A/N: This is for all of you who read and reviewed 'Of Old Mechs and Unexpected Culprits' and wanted more.
Twofold Trouble (A.K.A. Dual Distasters)
Ratchet's day 'started off with a bang'. For Wheeljack, this was a reality and not a figure of speech. Ratchet jumped slightly at the explosion. He was used to detonations by now, especially within the proximity of his dear old friend. He just had not expected one so soon after dawn – Wheeljack usually managed to last out until late morning or the beginning of the afternoon. He was really getting in an early start today.
Jazz brought Wheeljack into the med-bay hoisted over his shoulder, laying him down on an examination table. The scientist groaned in torment – and possibly terror, as he was about to be on the receiving end of Ratchet's ungracious morning mood.
"He's all yours," Jazz said to the less-than-fully-conscious medic, and thus received the morning's fixed 'Scowl of Spitefulness'. Jazz grinned at the expression. "Oh, and here's a head's-up: th' twins went out partyin' last night an' danced wi' Rumble and Frenzy. An' the other two showed themselves up t' be the better dancers." Joy and jubilations. Ratchet's arm moved of its own accord towards an arc-welder, intent on 'shooting the messenger'. Fortunately for a certain Porsche, he had enough common sense to disappear before he became one of Ratchet's patients. Slagging saboteurs and their smug grins, even after eight megacycles of nightshifts.
Ratchet turned to Wheeljack, still wielding the arc-welder.
"And what are you moaning about?" Ratchet snapped. Wheeljack groaned again, shielding his optics with his right arm and pointing to his chest cavity with his left. The chassis was severely indented in places and bits of burnt, flaking paint did not improve the inventor's aesthetic appearance. Ratchet opened him up. His internal parts were all there and most were complete, but the damage done in certain places could not be causing the Lancia any pleasure. Wheeljack was going to live; his repairs would not take too long. It was just that his friend was not very comfortable. "Well, you aren't going to be paying any visits to Primus any time soon," Ratchet grumbled affectionately, "but I am in half a mind to leave you like this – perhaps then you'll take more care with what you're doing!"
"No! Please don't, Ratchet!" Wheeljack coughed, stretching out a hand to try and grab the medic's arm. His co-ordination missed its intended target. Ratchet would have to check Wheeljack's co-ordination circuits.
"Fine! Fine!" Ratchet groused, submitting to his friend's pleas all too quickly. He shook the arc-welder up and down with every syllable. "But if you dare so much as groan once more throughout your repairs, I'll-"
"Morning, merry medic!" Sideswipe called cheerily, his hand raised in greeting as he entered the med-bay. Enraged that his brilliant threat had been cut short before its climax, Ratchet threw the arc-welder at Sideswipe just as Sunstreaker sidled up alongside his brother. Non-plussed, they watched it go sailing between them.
"You need to improve your aim," Sunstreaker said nonchalantly.
"And you need to improve your timing and your manners! What have you been up to?" The CMO seethed before half-recalling Jazz's words. He looked them up and down: lots of dents, lots of scrapes, some gaping holes, some leaking fluids… nothing too serious; he could work on his friend first and make the Disastrous Duo wait. "No – no, don't tell me. The less I know the better, yes? You know the routine: wait until I get around to you." Wheeljack got in another moan before Ratchet could make his yet un-heard threat official. For a full three seconds, the twins managed to stay silent.
"Frenzy got his pile drivers pretty far up your aft – what did you do, bend over for him?" Sunstreaker sneered.
"Yeah I was bending over – bending over for you! I was getting Rumble off your chassis while you were just laying there, taking it on your back. You didn't seem very unwilling from the lack of fight you put up!" Sideswipe rebuked. "And if you're going to sham a groan of pain, the noise is 'arrgh' not 'ooh'."
"You slagging turbine tosser! I don't care what you say, nobody stands with their legs that far apart unless-"
"I see both of you have a strong yearning to be rebuilt as Skodas," Ratchet wryly noted without looking up from fixing Wheeljack. The twins suddenly became more silent than Wheeljack's lab before an imminent (and spectacular) explosion. But hopefully those two won't 'imminently or spectacularly explode', the Lancia thought to himself. The inventor chuckled weakly and immediately regretted it because of the pain. He regretted it doubly when his shaking caused Ratchet's instruments to collide with some of his more sensitive wounds.
