Friendly Advice

Rating: PG

Characters: Ratchet, Wheeljack, Jazz, Bumblebee. Mentions of Sunstreaker and Sideswipe.

Summary: Ratchet has only just joined the Autobots and has some doubts until he gets some advice from his new comrades.

Warnings: Just some minor transformer-style profanity.

Author's Note: This fic takes place shortly after Regrets.

Disclaimer: Transformers belong to Hasbro and Takara, and are licensed to IDW and DreamWorks. My original characters are my own and any similarity between them and any existing characters from canon or fandom is purely coincidental. I claim no ownership by writing this work.

Ratchet walked into the commissary, forced his way past the crowds of mechs, and worked his way up to the dispenser. Taking his daily ration, he turned and looked out over the room, searching for a familiar face. It didn't take long for him to find the familiar white shape of Wheeljack sitting at a small table near the edge of the room, apparently deep in conversation with two mechs he didn't recognize. One was a bright yellow mini-bot, while the other was a black-and-white Interceptor. Looking up, Wheeljack spotted Ratchet and waved him over, pulling over an empty chair. After several moments of elbowing his way through, Ratchet made it to the table and sat heavily, letting out a grateful sigh as he did so.

"Long day?" Wheeljack asked sympathetically.

"You have no idea," Ratchet replied. "I had the unparalleled joy of meeting those Toughline twins today."

"Yeah, they can be a handful," the Interceptor said. "I'm guessin' that Lifestream pawned them off on you t' fix?"

"You got it," Ratchet grumbled. "And for my efforts the yellow one amused himself by trying to rip my head off when I went to fix the red one."

"Not surpisin'. Sunstreaker's a bit overprotective of his brother. I'm Jazz by the way. An' this here's Bumblebee."

"Ratchet," the medic replied with a nod. "Nice to meet you."

"Oh, so you're Ratchet," Bumblebee said knowingly. "Yeah, we've heard a lot about you-ouch! Why'd you kick me?" he demanded, glaring at Jazz angrily.

"Did I? Sorry, 'bout that," Jazz replied, sounding not in the least bit sorry. "So, yeah, as I was sayin' Sunstreaker gets a bit single-minded when it comes to his twin."

Ratchet looked at the two mechs in confusion, but shook it off quickly. Whatever their problem was, it wasn't any of his business.

"Single-minded? Yeah, that's an understatement if I ever heard one," Ratchet snorted. He took a sip of his energon and made a disgusted face as he swallowed the pink liquid. "You'd think that after a month I'd be used to this swill," he grumbled.

"Hey, it keeps us functional. And it could be worse," Bumblebee replied, his good humour returned. "It could be that stuff Wheeljack tried to brew last week."

"Hey, it may not have been drinkable but it did make a damn fine solvent!" Wheeljack replied, defending his latest creation.

"Never look a gift square, eh?" Jazz chuckled, his visor brightening in amusement.

Ratchet shook his head and laughed. "Why am I not surprised that military life hasn't changed you any?"

"Oh come on, it's not like I've been here much longer than you have and army life hasn't changed you any," Wheeljack replied. "From what I heard you didn't let a bit of bad fuel get in the way of fixing your patient. And that sounds like classic Ratchet to me."

Ratchet shrugged and looked almost embarrassed. "Sunstreaker never actually hurt me, and since no one else was going to step up, what was I supposed to do?"

Wheeljack, Jazz, and Bumblebee shared a knowing look and for a moment, Ratchet felt like he was being left out of something very important.

"So, tell me something," he asked, breaking the strange silence at the table. "Are those two always like that?"

"Yeah, unfortunately they are," Bumblebee replied. "The thing is, I think they've been given the short end of the cable for a long time. You can't really blame them for being a bit hostile."

Ratchet's optics widened and he nearly choked on his energon at Bumblebee's comment.

"A little hostile?" he asked, his indignation at being attacked returning full force. "You call nearly ripping my slotting head off 'a little hostile'? I wasn't being metaphorical. He got me in a headlock!"

"Yeah, an' I heard you handled yourself just fine against him," Jazz replied. "The way I hear it you had him on the ground an' gaspin' almost as soon as he laid his hands on you."

"Hmph … Not the point," Ratchet growled. "Remind me again why I let you talk me into joining this mad house, Jack?"

"Oh come on, you know you've loved every minute of it. Who needs a boring old teaching hospital when you've got all this," Wheeljack laughed as he motioned vaguely to the commissary.

"Oh yes, sharing quarters that are too small for one mech let alone two, working far more shifts straight than anyone ever should, and drinking energon that's just this side of solvent. What more could I want?" Ratchet asked sarcastically. "It reminds me of being back in med school."

"See! There you go! Everything you could possibly want!" Bumblebee grinned.

"Seriously though, you don't regret your choice do you?" Wheeljack asked, as he placed a companionable hand on Ratchet's shoulder. "I mean, Prime wasn't kidding when he said that we need you and-"

"And it's not like I can go back, right?" Ratchet interrupted. He looked down into his drink and sighed. "No, I don't regret it, I just ... it's a big change, that's all."

"Hey, Ratchet, can I give you some advice?" Jazz asked.

"Sure," Ratchet replied, looking up at the Interceptor's inscrutable visor.

"Just go with it," Jazz said. "It may not make much sense now, but it will. I've found that if you just let life take you where yer supposed t' be it's easier than fightin' the waves."

Bumblebee nodded in agreement. "Trust us, Prime and Prowl wouldn't have asked you to join if they didn't think you could handle it."

"Besides," Jazz said with a wicked grin. "It's only been a month. You ain't seen nothin' yet!"