A/N: Considering the demand for Ratbat's chapter, I feel I should try my hardest to make it good. So…hey, I've tried. Longer than the others, but I love the lil' guy.
Disclaimer: I own Nightraider and that's it. All else to do with Transformers is the property of Hasbro and Takara.
Warnings: Nothing too drastic, but this part does deal with some bleak stuff and a very sickly lil' sparkling.
Italics denote telepathy.
Creations: Part 4 – Ratbat
Cybertron, City State of Iacon…
'…Too dangerous to try again…'
'…If the sparkling even survives the orn…'
Where…where am I…?
He tried to move his arm and groaned aloud at the pain.
'You are delusional from exhaustion, Nightraider. He cannot be conscious after the dose of sedatives he received.'
'I know my patient, Shockwave. Soundwave? Can you hear me? Just nod if you can hear me.'
He managed to obey despite the pain coursing through his circuits. A gentle pair of arms managed to lift him high enough to sit up on the…operating berth?
His CPU finally and painfully finished its reboot. Barely an astro-second later, Soundwave's optics flew open as he recalled where he was, and more importantly, what the femme jet had said about a sparkling…
Nightraider's exhausted expression grew darker as she stared at him.
'There were…complications. The spark divided earlier than we had anticipated, and then refused to separate from yours; why, we don't know, but we nearly lost you both. You were losing control, the sparkling was fading – we had to intervene. Hence why I summoned Shockwave.'
The scientist spared a glance at his purple colleague, calmly wiping his hands on a cleaning rag, his single optic unreadable as always as he took over from the black and red jet.
'The intervention required surgery on a complex scale. Both you and your creation survived, but the damage to your own spark has now rendered you incapable of spark-bearing. Attempting to spawn another spark will take you permanently offline.'
Soundwave's hands clenched into fists as he fixed his optics on his berth.
Emotion was clearly audible in the femme's voice as she laid a hand on his shoulder.
'…Oh Primus, this never gets any easier…it's not good.'
The navy mech dragged his optics away from staring at his berth to look at the CMO.
'Define: not good.'
Nightraider closed her optics. 'It's a premature mech. Severely premature. We managed to get him to take to a frame, but he's unstable. Believe me, we're doing all we can, but the prognosis…Soundwave, you have to be prepared to let him rejoin the Matrix if his status doesn't improve.'
'Situation: noted and understood.'
The femme nodded quietly and gestured for Shockwave to follow her out of the bay. 'Get some recharge. The rest of your creations have been notified, and will be allowed to visit you in a few joors. We'll let you know if there's the slightest change.'
Soundwave didn't bother replying as he lay back on the berth, folded his arms across his chest, closed his optics and silently reflected on this new turn of events.
Incapable of spark-bearing. Sterile. He had always been aware of the risks of solitary spark-bearing, Nightraider had always made them clear to him, but this…
And now his youngest creation was fighting to stay online.
Another little mech. Laserbeak would no longer be the youngest; she had been looking forward to that prospect. Rumble and Frenzy had been hoping for another brother. Buzzsaw and Ravage had been contentedly arguing for the past two orns as to what form it might take...the notion of his sparkling returning to the Matrix before he could see his creator and siblings…
As his hand clenched over his spark-chamber, Soundwave idly mused that he would need to perform some repairs to his visual systems once he was released from the medical bay. It was hardly within normal operating parameters for his optical fluid ducts to be leaking lubricant at such an extreme rate.
Laserbeak leaned against Buzzsaw and nuzzled into the crook of his wing joint. Rumble and Frenzy huddled closer to each other and gripped each other's hands as they sat next to Soundwave. From his resting place in his creator's lap, Ravage couldn't find it anywhere in his spark to mock their actions as they waited outside the online bay for the first sign of news.
'You reckon he'll be a flier?'
Frenzy's question roused the entire group from their stupor. Ravage cocked his head at his brothers and frowned slightly.
What makes you say that?
'Well…three of us are ground mechs. 'Saw and 'Beak are both fliers. Never know, the lil' guy might be another flier. Balance the group out, y'know?'
Any answer back from any of the group was terminated as Nightraider emerged from the online bay, a small smile on her face.
Soundwave immediately picked up on the gesture and felt the pressure around his spark ease ever so slightly.
'He's considerably more stable after his energon transfusion, but he's still weak. We're keeping him in a heat chamber to force the spark to remain within his frame.'
Rumble was the first to speak. 'C-Can we go see him? Talk to him?'
The femme's smile widened. 'I see no reason why not. Actually, it would probably speed up the recovery process if he could be with his family.'
All five creations shared a look, transformed to their alt-modes, and slid to rest within Soundwave's storage deck as he stood and followed Nightraider into the online bay.
