Blooming Friendship - A MTMTE/AU Knightformers tale
Pairings - DriftxRodimus
Rating for this chapter - K+
Warnings so far - Past suicide attempt
Stellar cycle - one year
Sol - day
Orbital cycle - month
Vorn - 83 years
Click - one minute
Nano-Click - one second
Six vorns old in cybertronian years - 16 years old in human years
With only two more orbital cycles till the tournament, Rodimus and Drift continued with their training. The young Prime was determined to enter, for the winner would have their request of their choosing granted by the ruling Prime. Apparently this was the main reason anyone with a wish that only a Prime could grant would enter such a tournament. Of course not just anyone could enter, but those that did had a good reason to, and it was for this prize alone. Drift was uncertain what Rodimus wanted, but that did not sway his feelings upon entering the tournament as the young Prime's second. At the spark of dawn till the rise of the moons, they trained and trained and trained. Some sols they would have friendly spars, other sols they would exercise their muscles in activities, and on most sols they would fight each other, under the supervision of Sir Kup.
The elder knight had yet to approve of Rodimus entering, but so far he was impressed with what he saw from the young mechs training. He would step in every now and then to offer advice, or tell Rodimus off when he went over board. In fact, by complete accident, Rodimus gave Drift a scar along his cheek. Thankfully it was nothing serious, and it was completely healed by the healers, but Rodimus was constantly apologising to Drift, even after he was healed. Sir Kup was also in a bind, for he wasn't certain if he should praise Rodimus or tell him off. He was impressed that the young Prime managed to scratch the white swordsmech, for he had commented how skilled Drift was, but he felt like he should tell him off since it was a friendly match. Drift assured Rodimus he was fine, and the two carried on.
In their spare time, when not training, they would either play games, read each other stories, or just relax in the gardens. At night, Drift would read the booklet he was given, to help him understand what was happening to his body as it dawned his sixth vorn. He was disgusted with himself when he learned that he had been "aroused" when he made body contact with the young Prime. In fact he punished himself by spending a night in a tub of ice cold bathing oils. He felt better as he read on and learned that it was natural to be aroused by mechs he found attractive, and he would be able to control it when he was older. In his youth, it was understandable that he had problems knowing how to handle it. It was merely a moment of weakness, and everybody went though with it, even those from the Circle. Still that did not stop him from visiting the chapel of Primus, and begging for forgiveness. He even took up advance meditating skills, to make certain it would never happen again.
After a session of training, Rodimus explained to Drift, in detail, how the tournament worked. A number of mechs would be entering, including the two Primes, Sentinel and Optimus. They would enter with someone else, who would act as their second. Upon entering, they would all then be organised into set fights, and begin the first match. The winners from the first match would then be organised again and begin the second match. This would continue until only two remained, and whoever wins the final match wins the tournament.
"Depending how many enter, there could be any number of matches," explained Rodimus, sipping his energon tea. "I heard that the last one had twenty-two matches, and the one before had eleven."
Drift listened to every detail, wanting to fully understand what he was about to experience. "What is the purpose of the second?" He asked.
Rodimus forced himself to swallow a mouthful of energon tea, before answering. "Well, if I were to lose to someone I was fighting against, which I won't, it will be up to you to fight in my place."
In other words, the second is the last resort should the competitor failed. If the second lost, it would be all over, but if the second won, then they would advance to the next match, as if nothing had ever happened. So if Rodimus did lose, it would be up to Drift to win back the match. It was quite the weight on his shoulders, but Drift was confident he could win back any match, should Rodimus lose. So far he was doing well, but Drift had yet to see what he was like against other knights. Rodimus was short, compared to the other Iaconians he had seen, but he had grown a bit. Still, his size could be an advantage in a spar.
One sol, the two mechs were greeted with wonderful news. Sir Kup had finally decided to allow them to enter the tournament, and had just received approval from Rodimus' father, Nominus Prime. He did point out to them though, that Nominus wasn't too pleased that Rodimus wanted to enter, and Sir Kup had to do a little pleading, knowing full well that Rodimus would be furious with him if he didn't try. Apparently the ruling Prime was concerned that his young son would get hurt. Drift was touched upon hearing this, but Rodimus seemed angry to hear it.
