[IDW] Come What May

Ratchet had done all the convincing.

Or, if Drift were being honest, Ratchet had nagged him until, laughing, Drift had agreed. He would return to the Lost Light, to the crew, to Rodimus. He would address his past so that he would have one less weight to drag with him in the future.

Though a part of him believed Ratchet was simply tired of the confined space they were now sharing. Ratchet often grumped about missing his very nice berth in his very private hab-suite, and the scorching heat of his private washrack. The cold rinses they were allowed on their shuttle just didn’t cut it.

So Drift gave in, and two weeks later, they hailed the Lost Light for permission to come aboard. Ratchet stormed down the ramp and into the cargo bay with no hesitation whatsoever, his field clearing the way. Drift pretended that reluctance didn’t tug at every armor panel and followed at a more sedate pace.

He didn’t know how to react. He didn’t know how to behave. He didn’t have the words, and wouldn’t know what to say when he saw Rodimus again.

They had agreed to Drift taking the blame. Yet, his exodus from the ship had still left him hollow on the inside, as though something were missing.

The crew surged forward to greet Ratchet, Swerve talking a mile a minute, Skids offering a handshake, Bluestreak daring to crowd in for a hug, and Velocity strutting in to introduce herself. Ultra Magnus boomed a welcome, Ten jostled Bluestreak out of the way for another hug, and Tailgate proudly showed off how he could pick up both Ten and Ratchet all at once.

Ratchet was quickly surrounded, and despite his bluster and growling, he was pleased beneath it all. The noise distracted the attention from Drift, for which he was grateful. He didn’t think he could handle that level of excitement, not with anxiety turning his internals into raw knots. Especially since Megatron hovered in the doorway, far from reach, and that was another reunion Drift was not prepared to handle.

Rodimus stepped into Drift’s line of sight, and his spark startled. Rodimus smiled at him, but it was tentative. He was quiet, reserved for once, as he approached Drift.

“Hi,” he said. “Welcome back.”

Drift worked his intake. “It’s good to be back,” he said, though he wasn’t sure that was the truth yet.

Rodimus folded his arms, though it didn’t look defensive so much as uncertain. “I owe Ratchet a thank you, I guess. I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance to say this.” He hunched his shoulders, his gaze falling, his field withdrawn. “Drift, I’m sorry. For everything.”

“Are you?” That was more cutting than he meant it to be, and until then, Drift hadn’t realized how bitter he felt.

Rodimus flinched, but lifted his gaze, meeting Drift’s optics with more determination than before. “Yes,” he said. “I am. And I wish I could tell you how much but you know I’m no good at that.” He unfolded his arms and rubbed the back of his head. “I just, I dunno, can we start over? Will you let me show you that I can do better?”

Drift hesitated. He hesitated for so long that Rodimus’ field turned bleak, and Drift felt an itch across his spinal strut. Drift’s gaze skittered past Rodimus, to Ratchet and his crowd of friends and admirers. The medic inclined his head as though offering advice.

Advice Drift wanted to follow.

He cycled a ventilation and shifted his attention back to Rodimus. “All right,” he said, casting off the weight that had been dragging him down. “Let’s start over.”

Rodimus’ exultant smile could have powered the Lost Light for cycles.

~

It wasn’t easy. Nothing worth doing ever was.

They took small steps. Shared meals. Long walks in the corridors. Games played on holo-tables. Drift declined the offer to return to command. He wasn’t sure he was ready to share the bridge with Megatron yet.

That was another confrontation he didn’t have the courage to face.

Everything Rodimus said or did was tentative, as though he took great care to think about his actions first. The first time he reached for Drift’s hand, and Drift reached back, Rodimus’ face visibly heated. His spoiler-halves wiggled with an adorable glee.

Drift nearly forgave him in all entirety just for that alone.

They settled into a rhythm, bit by bit. Drift made the first genuine move, pulling Rodimus into an embrace before they parted for an evening. He kissed Rodimus a week later. In another month, they shared a berth, wrapped around each other, sharing heat and softly spoken words of affection.

Later, sharing a berth of course led to other things. Sloppy kisses and lingering caresses. Exchanged charge and Rodimus writhing with pleasure in his arms. Rodimus giggling and panting and moaning, Drift losing himself in the ecstasy they built between them. He felt insatiable, and perhaps Rodimus did as well.

Soon, they didn’t need separate quarters.

They didn’t return to what they used to be, instead, they became something more, something better. Drift’s spark swelled with affection, adoration, and he tasted the same in Rodimus’ field and in his optics. Trust returned.

So when Rodimus made the gentle offer to share sparks, for pleasure and nothing else, Drift didn’t hesitate to agree. It spiraled open a whole new world of bliss for him, left them panting and aching in the aftermath.

The rest, however, was all Rodimus’ fault.

~

“What is that you’re drinking?” Drift asked, making a face at the cube of roiling, bubbling liquid that Rodimus clutched in one hand.

It wasn’t energon, not any sort that Drift had seen. Nor engex. It smelled terrible, and he swore it had the consistency of some kind of acid. Energon should not bubble as though it were carbonated.

“It’s my anti-sparkling blend!” Rodimus chirped, and gulped down half of the liquid in one go. He grimaced, but gamely swallowed the mouthful. “Guaranteed to keep us egg-free!”

