Title: Show Another Me
Author: Keelywolfe
Fandom: TF: Prime

Notes:There really needs to be about a hundred stories based on the awesome episode Stronger, Faster. Here's one.

Summary: Optimus is supposed to be resting but how can he when someone else is still awake, too?

It was past time for him to be recharging, Optimus knew. All of them recharged in cycles so that there was never more than one of them that might be caught in a vulnerable state and according to their schedule, Optimus was due to run his cycle from 0800 to 1200 hours, local time. Enough time to rest and defrag and right now, at 0813 that was where he was supposed to be.

Instead, he found himself walking back to Main Engineering, his concern for Ratchet kept his processors running, all recharge commands shunted aside until he'd finally risen and gone to check on his medic, who should still be resting himself after his ordeal and no doubt was not.

Truthfully, despite not being able to rest Optimus felt weary, the weight of his responsibilities were particularly heavy this morning and Ratchet's angry words from the day before still replayed in the back of his processors.

You know your problem, Optimus? For such a big, strong 'Bot...you're soft. You didn't pound Megatron into scrap when you had the chance! Many chances, in fact!

In the aftermath, his medic had been horrified, his raspy apologies spilling from him before Ratchet had even checked his own medical diagnostic.

Optimus would never hold that against him, never begrudge Ratchet his drug-addled fury and yet…and yet, he could not say he had been entirely wrong.

That would have to be an issue for another day. Today's problem was standing at his long work table, his hands moving with weariness that was a mirror to Optimus's own; nonetheless, they were steady and sure. Optimus didn't recognize the machine that Ratchet was repairing, no doubt something important, something that they needed.

But they needed Ratchet more.

His proximity sensors would have warned him of Optimus's presence, though Ratchet had yet to make a sound. He hadn't even looked up, his focus entirely on his work and Optimus frowned, considering. Ratchet had been avoiding his optics, avoiding them all, for the past day. He'd allowed himself only the barest amount of time to recover before he'd dragged himself off the medical berth and back to work. Endless amount of work for their medical officer, who had, over the eons, also become their scientist and their mechanic, grinding through task after never-ending task.

It was very common for Ratchet to work himself to exhaustion until Optimus forced him to rest, one way or another. It was not at all ordinary for him to do it in this strange, uncomfortable silence.

Optimus didn't like it. This was not the Ratchet he knew, not his old friend. The Ratchet he knew was dour, acerbic, sardonic, and occasionally brutally honest. Ratchet was also fiercely dedicated, endlessly loyal, caring, compassionate and…his. Completely his. He might never be able to state it aloud, but Optimus could claim it within his own processors, no matter what Ratchet thought of it.

That Ratchet was working when he should be resting was not unexpected, his guilt driving him even harder. Ratchet had ever been uncompromising in his emotions, he felt them strongly, his shame would be no exception and-

Optimus narrowed his optics, studying Ratchet piercingly. There, a tremor ran through his medic's frame, slight, but visible even to Optimus's untrained optics. Enough of this; Ratchet could reabsorb himself in his self-flagellation after some recharge.

"You need to rest," Optimus said firmly, his tone not to be argued with. To his surprise, Ratchet actually flinched from his touch, hunching away. The tool in Ratchet's hand warped, bending under his suddenly tight grip. Startled, Optimus gentled his tone, saying softly, "Ratchet? You're shaking."

He was; that occasional tremor escalating to a full-body tremble, enough that there was a humming undertone of his armor rattling faintly. "It's an aftereffect, from the synthetic energon," Ratchet said, shortly, and yet, his vocals were harsh, raspy with static. "I'll be fine."

"You need rest," Optimus repeated, soothingly, resting both hands on the smooth plating of Ratchet's shoulders. Not enough pressure to physically move him, only a gentle nudge in the right direction, towards Ratchet's quarters where a berth was waiting.

Ratchet moved so quickly beneath his touch that his fingertips scraped against the armor plating, scoring the paint down to the primer layer. "Don't," he grated out. The tremor was constant now, his plating rattling harder, a low clatter of sound to underscore his harsh ventilations.

For the first time in an age, Optimus stood frozen in indecision, his hands still reaching awkwardly towards Ratchet in a hesitant offer of assistance. It was obvious that Ratchet needed his help but the cause of his refusal was not as clear. Had it been anyone else, they would already be on a medical berth with diagnostics running and it would be Ratchet managing those diagnostics, choosing a course of treatment, caring for the injured as he always did.

