Drifting Flames - Last resorts
Transformers IDW/AU verse
Warnings: Drug use, future robot love, emotional journey and all the shit in between that makes the ending worth it!
WARNINGS IN THIS CHAPTER: Loss of a limb, slight gore, attempted self-forced prostitution, needle in the interface port, near death
Walking through the rust covered pipelines, deep down beneath the slums, Rodimus and Drift trudged through the thick oil and piles of garbage that submerged their pedes. The stench of the place nearly made Rodimus purge a few times and Drift needed to stop every now and then to settle his unstable system. Being down here made them slightly claustrophobic, for it was easy to get lost in a place like this. The only reason they were down here was for a job that seemed easy, and had decent payout, but now Drift was having second thoughts.
"Starting to regret this," grunted Drift, kicking an empty box that laid before him.
"All we have to do is remove some debris from a vent and that's it, job done," explained Rodimus, trying to make the job sound easy than it really was. "It's not that far now. They said it was around this section."
Drift made a disgusted sound when the rusted corpse of something floated nearby. "Why couldn't they come down here and do it?"
"You know how it works," sighed Rodimus. "They don't want to come down to our level, so they get the likes of us to do it, whilst they sit around on their expanding aft plates and drink their sweet energon."
"We better get a bonus for this," groaned Drift, as he stepped over the unidentifiable corpse.
They continued walking on until they reached a large open room with many passages that split off into different directions. Motionless fans stood within each passage and the two mechs investigated each one. Their job was to locate a fan that wasn't working and fix it. Simple enough but it was no easy task. All they were told was that a vent wasn't functioning correctly for some reason, and that they would be paid handsomely if they found out why. The most likely explanation was that some debris got caught in the vent, so all they had to do was remove it.
Rodimus sighed as each vent they checked seemed ok. "He definitely said it was around here," he mused. "I mean they shut down the whole area so we can remove it, so it has to be around here somewhere."
Drift walked around and his optics fell on the large round hole in the middle of the room. He approached it, hoping to Primus that he was wrong with his assumption. Peering down, he frowned with what he saw. "Found it," he said in a flat tone.
Rodimus walked over and peered down, frowning himself when he spotted a piece of debris trapped in a vent, right underneath another one. "I am so demanding a huge bonus for this," he grumbled, grabbing the coil of wire he had brought with him.
"I'll go," volunteered Drift, taking the wire from Rodimus.
"Are you sure?" asked Rodimus, sounding concerned.
"I am the lightest," boasted Drift, wrapping the wire around himself.
"Are you saying I'm heavy?" pouted Rodimus.
Drift grimaced, and took care with what he would say next. "No, you are not heavy," he stated. "I'm just the lightest out of the two of us."
Rodimus narrowed his optics at him. "That still sounds like you're calling me heavy."
"You're not heavy, you're just..." Drift tried to find the right word. "Robust?"
"Robust?!" snapped Rodimus, "that's just a nicer word for heavy!"
Drift groaned as he rubbed his closed optics. "Look, I'm a little thinner and lighter than you, can you just accept that so we can get on with this?"
Rodimus folded his arms and huffed angrily. "I'm not heavy," he muttered.
Drift sighed, rolling his optics as he handed Rodimus the other end of the wire. Taking extra care, the white mech carefully lowered himself into the vertical hole. Ridimus held onto the wire with all his strength, slowly lowering it so Drift get descend more. Drift felt a little sick as he stared down, passing the first vent with no trouble. Upon reaching the second vent, he proceeded to kick the debris off.
"Hurry up," demanded Rodimus. "You're starting to get heavy."
"I'm not heavy," shouted Drift, his voice echoing down the hole. "You're just getting weak."
"I can drop you, you know," warned Rodimus, a playful tune present in his voice.
"Can you wait until I'm done," grunted Drift, kicking the debris one last time. "Got it," he cried triumphantly.
"I noticed," replied Rodimus, smirking a little. At least the job was done and they could report back. As Rodimus pulled the wire back up, a whirring sound caught his attention. Looking up, he spotted that one of the vents was coming back online, the fan blades began to spin, faster and faster until it was a blur. The vent next to it suddenly switched on, followed by the next one and the next one. Rodimus gaped in horror. "Drift!" he screamed. "Get back up here quick! They just turned them back on!"
Drift's face turned whiter than his own paint job. "I thought they were gonna turn them on when we reported back!" he shouted.
"Just back up here before the one above you turns on," barked Rodimus, pulling the wire as fast as he could.
Realising that the fan above him could turn on any second, Drift began to scramble up the wire. His tanks lurched in fear when he heard the vent below him starting to spin, his spark pulsing like mad. He was nearly passed the vent before him, but he could hear the motors starting to activate.