Drift peered into the cube. He gave it a sniff, only to immediately recoil. “That smells awful. Like something drained from a waste tank. Are you sure that’s what it does?”

Rodimus shrugged with one shoulder. “It’s worked so far. An old friend taught it to me.” His smile softened with fondness, like an old memory turned grey from age, before it brightened again. “Want some?”

Drift wrinkled his nasal ridge. “No, thank you.” He thumped his chestplate. “Ratch installed a shunt. I’ll stick to that.”

“Suit yourself.” Rodimus tipped the cube back and chugged the rest in one fell swoop. His plating ruffled as he swallowed it down and tossed the cube into a recycle bin.

~

Rodimus’ little concoction did not work as he claimed it would. In fact, they would later discover that Rodimus was lucky he hadn’t rotted out his tanks drinking the acidic mixture. It had already been slowly eating away at his internals.

The end result was that Rodimus was sparked. He had a trio of eggs growing in his ovoid tank, and Drift supposed he was as much to blame as Rodimus. He probably should have asked whether Rodimus had a shunt before agreeing to the spark merge, no matter how mind-blowing it had felt at the time.

“You’re both idiots,” Ratchet declared while Rodimus reddened about the so-called birth control that wasn’t. “And you’re idiots with three eggs growing in that tank of his.”

Drift couldn’t swallow past the lump in his intake. Simultaneously elated and terrified, he clutched at Rodimus’ hand and tried not to be intimidated by Ratchet’s stare.

“What’s next?” he asked.

“That depends on what you two want,” Ratchet replied, his gaze shifting between them. “Either I can start Rodimus here on some supplements and project a Lay date. Or I can offer a systems purgative.”

Rodimus’ field went jagged around the edges. “The supplements!” he blurted out, surging forward, as though he thought Ratchet was going to shove the purgative into his tank. “I mean, please. I want the supplements.” He squeezed Drift’s hand and looked at him. “You do, too. Right? I mean, I know we didn’t plan for it and maybe it’s too soon and we’re still working stuff out, but–”

“Yes.” Drift squeezed Rodimus’ hand back, trying to bury his fear down deep. They would figure it out. “The supplements please, Ratchet. We will do this together.”

Rodimus’ smile stretched wide.

Ratchet grunted and got to his feet. “So be it,” he said. “And Primus help us all.”

~

Their world changed again.

All focus shifted toward the growing lives in Rodimus’ ovoid tank. He consumed energon three times as often. His moods swung left and right. He slept too much, and had a voracious appetite, for both energon and pleasure.

His abdomen swelled, bit by bit, until the narrow waist vanished and Rodimus was left with a rounded belly. There was no hiding that he was carrying young, and soon, everyone on the Lost Light had to have their say, their advice to offer. Everyone came around to pat Rodimus’ belly and rub it.

Drift’s patience ran out before Rodimus’ did. He started growling at their crewmates, showing his denta to a few who didn’t get it immediately. After that, people started asking first, though Rodimus was more selective about who he let stroke his belly.

Megatron was one of them.

Megatron who Drift would eventually sit down and talk with. But for now, they had settled for a polite distance, and polite interaction, pretending as though there wasn’t a Past that sizzled between them.

That, however, was a worry for another time.

Drift had better things to consider, such as his current favorite activity.

Well, second favorite, if he were to be perfectly honest. But the first favorite had led to the circumstances of the second favorite, which put him in an awkward position.

Drift chuckled quietly to himself and rested his helm on Rodimus’ chest, just above the slight swell of his abdominal plating. Rodimus was fully gravid, and Ratchet claimed he would lay any week now. It was just a matter of waiting.

Drift’s fingers walked over the stretched plates of armor, tickling down over the taut cables beneath them, and in a few places, brushing over heated protomesh. Their legs tangled together as Rodimus’ engine purred and Drift’s own did as well, though at a deeper pitch.

Three eggs. Three little ones. Three hatchlings.

Drift didn’t know if he was panicked or jubilant, save that he was a mixture of both. He tipped his head forward, lips brushing against the nearest curve of Rodimus’ belly before he settled back on Rodimus’ chestplate again. His hand continued the same pattern, rubbing gently over the swell.

Three little sparks, nestled in a cocoon. Three innocents to look after.

Drift pressed open-mouthed kisses over the curve of Rodimus’ belly, his lips tracing seams, armor ridges, and heated, strained cables. He loved feeling Rodimus’ plating shift beneath him, and swore he could hear the movement of the eggs within Rodimus’ chamber.

His mouth walked the same path as his fingers, and he ex-vented a damp warmth as he did so. Rodimus shivered delicately beneath him, frame getting more and more restless.

“You know they can’t feel that,” Rodimus said as one of his hands found Drift’s head. His fingers teased at Drift’s finials and audials, a light touch that tickled as much as it aroused.

“Mm, I know,” Drift said, tilting his head into Rodimus’ gentle caresses. “It’s for my benefit, not theirs.”

Rodimus laughed, which made his belly ripple beneath Drift’s fingers. “You’re cute.”

“That’s what I hear.” Drift’s lips curved with amusement. He stroked around the curve of Rodimus’ belly again, and felt a shift beneath his fingertips. “They’re moving. They know I’m here.”

