Title: Graceless - Undone

Author: pl2363

Series: Transformers AU/G1

Rating: M (interfacing)

Warnings: M-preg, sparkling (OC), interfacing of the sticky variety

IDW based but definitely A/U. References to Drift back-story from IDW.

Title borrowed from "Shake it Out" by Florence + the Machine, which is the main inspirational song for this fic.

"And given half the chance,
Would I take any of it back?
It's a fine romance but it's left me so undone
It's always darkest before the dawn," … 'Shake it Out' by Florence + the Machine

Everything had come completely undone. Drift sat in the commissary of the transport ship he now worked on. It had been two stellar cycles since he'd fled from what should have been a wonderful life with his bondmate and new sparkling. A sparkling he'd had the honor of carrying to separation. A perfect little being that Perceptor insisted be built with Drift's frame design but that he'd made sure was mainly red in color. Drift still remembered the thrill of holding their little creation for the first time, a small vulnerable new life staring up at him with such wonder. A life so full of potential.

That wasn't all he remembered, though. Unwanted, violent thoughts started to surface only days after the separation, draining away his initial joy. He'd hold their creation and think things like, what would it feel like to crush his delicate plating? Or how hard would it be to extinguish his tiny spark? Thoughts that deeply disturbed him, thoughts he found he no control over.

Wincing, Drift knocked back a fifth cube of high grade, emptying the cube's contents with a few greedy gulps. He set the emptied container next to the other four. As the spiked fuel joined the previous four cube's worth in his conversion tank, heat flashed over his plating and his processor's haze thickened. High grade was the only way to numb the pain. The only way to escape his thoughts. His memories.

He pulled out a small datapad, turning it on. Each day he wrote or drew something for their sparkling. He had no clue if he'd even ever seem them again, or if Perceptor would ever forgive him for leaving without warning or explanation. Still, each day he made sure to add to the journal of sorts he'd started. He opened a new file and put in a short phrase,'Missing you hasn't gotten any easier'. Air escaped his intakes with a soft sigh as he stared at his short message. He then saved the file and turned the pad back off, subspacing it.

The violent thoughts he had spread over the course of only an orn to not just include fantasies of harming or killing their sparkling, but of also maiming or hurting Perceptor. It was as if darkness had taken hold of his spark. The same darkness he'd felt so long ago in the battle field trenches, killing without regard to life, ripping apart mechs and putting out their sparks without a shred of regret. How had he reverted to that out of control mech he'd once been?

"Hey there, good looking." A fellow crewmate said as he took a seat at the small table Drift was at. He was larger than Drift, but nothing he couldn't handle.

Drift frowned at the unwanted company. In all this time, the love he felt for Perceptor remained as strong as it had the night they bonded. The night they'd accidentally gotten sparked. He had zero interest in fragging one of the afts on this ship.

"Aww, don't be like that." The mech scooted his seat dangerously close to Drift.

Being inebriated might make other mechs more pliable when it came to unwanted advances, but for Drift it only managed to take the edge off his pain and quiet the memories that haunted him. "I'm only going to say this once: Go away."

The mech leaned into Drift's personal space, his purple optics sharply focusing on him. "Now, now. No need to be rude." He then slid an arm around Drift's shoulders, lightly fingering his plating. "We all need to blow off steam once in a while. Two stellar cycles on this ship and yet you've barely spoken more than a few words to anyone."

Drift narrowed his optics. "Remove your arm, or I will."

The mech's lips curled into a smirk. "So feisty." The mech reached up, taking hold of Drift's chin. "And so pretty."

Without another word of warning, Drift moved in a fluid motion, removing the hand from his chin, jumping to his feet and slamming the mech's head down onto the tabletop so hard it jostled the emptied containers. He firmly held the mech in place by the neck with one hand, and then tapped his hip sword sheath. "I'm carrying three swords. If you ever touch me again, expect one of these swords to remove whatever body part you dare to put anywhere near me. That includes your head." Drift leaned down, locking gazes with the mech squirming in his grip. "Understood?"

