A/N: Ratchet and Wheeljack, as individuals, are some of my absolute favorites. As a couple, I just wanna eat them up. The way they interact with one another on the show just makes me giggle. I couldn't resist writing them for long.
As the smoke began to clear, the room's vents carrying the toxic gasses and less harmful soot outside the Ark, revealing the extent of the damage that lay before him,Ratchet had to suppress a cringe. Experience had often proved that Wheeljack's explosions largely looked worse than they were. Even with this knowledge, though, something was telling him that this was bad. Very bad. Then again, he always got that feeling. Ratchet attributed it to the rather annoyingly inconvenient and ever-growing feelings of something more than just friendly affection he had for the engineer.
A scorched and overturned table off to Ratchet's left groaned. It was a very loud groan, a cross between pain and frustration, one that sounded a lot like those his friend tended to give when he came to after such explosions occurred. Ratchet, scowling darkly in an attempt to hide his concern, marched over, kicking debris out of his way.
"Didn't we just do this a deca-cycle ago?" he snarled, rounding the table and coming upon the scorched and soot-covered engineer. He was sitting up – a good sign – and looked only mildly dazed.
"Coulda sworn 's been longer than that," he denied, vocalizer hissing with intermittent static.
"No." Ratchet's scowl deepened, and he put his fisted hands on his hips. "It was one short deca-cycle ago that I was scraping your sorry aft off the walls, and yet here you are! Slagged again!"
"Oh, come on," Wheeljack scoffed. "That last one was hardly anything. I was outta Med Bay in two joors!"
"I highly doubt you'll be so lucky this time," the medic growled, giving his friend a quick once-over with both optics and scanner. "It'll take me all orn to hammer you out."
"You need an extra hand?" Wheeljack asked cheekily, holding up his – completely severed – left hand in his right one. Ratchet made an indignant sound.
"That's not funny, Jack!"
Wheeljack only chuckled, headfins flashing a merry blue, as he waggled the hand back and forth, like it was waving at him.
"Jack, stop it!" Ratchet snapped. "You blew off your hand. That's no laughing matter!"
"Oh, come on, Ratch," the inventor scoffed flippantly. "Where's your sense of humor?"
"Right where I left it, in my office," Ratchet scowled, lowering himself to his knees to begin the most crucial of repairs. "Does it hurt?"
"Not really," Wheeljack admitted.
"Slaggit," Ratchet growled as he began sealing off fuel lines. "That means you blew the circuits in your whole arm. And that means another orn of nothing but rewiring for me."
"Just gives me more time to spend in your pleasurable company," Wheeljack said. Although his mouth was covered, Ratchet just knew he was smirking at him. It did nothing to sweeten Ratchet's sour mood.
"Jack, I can think of a million other things I'd rather be doing with you than patching up your sorry aft," Ratchet grumbled.
"Oh yeah?" Wheeljack challenged. "Cuz with the way you're always snarling at me, one would think the last thing you would want to do is spend extra time with me."
"I do not snarl," Ratchet said loftily.
"It's only when you deserve it!"
"I must deserve it a lot," Wheeljack commented off-handedly.
"Well, you do have this spectacular habit of blowing yourself to slag at regular intervals," Ratchet said sarcastically. "And in my datafile, that merits a good dressing down. Can you walk?"
"I think so," Wheeljack affirmed. "If you help get me on my pedes."
"Good." Ratchet stood with a creak of joints and extended his arm. "Give me your hand."
Optics crinkling and headfins flashing brightly, only signs that he was again smirking broadly beneath his mask, Wheeljack extended his blown off hand to the medic. Ratchet gave a low growl, snatching the detached appendage away from his friend and stowing it away in subspace before reaching down and grasping the engineer by his good hand and yanking him to his pedes. Wheeljack's equilibrium chip was not prepared for the abruptness, and he stumbled into Ratchet's chestplates.
"Nice, Ratch," he muttered, righting himself. He swayed for a brief moment, but his systems caught up with his new position and he soon was stable. He took a tentative step, then another when he did not fall over. Soon he had crossed the scorched remains of his lab, albeit with Ratchet's hand guiding him by the arm, and he weaved a bit, but he was walking.
"Good to go!" he said cheerily, warning, "Just don't let go of me."
"What do I look like, an idiot?" Ratchet grumbled, leading his friend out of the double doors of his lab, the only thing that appeared to have been unaffected by the blast that had just taken place. They dutifully slid open for them, then closed with a soft whir as soon as they were in the corridor. They walked – staggered, in Wheeljack's case – in silence for some time before the engineer spoke up.
"So!" he said cheerfully. "What are all these things you'd rather be doing with me instead of constant repairs?"
"What?" Ratchet frowned at the unexpected tangent.
"I've got some time off coming up," Wheeljack explained. "Figured I could drag you outta your precious Med Bay long enough to have a little fun. Been forever since we've just spent some time together. I'm looking for ideas, so let's hear!"
"A little fun," Ratchet repeated, giving his friend an incredulous look.
