but the one opposite so his back was to the door, shining his plaque studiously, helm bowed down as he worked.

He spoke quietly, “what is it Thunders?”

“We, ahem, had an appointment together.”

Date , you can say date. I got carried away here. Sorry.”

“It's fine.” Thunderclash clasped his hands together, “are you okay?”

With a sigh, Rodimus placed his plaque back down and shrugged half heartedly.

“No. Why pretend? Everyone knows it.”

“Well, we understand that sometimes your temper can be a little unruly.”

Rodimus laughed without humour, thinking about how the last time he was in Swerve's his fiery nature had exploded in front of a lot of the crew and a bar stool had maybe, kind of, been thrown across the room.

But Thunderclash could always be counted on to be good at everything, including being tactful and gentle. It was the last thing Rodimus even felt he deserved.

The thoughts that had been swirling round and round his processor were still present, and he knew Thunderclash well enough to know if he spoke them aloud, he wouldn't judge. 

“You ever… screw a friend over? Who am I kidding, I'm talking to you , of course you haven't. You ever even made a mistake, Thunders”

“Of course. We all make mistakes.”

“Not like mine.”

Rodimus fidgeted for a moment, knowing that Thunderclash was still there, probably shined to perfection and stood straight and proud, because he had every reason to. Just once, Rodimus would like to feel like he deserved to stand tall with his helm held high.

“You've never thrown your friend into the path of an angry mob right? Never done something that your whole spark is telling you not to do but you do it anyway? You've never felt totally undeserving of everything and plagued with guilt every day? Because that's me.”

He was gesturing frantically, “I let Drift take the fall for the whole… Overlord fiasco and he knew, he fragging knew everyone wouldn't doubt my word because he was an ex-Decepticon and I'm the captain, I'm me, the mech who can talk a crowd round to anything. I kept expecting someone to turn and go really? It was Drift? That adorable little puppy that follows you around everywhere Rodimus? That does anything you need him to? And honestly, I'm sure Ratchet knew deep down, but no one called me out on it.

And the guilt just ate away at me before I came clean to Magnus and the rest, and even now, I make light of the whole thing because I can't deal with how it makes me feel. I asked Drift before he left why he was leaving again, because I'm so stupid, and I knew it would piss him off but I did it anyway. He didn't leave before, he was fragging exiled, and when he got back, you know what he said? It's okay. I don't deserve him as a friend, I don't take care of him, so you know what? I'm glad he's with Ratchet, because at least he isn't going to hurt him.”

There was a silence and Rodimus had expected that maybe Thunderclash had gone even though he hadn't heard the door. Good. He didn't deserve any kind of-

There was a gentle hand on his shoulder and kind words rumbled above him.

“Rodimus, we all make mistakes. You've paid, you've learnt from them.”

“Have I? Have I though?!” Rodimus choked out the words with a laugh, “I'm still the same stubborn, ridiculous, hot tempered, fake it till you make it mech. I'll never be anything different.”

“What if… I don't want you to be different?”

At the way Thunderclash said it, Rodimus lifted his helm and tilted it up to give the other mech a look that said who's being ridiculous now? But Thunderclash met his gaze and gave him a small smile and a shrug with those huge shoulders. Rodimus was distracted a little by them before he turned back away with a frown.

“I like you as you are, and we all know you've learnt your lessons. How you dealt with Getaway was mature of you, I'm sure not many of us would have done what you did.”

“Yeah, well, some of you couldn't handle being so hot .”

Thunderclash moved around to the side of the chair so he could see him better. There was a small shadow of a smile on Rodimus’ face now, a real one, not the one he used all of the time and Thunderclash was glad he got to see it. He liked the genuineness in it, the way his optics sparkled a little and he almost seemed shy when he smiled in that way. He was adorable.

“Do you feel better?”

“No,” Rodimus shrugged again, “but thanks for letting me vent at you. I just miss him, even if I'm a lousy amica.”

“Well,” Thunderclash thought carefully, choosing his words precisely, “not many would have looked past Drift's history.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don't think I need to remind you but you did have a mutiny because you gave Megatron a chance, eventually. Not everyone can see past what we all used to be and what we used to do, there's still grudges, understandably, but you look past all of that. It’s kind sparked of you and I'm sure Drift appreciates it. You see who he is, not who he was.”

Rodimus was a little bit uncomfortable with the slight gush. It was perfectly fine for him to stroke his own ego, but Thunderclash in front of him speaking sweet words he wasn't used to and it made him feel strange, a little tingly. Not bad, just different. He passed it off nonchalantly.

“Yeah, well, I wouldn't want anyone to see who I used to be, anyone so much as mutters that fragging name and I wanna deck them. But, deep down, Drift is a good kid, he just had a scrap start right?”

“I'm afraid some of us just do.”

Rodimus got up from the chair. He was thinking about how he used to watch his best friend lounge over it whilst regaling some tale he'd heard down at Swerve's whilst Rodimus tried to do his paperwork. He thought about how Drift would drag him down into his hab suite, the smokey, spicy scents lingering in the air and he would try and teach Rodimus how to relax with meditation. Undoubtedly it ended up with them both collapsed in laughing fits, Rodimus unable to take anything seriously to save his life. More soberly now, he remembered how in the dark of his hab suite, only illuminated by optics and biolights, Drift would silently creep in, his plates bristled and unable to speak. Rodimus would wordlessly welcome him into his berth, throwing back his blankets and flinging an arm out for Drift to curl up into his side, until he felt safe enough to fall back into recharge, the nightmares still lingering in the twitch of his leg or a small gasp whilst he slept.

Rodimus smiled sadly at the last memory. Even though now he had Ratchet, he still did that occasionally. He wasn't sure if it was because Ratchet was busy or Drift didn't want to bother him, but he hoped it was because his friend trusted him to be there and hold him tightly when he was scared and pained from his past.

Maybe Thunderclash was right, even though he'd never admit that out loud. Rodimus needed Drift, but maybe, just maybe, it worked the other way round too.

Rodimus leaned a shoulder against the big mech's chest, tilting his helm up with a grin that was more usual for him.

“Thanks Thunders.”

“You're welcome.” He shifted his gaze away, “so, what would you like to do?”

“Eh, not drinking, that never ends well. Maybe something more energetic.”

And with that Rodimus strolled to the door, casting a cheeky glance back, leaning into the doorway seductively. Thunderclash stroked at his chest absently, trying to calm the quiet rumble of his engine at the sight.

“Your hab suite?”

“Not yours?”

“Yeah, well, if Mags thought that this was a health hazard, I think he'd order a universe wide evacuation at the sight of my hab suite.”

Thunderclash nodded, his hands clasped back together again in front of him, trying not to betray the anticipation of taking Rodimus to a berth.

“Or I could help you tidy up?”

“Tidying? Ugh.” Rodimus wheedled, leaning his helm back, “I'm cancelling our date.”

“Well, I just thought that if we tidied up, we could find your berth and maybe use it.”

Thunderclash smiled and Rodimus could see how it went all the way to his optics and they twinkled mischievously. The big mech squeezed past him in the doorway, placing a hand on his shoulder then moved away down the corridor. Rodimus grinned to himself, throwing another glance back to the chair but the ghosts haunting his office had disappeared for now. Drift would be back soon enough, and if he could go off interfacing his troubles away, then so could Rodimus.

Chapter Text

The bridge was quiet, just the way Megatron liked it. No temper tantrums, no sighing that got continuously louder, just the intermittent beeps and buzzes of the ship taking in their surroundings and correcting their course. He was sat at the navigation controls, Mainframe currently off duty, but it was nothing that the ex-Decepticon leader couldn't handle. He'd been in plenty of ships, he'd helped pilot enough and the Lost Light was doing all of the work currently anyway. It meant he got to just sit in the chair and blissfully lose himself in a book without any interruptions. 

It didn't last long.

He sensed rather than saw Minimus make his way onto the bridge and he was sure he was absently checking the ship log by the way his steps stopped not far behind. There was obviously something bothering him.

“I take it your talk with Rodimus went well?”

Minimus ex-vented hard.

“No.”

“It was sarcasm.” Megatron didn't lift his optics from his datapad, “I thought we'd worked on that one.”

“Oh, right, yeah.”

Minimus made his way over to the huge viewing window, tilting his helm up to watch the starmap roll by whilst he twiddled his moustache. He was full of nervous energy, disappointed in himself that he hadn't quite made the impact on Rodimus that he'd wanted to make and worried that Thunderclash would be on the receiving end of some harsh words when he'd headed down there after his duties were done. Poor, lovesick Thunderclash. He ex-vented again.

“I did think perhaps, I would get a break from the moping, but instead I have you filling that role now.”

Megatron placed his datapad down on top of the controls, it teetered on the rounded surface for a moment then settled. He watched Minimus’ back until he moved, turning towards Megatron but not bringing his gaze up.

“He is taking this really hard right? You would think that they'd had a huge argument by the way he's acting. He didn't act like this before.”

“Have you maybe considered that beforehand, when he exiled Drift, he was being who he thought his crew expected him to be? That he wasn't supposed to miss him because Drift committed an heinous act? Plus,” he touched his own chest delicately, “he had some other distractions to entertain him.”

Minimus huffed, “are you saying that he needs a distraction like a spark eater or a unruly ex-Decepticon to keep in line?”

“Him keeping me in line?” Megatron laughed heartily, “Minimus, come on now.”

“I'm sorry, I just, I don't do emotions ,” he put a hand to his face, “I'm not quite sure how to handle Rodimus right now. Maybe a distraction would be good for him, I was hoping that…Thunderclash would help with that. Where are we on course for?”

Megatron peered carefully at the display and Minimus couldn't help but stifle a small laugh. Slowly, Megatron turned his serious gaze at the other mech and Minimus shrugged in response.

“Need some glasses in your old age?”

“I’ll pretend you didn't say that. We're on course for a refuel station, but…”

Minimus watched with admiration of how in control of everything Megatron was. The way he turned to another screen, scrolling through it whilst tapping at the navigation controls. He was lost in watching the huge hands move so deftly when he realised he was being spoken to. He shook himself mentally and snapped his optics up.

“Sorry?”

“I've re-directed us. I'm sure that as co-captain that isn't something beyond my powers?”

Maybe the question would have seemed loaded if Minimus hadn't caught the twinkle in the red optics eyeing him, or if Megatron had been speaking to Rodimus, who surely would have taken it confrontationally. He smiled and shook his helm.

“Of course not. Where for?”

“I overheard Rodimus and Drift speaking, and I feel that a short trip to Velocitron would satisfy some of the captain's pent up energy. Or at least get him off the ship for a while, out of my vicinity.”

“And we can refuel there.”

“Exactly.”

Satisfied that he'd hopefully manage to relieve them both of more aggravating behaviour from Rodimus for a short while, Megatron lifted his datapad once again. His work was done, for now. Except, Minimus was smirking at him.

He tilted his helm, “yes?”

“Nothing.” Minimus glanced away, “I just find it endearing how much you care.”

Megatron scoffed, “I am merely saving us both from the trouble of a reckless and emotional Rodimus. Surely you are just as bored of his outbursts as I am? Tired of sanctioning him for the ridiculous situations he places himself in? Minimus, I found him passed out in the hallway just the other day for Primus’ sake.”

“I know, I know, I just appreciate your support in helping m- him.”

Megatron rolled his optics and set his gaze onto his book again. It was absurd for Minimus to think that he actually cared for that hot tempered, audacious, vexing mech that was his co-captain. All he wanted was things to be normal, as normal as they could be on the Lost Light at least. Afterall, in what kind of universe was it considered normal that Megatron himself was the co-captain of a ship that was mostly Autobots?

He still felt Minimus’ gaze on him, and as he was about to sigh and ask what was wrong now, there was a light touch on his shoulder that silenced him. He decided to look up and when he saw the kindly expression on Minimus’ face, he returned it. The green mech turned away, ready to go start on organising his paperwork now that he felt slightly better about the whole mess, when Megatron spoke and stopped him in his tracks.

“I think you do emotions just fine, Minimus.”

Minimus laughed a little, his shoulders hitching with the movement. He was glad that amongst the chaos he had to deal with and the wild ride that was going anywhere with Rodimus, he had someone as reliable as Megatron. He never thought he'd ever see the day he considered them as friends, and at the little flutter in his chest of the words Megatron had spoken softly, maybe even more, but here he was. He supposed that that's how life was, and you just had to roll with it.

“Thank you, Megatron.”

Chapter Text

They'd set off on their voyage to their next stop, and whilst Ratchet was tidying their energon stores for something to do, Drift was feeling bored and restless. He didn't mind the shuttle being cosy apart from when his thoughts were too loud and he wanted to pace and drive and swing his sword, not even practicing katas, just aimlessly. There wasn't a whole lot of room for that so instead he'd draped himself into his chair and was blasting some music, using the shuttles speakers that were usually reserved for the alarms. He was flicking through the music library on his datapad when Ratchet finally emerged from the hatch in the floor, furrowing his brow.

“You gotta have that so loud?”

Drift turned in his seat, “huh?”

“I said-”

But it was no good and instead he gestured to the datapad in Drift's hand. With a mouthed ooh , the white mech flicked the volume to a more reasonable level and waited for Ratchet to join him. He closed the hatch with a clang and stood between the two chairs, watching Drift as he scrolled up and down aimlessly with a flick of a digit.

“Anything I can do?”

Drift shrugged without glancing up. Ratchet nodded even though he couldn't see, then noticed the open bottle of engex on the dashboard.

“We do have glasses for drinks you know?”

“I know, I thought I was drinking alone.”

“You want me here or need some space?”

“Honestly, I don't know.”

With a big sigh, Ratchet threw himself down into his chair and drummed his fingers on the armrest.

To take his mind off whatever was bothering him, Ratchet held out his hand to examine the music on offer, and Drift had to smile at the little paint job in his palm. He passed over the datapad and Ratchet raised his optic ridge as he read the myriad of artists and song titles he didn't know.

“Got any good music?”

“And what do you know about music?” Drift grinned, “whenever anyone would play any in Swerve's, you'd have that look on your face. Yeah, that exact look.”

“Because I had to put up with Bumblebee blasting music any and everywhere, there's only so much Duran Duran and The Smiths someone can take before they go crazy.”

“So what do you like?”

“This'll do.”

Drift listened for a moment then nodded, “I don't usually listen to the slower stuff, because I like having something to dance to.”

“Yeah, I've seen that often enough.”

Ratchet laughed a little as he thought about how no matter how much Drift would insist he was at Swerve's for a quiet drink, Rodimus would drag him onto the dance floor and they'd end up there until they dropped. He tried not to think too much about Drift dancing because otherwise his fans would click on.

“So you don't want to dance with me?”

Drift got his answer in the form of a bemused look. He laughed then grabbed the bottle off the dash, taking a swig, and he was surprised when Ratchet was holding out his hand, still looking through the music with his other.

“You want me to dance, you better share that.”

With a sly grin, Drift passed it over. Oh, he really hoped that he could get Ratchet dancing, that was something he'd really like to see.

Standing up to stretch his legs, he noticed the cubby hole above his helm and hesitated for a moment. He hadn't been through every hiding place Rodimus could have hidden something untoward and he wasn't even sure he wanted to. He loved and trusted Rodimus but sometimes the mech's border between dangerous and funny was slightly blurred.

“Just open it, what's the worst thing he could have stowed onboard?”

“Scraplets? A baby spark eater?”

“Well, he wouldn't want you bored.”

Drift rolled his optics at the wry smile he was being given. He supposed at least if it was some kind of drama, he wouldn't be able to be worrying about Rodimus like he had been.

The cubby hole swung open and he cautiously peered in, going still when he found what was in it.

“So?”

“So.” Drift poked his helm back out to speak, “I massively underestimate my friend.”

“Why?” Ratchet was suspicious, “if he's put that Primus damn nurses outfit in there-”

Drift was sniggering.

“No! Although I wish he had. He left us some games to play.”

The suspicion was still there, “what kind of games?

And in response, Drift threw a pack of cards at him and lifted an optic ridge, knowing what Ratchet was angling at.

“Unless you want to play strip card games?”

“I'll past. You don't want to see my protoform, but I know some games we can play if you want.”

“Only if we make it interesting.” Drift nodded at the engex, “loser drinks right?”

“Fine, but remember you're playing against a medic.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know your reputation, party ambulance.

They were both eyeing each other carefully and both wearing the same expression of bemusement and wariness. Drift broke it by dropping back down into his chair and swivelling himself in it to face Ratchet, legs crossed. He pulled up the tray table that hung down by the armrest so they could place the cards on there and the engex.

It was some time later on, when Drift was giggly and slightly intoxicated and Ratchet was slumped in the seat, unable to even place his cards down anymore for fear of losing again. They had made their way through a few bottles of engex between them and the floor was littered with energon treat wrappers, mostly by Ratchet's seat.

Drift broke into another laughing fit over nothing and Ratchet tried to resist joining in, but he couldn't.

“I am done!”

“You were done five rounds ago Ratty, I just wanted to see if you were going to be able to beat me more than a handful of times.”

“How did'ya learn to play so well?!”

“What else is there to do when you're a hopeless cause on the streets? Plus, sometimes Gasket would do tricks for credits, so I guess I got good at knowing all the sleight of hands.”

Ratchet was incredulous, “you cheated?”

“I wasn't going to let you get away with not dancing with me! And there's no way you'd dance sober.”

Drift tried to duck, but the flurry of cards managed to shower him and he ended up hysterical. He leaned backwards over the armrest of the chair, holding his sides where it was starting to hurt from laughing so much. He missed being stupid, with no worries burdening him. Usually it would be Rodimus by his side when he was like this, the two of them bouncing drunkenly off one another until someone collapsed into a heap and the other curled up beside him, but he was glad that Ratchet had decided to indulge for once. He liked not so serious Ratchet.

“You fragging pain in the aft, you better dance good!”

And with a surprisingly amount of agility, Ratchet got to his feet and pulled Drift up with him. They fell against each other helpless with laughter, Ratchet trying his hardest to keep a rhythm but he was definitely better with his hands than his feet. Drift didn't care. When there was music all he wanted to do was dance and he definitely wanted to dance with Ratchet.

He moved along with the beat, gazing into Ratchet's optics with a stupid lovestruck gaze and the medic pulled him closer, whispering down his audials.

“I've seen you dance with Rodimus, c'mon, you can do better than that.”

Drift grinned cheekily and started to sway his hips, draping his arms over Ratchet's shoulders, occasionally brushing himself against his dance partner sensually. Ratchet loosely rested his hands on Drift's hips, watching his movements with a smile. He loved how carefree and beautiful Drift looked when he danced, even if he could have a better dance partner.

The song switched to one with a slower pace, and Ratchet pulled him in tighter, kissing him lightly. This was more his sort of thing. They slow danced together with intermittent kisses for the whole song, and when it was over, Ratchet was done. He peeled himself away from Drift reluctantly, his fans whirring lowly. He was sure he could pass it off as exertion.

“If I dance anymore, I'll drop right here and good luck dragging me into a berth.”

“I'd leave you on the floor.” Drift smirked, “maybe I should help you to our room.”

“Why? Gonna give me a private dance?” he said huskily.

Drift nudged him in the side then pulled Ratchet's arm around him so he could help him to their room, but apparently he wasn't done. He was a frisky drunk.

“You know you're gorgeous when you dance,” Ratchet murmured, “I always watch when you dance with Rodimus.”

“That's why you're always like yeah that's fine you go ahead I'll stay here with the drinks !”

“I'm not going to stop a hot mech like you dancing,” Ratchet rested his helm on Drift's shoulder, “I'm lucky to have you, you could choose anyone.”

“Don't start this again, we'll just end up in one of those stupid you could do better! No you could do better ! arguments and I'd rather just go sleep this off.”

When they reached the berth room, Drift helped Ratchet over to lie down, but they managed to tumble, ending up in a compromising position. There was a naughty smile from Ratchet and he stroked a hand down Drift's back strut and he shivered involuntarily.

“Didn't you get enough yesterday?”

“Nope, but we're drunk and I think my legs might give out if I tried.”

So Drift climbed off of Ratchet's hips, collapsing down beside him onto his back. The giggles had finally worn off and now he was just exhausted but he wasn't the only one. Ratchet turned onto his side with a stifled yawn and Drift scooped him up under his arm, stroking his face gently with one digit. With a small murmur, the medic offlined his optics.

“Ratty?”

“Mmhm?”

“You know I love you right?”

“Yeah course.”

“So why...”

Drift considered for a moment. If he asked what he wanted to ask now then he'd at least get honesty from Ratchet, but maybe it was deceitful when he was intoxicated and had nothing to guard him from spilling secrets. Instead he pushed the question back down and patted his helm.

“Why what?”

“Why are you so handsome?!”

Sober Ratchet probably would have eyed him suspiciously but this one was totally inebriated and he instead buried his face into Drift's chest embarrassedly.

“You, you're the one who needs to be shoosh now.”

Drift laughed lightly, his hand still resting on Ratchet's helm and then he was pulled away by his thoughts. When he was about to question Ratchet again, he heard the mech give a little grumble. He was obviously deeply in his recharge. Drift smiled, brushed a kiss over his helm and decided that it was a pretty good idea.

 

Chapter Text

As his systems came online, Ratchet was full of regret. For drinking so much and for not letting his medic frame do what it was good at and ridding itself of anything harmful, for goading Drift into a stupid game and that he wasn’t as young as he used to be. He hoped that there wasn't anything else to feel regret over when he couldn't recall everything that they'd done from the night before.

It took him a few moments to feel brave enough to online his optics and when he did, he offlined them again straight away. It was too bright. More regret. He groaned and felt something shift beside him on the berth.

“Hey you.” Drift was loud , “how are you feeling?”

Ratchet's vocals were staticky and he had to reboot them twice before he felt he could use them without his words being indecipherable. He pulled the blanket up over his helm with a grumble.

“Does that answer your question?”

“Aw, are you hungover?!”

“No, I'm not-!”

But his tanks rolled as he went to move and he stopped. Drift was stifling a laugh from where he was perched on his bedside.

“When I catch you kid, you're going to regret laughing.”

“Sure.”

And irritatingly, Drift patted Ratchet's sore helm that was still hidden under the blanket and he growled in response.

“Ooh touchy. I guess I should leave you alone and go tidy up the mess we made?”

“Mess?”

“You threw the cards at me and there's at least three bottles rolling around under my seat. Oh and all of the energon treat wrappers that are everywhere .” he dragged out the word, “but s'fine, I'll go tidy and you rest your poor little head.”

Drift was joking but Ratchet felt a little guilty. It was stupid of him to have let himself get carried away, and it had been so long since he had he thought maybe he deserved it. He winced as he moved his helm. It wasn't worth feeling the way he did now though.

He managed to shuffle his way down to the front of the shuttle a little while later, Drift just wiping down the chairs from where they were sticky with dried engex from where it had been spilt being passed back and forth, and he was whistling as he did it. He was certainly chirpy, more chirpy than his companion.

“I came to help,” Ratchet grumbled, “as long as you stop that noise.”

“I'm all done now, but you can sit your grumpy aft down and I'll make you some tea.”

The medic flopped himself down into the chair, his tanks still rolling and his helm pounding. He cursed his stupid overindulgence. Now he'd have to endure Drift's energon tea, he'd tried some before and it wasn't exactly enjoyable. He hadn't uttered a response, resting his helm into his hand but Drift was already gone.

When Drift came back humming to himself, Ratchet tried to fight down the irritation threatening to overspill. He wanted to go crawl back into a berth but no, Drift had made him feel guilty about not helping and now he had to sit here and withstand his cheeriness.

“So, we've got some time before we get to our next destination, unless we make a jump and get there sooner?”

Ratchet shrugged in reply.

“Oookay. Can I do anything?”

“Be quiet for a klik.”

Drift furrowed his brow in response. It wasn't exactly what he was expecting. When he and Rodimus ended up intoxicated, the next morning they usually laughed at each other, Drift would make tea and they'd spend some time just chilling out after Rodimus had tidied up. He chided himself, this was Ratchet, not his amica, of course it would be different.

He slumped back into his chair, feeling slightly stung. He'd really tried, he knew Ratchet would wake up feeling bad, and it was kind of Drift's fault. He'd turned down the lights in the habsuite, he'd tried to be soft spoken, he'd even stroked Ratchet's helm affectionately and that had earned him a growl. The night before had been enjoyable for him, Ratchet dancing with him, showering him with compliments but now he was starting to think it wasn't worth it.

Restless again, Drift was jiggling his feet on the floor when Ratchet snapped, pulling his helm out of his hand and fixing him with blazing optics.

“Drift! Seriously just give me a moment of peace!”

“I just…”

“You're just what?! Trying to be as irritating as possible?! Well you're succeeding!”

“Ratty, I'm just trying to help.”

“Well, you're not!”

Drift went quiet. Ratchet was seriously mad at him and he wasn't even quite sure why. He wasn't doing anything wrong, just being himself. Before he said or did something else to upset him, without a word he got up and went into the berth room, closing the door softly.

Ratchet sighed. Finally. But when he put his helm back into his hand, there was a nasty feeling rising up in him. More regret, topped with a nice heaping of guilt too. He wanted some quiet, and if he wanted that he should have stayed in the berth room. Drift didn't make him come out, it was just the way he said it that made Ratchet feel he had to, the way he had taken it to his spark, like he always did, but old habits die hard.

He looked at where Drift had left a hot cup of tea on the dashboard and he begrudgingly tasted it. Surprisingly it was good, spicy and sweet but it made the guilt weigh even heavier on him. He'd overreacted, because he felt awful but it was his own fault. Maybe if he hadn't stubbornly thought he could beat Drift and actually let his frame do a detox, he wouldn't feel the way he did.

He waited a little and finished his tea before he went to go make amends.

Drift was sat on the berth against the wall, knees drawn up to his chest as he fiddled with one of the blankets. Ratchet's spark gave a squeeze in his chest at the sight of him looking so dejected and sad. He stood before the berth for a minute before crawling over to sit beside him, drawing his knees up in a mirror of the mech next to him. Drift didn't move.

“Thanks for the tea.”

“S'okay.”

“Was pretty good.”

“Mmhm.”

Ratchet watched as his digits picked at a thread, twisting it around one and then untwisting it. Sometimes that's how he felt too, tightly wound before Drift helped him unwind.

“Look, I-”

“Save it Ratty, I know. It was stupid of me, I guess I thought… I just thought it would be fun. I didn't think you'd care so much about losing and well, you're a medic, usually you have a failsafe against too much engex.”

“I uh, didn't use it.”

“Why?”

“Stubborn, stupid, sore loser. Pick one. But look, this isn't on you okay? Don't try to make yourself out to be the bad guy all the time. I lost my temper with you, and you're the one apologising? I…”

From the words he’d spoken memories crept up on Ratchet, ones he didn't want, of the same situation but with different mechs. He sighed. Drift was still mindlessly fidgeting and Ratchet hated to see him like this. He wasn't sure exactly what he could do to make it up to him, he was good at fixing things but never things that he'd broken himself.

“Drift, can you look at me?”

And with a sigh, Drift pulled his blue optics up to Ratchet's. There was a moment where Ratchet was sure he was going to run when instead Drift threw himself into Ratchet's lap, burying himself as best as he could into his knees.

“I don't want to make you mad at me.”

“I know.”

“I just thought that you wouldn't feel as bad as you do.”

“Well, I do, not just physically, but mentally too, for shouting at you.”

Drift's words were muffled as he rubbed his face against Ratchet's legs.

“I'm sorry for making you mad.”

Ratchet groaned. The last time they'd nearly ended up in an argument, he'd met the more fiery, stubborn side of Drift and now he'd gotten the sad, kicked puppy side. He decided he'd rather deal with the one that might punch him.

“Stop apologising kid, I've told you it's not you, it's me. I'm sorry.”

Drift went still, his face still buried against Ratchet and he tentatively stroked a hand down his back strut.

“Am I forgiven? If not, I don't blame you, and I can give you some space.”

Drift was shaking his helm, “no.”

“Okay, I'll go-”

“No, don't go. I forgive you Ratty, I just thought maybe it'd be like when me and Roddy used to get drunk and you're not him.”

Ratchet spoke softly, “Drift, if you miss him, we can go back. We've got plenty of time to do this sort of thing.”

“I do miss him, but I'm with you. I don't want you to feel like… like…”

“I'm not good enough?”

Drift pulled his helm up quickly, his optics bright and wide.

“No! I just don't want you to think I'd rather be with him. He was my friend for a long time before I had you, and we used to do a lot together, and now I have you, it's hard to make sure I don't upset either of you. But, I guess if Rodimus is spending time with Thunder-”

Drift stopped himself but it was too late. Ratchet was grinning cheekily and when Drift moved his gaze back down, he knew he wouldn't wipe that expression off his face for a while.

“Ah. He took the plunge.”

Frag . I wasn't supposed to-”

“It was obvious, I'm just glad he finally saw how utterly and hopelessly he wanted him.”

“Yeah, Thunderclash was pretty lovesick.”

“Thunderclash? I meant Rodimus.”

“What?!” Drift laughed out the word, “what are you on about?!”

“Oh, I see, you're normally too busy giggling your way through officer meetings to notice the wistful glances our captain gives to the greatest Autobot of all time .”

“And admiring you.”

Finally the tension had dissipated, evident by the fact Drift was trying to lounge all over Ratchet and the smirk in his vocals. He put his legs down so the white mech could drape himself over his lap, stretching out his long legs and Ratchet couldn’t help himself.

“Yeah, like that.”

Ratchet leant down to give him a quick kiss, brushing a hand affectionately over Drift's face.

“You're beautiful, I can't help it.”

Drift shook his helm, “You must still be a little bit drunk if you're complimenting me.”

“What? I don't only compliment you when I'm drunk.”

“Or if we're interfacing.” Drift lifted an optic ridge, “you're a little sparse on the compliment front at times.”

“Well, in that case, I'll try to be more complimentary, if you do one thing for me?”

“What's that?”

“Be just a little bit quieter today?”

Drift grinned, “deal.”

But he could see in the way Ratchet gave him such a half hearted smile and the dark tinge in his aura that something was bothering him, so he pulled himself up to sit, placing a hand on the side of his face and looking at him seriously.

“What's wrong?”

“Ah, it's just me thinking about stuff, don't worry.”

“Well, I am worrying.” Drift tilted his helm, “we don't have to talk about it, but if you do, I'm here.”

Ratchet sighed. Sooner or later they would have to have this conversation as much as he didn't want to. Part of him wanted to just run and hide from it, like he usually did when it was brought, but it was a good opportunity now they were talking seriously and there would be no interruptions like there would be if they were on the Lost Light.

“Pharma.”

The name had Drift paying attention. He'd wanted to ask about that particular mech last night when Ratchet would let his guard down, but it felt wrong to pounce when he was vulnerable. He'd wanted to ask so why don't you seem to believe it when he'd told Ratchet he loved him.

There were obviously problems Ratchet had stemming from the relationship and Drift wondered if that was why he was so self depreciating at times about certain things in their own relationship.

“He uh,” Ratchet pulled his gaze away, rubbing at the back of his neck, “it'd always be the same, y'know? Me apologising even if it wasn't entirely my fault. Like just now, with us. That's why I didn't want you to apologise.”

“You’re not him.” Drift said gently, “you're nothing like him.”

