I'm sorry, it's medically impossible for a robot and a washing machine to have children - Robot Chicken
Out of the corner of my eye I watched as Jazz watched us Banes women hug and chat and generally glomp each other around my gurney, and I thought him to be well behaved considering the situation. He fidgeted a bit in his obvious curiosity but otherwise let us re-unite for a while. Until...
"There's somethin' I jus' don't get."
We pretty much ignored him, so Ratchet huffed and addressed him. "What else is new?"
"Shaddap Wide-Load. I thought her last name was Maciskinik, not Banes."
That caught Gramma's attention, and she somehow extracted herself from my rubbery grip and explained shit to Jazz. "It is. Miriam Isabelle Jones Asaiken Banes Maciskinik."
"You married Barry? Ewww." Mikaela protested, shuddering. I remembered Barry Maciskinik from last time we went up to visit Gramma in Climax. Oh god, I still got a kick out of the name. I swear that's the only reason she moved there. Anyway, Barry was this huge dark haired Cree with a gut, a long braid and a penchant for those boosted up trucks with the dangling blue testicles on the back. And he was one of those dudes who made bad bad jokes and got all depressed if you didn't laugh at em. Gramma adored him, thought he was cute. He was if you were into teddy bears.
I imagined she had he very horrible image of Gramma gettin' it on with him, and agreed with the 'eww'... though old ladies deserved to get shagged into the ground too.
Jazz looked even more confused. I took pity on him. "She's been married, what, three times now?" I looked to Gramma and she nodded. "Yeah. And kept all the names."
Gramma nodded proudly up at my currently ugly Gremlin mech, and I gave her a good looking over now that the surprised glee had toned down a bit. She looked fucking great! At 72 years, she looked 65, or even younger. Not for her style, (god, what's with those loud flower print dresses?) but the LIFE sparking in her blue eyes. She moved slow, but again, she always moved slow after a hoot or seven. Whatever she'd been doing at that old folks home in Climax had done wonders for her vitality.
Frowning at Jazz and his ugly new form, she shook her head and hugged me again. "Too small. I like mah cars like I like mah men. Big, powerful, and well-aged."
"Hey, one outta three ain't bad!" Jazz protested.
I quipped, "Big? Definately."
Mikaela sputtered and coughed, blowing an impressive amount of Mountain Dew from her nose.
"Then you'll love Ironhide. He's the most 'aged' of us all." Ratchet snarked, earning a cuff upside the head from the offended 'Bot, who'd joined us unnoticed whilst the humans were glomping.
"Frag you, Ratchet."
"Not even for the best high-grade in the universe."
"Now, now girls, you're both pretty." Mikaela said, then ran and hid behind Gramma when Ironhide swung his cannon in her direction.
"Oooh, I like a big gun on a man." Gramma purred, not minding at all being used as a human shield.
A look crossed his Ironhide's face, somewhere between flustered and flattered, and he lowered the cannon.
Yeah, life was good.
"One thing I don't get though, Gramma. Out of all the old folks homes in all of the Great White North, how the hell did YOU," I pointed at her, "Find HIM?" I pointed at Beachcomber, then addressed every bot in the room, "What're you guys, magnetically pulled to Banes girls?"
Beachcomber carefully woke Bruticus from the big dog's slobbery nap on his foot til the beast dragged himself off, shook mightily, and trotted for Gramma. The mech grinned down at the old lady and the big mutt, and answered for her. "Dunno that one, lil' lady, she came outta nowhere..."
"I saw a cute blue butt and followed!" Gramma laughed, scruffing Bruticus's head and scooting him away. He galumphed over to Ironhide, who had to visibly restrain himself from frying the dog. I heard a muttered, "Big rodent." as he tried to use his toe to gently push the dog away. Obviously someone had taught him dog manners, probably Gramma. She'd find some way to whup Ironhide's ass if he hurt Bruticus. I'd help.
Ratchet crossed his arms and glared at them both. "And proceeded to drive around Tornado Alley for... a week, was it?"
Both had the good sense to look guilty, but tag-teamed Ratchet with excuses all the same.
