a/n: Special thanks to ryagelle for editing this chapter!
Much love and thanks to everyone who read, reviewed, alerted, and favorited this first foray into the Transformers fandom of mine. Please enjoy the epilogue.
His optics snap open, staring at a dull brown ceiling. Awareness is slow to come, all of his systems working on the minimum necessary processing kernels. Optics, functional. Audials, too. Movement? Not so much.
Frag it, he hurts. He feels like he's spent the whole night drinking liters of high grade with nothing to burn off the extra energy. His joints are tight and creaky. His plating feels far too heavy, and he's glad his mobility is offline. He doesn't want to move.
Jazz's somewhat panicky tone makes Ratchet's attention refocus and a sensor sweep informs him that the TIC is the only other one in the room, other than Sunstreaker on Ratchet's right side, deep in recharge.
"What?" Ratchet snarls. Oh, look at that. His vocalizer is working, though his faceplate is not quite matching up to his vocalizations.
To his left, just out of view of his optical feed, Jazz pings something off the side of Ratchet's helm – a polishing cloth, judging by the softness of it. "Ya slaggers!" Jazz snaps, though he doesn't sound angry. Just annoyed. "I didn't mean bond right now. Percy's been fretting over Sides since sundown and here I come to find my medic, who's neck deep in medical defrag!"
"Ungh," is Ratchet's ever-so-intelligent reply. His processors aren't as alert as he'd like them to be, barely registering Jazz's words. "Side effect of th' bond," he replies, slurring his words a bit. "Sideswipe'll be fine."
"...Who?" Sunstreaker's slurred tones rise weakly from behind Ratchet.
He reaches behind him, lightly smacking Sunstreaker's armor. "Nothin'. Go back to recharge."
"Nnn." There's a click as Sunstreaker's systems settle back into the much-needed recharge. Bonding can take a lot out of mech.
"Huh," Jazz says and steps into view, one finger scratching at his chinplate. "So ya really did it? I guess congratulations'd be in order, if I weren't so torqued at ya."
Ratchet waves a hand vaguely in the air. "No sense in waiting," he replies shortly, the urge to recharge tugging at him mightily, status reports popping up in his HUD and demanding attention. "Waited too long already."
He can feel Sunstreaker though. Even without his bonded – bonded – lying right next to him, Ratchet can feel Sunstreaker. It's a soft, quiescent feeling what with Sunstreaker being in recharge again, but it's comfortable. His spark has a new sensation, too. Pulsing to a different beat. If he were to crack open his chestplates in front of a mirror, Ratchet'd bet twenty creds that his spark looks different, too.
Forever changed. Eternally bonded.
He should be terrified right now. He's not.
"Ain't that the truth," Jazz replies with a chuckle and crosses his arms over his chestplate, visor gleaming down at Ratchet. "Fine. Yer both off duty for the next three solar cycles. That's as long as I can spare ya for."
"Thanks," Ratchet says, starting to lose his grip on consciousness, systems shifting him into mandatory recharge once again. "Now go on and let us recharge." It takes a great deal of effort, but Ratchet manages to turn over so that he is facing Sunstreaker, their chassis coming into immediate contact.
He can feel Sunstreaker's spark behind the layers of armor on his chestplate, and Ratchet's own spark hums contently. Yes, this feels much better.
Behind him, Jazz makes some kind of startled/amused sound before he whirls on a silent heel and heads toward the doorway. "Just so ya know," he says as the door pushes open with a noisy screech. "Both of ya're gettin' punishment duty when yer back on shift. But congratulations anyway."
He leaves with another audible chuckle and the door screeching shut behind him. Already heading back toward recharge, Ratchet barely acknowledges Jazz's parting commentary.
He's more interested in the sight of his bonded's face in repose. Optics shuttered, expression clear of stress, energy field softly buzzing contentment and affection. One yellow-plated arm rises, even in recharge, slinging across Ratchet and tugging him closer. Their chestplates now in complete contact, vibrating near-audibly. Ratchet's spark does another affectionate surge forward, pulsing warmly.
Mmm. Yes. Now he feels complete.
Ratchet slides back into recharge.
a/n: This fic will be continued in a sequel entitled Critical Mass. In which our stalwart heroes try to get Optimus back from Megatron's evil clutches, the consequences of Ratchet and Sunstreaker's bonding come to light, Knock Out returns to the Nemesis a somewhat changed bot, some new arrivals make things difficult for everyone, and Starscream returns! I'll be drawing heavily from current events in season two, but I'm also going to go a bit AU. It's going to be fun!
I'd love to know what you thought. Feedback is always welcome and will help me as I start writing the sequel. I don't know when I'll post the first chapter as real life has made free time a premium, but I never leave fics unfinished and I'm definitely going to write Critical Mass. In the meantime, keep your eyes on Event Horizon Origins as I'll be updating it while I hash out the sequel.
Again, thanks to everyone for reading! Leave a comment before you go? :)