Disclaimer: They're not mine, and even if they were, they'd revolt and free themselves with an hour.

Author's Notes: This...yeah, y'know what? I got no excuse. Complete crack follows.

Warning! For the life of me, I cannot write Ratchet decently. I'm only slightly better at Ironhide. Also, I'm horrible at coming up with original Transformer names - so I shamelessly stole Mini-con names from Armada, Energon, and Cybertron for various OCs in this fic.

- Feel the Music : Ratchet's Pole -

"So how was the party?" Ratchet asked dryly as he and Ironhide entered the officer's mess, finding Prowl and Jazz already there. The former was drinking his morning energon while going over a datapad, and seemed content to ignore the world around him, but Jazz looked up with an overly-bright smile at the question.

"Man, you shoulda been there, Ratchet! Prowl is fulla surprises when he's overcharged!" the saboteur said, glancing slyly at the tactician. Prowl continued to ignore him as Ratchet took a seat at the table, across from Jazz.

"Coulda told yah that." Ironhide mumbled as he went to get energon for both himself and Ratchet.

"Yeah, I've heard the stories - none of them mention a particular talent of his that we discovered last night, though." Jazz said with a smirk as Ironhide returned to the table with the energon.

"Oh? Prowl, keep a talent hidden? This is new." Ratchet said teasingly, glancing at Prowl. The tactician actually looked up long enough to give Ratchet a look that said 'and just what are you implying?'

"Yeah, well, he was pretty far gone by that point - we all were, t'be honest." Jazz said with a smirk. "Otherwise I doubt Hot Rod would've attempted to breakdance."

"That explains the dings he wanted fixed this morning." Ratchet mused.

"Yeah, I'm kinda surprised he didn't get himself so tangled up he accidentally transformed." Jazz replied, snickering. "Hot Rod's horrible dancing skills have never been in question, anyways. Prowl's, now..."

"Prowl? Dancing?" Ironhide asked incredulously.

"And how." Jazz confirmed with a smirk, glancing again at the tactician. He half looked like he was expecting Prowl to stop him, which only made Ratchet and Ironhide want to hear the tale more.

"Oh?" Ratchet urged, and Jazz grinned, leaning back in his chair.

"Well, Hot Rod had just finished break dancing, and as usual, took offence to being laughed at. So he said he knew this dance that no 'bot could manage, because we're not flexible enough." Jazz began. "Naturally, I challenged him on that, but after he told us what dance he was talkin' about, it was Arcee who got up an' decided t'show him how wrong he was - on Sideswipe, by th'way, so if y'see him lookin' smug today, that's why. Anyways, she was completely cratered, so her co-ordination was off and she messed up. We all busted up laughin', naturally. Then I notice Prowl here ain't laughin' - he's got that 'you amuse me with your pitiful attempt' look on his face, actually." the saboteur cast another glance in Prowl's direction, but the tactician continued to ignore them. Jazz frowned slightly, but continued.

"Now, just as a joke, I asked him if he thought he could do better." the saboteur said, his mirth only slightly reduced by the lack of reaction from Prowl. "The little slagger up and says he can. Then proceeds to show everyone, with me as his victim."

"'Victim'? What is this dance, Jazz?" Ratchet asked curiously. Jazz glanced at Prowl one more time before answering.

"Lap dancing." the saboteur pronounced carefully. Ratchet looked amused, and Ironhide grinned. Prowl continued to ignore them.

"Elita One, Prowl?" Ratchet asked lightly, and Prowl murmured an affirmative without looking up. Jazz frowned.

"OK, how come you two are takin' this so easily?" the saboteur demanded. Ratchet and Ironhide shrugged.

"We all have hidden talents, Jazz." Ironhide commented.

"Yeah, but - Prowl knows how to lap dance. Isn't that at least worthy of a good laugh?" the saboteur asked with a frown.

"Well, maybe, but..."

