More TFKinkMeme! The prompt was for heat fic with an unusual afflicted character, and sparklings taking a lot of concentrated effort to conceive. I'd call this a PWP, but I seem to be writing an awful lot of setting for something that shouldn't have a plot.

The medbay was quiet between duty shifts; peaceful and still before the usual storm, no scheduled routine maintenance appointments, none of the usual string of minor injuries, no crisis, no alarms. Just quiet, in a niche of time before the chaos began.

It made the hum of his cooling fans and the slick, wet sound of rhythmic motion even more obscene then it should have been.

Ratchet leaned back into his chair, braced one pede against the edge of the desk, and tipped his hips to push his fingers that much deeper into his own valve. Dropping his head back with a muffled grunt, he stared blindly at the ceiling, the fingers of one hand buried to the knuckles in the soaking wet heat, the other alternating stroking in counter rhythm over the still-sheathed housing of his spike and rubbing over the seams of his hips.

Fragging Prime. Fragging underclocked, glitch headed, exhaust sucking, slag pit smelter refuse spawn of the Unmaker.

He was going to wear out the servos in his slagging wrists, at this rate, and he needed those.

Fragging virus ridden slagheap Prime. Ratchet throttled back a sound that was closer to a whimper than he was willing to admit to, hitched his hips to a different, better angle, and tried not to listen to the wet sounds of his own hands. He was already heartily tired of them and it had only been three days.

Scrap. Slag. Pit. Slagging fault coded, drone fragging Prime. It was his fault.

'Rest', Optimus had called it. A 'long overdue vacation'. 'Well deserved rest and relaxation'. A 'chance to unwind'.

"Enforced medical leave," First Aid had whispered - not slagging quietly enough - to Swoop. Ratchet had made a mental note that First Aid had to have been the one to forward the results of his last physical up the chain of command, and First Aid was going to be on night shifts from then until the heat death of the fragging universe.

'Rest', Prime called it. Twenty-one days in the unmitigated Primus forsaken Pit was what Ratchet had called it. Twenty-one days of being locked out of his own medbay unless an emergency was called (It was. Twice, and both times ended with Wheeljack and First Aid conspiring to push him back out of his own slagging medbay once the alarm was over.) Twenty-one days of not being allowed into the labs, of not being given patrol or monitor duty or even the opportunity to catch up on his charts, of absolutely, positively nothing to do.

He had sworn it would drive him glitch headed within a week. By the second day he'd sworn it would drive him to drink, or violence, or both. By the third day he was ready to swear that it was, in fact, possible to be bored into stasis lock and only the first of the emergency alarms had averted that fate. Then the fourth day had rolled around and the novelty of not having one single slagging thing to do finally caught up to systems that were so fragmented and deprived of recharge that he had forgotten what a full charge cycle felt like.

Ratchet had lost the entire swath of the fourth through the ninth days in a blissful state of being utterly, completely, out cold.

He had woken up on the tenth day with a groggy processor, systems that tentatively pinged in feeling tens of vorns younger than he could remember without unarchiving something, and a fuel tank insistently registering little but fumes. Someone had mercifully left a stack of energon cubes just inside the door of his quarters; he had downed them all, one right after the other, and then fallen back into the berth and promptly slept away another two days.

The sensation of having a completely clear and entirely defragged processor had been so novel that he wandered through the thirteenth day with no idea of what to do with himself. He'd wandered through the next five days in a sort of daze, overcharged on the feel of a full tank and sufficient recharge. He'd gone for a drive, just because he could (and deliberately corrupted Prime's message that while Optimus was glad he was 'having fun' he should remember that emergency sirens were to only be used for 'emergencies'), and watched some of the human's entertainment in a rec room that was surprisingly restful when everyone else was off working. He caught up on some reading he had been meaning to do for ages, breezed through a sampling of the human medical journals, got into one delightful email argument with a human medical researcher who had published a paper on theoretical 'nanite' cells, which had de-evolved into slag slinging by the third day and Ratchet had more languages to curse with at his command than the other which made it a landslide win in his opinion, and continued to refuel and recharge as though it might be going out of style any breem now. The second emergency alert had been a bit of a wake up call and he'd spent the last few days in his quarters, determinedly doing as much 'resting' as possible.

None of which made him like any of it. Not even a little. He felt better but he hated every nanoklik of it and it was never, by Primus, going to happen again. Ever. And that, he'd thought, would be the end of the matter.

Until he'd come out of recharge a week later with a charge circling aimlessly through his circuits, his interface unit already heating, and a nagging, gnawing, inescapable itch crawling through code strings he'd almost forgotten about.

Pit slagging, rust corroded, glitching Prime. This never would have fragging happened without twenty-one slagging days of nothing but 'rest' and 'relaxation' and a full fuel tank and too much recharge to trick war stressed systems into thinking they needed to kick back on. No mech had been in a heat cycle since the earliest days of the war, and for good slagging reason.

Yet here he was, in the brief off period between shifts which was usually reserved for charts, schedules, reports and inventory, braced against the edge of his desk with his fingers three knuckles deep in his valve and wishing desperately that he could just fragging overload already.

It took another five kliks and shifting to a better position so that he could push his hips into it - and never mind the fragging servos in his wrists, the tension wires in his hips were killing him - to finally ramp the charge high enough. He rode the overload with a low groan, shuddering, and offlined his optics for a few precious nanokliks, listening to his cooling fans spin down and the pings and ticks of the charge leaving his frame.

Ten minutes, his internal chronometer told him. He would have ten minutes before the charge started building again, and one hour and seven minutes exactly before it would become impossible to think about anything except the urgent, burning need to have something in his valve. "Primus," he whispered. Ten minutes, and all he really wanted to do was slip back into recharge, right there at his desk, and duties be slagged.

A different alarm pinged him, one he had set very precisely. Groaning, Ratchet sat up, wincing as he slipped his fingers free from his valve. Venting deeply, he activated a deep coded set of medical protocols, chaining them to a secondary alarm that would ping in exactly nine Earth hours.

The room abruptly felt infinitely less like the environmental controls were off, his frame bleeding out heat at a frantic rate. Ratchet rebooted his optics and grimaced at the slick mess of lubricant coating his fingers and glinting in streaks down his inner thighs. A cleaning rag mopped up the worst of it; the sheer lack of sensation as he swiped the rag over his interface array brought a wry quirk to his mouth.

Nine hours was enough time to finish his shift, grab a cube of energon, and retreat to his own quarters. It was also as long as he dared to keep the medical overrides in place; the system lashback, when they were taken off, was worse than the Pit and probably playing merry havoc with his heat cycle besides. It was, however, the only Primus blessed stopgap measure that worked, and side effects be damned. It was worth it for nine hours of a clear head and none of the aching, distracting need clouding his every thought.

Sighing, Ratchet subspaced the rag and got up to go scrub his hands down properly. His first maintenance appointment was in half an hour and inventory wasn't going to do itself in the meantime.