a/n: After watching that episode, I just couldn't resist. So much potential.

I didn't have a beta for this so feel free to point out any grammatical errors I might have missed.

Title: Line in the Sand

Universe: TF: Prime, season two, during episode seven "Crossfire"

Characters: RatchetxStarscream, Bulkhead

Rating: M

Description: Starscream is a temptation Ratchet is too weak to resist. Again.

Warning: tactile interfacing, angst

Bulkhead protests; Ratchet is firm. In the end, the medic gets his way because Optimus is really the only one who could argue him otherwise.

Starscream watches it all with a smug smirk which does little to hide the pained flickers in his energy field and the anxious twitches of his wings. Ratchet catalogs those, too. Anything to help him read the mercurial Seeker better. It's nearly impossible to guess what Starscream's thinking as he's always trapped in one scheme or another.

Ratchet waits until Bulkhead heads back to base, the ground bridge closing after him as it's a waste to keep it open while Ratchet works. No doubt Bulkhead will be waiting on bolts and brackets for Ratchet to comm him into reopening the bridge. But what can Starscream do without his t-cog? Claw Ratchet's plating?

Hmm. Now there's an image. Not an altogether bad one either.

"Well, here we are again," Starscream says, leaning against the rock wall but tilting his injured leg toward Ratchet with an impatient gesture.

Ratchet grunts, crouching beside the wounded aerial. "Are you going to make this a habit?" He starts pulling out tools, static bandages, everything needed to get Starscream patched up and mobile. Can't do anything for the missing t-cog though. Pity.

Starscream chuckles, humor laced with static. "I don't exactly enjoy suffering your tender mercies."


"Opportunist," Starscream purrs.

Ratchet pulls out a welder and wipes away most of the energon. "Don't start," he warns with a solid glare.

Innocence and Starscream neither suit each other nor dance at the same parties. "Whatever do you mean?"

If he's a little rough with the mini-welder than he ought to be, Ratchet will never admit. "It's not going to happen again."

It won't, it can't, no matter what little reminders are popping up in his memory core. No matter what little images taunt his recharge and what ghostly flickers of charge dance over his interface ports. Pinning Starscream to the dirty, organic-covered ground is absolutely not on the agenda for today.

Starscream spreads his hands, remarkably composed for all that Ratchet is rewiring a few circuits in his leg and welding his plating back together. "And yet here you are. Here we are."


"I'm helpless. We're alone." Starscream flicks his wings in such a way that the light from Ratchet's alt-mode make them glimmer. It's absolutely not enticing. Except where it is. "Why any mech could come along and take advantage of me." Thin, elegant fingers drag a glancing caress down Ratchet's arm.

He frag near drops his welder and steadily ignores the sizzling current of desire that rips down his back strut. "Starscream, there are few, if any, bots capable of taking advantage when it comes to you. Convenient piece of shareware that you are."

Starscream's optics widen, expression shifting into a melodramatic pout. "You wound me. To my very spark." He gestures toward his chestplates.

Ratchet gives him a dry look. "You don't have a spark."

A dark, sensuous chuckle oozes into the night, resonating through Ratchet's own chassis in such a way that does not make the heat flush a little brighter. "I didn't realize you knew my frame so well, medic."

Distractions, distractions. How about a static bandage there, Starscream? Ratchet slaps one over the weld, to help keep out organic detritus. "At the rate you're getting yourself scrapped, I'm going to be an expert before long."

Wings flicker, first the left then the right. An invitation. Come play with me, medic. "It's hardly my fault that I'm popular."

"A half-dozen mechs eager for your head hardly makes you popular," Ratchet retorts, and no, his optics aren't focused on those little wing flicks. Not at all. Frag his interest in aerials to the pits.

"Mmmm. One might hope." Starscream's hand waves in dismissal, stretching out his fixed leg with a languid motion. "Do fix me properly now, Ratchet. I don't need another half-sparked weld."

"Half-sparked?" Indignant, Ratchet rears backward, pinning the aerial with his fiercest glare. "Why you-"

There are many things a mech could claim about Starscream, but being slow is not one of them. He's quick, quicker than Ratchet can counter even newly repaired, and when he pounces, Ratchet doesn't have a chance. His tools scatter, his pede catching the kit and knocking it aside.

An undignified yelp escapes Ratchet's vocalizer as he crashes backward, crushing a leafy bush, with Starscream landing on top of him easily. Thin fingers curl around his wrists, pinning them to the dirt, his optics a dark gleam of aroused crimson.

Ratchet struggles. How can he not? He's being pinned by Starscream! The evil, evil Decepticon with gorgeous wings, smooth plating, and an energy field buzzing with arousal and intent. Ratchet groans, torn between wanting to arch up, drag his plating over Starscream's, and throwing the aerial off.

