Author's Note:

Ugh, so SORRY this has taken forever. D: I've been really distracted lately. But! Here's a fun chapter!

Much love to my newest fav/followers Grimlock King Of Arendelle, Jellybeanshiba, LordChumley21, alienlover64, ts-animalgirl, CrazyCowGirlAutobot, and Arceegirl4evr!

And to my awesome reviewers SilenceSpeaksWhenWordsCan't, Miko873, Bluefeather4299, Autobot Chromia, Spiritstrike, BossBot97, ZabuzasGirl, couriosity, Filly92, Guest, Fanatic97, Starlight Prime, Major Wanderer, Kuurankukka, Katie Gibbs, Little Kunai, and Sounddrive, I GIVE YOU ALL INTERNET COOKIES. HUG HUG KISS KISS COOKIES FOR ALL!


"So how's Arcee?"

Wheeljack nearly felt his wheels twist out of alignment. Correcting his angle on the road towards the hotel where he was going to drop Miko off—she had a date with Jack since he was in Tokyo for a brief period that summer—he finally cleared out of his glitching vocalizer, "What?

She tapped her toe, the gesture a bit difficult since she was in heels. "Arcee, Wheeljack. Y'know, the one you've been dating for as long as I've been dating Jack?"

Wheeljack cleared his vocalizer uncomfortably, slowing to a stop at a red light. He inched forward a little when someone got right up on his rear, and his irritation piqued when they inched up even more. "W-Well, what about her?" he evaded the question. "I thought you didn't want all the icky details."

"I DON'T," Miko said with an annoyed roll of her eyes. She smoothed her peach colored dress down to her knees again, and she wrinkled her nose as she pulled up on her boobs again, muttering about stupid strapless bras. "Look, it's like how you want the details about me and Jack but I don't have to detail all the snogging to you."

"PLEASE don't remind me," Wheeljack said, plating hitching a bit uncomfortably at the thought. He had to keep reminding himself that she was eighteen this year, graduated even, and preparing to go to college. The thought was mind-boggling. "Last time you opened your mouth about that, I had to turn off my audios."

"Because you were poking in again when you didn't need to," Miko reminded him, and then she sat up, frowning at him. "Wait just a second, you're evading the question! Now fess up, what's wrong? You guys have a fight?"

Wheeljack cleared his vocalizer uncomfortably again, finally saying, "Yeah, you could call it that."

Miko snorted. "Yeah? Then what do you call it? Wait a minute, don't go to Jack's hotel yet, circle around Tokyo again."

An annoyed vent pushed from his systems. "Miko," he said tightly, getting more uncomfortable by the minute, "look, you're gonna be late for you date if—"

"I don't care, Jack can wait," Miko said stubbornly. She crossed her arms, narrowing her eyes at him. "Now c'mon, Wheeljack, you're hiding something. What's going on?"

"Nothing is going on," Wheeljack persisted, unwillingly taking the long way around.

"Sure nothing's going on," Miko agreed sarcastically. Wheeljack felt his indignation rile at her tone and eye roll. "You haven't even talked about her the past couple years unless I'm pulling at your teeth—" Slowly, Miko's jaw dropped, and her arms slacked. "Oh Wheeljack, you AFT!"

She kicked below his dash sharply, fire practically spitting from her eyes. "Wheeljack, you AFT! You stupid—you AFT! You mean you haven't been with her for years? What the hell!" She kicked him again, and Wheeljack's mirrors flexed under her wrath. "Are you out of your mind? Did you think I wasn't going to find out? What the frag did you even break up for? Oh you absolute—JERK!"

She kicked him one more time before Wheeljack piped up in annoyance, "Hey, I was the one in the relationship, not you! If things didn't work out between us, they just didn't work out, all right, Miko?"

Miko gave one, flat laugh at him. "Yeah? Last I heard you were thinking about bonding with her. So what happened to that?"

