A/N: Here we go folks! The conclusion of this arc in the "Feeling" series. I hope you like it. Sparklings ahoy! AND let's give a big round of applause to the amazing, the wonderful, KATEA-NUI! Who has been awesome! And you all know my disclaimers.
Feeling Simply Perfect
Ratchet shifted uncomfortably on the berth, hand laying on his chestplates. There was something about today. Just...something...which is why he was up before the crack of dawn, listening to the sounds of his recharging mates systems on either side of him as he stared up at the ceiling, lost in thought.
The sparkling's protoforms had been finished last week. Although all three of them had designed the frames, only Ratchet actually worked on them and saw their finished product. He was very proud of his and Wheeljack's work on the small frames.
The only thing that they had not sorted out yet were the names.
Maybe that was what was plaguing him, Ratchet mused.
They had tossed around a few names, but Ratchet was COMPLETELY sure they were not going to use Bladaxe, Hatchet, Bellatrix, Sidestreaker or Supercalifragilistic the Great as names.
Sideswipe really needed to stop watching human cartoons and action movies. And Sunstreaker their dramas. He supposed that he could always check Teletran-1 for common names, but... somehow, that just seemed impersonal to him. It had finally be decided that they would wait until the protoforms carried their respective sparks and gained their colours. All he knew was that one name was going to be female. After checking after the third spark, he had shown First Aid and Swoop that lighter sparks generally tend to be female. Not always, mind you, but most of the time. He was pretty sure Red Alert and Mirage would not appreciate his apprentices thinking them femmes after next checkup.
He smiled slightly as he remembered the horrified stares of both young mechs when he announced that they would be getting a firsthand lesson in sparkling separation and development. After all, they needed to learn sometime, now that Prowl was showing textbook signs of his own conception. Jazz just couldn't leave well enough alone.
However, something else was niggling at him about this morning.
His sparklets weren't due for at least another week, and all the sparkling energon had been prepped for that moment. So that couldn't be it.
Maybe a Decepticon attack was going to happen today. It was unlikely, considering that the last skirmish had only been a few days ago. They usually waited to 'plan' something before going on a raid, and it usually took them a week to two weeks sometimes to see some action. With a sigh, Ratchet closed his optics, trying to get back to recharge naturally, but couldn't because of his whirring processor, wrapped up in his thoughts as he was.
He didn't know how long he was simply laying there, trying to rest, when suddenly a searing pain erupted along his sensor net and echoed in his spark. The medic's optics snapped open, glowing almost white with pain as he cried out in agony.
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were immediately awake and up, holding down their mate who was shaking and trembling with shock and pain.
"Ratchet, baby, what is it?" Sideswipe asked worriedly, spark pulsing with fear. It was echoed by Sunstreaker.
With a shuddering gasp, Ratchet choked out, "The sparklets...nngg...have started to split."
The fear in the Twins' sparks were revealed on their faceplates. NOW? They weren't READY! It wasn't supposed to happen for another week! Nononononono! What did they do!
Forcing down his panic at the sight of his bonded's face screwed up in pain, Sideswipe took a deep intake of air and whapped his brother upside the helm. "C'mon, Sunny! We can't panic!"
It took Sunstreaker a much more considerable effort to push away the cloud of fear in his spark, but he managed and nodded in grim silence. "We comm. 'Jack?"
"We comm. 'Jack." Sideswipe confirmed and did just that as his brother picked up the squirming medic and headed for the door in quick but sure burst out of their quarters, crossing the hallway and opening up the back door to Ratchet's office, striding though and into the medbay, hailing Wheeljack, First Aid, and Swoop over the comms. Sideswipe hurried to a berth, setting Ratchet down and gently running a hand over Ratchet's chevron, whispering, "It'll be ok...you'll be fine Ratch."
Ratchet gasped in pain, only barely able to nod at that statement from the agony ripping through him.
Sunstreaker, meanwhile, had went to the storage room in the back of the bay, going to a large door to a cooler room.
The sparkling protoform room.
It was cool, and there were five tiny berths. Only three were occupied.
