Prompt: Caring

Transformers © Hasbro

The roar of jet turbines were all to be heard from the otherwise morosely silent and bitterly retreating Decepticons. Billows of smoke chugged and coughed from their damaged engines, leaving long trails of dirty grey marring the immaculate white clouds. The Autobots on the other hand were wholly raucous, if not yelling obscenities and insults with all the reach their vocals could grant, letting the the barrel of their guns speak for them.

It wasn't until the final Decepticon pedes disappeared beyond Earth's stratosphere that Ironhide grudgingly lowered his still smoking canon. Some may have deemed it as overkill (pun only partially intended) but the old mech couldn't see anything really wrong with taking a few shots for good measure at the swarm's stragglers; particularly when he was breaking out a newly crafted and gleaming long-range plasma canon.

The weapons specialist harrumphed, slowly coming back into awareness of the post-battle happenings. Soldiers were feverishly sweeping the expanse of the battlefield, searching for any of their missing comrades. Several already had, now making a bee-line with their quarry back to the medical team. Ironhide grimaced at the number of prone and smoking figures lined up for treatment.

With a rustic growl he trudged over to the focal point of action. He knew his presence was neither required nor longed-for by the medics, so settled for reporting straight to Prime.

He found the colossal 'Bot on the outer rings of the throng in the midst of conversing with Prowl. By the sound of their tones it seemed to be a fairly regulation discussion; nothing sounding too critical or serious. Ironhide figured it safe to interrupt and ask for consent to rally all undamaged 'Bots back to base and out of the way.

He lumbered up to the two with a casual civility easily accessed through millennia of working with them both.

"'Scuse me fellas" he cut into the tactician's sentence mid-stream. Prime's helm quirked to the side while Prowl pivoted half-way round. Ironhide had been expecting perhaps a soft reprimanding from Optimus on his hasty actions in battle, and definitely one of Prowl's characteristic aloof visages. What he had not anticipated, and this left the hardened soldier more than a little troubled, were dual looks of wavering surprise mingled with concern.

"Ironhide" Prime's deep timbre sounded far too sympathetic for the old mech's liking. "Are you alright?"

The pickup's faceplates twisted into a flummoxed expression.

"Ugh .…yeah" He rubbed the back of his helm in awkward confusion. "Why wouldn't ah be?" Both officers exchanged unreadable glances before Prowl spoke up.

"Have you not been to see Ratchet?" Ironhide blinked. The slag did that have to do with anything?

"No ….why?" Now they both looked highly uncomfortable; Prime'a pedes shifted on the spot while Prowl quickly mumbled an excuse about checking up on the topography damage. Ok, now he was getting annoyed. Ironhide's engine chugged a frustrated growl. "Why should ah go t'see Ratchet, Prime?!"

The Convoy looked like he was about to answer, but paused as something beyond the red mech caught his attention. Ironhide glanced over his shoulder to see the pink and dented frame of Elita One ambling over. He internally winced when his optics fell on her patched up, but otherwise very empty shoulder socket; severed left arm currently clutched in her free hand.

"Elita, was Ratchet unable to reconnect your arm?" Prime's voice was professionally calm and even, but both present knew that undertone of worry when they heard it. Elita gave a small smile.

"The reconnection of sensory cables would take about a breem at the least, and there were more critical patients requiring immediate attention. I elected to wait until next cycle for treatment" She shrugged her shoulder. "He patched up the leak though" The femme's optics then fell on Ironhide and she frowned slightly.

"Did you not check up on Chromia yet, Ironhide?" she asked. Ironhide faltered.

"Chromia?…What do y'mean?" He looked over to the activity still occurring by the medics' station. A recognisable powder blue frame instantly tugged at his optics.

"She's over with the medics and currently in stasis lock" Optimus sombrely informed. The red mech looked from Prime to Elita back to the medics.

"She critical?" his brogue was an octave lower when he spoke.

Elita breathed a quiet sigh, "She got badly hit several times in her legs, helm and near her spark" She paused before adding with a fond smile, "She took down a good fourteen Decepticons after the first shot hit to her helm. Only let herself fall into stasis once every 'Con in the vicinity was offline"

Ironhide let a small smirk creep across his faceplates. "Stubborn ol' gal" He chuckled dryly. "Ah'll go check on 'er" Elita gave him a heartening smile while Prime offered a supportive pat on the shoulder. The weapons specialist had to quench the urge to roll his optics and nodded politely.

Are all couple's that sentimental or is it jus' them?

He plodded through the 'Bots spread out over the area and felt strongly dismayed at the sheer volume of utter corniness and emotional exchange occurring between them. The old mech reigned in the urge to bark out some of his favourite drill sergeant lines to a particularly soppy Hound and Mirage.

For the love of Primus, me an' Chromia were never that bad, were we?!