"It's not all that bad considerin' how Prowl an' I met Ratch'." Ironhide interrupted the CMO, grinning widely.

"Ironhide!" Ratchet hissed, glaring at the red 'bot, and Ironhide's grin dimmed slightly.

"What's this?" Jazz asked curiously. Ironhide opened his mouth, but stopped as he saw Ratchet's continued glare.

"Eh, maybe some other time, Jazz." Ironhide said, and when Ratchet's glare intensified, the red 'bot chuckled nervously, "Or y'know what, never mind, forget I said anything."

"Aw, come on!" Jazz said, giving Ratchet a disarming grin, and Ratchet turned his glare on the saboteur. Jazz shrunk in his chair, and the topic would probably have been dropped there if Prowl hadn't decided to speak up.

"Ratchet knows how to poledance." the tactician stated calmly from behind his datapad. Dead silence filled the officer's mess as the three other occupants looked at Prowl in either shock, amusement, or anger.

"He what?!" Jazz managed to get out after a few moments, shock fading to unholy glee as he looked over at Ratchet, who glared at Prowl. The tactician looked up from his datapad with a smirk.

"And he didn't learn because he had to accompany a bored commanding officer." Prowl said.

"You had better hope you don't get injured again, Prowl, because the next time I find you in my med bay needing repairs, Blaster's brother is going to gain some company in regards to his alt form." Ratchet said icily.

"Come on, Ratch'. It was bound ta come out sooner or later." Ironhide said with amusement. "All anyone has to do is look inta yer background closely enough, after all. The employment record's right there to be seen."

"Employment record?" Jazz's glee knew no bounds by now.

"I hate you both." Ratchet said, glaring between Prowl and Ironhide.

"Aw, don't be like that, Ratch'!" Ironhide said, looking a little hurt.

"Frag toasters - I'm just not going to repair you, period." Ratchet snapped.

"First Aid and Swoop need the practice, anyways. And Ironhide and I are quite used to having novice medics work on us - though hopefully we won't run into them poledancing later." Prowl said blandly. Ratchet groaned and let his head flop down onto the table, wrapping his arms over it as if trying to hide under them. Ironhide and Prowl exchanged grins, and Jazz watched in awe at this unexpected interaction between the three older officers.

"I have got to here this story..." he murmured. Prowl gave Jazz a positively evil look, then arched an optic ridge at Ironhide, who glanced down at Ratchet.

"How about it, doc?" Ironhide asked gently, nudging Ratchet slightly.

"You might as well." Ratchet said, voice muffled. "He'll just go look up my employment record, anyways, now that you've mentioned it." The medic sat up then, propping his head up on one fist as he glared around the table. "At least if I'm here while you're telling the story, I might be able to save some of my dignity."

"You lost all your dignity to a pole a long time ago, Ratchet." Prowl stated.

"Just tell Jazz the fragging story before Prime ends up having to lock up his CMO for murder and find new senior staff." Ratchet growled, glaring heatedly at the tactician.

"Yes yes, tell the story!" Jazz said, grinning widely and practically bouncing in his chair. Prowl and Ironhide exchanged looks, obviously debating who got to start. Prowl apparently got the honors, turning to Jazz and settling in his chair like he was getting ready to be there awhile. Jazz leaned forward eagerly.

"No many 'bots know this, but Ratchet and I actually attended the academy at the same time, and during our stay, Ironhide was hired as a combat instructor..." Prowl began.

---

Cybertron, several vorns before the start of the Third Cybertronian War:

Prowl grimaced as he pushed himself up off the practice mat, ignoring the snickering of several other students. The new teacher, a large grumpy red mech who'd introduced himself as their new living nightmare (aka, Ironhide), was watching with an unimpressed expression, and Prowl scowled as he looked back at his sparring partner, Highwire. The younger bot grinned and jumped from foot to foot energetically.