"He seems truly worried for you Rodimus," explained Drift, wondering why the young Prime was angry to hear his own sire was concerned for his safety.
Rodimus snorted, and folded his arms. "He doesn't care about me like that," he growled.
Drift wondered what he meant by that. In fact, he had yet to see how Rodimus acted around his father. On that note, he had yet to see the ruling Prime of Cybertronia. He had been here for a while, and yet he never had the opportunity to meet with Nominus Prime. He knew what he looked like, thanks to all the paintings, but he never met him in person. Rodimus explained it was because he was busy with important work, and other times it was because he could never find him.
"The sad thing is, he knows where to find me," sighed the young Prime, his angry expression changing to a bitter one.
Drift was confused once more. "What do you mean?"
Rodimus shook his head furiously. "N-nothing, it's... nothing."
The white swordsmech decided to drop it.
With only an orbital cycle and a half left till the tournament, Rodimus and Drift did nothing but train and train. There were sols when they had to rest, and sols where they worked their afts off, but the two carried on, eager for the sol they would fight for real.
On that particular sol, Rodimus had grown weary of their spar, and decided that he and Drift should take a break. "I feel like sleeping in one of the gardens," sighed Rodimus, yawning as he spoke. "The one a couple of courtyards away should do nicely."
Drift did not argue, for he too wanted to rest. His joints were starting to get stiff and the last thing he wanted was to enter a tournament with limbs he could barely move. He nodded in agreement and followed the young Prime out of the training grounds.
"That was a good session we had," said Drift with a smile. "I think we are pretty much ready to enter the tournament with no major concerns."
Rodimus tried to hide his delight upon hearing this, but Drift could tell he was overjoyed to hear such a thing. "Sentinel won't know what hit him," laughed the young Prime. "The pompous fool still thinks he should go easy on me, but when I'm done with him, he'll think twice before underestimating me."
"Sentinel is powerful," warned Drift, "and I'm certain Optimus is just as strong. Just because they are your brothers, doesn't mean you should underestimate them either."
The young Prime made said nothing, but made a gesture suggesting he acknowledged what Drift had said. Drift was no fool either, for he was aware that Rodimus and Sentinel did not get on well with each other. Although he believed Sentinel Prime to be both beautiful and powerful, as a Prime should, he had to admit that he wasn't a decent older brother, especially around Rodimus. Whenever Sentinel was around Rodimus, he would mock him, tease him, and on one occasion, he even shoved him out of the way. Drift thought it was something that common around siblings, for he had seen such siblings do such things back home, but the more he witnessed, the more he began to think that Sentinel was just a not-so-good brother to the young Prime. Yes, he was what Drift thought a Prime should look like, but his general attitude around Rodimus wasn't appreciative. He kept telling himself that maybe Sentinel was just trying to help his little brother build character, for deep down he still could not believe that someone with the blood of Primus in their veins bore a foul personality. Sentinel Prime was full of pride, and glowed with a godly aura, so maybe he was just teasing Rodimus, nothing more. It wasn't as if he hurt Rodimus, and even then, Drift couldn't picture him doing something so cruel to his little brother.
Optimus, on the other hand, seemed to be the only one who treated Rodimus with love and care. There were times when he told him off, but Drift could see it was only out of concern. Optimus always came to check on Rodimus during training, and even tried to convince him to drop out of the tournament for his own safety. He was just so kind and sweet around his little brother, unlike Sentinel. Maybe he and Sentinel worked together to bring out the best in their little brother; Sentinel being the firm one, and Optimus being the gentle one. A perfect, well balanced up bringing? That actually made a little sense, now that Drift thought about it.
"Drift, what wish do you want granted?" Asked Rodimus suddenly, bringing the white mech out of his thoughts.
"What do you mean?" He replied.
Rodimus rolled his optics at him. "The prize for winning the tournament is to have whatever you desire granted by the ruling Prime," explained Rodimus, reminding Drift what was at stake. "Some nobles enter just to have some silly request come true, like having a street named after them, and knights who enter wish to be made Lords, and own an estate."
The white mech recalled this, remembering it was the whole reason, apart from duelling his older brother, that Rodimus wanted to enter in the first place. A desire that the ruling Prime can grant, a wish that no one else could make reality, truly a blessing that anyone would die for.
