First of all I would like to humbly thank you all of you who've made it through to the end. I honestly had no idea the story would end up being so long! But I thank all of you who've laughed, cried, and hung on to the edge of your seats during Kacey's journey. I thank you for the reviews, for the favorites, and alerts. And Kacey thanks you too.
Second, special thanks goes to Bunnylass, Phoenix13, and Plenoptic for allowing me to use them as guinea pigs at some point during the creation of this story to test emotional responses or get opinions on a particular scene or chapter. Thanks gals.
Third, OMFG! Kacey has yet another AU fic! That makes ten total AU fics. The latest is a cute and adorable Kacey and Bee fic set in the future called Bedtime Stories, by Corselli. The link is on my profile page. If you search for it you have to look under movies Transformers, not the Cartoon Transformer/Beastwars.
Finally, this is it. The end on one journey but not the journey's end. As promised this final chapter and the first story of Hold On Before It's Too Late have been posted on the same day. I didn't want anyone to way too long for the introduction of the love story.
Now enough of this slag, on with the Epilogue and Optimus' final thoughts.
Over the course of the weeks following my daughter's captivity I saw her confidence slowly rebuild to where it once had been and more. On base, she was her fun loving, carefree self, still pranking Ratchet, although she got the twins, Sunny and Sides, in a good one that will live in the memory of all us for many eons to come. Out in the field, she's held herself with poise, audacity, and an inner strength that I must admit far exceeded my own when I was her age.
Kacey is not without her faults and weakness like many of us and is the first to admit she's not perfect. She still has nightmares from time to time. Still sneaks herself in between Elita and me during the middle of the night every so often. At times she's a bit over protective of her siblings, especially Leo. She has a pension for breaking curfew and sneaking out for a quick flight, under the radar of course. I have noticed that since her confidence as been restored, her ego has gotten a little bigger and she likes to, if the opportunity presents itself, show off during the heat of battle.
Thankfully, she has not exposed herself to a serious injury or endangered others with a couple of these 'stunts'. Nor has she tried to do them that often enough. I've tried to reprimand her during such occasions but its difficult when Ironhide was cheering her on behind my back! Still, she is quite young for combat and makes mistakes. Such mistakes are because she lacks experience. Kacey will continue to make mistakes as it is part of any soldier's development into a mature, seasoned wrecker. But I'm confident she will learn from such mistakes as she is dedicated to being the best Autobot she can be, striving to make me proud of her.
My daughter…a wrecker. The mere thought makes me proud.
I smile, thinking about the past and the present. It's quite unbelievable that my daughter was simply an idea, nothing but a dream when I left Cybertron to come to Earth. I am at times taken aback when I think about that dream and how reality has turned out far better than anything I could have possibly imagined.
Yes, I had imagined myself as a father once I knew that's what I really wanted. I just didn't imagine myself as the father of four! Funny how life does that to you; surprises you when you least expect it. Yet, I have Kacey to thank for teaching me, humbling me, showing me how to grasp life with both hands and enjoy it to its fullest extent. I had nearly forgot how to do that when I became Prime.
Sentinel or my guardians never prepared me for the day when I would have a family of my own. It was my children who helped me learn how to be the father I am today. Since their conception it has been a struggle to balance my responsibilities as a leader of a people, a devoted sparkmate, and loving father. I have managed, with help. I'm forever grateful that I have four very outspoken children, and sparkmate I might add, who are not afraid to tell me when I'm being an aft for neglecting them. Thankfully, that doesn't happen often.
"Any news yet?" I asked when Prowl and Jazz walked into my office.
"Nothing yet," Prowl frowned.
"Prowl and I have a request," Jazz smiled, dropping himself lazily into the chair in front of my desk.
"Jazz," Prowl hissed, quietly chiding his bonded's flippant behavior in my presence. It made me chuckle to myself to see the happy couple are back to their old selves. Frag, I didn't realize just how much I missed Jazz until I started seeming him roaming the hallways once he felt better. Apparently, Kacey and Jazz have become instant friends. A few times I've heard them blasting their favorite rock and roll tunes while playing poker. Just the other night, I saw Jazz was teaching Kacey how to dance.
"Lay off, Prowler. I'm still not cleared for active duty and I'm sure Optimus doesn't mind."
"Anything is a welcomed distraction from these fragging datapads," I smiled, pushing the stack aside and leaning back in my chair. I noticed Prowl flinched slightly as we all know he's responsible for the majority of the stack on my desk. "What is this request?"
"Well, since I'm officially back from the dead and well enough to go driving around again, I was thinking that Prowl and I need some time together, alone…like a vacation. We have a lot of interfacing to make up for!"
"Jazz!" Prowl moaned, glancing up towards the heavens with a 'why does this always happen to me' look on his face plates.
"I see no problem with that," I smiled. "Three weeks should be sufficient."
"Sweet!" Jazz cheered jumping to his feet and almost throwing himself at Prowl.
"Three weeks?!" Prowl asked in disbelief.