The mech nodded. "Now let me go you crazy fragger!"

Drift lifted him up by the neck and shoved him to the floor. The mech rubbed at his neck as he glared up at him.

"Don't ever come near me again." Drift turned and exited the commissary.

Walking toward the barracks, his spark silently ached in his chest. It had been two stellar cycles since he'd joined this transport ship's crew, and two stellar cycles since he'd seen his sparkling and Perceptor. He wondered how they were, what his sparkling looked like now, if Perceptor resented him… Missing them really only got worse with each passing day, not better. The high grade in his system only fuzzed out the otherwise sharp edges of pain he lived with.

He stumbled into his assigned quarters, landing front first on his berth in his tiny room. Dimming his optics, he gave into the effects of the spiked fuel. His plating was hot, while his head swam in a strange nether space between numbness and regret. Why had he felt so violent toward his sparkling and mate? He loved them… what the frag was wrong with him? He grimaced and then offlined his optics, seeking escape as he passed out.

Perceptor stared at a sample of metal collected from Cybertron's surface through his microscope lens while in his alt mode. The contamination on this most current set of samples showed signs of degradation. These were encouraging results.

Megatron had vanished. Most of the Autobots suspected Starscream had done something to him. Whether he had or not, Optimus took the opportunity that was presented and agreed to a cease-fire, leading to an uneasy peace between the factions. Due to their eons long war and the weaponry used, their home world was left contaminated and swarming with the Hoard of mutant insecticons. Perceptor and other scientists worked on finding a way to purify the surface, while teams of fighters were dispatched to work on eradicating the mutants running rampant across the planet. This was a slow process, however. In the meantime, the Autobots took refuge on one of the Cybertron's moons, and the Decepticons on the other.

"This sample is much cleaner than the ones from the last test batch," Skyfire commented from his worktable. "How does yours look, Percy?"

Perceptor transformed back to his robot mode. "The contamination is reduced significantly." He picked up the small dish with the sample and secured it on the shelf beside his own workstation.

"Seems that machine you and Wheeljack worked on did its job," Skyfire said as he glanced at Perceptor.

"Small doses of Beta-wave energy would appear to be having the desired effect. This will take considerable time, though. The machine's radius of effect is quite small in comparison to the size of our planet," Perceptor replied with a small frown.

"Hey, progress is progress." Skyfire smiled.

A quick check of the time told Perceptor he needed to head out to retrieve his sparkling from Ratchet and Wheeljack's care. They had offered to help Perceptor any way they could with rearing his sparkling, Swift, in the wake of Drift's disappearance. Being a single parent to a sparkling was not an easy task, but Perceptor knew it would be even harder if not for his good friends who'd essentially become family over the last two stellar cycles.

"I must leave for the day," Perceptor commented casually as he finished cleaning up his work area.

"All righty. See ya tomorrow. Say 'Hi' to Swift for me," Skyfire replied.

Perceptor nodded, then left the lab. As he traversed the halls back toward the barracks, his mind wandered. Each day he made this trek he would inevitably start thinking about Drift. Some days his thoughts would provoke anger at being left alone to raise Swift. Other days an infinite sadness would permeate his spark with a sense of loss. Today he wondered why. Why had Drift left them? Had Perceptor done something wrong and not known? Was Drift simply the type of mech never meant to be tied down? Perceptor was beginning to think he might never learn the answer to 'why'. One day in the not-so-distant future Swift will ask about his missing father. When that day comes, what will Perceptor tell him?

He vaguely shook his head and sighed. Uncertainty was something he'd never dealt well with.

Arriving at his friend's quarters, he palmed the door open. They'd granted him access since he and Swift spent so much time here. He walked in to see Ratchet lounging on the couch and Swift on the floor with Wheeljack, surrounded by toy cars.

