Title: 5 Drifting Perspectives
By: Ceris Malfoy
Summary: In the end, no one really changes. In the end, despite everything they go through in the name of change, they are still fundamentally the same.
Continuity: IDW, All Hail Megatron CODA
Inspiration: I've been dying to write a Drift/Perceptor fic for awhile now. This came to me while I was listening to "Show Me What You Got" by Powerman 5000 and re-reading All Hail Megatron. Got to the little short story (which by this time I think can be called Spotlight: Drift, yes?), and went "Aha!" Finished it up with the other little short story "Lost and Found" and started writing. And the rest is available below. Interestingly enough, I have one thing to say about Drift/Perceptor: they are my OPT amongst the Autobots. *nodding* This was supposed to be 20 little drabbles, but my damn muse died again, so you got 5. Sorry. (Number 5 is my favorite of them, though. XD
The mech known as "Drift" is an enticing being on many levels. Drift absolutely fascinates him. It is more than just professional curiosity on the mech's many reformations and upgrades. It is more than just gratitude for being rescued at the risk of life and limb.
It's the way Drift sometimes smiles – a brief quirk of the lips that leaves one questioning whether or not the smile actually existed. It's the way Drift moves – slow and steady, methodical and economical in his every action. It's the way Drift speaks – every word carefully chosen; every word carefully enunciated so that the faint growling undertone to the mech's voice can't be easily heard (though Perceptor does hear it). It's the way Drift sometimes looks at him – as if the mech is equally captivated by him. It's in the knowledge that Drift was once the enemy, but is trying to put his second chance to good use.
Perceptor gets curious one day and goes through the databanks, wondering just what type of mech "Deadlock" was. He is not sure what to expect, but the information he finds nearly shorts his admittedly powerful processors. Deadlock was a fiend of unprecedented make that had only been assigned to Turmoil because Turmoil was the only one capable of dealing with Deadlock in one of his "episodes". The list of crimes attributed to Deadlock ranged everywhere from murder to extortion to rape to torture. There was no one crime Perceptor could think of that Deadlock had not committed.
Looking at Drift, Perceptor can't see it. Can't see how such a cultured, driven mech could have been something so monstrous. It is only after many, many cycles of observation that Perceptor realizes the truth of the matter: Deadlock wasn't "dead," he just evolved a little.
But it doesn't matter, none of that matters, because Drift fascinates Perceptor, is fascinated by Perceptor, and there's no turning back now.
The identity known as "Drift" isn't a lie, so much as an omission of key facts. Not many mechs are as perceptive as Perceptor is, and thus barely anyone else realizes that "Deadlock", Drift's Decepticon-self, wasn't nearly as "dead" as Drift wanted them to believe. Oh, sure, he'd been remodeled. And, sure, he wielded swords instead of guns and claws. But Perceptor can still see the ghost of Deadlock hiding in Drift's every spark-pulse. The stillness of a watchful predator –ever patient, ever knowing it's prey would come; the swift, ruthless precision with which he dispatches his targets; the way his optics light up in the heat of battle, enraptured with the kill….
Perceptor sees Deadlock when he looks at Drift, but he says nothing. He will never say anything on the subject for the rest of his life.
None of the others aside from Kup and Blurr really trust Drift, and Perceptor can logically see and comprehend this. Emotionally, however, all he can comprehend is that when push came to shove, it was not his fellow Autobots who risked their own lives to save him. No, it was a redemption-seeking former-Decepticon who refused to leave him to his death.
Perceptor owes Drift, even if the others stubbornly refuse to understand why such a debt existed. If that means that he has to develop a weapons system that puts his unique skills to use because he refuses to allow Drift to be sent out on patrols without backup that is actually useful, then so be it. If that means he has to take life after life with little-to-no thought beyond aim-and-fire, then so be it. If that means that he is the only one willing to sit with Drift and actually talk to the mech, then so be it.
He doesn't care if he ends up driving a wedge between the rest of the Wreckers and himself. He doesn't care if the others believe he's defiling himself. It doesn't matter because Drift has his back, has had his back before the mech even really knew him, and he can and will return the favor.
"Do you think I've defiled myself?" The question is asked softly, but sharply – a discreet warning not to lie to him, to give him the absolute truth, in the tone.
A strange look crosses Drift's face, a look Perceptor can not place no matter how hard he tries. It is almost regret; it is almost anger; it is almost shame, but not quite any of them, not really. Drift touches the Autobot sigil on his chassis, and that strange look is gradually placed by grim humor. Those bright blue optics meet Perceptor's gaze and holds it confidently. "Haven't we all?" was the quiet response.
Perceptor doesn't reply to this, doesn't need to reply. He knows, after all, that Drift isn't adjusting to life as an Autobot as well as the others believe he is; knows, too, that no matter how far down this path he goes, Drift will always be there for him. He doesn't know why the warrior does so, but he also doesn't ask.
He is content with just having.
It became their ritual to sit by themselves at the end of their shift and drink their ration of energon. Sometimes they would talk, most times they would just sit there and enjoy being around someone who wasn't watching them closely, waiting for them to snap and go crazy. Naturally, this translated to sharing several cubes of high-grade in a secluded corner whenever Kup felt generous enough to hand the stuff out (which was not as rare an occasion as they would have the other Autobots outside their unit believe).
The first time this progresses to something other than talking isn't an accident so much as a silent admission of truths neither wants to speak aloud.
For Perceptor, it is a) that he knows that Drift is as much Deadlock as he was Drift, and b) that despite how hard and focused he forces himself to be, deep inside he is still plain old attention-starved Perceptor, the ever-useful fool the others in his unit had been willing to abandon.
For Drift, it is the simple fact that while he is giving this "second chance" everything he has, he is still Deadlock, will always be Deadlock, and Deadlock had always been more like a feral animal than a mech: he had been run by instinct and the need for satisfaction. Deadlock had had the force and will to take –and keep – whatever he wanted, when he wanted it. Deep, deep down, in that small part of him that still thinks like Deadlock, Drift wants the pretty little scientist who refuses to be properly cautious around him; wants to see the pretty little thing stretched wide over his spike; wants to hear that quiet, cultured voice scream.
Perceptor screams alright. He also moans, begs, pleads, whines, and lets out a thousand other delicious little noises that drives Drift wild and wakes the possessive-coding that made Deadlock infamous amongst his Decepticon brethren.
Neither really cares. When Drift growls "Mine," Perceptor merely gasps "Yours."
Yeah. So, I was sitting there, thinking about what new TF pairing I might want to try writing that didn't, in some way, involve Starscream. (I know, blasphemy, right?) And realized that aside from various cross-faction pairings, I'm really not into the Autobots. Like AT ALL. This was actually a shock to me. So I sat around and thought about it some more, and decided that for many reasons (none of which I'll get into here) most of the G1 cast was pretty much out. (Prowl/Jazz, however, holds a special place in my heart when it's done just right.) So I turned to the IDW comics, just to see what popped up. And lo and behold - there they were. Perceptor and Drift. Hell, they're practically a canon pairing. The only other one I could say I'd be interested in is either Drift/Blurr or Kup/Springer.
As far as this little ficlet goes, I'm still sounding out how those two work together. Number 5 is, of course, my favorite of the five, but number 3 is pretty special to me as well. ^^
BTW, there's a poll in my profile. Vote, please?