"Hey, man, I couldn't talk!"
"It was his first time on earth! He needed to see a good thunderstorm."
"No big rush to get anywhere."
"And I haven't been on vacation since 1998!"
"Nobody got hurt."
"And my Brutie got some fresh air!"
"ALL RIGHT!" Ratchet interrupted, giving up in the face of Gramma's Pouty Lip™ and Beachcomber's obvious laid-back attitude. "Fine. Just don't do it again."
The two wayward travellers grinned victoriously and gave peace signs to each other.
Everyone trickled out of the Med Bay around suppertime, either ordered away by Ratchet or finding other things to do, leaving me once again alone with the newly white and red mech. Which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It was great to see Gramma, and Mikaela, and Jazz, and meet the new guy, but fuck, I was exhausted, achy all over, and could only take so much. I felt bad for being relieved but I mentally thanked Ratchet for noticing. I teased the guy incessantly but I knew he had a warm heart, and smart as a fuckin' tack.
What the fuck does 'smart as a tack' mean?
I must have fallen asleep at some point because I woke up to the clock saying 1 AM, BB King caressing Lucille at a civil volume, and the sight of Ratchet sitting on a few big crates, resting his feet up on the berth Optimus Prime still snoozed on, nodding his head to the music with optics half shuttered, arms crossed behind his head.
The more I hung around these guys the more I appreciated just how, well, human they were. Always doin' shit I didn't expect. It was shitty to admit but once in a while my ignorant side told me 'these guys big AI robots, no thinky right', though I damn well knew better. And when Ratchet did shit like this it kicked the idea into my head a little harder. No non-souled being would chill out like this to BB King. They were sentient, feeling, living beings with discriminating tastes and a widespread variety of personalities and beliefs, just like humans. They just happened to be metallic rather than flesh and blood.
It helped that Ratchet and the Blues felt right. I could see him performing non-emergency surgery to a Buddy Guy soundtrack, cleaning his Med Bay to Otis Redding, chilling out to Keb Mo. It was nice to find we had something in common. Something to talk about besides cranial damage and human stupidity. The thought made me smile, and for a few minutes I just laid there and watched. What a cool way to wake up.
But that relaxation wasn't to last long. After an hour or so of looking at the clock (1:15...1:18... 1:53... ugh) or Ratchet, I got twitchy.
It was like that horrendously uncomfortable feeling in my bones that I always got when I was sick with the flu or something, and stuck in bed for days on end. In regular life, when I was working 6 days a fucking week or studying for final exams, I wanted nothing more than to be able to lay around for a few days and turn my brain off and just do nothing. But when I got sick and had the chance to lay around, I had to move. HAD TO. Or I'd go absolutely ape-shit. Clean, go for a run, fix my car, whatever, as long as I wasn't in that fucking bed or on the couch anymore.
At this moment I was at the point of screaming if I didn't get out of my bed. Then I'd end up probably hurting myself, which would only make things WORSE, and incidentally get Ratchet on my ass (which in any other context would be something worth considering), and he'd condemn me to even MORE bed-rest and tedium and possibly bad UFC reruns on Spike TV... wait, there IS no TV...no... But I couldn't keep laying here staring at the ceiling! There was so much going on, so much to think about, worry about, fix, cry over, beat up, investigate, and what was I doing? NOTHING.
Not that I could do much anyway... fuck. What could I do, besides beat up the Decepticons with my wrist cast?
Frankly I didn't want to be stuck here with my own damn thoughts cause they were getting downright fucking nasty. And I didn't want to be depressed. Nothing to get depressed about really... well, sort of.
Distraction. Yeah. I needed one, like, yesterday.
Wait, yesterday I was unconscious.
Whatever. Bad Drugs.
Tormenting The Medic was fun, but way overdone. Baiting the Basket-case (Ironhide) was hilarious, but dangerous to my continued existence... which would yet again go full circle into Ratchet ordering more bed-rest... and possibly a gag and restraints (which again, in another context might be worth considering. Heh.). He wasn't within yelling distance anyway, so that was moot. I needed something else.