Swift pushed two cars along the floor, making engine sounds for them as Wheeljack pushed two along just behind him.

"Hey, Percy," Ratchet said, half-smiling.

"Hello," Perceptor replied as he walked in.

Swift's concentration on playing broke once he heard Perceptor's voice. "Dad!" He hopped up, abandoning the toys to run over and throw himself at Perceptor, hugging him around his leg. Perceptor leaned down and picked Swift up, shifting his smaller weight around and holding him on his hip. "Hello there," he said as he gave his sparkling a small squeeze. "Have a good day?"

Swift nodded. "I played cars with Wheeljack all day!"

"You certainly did," Wheeljack said with a chuckle.

Perceptor pressed a kiss to Swift's little helm. Swift's optics dimmed and he curled up against his sans-microscope shoulder. The love he felt for Swift was so intense and unlike anything he'd ever felt before. He gazed at the small being in his arms, knowing no other mech in his life would ever touch his spark the way Swift did. He'd go to the ends of the universe for him, sacrifice and endure anything to be sure his sparkling had a good life.

"Would you two like to stay for a little while and have some energon with us?" Ratchet asked as he got to his feet.

Swift perked up in Perceptor's grip, his optics brightly shining. "Can we?" he asked Perceptor.

"Of course," Perceptor replied with a small smile reserved only for Swift. He moved to the couch and sat down. Swift wriggled free of his grip, moving to sit on Perceptor's lap.

Ratchet handed Wheeljack a cube, then offered one to Perceptor. He then held out a smaller one that was tinted a deep purple to Swift. "I made it sweet for you," Ratchet said as he carefully handed it off to Swift's tiny hands.

"Thank you, Ratchet," Perceptor said.

"Sure thing." Ratchet lowered himself to sit beside them.

Perceptor gently prodded his sparkling who was busily drinking his liquid fuel. "What do you say?"

Swift paused and glanced at Ratchet. "Thank you!"

"You're more than welcome," Ratchet replied with a little laugh.

Swift grinned at Ratchet then resumed gulping down his sweetened energon. As soon as he finished he turned in Perceptor's lap, clutching the empty container to his chest. "Done."

Perceptor finished his sip, then smiled. "I see that."

Wheeljack also finished off his serving and got to his feet. He held out his hand to Swift. "I'll take that."

His sparking handed the empty container off, then moved to curl up against Perceptor's chest, optics dimming. Perceptor lightly patted Swift's back and within moments his sparkling's optics went dark as he slipped into a light recharge.

"Skipped naptime earlier," Ratchet commented as he gazed at Swift.

"Playtime took over, hm?" Perceptor continued to lightly run his fingers over Swift's small backplates.

"Yeah. He was really into having races," Wheeljack said as he sat himself down on the floor in front of them. "You taking him when they open that race track up?"

Perceptor nodded. "Would the two of you like to attend with us?"

"Sure!" Wheeljack excitedly agreed. "Swift is gonna love it."

Part of why he'd insisted on Drift's body design, aside from the general beauty of it, was to be sure his sparkling wasn't trapped in a body like his own. Inside his sparkling beat a spark clearly half created by Drift. It peeked out in his personality traits, and was most apparent when it came to his love of all things fast.

A quiet conversation between Ratchet and Wheeljack about the new track and their attempts to return to a normal life filled the air. Perceptor liked listening to them, though he rarely took part in the conversations they'd kept his gaze pinned on his sparkling. This wasn't how he'd envisioned his family life would be, but it had a charm and comfort he'd adapted to. His friends helped keep things feeling stable and as normal as possible. He took great comfort in the support they offered him and Swift.

Unfortunately, a part of him would always feel hollow so long as Drift remained missing. The note Drift left behind on a datapad was burned into his memory:

I'm sorry. I can't do this. I love you both too much. –Drift

He didn't understand it now any better than he did back then. Time had done nothing but caused the pain in his spark to grow. Part of him resented Drift, hated him for what he'd done. He wasn't sure he'd ever be able to forgive him. Yet, there was a small piece of him that longed for and even still loved Drift. No matter what was going on inside him, though, Perceptor had learned to push it all down deep and move forward with life. His needs were secondary to his sparkling's. Swift came first, always.

