For the "Five Firsts" challenge over at TF Rare Pairing on LJ. I don't own the characters, Hasbro does.


The First Stray Thought

It hit him out of nowhere, really.

One minute everything was business as usual: the two of them were hanging out while Raoul worked on a friend's truck (which honestly just needed to be put out of it's misery), and having their usual game of verbal Pong, the banter zipping back and forth between them. Tracks had replied with a particularly witty repartee, even by his standards, and suddenly -

Thwap!

Tracks blinked as the bundled up oil rag struck his cheek, then dropped harmlessly to the ground. He kind of just stared at it for a moment, shocked. Raoul didn't seem much better, eyes wide and mouth agape, as if he hadn't even realized what he was doing until he did it. He probably pulled stuff like that with the Bop Crew all the time, considering their charm and tact, but with him? Then the human's eyes turned up to Tracks' face...and promptly started snickering behind his hand.

That broke the spell the scrap seemed to have on the Autobot. "You...you just threw a rag. At my face." He murmured in disbelief; it seemed his wit program was still rebooting. Meanwhile, Raoul finally stopped laughing so he could shoot Tracks a smug look, crossing his arms over his chest.

"No I didn't; I threw a greasy, oilyrag at your face. And oh, by the way," the human raised his hand, and pointed towards his own cheek as a reference "I think your mascara's running. Might wanna fix yourself up a bit, man." If there was ever an image file next to the definition of 'slag-eating grin' in the Cybertronian dictionary, the 'bot was looking at it.

Slowly, Tracks brought his own hand up and ran it along his cheek, pulling it away to look. Sure enough, a thin black film covered his grey fingers; on his red-painted face, it was probably much more noticeable. Raoul had gotten him...dirty."Apologize."

"Hell no! After that last crack, you totally deserved to-WHOA!" The punk barely avoided the metal hand that thrust out to grab him, quickly darting back a few meters out of reach. "Ah c'mon Tracks, it's a little freaking grease; you've had way worse stuck to your plating!" And he would know, he's helped to scrub it off before. But the Autobot wouldn't be deterred; you could almost hear the struts in his legs tensing, readying themselves.

"You will apologize, Raoul."

"Make me."

And the chase was on, Tracks lunging forward as Raoul raced around to the other side of the old Toyota, determined to keep anything and everything between himself and the annoyed 'bot. Whenever Tracks came close to catching him, the human would use his size and years of running from much less friendly street punks than himself - and okay, maybe a couple of cops too - to dodge and weave around grey legs, teasing that "I thought Corvette's were supposed to be fast!"

Frankly, the sight of them running around like a cat and mouse through the old warehouse was ridiculous. But no one else was around to see the two of them, so little things like reputations, dignity and maturity didn't hold much worth at the moment.

It might've gone on much longer if Raoul's boot hadn't caught on a random crack in the cement and sent him stumbling backward, trying to keep himself from cracking his skull. Not that it mattered in the end, because the moment was all it took for the Corvette to finally get a grip on the young man's shoulder and (carefully, mind you) pin him to the ground with one hand on his chest. "Walk much?" Tracks purred, amused.

"You got lucky, is all." Raoul panted, pushing against the hand with his own two, trying to get himself enough room to wriggle out from under it. No dice; he wasn't being hurt, but he wasn't going anywhere. "It was bound to happen sometime."

"At least now I see the reasoning behind the 'step on a crack, break your back' superstition. Now then, about that apology...?" To be honest, he'd stopped being annoyed at his friend some time ago, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to get some payback. If not an apology, at least an offer for a good cleaning.

The human scoffed. "Yeah, right. Like I said before: make me." Never mind that his was pinned under a hand that could easy crush his ribcage like breadsticks. He just crossed his arms over the Autobot's hand as best he could, eyes defiant under wild dark hair. Raoul was obviously tired from the chase though, chest moving rapidly under Tracks' palm, tan skin covered in a sheen of sweat that made him look like polished bronze in the light...

It hit him out of nowhere.


The First Date

Sniff.

"No."

Sniff.

"Nope."

Sniff.

"No...ay, Dios. Note to self," Raoul grumbled to no one. "do some goddamn laundry this weekend." He threw yet another dirty shirt into the rapidly growing pile in the corner, and went to grab another in his closet. No nasty gear tonight; normally he wouldn't care quite as much, but tonight he was going out with Tracks. Scratch that. He wasn't just 'going out' with Tracks.

He was going out with Tracks.

On a date.

And he was rapidly running out of shirts to wear.

