Big, BIG thanks again to everyone who's read, reviewed, or faved. I always greatly appreciate it all of it!

This chapter and I...struggled, and I mean full out, on the floor, no holds barred, struggling! I won though! I think…LOL XD

Warnings: Mech on mech

Cycle = generally day time, Recharge cycle = night time/sleep time, Orn = hour, breem = minute

Chapter 3

Where Knock Out is generous and Breakdown just moves on.

Stripnine frowned at the two sitting before him in his office.

Knock Out sat comfortably, reclining in his chair, almost sprawling. His optics seemed to glow with some deep satisfaction and the smug grin he wore refused to budge, no matter how much Stripnine glared at him. The medic's frame, normally sickeningly pristine, was dirty, flaked with blue paint. Scuffs and smudges decorated his shoulders, arms, and chest plate. There were even a few of what looked like large finger sized dents on his hip and thigh plating.

Disgusted, Stipnine shifted his gaze to the other mech sitting in front of him.

Breakdown didn't look much better. His frame in much the same condition, only long scratches ran the length of his arms with some peeking out around his midsection. He sat rigid in his seat, back strut straight, shoulders squared, hands resting against the arm rests. His optics, however, were lowered to stare at the floor.

Stripnine raked his gaze over the young warrior once more before turning to frown at the irritatingly happy medic once again. At least Breakdown had the decency to look ashamed of himself. Knock Out, on other hand, was completely shameless.

Leaning forward with a hard sigh, Stripnine clasped his hands in front of him on the desk, "Well, then. Which of you would like to explain to me why the two of you were over two orns late reporting back from your patrol?"


Breakdown shifted uncomfortably in his seat, "We -"

"We were combat training." Knock Out spoke up, cutting Breakdown off.

Stripnine raised an optic ridge, "Combat training?"

Knock Out smiled, "Yes." He waved a hand leisurely in Breakdown's direction, "Breakdown, here, was generous enough to teach me some of his favorite….hand to hand combat maneuvers."

"Hand to hand combat maneuvers?"

Knock Out nodded.

"And that's why you reported back two orns late? That's way came back looking like…this?"

"Yes, Sir." That smug grin seemed to grow just a little bit. "What else would we have been doing?"

Optics narrowed at the medic before Stripnine turned to address his warrior, "Breakdown?"

Breakdown nodded briskly, "Yes, Sir, we were….were combat training. Sir." Yellow optics flicked up to look at Stripnine, meeting his hard gaze briefly before quickly returning to the floor.

He stared at Breakdown a moment longer, his frown deepening, "Right." His gaze returned to the far too relaxed medic. "Right. Breakdown, your free to leave. Report back at the start of next shift for patrol detail."

Surprised, Breakdown looked up. "Yes, Sir." Stripnine nodded but the warrior hesitated, hands suddenly gripping the arm rests of his chair tightly. He moved to stand then hesitated again.

The officer frowned, "Is there something you wish to say, Breakdown?"

A quick shake of his head, "No…no, Sir."

"Then you are free to leave. Go."

Breakdown remained seated, hesitating, tensing again. His mouth pressed into a thin line of determination before he finally heaved himself to his feet, turned around, and walked quickly to the door.

Stripnine actually did a double take when he saw the twin claw marks running the length of Breakdown's back. He waited for the door to close before casting a rather dubious look at Knock Out. "I suppose your going to try and tell me those are from your little "combat training" session."

Chuckled quietly, the medic leaned his helm back against the chair, unconcerned , relaxed. "But, of course." Knock Out met Stripnine's glare, his optics gleaming. "It was very hands on."

Stripnine laid into him, throwing a nice little tantrum as he went on about rule breaking, fraternizing, how Knock Out "knew" better. And then on some more to something about how he tries to train his mechs right and something else about the war and Decepticon honor... Seriously? At that point Knock Out was completely convinced Stripnine had forgotten who he was talking to.

He never had cared for those propaganda speeches. Decepticon honor and what not. Clearly Stripnine hadn't the honor of spending much time around Starscream. Knock Out wasn't a Decepticon because it provided him with a sense of honor. You want that? Go be an Autobot.