The transport ship had docked to pick up a payload of building materials. After all this time bouncing around in space, they were nearing Cybertron again. Drift tried not to think about it, though. Instead, he moved in a hung over daze from point A to point B, carrying crates of unidentified items onto the ship.

Walking back out into the docking area he noticed a crane being prepped to move a payload of metal beams. Seemed like a small space to try and use a crane in, but it wasn't his job to think. All he was supposed to do was mindlessly move things. He picked up the next set of crates and started back toward the ship's hold.

A smaller mech jogged up to him. "Hey! I heard you gave Piledriver the scare of his life last night."

Drift paused, giving the smaller mech a dark look.

"Well… I just wanted to thank you. 'Cause he totally took advantage of me a few orns ago. I was too drunk to fight him off," the smaller mech explained.

Drift's gaze softened. "Why didn't you report him?"

The smaller mech's optics brightened. "Yeah right! He's the Captain's younger brother. Anyway, thanks for giving him what he deserves." The mech turned and headed down the ramp to the loading area.

Drift stood for a moment, watching the smaller mech pick up some of the metal sheets to move. He realized that with the rotating crew and his own general state of isolation, he had no clue what half the names of the mechs aboard were, including the small mech. Of course, it was hard to force himself to care about anything or anyone.

He turned away, proceeding inside the hold again with his crates. Just as he set them down he heard shouting. Glancing down the ramp he saw crewmates backing away from something out of his line of sight. He furrowed his brow, then made his way down the ramp to see what was going on.

The top of crane they were using had gotten lodged in the ceiling of the dock area. The controller was swinging it back and forth to dislodge it, but in the process was knocking over stacked crates. Drift frowned. It was amazing to him that such dim-witted mechs were allowed near such potentially dangerous equipment.

"Help! Someone! Anyone!"

Drift walked down the ramp further toward the cry for help. It was then he saw the same small mech trapped under a pile of crates the crane had toppled over. The other crewmates weren't willing to go anywhere near the crane to help him, though.

"Afts," Drift muttered as he pushed past the small group that had gathered.

"What are you doing? That crane is out of control!" shouted one of the onlookers.

Drift ignored the warning, hopping over the tumbled debris. He made his way to the small mech, and hauled the crates off him.

The smaller mech gazed up at Drift with awe. "Thank you!"

The crane made a loud creak and the ceiling it was wedged into started to visibly buckle. Drift shoved the smaller mech. "Go!"

They both took off running. Drift hopped over the fallen crates and obstacles with ease. Ahead of him the gathered mechs had started to back up and scatter. The smaller mech transformed into his vehicle mode and due to his compact size easily drove off, swerving around anything in his way. Drift didn't have that as an option, relying on his sensitive hearing and visual field to guide him away from the collapsing ceiling.

A loud crash behind him, told him he needed to move quickly. He hopped a pile of crates and glanced over his shoulder seeing sections of the ceiling falling down and the crane swinging wildly as it toppled sideways.

Drift ran as fast as he could toward the cover of the cargo hold of the ship, but he was suddenly stopped cold in his tracks. He tried to move, but found he couldn't. A delayed flair of pain suddenly crackled over his sensory net. With wide optics he looked down at the epicenter of his pain. A metal beam had impaled him and was jutting outward from his abdomen. He touched it in complete disbelief. Energon and mech fluids poured down his front and legs. It felt slippery and warm over his paneling. Just about every warning possible crossed his processor as his body initiated a shut down.

'I suppose dying would solve my problems,' he thought as he offlined.

