Primus, the pressure's on! I only have myself to blame for the brilliant idea of having two sequels! What a lugnut! Anyway, as you can see. I changed the title…again. Sorry. The last story started with Kaceystar so this one had to start with Optimus.

Author's Notes: to be consistent with the previous story a journ is the equivalent of an Earth day and an orn is the equivalent and Earth year.

The prologue is sort of a summary of the previous story for those who chose not to read Hope's Journey. But I highly recommend that you do as all three stories will tie into each other.

We pick up where Hope's Journey left off.


Prologue

I admit the very idea of me being a father was never even a spark between two circuits within my cerebral processor when I was a young mech. I was Prime. I was shouldering the responsibilities of leading a people. I was fighting a war. I had no time for a sparkmate much less a family. Primus, I barely had time for my friends.

But my life made a drastic change a few orns after I became Prime. I met the most beautiful femme I had ever laid optics on. The day she had come in to my office reporting for duty I had decided that she was the only femme for me. I would have no other.

I quickly learned that Elita was as stubborn as I was. She was as passionate as I was about doing what we had to do to win the war. She could stand up to me, wasn't afraid to speak her mind either. To put it simply, she was my equal.

Because of her, I learned that some things were worth taking the time for.

Elita and I were both so young and enjoyed each others company more than anything during the beginnings of our relationship. Yet, despite the war going on around us we fell deeply in love. The first time I told her that I loved her I knew she was the only femme who could ease ache in my spark that I had since the day my brother tried to kill me. Without her, life was meaningless to me. She knew my spark like no one else did. She alone made me feel complete even though neither of us was ready to bond yet.

Sparklings never even entered our conversations as our relationship grew even more intimate. Besides, with the war consuming much of our time bonding didn't seem a logical choice to either of us. So with no bonding there couldn't even be sparklings. And it didn't make any kind of sense to bring a sparkling into such violence anyway. I had always firmly believed that sparklings and younglings had no business being near war.

So becoming a surrogate father was something I was not prepared for that day I rescued one tiny youngling from the death and destruction of a youth sector. I had no idea what I was doing when I picked up Bumblebee from the rubble. I just knew he was frightened and I only did what Ratchet had always done to me whenever I was frightened as a youngling.

Only the way Bumblebee clung tightly to me as he trembled and wept before falling into recharge against my chest unexpectedly awakened something deep within my spark. I felt a yearning I had never felt before as me and many of the mechs, and femmes all helped to raise the little youngling.

At first I thought it was because I had felt sorry for Bumblebee; to be so young and to have experienced the violence of war the way he did tore at my spark. Only the yearning in my spark grew more restless when Prowl had returned from a reconnaissance mission with little twin younglings, around Bumblebee's age, barely clinging to life.

I suddenly realized what my spark had been trying to tell me one quiet day as I watched Bumblebee and the twins playing. I knew what I wanted. I knew exactly what would dull the ache in my spark that I had felt for so long.

I knew what would make me feel whole again. My family had been lost to me. My parents were murdered. My brother was at war with me. But a family of my own would complete my life and give my spark something back that it had been missing for so many orns.

Of course, the only problem was Elita. Being a mother was the furthest thing from my love's processor at that time. She was even a long way from bonding when Bumblebee, Sunstreaker, and Sideswipe came into our lives on the base. But I knew Elita very well. I knew there would be a day when she would be ready to bond me. And I had hoped that one day she'd be ready to bear my sparkling.

So I bided my time not caring how long it would take. The orns passed as I waited patiently until the day had finally come when I felt I could tell her my spark's desire without frightening her. My need to suddenly be with Elita was the strongest it had ever been on that day. And I just knew it was time.

I remember it clearly as if it happened only yesterday as it was one of my fondest moments with my Elita.

I was having a particular bad day as Prowl kept hounding me about reports I hadn't complete, Ironhide kept harassing me about a mission to obtain more weapons, and Ratchet was begging for more medical supplies. I told them all to meet me in my office and that I'd be there soon. I even paged Elita to meet me at my office because I knew she had issues to discuss as well.

Only I intercepted her along the way. I just grabbed her hand and ran off for the shuttle bay. The fact that Elita didn't protest for once only gave me confidence that I was doing the right thing as I flew the shuttle to a lovely vantage point by the Arboria Nebula. Before she could question my actions, I made love to her.

Alas, the day didn't turn out exactly as I had planned. We didn't bond as I had hoped. But my intentions were clear to her. I wanted to bond with her. I wanted to have a family with her. I even went so far as to tell her the name I wanted for a little femme if we had one together in our distant future.

