This little oneshot idea came to me at the park today and it wouldn't leave my brain. Hopefully you all enjoy it. ^^
For the first time in what seemed like months, Ratchet was at ease and very content with his surroundings. Aside from himself, the base was utterly lifeless and empty, not to mention quiet for once. Sighing softly in satisfaction, he picked up a large wrench and tossed it cheerfully into the air and caught it in his servo once again. "Finally," he breathed to himself in relief. "Some peace and quiet. I stand by what I said before about house guests being bothersome. Humph. Things seemed less complicated back during those…preferably quieter times." he opened a panel on the side of the Ground Bridge generator and crouched down on one knee to get a better view of the inside. "Now where was I?" he narrowed his optics and stuck his helmet inside, grunting as he squeezed his right arm in as well. He scowled at the snug fit and started to mutter. "Incoherently sized, primitive, faulty piece of scrap metal…"
A small, unexpected click and a loud buzz via comm link startled the older mech quite immeasurably, making him jump and hit his helmet hard on the metal panel, denting it a bit. "Ooh! Frag…" he cringed, sighing through an irritated growl as he pulled out of the panel, rubbing his head. Snarling under his breath with a huff, he pressed a digit to the side of his helmet and hissed, "What is it, Bumblebee? I am attempting to finally finish some crucial, not to mention well overdue work on the Ground Bridge, you know."
A small pause before a soft, apologetic whistle answered from the other end.
Sighing again, Ratchet lightly pinched the area between his mouth and eyes in exasperation. A small action he had picked up from the humans, despite not having a nose to grasp onto. His tone grew softer and less irritable now as he began to talk to the young Scout again, sounding more tired. "What do you need, Bumblebee? If you and Arcee require a Bridge already you're going to have to wait a couple of minutes."
Bumblebee responded with a few quick and concerned sounding buzzes and clicks, making Ratchet raise a brow high. "What? Bumblebee, I believe I already clarified that I'm busy. Besides, picking Rafael up is your job, not mine."
A low whine sounded from the other end, followed by more buzzes.
"Well, why can't Bulkhead do it?"
Another series of clicks and whistles.
"Pch! Miko got out of school early for a doctor's appointment, of course." he drawled out heatedly, not knowing whether to even believe it or not as he rolled his optics. "And I know Jack's already out for the Summer because he finished his finals." his mood wasn't improving with every second that passed, coming to the realization that he would have no choice but to pick the young boy up. Why did there have to be three children? he thought, biting back a small groan. Finally, he exhaled long and deep, his look flat and his posture sort of hunched in defeat. "Fine, Bumblebee, I will pick Rafael up from school."
He cringed as a long, happy, and particularly loud buzz vibrated through his helmet, followed by a thankful swoon and a series of clicks that promised him this would all be made up for.
"Yes, yes, yes, Bumblebee, you're welcome, now will you get back to your patrol?" Ratchet ground out. The Scout responded with another cheerful buzz and finally left the medic in silence. With a small glower, the red-orange and white 'bot looked up at the ceiling. "You get a real kick out of my misery, don't you, Primus?"
His processor picked up a low rumble from outside, indicating that a thunderstorm was nearing the area. To him, however, it was the very laughter of Cybertron's most sacred being. He frowned. "Hardy fraggin' har…"
Rafael Esquivel was nearly trampled by the stampede of students rushing out the door of his school. No doubt they were all eager to return to their houses before the rain began to come down harder. Some of the older boys there just began to walk down the street casually, not bothered by the weather in the least bit. Some of the girls, however, were already complaining and squealing about their deflating hair as they ran for the cover of their parent's cars. The young boy shielded his face with a hand as he walked off to the side of the sidewalk, trying to keep the raindrops from covering the lens of his glasses. He scanned up and down the street with his eyes, furrowing his brows slightly when he didn't spot the usual yellow and black muscle car waiting for him at the curbside.