Drift never imagined his affection would be returned. Perceptor had been so traumatized by his near death that he'd kept everyone at emotional arms length. Drift's feelings silently grew romantic in nature while he maintained a close friendship with, he never dared cross the carefully drawn lines that surrounded his friend. Following an intense battle they'd survived, Drift found he could no longer hide his growing attraction and somewhat awkwardly admitted to Perceptor he was falling for him one evening. His admission led to a kiss that had ignited the heated relationship they now found themselves in.

Drift lightly ran his fingers over Perceptor's plating. Tracing the long lines of his elegant frame and gazing at the lovely mech currently occupying his berth. He bent down, pressing a kiss to the center of Perceptor's chestplate, over where his spark lay beneath. Perceptor nervously bit at his lip, but he said nothing.

Drift glanced up at him and smiled. "If you want to wait, I don't mind." They had flirted and kissed since starting down this relationship road, but this was the first evening they'd agreed to spend together.

Perceptor dimmed his optic. "I'm just not used to this. It's been… quite a long while for me."

"Me, too." Drift canted his head. "You rather do this another night?"

Shaking his head, Perceptor retracted his interface panel cover. Drift's attention shifted to it, seeing the port was already dewy. "I want to give this part of me to you. Only you,"Perceptor said in a softened voice.

Glancing back up at Perceptor, Drift dimmed his optics. The trust Perceptor was placing in him was an incredible gift he felt honored to receive. "Percy…"

Drift scooted back, and gently pushed Perceptor's legs apart, kneeling between them. He bent forward, and ran his glossa over the exposed jack. It jerked slightly at the stimulation, and Perceptor's fingers dug into the berth's surface as he tensed. Drift smiled then licked it again, this time keeping his gaze pinned on Perceptor's face. Perceptor's mouth gaped open and his optic and light behind his eyeglass flickered as he quietly moaned. Drift's entire frame heated at the sight. Primus, Perceptor was beautiful.

Soon his hand replaced his glossa, fingers stroking and squeezing Perceptor's jack so he could dip his glossa inside the heated port below. The moment he slid his glossa inside, Perceptor's legs started to tremble. "D-drift… That is n-not necessary."

Ignoring the stammered comment, he pressed his glossa deep inside the port. It was hot and wet. Perceptor's port walls flexed and contracted, as more lubricant coated the inside. Drift offlined his optics, focusing on the pungent and almost sweet taste rolling over his glossa. His own desire started to peak, and he undid his own interface cover to let loose his jack, which was very much online.

"D-Drift, stop… I'll over—" Perceptor arched and cut himself off with a whining moan as he made a half-sparked attempt to squirm away from Drift's probing glossa.

Drift pulled back and sat upright, smiling broadly at Perceptor. "Sorry." He let go of Perceptor's jack and started to massage his own. "You make it easy to get carried away."

Perceptor looked vaguely embarrassed as he dimmed his optic. Drift happily took in the lovely view of Perceptor's usually uptight demeanor, having come completely undone before his optics, beautifully sprawled out before him, exposed and vulnerable.

Perceptor then sheepishly smiled. "Having been a while, I'm afraid this may not last very long."

"I wouldn't worry too much." Drift moved forward, carefully lying over top of Perceptor. "I plan on being with you until my last spark pulse. And since I don't plan on dying anytime soon or letting you die so long as I'm around, that means we have our lifetimes to do this as much as we want." With that, he gently rolled his hips forward, pressing his jack inside the opposing heated port where he paused, allowing a moment for Perceptor's body to adjust to him.

Perceptor's hands grasped at Drift's sides, fingers digging into his plating as he let out a sharp gasp. "I see," Perceptor replied, his voice sounding strained. "You have it all worked out, then?"

Drift nodded as they stared at one another with a shared lustful gaze. Drift dipped his head down, and their lips met in a searing kiss. Slowly, he started to pump his jack in and out of the slicked port. With each thrust inside, his jack was squeezed tightly, which felt incredible. In no time he felt himself quickly barreling towards a climax himself.