"You're nearly there," cried Rodimus, pulling the wire even faster.
Drift fumbled as he grabbed the ledge, pulling himself up. Rodimus dropped the wire and grabbed Drift's arms and pulled with all his might. He was almost out, just a little further and he'd be safe. However the vent came back on before Drift fully made it out, and it was followed by the sickening noise of metal flesh ripping.
A loud terrifying howl of pain echoed down the pipeline.
Rodimus was fuming as he made his way to the meeting point for the job. Those fraggers had promised him that they would not turn the venting system back on until the pair of them came back. How could they do such a thing? They knew that the pair of them were down there in a dangerous place. Rodimus growled to himself as he visioned himself screaming words of rage and wrath at their employers.
"Rodimus, could you slow down a little?"
Gasping out loud, Rodimus looked over his shoulder. Drift had his arms wrapped round the red mech's throat, trying to keep his balance. He appeared exhausted and shaken, with mech blood splattered across his face.
"I'm sorry. Do you need a break?" asked Rodimus, filled with great concern.
"No, no," groaned Drift, "I'm ok."
"You just lost a leg, Drift," snapped Rodimus, clinging to the arms wrapped around his neck. "And you lost a lot of mech blood, so please tell me if you start to feel worse."
Drift grunted as he hobbled along. "Not gonna lie, but I would feel better if we saw a medic."
"As soon as we get our payment, we'll head straight to the closest one," promised Rodimus, continuing onward.
Rodimus wanted to get Drift treated immediately, but in order to do just that, they needed credits to pay for it. Rodimus recalled the moment the vent sliced one of Drift's legs off, the white mech screaming in agony as his mech blood gushed out of the stump his leg had become. Rodimus applied some basic first aid, but he never had experience with a whole missing limb, thus they needed a professional to reattach the leg. Unfortunately what was left of Drift's leg fell down the ventilation system, so they were going to need to buy a new one on top of that, and legs weren't cheap. As soon as they got the credits for this job, Rodimus was going to find the first medical clinic they come across and get his friend fixed.
It didn't take them long to reach the meeting point, and as soon as Rodimus spotted the contact standing nearby, he marched on over, with Drift hobbling behind him.
"What the slag is your problem!" shouted Rodimus, unleashing his fury upon the taller mech. "You said you wouldn't turn the vents back on until we came back!"
Their contact merely stared at him, ignoring Drift completely. "Look pal, you were taking far too long, and we were getting complaints from the citizens above. The moment you got rid of whatever it was that was blocking the vent, we had to turn them back on. The last thing we need is those Tower mechs complaining about the stink from this dump."
Rodimus growled, clenching his fists into trembling balls of rage. "My friend lost his leg because of you," he spat. "He nearly died, for the love of Primus. He needs medical attention and we need the credits to pay for it!"
The contact continued to show no sign of remorse. "Whatever, here's your payment," he grumbled, throwing a single ten credit chip at them.
"Ten credits!" snarled Rodimus, enraged beyond belief. "The job was for forty credits, you scumbag!"
"Well, you lost ten credits for taking too long, another ten for giving me attitude, and a further ten because I said so," sneered the contact. "You're lucky that I'm paying you at all, you little whore. Go get fragged if you need the credits so bad."
Rodimus wanted to punch him so bad, but Drift held him back. "Do you have any idea how much it costs to get a new leg and attach it?" he spat. "He needs to be treated asap, and we can't do it with ten credits alone!"
The contact shrugged and proceeded to leave. "Then dump him in a smelting pit or something, I don't care, I have a job to do." He walked off, snickering as he went.
Unable to contain himself, Rodimus attempted to run and attack him, but Drift held onto him tight. "Rodimus, he's not worth it," pleaded Drift. "There are enforcers nearby and if they see you attack a citizen from above, they will shoot you on site. Let's just hope we find a medic who is more charitable than him."
Trembling with rage, Rodimus picked up the credit chip and walked off. "I swear if those enforcers weren't around, I'd throw him down an active vent," he huffed.
"Let's just focus on the medic please," gasped Drift, feeling a little sick. "I'm not doing too well."
His attention now focused on Drift, Rodimus hauled him up onto his back and carried him as best he could. "Ok Drift, just hang on," he said. "We'll find you a medic who will help you, ok?"
The two began to wander around Dead End, looking for any medic who could help fix Drift. Unfortunately, the medics who dwelled within the slums charged a fortune for their services, and rarely displayed any pity for the less fortunate ones. The first medical clinic they stopped at refused them entry unless they paid a hundred credits up front. The second clinic offered to do the job, but only if they signed a contract to pay off the loan they would need for the procedure. The third one declared that unless they had the money, Drift was as good as dead.