That it wasRatchet left Optimus lost, uncertain, his normal determination banked as he considered – and rejected – options. Ratchet was a medic, surely he could determine his own therapy and yet, Ratchet was hurt, needed him and Optimus had nothing to offer him except useless consolation and hadn't he already failed Ratchet, failed them all, leading his people to a place of desperation so grave that Ratchet had been willing to experiment on himself in a misguided attempt to save them.

No. This was not about him and his own failings, this was about Ratchet and he would offer his medic, his friend his…his lover, and may the Pit damn anyone who thought Ratchet was a poor choice for a Prime. Once, a young mech named Orion Pax had given up his existence for his kind, for his very planet, and the part of that mech that lived on in Optimus Prime cried out within him, desperately and selfishly, that he be allowed this one little thing, be allowed to love Ratchet, even if Ratchet would never allow himself to love Optimus…Orion…his Prime.

Enough of this. Optimus pushed aside any doubt and indecision and just as he was about to pull Ratchet out and force him onto a diagnostic berth, Ratchet turned, a wild , too-bright light in his optics that was nothing like their eerie shine from the synthetic energon.

The sound the two of them made as they crashed to the ground would have deafened a human, the shock of it like a small earthquake. Optimus reset his optics to find Ratchet on top of him, their limbs entangled as he ducked his head enough to mouth the line of cables at Optimus's throat. The startling rush of pleasure made Optimus gasp, not so lost yet that he couldn't comm a quick command to the others telling them to stay out of main engineering. He could barely wait for their acknowledgment, closing off all but a terse thank you.

Ratchet's hand was already scrabbling between his legs, not pausing at his spike cover, instead sliding lower, clever fingers made clumsy by desire still enough to click back the panel over Optimus's valve, delving inside to press deftly over the sensor nodes.

Oh, yes. Optimus moaned, shuttering his optics and arching into the touches. It had been a very, very long time since anyone had even touched his valve and no one had ever touched it like this, thrusting in harshly, slicking through the first trickles of lubricant and scraping the sensors just so…a difficult stretch that Optimus couldn't help but arch into. The sounds escaping his vocalizer were edged with desperation, whimpers of startled pleasure.

They'd never done this, never, Optimus would never have considered asking and Ratchet was no soldier but civilian proprieties still drove him. It was inappropriate for a Prime to want him but in lieu of anyone else who was appropriate, Ratchet was able to accept Optimus's desires. He was their Prime, he had needs, and Ratchet was a medic, able to fulfill them. Words of love, past the affection one would have for a friend, had never been part of this. For him to take Optimus…obscene, absurd and if that was what Ratchet needed, Optimus was more than willing to give it to him.

His own instincts, coupled with his Prime coding, were to take, and when his battle protocols were running hot, he took Ratchet fiercely, till both of them screamed their pleasure and need to whatever skies were above them. Now, though, legs spread and Ratchet working another thick finger into his straining valve, Optimus couldn't help trying to spread his legs even further, a faint jumbled plea for more escaping him, cresting into a loud, desperate cry as Ratchet's hand stilled.

He was trembling harder, resisting, shaking his head in panicked denial. "I can't…I…"

With strong, gentle hands, Optimus soothed him, pulling him close enough to press a kiss to the hard line of his closed mouth. No amount of coaxing would make him part his lips, no amount of heated pleading…they weren't supposed to kiss, Optimus knew, there were rules for their couplings and each one was shattering around them, so much useless slag.

Ratchet shouldn't be touching Optimus's valve, their mouths shouldn't be touching, and Optimus had never even seen Ratchet's spike and now he was touching it, sliding a hand between his legs where it extended eagerly into his palm, allowing him to circling the hot, slick shaft, his fingertips lingering on the ridged head. Savored the feel of the hot length against the delicate sensors in his hands, the shrill squeal of Ratchet's ventilators as he sucked in air too quickly for them to cycle it, and the strange sensation of lubricant slicking his inner thighs made him squirm, made him try to pull Ratchet between them. He wanted, he needed, and damn propriety to the Pit.