Soon, Perceptor broke their kiss,moaning and rolling his helm back against the berth. His port tightly contracted as his whole frame began to quiver. Drift moaned in return, his body trembling as an overload blossomed inside him. Drift pushed himself deep inside Perceptor, their linked bodies overloading as one shuddering mass. Heat rippled throughout his systems, followed by a discharge of built up energy and mech fluids.

As the overload finished its crest over them, their tangled frames sunk into a heated pile on the berth. Drift lie over Perceptor, completely limp and happily swimming in the small after shocks of pleasure pulsing through him as a lovely euphoria permeated his processor.

"That was quite short…" Perceptor said in a ragged voice.

"And sweet," Drift added as he twisted his head to press a kiss to Perceptor's chin.

"Certainly so," Perceptor replied with a small smile.

That small smile was another perk Drift had earned. Something Perceptor only seemed to share with him when they were alone.



"I love you," Drift said, trying to convey how much he meant those words.

Perceptor weakly hugged Drift with one arm. "And I love you."


Drift's optics flared on and he quietly gasped as a sharp pain gripped his spark. Wincing, he was barely able to control his urge to cry in response to the memory file. Their first time interfacing had been about so much more than sharing an overload. It had been about putting trust in one another. Tears pooled on his optics as he fought to gain control over his emotions. He missed Perceptor so much. Everything about him had brought such comfort and stability to Drift's otherwise tumultuous existence. Wing had given him his hope back, but Perceptor had made him believe in second chances and the true power love had.

The sounds of a pinging and beeps echoed, and Drift slowly let reality focus in around him. A quick glance around told him he was in the ship's medbay in a berth currently cordoned off by a curtain.

He then remembered the metal beam that had impaled him and touched his abdomen. A thick piece of mismatched plating was in place, blocking the hole. He felt only a faint pulse of pain from the injury, though. The medical berth must have been set to reduce his pain levels. Too bad it did nothing for the ache in his spark. He frowned, remembering the sight of the metal beam jutting out of his middle. "How am I not dead?" he said softly.

"'Cause I'm a really good medic despite this slagging medbay I have to work with," said a disembodied voice. The curtain parted, revealing the ship's medic. "You were a fragged up disaster, and you're still gonna need the medics on the Autobot moon to properly repair the plating, but I salvaged your damaged systems." The medic looked proud of his work as he placed a hand on his hip and gazed at Drift's abdomen.

Autobot moon. Drift was returning to the place he'd run from. That was when he realized something else was different after the repairs. His processor didn't feel bogged down with unwanted thoughts, like his control had been given back to him. "What did you do to my processor?"

"Oh, yeah. I have no slagging idea how you were even walking around like that. The electrical pulses were off the charts. I reset them all to normal range. I also emptied your fuel tank of that nasty slag they call 'high grade' on this ship." The medic deeply frowned at Drift.

"Electrical pulses?" Drift asked, trying to understand. "There was something physically wrong with my processor?"

"Yeah." The medic then narrowed his optics. "Didn't you notice that you weren't thinking clearly? Or were you too fragging drunk?"

Drift had been drinking to keep the dark thoughts away. Masking what had apparently been symptoms. He had no idea. The gravity of the realization slowly sunk in. "I was drinking to numb myself."

The medic's optics brightened. "You really didn't know something was wrong with you?"

"I knew something was wrong, I just assumed it was just how I am." Drift dimmed his optics. "What would have caused my electrical levels to do that?"

The medic then canted his head at Drift. "There are lots of causes. I assumed it was your drinking. It puts stress on your systems to process, and they compensate in odd ways sometimes."

Drift stared at the medic with bright optics. "Stress? Would carrying a sparkling do that?"

The medic nodded, then he suddenly looked deeply concerned. "Wait, you were sparked?"