"The base isn't going to the Pit while you're gone, Prowl," I replied. "And Magnus can take over your duties just fine while you're on vacation. Once we receive word from the UN about the proposal you two are free to do whatever your sparks desire. Just…make sure no humans see you doing…well, let's just say I don't want to see any footage popping up on youtube of you two fragging each other in a carwash or something."
"No problem boss bot! We'll make sure the carwash is closed first! Come on Prowl let's go plan on what sights to see!" Jazz smiled literally bouncing out the door with jubilee.
I laughed at his enthusiasm.
"Yeah, you can laugh. I'm the one that's bonded to him," Prowl remarked, making me laugh harder. "Still, thank you, Optimus. Even though he does like to embarrass me, I'm eternally grateful for having him back in my life."
"You're welcome," I nodded, watching him leave.
A moment after my second in command disappeared out the door my beloved Elita came waltzing in looking as beautiful as ever. My spark always flutters whenever she suddenly appears before me. Primus, I love her so much.
"What did you do that had Jazz dancing with me as I was trying to walk by and put a smile on Prowl's face?" she asked, coming up and sitting on the edge of my desk.
"Three week vacation," I answered, grabbing a dreaded data pad.
"Ok," she drawled out slowly. "I can see why that would make Jazz happy but the workaholic?"
"Prowl has changed a bit, in case you hadn't noticed and I think it has a lot to do with the close friendship he's developed with Kacey."
"Yes, about that," she said, narrowing her optics at me. "I found out it was Prowl who taught our sparkling how to play poker!"
"Elita, Elita," I cooed, pulling her onto my lap, cuddling her close. "Let it go. It's too late to change the past. We must worry about the future?"
"Our future?" she asked, leaning close, nuzzling her nose against mine.
I sighed, caressing her abdomen, my spark saddening just a little over the loss of the little femmes. As if sensing my thoughts, she covered my hand with hers.
"I'm not ready yet," she whispered. "I can promise you that we will have another sparkling. I just need more time."
"Take as much time as you need, my love," I smiled affectionately before kissing her passionately.
"Maybe we should close the door for them?" Leo's distinctive voice whispered…loudly.
I pulled away to see my two sons and youngest daughter standing side by side in the doorway. Leo smirking as usual, strong arms folded across his chest and looking more and more like me every day with only a few subtle differences. Orion, who seemed to be rather handsome blending of Elita and myself, at least looked a little embarrassed for walking in on Elita and me kissing. Ariel, looking more and more like Elita but with my smile and laugh I've noticed, standing between her brothers looking rather annoyed.
"One day you will find love and have sparklings of your own," I warned them. "Until then try to have a little respect for you father."
"Don't worry about me, father. Galen and I are not planning on having a sparkling for a long time," Ariel said and I was inclined to believe her.
"Don't you need to bond first?" Leo smirked. "You two got the kissing down but there's the whole interfacing issue."
"Leo!" Ariel squawked and swung at her brother. Leo of course ducked and easily avoided his sister's fist.
"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that," I grumbled. Frag, I didn't want to imagine my daughters kissing with mechs! Not yet anyway.
"Hm, I think the time has come," Elita said to me. Then she gave me quick kiss on the forehead before rising to her feet. "Come with me my little mech wreckers. Time we had the 'talk.'"
Both of them groaned, rolling their optics.
"Quiet, I know your father has already discussed the issue of femmes with you and now it's my turn. I will not have Sunny completely corrupt my sons' processors."
"Ha, too late mom, I'm totally corrupted," Leo giggled.
"Yeah, way too late," Ariel and Orion scoffed together.
"Then I will have to undo what he's done," she smiled, tapping Leo on the end of his nose. "Let's go my sparklings."
"Mom!" they all groaned in unison.
"Oh shush. Optimus, call me when you find out?"
"Of course," I smiled and watched the future walking with their mother.
It's hard to believe that even with all the fighting still going on with my brother and the Decepticons that the future looked brighter than ever for our kind. Hope has never been brighter with the promise of family units, younglings, and sparklings…lots of them, all heading to Earth.
Moral has never been higher on the base with this news. After I read the full list of designations occupying the Kup's ship my spark felt so relieved and happy that so many loved ones were going to be reunited. I gave Hound the duty of informing all those mechs and femmes affected. Good news like that needed to be shared.
The mech was more than happy to oblige as he was positively overjoyed to hear his son was alive and well. Hound informed me that he was only slightly disappointed that Marshall was still a single, unattached mech. Apparently, Hound was looking forward to being a grandfather at this point in his life.
For me personally, I was looking forward to seeing my cousin Jetfire. From the brief message he was able to send me it sounded like he hadn't changed at all since the last time we saw each other.
"So, cousin, rumor has it you and your bonded sparked. Way to go by the way! A femme no doubt that's every bit a pain in the aft as her father. That's according to what our spies have picked up from the Decepticon communication lines. I hope being a father hasn't made you forget how to have fun because we have lots of catching up to do! (laughs) Seriously, Optimus I'm looking forward to our family reunion and seeing with my own optics how pretty this Elita is. I can tell you, a lot of Autobots, me included, are looking forward to seeing Kaceystar with their own optics. She's given many of us hope. Something we've sorely needed. So take care, cousin. See you when we get to Earth."