"You always make it sound so dirty and wrong," Wheeljack chuckled. "Seriously. I'm gonna make you, so it might as well be something you wanna do."
Ratchet did not like the implication that he was going to be forced out of his med bay. Perhaps it was that threat, stirring up anger within him, that made him answer the way he did.
"Well, we could always go for a nice drive," he said, voice dripping with sarcastic disdain. "Take in the wonderful, war-scarred scenery. Or we could stay here, play some of the Twins' obnoxious holo-games. Or open up a few cubes of high-grade, kick back and just chat for a while. Or frag, we could just skip the date portion all together and go straight to the part where I interface your processors out."
Wheeljack suddenly stopped walking. Ratchet, not expecting the sudden change of pace, kept going, nearly pulling the engineer off balance. Looking back at his friend with an expectant frown, the medic tugged on his arm.
"You forget how to keep moving?" he asked snidely.
Wheeljack just stared at him, optics oddly blank.
"Don't kid about things like that," he said gravely, all trace of his usual merriment absent from his voice.
"Why not?" Ratchet demanded, frown deepening.
Wheeljack continued to stare unflinchingly at him, an odd combination of emotions filling his optics, as he responded with a heavy voice, "Because I've waited too long for you to say something like that to me, and I don't think I can stand it if you're just going to turn it into a joke."
Ratchet's spark flared in his chest, flooding him with a wave of warm hope. He had never dared to believe that his friend would feel the same way he did. Assuming he was alone in these emotions of great affection and – dare he say it – love, he had indeed said the comment half in jest. While he would have loved nothing more than to follow through on his word and interface his friend into senseless oblivion, he expected Wheeljack to laugh, not to stare up at him with a look of such hurt, such pain, such longing...
Slowly stepping closer to his friend, the hand not still holding him by the arm tentatively came up to stroke at one of Wheeljack's headfins, brush down his chin, then rest on his covered cheekplate. Wheeljack didn't move, still staring hungrily up at the medic.
"Jack," Ratchet said softly. "You know I don't have my sense of humor with me today. I left it in my office, remember?"
Something new arose in his friend's optics: hope, so achingly similar to what was steadily rising in himself. Wheeljack stared at him for a moment longer, as if searching for any hint of falsehood to what he was suggesting. There was none to be found. In movements too quick for Ratchet to anticipate, Wheeljack retracted his blast mask and surged forward, capturing his lip components in a kiss.
Ratchet moaned at the small burst of electricity that came with Wheeljack's boldness, off-lining his optics at the sudden pleasure that tingled through his circuits. Red hand slipping from his cheekplate to cup the back of his neck, he tilted Jack's helm farther back, changing the angle and increasing the pressure of their kiss. Their first kiss. Primus help him, Ratchet actually felt a little thrill of giddiness run through him at the thought.
Wheeljack's hand came up to gently caress Ratchet's cheekplate and the side of his helm. Encouraged by the touches, Ratchet's glossa flicked out, begging entrance to Wheeljack's mouth. The engineer gave it readily, lip components parting, glossa eagerly meeting Ratchet's own. They tangled together, stroking and caressing and sending small shivers of pleasure running down Ratchet's spinal struts.
After a moment – it could have been just a breem later, it could have been a joor; Ratchet had lost all sense of time, having been so thoroughly wrapped up in Wheeljack – they both pulled back, intakes working heavily. As his senses slowly returned to him, Ratchet gave a grimace of disgust.
"What, am I that bad?" Wheeljack asked, frowning slightly.
"Far from it," Ratchet assured him. "You just taste like soot and singed wiring right now."
Wheeljack looked momentarily surprised, but then, glancing down and reminding himself of the state he was in, he gave a hearty laugh.
"My bad," he apologized. "I just couldn't help myself."
"Mm, I'm not surprised," Ratchet said musingly. "I am a rather tempting piece of aft."
Wheeljack ground together the gears in the back of his vocalizer in a snort.
"Thought you left your sense o' humor in yer office," he retorted with a smirk.
"I did," Ratchet insisted, pretending to look affronted. "You don't think I'm attractive?"
"Pardon me for saying," Wheeljack smiled dryly, "but I fell in love with your CPU, not yer aft."
Ratchet's spark stuttered at Wheeljack's easy use of the 'L' word. He smiled down at his friend – well, a bit more than friend, now – with genuine affection.
"Likewise," he said, stroking Wheeljack's cheekplate once more before letting his hand fall back to his side and his faceplates turn serious. "Now come on, let's get you to Med Bay."
They resumed walking, silence reigning for a moment.
"So how long you think it'll take you to put me back together?" Wheeljack suddenly asked with an air of innocent curiosity, an air Ratchet did not buy.
"Two or three orns, four at the most," the medic answered. "Why?"
Wheeljack had not yet replaced his blast mask, so Ratchet was clearly able to see the mischievous smirk that twisted his lip components.
"Just wanna know when you'll be able to make good on that promise to 'face my processors out."