"Huh. Bee's never late." Raf stated thoughtfully to himself, looking around once more to make sure. Not wanting to seem too anxious, he decided to hold off calling his guardian for a few minutes more, hoping the Autobot would pull up shortly. He didn't really mind waiting in the rain much, finding the cool droplets of moisture somewhat relieving from the heat. He walked back over to the school steps and sat down comfortably, watching as some of the last students began to draw farther and farther from their educational prison for the day.
After about five more minutes, he was completely alone on the school steps. At least, he thought he was alone. Sighing softly, Raf rested his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands, casting a few more hopeful glances up and down the street that lay ahead. Furrowing his brows a bit more, he wondered aloud in worry, "C'mon, Bee...where are you?" he was almost starting to get worried by that point. Finally, he started to reach into his pocket.
"Awww, what's wrong, little gremlin? Your mommy forget to pick you up from school?" a voice sneered from behind him. "Then again, i'm not really surprised. She seems to have enough little brats to deal with."
Rafael flinched at the sound of Vince's voice, a small twinge of fear tangling his stomach into a knot briefly, as well as an even smaller feeling of anger from the comment. Uh oh, he thought. Turning his head a bit, the younger boy shrunk under the older teen's smug and cruel looking smirk. He managed a small and shaky smile, chuckling nervously. "H-hey, Vince. Uhh...s-something you...need?"
"Dunno yet." the bully shrugged. "Let me find out." he grinned, grabbing Raf by his backpack and shaking him until the straps slid from under his arms, making the younger boy fall onto the wet pavement.
"H-hey! Give that back!" Rafael cried, pushing himself up and trying to make a grab for his bag. He was shoved back down, however, by a strong hand. He glared up at the redhead, who began to rumage through his belongings blindly with the same arm he'd just used to knock Rafael down.
The younger boy's demand was denied and ignored as Vince started to talk again. "So, who's this Bee person you were talking about? Imaginary friend or something?"
Raf frowned as he stood up once again, small hands balling into fists as he daringly rose his voice a bit. "None of your business. Now give me my stuff back." he demanded.
Vince looked at him somewhat daringly as he paused with what he was doing. When Rafael's look didn't falter, he scowled and overturned the bag, making all of the books and papers spill out onto the wet ground. The last to fall out of the bag was Rafael's laptop, which crashed to the ground hard, popping open and revealling a long crack splitting down the screen, making the smaller boy raise both brows with a start and cry out briefly. "My laptop!"
"Oops." Vince exclaimed in sarcasm. "Jeez, kid, why didn't you catch that? I thought those geeky glasses were supposed to make you see better."
Rafael furrowed his brows sadly. He almost had saved up all the money he needed for new one, but his old one was still important to him. There were a lot of files on there he still needed, one of which included a history report that he had spent the entire previous week on. If the impact of the fall hadn't broke it already, the rain sure was finishing the job. His look of despair soon turned to one of anger. Not really thinking before acting, he pulled his leg back and kicked the older boy hard in the shin with a grunt.
"Ow!" Vince yelled, hopping on one leg briefly and holding the other in both hands. He glared daggers at the middle schooler and growled lowly in anger, hands clenching tightly as he lifted his shoulders a bit. "You little geek!"
Before Raf had a chance to even react to Vince pulling his arm back, he found himself lying in a small puddle of water on the concrete beneath him, his head spinning as an explosion of pain shot through his nose and the surounding areas on his face. He covered the middle of his face with his hands as he moaned in pain, eyes watering as he shut them tightly. His glasses had been knocked off by the blow as well, and were now lying on the grass, cracked and wet. He felt something wet and warm starting to collect on his palms. Whether it was blood or from the rain he wasn't sure. Fear gripped him as he felt himself being hauled up by the front of his shirt and then slammed back into the wall along the side of the steps. He was still covering his nose, but he opened his eyes a bit to stare fearfully into his attacker's angry green eyes.
"You're gonna pay for that, nerd. No one hits me!" the large bully spat out dangerously, pulling his fist back to punch him again.