It was getting late, and Rodimus grew desperate. Every where he went, Medics would charge him prices he wouldn't be able to afford. No matter how much he pleaded, no matter how much he begged, they would all refuse him and shun him. Looking over his shoulder, he cringed to see that Drift was starting to get drowsy, his optics flickering on and off. He lost a lot of mech blood when his leg was cut off, and the crude bandages he applied were no longer effective. They needed cash fast, or Drift wasn't going to make it.
Looking around in desperation, Rodimus spotted a dark alleyway that was home to a certain profession. Mechs who were garbed in cheap materials and covered with tacky paint jobs walked about the ally, posing in erotic ways and cooing at passer-by's. It was a buy-mech ally, filled with vain prostitutes and needy hookers. It reeked of sex and disease, a stench that brought back foul memories for Rodimus. He was about to walk off when Rodimus watched a client walked out of a building with some hooker, and handed over a large sum of credits. An idea crept into his mind, an idea he didn't like but an idea that would work.
Setting the inattentive Drift down in a safe looking doorway, he patted him on the helm. "Drift, I'll be right back, ok?" he said, his voice filled with uncertainty.
"Huh?" grunted Drift, struggling to stay online.
"I'm going to get the credits we need," promised Rodimus, not realising he was feeling sick. "I'll be as quick as I can."
Drift forced himself to look up, watching as Rodimus walked off. Confused, he looked over to where his friend was going, and the moment he saw the buy-mech ally, he realised what Rodimus was up to. Optics wide open in horror, Drift used his last remaining strength to leap up and grab Rodimus' legs. Rodimus yelped as he fell over, his face smacking the floor.
"Drift, get off me," demanded Rodimus, trying to free his trapped legs.
"No!" shouted Drift. "You are NOT going to do that! Not now, not ever!"
Rodimus continued to struggle. "Drift, you need medical help and we can't get it without credits," begged Rodimus. "I can get it! All I have to do is-"
"NO!" shouted Drift, even louder than before. "I'm not letting you do this."
As the two mechs continued to struggle in the dirt, a pair of enforcers walked upon the scene. The spectacle caught their attention and they came over to investigate. "The frag is this?" barked one of them. "Looks like the cripple couldn't afford the whore," laughed the other.
They reached down and pulled them apart, throwing Drift down onto the filthy ground and taking a firm hold of Rodimus. "Frag off cripple," snarled the first enforcer, kicking Drift in the face. "Go find one you can afford!" Drift snarled at him, but this only rewarded him with another kick to the face. "Hey, this whore is actually a looker," jeered the other one, cupping Rodimus' face roughly. "Hey sweet rims, I'll give you fifty credits for a little fun."
Drift looked up in horror to see that Rodimus appeared tempted by the offer. He didn't even decline it, but he did look uncertain about it. The first enforcer noticed Rodimus too and completely ignored Drift. "Frag, I'll give him a hundred for some kinky fun," he purred. They started to walk off, dragging a slightly reluctant Rodimus with them. "Come on sweet stuff, let's get us a room."
Finding what must have been the last drop of power he had left, Drift leapt up again, crashing onto Rodimus and releasing him from the grip of the two enforcers. Rodimus cried out as they both fell down a nearby ledge, tumbling through the air and landing into an crude oil pond. Hauling himself up, Rodimus gasped as the intoxicating smell nearly caused him to vomit.
"What the frag, Drift?" he cried, wiping the black filth off his body. "I could have gotten you the cash we needed to-" Rodimus looked over to see Drift was lying face down in the oil, and showed no sign of life. "Drift?" Panic took over and Rodimus quickly trudged over to him, hauling him out of the disgusting liquid. "Drift? Drift, say something!" Drift was unconscious, and his vitals weren't doing too good. More mech blood was seeping out of his wound and Rodimus feared the worst.
"Hey you slaggers," came a loud angry voice. Rodimus looked up to see the two enforcers looking down at them from the ledge. "Wait till we get down there! You are so dead!"
"Scrap," whimpered Rodimus.
He looked around and saw a busy road at the end of an ally. If he could just get Drift over there, they could lose the angry Enforcers in the crowd. Carrying Drift as best as he could, he stumbled towards the ally. He could hear the enforcers shouting getting louder as he stumbled down the the narrow path. He was nearly there, just a few more feet.
The moment he stepped out the ally, the sound of screeching brakes filled the air. Rodimus looked up into a blinding light. "Scrap," he cried, shielding his optics and waiting for the inevitably outcome.
