"…and when I got out of the shower and checked it, that's what I found." Sam explained.
Ratchet scowled. "I've scanned you, and I see evidence that you did try going to a human medic but it didn't work. You are also severely bruised. Why didn't you come to me with this earlier?" Ratchet scowled.
"Hold on! You were the one who was telling me that humans are too small for you to work on comfortably. I came to you as a last resort and now you complain because I didn't come to you first! You can't have it both ways!" said Sam.
"I'm the medic, I'm allowed to be contrary. Now, I need to examine you optically and tactilely as well as by scanning. Divest yourself of your clothing so I can study the tattoo and assess your bruising."
Sam knew better than to argue with Ratchet in this mood. He took off his pants and underwear again, then removed his t-shirt and vest, feeling rather self-conscious. As Ratchet was generally the only medic to work in his med bay, all the equipment and examination surfaces were set at a height comfortable for him, so he lifted Sam onto the large metal table, which was easily large enough to hold a mech somewhat larger than Optimus, if required.
"Wait, Sam." said Ratchet, as Sam prepared to lie face-down. "Bumblebee, could you get one of the Army blankets Lennox gave us? And a sheet?" Bumblebee nodded and vanished, only to return a few minutes later with the requested items, which looked like handkerchiefs in the yellow Autobot's hands. He handed them to Ratchet, who spread first the blanket, and then the sheet atop it, before asking Sam to lie down. Sam realised that Ratchet had done it to save him having to lie down on a cold surface, and gratefully lay down on his front on the cotton sheet. Ratchet then ordered Bumblebee out, and Bumblebee announced a plan to have a session in recharge.
He felt Ratchet's cold but smooth fingers gently run down his back and arms and legs, gently pressing and probing. It was a very strange sensation to him.
Sam winced: as gentle as the pressure Ratchet applied was, it was enough to make the bruises hurt. They were even gentler as they probed the tattoo, but Sam could not hold back a hiss of pain.
"Okay, I need you to stand so I can examine the bruising in the front of your body." said Ratchet. Sam stood.
Ratchet put a hand behind Sam's back then repeated the tactile examination, this time on the front of Sam's body, supporting Sam against the hand at his back. Again, Sam realised that Ratchet was considering his comfort: this way, he did not have to lie on his back and thus put pressure on his abused buttock. Then Ratchet lay Sam gently on his front again.
"Yes, there is no permanent damage to your skin and musculature, and I am sure that I have a method of either removing the tattoo, or covering it with the Autobot symbol." Ratchet said. "Which would you prefer? Neither is any easier than the other, so don't worry about that."
"I think I just want rid of it. I'm not really a tattoo guy, and even if I did, there would not be my first choice of location." Sam said. Ratchet nodded.
"That's what I suspected, but I had to give you the choice. I will give you a mild anaesthetic, it shouldn't be too painful, but I don't know how sensitive the flesh in that part of the anatomy is. It looks inflamed, however."
"It feels inflamed too." said Sam.
Ratchet went away, and returned with a small manipulating tool, tipped with a very fine needle. Sam shut his eyes as Ratchet aimed for his buttock with it, but he didn't even know Ratchet had done it until he felt the pain in his butt subside. He looked up at Ratchet, who was patiently waiting.
"You've done it?" he asked.
"Yes." replied the medic.
"That's amazing, I didn't feel it at all, you're amazingly gentle." Sam said.
"If you would confide in that opinion to Ironhide, I would appreciate it." said Ratchet dryly. "The way he avoids being repaired, you'd think I was trying to permanently offline him! And does he complain when I finally manage to get him in here!"
Sam lay back down on his front as Ratchet gathered his equipment together.
"This is going to take a while, as I have to be very careful. Your size and fragility will make this task a lengthy one."
Sam heard the door open behind him, and then a voice he had heard for the first time today spoke.
"Well, that has got to be the first time I have ever seen a human wearing that symbol." Sam half turned, leaning on his right side, and looked towards the doors.
There stood the two mechs Bumblebee had identified as the Twins. It was the yellow one who had spoken, and now the red one replied.
"I usually use anything sporting that logo as target practice." He has a small smile playing at the corners of his mouth, but Sam didn't want to take the risk that he was being serious, and tried to scrabble back on the table.
"What are you two fraggin' nuisances doing in here?" Ratchet barked at them.
"Could ask the same of him." said Sunstreaker, walking closer and activating his weapon. "What are you doing with a Decepticon human in your med bay? Not that I knew there was such a thing till today."