“Pfft. They’re always moving, whether you’re here or not,” Rodimus retorted. His ventilations hitched however. He squirmed beneath Drift. Heat wafted up from his armor.

Drift quieted a laugh before it could emerge. He let his fingers walk a path down the curve of Rodimus’ belly to the underside of it. Rodimus’ ovoid tank was positioned a little lower than most mechs, which left him carrying almost in his pelvis. The lowest curve of it brought Drift’s fingers teasingly close to Rodimus’ interfacing array.

Rodimus’ ventilations stuttered again.

Bingo. It was almost like clockwork.

“You seem to be in some discomfort,” Drift teased as he stroked a long, purposeful pattern over the bottom curve. He tipped forward a few inches, lips brushing over distended plating. “Do you need something, hot shot?”

Rodimus pinched his right finial. It stung more than it hurt. “You know good and well what you’re doing, slagger.” He shifted restlessly again, thighs rubbing together, the scent of his arousal filling the space between them.

Drift chuckled. He nuzzled the upper curve of Rodimus’ belly and let his fingers wander lower, ghosting over Rodimus’ interface array panel.

“Do I?” Drift asked.

“Yes!” Rodimus hissed and his fingers closed about Drift’s finial, giving it a tug. His legs shifted against Drift’s, rubbing their armor together, as his frame grew even hotter. “Stop teasing me, slag it.”

“You’re so screwy,” Drift murmured as he gave Rodimus’ belly one last stroke before he pushed himself to his knees. “Here I am trying to be romantic and loving, and you’re getting wet.” He swept his fingers over Rodimus’ leaking panel in emphasis.

From zero to dripping. Rodimus’ already over-active libido seemed to have quadrupled during the course of his carry.

“Is that a complaint?” Rodimus pouted, not that it lasted long as it quickly dissolved into a sly smirk.

“Did I say it was?” Drift grinned and tugged his head free of Rodimus’ grip so that he could work himself between Rodimus’ thighs.

He flattened on his belly on the berth, pulled Rodimus’ thighs over his shoulders, and ex-vented warmly over Rodimus’ still closed panel. Heat emanated from the crimson plating, the seams juttering. Rodimus’ ankles crossed behind Drift’s head, keeping him in place.

“Going to make me work for it, I see,” Drift said as he extended his glossa and licked a long line up the middle of Rodimus’ panel.

Rodimus’ backstrut arched, a sound catching in his intake. “You just called me easy, of course I’m going to make it hard for you.”

“Hard,” Drift repeated and snickered.

Rodimus’ knee knocked against his finial. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

Drift lifted his gaze enough to see the color in Rodimus’ face. He was adorable, an odd mix of shameless sexuality but also embarrassed reserve.

“Why not?” Drift asked and slid his hands around Rodimus’ aft. He lowered his head again, pressing a longer, wetter kiss to Rodimus’ panel. “It’s true, you know.”

Rodimus’ hips squirmed in his grasp. His panel juttered again. “Shut up,” he said, but it was breathless. The berth creaked as he squirmed, the sheets rustling when he tangled his fingers in them.

“Make me,” Drift purred against Rodimus’ panel, his lips tingling where the scorching heat of Rodimus’ array wafted over them.

Rodimus moaned and his panel snapped open, brushing Drift’s lips as it did so. Rodimus’ spike instantly pressurized, his valve spilling a dribble of lubricant that Drift was quick to catch with his glossa.

He moaned happily as he pressed his mouth to Rodimus’ valve, glossa sweeping up the escaping trickles of lubricant. His nasal ridge rubbed against Rodimus’ exterior node. His lips caressed the rim of Rodimus’ valve. He heard Rodimus’ calipers clicking restlessly, as Rodimus rocked down toward his mouth. He made little sounds, whimpers and choked off moans.

The berthcovers rustled more. One of Rodimus’ hands found Drift’s head again, resting on the top of it, until Drift reached up and redirected it to his finial. Rodimus’ grip was a touch too hard, but Drift’s own engine purred at the threat of pain.

Rodimus was delightful to pleasure. He panted. He squirmed. He moaned and whined and whimpered. His ankles and heels drummed against Drift’s upper back. His hips rolled up and down against Drift’s mouth. He whispered pleas for more and hissed excitedly when Drift caught his exterior node between his denta and rolled his glossa across it.

Rodimus babbled a stream of delight and clutched harder at Drift’s finial.

Drift grinned against Rodimus’ array. He briefly abandoned Rodimus’ valve so that he could lick up the length of Rodimus’ spike. His glossa flicked over crimson and orange bands, wrapped concentrically around the thick length. He took the head of Rodimus’ spike into his mouth, giving it a firm suck.

Rodimus’ back arched off the berth again. “Drift!” he shouted, frame trembling harder beneath Drift.

He returned to Rodimus’ valve, lapping up the new dribbles of lubricant before plunging his glossa deep. Rodimus’ grip tugged him closer, shoving his face against Rodimus’ array, as Rodimus ground down on him hard. He panted audibly, vents roaring, and Drift knew he was close, could taste the charge on his glossa.

Drift flexed his fingers around Rodimus’ thighs, made a happy hum in his intake, and rubbed his nasal ridge against Rodimus’ exterior node again.