"Damn it!" The former punk grabbed a handful of t-shirts and shoved them to the far side of the closet. "C'mon, there has to be something clean in..." There, in the very back; a green dress shirt. It was something he never wore, unless he was running around for job interviews, trying to look responsible and dependable. It was probably wrinkled, and he didn't have time for that kind of shit right now. But it would be clean. Raoul tugged it off the hanger and quickly put it on, leaving a few buttons undone at the top to show the silver cross that once belonged to his abuela. With his best hole-free jeans, the shirt didn't look too dressy. Last thing he needed was for this whole thing to be too weird.

Not like it wasn't going to be weird anyway, because damn it, he was going on a date with Tracks.

No one knew.

...Wait, no, that was a lie; Blaster knew. But only because he'd hung out with the two of them for years, and had watched them 'doing donuts around each other' ever since The Oil Rag Incident. The comm expert was making sure no one else would know; as far as everyone else on Team Autobot were concerned, this was just "Raoul and Tracks Shoot the Shit in New York City: Part 185". But they were actually going to a drive-in restaurant and movie over in Boston.

Ugh, Boston*. Raoul's Yankee blood rebelled as he grabbed a tie for his hair, pulling it back into its typical ponytail. But Boston was within flying distance, and somewhere no one knew them, so it meant they didn't have to worry about people catching them, and they could figure out this...thing, going on between the two of them. Tracks had finally pointed out the elephant that had been in the room for a few months, and suggested that they bite the bullet and perform a bit of an experiment, one that thankfully didn't involve Wheeljack, Perceptor, or (hopefully) explosions. A date. He must've been drunk, because he actually agreed.

He planted his hands on his dresser, staring at himself in the mirror. He looked exactly how he felt; nervous.

What if Tracks liked the date, and he didn't?

What if he liked the date, and Tracksdidn't?

What if they both enjoyed the date?

They couldn't be as out there as Astoria and Powerglide; he couldn't afford the security and lawyers to keep his ass in one piece and out of the tabloids like she could. And what the hell was it about New Yorkers and Autobots anyway? Was there something in the city's water supply or something? Why the hell wasn't Carly fawning over Ironhide, or Sparkplug cozying up to Ratchet?...Okay, ew; not a mental picture he needed now. Or ever, really.

...What if this wrecked everything?

Tracks knew shit about Raoul no one else did, like how zombie movies freaked the hell out of him, and that he secretly collected Heart albums because Ann Wilson's voice was fucking ridiculous. He knew about his mom being a self-absorbed bitch who never grew up, and how his abuelahad worked way too many hours for her age to keep him fed and warm. He knew about that fucking petrifying week on the streets after being kicked out by his mom at 16, and how being close to that point again had him working for two of the biggest scumbags in New York, desperate for rent money.

Tracks hadn't judged; oh sure, he teased him once in a while about zombies around Halloween, but he didn't judge.

And yeah, he really hadneeded a friend that night, though he'd never admitted it out loud. And he'd gotten one; a really fucking good one, even. But it was all the things that made Tracks a good friend that had brought up the idea of 'More' in the first place, and had him agreeing to the date.

He always had to push his luck, didn't he?

Raoul shut his eyes, took a deep breath and then opened them again. "You are not going to screw this up, comprende?" He threatened his own determined reflection. "No pulling away, no stupid shit; whatever happens, let it happen. You've gotten at good at keeping your best friend's cover in one of the biggest cities in the freaking world, keeping a botfriend's cover wouldn't be any harder."

Huh. 'Botfriend'. What was worse, the fact that he'd thought up a possible new title for Tracks in his life, or the fact that he really liked the sound of it?

The mechanic didn't get to contemplate that thought, as a car honked three times on the street below; that'd be Tracks waiting for him to come downstairs. "...Well, here goes nothing." Raoul quickly double-checked his pockets for his keys and wallet, before grabbing his jean jacket and gloves from the back of the couch and slipping on his favorite brown boots. A quick locking of his door and a jog down 4 flights of stairs - stupid elevator down again - had him at the front door of his apartment building, and walking towards a certain blue Corvette parked nearby. Tracks looked even more well-polished than usual, and that was saying something. "Hey man." Oh good, he didn't sound as nervous as he felt.

"Sorry I'm late, but there was an accident a few blocks down the street. The detour was ridiculous...is that a new shirt?"

Raoul blinked, and looked down at himself. "Hm? Oh, nah, I just need to do laundry. This was all I had left."

"You should wear it more often. It - it looks good on you."

Was it his imagination, or was Tracks being...shy? Naaah. "Thanks, you look good too."

The Autobot purred, "Naturally. So, are we ready to go? The detour is going to put us behind on finding an empty roadway." The driver's side door opened, and Raoul slid inside like a million times before. The new lemon air freshener in the ashtray was a sign that it wasn't the same; Tracks hated the damn things.