"Comeon, Prowl! Isthatthe bestyagot?" Highwire said, speaking in bursts as he usually did.

"Most definitely not." Prowl stated, standing and settling into a fighting stance. Highwire grinned in response, settling into his own stance, mostly a mocking mirror of Prowl's, as he bounced around. Prowl wasn't exactly sure why Highwire was even in this class - since he'd come to the academy, Highwire had made no secret of the fact that his parents were both on the security forces, and had taught him how to fight. Prowl, on the other hand, had avoided even wrestling as a youngling, and was as unskilled in combat as a bot could get. And yet not only were they both in the same 'beginner's' class, but the instructor had picked them for the first sparring pair, to demonstrate what they knew.

To be fair, Highwire had started out going easy on Prowl, until Ironhide had barked at him to stop holding back. Shortly afterwards, Prowl had ended up face-down on the mats. And as he watched the energetic bot still bouncing in front of him, Prowl suspected it was about to happen again.

Sure enough, two seconds later, Prowl landed on his back on the mat. He bit back a yelp as he landed on his left doorwing wrong, wrenching it, and instead just pushed himself back to his feet. He cast a glance over at Ironhide, wondering if the mech was really incompetent or if he had a reason for letting two obviously unmatched students continue sparring. He was certainly watching them closely enough to have noticed.

The third time Prowl ended up on the mat - this time with Highwire holding onto his wrenched doorwing with an arm wrapped around his throat - Prowl glared angrily at Ironhide, but the mech just continued to watch as Prowl yielded and Highwire let him up to begin again. Even Highwire was beginning to look unsure now, and was grimacing apologetically every time he attacked. It wasn't until he had Prowl in a headlock, pushing against his injured doorwing, that Highwire decided enough was enough, though - he saw Prowl's wince as he crushed the other bot's injured doorwing into his side, and unexpectedly let go, catching Prowl when he stumbled in surprise.

"What th'slag do yah think yer doin'?!" Ironhide barked from the edge of the mat, and the two sparring partners, facing away from their instructor, exchanged a look before turning together, Highwire glaring and Prowl looking impassive. The red mech stomped over, stopping a few feet away and crossing his arms before glaring down at them. "Well? I toldja t'spar!"

"Sir, withallduerespect, wearenot evenlymatchedinskill, andwhileIunderstand thatyoucannotpick opponentsofmatchingskill inarealfight, here inthepracticering itisentirelyunfair." Highwire said boldly. Prowl stayed silent.

"Izzat so?" Ironhide asked, raising an optic ridge.

"Also, he'shurt." Highwire replied.

"It's nothing." Prowl said with a shake of his head - doorwings were sensitive enough that any bot that had them quickly became used to feeling sensations in them more intensely than anywhere else in their body. Granted, Prowl couldn't remember them ever throbbing quite so much as his left one was now, but he was sure his self-repair systems could take care of it.

"If it's nothin', yah should have no problem continuin'." Ironhide stated.

"Sir!" Highwire protested immediately, frowning, and Ironhide levelled a glare on the student. Highwire glared back. "Iwillnot continuethisspar."

"Then someone else can." Ironhide replied easily, turning away, and before he was even all the way around, Highwire had run over and kicked him in the aft before skipping back to Prowl. The energetic student settled into a defensive stance as Ironhide slowly turned around, an incredulous look on his face.

"Highwire -" Prowl started, but the younger bot shook his head and gave Prowl a reassuring smile, turning his attention back to Ironhide with determination.

"Yah don't wanna do this, kid." Ironhide stated flatly.

"Probablynot, butIprefertopick whenI'mgoingtobe inanunevenfight." Highwire said grimly. Ironhide observed the bot for a few moments, then walked up. Highwire danced backwards, motioning for Prowl to move with him, and Prowl did so. Ironhide arched an optic ridge, then took another step forward and lashed out. Highwire just barely dodged, pushing Prowl backwards and sending them both tumbling to the floor. Prowl landed on his doorwing again, causing it to flare up in pain, and he gasped. Highwire gave him a look of concern, but had to leap away as Ironhide attacked again. Prowl lay on the mat for a few moments before he was able to suppress the pain, sitting up and scooting backwards off the mat, watching as Ironhide and Highwire danced around the mat.