“Driiiiift!” Rodimus shouted, his heels snapping against Drift’s upper back as he arched and overloaded, pulsing lubricant over Drift’s glossa and lips. There was too much for him to swallow, and it flowed over his chin, soaking his face.

Rodimus pawed at him as the pleasure traveled through his frame in waves. Drift tasted his overload, the charge biting at his glossa, before Rodimus abruptly sagged onto the berth. He kept his grip on Drift’s finial, however, and his whirring fans vibrated the berth.

Drift grinned and licked his lips, tasting Rodimus upon them. In normal times, that would have been embarrassingly quick, but now, Rodimus’ overloads came numerous and often.

Rodimus loosed a tiny squeak of a moan and pawed at Drift’s head and shoulders, trying to get a grip and pull on him.

Drift chuckled and shifted his weight, navigating Rodimus’ swell of a belly. He couldn’t help but press a kiss to it as he passed, his lips saying hello to the twitching armor. There was movement in the strained cables also, as though the growing eggs were shifting about.

Another tug reminded him that Rodimus sought his attention, as did the pulsating heat in his own array, so Drift gave Rodimus’ belly one last kiss and finished crawling up Rodimus’ frame. He was careful, however, not to rest his weight on Rodimus’ round abdomen.

“Do you want something?” Drift asked as he pressed their foreheads together, his knee nudged between Rodimus’ thighs, rubbing against the damp of Rodimus’ valve.

Rodimus gripped Drift’s head, his optics blazing and bright. “You know what I want,” he said before he pulled their mouths together, his glossa hungrily plunging past Drift’s lips.

The need knotting in Drift’s tanks exploded. It radiated outward, his engine rumbling. His spike throbbed within its casing, his valve cycling tight. Drift braced his weight on the berth and returned the kiss, Rodimus’ nipping at his lips and denta.

“Come on,” Rodimus said in between kisses, his hips rocking down against Drift’s knee, leaving pink lubricant smears on a white thigh. “Spike me.”

Drift tried to wriggle out of Rodimus’ grip, but with newfound libido came a newfound strength. “I don’t want to put pressure on your belly.”

Rodimus scoffed. “That’s not going to hurt them.”

“Because you know so much about the carry process,” Drift retorted, though it was with a grin. “Captain ‘I’m going to drink this poison and assume that’s enough’.”

Rodimus’ face flushed. “This and that are two different things.” He squirmed, rubbing his valve on Drift’s thigh again. “Come on. I’m all charged up with no satisfaction.”

Drift shifted his knee forward, rubbing against Rodimus’ valve. Rodimus shivered beneath him, charge indeed dancing from beneath his armor. A low moan echoed in Rodimus’ throat, and the sound of it made need tighten in Drift’s belly. His fingers clenched in the berth covers, his spike pinging against the cover.

“We should comm Ratchet and ask,” Drift said, his vocals strained.

Rodimus pressed kisses all over his face, denta leaving light nibbles on Drift’s lips. “Primus, no. I can’t imagine anything more humiliating. Just roll over instead.”

Roll over?

Drift’s finials twitched. The arousal in his internals exploded into an inferno, his spike popping free. Rodimus meant to ride him.

“Okay,” Drift breathed. He didn’t have to be told twice.

It took some finagling, some fumbling, and some awkward reshuffling before Drift’s back hit the berth. Rodimus wasted no time in straddling him, his valve drizzling lubricant down onto Drift’s spike. Each heated drip made Drift twitch as his hands found Rodimus’ waist, not so narrow currently. His belly seemed to hang even lower.

“That’s better,” Rodimus murmured and sank down onto Drift’s spike without any preamble, his valve swallowing Drift to the base in one smooth slide.

Drift shivered, a moan escaping him. He worked his intake, gripping Rodimus’ hips tighter.

“Mmm, yeah. That’s what I was missing,” Rodimus said as he rolled his hips, keeping Drift deep, the head of his spike grinding against Rodimus’ ceiling node.

He leaned forward, dug his knees into the berth, and planted his hands on Drift’s belly. His fingers rippled, pressing against Drift’s armor, as he braced himself. He lifted and sank, riding Drift’s spike with eager huffs of his ventilations.

“Primus,” Drift moaned, his ventilations quickening. He braced his feet on the berth, attempted to thrust up, but Rodimus planted his weight and ground down instead.

The intent was clear; Rodimus was in charge.

Luckily, Drift didn’t mind one bit. Not when Rodimus’ face darkened with desire, his optics bright and feverish. He licked his lips, still making those urgent noises, his hips moving faster and faster. His valve rippled frantically around Drift’s spike, charge exchanging between their nodes faster than Drift could track.

So fast that Rodimus overloaded again, his frame shuddering as charge erupted from beneath his armor. His fingers dug into Drift’s seams, his hips rocking back and forth in an off-beat rhythm. His fans roared, vents flaring wide.

Drift’s spike throbbed, rigid and unsatisfied as Rodimus’ valve rippled around him. He groaned, trembling beneath Rodimus.

Rodimus chuckled, though it was interspersed with breathless pants. “What? You’re not done yet?” he teased.

Drift shuddered as he held himself still, resisting the urge to toss Rodimus on his back and frag his lover senseless. “Says the sparked mech with the increased interface drive.”