"Yeah. I'm ready."


The First Kiss

"-and Bridget wound up dragging Pete back to their apartment by his ear. Literally! We still heard her cussing him out two blocks away!" Tracks chuckled at the mental image, the rumbling in his chestplate shaking the human form settled against it's side.

Things had gone even better than he'd hoped tonight. This 'date' idea of his could have easily been a disaster, full of uncomfortable silences and distance; and at first, it had been awkward. But the routine of their camaraderie had quickly settled in, and the comfort came with it. It would have been a 'normal' night between them, if not for the little things. Their verbal jabs being just a little less sharp, for example, and a bit more flirtatious. Meanwhile, Tracks had allowed Raoul to eat his meal in his front seat, despite the various condiments covering everything; what would be the point of all this if he forced his date to eat aloneinside the restaurant? To the human's credit, he'd removed his jacket and lain it across his lap, using it as a shield between the sugar and oil-laden food and his beloved upholstery. Who says chivalry is dead? Though throughout the movie the mechanic would shift himself around, brushing his hands across certain areas of his interior that were a bit more sensitive than others. Spots Raoul once avoided out of courtesy to the 'bot were now given hesitant touches that began to linger with an encouraging hum from Tracks.

Neither of them had the urge to end the night, so now they found themselves laying out in Harriman State Park in the early hours of morning, just watching the stars and talking. And now that he no longer needed to be in his alt form, the Autobot was finally getting his own chance to touch; nothing too racy, mind you! Just a nudge against Raoul's shoulder here and there, and a daring stroke along his jawline to feel the five o' clock shadow making an appearance there. He'd always been a bit curious about that, admittedly; it was much rougher than he'd thought it would be...

"Tracks!"

"Hm?"

"You're staring at me, dude." Raoul raised an eyebrow at him and smirked. "See something you like?"

Well yes actually, but - "I was just thinking."

"About?"

What was the saying? 'Those who dare, win?' "Kissing you." The Corvette admitted. Really, why did saying something so tame have him feeling shyer than he'd been in eons? What was he, a sparkling?

Raoul's eyes opened wide at the blunt answer. "Whoa. That - uh, I wasn't expecting that. You guys kiss? Some of you guys don't even have mouths!" The human glanced at Tracks' mouth automatically, trying to figure out if it would even work. The Autobot's mouth was as big as his hand...

"We're surprisingly creative sometimes. It was just a thought, Raoul; nothing needs to be, um," Tracks was distracted by the human getting up from his place beside him, and moving up closer to his face. "-rushed." Raoul's eyesight flicked between Tracks' own blue optics and his mouth, and the Corvette wisely chose to keep the latter shut. This was a turning point, something that, no matter the future brought after tonight, couldn't be taken back. His friend(?) would have to close the distance on his own.

After a moment and a hand pressing itself against his shoulder plating, the human did just that.

It was weird, there really wasn't another word for it. Well, maybe awkward cold come back into play as well. It wasn't just the size difference either; Tracks' metal-formed lips were much more rigid than a human mouth, so they didn't give under the pressure of Raoul's own. But they were warm, and if Raoul tilted his head just right, maybe he could fit a little better against...yes, that was good. Tracks' engine rumbled softly, and he brought a hand up to cup the back of Raoul's head, brushing at the wild strands at the base of his neck. The act earned him a low sound, and something wet grazing his mouth. And again; Raoul's tongue?

The Corvette couldn't resist parting his lips at the realization, daring to stick out the very tip of his glossa and shivering at the surreal first taste of soft skin against it. So very different than the Cybertronian alloys, waxes and energon aftertaste he was used to; Tracks liked it. He liked it a lot.

"Ack! Bleh!"

Maybe a little too much. The next thing he knew, Raoul was sputtering and pulling himself away from the kiss, wiping at a long line of wet skin going from the human's mouth, over his nose and arching towards his eye. Tracks instantly pulled his body up a bit, letting his hand drop away to give the human some space. "Oh Primus...I'm sorry Raoul! I got carried away!" How humiliating; his control was usually so much better than this. Sparkling indeed!

"No, it's -ugh. It's okay. Really!" The New Yorker managed to get most of it off with his sleeve, and met Tracks' embarrassed gaze with one of his own. It was hard to tell who's face was redder at the moment. "I think the switch from the batter's box to first base was my fault anyway..." Raoul paused, blinked, then leaned over Tracks' face, laughing a little. "Holy crap. We just made out."

The Autobot couldn't help his own relieved snicker. "Yes. Yes, we did, didn't we? You know, you should consider yourself lucky; I'm not normally so easy on the first date..."