Wheeljack stifled an annoyed growl, slowing for a red light that turned green. He sped back up. "Look, I don't have to explain myself to you," he barked a bit too sharply. "I broke it off with Arcee because it just wasn't going to work."

Miko crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes at him. "YOU broke it off?" she repeated, latching to that information immediately. If he had been in bot mode, Wheeljack would have rolled his optics with a scowl. "And I'll get you to explain yourself because I'm smelling a stupid-ass reason for breaking up with her."

"You watch your language, missy—"

"WHEELJACK!"

He noticed the spruced up, blue pickup truck a second before it T-boned straight into his side. All the breath gusted from him. His air bags deployed. His metal caved in, biting into his protoform, and he felt himself flip and tumble, armor crushing. Miko was screaming shrilly, and Wheeljack felt his back hit the road hard, and his windshield shattered in a deadly hail of jagged glass. He felt Miko's blood spattering over his interior. Before he could get his bearings, he felt the guard rail twist and cave beneath his weight, and during the impact, Miko's screaming stopped.

A cold chill settled in his stomach as he went sailing over the edge. He stared up at the truck that followed him over the edge, and he felt sick to his energon tanks.

Primus please, no . . .

He smacked into the surface of the water with a vengeance, and he felt the water flood his cabin. Dizzied with pain, Wheeljack felt himself seized with terror when he hit the mucky floor of the canal, and the pickup rested on top of him, pinning him down.

For a second, Wheeljack was paralyzed with helplessness. He knew how this dream ended. He knew how it ended, Primus, it couldn't end like this—he knew how this ended!

Desperation and fear drove himself when nothing else could. Transforming, crying out under the pressure of the water when broken pieces sliced his protoform, Wheeljack shoved the pickup off of him. Lurching to his peds, Wheeljack walked painfully towards the shore, limping on his left leg as he tried to get out of the water. The second his head and chassis were erected from the water's surface, he opened his chassis up, trembling in terror at the pool of water that began to leak out.

"M-Miko?"

His violently shaking hand reached in and scooped up an unconscious body. As his peds sloshed up to shore, he fell on his knees and laid Miko gingerly on the ground, staring in horror at the lacerations over her body, the bruising, the water running from her mouth and nose, the blood staining her peach dress—

For a second, he was wracked with violent shudders, and his servos pressed to his face, stifling the wild panic that wanted to overtake his circuits. Knowing his servos were too big to be of much use, he tried to utilize his holoform. The form crackled and spat, struggling to retain its shape, but Wheeljack knelt down, hands twitching in terrified indecision about what to do. He plucked a glass shard from her cheek.

Heedless of if she had broken bones, Wheeljack turned her over, letting the water drain from her mouth, and he turned her back over. He checked her heart, almost collapsing in relief when he felt it. But she wasn't breathing, and he couldn't clear her airways, he didn't have the breath of life—

He looked up, seeing several bystanders. They stared, some whispering to each other in undertones, two on their phones and rapidly speaking into them, presumably calling for help. His vocalizer cracked. "Please!" He gave a gesture to Miko. "Please, you have to help her! Please!" When they just kept looking, in a cross between fear and wonder, Wheeljack hurriedly switched from English to Japanese. "You've got to help her!" he plead again, this time in their native tongue. "Please, you have to help her, I'm begging you!" Kneeling over her, his glitching holoform pulled a shard from her forehead, and he pressed his hand there, knowing humans bled the quickest from their head.

Wheeljack trembled, and at some point, lubricant had welled up in his eyes. His vocalizer broke in desperation as he rasped, "Please—Please, help her . . ."

It was an old man that moved from the tiny crowd of bystanders. Someone reached out to stop him, but missed as he moved down the slope, taking off his jacket in the process. He slowed when he approached, casting nervous glances to Wheeljack's robot body.

Wheeljack swallowed, energon blue eyes glistening with tears as he begged in a whisper, "Please . . . Please, she's my little girl, you've got to help her . . ."