"Hold it, Sunny, that's Bee's friend, remember?" said Sideswipe.
"Then I don't think much of Bumblebee's taste in friends." said Sunstreaker, taking another menacing step towards Sam. "I'll rid you of it, Ratchet."
Sam, too preoccupied with finding something to hide behind, not easy with one dead butt cheek, and to compound the problem he was quaking with fear. "Oh, nonononono!" he muttered. Had he survived Megatron, survived Decepticon attack just to get killed by Autobots who thought he was a Decepticon??
He didn't notice the quick movement behind him, but he saw the effects. A wrench struck each twin-Sunstreaker got hit first, and then the second one hit Sideswipe-right in the middle of their foreheads. Their optics crossed, and they staggered and then blinked. Sam felt himself scooped up by Ratchet.
"NOT IN MY MEDBAY!" Ratchet roared. "Sam isn't wearing that fraggin' symbol by choice, Starscream put it on him as some sort of joke. He's here to have it removed. It was Sam who killed Megatron!" He snorted. "Sam's no more a Decepticon than I am!"
Sideswipe looked about to say something, and then Ratchet's words sank in.
"That little thing? He killed Megatron?" Ratchet nodded. Sideswipe stared at Sam with something approaching awe.
"I don't believe it!" said Sunstreaker.
"If you doubt me, ask Prime!" Ratchet growled at them. "Now if you've quite finished scaring Sam half to death, I have a tattoo to remove-so get out of my sickbay! Both of you!"
Sideswipe had the good grace to look embarrassed, while Sunstreaker just wandered towards the door.
"I owe you an apology, human." said Sideswipe. "You say Starscream put that thing on your aft? Without your permission?"
"Yeah." Sam said, his shakes beginning to subside. "Okay." he said, and turned to follow his twin. Sam could see them talking in lowered voices, and then they left.
"Now, maybe I can get on with removing the fraggin' thing!" said Ratchet, whose mood was fouler then Sam had ever seen him. He put Sam down, and began work.
Twenty minutes, Ratchet locked the med bay. "If it's an emergency, they can call in!" he said. It appeared that at least one, if not both, of the Twins had spreads their news around the entire base. No less than three other mechs-none of whom Sam knew-had come to gawk at his tattoo. Each time Ratchet had asked what they were doing down there, the answer was something like "Well, the twins told me that you have a human down here who has a Decepticon tattoo on his aft." Only one-who Ratchet had identified as Mirage-had said "I came down here to take a look at the human who destroyed Megatron-and he is only a tiny little thing, isn't he?" He, too had been chased off, but not as angrily as the first two.
With no further interruptions, Ratchet managed to finish the job. Sam looked down gratefully at his smooth, blemish-free butt cheek. Ratchet even seemed to have done something to make it hurt less.
"Thanks, Ratch." said Sam. He dressed again, and was about to head out, when Ratchet got a call from Bumblebee.
"Ratchet! Open the doors, it's Sunny and Sides, they're a bit beat up!"
"What have those aft-heads been up to now? I'm forever patching those two up! I swear they think I have nothing better to do!" he said in an aggrieved tone of voice. He opened the door, and two scraped, dented and damaged mechs came in.
"Hi Sam." said Sideswipe, supporting himself against the table. "Tattoo gone?"
"Yeah." said Sam, staring. What had they been doing while he was having his tattoo removed.
"Never mind that!" said Sunstreaker, who was as scraped, dented, dirty and battered as his twin. "Look at the damage my paintwork's taken!"
"Well, you should stay out of trouble, shouldn't you?" said Ratchet. "What did you do this time?"
"Well, Sam here told Sides that Starscream had put that tattoo on him, and seeing as Sam was the slayer of Megatron and all, and we wronged him, we thought we'd kinda make amends by giving Starscream a beating, but-" Ratchet cut him off.
"That's just an excuse and you two know it! Any excuse for a fight!. So you went and practiced your '-jet-judo', is it called?-and as usual he was too agile for you and all you ended up doing was scratching his hide a bit and bashing your own even more. Don't dress it up as doing it for Sam. You just wanted an excuse, and you took it! Just get your afts over here and I'll patch you up-again! Honestly, sometimes I don't know why I bother!" Sam saw that Ratchet was reaching for another pair of wrenches.
"Tell you what, I think it's time I left now. Thanks, Ratch!"
Sam grinned and headed out to find Bumblebee.