Chapter 10: It was not a choice

And it's done! OMG THANKS GUYS!

I pace for lack of anything better to do. It's been almost a Joor, and nothing has changed. They are far beyond visual range and they speak where no one can hear them. My frustration mounts as I collapse down onto a waiting rock. "It's going to be fine." I don't know if Prime is saying this for himself or for me but I nod in response.

Lowering my head into my servos I beg Primus for calm. I am on such an edge right now. I hate not knowing what's going on, and never before have I felt so helpless.

"She's coming back." Ironhide said standing. "She's carrying Mirage and the little one."

"What?" I stand in shock of the statement "What's happened?" I'm overcome with grief and panic. Ironhide turns to me and presses me back to Prime "Stay." He orders and I shake my head. "Magnus." He stills and is quiet "Stay." Reluctantly I nod and stand near prime who grasps my arm keeping me there with him as Ironhide moves out to Iona. She looks ghostly holding their bodies. Mirage in her arms and Slick against his chassis; she is grey and proto-form only, her armor gone and I worry that she is offline.

"What's happened?" I ask as Ironhide leads her up the ramp "Tell me!" I demand. The shock of seeing her holding their limp bodies concerning me.

"Come inside." She says of me. "All will be answered shortly."

"What's wrong with her?" Ironhide asked quietly of Slick's grey body.

"The bond with her creator is broken …only the bond with her sire remains…I must establish a bond with someone worthy of her." I come to the fore. "I must reestablish her code."

"Me." I state.

"That was the intention." Iona smiles at me and waits for Ironhide to open the cargo bay doors. "Come inside."

"What of the Decepticons?" Ironhide asked.

"Megatron will not cross you while I am here…he has taken his charges and returned to his ship." She smiles "I will attend to their sparks next." She was completely indifferent to our war; she was a true outsider, not taking sides.

"So you removed her bond with Double-dealer?" Prime asks quietly trying to keep up with me.

"Yes, she is reverted to her proto-form for now, she is alive but I will need to bond Magnus and Mirage together and bond Magnus to the hatchling." My intakes hitch and I stop.

"She'd …." I can't go on.

"She will be of your code…you shall be her creator."

"You can do that?" Ironhide asked looking about as dumbfounded as myself. "But she was created by Double-dealer's spark."

"She is in stasis while I see to that." She walked past Ironhide "Like her sire."

I stayed with her closely. "What must I do?" I was desperate and seeing their slack bodies made me cringe for a moment. "I'll do anything."

She looked to Ironhide "We need private quarters." She said "the three of them and I."

I looked to Ironhide who nodded "You can use ours." Prime nodded again staying close to me trying to keep me calm. The walk down that corridor was only 200 yards, but it was indeed the longest stretch of corridor I had ever been in.

"It will be fine." Prime reminded me.

"This should be you." I say to him quietly.

"No it shouldn't." Prime doesn't mean those words but he understands the weight of the situation. "That's your family she is holding…go complete yourself." Prime's smile is genuine though he is spark-broken. I nod and turn embracing him once before turning to make my way to the oracle's side.

Standing beside her rattles your sensor net, it makes you tingle. She's got power unlike anything I have ever seen, and she's old, older than we might calculate. To her I am but a child, a hatchling. I am not worthy of such service by her. Turning to the room Ironhide stands to one side holding the door open. She enters and I follow. The door sealing behind us, effectively, locking the rest of the world outside.

She moves with a grace befitting a human Angel, and I look at her with desperate eyes "What must I do." I am willing to do anything and she knows as well as I the limits of that request.

"Sit down upon the lounger." She says and I obey. She lays mirage down his helm in my lap. Pivoting slightly she lifts Slickdrift up holding her limp body. "They are both in stasis because he is regulating her systems solely on his own. I am going to Bond you to him and then bond you to her."

"Has that ever been done?"

"Only an oracle can reformat." She smiles at me. "You know this Ultra Magnus." She sets Slickdrift down on the small table laying her flat. Pressing Mirage upright she turns him to face me. I'm nervous because I have no idea what is going on, a spark-merge and connection that is necessary in a bond is a personal thing and I fear having to open myself before her and merge with Mirage while he's not conscious to remember.

"He chose you to be his Bonded." Her words melt into me and my lines warm to the sound of that. His optics lid slowly and he comes online his body is still but his optics move to mine. I take up his servos and wait patiently. "Do you choose him?"

I don't miss a beat "I do." It aches as I watch his optics. "How do you feel?" I ask and he melts against my armor in a slump. He's weak and I know why; it is as she had said, he's regulating her body as well as his own and she's far too big for that. It's a taxing job.

He doesn't respond, he only nods; an affirmation of his status. I look up to her in question not sure what I do now. Her servos flash white as she comes between us each servo cresting to meet my torso plate and his. I can feel my body head now, my engine drops a gear and I shutter. I was not prepared for such a strong feeling. We've merged before, but not like this; Primus not like this.