Prowl doubted that Highwire was anywhere near as good as their instructor, but he had an powerful advantage in his speed and maneuverability, and was expertly staying out of the older mech's reach. Then Ironhide apparently decided to try heading back towards Prowl, for some unknown reason, and Highwire began taking more risks to draw Ironhide away from his fellow student. It was about this time, as Prowl watched the fight, that he realized that their instructor was testing Highwire. There was no reason for him to go after Prowl, after all, except to see how Highwire dealt with distracting an opponent from a goal.

It also became evident, a few moments later, that Ironhide had been holding back, as he suddenly darted forward with a speed he hadn't shown before, catching Highwire off-guard and sending the younger bot flying with a single punch. Highwire impacted on the wall, leaving a dent in the shape of his body, and his optics flickered as he groaned. Ironhide was at Highwire's side in moments, supporting the younger mech as he stumbled away from the wall, only to fall unconscious.

"Right - lesson fer today: no one but me is qualified t'judge yer combat capabilities, an' y'all will be undergoin' individual evaluations of yer skills an' assigned t'the appropriate classes. Class dismissed." Ironhide said to the rest of the students. They looked at their instructor incredulously, and he growled at them. "Git!" They left in a hurry, and Prowl stood slowly, prepared to join them, but Ironhide called him back. "Help me get this kid t'the medics. Hit him a bit harder than I was intendin' to."

"Yes sir." Prowl said, frowning as he went to support Highwire's other side. He didn't bother pointing out that Ironhide was more than strong enough to pick Highwire up and carry him, just doing as ordered. He didn't really want to disobey a mech that could knock someone unconscious with one punch, anyways.

They made their way through the academy to the mediclinic, run by the medical instructors and staffed by the students as a method of hands-on training. There was always a fully-trained medic on hand, who would look over each patient before they were let go, but treatment and repairs were left up to students that had been cleared by their instructors to work there. Still, there wasn't all that much work for the clinic, save for accidents, and as Prowl and Ironhide entered with Highwire, they found the three working students and on-duty medic reading something on a console, their backs to the door.

"Jolt!" Ironhide called out, interrupting the mechs, and all four spun to face the three newcomers.

"Ironhide!" the red mech at the center, the one bearing the badge of a full medic, replied with a broad grin. "I knew I wouldn't regret taking the shift covering your first class!"

"Jus' get over here an' fix th'kid. He ran inta mah punch." Ironhide growled, glaring at Jolt.

"Just one casualty? My, I'm impressed." Jolt said, motioning for two of the students to take Highwire from Prowl and Ironhide.

"Two, actually." Ironhide said unexpectedly once Highwire was being taken care of.

"It's nothing -" Prowl protested immediately as Jolt's gaze turned to him, and then winced, his vision flickering, as Ironhide reached over and flicked his left doorwing lightly, sending pain coursing through it.

"My aft it's nothin'." Ironhide snorted.

"Indeed." Jolt said with amusement as he looked at Prowl. "On the berth with you - Spiral can have a look at you." Under the kind, but warning gaze of the head medic, and Ironhide's glare, Prowl meekly went to the nearest berth and hopped up, while the remaining student came to check him out.

"Wrenched joint?" the student, presumably Spiral, asked after a few moment's inspection, and Prowl nodded. "I'm going to turn off the pain receptors, then get to work fixing it." Prowl nodded, and a few moments later, his left doorwing - and most of his back - went numb. Now unable to feel the medic doing anything, Prowl's attention wandered to Ironhide and Jolt, who were standing off to one side, chatting and watching as the other two students worked on Highwire. One of the students seemed to be muttering angrily to himself, glaring in Ironhide's direction, while the other seemed both entertained and weary of the incessant grumbling.