"But I thought it was you who would get the wish?" Queried Drift, believing that as Rodimus' second, the rule wouldn't apply to him, even if Rodimus won.
Rodimus merely grinned at him. "You get a wish granted too, silly," he laughed. "It wouldn't be fair if only I get what I want, wouldn't it?" He stepped a little closer, almost invading Drift's personal space. "So, what do you want? Your own little island? A star named after you? A whole harem to yourself?"
Drift blushed furiously after that last one. "N-no! Of course not," he snapped.
The young Prime just laughed. "Sorry, couldn't resist, but I do know a knight who entered just for that reason." Once the humour had subsided, Rodimus asked his question again, "So what would you like?"
Nothing really came to Drift's mind, for he was fairly content with his life, happy with everything he already had. He didn't desire to own an estate, nor to have anything named after him. There was nothing he really desired, or he just couldn't think of one. It was a sudden question, and he had no time to think about it.
Rodimus seemed to have picked up on this, and frowned. "Drift, if we're going to enter to win, then you need a goal."
Drift appeared confused. "But our goal is to win. Surely that alone will-"
"No, no, no, that's OUR goal," asserted Rodimus, grabbing Drift's shoulders as he spoke, "You alone need a personal goal, like me."
"A personal goal?" Repeated Drift.
Rodimus nodded. "Look, it's alright that you want to win, but you need to have a reason to win. Want alone isn't going to help fuel your compassion and desire to win the battle, you need to set your optics on something you crave more than life itself, something you would die for, something you want more than life itself. If you enter the tournament without such a need, then you're gonna fail before you even stepped in the arena." The young Prime stepped back, placing his hands on his hips as he continued to preach. "If what you desire most is just a few sword fights away, you'll fight as if the fate of the world depended on it. You tell yourself that, you won't lose, you won't fail, because if you do, then that once in a lifetime chance is gone forever! If you want to win this tournament, if you want what you have desired the longest, then you have to focus on the goal."
The small courtyard was unusually quiet after such a long and loud speech from the young Prime. Rodimus just stood there as still as a statue, almost as if he were awaiting a response.
Drift just stared at him with a bewildered expression plastered on his pale face. "That... that was unexpected," he stammered.
Rodimus flushed a bright red, and stamped a single foot upon the ground. "What do you mean unexpected?" he snapped, "I just told you what you needed to do in order to win." The white mech said nothing, but smiled in a way that would cause another's spark to explode in utter delight. Rodimus flushed an even brighter red, before turning away from Drift and mumbled, "l-let's just get to that garden." Drift said nothing, but nodded in agreement, following the young Prime to the garden.
After entering yet another courtyard, a loud and all too familiar voice caught their attention. The pair looked up, and much to Drift's dismay, they spotted Ultra Magnus standing within a doorway, looking as grim as ever. Rodimus groaned aloud, not caring that it earned him a scowl from the rude mech.
"Rodimus Prime, there is something we need to discuss," he declared before the young Prime, and he shot Drift a nasty glare before spitting out the words, "in private."
Drift just glared back, whilst Rodimus sighed with a nod. "As long as it won't take too long," he grumbled. The young Prime glanced over at Drift, his face bearing a sorry expression. "Meet me in the garden," he requested, "it's just through that archway, past the first garden, through a corridor, take a left, and then you're there."
The white mech had quickly learned that this whole section of the palace was just a maze of gardens and courtyards, but thankfully he had also quickly learned how to navigate through them, so the young Prime's directions made sense to him. Bidding Rodimus farewell, he skipped off, wanting to get as far away from Ultra Magnus as he could. There was something about his mood that was making Drift feel ill.
He walked through the archway, leaving the two mechs far behind, and had entered the first garden. As he looked around for the corridor out of this garden, it was then that he noticed that something felt familiar. He gazed around as his mind brought to his attention that he had been here before, yet it felt different at the same time. The blue crystal roses sparkled in the light of the sol, and the stone steps decorated the floor glowed with an aura of cleanliness. It wasn't a big garden, compared to all the others, but he was certain he had seen it before. Where though? Was it possible he walked through it before and never paid attention until now? He had been here for so long, it might have been possible that he did walk through here without realising it, but was he now only realising it? He gazed upwards, and spotted a walkway atop the garden walls, leading from one part of the palace to the other. He recognised that walkway, but from where?