"Guess that makes me special then, doesn't it? Ah well. Maybe we can work out the kinks on our technique next time. See if that 'Cybertronian creativity' can come in handy?"

And there he went being a sparkling again, with a small smile and the words 'next time' setting his spark aflutter. Track's couldn't quite bring himself to be annoyed about it though, already thinking up suitable options for a second date.

"Be careful what you wish for, Raoul."


The First Close Call

"Pit no."

"Oh please, Ratchet, just a quick fix? It won't take long, I promise. I'll even let you use some of my special stash for yourself..." Normally Tracks wouldn't resort to using his endless charm on the medic, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

Unfortunately, the reason why he never bothered with his charm was that it never worked. "Not a chance! You're not leaving this Med Bay for anything until your operating systems are back at 100%. And yes, that includes for your lengthy polishing and maintenance routine! So quit asking." There was most definitely a warning in Ratchet's tone, which normally acted as a precursor for a thrown wrench. A dangerous situation, considering the flying Corvette couldn't run away.

"But Raoul's coming back today! He can't see me looking like a pile of scrap on a table! Can't I get some soapy water at least?" It wouldn't be nearly enough to make himself presentable, but it would at least get the dust and metal shavings off his damaged form.

Ratchet snorted at that, not even stopping his work on building Tracks' new hip strut on another table. "Pretty sure your partner in crime would think you're Best In Show right now, compared to the last time he saw you. At least you aren't going deadspark grey, with a chest wound spurting energon like the Iaconian fountains."

Tracks didn't remember any of that, really. He knew they'd gone into a fight with some of the Decepticons over something or other, but his memory files of that moment were still damaged. From what he'd managed to get out of Bluestreak on a random visit, he kind of hoped they'd stay that way. "...How is he?" The Corvette asked quietly.

The change in tone was enough to make Ratchet pause, then sigh. "He's in the same filing category as you, under 'Very Slagging Lucky'." He white bot finally walked over to the medical berth Tracks currently called home. "From what Sparkplug says, the human doctors are confident Raoul will get most - if not all - of the dexterity in his hands back. With physiotherapy, of course; no additional surgery required. He'll be on medication for awhile for pain and to fight infection. The rest of it is minor burns and scrapes that will heal easily. Though why he thought he could stem the energon loss himself is beyond me. He's been warned about the acidic properties it has on organic matter!"

There was a bit of a lie in there; Ratchet knew exactly the reasoning behind the man's actions. Most of the Ark (and maybe even some of the Decepticons) knew by now, even if Tracks and Raoul had never actually told them outright; that was their choice. He didn't quite understand the attraction to humans himself; too small, too soft, too much hair.

But there was no way to ignore the truth in seeing the mechanic frantically trying to clamp Tracks' energon lines shut, even as their life fluid burned away at the clothing and flesh on his arms. Raoul's desperate cries for help over the commlink mingled with begging his lover to stay alive was no different than ones he'd heard between Cybertronian lovers 8 million years ago.

No, Ratchet didn't understand Tracks and Raoul, or Powerglide and Astoria (and perhaps Prowl, Jazz and Chip, if the rumors were true). But that didn't make what they had any less real.

Tracks' mouth turned up slightly. "Telling Raoul not to do something is usually a sure way to convince him to do it. There's only so much rebellious street punk you can grow out of, apparently."

"I heard that!"

Two pairs of blue optics snapped to the Med Bay doors, and to the human who was walking towards them, eyes never leaving Tracks' face. "Raoul! You're early!"

Raoul looked pale and had bags under his eyes, and his hands were heavily bandaged up to his elbows. "...Yeah, they needed my room for an emergency patient that came in, so they kicked me out a couple hours early." He stopped a few feet away, eyeing the ladder leading up to the berth-top in annoyance and then glancing at Rachet. "Hey, uh, can I...?" He jerked his chin up a bit as a hint.

"I suppose, since you asked so nicely." The CMO bent down and cupped his hands for the human to sit in, before depositing him on the berth next to his patient. Hesitantly, Raoul placed a hand on Tracks' still dented chestplates.

He smiled weakly, "Hey, buddy."

Tracks gave another weak smile in return. "Hey yourself."

After a moment of silence, Ratchet cleared his vocalizer. "Well, now that you two can keep an eye on each other, I need to go have a talk with Wheeljack. He's trying to develop synthetic fibers that are energon-resistant, so certain glitched humanswon't get hurt sticking their hands in it." He glared pointedly at Raoul, who glared right back.

"If you're waiting for me to apologize for that Ratchet, then it's a good thing you guys live for millions of years. You're going to be waiting a while."