"Watch where you're going!" come a loud angry voice. Rodimus looked up to see that the vehicle had stopped just in time. Standing in its place was a tall white and red mech glaring down at them. "I could have run the pair of you down, you idiots," he snapped.
Rodimus cringed, but noticed the medic symbol imprinted on the red and white mech's shoulder. "H-hey, you're a medic right?" he asked.
"No, I'm a Apostle of Primus, of course I'm a medic," snapped the red and white mech.
Looking down the ally and spying the two enforcers from before, Rodimus grew desperate. "Look, my friend needs help and there's enforcers after us. I don't have a lot of credits but I promise I'll pay you back! Please! He'll die!"
The medic looked at Drift, only now noticing his missing leg and the poor attempt to bandage it. He also heard the sound of the approaching enforcers from the other end of the ally. "Primus, why me?" he muttered. He then transformed back into a large emergency vehicle. "Hurry and get in," he ordered, the back end opening up.
Rodimus scrambled into vehicle, dragging Drift with him. It was a tight squeeze as the door shut, but they were now safe and hidden. Sensing that they were moving, Rodimus sighed in relief.
"Just keep still back there, and keep an optic on his vitals," ordered the medic. "My clinic isn't that far away."
Sighing in relief, Rodimus relaxed and hugged Drift tight.
Unsure of how much time had passed since riding inside the medic, Rodimus was about to ask where they were going, when they at last came to a stop. Rodimus clutched the unconscious Drift out of concern and waited for the next thing to happen. The vehicle opened up before he realised it and the red mech found they were in some strange room.
"Hurry up and get out of me," snapped the medic.
Rodimus was keen to give this medic a piece of his mind, but Drift was his top priority and he couldn't afford to get angry with their only hope. Climbing out of the medic, he quickly pulled Drift out and held him tight. The medic transformed and grabbed the unconscious mech from Rodimus, placing him on a nearby table, and switched on a bright light above the table.
As the medic examined Drift, Rodimus looked around. The room they were in was a rusted and covered in grime, but the shelves were littered with brand new bizarre tools and cases of strange looking chemicals. A functioning monitor sat upon a desk, which was covered in data pads. In fact, as he looked at the medic, he noticed how well polished his armour was and that it looked brand spanking new.
"Are you from the slums?" asked Rodimus.
"No," replied the medic.
Confused, and slightly annoyed with the way he got his answer, Rodimus tried to probe further. "So, are you from up top?" he asked.
"Yes," replied the medic.
Rodimus bit his lip. "You don't have to be a jerk," he grumbled.
"Do you want me to save your friend?" snapped the medic.
Rodimus flinched and stepped back. Leaving the room, he looked around and spotted an empty corner he could sit in. Slouching over and hugging himself, he thought back to what happened outside the buy mech ally. It wasn't as if he wanted to whore himself out, but he had gotten so desperate that he was willingly to do it. Drift could have died for all he knew and the very idea terrified him. Though Drift actually tried to stop him from getting the money he needed to save him, Rodimus felt a little happy about it, but this also made him upset.
Rodimus despised interfacing. To be more precise, he hated interfacing involving his valve. Growing up in a brothel, treated like a piece of property, and forced to do things he hated left some deep scars within him. Although he liked to act tough, deep down the very idea of sleeping with anyone terrified him. Every time someone tried to hit on him, he got scared and would quickly lash out to defend himself. That was why Drift stopped him, for Drift knew how much it scared him, and Rodimus felt thankful for that but he hated it as well. He hated that he was thankful for it.
For what seemed like forever he sat alone in that small corner, waiting for something to happen, when something lightly kicked him.
"You awake?" Looking up, the medic stood over him with a data pad. "I had to get rid of an infection, give him some medical grade energon, build a new leg out of scrap and attach that to him, but it looks like he'll be ok." Rodimus sighed with relief, but the medic wasn't finished. "Is he a junkie?"
"He used to be," said Rodimus quickly. "He's clean now."
The medic merely nodded and wrote something down on the data pad. "There is some traces of circuit boosters in his system," muttered the medic. "What kind of detox medicine does he take?"
"Some cheap stuff we buy at the market," replied Rodimus. "Imported from up top."
The medic suddenly snorted, an amused look now spread across his face. "You actually believe that? That stuff they sell down here is just a cheap knockoff, it doesn't do jack."
Rodimus frowned. "What are we supposed to do?" he snapped. "We can't go up top to buy it and it's the only stuff we can get a hold off."
The medic just stared at him. "You're lucky I have the good stuff then, aren't you."
