A/N: Last, longest and (in my opinion) least funny of the three. You have been warned.
"Where have you two been? You've missed all of the action!" Brawn told Sunstreaker and Sideswipe as they pulled up. As Sunstreaker transformed, he thought he could see a line of dark smoke twisting away through the distant sky.
"Please tell me we didn't just miss them," Sunstreaker sighed.
"Then I won't," Ratchet snarled as he stood up from behind a fallen building. "Now get over here and make yourselves useful – there are civilians trapped underneath this rubble!" The twins did as they were told.
"When did you get here?" Sideswipe asked.
"As soon as possible after I was called out, unlike the both of you it seems," Ratchet retorted. "Red Alert and Inferno are around here somewhere as well. You can go bother them when I'm done with you." As Ratchet fell silent, Sideswipe thought he could hear the security director's voice muttering and Inferno occasionally interjecting a response. Here and there, they could hear human voices calling from beneath the rubble. Emergency services would arrive soon to help.
Sideswipe went to move a wooden beam.
"No! Don't move that! It's the only thing keeping the rest of the house from collapsing," Huffer cried out. Sideswipe removed his hands from the beam and sighed. He was bored already.
"You two get over here!" Ratchet demanded, parting debris with his hands and pulling out three limp figures. They were still breathing. "Keep searching in there while I tend to these three," he told them and moved away to an open space.
"Lucky dip, bro?" Sunstreaker asked, morbidly joking about the situation. Sideswipe grimaced and put his hand into the hole, feeling around. Nothing.
"Let's try somewhere else around here," Sideswipe said. They found another house completely flattened, where part of Skywarp's wing stood protruding from the ground.
"Next time, no matter how tempting, we don't stop to say 'hi' to anyone on the way to the party," Sunstreaker glowered.
"I think that was your idea, bro."
"No, it was your idea."
"Well, you pointed out Ironhide in the first place."
"Well you made the decision to go up to him!"
"Well you went along with it!"
"Quiet! I can't hear the humans over your arguing!" Red Alert scolded. Red and Yellow scowled at him, then at each other. Gingerly, they pulled back the wooden beams and plaster to find a lone figure sitting in a pocket where the house had not fallen flat.
"Oh! Thank you! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!" The figure thanked, then ran off to the roadside, apparently uninjured.
"I think he was grateful," Sideswipe cunningly deduced.
"I think so too." Sunstreaker replied, then noticed smashed, tinted yellow glass from a plane's cockpit littering the ground under his feet. For three seconds, there was perfect silence between the brothers. "If you hadn't stopped for those fleshy females, we would have probably gotten here just in time for the finale," Sunstreaker sneered.
"But Ironhide's reaction! It was worth it and you think so too!"
"What did you two do to Ironhide?" Windcharger queried as he pulled a smashed-up car aside.
"Nothing!" Both said at once. Which was technically true: it was what the three females had done to him.
"Ratchet!" Inferno called. "I've found something weird over here!" The twins dashed to have a look.
"Urrgh – what's that?" Sunstreaker sneered.
"It probably thinks the same of you," Inferno chuckled.
"It looks like a human female – but it's all swollen!" Sideswipe stared. The female lay on her back in a pool of water from a burst pipe. She was completely dazed and although she was blearily staring up directly at them, she had no idea what was going on, or that there were in fact three robots kneeling, gawking over her. Then Ratchet put his face in.
"She's pregnant," he surmised. The pregnant female locked onto Ratchet's face…and started screaming. "We're all crowding her – move back, move back."
"I noticed she didn't start screaming until Ratchet stuck his faceplate into hers," Sideswipe reported. Sunstreaker nodded in entire agreement.
"Slag off," Ratchet said bluntly, returning to the woman. "Madam – madam, we're here to help. The ones who attacked you are gone. Are you in pain? Are you injured?" The woman convulsed. She would not stop screaming. "I need to get her to a hospital." Red Alert stood to one side, his security sensors suddenly flashing.
"Prowl sends reports of Soundwave and his cassettes at the power station between here and Portland's town centre. The most direct route to the hospital is along that same highway."
"I don't think we have time to take the extra half-hour route," Ratchet muttered. "Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, I'll need you for an escort." The twins perked up to no end. Sunstreaker was positively beaming.