"I'm an incredibly patient mech; dealing with this group, it's a requirement. For now, I'll settle for you not doing anything else stupid with your hands for a few weeks." At Tracks' soft snort, the medic switched his gaze to him. "And you are not to move a centimeter off of this berth for anything less than Unicron's resurrection. You do, and you get welded down to it. And I willleave welding seams from it."

Tracks shuddered at the idea. "Yes, sir."

"Better."

When Ratchet returned a few hours later, he noted with satisfaction that there was an empty energon cube next to Tracks' berth, and that the two patients were recharging soundly. For a brief moment, he simply observed Raoul curled into the crook of Tracks' shoulder joint with his hand still on the freshly welded chest injury, the 'bot's hand laid overtop it and face turned down to the human. Finally, the CMO lay the new energon-proof clothing, back emblazoned with the cybertronian icon of 'Medic', on the berth, and went to get some (quiet) paperwork done.

When the two awoke, he would not say anything about how he'd found them; he'd simply chart it under the 'doctor-patient confidentiality' oath and leave it at that.


The First Body-Mod

The paper peeled away from his skin easily, leaving its markings behind, and the heavily-ink man stepped back. "Alright, take a look in the mirror; good placing? Too small?"

Raoul stood and turned his back to the floor length mirror, eyeing the stencil approvingly. "Sweet. It looks good to me." He turned to show his 'emotional support' sitting primly nearby. "What do you think?" For a few seconds, the well-dressed man just stared at the black lines drawn over bronze shoulders, face unreadable.

"...It's going to look great on you."

The tattoo artist, Cody, motioned for Raoul to take a seat, settling into a stool behind him. "Let's get to work then! This is probably going to take a couple of sittings, so I'll get the lines done first, and we'll see how you're holding up. Let me know if you need a break or if you're gonna pass out." He moved for the black ink and dripped the liner machine in.

"Bah, I'll be fine; my pain tolerance is pretty good."

Cody just smirked, and pressed the needle to skin. "Heard that one before, usually just before people's eyes roll into their heads." The first few lines etched into his back were tense, but Raoul forced his body to find a relaxed state. After a few minutes, curiosity won out, and the friend came around to watch the process more closely. It didn't bother the other two, first timers tended to be fascinated by the whole thing, and this guy didn't look like he'd be within 3 miles of a tattoo shop. But as long as he didn't get in the way, it was all good.

"Does it hurt, Raoul?" A bit of concern colored his voice.

"...A little. Not too bad though."

The tattooer nodded and wiped off some of the excess ink from Raoul's back. "The shoulder and back are tougher than other parts people tattoo, so it won't be as bad, though a few hours in will be a different story. Inking the ribs can be a bitch though, trust me." The hum of the machine revved up again. "So, a firebird symbol huh? Pretty old school design here too."

The mechanic laughed a little, and turned his head a bit. "What can I say? I'm a product of the 80's."

"Your wardrobe already says that. But some things simply never go out of style; the firebird is a classic icon." Neither of them saw Raoul roll his eyes at the pride in his friends' voice.

"Pat yourself on the back a little harder, Tra...Travis. I don't think you've left a bruise yet." 'Travis' just huffed and moved over to the side, so he could alternately look at this friend and watch the inking being done.

Cody chuckled and recoated the needle. Why did the theme song for 'The Odd Couple' suddenly come to mind here? "So, if you don't mind me asking, how did you guys meet? You don't exactly look like you'd hang with the same crowd." Between Travis' clean cut golf shirt and slacks and his client's blue jeans and worn t-shirt and studded leather jacket (talk about old school!)...

Raoul snorted and smiled. "The guy wound up getting lost on the wrong side of town about ten years back, and almost totaled his car in the process. He almost got jumped by some punk carjackers to top it all off. I took pity on the poor sucker, helped fix him up enough to get out of there. I've been stuck with him ever since." He turned his head over to the side, shooting a little grin at his friend.

"From what I recall, not allof those 'punk carjackers' were that bad." The pretty boy sniffed haughtily.

"Oh, they were; you just didn't know any better. I guess I can't complain too much though; he makes life interesting, that's for damn sure."

Cody chuckled. "I'll bet. So I'm guessing that's your blue Corvette out there, Travis? The '82? It's nice."

"Oh, the car? No. No, that particular piece of fine machinery belongs to Raoul." Travis caught his partner's gaze with his own.

"He's owned him for a long time now."


*Disclaimer:

I'd just like to say I have no ill feelings towards Boston or the Red Sox, nor do I affiliate myself with the New York Yankees. I'm actually a Toronto Blue Jays fan. :D