Author's Note: I couldn't leave them alone! I really... really couldn't! And I wanted to give people a chance to know exactly how these two met and a little of their back story... and see Ratchet in a costume!

Disclaimer: Own the hat XD

The Hospital, Jasper, Nevada, Earth

"Stop frowning, Ratch." First Aid felt like laughing at the rather irate scowl that was running across his bondmate's features. "You know you'll scare the children if you keep that up." Blonde locks curled around his pretty face, the palest of blue eyes gazing up through blue tinted sunglasses at the powerful man striding along beside him. Fingertips stroked up along one bicep, feeling the muscles just beneath the holographic skin flex in response to the touch.

Ratchet's scowl just seemed to deepen at that, his dark blue eyes stormy beneath neatly swept back coppery brown locks that framed a ruggedly handsome face. "I will not scare the children."

"Bondmate mine, you could scare a whole army away with that scowl." The blonde chuckled softly, unable to help his amusement over the entire situation he had volunteered both of them for. "Just be glad I didn't convince you to dress up…" Rubbing a fingertip against his jaw, lips turning upwards and dimples flashed enticingly at his bondmate. "I thought you would look good as a pirate."

"We are 'dressed up', Love." Dark blue eyes rolled skyward as if praying for the universe to give him patience. Even though he might huff about the fact First Aid had talked him into helping out at Local Hospital to set up the Halloween party for the children, he had to admit he was enjoying himself. Seeing First Aid so happy warmed his spark and hearing that soft laughter brightened the world all around him.

"Holoforms don't count." An elbow lightly nudged Ratchet's side lightly, First Aid's head turning just enough to be able to press a soft kiss against the man's shoulder, rubbing his cheek lightly against it.

A powerful arm wrapped around the blonde's waist, pulling him in almost possessively against his side when they finally reached the section that was marked out as being the children's ward in the hospital. Though they were getting a few odd looks, he ignored everyone and everything in favour of his bondmate, his palm stroking over the flat of his bondmate's belly lightly, delighted by the slight flutter of life beneath his fingers. Even though First Aid wasn't 'pregnant' in human female terms, he could still feel the presence of their sparklings within the mech's holoform, something that he marvelled his bondmate could create.

"Doctor?" June Darby stood in the doorway, her blue eyes flickering between the blonde and copper haired men, curiosity and hope lighting her expression.

"I hope we aren't late, Miss Darby." First Aid offered one of his bright charming little smiles, his head dropping to rest of Ratchet's shoulder, feeling the arm around his waist actually tighten possessively about him, making his smile soften. "The traffic was chaotic."

"You aren't late at all. I'm so glad that you both decided to come, extra sets of hands would be quite welcome right about now." Though her eyes flickered over them, clearly attempting not to voice more of her curiosity over the fact they appeared as real as anyone else did… almost human. It was hard for her to remind herself that before her were two robotic beings from outer space.

"You'll be alright, Ratch?" Concern did flicker through his expression for a moment as he glanced around, suddenly becoming more aware of exactly what they might witness in this place. "I should have…" A furrow pressed between his brows, his beautiful face lifted towards his lover's, worry paling the man's pretty features. A hand stretched out, fingertips trailing the length of the man's chest, trailing along a path that followed the faint scars that did run beneath the fabric, knowing them so well… "I wasn't thinking…"

A large hand caught First Aid's as it rested just over his heart, stilling it and pressing the warm palm just there, lacing their fingers together. Ratchet leaned in to gently leave a kiss on those soft lips, swallowing those words before they could escape the delectable mouth. Their foreheads touched lightly, a tiny intimate gesture.

"I will be well, Love." He said firmly, sliding his lips across the younger man's forehead and then down over each eye reverently.

Decepticon Installation, Damastica [Past]

The caustic sting of smoke filled his vents and internals, burning him from the inside out as he attempted to expel the noxious fumes from his systems. Pain lanced through his entire frame, joints creaking in protest over the position he had been left in, his limbs pinned down to the edges of what appeared to be a work bay of some sort. Inhaling deeply, the scents of processed energon and other fluids filled his still stinging senses and he jerked hard at the restraints, knowing these particular smells and knowing the only way they could be caused.

Helm twisting to glanced around at his surroundings, an instant shiver flashed through him as he found himself staring at the disassembled remains of several Autobots. It was clear from the long scratches around where their servos were resting still pinned to the work benches that they had been alive when they had been taken apart. Horror filled him at the scene, his blue optics shuttering tightly, trying to block out the sensations that ran through his own frame.