The sparkling felt quite sleepy as the nurse-femme checking his vital signs tucked his blanket more tightly around him. She felt warm, very gentle, but her spark felt wrong.
It wasn't a spark like his.
He wanted the spark like his to come, and make him stop feeling so tired and sore. He remembered feeling so scared, and everything had hurt so much, and he had cried after leaving that shining place filled with so much warmth and light and love…
Somehow, he knew he couldn't go back to that place again, not for a long time, but to be close to the spark that felt like his, that would be enough. The spark like his that was so old, but filled with that same warmth and light and love…
'Hello, little one.'
He knew this spark. It belonged to a femme, the one who was in charge, who was looking after him so carefully. Her spark was old, maybe as old as the shining place, but she felt like kindness, concern…she felt nice.
'There's someone here to see you. Someone you might know…'
He blinked and snuggled further into his blanket. Someone who he knew…?
The warmth enveloped him as he felt himself being lifted from his cot and cuddled against a broad chest. A small squeak of joy erupted from his vocal unit as he felt the spark like his pulse in time with his own.
This was the one. The warmth, the light, the love…all for him!
A voice echoed softly within his mind, soothing the pain in his tiny frame.
Greetings, young one. I am Soundwave, your creator, and I have waited to meet you for so very long.
The little mech burrowed closer to his creator's chest and chirruped.
Do you know your name?
The sparkling concentrated.
More voices began to echo within his mind, not his creator's, but ones like him, ones who shared in the warmth and love.
Ratbat. I am Ravage. Welcome, my little brother.
Hey! The name's Rumble. Howzit hanging, lil' bro?
Smooth, Rumble, way to freak the lil' guy. Name's Frenzy, Rumble's twin, and the best looking mech on Cybertron.
Ignore both of them. Buzzsaw, artiste and flier extraordinaire.
Only next to me. I am Laserbeak, twin of Buzzsaw, and I am your older sister, little glitchmouse.
Ratbat giggled at the voices and shut his optics, finally falling into a pain-free nap. Soundwave tightened his hold on his youngest creation and began to walk slowly around the heat chamber, letting his fears slowly crumble away as Ratbat began to snore.
He could work on the snoring when it was time for Ratbat's upgrade, he felt certain of it.
The Nemesis, several million years later…
Somewhere within the depths of his CPU, Soundwave had to applaud Ratbat's actions.
The seas could turn to energon and it could be a month of full moons, but one thing that would never change was how well the big-adorable-shining-optics routine worked on the Communications officer.
His approval was tempered somewhat by his attempt to work out the sheer mechanics of how exactly Ratbat had managed to drag a Lotus Exige back to the Nemesis by his teeth.
'Is an explanation of your actions forthcoming?'
Ratbat shuffled his feet and tried to widen his optics just a smidgen more.
It didn't work.
Soundwave folded his arms and continued to stare down at his youngest creation. 'Ratbat. Explain.'
Ummm…I was thirsty?
'If you are thirsty, you need only to consume half of the fuel tank at most and depart, not bring the entire chassis back to base.'
The little bat jutted his lower lip into an impressive pout.
But you said I could have a new toy if I was reeeeeeeeeeeaaaally well-behaved on the last mission and I was 'cos I helped Ravage squish one of the minibots and got away just like you told me to and you never break a promise and pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaase can I keep it? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaase?
Soundwave rolled his optics, but he couldn't deny Ratbat's words.
If he confiscated the car, Ratbat would predictably throw a tantrum to end all tantrums, and then drag his siblings into the dispute. The Communications officer was fully capable of dealing with all of his creations if they attempted to be truculent, but when it involved Ratbat, and factoring in the knowledge that the little bat's siblings could never deny him anything…
The navy blue mech sighed.
At least it was a well-designed car.
'Do you promise that you will not grow bored of the car in two weeks, as you did with the Ferrari or the three BMWs you insisted you had to have?'
I promise I won't get bored of it!!
Soundwave's expression softened imperceptibly as he scooped Ratbat up with one arm, and hoisted the Exige up with the other.
The little bat chittered happily as he watched his creator carefully set his newest toy onto the workbench, quickly pressed his advantage, and burrowed deeper into Soundwave's arms.
Soundwave's smirk was hidden under his facemask, for which he was eternally grateful. 'There is a distinct pattern to your behaviour whenever this situation occurs, and it always appears to end with you demanding 'snuggles'.'
Ratbat summoned up his most adorable squeak of contentment and stared up at his creator, optics wide and endearing once again.
The Communications officer opted not to argue with the manipulative little flying mech, and instead simply tightened his embrace around his youngest creation and closed his optics.
Neither creator nor creation moved for a long time after that.