Where There's A Will

Author's Note: Takes place on Cybertron in the past.

"Arrrraaggghh!" The mech snarled as he went down, lasers bolts continuing to fly over where his head had been a moment before. "Not now!" He slammed his fist against his right thigh and forced himself back up on his feet, defying the system warning and the pain that shot along his relays. He caught movement from the corner of his optics and shifted his arm to fire off two missiles. His enemy went down. The recoil from his armament coupled with the existing damage to his leg caused him to do the same.

He planted his free hand to stop from falling flat, his head turning in search of more opponents. When none appeared he used his missile launcher as a crutch to get back on his feet. However, his leg refused to support him. Ironhide grunted in annoyance and began to hobble toward triage, letting his weight fall on his launcher with every other step. The weapon was still primed to fire.

The medical team of one was waiting to help him behind cover. Ironhide waved off the younger mech and lumbered past him, choosing his own ideal spot to be out of the way but -- with a bit of leaning to the side -- where he could keep an eye on the field. "It happened again. Can you fix it up with a back up this time?"

Ratchet spread his hands apologetically. "You have taxed my spare parts already. Perhaps you could try to take it easy?"

"What? When there are still dozens more of them to exterminate?"

Ratchet folded his arms over his chest. "I mean take it easy on yourself."

Ironhide regarded him for a split second with a blank look. "I'm out there to defeat them. Can't do that if I'm busy making sure I'm not leaving a trail of bolts."

Ratchet scanned the troublesome section of the warrior's upper leg, already knowing the hip area would set off a notice. Like clockwork it did so, and a slew of varying lines blinked across his optics as his equipment traced the path of every displaced diode. He had it memorized seeing as it was all his work. Overtime he had needed to get creative to keep the old warrior on both feet. But ironhide had the will so Ratchet found the way.

However, sometimes he wished Ironhide would dispense his military strategies from the side and let younger, more hail-and-whole Autobots do the fighting. As he began yet another patch job to the relay system, he tried to decide how best to work the suggestion. "Well, I would like to give you a whole new body but we don't have the resources. So I'm merely going to propose that you be more conservative about the one you have. I know we need every warrior we can get -- but we can't afford to lose any, either, so it would be good if you keep the consequences in mind."

There was no reply. Ratchet kept his attention on his work in order to avoid Ironhide's gaze; he could feel the proud warrior's anger from an increase in air cycled out of the other mech's vents.

"DOWN!"

Ratchet found his face plowing into the ground as Ironhide abruptly shoved his head forward, the warrior shifting backward at the same time. Ratchet heard the thunder of missiles being fired directly above to his left. "Prime example," Ironhide said, "Of why you shouldn't do too much thinking." Another missile fired. "Sometimes you have to shoot first, think later."

There were a few more bursts of fire exchange, then Ironhide rumbled, "All clear."

Ratchet pushed himself up, cycling air in a sigh. "Better cover would have prevented that."

"Like they didn't know we were here." Ironhide flexed his hand, shaking it out.

Ratchet scanned the hand and took note of the stress marks around the knuckle and wrist joints. He filed the repair for later. He studied Ironhide then said, "Thank you. That was a quick reaction."

"I've trained myself to do what I have to so guys like you aren't forced to take up a weapon." Ironhide met Ratchet's optics and held his gaze sternly to get his own point across. "Now fall back. They've been pushing us from the line and they'll hit this location soon." He heaved himself up, tested his leg, then nodded to the medic. He glanced around the rubble then slipped back onto the field.

End

(c) 2007 Autumn L. (aka Shiri) This work may not be copied, distributed, or reprinted without the author's permission. Ironhide and Ratchet belong to Hasbro/Takara/Paramont/Dreamworks.