Speak of the femme. Ironhide dithered momentarily before covering the last bit of distance between him at the prone blue frame. He let his optics trail over the damage: her wounds had been patched up, though still randomly spat current from some exposed wires. His gaze then fell on the charred and partially melted armour of her middle torso; worryingly close to where her spark chamber rested.

"She's stable, but critical" He looked to see Ratchet standing next to him, frowning deeply and arms crossed. "I swear, she's worse than you and the twins put together" he griped. Ironhide smirked.

"Yup, yer in fer quite a bit o' work from now on Ratch'" The medic levelled a glare in his direction, then hummed contemplatively.

"One would think you'd be a little more concerned, what with your bondmate berth ridden and all that" he dryly intoned. Ironhide snorted.

"Trust me on this Ratch', y'could shoot 'er, dismember 'er, melt 'er, bury 'er, blow 'er up and that stubborn little glitch'd still find a way to claw outta the Pit" He looked thoughtful for a moment. "Ah guess y'could compare 'er t'those bugs on Earth that can survive just about anythin'"

"How sweet" Ratchet deadpanned. "Tell me, was your generation before or after the notion of the compliment was solidified?"

Ironhide opened his mouth to retort but what came out was a startled curse as something small and hard collided with his helm.

"I heard that, slagger" Both mechs looked down to see a now fully online Chromia glowering up at them. Ironhide optics brightened and he blinked once before scowling.

"It was a compliment" He feigned pain at where the rock had hit, rubbing his helm. "Primus, no need to git so violent" Chromia snorted.

"You compared me to an organic insect. In what universe does that constitute as a compliment"

"Insects on this planet are smart!" he protested. "They could rule th'world if they were big enough"

"So that makes likening me to a multiple-legged slimy organic just fine and dandy then?" She winced from her attempt to sit upright.

"Helm on ground" Ratchet sharply snapped. The blue femme glared petulantly up at him for a moment before deciding it wasn't worth the fight. Especially when everything violently spun with every movement she made. Chromia grudgingly settled back to the ground, crossing her arms only to hiss and sharply unfurl them when a burning pain shot through her torso.

"Would you be more fragging careful!" the medic snarled, moving to her side and making sure his patch job hadn't torn from her movements. "And I thought 'guns for processors' over there was bad" Ironhide huffed indignantly, but otherwise remained silent. He saw how Chromia's momentary vigour completely dissipated from those few simple movements alone. She now laid prone once more, optics dim and petulant scowl replaced by a tired frown.

"She gonna be alright?" he gruffly enquired. Ratchet ran a brief scan before sighing.

"I've done all I can. At this point, it's up to her." He paused before adding tetchily, "A tip: not moving might help" He then rose and turned to face Ironhide. "If it were anyone else, I wouldn't encourage you to keep the berth warm. But in Chromia's case…" He snorted a small laugh. "Well let's just say I've never been punched by anyone in stasis lock before" He rubbed his slightly dented lower jaw, tossing half-sparked scowl towards the femme. Ironhide rumbled a laugh.

"I'm pretty sure that's an inbuilt reflex with 'er" he chuckled. "Does it in recharge too. Can be pretty unnervin' sometimes"

"You do realise I'm still online" A fatigued but irked voice spoke. Ratchet sniggered before giving Ironhide a brief nod and moving onto his next patient. The pickup deeply filtered air through his intakes and knelt down next to Chromia, huffing out a sigh. She gazed dully up at him and scoffed.

"Primus, you look like a sparkling who just had their pet turbo-hound put down" she quipped, voice slightly strained. Ironhide snorted an amused laugh.

"Ah heard ya kept fightin' till all the 'Cons were down?" Chromia's optics lit up a fraction.

"Three blasts for every one they landed" She smirked, a trickle of energy resurfacing and faceplates regaining some light. Ironhide grinned broadly, radiating pride.

"That's mah femme" She chuckled, wincing slightly at the sting from the tremor. "Git some rest, even tough ol' glitches like you need ta recharge one in awhile" She rolled her optics but didn't protest.

"Same goes for you, bolt-head" she intoned, offlining her optics with a soft hum. "But I better not come online to see you hovering over me like some overemotional youngling" she yawned. "If I do, the first thing you'll get reacquainted with is my fist"

"Love ya too, dear" He leant down and pressed a chaste kiss to her cheek.

"Love you….big lug"

Author's Note: Ah, nothing like some good ol' canon pairing (pun definitely intended!) every now and then eh?

The way I see it, their relationship is kind of like mountain: strong and immovable, can be a natural disaster all of its own (to those who try to scale it anyway XD) but certainly has the few odd rock falls now and then. As opposed to Elita and Optimus, who are more like a frikkin solar system o_o…Hmm, this is fun! Megatron and Starscream… hole. Definitely.

Annnnnyways, I've decided to take the 28 theme challenge to my favourite seasoned and cantankerous couple. As for the prompt…well, I think their version of being 'caring' would really confuse some of them younger, freshly in love couples 8D Show 'em where to stick it y'ole coots!