“You only saw him when he wasn't totally himself. He was intelligent and steady, but his temper was uncontrollable at times. And the jealousy? That bothered me a lot. Jealous over what I achieved, jealous if anyone even glanced my way, and I don't want to be like that but we both know back on Velocitron I was jealous. I don't want to be a bad conjunx Drift, but there's things I do and it reminds me of what I went through but it's me doing it this time, and I hate it.”

Ratchet was clenching his fist, other hand still held tightly onto the back of his neck. He was angry, at himself, at Pharma, at letting Drift down and he didn't know what to do. This is why he didn't feel good enough because he wasn't. Drift deserved the best, not someone losing his temper over nothing.

He was pulled from his thoughts as Drift climbed onto his lap, straddling him so he could face him.

“Who's making himself out to be the bad guy now? Ratty, it was one little disagreement, and I know we've had them before but it doesn't make me want to give up on this. I'm not exactly perfect,” he gave a little shrug, “you've seen me at my very worst yet you're still here. You're not like Pharma okay? Yeah, you've got a temper and you haven't got any need to feel jealous, I'm here with you, not Rodimus , not that cutie on Velocitron.”

Ratchet narrowed his optics and Drift continued with a grin because he knew he was getting through to him a little.

“I know it'll take time for you to accept I'm here to stay and you can't get rid of me, but you can't, alright? I'm stubborn and,” he thought back to Wing, “it takes a lot to change my mind on something.”

“Like nearly dying? Don't do that on me here.”

“Well, I've got the best medic in the galaxy remember?”

And Ratchet did remember. When he thought about when he’d said that at their last goodbye and Drift's exile, it was painful. He didn't ever want to say goodbye ever again.

Drift put his arms around Ratchet and held him tightly.

“I love you Ratty, please stop thinking you're not good enough, because you are.”

At the softly spoken words, Ratchet melted into Drift's touch, bringing his arms around his back and pressing his face against the helm on his shoulder. Pharma's ghost could try and haunt him, but he wasn't welcome here, and even now Drift was protecting Ratchet from him, just like he'd done on Delphi. He had to laugh a little.

“Are you laughing or...?”

“I'm not going to cry on you over fragging Pharma. That slagger doesn't deserve it.”

Drift pulled back with a puzzled look on his face, making sure that his love was telling the truth.

“Then what?”

“Oh, just thinking about his face when I showed up on Delphi. With you in tow.”

“Me?”

Ratchet smirked, “yeah, he must have felt pretty pissed off me showing up with a gorgeous speedster.”

“We weren't even really together then though, we were still pretending we irked each other.”

“There's no pretending now at least. Nah, he knew, he could see I was smitten with you even before I saw it myself. Wiped the smile off his fragging smug face.”

“Oh,” there was mischief in Drift's vocals, “so… love at first sight right?”

“Don't be stupid.”

“You loved me right from the beginning I knew it!”

“Drift, I'm warning you.”

But Ratchet was laughing. He still felt lousy physically but the voice in his processor bothering him had been silenced, for now. Drift wriggled and Ratchet groaned a little. He was a tease.

“Who knew you could be such a hopeless romantic,” Drift flickered his optics, “and so cute .”

“Alright, enough out of you, before I make you shut up.”

But Drift loved a challenge, and he loved irritating Ratchet until he relented and laughed. He leaned in close, keeping his gaze steady and whispered.

“Go on, make me.”

Ratchet was suddenly tussling him back onto the berth, Drift letting out a yelp as his hands were pinned above his helm and he was kissed hard. He writhed under Ratchet, laughing and moaning. This was more like it, this was more them, not the arguing. They were madly in love with each other, but sometimes they both failed to see how madly when their demons crept up on them. For now though, they were vanquished and they could enjoy being wrapped up in one another.

The shuttle rocked. There was the unmistakable crunch of metal. The shuttle's alarms started to scream.

Peace never lasts.

Chapter Text

"What the frag?!”

But Drift was already diving through the door to the berth room, grabbing the Great Sword off its rack as he went and Ratchet retrieved the gun he had stashed under the berth. As he raced out to meet Drift, he tried not to feel too alarmed at the way the shuttle was rocking from side to side, as if it were shaking off an invisible opponent. As Ratchet joined Drift at the controls he realised their opponent wasn't invisible.

“What is it?”

“Left lower wing sustained some pretty bad damaged.” Drift was tapping at the controls, trying to shut down the alarms and disengage autopilot.

“Damage from what?”

In answer, there were several loud bangs on the shuttle's external door and Ratchet checked his gun was armed.

“Oh, maybe I should have started with that. Kruxians.”

“I'm not quite so familiar with all of the races in the universe,” Ratchet stumbled against his chair as the shuttle juddered, “care to divulge?"

“Pirates, you're familiar enough with that right?”

Drift was concentrating with trying to keep the shuttle steady and so Ratchet decided he'd have to take matters into his own hands. Drift glanced behind to speak to him, but Ratchet already had his hand on the door release.

“What are you doing?!”

“Aren't you supposed to let someone in when they knock?”

Drift groaned. He wasn't sure what was worse, fighting with Ratchet or fighting alongside him, especially when he made bad jokes. He made sure he was holding on tightly for when the door was opened and all of the pressurised air rushed out, grateful that both of them were big enough to hold out until it equalised.

Ratchet opened the door, gripping the hand hold just above it as the air rushed out around him. He managed to get a quick glance at their attackers before two were dislodged from where they were holding onto the door.

“They're dinosaurs. Space, pirate, dinosaurs.”

“What?!” Drift yelled back.

Ratchet pointed his gun and fired, “dinosaurs! Those things that lived on the Earth before the humans! Not as big but still!”

“Nope, you've lost me.”

The shot dislodged another Kruxian, “oh forget it, if you've read an Earth child a bedtime story, you would know.”

“Oh, I'm sorry, my time on Earth was a little more cultured !”

One of the Kruxians managed to dive into the ship, its long three clawed hands sticking out from its heavily padded suit. It had a long helmet that covered its face and pointed snout and Ratchet was taken aback that it had no eyes at all, at least that he could see. It pushed its nose into the air, snorting loudly and made a chirping noise.

Ratchet fired off a few more shots, but it dodged them, pressing itself to the floor.

“Cultured?! You were racing .”

“Hey! Did you miss me telling you about cherry blossom season?!”

Drift was pulling himself up from the chair and he picked up the Kruxian by the tail and flung it out the door, leaning around the door to see the damage that had been inflicted onto their transport.

There was a huge claw grasped onto the wing of the shuttle, connected to the big Kruxian ship by a chain that had several of the pirates scurrying down it. He groaned and turned back to where Ratchet was raising an optic ridge.

“Only you could steer us into pirate territory.”

“It was on autopilot, but if you want to do a better job, go ahead.”

Ratchet rolled his optics as Drift leapt out of the shuttle. Sometimes he was sure he liked being so dramatic. He followed Drift's path, edging along the side of the shuttle where the lower wings started just to the side of where the external door opened.

Drift had made his way along to the damaged part of the wing already, tossing away the aliens that barely came up to his waist. One jumped on his back, and he flicked it off, but not without a nasty scratch to the back of his shoulder. He didn't register the pain, years of flinging himself into worse battles made sure of that, and he carried himself forward to where the wing had been chomped by the claw. He sighed to himself, irritated by the whole debacle, absently swinging his sword as another Kruxian boarded and sending it flying off the wing.

“What do they want? We don't have anything valuable.”

“We do.”

Drift touched the back of his shoulder, pulling away a wet digit covered in energon. There was a shrill call amongst the Kruxians scurrying along the chain as he held up his hand, all of their pointed snouts turning in his direction. Ratchet sighed.

“Us?”

“No, just the energon, and we're carrying a huge stock of it. They use it to make weapons, bombs."

Ratchet was trying to think, going over to the huge hook and giving it a kick. Lazily and without looking he aimed at the Kruxian that was trying to sneak on-board and it fell with a squeal.

“So, what's the plan?”

“Give it to them?” Drift shrugged.

“And I'm sure they'll let us, walking stores of energon, go free right?”

“Got a better idea?”

“Use the shuttle's engines full pelt to break us free?”

Drift shook his helm, “you'll put stress on the wing, we could end up ripping it free but also a huge hole in the side of the shuttle.”

“Okay, so we cut this free.” He kicked at the claw again.

“No good, they make those chains and hooks from some kind of stone that my sword is useless against and your gun won't touch.”

To demonstrate, Drift took Ratchet's gun and fired off a few shots that pinged harmlessly away. Ratchet sighed and went back to staring at the wing hoping for a solution. The claw was lodged into the very tip of the wing and it wasn't surprising a species relying on their sense of smell and hearing weren't a great shot.

“Okay, new plan, get rid of the tip of the wing.”

Drift glanced up to where the Kruxians had stopped for a moment, dangling from the chain, unwilling to risk anymore of them falling from the ship after their futile attempts. They were chirping noisily and turning their sightless heads around.

“It'll make the shuttle unstable, make flying difficult, I'll have to keep it really steady to make a jump away, because we won't outrun them.”

“What choice do we have?”

The choice was made for them as the Kruxians started scurrying back along the chain towards the ship. They both looked at each other with trepidation, knowing it was too good to be true that they'd retreated when the shuttle rocked hard beneath them. Drift grabbed Ratchet tightly, pulling him down so they wouldn't fall. There was a loud creaking from the chain as they started getting pulled towards the Kruxian ship and Drift's optics went wide.

“Okay, your plan. Give me your gun, I'm shooting the wing off.”

“It'll take too long,” Ratchet frowned, “but I have something that I think might work faster.”

From his subspace, Ratchet pulled his laser scalpel. With someone as skilled as he was, it wouldn't take long to cut through the metal but Drift held out his hand, wiggling it impatiently.

“What?”

“Give it me.”

“Don't be ridiculous, you need to go in the ship.”

“I'll guide you through how to prep for a jump, you're not staying out here, it's dangerous.”

“Drift, you're better off in the ship.”

Ratchet watched as Drift's optics flicked from him to the wing to the Kruxian ship and back again. He was crouched, ready to pounce where he needed to go but he didn't want Ratchet out here where it was dangerous. If anyone was going to do something dangerous and stupid, it was him.

“Drift!”

With a growl, he made his leap back towards the door, not looking back because if he did, he wouldn't be able to go through with it. He threw himself in front of the navigation controls, preparing the ship for a jump away from their quarry, unwilling to sit down just in case Ratchet needed him, that split second could be vital. He made sure the autopilot was still steadily moving the ship forward, but he could feel the drag of the Kruxian ship as it pulled on the smaller spacecraft.

Meanwhile outside, Ratchet was painstakingly cutting away at the wing carefully. The metal was thick even at the very tip and he had the cut right across to get rid of the claw, working deeper through the supporting layers. He tried not to think about how much time they had before they were set upon by the Kruxians, or think about why the frag he was out here in the first place. Stupid Drift and his stupid puppy dog optics. As his helm span, he couldn't help but curse his stupid hangover too.

“How's it going?”

“Shouldn't take much longer. Are you okay? Sat on your aft in your comfy chair?”

“Yeah, thought I'd open a bottle whilst I was up here.”

“That's not even funny.”

But Drift was laughing through the comms and Ratchet couldn't help but smile. He was oblivious to the fact the Kruxian ship was looming closer and a few of them had decided to take a gamble. They jumped down, landing awkwardly on the wing behind but before they'd gotten a chance to scrabble themselves up Drift was flinging himself down back onto the wing, sending them flying into oblivion.

“I could have handled it.”

Drift rested his sword over his shoulder, watching the huge, smooth hull of the bigger ship start to loom over them. He could see that they were being pulled into a hatch right in the belly of the ship, an abyss that the chain snaked its way into.

“Yeah, just concentrate on handling that.”

Drift had to fight several more Kruxians whilst Ratchet was elbow deep into the ragged wound of the shuttle's wing. It was so close, he only needed to make a few more swipes but the scalpel was starting to overheat in his hand, it never usually worked so hard. He concentrated on just reaching a little further when the shuttle juddered as the engines tried to pull, readying themselves for the jump. He lay his helm against the ship as he used all of the curse words he knew, not because his arm had dropped further into the sharp metal and trapped him there, slicing up his arm, but because the shock had made him drop the scalpel.

“Drift!”

The white mech was sliding across the wing beside him, taking a Kruxian down as he did, and he placed a hand onto Ratchet's back.

“What's wrong?”

“I dropped the scalpel but it's barely hanging on.”

“Move and I'll kick it.”

“Yeah, I'm stuck.”

“You're stuck?”

“Is there a fragging echo? Get on the ship and use as much power as you can, it should be enough to pull us free.”

“And if the ship jerks again because it can't, you'll lose your arm.”

“Do it. Don't you dare hesitate again, just do it.”

Drift couldn't see Ratchet's face but he knew if he could he'd be wearing his I mean it face, and as he glanced back up at the inevitable death waiting for them above, he knew he had no choice. With a quick kiss onto his helm, Drift made his way up to the ship again, if he inched the ship slowly up to full throttle, maybe he'd be able to do it without hurting Ratchet. As he went to grab the throttle control, he saw his hand shaking. The mech with nerves of steel, who'd killed so many in cold blood was terrified that he might end up hurting, or killing, the one he cared about more than anyone.

He centred himself as he focussed on his vents, trying to block out the noise around him. He needed to use all of the concentration he had.

Out on the wing Ratchet was feeling pissed off. He hated being trapped and he hated pirates. He hated having to fire blindly with the wrong hand. Most of all, he hated being a fragging patient and unless he ended up dead, he was going to end up as Drift's patient.

“Terrific.” He huffed.

A Kruxian landed on his back and he blindly aimed, hearing it squeal as it tumbled down off of him. He could feel the gun starting to lag as the charge in it was depleting quickly and he hoped it would just hold off long enough so that he didn't get mauled to death by some dinosaur. It wasn't exactly the way he wanted to go.

He felt the pressure on his arm begin to lessen and even though he wanted to wrench it away, he resisted until he knew he could get it clear without any more damage. He felt claws on his legs and he kicked aimlessly as the Kruxian leapt up his frame. Just as it landed on his back, he felt the wing tear enough for him to get his arm free. He pulled it quickly, and energon oozed down his arm. It made the Kruxian chatter excitedly but Ratchet was done. He threw the thing off, as he stood, turning to face the other few that were waiting to spring. He sensed their hesitance, their prey was no longer vulnerable and he wasted no time in levelling the gun at them. They either dived or fell to the side and Ratchet turned back to the wing.

They were nearly inside the Kruxian ship now. He had to help Drift. Knowing that it was either take a shot at the Kruxian ready to lunge at him or shoot through the thin strips of metal bounding them to their fate, he shot without hesitation.

The shuttle shifted and he threw himself down flat, landing heavily on his injured arm. There was a squeal as the smaller aliens slipped, the one that had lunged for him flying over the edge where the wing tip was severed.

Ratchet's tanks rolled, his helm span and his arm was throbbing with the pain.

“Ratty?! Are you okay?!”

“I wish I had Brainstorm's briefcase so I could go back to when you asked if we could go on vacation and punch you in the mouth.”

“At least your sense of humour is still intact.”

Ratchet moved with a groan, watching the distance between them and the Kruxian ship grow and as he offlined his optics, he decided he wasn't going to move any more. No way. If he moved he would regret it, and he'd done enough of that.

He felt hands underneath him, pulling him up.

“Shoulda left me there.” He rested his helm against Drift's shoulder, “Death can't be much worse than how I feel.”

“Move it, before they take another shot for us.”

Drift half carried Ratchet along to where they needed to climb back in, and he winced as he finally caught sight of the extent of his companion's injuries. The white of his arm was streaked with pink, jagged cuts piercing the upper part of his arm and he could see how close a cut was to the fuel line on his inner elbow joint.

He put Ratchet into his seat and took control of the shuttle. He made sure the systems were all ready and jumped them as near as he could get to their next destination.

 

Chapter Text

Ratchet pulled out the medical kit he had stashed under his seat as Drift concentrated on getting them to safety. He caught his worried gaze and gave him a tight smile.

“I've had worse.”

Drift didn't answer but instead checked the proximity alerts for anything nearby. He hoped that the Kruxian's sense of smell wasn't so good that it could follow their leap. He piloted the ship for a short while, checking the systems and status reports thoroughly, but apart from a little shakiness and some extra drag now they weren't so streamline, the shuttle was holding up fine. When he felt he could finally relax a little, he looked back over to Ratchet.

He was fighting with the welder, twisting his arm painfully to try and close the gash by his elbow. Drift engaged autopilot and pulled his chair around to offer his hands out.

“I'm fine.”

“You're hurting yourself.”

“I’m-”

And Ratchet growled as he slipped a little. With a flicker of his optics in irritation, he passed the tool over to Drift and spun his chair around too.

“Just light touches remember.”

“It's not much different to painting, right?”

At the mention of paint, Ratchet opened his hand to check that the flowers were intact and was saddened to see he had a scrape right through the middle of them.

“S'okay, I can do them again. This is more important.”

So softly, Drift took his arm in one hand and guided the welder over the injuries with the other. His optics were bright and focussed. Ratchet was meanwhile concentrating on a blinking light on the communications array so he didn't have to think about how much it was hurting. When Drift saw him wince badly, he stopped.

“Why didn't you take pain relief first? You don't need to suffer.”

“In case we need it.”

Drift pulled back and shook his helm, laughing.
“Oh what in case someone nearly loses an arm?!”

“Yep.” He bit his glossa then grunted, “something serious you know.”

With a sigh, Drift pointed at the medical kit open on Ratchet's lap before going back to his work.

“Take something, before I weld you to the chair and force you to.”

Ratchet started to do as he was told then stopped. He furrowed his brow.

“Is that what I sound like? Because that's my line.”

Drift was poking his glossa out as he concentrated, “irritating right?”

Ratchet rolled his optics and searched for one of the special med grade concoctions he had stashed, something to help top up lost energon and numb his pain receptors a little. When he'd swallowed it down with a wince of disgust, he turned back to watch Drift.

“It's really comforting to know that you're concentrating so much you're poking your glossa out.”

“Shoosh."

Ratchet laughed but it was cut short abruptly by another jab of pain. He spoke through clenched denta.

“That was on purpose.”

“No.” Drift smirked.

When Drift had finished doing the welds that Ratchet couldn't do himself, he tried to pass the welder over but the medic shook his helm.

“You're not finished.”

“You want me to carry on?”

“Sure. You did an okay job of the rest I guess. Not CMO material, and certainly not as pretty as your paint job, but good enough.”

Drift sat back and pouted.

“I thought you were working on compliments.”

“I am! I said okay and good.”

Drift was just glad to see Ratchet back to himself, even if he wasn't in one piece nearly. Apparently the best hangover cure was nearly getting killed. 

After the welds were done, Drift went to go fetch a cloth and wipe away all of the dried energon down Ratchet's arm. He was gentle and tender, expression deep with worry. Ratchet placed a hand on top of one of his and spoke gently, his own face set with concern.

“Hey kid, I'm not dead, don't pull that face.”

“But nearly, both of us. I should be a better captain.”

“The shuttle didn't detect anything and it would have done, who knows, maybe that Kruxian ship had a cloak over it.”

“Maybe we should get this thing upgraded a little, I mean, it's cosy and cute, but if we ever have anything like that happen again…”

“We'll sort something when we stop somewhere for repairs."

“There's a refuel station not too far, hopefully they'll have what we need.”

Drift carried on wiping the pink away seriously and silently, and Ratchet hated to see that on him. He decided they needed to lighten the mood a little.

“You know what every good ship needs? A name.”

“This is a shuttle, it's hardly a ship."

Ratchet shrugged, “might bring us luck, who knows. And for Primus sake, nothing religious.”

Drift narrowed his optics at Ratchet's name taking and words, but he supposed they could name it. All of the other shuttles on the Lost Light had them, but Rodimus had brought this one for the pair especially, new and nameless. Rodimus said it was least he could do after Drift had brought him the Lost Light.

“I'll think about it.”

“So not the Love Shuttle?"

“If I called it that, Rodimus would laugh himself to death.” Drift carried on working, “you know what he said when I called him? That we were on a face-cation.”

“Well…”

Ratchet was grinning widely and Drift shook his helm with a smile.

“Only if I'm doing the work.”

“I'm not going to complain. You ah, gorgeous… thing.”

“Yeah, Ratty, keep working on the compliments and I'll think about a name.”

“Fine.”

When Drift was more than satisfied he'd taken care of Ratchet, the medic decided the favour needed repaying. The scratch on Drift's shoulder wasn't deep and had stopped leaking, but Ratchet fixed it all the same, unable to help himself from kissing near the afflicted place when he was done. Drift hunched himself a little where it tickled and turned back around to face him. Ratchet didn't give him any chance to speak, sweeping him up in a long, deep kiss filled with love and devotion. It had been a lousy day, but he'd rather have no one else to go through it with him than Drift.

Drift pulled away and nuzzled into Ratchet's neck with a sigh. He was obviously still bothered by their ordeal.

“What can I do, kid?” Ratchet spoke softly, brushing a thumb over Drift's face, “I hate seeing you this way.”

“Nothing.”

“I can let you paint a curse word on me?”

“No.”

“Wanna go 'face? I can manage.”

“No.”

“...shall I make you some tea? That helped me this morning.”

At that, Drift lifted his helm and gave him a tight smile.

“I'll make it. You couldn’t make it to save your life.”

Drift planted a kiss on his helm and got up to make them both some tea. Ratchet turned his chair to watch him, feeling better now that the pain had subsided and he was grateful for the more than adequate medical care he'd received. He thought to himself, that as long as he wasn't bleeding out on the floor and the medic was cute, which he was, then it was fine. He couldn't help himself from goading his conjunx just a little more.

“Well I am at least brave, seeing as I helped save both of our lives earlier.”

“Okay, it was a joint effort and you might be brave, but you're stupid too.”

“Then you're even stupider for falling in love with me.”

With a snort, Drift busied himself. He always hated this part, when he had time to think about everything that had happened and he replayed it over in his processor, especially when it came to Ratchet. He was wondering if he could have done anything differently so that the medic wasn't currently laid up in his chair having nearly lost his arm or his life. When it came to making sure the ones he cared about stayed safe, he took it seriously, because he'd been there before when someone he had cared about hadn't been safe. Too many times.

Love was a hard burden at time. Even though when it was good it made him feel safe, wrapped in a little bubble of happiness, when it went wrong it was worse than coming down from a high.

He shuddered involuntarily. These thoughts needed to go, before they inched their way back in and waited to pounce in his dreams.

Carrying two cups, he gave one to Ratchet and sat down in his seat, bringing his knees up by resting his feet on the dashboard and cradling the drink with both hands.

“This one is different.” Ratchet tilted his helm, “how many types of tea did you bring?”

“Not me. Roddy left it for me.”

“...is he good at making it?”

Drift gave him a small smile, glancing out of the window to hide his optics.

“You asking me if he used to make it for me? Or asking if we were ever in the same situation?”

“Well, if you tell me, I'll be satisfied that I know something even Swerve doesn't. You've never given me a definite answer when you've mentioned you two before. I mean, not that you have to.”

With a sip of his drink, Drift wondered how to word it just so Ratchet didn't feel he needed to feel jealous, but he didn't want to downplay how special his and Rodimus’ bond was.

“It was never serious, like us, I think both of us knew that from the beginning. I played hard to get so Rodimus would say, or more like I didn't think he was serious, because why would he be? But eventually it happened and eventually we moved on. It wasn't complicated, we just leant on each other you know, like we still do now. He means a lot to me.” Drift paused, “but the 'facing was good.”

Ratchet spluttered his tea back out and Drift giggled, turning his gaze back. He had been waiting for the right moment.

“You're a fragger. But… you did 'face?”

Drift shrugged, “sometimes. Don't ask what I know you want to ask.”

“What?” Ratchet laughed out the word, diverting his own optics away, “what could I possibly ask about you and Rodimus fragging?”

“Anything, everything, but I'm not spilling any secrets.”

“So I'm better.” Ratchet muttered cheekily.

Drift rolled his optics with a smile and swirled his tea.

He was remembering how he and Rodimus were with each other, and it warmed his spark. It was so different to with Ratchet, laid back and ridiculous, pulling pranks on one another and finding the most risky place to interface. Rodimus couldn't be serious and Ratchet was sometimes too serious, it was like Drift couldn't ever find someone in the middle.

He missed Rodimus, a lot, but he was glad that they were amicas.

“It was a long time ago.”

“I know.”

“You don't have to feel jealous or anything.”

“I don't. I trust you, both, well, I don't trust Rodimus to make a well thought out decision but I trust him he'd never come between us.”

“I just wanted to make sure, I'd never do anything you weren't happy with, Ratty.”

“And if you're thinking about when I caught you leaving his hab suite that time, I told you, go share with him whenever, it means I get to recharge without someone kicking me all night. I understand you have a really deep connection with him Drift, and if sometimes you need him for something that I can't give you, that's okay.”

Ratchet paused, “except fragging.”

This time it was Drift's turn to laugh out his drink and he shook his helm, wiping his face with the back of his arm.

“Yeah, well, I've got that one covered. Thank you, for being so understanding. But, you're honestly not jealous? Even though we had that talk earlier?”

“The only thing I'm jealous of Rodimus for is he's probably not currently in this kind of state.”

“Yeah,” Drift heaved a sigh, “I hope he's okay.”

“Why don't you call if you're that worried?”

“I don't want him to think I'm checking up on him, he won't take that well.”

“Then I'll call. He won't argue with me.”

“I think what you mean is he will argue with you but he won't win."

Ratchet grinned, “exactly.”

Drift checked the shuttle again. They were on course to land at the fuel station soon and he was glad, they were using more fuel due to the drag, plus the jump, the shuttle needed a rest. He glanced at Ratchet who was staring out of the window and gave a tired ex-vent. The shuttle wasn't the only thing that needed a rest.

Chapter Text

Having found the refuel station, Drift had left Ratchet in the shuttle to rest and when he came barreling back in, he was animated, his optics alight with excitement. He gave Ratchet a quick explanation that he knew somewhere they could head to and fix their shuttle with some help.

Ratchet was feeling pretty lousy and so he didn't ask much, knowing that Drift had it covered. He didn't even remember offlining his optics and slipping into recharge.

When he awoke, he found a blanket draped over him and Drift nowhere to be seen. He pulled himself up painfully to sit straight and Drift answered his comms call quickly, still sounding enthused.

“Sorry, I didn't think you'd mind if I left you to it.”

“No, it's fine, I didn't realise I needed it. Where are you? Are you okay?”

“Oh yeah, perfectly. You just stay there, I'll be back soon.”

Ratchet considered taking a stroll out of the shuttle, having seen that they were grounded out of the windshield but then he thought about Drift's fears about Rodimus. He looked at the blinking lights on the communications array and decided to take the risk of putting a call through to the Lost Light. If he could speak to Rodimus, or even Minimus, and make sure that the captain was fine, maybe he'd be able to reassure Drift that everything was okay and ease some of his fears so he could relax.

He was examining the welds on his arm when the video call picked up with a beep, and when he pulled his gaze back up, it was the last mech he'd wanted to answer staring back at him.

“Ratchet.”

“Megatron,” Ratchet tried to be polite, “just checking in, making sure no one is dead.”

“Why? Because the co-captain is a murdering ex-Decepticon?”

Megatron was smirking as he shifted in the seat, pulling himself up straighter. Ratchet flickered his optics in irritation.

“Is Minimus around?”

“I'm afraid not, he volunteered to accompany Rodimus on shore leave, and I agreed it was perhaps for the best.”

“Shore leave for where?”

“Velocitron. Minimus believes maybe the captain needed to burn off some excess energy and spend his time doing something productive rather than continuing his, ah, irritating pursuits.”

“What has he been doing? Drift said he was… he said Rodimus wasn't doing so great in his absence.”

“The usual for Rodimus. Consuming too much engex, throwing temper tantrums, being incredibly frustrating.”

“Ah,” Ratchet drummed his digits against the arm rest, “he's missing Drift.”

“Indeed. And how is your little excursion working out?”

Ratchet lifted an arm with a shrug.

“A little more dangerous than anticipated, but we can handle it.” He paused, “maybe don't tell Rodimus that.”

“My dear medic, I don't tell Rodimus anything, other than to tell him he is being ridiculous when he is. Is there a message you would like me to pass onto Minimus?”

“Yeah, tell him if anything gets really out of hand, he can call and we'll be there.”

“I'll ensure he gets it.”

“Thanks. I better go help Drift uh, refuel.”

“Of course.”

When he ended the call, Ratchet shuddered at the smile Megatron had given him. Maybe he tried to smile nicely these days but the medic thought that there wasn't anything remotely pleasant about it. He still couldn't quite get over the fact the ex-Decepticon leader was on board the Lost Light and acting, well, not so murderous.

“So fragging weird.”

With a wince, he pulled himself up, needing to stretch his stiff legs. So Rodimus really wasn't doing so great after all, he never thought he'd fall apart quite so badly in Drift's absence but hopefully Minimus had it covered. If they really needed to, they could cut their vacation short and make sure Rodimus wasn't going to do anything drastic or really ridiculous, because he was good at both.

Ratchet went over and palmed the external door open, the locks disengaged with a loud clunk and he blinked as the door opened. Wherever they had landed was bright and sunny.

He stepped out and was surprised to feel sand shifting under his huge feet and he wondered if maybe Drift had taken them to a beach like some typical human vacation, but then a strange whispering caught his audials and he turned.

There were a few incredibly furry, round organics stood with their heads cocked at the wing of the shuttle. They were making little shushing noises as they raised themselves up on their two stumpy legs, their two tails flicking behind them curiously. Ratchet wondered if he had anything to worry about when they turned and looked at him with small slits he guessed were their eyes. At least this species actually had them. They bounded towards him with a little scurry, flinging sand in their tracks as they went and when they were next to him, they both pressed their heads briefly to his knee, having to stretch themselves to reach, and then sank back into their fluff as they sat and gazed up at him. The tiny, pointed little ears that perched on the top of their heads between the fluff twitched.

“Er hi?”

They whispered at him and Ratchet furrowed his brow. They sounded friendly enough. He stepped back a little, and crouched down to them, and the one that was a light grey colour came towards him, tilting its head and looking at Ratchet's hand. Suddenly, it sprung forward and Ratchet felt tiny little hands around his hand, turning it this way and that, chirping back to the one behind. The other one pounced forward too, making happy chirps as it examined Ratchet's other hand. Even though he was taken aback, he knew it would seem rude to pull away, and as long as they weren't hurting him, he didn't mind.

“No concept of personal space, sorry. Cute though.”

Drift was striding past Ratchet towards the wing, towing a cart behind him that held various parts, including sheets of metal. In his wake followed several of the fuzzy creatures, all varying shades of grey, brown and black and carrying things too. The two that were examining Ratchet turned and at a short squeak from one of the others, left him crouched dumbfounded.

“So he was right! Two of ya!”

Ratchet stood and turned to where another one of the creatures was beside him, running her hands busily through the long obsidian fur of her tails and she looked up at him with those strange, barely there eyes. They were almost as dark as her fur and Ratchet couldn't quite tell if she was looking directly at his face or just him in general. The voice was soft and hushed, like the way the others spoke, but the abrupt way she talked didn't quite match how he expected them to sound.

“Uh, yeah. I'm Ratchet,” he held out his hand then pulled it in, “sorry, old habit, do you shake hands?”

