Originally Written in July 2013
I just really, really like the idea of Ultra Magnus standing up for/defending Roddy. This is completely self-indulgent, but I don't care. XD
Characters: Ultra Magnus, Drift, and Rodimus (IDW/MTMTE)
Summary: Drift inquires as to why Magnus puts up with Rodimus.
"…I have no idea why Magnus doesn't just overthrow him. There's gotta' be some 'Unfit for Command' bit in his rule book."
"I'd bet no, or the guy would have done it already."
"But I swear if it wasn't for Ultra Magnus, I'd give it ten minute before that hot-headed idiot gets overthrown."
"I don't know, Rodimus would probably put up a fight. Maybe twenty minutes before he shouted 'TIL ALL ARE ONE!"
Ultra Magnus counted to ten in his head as the laughter continued down the corridor on the other side of the hallway t-junction. The briefest snip of conversation burned in his ears as he restrained himself from rounding the corner and hauling the both of them to the brig for talking down about a superior officer.
Drift, who was accompanying him to give a report, had his hand on his sword handle, eyes narrowed and teeth peeking out of his scowl. The glare on his face looked every inch the Decepticon Drift had claimed was behind him. However, his self restraint seemed to be holding.
Magnus turned and continued toward his office. "Come on, I believe you have a report to give."
"Yes," Drift answered, following.
The door to Magnus' office came into sight, and he stepped aside to allow Drift to enter first. He still wasn't comfortable with the white racing car behind him some days. Normally Rodimus accepted Drift's reports, but their red leader was off ship in a shuttle exploring an asteroid with Perceptor, Brainstorm, and Skids. Perceptor had picked up a trace of some material or another in a scan and had begged for the pit-stop.
Rodimus granted it on the condition he got to tag along.
Which left Ultra Magnus in charge of his duties until he returned. Honestly, he was surprised Drift hadn't gone with them, as often as he followed Rodimus around like a TurboPup.
Magnus settled behind his desk, when he felt Drift's gaze on his face. "Is there something you wanted to ask?"
"I was thinking about what those two said." Drift's hand wandered to the hilt of his sword again, a light touch for comfort. "Why do you continue to support Rodimus as captain? You disagree with nearly everything he does, and you don't seem the type to fall for his knack for fast-talk."
It was a good question, Magnus considered. Though the latter part was false. Rodimus was exceptionally clever when it came to talking someone around to what he wanted, Magnus included, but that really wasn't the answer Drift wanted.
"Sir?" Drift prompted.
"I respect him," Ultra Magnus said. "I find most of his decisions reckless and foolish, but even I must admit that he's a stronger mech than I in many areas more suited to leadership."
"He trusts you, as a start."
Drift looked down, the light touch on his weapon turning into a frustrated grip. Magnus exhaled through his vents, and rubbed between his eyes.
Magnus turned his chair to the side, looking out the window. "I tried to arrest him for treason once, you know."
"What?" Drift asked, his head jerking up. His deceiving blue optics widened, almost looking innocent. "Treason?"
"Back when we were on Earth, I received a message from Prowl that an Autobot had been killed in the line of duty, and I came to investigate," Magnus said. "When I arrived, there was chaos. Optimus Prime had surrendered himself to the local authorities, Bumblebee barely had control of his troops, and Ironhide was dead. With so much to fix, I decided to clear the business that brought me to the planet, and I inquired who had been in charge of the mission where Ironhide had fallen."
"Rodimus?" Drift asked, moving to take a seat in the chair before Magnus' desk. He pressed both of his hands on the desk.
"Hot Rod, at the time," Magnus said. "I was informed that he and a group of Autobots had gone AWOL and went to investigate.
"When I found him, he was calling himself Rodimus Prime and was in the process of constructing an illegal vessel to leave planet. Worse yet, he had aligned himself with a group of Decepticons led by Swindle.
"I was understandably furious. Not only was he completely disregarding my instruction to dismantle the ship and return, but he chose to defend those reprobates from my arrest. He claimed the war was over, and that they were all Cybertronians who just wanted to go home. It was naive, and at the time, treasonous."
"He really trusted those Decepticons?" Drift asked. He shook his head, as if the concept was completely foreign. Magnus couldn't help but agree. Drift scrunched his brows together. "Decepticons led by Swindle?"
"He did, and it turned out as you'd expect," Magnus said. "Swindle backstabbed him. He tried to kill us all with a combiner team that Rodimus had unknowingly helped bring together. It was an ugly fight, but we were ultimately saved by Prime."
"I see," Drift said. He tilted his head ever so much to the side. "But how does that make him stronger than you?"
"Because that was the same event that caused him to hijack my ship and retrieve The Matrix from the Decepticons in a brash act that resulted in Wheelie's rescue and bringing home Ironhide and Sunstreaker," Magnus said. "Because he took a failure and sought out to make it right."
Magnus turned back to Drift, and dropped his hands on the desk. "Because he's been abandoned twice by the person he adored most, and still was able to give The Matrix back to that person. Because he had been stabbed in the back by someone he chose to trust despite the odds, and yet can still trust an ex-Deceptcion with his life. Because he came home to a torn and ravaged planet, and still got excited by an ex-Decepticon's suggestion to go hunting after mythical knights no one but you believe in."
"That he's here and hurting with every loss, but can still maintain his reckless, confident front that gives the crew something to focus on," Magnus said. He leaned back in his chair. "Because he's my friend."
Magnus shuttered his optics, and straightened himself in his chair. "I believe that answered both of your questions."
"I suppose it does." Drift chuckled. "I'm not surprised Primus favored him above so many others."
"I'm not sure I would go that far," Magnus shook his head. "But, I suppose if we were to have another Prime, I wouldn't be opposed."
"Neither would I."
The room fell into an oddly comfortable silence between the two. But, there was work to be done. Magnus sat back. "Now, I believe you had a report?"
"Ah, yes." Drift pulled up a tablet, and clicked on the screen. "There's—"
"Drift! Magnus!" Rodimus called out, bursting through the door of Magnus' office full of energy and a grin splitting his face in half. "Check this out!"
Magnus leapt from his chair when Rodimus slammed a rock covered in bright red and orange crystals on his desk, the base of which was composed of crumbling grey rock. The dust and clumps covered his pristine desk and Magnus growled. "Rodimus!"
"That asteroid? Turned out that reading Perceptor was picking up was crystals! Thousands of them in just about every color!" Their Captain continued on, acting like he couldn't hear. He flipped on one of his chest headlights and turned the crystals back and forth in the light. The desk was covered in bright red reflections tinted with orange. "Is that cool or what? It looks like flames! I wonder if I can get Perceptor to hook up a light in my office or something. This'll be so much better than just paint."
"You said there were more colors?" Drift asked, looking at the crystals.
"Yeah, blues, greens, reds, yellows, purples—you name it, there was one. It's really incredible." Rodimus flipped his lights off. "There's plenty to go around for everyone on the ship."
Magnus rubbed between his eyes as Drift and Rodimus engaged in energetic conversation over the latest find in their little quest. He pulled a rag from his desk and slowly mopped up the bits of dirt, pulling them together in a neat little stack under the bright crystals that almost shown as brightly as their Captain.