"Then don't move," Ratchet poked 'Jack's mask exasperatedly. The 'Scowl of Spitefulness' had not grown any thinner since Jazz had left. For the warriors, the serenity had lasted long enough. Sideswipe turned to Sunstreaker. Too bored (or attention deficit) to continue their previous argument, they began a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
"Rock beats scissors," Sunstreaker stated.
"Paper beats rock."
"Paper beats rock."
"Draw." Ratchet wished they could do their little game without the running commentary.
"Scissors beats paper."
"…And what the slag is that supposed to be?"
"It's paper!" Sunstreaker scowled.
"Nah – it's scissors, and rock beats scissors."
"I told you, it's paper!"
"That vague hand signal? That was scissors!"
"Oh, you want a hand signal? Well here's one that beats 'em all!" Ratchet could feel the maturity in his med-bay decreasing by the astro-second. And it seemed to be imbibed by two Lamborghini twins – like some kind of osmosis – but with maturity instead of water. Ratchet could also feel his forbearance decreasing by the astro-second, though that certainly was not being absorbed anywhere or by anyone.
"Skodas don't come in that shade of yellow, do they?" Ratchet said to the room at large. "And I certainly don't think that they have enough room for jet packs." Once more, there were three, blissful seconds of silence. Then the twins began again.
Wheeljack, fully repaired, trotted off to see if his lab still existed or whether Grapple would need to rebuild it and the surrounding decks. Ratchet half waved, half shooed him away and with the dejected sigh of a mech that had just resigned himself to a fate worse than a date with a car-crushing facility, he turned towards the gold and garnet twins. 'Gold' was busy preening himself by the reflection in an unused medical monitor. 'Garnet' busied himself with picking up Ratchet's more menacing implements and jabbing them towards his brother's pretty face. This could only end in disaster. Sunstreaker managed to pull himself away from his image long enough to realize Ratchet was staring at them.
"The very image of a Lamborghini lithium leper if I'm not mistaken," Ratchet quipped. Sunstreaker's jaw dramatically dropped down, as did his brow. The medic cracked his knuckles and smiled vindictively "Now which one of you wants to suffer my terse touch first?" Sideswipe became the epitome of seriousness and took a step forward.
"I'm mech enough," the red twin said, pounding a damaged fist once against his scratched chestplate. "I'll go first."
"No you won't – I've got patrol in a mega-cycle and you're not making me late again."
"We're on the same patro-!" Ratchet grabbed Sideswipe around the mouth and dragged him backwards onto an examination table. The mech stood awkwardly with his back laid flat on the surface. Sunstreaker returned to his reflection, knowing better than to argue with an irate medic.
"Legs up," the CMO demanded, beginning work before the command was even fulfilled.
"Y'know bro, next time we go up against Rumble and Frenzy, you can take both those brothers," Sideswipe said far too politely.
"Why? Just one of the little runts too much for you?" Sunstreaker scowled. The mech on the examination table broke into an expansive grin.
"No, I'll just be holding the video camera. I'm sure that many a mech here in the base would pay to see that Threesom-"
"Just shut it!" Ratchet bellowed, turning off Sideswipe's vocal processor. He rounded on the other twin. Sunstreaker had already closed the gap between them and the monitor where he had been grooming. He stood only inches away from Ratchet. "And don't you even think of retaliating if you want to be repaired!" With every one of Ratchet's words, Sideswipe shook his head behind him in mock sternness. Reluctantly, the yellow Lamborghini sat back down and sulked. For the next half a mega-cycle, the twins amused themselves by making obscene facial gestures at one another. Ratchet managed to be rid of them before they unraveled that last, lone and worn thread that was his sanity.
A/N: This chapter has been edited for spelling (though no doubt I've missed something). Other chapters are subject to the same nit-picking. You know you prefer legible fiction. Go on – admit it.