He wanted status. He liked having power, especially power over others, and the ability to do as he pleased with out much restriction. These were the perks of being a medic. A high ranking Decepticon medic. Megatron's trusted and favored medic. Stripnine could lecture all he wanted but he couldn't touch him, won't dare, and they both knew it.

Stripnine eventually wore down, no doubt finally seeing the frivolity in even having demanded he run a patrol. Once dismissed, Knock Out hurried away from the office, down the main corridor. Glancing quickly down halls as he pasted. No one in sight. This time his attentiveness to those around him had nothing to do with his concerns over his appearance. At the moment, that could wait...and even so, in this state he still looked better than half the mechs stationed here.

He came to stop, looking around.


Where could Breakdown have gone to?

Standing under the warm spray of solvent, Breakdown took a moment to relax. He leaned, hands braced against the wash rack walls, into the stream of solvent as he shuttered his optics, letting his head drop forward. The warm welcoming mixture seeped under his plating, washing away some of the dirt and dust clinging to him, easing tense cables and stiff joints.

Venting a tired sigh, he brought his optics back online. A little star of light glinting off his arm caught his attention. Standing up straight, he began to examine the scratches running the length of one arm. Blunt fingertips traced lightly over the grooves. These...weren't going away any time soon. Auto repair would help but only to a point. These would need to be sanded down, filled in, repainted, it would be time consuming.

Time he didn't have. He needed recharge, really needed it. And he had another patrol shift to run after that. Fewer able bodies meant running back to back patrol shifts. Great. He disliked unwanted attention as it was and these were bound to draw attention. Unwanted looks and glances, smirks, most likely a few stupid questions. He frowned, one finger following the lengthy path of one scratch as it stretched from his upper arm all the way down to his forearm. Oh yeah, next couple of cycles were going to be real fun.


Twisting around, he stared in shock at Knock Out, smiling at him from the doorway.

"Found you." The medic's smile was playful, boarding on teasing.

Breakdown blinked, staring back blankly. Found? He...hadn't been hiding.

The medic sauntered forward and Breakdown noticed he looked just like he had when they'd returned from patrol. Which was surprising. He thought for sure the medic would've retreated to his personal quarters and tended to his frame. It was no secret just how serious the medic took his appearance, even lowly patrol knew.

Knock Out reached past him and snapped the wash rack off. "Come with me."

Remaining unmoving, Breakdown followed Knock Out with his optics as he walked back toward the doorway. A slim hand came to rest on the entry way frame as the medic paused and looked back at him. "Come." The word was inviting but held an undertone of command. So, Breakdown followed, not exactly sure what the medic had in mind.

Knock Out lead him down a series of hallways to a lift. When they'd gone up several levels, Knock Out lead him down another hallway, arriving at a Med Bay. He watched Knock Out type in his code and enter. Breakdown slowed to a stop at the doors threshold. Wariness crept through him. This was Alpha level, none of his rank roamed these halls, let alone used this Med Bay. A facility reserved for Command, Superior Officers, high ranking staff. Technically, he shouldn't be here. He didn't have the rank nor the clearance. Why had Knock Out lead him here?

"Come in." The red mech walked further into his domain, slowing next to a berth before turning to look at him, still standing in the doorway, tense, wary. Their optics locked. Breakdown's suspicious gaze met Knock Out's and he could see the challenge there, almost hear Knock Out's smooth cultured voice issuing the words.

Coming? Or are you afraid?

Unspoken as it was, the warrior's hands still curled into fists. His jaw clenched, set, determined, as he took a step inside the room, letting the door snap shut and lock behind him. He held the medic's gaze as he took another step. He was no coward.

Knock Out's gaze dissolved from challenging to pleased. He gestured to the berth, hand skimming lightly over its surface as he walked casually toward a counter. "Sit."

After giving the berth a thorough scan for anything….unusual, he sat down. Looking around him. The Med Bay, it's contents, were so very different from what he was use to. Much larger, better maintained, better equipment. Clean.