With consciousness came the awareness that if he looked down, he would find his own internals splayed out, pieces of himself having been removed with expert precision. His spark pulsed sluggishly, the protective casing having been peeled back away from it, exposing it to the cold air, it fluttered…

The last thing he remembered was taking a plasma bolt to the back, the ground rushing up towards his face and maniacal laughter filling the air, sending a cold shiver flickering through his frame. His head twisted to see a dark shadow gliding across the space towards him, every system he had freezing up as if ice laced his fuel lines.

"Now let's see if we can get a scream out of you this time."

Fear did burn through him that time, his limbs struggling weakly against his bonds, desperate to escape, to shield his spark from the wicked looking energon blade the mech had lifted from a nearby tray of ghastly looking tools that were already stained purple with his energon.

"Still some fight left in you, I'm impressed." The Decepticon leaned over Ratchet, mouth curving up into a pleased little smile, one that promised that Ratchet would not be released from reality until he was indeed screaming.

Suddenly the dark head twisted towards the doorway when it hissed open, spilling the sounds of shrieking alarms into the gruesome disassembly workbay. Ratchet's helm flopped to one side, just making out a slender form silhouetted in the doorway, blue and white glinting in the harsh lighting.

"Finally found me little Protectobot." A warped version of a smile spread even further across that mouth, expression a touch amused. "Have you come to watch me…"

And abruptly the Decepticon staggered, entire body swaying as the energon blade dropped from suddenly limp fingers, the mech's head turning downwards to stare at the large hole that had been burned into the centre of his chassis. Wide crimson optics lifted from the smoking wound to gaze at the Protectobot in the doorway with something akin to amusement. "I didn't know… you had it in you."

There was a broken sound of a sob from the doorway, then a clatter of a weapon being dropped to the floor as pedes sounded against the fluid streaked floors of the hellish pit the Decepticon had claimed as home.

The dark form who had stood beside where Ratchet was pinned down crumpled, striking the ground heavily wouldn't another sound escaping him as he offlined without another word.

"I'm sorry… I'm sorry…" The words were so soft that Ratchet almost didn't catch what they were, as the Protectobot stepped into the blinding light that pooled around the white and crimson medic. Cheekplates were damp with tears that swept down from beneath a protective visor, soft lips forming the words again and again even though he practically quivered with the raw emotions that assaulted him.

Warmth suddenly surrounded Ratchet's spark, something covering the exposed orb, sheltering it from the cold air. A thumb swept over it, caressing lightly and soothing the distress he was feeling, the movement calming the wild pulse and easing the strain on the larger medic's systems. It was like nothing the medic had ever experienced before, the flood of something unexpected struck him hard. Kinship.

"Aid!" Another mech hovered in the doorway, doorwings flaring as he moved quickly towards his sibling, expression troubled the moment he caught sight of the dead Decepticon beside First Aid's pedes. "Oh… slag." The footsteps sounded more quickly, Streetwise moving to stand beside his younger brother and moved to support him when the slender medic shook his head sharply, refusing the comfort that was going to be offered to him. "You going to be able to do this?" Streetwise's face was filled with a deep horror as he gazed down at the stripped down Autobot that was locked down spread eagled on the bench, his own parts scattered around him like some kind of live autopsy.

"Don't ask me. Please." First Aid's tears dripped down onto Ratchet's chassis as he was working on sealing leaking fuel lines and disconnecting the mech's sensor net from his main processors. "I need to work." His head tipped to gaze down into Ratchet's optics, such open compassion and a wealth of emotions revealed in those expressive features. "I'll keep you safe." It was a soft promised, fingers caressing tenderly across that spark still, not willing to release his hold around it as it pressed into his palm, responding unconsciously to the touches. "Find a way to release the clamps and gather up his components, I can't repair him properly here…"

The Hospital, Jasper, Nevada, Earth

Decorations practically clung to every inch of the main ward area for the children, all the curtains around the beds had been drawn back and the lights dimmed to add to the atmosphere. They had been working for hours, Ratchet and First Aid not tiring as the others had from the physical exertion. However, Ratchet had vanished a half hour before and not returned and left the young blonde the centre of a lot of attention, his beautiful features and intelligence drawing the nurses as they were questioning him about himself which was extremely difficult to answer, even though Judy Darby was running interference.

A surprisingly little shiver flickered up along First Aid's spine when he stepped out into the surprisingly cold evening air, his hands tugging his jacket a little more around his body and glanced to one side, startled to find Ratchet perched on one side of the open roof, his back pressed against the wall, knees drawn to his chassis. It was only then that he could feel the flutter of raw emotions burning up along their previously quieted bond.

