Title: A Second Destiny
Author: Mirage Shinkiro
Warnings: mech/mech plug 'n' play and spark bonding, a.k.a. intimacy between androgynous and nonsexually reproducing but male-"pronoun'd" 'bots.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of TF, which belongs to Hasbro and Takara, and I'm not making any money from this.
Summary: G1. After Wheeljack loses the sparkling he was carrying, he and Ratchet struggle to heal from their grief and to become genitors again. Side story to "No Quiet to Find," but you don't have to read it to read this. WxR
Summary of "No Quiet" for background info: "No Quiet" is an AU set directly after TFTM 1986. Prowl, Ratchet, and Wheeljack were reactivated after many surgeries and repairs and are still alive. Wheeljack had been carrying a sparkling during the attack on Autobot City, but he lost it due to his extensive injuries. He and Ratchet promised to keep trying until they spark again, but when Prowl and Jazz succeeded in sparking first, it caused them extra pain and grief.
A/N, notes: :: :: will indicate comm. link or inter-bond talking. The concept of filament extensions came from Wyntir Rose's "Always and Forever."
A/N, units of time (source, TFwiki): nanoklik=1 second; klik=1.2minutes; breem=8.3 minutes; joor=roughly an hour; orn=a day; and vorn=83 years.
Set directly after chapter 5 and several weeks before chapter 6 of "No Quiet." Ratchet and Wheeljack have spark merged the previous night.
Chapter 1: Sparking
Wheeljack slipped onto a repair berth and fidgeted, trying and failing to hide his nervousness. As he waited for Ratchet to retrieve a scanner, he tried to distract himself by picking relentlessly at his leg armor. Given how hard they'd been trying to generate a sparkling, Wheeljack found he couldn't remain calm for his exam. Around him, the medbay was silent save for Ratchet's footsteps, the early morning quiet unbroken by anything except the hum of computer fans. However, instead of bringing him comfort, it only made him tenser.
"Relax," Ratchet said softly as he approached the berth. "Even if we didn't succeed last night, we got an excellent surge, so we should succeed soon."
"I can't help it," Wheeljack whispered, shifting restlessly. "We went ten orns without even trying, and then we did spark so powerfully . . ."
Ratchet reached up and triggered the release on Wheeljack's blast mask, then cupped his cheek. "Hey, we've struggled to make it this far, but despite our wounds and exhaustion, we'll succeed."
Wheeljack smiled, trying his best to remain positive. "I know. I promised you we would."
"It's not all dependent on you, even if your systems are optimal for carrying." Ratchet released his cheek and raised the scanner, running it over Wheeljack's chest. "Hmmm. The reading is ambiguous. Open your spark chamber for me so I can inspect it visibly."
Faintly trembling with tension, Wheeljack transformed the armor, folding it away from his spark. He wouldn't let himself look down, however, and instead trained his gaze on Ratchet's shoulder, staring at the red cross.
Ratchet leaned forward and gazed intently. "No sparkling."
Wheeljack flinched, unable to stop a surge of pain. I was so sure it'd worked that time, he thought, trying to hold back a wave of despair.
"However, there is good news." Ratchet straightened and squeezed his shoulders. "Your spark is retaining extra energy, and you have a Halo Effect."
"I do?" Wheeljack finally glanced down, feeling a flash of hope. Sure enough, a faint blue halo surrounded his spark, making it look twenty percent larger than normal as the halo's energy brushed the spark's energy. "Primus! We were so close."
"Since your systems are at a hundred percent, the Halo Effect should last for a good fifteen joors." Ratchet grinned.
Wheeljack's entire body tingled as desire flowed through their bond. He closed his chest armor and returned the grin. "Oh? Are you suggesting we try again today?"
"I wouldn't be opposed to trying several times today." Ratchet subspaced the scanner and snaked his arms around Wheeljack's shoulders. "In fact, since it's basically my fault we went so many orns without trying, I think I should give you extra special treatment." He ran his fingertips across Wheeljack's winglets, caressing the thin metal and setting off several sensory nodes.
Wheeljack shivered. "Oh, really? That wouldn't be 'revenge' for what I did to you last night, then?"
Ratchet laughed and grasped his chin with one hand. "Maybe. Or maybe I just want to see you moan."
Feeling his core body temperature jump several degrees, Wheeljack wrapped his hands around Ratchet's waist and pulled him close. "I haven't seen you this ready-to-go first thing in the morning for a long time."