I only scared her a little. But I had planted the seed in her processor. The following days I had noticed that she was seriously thinking about what I told her. I didn't press her at all. I knew she'd tell me when she was ready. I loved her deeply and was willing to wait. I had already waited orns to tell her. I didn't mind waiting longer if I had to.

Only the war finally put its ugly foot down and came between us. My plans for bonding and a family were put on hold indefinitely.

We received reports of the location of the Allspark on a distant planet called Earth. The Allspark was too important for me to ignore. I had to go on that mission. I had too. I saw it as a chance to finally end this war. I had even prepared for the mission with the hopes that when I returned to Cybertron I would then bond with Elita and have the family I wanted.

Elita had other ideas. She surprised me by accepting my bonding proposal. The timing wasn't perfect but I had never felt such joy before. All my patience had finally paid off! I admit I got a little carried away when I picked her up in my arms for all to see and took her to my quarters.

It was all worth it as our bonding had been more than what I had anticipated. Words cannot describe the depth of emotions and pleasurable sensations that occur during bonding. I can only say that it was the most beautiful moment of my life. Such a beautiful and miraculous moment that led to the unanticipated birth of my daughter, Kaceystar.

My beautiful star.

I had no idea I had even gotten Elita pregnant during out bonding. Looking back, I suppose subconsciously I did for the mission ahead of me was perilous and there was a possibility I wouldn't return. A part of me obviously wanted Elita to have something of myself to love if I were lost to her.

Still, nothing could have prepared me for the surprising moment as I listened to Elita's voice on the data-disk Prowl gave to me. Even though Kacey was something my spark desired I was totally astonished to learn I was a father! I wasn't even prepared for how overwhelming my sense of pride and joy were as they swelled within my spark.

I Optimus Prime, a mech wrecker, helped to create a new life!

The very thought that I did such a thing still overwhelms me whenever I think about it. But fathering a new life and being a father are two completely different things.

Ironhide was right. Being a father isn't at all easy.

Before my daughter even arrived on Earth I was on an emotional roller coaster like I had never experienced before. My experiences with helping to raise Bumblebee and the twins weren't nearly enough to prepare me for being father. The only thing I knew was that I loved my daughter and I was desperate for her to be in my life and safe from harm.

So, that's what I did when Kacey finally arrived, I simply gave her all the love I had to give. Because of how she arrived and her bad dreams I found it exceedingly difficult to discipline her when she wouldn't stay in her own recharge bed. Her antics around the base actually amused me as she reminded me so much of myself at that age. I had only gotten angry at her once for not following my orders. But I had to acknowledge the fact that if she had obeyed me Bumblebee, Sunstreaker, and Sideswipe would be dead.

I'm the first one to admit I've made mistakes with Kacey during the few months as a single parent trying to raise her. I'll probably even make more as she grows up. I'm far from perfect as a father, or as Prime. I'm still learning myself.

Yet, as I stand here holding Galen while his wails pierce my audio receptors I suddenly ask myself the question - am I actually ready for fatherhood?

Bumblebee and the twins were already younglings. Kacey was ten orns by the time she came into my life. And even though it pains my spark to have missed out on so much of my daughter's life already, I realize I don't know anything about raising a sparkling! And I have two on the way!

Maybe I should start apologizing to Orion and Ariel now before their born for all the mistakes I'm going to make. My processor is already buzzing from what may lie ahead of me. If Kacey is any indication of what's to be, then Elita and I are in for trouble times two with our little twins.

I take some comfort in the fact that at least Elita's had experience with a sparkling with Kacey. I enjoy listening to Elita's stories about how rambunctious Kacey was as a tiny sparkling. How so full of life, so full of energy, so full of love my little Kaceystar was and still is.

Primus, what am I thinking?

I am Optimus Prime. I am the Autobot leader. I am a war wrecking mech, femme magnet. I have survived countless battles. Been on the brink of death and come back. I have endured torture both mental and physical. I have seen many atrocities and wonders during my long orns. I am not even afraid of death itself. The only thing I truly fear is losing those my spark cannot bear to live without…my Elita, my Kacey, and my unborn twins.

I am supremely confident I can handle what lies ahead of me. Besides, being a father is something my spark desires. I feel now as I did so long ago. And Ratchet said I was a good father when I asked him. Kacey loves me despite my screw ups.

I smile to myself. Yes, I am ready to completely embrace fatherhood.

"What the…Galen! Ratchet, come get your sparkling! He's lubricating all over my armor!"

"You need the practice!"

"Not yet I don't!" I growl and he quickly takes the squalling, leaking sparkling from my outstretched hands.

Ok, so maybe I'm not entirely ready. Little did I realize that Galen leaking lubricant on my armor was going to be the least of my problems!