Summary: A father laments, seeks justice, and finds solace.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

AN: "He" is almost always referring to Dr. Onishi.

A father is not supposed to outlive his child, a child is supposed to see his father to his grave long before his own life ends. When it happens in any other order a sense of wrongness overshadows it. It was unnatural that it should happen any other way. What did it say about the father who buried his son? That he did not protect his child as he should have?

His work had always been important to him and his son had always supported him, believed in him, and accepted when his work took him away. The child never objected when he shirked his responsibilities as a father in favor of his career. How many moments had he missed? How many cherished memories had he never experienced?

His work had been the reason he hadn't been there for his son. Speaking at the Millennium Celebrations was too good an offer to pass up. No one could have foreseen Megatron's attack or his own abduction, just as he never could have foreseen the news awaiting him upon his rescue.

After months of existing in a dazed, semi consciousness state he had been overjoyed to open his eyes to find a kindly faced Autobot standing over him rather the terrifying visage of one of the Predicons. He'd thought his nightmare was over and that he could finally go home to his wife and son. But after he'd been cleared of any lasting injuries by the Autobots' AI, the commander had asked him to remain at the base awhile longer for an additional debriefing. He was shown to the commander's office by a solemn blue mech who remained by his side for the debriefing.

The commander, Optimus Prime, had broken the news as gently as he knew how. There'd been an accident. Death had been immediate, with no chance of revival. The driver had been found guilty of negligent homicide and was already serving his prison sentence.

He'd missed his son's funeral.

The blue mech drove him home.

After a bittersweet reunion with his wife, he sat up in his son's bedroom. For awhile his wife sat with him, but before long it became too much for her. In the end he sat alone at his son's desk, clutching the boy's pillow. He didn't rise until daybreak the next morning. He replaced his son's pillow on the bed and straightened the covers. As he left, a glance out the window showed that the blue mech was still parked out by the curb.

Time passed and the blue mech, Sideburn, became his constant companion. In the beginning he thought that Sideburn had been assigned to guard him by Prime. It was only later that he learned why the blue mech had taken on responsibility for him. It was from Sideburn's brothers that he learned of Koji and Sideburn's deep friendship, since Sideburn never spoke of Koji to him, even when they were visiting the boy's grave.

He worked hard alongside the Autobots to defeat the Predicons, who had taken him from his son. He bore witness to Megatron's fall at the pyramid as the Autobots and Predicons battled over the Orb of Sigma. He went on to rally the children to the Autobots' cause during the final battle which ended with Galvatron and the Predicons in chains.

When the time came for the Autobots to leave he thanked Sideburn sincerely for his companionship. Sideburn, solemn and dutiful as ever, accepted the thanks with a nod. He gave Prime a digital storage device that contained several pictures of Koji, which Prime had requested. Then the Autobots left, bidding their allies goodbye.

Years passed and his work stalled. He rarely took digs and never published. All of his previous findings collected dust in boxes or took up space on a hardrive. Eventually, when money ran low, he took a job as a history teacher at the public high school Koji would have attended.

Eventually his marriage deteriorated and the woman he had loved since his own boyhood left him. Two years later he forced himself to attend her marriage to one of his former academic rivals.

A year later the driver was released from prison. Within two months the man had re-obtained his drivers license and was once again driving city streets. A month later the driver had yet another accident, this time killing only himself. The authorities would have ruled it a suicide, as there were no apparent cause for the accident, but further investigation revealed that the brakes had been tampered with. He was briefly suspected, as he had motive, but there was no evidence tying him to the man's death.

Six months after the driver's death, Koji's mother announced that she was pregnant, causing a minor scandal in the academic world which she was tied to by both of her husbands. It was not unheard of for a woman of her years to bear a child, but it had been over seventeen years since her last child. Somehow the age gap between children wasn't as shocking as it should have been since Koji was not around to highlight it.

He briefly wondered how Koji would have felt about being a big brother, and regretted not giving Koji at least one sibling to dote on. Koji would have made a wonderful brother, guiding and protecting his younger sibling.

For the first time in years he felt something stir in him, for just a moment. Then it died and he continued on as he had for the last six years.

Eventually new evidence surfaced pertaining to the driver's death. The authorities were able to place him at the driver's house the night before the final accident. Against his lawyer's advice he pled guilty, not that it meant much. His plea was thrown out and he underwent psychiatric evaluation to determine if he was mentally competent to stand trial. Despite his abduction, the loss his son, and subsequent failure of his marriage the doctors determined that he was fit to stand trial. This time he didn't bother pleading one way or the other and merely let his lawyer do the talking.

His ex-wife attended the trial with Koji's younger brother in her arms.

His lawyer spun an extraordinary tale of a man who lost everything and sought justice the only way he knew how. The jury was unbelievably gullible and ate up every word. He was acquitted and returned home immediately after the trial, refusing to speak to the various media representatives that hounded him.

The Cybertronian War heated up again and the Autobots and Predicons returned to Earth. What the fight was about this time he didn't know. He'd already had his vengeance on the Predicons and had little interest in renewing his acquaintanceship with the Autobots.

The Predicons raided a dig site in the Middle East, killing his former rival and leaving Koji's mother a widow. Within a week she had moved back into their house, bringing Koji's brother with her. The child grew and never called him father, just as he never called the child his son. It was nice to have another connection to Koji though, and there was no doubt that this boy was Koji's brother. The boy was eventually drawn into the Cybertronian conflict, just as his brother had before him. Prime formed a quick attachment to him.

Sideburn never returned to Earth, and he never had the heart to ask Prime what had become of the blue mech.

Before the boy is grown, he and his wife remarry. Her grandchildren know him as 'Grampa', a title that brings some feeling back into that part of his heart that was dedicated to his son. It hurts, like blood returning to a sleeping limb, but in a way the pain is reassuring, confirming that he hadn't died with his son.

AN: I do not claim that the court proceedings are accurate. I figure that after breaking Sideburn so completely I needed to try and piece someone back together, so Dr. Onishi got a somewhat happier ending.