Author's notes: This was spawned from an idea that popped into my head with all the gender-bending fics and plot bunnies that I've seen around lately. Even though the concept of femmes goes against my personal canon universe in which my fics normally take place (as I view Transformers as being genderless and only nominally male), I decided to make an exception for this one. Enjoy if you will.

Warnings: Just some crackiness.

Disclaimer: Transformers doesn't belong to me in any shape or way.

When asked about it later, none of the Ark's residents could say for sure who had started the rumour. One day, it had suddenly been there, travelling with lightening speed across the base like a virulent case of cosmic rust, infecting everyone in its way.

With one exception.

Prowl frowned as he nailed down the two 'Bots seated in front of him with a stern, reproachful glare, already knowing that it would have no effect. No more than the long, intentionally tedious lecture he had given the twins about proper behaviour and personal responsibility. While he really hated having to go through this time and again, there was at least a tiny comfort to be had in the knowledge that the perpetrators were without a doubt even more bored than he was.

At least that was how it usually went. This time, though, both Sideswipe and Sunstreaker had been eyeing him strangely, as if they expected him to grow a pair of horns any moment. And the unrelenting staring had continued until he had felt a growing sense of unease creeping up his neck cables.

Perhaps this was a deliberate tactic, an agreed upon way between the two to try to speed up the lecture. If so, their little antics were not going to work; that much the tactician promised himself. Still, it had gotten increasingly difficult to keep up appearances under their odd stares, and he was glad when it was finally time to bring everything to an end.

"So, next time I expect you will follow orders like everyone else in your team and not run off to attack the enemy at your own discretion," Prowl concluded, arms authoritatively crossed in front of him.

"Uh-huh," came the response from Sideswipe's half-open mouth. From the vapid look on his face, he probably hadn't heard more than three or four words.

At least there was no cheekiness or sarcasm. Unusual, but a nice change, nevertheless.

Sunstreaker just nodded, chin resting in his hands and elbows on the desk, his optics seemingly glued to Prowl's chassis.

"Good," Prowl said curtly, even though he didn't believe the assurances for even a second. "Then comes the matter of your punishment."

At this, the two pairs of optics finally moved away from his form for what had to be the first time since their owners had stepped into his office. The twins' gazes met briefly, giving the impression that a shared thought was somehow passed between them. The tactician frowned slightly; he didn't want to know what was going through those half-crazed, semi-demented minds.

"Punishment?" Sideswipe asked somewhat tentatively, as if he hadn't heard the black and white mech in front of him utter those particular three syllables countless of times before.

Prowl's optics narrowed. "Yes. Or in other words, what happens when you don't follow orders from a superior officer."

He made a tired pause, expecting one or both of the twins to come up with a pathetic attempt at an excuse or explanation for their unacceptable behaviour like they normally would whenever the word 'punishment' was mentioned. 'The orders weren't clear enough', 'there has to be room for improvising', 'nobody said we couldn't' – he had heard them all. But this time, both of the twin terrors were silent. And to his befuddlement, they seemed almost... expectant?

He regarded the two with suspicion, trying to spot the hidden reason for this uncharacteristic behaviour. But there was nothing otherwise out of the ordinary, and now the stares were back again, fixed on him with an even stronger intensity than before. Prowl was suddenly reminded of how the canine organics that humans liked to keep as pets would look at their owners whenever they wanted to be fed or petted.

Oh well. He wasn't going to go easy on them, if that's what they expected.

"You will both be doing double shifts for ten consecutive days, starting today. Am I clear?"

He had expected the usual groans and moans to follow, but again, his expectations were thwarted.

"Double shifts? Is that all?" Sunstreaker yelled, voice dripping with unmistakable disappointment.

The tactician raised an optic ridge at the little outburst. "And what had you been expecting? I wouldn't mind increasing the sentence to twenty days, if that's what you want..."

Sunstreaker made an ugly grimace. "No, I just figured that maybe you could have been a little more creative in your apportion of punishment."

To his left, Sideswipe was nodding furiously. Prowl had an impression that he was missing a pivotal piece of the puzzle, but had no idea even what shape or colour he should look for. Then again, the twins were notoriously unpredictable, so perhaps there was little point in trying to apply logic or rational thought to their behaviour.

"Creative? Exactly what's that supposed to mean?" Prowl asked in an attempt to clear some of his confusion.

"Come on now, Prowl, use your imagination. We're locked into your office, both me and Sideswipe here, and we've been badly misbehaving... Given those circumstances, don't tell me you can't think of a more interesting punishment than extra shifts?" The yellow 'Bot leaned forward across the desk, inching himself closer towards the tactician.

The twins would remain a mystery to him, forevermore. Whatever it was they were fishing for, he had no idea.

"No, the punishments stands," Prowl informed the yellow 'Bot and his twin. "Now I believe the two of you have a shift starting in about a breem, so I'd suggest you go report for duty."

Sunstreaker grudgingly got up from his seat, a sullen mope on his face, not unlike that of a human child who had just gotten a bag of her favourite candy snatched out of her hands. Sideswipe, disappointment etched onto his features, stood up just a second later and followed his twin out the door. It closed with a loud bam, and the tactician was left alone in his office, shaking his head.

Well, he had no time to ponder the twins' oddness any further. The fight his team had had with the 'Cons this morning had resulted in a shattered headlight that he needed Ratchet to fix. And now was as good a time as any.