Okay, a little bit of explanation: the original Twinning the Hatchet was my very first published fic. It was written hurriedly, in scrabbled-together spare moments, during a very stressful time in my life. I was mostly concerned with just getting the damn thing down and maybe working off some of the issues I had with the very unhealthy relationship I was in at the time. It was not intended to be quite as fluffy as a lot of folks took it to be, and there's a great deal of characterization that happened in my mind but never made its way into the story.
So. Several years pass, and the whole thing has evolved, as things like this do, and inconsistencies have been cropping up-not to mention my plainly terrible writing and tendency to over-fanonize the characters at the time. In an effort to get myself back into the swing of writing LM and also to clear up these issues, I am putting out this rewrite. You can feel free to ignore it if you want; I'm mostly writing it for myself. I do, however, want folks to have the option of reading a version of this story and these characters that is closer to what I have in my head, so here you go. I hope someone enjoys it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
Epic thanks go to rageai, my tireless companion/muse/coauthor/betareader/all-around-awesome-person.
Folks, please read the summary. This fic contains sticky. If that's a squick line for you, or if you're underage, please don't read it.
Ratchet was pretty sure he was losing his mind.
The thought came to him sometime after midnight as he lay on his berth, a sudden epiphany that caused him to frown. He thought that he hadn't been drinking…though that didn't really mean he could rule it out. He would admit that he was tired—so maybe that was the problem?
He didn't really think so. No, being off his nut was a more likely explanation.
And really, he mused, the situation wouldn't have been all that out of place in his rough-and-tumble youth, except, instead of a stranger in his berth, there was—
His internal rambling was interrupted by a clever-fingered hand, sliding up along his front to caress the seams of his windshield, making him gasp softly. A warm, hard body pressed up against him; it would have been unnerving if it hadn't felt so good. He started to relax into the other beside him, but then the haze in his processors finally decided to clear and he stiffened in alarm. "The frag are you doing?" he yelped, squirming a bit in a token effort to escape. The hand continued to wander his frame, evoking the sense-memory of recent events, which only panicked him further.
"What d'you think I'm doing?" a sultry voice murmured in response, full of a knowledge its owner should never have had, and to all appearances unaware of his discomfiture. The hand slid a little lower, revisiting the sensitive areas it had mapped earlier, nearly wringing a moan from his vocalizer before he could stifle it.
"We shouldn't be doing this," Ratchet panted, torn between leaning into the touch and shrinking away from it.
"Why not?" the voice breathed into his audio, nuzzling at him tenderly—then made a soft, surprised sound when he pulled away. Seeming to finally sense that something was amiss, the other mech asked, "Ratchet? What's wrong?" Arms came up to pull the medic closer, perhaps to comfort him, but the full weight of panic settled down and he scrambled away.
"Don't touch me!" he cried, tripping over a second mech in his berth in his haste to escape. He stopped for a moment, facing them and trembling while two pairs of optics, one wide with alarm and worry, the other groggy and muddled, stared at him.
It was the second who spoke into that silence, voice thick with recharge and confusion. "Ratchet—what—?"
"I have to go," Ratchet blurted, before the other could finish his question, and bolted out of his quarters.
For a long moment, the pair of mechs in the medic's quarters just stared at the door in silence.
"Well, that went well," Sunstreaker said finally, his tone sarcastic as he flopped back down to lie on the berth.
"That was…not really the reaction I had in mind when I started this," Sideswipe muttered, subsiding as well, scooting back to sit against the wall and staring off into space, trying to think of how that might have been handled better.
"Obviously," Sunstreaker snorted dryly.
"I mean, he seemed to be enjoying himself up until he freaked out on me…" Sideswipe continued absently, paying no mind to his brother.
"Sure," Sunstreaker muttered, rolling over onto his side facing away from his twin.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Nothing," the yellow mech said flatly. Sideswipe scowled but didn't press, knowing he was unlikely to get any explanations out of the other mech.
Neither spoke for several minutes, and then, finally, Sunstreaker asked, "Was it worth it?"
His brother hesitated. "If you're asking 'was it good', then…Pit, yes," he said softly. In a wry tone, he added, "But you already know that. Whether it was worth it…" He sighed softly, shaking his head. "I don't know, yet. I guess we'll see in the morning."
"Told you this was a bad idea."
When Ratchet came to himself, he was standing in the darkened medbay, staring unseeing at racks of meticulously organized tools and a row of gleaming tables. He blinked, bringing everything back into focus as best he could, before drifting toward his office in the rear of the small 'bay. Once inside it, he shut and locked the door, sank down into his office chair, propped his elbows on his desk, and buried his face in his hands.
He'd just interfaced with a patient. Sweet Primus—what the slag had happened to his professionalism?
"Frag," he whispered brokenly. "Now what, Ratchet?"