“Fine by me. I can go again.” Rodimus took Drift deep again and circled his hips, the deepest ring of calipers clutching tight around the head of Drift’s spike.

A moan escaped Drift before he could stop it. He tossed his head back, trembling as the pleasure rolled through his frame in waves. It wasn’t an overload, not quite, but the prelude of one.

“I kinda like you like this,” Rodimus said as he rolled his hips in small circles, lubricant soaking their pelvic armor. His spike bobbed, relentless. “At my mercy and all.”

Drift focused his gaze on Rodimus, whose frame sparkled with condensation, the plating around his midsection stretched taut.

This wouldn’t do at all.

Drift got his elbows beneath him and shoved up, causing Rodimus to flail in surprise. Another moment of clumsy fumbling and Drift got Rodimus in his lap, his legs crossed beneath Rodimus’ aft.

“That’s better,” Drift murmured, though Rodimus’ belly was between them. He still had enough room to capture Rodimus’ lips in a kiss.

“Yeah, okay,” Rodimus said against his lips, his arms draping over Drift’s shoulders. He crossed his ankles behind Drift’s back, their frames as close together as his belly would allow. “This is better.”

Drift chuckled softly and kissed Rodimus deeper, his arms sliding around Rodimus’ frame. He had just enough reach that he could glide his hands up and caress the bottom edges of Rodimus’ spoiler. Rodimus shuddered, his spoiler flicking back into Drift’s hands in wordless demand for more.

“Knew you’d say that,” Drift murmured as Rodimus began to move, slowly working his valve over Drift’s spike in long, deep strokes.

Drift shivered and pressed his forehead to Rodimus’. Pleasure tingled up and down his backstrut. He increased his pace, their frames moving together slowly and surely. Rodimus’ fingers found his finials, playing with them gently, and Drift shivered again. Charge danced out from his substructure, lighting up the room.

“You’re close, aren’t you?” Rodimus purred, both teasing and incendiary. “Gonna fill me up again?”

Drift worked his intake and nipped at Rodimus’ audial. “Don’t you start that.”

Rodimus chuckled and gentled his nibbles. “You’d rather I talk about how good you feel in me? How much I love it when you hold me close? Or that your field gets all warm and fuzzy when we ‘face?”

Heat rolled over Drift’s frame. “You’re a menace,” he said.

“A menace you love,” Rodimus replied and his kisses traveled the length of Drift’s jaw, gentle and caressing. His valve squeezed down tight on Drift’s spike.

Drift groaned and stole Rodimus’ mouth for a deep kiss, closing off the path of conversation before Rodimus killed him with words alone. Pleasure tapped rapid-fire down his spinal strut, his spike throbbing endlessly. He teetered on the edge of overload and thrust up deep into Rodimus, valve calipers clutching at his spike head as though determined to drive him crazy.

Drift’s grip tightened on Rodimus’ spoiler. His spark throbbed to the same beat of his spike. And then Rodimus revved his engine, the vibrations rattling through both their frames, and what little control Drift had left, evaporated.

Overload rolled over him in steady waves. Drift gnawed on his bottom lip as the echoes of it reverberated through his frame, his transfluid filling Rodimus’ valve, joining the soaking mess of lubricant.

Rodimus purred amusement at him, his lips brushing over the curve of Drift’s jaw. “You have a kink for romance, don’t you?” he teased as his valve rippled around Drift’s spike restlessly. Charge spilled out from beneath his plating, his field thick with need.

Drift turned his head and captured Rodimus’ lips, ventilations exchanging between them. “That,” he said. “And because I love you.”

Rodimus’ engine purred. His grip on Drift’s shoulders tightened, even as his face reddened. He tried to bury it in Drift’s intake, but Drift wouldn’t let him, choosing instead to kiss Rodimus all over again. If there was one way to embarrass Rodimus, professions of affection were a surefire method.

Drift kept a grip on Rodimus’ spoiler, but shifted enough that he could slip a hand between their frames. His fingers ghosted over Rodimus’ swollen anterior node and rim before encircling Rodimus’ spike. It pulsed happily in his grip, liberally dripping prefluid.

Rodimus murmured Drift’s name against his lips and nuzzled into Drift’s intake, his lips and denta laving a path of pleasure. Drift shivered and squeezed Rodimus’ spike gently, fingers working Rodimus in all the ways he knew his lover preferred. He caught a finial with his lips and nibbled on it, causing Rodimus to arch in his arms.

Rodimus’ valve rippled around his half-pressurized spike again, the rapid-fire cycling that denoted his approach to overload. So Drift doubled his endeavors, fingers sliding to the base of Rodimus’ spoiler as he gently tugged on Rodimus’ spike, until Rodimus came apart in his arms. He clung tight as he overloaded, fluids spilling over Drift’s fingers and wet ventilations puffing against his intake.

Rodimus tilted forward, draping himself against Drift, though his hips tilted back to give his belly more room. His ventilations purred, his frame shuddering as the last vestiges of overload wandered through his frame.

“Mmm,” Rodimus said as he nuzzled into Drift’s intake. “That was good.”

Drift leaned his head against Rodimus’ and stroked a hand down Rodimus’ back. His damp fingers rested on the curve of Rodimus’ belly. Plating and cables flexed beneath his fingers in arrhythmic twitches.