“Nah, we usually headbutt, but I'm well versed in the ways of the universe.”

She stretched out one of her tiny paws, and hesitantly Ratchet held out his humongous hand in comparison. She barely managed to hold onto the tip of one of his digits but she did manage to shake, to Ratchet's surprise.

“Quite a handshake you've got there.”

“Thanks, I've practice a lot,” there was a small flash of fangs, “oh and smiles! That's something else you guys do too right? Oh sorry! Sorry! Rude! I'm Bssh. Well, as best as I can translate into Cybertronian, and well, if it ain't great, sorry, I'm a little rusty.”

Ratchet tried to hide his amusement.

“Yeah, you're good. Sorry, Drift didn't quite fill me in, where are we?”

“So you're in a little place called Vu, on the planet Preem. Us little guys are Preemas. Sand as far as your legs can carry ya, in your case, round the whole planet. It's hot and the sun's burning in the sky most of the time, nice little home away from home, y'know? Apart from, maybe you guys wouldn't fit in a hotel, y'know?”

And Ratchet turned as Bssh pointed behind him. A short distance away was a busy town, bustling with sand being flicked all over and Preemas jumping and running and climbing all over. Their buildings were all set on stilts, towering above the ground below but Ratchet could tell if he and Drift set foot in the place, they'd be in eye line of most of the buildings entrances, some a little shorter, some much higher than either of them could reach.

Bssh had been right, as far as he could see, there was only this town and sand stretching out into the wavy horizon, where the heat was rising up. Almost as if he hadn't realised how hot it was, his fans kicked on low and he felt better.

“So, just your species on this planet right?”

“Yeah, mostly, I mean, we barely get visitors, it's not exactly habitable for a lot of folks, but we get along just fine! Happy in each other's company y'know? Oh. Maybe not. Sorry.”

“You know Cybertronians well enough then.”

“Yeah, kinda sad y'know, all that killing. Anyway! When my kin Ftch called and told me he'd seen the same Cybertronian again and the guy needed some help, I said yeah! Why not?! Saved my life, guess I owed him some work.”

“Drift saved your life?”

“Yeah, a while back now. Was all on his own, y'know?”

“Yeah. Too well.”

“Oh, well,” Bssh was still bothering her tail, “saved me from something else like him, another Cybertronian kind of, but this one was angry y'know? All teeth and claws, if you forgive me for using one of our expressions. He's a nice guy. So you guys kin or what?”

Ratchet looked back at where Drift was helping the Preemas fix the shuttle wing, mostly taking their lead. He must have felt the gaze on him, because he looked over and smiled at Ratchet, giving him a thumbs up. Ratchet nodded in response and turned back to Bssh.

“We're conjunx? You familiar with that?”

“Ohh like…” Bssh gestured with one hand in a circle then went back to her tail, “as one, what we call it, y'know, you're my one and I'd take on a million, blood thirsty, terrifying Kas for you.

Ratchet smiled, “something like that.”

“Sweet! So, anything I can do for ya? Pretty nasty fight ya been in by the looks.”

“We ran into some Kruxians.”

Bssh stopped bothering her tails for a moment to twitch her ears nervously.

“They didn't, uh, follow ya right?”

“No, we took a jump, got away, not before having to slice away part of the wing and my arm got trapped between the two parts.”

“Yeah, nasty business dealing with them,” Bssh started her fidgeting again, “they're always ambushing our ships. We got a thing for technology, y'know? That's why Nch and Vmm were all over ya. You guys are awfully interesting.”

Ratchet shrugged and motioned back at the ship, “have a look inside if you want. Nothing special.”

Bssh turned to where all of the other Preemas were watching the exchange, quivering, their tails held high over their heads.

“Did I say something wrong?”

“Nah, nah, they're just itching to have a look. Ya pal said that when we were done helping, they could have a look.”

Bssh spoke back to the others in Preemish and they resumed their work quickly. Drift was smiling at Ratchet, before a Preema climbed up onto his shoulder more nimbly that their bodies seemed to imply. It pushed its face against Drift's helm, and the mech laughed as it tickled and then it was gone again, climbing across to his other shoulder and leaping down.

“Ratch-it right? Why don't ya come with me? I'll show ya around, give us something to do. Ya won't be much good hauling stuff around with that screwed arm.”

“Sure. Seems like Drift is in good company.”

And so Bssh led Ratchet into town, keeping up pace with his longer strides impressively until they reached the town. There was a chatter of noise when the other Preemas saw him, and it surrounded him from above. Bssh spoke as loud as she possibly could in her own tongue, introducing Ratchet and he saw a few of the Preemas nervously trying to creep forward. He crouched down again, trying to seem less imposing, and a young Preema hopped forward, tilting her head and squeaking at him.

“If ya wanna say hello in a way they understand, put ya hand out so they can headbutt ya.”

And so Ratchet held out his hand, the Preema jumping back a little as he did, closing it into a light fist. Curiously, she came forward again, making a low noise in her throat and then suddenly nudged her head against Ratchet's fist. She lifted her head and called back happily, and suddenly he was surrounded by them, chattering away and eager to say hello too. Ratchet laughed a little, glad to see that at least there were friendly species in the universe finally.

“So, you guys like tech huh?”

“Oh yeah, I know this don’t look like much,” Bssh gestured around at the town made mostly from  stone, “but inside all of these places are filled with whatever we can get our hands on. We usually go scavenging across the universe for stuff to keep our guys happy.”

“So is that what you were doing when you met Drift?”

“Nah nah, see, I just like adventuring. Seeing places, meeting people, y'know? Gotta always be doing something.”

Ratchet thought of Rodimus and nodded.

“Yeah, I know someone similar.”

“They get themselves in trouble too?”

Ratchet smiled, “too much, good job we have Drift right?”

Ratchet vented. It was pretty hot and his systems were running hard to keep him cool, but he was still feeling weary from his injuries and his overindulgence. Bssh tilted her head, called out to another Preema nearby and then when she got an answer, she started to shush the others away.

“You better not overheat, c'mere, sit under one of the buildings in the shade.”

Ratchet was relieved when he was out of the baking sun beating down on him. He wriggled himself carefully between the legs of the building and sat down in the cool sand, some of the Preema's following him, still tilting their helms at him. One of them seemed to be staring at his arm.

“Thanks. Still recovering.”

He lifted his shoulder of his injured arm when the Preema that was staring at it stepped forward, swishing her tails behind her and patting her fluffy arm with one hand. Bssh had gone back to obsessively combing through her tail and spoke to the one waiting forward, then addressed Ratchet.

“Hmpm wants to know if she can take a look?”

“Not much to see,” he glanced down at himself, “just some cuts.”

But the little Preema had boldly come right up to him, her tiny, deft hands lightly touching around the injuries and she was careful to not cause any pain.

“Hurts?” She whispered.

He nodded, watching as she glanced up at him with shiny eyes and went back to what she was doing. Ratchet tilted his helm at Bssh, but the other Preema was listening to a grey one stood by her side, nodding in agreement at whatever it was saying. Hmpm scurried away abruptly and Ratchet watched as she threw herself up one of the legs of the building opposite, and disappeared over the platform the house was sat on. When she appeared again a few minutes later, she had a bag on her back and placed it down beside Ratchet, rustling through it.

“Uh, Bssh?”

“Hmpm is our healer. She thinks she can help, although, I don't think she's ever met a Cybertronian, but hey, she's hardly ever gotten it wrong before.”

Bssh stepped into the shade, the grey Preema she was talking to gone, and plonked herself down beside Ratchet.

“So, Nrf was saying if you guys wanna stay, we'll do anything we can to help and he'll provide the supplies for your repairs. Think ya need some time here, 'specially if ya shuttle needs fixing and you're recovering.”

“Thank you,” he was watching Hmpm apply something sticky and translucent to his injuries, “we appreciate it.”

“When the chill comes, ya guys can come party with us,” Bssh saw Ratchet's hesitation, “s'okay, just some dancing and storytelling. We ain't wild.”

Ratchet nodded and finished watching Hmpm fix him, and when she was done, she bowed her head a little then glanced up with those small, bright eyes of hers. With a nod, Ratchet held out his hand and she pressed her head to him before scampering away again.

Even though it was pretty hot, Ratchet was glad that they'd managed to find some solace somewhere with others that weren't a danger. He decided after a short rest in the shade, listening to Bssh telling him about her latest adventure, he'd find Drift and hold him tightly, glad they were both out of danger.

Chapter Text

"Domey?”

The named mech looked up from his drink and over at where Rewind was sat on the table, he couldn't quite manage the booths in Velocitron, he'd be visor level with the table if he sat in one. Chromedome knew he was being quiet and he knew Rewind would be worried, but he couldn't help it, he was thinking, about a lot of stuff that he wasn't quite sure how to vocalise. Instead, he defaulted onto making light of the situation.

“Sorry, just wondering about whether Brainstorm is ever going to get us another drink.”

He nodded over to where his friend was giggling with Velocity and Nautica at the bar, amongst a bunch of speedsters. Rewind followed his nod, watching the group but he knew Chromedome better than that and he could tell that there was something weighing heavily on his processor. His field was full of nervousness that he couldn't reign in and Rewind decided maybe he could get him talking if he directed the conversation away to someone else.

“Sooo… has Brainstorm decided what he's doing with Perceptor?”

“I dunno, he gets all coy whenever I bring it up.” Chromedome laughed, “blatantly he's 'facing with him.”

“Pfft, you didn't need to spell that out. I was thinking more if they'd decided to take it kind of seriously?”

Chromedome shrugged his huge shoulders, helm dropped back down again. It was time for Rewind to pull out the big guns.

“Fine, you don't want to talk to the cutie you call your conjunx, that's fine, I guess I'll try to do the brooding, serious thing too.”

And Rewind crossed his arms over his chest and hunched his shoulders up. Pulling his gaze up, Chromedome knew underneath his covers, his face would be adorable and he had to relent.

“Alright, alright, don't do your cute, mean face. I'm just thinking, that's all.”

Rewind crossed his arms tighter. He was going to get it out of Chromedome even if he had to pretend sulk all night.

“Thinking about us.”

That made Rewind drop the act.

“Thinking… about what?”

“Well, it must be nice, for Drift and Ratchet to go off on vacation.”

“You want to go somewhere too?”

“Nah, that's not what I'm saying. I'm happy here, wherever I am with you, whether we're rewatching all of those clips you recorded whenever someone falls over in Swerve's or cuddling up in the hab, or joining in with whatever crazy quest is coming up next but…” Chromedome spoke quieter, “they're really serious about each other, and I want us to be.”

“So…?”

“So…” Chromedome put his hand over his visor, his spark thrumming hard, “why don't we have an official ceremony, a conjunx endura one.”

Rewind jumped up onto his feet, clasping his hands up to his face and squeaking.

“YOU WANT TO MARRY ME PROPERLY?! WITH A REAL WEDDING?!”

The attention was finally caught from the others at the outburst. Velocity gasped happily whilst Nautica pointed at Brainstorm who was holding a hand against his chest.

“Told you! Chromedome would be the one to ask! 50 shanix, hand it over!”

“I didn't think he had the bearings! Damn it CD!”

Chromedome was hunched over, embarrassed by the publicity of his proposal. He did want to do it somewhere more romantic but as he felt Rewind's arms around his neck, he decided he didn't matter, as long as he got the answer he wanted. He tensed up as Rewind hushed softly down his audials.

“Sorry! Guess I got excited! But… that is what you were asking right?”

“Yeah. I was.”

“Of course Domey, I want to make this official forever! We can invite everyone right?!”

Chromedome nearly melted back into the booth. He said yes. Thank Primus .

He picked up his beloved and held him tightly, pressing his face against Rewind's, who giggled happily. Velocity, Nautica and Brainstorm all dived into the booth, leaning over the table, full of questions.

“So who do you want to conduct the ceremony?”

Brainstorm scoffed, “um, they want me Nautica, they don't even have to ask.”

“Where will you have it? The Lost Light? I guess that's where your love story began!” Velocity sighed dreamily, “happily ever after.”

In the booth behind there was someone eavesdropping, sat on the lap of his own conjunx. Tailgate sighed softly, but Cyclonus felt it as he lightly held an arm around him. He knew exactly what the smaller bot was thinking about, and he cleared the static in his vocaliser to speak lowly, carefully grasping his drink.

“You know that is not something I would consider, don't you?”

“I know,” Tailgate shrugged, trying not to feel upset, “we're happy as we are.”

“I meant,” Cyclonus let go of his drink to stroke Tailgate's helm tenderly, “that perhaps nothing quite so public.”

Tailgate quivered. Was he really hearing this correctly? Or was it a joke?

“You… you want to get married too?!”

“It would seem that everyone else has become loved up , as you said, and I would like to make it official that you, my dear, sweet Tailgate, and I, are forever too.”

Tailgate turned himself around on Cyclonus lap to throw himself against him, nudging the table and spilling the drinks everywhere, but neither of them cared. As he held the excited, jabbering mess that was his conjunx, Cyclonus smiled. This is what he wanted forever, his adorable Tailgate making his spark feel like it was a-light with love, and maybe, just maybe they would invite a few friends to enjoy their special ceremony together.

In leaving the Lost Light, Drift and Ratchet had inspired some thinking amongst the couples on board. If the grumpy, bad tempered medic could endure Drift's cheeky ways and scarred past then Chromedome could most definitely find it in himself to declare his more serious plans to Rewind publically, Cyclonus could admit that he didn't want anything but Tailgate being his excitable self forever, Brainstorm could finally ask Perceptor on a date that wasn't in the lab, Minimus and Megatron could share small moments together on the bridge and Thunderclash? Well, maybe that relationship wasn't quite what it could be yet, but there was time.

Velocity jumped up from the booth as the comms came through from First Aid. She rolled her optics and answered it, laughing lightly, the blissful atmosphere around her with friends protecting her from irritation that work was calling. Surely it wouldn't be serious.

“Go on, tell me what idiot has hurt themselves?”

Everyone she'd been in the booth with fell silent and they could tell as her brow furrowed and her optics darted around that something was wrong. Their happy little bubble had suddenly gone bang .

“I'll meet you back at the ship.”

She ended the call and met all of the curious optics staring at her and sighed sadly.

“It’s Rodimus.”

 

By the time Velocity had gotten back to the Lost Light, Rodimus was awake if a little groggy and First Aid was looking pretty unimpressed, even if she couldn't actually see his face. She could tell by the way he was crossing his arms so tightly she was sure he was going to dent himself, watching Rodimus on the medical berth as he flicked his optics open and rolled over with a groan. She nervously cleared her vocals and First Aid nodded her towards Ratchet's desk, neither of them would dare use it still, but it made them feel like he was still there, backing them up. It made them feel better.

“What happened?”

“He's drunk.” First Aid huffed, “what did he expect if he was racing drunk?!”

“Okay. So what are his injuries?”

“His ego has taken a battering for sure, and he's got some nasty scrapes and scratches but he's lucky he didn't break a strut, or take his helm off. He knocked himself offline but I can't see any signs of injury to his processor. Better keep him here for observation all the same, and give him time to sober up.”

As Velocity nodded, there was a knock at the door, and before First Aid blew a gasket, she offered to get it.

Minimus was tapping his foot impatiently as she answered and she ex-vented to try and give her some time to think how to tell him he couldn't come in. The last thing she wanted was a shouting match in the medbay but Minimus started first.

“He's lucky I'm here, not Megatron.”

“Sorry Minimus, but you know I'm going to say that a patient doesn't need any more unnecessary stress in the form of being reprimanded.”

“I'm not here to reprimand, I'm here to make sure he's okay.”

“Oh.” She glanced back into the medbay, “he's okay. Battered, dented, scraped, but he's okay.”

Minimus sighed, “good. He's still an irresponsible, reckless, hot headed fool . But I can tell him that when he's back on his feet.”

Velocity was glad herself that it was Minimus and not Megatron, and as much as she knew Rodimus irked the green mech, he cared deeply, evident by the relief on his face when he'd heard the captain wasn't seriously hurt. He would listen to her, know that she was doing what was best, but Megatron was unpredictable at best.

“I'll call you when he's up for visitors, I know you'll want to speak to him.”

After Minimus left, she joined First Aid and tried to calm the anger in him. She could tell as he checked Rodimus’ vitals he was on the verge of launching into a tirade that even Ratchet would have been proud of, full of stupid and reckless and irresponsible , his favourite words. She laid a hand onto his shoulder when the door knocked again. She felt his angry, hot vent and scampered away to see who it was, reminding herself to never get on the bad side of the usually placid medic.

“Thunderclash.” She gave him a kind smile, “Rodimus is okay, but he's probably not up for visitors yet.”

“I understand, I was just concerned.”

Velocity had to stifle a sigh. Why couldn't Rodimus see how undeniably, hopelessly in love Thunderclash was with him? The big mech was clasping his hands in front of himself tightly, his optics trained on Velocity but she could tell he wanted nothing more than to barge past and scoop Rodimus up to ensure he was as safe as she said he was.

There was a commotion from inside the medbay, and as she turned back into the room, Thunderclash carefully edged in past her, his worry etched across his face.

Rodimus was unsteadily pulling himself from the berth, face twisted into rage as he pointed at First Aid, the medic having stepped back and clenching his fists at his side. Rodimus’ hands gave a little flicker of flame and Thunderclash stepped forward, trying to calm the situation before it ended up with the medbay on fire and someone even more injured.

Captain ,” just a reminder he was supposed to be leading by example, “maybe you should get back into the berth.”

Instead, Rodimus turned onto him, throwing his arms up and grinning without humour.

“Oh look! Here he is! Greatest Autobot in history ever and Primus can kiss his aft! Ol’ Blunders! Go on, say whatever it is you're going to say! You want my job? Let's face it you'd do a better one right?!” Rodimus laughed harshly, “I don't want anyone interfering and that's all you're doing.”

“You could have killed yourself, or someone else,” First Aid snapped.

“Rodimus, you shouldn't be getting up yet, it was a nasty crash and you need medical care.” Velocity looked between the patient and medic, “Aid is trying to help.”

“Forget it, I discharge myself! I don't need this!”

Shakily, Rodimus pushed past them all and left the medbay, his dented spoiler disappearing out of the door, glowing with the heat that it held. First Aid shook his helm angrily and stomped off in the direction of his tool drawers, to lean over it and gather himself whilst Velocity watched Thunderclash carefully. If he was hurt, he showed no sign of it. His face was stoic and he turned from watching where Rodimus was leaving to Velocity. He gave her a small smile and did the thing he was good at, seeing the best even in the worst situations and seeing Rodimus for who he really was, rather than who he pretended to be.

“He takes things hard.”

“Sometimes he's a jerk.

Thunderclash nodded and went after him anyway, Velocity shaking her helm sadly. Poor, lovestruck Thunderclash. Hopefully Rodimus wouldn't break his spark.

Chapter Text

The cool air whipped around them as they made their way back to the shuttle after spending a joy filled evening in company of their new fluffy friends. Ratchet had been pinned down by Hmpm who had taken a liking to him and fallen asleep beside his knee as he'd gently brushed her fur with one digit. He knew she was content by the little huffs she let out every so often. Drift had been in the midst of the story telling, trying to find something else to make Bssh gasp at, grinning all the while, their audience captive all around them.

The little town of Vu lit up when the sun finally relented in favour of the dark, the buildings painted with something that made it glow. There were beautiful, calming hues of blue and purple and green swirled around the long legs of the buildings and splashed all over the roofs and facades of their houses. Ratchet felt content too.

Drift was leaning on him heavily as they walked the short distance to their shuttle, obviously finally feeling the strain of their day weighing on him, emotionally and physically. Ratchet mostly carried him through into their berth room and Drift's optics were dim by the time they'd gotten there, relying only on the small light strips set into the floor to guide them. Drift stretched, pulling a blanket up over him and waited for Ratchet to join him.

“Drift.”

“Hm?”

“I just wanted to say thank you. For everything.”

“Ratty,” he ex-vented tiredly, “s'okay. Really. Y'know?”

Ratchet grinned at the word Bssh repeated endlessly and he wasn't sure if it was subconsciously or to make him laugh. Drift was buried cosily and his optics were offline, but there was something not right. When he onlined his gaze again, he found Ratchet sat on the edge of the berth, watching him with a soft expression on his face and he pulled the blanket up to cover half of his face, slightly embarrassed.

“What?”

“I love you.”

“And I love you too.”

“Really though. Thank you.”

Drift tried to think of something to say back, but his shoulders ached from all of the work he'd helped the Preemas with and his optics just didn't want to stay online. It had been a long time since he hadn't had to fight so much to fall into recharge and he succumbed, mumbling something incomprehensible.

Ratchet watched Drift recharge for a little while.

He'd really meant it, he was grateful to his conjunx endura for everything. When he'd come aboard the Lost Light, he wasn't even sure exactly what he'd been searching for, apart from someone to finally wrestle the CMO title from his grip, and maybe curiosity had taken over when he'd seen who it was by Rodimus’ side. It wasn't exactly like he thought they'd find the Knights, or that they would find Cyberutopia, but he was done with the fighting, he was done with listening to the endless arguing about who was right. Besides, what good was a medic with hands that barely worked half of the time?

At least on the Lost Light, he'd have his own space in the form of the medbay as the only medic onboard and he hoped that his notorious demeanor would keep most of the crew from bothering him. Apparently he hadn't been quite as off putting as he'd hoped, because the mech in front of him had wriggled his way into his life and his thoughts, along with some of the others, and he'd grown fond of them. He was glad he'd gone, even though Bumblebee had looked at him the way he had when he said he was going. It had been the right thing in the end, although part of him wished he could go back and leave on a better note with his friend, one that he'd never be able to speak to again.

He never intended to find anything more than something to keep him going whilst he underwent his own personal quest, keep his restless, stiff hands busy and then he'd gone to Delphi. The workload was suddenly lessened by Ambulon and First Aid, and in the latter he'd found someone he felt confident handing the CMO title over to, eventually. He'd encountered Pharma, dealt with that whole disaster with some help and when he'd gotten back to the ship, he'd looked at Drift in a different way. There was obviously something Drift wasn't saying, even though he'd tried at Delphi, but why else would an ex-Decepticon on the infamous list of the DJD walk willingly into their territory? He was glad that he wasn't the poor mech he'd treated in Dead End, his frame definitely more taken care of and fleetingly he'd think, beautiful. He'd reprimand himself for thinking about what could be, he'd tell himself he shouldn't, because he wasn't right for Drift, damaged by Pharma's ways and the fact that Ratchet was unwelcoming by default.

Drift had kissed him first. Lightly, tentatively, and then Ratchet had let go of the fears, kissing back hard, like his life depended on it.

And then he'd been exiled.

His spark squeezed at the thought.

They'd never be apart again, Ratchet would make sure of that. He owed Drift so much, he'd shown him how good things could be even in the middle of the chaos that was following Rodimus and his quest, where they were pushed to the limit of their abilities and lives were endangered all too often.

So as he lay next to his beloved, he kissed his helm gently, not expecting anything in response, but then Drift was wrapping himself around Ratchet tightly, reaching up for a long, deep kiss. Something had shaken him from his recharge, a bad feeling wrapped around his spark but it faded quickly, and something else was on his mind as he pressed himself into the medic.

There was an unmistakable heat on Ratchet's thigh from Drift's array panel. With a smile to himself, he knew what would ease Drift back to sleep.

“Ratty? What-”

But his words were cut short as the expert hands stroked his panel and lusty kisses were placed all the way down his helm to his neck. Drift uttered a little groan and more than happily opened his panel for Ratchet, the need and drowsiness overtaking any kind of rational thought.

His optics flickered as his spike was teased and stroked and he relaxed back into the berth, the last traces of tension drifting away with every touch. Drift grumbled in protest when Ratchet moved away and then he was moaning as his spike was warm and wet. Ratchet's glossa was caressing him slowly and Drift bucked his hips up impatiently. There was a small chuckle as Ratchet pulled away and Drift begged, he needed this.

“No, don't.”

He was back to whimpering with pleasure as his spike was engulfed and sucked hard. His hands found their way to the back of Ratchet's helm and he stroked it encouragingly, hoping this time there wouldn't be any stopping.

Ratchet didn't stop, but he did slow occasionally when he felt like Drift was getting too close to his overload. He wanted him to really enjoy it so that he couldn't think of anything else and would be able to fall back into recharge.

“Ratty,” Drift hissed, arching his back, “please.”

Ratchet grabbed onto Drift's hip with one hand to keep him from writhing so much and with the other, stroked his shaft steadily as he sucked the head of his spike. Drift was moaning continuously as he overloaded and when he was finally quiet, Ratchet hoped it had helped. When he found his spot in the berth once again, Drift was groggy and incoherently trying to say something so Ratchet shushed him, gently brushing a kiss against his face and wrapped his arms carefully around him.

 

When they both awoke, they felt rejuvenated and happy, and neither of them wanted to move just yet. Drift stretched lazily, laying a leg over Ratchet and the medic murmured in response, still tucked up onto his side, blanket tucked around him.

“Last night was good,” he could hear the grin in Drift's vocals, “maybe I should nearly get you dismembered more often.”

Ratchet ex-vented drowsily, “It was you all hot and bothered.”

“I was thinking about you pinning me against the berth before we got interrupted.”

“Stupid dinosaurs. Look at this though.”

Ratchet rolled over onto his other side to show Drift how his cuts were healing smoothly, thanks to the Preema healer Hmpm and her mysterious bandage.

“Oh wow, that's awesome.”

“Barely hurts too. This is some planet right?”

“Yeah, not in my plans, but sometimes the unexpected is good too right?”

Ratchet smiled. The words made him think back to his thoughts from last night. Falling in love with Drift had been unexpected, but amazing.

“Yeah, although, I think I'll be shaking sand out of my joints for the next few mega-cycles.”

“Well, maybe later I'll wash you again.”

Drift threw an arm over Ratchet, tickling his sides gently with his digits and nuzzling into his neck. Ratchet laughed, squeezing Drift against him. His spark felt like it was humming in his chest, filled up with love and affection and he knew before he'd met Drift, if he'd felt this way, he would have thought his frame was about to give up on him. He was entirely enamored and it was amazing.

There was an insistent beep from the front of the shuttle and Drift groaned, throwing his helm back in frustration.

“Comms. Want me to go?”

“I'll go, if you want to go get started on your repairs again.”

Drift kissed him several times quickly then dived over the medic, eager to do what he'd had planning with the Preemas from the day before. Ratchet took a more leisurely stroll to where he was needed, tsk ing at the sand trail by the shuttle's external door, and sitting himself down in his seat, accepted the video call.

First Aid snapped his helm up.

“Ratchet.”

“Aid?” His tanks dropped, “is everything okay?”

“Well, no one is dead, so I guess.” He sighed, “I just thought I'd save you the rant from Megatron and the disapproval from Minimus. It's Rodimus, he, uh, crashed on Velocitron.”

Ratchet nervously glanced back to the door, hoping Drift was too far away to hear this conversation. He turned his attention back to the CMO with a sigh, rubbing at the back of his helm.

“What’s the extent of his injuries?”

“Well, his ego took a punch for sure, and he was lucky not to have ruptured anything but he knocked himself out and took a battering to his paint. Nothing broken.”

“Except maybe Megatron's patience. He still admitted?”

“Discharged himself. Especially when I questioned the toxicity of his energon.”

Ratchet frowned hard, “he was drunk ?!”

“Not so much that he couldn't drive in a straight line, but definitely so much that his reactions were impaired.” First Aid paused, “have you ever treated him and he's been intoxicated?”

“No, although, he wasn't ever exactly so hurt he needed a thorough scan. Who else knows?”

“Lotty, Minimus, Megatron. Everyone else just thinks he was being cocky, over taking when he didn't have the room. Clipped the other guy and span into the wall.”

“Where is he now? I want to speak to him.”

“Well after he told me mind your own fragging business Faceless, he stormed out and Thunderclash went after him. Primus knows why.”

“That mech needs a talking to, what is he playing at?” Ratchet growled, his frustration rising, “leave it to me, okay?”

“You coming back?”

“No, not unless Drift wants to. I can handle Rodimus from the other side of the damn universe, trust me. Thanks for the heads up, Aid.”

“Sure. Looks like you got into trouble yourself,” First Aid pointed, “you guys okay?”

“Yeah, just some pirates. Nothing we can't handle.”

“As long as you're okay, and having fun.”

Lotty threw herself around First Aid's shoulders, hanging onto the top of his arms. Her face lit up as she beamed.

“We miss you!”

Ratchet smiled, “I miss you guys too. Not had anything too serious to deal with whilst I've been gone?”

“Ugh, Whirl has started a stupid fight club or something.”

“And you're not supposed to talk about it,” First Aid shrugged as best as he could with Velocity on his shoulders, “so we're dealing with dented helms and broken hands every day. Could be worse.”

“Yeah, be grateful if you don't have to treat Whirl. He's the worst patient you could ever have.”

“He's in here every day too, sneaking in, just to laugh before we kick him out. Oh, and maybe there's some graffiti on your desk too, we tried to scrub it off but it's stubborn, and luminous .”

“Great.” Ratchet rolled his optics, “let me guess, something obscene?”

“Well, it says ‘ on-call and on top of Drift’ .”

“Of course it does.”

Ratchet bid them both a goodbye, and when he was done, he decided to give Rodimus some time before he tried calling him. That stubborn, stupid mech had something going on and he was going to talk to him even if he had to go back to the Lost Light and drag it out of him. This was bordering on pathetic, why would he be getting drunk just because he missed Drift? He didn't understand but he'd make damn sure Rodimus explained it so he understood the reason for every last emotion and insult at his friends. Drift didn't need this, if he knew, he'd be cancelling his plans and heading straight back home. Ratchet couldn't recall ever seeing Drift so happy and relaxed, he needed this, just as much as the medic himself did.

Outside of the external door, Drift turned away. He'd heard enough. He'd fix the shuttle and he'd go back. He was happy here but if Rodimus needed him, he'd be there.

Chapter Text

Ratchet had aimlessly stood by whilst Drift had been doing something to the front of the shuttle, after trying the Lost Light several times with no answer from Rodimus and no one able to locate him, even Thunderclash. He could tell the white mech wasn't himself and he'd desperately hoped he hadn't heard any of the conversation with First Aid, but there was no other explanation. The wing was fixed and the Preemas were bustling around the underneath of the ship, and in and out, sand being flicked in every which direction but Ratchet couldn't even find himself bothered by it, he had only one goal in mind and that was talking some sense into Rodimus.

Knowing that Drift was busy enough for now, Ratchet took a stroll away from the ship for some privacy and pulled up the long range communicator he'd stowed in his subspace. Maybe Rodimus would pick up his personal comms seeing as he'd dodged every other call so far.

“Yes? Who's this?”

Definitely the right mech this time.

“It's Ratchet. You know exactly why I'm calling and don't you dare hang up on me. If you do, I'm coming back to kick your aft myself.”

“No, don't.” Rodimus sounded a little less fractious, “what do you want?”

“To know what the frag you're playing at? You trying to get yourself killed?”

“I… maybe.”

“I know you're reckless and hot tempered but this is ridiculous. If you want Drift back so badly, just ask, don't make him come back because he has your funeral to attend.”

Rodimus spoke quietly, “don't bring him back.”

“It might stop all of this stupidness if I do. This is ridiculous , being reckless, endangering your life and others, insulting your crew members, you need to take some responsibility, so tell me, why exactly shouldn't I drag us both back to sort out your sorry aft?”