He watched with guarded interest as the medic gathered various items, flitted about the room grabbing this and that, setting them down on the med berth behind the larger mech as he went. Twisting around, he tried to get a look at the items Knock Out had set down. He was no expert but it kind of looked like- Hands suddenly grabbed his shoulders, turning him to face forward again.

"There. Stay like that. Try not to move much."

Knock Out stood behind him, Breakdown listened tensely as the medic shuffled tools and picked up containers. He almost twitched, forcing himself still, when a sudden cool smear of something thick and gel like was placed on his back, spread down along the scratches. As sensation ebbed away, leaving the area numb, Breakdown realized what the medic was doing.

Fixing the scratches.

He sat very still. This was…unusually kind of the medic. Such quick attention for something so superficial on some one who tended to matter little to one of Knock Out's rank. Or...maybe it wasn't. This act of kindness could very well be motivated by something else.

Knock Out had a reputation. A reputation Breakdown was sure he didn't want...tarnished. Rolling around on a dirty, broken down buildings floor for a few orns with a gritty warrior model was probably something the medic didn't want floating around. The only evidence of their tryst were the scratches on him and his own word. Take away the scratches and Breakdown was left with just his word. And, really, who would believe him?

He hesitated, then looked over his shoulder toward Knock Out, not making optic contact since the medic was behind him but turning enough so Knock Out knew he was being addressed, "Not necessary. I wouldn't have told anyone." The medic's hands stilled against his back. "Even if...anyone had asked."

The hands remained still for a moment longer then resumed to their work. "Thank you, Breakdown." He could hear the smile in Knock Out's voice. "But I caused the damage. I'll fix it."

Breakdown gave a slight nod, remaining silent. It was best to let the medic do as he pleased. Though he was silently grateful the medic didn't seem angry with him. Time spent repairing him was time taken away from Knock Out working on his own frame. And he preferred the scratches to be patched up anyway, so if Knock Out really meant what he said or if he was simply covering up a dirty little secret, it didn't really matter. In the end they'd both get what they wanted.

Sensors numbed, he could feel only the lightest of touches flit over his back. It was surprising how pleasantly soothing it was. He found himself relaxing, joints easing as his stiff posture loosened. It'd been a long cycle. Back to back shifts, several rounds of interfacing, enjoyable, yes, but tiring. Warm, sure hands moved over his back. His helm tilted forward, optics dimming.

A sudden grading pain jerked him from recharge. Blinking, he took in his surroundings, remembering were he was.

"Didn't mean to wake you."

Wake? He hadn't realized he'd fallen into recharge.

Knock Out was still working on him. He had no idea how far along he was or how long he'd been in recharge, it took far too much energy to care. And with the quiet room, the soft feathery touches along his back, the warmth of Knock Out's systems radiating against his plating as the medic pressed close, it didn't take long for him to fall back into recharge.

He came online slowly. His mind fuzzy, a little groggy. His optics were slow to focus but when they did he found himself staring up at an unfamiliar ceiling. This wasn't his quarters ceiling, he knew that well enough. Nor was it the commons rooms, where he's spent many a recharge cycle when one of the other mechs he shared quarters with took another into their berth. He'd rather recharge in the commons room than deal with that noise all through his recharge cycle. Still, if he wasn't in his quarters or the commons room...then where?

Looking to his side he saw a med berth and then it all came flooding back. The patrol, the medic, the abandoned building, the fantastic interfacing, getting called into Stripnine's office, Knock Out bringing him here to fix the scratches. That's right, he'd fallen into recharge while Knock Out was working on him.

And, hopefully, with any luck, the scratches were all covered. Anything less noticeable was welcomed.

Sitting up to lean on an elbow, he brought his other arm around, holding it up. Surprised to not only find the scratches gone, not so much as a trace of them, the metal smooth and even, but also a fresh coat of paint. And not just on his arm plating but all over him. Even his leg armor. He looked clean and shiny. This was unexpected.

He had assumed the medic would simply touched up the spots he fixed, like the field medics did. It made for an uneven over all paint job, the patches of paint often not blending, the colors sometimes just close enough to somewhat match. But they saw no reason to put in for the time and expense of recoats for mechs who ran patrols. Just bound to get dirty or shot at and need a quick repair and touch up again anyway.