“Need another?”

“No. I think three’s good. For now.” Rodimus chuckled. His frame hummed with warmth. “Need a nap.”

Drift’s optics half-shuttered as he latched onto Rodimus’ energy field and lingered in it. Satisfaction and affection pulsed between them. “Why am I not surprised?”

Rodimus’s engine purred happily. He snuggled harder against Drift, making soft little noises in his intake. He was adorable like this.

Drift slid his hand between their frames, the curve of his palm gliding over the curve of Rodimus’ egg-heavy belly. Once again, he could feel the shift of the eggs within, as if they were energized by all of the overloads.

His lips curved. “They’re as energetic as you are,” Drift commented as he started stroking again, smooth circular motions of his hand over Rodimus’ belly, prompting Rodimus to purr harder.

“I’m going to take that as a compliment,” Rodimus said. He squirmed closer to Drift, wriggled away, and then squirmed again as though he couldn’t get comfortable.

“Problem?”

“No. Yes. No. Maybe.” Rodimus frowned briefly before he nibbled at Drift’s intake. “Kinda getting hungry though. These things are insatiable.”

Drift chuckled and pressed a quick kiss to Rodimus’ lips. “I’ll get you something then,” he said, and worked his way free of Rodimus’ clinging embrace.

“Be quick about it.” Rodimus flopped down to the berth. He grabbed a pillow and clutched it close, in the same way he’d been holding Drift.

“Yes, Captain.” Drift winked and slipped out of their berthroom.

In the hall, he looked down at himself and wrinkled his nasal ridge. Perhaps getting a damp rag would be helpful as well. He was coated in a mixture of lubricant and transfluid both.

Drift headed to the storage room and mixed up Rodimus’ blend of choice, an odorous bitter mix that Rodimus declared delicious. Cravings, Drift guessed, because normally Rodimus wouldn’t have touched the stuff. This thick, gloppy mixture slithered as it went down. And yet, Rodimus drank it by the pitcher.

Gross.

Drift shuddered and put a cap on the cube so he wouldn’t have to smell it. He grabbed mid-grade for himself – unflavored and odorless, his own preference now that Rodimus’ choices were so malodorous. He grabbed a handful of rust sticks, too. He just wouldn’t tell Velocity that Rodimus was eating them.

The last thing he snagged was a cloth which he dampened with a mild solvent. He gave himself a quick wipe down before he returned to their berthroom victorious.

Rodimus had rolled onto his side in Drift’s absence, but he rolled back onto his spoiler when Drift returned. He clutched the pillow with one arm and made grabbing motions with his free hand.

“Huuuuuungrrrrrrrry,” he whined.

Amusement tugged at Drift’s lips. “You’re lucky you’re cute,” he said as he handed over the cube and a handful of rust sticks.

“I’m adorable,” Rodimus agreed, popping one of the rust sticks into his mouth.

Drift shook his head and grabbed the pillow tugging it out of Rodimus’ grip. Or well, trying to at any rate.

“Mine,” Rodimus said, his lips speckled with sweetened dust as he turned his frame, tightening his grip on the pillow.

“I’ve been replaced by a pillow, have I?”

“The pillow is the only one who doesn’t leave me,” Rodimus said.

Drift snorted. “So I see.” He let go of the pillow and Rodimus thumped back to the berth, only to scoot up a few feet so that he could rest his head on the other pillow. “Can I at least get you clean?” He waved the cloth for emphasis.

Rodimus’ answer was to shift on the berth, draw up his knees and cant his hips toward Drift.

Yes. He was damn lucky he was so cute.

Drift chuckled to himself and climbed back onto the berth. He settled next to Rodimus and started to clean, gently wiping the drying fluids from his lover’s thighs, pelvic armor, and abdomen. A few spatters had even gotten on his belly.

“Guess I’d better be careful,” Drift teased as he wiped up the last of the fluids. “Else I might get you going again.”

“Shut up,” Rodimus grumbled, but it was good-natured.

He popped open the cube and Drift was quick to seal off his olfactory sensors. The energon was pungent and the stench lingered.

With Rodimus clean, Drift took the opportunity to stroke over Rodimus’ belly again. It was yet his favorite thing to do, his fingers exploring the smooth stretch of the protomesh, the strain of cables, the rigidity of Rodimus’ plating. Rodimus radiated heat now, and it all felt concentrated here. Even better that Drift could feel the twitch and jostle of the eggs within his ovoid chamber.

It was more pronounced now than it had been earlier.

“I am eager to meet you, bitlets,” Drift murmured, careful to keep his words subvocal. He leaned close, lips following the same path as his fingers. “To be honest, so is the entire crew. Even Ratchet.”

Rodimus chuckled. “Ratchet is figuring out if he can escape again. That’s what he’s doing. You watch. We’re going to online next week and the shuttle will be missing.”

Drift cast him a sardonic look. “Ratchet wouldn’t do that.” Then again, remembering the stricken and pale cast to Ratchet’s face, maybe he would.

Beneath his fingers, Rodimus squirmed. It wasn’t the restless shifting of a mech experiencing the slow climb to arousal. It was different. As was the tingle of unease that radiated through Rodimus’ field.

