A/N: I still do not own Transformers: Prime or G.I. Joe: Renegades. I'm still on the "Optimus Prime and Jack have an awesome father-son relationship going and I want to explore it" train that I've been on ever since my fics Forgive Me and Dad Voice. I plan on using this to lead into a rewrite of Reunited.
Also, I've been acting as the Beta Reader for cametobuyplums, so if you like my work, I recommend heading on over to their profile and reading the fic Legally Bound, which I've been helping them edit these past few months.
Anyway, enjoy a teenage boy talking to a giant alien robot about love. Happy Valentine's Day!
Across The Stars
You know, Jackson Darby muses, for literally the largest 'Bot in the base, Optimus Prime is hard to find.
It has been a few months since the geometry debacle (Jack winces at the memory; he still isn't quite used to having a father figure in his life), and things have… changed. Jack still remembers quite clearly the look of disappointment on the Autobot's face.
Jack hadn't liked it then. He doesn't like it now. Thankfully, he hasn't done anything to warrant receiving that look since. Matter of fact, he had something to show Optimus- his latest report card, because all A's (earned through hard work and careful studying) is an achievement to be proud of, right?
Miko and (who appears to be) Tunnel Rat are busy playing whatever the latest racing game is. Jack doesn't quite understand the appeal- he's driven an actual car through an actual street race; a video game can't compare. (Besides, hanging out with a giant alien robot is awesome.)
Roadblock (or RB, as he insists everyone call him) is in the kitchen with June. He'd graciously declined her offer of assistance in the kitchen on many occasions, but this time, she wouldn't take no for an answer this time, citing all the other times he'd said no and threatening to have Tunnel Rat help him instead.
Roadblock had quickly complied.
The Ground Bridge roars to life in an instant, and the Joes' Coyote truck rumbles through. Oh yeah, Jack remembered. Duke, Scarlett, and the ninja were going to some warehouse for more dirt on these Cobra guys. Jack doesn't completely trust the Joes as a group (he trusts his mom, and if she doesn't trust them, then neither does he), but they've not done anything to hurt him, his mom, or his friends, so he doesn't care that much.
What he does care about, though, is the smile June Darby throws Duke's way as he enters the kitchen area. A quick peck on the cheek soon follows.
Erm… what? When did that happen? Jack would like to say that he'd notice if his mom had a new boyfriend- but then, he'd also say that he wouldn't mind it if there wasn't one. To him, the title of Dad is starting to be associated to a blue-and-red robot that transforms into a truck. A human soldier that's almost halfway in age between him and his mother? Not quite.
"Oh, Jack!" June says, startled, as Duke pulls away a little bit. "I didn't-"
"Don't worry, Mom," Jack interrupts, burying the sense of unease behind a smile. "I was looking for Optimus. I wanted to show him my report card. All A's for the win!"
"Atta boy, Jack!" Duke smiles, not necessarily out of fatherly pride, but because he's genuinely happy for the kid, as June rushes over and hugs her son, clearly proud. "By the way- last I saw, Optimus was in his quarters."
As June releases Jack from her Celebration Hug (that's what she calls it, don't abuse it!), Jack nods, says thank you, and turns to leave- but when his back is turned, and June can't see his face, the unease returns.
I don't know what to feel about that. Maybe Optimus knows.
"I'm sorry about that," June apologizes.
Duke shrugs. "It's alright- in his place? I'd be confused too. I mean, I can't say that I've been in Jack's shoes- I had both of my parents growing up- but yeah, I can see the confusion."
"Yeah," June nods. "Think he'll come around?"
Duke shrugs again. "I don't know- but, then again, I'm not the guy Jack thinks of when he thinks of a dad, am I?"
Knocking on a Cybertronian's door is actually quite a bit simpler than most would have you think. With more humans spending so much time at Omega-One, Optimus had asked that human-sized pads be installed on the doors to the 'Bots' quarters at a height a human could easily reach. (They'd used Tunnel Rat as a measuring stick since he was in the middle in terms of overall height.)
All Jack had to do was press a button, and voila! He was in.
Optimus isn't too hard to find in here. Despite the lights being turned off, the large robot's running lights make him easy to spot.
That, and the hologram of the robot he is looking at. She was tall, Jack mused- at least, he thought the robot was a she because the robot's frame was curved somewhat like Arcee (not that he'd noticed, no siree). The robot in the picture was taller than Arcee. Jack knew this because the other 'Bot in the picture had to be Optimus Prime, and the mystery lady 'Bot was only slightly shorter than Optimus. Arcee was not that tall. She also wasn't purple as far as Jack knew.
The image flickers out of existence, as Optimus Prime himself turns to see who has visited him.
"Hello, Jack," Optimus says, a warm smile appearing on his face.