The golden twin stood for a second to admire the design of the protoforms. Although they were grey, they were beautiful. Being gentle with his actions, Sunstreaker disconnected the monitoring wires and energon tubes from the first mech protoform, cradling it to his chest and dashing back to the main area of the medbay.
Wheeljack was there with Swoop already and Sunstreaker was rushing to get the next protoform after having lain the first next to his bonded when First Aid came in. Sideswipe held Ratchet's left hand, murmuring soothing words to him and stroking his chevron just as gently.
"Aid! Get the energon from the supply closet. We're going to need all we can get!" Wheeljack instructed the terrified apprentice.
First Aid shook himself before steeling his nerve ends and rushing to do as he was told. This wasn't the time to panic. His mentor needed him to do this. He needed to do this! Swoop seemed to have come to the same conclusion as he resolutely handed Wheeljack whatever tools were needed and did as instructed.
Wheeljack got an idea, turning and rummaging through a few drawers, letting out a noise of triumph when he found what he was looking for. Going back to his old friend's side, Wheeljack said, "Ratch, you need a little bit of sedative, or else you won't be able to tell what's going on with your spark because of the pain. You know this, so please relax."
Ratchet nodded weakly, clutching onto the red twins hand.
Wheeljack quickly gave him the mildest sedative he could, just as Sunstreaker came back with the last protoform. The femme.
Ratchet instantly relaxed from the medication now flowing through his systems to ease the pain. Heaving a sigh, he muttered, "I am going to reformat your spikes into toasters."
Sunstreaker and Sideswipe visually blanched at that while the medics laughed.
"Ratchet...what can we get you? Energon goodies?" Sideswipe asked hopefully.
"Your favourite wrench?" Sunstreaker offered, smirk playing about his lipplates.
"Yes." Ratchet said shortly. "Give my wrench so I can knock you both upside the hel - AGH!" His grips on his lovers' hands tightened as his chestplates stopped fighting the push of his newsparks and split open, bathing his lovers and impromptu doctors in bluish white light as the three tiny sparks that were straining against his made their own bids for freedom.
Ratchet gasped in pain, the tendrils of spark energy still connecting the sparks pulling painfully on his. The small sound seemed to subdue the tiny orbs of light, as if they were sensing their carriers pain and reluctant to cause much more.
"Oh!" Wheeljack crowed, making sure that Aid and Swoop could see as he pointed to the strongest looking spark and the tendrils of energy connecting it. "Aid, get the first protoform. this one doesn't look like it'll need any help."
First Aid nodded, and with reverence, picked up one of the mech protoforms. It was very similar to Sideswipe's design. Only time would tell whose colours it took.
Ratchet panted, trying to cool down. Damn him and his premonitions! He whined as he looked down briefly, seeing Wheeljack show First Aid how to correctly open a protoforms chest compartment so that the tiny bodies weren't damaged. The reality of the situation was hitting him, and all he could think of was the fact that this spark separation had come to fast and was going fast.
"Ratchet, you're doing so well," murmured Sunstreaker, gently laying a kiss on Ratchet's chevron.
"That's right babe, look, one of our triplets is going to separate now," said Sideswipe.
Ratchet only groaned in pain. He could feel the spark tendrils beginning to snap.
"Oh boy, here he comes! Aid, get the forceps!" Wheeljack ordered, gently making sure the little protoform's spark crystal was fully exposed and that the body had been filled with enough energon.
First Aid took the forceps from Swoop, and cautiously held them towards the bobbing ball of energy in front of his boss's chestplates. They were odd forceps too. Large, with square, yet springy and soft, scalloped ends that would contain the sparkling orb until it could be transferred into the protoform.
Sideswipe watched with tender optics as the spark was encouraged to make its way to its destined form, but it turned out it hardly needed any guiding. The moment it came close, it shot forward and settled itself into its new home, systems coming online as it closed it's chestplates on its own (nearly taking out Wheeljack's digits in the process) and stirred.
It twisted slightly, optics onlining before it shifted again and went into recharge. Wheeljack chuckled.