Spiral finished with Prowl's doorwing fairly quickly, and Jolt came over to check his work. He inspected Spiral's work carefully before reactivating the pain receptors in the area, and Prowl immediately winced as pain flared through his doorwing. The pain receptors flipped back off. "Alright, what'd we miss?" Jolt asked over Prowl's shoulder.

"It's...not sitting right." Prowl said with a grimace. Jolt and Spiral disappeared behind his back, murmuring quietly to each other, and then there was a sudden thump on Prowl's back, nearly pushing him off the table. A moment later, his pain receptors flipped back on, and while there was an initial flare of pain, it quickly subsided to a throb that was already steadily fading.

"That must be a new configuration for doorwings - I've never seen a set sitting that particular way. I'll have to take a look at the new designs tonight." Jolt mused, walking around to face Prowl. "Alright, you're good to go, but try and take it easy on that wing for awhile."

"Thank you, I will." Prowl said, then glanced over at Highwire, "Will he...?"

"Oh, he'll be fine. Ironhide just jarred his circuits - time consuming to fix, but not difficult. Ratchet alone could probably do it while recharging." Jolt said, nodding towards the grumbling student working on Highwire.

"Slagging right I can." Ratchet shot back.

"Language, Ratchet." Jolt said mildly, and Ratchet growled. Jolt looked back to Prowl with amusement, and noting the student's slightly disturbed look, added, "Don't mind Ratchet, he's harmless."

"Unless he has a wrench handy." Spiral commented dryly from behind Prowl. Jolt just shook his head.

"The other med students keep claiming he can peg them off with a wrench from all the way across the main auditorium." Jolt said in stage whisper to Prowl. "Us instructors think they're just jealous." Prowl blinked, then nodded warily, and Jolt laughed before motioning for Prowl to get going. Prowl readily slipped off the berth, only to find himself nose-to-chassis with Ironhide.

"What're ya doin' tonight, kid?" the combat instructor asked with a grunt when Prowl looked up.

"Studying." Prowl replied with a frown, eyeing the larger mech warily.

"Good, then ya won't mind gettin' out fer a drink." Ironhide said cheerfully.

"I don't -"

"Ya do now." Ironhide interrupted, and Prowl frowned.

"It's his tradition. Anyone who gets hurt in one of his classes who didn't deserve it, he takes out for a drink later." Jolt offered from Prowl's side, then turned to Ironhide. "Just remember he's in the honors program, Ironhide. He's not supposed to go out to the lower sections of the city."

"Just because yer in th'honors program, doesn't mean ya should have no social life!" Ironhide declared hotly, and when Jolt replied in defence of the honors program policy, flashing Prowl a grin, the younger mech realized that this was a long-standing argument between the two. He left them to it, giving Highwire one last glance before slipping out of the clinic.

---

Ironhide had to applaud Prowl - the kid had made a hasty retreat, not sticking around to let Ironhide brow-beat him into giving a time and location to pick him up so the combat instructor could sneak him out past the honors program advisors for drinks. Unfortunately for Prowl, Ironhide had another source for the information - Highwire. The energetic young mech had spent the entire afternoon in the care of the medics, but Jolt had released him knowing full well of Ironhide's tradition, so the red mech hadn't thought twice before extended the invitation for a few drinks on him. Highwire, apparently, had heard of Ironhide's tradition from his parents, and agreed readily, though he said he had to stop by his room to get an image capturer. Apparently there was a running contest among the students in Prowl's year to catch him drinking high grade.

Now, they were almost dragging Prowl through the hallways of the academy as they made their way out, Highwire waving cheerfully to anyone they passed. When asked, the younger bot just replied that they were getting some special training. Prowl often made sarcastic remarks in response, but neither Ironhide nor Highwire let go of his arms until they were well and truly clear of the academy.