Whatever feeble protests Ratchet had were lost as he moved somehow in a way that eased the frustrated tangle of their legs, moved between Optimus's thighs and hunched his hips and—

"Ohh," Optimus vented a long gust of startled air as Ratchet's spike slid deep inside him, his tight, unaccustomed valve straining to accommodate the girth of it stretching him wide. It was still an easy push, his lubricants smoothing the way and the sound Ratchet made, a deep, guttural cry, a wail of desperation and need. Optimus felt it, the moment Ratchet stopped fighting it, stopped trying to do anything but feel. His hands were rough, scrabbling down Optimus legs to his knees and hauling them up, spreading him out, spreading him open. The first real thrust made him gasp, arching his hips up, the second drew out his own cries, a garbled, staticy plea, perhaps for more, Optimus couldn't control his own vocalizer as Ratchet pounded into him, one hard thrust after another.

Primus, yes, he wanted this, had wanted it, refused to push Ratchet on the issue and yet, here, now, Optimus never wanted it to end, the crackling static build of electricity between them, the snap!pop of it through his line of vision. Beneath his own hands he felt armor denting, heard Ratchet's hiss and yet, no protest, his rhythm never faltered as he shoved Optimus's legs wider yet, ramming into him with enough force to crack the concrete floor beneath them.

"I'm sorry," Ratchet gasped, "Ah…so sorry…don't want to hurt…" his voice dissolved, little more than static.

Struggled to find his own voice, "Yes," Optimus managed, a thin tremor of sound. He couldn't let Ratchet regret this, not this, and the only reassurance he could offer were his own cries, his affirmations, his need. "Yes, so good, yes, more," he moaned, clinging to Ratchet, pushing up into his frantic thrusts, "Yes…yes…"

"Prime," Ratchet rasped out. "Prime…my Prime." Every word punctuated by another thrust, echoed by a pleading cry from Optimus. His knees were spread wide enough for the joints to creak a protest, every driving thrust scraping him across the floor, scraping into his valve, every sensors screaming pleasure into him even as Ratchet suddenly caught his hands, pinning them to the floor over his head, forcing Optimus to arch as he thrust up brutally hard. Again. A hard spasm rocked them both, overload charge crackling through Optimus's optics and he could only take it in, struggling to focus as it seemed to go on and on…

"Optimus!" Barely more than a thin wail, his name from Ratchet's vocalizer and dimly, through the sparking fog of his own overload, he can feel Ratchet crest, the strange, unaccustomed sensation of hot transfluid spurting inside him. Optimus clung to Ratchet's hands, their fingers intertwined as he lay still and simply felt it, wonderingly, the sharp, surprisingly pleasant ache deep in his valve, uncomfortable stretch in his legs as Ratchet collapsed over him, sprawling between them.

Slowly, Ratchet's ventilations eased back to normalcy, the hot gusts against Optimus's chest armor where his head was buried slowing into a gentle cycle. They rested together for a long moment, the room around them silent but for the soft hum of equipment and when Ratchet would have pulled back, tucked himself away, Optimus clung to him for once, just this once, refusing to let go.

He shuttered his optics, ignored the way that Ratchet stiffened and concentrated on the feel of a spike still deep inside him, pulsing gently against his sensor nodes. On the sensation of fluids seeping down his inner thighs, a slick mixture of lubricants and transfluid. On the warm hum of Ratchet's spark, the gentle thrum little more than a vibration against Optimus's chest armor.

The feel of Ratchet relenting was unexpected and Optimus let out a long, slow ventilation, drew in another that stuttered and faltered into a soft gasp as Ratchet slowly, slowly, rocked his hips, a long slide of his spike out and then slowly, achingly slowly, back inside.

"Optimus," Ratchet murmured, his lips brushing lightly against Optimus's cheek. He turned towards that touch blindly, their mouths meeting in a clumsy, painful crash. He expected Ratchet to pull away, to come to his senses and bluster out a reason, a dozen reasons that nothing good could come of this. The soft touch of a glossa against his own, parted lips and a gust of warm air as Ratchet kissed him, sweet and uncertain, nothing at all like the acerbic medic and so much like the friend Optimus has always known.

Gentle kisses shared in a too-bright room and they shared no words, only the occasional gasp, a murmured name, and Optimus could close his optics and pretend, for just this once, that this was his.