“Because… it's not what Drift wants. He wants to be with you.”

“Rodimus,” Ratchet growled the word, his patience wearing thin, “if this is just jealousy-”

“It's not that.” Rodimus sounded nervous, “it's… in case I lose him.”

“I'm not exactly going to misplace him.”

“No, I mean… if he doesn't want to come home, which is fine, he doesn't have to, he's happy with you but… what if he doesn't come home because he can't. 

“I'm lost.”

Rodimus sighed, his vocals tinged with sadness, “what if something happens to him? What if… he gets hurt.”

“Oh kiddo,” Ratchet finally softened, “that's what this is about?”

“I guess, I shouldn't worry about that, because people only die on my watch, not yours.”

Ratchet knew that wasn't true, but he didn't want to cut in now seeing as he'd finally opened up, especially when he could totally empathise with the worries bothering Rodimus. It was his worst fear, Drift injured mortally, slipping away between Ratchet's skilled fingers, he'd never be able to take it. He swallowed down the panic at the thought.

“But I just… I let him take the fall for Overlord and exiled him. I didn't even call him, I didn't keep an optic on him, Ratchet, I didn't do anything for him. He could have died out there and I wouldn't have been any wiser. I'm supposed to be his best friend.”

“And you are, he misses you.”

Ratchet turned back to watch in the distance where Drift was half heartedly watching the Preemas fiddle with the shuttle, then turn back to whatever he was doing, his face pulled into an unsettled frown. His spark ached for his conjunx and his captain. They were both obviously hurting and Ratchet could only do so much for them, they needed to help each other.

“He does?”

“Of course he does. I get what you two have, and sure I don't understand it because I don't have anyone I'm that close to other than Drift, but it's special right? The bond between you?”

“Yeah.”

“But listen, you're hurting both of you doing this. He's torn apart, he wants to do this, he's the one that planned the whole thing, but he's worried to death about you. If you want us to come back, so you're not so anxious, that's fine, but for Primus sake Rodimus, talk to us, don't throw yourself into a wall over it.”

“Okay.”

“Okay you want us to come back?”

“No, just okay. I'll talk. Can I talk to Drift?”

“He's just tied up with something but I'll get him to video call you in a while okay? I think you guys have some talking to do.”

“Yeah.” Rodimus sighed again, “Ratch?”

“Mmhm?”

“Thanks. For everything you do for Drift, I know he's safe with you, and you care.”

“And I care about you too but don't you dare announce that over the tannoy, it won't do my hard aft image any good, and I need that to make sure no one bothers me.”

And Ratchet was glad to hear Rodimus give out a slight laugh even if it was fake. He hoped maybe he'd managed to reach out, even if it was only a little, and he ex-vented and continued, rubbing his face wearily.

“We're trying to look out for you, all of us, but you make it hard, y'know?”

Ratchet groaned inwardly at the word. Damn Bssh, it was contagious.

“Yeah, but if I made it easy it wouldn't be me.”

“And I can hear that stupid grin from here. Maybe you should go make any apologies you have to go make.”

“It's a long list, but I'll make a start.” He suddenly perked up, “Oh, hey, you opened the cubby hole in the berth room yet?”

“No,” Ratchet furrowed his brow, “why?”

“Just wondered! Let Drift know I'll be waiting, for whenever he calls.”

“Sure.”

When Ratchet had made his way back over to Drift, he was standing back and tilting his helm at the hull of the shuttle, his optics narrowed a little in concentration. Ratchet stood waiting and when Drift finally spoke, it was quiet and he didn't make eye contact.

“Pretty much good to go.”

“Mmhm, you wanna go sooner rather than later?”

“Um, yeah, about that…”

“You want to go back to the Lost Light. I know, kid. You're worried about Rodimus, you heard the call right?”

Drift lifted his optics, and they were shiny with worry. Ratchet felt his spark clench, he hated to see this on him.

“He crashed. He's always in control when he's in alt mode.”

“Then we can go back,” Ratchet closed the gap and placed his hands on Drift's shoulders, “but, maybe just call Rodimus first, and speak to him. The last thing I want is him to be angry at you for doing what you think is right, and him thinking it's wrong.”

“Okay, Ratty.”

But Ratchet could tell his spark wasn't in it. He decided changing the subject would be better, and turned to see what Drift had been doing. His face broke into a smile.

“You named it huh?”

Drift shrugged, but there was a slight smile on his face, pride in his work.

“Best I could do.”

Drift had written in neat, swirling script, the name of their shuttle, Gone Honeymoonin’ in white on the dark grey of the hull.

“I like it. You looked up what a honeymoon was?”

“Yeah. It fitted, I guess, even if we didn't get properly married before we came.”

“It’s beautiful, like you.”

“Held up your end of the deal too, good.” Drift grinned, but then it fell a little, “sorry to cut it short.”

“Hey, it's been good, and if you want to head back, I totally understand.”

“Thank you,” Drift threw his arms around Ratchet's middle, “you're the best.”

 

It wasn't until later on, when dark descended over Vu again, that Ratchet realised just what an amazing job Drift had done with the ship’s name as he left to let him talk to Rodimus in peace. Whilst the lettering was merely white, he'd painted a blended splash of colour of the same paint the Preemas used for their buildings, so now it was dark, the letters were painted on a beautiful backdrop of glowing blue and green and purple. He smiled. Drift never failed to amaze him.

In the shuttle, Drift was nervously waiting for Rodimus to pick up, jiggling his legs, and when he did, he ex-vented hard.

There was a long, deep scratch Drift could see down along one of Rodimus’ helm flares and when he raised his hand in greeting, he could see the scrapes and dents along his arm. That wasn't the most worrying thing, it was the colour of Rodimus aura that scared Drift. It spelt hopelessness and despair.

“Roddy,” Drift sighed dramatically, trying to keep the mood light, “I told you before, you'll never be as good as me at drifting.”

“And you'll never be as pretty as me, so we're even right?” Rodimus gave a tentative smile, “so how are you?”

“Do I need to say? I don't need to ask you.”

“Listen, Drift, I'm… I miss you. I've done a lot of thinking and I really wish you'd never taken the fall for Overlord.”

“I volunteered.”

“And it was rough on you, really rough, and I didn't do anything to help with that. I haven't been the best friend that I claim to be and I'm sorry.”

“Is this what's this is about? Because of all of that? I thought we were over that.”

“We are, we were, but seeing you go off with Ratchet… ugh this is hard. I hate talking about stuff.”

“Join the club.” Drift sighed, “and I feel that's all me and Ratty have done, talk seriously. We even spoke about Pharma, and I told him about us.”

“You told him I was better at 'facing than him right?”

They exchanged grins. A small respite in the middle of a storm before Drift went serious again.

“I knew you would take it hard, but don't see this as me picking one of you over the other.”

“I don't, I know we've had a lot of time together and yeah you wanna do that with Ratch, but… it's hard, sharing you.”

“Well, unless you want me to cut off an arm, you're going to have to.” Drift smiled softly, “I needed some time Roddy, I had things to work out.”

“Yeah, me too, except I'm scrap at working it out.”

“Then lean on someone, we all care.”

“I know. Maybe. I don't know, it's hard,” Rodimus’ gaze dropped to his hands, “and I know I've been difficult, with everyone, but that's because I wonder why you all care? The things I've done, I'm not proud of, we've lost people, I nearly lost you .”

His vocals broke a little and he turned his helm away, scrubbing at his optics hard with the palm of his hands. When he was recovered he turned back with a shrug.

“I'm terrified to lose you. Again.”

“Hey, you can't get rid of me that easily, remember I'm on Primus’ good side now right?” He grinned even if his spark clenched, “I'm invincible.”

“Yeah, don't we all feel that way sometimes.” Rodimus lifted his arm, “but we're not. It would break me, if I lost you. Just, please come home safely, okay?”

“Yeah, we're coming back as soon as Ratty is back.”

“Nuh-uh!” Rodimus was waggling his finger, brow furrowed hard, “nope, definitely not.”

“You need me.”

“You got plenty more 'facing to do,” he grinned, “and surprises to find.”

You need me.

“Like frag do I!”

But they both knew it wasn't true. It was just up to Rodimus to admit it to himself, and his friend. At the stern look he was being given, he relented.

“Fine, yes I do, but I can wait. I can wait until you're home, okay? When you've done everything on your list. I've got Thunders I guess, and Mags, and Megs, lucky me . At least my conscience isn't as fragged as his. Please Drift, stay, I know you're happy and being looked after, I'd be really mad if you came home.”

“More mad than when I hid under your berth and dragged you out of it when you were mid recharge?”

“Yeah, like engulf you in flames mad.”

They both exchanged smiles again, thinking back to happier times when things weren't quite so complicated.

“You know I'll come. If you want me to, all you have to do is ask.”

“Yeah, but I don't exactly want the doc on my back too, so you can stay out there with him. I'll be fine.”

“Just… lay off the engex, please? Don't end up in the situation I put myself in.”

It nearly broke Rodimus’ spark to see Drift look the way he did then. He was terrified, he could see it in his optics before he darted them away, that Rodimus would end up in the same dark place. The look alone was enough to shake Rodimus from his stupor. He had been stupid to push everyone away because in his processor, if they weren't close, he couldn't feel the hurt when he lost them. When , not if. Getaway's words still haunted his every living moment, they'd all leave, when they realised who exactly Rodimus was. Selfish, a fake, unworthy.

But Getaway was gone now and all that was left were people who did care, who as much as he pushed, they stayed right by his side, even if they weren't physically there like his amica endura. They'd seen him at his worse, drunk, angry and out of control but they'd refused to let him self destruct, putting themselves in harm's way to make sure he didn't.

Then there was Thunderclash. Steady, nonjudgmental, calm Thunderclash. And Rodimus had treated him badly, and now he was ashamed.

“Yeah… I… yeah.”

“And I'll make sure Minimus makes sure you do, if I think you're not being honest to me when I call you.”

“You're going to call again?”

“Of course I am. I just didn't want you to think I was checking up on you.”

“Which you are.”

“Which I am, but only because I care okay?”

Rodimus ran a hand over the scratch down his helm, feeling a little less fretful than he had. At least he had Drift, he always had Drift, even if he was halfway across the universe, he cared deeply and he felt it in his spark, across their bond.

“And, I'll help with your paintwork when I get back, unless, you have someone else to help.”

He grinned but he could see the way Drift was looking at him, optic ridge raised a little and a sneaky smile on his face. Rodimus held his hands up, shaking his helm.

“I don't think even the greatest Autobot in history could top your painting skills.”

“You're going to make me ask how it's going aren't you?”

“Yep.”

“So, how's it going with Thunderclash?”

“Ah I dunno,” Rodimus sighed, “he's frustratingly nice, even when I'm a jerk. I dunno how I really feel about him.”

“You've got time to figure it out.”

“Yeah, not all of us know true love right?”

Drift smiled. He hoped Ratchet wouldn't be long, after all he owed him a wash down and he needed that calmness that descended on him whenever the medic was near.

“Listen, I better go, I've got some uh, apologies to make.”

“To faceless? 

Rodimus winced, “uh, yeah, maybe I should start with First Aid.”

As they said a long goodbye, Drift was glad to see the aura around Rodimus was a little more positive. Maybe between him and Ratchet, they gotten through to him, and he might lean more on those around him and realise that they cared what happened to him.

Drift would never leave Rodimus, no matter what. Not many saw past the ex-Decepticon's history easily but some did, and he'd always treasure those who saw him for who he really was, not the ruthless, cold killer he had been. Life hadn't been easy for Drift by a long shot, and he wanted to make the most of every moment he had of his second chance, and if that meant using it guiding Rodimus through the darkness he'd found himself in, he would do it, without question.

Chapter Text

Drift sat for a while in front of the communications array, just pondering the conversation he'd had with Rodimus. He was hoping he'd managed to make a difference to his amica and but he was still mad at himself for not feeling the strain on the bond they held and doing something sooner. His and Ratchet's conjunx bond was filled with happiness and love, and he'd barely felt the pull of sadness of his and Rodimus’ apart from the time he'd woken up from recharge with a prickling sensation in his chest, obviously from the crash.

He'd gotten wrapped up in his own adventures and the guilt was laying heavy in his spark. Whether Rodimus shouted at him or not, he was going to make sure he rang home more often.

When Ratchet came back into the shuttle, quietly to make sure he wasn't interrupting, he stopped and caught sight of Drift's slight side profile. There was a big flutter in his spark and he clasped his hand to his chest as if to still it, feeling the pull in his injured shoulder as he did. Even though the cuts had healed there was a definite ache and stiffness to it and he was going to take a look at it as soon as he could but right now, his processor was elsewhere.

It struck Ratchet how utterly beautiful Drift was, basked in the low lighting, his white paint gleaming and his expression, so serious but captivating. The red marks on his face that Drift had painstakingly fixed after their paint fight made his optics more defined and Ratchet could get lost in just the little expressions he pulled with them alone. The sharp points of his helm gave the expression they needed to be steered clear of but Ratchet knew how to tickle them just in the right way to get him purring.

His optics dropped to his strong shoulders, suddenly thinking of all of the other parts he loved to kiss.

“Are you quite done?”

“Ahem.” Ratchet dropped his hand, “I was just uh…”

Drift's optics sparkled as he twisted in the seat. Ratchet stared back, trying not to falter.

“No come on I want to hear what excuse you're going to give.”

“Just… admiring the view.”

Ratchet made the mistake of shrugging, his brow furrowing at the pull in his shoulder and the blue optics watching him flashed with worry.

“I thought it was healed.”

Tentatively, Ratchet brought his hand up to his shoulder, prying gently at the seam in his shoulder and he shook his helm.

“It's the joint, it was stiff anyway but maybe I pulled it a little too hard when I was freeing myself. Probably needs oiling.”

“Can I do anything?”

Ratchet grunted in reply and nodded towards the back of the shuttle where their berth room lay. Drift leapt over the arm of the chair and Ratchet rolled his optics.

“Show off.”

Drift merely grinned cheekily in reply and followed Ratchet.

The medic seated himself heavily on the berth, his expression a mix of weariness and pain, and he started to carefully feel at the armour that made up his broad shoulders, wincing when it hurt.

“Let me help you?”

“I just need to lever this a little and apply some lubricant to the joint.”

Drift lay his hand gently on top of the one Ratchet was trying to use on himself, and gave him a sweet smile.

“Let me help you.”

Ratchet told Drift what he'd need to help and then instructed him to climb behind him on the berth so he could apply the lubricant into the top of the joint after carefully teasing the plates apart a little. To try and take his mind off the uncomfortable sensation, he decided to gently ask about Rodimus.

“So, how was he?”

“Not in a good way.” Drift spoke quietly, “but I think I got through to him. I told him, hang on… I told him don't end up where I was. I would hate to see him like that.”

Ratchet hissed as Drift pried a little too hard and he dropped his chin onto his chest.

“Okay. New plan, help me take my shoulder plates off.”

Talking him through it slowly, Ratchet helped Drift take off the whole of the armour on his shoulder, including the wheel he needed for his alt mode, demagnetising it away from the protoform and tenderly taking away the plates one by one. When Drift was done, his vocaliser glitched slightly at the sight of the vulnerable part of Ratchet underneath. It was a dull grey, but it was so breathtaking in the fact that this was the very essence of his conjunx, it made him still with awe.

“You done?”

Drift smirked, “just admiring the view.”

Ratchet had to laugh at the absurdity of it. Drift admiring his protoform, the old, rickety part of him that was falling apart and not so easily replaced. Why would that be something to look at?

“You're ridiculous.”

Drift couldn't help but reach out with uncertainty to touch the sensitive metal, tracing a digit down the top of his arm and sending a jolt along Ratchet's receptors. His optics went wide.

“Primus! Don't… do that .”

“Why? Is it more sensitive than your hands ?” His tone was light, “I need to touch you to apply this.”

He dangled the small container in front of Ratchet's optics and gave him the biggest grin he could muster. Teasing his conjunx verbally was fun, but teasing him with touches was even better. Ratchet glanced at him and relented.

Justbequick .”

Ratchet clenched his denta as Drift's deft hands moved all around the socket joint, gently lubricating and working it to make sure that it was moving more freely. He was relieved that the jarring sensation was gone but the tingling was driving him to distraction. There was something very sensual about Drift touching the very core of him and he tried to divert his thoughts away.

Luckily, Drift provided distraction in the form of a discussion.

“Ratty?”

“Mm?”

“You… trust me don't you?”

“Of course.” Ratchet didn't skip a beat, “why wouldn't I?”

Drift shifted a little. He wondered why he'd brought it up when it was going to be uncomfortable but his vocaliser had worked before his processor could stop it.

It was the sight of Ratchet before him so exposed and knowing that even though Drift wasn't armed, he could still hurt him if he felt so inclined, which he obviously didn't. Maybe it was the small voice of Deadlock that still lingered occasionally making him think that way, but he couldn't help but think of it.

Yet here they were. Ratchet laid bare and Drift's hands all over him. 

“Because… I haven't always been trustworthy.”

And then his beautiful Ratchet, who he'd unexpectedly but joyfully fallen in love with, looked behind and up at him with a glorious and genuine smile.

“I trust you. You're a good kid, I saw that in you from the beginning, you know that. I just wish you'd seen it too.” There was a flicker of amusement in his expression, “now hurry up with those caresses before I let you take the rest of my armour off and see what you can do.”

The thought was tempting, but instead Drift placed a few gentle kisses against the bare metal then helped Ratchet reattach his armour.

With a sigh of relief when he was back together, he rolled his shoulder a few times and even though the pain lingered a little, it felt much better.

What felt even better was the way Drift's hands crept over his shoulders and down onto his chest. He leant back into the frame pressed behind him. He wanted to feel content but as close as he was to Drift, he could feel the unease in his field.

“You okay kid?”

“I think so.” Drift ex-vented, Ratchet feeling it as well as hearing it, “worried still, guilty I guess.”

“You can't babysit him forever, Drift.”

“I know, I know it's just… he did a lot for me, just the little things over the years and no matter what I do for him, I can't even feel like I can repay him.”

Ratchet's vocals hitched a little, “ you brought him a ship.”

“And Rodimus gave me a chance when a lot wouldn't have done, and I know you've done that for me too, but I'm here with you, and not with him. I didn't think he'd take me leaving so badly.”

“You don't sound so sure about this?”

Ratchet gestured around at the shuttle.

“I am, I want to finish what we've started but maybe when we get back to the Lost Light, I should make some time for me and Rodimus. You're my conjunx Ratty, but he's my amica, and I feel like I haven't been there for him like I should have been. As long as I call and there's no more race tracks he'll be okay until I get back.”

Drift rested his face against Ratchet's helm. Unease still flickered but there was also a hint of happy and love .

“You sure?”

“I'm sure. I guess maybe me and Roddy just need to realise things have changed now. Before it was just us, and now it's us, but it's also me and you, and him and Thunderclash. It's a change, but that's not always a bad thing right?”

Ratchet pulled Drift around to sit on his lap so he could look into his optics.

“If someone had once told me that I'd be happy, not as the CMO and with you by my side, I would have asked them to get their head checked, because I never saw it happening. Even when I decided to come on board the Lost Light, even though I knew you were going too, I never could have even hoped for this. But here we are. A drastic change, but it's been the best change in my life.”

Drift looked shy for a moment before he caught Ratchet up in a heartfelt kiss, pressing one of his hands against his chest. When he pulled away, he rested his helm against Ratchet's, a sweet smile on his face.

“I'm glad my life changed too.”

Ratchet laughed softly, brushing a hand over Drift's face. Love felt pretty good.

They eventually managed to separate themselves to cuddle up into the berth instead, facing each other and both falling into an easy recharge.


 

Drift stretched across the berth with all of his limbs, even though he was nearly spread across the whole width, and when he didn't feel Ratchet beside him he tried to bolt up in fear. There was a hand pressing him back down and gentle words to ease the panic away.

“I'm here.”

Ratchet was sat on the edge of the berth, brow furrowed as he read his datapad, hand stretched back towards Drift. The white mech wriggled across to the edge of the berth to wrap himself around Ratchet, still laying down and he yawned, letting his love stroke at his finials.

“Y'okay?”

“Mmhm, sorry, just a message from First Aid,” he turned back to meet his gaze, “how did you sleep?”

“Fine.”

But Drift let out another yawn, his optics dim and he smiled sheepishly. Ratchet lifted an optic ridge but he managed to return the smile all the same.

“Why don't you catch up on some more rest whilst I make sure we're all stocked and ready to go?”

“S'fine. M'okay.”

But the soft petting of his helm was making Drift feel relaxed and safe, and he offlined his optics with a murmur of appreciation.

“If you're driving, I don't want you driving tired,” he kissed his helm softly, “captain.”

“S'called piloting.” His vocals were muffled by the blankets he'd wrapped himself in, “y'sure?”

“Go to sleep Drift, I'll be around if you need me.”

Ratchet waited a little while before he moved, enjoying watching the peaceful look upon Drift's face. He was glad to see it more often these days.

He heaved himself up and busied his hands with some tidying up, when he heard squeals from outside. Curiosity got the better of him and when he poked his helm out of the shuttle, he was set upon.


 

Drift roused himself then spent a short time just enjoying the peace, trying not to let the worry set in about Rodimus again. They didn't have many more places to go on their itinerary and if they needed to, they'd go back to the Lost Light, even if Drift was desperate to complete their journey.

For the first time in his life he had some kind of control over what was happening and freedom to do what he wanted. Now that there wasn't a war to fight for, it would be easy to fall into despondency and lose all sense of purpose, and Drift guessed that's what had happened with Rodimus now they'd solved the mystery of Cyberutopia. He was aimless and without Drift's guidance, he'd fallen deep into a dark place. He hoped now though that Rodimus had seen just how many of them cared and that even though he was captain, he could lean onto his friends if he needed to.

Like Drift leant onto Ratchet. He flicked his thoughts over the entirety of their relationship and he felt content. It hadn't been perfect by any means, but they were happy and in love and that's what mattered. He smiled to himself.

He was still in that blissful, floppy state when he made his way into the front of the shuttle. He liked not having to be so aware and alert all the time, it wasn't exactly like there was danger out here.

As that thought left him, his audials picked up on a noise just outside and his frame snapped back to being tense. It was Ratchet he'd heard, and he sounded strange.

For a fleeting moment Drift considered going back to the hab suite swiftly to get his swords when more noises caught his attention and he made his decision.

He leapt from the shuttle with his spark spinning fast.

His shoulders slumped, the tension slipping away as fast as it had appeared but his spark was still going wild at the sight before him.

Ratchet was sat near the hull in the shade the shuttle was casting, the sun barely just creeping over the horizon, and his expression was stretched into that heartfelt smile when he was genuinely happy. Drift considered for a moment, he looked more than happy, he looked ecstatic and the reason why was something he'd never thought would be.

Babies. Tiny, less fluffy Preemas diving all over him, five of them in all, and all of them more lightly coloured than their grown up counterparts. They were chirruping noisily whilst Bssh and Hmpm watched on, laughing more mutely by Ratchet's feet.

One of the babies climbed up into Ratchet's hand and he lifted it up cautiously, bringing the small thing close and it stretched out towards his face, pressing its tiny pink paws against his chin and squawking loudly in delight.

Ratchet. With babies.

Drift needed a moment to let his spark calm.

When he was finally more composed, he stepped out onto the sand and the small Preemas stopped, going very still until Hmph shushed at them in her own language. Their small eyes all turned to where Drift stood and they simultaneously all cocked their heads in questioning.

“It's okay.” Ratchet soothed, “he's with me.”

Even though they didn't understand Cybertronian, they understood the soothing tones that this other huge mechanical being obviously meant no harm either and two of them bustled towards Drift, their fur swishing as they moved. Very slowly he knelt down so that they could come towards him and he held out one of his hands so they could headbutt him affectionately. Their small cold hands tickled him as they touched him too and it took a lot of will to not withdraw.

“We usually hide them, that's why they're the same colour as the sand and you guys hadn't seen 'em. Our fur changes when we get older, but it means if they can't climb and hide, they can burrow and hide.”

One of the Preemas was demonstrating their digging skills by flicking up sand all over Ratchet's feet but he was too amused with it all to feel annoyed by the copious amounts of sand in his joints again. He even pinched a little pile of sand between his fingers and let it drift over the Preema that had been digging near him. It made a low chattering sound in its throat in protest but then dived into the sand beside him, obviously thinking it was a game.

They'd both enjoyed their time in Vu and Drift wanted to make sure the Preemas knew how grateful they were.

“Thank you for having us, Bssh, and all the help you've given us, if there's anything we can do please let us know. We really appreciate it.”

Ratchet chimed in, “y'know?”

“Ah, Drfft, Ratch-it, you're welcome anytime, y'know?”

Drift caught the smile he was being given by Ratchet and he returned it. Sometimes deviations in plans were good.

Chapter Text

The two Cybertronians were sad to say goodbye to their new friends. Hmpm had continuously headbutted Ratchet's shin and made a sad chirp at him every so often as they stood in front of their shuttle, along with the two kits that were hers winding round and round his legs making loud shrieks. Bssh had told them that they were welcome back any time, the more the merrier. With one last little tickle of Hmpm's head from Ratchet, they boarded their shuttle and set off for orbit again.

“You going to miss your little friend?”

“Yeah,” Ratchet shifted in his chair, “she was sweet. She gave me some more of that membrane stuff too, in case either of us needed it.”

“Did you question what it was?”

Drift's optics flicked over briefly from where he was watching the controls and Ratchet shrugged with a smile.

“Thought I was better off not knowing. So, after that nice detour, you know where we're heading?”

“Yep. Still want a surprise?”

“Yep.”

A comfortable silence settled over them. They were both lost in thought, and whilst Ratchet's weren't especially deep, wondering more about other medics across the galaxy and their own practices, apparently Drift's were pretty serious.

“Ratty?”

“Mmhm my stunning speedster?”

Drift gave him a look out of the corner of his optics then continued, “you ever thought about us… adopting a new spark?”

If Ratchet had been standing up, he was sure he would have fallen. This wasn't something they'd ever talked about before or something the medic had even considered for them and obviously something had sparked it off. Incredulous, he turned to Drift who had the same serious expression on his face.

“ Us ? Being… parents?”

“Yeah. I mean, we both have a lot of knowledge and life experience, surely we'd be good at guiding someone new into the world?”

“Drift,” Ratchet sighed, “we have Rodimus. Isn't he enough?”

“You know what I mean. It's just seeing those cute little Preema babies…”

Ah, so that's where he'd gotten it from. He pinched the bridge of his nose and wondered what to say. He'd never taken Drift as the type to willingly want someone to take care of, his hands were full with Rodimus most of the time, and he'd never taken particular care of himself over the millennia. But the look on his face when he'd asked was sincere, he'd deeply meant it.

Ratchet sighed. The end of the war had changed a lot of them, including the medic himself.

The offhand remark he made in reply he regretted the moment he said it, Drift didn't exactly need encouraging over this.

“Maybe you just need a puppy.”

Drift's gaze snapped over quickly, his optics twinkling in delight and his hands gripping the steering wheel tightly.

“We can get a cyberpup?!”

“Oh Primus,” Ratchet face palmed, “after our face-cation, we can talk about it. Talk, you know what that is right?”

Drift knew what talk meant but he'd obviously forgotten what listening was. He was jiggling in the seat, all a flutter with excitement.

“Ahh, what about names?! And what kind? It'd be cute if we got one that matched our colours right?! Oh! Or two! One for each of us! One to help me when I'm on duty and one to keep you company when I'm out-”

Ratchet chuckled, “Drift."

“Seeing you so affectionate has made me want something to look after okay? You'd be a great parent.”

Drift turned to met Ratchet's optics and smiled softly. This holiday was turning into more than just the quick trips and interfacing sessions that they'd both intended on. Ratchet couldn't help but smile back but he needed some more time to think about this, it was a big step forward.

“Okay. I'm going to make tea.”

“Don't you dare, I'm piloting, I can't and you'll make it badly!”

But Ratchet merely grinned and slowly got himself up out of the chair much to Drift's disdain. He furrowed his brow cutely and tapped his fingers against the steering wheel.

“Seriously, just one klik is all it needs, if you brew it too long-”

“Yeah yeah, save it for someone who cares.”

Drift pouted. Ratchet laughed.

As he made the tea, hopefully not as badly as Drift expected him to, he was consumed about what they'd spoken about. Could they really be responsible for someone else? Someone other than Rodimus?

Ratchet was theoretically capable of looking after anyone but he knew that his temper sometimes had something to be desired and he could find affection difficult, and it made him doubt the proposition. Drift was loving and comforting and Ratchet was sure if there was ever a bad day, his conjunx would never take that out on one that he'd vowed to take care of. It would more than likely be directed at Ratchet, which he didn't mind, he was used to bad days by now.

He gave Drift his tea, and the white mech took it one handed, his brow still furrowed but this time at something on the controls. Ratchet took a seat beside him again, sipping his drink. Okay so it wasn't as good as Drift made it, but it was passable, at least he thought so.

“Is it okay?”

“Mmhm,” Drift didn't glance up, “it's fine. I guess.”

Ratchet rolled his optics at the smirk he was getting and checked the injuries on his arm as he placed down his drink. The cuts were pretty much gone, thanks to Hmpm and her mysterious medicine, and Drift's neat enough welding had helped too. Plus his shoulder didn't jar anymore from the careful massage he'd been given. It made Ratchet think about how good Drift was with his hands and before he could worry about the consequences of his actions, he asked a question.

“Is there anything you ever wanted to do? Like a job?”

Drift looked at him levelly and Ratchet thought better of what he'd asked. The mech who'd been totally lost and listless surely had wanted more but it was insensitive to bring it up. He ducked his helm and picked his drink back up, his hands all twitchy with annoyance at himself.

“Ah, sorry, I should have-”

“No it's fine. It's not like I intended to end up addicted to boosters. I don't really know, a lot of that part of my life is fuzzy and then after that I found something I was good at, so I guess I never gave it much thought. Why do you ask?”

“I was just thinking about how good you are with your hands. You could have been a professional painter.”

Drift smiled coyly, “well not all of us are lucky enough to have our paths spelt out for us, but let me ask you something, did you ever want to give it up? Being a medic? It must have been hard to be told this is what you were supposed to do.”

“Yeah, a few times. There were just so many injured from all the violence and I became so despondent. What was the point? Fixing us up just for us to be wounded again and again,” he gazed out of the window to his side, “but I thought about you and all of the others I'd helped and never seen again, hoping I hadn't because you were doing better things rather than because you were dead. I'm glad I had the clinic, I felt like I'd maybe made a difference with it.”

Drift nodded even though Ratchet couldn't see. He'd put the shuttle into Autopilot, although he was a little hesitant to leave his chair again just in case the Kruxians found them.

He'd never really thought about how hard it was for Ratchet. Whilst Drift himself had been aimless and gotten himself in a bad situation, Ratchet had been thrown into a bad situation with no escape. It must have been hard to be told that this was your life and you had to put up and shut up.

“Well, you did make a difference.” He spoke softly, “and you know someone who is eternally grateful for it.”

“And what now for you? For once, you can pick whatever you want to do with your life. Are we going to carry on helping the hopeless back on the Lost Light?”

“I guess, at least for now. I like helping others across the galaxy.”