Instantly he was down on his knees beside his bondmate's holoform, arms wrapping tightly around the broad shoulders, his head coming to rest against the side of Ratchet's throat, just holding him like that, leaning against his side. "You observed a surgical procedure."

A shudder rippled through Ratchet, the man's dark blue eyes closed tight against the new memory files he possessed. Both hands clenched, a low sound escaping his throat, face turning upwards seeking the one source of reassurance he had in his life. A warm mouth covered his own, sweet and understanding, lips brushing softly. The bond flared to life between them, filling Ratchet with love and First Aid's compassionate concern.

"Slicers." A shiver rippled all the way through Ratchet, his optics shuttered tightly against what he had witnessed when he had been offered the chance to observe human surgery. "Its barbaric."

"They don't know yet how to treat some ailments without doing surgery. Their methods may seem… barbaric to us, but they are organics and not mechanical in nature."

Fingertips slowly unbuttoned Ratchet's long sleeved shirt, spreading the fabric open and revealing the tawny skin beneath, hairless and well muscled. Dipping his head in, he pressed a warm kiss against the skin just over the pounding heart that fluttered beneath his lips. Shifting from his place beside the man to straddle his hips, his mouth was sliding over the faint almost invisible scars that trailed from collarbone to hip, taking his time to touch every line etched into his skin. One large hand curled into the back of his blonde locks, encouraging him to continue what he was doing, fingertips massaging his scalp tenderly. Ratchet's head dropped back against the wall, legs unfolding beneath him willingly giving himself over to his bondmate's tender ministrations.

"I remember those nights I could curl up against you before you first came back online. The warmth of your frame soaking into mine, my spark singing at being so close to you. You know how they say… love at first sight here on Earth… I think it was that way with us, though maybe… not at first sight…." The younger man looked a touch uncertain exactly how to explain himself.

"I must admit, the humans do have a good saying, it is accurate for me."

First Aid's pale blue eyes blinked at that as he stopped his slow lick across one masculine nipple, pink tongue lightly sliding over his bottom lip seductively. "Do you mean that?"

"Most definitely."

Autobot Transport, Xanthus, Deep Space [Past]

Awareness was slow in returning to Ratchet, it was a surprisingly long lazy slide up from the strangely comforting darkness. His senses were the first to return to him, his sensor net tingling with heat and… inhaling sharply the sweet clean scent of wax, freshly processed energon and… something sweeter tickled his olfactory sensors. One side of him was surprisingly warm, heated air fluttering across his shoulder stirring something within himself that hadn't been for far too long.

He was not in a medical bay, he knew that the moment his optics unshuttered and he stared up at the ceiling of what looked like a set of personal quarters. Helm twisted, his gaze suddenly stopped on the blue and white helm that was tucked against his shoulder, the recharging form of his rescuer pressed up along his side beneath the thick thermal blankets. Now this was definitely not what he had expected to awaken to, but he would be slagged if he complained about the fact that he was surprisingly whole and had a beautiful mech snuggled up beside him.

Attempting to shift, he groaned when nothing seemed to respond, his systems sending back a confirmation that he had not only lost several orns, but that his systems were still desperately trying to reintegrate both his own components and new ones to replace what had been removed. A shiver rippled down his spinal plating at the memory of seeing his own components spread out around him like some gruesome internal examination.

A sleepy sound escaped the smaller medic, pale blue optics flickering open as he tipped his head upwards to gaze at Ratchet and immediately upon seeing the bot online once more, his lips curved into a breathtaking smile that left Ratchet almost speechless with its beauty.

"You're awake." About to sit up, First Aid suddenly let out a surprised little chirp when he was prevented from doing so by the arm wrapped around his slender waist. "I'm sorry about the…"

"I'm not going to complain about the accommodations." What was there to complain about when you awakened to find yourself being… cuddled.

"It was necessary." Glancing around at his own quarters, the medic squirmed slightly, attempting to right himself again onto to end up sprawled half across Ratchet's chassis, ending up with their faces barely two feet apart. "Medbay is basically overflowing with patients and every inch of the Xanthus is crammed full of bots until we can unload most of the troops from your last base to the next one." A hand reached out and the back of warm knuckles brushed against Ratchet's cheekplate softly, showing his honest concern for the other medic. "I knew you would not wish to be observed recovering."