My irrational brooding was interrupted by the weird yet familiar sound of Ratchet sniffing the air. He 'followed' his nose, ended up staring down at me and my little blanket-swaddled ball of misery, and hummed.
"What?" Do I stink?
He wordlessly turned in his seat and started digging around in a cabinet I could fit four of me in, and came back a moment later holding a ridiculously small bottle, which he dropped unceremoniously into my hands.
As embarrassing and clinical as the whole process was, it was probably just what I needed. I broke into screeching laughter, practically falling off my bed as Ratchet looked on in complete confusion.
Oh man, the world may be falling down around my ears, but at least I'll be entertained!
It took some deep thought and a few deeply painful motions (muttered bitterly at by Ratchet the whole time) but I got the situation taken care of, and it was back to laying there staring at the ceiling.
Right, Tormenting the Medic it is then.
It didn't take much. Ratchet loved to argue. You couldn't tell though, not unless you really watched his body movement. He sounded pissed, determined, but his stance held something akin to enjoyment whenever someone back-talked him. His body-hum sound was a little different. Like Jazz's when he was horny. Oh god.
The real fun started when I told him that if I laid here much longer I'd get bedsores. He countered that a few days in bed wouldn't do that to me, but I insisted on getting up and off this goddamn bed, if only for a few minutes, maybe just to find a bathroom and pee like a regular person. I wanted to feel ground beneath my feet, not hospital style bedsheets on my back. It was driving me batty and Ratchet was in my goddamn way.
After a solid three minutes of yelling at each other, he reluctantly gave in, spouting some obscure medical shit that would justify me touching ground again, and helped me up and out, (thankfully he'd removed the catheter while I was unconscious, or the whole walking thing would have been a tad bit uncomfortable) setting me very gently on the floor. I held on to the bed for dear life when my legs decided to defy me and buckle. A minute later I had them under my control and stood solidly. My ribs ached with every breath and hanging on to the bed one-handed was sort of a bitch but goddamn, it felt great to be upright.
I felt like walking. Ratchet didn't look happy but his hand hovered close. "You are insane, Malena."
"No shit." I grunted, dragging myself more than walking. It hurt to breathe, or twist, or, well, anything, but I swallowed it like a big girl.
I did a slow circuit around my bed, then again, and again, before my legs turned to spaghetti and I had to rest. Ratchet was nice enough to just put his hand near so I could prop myself back up and onto the bed, but didn't move to actually pick me up. Guess someone (probably my evil sister) told him I wasn't big on help. For that I was grateful.
Once I settled in I carefully stretched my arms above my head and groaned. "Gad, this sucks."
"The weariness is likely a side effect of the medications you're on. It will pass. And, like you said earlier, it could be much worse."
I nodded, slowly so I didn't piss him off. "True... but frankly I can't wait to go home. No offence, but this place ain't nearly as comfortable as my own bed."
Ratchet paused, optics dimming just a little, barely noticeable, before he seamlessly went back to poking at Prime's internal circuitry again. My spidey senses blared fucking alarms at me. I called him on it.
"Dude, you're not as subtle as you think. What's up?"
Ratchet harrumphed. "Jazz wasn't kidding when he mentioned your precognitive capabilities."
"It ain't precognition, dude. It's observance and my fucked up version of logic. You paused." I pointed a finger at him accusingly. "You fuckin' paused when I mentioned home. I know it blew up. I just don't know how bad." I was scaring myself the more I talked. "Nobody's told me anything. Which is fucking bad. So... what happened?"
I really really don't wanna know. My couch is singed. My fridge is slightly charred. That's it. Right. I wish.
Ratchet sighed, put the circuitry down on the table, and started talking.
Senses wavered, dizzy, spinning head, disoriented, confused, cold, tired. Frenzy felt like someone dipped him in liquid nitrogen and spun about a million times.
'Told ya to play dead, glitch!'
Rumble? 'Rumble, what the frag?' Frenzy practically screamed into the link, but did as Rumble had told him before, physically played dead. It was easy, he really didn't want to move anyways. His head was spinning enough.