Is that how dads smile? Jack has a vague memory of someone smiling at him that wasn't his mom, but he isn't sure who it was. He remembers the smile, though.
Optimus has always had that smile for him lately.
"I got my latest report card in," Jack says, not quite able to not sound nervous.
"Can I see?" Optimus asks, holding out one servo so that Jack can climb on.
Jack holds the paper out, knowing full well that Optimus could read it at the distance between his hand and his face.
"All A's… impressive," Optimus smiles. "It seems my tutoring you has been paying off."
Jack lets out the breath he hasn't known he was holding. A compliment from Optimus Prime is rare- as rare as the smile behind it. Optimus notices this- he always does notice when someone is displeased, nervous, or otherwise out-of-sorts; he just doesn't press too hard on the matter most times.
However, for someone so close to him? Optimus will press if he must. He cares too deeply not to.
"What is the matter, Jack?"
"I dunno," Jack says, sitting down on Optimus' servo and thinking. "Well, I kinda do know, but it's hard to explain, y'know?"
"I think I know," Optimus says, bringing his servo nearer to his face so that Jack can look him in the eye as he gets up.
Jack chuckles at the slight joke Optimus has made. "I just… while I was looking for you, I caught Mom kissing Duke, and I just… I thought I knew her, y'know?"
Hmmmm…. Optimus says, frowning in contemplation. Scrap, Elita would be better suited to this discussion than I am. "I see. It has just been you and your mother for so long that, when someone new has been thrown into the equation, you can't quite figure out what to do?"
"Yeah," Jack says. Optimus has a knack for putting these things into perspective.
"Remember," Optimus says gently, "June has a life, just like you. Tell me, do you know all of June's coworkers by name?"
"No. Never really needed to."
"Exactly," Optimus says. "Just like June does not know everyone that you know. I have known about Duke and June for some time. If I thought Duke was any danger to her, I would have said something. Do not worry."
"Yeah… Duke is nice and all, don't get me wrong, but… it's just… confusing."
"Love often is," Optimus nods, and presses a finger to the side of his helm that re-activates the hologram he was looking at earlier.
"This femme is Elita-One. She is my Conjunx Endura. In simpler terms, my wife."
"Wow…" Jack breathed. "She's beautiful- sorry."
Optimus chuckled. "It is fine- I quite agree. It wasn't all that easy for us back in the day. Remember how I said that, before the War, our society was divided into castes?"
Jack nods, so Optimus continues. "Well, Elita was of a higher caste than I. Apparently, actress was higher than archivist. Anyway, she came into the Hall of Records one day- I forget when exactly- but she was looking for old music from early in the Golden Age. I nearly tripped over myself in my rush to assist her."
Jack giggles at the mental image of Optimus Prime tripping over himself for a lady. "She must have had a good laugh."
"I swear, Jack, that her laughter in that moment is the music played in the Allspark. There were many who opposed our union when it was announced later on, but Elita didn't care- she knew what she wanted, and she was determined to have me, and I her. I lost a couple of good friends over it, such as Dion, who was a good mech all the same, but I would not trade Elita-One if it meant I could have them back."
"What happened to her?" Jack asks.
"I do not know," Optimus says, seeming to deflate. "She was on one of the first Autobot ships to evacuate Cybertron. It was the one time I had to order her to do anything she didn't want to do because she wanted to leave with me, and I would only depart on the very last Autobot vessel. I broke her Spark, I think, by doing so. Even now, I can still feel her Spark pulsing somewhere across the stars. I even send out messages every once in a while, hoping that maybe she will find it and maybe come back to me, but it's a vain hope.
"Hmmm…" Optimus rumbles. "I am sorry, Jack, that you had to listen to my rambling on and on. Just, promise that you will do something for me?"
"Yes, Optimus," Jack says. "I promise."
"Be happy for Duke and June. They deserve some measure of happiness regardless of the circumstances. Just like someday, you will find someone that makes you happy, and I will probably have to have a similar talk with June about it."
"I- I'll try," Jack says.
"Do, or do not," Optimus intones. "There is no try."
Jack about dies laughing at the fact that Optimus has just made an overt joke. Optimus himself chuckles, his Spark glowing a little brighter.
Maybe, Optimus thinks. Just maybe… she is closer than I thought she was.
Meanwhile, near the moon of Titan, a message is heard.
To all Autobots seeking refuge across the stars: I still function. We still survive, even as our home rebuilds itself. I have attached a system of coordinates to this transmission. Please, make your way here as soon as possible so that we can rebuild. Till all are one!
"Sir," Ultra Magnus says, turning from his seat at the helm of the Solus' Sorrow to face the captain. "Coordinates received. What are our orders?"
A tall, purple femme stands up, eyes bright with joy at the sound of a voice she's only heard in dreams. "Take us to those coordinates, Commander. It is a time for reunion."
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