"Says something about the little guy's character, seeing him make such a sure decision like that."
"Glad you - uhn - find it amusing." Ratchet grunted through the pain of the second spark tearing itself free, albeit a bit more hesitantly. "But can we please focus on the OTHERS?"
"Of course," Wheeljack replied graciously, mentioning to Swoop to gather the next mech protoform and, like he had shown First Aid, instructed the Dinobot on how to properly prepare the small body for the entrance of a spark. And then noticing that the second sparklet was about to shed its last tendril, grabbed the forceps and held it around the budding spark. If he wasn't in the capacity of medic, the engineer would have been squealing in joy. It was going to be fun to have sparklings around their pedes again.
With a careful hand and watchful optic, Wheeljack moved to the now parted chestplates and deposited the gently pulsing spark in.
The chestplates closed, and then there was nothing. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were death still and watched in apprehension. Ratchet was too far gone with remaining pain to have the capacity to be worried. But he willed for the sparkling to online.
And then, with a loud zapping sound, the sparkling's optics flickered online and he wiggled around for a bit, before doing the same as his brother and going into recharge.
"Wow, that was a jumpstart," murmured Ratchet tiredly.
"Jumpstart... I like it." Sideswipe said thoughtfully.
"Jumpstart - it is." Ratchet panted, exhausted and shaking, but hanging on, waiting for his third, his little femme. The little spark was straining to be free, struggling and Ratchet was beginning to panic in response to the desperate wave he felt wash over his spark.
Sensing his mate's distress, Sunstreaker stroked soothingly along his forearm. "Wheeljack!"
The mechanic and part time medic was already back to his friend. "Alright, this one is going to need a little help. Aid, have the forceps ready. Swoop, I need you to get the energy scalpel. We're gonna detach this one, else it won't make it on its own."
Both junior medics looked absolutely sick, but did as they were told. "It - it won't hurt him Ratchet?" Swoop asked hesitantly, having retrieved the tool already.
"Not at all, if we do this the right way, so both of you watch carefully. I'm sure Ratchet's going to quiz you later." Wheeljack's helm fins flashed a reassuring blue before he activated the scalpel and found the thinnest part of the thread. "You need to find the thinnest section of the energy thread here, and with the lowest setting on the scalpel, we're going to fire a little burst of opposite energy here to detach... and there, catch it Aid!"
The young Protectobot did just that and like the two before it, he encouraged the little spark to the last frame, the femme. This one was just as eager as her first brother, her little body firing up and then her optics cycling on. Instead of going into recharge, however, her optics stayed open. They stared around her, curious and inquisitive.
Ratchet's chestplates had closed and the drained medic turned his helm to stare at his three creations, the grip he'd maintained on his bondmates' hands had lessened in his exhausted awe, as his optics met those of his little femme. An inquiring stir in his spark made him aware that the sparkling was looking for her carrier, uneasy with falling into recharge until she was sure it was okay. Ratchet wrapped the presence with his tired love and reassurance.
'I am here. It is safe.'
He watched the little fists curl and uncurl a few times before the presence turned content and the optics of the femme drifted close and she followed her brothers into recharge.
"Yikes," murmured Sideswipe, lifting up his hand. It was dented and partially crushed from where Ratchet had gripped it so hard.
"Nice way to ruin a moment, moron," Sunstreaker frowned at him, ignoring his own dented hand in favour of moving forward and cautiously picking up their little femme.
"Oh look! Their colours are starting to come in!" crowed Wheeljack excitedly, stepping back in respect for the first time of holding the sparklings.
It was true. The femme, who looked remarkably like a femme version of Sunstreaker, was starting to go from grey to a pearly white. Her whole frame was white, save for the inner plating of her helm fins, which were the lightest grey. Sunstreaker found himself choking up, unable to speak. His little femme...their little femme, was beautiful.
Sideswipe found his voice for him. "She's beautiful," the ruby coloured twin said, nuzzling Ratchet's neck. Ratchet nodded, letting his chestplates close and allowing Wheeljack to tend to him.