“I was more on about the hopeless on board the Lost Light.”

Drift grinned. There were some definitely hopeless cases they could help for sure. He was thinking about what Ratchet had said and he decided to voice something that he'd been wondering about for a while, even if he was slightly hesitant to bring it up with his totally faithless partner.

“I was thinking of maybe taking Spectralism more seriously.”

Ratchet eyed him carefully, “I'm not going to take the piss if that's what you're hesitating for.”

“I know it's not your thing.”

“But it is yours and it's important to you, even if sometimes I say things in jest.” Ratchet held out a hand, “whatever you want to do, I'll support you.”

“Thank you,” Drift smiled and took the hand in return, “but surely now you're retired, I'm the one supporting you.”

Ratchet sighed as Drift laughed.

“Sometimes I wonder why I put up with your cheek.”

“Because I'm cute!”

And Ratchet couldn't deny that as he was given an adorable grin.


 

When they landed at their next destination some time later, they were both ready to get up and stretch their legs and see something other than the abyss of space that rolled by their windows.

Gigantion was near enough a home from home for them, but the inhabitants of this rocky planet were humongous mechanicals, even a Cybertronian like Fort Max would feel small amongst the bigger natives. Luckily, they were all mostly gentle giants, living amongst Mini-cons that helped them construct whatever they were building, a way of life on their planet.

Drift had picked this planet because he knew they'd be welcomed and safe, be able to stock up on whatever they might need and the pubs and music were pretty legendary.

They left their shuttle in a refuel station amongst various other ships that towered over theirs and wandered along the streets that were like Earth's and buildings like Cybertron's. It was a strange combination.

“Nice place, but now I know how we seemed to those Preemas.”

Ratchet tipped his helm back as a Gigantron stepped passed them. They barely came to his hip but he was obviously used to smaller bots around as he nimbly navigated the Mini-cons that filled the streets too. Drift smiled over at him then turned his helm as if he were looking for something.

He spotted the information booth he wanted, and had to lean over the smaller desk that was obviously there for Mini-cons and smaller species alike.

“Hey, don't suppose you could give us an idea of something to go do?”

The forest green mech turned from where he was busy organising datapads, beaming and raising his huge hands in greeting. He bent down a little so he could talk to Drift but there was no need as his booming enthusiastic voice carried so well.

“Ah! A Cybertronian! Nice tae see ye guys about. What are ye after? Sightseein’? Somewhere tae get a wee bit merry?”

“Anything, everything, we're on vacation.”

“Then ye'll have tae visit some o’ the finest pubs an’ get some alegon down ye! An’ we do a tour o’ the factory if ye wanna see how it's made. We got plenty of knick knack shops, things fer ye tae do on a rainy day, which I won't lie we get plenty o’, not tae mention some o’ the history tours. I'll give ye one o’ these,” he held out a small data stick, “ye can download our whole guide an’ pick whatever ye want tae do!”

“Thanks.”

“And if ye need anythin’, anythin' at all, ye jus’ have tae ask one o’ us big fellas alright? We love havin’ tourists, we want ye tae feel right at home!”

When Drift thanked him and left the information desk, nodding Ratchet down the street the medic was giving him a curious look.

“Did you understand a word he said?”

Drift grinned, “uh, kind of. At least they're friendly.”

First things first, Drift wanted to drag Ratchet to go refuel at one of the pubs.

It was Ratchet who was at the bar this time, and when he came back to their booth, his brow was furrowed. Drift was fiddling with a coaster and lifted his optic ridge in questioning.

“What?”

“Now I know how you felt at the bar at Velocitron.”

Ratchet carried on staring at his frothy drink, his shoulders hunched over subconsciously.

Drift moved his gaze away to where at the bar where there were two Gigantron's giving Ratchet appreciative looks. They turned away and spoke to each other, but they weren't exactly quiet as they discussed the gorgeous wee medic.

Ratchet hunched his shoulders up further and Drift had to giggle a little. He leant over the table and brushed a kiss across Ratchet's helm.

“Aw, out o’ luck, Jos.”

“Lucky kid.”

They turned back to their drinks and carried on a conversation about their current building projects. Ratchet gave a shifty glance in their direction then managed to relax a little, especially when Drift reached over the table to hold his hand and give him a dazzling smile.

“So, you want to go see some of the history sites right? And as long as we get to visit one of the music nights at one of the pubs, I'm easy.”

“I think I underestimated you.”

Drift tilted his helm, “what do you mean?”

“You planned this out, a lot, you usually just do something and go with it.”

“Ah, well, this was important. I needed to make sure my conjunx wasn't bored or restless, and make sure he was happy to spend forever with me.”

“Of course,” Ratchet squeezed his hand then raised his glass for a cheers, “to forever.”

Drift clinked his glass with Ratchet and took a sip. The drink was strange, the froth settled around his mouth and it had a weird tangy taste but it wasn't the worst he'd ever had, he was sure some of the cocktails he'd consumed with Rodimus were worse. They decided to only have one before they set off onto their adventure, a history tour was starting soon at the other end of the town.

Just as they were leaving the bar, they had to go past the two Gigantron mechs and they lifted their tankards to them in friendly greeting.

“Tae ye guys!”

“Aye, an’ yer happy ever after!”  

Ratchet ducked his helm in embarrassment, and Drift lifted a hand in thanks, smiling as he tucked his partner's hand onto his.

“Cheers to you too.”

When the two Cybertronians were gone, the big mechs turned to each other, amusement evident on their faces.

“Speak funny dinnae they?”

“When I hear a Cybertronian speak, I jus’ hope fer th’ best an’ nod.”

Chapter Text

The night had descended over Gigantion and after a long day of sightseeing some of the old abandoned cities, Drift and Ratchet had found a pub that was blasting shrill, thumping music just like the white mech had wanted and luckily it wasn't far from where they'd parked their shuttle.

They'd danced and laughed and made a few friends at the bar, including the two Gigantron's they'd met earlier in a different pub, Mach and Jostle. Drift was feeling a little flustered and hot, so making sure Ratchet was happy speaking to his new friends, he slipped out into the fresh air that nipped with a cold breeze.

The pub was nestled into the foot of some rolling hills where great gnarled trees leant against each other, staggering upwards. Most of the other buildings were scattered further down the street and so when Drift came outside there wasn't anyone else in sight. He found an old tree stump to flop himself down onto, venting hard. He was maybe just a little merrier than he'd intended, but there was no harm done, especially seeing as Ratchet was carefully pacing himself and staying away from the card games going on in the corner of the bar. He didn't want it to end the same way as the last time he'd been drinking.

“Psst. Hey. Ye over there.”

Drift turned back to where the voice was, puzzled, and then spied bright, silver optics in the darkness beside the pub. There was a Mini-con leaning against the wall, his long arms folded against his chest that was like a barrel. Drift tilted his helm, curious in his overcharged state but his hand twitched in anticipation of a fight. Not that there would be much of one.

“What?”

“C'mere.”

But Drift was wary and he stayed seated.

“I ain't gonna hurt ye, do I look like I could? Just c'mere, ye look like yer were havin’ a magic time, so why ye out here?”

“Just wanted some air.” Drift narrowed his optics, “it's not a crime is it?”

“Ha. Naw, naw, 'course nae. Just thought maybe I could make yer night even better...”


 

Ratchet glanced up at the big chronometer up on the wall and frowned. Drift had been gone a little while and he was starting to get worried, wondering if something had happened to him. He shook himself mentally, this was Drift he was thinking of, he could take care of himself in any situation. Nethertheless, he tried to contact him with his comms, but the call was rejected. Just as he was about to try again he received a comm ping.

-Outside. Up on the hill.-

Ratchet rolled his optics with a laugh. If Drift had wanted to go for a romp outside, all he had to do was ask. He finished the rest of his drink, bid good night to his friends and laughed again as they cheered him outside.

“Go get him!”

With a shake of his helm, he stepped out into the night air and stretched his arms out in front of him, still amazed at how his shoulder joint didn't click any longer. He would definitely have to do something to show Drift his appreciation.

He turned behind him to where the hills sat crouched in the darkness behind the pub, and he was sure he could see a flash of white right at the very top.

It took him a little while to climb it, and when he finally found Drift sat on the ground, his back against a tree, he laughed heartily.

“After making me climb up there, you'll be lucky if you get so much as a kiss out of me.”

But Drift was still and silent. Ratchet's expression fell away quickly to worry. He took a small step forward slowly; he'd witnessed this side before back when they were in Velocitron and he was wary of whatever outburst he was sure to come. It was worse than that. When Drift spoke, his vocals were low and they dripped with hatred.

“Have you ever regretted anything, Ratchet?”

The medic's audials picked up at his full name. This wasn't going to be good at all. He sighed and crouched down so he was on more of an even level, less of a threat. Drift's flight or fight instincts usually kicked in hard and fast but Ratchet still wasn't sure which of them was going to win. He was vulnerable crouched but he would rather that than have Drift feeling trapped and anxious.

“Some things.” He kept his vocals even, “But then I wonder if I would change it if I could. I'm here because of everything that has happened.”

“Nothing that you know you could have changed without any impact on now? That you wish with all of your spark, you could go back in time and change?”

“Well, if you feel that strongly, we could talk to Brainstorm.” He joked, hoping to shift the mood.

Drift brought his optics up to Ratchet. They were wide and bright and haunted, a whole plethora of emotion swirling behind them and it made Ratchet's spark feel heavy in his chest. There was so much in that look that Drift couldn't say but he didn't have to, it was all laid bare. Drift brought his knees up to his chest and rested his arms on top of them, tearing his optics away quickly.

“Drift? What's happened? When I saw you in the pub, you were fine and now you're not.”

“Sometimes I wish I could just get rid of the first part of my life.” he continued without answering, “just erase it, so I didn't have to think about it. But I can't, and all I'm left with is regret over everything.”

“But, if you hadn't gone through everything you had, we wouldn't be together.”

“No, and you're the reason I carry on, that I try to put all of my demons behind. Try. I really do try-”

And then his vocals were thick with static, sobs threatening to spill out into the night. He pulled into himself tighter, dropping his jaw onto his chest and Ratchet eased forward, hoping that there wasn't any anger waiting to leap out. He was hurting badly, but hurt could manifest in so many different ways.

Gently, he coaxed, “Tell me, what's happened?”

“There was a mini, outside the bar, when I went out to get some air and, and he… he… was selling... boosters.”

Ratchet's fuel lines ran cold. He was hoping that in such a blissful place such as Gigantion there wouldn't be anything of the sort, but he'd placed his hopes too high. Temptation was everywhere.

“And?”

“...I guess dealers can always see a hopeless cause.”

“Drift, you walked away, that's what matters.”

The white mech scrubbed at his face with the back of his hand, unable to move from staring out at the skyline. The tears were cold on his warm face and his spark thrummed so hard he was sure he could hear it.

“You did… walk away didn't you?”

Drift shook as the sobs escaped finally him. It was too hard to keep it all held in and as soon as Ratchet had asked in that caring, gentle tone he could sometimes pull out, he broke. He held out his shaking hand and the treacherous cylinder glinted in the moonlight. Ratchet ex-vented hard.

“I know you're disappointed in me,” Drift sniffed, speaking through choked sobs, “but please don't say it. I know.”

Ratchet sat next to him, back against the tree with just enough room between them for him to close the gap by leaning over into him. He didn't want to crowd Drift just in case he freaked out and ran, but he didn't want him to sit alone either. The fight had fled and all that was left was a broken mech.

“I'm not. I'm worried about you, sure, but I knew this would be a possibility at some point.”

“Because I'm weak.”

“No, because you had an addiction and it takes a lot of strength to fight them every passing day. Not weak, maybe a little tired of fighting it, but definitely not weak, kid, no way.”

“I don't know why, just when he showed me, I saw it and I thought just one last time ,” he was still crying hard, “because it was good, and I… I miss it. That's so bad for me to say.”

“No, it's not, it made you feel good at the time, of course it'd be easy to miss something that was pretty much instant happiness and blocked out all of the pain. That's all anyone wants, is happiness.”

“And I am! I'm happy with you so why… why… would I mess that up?”

“Like I said, sometimes we grow tired of fighting.” Ratchet sighed, placing a hand onto Drift's shoulder, “I'm not going to take it away, unless you want me to, because you need to make your own decision. This is on you.”

Drift pulled his helm up and looked at the vial in his hand. Instant happiness. Instant relief from the pain.

He thrust his hand towards Ratchet, and choked out the words, shaking his helm as he did.

“I don't want it.”

So Ratchet took the vial, sub spacing it so he could get rid of it properly later and opened his arms to Drift. There was a moment of hesitancy, when Drift thought there was no possible way Ratchet could still love him, but the need to be held over took the thoughts and he threw himself into his safe place. He cried and curled himself tightly into Ratchet's lap and the medic held him, murmuring quietly to him, stroking his finials and trying to soothe his hurt away.

“I've got you, I've got you kid, you're alright here, I've got you.”

When he was all cried out, Drift lifted himself and wiped roughly at his face, Ratchet taking his hands gently and lowering them, kissing the marks under his optics. He muttered that he was tired and his beloved nodded silently.

Ratchet carried Drift home in his arms, back to their shuttle and did everything he could to make him feel safe and that he wasn't angry or upset. He wiped Drift's face carefully and swaddled him in blankets. He held him until he stopped shaking and fell fitfully into recharge. He stayed there, holding him tightly, feeling sad. Part of him was telling him he should be angry and upset, but he couldn't find it in himself. Drift had nearly wrecked his life, and a fleeting moment of wanting had nearly set him down that path again, but he'd reached out, he'd known it was wrong and so Ratchet couldn't be angry. He was angry, with the circumstances that meant Drift had been on that path in the first place, and sad that he couldn't take the pain totally away from him.

Tomorrow was a new day and hopefully it would be a better one.


Ratchet startled from his rest. There was something wrong, and when he found the berth empty, he threw back the blankets and raced into the shuttle, where would Drift go? And what would he do? He needed to find him, bring him back, make him feel safe. He-

Drift was sat in the open external door of the shuttle. He was kicking his legs out lazily and he turned, giving Ratchet a small, still sad smile. Ratchet stopped, relief flooding through him so fast he thought he might collapse.

“Hey kid. How you feeling?”

“I'm okay. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I'm fine.” He nodded, unclenching his fists, “you sure?”

“I'm sure Ratty.”

He turned his attention to back outside and Ratchet had to lean back against the cupboards behind him to brace himself. He would have torn Gigantion apart looking for him if he'd had to but now he knew where he was, he was weary suddenly. Drift was safe at least, he could work on the rest.

“So, you got any plans for today? Or you wanna take it easy?”

“I'm good. You wanted to go for a drive right? And that tour of the Alegon factory?”

“It's not just about me, it's about you too.”

Drift didn't seem to be listening any more, he'd shifted forward a little, looking ready to spring up.

“Drift?”

“Have you seen it?” He pointed out into the sunshine, “I saw it last night, just before we went in the bar.”

Ratchet hung out of the door, careful of where Drift was between his legs and spotted what it was he was talking about. He heaved a sigh.

There was a cyberdog, sniffing about around another shuttle, nudging its pointed snout in what looked like a spilled puddle of energon. It was dark blue, grimy with dirt and tall but slight. The long tail hung down lowly and its sharp ears were twitching constantly.

“Oh Primus. Don't , I know what you're thinking, it could belong to someone.”

“If it does, they're not looking after it.”

It bolted suddenly and then the door to the shuttle it was sniffing around opened, a big booming laugh echoing out, oblivious to the poor thing that they'd disturbed. Drift watched as the retreating form of the dog limped into the undergrowth that lay not far away and he frowned. Something wasn't right.

Ratchet kissed the back of his helm and pulled himself back into the shuttle. It was enough of a distraction for now.

“You fuelled yet?”

“No,” but he knew he was running low, spent from a night of high emotion, “waited for you.”

“Well, if you still want to go for that drive, you better come join me.”

Drift turned, smiling cheekily. He'd finally found some of his old self buried under the grief and the pain.

“Any chance of going back to the berth before we go?”

“Aye, ye wish, boyo,” Ratchet grinned, “but after you got my hopes up last night, I want that outdoor experience.”

Drift pulled himself up with a small laugh. He wasn't sure what he would do without Ratchet, but he was sure he'd still be a lost soul wandering, searching for something.

His optics glanced back towards the undergrowth. A lost soul, like the dog.

Chapter Text

Drift and Ratchet found a different pub to go spend some time in later on that evening, and instead of the loud, thumping music they'd had the night before, there was a live band playing. Mach and Jostle were meeting them there too, but there was no sign of them when they found a booth to go sit in. After a tour of the factory where the Alegon was made and the incident the night before, Drift made the sensible decision to not drink, and Ratchet tried to refuse too, but the white mech wasn't having it.

“It's fine, you can be sensible. Well most of the time.”

When Mach and Jostle finally turned up, they were wearing serious expressions, and Ratchet asked what was going on.

“Ah, jus’ some wee lad from work,” Mach shrugged his bronze shoulders, “boss told him tae leave an’ come back when he had his scrap together.”

“Why?”

Drift was watching the band play, only half paying attention to the conversation when the next part of it intrigued him. He dropped his helm and turned it back a little to listen.

“Ye could see it in his optics, he was wired, couldnae stop his hands shakin’. Sad when they get hooked on tha’ stuff.”

“Aye, Jos, but some kids dinnae think they got anythin' else. S’our problem, ye ken? Maybe if we looked after 'em a bit better they wouldnae have tae.”

Ratchet tried not to draw attention to how he was watching Drift carefully, but the latter knew how to conceal both his field and his expressions when he needed to. He tapped his fingers on the table, gaze back on the band as he spoke.

“Thought it was a Cybertron only problem.”

“Naw, ye always find scumbags somewhere, eh? An’ poor souls tae get hooked on tha’ stuff. Wish we could jus’ help ‘em all.”

“Aye,” Mach nodded, “we try, dinnae we?”

“What do you do?” Ratchet tried not to look at Drift again, “to help them?”

Jostle held out an olive hand, “Ma brother, well he's nae, but he is if tha’ makes sense, runs a clinic downtown. Gets them off tha’ stuff, sends them tae us, an’ we show them there's nowt better than a hard day's graft. Boss usually gives ‘em a chance, til they show up off their helms.”

“That's kind of you.” Drift said softly, “especially to give them a second chance.”

“Aye, we all deserve a second chance.” Jostle knocked against his chest, “I used tae hae a problem with tha’ stuff maself.”

Ratchet was surprised when he gestured at the tankard in front of him, and realised that it didn't have the frothy top that Mach's did. For mechs that spent their time either building or in a pub, it didn't seem to fit, but Ratchet supposed that addictions weren't fussy about who they latched onto. Drift was an example of that.

“You're in a bar ?”

“Aye, I dinnae drink tha’ stuff anymore, but I can still go out with ma pal. He keeps me on th’ straight an’ narrow.”

And as Jostle slapped a hand onto Mach's shoulder, Ratchet saw how he ducked his helm slightly embarrassed but when he flicked his gaze over, there was a look of love there too. Mach didn't see the expression, his attention pulled away by the band starting up their next song. Ratchet gave Jostle a small smile and the bigger mech shrugged slightly in return.

Drift suddenly excused himself, climbing over Ratchet and out of the door in a flash of white. Ratchet sighed as the two Gigantron's faces fell, worry radiating between them in their fields.

“Did we right upset him?”

“Sorry pal, didn't mean tae.”

“He's just been struggling with his own stuff.”

“Ahh he'll be a’right! He's got ye! Lucky thing!”

They both laughed, trying to lighten the situation, Mach leaning into Jostle affectionately. Ratchet smiled and excused himself too, hoping Drift hadn't gone far.

He found him outside leaning against the wall by the entrance, chin down on his chest and arms folded. His optics were narrowed and Ratchet couldn't quite read how he was feeling, so he stayed back cautiously, not wanting to crowd him.

“You wanna go?”

Drift shook his helm once.

“No. I just wanted a moment to think.” He gestured back into the bar, “you were right. Some days it's just harder to fight than others.”

“Oh.”

Drift lifted his helm, “oh?”

Ratchet met his optics seriously before he broke out into a big grin, hitching his shoulders up a little.

“Well, if I was going to hear you were right I would have maybe asked for it to be written down or recorded so I can look back on this moment.”

Drift laughed, “yeah, okay. Let's go back in and try to have a better night.”

As he pushed himself away from the wall, and Ratchet had started through the door, he saw the glint of dark optics watching him in the dark out of the corner of his gaze. He turned his helm slowly and kept his frame still but then the dog turned, hopping away, too quick for him to confirm what he feared was true. He sighed.

He wasn't sure what it was about the dog, but it was bothering him. Despite what Ratchet said, he was sure it wasn't being looked after and maybe after being on his own with no where to go for so long, he could recognise a kindred spirit. He decided that he'd try and at least find out if anyone in Gigantion knew anything about it and he was definitely going to leave some energon out for it, even if Ratchet tsked and sighed.

When he got back into the bar, Mach was rising, bending over and resting his hands on his knees to talk to Drift. His amber coloured optics were twinkling and a grin tugged at his features. His voice was conspiratorial when he spoke, his usual booming vocals gone.

“I jus’ been told, yer a real card player.”

“Ah.” Drift looked at where Ratchet was smirking, seated again, “kind of.”

“They got a pool goin’. Ye beat ol’ Fingers over there three times an’ ye win the lot.”

Drift raised an optic ridge, “I'm not that good.”

“What ye got tae lose bairn? Except th’ 500 shanix it costs tae enter.”

His optics went wide, “so how big is the pot of winnings?”

“Jos, what th’ winnin's at?”

“Las’ I heard, near enough 50,000 shanix pal.” Jos whistled, “what would ye dae with tha’?”

“It’d give yer brother a good start with supplies that's fer sure.”

Drift flicked his optics over to where there was a dark bronze mech in the corner, shuffling cards through long, thin hands. For a Gigantion, he wasn't the biggest, and the cards Drift would still be able to manage in his small hands, although he wasn't sure how he would be able to pull off sleights with them. He shook himself mentally, his optics narrowing as he took in the mech seemingly oblivious to everyone around him and he realised what it was that was different. There was only a very faint hue of colour around him, his aura barely on display.

He decided to ask what he was going to anyway, even if he suspected he was right.

“Why is he so good? He must have beaten a lot to have that kind of money.”

“Some say he can read yer mind.” Mach whispered conspiratorially, tapping a digit against his smooth helm, “some say, he gets a feelin’, a tinglin’ down his back strut when he knows he's ontae a winner.”

“Load of scrap!” Jos laughed, “he jus’ cheats.”

Drift considered it a moment longer, but there was no way he could do it. He'd beaten Ratchet because he was a lousy card player and Drift knew how to work the cards. A player like that, sitting on a hefty prize would be too good. As he went to decline, Ratchet sipped at his drink and chimed in.

“I'll give you half the entry.”

“Ratty!”

Drift narrowed his optics, the entry fee wasn't the issue but it encouraged their new friends to join in.

“Aye, I'll give ye 50, Mach, ye in?”

“Sure, how come nae? Ye got 150 shanix lad? Yer love over there believes in ye.”

Drift turned his attention back to where Ratchet was looking at him carefully, a small, slightly smug smile on his face. He gave him a nod, and Drift sighed. He knew what he was up against and it was going to be hard, but he supposed he had the best chance out of anyone, and he didn't need the money, but he knew exactly what he'd do with it.

“Fine, but you know what? If I lose, this was all your idea and you buy my drinks the rest of the night.”

“Wahey! A'right Fingers? This laddie over here says he can kick yer aft!”

“That's not-”

But Drift was already being carted towards the table in the corner by Mach and Ratchet was laughing. Even if Drift didn't win, it still gave him something to think about for a while other than the ache in his spark Ratchet was sure he must be feeling.

Not many paid attention to the small Cybertronian sat at Fingers’ booth, some nudging and laughing as he dished out the cards, waiting for the inevitable, but when Drift snatched the first victory out of thin air, those who were laughing came creeping closer.

The bar had fallen silent, the band having stopped when the crowd had cheered as Drift won the second game, booing when he lost the next to Fingers.

It was incredibly difficult to read an aura when it was tucked so tightly in on someone and their field was flattened against themselves so that you wouldn't feel even the biggest flash of anger but Drift tried. He disguised his true feelings at times, throwing a faked one every so often, but when Fingers realised he was doing that, he concentrated fully on the cards instead of trying to read Drift's own aura.

Ratchet was at Drift's side, steady and calm like he always was. It helped, like it always did.

Fingers laid his cards face down onto the table.

“Fold.”

Drift was frustrated, this was the third time in a row that the mech had folded and they'd been forced to restart. As the cards got shuffled again, Drift watched carefully.

“Yer turn tae deal.”

Fingers had bright golden optics that seemed able to unnerve anyone around the bar with one flick. But not Drift. He prided himself on his nerves of steel and steady hands, it had gotten him this far and he wasn't about to let it fail him now.

Three cards were laid down. Jack. King. Jack.

Drift nodded and Fingers gestured for him to turn over the next. Ten. He gestured again. Three.

With a small smile, Fingers laid down his cards, a pair of tens.

“Full house.”

Drift tapped his cards neatly against the table, his gaze on the back of them. He wasn't giving anything away until he was ready but Fingers was sure he'd seen a flicker of hesitation as he'd placed the last card down.

“Well?”

“Four of a kind.”

Drift threw the two Jacks he had down. There was silence. Fingers met his optics carefully and Drift smirked.

“Frag! EH! HE FRAGGIN’ DID IT!”

Mach hauled Drift to stand and the bar erupted in cheers, sounds of metal clashing together as there were hugs and high fives and shoulders being patted all around. Jostle lived up to his name, excitably throwing himself around the crowd, whooping and laughing. Ratchet threw an arm around Drift's shoulder and had to shout above the noise, nuzzling into his neck.

“I knew you could do it!”

“Only because you're by my side.” Drift nuzzled back against him.

“Ahem.” Fingers drummed his hand on the table, “If ye’d all shut up, I'd like tae give this wee lad his winnin's.”

Drift was given a large pouch across the table and he took it with a nod. The bar erupted again, and Drift fished in the bag, examined the coins and handed them to Ratchet.

“Could you go put that behind the bar so everyone can have a drink?”

“Sure.”

When Ratchet had left, Fingers leant over the table, clasping his hands together with a smile.

“Spectralism aye?”

“And some cheating,” he shrugged, “sorry.”

“Aye well that's expected. Th’ entry price is high, so I dinnae get na numpties, but ye deserve it. What ye aff tae use it fer?”

Drift looked down at the bag.

“Something to help others.”

“Aye, thought as much.” Fingers sat back, combing the cards back in, “all deserved bairn.”

Drift thanked him and left the table, digging out some more coins and sub spacing the rest. When he got back to their table, he found Mach and Jostle laughing along with Ratchet, and he slid in the booth, placing the coins on the table.

“Here's your shanix back.”

“Eh? But this is ten times what we gave ye?!”

“Think of it as an investment in a loser. Coming back to the shuttle Ratty?”

“Sure kid.”

“Aye, yer sound boyo, ye ken tha’?”

Drift smiled at Mach, glad to see the genuineness in his face as he said it. It was hard for him to make new friends, always too worried about being judged on his past, but here where he could hide from some of his demons at least, it was nice to see that others liked him for who he was now. He glanced over at Jostle too who was wearing a hearty smile.

“Thanks. We've really enjoyed our time here.”

“Aye an’ we've enjoyed yer company. Ye two hae been a right laugh.”

Jostle raised his tankard, “cheers tae ye!”

Ratchet slipped an arm around Drift's waist as they wandered back through the darkness. There was a stillness to the air and less of the cold seeping right through their plates, and Drift felt safer and more comforted than the previous night. Even though he'd had to face one of his worse fears, the one of leaping right back down into the abyss of addiction, he liked it here with the friendly company and the relaxed pace of life. It was giving him some time to heal and importantly some time for Ratchet to take it easy.

He eyed his conjunx out of the corner of his vision with a small smile and Ratchet caught it.

“Better night right?”

“Much better.” He squeezed Ratchet against him, “and I even picked up a hot mech to take home with me.”

“Who? I don't see anyone.”

Drift nudged him playfully. This was definitely a better night.

When they got back to the shuttle though, Drift stopped, pulling Ratchet back with him just as they got close.

The dog was back, this time sniffing around their shuttle and its dark colour had given it cover under the shadow of the wing before either mech had noticed its movements. It picked its head up quickly, turning to them and arching its back defensively. The dark optics darted between them both, but Drift had seen what he'd suspected earlier.

“She’s missing the lower part of her back leg,” he crouched, “I don't think she's anyone's.”

Ratchet groaned, “Drift c'mon. And how do you know she's a she?”

“Look at her, she's beautiful.”

He did a low whistle and the dog looked nervously at his outstretched hand, trying to decide what to do with this mech. He wasn't as loud or as big as some of the others who could be overwhelming and imposing, but there was something unsettling the dog about him. 

The scent of energon danced under its sensitive nose and it relaxed just so slightly at the thought of sustenance.

“Probably starving.”

“That's why she's out here, she can smell the energon in the ships.”

“You don't think… it isn't a dog?”

Drift wanted to look up at Ratchet but he didn't dare move in case he scared it off. Instead he sighed softly.

“I hope not. She seems like a real dog.”

“And Dominus-”

“Yeah okay. Can you scan her? If I get her close?”

“I can try, but look, we can't just take it around the galaxy with us Drift, dogs need space, they need somewhere to sleep, they need a lot of things.”

“They need love.” Drift spoke gently, “and she needs a lot."

Ratchet moved his optics from the cowering creature to his beloved. What it was about the dog that had made Drift want to try to help he wasn't sure, but watching him be so patient and so kind touched him. He was always more focussed when he had something in particular to latch onto and maybe earning the dog's trust would keep his thoughts away from his nearly self destructive behaviour from the previous night.

“...you get her close enough and I'll try.”

The dog was watching nervously, rear quarters near enough pressed against their shuttle, struggling with an internal fight between instincts of fleeing from predators and the gnawing pain of needing fuel.

Drift whistled lowly again, and just as it began to take a step, a shout in the distance disturbed the moment and the flight instinct took over. It bolted away under the wing and dived between some other shuttles, a flick of the low tail the last thing either of them saw of it.

Drift sighed, his whole body dropping with the loss.

Ratchet patted his shoulder, “you can't win them all, kid.”

Chapter Text

The dog weighed on Drift's mind all the way down to the clinic. He'd asked at the information point where it was, and the mech gave him a puzzled look before telling him in which direction to go. He'd left Ratchet behind in the shuttle, snoring softly and he smiled at the thought. After this he was going back to the shuttle, burying himself back into the blankets and wrapping himself around the medic. Well, if he could keep his mind off the dog anyway.

The clinic was only a small building, tucked away around the back of several smaller shops and Drift wasn't sure it was the right place until he saw the small sign beside the door. He felt a small stab of panic, thinking back to when he'd been in a similar place but for an entirely different reason. He might have been out of it when Orion Pax had carried him into Ratchet's clinic but he could still remember the medicinal smell, the drab walls and the medic himself when he was finally recovered enough to be upright. Ratchet had been much younger and, Drift recalled, seemingly more hopeful. The war had definitely taken its toll.

He ex-vented hard, and knocked.

