Chapter 11: Why and how

Sneaks this in and hopes she hasn't been away from it too long...



3 Felina

"He's not stabilizing, First Aid I need a flush on every pump he's got lets get to it we need to get the shrapnel out of his lines."

"Yes Ratchet." First aid turned to his station and began the work. They would work long into the night, drawing help from others around themselves.

Bluestreak mended a few of Wheeljack's smaller welds and line tears, enough to stabilize him, as the more critical Ironhide was placed in the highest priority.

Ratchet looked up at First Aid. "I need Energon, go to anyone and everyone who can donate, we're going to transfuse the lot of it."

"Ratch that's never been done before." First Aid said slowly. "You're talking about draining him and putting in whole new Energon?"

"Yes, he'll need it if he's to survive, and if there's a risk that he'll live, we'll do it." Ratchet looked up "Go to Prime first, every officer than can donate an Astro Liter, get it from them. We'll need a lot, Iornhide's a big mech."

"Yes Sir!" First Aid ran off to make his rounds grabbing a large case to take with him to draw out the necessary amounts of Energon.

Ratchet turned slowly his optics softening. "You must pull through this my friend, Primus knows if you do not survive neither will Optimus, he'd die of Spark-break."

"Would he?" Bluestreak asked.

Ratchet turned slowly. "Soldier; there's one thing I cannot fix, and it's a broken spark." He shook his head slowly. "Primus did not see fit to teach us that."

"What can I do?" Bluestreak asked still clutching Wheeljack's hand.

"Wheeljack is stable, if you would please come with me, you can donate an Asto Liter or two while you're here, and that will help immensely.

"Good strategy doc." Bluestreak said moving to his side prepped to move a shoulder panel out of the way to donate the allotted amount of Energon.

"Strategy?" Ratchet turned. "The code degradation."

"What?" Bluestreak shook his head "What are you talking about?"

"Ironhide suffers from a severe code degradation he's loosing his memory core, but we couldn't find where the drain was coming from." He looked at Bluestreak "You're a genious!" Ratchet bolted into the next room.

Bluestreak stood blinking his optical shutters wondering what had just happened. "You're welcome?" He murmured.

Jazz was knelt beside the berth and smiled looking up touching the large mobile of planets above Shadow's head making them spin. "Look kiddo I know this is really rough." Jazz started but found himself fumbling. "I know that this will be hard, but I need ya to recharge." Jazz put his hand on the side of Shadow's helm and thumbed away some of the congealed Energon at the corner ducts.

"I can't" He sobbed softly. "I can't"

Jazz sighed "Awe sure ya can." The silver mech stood and then sat on the edge of the berth and pulled the small mechling into his arms. "Hows about a story?" Jazz smiled, though that was hard.

"Like what?" the heels of the mechling's hands rubbed at his face.

"Hmm…Oh I have a good one." Jazz settled back slowly. "One day long ago, yer sire was a book keeper in the hall of records in a great city called Iocon. Now, we were great friends he and I. Still are." He smirked. "Now it was my job ta observe cultural changes on our planet. So it was really strange ta me when one day while in the gladiator pits I saw him sitting near by."

"What's a gladiator pit?" Shadow looked up slowly.

"That's a great question. It's a large arena where mechs fight one another."

"Do they die?" Shadow blinked his tears subsiding.

"Some did." He said slowly. "But that was the first night Optimus saw Ironhide." Jazz smirked.

"Was Ironhide one of those fighters?"

Jazz shook his head "Oh no, but he was in charge of security for the arena, making sure the fans didn't get inta any fights like the ones they were there to see."

"That sounds dangerous."

"Oh it was." Standing at the door Optimus smiled as Jazz told stories of Ironhide breaking up fights and then how finally after Optimus going to the Arena time and time again they took up courting one another. How the war started, and how they came to where they were now. "Little one things always happen for a reason, and I tell you what there was a reason Optimus noticed Ironhide that day, and I think Primus knew it too. I think ya were in the big guys plan all along." He smiled down at the recharging mechling in his hands and just sat there for a long time holding him. "Kid he's gonna get better." He told the recharging form. "It just has ta."