"Hey – we might get to see some action after all!"
"Aw, Ratchet, Sunstreaker said he was sorry," Sideswipe whined. His brother had gone into a full-on sulk and was refusing to talk to anybody. Both Lamborghinis had sustained battle damage and Ratchet had a large weapon burn down his one side along with a deflating tyre.
"I don't care! We were not attacked! We were not attacked! At least, not until you pulled over, transformed and fired those shots at Soundwave!" Ratchet raged at Sunstreaker. "You were supposed to escort me to the hospital – not into Primus's arms!"
"We're here now, aren't we?" Sideswipe said as meekly as he could manage.
"Little slaggers…" Ratchet muttered under his vocaliser. A group of humans in uniform filtered out of the hospital and took the pregnant female out of Ratchet's interior. As soon as she was indoors, Ratchet and the twins transformed. One of the human nurses had remained.
"Hello there sir, could you please tell us a little bit about the patient you just brought to us?" The nurse asked. Ratchet had been through this procedure before. He knew exactly what to say.
"We found her buried under a house – hers I think – after a Decepticon attack in the suburbs about twenty-five miles out of Portland, due west. No signs of bleeding, broken bones…" The two warriors had stopped listening and were currently peering in through the many windows in the hospital. Some humans ran to draw curtains, others – especially the children's ward – ran to the window, leaning out and cheering. This only served to feed the two Autobots' egos.
"…Thank you sir, we'll take good care of her. I'm sorry there is nothing we can do to help you," the nurse said to Ratchet, eyeing up the battle damage on all three Autobots.
"Oh, don't worry – I'll make sure that these two get 'help'." Ratchet's dark tone was foreboding. Then, as the nurse went back inside, he drew his weapon of choice: an arc-welder.
"Ratchet, no! There are children watching!" Sideswipe wailed and took a step back, only half in jest. Ratchet was adamant that these twins needed his own special brand of 'medical attention'. Some would call what Ratchet had planned 'medical malpractice'. Ratchet called it 'deserved'.
Sunstreaker was used to the dear doctor's temper tantrums by now and no longer gave him the attention Sideswipe thought he so warranted. He occasionally gave a sidelong glance in the direction of Ratchet and his brother, just in case a medical implement was hurtling its way towards his paintjob, but mainly he stood in front of the window, soaking up the adulation of the children and a few of the adults.
"You're a healer, not a hurter," Sideswipe tried to pacify Ratchet, who was currently stroking the arc-welder from end to end and turning it over in his hands. "You don't really want to kill me, do you?"
"No – not yet anyway. Do you know how far this little-"
"It's not little."
"-instrument will fit up your aft?"
"Uh, no… I don't think it will fit." A glint came into Ratchet's optics. His vision scanned from the red twin to the yellow.
"Me neither. But let's find out sha- oh by The Matrix, no!" Ratchet extended an arm in absolute panic in Sunstreaker's direction. Sunstreaker looked puzzled then turned to the hospital window, a look of sheer horror also commencing across his faceplate. One of the children was standing on the window ledge, hospital clothes brushing back and forth in the slight breeze. The child was five floors up. The other children squealed in delight.
"I'm gonna jump – I'm gonna jump!"
"Catch it!" Ratchet shouted at Sunstreaker. All too late, a nurse rushed over to the window and tried to grab the kid. The child jumped. Sunstreaker stumbled forwards none too elegantly and caught the creature. It laughed.
"That was fantastic! Again! Again!" There was a simultaneous, audible sigh from the adults that had been watching from their respective windows. The relief was short lived. The braver children climbed out onto the window and also began throwing themselves off in a display not too dissimilar to a hoard of suicidal hamsters. Sunstreaker caught a few and Ratchet and Sideswipe ran over to catch the rest.
"Look at what you've done – look at what you make people do!" Ratchet shouted at the twins. He did the sensible thing and blocked the window with his hand to prevent any more possible suicides.
"Me?" Sideswipe asked incredulously. "But I-"
"Listen kids, I know how they make you feel – I feel exactly the same way – but they aren't worth killing yourselves over, trust me: I've thought about this long and hard over the millennia I have had contact with them and decided that's exactly what they want."