The Gigantron that answered wasn't quite as big or as imposing as Mach or Jostle, slim and painted in a similar fashion to Ratchet, although his red paint was much darker and earthier. He smiled warmly and tilted his helm. His voice was a deep and comforting rumble.

“Alright, name's Vigor, what can I dae fer ye?”

Drift rubbed the back of his neck, feeling slightly intimidated by the rust coloured optics that he felt could see right through him.

“Um, hi, so, me and my conjunx met your brother, Jostle, at a bar the other night. We're on a vacation here, but he mentioned the work you do, and well, I just wanted to let you know I appreciate it.”

“Aye, I thought ye had tha’ haunted look about ye. Ye need tae chat?”

Vigor leaned into the doorframe, his expression still warm and Drift realised that his field was radiating a comforting presence, like Ratchet's usually did. It helped steady his nerves a little but he was still unsure as to how Vigor was going to take the next part of the conversation. He calmed his venting and started.

“No, I'm good, but thank you. I actually wanted to give you something.”

Drift pulled out the pouch from his sub space and held it forward. Vigor cocked his helm with a hearty laugh, bemused by the situation. A Cybertronian with, he could tell quite clearly, a past addiction of some kind, acting shifty on his doorstep. That wasn't unusual in itself but the pouch he held out looked heavy, not like it was filled with illicit substances for a change.

“What's this here then?”

“I… it's shanix, not… anything bad. I don't need it. I want you to have it.”

“Boyo, ye pullin’ my strut or what?”

“No, honestly,” Drift placed a hand against his chest over his spark, “I needed a place like this, a long time ago, and I understand how hard it is to help if you don't have the funds and supplies, and well, hopefully you won't have to worry about that for a while.”

There was a small pause as Vigor narrowed his optics a little. Slightly untrusting and wary of what could be waiting every time he answered the door was part of his job description and more often than not, it was never something good waiting for him. He looked at the seriousness on Drift's face and realised he was telling the truth, but he wasn't sure if it was the whole truth.

“Is it nicked?”

“No! If you don't believe me, talk to Jostle, he was there when I won.”

“An’ how much ye suppose is in there?”

“Maybe about 52,000, give or take. I used a little, but I won it fair and square.”

Almost , his mind thought.

Vigor frowned. The only way he was going to be able to be willing to let Drift in was if he knew that this wasn't a nasty trick, so he turned slightly back into the clinic, huge mass still blocking the doorway whilst he called Jostle.

“Alright Jos, s'me. Aye, listen I got some wee Cybertronian here tryin’ tae hand me about 50,000 shanix. Says he kens ye. Aye. Aye. Aye he said. Thought as much,” he eyed Drift then turned again, “aye, fairs fair. I dunno pal, I'll catch ye later, alright?”

He ended the call and nodded Drift inside, his fears finally settled at his adopted brother's words.

“Ye better come in.”

Drift pulled his hands back in close to his chest, still clutching the pouch, and followed Vigor through the huge entrance who closed the door behind him.

The clinic was small, with a little waiting room and a couple of doors leading to what Drift gathered were treatment rooms. The walls had definitely seen better days, some of them patched up in many places and Drift wondered if Jostle and Mach had helped seeing as they were builders. He glanced up at the ceiling and he could see that it had been subjected to some patching too and he wasn't surprised that with the sheets of rain he'd witnessed earlier on that morning that the roof had taken a battering.

He was glad to see that if Vigor ever did accept the gift, the shanix would most definitely be put to good use. As he glanced over at the now very serious mech though, he wondered if he'd be going back to the shuttle with his subspace weighed down with riches that would be better off elsewhere.

Vigor gestured to one of the rickety seats, luckily there were smaller ones for Drift to perch on, as the Gigantron took one of the bigger ones. It gave out a creak as he sat and his optics settled on something outside one of the scratched windows.

“So, Jos, ye ken his story aye?”

“Yeah, he told us, briefly.”

“Was a right shame, th’ state he got himself intae.” Vigor's vocals were lower now, filled with regret and sadness, “Wish he'd told me sooner, but he musta thought I would hae judged him. We'd been pals a long ol’ time, an’ I ken he wasnae himself, an’ it all started when someone he ken died on th’ job. Can be dangerous ye ken, all tha’ building. Anyways, ye ken his story, ye ken mine, so what's yers? Dinnae ken yer name.”

“Drift.” He shifted in his seat, “I... I got addicted to boosters, syk.”

“Naw nice stuff,” Vigor frowned, “yer lucky tae be here.”

“I know. I have a good reason. My conjunx,” he gestured around at the clinic, “I got taken to his clinic, by Orion Pax after he found me on the streets overdosing. I'd like to tell you he got me back on my feet but, well, life doesn't always work out that way right?”

“Naw.”

“But I have him now, and he did a lot for me, and I know running the clinic was hard, so,” he placed the bag on a chair between them, “I wanted to give you a chance, to help more.”

There was another silence, both mech's staring each other down; Vigor trying to weigh up in his processor with what to do and Drift fidgeting, hoping he would take the much needed financial aid.

“Ye beat Fingers Jos told me. Must be one hell o’ a card player.”

Drift shrugged, “got lucky I guess.”

Vigor leaned forward, linking his hands together and nodding. When he was serious like that he could be pretty intimidating, but his field was still radiating with reassurance.

“An’ ye turned yer life ‘round, kiddo?”

“I have.”

“An’ yer sure ? About this?”

He gestured at the huge amount of money between them and Drift met his gaze, nodding back trying to look as genuine and honest as he could.

“I am.”

“Well then,” Vigor straightened, “s’greatly appreciated pal, ye jus' promise me one thing in return?”

Drift was wary of the intensity in Vigor's optics and the stern look across his face. He was hoping he wasn't going to make him promise to never go down that road again, because he'd obviously not quite gotten over it and he'd hate to break a promise, even if he wasn't sure he'd see Vigor ever again.

“Okay?”

“Give yerself a break wee'un.” He emphasised each word in his calm rumble, “It takes time, a lot o’ it, tae get over this sorta thing. I can see it in yer face, th’ nervousness in ye. Not an easy road tae travel, an’ there's plenty o’ bumps on th’ way, but ye keep yer sights set on th’ horizon, an’ ye'll get there, one day, alright?”

He flashed a kindly smile briefly, then returned to his seriousness, rubbing his hands over his helm as if he couldn't believe his luck. He glanced at the money, almost like he was frightened to pick it up in case it disappeared through his hands.

“Honestly, I cannae thank ye enough. This'll dae so much, but only if yer sure.”

“I’m sure, just, one more thing.” Drift dropped his gaze, “There's a dealer, I met him down at one of the bars the other night.”

“Aye, that'll be Twitch. Can never catch th’ bastard. He get ye?”

Drift thought about lying, but what was the point? This mech would surely already know the truth with his piercing gaze and if anyone would understand, it would be Vigor.

“Yeah.” His vocals were staticky, “but at least I didn't take it, even if I did buy it.”

“Exactly, a bump in th’ road.”

Drift managed to vent a sigh of relief as he saw how Vigor wasn't judging him, merely giving him that warm smile and letting his comforting field envelop him.

Not long after that, Drift moved to leave, Vigor still glancing at the pouch now in one of his earthy hands and asking ye sure still? every so often. When he was at the door, he was thinking about the dog again and he thought it couldn't harm to ask.

“I don't suppose you know about a dog that wanders up by the refuel port?”

Vigor was finally subspacing the money and he patted himself self consciously as he nodded.

“Aye, an’ down intae the town. Missin’ a foot?”

“Yeah.”

“Seen th’ wee poor thing around, but no yin can get near her. Ol’ Wayfare down at th’ tavern sometimes leaves something out fer her but she still widnae come near. I reckon that she's had a right ol’ rough life.”

“So she is a she?”

“Oh aye, she was carryin’ pups, till she wasnae any longer, an’ we never saw any o’ th’ wee things. Was a while back now, poor wee thing.”

He thanked Vigor and the bigger mech laughed good heartedly, pointing out that if anyone had anything to be grateful for, it was him seeing as Drift had made such a huge impact on his life with the generous gift. Drift merely nodded, but having someone listen and not judge had meant a lot to him too.

By the time Drift had gotten back into the shuttle and wriggled under the blankets, Ratchet was stirring, his optics dim as he set his sights on his love with a soft smile.

“Mmph. Drift. Come here.”

Ratchet held out his arms and Drift moved into his embrace. He was comfortingly warm and he never felt any safer than when he was being held by Ratchet's strong arms, the calmness he radiated like a tender touch over his whole frame. He sighed contentedly.

“Where did you go?” Ratchet sounded sleepy and cute, “because I know you went somewhere.”

“Jos’ brother's clinic. I gave him my winnings.”

That woke Ratchet up, his optics brightening as he registered what he'd said. It was no surprise to him that Drift was thinking of someone else.

“To help him with stuff he might need?”

“Maybe if you'd had more resources, then you might have turned my life around the moment I met you, but you were run off your feet, dealing with what you hand, and I like to think Vigor will make a difference to a lot more mechs if he doesn't have to worry about where the supplies come from.”

“That's really honourable of you, kid,” Ratchet paused for a moment and touched his face, "you're really sweet you know that right?”

“I just want to make a difference, in the right way.”

Drift nuzzled against Ratchet's chest, thinking back to the conversation with Vigor about the dog. She was still pacing around his thoughts and he felt a small pang in his spark when he thought about her being alone, her tanks burning with hunger.

“I asked Vigor about the dog.”

Ratchet gently stroked the very tips of Drift's finials with his expert hands, glad that his frame seemed more relaxed in his arms. He waited a moment and then spoke.

“What did he say? Is she someone's?”

Drift shrugged a little, “He doesn't think so. It's just bugging me, what if you were right and she's not just a dog? And either way she's been mistreated, she's had a bad start to life, it doesn't mean it should carry on that way.”

Ratchet brushed a tender kiss over his helm. The way that Drift's vocaliser dipped lower as he spoke about having a rocky past made him realise maybe that there was a very good reason that the white mech felt so strongly about trying to help the dog.

“You want to save her, because you know what it's like to have a bad start to life right?”

“No! I just…” he couldn't insist the lie anymore,  “she doesn't deserve that, no one does.”

“We'll try to find her, okay? But you can’t force someone to accept help, you know that too right?”

Drift heaved a sigh against Ratchet's chest. He knew that all too well.

They spent a lazy morning all tucked up together, Drift dozing on and off whilst Ratchet read, cuddled in close. It was pleasant for them both to feel so relaxed and let their fields mingle together, full of love and contentment, even if Ratchet felt a little bit of unease  from Drift every so often but a sweet kiss or a soft touch would chase it away. Even when they weren't doing much of anything together, they still enjoyed the other's company.

They were finally pushed from their nest in search of energon, Drift leaving a dish outside of the shuttle whilst he made wistful glances out into the distance. He was glad that Ratchet didn't say anything in response to it. He decided maybe a distraction would be a good idea seeing as he said he would call Rodimus and he'd not long received a comm ping back from him.

“Drift,” Megatron answered the video call, “shall I assume you were after Rodimus?”

“Yeah, but whilst I've got you, how has he been?”

Megatron paused, “less unbearable. Does that answer your question?”

“Well enough.”

Whilst Drift spoke to Rodimus, Ratchet was watching out of the windshield as the Gigantron's went about their business. He was a little lost in thought, wondering about where their adventures were going to take them next and he tried to push away the thoughts that were insistently trying to pull him down into a deep and dark place. He didn't want to do this, not now.

“Roddy?”

“Hm?”

“If I brought someone else back with me, would you mind?”

“Oh frag , don't tell me Ratchet had a twin out there and you found him.”

Ratchet leaned over to gesture rudely at the screen, but Rodimus merely grinned, slouching back into his chair even more. Even across the galaxy, Rodimus knew how to irk him.

Drift ignored their banter and carried on swivelling his chair slightly in anticipation.

“No. A dog.”

“A dog?”

“Yeah.”

“Like an actual dog or… someone ? I don't think I could endure another Ravage."

“An actual one. Maybe.”

Rodimus scrunched up his face, “I dunno, don't dogs need things and attention? What about my attention? I need that too.”

“Well, I just thought we'd all help take care of her.”

“You're asking me even though you already have one right?” Rodimus rubbed at his helm and when his friend didn't answer he prompted again, “ Drift .”

“No, it's just, complicated. I just wanted to ask.”

“You know what buddy? If there's anything I've learnt on this journey it's that no one listens to a fragging word I say so do it anyway.”

They chatted for a little while longer, and after Rodimus had gone, blowing kisses and grinning wildly, Ratchet spoke, still staring out of the window.

“He seems okay, maybe you talked some sense into him.”

Just as Drift was about to reply, he heard something and he leapt stealthily out of the chair, holding a hand out to Ratchet for him to keep quiet. The medic frowned, and pulled himself up too.

They crept up to the open shuttle door and when they got there, there was nothing, but the dish they'd left out was bone dry.

 

Chapter Text

After their lazy morning, the two mechs decided to go for a little walk amongst the lush scenery, especially as they needed to talk about the next part of their journey.

Drift's itinerary only had a few more stops. He hadn't wanted to leave the Lost Light for a long time because he knew they would both miss their friends, but he was also reluctant to cut it short. One stop held some pretty special memories for him and he desperately wanted to share them with Ratchet. But there was a pull with the dog that he couldn't explain.

Ratchet nudged him out of his reverie with his words.

“It's on you, Drift, you're the one with the plan.”

“I know but we've done a lot of things that don't fit with the plan,” he was using a large stick to swipe at the ground as they walked, “but this...”

“You're smitten with her I know. I just don't know what we can do, to get her to trust us, it'll take some time, do you really want to spend the next few weeks here, trying to find her?”

Ratchet had his answer in the silence he got back and he shrugged. He didn't mind what they did as long as he had his conjunx by his side.

“If it's what you want I'm happy to go along with it.”

“I'm not sure,” he shook his helm, “there were just a few other things I wanted to do with you but this is bothering me.”

“I can tell. Let's stay a few more days, and if there's no sign of her, we'll discuss what to do.”

“If there's so sign of her, we'll go.” Drift sounded forlorn.

“We could always do what you want to do, and come back for her? She's been here a little while, and we can always ask Mach and Jos to keep an optic out for her.”

Drift stopped, “really? We can come back for her?”

“I can see how much it means to you.” Ratchet smiled, stopping too, “so of course.”

And although they stayed, and they looked, and they waited, there was no sign of the dog apart from the dish of energon that was licked bone dry every morning and evening. It didn't matter how long they watched, she would always slip in when they weren't paying attention or when they were recharging.

Sadly, Drift had to admit defeat. There were definitely some things they still wanted to do, and maybe not for the best with a dog in tow. As he stood in the doorway of the shuttle as they were about to leave, he watched the sun ease down into the horizon and spoke softly into the cool evening.

“I'll come back for you. I promise.”


Drift was quiet on the next part of their journey, obviously lost in his thoughts. Ratchet decided it would be better to stay off of the subject of the dog and tried his hardest to make Drift smile again. He hated to see him so lost and sad.

“You had a favourite place so far?”

“Probably Velocitron. You?”

“Preema,” Ratchet grinned, “even though it was hot and sandy, I like the unexpected.”

“And cute fluffy alien babies? But it's all been good right?”

“Honestly? Probably the best journey of my life. Thank you, kid.”

He patted Drift's leg and left his hand there. Drift sneaked a glance over and smiled slightly, but it wasn't unnoticed.

“That’s better than your cute, pouty face.”

“I was just thinking about how I never expected this. I just wanted us to 'face a lot, but it's been amazing. Thank you Ratty.”

“So you were after a face-cation,” Ratchet grinned, thinking of what Rodimus had said, “oh, that reminds me, your amica asked me if we'd looked in the cubby hole in the berth room, you haven't right?”

“Nuh-uh.” Drift grinned nervously, “and if he's asked, it means it's something either amazing or… I don't know.”

Ratchet pulled himself up and Drift glanced up from the controls as he did, a puzzled look on his face.

“I'm going to look.”

“Don't you dare.”

“I told you what's the worst that could happen?”

“You having a spark attack because he's hidden a space bridge in there and he's going to jump out at you.”

But Ratchet was already walking away, Drift shaking his helm as he did.

“I'm not that old.”

Drift muttered, “yes you are.”

He drummed his fingers against the armrest inevitably waiting for the squeal from Ratchet as he found whatever mischievous thing Rodimus had hidden in there. Instead he heard footsteps stomping back into the front of the shuttle. He stifled a laugh, this was going to be good.

“He's a fragger.”

“What is it?”

Drift twisted in his seat and turned back quickly, doubling over with laughter holding his midsection. Ratchet was holding up the sexy nurse's outfit that Rodimus had teased him with for so long, his face completely unamused.

“That’s not even the worst of it!”

“Ratty, I wish I'd known it was there when you were drunk, I'm sure I could have gotten it on you.”

“Were you listening? That's not the worst .”

Drift leapt up, he had to see this for himself. He was grinning wildly, the dog and his worries suddenly forgotten. If it was making Ratchet scowl like this it was surely going to be something amusing.

Good old Rodimus.

“I'm going to look.”

“Don't you dare.”

But Drift had already dodged around Ratchet, giggling, and made his way into the berth room. He clocked the small cubby hole at the foot of the berth that was open and laughed even harder as he saw something poking out of it. When Ratchet followed him in, he threw the dressing up outfit onto Drift who was laying on the berth, rolling around.

“Roddy is going to cry when I tell him about your face.”

“Restraints! And a-,” Ratchet felt heat in his cheeks, “what have you told him?!”

Drift giggled out the words, “nothing! Ratty I swear, I haven't told him about our ‘facing. What else is in there?”

“I don't want to know.”

And Ratchet turned on his heels and stormed out. Drift tried to stop his shoulders shaking, but when he thought about Ratchet's face, he started all over again, laughing through his hand. He was sure Ratchet was only embarrassed because he didn't want anyone to know that sometimes when it came to it, in a berth he loved being told what to do.

The medic was sat in his chair, scowl across his face and arms crossed tightly over his chest. When Drift appeared again, having finally composed himself, he leant against the dashboard, facing Ratchet with a silly smile.

“Wipe that stupid look off your face.”

“Ratty, I promise, I wouldn't say anything to Rodimus, he just knows… that I like using that stuff.”

“Rodimus doesn't take me as the submissive type.”

“No, but you know as well as I do, that I’m good at being persuasive.”

With that, Drift leant over onto the armrests of  Ratchet’s chair, giving him a sultry look. Ratchet went still at the way Drift was looming over him and the way he was looking at him. It usually meant he was going to use a soft but firm whisper down his audials as his hands did something devilish and teasing. Ratchet ex-vented slightly and diverted his gaze.

“Don’t.”

“Okay,” Drift straightened, “I'll go put the stuff back.”

As he sashayed away Ratchet threw his optics upwards then leaned around the chair to watch. He admired every inch of his sleek, shining frame until he disappeared out of sight behind the door and he relented. He didn't want to let something good to go to waste after all.

Drift was stood by the berth, waiting. It wasn't long before he felt hands slide into his hips and a murmur down his audials.

“Okay, you're very persuasive.”

“Yep.”

He turned, cupping Ratchet's face with a sly smile and kissed him hard. Ratchet grumbled with enjoyment.

“So am I putting this stuff away? Or…?”

Drift slid his other hand down onto Ratchet's array and he could feel the heat there. The medic fluttered his optics and sighed softly as Drift's digits tickled at the seams in his panel.

“Is that a no?”

Ratchet nuzzled his helm into Drift's neck, speaking quietly.

“It's an if you want to .”

“Oh, I always want to make you beg to be spiked.”

Drift kissed him hard again, pulling the hand that was on Ratchet's face away and into his subspace, pulling something out sneakily. As Ratchet kissed him back he slipped it over his optics. Ratchet startled and pulled away, but Drift supported him with his other hand on his lower back, speaking softly.

“Do you trust me?”

“Explicitly. Just give me a warning if you're going to blindfold me.”

Drift tied it carefully around Ratchet's helm and guided him onto the berth, making him lie down. It was strange to feel exposed, but there was definitely a tingle of excitement too, especially when he started to feel small touches down his arms. He felt Drift carefully lift them up above his helm and bound them together, and even though they weren't tied in place, he liked the feeling of helplessness that came with having his hands restricted.

“Okay?”

Ratchet vented out, “I'm okay.”

“You need me to stop, you say, okay?”

But as he felt Drift's digits inching up his inner legs, he knew he wouldn't be asking for it to stop at all. His digits found the seams in his interface panel and Drift commanded him to open. Ratchet waited for Drift to touch his wet valve or his hard spike but there was nothing. He heard Drift move but then he felt his lips being brushed with something and he opened his mouth to it, the familiar taste of transfluid on his glossa. Drift murmured as Ratchet took the spike into his mouth submissively and chuckled lightly when he pulled it away only moments later and his lover grunted with disappointment.

He could hear Drift moving on the berth again and he nearly jolted when he felt a buzzing on the inside of his leg, ex-venting hard as he wanted it to go higher, but it was swapped to the other leg, teasingly going down away from his valve. Ratchet wriggled.

“What's the matter? Are you desperate to be filled up with my spike?”

Drift so very carefully ran one digit around the outer lips of Ratchet's valve and he shivered in reply.

“No? Will I have to frag myself?”

“Ah no, please.”

Ratchet bucked his hips up a little, asking with his body as well as his vocaliser.

“Mm?”

He could hear the soft moans Drift was eliciting as he played with his spike and Ratchet wished he could watch, moving as his valve clenched at the thought.

Drift was quiet again and he felt the vibrator pressed right up against his anterior node. He bucked and moaned as Drift moved it against him, but it wasn't what he wanted, he wanted to be spiked or have a few digits inside of him. His valve was aching to be filled, the calipers inside grinding down frustratingly onto nothing.

“Drift, please.”

He was silenced as Drift inched the vibrator up and along the length of his spike, the change in sensation making him gasp. He heard Drift let out a low chuckle.

“I love watching you squirm, you want my spike inside you don't you? In here?”

Drift kept the vibrator on Ratchet's spike but very gently pressed one digit into the entrance of his glistening valve. Ratchet murmured in confirmation then let out a groan of frustration as Drift took his digit away to wipe it across his lips. Greedily he sucked Drift's finger, his hips unable to stay still as the vibrator pleasured his spike.

“Drift please, please.”

Drift took the vibrator away and his hand, leaving Ratchet waiting and writhing for the next touch. He couldn't hear any movement from Drift and just as he was about to speak, he felt a tiny zap against his inner thigh. He gasped at the sensation.

“Now is that good or bad?”

“I'm not sure.”

He bucked his hips as he felt it in the crease between his thigh and interface panel he laughed nervously. This was something new to him and he wasn't sure just yet if he liked it.

“You're not going to use that…?”

“Mm, not sure yet.”

Drift used it again, in quick succession three times down the inside of his other thigh. Ratchet couldn't help but laugh a little with nerves and apprehension, and Drift pried a digit into his valve, making the laugh roll into a grunt.

“I don't want you laughing Ratty, I want you begging. 

Ratchet sighed with the relief of having something inside of him and when Drift used the prod again, he moaned lowly.

“More like it.”

Drift plunged in and out slowly, his own spike throbbing with arousal as he watched the lubricant coat his finger. He very slowly slid in another digit and Ratchet moaned again, his vocaliser catching mid sound as Drift used the prod on the other thigh, jumping the little zaps up close to his hips. Ratchet bucked, desperately grinding himself down onto the fingers and eager to catch the overload that was building. Drift added another finger and grinned as he so very carefully used the prod around the base of Ratchet's spike. He yelped and laughed, making Drift chuckle too.

“No I'm done, please, I just want to-”

His vocals disappeared into a garble of static as Drift licked the tip of his spike in long, broad strokes. He used deep thrusts with his digits but not fast enough to make Ratchet overload, and the medic was begging incoherently, his back arching up into the pleasure. He was trying to thrust his spike into Drift's mouth, but his lover was making it difficult, pulling away when he was too rough. Ratchet moved his bound hands down to Drift's finials to encourage him but too late he realised it was a big mistake.

With his fingers still inside Ratchet, he took the red hands bound together in his other hand. Anticipation was clear in Ratchet's field as Drift so very gently nudged against him with his face and a shiver went through the medic.

“Don't you dare.”

“I think you'll find,” Drift's lips brushed the back of one hand as he spoke, “I'm the one in charge here. If you don't shush, I'll put my spike in your mouth, but then again, you'd enjoy that too much hmm?”

He guided Ratchet's hands down to his throbbing spike. He gasped at the touch and his valve clenched down hard onto Drift's fingers. Ratchet started to stroke Drift's spike slowly but it was too teasing. Drift pulled the hands back up and held them carefully for a moment, sliding his fingers slowly out of Ratchet, who sighed with frustration.

“Drift, I'm really begging you now, please, spike me.”

Ratchet kept his optics offline as he felt the blindfold get tugged away, trying to get used to the light again. When he onlined them again, his vents hitched at the sight.

Drift was kneeling before him, stroking the length of his spike with the hand that had been in his valve, enjoying spreading the lubricant all over him. When Drift met his optics again, he grinned, and slowly lifted Ratchet's hands to his mouth with the other. Ratchet tried to resist but the way his glossa licked over the backs of his hands was too irresistible and he opened his fingers out. Drift took two into his mouth straight away, sucking them softly whilst he met Ratchet's optics. The medic was venting hard, he was teetering right on the edge of an overload and watching Drift worship his sensitive hands was so very nearly enough to push him over.

Drift kissed them softly then lowered them down onto Ratchet's chest. He positioned himself over him, grinning as his spike briefly brushed against Ratchet's valve and he groaned in return.

“Drift,” Ratchet begged, “ please .”

Steadily, Drift hilted his spike into Ratchet, making the medic squirm and his vents hitch with the pleasure. His optics dimmed, he locked gazes with Drift and he knew he had Ratchet exactly where he wanted him.

Using slow but deep thrusts with his spike, he enjoyed watching Ratchet overload hard, his valve squeezing him tightly as he did. He carried on, hoping to coax another less abrupt overload from Ratchet. Red hands found the back of his helm, pulling him in tightly for a kiss and he gently stroked at Drift's finials.

Drift upped the pace, his own overload creeping closer with Ratchet's murmurs and begging in between kisses. He groaned and huffed as he tried to hold out, wanting to give Ratchet another overload first, but apparently the tables had turned and Drift no longer had the upper hand.

“Drift, c'mon, frag me hard with your long spike, mm, I want all of you, please, please .”

Drift lost it as Ratchet begged the last please, ramming his spike all the way into his lover and shuddering as his transfluid filled him up. He moaned lowly, venting hard and offlining his optics. He felt Ratchet's valve squeeze him tightly and heard a soft groan of pleasure as he overloaded again.

They both stayed still for a few moments, before Drift pulled out. Ratchet thought he was going to move to lie next to him and he startled as he felt Drift's glossa start to lap at his valve. He tried to vocalise something, tell Drift he didn't have to but the words died in his intake as he lost himself in the pleasure. The softness after the edging and hard spiking was too enjoyable to resist. He uttered soft sighs and murmurs, his bound hands going back to rest on Drift”s helm.

Still licking at his valve, Drift moved Ratchet's hands off his helm and down to his own spike, encouraging him to stroke it. Ratchet complied, throwing his helm back in bliss and then his optics went wide at the new pleasure bestowed upon him; Drift licking his spike and his hands as he self pleasured.

He moaned loudly, the tingling from his hands roaming down his arms. He knew he wasn't going to last long with Drift doing that, and as he covered the head of his spike with his mouth, he plunged two fingers into Ratchet's valve too.

When Ratchet came to a little while later, he felt slightly confused. He'd passed out but he wasn't quite sure why and then the afterglow of this overloads registered. He turned his helm and found Drift's chest to lean into, and he did so with a small sigh.

“You had me worried.” Drift spoke softly, “thought I'd given you a spark attack.”

Ratchet chuckled, “no, but if I was going to snuff it, at least it would have been a good way to go.”

There was a small pang of sadness in Ratchet's spark but he quickly brushed it away. He held Drift tightly, nuzzling against his chest and decided that for now, he'd just find himself content in listening to a healthy thrumming spark and enjoying having his conjunx right there with him.

Chapter Text

“Caminus? Really?”

Ratchet threw his helm back in a way that wouldn't have been alien to Rodimus and one of his temper tantrums, and Drift had to grin a little. He was ensuring that everything was switched off on the controls, hoping his companion had been too busy to figure it out but Ratchet had caught sight of the planet as they'd landed, finally able to tear himself away from his book.

“Yes, really . What's wrong with Caminus?”

“From what Velocity and Nautica have said there's a lot of religion and emphasis on the arts , and you full well know neither of them do much for me.”

“Oh, perhaps I should take you to a reading of Towards Peace instead then?”

Drift's optics sparkled with mischief and Ratchet narrowed his own optics at him. He'd been tired after their interfacing and Drift had left him reading in the seat beside him, hoping that some rest would mean he was up to what he had planned for them, not that it was exactly strenuous.

“Stop being so crotchety and give it a chance.”

“I'm good at it. I'm just not sure what I'll find to like. Did you know that they saw medicine as something they didn't need? No forged medics here.”

“Yes.”

“And their religion? I mean, even by your standards-”

“Ratty,” Drift laughed, “are you just grumpy still because of the nurse's outfit?!”

“No.” He frowned.

“Then it's because you're convinced Rodimus knows how much you like being my little-”

“Don't even finish that sentence. Fine, I'll give Caminus a chance.”

“Well, if you come with me to one of the plays, I've got a surprise for you.”

“...a blindfold type surprise?”

Drift rolled his optics good naturedly, stretching himself up from his chair and giving Ratchet a quick kiss on the lips. The medic couldn't help but give a small smile back before he furrowed his brow again. He wasn't going to let on that he was over his grump just from a little kiss.

“It depends how good you are.”

They left the shuttle and Drift led them to an open air theatre, managing to grab some last minute tickets for one of the two plays about to start. They settled in some seats near the back and Drift made a cheeky joke about how he hoped Ratchet could see okay, seeing as he was getting so old. Ratchet rolled his optics and shifted in the seat, as if he wanted to say something but the play started so he stayed quiet.

Drift found himself flicking his gaze over at his conjunx more than he was paying attention to the play at points. He'd been thinking about something, an idea that had taken hold of his processor and no matter what he couldn't dismiss it. Looking over at Ratchet once again, he smiled softly. He just hoped it was a good idea.

Ratchet was surprised how much he actually enjoyed the play, it was captivating and interesting, the story of two lovers, divided by everything including their religion and class, and although the ending was devastating, he still managed to smile over at Drift as they left. The night had just about set in, the clear sky above them twinkling with distant stars and planets and there was a small chill to the air, giving Drift an excuse to snuggle into Ratchet's side as they walked.

“So?”

“It was beautiful, haunting, but beautiful.”

“I picked it because I thought you'd like it, plus I guess some of it resonated with our past.”

Drift darted his gaze away, almost as if he were ashamed but Ratchet put an arm around his back and pulled him in closer to his side.

“It resonates with you because you're beautiful.”

Drift groaned, “I've turned you into some lovesick youngling, I think I preferred old and grumpy.”

As they made their way back to the shuttle refuel port, through a bustling district something caught Ratchet's optics. He stopped and smiled wryly at Drift.

“Bar and hotel?” He thumbed at the building, “says they offer sleeping under the stars, what you reckon? Might be romantic.”