Magnus snapped back in his seated position as his plates were forced open against his will. His processor was hot and his optics flashed yellow. Mirage was having problems, all his own, as his body snapped up erect and his hands wove into the side seams of Magnus' hip plates. Iona smiled as she came closer reaching between them her servos rubbed together as Mirage opened up his torso plate.

Magnus could feel the recessed ports burn as they snaked their cables out of his body and moved with what felt like a mind all their own. "Calm down Magnus." Iona whispered softly. "Calm down…close your optics, become him. Allow him to become you."

Mirage's optics closed softly as he struggled against his burning cables to not rush this. His mind was a wash and his hud was flashing warnings all over. "Bound to one another…in the name of Primus." The oracle said quietly. "In the name of Primus…for all of time." The words echoed in their minds and it was in that moment that the cable that snaked from Ultra Magnus met with Mirage's and their bodies snapped against one another programming taking over as they pressed their helms together in one final coherent movement.

The overload and reboot, neither would remember, but awaking feeling the bonds was something wholly different. It would be something that would change them forever nothing would be the same.

Magnus came around slowly with a groan, optics darting around. He was in a berth alone flat on his back-strut. He remembered Iona and being with Slickdrift and Mirage but nothing more. "I'm glad you're awake." His head snapped to the side to see Mirage holding the femme in his arms.

A smile and Magnus motioned him over. "Let me look at her." Magnus insisted.

"She's not the same as she was…I mean she is still Slickdrift she remembers everything that's happened to her, but her overall programming her body is different. Her code is different now."

"What do you mean her code is different?" Magnus looked up swinging his legs over the edge of the berth as Mirage sat beside him. The conversation with Iona long from his processor. He smiled as the little femme turned to him; she was now mostly white, with blue accents. "Primus…"

"You get it now." Mirage said quietly. "Any part of her that was double-dealer is gone."

A nod from the shocked mech, and a smile as she reached for him crawling into his waiting arms. "Hello little one…Slickdrif…my Slickdrift." He smiled as she grasped onto his torso glass pulling herself ever closer to her creator's spark. "I love you." He said softly to her as he'd said it in the past, but now it meant something much more, she wasn't just Mirage's she was theirs and only the act of the Oracle, only this act of Primus was able to do this. It was more than they ever asked for, more than they deserved.

His adoration was met with chirps and clicks. Mirage leaned against him. "I never knew you felt so strongly."

A nod as the larger mech reached around Mirage pulling him closer. "I'm not good with words …I never was." A smirk as he looked down "We're bonded now…you can feel what I feel without me having to explain it."

Mirage finding his sense of humor nodded "Kinda brings new meaning to the term quick engagement."

"I don't remember most of it." Magnus frowned his large digits ran over Slicks newly reformatted face, he was in awe of how much she looked like himself. Like looking into a mirror; looking over her helm he smiled at her high audio finials.

"Me either, but the Oracle said the processor fog was only temporary, one day we might remember." Mirage smiled as the little one crawled back into the larger mech's arms. "She gets her first upgrade just before we leave."

"All right." Magnus smiled "What does that entail I've not had a hatchling before."

"A lot." Mirage chuckled softly. "We'll get through it."

A soft sound as magnus shifted her slowly in his hands. "We'll need to get back to Alexia soon."

"I know…Stamp and Apache said we could take as long as we needed and they would head back to relieve Packrat and Gears."

Magnus smiled. "How is Apache taking all this?"

"He shook my servo…and said he was happy for us." Mirage stood slowly and stretched himself out. "He was sincere." Moving to stand by the door.

"You think so?"

"He punched me in the face…." Mirage chuckled "He looked me square in the eye and meant every word…trust me I think he's over you…maybe not fully but our bond will quell any doubts he may have of you in his future." A nod. "Besides I think him and Stampy…" Mirage trailed off.

"No…" Magnus smiled in disbelief. "Really?"

"Oh yeah…." Mirage waved a hand in front of himself. "Willing to be my high-grade ration."

"You're on." Magnus said standing moving to Mirage with quick deliberate steps pulling the lithe mech to him. "I love you."

Taking Slickdrift back into his arms Mirage nodded. "I love you too."

"I'm glad you chose me." Magnus murmured leaning down to meet the smaller mech's lips.

"That's just the thing." Mirage smiled "With you…it wasn't a choice…it just…was." They kissed softly and somehow knew that everything would be all right, that everything would work itself out in the end. Slickdrift finding the attention was no longer on her began to chirp out sounds to break her creator's attention from her sire to her.

"You …are spoiled already." Magnus nodded. "Just the way you should be." He took her back with a smile looking at Mirage Magnus nodded "It was always your choice…. no one else could have made it for you."

"But you had to accept it."

"Like you said…" a brightened smile as he lifted up Slick in his arms to face her with soft optics. "It wasn't a choice…"

The end.