Title: War Rules

Summary: TF:A. Sequel to Danger Zone. Ratchet's visitations with Arcee are cut short when his is reassigned.

Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers.

A/N: This story should last a few chapters. How many I cannot say. I have yet to determine that myself. I have the beginning and ending planned out and certain parts in the middle. Now all I need to do is piece it together into something I hope resembles a story.

I had hoped to post soon after posting "Danger Zone." Like maybe 1 or 2 weeks after, but that just didn't happen.

Upcoming characters are borrowed from G1, although I aim to make them my own.

Chapter One

After tossing another empty cube aside, Ratchet reached for another. Three other empty containers lay scattered just beyond his feet, carelessly chucked aside. There would be more than enough time for Ratchet to clean up the evidence before his roommates returned.

Ratchet snorted at the word "roommates." The bunking shelters housed an Autobot no more than one or two recharges before they were shipped off to some spark-forsaken piece of the war zone. So could soldiers count each other as roommates when all they had done was share a room for one resting period?

Beside the point, Ratchet hadn't even tried to sit on one of the few bunks available. Instead he slid to the floor, his legs stretched out.

The medical officer looked the part of a sorry excuse. At least it matched his mood.

Ratchet made no move to stand when he heard an access code being entered just outside the door, other than a quick glance. From the dizzying effects and light buzz in his CPU, Ratchet concluded he would simply make a further fool of himself.

'Giving up already?'

Ratchet wished that annoying voice that had slowly imprinted itself into his thoughts would stop. He longed for the days of his youthful exuberance, when he thought all he knew was right and there was no second guessing himself.

'Ah. The days of youth…when was that again?'

Ratchet didn't indulge the voice any further.

As difficult as the pass few days had been for Ratchet, he felt a heavy weight pull him down when the door slid aside and Ultra Magnus entered. That Autobot certainly had a knack for finding a bot he was searching for. Sometimes the search took longer than expected, but Ultra Magnus always found his mark.

"Ratchet." It was greeting, borderlining on a question. Perhaps it had something to do with the way Ultra Magnus was eyeing the empty cubes.

"Sir." When Ratchet tried to stand to do a proper salute, Ultra Magnus motioned him to stay seated.

"I am here to offer congratulations, condolences, and repayment. Your visitations with Arcee are reinstated." Ultra Magnus barely stop for Ratchet to properly react. "But first there is a matter that must be taken care off first."

Ratchet could hear himself utter 'hmph.'

"The Allspark." That seemed to be explanation enough and Ratchet nodded him a reply. Ultra Magnus continued. "And there is the matter of the ship."

Ratchet went rigid. "You don't have to do a thing about it Sir."

"Do not forget Ratchet, I am the commander of this army!" Ultra Magnus bit with hostility.

Had he been on his feet, Ratchet would have withdrawn a step. "Yes Sir. Sorry Sir."

Ultra Magnus held Ratchet under his hardened gaze for a long while before he spoke again. "Omega Supreme and the others were your teammates, Ratchet, and your concerns will be addressed." Ultra Magnus turned to leave like nothing had happened. "The designated time and area will be sent to you. Until then, why don't you go visit Arcee or join a victory celebration?"

The door opened and Ultra Magnus offered one last glance at the medic before stepping out, leaving Ratchet to himself.

'All the points for that round go to, drumroll: Ultra Magnus.'

There was that voice again.

Picking up another cube and downing the substance too quick for his liking, Ratchet removed himself from the floor and swayed to the door.

Arcee awaited.


Ratchet legs felt drained and he winced when they sunk low scrapping the floor. What a gaudy noise it made. In one arm the medic carried energon rations and in the other arm were datapads.

Today's visit with Arcee would go like any other.

Arcee's recognition was still like that of a computer. Even if Arcee addressed each individual like a primitive computer program, Ratchet was determined to carry on his work. The mech had spent megacycles combing through the public feeds, fishing out IDs and filtering out info he deemed unnecessary. Arcee's regular updates on the war didn't need to be depressing news.