"Two stellar cycles ago."Drift vaguely shook his head as he stared blankly at the curtain. "I was afraid I might hurt my sparkling or mate, so I left them." Saying it out loud felt odd. He hadn't admitted to anyone that he'd felt violent toward them before. The regret of not knowing something was physically wrong with him caused his spark to practically twist in his chest.

The medic's concerned look morphed in a sad frown. "Wow. Yeah. It can happen to carriers." The medic lightly patted Drift's arm. "But, you're fine now. Just tell 'em what happened."

Drift looked back up at the medic. "If only it were that simple."

The medic softly sighed. "Well, I dunno your situation, but seems to me any reasonable mech would be understanding. First thing you should do is try and talk to him."

Drift nodded, but he knew Perceptor. It had taken time and persistence to finally be trusted and he knew in his mate's view, Drift had broken that trust. He had no idea if it could be repaired, but the medic was right. He had to at least reach out and try to right things between them. The question was: would Perceptor be willing to listen?

Perceptor held his sparkling on his hip as he walked back toward their quarters after picking him up from his friends' care. Swift drove his favorite toy car, white with red stripes along the sides, over Perceptor's chest plate, making 'vroom' sounds.

"Am I the race track?" Perceptor asked, amused.

"Until we get back, yeah," Swift replied as he pushed the car up and along Perceptor's shoulder.

"Are you excited to visit the new race track tomorrow for the opening?" Perceptor asked.

Swift's optics brightened. "Yeah! Wheeljack and Ratchet will come, too, right?"

He laughed at his sparkling's enthusiasm. "Yes, they most certainly will," he replied as they reached the door to their quarters and palmed it open. He set Swift on his pedes once inside, and watched him run off to his room.

"Can I play out there?" Swift yelled.

"Yes, but only a few toys," Perceptor replied.

Swift returned with an armload of his toy cars, grinning at Perceptor. "This many okay?"

Primus, he was too cute to resist. Perceptor nodded. "As long as you pick them all up before I put you down for the night."

"Yay!" Swift ran into the center of the living area, plopping down on the floor in front of the couch and dumping the cars down in front of him, some of which went rolling in various directions.

Perceptor then noticed his console on the other side of the living area blinking with a message. That was odd. The only mechs he talked to these days were Ratchet & Wheeljeck, and they'd comm him before messaging him. Perhaps it was something regarding his research. He carefully stepped over Swift and his toys and sat down at the console.

He typed in his passcode and the message box opened on screen. He tapped it to open the file, which revealed an attached video message and the name of the sender: Drift.

Perceptor froze. He could do nothing more than stare at the screen and his mate's name displayed. After all this time, Drift was contacting him? Why now?


Perceptor glanced at his sparkling on the floor, watching him intently.

"Something wrong?" Swift asked, his small face pinched with a look of worry.

"No, no. Everything is fine. You go on and play, all right?" Perceptor said, trying to pull himself together.

Swift looked unconvinced and his posture sunk as he continued to stare at Perceptor.

Not wanting to upset him, Perceptor decided viewing the message could wait until Swift was recharging. He got up from the console and moved to sit on the edge of the couch. Swift kept his gaze pinned on Perceptor, and didn't resume playing. He just sat there and fingered the white car in his grasp.

"Swift…" Perceptor slid off the couch and sat on the floor. "I'm all right. I promise."

Swift shook his head, then crawled over and pushed his way onto Perceptor's lap, curling up against him. "Can we watch broadcasts?" Swift asked.

"Sure." Perceptor reached over grabbing the remote off the nearby end table. He clicked on the screen inset in the wall of their small home. Blaster had insisted on integrating the televised world humans lived in when they worked to re-establish a functioning society. He'd put together historical videos, and also aired some of the human's shows. Swift's favorite broadcasts were the animations from Earth Blaster acquired.

Swift settled against Perceptor, rolling his toy car against his small hands as he stared at the animated Earth animals running around on screen. It was honestly a welcome distraction. Anything to not fall apart in front of Swift.