Raf shut his eyes again with a small whimper and cringed, preparing for the next hit. Fortunately for him, it never came. The loud revving of an engine blasted through his ears, followed by Vince's startled yelp as he dropped Raf to the ground. Forgetting his bleeding, and possibly broken nose, Raf pushed himself to a sitting position and looked up in surprise, blinking at the sight of Ratchet's vehicle form, which was juddering lightly on its axels.
"Wh-what the heck is-!" Vince cried out as the large vehicle firmly but gently pinned him back against the school building, engines roaring loudly every few seconds or so, as if the ambulance was...possessed or something and had gone crazy. His brows rose in fear when he saw there was no driver on the other side of the windshield. Placing his hands on the hood, he frantically tried to squirm out of the tight spot. "G-get away from me you...freaky car! Let me go!"
With another loud rev of its engine, the vehicle quickly and roughly backed up, making Vince fall to the ground with a grunt. The boy scrambled to his feet and tried to run, but his frenzied panic caused him to trip on his own feet. Sitting up, he scrambled back on all fours and yelled out in terror as the hybrid ambulance began to lurch towards him on its tires, screeching to a stop before lurching forward again, closer and revving its engines more loudly. It did this about three more times before Vince finally found the sense to get up once more and bolt down the street as fast as he could, not even turning back to see if the demonic vehicle was chasing after him.
Quieting his engines to a soft thrumming, Ratchet turned on his wheels and rolled closer to the young boy. "Rafael." his voice broke through the air somewhat softly, making the shaken youngster jump briefly and look away from the direction Vince had ran. "Are you ok?" he asked, opening his passenger door for him.
Sniffling briefly, Raf wiped some blood onto his sleeve, his limbs trembling a bit as he nodded. "Y-yeah..."
If Ratchet had been in his robot form, Raf would have seen the medic's concern. When Rafael didn't attempt to get up, he scanned the surrounding area warily for any signs of life. When he found none, he quickly transformed and kneeled down before the youngling, picking him up gently in his servo and examining him. He managed to keep from furrowing his brows at the blood smudging over Raf's upper lip and chin, and the fresh flood of it starting to leak from his slightly bruised nose again. He frowned deeply, sending a brief glare in the direction that Vince had previously fled. Looking at Raf again somewhat softly, he said, "Let's get you back to base." he gathered up what he could of the child's belongings in his free servo, briefly furrowing his brows at the damaged little pair of glasses, and carefully transformed so Raf was in his passenger's seat.
Raf calmed down a bit, feeling much safer in Ratchet's vehicle mode. He reached a trembling hand over to get the seat belt, but before he could touch it, it securely coiled around him and clicked into place. The young boy sniffled again and winced at the pain that came with it, but smiled a little, his voice quiet and sincere. "Thanks, Ratchet."
The medic didn't reply right away as he rolled off the school property and began to drive down the street. His rearview mirror adjusted a bit and turned onto the young human, remaining that way for a minute before Ratchet commanded gently, "Pinch the bridge of your nose and tilt your head forward. Hopefully, it'll stop the bleeding by the time we get back to base. Then I'll give you some ice."
Rafael nodded a bit and did as he was told, emitting a soft sound from the pain.
The ride continued on somewhat silently as the rain continued to fall outside. Finally, after a few more minutes of the somewhat awkward silence, Ratchet spoke up again. "I...apologize for the inconvenience. Bumblebee was currently unavailable, so I had to pick you up." Raf could hear the slight scorn in the mech's voice as he continued. "If I had arrived on time, this...incident may have never occurred."
"I-it's ok, Ratchet. It's not that bad." Rafael offered helpfully, smiling a bit again. "You helped me. It's not your fault. I-I don't think Vince will bother me again for a while after that."
"Humph. I hope he leaked lubricants in his undergarments after what I did. Little punk..." the medic snorted quietly, making Rafael giggle briefly. Ratchet smirked to himself lightly and shuffled a brief chuckle. He frowned again, however, when he heard the young human cough a little, again fighting the urge to furrow his brows as he felt the smaller form snuggling into his seats a bit. It was then he noticed that the boy was cold, most likely from the combination of his wet clothes and previous anxiety from the attack. He turned on the heat as Rafael held himself a bit, trying to get warmer. "Put your hands near the heater." the older Autobot ordered. "The last thing we need is for you to catch a cold."