The man hesitated one more moment before he knelt down, swiftly pressing his jacket to her head to help staunch the bleeding. Wheeljack backed his holoform off as the man began to give her mouth-to-mouth, and the energies fizzled out, unable to keep the holoform solid in his condition.

Suddenly realizing he was crying so much he could barely see through his tears, Wheeljack scrubbed his face. Clearly, distress was a universal thing, easily recognized by any species. Then, belatedly realizing he had completely thrown his cover to the wind, Wheeljack transformed again, and he backed away and under the bridge, leaving a vivid trail of energon as he watched the man doing for Miko what he couldn't.

Wheeljack hovered out of sight as the old man worked on her, unable to do anything more. The paramedics showed up in record time, and Wheeljack felt his spark leap when Miko suddenly began to cough. People began to surround her, and the old man backed off. Sirens wailed, and never once occurred to Wheeljack that he had left the truck and its driver beneath the water. Instead, he focused on Miko as she was loaded up on a stretcher, and the first word out of her mouth was a panicked, "Wheeljack? Wheeljack! Jackie!"

He flashed his headlights, catching her attention, and she tried to keep him in her sights as she was loaded into the back of an ambulance. Wheeljack's skipping spark finally began to settle a little, seeing that she was conscious and alive doing him a world of good. When the old man turned back to look at him, Wheeljack rolled back.

"Ratchet," he finally managed to say into his comm. link, "I need a bridge. Now."

Wheeljack heard the old man say something, and it took him a moment longer than it should have to translate the word as "wait". A second or two later, the ground bridge opened behind him, and Wheeljack flicked his headlights again, saying, "Thank you so much," to the man before he slipped through the bridge, leaving him behind.

The second he was through the ground bridge, he jumped at the sound of Ratchet's voice exploding, "Wheeljack! What happened? Med bay, now! Where's Miko?"

Wheeljack watched the swirling lights dissolve. He transformed halting, slowly becoming more aware of his own wounds the more he calmed down. "M-Miko's gonna be all right," he finally managed, trying to make himself believe those words. "She's going to the hospital, so she'll be okay. The docs will take care of her—"

"HOSPITAL?" Ratchet exploded. On the tail of his outburst was an equally worried, "What do you mean she's going to the hospital?"

Wheeljack looked over, noticing Agent Fowler and General Bryce, and belatedly, realized he had interrupted something important. Before he had the chance to respond, Ratchet snapped, "Wheeljack, medical berth, NOW. You're leaking all over the floor."

Limping his way over to the med bay area, Wheeljack became more aware of the trail of energon and water he was leaving behind him, and the glass and broken bits of metal he shed. Hissing slightly in pain, Wheeljack sank down on the medical berth, glad to get his weight off his legs.

"We were—in a car crash," Wheeljack finally managed, sounding how alien the words were to him. He never crashed. "Some—Ratch, some pickup slammed right into me, and we—we tumbled into a c-canal."

Ratchet froze immediately at the reminder of the dream. He looked over his shoulder at Wheeljack, and the frazzled Wrecker quickly managed, "I-It's fine, Ratchet. She's okay. I—I saw her awake and breathing with my own two optics."

The medic gave a curt nod, muttering about that being a good sign before he whirled back to Wheeljack, medical instruments clenched tight in his fists.

"Strip off the wrecked pieces of armor," Ratchet said crisply, already squatting to see the damage to his side where the collision had initially struck. His servos stripped him, narrowing at the bruised and cut protoform beneath. Wheeljack barely heard him swearing about internal damage.

Wheeljack glanced down at himself, and he made a face. "C'mon, Doc, all of it? Really? Some of it's not bad, and if I take off every messed up piece, I might as well be naked, for Primus' sake!"

"Then be naked!" Ratchet shot back in irritation, beginning to pluck glass and metal from his side. Wheeljack winced when he passed a servo over a slit of protoform that could be peeled back like a layer of skin. He took a glance at how his transformations had cut through and sliced thin layers of his protoform and his jaw clenched. It hurt like hell now, but when Ratchet started to actually clean and tend to it . . . Wheeljack shuddered lightly at the thought, crumpled winglets twitching.