After watching a few recorded animations, Perceptor could see Swift was struggling to stay online. Each time his optics started to dim, he'd shake himself awake again.

"Perhaps it's time to rest, my little one,"Perceptor said as he gently squeezed Swift.

Swift whined. "One more?"

"You can watch more tomorrow." Perceptor scooped Swift up in his arms, cradling against his chest him like he'd done when he was much smaller. Swift smiled up at him with dimmed optics.

He carried him into his room and deposited him on the small berth. Swift curled up, holding the toy car to his chest. "Stay with me 'til I offline? Pleeeease?"

Perceptor sat down on the edge of his berth. "Of course."

He reached out and lightly ran his fingers over Swift's back in comforting motions. Swift didn't last much longer, his optics going dark and his small frame going limp, the toy car slipping out of his grasp and settling beside him.

For a while, Perceptor sat there with him, gazing at this amazing little creation that had changed his life. He didn't like that Swift was able to pick up on his mood shifts so easily. He didn't want Swift to know about the pain he contended with. He wanted him to be happy and worry-free, but as he got older it was getting harder for Perceptor to hide his emotions from him.

Glancing at the doorway, he knew he needed to face whatever message Drift had sent to him. No matter how much he just wanted to curl up on the berth with his sparkling and pretend no message awaited him. He quietly got to his feet and walked out, closing the door behind him. He crossed the living area and sat down at the console. The file remained open, waiting to be played. Reluctantly, he tapped the screen, starting the message.

Drift appeared in the center. He looked ragged and tired. His optics were washed out and light in hue. Nothing like the dashing, romantic image Perceptor had been thinking of all this time.

After a deep sigh of air, Drift spoke. "Hey Percy. I…don't even know what to say, or where to start. I just—" He vaguely frowned. "I just need to reach out to you. Tell you and our sparkling how sorry I am. I didn't know what was happening to me at the time. All I knew is that I wanted to protect you both and by staying I was endangering you. The medic here was treating me for something else when he noticed my processor's electrical levels wasn't right. Something about being a carrier made them jump abnormally high." Drift's gaze at the camera dropped down. "It was fueling aggression in me. Making my thoughts…dark. I was having urges to harm you and Swift." He then looked back up. "I just couldn't take the chance I might go through with it, that I might hurt either one of you, so I left. If I'd known…" Drift winced, his voice growing hoarse. "Things would be different, but they aren't. I fragged up." Drift paused, appearing to collect himself. "They are sending me to the Autobot moon for the remainder of my repairs. I desperately want to see you both. I hope you'll agree to meet me. Again. I'm so sorry, Percy." Drift reached out, pressing his fingertips to the screen. "I'm sorry and I still love you," he said, his optics glossy. "Even if you hate me forever for running off, I'll still love you." The video cut out after that.

Something inside Perceptor broke. All his pent up emotions washed through him. Anger, hurt, loss… Tears pooled on his optics and escaped down his cheeks as he finally gave in the grief that he'd learned to simply live with and never show. He pressed his face into his hands as he let sobs wrack his frame. Two stellar cycles of being alone, of not knowing why, of trying to push on despite how emotionally crippled he felt.

The answers had finally come, but now he felt more broken than ever.

Perceptor couldn't even process it all. Drifts words, his face blurred in his mind as he staggered away from the console, nearly slipping on the toy cars still scattered about. He curled up on the couch on his side and continued to quietly cry. His repressed pain surfaced for the first time in two stellar cycles, and there was no escaping it. It took him over leaving him a quivering sobbing mass on the couch.

Drift not only left them, but did so intentionally. Their sparkling had no clue who he was. How in the world was he going to calmly explain all this to Swift? Ignorance truly had been bliss compared to this.

A/N- Seeing as this doesn't have a complicated plot line, and deals more with emotional issues and how family units work or don't work, it will be a shorter fic centralized on the character's development. Thanks for taking the time to read! p.s. This will be about a 4-5 chapter story for those of you asking. ^^