"I don't have time for this." Prowl repeated as he subsided into a sulk. He seemed to realize he couldn't get away now, and walked willingly between Highwire and Ironhide, though he clearly still didn't like it.

"Aw come on, one evenin' ain't gonna hurt." Ironhide commented.

"I have an exam tomorrow." Prowl replied testily. "Early."

"We'll get you back in time. It's just a couple'a drinks." Ironhide said dismissively.

"Down here, that's equal to about six drinks." Prowl muttered, glaring at the buildings around him, and Ironhide chuckled, knowing the kid was right. He probably could have gone to one of the better bars, closer to the academy, but not only would the honors program advisors likely have...informants...there, but the more time he spent around Prowl, the more Ironhide decided that the kid needed to loosen up. So now he was heading to a particular club, down in one of the worst parts of Iacon, that he and his friends on the security forces favoured whenever they got together. It was nice because it was large and rowdy, and expected its patrons to be the same. Plus, it generally had entertainment - for all sorts, which meant that Corona and Chromia, the two femmes of the group, could enjoy it as well.

The club also had a bit of a reputation, thanks to Ironhide and his friends, so when it came in sight, the two students actually recognized it. Prowl began protesting immediately, but Highwire just gleefully dragged him forwards, actually giggling when the guard at the door just waved Ironhide and the two students in with a grin and a 'welcome back!'

Inside, the club was dark, with the only lights being aimed at the bar and the two stages, at either end, upon which the 'entertainment' - a femme on one end, a mech on the other - danced. The music was loud, but on this particular night, the patrons weren't, so they were able to hear the explicit lyrics. Prowl, amusingly, stopped struggling almost immediately upon entering, and when Ironhide glanced over at him, he found the bot looking uncomfortably at anywhere but the stages. The older mech would have bet half his salary for the vorn that Prowl had either turned off or down his audios, as well, and he chuckled to himself before leading the kids over to a table, close to the stage on which the femme danced. Highwire sat readily, and immediately began watching the femme, his grin growing even wider, while Prowl sat facing the opposite way, using a hand to shield his optics. Ironhide went to get the high grade, knowing Highwire would make sure Prowl didn't make a break for it.

He returned to the table to find the two in much the same positions as he'd left them, and he chuckled as he handed out the high grade before turning to look around the club, to see if there was anyone he knew. He ended up being spotted first, though, as apparently Chromia and Corona were having a night out. They waved at him cheerfully, and came to join him, immediately complaining about his choice of table location and startling Prowl into finally looking up. The young mech grimaced at the sight of femmes, but slid his chair over obligingly when they declared they were joining them.

It didn't take long after that for the two femme to charm Highwire into telling them how he and Prowl had rated drinks on Ironhide, which led into a general rant about the stupidity of the administration at the academy. Prowl actually managed to look insulted at one point, but subsided when Ironhide told him he couldn't complain until he'd had some high grade. The cube in front of Prowl, however, remained untouched - for now. It was almost a breem later, and Highwire was into his second cube, Ironhide on his fifth, when Chromia and Corona, still half watching the stage at the far end of the club, suddenly straightened.

"Ooh, I've heard about this mech! He's supposed to be able to do things with a pole that could make you overload just from watching!" Chromia said, grinning widely. Apparently she'd recognized the mech stepping onto the stage.

"Oh, I know - believe me, I know!" Corona said with a giggle. Out of idle amusement, Ironhide glanced over his shoulder - and choked on his energon as he recognized the grumpy student that had been working on Highwire earlier that day. Ironhide's choking drew Highwire's attention, but since the younger mech had been unconscious for his time in the clinic, and the students had cleared out before Jolt had woken him up, he didn't see anything odd, just giving Ironhide a curious look as the combat instructor continued to watch as the mech on the stage did everything but interface with the pole.