As if hearing his thoughts, Ratchet snapped, "I can't believe you, Wheeljack, TRANSFORMING after you'd been hit like that? You could have punctured yourself straight to your spark chamber! You don't know how the mangled metal could snap in at different angles!"

"I had to get Miko outta there, Doc!" Wheeljack snipped peevishly back, feeling awkwardly exposed as he stripped of his dented and crushed armor. "I took things into my own hands, all right?"

Wheeljack blinked and leaned back when a wrench was suddenly pointed at the center of his helm. He nearly went cross eyed trying to look at it. "Mute your vocalizer, Wheeljack, or so help me I WILL use this, and it won't be for repairs!" Ratchet's sharp gaze hit Agent Fowler and General Bryce, of which both intimidated men flinched. "I'm afraid we'll have to finish this later. Feel free to stay if you want to see my patient squirm."

"Well, I can't help it when you're about as gentle as sticking my body in a metal grinder!"

"Shut up, Wheeljack! I am trying to work!"

General Bryce leaned back on his heels at the display in front of him. A brow rose, and he looked to Agent Fowler. The black man smiled ill at ease, stating, "Ah, don't worry about them, General Bryce. That's Ratchet's typical bedside behavior. A little embellished for Wheeljack, but . . . Ratchet's the top medic for Cybertronians."

He gave a noncommittal grunt. He cast a wayward glance at Fowler. "I suppose we ought to go and give this . . . temperamental medic his space?"

Agent Fowler gave a vague gesture. "If you'd like to stay and watch, Sir, I do believe that will be just fine. Ratchet himself said you could stay, and as long as we stay out of his way, he'll leave us alone." He smiled then. "Besides, I can promise that you'll be in for some of the best entertainment of your life."

Bryce looked back to the two Cybertronians, Wheeljack of whom was nearly stripped to his bare protoform and leaking blue energon over the table and floor. Even after a car crash, the Lanica was spirited, swearing as he said, "C'mon, Doc, I know I'm bleeding, but there's a shard of glass digging right into the wiring at my winglet! Surely you can—"

"Wheeljack, I am busy, now mute it!"

"But Doc, my side isn't going anywhere, but that glass fragging hurts! You can spare just a second to get—"

"Oh, FINE you crybaby of a sparkling! There! Is that better?"

"YES. That is MUCH better. Now can you please—OW! Fraggit, Doc! Watch what you're doing!"

"I am watching what I'm doing! Now if you would QUIT SQUIRMING perhaps this wouldn't hurt so much!"

"I'm squirming because it hurts!"

General Bryce's lips twitched. He leaned against the railing with Agent Fowler, saying only, "Perhaps it will be educational."


"Wheeljack!"

Wheeljack felt his entire being deflate with relief seeing Miko sitting up in the hospital bed, sucking on a juice box and watching some sort of cartoon. Her left arm was in a sling, both arms covered in gauze, but she smiled brightly at the sight of him.

"Check it out!" she said with a grin, and she pointed to the rows of stitches in her face. "Battle scars!"

Pushing a tight breath of stress out of his body, Wheeljack's holoform hurried across the hospital room to lean down, gently put both hands on either side of her face, and kiss her forehead firmly, mindful of the stitches above her right eye.

"Do you have ANY idea how worried I was for you?" he whispered, trying to keep his voice even.

Miko gave him 'the look'. "Wheeljack. You were worried about me? You were the one that got hit by a car! How are YOU?"

"I—I'm fine," he managed to stammer back, leaning back at the look in her eyes. He sank down on the edge of the bed with her, saying, "I'm actually doing pretty well, if you can believe it. Most of the damage is to my protoform, a lot of cuts and gashes from where I transformed. Point of impact is the worse. Everything still hurts some, but Ratchet's already repaired most of my armor. I'll be fine." Wheeljack touched her arm. "So how about you? That sling doesn't look too good."

