PG
IDW Mabaya AU
Drift/Wing
no warnings

To whom do you pray in your darkest hour?

Deadlock hunched around the Sword. His entire body was sore—as much as part of him rose to Turmoil's touch, some vicious conflagration of lust—the rest of him hated that, hated himself for responding. He'd rationalized—as much as anyone could rationalize how and what stirs one's core systems—that it was strategy: without friends, without allies, he had no choice but to forge some alliance, using his body as the anvil.

Even he didn't wholly buy it.

And Perceptor. He'd been told Perceptor was dead. Dead. Then who the frag was that?

Perceptor. It was him. It had to be. And Turmoil had lied.

No, he hadn't lied. Deadlock's cortex trotted out the words. Turmoil had said they'd tried their best. He'd implied, omitted the truth. Let Deadlock guess. And Deadlock had guessed the worst.

The worst? Or what you wanted all along?

No. Vile thought. Deadlock's entire body recoiled from it. But the truth… the truth would have changed everything.

Would it have?

Yes. YES.

And now you know, know Perceptor's still alive and you? What are you? Turmoil's doxy. Traitor twice over. Nothing.

So he curled, aching, raw and roiling with self-hatred and disgust, around the sword—the only straight, pure, sharp thing in his world. He'd never prayed before; always thought that was just so much…superstitious nonsense. Words to invisible abstractions hadn't helped down in the gutters, echoing unheard from the filth smeared walls. Prayer was useless: something the weak did to hand off control to someone else, make a virtue of their helplessness.

Well. He was weak, then, and he'd give anything to hand control off to anyone. Anyone but Turmoil. Turmoil had taken enough of him. And he, pathetically, was lying here, trying to make a virtue out of recognizing his weakness, trying to quell it before it destroyed everything.

Destroyed what? You're already gone. Drift has to be dead. There's no future. Drift never had a future. Future was for Deadlock.

No. Even then, the future was something Deadlock chased, pursued with headlong abandon, shooting through anything that obstructed his view. As though if everything were down and dead, he could finally see. If he filled enough gutters with blood, enough sparks with the pain of loss, he might float free of his own.

And now, no future. Perhaps Drift more than ever: drifting, floating, aimless.

Deadlock snarled, throwing his frame to the other side of the berth. Stupid. This is what comes of thinking. This is what all this…self reflection will do. Tie you up in knots, wrap you up so tight you can't even move.

Wing! He begged the name, not even capable of thinking what else to add. Just…Wing. As though the white jet could solve everything by his mere presence. Yeah, you've…made a deity out of him, haven't you, Drift. He's not. He's just a mech who had everything you wanted, who showed you it was possible. He's just the only mech who ever saw anything good in you. And you got him killed for that.

Deadlock cried out, a raw sound of pain, a wound that he felt would never heal.

Wing wasn't a god, but he was better than Deadlock had ever been, and he was the only glowing thing in the entire expanse of Deadlock's memories. He clung to those memories, summoning the feel of Wing—his warm smile, his quick passion, his openness—even though he feared his filthy fingers would stain those.

"Wing," he whispered, helpless. The Sword felt cold under his hands. Rigid. Giving nothing. No comfort for you, Deadlock. You don't deserve any. Never have. Perceptor dead, because of you. Wing dead, because of you. A restless night? Far, far less than you deserve.

He slipped into an aching, uncomfortable recharge.

[***]

Drift.

No.

Drift. A flare of white light, like lightning, but softer somehow.

Deadlock. Drift's dead.

You are always Drift; have always been Drift.

He's gone. Wasn't a survivor. Weak.

And calling yourself by the name another gave you makes you…less weak?

Deadlock subsided before the voice. It was too much like Wing. It was…uncanny. And even as he stung at the words, part of him surged forward. Wing. Only Wing could tangle him so thoroughly in his own ideas, show him plainly, elegantly, the error of his thoughts.

I…. He ran out of words to say. Don't know what to do.

Survive, Drift. As you always have.

I want to be better than I was back then.

A ripple of something like laughter. That's your mistake, Drift. Because you've always been just as you are. Intense, idealistic, pure.

And Deadlock felt a surge of something young and raw over his spark. He wanted to argue, and at the same time he didn't want to argue, wanted to believe those words were true.

Please don't leave me. And he felt every shredded scrap of weakness in his voice, in his whole frame, yearning toward something he could never have. Intense, yes. And he knew his weakness in this darkness and stood, trembling, by it, knowing Wing—if it were Wing—would be the last to judge. Fearful, even so.

And he felt the warm rush of sunlight, air and wings. Don't leave yourself, Drift.