Ratchet simply grinned and leaned down, brushing their lips together. "Maybe I should do something dangerous, like take you right here on this berth."
"Ratch!" Wheeljack felt simultaneously shocked and aroused, but he didn't get the chance to say anything more. Ratchet kissed him, coaxing his lips apart and slipping his glossa into his mouth. Wheeljack moaned and pressed into the kiss, suddenly not caring if half the base saw them.
A horrified voice interrupted them. "Ah, frag! I did not want to see that!"
With a groan, they pulled apart and glanced toward the medbay doors where Sunstreaker stood, his arms crossed. Several dents and patches of grey paint decorated his chassis.
"Sunny!" Ratchet growled, releasing Wheeljack. "Well, you wouldn't have had to see it if you'd just quit being so frisky with your bondmate." He pointed to an empty berth. "For someone who obsesses about his paint job, you sure are sloppy."
Sunstreaker snorted but made his way to the berth. "Hey, it's not like Blue's complaining."
Wheeljack shook his head and slipped off his own berth. "I didn't want to know that." Still, secretly he was amused. Ah, the antics of those young and newly-bonded, he mused to himself with a small smile.
"Why were you two making out here?" Sunstreaker asked as he lay down. "Aren't you guys too old for exhibitionism?"
Cringing, Wheeljack awaited Ratchet's nasty retort to the 'old' comment, but to his surprise, his mate chose another route.
Ratchet was giving Sunstreaker a fake sweet smile. "Because we've decided to spark and have twins, and we're going to make them both top-of-the-line Lamborghinis. Then we're going to set them loose to terrorize you and Sides."
Wheeljack laughed at Sunstreaker's wide-opticed horror. He looked like someone had just threatened to scrub his entire chassis with steel wool.
"Don't even joke like that," Sunstreaker finally muttered.
Ratchet gave him a maniacal laugh worthy of Galvatron.
Wheeljack sat in his lab staring at his computer terminal, where a sparkling design rotated on-screen. He sighed, forcing himself to leave the image up despite the pain it caused him to look at her, and crossed his arms, leaning back in his chair. When he'd created the specs and begun construction for the sparkling, he'd never imagined a battle as severe as the attack on Autobot City would take place. But fate had held a nasty turn in store for him, and now the unused protoform was locked in storage.
"I still say she's beautiful."
Wheeljack jumped, shocked to not have heard Ratchet enter the room, and glanced over his shoulder, watching his bondmate as he approached. "I know." His gaze wandered back to the root mode pictured on screen. The sparkling had a solid white body except for the pale grey of her face, hands, and lower legs. A red chevron graced her helm, and red and green racing stripes ran down her torso. They had already given her a designation and decided to call her Joyride. But Joyride had not even had the chance to live.
Wheeljack shook his head and pulled himself out of his thoughts. "We couldn't have done a better job designing her, really."
Ratchet hugged him from behind and kissed the top of his helm. "We'll spark, 'Jack. She'll come to life, just you wait and see."
Struck by Ratchet's sudden optimism, Wheeljack twisted in his embrace and looked up at him. "You suddenly seem so certain."
"The Halo Effect is an excellent sign." Ratchet smiled sadly. "And it's not fair. I've been the cynical, angry one-especially when I found out Prowl and Jazz had sparked twins-and you've been strong all this time, quick to comfort and reassure me. It's time I returned the favor."
Wheeljack offlined his optics and leaned against Ratchet's chest. "It has been hard." Just saying the words aloud lifted some of weight from his mind. "But you were injured even worse than I was, and you're still only functioning at 97.4 percent. I knew you needed me to be strong." He sighed, relaxing as Ratchet pulled him closer and rubbed his back.
"You're strong, all right," Ratchet murmured, massaging the joints where Wheeljack's winglets were connected to his back.
Wheeljack shivered reflexively as tension eased out of various cables. "I've been jealous of Prowl and Jazz, too. Happy for them, but jealous. I don't want those negative thoughts, but sometimes it hurts so much I want to purge my tanks. And in my nightmares, I see the image over and over: Soundwave shooting and me being unable to dodge in time. I feel the burst in my chest, and then I'm falling and-"
"Shhh." Ratchet kissed the top of his helm again. "Look, our shifts are over, and we can actually leave on time since there's no one in medbay, much less anyone with a critical injury. Hoist is going to be bored out of his mind. So let's just go back to our quarters and relax together."
Wheeljack onlined his optics and simply nodded. "Okay."