I wasn't sure if I should have been surprised or not that the Autobots on Cybertron have heard about Kacey. I suppose I should have expected it since she did infiltrate and escape from the Decepticon base on Mechanar. Decepticons were prone to rumors just as much as Autobots were. It's like an obsession for our race.
Rising to my feet, I decided to go check on another obsession. One my daughter, Kacey, inherited from me. And as expected I found her pacing in the briefing room, hands clasped behind her back much like I do when I'm anxiously waiting. Even the circular disk that covered her audio receptor port on the side of her head rotated anxiously much like mine always did.
"Kacey, sit down. You're wearing out the floor," I gently insisted knowing she wouldn't do as I said.
"I'll sit when we get the call," she simply said briefly glancing at me.
"Then sit and talk with me?" I smiled, knowing she couldn't resist that.
She smiled and sat down in the seat Elita normally sits in near the head of the briefing table. I happily sat in mine at the head of the table.
"How can you be so calm about this?" she asked. "I don't think I've recharged during the past three days while the UN deliberates."
"Well, perhaps because this is your dream. You were the one that approached John about finding some land for us to build a proper base on."
"And now it seems that ever Autobot here is relying on me to make this work. And what about the Autobots coming to Earth…if this fails…"
"Those Autobots are still a long way from arriving. And if we must leave this planet to build a new home for ourselves, we will do it together as a people."
"As long as we're together we can do anything," she sighed. "I just can't help but wonder if we should have said things different or offered the humans something else in exchange for some land."
"We did everything we could. You spoke eloquently on our behalf. Orion gave Prowl the necessary laws to build our case around. I wont forget the looks on their faces when Prowl listed them off. I think a few of them had to look some of those laws up too."
"That was all good and well, but the humans listened to you as you are the leader of our people."
"Kacey, I'm an honorable mech. I know some humans would rather not have us be on this planet. I had to give them that option."
"And if they ask us to leave?" she worriedly asked, looking intensely at me.
I smiled, caressing her face, "I too have gotten attached to this world. Three of my sparklings were born here. I've developed friendships just like you have with some of the humans. But this is not our home. We are guests here."
"Optimus," Prowl called as he entered the room. "The Secretary-General of the UN is on hold and waiting for you."
Kacey immediately tensed up. I did as well. It was time.
"We'll take the call in here," I said and Prowl immediately shut the door and joined us.
"The Secretary-General's name is Anya Petrov of Russia. She is the UN's spokesperson," Kacey told me.
I nodded then pressed the button to answer the call.
"Hello Madam Petrov, how are you doing today?"
"I'm doing well, thank you, Optimus Prime. And you?"
"We are…" I glanced over at Kacey. "A little anxious for your call."
"Understandable. It's not everyday the UN makes such a monumental decision that affects the entire planet. May I ask if your daughter is present?"
I nodded to Kacey.
"I am here, Ma'am."
"I hoped as much since I know the decision the UN made seems to be very personal for you by the emotional speech you delivered to the UN. I can tell you that you shocked a lot of people into realizing that the Autobots were not heartless machines. You are…as many people around the world say, more than meets the eye."
"That we are," Kacey smiled.
"Right, I suppose I should deliver the new. It seems a new day has dawned for the human race," Petrov said and I immediately felt my daughter's excitement through our bond. "Your terms and conditions have been accepted. In fact, several countries were hoping you'd consider building your Autobot City on their soil. However, we understand the decision is ultimately yours and we know the list of possible locations you made was created with the utmost consideration for the preservation of life on our planet."
A dream my daughter once was able to share with me. Another dream that was to be a reality. I can see and sense the excitement in my daughter as she and Prowl continually talk specifics.
I wonder if it will be as I'd seen in my daughter's dream. Regardless, with no chance of resurrecting Cybertron with the loss of the All Spark we will make this new City our home. Yes, a new and bright future is ahead of us. A future I know that will be full of excitement, adventure, pain, sorrow, and joy.
My Kacey has completely embraced this future. She, like me, is aware of the ever present threat from Megatron and the Decepticons. She is always conscious of the fact that there are still humans out there that will try to disrupt the peaceful coalition we've formed with the Governments of this world. Some lessons were learned the hard way. Others she took to spark as I have taught her to.
I like, my daughter, am confident that she is ready and more than willing to take on any challenge before her. Save one perhaps. I wonder. Will I be ready when my daughter, my beautiful Kaceystar confronts her toughest challenge yet – the battle for her spark?
Only time will tell.
Personally, I can wait an eternity for some mech to capture or be captured by my daughter's spark. Alas, I know the ultimate decision will be hers to make. As her father all I can hope for is a mech worthy of my daughters love and affection who will treat her as she deserves to be treated.
And I'm left wondering who that mech will be.
There it is. The end of another journey. Again I thank all of you for reading about Kacey's adventures. Hopefully in a few short hours (depending on when you read this final chapter) I'll posting the first chapter of the love story today as well. I just want to give it another read or two before posting it. But I will be post very soon. Until the next adventure begins, take care.