“I missed you.”
Rodimus distracted himself with work. It was a first, and it was concerning. He wouldn’t leave his office for hours at a time, he’d refuse to answer questions and start conversations when he was at the bridge. When he wasn’t working, he… disappeared. No one knew what he did or where he went.
Ultra Magnus didn’t know if an intervention would be effective. What would he say? He wasn’t well trained in this. Who could he get to talk to Rodimus? The last person that Rodimus actually listened to was in critical condition. Everyone else would just be met with an emotionless wall, and it wouldn’t go anywhere. Even Magnus knew that.
Was his only choice now to just let Rodimus… suffer alone? He wished that that wasn’t it, but…
Magnus walked by Rodimus’s office. He paused to listen, expecting – hoping – to hear a sound. To hear anything.
It was silent.
Drift was to be monitored at all times, making sure his health didn’t turn for the worst while he recovered. He was in stasis, entirely unaware of his surroundings.
That’s what Ratchet told himself anyway. He’d made sure that Drift wouldn’t be able to feel, hear, or smell anything, but there wasn’t any way for him to completely deactivate Drift’s ability to interpret everyone else’s EM fields. Not safely, anyway.
Ratchet pulled the chair from his desk and sat down next to Drift. He would willingly bet Swerve any amount of shanix that Drift could feel everything he was feeling.
Anguish. Regret. Pain. Despair.
Ratchet sighed and leaned back. He focused on his own senses, predicting when the next beeps would come from the machines, estimating just how far up Drift’s chassis moved when he took a breath, reminding himself to thank First Aid for figuring out how to get rid of the smell of melted metal.
Tonight had been his shift, and he knew it would be quiet, but even the beeps from the machines did nothing to help Ratchet feel less alone.
All he could do now was wait. Wait, and monitor, and make sure Drift would wake up after everything.
Ratchet’s breathing hitched.
Rodimus stopped showing up to the bridge. Ultra Magnus had applauded him for being on time his past couple shifts, until he started calling in and asking him, or even Megatron, to take his shifts. Even before this entire situation had happened, even before Megatron boarded the Lost Light, Rodimus would never skip his shift entirely. Miss the first half because he was late, sure, but never completely.
Magnus was concerned. He was stressed, and upset, and disappointed, and uncertain, but, above all, he was worried. He didn’t know what he could do to help, if he could do anything to help, and it frustrated him that he didn’t know.
Even the reminders that this situation was affecting him too didn’t help. Of course he would be concerned for Drift. Of course he wants the best for the rest of the crew. Of course the original quest was still a priority. But being able to juggle everything that was happening, and making sure everyone else was coping better than their captain, wasn’t an easy task.
His work ethic was suffering. He knew this. He was missing key punctuation, he was forgetting to report certain crimes, sometimes he even exploded situations that were completely minor transgressions, and he wasn’t okay. No one in the Lost Light was okay.
It wasn’t a comforting reminder, but it was certainly something he couldn’t forget.
Drift didn’t have any energy. Whatsoever. He felt heavy as he floated in space, embraced within the darkness he couldn’t touch.
He wasn’t picking up anything. Not any light, not even the clanking of his swords and kibble, not even feeling the way his armor lay comfortably – for the first time – against his frame.
He couldn’t feel his frame.
This time, he wasn’t sure if he should be concerned. The last thing he remembered was nonstop firing, yelling from every direction, and pink. Pink was everywhere.
He remembered a sharp pain on his side, and another on his upper back, and the last thing he thought about was Ratchet. And then nothing.
And now… nothing.