Ratchet released him and held out his hand, which Wheeljack accepted, content to be pampered for the time being. They held hands all the way to their quarters, simply smiling or nodding to the shocked 'bots they passed in the hallway. Wheeljack found himself amused at his friend's surprise, even if it was rare for him to leave his blast mask open or for Ratchet and him to hold hands publically.
Once they'd reached their quarters, they curled up with each other on their couch, leaving the cabin lights dimmed. It took some shifting, but Wheeljack could always arrange himself comfortably against Ratchet's larger chest.
"There," Ratchet whispered as Wheeljack settled in. They wrapped their arms around each other, and after a klik of silence, Ratchet spoke again. "I really am sorry I haven't been more supportive through all this. You're right about me. You always have been. I just bury myself in my work and hope the pain will vanish."
"I've just been bottling mine up." Wheeljack offlined his optics again, pulling a deep drought of air through his intakes and letting himself smile. "We're getting better, though, step-by-step."
Ratchet kissed his forehead. "This is one of the reasons I fell in love with you to begin with. You're always so positive. You never stay down for long, and you never give up."
"Maybe I'm just stubborn." Wheeljack chuckled.
"Okay, I can agree with that, too." The voice was mischievous.
Wheeljack onlined his optics and feigned outrage. "Hey!"
Ratchet was grinning. "I'm stubborn, too," he admitted, then brushed their lips together.
"Far more than I am," Wheeljack teased.
Ratchet snorted, then kissed him into silence, and Wheeljack slipped his glossa into his mouth, caressing and rubbing their glossae together. Ratchet moaned and stroked one of Wheeljack's winglets, drawing a shudder from him as the sensor nodes flared to life.
Realizing they'd make short work of each other, Wheeljack broke their kiss and grinned. "Why don't we move to the berth so we'll have more space?"
"Sounds good to me."
They stood, stealing kisses from each other as they crossed the room. When they reached the berth, Wheeljack leaned into Ratchet and brushed his lips across his audio. "We also don't waste time," he whispered, much amused.
Ratchet shivered at the touch. "No, I guess we don't." He turned Wheeljack around and eased him face-down onto their berth. "But remember, I said I'd give you special treatment today, so just relax and let me tease you."
"That's a bit contradictory." Wheeljack groaned in appreciation as Ratchet ran his hands down his chassis. "But okay."
Ratchet straddled the back of his legs and leaned down, nibbling the back of his neck. "Good." He ran his fingers over his winglets, caressing them with light strokes and causing Wheeljack to moan and arc upward. However, Ratchet pressed his shoulders down to the berth. "Now, now," he whispered into his audio. "You're all mine right now."
Wheeljack shuddered at the sexy tone and knew he was utterly doomed. "A-all right."
With a faint chuckle, Ratchet resumed his efforts, kissing down his back and the licking slowly up the edge of one winglet. Wheeljack hissed in pleasure, but with Ratchet still holding him down, he couldn't even involuntarily move. Then Ratchet kissed his way over to the opposite winglet, licking across the expanse of sensitized metal, and Wheeljack moaned faintly.
"Ah, frag," Wheeljack gasped, his active imagination guessing what would come next.
"Very definitely," Ratchet said, his lips brushing his winglet as he spoke, and then he began sucking winglet's edge softly. He released one of Wheeljack's shoulders and moved his hand to the opposite winglet. After a pause, Wheeljack felt the warm, smooth medical filaments extend from Ratchet's fingers and slip into his transformation seam, setting the circuits ablaze as the wires parted under the gentle penetration.
Wheeljack cried out, bucking under the touch. "R-ratchet!"
"Stay still for me, love." Warm lips grazed his neck.
Struggling against his natural impulse to return the touches, Wheeljack forced himself to lie still, and he panted, drawing air into his systems in an attempt to cool them.
"That's right," Ratchet whispered, and Wheeljack felt the other hand against his opposite winglet. He moaned, his body burning with anticipation. He felt the soft extensions pressing into the seam, slowly parting the wires, and then Ratchet released a pulse of electricity through his circuits. Wheeljack's moans broke into a yell.
Ratchet shifted and then licked his vocal indicator, tracing its edges even as he slowly pressed his fingers into Wheeljack's shoulder joints, caressing the circuits with soft pulses. Unable to support any of his weight, Wheeljack lay collapsed against the berth and moaned helplessly. Ratchet was deep inside him, stroking places rarely ever touched, and all he could do was lie there and gasp in pleasure, overcome by the feelings.