Miko narrowed her eyes. "Yeah? C'mon, Wheeljack. You're worse than that. Fess it up, what else is wrong?"

Wheeljack's brows rose. "I—What?"

"Wheeljack."

He made a face at her, annoyed that she was doing that again. "The impact hit my side and jostled my spark some. It's been hiccupping a little bit, but I should make a full recovery and it'll settle back down. A little internal damage, but my auto-repair systems will eventually heal that on its own. Honestly, Miko, I'm doing all right. Cybertronians don't break easily."

After looking at him for a moment longer, Miko nodded, seemingly satisfied with her answer. "Well, I broke my collar bone, and I broke TWO MORE RIBS." Her lip curled up in disgust as she shook her head. Wheeljack felt the edge of his mouth pull up with a small, sympathizing smile because he knew how much she had hated having broken ribs. "Two broken ribs and one fractured rib. Small concussion—which was why I had to stay overnight—and apparently some sort of diaphragm rupture. Mild whiplash, so my neck hurts like hell."

"Language."

She poked her tongue out at him. "Stuff it up yours, Wheeljack, I'm a full grown woman now," she combated him. She took a sip of her juice box though, inadvertently giving Wheeljack the impression of the young girl she used to be. He sighed to himself, always slightly alarmed by how quickly she seemed to be growing up.

"I've got a total of twenty-six stitches," she continued. She pointed to her face. "Five in my forehead, eight in my cheek, ten in my right arm and three in my left. Some of the glass went in deeper, various places in my arms, and thankfully, I don't have any infections." She lifted her right arm to show it covered in gauze and nodded her head to her right arm. "Little cuts everywhere, so I'm a gauze freak now. My hips and shoulders are bruised up, I hit my knees on the underside of the dashboard, but otherwise, I'm doing pretty good. No life changing damages."

Wheeljack frowned at her. "How long are you going to be in the sling?" he asked her.

She gave a one-sided shrug. "About six weeks. But on the bright side, I'm gonna be released from the hospital tonight. Did you see Jack when you were coming in? He was going to smuggle me in some real food."

Wheeljack studied her a bit more, looking at the IV still in her arm and the bags under her eyes. He took a deep breath and released it, rubbing his face. "Miko, how are you really? You just trying to act really cheerful to cheer me up?"

Miko wrinkled her nose a little and took a sip of her juice to stall for time. The juice slurped up the straw as she reached the bottom. "Sort of," she finally admitted. "I do hurt a whole lot even on the painkillers, but honestly, I'm gonna be perfectly fine. So stop worrying."

Defeated, Wheeljack sighed, resting his hands on the bed with her. "All right. Just don't go popping pain meds more than you're allowed or need."

Miko rolled her eyes and muted the TV. "I'm not gonna get hooked on PAIN MEDS of all things, Jackie. Now you, you're the one I'd worry about."

Wheeljack snorted and crossed his arms haughtily. "Yeah? Just so you know, I'm not on any pain meds."

Miko raised a brow.

He rolled his optics. "I had some earlier today, but I skipped my dose this afternoon. Just don't tell Ratchet."

Miko mimicked the gesture. "I won't," she promised, "just don't whine later on when you're feeling like crap."

"Wreckers have a high tolerance for pain."

Miko glanced towards the window of her room and the closed door. "Speaking of Wreckers," she said, seeing only nurses walking by, "where's Springer? Is he coming to see me?"

Wheeljack nodded. "Yeah," he said, raking a hand through his hair. "He's gonna be a bit later. He's convincing the higher ups that the Vehicon miners don't need constant supervision while he comes to visit. Y'know, a show of trust by letting them handle themselves without an Autobot breathing down their backs. They're really not that bad—actually, they're all kinda big dorks. They seem to like Earth culture."

He watched Miko's lip curl at that, and she shook her head. "Okay. How about Ratchet?"