He grunted in approval as the boy listened again and sped up a little when he saw the base in the distance. He was relieved that Rafael's nose hadn't been broken, but he still planned on scanning the boy just in case. He also began to wonder how Bumblebee was going to take the news. He knew the young Scout worried, especially for Raf. He wasn't exactly looking forward to telling the smaller 'bot, but he knew he was going to have to.
When Bumblebee had finally returned to base with Arcee, he instantly scooped Rafael up and cuddled him close to his chasis in a protective way upon hearing the news, scanning him various times and swooning sadly, guilt apparent in his expression as his door wings drooped down. He wasn't planning on letting the human go anytime soon.
"He is fine, Bumblebee! It's only a bruised nose." Ratchet reassured for the umpteenth time, slapping a servo to his face. "If you hold him any tighter he sure as Primus won't be, though!"
Rafael laughed lightly at the medic and his guardian as he struggled to hold his ice pack at rest on his face. "I'm ok, Bee, really." he assured, giggling again as the young Autobot only hugged him closer in response, buzzing and whining in concern. He let out a loud squeal as Ratchet smacked him upside the helmet before putting both servos on his hips.
"Oh, honestly, Bumblebee." the older Autobot scolded lightly.
Bumblebee buzzed at Ratchet in a whiney way as he glared at the medic, still holding Rafael possessively. Finally Ratchet sighed and threw his servos up in surrender, mumbling as he stomped back over to the monitors. Nodding once with a whistle, Bee looked at Rafael softly again, clicking lightly.
"Yeah, i'm ok, Bee. Don't worry." the small human smiled. "It doesn't really hurt that much."
Furrowing his brows, the Scout held out a digit to his human companion, relaxing a bit when he grasped it gently in return, reassuring the young Cybertronian somewhat. He buzzed softly and tilted his head.
"No, i'm not mad at you, Bee. I know your missions are important, it's not your fault." Rafael gave his guardian's digit a pat, smirking teasingly. "Just tell me ahead of time tomorrow if something comes up, ok?"
Bee nodded quickly, but was interrupted by Ratchet.
"Tomorrow? !" he exclaimed, looking at them both sternly. "Oh, no. I will be picking Rafael up for the next few days, Bumblebee. I want the visual of my vehicle form seared into that juvenile delinquent's very brain cells. Whichever ones he may actually have, that is."
Putting Raf down gently, Bee buzzed at Ratchet in utter disbelief and protest, throwing his servos up and putting them on his own hips, matching the medic's current stance.
Ratchet let out a haughty laugh, leaning forward. "Oh? You think i'm kidding?"
As the two began to argue with one another, Rafael couldn't help but look on in slight amusement, smirking at the two mechs as he chuckled softly at them in his throat. After a moment, his look of amusement turned to one of deep fondness and affection. These two weren't just a couple of quarreling friends that he was watching, they were his family. Sure, Bumblebee was his guardian and best friend, but he knew that Ratchet cared as well, even if he did have an odd way of showing it. He considered him family, too, and he would always be there for the two of them if they needed it. And he knew it was the same case for him as well. Smiling a bit wider, he walked closer to them.
Ratchet was in mid-statement when he felt something attach gently to his right ankle. Blinking, he looked down and saw Rafael hugging his leg gently. He rose his brows a bit and his look softened slightly, no longer stern and irritated, but surprised and almost thoughtful in a sense. He felt a very small smile tugging at one corner of his mouth after a minute, but he quickly cleared his throat and shook the look away, glancing at Bumblebee. His expression turned flat when he saw the smug look on the Scout's face and his arms crossed, looking at the medic shrewdly. If he had a wrench at hand he would have smacked it off the younger Autobot's face. After a few seconds of staring at one another, Ratchet blinked and said four words;
"...Get him off me."