"You look surprised."

Jerking his head up and around, Breakdown saw Knock Out leaning against a counter, that lazy gaze resting on him. "I couldn't very well let you walk out of here looking the way you did. Half-aft welds, dull spots, scuff marks, blotchy paint job. I could tell who you've been handled by." The medic gave a sneer, "Field to useless."

Breakdown couldn't really agree or disagree. Up to this point he'd had no basis for comparison, he'd only known field medics and they'd kept him alive so far. But Knock Out was definitely better than any field medic he more ways than one.

He slid off the berth, standing as the medic approached him. "Thank you. For fixing the scratches...and..." The words caught in his throat as red optics flared, smoldering, aroused, as they took in his height, how the shine from the new paint bent the light around the curves of his frame, made him appear almost glossy. Knock Out grinned entreatingly, reaching out to run sharp tipped fingers down abdominal plating, lightly teasing seams, fingers brushing along his hips. The red mech leaned in close, engine turning over, purring, "Why don't we -"

The beep of Breakdown's comm line cut him off. His shift would start soon.

"I… Sorry, I…my shift is starting. I have to…"

"Hmmm. Yes…shame." Knock Out's engine abruptly cut off as he turned away with a disappointed sigh, walking back over to the counter.

Breakdown began backing toward the door. He needed to leave, now, if he was going to make patrol on time, "Uh, thank you…again…for…."

Knock Out turned slightly, waving off Breakdown's thanks, "Think nothing of it."

Nodding, he hesitated only a moment longer, drinking the sight of the medic in one last time, allowing himself that last small indulgence before turning to the door, palming it open.

"I'll be seeing you later, Breakdown."


He paused in the doorway, glancing back but the medic had already turned around, resuming the work at his counter, dismissing him.

Hurrying away from the Med Bay, Breakdown knew the task of leaving the upper levels would be far easier than entering them. Round the corner, find the lift, then he need only to get to his patrol station for assignment.

In his rush, he almost ran into a mech that came around the corner. A smaller bright yellow Decepticon, who looked him over openly, sneering his disapproval as he moved away, resuming his walk toward the Med Bay. Breakdown paused, turning slightly, watching him.

The slender, graceful frame immediately reminded him of Knock Out. Of the kind of mechs someone like the medic would usually associate with. Sleek, attractive frame, glossy curves, stylish, Knock Out himself. The yellow mech paused just outside the Med Bay doors, giving himself a quick inspection before activating the doors and stepping in. The faint beginning of a warm, familiar greeting reached his audios before being cut off as the doors closed.

He got the distinct feeling that mech wasn't going to see Knock Out for a check up. He didn't need a vivid imagination to know what kind of visit that would end up being.

Breakdown turned the corner, walking till he found one of the lifts, pressing the button for the lower levels, the more familiar patrol stations. Leaving Knock Out and his Med Bay behind him. He doubted their paths would cross again.

Authors notes:

Think these two are acting a little...sedate? They are. These two feed off each other to become the kickass duo in TFP, here though, they're not together yet. But they will be..soon!

More from Knock Out's POV next chapter.

Also! - Sticky version of this story is now posted on my LJ page (see profile page for link)

Quick note:
Stripnine outranks Knock Out, even though Knock Out is pretty much the chief medic. Stripnine only takes the roll of Commanding Officer when the Command Staff (Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave, so on) are gone. Because Megatron favors Knock Out, it almost cancels out any issue of rank. Which is why Stripnine can't really do anything to Knock Out.

Stripnine and Knock Out mix like oil and water, they hate each other. Stripnine thought he could push Knock Out around a little while Megatron was gone. Maybe make the arrogant medic a touch more humble by running a patrol shift. Of course, this blew up in his face. Stripnine didn't count on two things: One, that Knock Out would ever show interest in someone like Breakdown and two, that Breakdown would ever show interest in someone like Knock Out.

Reading and reviewing is always welcomed and loved :)