That made him chuckle. "Doc swears up and down that he's not going to succumb to using a holoform, but I bet you before the hour's up that he'll show up." Wheeljack waggled his brows at Miko with a grin. "He's gotta make sure these doctors are fixing you up right, yeah? And he'll never admit he's got a soft spot for you."

Miko laughed as well. "Well, good, so we'll be alone for a while. Because I need to talk to you."

Wheeljack felt his grin slip and fade immediately. "Look, Miko, there's—"

She held up her hand and narrowed her eyes at him. "I swear to God, if you say there's nothing to talk about, I will get up from this gurney and beat you up myself."

Wheeljack's jaw snapped shut.

Miko shifted on the bed, rubbing between her brows as she contemplated what she was about to say or ask. Finally, she settled on, "Well, first tell me why you broke up with her."

Wheeljack snorted. "You're not gonna like the answer."

"Spill."

Hiking his feet on the lower edge of the bed, Wheeljack leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. Chuffing a grunt, he rubbed his forehead in a similar way to Miko. "Miko," he said softly, "we're bonded."

Her brows shot up. "You already bonded with—"

"Not with her," he interrupted before she could continue. He stared at the floor. "With you, Miko. I'm bonded with you."

"Yeah?"

He stayed silent. When she didn't answer, clearly not computing the same, painfully obvious answer, he squeezed his eyes shut. "Miko," he said gruffly, "how old am I?"

She paused. "Actually, I don't know. Some millennia, I'm guessing?"

Nodding, he prodded, "And how old are you?"

"I turn nineteen in a month."

Wheeljack held his tongue a moment, letting that settle in, and when she still didn't make the connection, he scowled down at his knees. Was she really that oblivious? Or was she just refusing to connect the dots herself?

Rubbing his chest subconsciously, feeling his spark hiccup in pain again, Wheeljack shook his head. "Miko, if you live a day past 100, I'm going to be lucky. And you saw what happened when we lost Twin Twist."

Miko's lips thinned. Her honey eyes drilled uncertainly into him. "Wheeljack, you—" and she choked in the middle of her sentence, his hints suddenly clicking in her mind. "You mean—That's not—What does that have to do with—Wheeljack, you're not going to die when I do."

His lip snarled up a little in anger at her denial before he could stop it. "Is that so, Miko?" he barked at her. "I wasn't even BONDED to Twist and the shock of losing him was almost too much for my spark!"

"Yeah, and you pulled through for me," Miko shot back, her brows cinching angrily. "What, you don't think you can pull through for Arcee? I thought you cared about her!"

"I do!" he exclaimed, holding his hands up helplessly. "Miko, if I bonded with her and died when I lost you . . ." He shuddered in a tight breath. "I am NOT going to leave her with spark break. I won't. She shouldn't have to feel that kind of pain."

"Then don't die," Miko said simply, crossing her good arm over her chest.

"It's not that simple," Wheeljack snapped, spark hiccupping painfully. He rubbed his brow again, trying to reign in his temper. "Miko," he muttered crossly, "my spark's been spliced so many times with spark fractures that it's a miracle I'm even alive right now. Even Ratchet agrees with me that something as drastic as spark break is going to make my spark stop. I'm well aware of the limitations of my own body, Miko, and it's starting to give out."

Miko turned her face away from him. Wheeljack looked back at the floor, relieved not to have to look in that guileless gaze anymore. She knew just how to cut him open, didn't she?

"You seem awfully certain that you're going to die."

He gave an almost bitter laugh and refused to look at her. "There isn't much likelihood that I'm going to survive, Babe."

"MUCH," Miko repeated. "But that means there is some hope. Hey," and she leaned over, nudging his shoulder and wincing at her protesting ribs. "Hey, Dad, look at me."

Reluctantly, Wheeljack lifted his head up to her. She smiled softly and reached out her good hand, so he took it, marveling how his hand still managed to swallow hers whole.

"Now," she said, "let's think about this. I, for one, think you're just giving up too easily." When he gave an automatic scoff, she squeezed his hand. "Hey. Let me talk. You keep saying you're bonded with me, but if we put it in the terms that the good medic put it in, we are 'artificially' bonded."