Sunstreaker, still in awe, walked over to the berth and let Ratchet hold her.
"I think she should be called Brightspark," the golden mech said softly, gazing at the recharging form.
"Brightspark?" asked Ratchet, taking the femme in his arms and letting her cuddle close.
"Yeah..." Sunstreaker trailed off awkwardly, shooting a glare at the three onlookers. Just because he had promised his mates to a little more giving, it didn't mean he had to be nice to the rest of the bozos around here.
Wheeljack, not threatened in the least merely chuckled and steered his two curious creations to the door. "We'll check in later."
"Brightspark." Ratchet repeated softly. "It fits."
"It does." Sideswipe grinned softly, gently setting the other two beside their mate. A perfect little family. "So, Jumpstart," he pointed to the small mostly red and black form with a white chevron shaped just like Ratchet's, but his facial features. Their second born. "Brightspark." Their third and already daddy's little girl. "And..." he turned to their first born, trying to honestly think of a good one.
"Speedlight." Ratchet intoned evenly, fond exasperation in his voice, drawing curious looks from his mates. "I can feel him in my spark. He makes pretty instantaneous decisions. Like a traffic light when it switches from green to yellow to red. Besides, he was the fastest to come out and the brightest." With that, they all cooed down at the eldest, who had the body shape of Sideswipe, complete with audial horns, but was mainly Sunstreaker's shade of yellow with black highlights and had the same dignified faceplates as Ratchet.
"Thank you, Ratchet," intoned Sunstreaker, holding his mate and sparklings close, sending his love over the bond to all of them. His mates and sparklings responded in kind - although the sparklings were responding unconsciously in turn. Sideswipe grinned at him. This is unconsciously what they had been searching for ever since they themselves had been abandoned when they were younglings.
"Don't think that thanking me will get you out of flushing their tanks," Ratchet grumbled good naturedly.
They all laughed.
The moment as it was, was simply perfect.
Sideswipe sat silently, watching Ratchet as he recharged with Brightspark and Jumpstart. He held Speedlight against his own chestplates, his engine rumbling softly, keeping the little one just under. They had all come to their own quarters last night and Sideswipe was still riding the high of being a dad. It felt...indescribable. Even Sunstreaker was riding some kind of wave of euphoria or something. He'd gotten many comments from amongst the crew that his brother was a lot easier to approach now. In fact, this new Sunny scared Cliffjumper far more than he ever had before. It was comical really.
And he knew it wouldn't last. Soon, the newsparks would be up and about and at least one of them would pull from Sunstreaker's anti social behaviour. He was sure of it.
Sunstreaker came in from their private washrack, towel slung over his shoulder. A tender smile was on his handsome faceplates as he gazed upon his family. Sideswipe smiled back, sharing in the pride and the joy.
"Settled down now?" the golden mech asked softly, sliding onto the berth next to his twin.
"Not completely. Only my engine's lulling him into la-la land," Sideswipe replied, gently caressing Speedlight's little audial horns, just like his own.
A little whimper made itself known, and the twins looked to see Brightspark shifting around, a little grimace on her face. Without a word, Sunstreaker lent over his twin and their medic and scooped up the little sparkling before she could wake and wail loudly enough to disrupt Ratchet's recharge. The poor medic had gotten the least as their sparklings were proving to be slightly clingy to their carrier.
"Shh, Brightspark," cooed Sunstreaker.
The white femme's optics onlined, their bright sapphire meeting her dad's. With her primitive emotions, she sent over the bond that she was hungry. Cradling the little femme, who looked so like him, Sunstreaker undid his feedling latch plating and let the little mesh nub and tubing extend, and placed it near his daughter's mouth. She latched on and sucked greedily, taking some diluted energon directly from Sunstreaker's systems from a small tank that all creators and carriers had installed.
"Ain't that just cute?" Sideswipe snickered quietly, smiling innocently when a dark glare was shot his way.
Sunstreaker pouted for a moment longer before he let it drop and returned his attention to a much more deserving bot.