"No it's n-"
"So the 'April Fools' stunt was not a cunning ploy to drive me over the edge?"
"It was only a day," Sunstreaker replied flatly, putting the children he had caught onto the ground where relieved nurses and doctors awaited them.
"You made it a month!"
"April is a month: no-one told me it only lasted a day," Sidswipe mumbled, making sure his twin was between himself and Ratchet.
"Grrr!" The CMO tentatively took his hand away from the window: it had been shut by some of the staff and a dozen children sulked together, staring out at him from the other side of the glass pane. Ratchet now had a free hand… and he knew exactly what to do with it. With startling speed he wrapped it around Sideswipe's neck and began throttling him. Ratchet thought he could hear something quietly rattling around inside the red twin's head – possibly his CPU. The medic decided to make it his task to make the thing rattle louder. Sideswipe was currently lifting a foot between himself and Ratchet's chassis in an attempt to force the red and white mech away. Sunstreaker looked on in amusement and did nothing to help either 'bot.
"Ah, sirs!" The same male nurse from before called to them. Ratchet continued shaking Sideswipe as he turned to look at the uniformed human.
"Yes?" Ratchet said as politely as he could manage to someone who was interrupting his 'therapy'.
"The woman you rescued earlier would like to see you – she's in the ward two floors up, just around the corner." Ratchet stopped shaking.
The three Autobots rounded the corner and just like before, people ran to draw curtains or cheered out of the window. Fearing a repeat of before, Ratchet decided the sooner they left the hospital, the better.
"Which window?" Ratchet muttered, looking at the stretch of second floor windows. Another nurse poked her head out.
"Over here!" She called. The twins raced ahead and knelt down, twisting their bodies so that they could get a better look.
"Out of my way, daffodil – you're blocking my view!"
"I was here first you overripe tomato!" Sunstreaker pushed his brother away and Sideswipe would have put his hand through the hospital's outer wall had Ratchet not caught him.
"Stop it before you hurt someone!" Ratchet growled. The Autobot medic knelt down himself and elbowed both brothers out of the way. The twins peered in from behind him.
"Ooo," the two said together.
The woman from before was cradling two silent bundles in her arms. She looked overwhelmed but elated. She had given birth to twins.
"I was trying for a home birth," she said in a quiet, exhausted voice, "but those Decepticons soon put a stop to that. Thank you all: I couldn't move and must've been knocked out – these two little blighters wanted to come at the worst possible moment!"
"Name them after us!" Sideswipe said with great enthusiasm.
"That seems appropriate," Ratchet snorted.
"Yeah – Sunstreaker and Ruby-Rear!"
"No – Sideswipe and Pompous-Parts!" Sideswipe jostled his brother. His brother physically and verbally retaliated.
"No – Sunstreaker and Sluggish-Psyche!"
"No – Sideswipe and Custard-Capacitor!" If Ratchet did not step in soon, it would become an all-out fight.
"No – Sunstreaker and Crimson-Catastrophe!"
"No – Sideswipe and Sulky-Slagger!"
For an outstretched moment, Ratchet said nothing. He looked at the beetroot bundles in the woman's arms, then at the gold and garnet mechs, then back at the female.
"Lady," he said at last, "I pity you."
A/N: I think if I had the chance to see a 40 foot robot once and only once, I too might try to jump into their arms (after giving them prior warning I was going to do so). And hamsters are suicidal folks – I discovered this after babysitting one night; I let the hamster roam the lounge whilst I checked on the kids upstairs, naively believing that it would stay on the floor. I returned less than three minutes later to find it flailing from a curtain two metres up in the air. The only thing I could do was catch it in my arms, breaking its fall. Then it managed to climb the inside of a curtain without my knowledge and hurtled one-and-a-half metres downwards only to be stopped the last half metre by a window ledge. It made a sort of hollow knocking sound, then carried on as if these drops were a part of everyday hamster life. It scared the hell out of me, especially as it wasn't my pet. Be vigilant for your hamsters folks, as they do not like this corporeal plane and wish to shuffle off of it as quickly as possible. (Said hamster eventually made a dash for freedom, escaping into the back-garden. Apparently, the curtain-fall did not hinder it, let-alone hurt it.)