“I always wanted to 'face in a tent. Let's go.”

Drift paid for their accomodation for the night, and after spending some time in the bar listening to the classical band play with a powerful femme singing sweet, soulful love songs, they made their way outside to the beautiful, artificial organic grounds where there were several circular tents set up, a few gently lit inside by the fairy lights hanging around the ceiling.

When they were in their home for the night, Drift lifted an optic ridge as he took in the seriously romantic surroundings. Ratchet shrugged nonchalantly.

“Lovesick youngling,” he winced as he sat on the low berth, “just only in my processor. My frame not so much.”

Drift took a seat in front of Ratchet easily, folding his legs under him neatly and gently rubbed at his stiff knees, working the joints carefully. The medic sighed at the ministrations, dimming his optics and leaning back onto his elbows.

Drift had his helm bent over and he seemed reserved. Ratchet frowned, concerned that perhaps the night was about to take a dark turn. He knew that it was always possible, as much as Drift tried to put his past behind, the slightest mention or reminder could drag it all back into the present and bury him under the weight of it. No matter what though, Ratchet would always be there to pick him back up, he'd vowed that to himself from the beginning.

He spoke softly, “You okay kid?”

“Mmhm. Just thinking.”

“Care to share?”

He lifted his helm and Ratchet was glad to see he was grinning. The dread lifted from around his spark and he smiled back.

“About you, us. Maybe things weren't so great for me in beginning, but I guess they ended up alright in the end, even if my conjunx is a grumpy, old mech.”

Ratchet rolled his optics, “I'm not even that much older than you.”

“You just act like it, and hey, you're the one who calls me kid.” Drift's grin softened into a smile, “I'm just glad I have you.”

“And I’m glad you gave a grumpy old, mech a chance.” Ratchet paused, “I love you, kid.

“I love you too, but you know that right?”

Ratchet thought back through their journey so far. They'd been through so much, talked about some of the demons that followed them around and managed to vanquish a few. Drift had managed to face his addiction straight on and Ratchet had realised that no matter how grumpy or gruff or how hard he pushed, the white mech was there to stay, with a cheeky grin and open arms. They were happy, things weren't always perfect and they had even bigger obstacles to face, but it was totally worth it.

“Yeah, I do.”

Drift smiled. Ratchet held out his arms and pulled Drift up onto his lap, kissing him softly. He could do anything, as long as he had this mech by his side.


 

The next morning they both awoke early, the light streaming through the fabric of the tent and bathing them in a pleasant warmth. Wordlessly, Ratchet pulled Drift into him and kissed him slowly, deeply, his whole body alight with passion and love. Drift didn't even online his optics, he just let Ratchet take the lead with his gentle touches and sweet kisses, murmuring softly.

Ratchet positioned himself over Drift, and the white mech opened his panel. He flickered his optics on briefly as Ratchet filled him with his spike then offlined them again, pulling him down for more kisses.

When they both overloaded together it was less of a crash of pleasure and more of a gentle tumble into bliss, with sighs and vents of contentment against each other.

When Ratchet withdrew from Drift and took a place beside him on the berth, he sighed heavily, happy and satiated. Drift tucked himself under his arm, his fans still going lowly and he nuzzled his face against Ratchet's chest as he lay his helm on it. He spoke sleepily but at his words, Ratchet felt wide awake.

“You ever think about us having a ceremony?” He yawned, “to properly mark becoming conjunx endurae?”

Ratchet's spark thrummed hard in his chest but he laughed it off, hoping his field hadn't slipped and let on how he really felt. This was not the time for that conversation and he needed to get away from it quickly.

“We don't ever do anything properly do we?”

“I suppose. Just thought I'd ask.”

Ratchet changed the subject, “so, today?”

“Oh yeah. You're going to love it.”

Ratchet smiled at how Drift looked up at him sleepily and his optics glittered with happiness. Even if they only stayed in this berth all day he wouldn't care but Drift wriggled out from his grasp and got up to clean himself off. He threw a cloth over at Ratchet too, the wet material splattering against his chest and he giggled.

Drift might have a surprise for him, but Ratchet had an even bigger one.

Drift was true to his world, it was definitely a surprise that Ratchet would like. They used their shuttle to visit the Mederi centre that Caminus used for its injured and Ratchet laughed.

“You brought me to a hospital?”

Drift shrugged, “this is your sort of thing right?”

They were met by one of the medics at the door and she was slightly awestruck at meeting Ratchet, having heard plenty of stories from some of the older medics. Ratchet always found it slightly uncomfortable when anyone reacted to him like he was something special, in his optics he'd only ever done what he needed to and there was certainly nothing amazing about being involved in a horrifically bloody and long war.

Drift nudged him forward though. He knew that Ratchet would enjoy somewhere that felt like home to him and he'd been able to contact the centre a few days previously to ask if they would make some time for an old war medic who would love to learn more about their practices on the Camien Mederi centre. The medic in front of them, Mercy, had jumped at the chance, telling Drift that she would love nothing more to give Ratchet a tour.

Drift had placed a lot of thought into this trip and he knew he had to make Caminus more appealing somehow, and this was exactly how. Ratchet could spend a few hours talking about medgrade and procedures and tools with someone who would do more than nod boredly.

“Go on, Mercy said she'd look after you.”

The Camien fluttered her wings in delight and grinned over at Ratchet. He rolled his optics but smiled at his partner.

“You'll be okay on your own?”

“I've got stuff to occupy myself, go on, go have fun. I can't believe I'm saying that about a medical centre,” Drift shuddered, “but I'll be at the shuttle waiting okay? Take as long as you want.”

Ratchet kissed Drift on the cheek and turned to where Mercy was bouncing on her pedes excitedly.

Drift watched them leave, laughing a little to himself that Ratchet had been left in the care of an excitable youngling but he knew he'd enjoy her company. Fun wasn't exactly the word Drift would use for this excursion but Mercy had promised that she would show Ratchet all of their new equipment and talk over some of her more interesting cases with him, and everyone knew that the medic's favourite pastime was working.

Back at the shuttle Drift tried to update his journal but there was still something weighing on his mind from the previous night, and whilst he was alone, he knew he'd be able to talk about it freely with someone he knew would give it to him straight. He sighed and hopped into the seat in front of the communications array.

Minimus had to go find Rodimus, who even though was just about to retire for his recharge, was insistent he'd speak to his friend.

Drift was happy that when he saw Rodimus, he seemed lighter and his aura was much brighter. Even his smile seemed genuine as he took a seat.

They made idle chat, Rodimus recounting his adventures on Medley, before he rolled his optics and leaned back into the chair when he saw Drift wasn't particularly paying attention.

“What's wrong? You're not listening to my super cool story with rapt attention like usual.”

“Sorry Roddy I just… is there anyone else there?”

“Just Minimus,” Rodimus flicked his gaze away and back, “want me to use my captain powers to tell him where to go?”

Minimus spoke up, “Try me.”

Drift had to smile at imagining Minimus giving Rodimus that look and the captain grinned at him, before turning back to the video call.

“No, it's fine, he couldn't gossip to save his life.”

“I am right here.

Drift laughed then sobered. He knew what he needed to say but saying it out loud was going to make it real and it was kind of a big deal. He was even maybe a little scared about it. Tapping his feet against the floor nervously he blurted it out quickly.

“I want to ask Ratchet to marry me.”

Rodimus gave him a knowing grin and laughed, shaking his helm.

“Jeez, what's gotten into you all?”

“What do you mean?”

“CD and Rewind are planning their wedding! That's why we went to Medley, you really didn't listen to me at all did you? Oh and Cyc and Tailgate too!”

“Really?”

“Yep. Plus I heard Brainstorm and Percy went on an actual date, not just geeking out over quantum magic or whatever it is they do. Oh and,” Rodimus slyly pointed over at where Minimus was, “you know who else. I guess love is in the air so the humans say.”

Drift blinked, confused, “Why in the air?”

“It's a saying,” Rodimus face palmed, “so you're gonna ask the doc, huh?”

Drift rubbed at his face. When he'd tried to bring it up with Ratchet earlier he didn't seem too enamoured with the idea and it worried Drift. What if he didn't want to? What if Drift asked and he refused? He wasn't sure he could deal with that kind of rejection.

“I don't know, what if he doesn't want to? What if I end up looking stupid?”

“No one can look more stupid than I did the other week, so don't worry your pretty helm over that. Listen , Ratch is smitten with you, everyone can see that, why would he say no?”

“Because…” Drift shifted in his seat, “it’s not quite that easy is it? I mean everything that's happened, everything that I've done...”

“You mean Deadlock,” Drift flinched and Rodimus shook his helm, “that's part of your past, and like it or not mate, you can't do anything about it. Ratchet knows who you are, so do I, and we don't care. You pretty much shot Deadlock in the head as soon as Wing found you, and that's what matters. I've done plenty things I'm not proud of, and okay, maybe not quite in the same way but, what you do now is what matters, and as far as Ratchet is concerned all you've ever done for the past few stellar-cycles is be hopelessly, ridiculously in love with him. I mean for frag's sake, Megatron is my co , and I emphasis that heavily, co-captain , yet you know what, I'd have a drink with him down at Swerve's. You need to stop hurting yourself over what's happened, it's been, it's done, you can't change it, but you sure as scrap can make sure you don't make that mistake again, and I know you won't.”

Drift clenched his hands together and dropped his chin onto his chest. Could he deserve this? A tiny bit of happiness in the chaos that his life had been? He wanted him and Ratchet to be together officially but did it go the other way? Could he really love an ex-Decepticon murderer and booster junkie forever?

He closed his optics tightly and ex-vented steadily. He hated when these dangerous doubts crept in, they'd been over this time and time again, and yet still, Ratchet lay beside him every night, told him he loved him and let his field of happy embrace him every time he looked at him. It was just the small voice of Deadlock that made him doubt it, but over the years that voice had gotten quieter and quieter, with mostly Ratchet's and Rodimus’ help and love.

Drift onlined his optics and gave a tight smile at his amica.

“Sometimes it makes me wonder how you can be so… like a Prime and then you do something like hide under your desk because you don't want to do paperwork.”

“You do what?”

“Minimus shush, it's fine, it gets done eventually.” Rodimus puffed out his chest and grinned, “should I go back to Rodimus Prime? You can never have too many name changes right?”

“I did it first.” Drift poked out his glossa, feeling a little better.

“Your name change was scrap, Drift is better. In fact, I'm gonna ask Megatron next time I see him where he got that from, pfft, Deadlock. it's not even scary .”

Drift laughed. It always made him feel better talking to Rodimus, especially when he put him straight and wasn't afraid to talk about Drift's past openly. He never shied from talking about Deadlock and everything that came with him, and it made it seem less scary, less painful. Rodimus had always seen Drift for who he was and he could never do enough to repay that favour, it meant a lot to him.

“Thanks Roddy.”

“Yeah, and your pet names have a lot to be desired too. Seriously though, ask him, what's the worst that could happen?”

“He tells me he was only with me to get with you?”

Rodimus blinked, “yeah, frag that. Let's hope he just says yes to you.”

“I'll let you get back to recharge, I just wanted your wise advice.”

Minimus laughed and Rodimus snapped his helm around to frown at him playfully. Drift smiled but he definitely felt a pang of sadness too, he missed the Lost Light, he missed home.

“Thanks. Hopefully Thunders isn't asleep yet,” he blew a kiss, “keep me updated and I miss you buddy, see you soon yeah?”

When he was left to his own thoughts again, Drift laughed to himself a little. Sometimes Rodimus could say totally the wrong thing and others, he knew exactly what to say to make the whole situation better. He missed his friend a lot too.

Ratchet called him a few hours later to let him know he was on his way back. He pulled himself from his meditative pose on the floor in the berth room and opened the shuttle door in anticipation. When Ratchet saw him waiting at the door, he smiled sweetly and swept him up into a warm embrace, placing kisses over his face. Drift squirmed and pretended to bat him away. Ratchet chuckled.

“Missed you.”

“And you. How was it?”

“I'll tell you on the way back to Caminus, I have a surprise for you.”

“...a blindfold type surprise?”

Drift grinned and Ratchet scooped him up, the white mech giving a yelp as he deposited him down into the pilot's chair and placing more kisses all over his face.

When they reached the planet again, dark was descending and Ratchet seemed quiet and nervous. Drift's spark sunk a little, he was hoping to have another talk with his beloved about a bonding ceremony but when he was acting like this, it made the doubts set in again. He tried to ease the feeling in him and enjoy their evening, Ratchet taking them along to see a light work display that had been advertised in the hotel. Drift brought them several glowing light bracelets, looping them onto Ratchet's wrists and trying to get his partner to relax, but he gave him a tight smile in response. He urged Drift to hurry, muttering that he didn't want to miss it.

As they gathered in the vast outside grounds of a fancy hotel waiting for it to start, Drift decided to take a gamble even though Ratchet seemed even more jittery, staring up at the night sky and fidgeting his hands together.

“Can we talk?”

“Can it wait?” Ratchet was a little snappy, “sorry, I just want to see this, we can talk after.”

Drift sighed inwardly. Whatever had gotten into his conjunx wasn't going to be resolved now and so he thought he better try to enjoy the light show instead.

There was a large crowd gathered but there was still plenty of space around them, some spectators having sat on the ground, leaning back and watching the flashes of light across the sky. It was beautiful, explosions of light in green, blue, pink and strobes of red and white shooting straight up into the sky. In the background soft music played, timed perfectly to the way the lights flashed and flickered in the dark.

As Drift finally managed to lose himself in the display, his worries put to the back of his processor just for the time being, he saw Ratchet move down onto one knee in front of him. Before he could move or speak, Ratchet grabbed Drift's hand and smiled. The white mech blinked, bewildered.

“Um, Ratchet, what are you doing?”

“Just, be shoosh and listen.”

“Everyone is looking.”

“Let them look, I don't care, but what I do care about is you, totally and utterly. I'm not great at speeches, or speaking my spark, so I'll keep this short. I love you, Drift, all of you, and I want to spend every day I can with you. Will you marry me and be my conjunx endura forever, properly?”

Drift stayed still for a few seconds before the words registered and he threw himself at Ratchet, squeezing him tightly. His spark was spinning hard in his chest and he felt like he might pass out he was that dizzy with happiness and excitement. Ratchet embraced him back, laughing lightly and patting at his back.

“You're leaving me hanging here kid, c'mon.”

“Yes Ratty, yes yes yes, most definitely yes!”

There was a cheer that went up around them from the small group in their vicinity that had been watching and when Drift pulled back to look at Ratchet, his optics were shining. The medic brushed them away roughly, tilting his helm down a little and laughing again at himself in embarrassment. When he was recovered he looked back up at Drift.

“One more thing? Fragging help me up, stupid knees.”

Drift grinned and helped him up effortlessly then kissed Ratchet deeply, their fields entwined with love and happy engulfing them like a warm blanket. He didn't want to pull away but he had to say what he was thinking.

“I was going to ask you, but you beat me to it but I thought you wouldn't want to! You silly old fragger!”

“Of course I would, but enough with the old okay?”

Ratchet kissed his nose and Drift scrunched up his face cutely. They slipped their arms around each other and finished watching the rest of the show. They were both so ecstatic that when Drift thought back to the light show later on, he couldn't recall much of it, but what he did remember was the feeling of absolute jubilation as Ratchet smiled at him and asked him to marry him, and that was better than any fireworks.

Chapter Text

Drift felt like the next part of their journey passed in a blur. He did speak to Rodimus again after their argument, just a small stilted conversation, but he didn't think much about that pain, instead trying to absorb his thoughts in getting married to Ratchet. His spark felt like it might burst with love every time he looked at him and every small touch, every little gesture of affection sent him spinning.

Ratchet wanted to spend forever together. It seemed too good to be true.

The next leg of their journey took a while for them to complete. Their little shuttle could only make one short jump before they needed to refuel it, so Drift made sure he used it wisely and the rest of the way he either engaged autopilot or sat keeping a watchful gaze over the controls, every so often correcting their course in accordance with their GPS.

Ratchet spent a lot of the journey resting, either at Drift's side in his chair or in the berth. Drift would worry that perhaps their vacation had been too long or too hard on him, but when Ratchet would wake up to see the furrowed brow on his love's face, he would smile softly and tell him he was okay, just a little tired. Drift would cover him in kisses or cuddle him harder, trying to chase the worry away with affection.

As they approached their destination, Drift had to make a few calls and inevitably revealed the surprise. Ratchet didn't mind, all of the surprises had been fun so far, but this one was definitely intriguing.

It took some negotiations, but luckily Faireborne was on hand to give them safe passage onto their next destination after Drift promised they'd behave.

“Never seen this part of Earth before.”

Drift was busy throwing some camouflage netting over their shuttle where he'd had to park it in an abandoned air hangar left for situations like this. He glanced over at Ratchet with a small smile and carried on doing what he was doing.

“Nope, this is why you've got a tour guide.”

“This could be risky. You sure about this?”

“There's only one place I want to take you. It'll be worth it I promise.”

And so when night descended, they started their long drive on the roads, making sure they'd gotten their Earth alt modes back so they would blend into their surroundings. Ratchet followed Drift, trying to take in this new place as they drove, but he couldn't help but feel a little conspicuous of his ambulance mode. No one seemed to pay them any mind and he relaxed a little.

They passed by a huge lake as they made their way down a long straight road, the moon and stars reflected it in like a blurry mirror. Drift next led them from the more rural scenery into a beautiful city all lit up with flickering lights and billboards of all colours. The streets were alive with people, laughing and talking filling the air as they drove past bars and restaurants and shops. The roads were busy with other cars surrounding them, a couple going past with loud revs of their engines like they were trying to bait the white Nissan Silvia into a race. Drift didn't care enough to notice, too busy checking that his conjunx was still behind.

They skirted around the edges of the city and back out into the countryside, the roads much darker and Ratchet was glad that Drift was leading with his bright lights and nifty alt mode.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, just trying to take it all in.”

“S'okay, there's a place for us to park up and take it in. Concentrate on not scuffing up my bumper.”

“I'm a sensible driver.”

“Oh yeah, you can say that again.” There was a grin evident in his vocals over the comms, “do you go over 50?”

Shoosh.”

They drove for a little longer and then suddenly Ratchet knew exactly where they were heading when he caught sight of the trees and the way the ground started to incline. Their branches were reaching out to each other across the skyline and although they were missing their white and pink petals, they were still beautiful.

“Missed cherry blossom season. Still, it's a good drive.”

“Yeah. I think I understand going for a drive more, now I don't have to rush anywhere.”

Drift lit up the road in front of them and Ratchet caught sight of the sharp twisting bends that were approaching. He slowed, knowing he'd have to be careful around such tight turns but he heard Drift laughing as he kicked out the back of his alt mode as he rounded the corners, his tyres screeching against the road.

“Show off.”

“Sorry, I can't help it. See you at the top yeah?”

Ratchet made a grunt of acknowledgement but he enjoyed the drive all the same, watching Drift slip and slide around the corners all the way up the mountain roads, his lights disappearing off before returning again.

By the time Ratchet reached near the top, Drift was waiting for him on one of the lookout points, in his root mode and staring out across from where they'd come from. Ratchet joined him, hanging his legs off the side of the edge of the mountain road and leaning into his love.

Drift smiled to himself. This is where he was going to ask Ratchet to marry him, but the old romantic had beaten him to it. Still, he wanted to share this with him, a part of his past, a part he wasn't ashamed of.

They sat quiet for a little while until Ratchet broke it tentatively.

“We okay here in the open?”

“It's pretty late, should be quiet, if not you can see and hear anyone coming up or down from here. I think we're good.” Drift sighed happily, “I never thought I'd be able to bring you here.”

“I'm glad Earth has happy memories for you. Me, not quite so much, well, until now.”

They stayed sat together for a little while, just watching the twinkling lights in the very far distance, and taking in all the organic scenery around them, just enjoying being with one another and basking in their intertwined fields of love and happiness.

It was over far too quickly for Drift but he knew they'd have to leave before the sunset crept up and the roads got busier. He sighed and dragged himself up, helping Ratchet up too.

“Must mean a lot to you for you to bring me all this way.”

“I told you, this is where I thought I'd be okay again, and I know now, for definite stood here with you, I will be.”

Ratchet kissed him tenderly, feeling how Drift sneaked his hands onto his hips and pulled him close into him. If Ratchet could have stayed there forever then he would have done. It was perfect.

There was a rumble of an engine in the distance and they begrudgingly pulled away, transforming back into their alt modes.

A white Toyota started making its way up to the viewpoint, and so the two vehicles stayed and waited for it to pass. It made a show of drifting perfectly past them and up further into the mountain.

“Looks like fun, I gotta admit.”

“If you did it, you might tip over. You okay to drive back to the shuttle tonight? Not too tired?”

“Yeah, this is nice, just driving. Can't wait to go back and snuggle up with you though.”

Drift revved his engine a little in response and took off down the roads, sliding around the bends and leaving Ratchet behind.

They drove back to their hiding place in mostly silence, just enjoying the driving and the sights, but Ratchet was glad when they finally pulled up into their air hangar.

They rustled underneath the camo netting and into the shuttle, shutting the door behind and Drift yawned as he made his way into the berth room. Ratchet grabbed some energon for them and joined him, perching himself on the edge of the berth.

Drift had already wrapped himself under all of the blankets he could, his optics dim as he looked over at Ratchet.

“Thanks for tonight, it was fun. It's what I used to do a lot.”

“Sorry I couldn't keep up,” Ratchet smiled wryly, “I like your Earth alt mode though.”

Drift went coy, burying his face into the berth.

“Don't.” He wheedled, “m'too tired.”

“Then I know what I can do.”

Ratchet put the energon down on their bedside, and stretched out his hands. Sneaking them underneath the blankets, he found a broad shoulder and started to use his expert hands tenderly, gently rubbing and caressing. Drift hummed happily in response, offlining his optics and ex-venting.

Ratchet massaged and stroked and enjoyed touching every part of Drift he could, glad that the white mech relaxed under his hands. Sometimes Drift carried such a heavy burden that he was taut, his joints and cables under the pressure of being ready to pounce into action at any opportunity, so now seeing him here so serene made Ratchet pleased. He wasn't sure if it was the place they were, the proposal or the massage but he was glad. Ever since he'd spoken to Rodimus he'd seemed bothered by something, but he wouldn't say what and Ratchet wouldn't pry. He wondered if he was just missing him a lot.

“Mm s'nice. Thanks.”

“So… this was the last stop huh? Apart from our unplanned stop on the way back?”

“Unless there's anywhere you want to go I haven't thought of?”

Drift's vocals were muffled as he buried his face into the berth but Ratchet was sure he was half way to recharge too. It had been a long journey and Drift had barely relaxed, always thinking, always planning. Ratchet was going to make sure that when they got back to Gigantion, Drift would get some rest.

“I think you've covered everything.” Ratchet smiled softly in the gloom of the berth room, “you really gave this a lot of thought, plus all of the piloting… I haven't done anything.”

“That's exactly what I wanted for you.”

Ratchet considered bringing it up, the unspeakable thing he'd managed to hide away but guilt was starting to gnaw at him. As soon as they got back to the Lost Light, he vowed to himself, he wasn't going to spoil their trip.

He gave a small nod and took his hands off Drift, nudging him over in the berth. The white mech wriggled over and threw the blanket over Ratchet too, yawning noisily.

“I hope we can take her home with us.”

Ratchet turned to look over at Drift, “you love her already don't you?”

“Don't be silly.” Drift rolled onto his side, “my only love at first sight was you .”

With a low chuckle, he brought his conjunx tight to his chest and rested his face against his helm, wary of the sharp finials.

“And you said I was an old romantic.”

“...it's true you know. I don't know why but I couldn't get you out of my processor. Maybe it was your kindness or your hands, or maybe it was just the fact that you hadn't cast me off as a lowlife… even with Wing, even with Roddy, I still thought of you.”

Ratchet nodded.

“I thought about you a lot too, kid. I was glad I never saw you back in my clinic because it meant you weren't frying your processor on boosters but then I worried maybe you were dead instead. I had an idea though, as soon as we started to get reports in that there was a new Decepticon warrior, like a flash of white lightning across the battlefield, that it was you.”

Drift wanted to ask something he'd been scared to for so long, but now was the time. He could handle the truth, secure in the knowledge that it obviously didn't matter anymore, but the curiosity was prying at him.

“You were disappointed, weren't you? When you knew I was Deadlock.”

“I won't lie to you, yes, I was.” Ratchet brushed a kiss against his helm, “but not with you. I know I seemed angry with you for so long, always sniping and grumbling at you, but I was angry at the situation, not you.”

“What do you mean?”

“I was angry… that you felt you had no other choice, that you'd been failed by so many, by me .”

“Ratty!”

Drift was suddenly fighting himself from under the blankets and away from Ratchet. His optics were bright now and narrowed, his mouth set into a grim line.

“You didn't fail me! Without you I'd be dead.”

“Without Optimus, Orion Pax , you'd be dead. What I did by letting you slip away, not convincing you to go do something other than go to the relinquishment centre, was worse than being dead. If only I'd-”

Drift pressed a finger against Ratchet's lips to quiet him. For once, the stubborn old mech didn't try to force him away and instead met the intense gaze above him.

“You saved me. Orion brought me to you because he knew you would be able to save me.”

“Save your frame, not your life.”

A few tears slipped down Ratchet's face as he pulled Drift's hand carefully away, pressing it to his cheek. Drift softened a little, letting out a little sigh.

“That’s not what you said to me that day, you said I saved your life.

“And I was younger then and less full of regret and guilt. Things hadn't quite gone so much to scrap. Now I look back? I could have done more, for you, for… everyone I couldn't save.”

“Ratty, what is it you say to me? You can't save everyone .”

“That's a Pax quote that I like to use on others like he did with me, and you know what I'd always say back?”

“What?”

I know but I have to try.”

There wasn't much more Drift felt he could say, so instead he pulled Ratchet into him, letting his frame grow limp in his arms until he was snoring softly. Drift sighed and stared aimlessly at the wall until his optics fluttered off on their own accord.

Panic flooded through him, his vents rattling as they ex-vented hard, his plates bristled and his optics wide. He fought against the hands trying to keep him down, ignoring the soft hush of calming words. They were back again, the ghosts in his processor, haunting and taunting him, blaming him for their demise. Why, they screamed, energon dripping from their cavernous mouths, why did you let us die?!

Ratchet shook in Drift's arms. Usually the nightmares weren't so bad, only rousing him roughly and unsettling him enough that he couldn't face going back to recharge and picking up his work instead, but tonight they'd crawled under his plates and shaken him down to his very protoform. He gripped Drift tightly, trying to ground himself with the fact he was there next to him and very much alive. Ratchet knew it could have been so much different, he knew he could have been thrown into a downward spiral at Drift's disappearance from his life.

As Drift brushed kisses against his wet face, his vents evened a little. It could have been different, but it wasn't. He had Drift, it was okay.


 

They slept into much of the next Earth day, finally stirring at a call on their shuttle Comms. Drift went to answer it wordlessly and Ratchet caught snippets of the conversation with Faireborne, who must have been making sure they were still present. When Drift came back, he was carrying a box of Ratchet's favourite energon treats and he rattled them with a grin.

“Breakfast in bed?”

Ratchet nodded, his face still bearing the worry of the night before and Drift clambered in next to him, draping himself over his beloved. He opened the box and picked a sweet up, offering up to Ratchet. He took it silently and looked at it for a moment.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Ratchet raised an optic ridge in a perfect expression of don't be fragging ridiculous and Drift brought his optics back down to the box. Ratchet sighed, feeling guilty because apparently he was good at it, and started quietly.

“Nothing to say kid, just the same old thing. Ghosts of the past tormenting me, but you know exactly what that's like.”

“Yeah, it sucks. But you want to know something?”

“What's that?”

“It sucks to share your berth with ghosts, but it's worse sharing with Rodimus.” He grinned, “you think I fidget? Roddy can't stay still, and he's so hot , you don't even need a blanket. Have I ever told you about when I threw cold solvent over him in the middle of a recharge cycle?”

Ratchet had to laugh a little, “no?”

“He was so warm! I rolled over to the edge and he followed me and when I moved, I fell out of bed. I was pissed off .”

“Now you sound like me,” Ratchet was grinning, “I've worn off on you.”

“Shoosh a moment, so I went into the wash rack…”

As Ratchet listened to Drift tell him stories about his and Rodimus’ ridiculous past, he smiled. He was so transparent, Ratchet knew he was doing it to take his mind off his nightmares, but he didn't care. Drift always had a way of cheering him up.


 

“Ratchet?”

The medic didn't glance up from where he was disinfecting a berth. It had been a busy day in his Dead End clinic, patient after patient, and he'd barely had time to stop, but now here was Orion Pax, probably about to give him a whole new caseload.

“Whatever it is Pax, whoever it is, just leave them on that berth.”

But when he didn't hear Orion move, he stopped working and looked up with a sigh. He didn't like it when Orion did his brooding, crossed armed stance like he was doing right this second. Ratchet rubbed at his face and tried not to sigh again.

“Whatever it is, don't coat it in sweetener.”

“Because you are sweet enough already?”

“Beat me to it. Come on Pax, some of us are getting old and tired.”

“There have been reports of a new Decepticon warrior rising through the ranks. I heard Megatron named him personally.”

“And?”

Ratchet was growing irritated, Orion Pax barely dropped by for a chat anymore, too busy to do his good cop, slightly violent cop routine to drop by, but now apparently he was here for a frustrating and tedious one.

“They say he is reckless and violent, even by Decepticon standards. Swift, agile, like a flash of white lightning to strike you down. His name is Deadlock.”

Ratchet was going to tell Orion to frag off, he didn't have time for this but then he caught the intense gaze he was being given, well, even more intense than usual. He was telling him this for a reason and it had to be personal.

“And? There's plenty of Decepticons, what's special about this one?”

“I just thought you should know, that he's not dead. Yet.”

Whilst Ratchet was still furrowing his brow and trying to figure out the mystery that was talking to Orion, the big mech had turned for the door.

“I'm not sure why you're telling me this, Orion, why would I care about a white-”

Ratchet's optics widened.

“It's him, the mech you brought in, overdosing on boosters isn't it? The one I said-” Ratchet cut himself off, “A Con?”

“I am afraid so, my friend.”

Ratchet defaulted onto gruff like he was good at. He scoffed and started to wipe the disinfectant gel across the berth again, so what? So what if that mech was alive, he was a Decepticon and that made them enemies, right?

“And so you barge in here to tell me cryptically about one mech in particular I saved a while ago? What about the rest hm? Any news on them? How many of them are dead?”

“I just thought you ought to know.” Orion's optics glittered as he twisted back from the door, “and also I thought I should tell you once again, that you cannot save everyone.”

Ratchet pointed, “And I'll tell you, I'll damn well try anyway, even if it kills me.”

“That would be an awful waste.”

Orion left without another word. Ratchet tried to concentrate, gripping the cloth he had in his hand tightly then hung his helm. He knew Orion was right, frustratingly so, but it didn't mean he had to like it. He also knew, that the only reason that he'd been by to tell him about Drift, Deadlock, was because he felt he should know that the mech he'd obviously cared for, even if they'd only met for a few fleeting moments, wasn't dead. 

Ratchet hadn't saved his life after all, and as he felt tears well in his optics, he really wished he had.