Sideswipe grinned widely. He was glad, knowing that Sunstreaker was a good parent. It had always frightened his younger twin that he may not be able to have a family one day. That he would be too cold, too violent. Seeing him cooing softly and tenderly holding their youngest triplet was like a weight off of Sideswipe's shoulders. A muffled hum and the flickering of beautiful cerulean blue optics alerted him that Ratchet was coming back online.
"Shh, babe. Go back to recharge. You need it," he murmured, brushing his free hand along Ratchet's cheek.
Ratchet seemed to want to protest, but the temptation of recharge overweighed the need to see how his mate's were doing with their sparklings, and he dropped back into a peaceful rest.
"Good. Stubborn slagger," grumbled Sunstreaker, rocking Brightspark.
"Careful, Sunny, Ratchet will have your helm if we swear around the sparklings," admonished Sideswipe, rocking Speedlight gently as well, teasing glint in his optics. The golden mech just snorted, paying attention back to the white femmeling in his arms, who had finally settled back to recharge, the feeding latch held within her little lips. Sunstreaker took the nub out, coiled the thin tubing and placed it back in his frame, enclosing the plating over it before shifting his hold on Brightspark so she laid vertically on his chest, his hand supporting her.
"I still can't believe that these little ones are a part of us...it's a gift," Sunstreaker whispered.
"Aw, when you say stuff like that, it makes me love you more," grinned Sideswipe, and leant over to give his twin a soft kiss. Sunstreaker kissed back, before pulling away and saying, "And if you tell anyone I said that, you're going to be stuck on tank flushing duty the whole week."
Sideswipe merely grinned and turned away before his brother could catch the scheming look in his optics. Speedlight was now completely out and he carefully placed him beside Ratchet. He couldn't help but 'awww' as their son curled into the medic's side and his little digits grasped to entangle in seems, pulling him closer to the comfort of his carrier. Even Ratchet seemed to relax that much more.
'Primus, how'd we get so lucky?' Sideswipe asked himself before slipping into recharge. 'We must have done something right by Primus to deserve somebot like you doc.'
Wheeljack sighed as he walked to his quarters. It was late, and he had been up for far too long working on better armour and also on a little project on sparkling toys for Ratchet and the Twin's triplets. Wheeljack let a tired smile creep onto his face behind his mask. The little ones really were adorable. He could really see the beginnings of how they were going to take after each creator and their carrier, even at this early stage.
Footsteps suddenly echoed in the hallway. Looking up, Wheeljack watched the coming intersection. Who, apart from him, would be up at this time of night?
He was answered as Bluestreak stepped into view.
The gunner was carrying a small stack of datapads, most likely reports for Prowl. Still, it was pretty late in the cycle, he was sure it could have waited until tomorrow. "Hey, Blue!" He called, not noticing exactly how fast the mech was travelling. "What're you - oof!"
He grunted as the distracted Datsun walked right into him, and he stumbled a few paces before falling on his aft. The startled Bluestreak wasn't much better off, seeing as he had dropped all his datapads when he had realized just who he had knocked over.
"'Jack! Oh Primus! I'm so sorry! I wasn't watching... are you okay?"
"Fine," Wheeljack assured him as he made to stand. "Feel bad about startling you though. Here, let me help." He picked up the four datapads laying at Bluestreak's pedes and handed them to the mech, their fingers brushing as he did so. "What are you doing up so late, anyway?"
Bluestreak stiffened, his posture suddenly tense. "What? Oh - uh! I-I'm...!"
'Go on! Tell him!' the little voice in his processor pushed. 'You've been watching for so long, now's your chance-'
"I really had to get these reports to Prowl because I was really busy today so they're gonna be late if I don't get them to him immediately!"
"Oh? Well, let me walk you -"
"No! That's okay! You look really tired! Talk to you tomorrow! Bye!" And with the spilled dialogue behind him, Bluestreak took off down the hall, leaving a bewildered Wheeljack staring after him.
"Wonder what that was all about..."
A/N: PLEASE REVIEW! I like to see what you think as we conclude this arc and prelude into the next by that last little titbit.