Just Friends

A Transformers Prime Fanfic

"All right. We've been polite long enough. WHO IS HE?"

June Darby stared up uncomprehendingly from the stack of battered old medical journals she was organizing into a paper shopping bag. Across the cluttered table in the center of the hospital break room three of her fellow nurses stared at her over their coffee.

"Who is who?" she asked in confusion.

The redheaded ward nurse smirked, straightening her teal scrubs with her free hand. The younger two giggeled.

"Please June. HIM."

June arched an eyebrow and tried to process what was coming out of the older woman's mouth. Her mind had been back at the Autobot base, trying to decide which of the medical journals Ratchet would be most interested in. He wanted to learn everything eventually, but his duties kept him far too busy to absorb the majority of what she could provide. Right now he was focusing on pediatrics, determined to never be helpless in the face of one of the children being injured again. Nurse Darby reached up from last August's Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and tightened her ponytail.

"Ladies, I can honestly say I have no idea what you're talking about," she replied ruefully. It was obvious they were hinting around for a romance. June smiled at the idea. With her life right now? But the ward nurse was not going to be deterred by denial.

"June, June. Please." The woman shook her head slowly. "For the past few weeks you have been turning down over time at every turn. That is not like you. At the end of every shift you rush out of here. You haven't stopped to have coffee with the girls after work in weeks. Now, what could be distracting such a dedicated nurse? Hmmmmm" She arched her brows suggestively.

June smiled, trying to hold back the laughter that was building in her gut, "I have a sixteen year old son who just got a motorcycle and is letting his grades slip," she sent a silent apology to Jack for the unfair implication, "that is the 'he' who has been needing me and my time."

The ward nurse let out a guffaw.

"No teenage hooligan ever made his mom smile the way you do when you walk out of here at the end of your shift June." The other two nurses nodded in support. "Besides June you forget one thing. We know Jack. Lacey here sees him every day when she picks up her girl from school. There is no way that boy scout poster boy is giving you that much trouble."

Lacey Stevenga threw one long black braid over her shoulder and stared directly into June's eyes.

"June we've been friends for a long time. Yesterday you waltzed out of here humming a country song so loud they asked about it on the next floor. You haven't done that since he left. Now SPILL"

June stared at the three of them in bemusement. They were all competent nurses, experienced and well versed in that most important duty of reading people. She knew there was no way she could deny that there was something special going on in her life, and a flat out refusal to talk about it would strain their relationship. A conversation she'd had with Special Agent Fowler came back to her.

"The best cover story is always the truth Mrs. Darby. It's easy to remember and if you give people just enough they'll usually jump to their own conclusions, wrong ones."

June sighed as if in defeat and began putting more journals into the bag.

"You win. There is someone new in my life."

The younger two of her interrogators squealed in delight and the ward nurse harrumphed triumphantly,

"Which I will tell you all about after shift is over," June said firmly indicating the break room clock. There was a chorus of disappointed murmurs.

"Coffee at my place?" Sandy offered.

"Sounds good," June replied. Better to avoid taking them to her house. The four nurses dispersed back to their stations.

Several hours later June pulled up to Sandy's one story ranch in her old white car. For the first time in years the engine purred smoothly and clicked off without a complaint. There were distinct benefits to befriending a mechanic from a race of living machines.

Sandy let her in the door and ushered her quickly to the bathroom. They never hung out in their teal scrubs. June took her time changing, thinking over what she was going to say. She came out in worn black jeans, socks, and a pink short sleeved top. The rest of the nurses, there were five now sat chatting around the living room. They all hushed as June walked into the room. Mrs. Darby took her time; accepted the coffee someone pressed into her hand, sat down on the battered couch and rested her feet on a sturdy wooden coffee table. Sandy was a firm believer that a living room should be lived in. June let out a warm sigh as she relaxed among her peers. Their eager faced stare at her expectantly. She was actually going to enjoy this. Finally Lacey could no longer stand it.

"Well?" she demanded, leaning forward eagerly. June smiled.

"Are you all so seriously interested in my life?"

"YES!" came the response.

"All right," June took a sip of coffee, it was the good stuff, and weighed her words carefully. "We met a few weeks ago. Jack actually introduced us."

"Wow June, your son is a great kid."

"Yes he is," June glowed happily at the complement, "Anyway you all know by now Jack recently acquired a motorcycle. Well the, ah, guy in my life is the mechanic he takes her to."

"Details! Details!" Demanded another of her coworkers.

"Let's see. He's rather gruff, likes to put up a 'tough guy' image. Doesn't make new friends easily. He took awhile to warm up to me." June took another sip of coffee. Her friends were leaning eagerly forward. She really didn't mind what appeared to be nosiness. In a little community like theirs these friendships and gatherings were important. If her love life, or lack thereof was the featured amusement of the night it was only because these women truly cared about her.

"He's a veteran," June continued. "During the war he was a field medic, but he is a fully qualified general practitioner and a skilled surgeon." There was an applicative mummer. A man in uniform and a healer? Quite a catch.

"But what's he look like?"

June had put some thought into this question knowing it would come up.

"He's a ginger," she said, "white and bright red, tall, strong, wide shoulders, and not an ounce of fat on him anywhere." Quite literally, she thought with a smile as she watched her coworkers' reactions.

"Like I said he's very tough but he has a soft side as well. He truly loves children." June thought back to the medibot's anguish over Raf's condition, how he had worked feverishly to save the boy's life and smiled gently. "He likes to keep abreast of all the latest medical developments. We have the most wonderful conversations. He is so far ahead of most doctors I know. It is a truly mind opening experience. Out of this world really."