Chapter Text

Drift was feeling frustrated. He'd let Ratchet get up out of the berth without him, telling him he was still tired but the reality was that his processor was whirling. They'd come back to Gigantion in search of the cyberdog that had haunted Drift since he'd first seen her, and although they loved this place, it was hard that they'd been there nearly a megacycle without any sign. He was wondering that maybe someone else had picked her up, or worse by the looks of her missing foot and he was beating himself up. He should have saved her when he got the chance.

Ratchet had said the pull with the dog was that Drift had found a kindred spirit in her, lost and in need of help but he didn't think that was it. He wanted to look after someone, give some of the love back that Ratchet had given him, and although she wasn't quite another Cybertronian to teach about life, he figured he could teach her something, even if it was only something like not all of them had to be feared.

The other thing bothering him was Rodimus. His amica had made it more than clear that he wanted him home, but since then he'd been kind of distant, their conversations stilted as the awkwardness pushed its way between them. He didn't know what he could do, other than go home, but he couldn't, not without her.

With a growl, he rolled over and pulled the blanket over his helm. He wasn't in the mood to socialise just yet. The day outside had barely begun but he wasn't sure he could face it, even if the irritatingly upbeat part of him was saying to take every day, seize every moment. Sometimes he understood whilst Ratchet rolled his optics at him.

Maybe he was just tired and he needed more sleep. He'd been restless since Ratchet's bad nightmare and checked on him often whenever he woke in the middle of his recharge cycle, plus they'd done a lot of travelling which was going to be hard on them both.

His comms pinged and he nearly dismissed it from his HUD when he saw it was from Ratchet.

-Come outside, carefully.-

Drift flung himself from the berth, the blankets whipped from his frame and then as he got to the habsuite door, he steadied himself. He held onto the frame and concentrated on the mementos of their journey so far. The ridiculous photo booth pictures, the tickets for the Velocitron face, the programme from the play and light bracelets from the light show in Caminus, the drinks coaster from one of the pubs in Gigantion, the pressed flowers from Dandelion II and the piece of burnt out circuitry one of the Preema babies had happily gifted Ratchet. All of that, all of the trinkets and all he wanted to take home was the dog. She needed someone, she needed help.

As he crept up to the external door, he saw Ratchet's back as he crouched down outside the shuttle and he wanted to roll his optics as he thought about how he was going to have to help him up, but then he caught the flash of midnight blue. His vents hitched as he stopped them a moment. Surely not. Surely.

“It's okay, it's okay.” Ratchet spoke even softer than he had to the Preema babies, “we won't hurt you. You're a good girl aren't you? That's it, it's okay.”

Drift stepped lightly like he was good at, and sat carefully down in the doorway as still as he could. The dark optics of the dog found him and she lifted her head, her ears twisted back to listen for any danger behind whilst keeping her sights on any danger in front. He hoped she didn't think they were a danger but if she was this close, it meant she wanted to trust them, even just to get nourishment.

It took her a moment but she bent her head back down to the dish filled with energon that they'd been leaving out for her, lapping hungrily.

Drift vented shakily. This was the closest she'd ever been and he couldn't help but feel a little pang of disappointment that it was Ratchet she'd approached when he was the one who was insistent on helping her.

He swallowed that down quickly when he saw she was staring at him again. She made a low noise in her throat and stepped forward, then hesitated, her injured back leg held up.

As Drift lifted his hand carefully, she flinched, hopping back and he went still again. She barely glanced in Ratchet's direction before she started towards Drift again, coming to stand between them, almost as if she was guarding the medic.

“Oh is that how it is?” Ratchet spoke quietly, turning his helm in her direction, “you think I need protecting?”

Drift was glad that he wasn't armed but he knew he probably still seemed intimidating. Ratchet radiated a calming, soothing vibe, his own field projected onto others, something he'd use as a medic to calm worried patients, but Drift's field was twisted with emotions, and he tried to reign them in. He didn't move, kept his optics steadily on her and waited.

The dog stepped back, and into Ratchet, resting her side against him. Still staring down Drift.

“It's okay, he won't hurt you. He's the one that wanted to come back for you.”

She turned her head up slightly to Ratchet and then back to Drift, like she was asking if it was true.

“We want to just make sure you're okay girl,” Drift cleared his intake, “we want to look after you. You can stay if you want, or you can come with us.”

She tilted her head, pushing against Ratchet to make sure he was staying where she wanted him to.

“You want to stay?”

She whined in response to Ratchet, her optics not moving from Drift.

“Do you want to come?”

She watched as the white mech patted his hand next to him in the shuttle and she tilted her helm even further. She understood, but she just didn't know what to do.

Ratchet took a chance and rose with a wince then climbed up into the shuttle. She didn't flee but her long tail went between her legs, worry flashing across her optics that he was leaving.

“Come here,” he patted his hand against his leg, “come on.”

She looked at Drift again, he hadn't dared to move and then she made a decision. She leapt up into the shuttle past him to start sniffing. Her long snout went to the hatch that led to where the extra energon and fuel stores were underneath them, and then up in the air in the direction of where one of the cubby holes lay the energon treats and goodies. She sat, and Drift admired how graceful she looked out of the corner of his optics and smiled to himself. Well, at least someone had taken a liking the old grump.

“What? You want something else? I don't think it's good for you, sweetspark.”

Drift nearly fell over, silently laughing. Apparently she'd won his spark much quicker than Drift had ever been able to. He grinned and dared to turn around to speak.

“So, she can stay?”

Ratchet looked at him carefully, his thumbs hooked onto his hip plates as he surveyed the sight before him. Drift with his puppy dog eyes and the dog with her head lifted high, almost as if she was daring him to say no. He flickered his optics almost imperceptibly then spoke.

“I need to scan her and make sure she's… well, her. Just need to find something to give her to keep her still."

“There's some of those more healthy energon gummies you don't like from that picnic Rodimus gave us. She should be okay with those.”

Ratchet rustled into the cupboard until he found them, then threw them into Drift's shoulder. The dog turned her head quickly and watched him with her intense gaze, her nose twitching with the smell.

“Me?”

“I need to scan her. I know I'm amazing but not quite able to do both at the same time.”

Drift was terrified that if he moved she might be scared off but when he looked back up at Ratchet, he merely nodded. With a small sigh, he picked up the packet and opened them, holding his hand out steadily for her to come near him. When she didn't move, he placed them on the floor as far away as he could reach from himself and she came forward, snuffling noisily then tentatively taking one, gobbling it up quickly with the rest when she realised how good it was.

Ratchet patted her side, crouching beside her but she paid no attention to what he was doing, too busy looking at Drift for another treat. He rolled a few across to her and took in her features. Her jaw had sweeping flares and her snout was long and pointed, like her ears. Her shoulder blades and elbows were sharp angles too, and her midsection was tiny. She was built for speed and hunting, and the way her ears moved and her eyes darted showed how alert she was. Drift wondered about the back left leg that ended just above her ankle joint. From the wariness he'd witness, he wondered if it had been an accident or purposeful.

“Well, she's a dog, and a she, at least. Her fuel levels are still low and she needs to recharge, but other than that, and,” he gestured at her leg, “her leg, she's fine.”

“She's filthy, and wary. She's scared.”

He rolled a few more treats towards her, feeling angry at why this sweet thing had a reason to feel afraid and she snapped her head up quickly. She could pick up on his field easily and she seemed nervous by this emotion. He pushed the feeling back down but she crouched, ready to spring out the door past him.

“It’s okay, it's okay.”

But she was done, her flight instinct kicking in hard. She ran past Drift and jumped down onto the ground with more agility than either of them expected and turned in the open, staring them down. Drift slumped.

“It's me, she doesn't like me.”

“She needs time kid, this wasn't going to be easy.”

“I know but… what is it about me?”

“I don't know, all you need to do is show her she doesn't need to be scared, that's all. Be patient.”

The dog was still watching carefully but then she was caught unaware by a long yawn, shaking her head. She blinked her dark eyes.

Drift thought for a moment, then slowly got up, retreating into the berth room. Ratchet glanced at him then back at the dog. She seemed to understand to wait a moment and when Drift came back, he had the softest blanket in his collection for her. Risking a small glance in her direction, he jumped down from the shuttle and she scooted backwards a little. He placed the blanket down on the floor, just by the wing to give her a little shade from the sun, making a fuss of moving it and smoothing it out carefully. When he was satisfied, he went back into the shuttle and took his seat back into the entrance. Ratchet hadn't moved, watching the scene play out with a small smile on his face.

The dog looked between the blanket and Drift. She hadn't moved but the longer she looked at the blanket, the more it pulled at her.

“Good idea.”

“Yeah, well, from one who used to sleep on the streets to another.” Drift didn't look back at Ratchet, “hopefully she'll curl up.”

With a quick tilt of her head, she trotted over to the blanket and picked it up with her teeth, pulling it over into the bright sunshine. She threw it back down into a messy pile and eased herself down with a huff, crossing her front paws over each other. She looked over at the two mechs. Ratchet laughed.

“Guess that told you.”

“It's a start right?”

“Mmhm. You alright if I go sit? My knees are aching.”

“Sure.”

Ratchet retreated and then came back with one of his datapads, and Drift's one that he kept in the pocket of his pilot chair. He handed it down to his love and kissed one of his finials. Drift hadn't moved, still eyeing the dog.

“Why don't you do some of your journal if you're going to sit and watch her?”

As Ratchet went to go take a seat at the front of the shuttle, the dog lay her head down, optics open into thin slits to watch Drift, but eventually she fell into recharge. It wasn't long after that that Drift heard Ratchet's soft snores.

He smiled and opened his datapad, he knew what he could do to pass some time.


 

A routine repeated itself over the next few days. The dog would wander up to the shuttle early, wait to be fed then settle down in the sunshine either watching the two mechs or slumbering lightly, enjoying having some company without being too close. She liked it the best when they were laughing together, their fields intermingled and happy.

They spent a lot of time resting like Drift had wanted to, but he was still slightly impatient with wanting to go home. He and Rodimus had exchanged few messages but neither had wanted to call. It wouldn't be right between them until they were face to face.

Drift and Ratchet managed to find themselves in a tickle fight on one muggy afternoon.

Drift dived out of the shuttle, giggling hard as he fled, forgetting about the dog for a moment and he halted quickly. She was watching with her paws crossed, head held high. He squealed when he saw Ratchet coming behind him, hands outstretched and made a lap around the shuttle. When he came back round, he found Ratchet sat on the soft ground beside the dog, making a fuss of her.

Drift flopped down beside him, resting his helm into his lap as he ex-vented tiredly. The heat was taking it out of him and he hoped soon enough the weather would break with a storm to ease the humidity.

Ratchet was scratching behind the dog's ears and Drift nuzzled into him with a cheeky grin.

“Me too.”

Ratchet laughed lightly and began to stroke Drift's finials. With the warm afternoon wrapping him up comfortably and knowing his love was close, he drifted off into a doze.

 

Pain. Fear. Cold. All around. He could hear indistinct voices, like a cacophony of misery from every direction. The blue in his vision began to fade and he recognised the Lost Light. The walls were shaking and he couldn't seem to step forward. It was like the noise was pressing him down into the floor.

“Drift!”

It was Rodimus. He needed him, he sounded scared and lost. He needed to get to him, to move, but his feet were firmly planted.

“Drift!”

He tried. He really tried. It was so hard he couldn't get where he wanted, he was too far away.

“Drift!”

 

“Drift.”

He would have bolted upright except for the weight on his chest. As he opened his optics and saw Ratchet staring down worriedly at him, he thought it was his hands pressing him down, but then he registered how both sides of his helm were being stroked.

Drift looked down his frame. The dog looked back from where she was laying on his chest, paws up on his shoulders. He blinked a few times. She blinked slowly back and then closed her optics in a show of trust. He didn't dare vent out in case he scared her off.

“She lay on you before you even started twitching. She knew.”

Carefully Drift lifted a hand in front of her face. She opened her optics lazily and let him touch the side of her muzzle. With a huff, she pushed into his hand more and then sighed, satisfied with the strokes to her head instead.

He tried not to let his field rise with jubilation. She finally had let him in just a little and he was so glad. His spark was obviously aching to be back with his friend, evident by his dream but with her heavy weight on his chest and Ratchet's careful strokes on his helm the bad thoughts faded quickly.

As if she knew her job was done, the dog suddenly sprung up, stretching her front paws out and trotted off. The two mechs exchanged a glance but as Drift pulled himself back upright, she returned with a stick in her jaws. Throwing it down in front of them, she pounced forward, bringing her head down to nudge the prize and wagging her tail up in the air.

They both laughed, Drift reaching forward to grab it and she barked at him impatiently, come on, play!

For some while they played fetch, Ratchet occasionally wrestling the dog for the stick with a laugh, her tail wagging the whole time until the sun started to crawl closer to the horizon.

After their game was done she went back with them to the shuttle, waiting outside the door for her energon ration, sat gracefully. She finished quickly, the bowl nearly tipping over as she scraped every last drop with her big tongue and then she disappeared off again as she had done the previous few nights. She stayed all day with them but couldn't ever seem to stay come nightfall. Drift sighed sadly as he watched her leave.

“Maybe she doesn't want to come with us. Maybe she was wild here.”

“Too small,” Ratchet shook his helm, “you imagine Jos or Mach with a dog that small?”

“So she was left here by someone.”

The medic looked over at where Drift was leaning into the doorway, watching where there was nothing to see anymore. He was making tea for them both, Drift apparently so bothered by the dog that he couldn't even worry about Ratchet making it badly like he always teased he did.

“I told you, it'll-”

“-take time. I know. I just wish we could scoop her up and go back.”

Drift was glum and he threw himself into his pilot seat, sighing. Ratchet leant over the back of his chair and rubbed at his shoulders. He wasn't sure what he could do to help, but Drift would never say no to a small massage from expert hands.

“You're homesick now huh?”

“Yeah.” He spoke softly, “not that I'm sick of it being just us Ratty.”

“I know kid, I miss home too. We'll give her some more time. So, done any more on your journal?”

“Not really. I'm not feeling it.”

“I saw you working on it earlier though?”

“Oh.”

He fished in the pocket of the back of his chair and handed his datapad up to Ratchet. He was watching some of the tall trees sway with the slight breeze out of the windshield and wondering whether to call Rodimus when he caught Ratchet's hitch in his vents. He snapped his gaze up and back to find Ratchet's optics wide.

“These are beautiful.”

Drift dropped his helm. His cheeks were hot and his spark shivered.

“Thought I'd give drawing a go too.”

“And you have an amazing talent,” Ratchet came to sit in his chair, placing a hand on Drift's knee and smiling, “in fact our hab suite needs redecorating when we get back, why don't you do something nice on the walls?”

“Really? I'll have to ask-”

“Pfft, you brought the fragging ship, you don't have to ask Rodimus scrap.”

“I was going to say Minimus,” he grinned, “make sure that there's no rules I'll be breaking.”

“As long as you don't scrawl you are being deceived I think you're good,” Ratchet facepalmed, “or the new Whirl graffiti I've apparently acquired on my desk.”

“What does it say this time?”

“House calls and booty calls available.”

Drift had to hold his sides he felt like he might explode from laughing that hard. Ratchet shared a grin and a laugh too then handed the datapad back, squeezing Drift's hand as he took it.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“We'll make our little family complete, okay? Don't worry. And then we can go back home.”

As Ratchet leant over and kissed him, Drift felt strange. Back when he was lost, he never thought he'd have anywhere to call home or a group of others to call family, but now he had a wedding to plan, a place to call his own filled with whatever comforts he might want or need and a whole crew that he would call family, at least a small portion of them.

He just hoped that the dog would join them.

Chapter Text

There was a faint scraping noise that dragged Drift from recharge first then as his berth mate moved, Ratchet woke too. Slightly alarmed they untangled themselves quickly from each other and the berth. When they'd stumbled out into the main part of the shuttle, Drift figured out that it was coming from the external door so he went and opened it quickly, feeling a little shocked at what he found.

The dog was sat waiting patiently for him, her head tilted to one side, her dark optics bright and wide, as if she was asking what had taken him so long. He was still groggy and furrowed his brow a little at her, his dim optics blinking slowly. He couldn't quite put together in his processor that she'd willing come to them without any incentive. Maybe it meant she was starting to trust them.

“And good morning to you too.”

At the sound of Ratchet's voice her tail thumped on the floor twice and he laughed, much more awake than Drift.

“Kept her waiting too long I guess. You feed her whilst I make some tea.”

Somehow through his haze, Drift found the dish they were using for her to drink out of, hopped out of the shuttle and topped it right up. He expected her to dive right in but instead she nuzzled at his hand before he could even move it away, as if she was saying thank you. He froze for a moment, scared to drop the cube he was holding out of shock.

“I've never seen you so smitten,” Ratchet was in the doorway, watching with a grin, “even with me."

“Oh,” Drift straightened, lifting an optic ridge, “coming from the one who calls her sweetspark?”

"Jealous are we?"

“I had to force compliments from your stony spark,” he was laughing along with Ratchet, “and she walks in her and you're all oh little sweetspark, what can I do for you sweetspark ?"

As they bantered back and forth, the dog lifted her head. She could tell that even though their voices were loud, they weren't angry at each other from the way their fields meshed together with love and adoration . Whilst they were distracted, she took her moment to quietly leap up into the shuttle to explore, her ears pressed back and nose snuffling along the floor. Her dainty paws stepped lightly even though she had to hop with her back foot, and the two mechs had just about finished playfully arguing when Drift spotted she was gone. He looked at Ratchet panickedly and the medic pointed behind, where he'd seen a long tail disappear into their berth room. Drift lifted an optic ridge in questioning but went all the same.

As they both slowly leant around the door, they found that she had curled herself up tightly on the foot of the berth, optics closed and her ears relaxed for once. Very deliberately, she onlined her optics just enough to peer at the two in the doorway then jostled her head further into the berth and closed them again.

Drift laughed in disbelief. Ratchet's vents hitched.

Not the bed .” He groaned, “if you let her on the bed she'll never get off it.”

Drift whistled and she perked up at the noise.

“Come on, down. Ratty says no.”

“Oh yeah, I'm the bad one.” He grumbled as he walked away.

The dog obediently jumped down and wandered past Drift, like she suddenly owned the place. She went to go retrieve the blanket they left outside for her, picking it up between her teeth and hopping back into the shuttle. She placed it down over where there was a warm spot from the engines just between their two seats and settled herself.

“Wow. That's it huh? Just walk into our lives and rule it now that you know we're all good?”

In response, she sighed contentedly and offlined her gaze again. Drift grinned at where Ratchet was rolling his optics with a smile.

“So can we keep her?”

“I think the real question is, can she keep us?”

They both glanced down to where she was eyeing them carefully, and Drift was sure that if she could, she would grin at them.

They'd already both agreed that they would only stay one more night. With a heavy spark, Drift had conceded that he couldn't make her stay even if he wanted her to but now he was hoping this meant she would.

Suddenly they simultaneously received a ping from Rodimus. Ratchet read it much quicker than Drift, bursting out into a snicker as the white mech ex-vented with relief when he realised it was nothing to worry about, but he couldn't help but feel a little sad. Maybe Rodimus was really mad at him still if he hadn't gotten in contact to tell Drift first.

"Kiddo finally did it huh? Thought I was gonna have to bang some helms together." Ratchet went to go collect the mugs of tea, his expression a little more serious, "why don't you call?"

Drift shook his helm in response, sending a small message straight back.

-I'm happy for you. xoxoxoxoxo.-

"No it's fine I…"

The words died in Drift's vocaliser. He had no excuses for not ringing other than he was worried that Rodimus would get defensive or ignore the call entirely, plus he didn't want to pry even more at an open emotional wound. Unfortunately Ratchet wasn't going to let it go.

"You're what? Worried he might shout at you? Like that's ever stopped you."

Ratchet handed him his tea then dodged around where the dog was napping on the floor to take his seat. He was watching Drift intently but his conjunx's optics were firmly on his mug.

"Drift."

"I don't know okay? I just… things aren't right between us and I don't know how to fix it."

"And we both know that being distant doesn't help."

Ratchet was reaching over the arm of his chair to tickle the top of the dog's head and she let out a little grumble in her throat, but she was watching Drift carefully. She'd picked up on his mixture of emotions and she was ready to spring, push her nuzzle comfortingly into him and ease the hurt.

Drift sighed. They were ganging up on him and he knew they were right, but he didn't want to admit it right now. Instead he turned on his heels and left the shuttle, placing down his mug with a bang as he went.

The dog went to move but Ratchet stopped her.

"No, stay sweetspark, he needs space."

Drift paced around outside for some time. His spark was hurting hard. He missed Rodimus, he missed how it used to be but he was angry too that he hadn't had the decency to call, instead sending a group message to inform everyone of his and Thunderclash's relationship. Drift told Rodimus everything, nearly. He'd failed to mention the boosters and that still weighed heavy on him.

Just as he thought he wouldn't be able to take it anymore, his long range communicator buzzed in his subspace. He knew, even before he reached for it, who it would be.

"Rodimus."

"Okay so let me start off with I am so fragging sorry , I didn't mean to tell you like that and I'm a humongous jerk and you can tell me that as much as you want when you get back and I don't even care how much longer you are away, just as long as I know you're coming back because you gotta do your own thing and so do I, and Thunders… I think I'm serious about him, and that's okay! That's perfectly fine right? I mean you're a great example of how you can balance more than one relationship and-"

" Roddy . Stop."

"...okay."

Drift rubbed at his face. An apology was a start at least, something he didn't hear all too often, but he knew he had his own to make too.

"I'm sorry I haven't handled this well either but…" he sighed heavily, "I've been dealing with stuff too. I nearly… I brought some boosters and… I didn't take them, but I was tempted. And then there's all the other stuff, trying to talk things through with Ratty and… I guess we're both bad at this when we're apart."

Rodimus was silent for a few moments and Drift braced himself for being shouted at for his stupidity at buying boosters.

"Drift, you should have said."

His vocals were soft and kind. Drift unclenched his fist that he hadn't even realised he'd clenched. He looked back up the hill he'd stomped down, up to where he could see the Gone Honeymoonin' and he knew he'd have to go up there and apologise too afterwards.

"You had enough going on."

"We're both as stubborn as each other right?" Rodimus laughed lightly, "when you're home we can talk okay?"

"About that… we're just spending one last night."

"...really?"

"...yeah."

"The dog?"

"I think she'll come but if she doesn't, we can't make her."

"So… I'll see you tomorrow?"

"...yeah."

They were both quiet and serious. Things weren't perfect yet but their relationship had undergone a transformation and they were both trying hard to work at it. It was a testament to how strong their bond was with how much they'd weathered and they were glad to still have each other.

"I'll uh… get Megs to jump near to Gigantion, alright? Save your fuel a little."

"Sure."  

"Alright." Rodimus hesitated just a moment, "I love you."

"I love you too, Rodimus Prime, you ridiculous, amazing mech." Drift managed to smile, "amicas forever right?"

"Forever and a day, Drift of Rodion." There was a smirk in Rodimus' voice, "and hey, you tell that conjunx of yours I love him too, alright? We've all missed you, Whirl is moping around because Ratchet isn't here to appreciate the works of art on his desk, I think Mags is done with sparkling sitting and Megs is ready to blow a fuse, patience isn't quite his strong point right?"

"Coming from you?"

"Oh and he's starting already! Listen buddy, I'll kick your aft for that when you're back."

"Not if I kick yours first."

"And you'd have to catch me."

They both laughed, the weight of the tension between them lifting away.

"So you and Thunders huh?"

"I'll give you all the juicy gossip when you're back."

"No thanks, if you do that, then I'll share with you what I did with the stuff you left in the cubby in the berth room."

Rodimus was giggling, the sounds muffled as it sounded like he'd dropped his communicator. When he spoke again it was clearer.

"And Ratch's face?"

"A picture. I wish I'd taken one for you."

"Lousy amica."

"Reckless hothead."

"As much as I'd love to stay and insult you, I gotta go, make sure the ship is prepped. Enjoy your last night of freedom."

"What? Before I'm stuck with you forever, yeah?"

"Oof, right through the spark. Now go on, go make sure you've got everything packed, including my presents."

"Your present is right here, maybe if you're lucky I'll tie a bow around my finials."

"And I look forward to unwrapping it."

By the time Drift had said a long, long goodbye and gathered the courage to go back up to the shuttle, Ratchet was waiting outside, playing fetch with the dog once again. He smiled sheepishly but Ratchet merely pulled him close and smothered him in kisses.

"You spoke to him huh? I know exactly what Rodimus is doing right now ."

"Mm?"

"Running around the Lost Light, telling everyone you're coming home."

"How did you know that I'd spoken to him?"

Ratchet pulled back to look at him, a twinkle in his optics and mischief all over his face.

"I can see it in your aura."

"Ratty!"

But Drift was laughing, nuzzling against him. He felt a cold nose against his leg and looked down at where the dog was looking up at them both. He smiled. Soon enough, everyone would be together.


 

 

They were walking back from the pub after saying goodbye to Mach and Jostle, with promises to stay in touch and visit again in the future, possibly bringing some of their friends along.

"Aye of course! Any pal o' ye is a pal o' ours!"

Jostle had pulled them into a tight hug whilst Mach laughed, patting their backs lightly. They would definitely miss their big friends.

They were glad to going home though and even more glad that the dog had apparently decided to stay. She hadn't been disappearing off overnight like she first had, choosing to stay in the shuttle even after Ratchet had made a big show of closing the door but almost like she knew they were leaving Gigantion for good, she'd gone galloping off into the trees as soon as the two mechs had headed off into the night.

Drift had been worried but Ratchet had reassured him that she'd probably found something she'd wanted to chase and would be back later.

When they got back, they found her waiting, sat in the tall, proud way she did and when they stopped, she got up and took a few steps towards the trees where she'd disappeared off to earlier, then glanced back.

“She wants us to follow right?”

“Yeah, I think so,” Drift replied softly.

As they followed her into the undergrowth, Drift was surprised to find that she pressed herself right beside his leg, guiding him forward and whenever he put his hand down, his digits just managed to tickle her angular shoulder blades. She didn't seem to mind too focussed on her goal.

They walked through the lush scenery for a while then came out into a sparse clearing, trees all around them in a kind of circle. She dropped her head and broke away from Drift to lie beside something on the soft ground, resting her head onto her paws. Ratchet took Drift's hand and brought him closer, frowning at the sight.

“Looks like something was dug there.”

But Drift knew that for sure. After he'd met Vigor and asked about the dog, he knew exactly what lay here, what she had kept creeping back here for night after night.

He went down to his knees beside her and she whined lowly, lifting her head at the small mound where grass was just starting to grow back over. He moved his hand in front of her optics so she didn't spook and started to stroke her head, speaking softly.

“These were your babies weren't they?”

She glanced up at him, her dark optics shining in the small amount of starlight filtering through the clouds.

“That's why you didn't want to leave, because you don't want to leave them.” He smiled sadly, “it's okay, if you don't want to come you don't have to, but me, and Ratty, we both know about grief, and it's hard, but we would help you. I don't know why I expect you to understand all of this… but we would like you to come with us. It's okay to say goodbye.”

The dog lay her head back down, optics twisted towards where the small mound was like she was debating. Her tail thumped a few times unenthusiastically with a dull thud on the grass. Drift glanced back up at Ratchet who was waiting, a serious expression on his face.

They both knew they couldn't tear her away if this is where she wanted to be, and Drift wasn't even sure she understood, but she'd shown such intelligence and understanding of emotions that he thought she might.

She sighed and pulled herself up wearily, her head bent low. She barked lowly with her head turned to the mound and then started off in the direction of where they'd entered the trees. She stopped, waiting for the mechs to follow her and looked back over her shoulder at them. They exchanged a glance and she barked again.

When they got back to the shuttle, the dog waited to be invited in, Ratchet patting at his leg as he strode in, but she waited for Drift too. He went in and whistled for her. This time she hopped in, tail wagging lowly and she settled herself down onto her blanket between their seats. She looked sad but she was watching them intently.

"Are you ready to go?"

She let out a bark and pawed at Drift's pilot seat. He hesitated then closed the shuttle door. When she didn't move, he went tentatively over to his chair and sat.

Finally satisfied, she lay her head back down.

“She'll be okay. We all are in the end, right?”

Ratchet kissed the back of his helm as he leant over the chair. Drift nodded as he started up the engine. If everyone was happy to leave, he was ready to go home, slightly earlier than planned but he knew they wouldn't be unwelcome. They still had to make a short journey to where the Lost Light was orbiting lazily nearby, Rodimus having already sent the co-ordinates over.

Drift glanced back down at the dog. Ratchet was right, in the end, they were going to be okay.

Chapter Text

Drift stretched his shoulder joints, wincing as he heard one of them pop down his audial and he made a note to ask Ratchet to take a look at it for him. It had been such a long journey and it was only now as it was coming to an end that he realised what a toll it had taken.

He heaved himself up from the chair and glanced out of the windscreen. The shuttle was set on autopilot for the Lost Light and it wouldn't be long until they got there so he decided to go check on his newest love.

Ratchet was dozing lightly, his red hand contrasting with the midnight blue of the flank of the dog resting tucked into him. Her dark optics were offlined, but her ears moved as Drift neared the door and opened it. Still slightly wary at times, she lifted her head but he held out his hands non threateningly towards her. Stretching out her three feet, she pulled herself up and leapt carefully off of the berth to duck her head down and wander towards Drift. He crouched, making reassuring sounds to her as she limped forward and she stopped just in front of him. He moved his hand carefully and deliberately in front of her, to tickle under her chin and she leant heavily into the touch. He smiled.

“She's getting better.” Ratchet yawned, “she wriggles less than you.”

“What happened to not on the berth ?”

“Well, she's sweet.”

To prove a point, the dog threw herself down onto the floor, rolling onto her back submissively but also, Drift was sure, for belly rubs. He acquiesced, smiling all the while.

“So c'mon, name . I know you've been thinking over it for a while.”

“It needed to be perfect, like she is.”

“If you have something in mind, just say it.”

Drift stopped fussing her, and got up carefully so she didn't startle, going over to join Ratchet on the berth. She watched carefully, and then he whistled her over, patting the berth so she knew she could come up. She complied, wriggling her way between the two mechs, laying her head down and closing her eyes with a sigh, content. Here she felt safe.

“Bonnie.” Drift stroked her softly, “I showed Mach and Jos a photo of her and they said aye she's a bonny wee thing . I asked what it meant and they said it means good or beautiful and well… I think it fits. As long as you're okay with it?"  

“I think it's perfect.” He closed his optics with a smirk, “like you. And her.”

Drift smiled. Even though their adventure was nearly over he was ecstatic. They'd had their fun, they'd spoken about things that there were no way they'd get the peace or time to do on board the bigger ship, they'd gotten plenty of interfacing done and now they had something else to bring them closer together. So it wasn't a new spark they'd adopted but Bonnie needed love, care and guidance too.

As he looked at the dog nestled between them, Ratchet rolled onto his side, curled protectively around her and lay a hand over onto Drift's side. Bonnie sighed again, wriggling her head back against Ratchet's chest and and he laughed as her cold nose brushed him.

Drift thought back on his life, even a year ago he never thought he'd be able to feel so content and so safe, but here he was, wrapped up in love and comfort.

And he still had Rodimus to see. He grinned to himself, he just hoped his amica loved the new part to his family as much as he did.