Gently extracting his fingers, Ratchet crawled off of him and carefully flipped him over onto his back. "I haven't seen you this relaxed in a long while," he quipped, kissing and nibbling his way down his throat.
"I'm so paying you back in the morning." Wheeljack leaned his head back, exposing more of his throat, and shivered at the touches.
Ratchet laughed and kissed down his chassis, only to stop and hover at his interface chamber. "Then I better really give you something worth paying back."
Realizing what his bondmate had in mind, Wheeljack gasped. "Oh, Primus-"
Ratchet leaned down and licked the rim of the panel door, teasing it. Wheeljack cried out, arching his hips upward into the contact; however, Ratchet grabbed his hips and pressed them to the berth.
"You aren't escaping," he whispered, licking the seam again.
Wheeljack writhed against him and moaned, grabbing his upper arms brutally. But he didn't pull away, didn't try to tease back as usual. Instead, he triggered his chamber open, then screamed in pleasure as Ratchet dipped his glossa inside, licking the coiled wire and port there.
"Slaggit, Ratch!" He gasped, his hips bucking upward despite the powerful grip on them. But Ratchet just delved in again, teasing and tormenting him as he licked the cord and port.
"Ratchet!" Wheeljack tugged on his arms, his entire frame shaking. "Take me already!"
At those words, Ratchet immediately moved up his body and triggered his own chamber open. "That's a request I can't deny," he said, smiling. He pulled out Wheeljack's cord, caressing it once before snapping it into his dataport, then plugged his own cord into Wheeljack's port. Wheeljack arched against him as he sent an intense wave of energy through his body.
Ratchet wrapped his arms under his shoulders and head, pulling him into a kiss as he sent a second pulse through him. Wheeljack moaned into the kiss, then sent the pulse back, radiating heat through his bondmate's body. Ratchet gasped, so Wheeljack sent a harder pulse, a surge of energy that looped through them and made them both cry out.
::I can't hold on any longer!:: Wheeljack said through their bond.
::Open up for me.:: Ratchet transformed his armor, moving it away from his spark chamber.
Wheeljack immediately folded back his plating and pressed their chests together, making their sparks collide powerfully. They both screamed, their pleasure multiplied and intensified as their minds and essences merged. Clinging to each other, they moaned as pulse after pulse raced between their sparks and burned through their cords. Arching into one another, they overloaded, yelling with the climax before knocking each other offline.
Wheeljack awakened first, realized his spark chamber had triggered closed from his emergency protection protocols, and relaxed. A klik later, Ratchet stirred and propped himself up, looking tired still. His spark chamber had closed as well.
"Wow," Wheeljack said, grinning. "You really went out of your way to overload me as much as possible."
Ratchet laughed. "Just taking excellent advantage of the Halo Effect. Not to mention I love to tease you senseless."
Still connected through their dataports, Wheeljack pinged his bondmate with a pulse of joy and love. "If that didn't generate a sparkling, I don't know what will."
"Oh, I dunno." Ratchet gave him a naughty little smirk. "If that doesn't work I'll haul out the energizer and tease your spark with it until you forget your name."
Wheeljack shivered as a raging wave of lust passed through his circuits. "If I am carrying now, you're going to get it out anyway, and I'm going to tease you senseless."
"I won't exactly complain." Ratchet chuckled and disconnected their cords, coiling them back into place. "Let's get to the medbay." He paused, then smiled softly. "Actually, more than enough time has passed. Open up for me again and let me have a look."
Wheeljack returned the smile, feeling oddly touched at the intimacy, and triggered his spark chamber open. Ratchet's faint gasp told him what he wanted to know.
"We did it," Ratchet whispered.
Wheeljack gazed down at his chest, where a tiny blue sparkling was nestled against his own spark, a ribbon of energy passing between them. "Yeah, we did." He burned the sight into his memory banks, too overjoyed to speak further, then closed his chest and kissed his bondmate.
Ratchet returned the kiss, a slow, gentle one. When they parted, he caressed Wheeljack's cheek. "Now let's go. I want to run a full diagnostic."
Wheeljack nodded, and they climbed off their berth, holding each other's hands tightly as they made their way to the medbay. Ratchet spent three solid breems running scans and taking energy readings, and then finally nodded in satisfaction.
"The sparkling is strong. Very strong." Ratchet laughed.