Drift looked at Rodimus, who had the smallest of frowns on his face. He’d finished his energon, and the hand not clutching the pillow slid down, resting on the curve of his abdomen just above Drift’s hand.

“What’s wrong?” Drift asked, feeling as though he should be alarmed.

“I dunno.” Rodimus squinted and squirmed again, a small huff escaping his ventilations. “Getting spasms or something.”

Drift tossed the washrag aside and rested both hands on Rodimus’ belly, pressing a little harder than he normally would. Beneath his fingers, he felt the plating twitch, and the cables spasm arrhythmically.

Now, Drift wasn’t a medic, but clearly, he was the only one who had paid attention to Ratchet’s brief lecture on “what to expect when you’re expecting.”

“Uh, Roddy, those aren’t just spasms,” Drift said, a mixture of excitement and dread peppering through his lines. “I think you’re getting ready to lay.”

Rodimus blinked at him. He opened his mouth, closed it again. He rubbed the heel of his palm against the top swell of his abdomen.

“Huh,” he said. “That would explain why it’s just getting worse.”

Primus on a pogostick!

Drift leapt from the berth, kicking into overdrive. He sent an immediate ping to Ratchet, only for it to be ignored and redirected to Velocity.

“Drift? Is something wrong?”

“I think Roddy’s about to lay!”

A very un-Camien like curse escaped Velocity – she’d been hanging around Whirl too much. “Come to the medbay. I’ll wake Ratchet.”

The comm ended, which meant Drift could redirect his attention to Rodimus, who was gamely trying to ease off the berth. One hand on his belly, an elbow beneath him, Rodimus grimaced as he managed to swing his legs over the edge.

“A little help here?” he demanded, looking cross.

Drift rushed to assist and got a very warm armful of Rodimus for his trouble. Red plating was flared to its max extent, allowing for greater dissipation of heat. His field was warm and fuzzy, tingling where it collided with Drift’s own.

Rodimus grinned up at him, momentary annoyance gone. “Mmm, that’s better,” he purred, and pressed their foreheads together. “Ready to do this?”

“Not at all,” Drift replied with frank honesty.

“Figured that.” Rodimus slung an arm around Drift’s waist, leaning against him, and then turned them toward the door. “Good thing we’re in this together.”

Drift made a non-committal noise. Rodimus exuded heat like a furnace, but Drift felt as though someone had dropped him onto an ice star. He shivered, his spark flickering erratically. He dipped an arm around Rodimus’ frame, steadying him, but even that wasn’t enough to chase away the chill.

Out in the hall, they made a beeline for the medbay. Drift focused on getting Rodimus there as quickly and safely as possible. A task made more difficult given that Rodimus seemed to have no urgency in his movements.

Rodimus, one hand resting on his belly, giggled. “You know,” he said, looking at Drift with over-bright optics. “It must have been your good loving that convinced the bitlets it was time to hatch.”

Drift had no words, except the overwhelming urge to scrape his hand down his face. He began to realize why Megatron’s face was lined from stress.

“Must have been,” Drift managed to say, his voice faint and crackling with static.

Rodimus chuckled, but it faded into a hitched vent and a clutch at his belly. “Ow,” he said with a wince, and rubbed over the roundest part of his abdomen. “That stings.”

Drift picked up the pace. “You all right?”

“Yes and no.” Rodimus cycled a ventilation and kept his palm flat against his belly. “Tell you what, next time you do the carrying, and then you can tell me whether or not you’re okay.”

“Point taken.”

Drift nearly sagged with relief as the door to the medbay came into sight. He hustled Rodimus inside and prayed that no onlookers were present. Luck was with him as the only two within were Ratchet and Velocity, who immediately came to offer aid.

Ratchet, in fact, simply swept Rodimus off his feet as though he weighed next to nothing and hustled him toward the nearest private berth room.

“I could have done that,” Drift said.

“Don’t be petulant,” Ratchet called over his shoulders. “And no, you couldn’t.”

Rodimus laughed and slung his arms around Ratchet’s neck. “My hero,” he snickered. “But you’ll have to wait to ravish me, Doctor. I’m kind of in the middle of something here.”

“Primus,” Velocity said.

Drift felt a little like agreeing with her.

Ratchet deposited Rodimus onto the berth without any ceremony, and luckily, without any commentary on Rodimus’ inappropriate joke. “Stay,” he said.

“Don’t plan on moving.” Rodimus leaned back with a sigh of relief. “My backstrut was killing me,” he said as his gaze tracked all of the frames moving around him.

Ratchet and Velocity – efficient and focused. Drift, keeping to the perimeter, following an uneasy circuit. He didn’t know what to do and wringing his fingers was obviously not a solution, but he felt in the way otherwise.

“That is because you carry so low,” Velocity informed him. “Your backstrut has bore most of the weight. Something to keep in mind for the future.”

Ratchet shot her a look. “Do you want me to have a spark attack?” he demanded. “Let’s get these pitspawn out before we start talking about more!”

“Awwww, Ratch. You sound a little grumpy,” Rodimus said, quite cheekily, ever one to poke the sleeping predacon. “Not having much luck with Megatron, are you?”