To lay the little one down Jazz had to stand and turn. "Thank you." Optimus said slowly from the door.

Looking up Jazz smiled at his friend as he pulled the small anti-static sheet over the mechling's body. "Not a problem boss."

Optimus nodded slowly, and was about to speak when a buzz at the main door silenced him. Turning he made his way to the door. Taking a deep breath to steel himself he allowed the door to open as First Aid smiled at him. "Sir we need some Energon for Ironhide." He said calmly."

Optimus stepped back allowing the Medic second-class to enter. "You shall have it." Turning the Commander found a seat and shifted one of his armor plates free on his arm.

Jazz took a seat beside him and a panel moved open on his leg and he nodded to First Aid. "Me too Aid…if it's for Ironhide."

When his optics opened he wasn't sure where he was. The bright lights around him made him question all he had been told about death. There was warmth and it moved through his veins to his very core. He felt strong and sturdy, and where there was once doubt there was only certainty.

"Ironhide." The voice was ethereal, like in a dream, calling his name. "Ironhide…" It repeated again, sounding like the mech he'd known years before. He tried to open his optics but they just seemed to be blinded when he tried. "Can he hear me?" the same voice asked.

"Oh yes." The response came in the form of a voice he knew well. There was no mistaking.

"Ratchet." Ironhide murmured. "Optimus."

"He's coming around." Ratchet smiled at Optimus who was leaned down over the berth. "He's going to be fine."

"And the code problems?" Optimus said slowly. "Their degradation?"

Ratchet shrugged as First Aid approached. "He worked a miracle for your Optimus, there shouldn't be any more trouble with his code."

Optimus vented a sigh of relief and put his helm against the broad torso plate of Ironhide who lay in a daze. "Orion?" He murmured.

"I'm here." Optimus grasped his fingers.

"Shadow?" Ironhide said slowly his head drifting from side to side in his haze. "Where's …where's Shadow?"

"Recharging, Jazz is with him." Optimus smiled. "You're going to be ok…" Optimus murmured. "You're going to live." It was spoken with more reverence than Optimus was capable.

Ratchet smiled softly and turned motioning First Aid out of the small room.

Ironhide's vision became clearer and the vision before him was one he had not expected to see again, he'd expected to stand at the well, to be judged by Primus. Blunt fingers reached up to run along the blue helm before him. "You look worn out." Ironhide murmured softly.

"That's because I am." Optimus laughed. "You got a complete Energon transfusion, and your battle computer has been replaced, along with a string of other-" Ironhide drew the mech's helm down and kissed him, if only, to shut him up. Ironhide didn't care about the why and how of it all. He just cared that Optimus was there.

Optimus would forgo his normal protests and just relish the moment.

"How do ya feel?" Jazz asked softly reaching up running his hand over Prowl's helm.

"I'm fine." Prowl insisted and slid over on the berth. "Get up here." He said. "Sit with me."

Jazz looked around before nodding and sliding up beside Prowl on the berth. "Not too much damage I hope?"

"No, just a few plate fractures, mesh wounds really." Prowl laughed. "I didn't even know I was damaged until First Aid told me to pick a berth." He laughed softly.

"Good ta hear ya laughing Prowler." Prowl nodded slowly. "Ironhide's awake, they are moving him back ta his quarters so Prime can watch ova' him."

"He's lucky to be alive." Prowl shifted up slightly letting Jazz's arm slide around his back strut. "We almost lost him."

"Glad we didn't." Jazz shrugged slowly. "Prime would 'ave been inconsolable, and I just dunno what we would 'ave done."

Prowl nodded. "We don't have to think about it now." His helm touched Jazz's with a soft clank. "Thank you for being here for me."

Jazz laughed "Don't have ta thank me fer that." He interlaced their fingers and laid back. Holding each other quietly they closed their optics and tried to recharge.

To be continued