Lost in his own musings, Ratchet bumped shoulders with a passing Autobot.

The smaller bot stopped to apologize, but Ratchet turned a growl on the bot first. "Watch where you're going you walking pile-up!"

Returning to his previous stride, Ratchet resumed his course to Arcee's room, grumbling all along the way. The Autobot Ratchet hit remained where he was, mouth gaping open, wondering what he had done to deserve the harsh words.

In the previous stellar cycle, Ratchet was beginning to get irritated by everything; the war, the people, and the ceaseless talking. Even the building and the halls were troubling the medic. The halls were too narrow. An Autobot couldn't walk down a hallway without things going astray!

Ratchet wasn't a fool. He'd been lectured by other medics regarding the consequences of taking Arcee into his utmost care. Ratchet had cast himself in the role of being Arcee's guide. The femme had become everything his life revolved around now a days.

He was constantly worrying if she needed anything.

As time passed, Ratchet's attitude grew bitter towards the others. His social standing fell. The respect that peers and patients held for him dwindled.

That tedious task of attending to the walking wounded was beyond aggravating now. Worst yet was that the wounded were being brought in by the dozen every megacycle.

Having his patience already pushed past the limits, Ratchet began snapping at everyone.

But he could have cared less because his devotion to Arcee seemed all worth it.

When the medic entered his charge's room, he halted and the items he was carrying clattered to the floor. Besides some equipment and one visitor, the room was bare. The berth was empty and Arcee was no where to be seen.

A red and orange mech was lounging in Ratchet's chair. The same chair the medic used when feeding information to Arcee. The red and orange mech appeared to be waiting for him because he stood and smiled earnestly.

"Hello Ratchet." That smile played its way into the mech's voice. This mech sounded far too cheerful for Ratchet's liking. "I hope you remember this handsome face."

The memory hit like a blast from point blank range. The red and orange mech had been one of the melee force that pulled Arcee and him out of the battlefield all those steller cycles ago. From his glossy red and orange finish to his cheery attitude he seemed to be doing well.

"Where's Arcee?"

The mech made a mock thinking pose. "You know what…I don't know. Did you try asking Magnus? He's real good at finding people."

Ratchet stopped to think. The answer could be as easy as a change of room. It could have been done easily. Ratchet had been distracted for a few megacycles, any number of things could have happened in that time.

"Not a fan of small talk, hey? How about insults? Good-natured remarks? We could turn this into a game." The mech suddenly perked and his hand moved to one of his audio receptors. It was an incoming transmission. He nodded and barked a couple of "yes" replies before the transmission ended and he turned to Ratchet in a huff. He looked much like a young bot whose fun was cut short.

The mech straightened and he suddenly had the air of leadership about him. Albeit, that image faded as he spoke. "Skipping past these awkward pleasantries…Field Commander Rodimus Prime, reporting," he said with a quick salute. Then with a playful wink, "And it ain't no weather report."

Ratchet was rendered speechless by this Rodimus Prime. He seemed to be trapped in some kind of foolish mind-set.

"Hm…still nothing." Rodimus crossed his arms and dimmed his optics to think. "That attitude's just not going to work on my team."

Words finally formed in Ratchet's vocal components. "Your team?"

Rodimus took a casual step back and plopped onto Ratchet's chair again. The aura of leadership seemed to return to him in this casual setting. "Yes, my team. You've met them. Smokescreen? Hardhead? Wheeljack? Hound?" He paused for moment, hoping for some reply from this apathetic bot, then with mock hurt added, "Don't tell me you didn't even bother to learn our names?!"

Ratchet reached out for something to balance him. His hand settled on the wall.

"By the Allspark," Rodimus craned his neck slightly and hid a smile behind his hand. "This is going to be interesting."

To Be Continued…

A/N: Thank you Cured Blessing! Without your editing my stories would be a big mess!