"You did give it everything you had," Wheeljack teased. He smiled as his touched his chest, relieved to know he was a genitor again. "We should summon Prowl and Jazz and tell them. I think they'd want to be the first to know, even if we wait a long time to tell anyone else."
Ratchet opened his comm. link. "Sure." He paused as the link went live. ::Ratchet to Prowl.::
A groggy voice wafted over the connection. ::Prowl here.::
::Would you and Jazz mind stopping by medbay momentarily?::
A pause, then Jazz's voice came over the link instead. ::Ya sound awful happy, Ratch! We'll be there in a few kliks.::
Wheeljack sat up on the berth and swung his legs over the side. Sitting by him, Ratchet put his arm around his shoulders and hugged him.
"Love you," Ratchet whispered.
Wheeljack wrapped his arm around his waist and hugged back. "Love you, too."
A few peaceful kliks passed as they leaned against each other, then the medbay doors hissed open, admitting Prowl and Jazz. Jazz took one look at them and whooped.
"It's good news, right?" he asked. "Tell me ya sparked!"
Wheeljack laughed. "We're that obvious, huh?"
"That's wonderful." Prowl smiled at them. "Congratulations. I knew you could do it."
Jazz just ran across the room and gave them a hug. "Group hug," he joked. Wheeljack and Ratchet used their free arms to hug him back, and when he released them, he grinned. "That's awesome. Congrats, ya two."
A dry voice interrupted them from the doorway. "What? More public displays of affection?"
Everyone turned to stare at Sunstreaker, who was covered in grey paint patches.
"Not again," Ratchet said.
Sunstreaker was shaking his head at Jazz. "You really have gotten super touchy-feely since you started carrying."
Prowl was glaring at him. "Is that Bluestreak's paint?"
Sunstreaker grew very still. "Hey, we're bonded. You can't exactly say anything . . . sir."
"Oh, really?" Jazz crossed his arms. "Who said we had to say anything? The last time I checked I was more creative than that."
Sunstreaker held up both hands. "Look, I realize you guys see him as an adopted sparkling, but he's an adult. And we're bonded." He glanced at Wheeljack and Ratchet and frowned. "I'm more interested in why I've caught you two engaging in PDA two mornings in a row. And what was that 'congratulations' for?"
Wheeljack and Ratchet traded looks, then Ratchet stood and grinned evilly. "Oh, nothing much. Like we told you yesterday, Wheeljack and I have decided to have twins."
"So we decided to tell Prowl and Jazz our plan," Wheeljack added, standing as well, "and now we've agreed we should make all four sparklings Lamborghini models. You and Sides won't get a single night's recharge for the next vorn."
Jazz burst into laughter.
"Never mind," Sunstreaker said. "I'll return when you all are acting less weird." He snorted and left the room.
Ratchet turned to Wheeljack, his expression totally deadpan. "I wonder how he'll react when he finds out we really have sparked."
Wheeljack grinned. "I can't wait until both him and Sides find out we really did choose a Lamborghini model for Joyride's alt mode."
"That should be priceless!" Ratchet laughed. "I want their expressions recorded for all time."
"I'll rig the security cameras to capture it if you just set a time," Jazz said.
"And I know the perfect time," Prowl added. "Since many of our friends will have to travel from Cybertron for our Sparkling Unveiling ceremony, we should double up and use the party to unveil your sparkling as well."
Wheeljack stared at him, feeling oddly nervous. "Well, that's logical. But I'll only be five Earth weeks into the gestation process, and if something goes wrong-"
"Nothing will go wrong," Prowl interrupted. "Even Ratchet has said you're in perfect health."
Ratchet shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot. "That's true, but after all we've been through, it's just that-"
Jazz slipped behind them and swung an arm around each of their shoulders. "It's just that ya need a big party! It's time to let go of some of that grief so ya can celebrate. Grab the future for all it's worth, man. These are our sparklin's yer talkin' about."
"I suppose you're right." Wheeljack gave Ratchet a smile. "We can easily get Joyride ready in time since we've already started."
Ratchet nodded. "Very well. Let's do it."
Jazz released them and clapped his hands together. "Excellent! Watch out universe, the Triple Terrors are headed yer way!"
"Don't curse us like that," Prowl said, but he was smiling.
Ratchet laughed again, and Wheeljack grinned to himself, feeling as though a hole in his spark had finally been filled.
Postscript: Edited Sept. 13, 2009. The Joyride mentioned in this chapter should not be confused with the Powermaster of the same designation.