Ratchet had to admit just how true it was, after… after what had happened, he didn't want anyone to see the rush of fear that would more than likely accompany his first trip back into a medbay. The horrors of that… disassembly bay… it terrified a part of him and Ratchet was never one to admit to such things.

"You were stable and just needed time to recover." Those fingers slipped from Ratchet's face down across his throat to his chassis, tracing out each precise weld and mark that had been left along his chassis and down to his hips.

Taking his time, the medic took a better look at his surroundings, catching sight of a workspace and supplies. Tools lined one wall, a thousand things that were intimately familiar to him filled the space and relaxed his body with its familiarity. Ratchet had to admit he was a little envious of some of the equipment he caught sight of, each of them handcrafted and made to improved specifications. He was a battlefield medic and scientist, where it was clear First Aid was more of a surgeon and engineer. It was clear these were First Aid's personal quarters.

Turning his attention back to the medic in his grip, he caught the flash of exhaustion lining those beautiful features that had been revealed to him in the soft light that filled the slightly cramped quarters. "You have been neglecting yourself."

Pale blue optics blinked down at Ratchet, head dipping so that their lips almost brushed softly together. His forehead dropping to rest on Ratchet's, his slender frame stretching out across Ratchet's own, lithe frame fitting perfectly together against the medic's as recharge clearly was tugging at First Aid's systems.

Shifting the warm weight spread across him lightly, he tucked the medic's helm just beneath his chin, arms managing to wrap around the slender shoulders and waist, hugging First Aid to him. They were spark to spark like that, an intimate position for Cybertronians. And for the first time in his entire existence, Ratchet felt a sense of peace slide over every one of his senses and spark. How could he not be content like this? Even though they were nothing but strangers, how could he not cling to this small measure of happiness that had found him?

In his spark, he prayed to Primus that he would never have to be without this warm weight in his arms and soul again.

The Hospital, Jasper, Nevada, Earth

A delighted laugh escape First Aid, his blue eyes wide as he stared at the tall coppery haired man who stood in the doorway, his lean body clad in a half unbuttoned silk shirt and tight pants that fitted so delectably over that firm rear. Knee high black boots, a cutlass belted low on his hips and a plumed tricorn hat sitting on top of swept back coppery locks and a broad smile completed the look.

"Oh… dear god…" First Aid's cheeks flushed at the sight, unable to help the natural reaction his body had to the fact that Ratchet had actually uploaded the specifications of the pirate outfit he had been joking about earlier. The man looked relaxed, his large body moving with that grace he always possessed, but there was a swagger to those hips now, dark blue eyes flashing devilishly with that glint of humour Ratchet possessed.

Several wolf whistles came from several of the nurses whom had turned at the sound of the doors opening and allowing Ratchet entry.

Judy stood to one side of First Aid, blue eyes widening in surprise at the sight of the previously scowling Ratchet returning looking like… that. "What exactly did you do?"

"I… honestly have no idea." The blonde responded, his eyes still wide while they took in the graceful strength of that body and felt the tickle of Ratchet's delight at seeing his surprise and pleasure at his efforts. "But whatever I did do, I hope I do it a lot more often. Primus forbid…"

"Ahoy, me Hearties!" Ratchet's deep voice rumbled through the space, making several of the children clap their hands in delight at seeing someone truly get into the spirit of the night. "Has someone taken my booty, which one of ye landlubbers did the dastardly deed?"

First Aid's mouth opened, then shut, then opened again. His reaction making Ratchet's grin grow even widener, white teeth flashing in pleasure. The light spilled down over the tawny skin of the man's chest and highlighted the long scars that crossed his skin, just adding to the affect.

"Ratch…" He breathed, not hearing Judy's inhale at the sight of the scars, his feet carrying him over to his bondmate. Suddenly he found himself swept up into powerful arms, the man's plumed hat fluttering slightly, when he held it before their faces and kissed his lover so deeply behind it that First Aid's legs wanted to buckle out from under him at the action.

"Surprise." Dark blue eyes flashed with mirth, the weight that seemed to have been dogging the mech evaporating into nothingness. "Thankyou for reminding me, my Sweetest of Sparks exactly why I am so fortunate to have you as my bondmate. You also reminded me that happiness is in the doing and not the waiting."

First Aid's arms wrapped tightly around his lover's shoulders, tugging his head down and practically plastering himself to the other man, his mouth covering the warm one pressed against his own. There truly was no other place he would ever rather be than there in his bondmate's arms, knowing that no matter what… they would be together.

I might do another chapter as I go. Who knows!