This is barely a blurb of a fic. Just the result of a talk with Moonsheen, an excellent writer, on the subject of how much fun you can have with culture shock and Giant Alien Robot antics in the 2007 movie adaptation.
It had been some months since the destruction of the Allspark when Ratchet called Sam and Mikaela aside, asking to speak with them privately. Sam had given Mikaela a confused, 'well why not?' look as Ratchet had ushered them a little ways from where Ironhide and Bumblebee were … well, doing whatever giant alien robots did when they weren't fighting other giant alien robots.
Sam still didn't know that much about Bumblebee, he realized. He didn't know that much about any of the Autobots. Official liason to the aliens or not, school still ate up most of his time, and Bumblebee could only barely speak these days; there was only so much he could communicate about his fellows through radio songs. Optimus Prime was negotiating with the United States; Ironhide helped through Lennox and was rarely around himself, functioning as their new family car. The most interaction Sam and Mikaela both had with Ratchet was when Bumblebee was having new legs built, and during most of that Ratchet had been dismissive of them or Mikaela had been riding up his proverbial butt with questions about how mechanized entities worked. So he couldn't imagine what Ratchet could need Mikaela and Sam away from the others for.
Ratchet walked slowly ahead of them, each step ponderous and worth twenty paces of Sam's legs. When Ratchet deemed them a good enough distance around the lake, he folded his legs into a sort of crouch. Sam caught up to him and Mikaela caught his hand; Sam couldn't help the quick, nervous smile he sent her way, his own private euphoria at dating a chick as smart and hot as Mikaela welling in his chest. "So, what's up?" Mikaela asked, giving the half-shrug she used when she was trying to look nonchalant while not feeling that way.
Ratchet eyed them for a long moment. "I wished to apologize to you," he said at length, in that oddly cultured voice, like a British guy who'd been in the United States for a long time. Heck, 'Bee and Ironhide have kinda British accents too. Don't foreigners in movies always have British accents? Sam thought. Did they do that on purpose? Nah, then Prime would sound British. And Jazz would have … Sam tried to get off that train of thought as Ratchet continued.
"I know it has been some time, but there has been much to occupy us. I was sorting through my memory banks when I discovered I made a considerable faux pas when we first met." He looked back and forth between Sam and Mikaela and then between them, to their joined hands, and Sam realized what he was talking about.
"Oh, the – th-that pheromone thing?" he exclaimed, feeling the back of his neck get hot. Mikaela squeezed his hand and she ran the fingers of her free hand through her hair, glancing down. "Yeah, well – you know – it's nothing. It's – it doesn't matter," Sam stammered, even as Mikaela began speaking over him: "Yeah, it's fine. It's not like you knew."
Ratchet's turbines whined like the approximation of a sigh. "Bumblebee has informed me that humans are not aware of pheromone output."
'Bee did? Sam wondered. How? Maybe they had other ways of communicating besides their voices and the radio. They were big walking computers, after all. And thinking about all this was just enough to keep Sam from blushing to the roots of his hair. Pheromone levels, man! And truth be told he still wanted to 'mate' with Mikaela, but there just hadn't been a 'right time' yet.
"I thought for certain you both were already aware of your attraction," Ratchet continued blithely. "Most biological creatures use pheromone levels as an indicator to potential mates of sexual readiness, fertile cycles, and—"
"Woah, woah woah, Ratchet, woah, stop," Sam gasped, now winded from sheer embarrassment. He held up his hand as if to physically ward off Ratchet's words. Mikaela was looking at the lake and shooting darting glances Sam's way. "Okay, we got it. We-we both took biology class, we got it."
Ratchet took in their obvious discomfort with an unintelligible whiiirr-click. "… So, I assumed humans operated in much the same manner. It was a mistake, and I am sorry."
Sam scrubbed at the back of his head with his uplifted hand, taking a deep breath. The apology had been almost as bad as the original offense! "It's okay," Sam groaned. "Apology accepted." He glanced at Mikaela, suddenly realizing that it sounded like he was speaking for both of them, but she was nodding in a slightly jerky way and agreeing.
"Yeah. Apology accepted." Her eyes met Sam's, and she gave Sam's hand another reassuring squeeze. Sam wondered if this was going to lead to an awkward conversation down the road, but Mikaela looked back up at Ratchet. "So, that'll teach you to assume stuff, huh?"
Ratchet paused. "I suppose. Is that a rhetorical question?" he asked.
Sam ignored this input, taking advantage of Mikaela's welcome lightheartedness. "Come on. You know what they say about when you assume, don't you?" Ratchet very well may have from the Internet.
But Ratchet didn't seem to. Mikaela half-smirked at Sam, and they said in near-unison, "It makes an ass out of you and me!" Sam laughed; old and stupid the joke might be, but it was pretty apt for this situation and he was just relieved Mikaela wasn't going to make jokes about male pheromone levels. Was she?
Ratchet just stared, though, taking a long moment to either make sense of the pun or to file it away under 'stupid things humans said and did'. Then, very slowly, he said, "Assumptions make donkeys out of humans?"
"Oh, come on," Mikaela groaned, pounding a gentle fist against Ratchet's massive leg. "I know you didn't just make that mistake."
Ratchet chuckled, a burst of electronic sound. "You might assume so, if you wish." And so saying, he got to his feet. "A ride back to the others?" he asked, starting to fold back into the shape of the Fire&Rescue Hummer he was in alt-mode.
Sam quickly grinned at Mikaela, who smiled back. "Sure," he said, and they climbed into the truck hand in hand.