It was blessedly quiet at base for once as Ratchet was doing the first inventory he had been able to do in over a month and he was short on everything. Putting another tick on the request list, he flopped down on a birth with a sigh, rubbing his optics. There had been little combat during the past week and, while the break was nice, he felt a little useless. Being a medic, his job was repairing the bots that came in from the field and while there were little things like dents and scrapes from training bouts, most bots handled those sorts of things on their own and when Ratchet had to deal with it, it was a quick matter of a few minutes with a mallet or spot welder. He supposed he should be grateful that no one had been getting hurt, but it did make him a bit restless, especially when they were so low on supplies. He filed the report with Prime, but he had no idea how long it would take to requisition the proper supplies.
"Hey Ratch." Wheeljack stuck his head into the medbay to check on his bondmate as he walked back to his lab. "Been kinda quiet around here lately." Ratchet frowned, knowing his lover's habit of blowing himself up.
"You'd better not change that," He grumped. "I'd rather not have patch you up with the supplies I have." Thrusting the data-slate into Wheeljack's hands so he could see just how low on supplies they really were. 'Jack sidled up to his lover, sensing his poor mood. Running a servo down Ratchet's helm, Wheeljack pressed his frame against Ratchet's in support.
"I'm not planning on blowing myself up, love," he murmured with a smile. "I like it about as much as you do, which is not at all. But I do have to work on my project for the humans. Optimus thinks it will help with the diplomacy issues. The humans are—odd sometimes." Pressing a kiss to Ratchet's helm, Wheeljack departed, leaving Ratchet in a much better mood.
The two of them were an odd pair. They met before the war in basic schooling. Even then, Wheeljack was known as an eccentric inventor and loose screw. He had landed in the training bay due to a mild acid burn that wasn't severe enough to warrant a specialist, but it needed to be cleaned before it became an issue. Ratchet had been assigned the task as the top of his class and was brusque and efficient as he tended to 'Jack's burns. These minor injuries became so common-place that some bots began to joke that Wheeljack was trying to blow himself up just to see Ratchet. As they became friends, they began to spend time together outside of these frequent meetings in the medbay. Their budding relationship was cut short, however, by the beginning of the war. Sequestered in the labs, Wheeljack's bright mind was put to work on weaponry while Ratchet was up to his optics in casualties, both military and civilian. It was then that they realized the depth of their emotions. Long separations made both of them hyper-aware of how much they needed each other and, after being assigned to the mission on earth, they bonded in private just before they left. Some of the more perceptive bots on the team had found out, and neither of them would deny it if asked, but both of them preferred to keep it under wraps rather than advertise it.
A rumble broke Ratchet's reverie, and his head snapped up in concern. Opening his comm, he listened to the chatter that was flowing through the base. There was a surge of pain in his spark and he put a hand to his chest in concern. He heard the patter of pedes and Inferno stuck his head in the door.
"It's 'Jack," he said grimly, freezing Ratchet to the spot as his fear was confirmed. "And it's bad." Subspacing a basic first aid kit, Ratchet hurried out the door, Inferno at his heels. When he got to the hallway leading to the lab, he stumbled. The explosion had damaged part of the hall and the blast door, warped and blown off its hinges, lay propped against the wall across from where it had been originally as Ironhide and Hound worked to clear the rubble and find Wheeljack. Ratchet hastened to join them, calling for 'Jack through both his comm and their spark bond. Hound, with his sensitive scouting relays, picked up Wheeljack's pulse first. Wading through twisted metal and wreckage, he freed the inventor, who was barely online and coated in his own energon. Ratchet raced to his side, wincing at the amount of energon 'Jack had lost. Fighting to keep his hands steady, he began to weld the worst of the damage closed.
"How…bad…is it?" Wheeljack murmured, voice laced with pain. Ratchet spared him a sympathetic pulse through the bond, but couldn't meet his flicking optics. The others were still clearing the rubble away, but Ratchet's world had narrowed to energon and injuries as he fixed his bondmate's broken frame. Once he deemed it safe to move him, Wheeljack had already gone into statis lock due to energon loss, and Ratchet scooped him up gently to avoid breaking the freshly soldered lines. His own achy frame echoed 'Jack's injuries, but he pressed the pain aside. Lying 'Jack down on a berth in the medbay, he assessed the rest of his injuries. It looked like he had been working with some sort of plasma for his hands and torso were covered with burns and there were splatters of it on his faceplates. He couldn't perform the necessary surgeries to remove the melted plating until the next shipment came in, so he spread a numbing agent over the worst of the burns and wrapped them in clean strips of cloth. Removing a few plates of the outer frame, Ratchet set about hammering out the dents. When that was finished, Ratchet sat down with a sigh, head cradled in a servo.
"What do I do when you kill yourself 'Jack?" Ratchet murmured sadly, unable to look at his lover's broken frame. "When you hurt yourself so badly that I can't put you back together? What then?" Unable to sit and do nothing, Ratchet fiddled with the equipment lying on the table, sorting and resorting them until a moan alerted him to Wheeljack's semi-conscious state.
"You fool!" Allowing all his hurt and fear to enter his voice, Ratchet whirled to face Wheeljack. "What happens when I can't fix you? How dare you? I can't—I can't…" His voice broke, and all the tension drained out of his frame. "I can't loose you." The last murmured confession was choked out at barely above a whisper. He heard Wheeljack shift and opened his optics.
"Ratch…" The quiet voice made his spark lurch and he sat himself beside Wheeljack, who was still rather groggy. "I'm so sorry, love. I—" Ratchet scooped him up in his arms, effectively hushing him. They sat like that for a moment before Wheeljack smiled and tilted his head up.
"Kiss it better, Ratch?"
Sputtering, Ratchet had nothing to say, looking down at his lover's beaming face and obliging him with a gentle kiss on the foreplates. There was an overly innocent look on his face and Ratchet frowned slightly, worried that his still fragile lover was up to something potentially harmful. Wheeljack in turn, was quietly pleased to be cradled against Ratchet's warm frame and wiggled closer before offlining his optics and resting. Before long, Ratchet felt Wheeljack cycle back into recharge and laid him back on the berth. Sighing, he stood and finished the report he was filling out for Optimus. He was just putting the data-slate down when the was a knock on the medbay door.
"How is he?" Inferno, who was used to dragging Wheeljack out of his lab, was nonetheless concerned for his friend. But Ratchet could see that he was not the only one worried. Wheeljack's bright and cheerful disposition won him many friends and few enemies. He could see Bumblebee hovering in the hallway and Ironhide was resting casually against the wall beside him.
"He's sleeping," Ratchet responded softly. "He woke for a while and seemed to be doing alright. Once I get that new shipment in, I'll be able to fix the melting damage, but until then, I'm keeping him out of his lab, preferably where I can see him."
"Not that he'll have a lab to go back to," Ironhide rumbled with a good-natured sigh. "He really did a number on it this time."
"And if I had my way, he would never get another!" Red Alert, on an incessant round of the base, as was his wont after this sort of thing, had passed by just in time to hear Ironhide's half-joke and threw in his disgruntled two cents as he passed.I have to agree with you there, Red, Ratchet thought sadly, casting his gaze back for a lingering moment. But what eats me every time is how much we need him down there in his lab, despite the inherent danger. But it's also where his genius lies. Each to his own I suppose. I just have to make sure I get there in time. It's my job after all.