"Bonded in all but full connection with emotions," Wheeljack persisted under his breath. "The deteriorating effects are still the same."

Miko's lips pursed in annoyance. "Quit the pity party, Wheeljack."

His blue eyes flashed. "I am not pitying myself, I'm just accepting the facts."

"If you accepted the facts about your spark," Miko said stubbornly, "you'd have been dead a long time ago." Wheeljack's cheek twitched. Miko sighed and squeezed his hand again. "Wheeljack, I need you to promise me something."

Though in retrospect Wheeljack should have known it was a bad idea, he immediately said, "Anything."

"Don't die."

A frustrated sigh escaped from Wheeljack. "Miko—"

"Nope. No excuses. Just don't die."

Feeling like his spark was caught between a rock and a hard place, Wheeljack looked up to meet Miko's brown eyes. She gazed back calmly, if seriously back at him, a well of patience daring him to talk back to her again. The problem was, he couldn't promise her that. He couldn't promise that his spark wouldn't give out from the strain of it all. And that scared him. He couldn't bear the thought of breaking another promise in his lifetime after he'd screwed so many things up.

"Wheeljack." She squeezed his hand with reassurance, eyes softening. "I know you can make it. You always do. And now, I'm asking you to make it for Arcee the way you'd pull through for me. After all you've been through, you deserve to live and be happy, Dad." Wheeljack winced slightly, and his hands tightened around hers. Her words meant so much. "Pit, both you and Arcee deserve better. So promise me you'll rough it out."

A heavy breath of air blasted from his mouth. "I promise," he said softly.

"And promise me you'll bond with her and have a slew of sparklings. An army of mini-Jackie's so Ratchet's grief will never end."

His lips twitched at the thought. "I promise," he repeated.

Miko nodded. "Good." Seeming quite satisfied with herself, there was a lull in the conversation. Then, Miko's brows cinched.
"And WHERE is Jack? I'm starving on juice and hospital slop here!"

As if on cue, the door opened, and Miko perked up. "Jack!" And in stepped an elderly man, a surprisingly thick lock of white hair with an orange streak through it. Autobot blue eyes were warm even though he had a scowl on his face.

"You'd think the doctors in this place could run a little more efficiently."

Miko's face fell. "Oh, Ratchet. I was hoping you were Jack."

He snorted and crossed his arms. "Then don't sound so delighted to see me."

At that, Miko's face pinched, and Wheeljack scooted to the end of the bed so he was out of harm's way from their verbal barbs. "Well, I was going to say I was glad to see you, but I see even you couldn't spare me a proper, hello! How are you doing Miko? So glad to see you survived your brush with death!"

Ratchet's lips pursed mulishly. "Well, MY next words would have been to ask how you were doing before you so rudely disregarded my showing up here in the first place!" He put his hands on his hips, and he lifted a brow, asking pointedly, "So how ARE you, Miko?"

"I am just fine, thank you," she replied stiffly with an equally wooden nod in his direction.

"And how did they—"

"No no no no!" Miko lifted her hand, stopping Ratchet's question before it started. "Don't you even start, Ratchet. I know what you're gonna ask me, and take it at face value when I say that I'm fine."

Disgruntled, Ratchet frowned. "And just what do you think I was going to ask you?"

Wheeljack's lips twitched against an amused smile as Miko scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Oh don't even kid yourself, Ratchet. You were going to drill me about everything these doctors did to me. And I promise you, they've done their job perfectly and I am happily on the mend. So drop it."

That look overcame Ratchet's eyes, and Wheeljack leaned back to watch the fireworks as they both warmed to the argument about to ensue. Ratchet's worry over her health was the best way the medic could show his concern. Besides, Wheeljack knew well enough that their arguments were a roundabout way of showing their love for each other. He just hoped he wouldn't have to placate some nurse for Ratchet's harassment of Miko.

Or worse, try to placate RATCHET for getting kicked out of a hospital!