Allergies and Duct Tape

I don't consider my life normal, not by any means. However, it has never been so 'not normal' since the day I got my first car. Who would have thought that an old crap Camaro came with friends from another planet? So, with that and the sub-sequential battles later, strange things don't really seem that strange anymore. There's pretty much nothing left that can shock Sam Witwicky.

But, walking into the med bay and finding Ratchet sorting a very large, by human standards anyway, pile of multi-colored duct tape is enough to make anyone just walk away. Quickly. He was color coordinating it too, which is usually a good sign that the doc is in a really bad mood since he only goes OCD on the really shitty days.

Part of me wondered exactly where he got that much duct tape. The other, and dare I say brighter, side became concerned with what he planned to -do- with it. Of course, against my better judgment and the complete and total lack of a 'brain-mouth' filter…

"What are you doing?"

"Sorting."

That stopped me. I mean, I knew -what- he was doing so the answer wasn't much of a surprise coming from Mr. Literal. The way his voice sounded though was definitely not 'normal'. He sounded, well, stuffed up.

"Ratchet…are you okay? You don't sound so hot."

"Fine." he replied, not even sparing me a glance as he finished sorting the main pile into their respective colors. He then moved to the largest remaining pile, standard gray, and started resorting and stacking by shade -and- texture.

I thought Bee looked far too amused when I told him I was going to go say 'hi' to Ratchet in med bay. His parting shot at me suddenly started echoing through my head again.

"Dare to be stupid, dare to be stupid!"

That traitor.

I didn't spare another moment on that thought when a rather strange but familiar sound echoed throughout the room. It sounded more like a strange exhaust hiccup, a quick backfire noise.

My eyes glued themselves on Ratchet's hunched form as it sounded again. He wasn't sneezing…was he?

Ratchet's shoulders trembled as he 'sneezed' a third time and followed it up with something that suspiciously sounded like a sniffle.

I must've been gaping by then because he looked my way, a very not-amused expression on his face.

"What?" he asked, a bit sharply.

I just blinked a couple of times, trying to get my brain's dozens of questions sorted out into the most intelligent format.

"Are you sick?"

Okay, so maybe a not so intelligent format. But, I mean come on! How often is it that you know a giant alien robot medic that sneezes?

Ratchet just gave me a look that said something along the lines of 'are you retarded?'.

"I mean, what happened? Catch a computer virus or something? I -told- you the internet was full of those things and-"

"Sam." he said, effectively cutting me off mid-ramble.

"Yes?"

"Hush."

"But, Ratch-" I started, worriedly. What if he was contagious? What if he was -dying- from something he picked up from a random website? What if-

"Pollen, Sam. My filters haven't been able to properly adjust to your planet's seasonal changes. The pollen from the local flora is clogging up everything. So, no. I'm not sick." he said, exasperated but still patient, and sneezed again. "And your internet's "viruses" are a joke."

I couldn't help it, I grinned like a mad man.

"Well, do you need anything? Like, I dunno, a tissue or something?"

Ratchet simply glared daggers at me and set me off into one hell of a laughing fit. How can you honestly take anything seriously in this situation? Especially an alien robot with allergies?

"I'm serious! When we get allergies, we need tissue. Though I have no clue where to get a box your size…"

"You require these tissues because you leak various thicknesses of mucus, Sam. We just get clogged up filters that will sort themselves out -without- spewing any kind of liquid."

"But they might make you feel better…" I said, being as cheeky as I dared.

The medic, to his credit, just shook his head and went back to sorting his piles of duct tape. He'd finished with the gray and had the rolls sitting in nice, neat and carefully organized stacks and moved on to the smaller pile of blue, occasionally giving a slight sniffle.

I laughed myself silly, arms wrapped around my sides once my insides felt they were going to burst out. What did I get for my concern? A roll of tape lightly lobbed at my cranium, that's what. I caught the offending projectile and gave it a quick once over through my chuckling. There was nothing special about it, just a roll of black '90 Mile an Hour' brand duct tape. Which reminded me…

"Hey, Doc. I might be asking for trouble but…what is all this for anyhow?" I asked, lightly tossing the roll back to him and gesturing to the other various piles of tape.

"Repairs."

Wait. What?

Now that he mentioned it, the piles were starting to make more sense. Blue, red, black, yellow and…gray?

"What? Couldn't find it in your color?" I asked, ducking another roll.

"I don't take nearly as much damage in peace-time as the rest of these hellions." he replied, fighting back another sneeze in the process. "And, no. I couldn't. Besides, you humans place a lot of faith in these adhesive strips. Least I can do is color code them to paint for quick patch ups."

I stood there and watched him for a few minutes, trying not to chuckle every time he had one of his little sniffling sessions before I even tried saying anything else about the tape. I mean, really…I never would have pegged Ratchet for believing the whole "90 Mile an Hour" thing. Granted, Bee used to -look- like he was held together with duct tape and chewing gum but come on! However, I thought it best at the time, to point out a minor discrepancy that I noticed with his color choices.

"You do know Jazz is white now, right?"

"Of course he is, he-" he stopped, looked at his numerous piles of tape and his optics settled on the orderly stacks of silvery gray.

"Slag."

That did it, I was done. I managed to stagger my way out of the med bay, laughing like a loony yet again. Ratchet started spewing various words in Cybertronian, many of which didn't sound at all pleasant, followed by something sounding eerily like 'repainting the sorry glitch mouse'. He finished it all off with a nice round of sneezes as the doors hissed closed behind me.