'Remember those squishies in ugly outfits I was tellin' you about?'
Frenzy sent an affirmative.
'Well they got me and they got you and they got freezing shit that incapacitates us and enough backwards-ass squishy technology to tear us apart.'
Frenzy almost twitched. Almost.
Rumble talked fast. 'But there's one thing they don't know. They cut off short-distance internal communications, Primus knows how, but they don't know about the bond, our link to Soundwave.'
Frenzy felt hope rise and explode in him. He couldn't contact Barricade, but his creator, no problem. What comfort it would be to hear his voice.
Rumble continued. 'They can't hear us or detect it, so they can't cut it off without actually killing us. As long as we don't clue them in to how we're communicating, and play the good sleeping test subjects, we should be alright.'
'You're such a dipshit when you wake up, ya know'
Oh yes. Blackout. Poor poor Blackie. Frenzy repressed a shudder, and refused to look at that pile again. It was grotesque, terrifying, and in no way would he submit to being nothing but a pile of junk by the hands of HUMANS.
'Disturbing, isn't it.' Rumble said, serious for once. Frenzy managed to squeak in response.
'I think they have the same plan for us."
Frenzy caught the unsaid, 'Whatever it is.'
He struggled not to fight his way free, knowing that he wouldn't have a chance with all those squishies around. Rumble mentally agreed, though they both knew they had to get the frag out of there, as soon as possible, lest they end up on the business end of the human's dissection tools. But the time wasn't right now. Not when they both were so weak.
'Gonna keep tryin' to contact Ravage and Beaky. If that works, we try the Boss. Have to self-repair a little more. Need to recharge. You take this watch.'
Right. Frenzy conceded, keeping a sensor on the humans as they worked.
"So lemme get this straight... I'm homeless."
"And apparently I'm jobless."
"According to Jazz, yes."
"And my car is nothing but a pile of melted bits of metallic goo."
"That is an exaggeration, but essentially, yes."
Nobody had told me anything about the explosion, except that it was more or less big, and hurt me a lot. Would have hurt me more if Prime hadn't been so damn fast. Apparently my car almost landed on me, and I came out of there on fire. The cops were calling it sabotage, or something. Fuck. Nobody told me shit until Ratchet sat down next to my bed and related the whole goddamn thing, front to back. If I wasn't so sleepy and sore I'd put foot so some metallic silver ass. And maybe some fleshie little sister ass too.
By the time he was finished it was closer to dawn than I'd have thought, and my body was exhausted. My brain on the other hand kept going over and over the facts.
Blessed Ratchet remained silent for a while, just sitting nearby, not tinkering, just... sitting. Letting me process.
"You said that already."
"It needed repeating."
We were quiet for a couple more minutes, then Ratchet suggested I sleep. Really, I'd have loved to but... brain way too revved up.
So, after an hour of tossing, turning, and making excuses to Ratchet (who asked if I wanted more drugs, but I stupidly said no) he commed for Jazz. Or he must have, because suddenly there he was, and Ratchet was gone.
When the poor guy walked in, he got nothing but a dead stare. I wasn't angry at him or anything... well, a little, he could have told me, would have rather heard this shit from him than from Ratchet. Mostly, I was just... tired. And as much as I adored him, not even he could get a smile on my face right now. Not after that news.
He seemed to know it too. No attempts at lightness, humour... I guess he was used to this sort of thing. It was a side of him I didn't think about very often, if at all. He's a damn soldier, he's seen and done things I couldn't even imagine. He only usually showed me his 'yeah I'm hot and you know it' side. Right now though, he just walked up to my bed, plucked me right out of it and just held me. Unwarriorlike, sure, but I knew, he was smart enough to know when someone just needed a fucking hug.
Just him being there seemed to be enough. Everything slowed, calmed down, and I filled my head with that funky buzzing sound emanating from his chest. I didn't even realize I fell asleep til he shifted and placed me back in bed, then formed his holo and joined me.
"Yeah. Now shut up 'n go to sleep."
a/n: Okay. Must pass out.