It then hit him, like a sharp slap to the face. A chill ran through him as he looked around the garden again. The beauty of the garden could not hide it's terrible past, and now Drift could the dread and the terror that continued to linger within the flowers and trees. This was the garden where Optimus Prime had his accident.
He remembered the tale Rodimus told him of how Optimus, in his youth, was standing atop the walkway, watching his father hosting a quaint garden party, when a servant pushed him. The gentle Prime, barely past his first vorn, fell through the air, and landed on the cold slabs of the garden below. Rodimus did not witness it for he had yet to be born, but did know that it was the most terrifying thing anyone could have ever seen. His older brother's small body laid sprawled upon the lawn, a pool of energon blood growing beneath him. It was first assumed that he had died instantly, but thankfully he had been saved thanks the the healers that were on hand. Nominus Prime had the servant executed right there, and upon learning that the servant hailed from Kaon, he enforced even harsher laws upon the dark land.
Drift shuddered, wrapping his cloak around his body. He could almost picture the horrible scene, as if he had been standing there when it happened. He could almost smell the bitter stench of the energon blood, soaking the floor. He could even imagine how many screamed that sol, upon witnessing the innocent form crumpled on the floor. What kind of monster would push a child, let alone a Prime, from such a height? Revenge? Hatred for the Primes? A twisted desire? Why?
He was about to leave this cold place, when he detected the sound of whistling. He looked around until he spotted movement beyond a garnet rose bush. Walking round, he was relieved to see it was just some old gardener, whistling an old tune as he tore up the weeds from the mulch. The gardener peered up at him, not showing any interest at all.
Drift politely bowed, with a nervous smile. "You keep this garden well, friend," he declared.
The gardener just grunted, and continued with his work. "Someone has to," he grumbled, yanking at the weeds as he spoke, "only I tend to this garden."
"I can imagine why," responded Drift, still feeling the cold air about him. "After what happened here, I doubt anyone would want to tend to this garden."
The gardener then looked up, a curious and a mocking look now spread across his face. "Oh, so what did they tell you?"
Drift felt confused by these words. "What do you mean?" He asked, shuffling where he stood. "Is this not the garden where Optimus Prime was almost murdered as a child?" His query was met with a cold laugh. The white mech frowned, not approving of the gardener's attitude towards a tragic event. "It's no laughing matter that a Prime was nearly murdered," he spat.
The air suddenly grew silent and heavy, after those two words left the lips of the old gardener. Drift stared at him as he tried to process what he had just heard. The gardener just stared at him, a cruel smirk now staining his old face.
"W-what do you mean?" Demanded Drift, his spark now pulsing quite fast. "They told he was pushed."
"They told you wrong," replied the gardener, "I was there, and I know what I saw." He turned his back to tend to the weeds, but continued his dark story. "They were all having a grand party that sol, music and dancing and all the treats you can imagine. I was just adding the final touches to a quartz tulip shrub, when I noticed young Optimus, standing right up there." He pointed to the walkway overhead. "Optimus was so fair and innocent in his youth. You felt like you should get executed just by admiring his beauty. He was too young, far too young to have those empty optics he always wore."
Drift felt the tense air about him, the dark atmosphere nearly crushing him, and the sense of dread that continued to grow within him. "He couldn't have jumped," he weakly protested.
The gardener sneered at him. "If you had seen him that sol, you would have believed he wanted to take his own life. I saw the dead look in his optics, the lost expression he bore upon his fair face, and I could almost smell the bitter detest of life from all the way down here." The old gardener sighed as he tore up more weeds. "The servant tried to grab him, but he leapt before he could reach him. Now he carries the guilt of having an innocent life slaughtered by his own need to end his own life."
The cold words echoed in Drift's mind. His small frame became heavy and his head was feeling light. Time seemed to have slowed down and nothing seemed to make sense anymore. The very idea that Optimus, the gentle and pure Prime, would want to take his own life at such a young age? The gardener had to be lying, he must have made up such a tale to scare him. There was no way that Optimus would do such a thing... but why didn't it sound like a lie? Unable to stand there any longer Drift fled from that cold garden, never wanting to sit foot in there again.