Drift screeched to a halt. Silence fell in the medbay. Velocity dropped something that went clatter. Color drained from Ratchet’s face before it was replaced by a blaze of heat.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he snapped. “Now roll over. You can’t Lay in that position.”

“Perhaps he should,” Velocity ventured, though it was with evident caution. “He’s carrying so very low.”

Drift, for his part, was stuck in some kind of loop. Worried for Rodimus and scandalized for Ratchet, and he didn’t know which of the two extremes should take the lead in his emotions. He gaped at Ratchet, and tangled his fingers together and shifted his weight from foot to foot.

Rodimus laughed. “Yes, you do,” he said as he paused in the midst of rolling to his hands and knees, an attempt made more awkward by his pronounced belly. “That’s what you need to turn your frown upside down, Ratch. Let me tell you, a good fragging session and you’ll–”

“Shut your mouth is what you’ll do,” Ratchet growled in a dangerous tone that Drift knew all too well. “You have better things to worry about then imagined nonsense.”

Rodimus grunted, flopping back on his back as he clutched at his belly. “I’d rather think about that then this,” he muttered, face scrunching up as the plating on his abdomen rippled alarmingly. “Drift, this is all your fault.”

“I believe you had something to do with it as well,” Drift said, daring to get near the berth, though he hovered close to Rodimus’ helm while Ratchet and Velocity crowded around his feet.

“You may be right about his carry, Velocity,” Ratchet said, the perfect picture of professionalism, despite the color in his cheeks. “Stay on your back, Rodimus. It should be more comfortable.”

Rodimus snorted a laugh, one that quickly devolved into giggles. “Yeah, it sure is.” He turned his head, winking at Drift as he did so. “Right?”

“Can’t you take anything seriously?” Drift demanded, all thoughts of Ratchet and Megatron gone as he focused on his lover.

“I’m – owwww – trying not to.” Rodimus’ backstrut curved as he arched off the berth before flopping back to it with a pant. One hand groped for Drift, and when he offered his hand, Rodimus squeezed it mercilessly.

Ow.

“Can’t I have some drugs?” Rodimus demanded as the medics each grabbed a leg and shoved his ankles into some stirrups.

Ratchet shook his head. “There’s no point. By the time it works through your system, you’ll have laid.”

“You’ve been ready to lay for hours. Didn’t you notice?” Velocity added, blinking owlishly at them from her perch between Rodimus’ thighs. There was a hint of pink to her cheeks.

Drift coughed into his free hand and looked everywhere but at the medics.

Rodimus half-grimaced and half-grinned. “I was distracted.”

Ratchet snorted. “Yeah. I’ll bet you were.” He tossed Drift an accusing look before he rounded the berth to Rodimus’ left-hand side, his hands ghosting over the swell of Rodimus’ belly. “All right everyone. Shut up and focus. We got bitlets ready to greet the world.”

~

Grumpy he might be, but Drift couldn’t ask for a better defender than Ratchet. He kept the nosy away from the private corner of the medbay occupied by Drift, Rodimus, and their three furled little ones. Each was about the size of Drift’s fist, their shell-plating a muted shade of grey with the thinnest seams webbing around their circumference.

They’d hatch within a few days, Ratchet said. Until then, Drift and Rodimus would have to keep them warm and keep them close, letting their fields mingle so that their bitlets would recognize them after unfurling. It was hardly a trial to curl with Rodimus in a berth, their little ones cradled between them, Rodimus’ forehead pressed to his own.

Exhaustion fed into Rodimus’ field, but he gamely fought against it. He had one arm curled around the eggs, and the other curled around Drift, as though determined not to let him go. He still exuded heat like a furnace, enough that Drift’s cooling fans were whirring at speed, but right now, the last thing he wanted to do was push Rodimus away.

“Well,” Rodimus murmured. “We did it.”

“You did most of the work,” Drift replied. He stroked a hand over Rodimus’ belly, still a little swollen, the cables and plating slowly shifting back into place. “And now we’ve got three bitlets. Three hatchlings that we’re going to have to care for.”

That ripple of unease returned, one that had crouched on his shoulders from the moment Ratchet told them that Rodimus was sparked and they knew, as one, they would keep the hatchlings. Drift, who had always struggled with his own identity, didn’t know if he could do this, if he could be a good caretaker.

“Yeah, but at least we don’t have to do it alone,” Rodimus said, and snuggled closer, making a happy sound in his intake. “We got mechs lining up in the corridor to babysit. And I’ll betcha Ratchet will be one of the first in line, for all his grumpiness.”

Drift hummed a laugh. “You may be right.”

“They won’t let us fail,” Rodimus added, and there was confidence in his vocals.

“I suppose you’re right.”

“Of course I am.” Rodimus brushed their nasal ridges together, his field swelling with affection. “I love you. You know that, right?”

Drift’s spark throbbed with warmth. “I do.” He pressed a kiss to Rodimus’ forehead. “Get some rest, hot shot.”

Rodimus made a noncommittal noise, his field enveloping both Drift and their bitlets, as he ex-vented quietly. He slipped into recharge right then and there.

Drift’s lips pulled into a soft smile, his spark bubbling with happiness. His fingers danced over the warm curves of their unhatched young. He pressed another kiss to Rodimus’ head and then allowed himself to slip into recharge as well, content and happy like he couldn’t remember being before.

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