"Where did he study medicine?"

"I can't remember exactly," June admitted, "but not in the states."

"Is he rich?" demanded the youngest nurse eagerly. June let out a snort.

"Not at all. His resources are stretched extremely thin in fact, and he has four family members to take care of." She smiled down into her nearly empty cup. "Despite his situation he is the most generous spar, ah soul I know. He would give every drop of hisblood to another if he thought it would help them."

"She's got it Baaaad!" loudly whispered one nurse to another, setting off a chorus of chuckles.

"Recently he's developed an interest in pediatrics. I'm sharing my online medical subscriptions with him right now, until he can get his own, and I've been giving him hard copies to go through."

"Ah, so that's where all the back issues have been going," declared Sandy, only to be shushed by the rest of the room.

"Does he want kids?" Inquired the burn ward nurse.

"Well we've never talked about it but I doubt he plans on having any of his own at this point. " June replied, having trouble fighting back a wave of laughter. This was getting fun, but she glanced at her watch. She really should be getting to the Autobot base. It was time to let the other shoe drop and wrap this up. She just needed someone to ask the right question. As if reading her mind Sandy piped up.

"Which conflicts did he serve in?"

June smiled sweetly. Those who knew her best usually backed off and sought cover when she did that.

"Oh he doesn't really like to talk about his war days." 'Like the experimental energon incident,' she thought with a shiver. "But I know he was serving active duty around the same time as Patton was invading Europe." 'One true but misleading fact can make or break the entire story," Fowler had said. There was a stunned silence as June smiled mischievously around the room. She could almost hear the gears grinding in their heads as the image of a uniformed, muscular, young, redheaded, lover was replaced by that of a bony old veteran in a wheelchair. The silence was broken by a dramatic groan from Lacey.

"JUNE!" Mrs. Darby laughed and ducked as a storm of throw pillows flew at her. Sandy was laughing hard, but managed to calm down enough to get out.

"Leave her alone girls. We brought this on our selves. I should know by now to never force a Darby into a corner."

"So there is no one?" asked the youngest nurse in disappointment. June sighed and shook her head.

"I have a loving son, good friends at work, and a relationship with a caring, intelligent, active, doctor who is constantly expanding my horizons. My life is full right now. But if you are asking if I've found someone for flowers, hearts, and long walks in the rain" June sighed again and said, "My life is far too busy right now for any sort of romantic entanglement." She stood and placed her coffee cup on the table.

"Thanks for the fun time girls, but I have a son who'll think I've been kidnapped by aliens if I don't get home soon. See you at work tomorrow." Each of her friends stood and hugged her goodbye. At the door Sandy stopped her and placed a hand on her shoulder.

"June, you know I admire your dedication to raising Jack, and your work with the elderly. But you need to take June time too." The two nurses stared at each other. "You are a beautiful woman and full of life. Any guy I know would jump at the chance to get to know you better. You can't let life pass you by."

June Darby felt protests rise up inside of her, but what could she say? 'Any guy I date might end up torn apart by a giant mechanical spider.' Or better yet, 'I'd have to take him home to get the approval of my son's motorcycle. Who, by the way, is a sentient robot from the planet Cybertron.' So June only smiled and said,

"You're right Sandy. I'll keep that in mind." The trauma ward nurse stared after her friend as she climbed into her car and drove off. She didn't see the car turn, not towards the Darby's house but out into the Nevada desert.

Ratchet heard the proximity alarms go off and turned from the exam table where a small Asian girl was squirming impatiently and looked eagerly toward the main screen. Nurse Darby's car rolled off the road and through the base doors. She parked in her usual spot and got out lugging a bulging paper bag. Miko was off the exam table in a flash and yanking the bag out of June's arms.

"Here lemme' help you with that Mrs. Darby," Miko called out frantically, "You must have had a long day. Jack's out with Arcee and Bee and Raf are racing by the overpass so I'm the only one here to help you!"

June stared at the girls pink and black head in surprise. Random acts of helpfulness weren't really her style. But she hoisted the heavy bag up and scampered over to the storage area.

"Nurse Darby. I trust your outing with you colleagues was pleasant." Ratchet said with a smile as he strolled over to her.

"It was." She returned his smile. "We chatted and had coffee."

"What subject were you discussing?" he asked as he carefully shifted through the pile of magazines Miko had spread out on the table with one massive finger, "Autism?"

June laughed and shook her head.

"Our personal lives."

Ratchet nodded absently. The personal interactions of Earth medical professionals was of very little interest to him, childhood medical conditions however. He glanced over to where Miko and Bulkhead were trying to sneak out of the base.

"Ah ah, Miko I'm not quite finished with your exam yet, come back here please."

"I feel fine now, and we gotta' go, host parents will worry, bye bye!" The girl called out as she dove into Bulkheads cab. The green Autobot tore out of the base with a squeal of tires.

Ratched harrumphed and shook his head, but there was a sparkle of mischief in his optics. June's cell phone beeped out the tone for a text message.

"Don evr tel med bot u feel funny!" came in from Miko's phone. June laughed softly to herself.

"Well June now that I seem to have somehow scared off the last distraction, ah patient, we can get started in peace."

June followed the Autobot back to the lab.

"A tall ginger soldier with wide shoulders who loves children," She murmured to herself, "I wonder if they come in human sizes?"

"What was that?" asked Ratchet.

"Nothing," she shook her head smiling and picked up a journal, "What did you want to start with today?"