"Prowl." Ironhide finally managed to get out, unable to take his optics away from the stage. There was a grunt from behind him, and Ironhide managed to force his optics away to look at the student, finding him still staring determinedly at the tabletop. "Prowl. You can walk outta here without tryin' even a sip'a high grade if ya look at th' far stage right now an' tell me that isn' who I think it is." Prowl looked at Ironhide curiously, but seemed to decide it was worth it, looking past the combat instructor to the stage. His optics immediately widened, and then, so quickly Highwire didn't have time to take an image capture, Prowl looked back at the table, snatched up his high grade, and downed half of it.

"That's what ah thought." Ironhide said with a grimace.

"What is he doing?" Prowl ground out, staring at the tabletop with even more determination now. "He's an honors student, too!"

"What's this?" Chromia didn't even bother to look away as she asked.

"Tha' mech yer watchin' so avidly is an honors student at th'academy." Ironhide drawled, and that caught Chromia and Corona's attention, bringing their gaze back to Ironhide curiously. "Medic." Ironhide supplied helpfully.

"Primus, if they're teaching things like that at the academy these days, I think I might want to go again!" Corona said, gaze drifting back to the stage.

"Me too!" Chromia agreed.

"Ah don't think he learned it at th'academy." Ironhide drawled, while Prowl suddenly let his head thump onto the table.

"I'm never going to be able to go to the clinic again." he said.

"Whynot?" Highwire asked cluelessly. Prowl moved his head to one side, glaring balefully up at Highwire.

"You see that mech up there, wrapped around the pole with his interface ports open? His hands were in your innards, repairing you, about a joor or so ago." Prowl said. Highwire's optics went wide, and he let out a squeak as he twisted around to look at the mech. He turned back around just as quickly.

"Idon'tbelieveyou." Highwire denied, optics still wide. Prowl grunted in reply, covering his optics with one arm. Then he suddenly straightened, and looked over at Ironhide.

"If I finish this cube, can we go?" Prowl asked.

"Please do." Ironhide said, suddenly finding himself uncomfortable, knowing that one of the students whose name he'd seen on the roster for his advanced combat class was poledancing behind him. Fortunately, Prowl seemed to be of the same opinion, downing the rest of his cube in one gulp - once again too quickly for Highwire to take an image capture - and then Ironhide and Prowl said goodbye to Chromia and Corona before practically dragging Highwire out of there and back up to the academy.

---

Earth, five million and some years later:

Jazz had fallen out of his chair, he was laughing so hard, while Ratchet was glaring daggers at all three of his fellow officers.

"In my defence, I was a stubborn youngling who refused to take financial aid from the academy or my mentor...at least until after Ironhide and Prowl told them about my 'night job', when they forced me to accept it or else they'd kick me out." Ratchet growled. "Thank you very much for telling Reverb, by the way. That was the most awkward conversation we'd ever had."

"Yer fault fer gettin' a job poledancin' t'pay fer yer studies." Ironhide said with a smirk.

"At least you didn't have to recount everything you saw to the dean of the academy." Prowl said dryly. "I have never, ever been more embarrassed in my life. Not even when Elita dragged me into the back of the club to ask the dancers for lessons." Ratchet growled, but didn't reply, as an exhausted-looking Blaster entered the lounge at that moment, only to smile brightly when he saw who was there.

"Good mornin', Prowl!" the communications officer said.

"Good morning, Blaster." Prowl said politely. On the floor, Jazz's laughter calmed as the saboteur pushed himself upwards.

"Blas-Blaster, you -" the saboteur had to pause to snicker before continuing, "You're not gonna believe -" Jazz collapsed into more laughter, unable to continue, and Blaster eyed him curiously.

"What's his problem?" he asked curiously.

"He's still overcharged. I think I'll have to confine him to his quarters for the day." Ratchet said icily, glaring down at Jazz.

Jazz only laughed harder.

- End -