Rodimus was suddenly speechless. This medic possessed a good quality detox medicine? If Drift took that then it would help with his current withdrawal and maybe make him feel better. Still, something like that was going to be expensive. Heck, he didn't even ask how much Drift's operation cost.
"Look," started Rodimus, "I only have ten credits on me, but, um, I can pay you back in other ways... i-if you want."
The medic gave him a funny look. "I'm not into that kind of thing," he replied blandly. "Besides, you shouldn't be interfacing with anyone in your current condition." Rodimus seemed confused. "You have an ITD, and a bad one," continued the medic. "Thankfully I have the shot you need to get rid of it."
"How did you know," gasped Rodimus.
"I have advance sensors that can detect any kind of infection," explained the medic. "I would advise you take the shot now, for leaving it alone will only cause future problems."
Rodimus was completely lost. "We can't afford this," he whimpered. "I can pay you back, I promise but I can't afford any of of this right now."
The medic looked at him and huffed. "I'm not going to charge you," he stated.
That made Rodimus look up in shock. "What?"
"I'm not here to make a profit," explained the medic. "The whole reason I'm here is because a friend of mine informed me of the horrible lack of medical facilities down here. He had to close down these so called medical clinics that were scamming desperate mechs, and I came on my own free will to help the poor bots of these slums."
Rodimus still seemed suspicious. "Why would a medic from up top care about us?" he snapped. "You snobs only care about us when you need us to do your dirty work, and then you stab us in the back just for laughs. The whole reason he lost his leg is because of you up top scum!"
The medic sighed, a tired frown forming on his face. "We're not all bad," he explained. "Many of us think that you lot are treated unfairly. Hell, Nova Prime was going to convince the Senate to change things down here for the better before he got sick. I just thought that I could make a little difference, try and make it easier for everyone down here." The medic moved over to a shelf, rummaging through some vials and bottles. "I have to keep a low profile," he continued, "It's actually against the law for a professional medic like myself to work down here. I need some sort of special permit or something, and it takes centuries to get one." He turned back to look at the red mech. "Anyway, one shot of this and your ITD will be as good as gone."
Rodimus flinched when he spotted the needle in the medic's hand. He wasn't a fan of needles, for reasons he did not want to explain. "D-does it have to be a shot?" he stammered.
"Directly into the valve I'm afraid," replied the medic. Rodimus groaned uncomfortably at the idea. "It will only hurt for a second, and it will knock you out for a bit, but by the time you wake up, your friend will be up himself."
Still uncertain, Rodimus twiddled his fingers out of fear. "Can I see Drift first?" he asked.
The medic nodded, ushering Rodimus to follow him. They walked back into the operating room, where Drift laid upon a table with a brand new leg fitted onto him. He was still unconscious, but to Rodimus' relief, he could see that he was doing much better than before.
The medic then pulled another table out, wheeling it next to the one Drift laid upon. He looked up at Rodimus and patted it, signalling the red mech to hop on. "Will that really work?" asked Rodimus.
"This is the one and only shot that I give to anyone with an ITD," replied the medic. Looking back at Drift, Rodimus took a deep breath before hopping onto the berth. Keeping his optics locked onto the ceiling above him. He laid perfectly still as the medic moved down to his lower body. "I need you to open your plating down here," the medic requested.
Rodimus felt his cheeks flare up as he slowly parted his legs. His plating hadn't retracted yet. "It won't take long right?" he stammered.
The medic was quiet for a moment. "Just to confirm, are you still... um... are still conducting interfacing activities?"
"No," replied Rodimus sharply. "I quit a long time ago."
The medic was quiet once more. He broke the silence, "Do you suffer from interfacing trauma?" The medic's tone was a little softer now.
"A-a little," snapped Rodimus, "look, I'm not here for therapy, ok? Just get it over with, medic."
The medic sighed. "My name is Ratchet," he said, almost trying to sound like he cared. "And I promise this will only hurt for second, so can you please open your panel. We can wait for your friend to wake up?"
Rodimus shook his head in response, not wanting Drift to look at him whilst he had such a thing done. Closing his optics, Rodimus cringed as he opened his plating, exposing his valve. He shuddered as he felt the medic's hand on his thigh. "Sharp scratch now," warned the medic.
Rodimus gasped as he felt a small sharp stab deep within his valve. It stung like mad and it reminded Rodimus of a horrible memory. Just like the medic had promised, the pain quickly subsided, but now he was feeling light headed.
"Now you're going to black out in a bit, but you shouldn't be out that-..."
The medic's voice became disoriented and everything became a blur. Looking over the room, Rodimus saw Drift lying peacefully on the table next to him before everything turned black.