"And they say I'm vain," Starscream purrs, his fingers giving Ratchet's wrist a squeeze before he drags his hands down Ratchet's arm, the slide of metal on metal causing a jolt of pleasure to dance across Ratchet's sensor net.

"Get off me you half-glitched slagger!" He lurches beneath Starscream, trying to ignore the eager way his spark leaps within his chest. Forcing down the memories of overloading bliss, the sight of Starscream in ecstasy, the roaring charge that nearly knocks him offline...

"Only half?" Starscream cocks his head to the side, claws prickling against Ratchet's ventral plating, teasing along the hinge that flips the doors over his chestplate. "I must be losing my touch." He leans forward, bracing his weight, mouth exventing hot air before he takes the tip of Ratchet's chevron between his denta.

Heat washes down Ratchet's backstrut as a nimble glossa flicks over his sensory chevron. He moans, frame stilling, struggles abandoned. Charge skitters across his plating. What other sensitive zones does Starscream remember?

"Thought you didn't like grounders," Ratchet grits out as his energy field pulses with want, invitation. I'm ready to play, hot-aft aerial, it says. And he shouldn't. Primus, he shouldn't. But he wants to.

Starscream chuckles, drawing back and pulling one of Ratchet's arms with him. "I make an exception for medics," he claims and drags Ratchet's right hand toward his mouth. The very same hand that is still liberally dotted with energon and must carry the odor of scorched plating and hot metal.

The aerial doesn't hesitate however, catching Ratchet's optics with his own as he draws a single finger into his mouth, glossa flicking over the sensitive digit. Ratchet shudders, cooling fans activating with a loud roar, his every focus narrowed to the teasing torment of glossa and denta on his hand.

Starscream is wicked, merciless, as he laves attention over every finger. Lapping up drops of his own energon in an action that is distinctly unhygienic and yet utterly arousing. Ratchet bites back a whimper, his frame crackling with desire, tense with restrained need.

"Or maybe," Starscream continues, because he can't not talk no matter what the frag else he's doing. And it doesn't matter that Ratchet's vocalizer has stopped working. "Maybe I just like knowing how wrong this is."

He undulates, there's no better word for it, atop Ratchet, thigh plating a teasing slide against the medic's. Jolts of electricity rise in his wake, dancing bright blue against the dark of the forest night.

Ratchet's free hand shoots out, clamping down on Starscream's hip, fingers diving into gaps in plating. He wastes no time in taking advantage of sensitive circuitry now vulnerable to him, manipulating them and making Starscream shudder, temporarily spit static before he gains control of his vocalizer again.

"You, Ratchet, the honorable Autobot. Prime's pet medic. Loyal and pure." Sneer and smirk all roll into one, battling the desire that turns Decepticon red eyes into pools of heated scarlet.

Ratchet knows he should be throwing Starscream off, ripping his fingers from that talented mouth, calling for a ground bridge and escaping back to base. Logic dictates such to be the proper course of action. He shouldn't be, for example, arching up against Starscream, trying to encourage more touching. His energy field shouldn't be flaring outward, wrapping around the eager Seeker, begging for more. And his free hand shouldn't be skirting upward, gliding over sleek curves and reaching for the enticing planes of wings that seem to have their own personality.

But it's what he's doing. Frag the consequences. Oh, he'll regret them in the morning.

It's wrong. So, so wrong. Maybe that's the draw. Maybe something glitched in him after inundating his body with that synethetic energon. Maybe Starscream is just that fraggin' alluring.

Ratchet doesn't care what the reason is. He just wants more of it. More of the heat pouring across his circuitry. More of those slim, taloned fingers digging between his plating, tugging on cooling lines in half-pain, half-pleasure. More of – yes – more of that glossa abandoning his hand, going for the chevron again.

"What would he say, I wonder," Starscream purrs, his energy field washing over Ratchet in a dizzying press of voracious lust, taking and taking and making Ratchet beg for more. "He'd be horrified I imagine."

From some unknown well of control, Ratchet drags his hand over Starscream's wing, gripping the edge and squeezing, putting pressure on delicate sensors. "Don't you ever stop talking?" he grits out, systems redlining, HUD screaming warnings at him. Overload imminent.

Starscream laughs, husky and static. His wings flick into Ratchet's hand, demanding more attention, preening for it. "Why do you ask? Am I distracting you?" He shifts again, metal over metal, electricity dancing into the night.

Ratchet shudders, energy field a maelstrom of pleasure, tangling with Starscream's and pumping out ecstasy. Heat vibrates through his circuits, charge attacking his sensors with little jolts that make him twitch and jerk. He moans, arching up against Starscream, grip on the Seeker's wing yanking Starscream down against him.

Starscream shrieks, back curving, claws digging into Ratchet's plating and leaving scores behind in white armor. Charge licks across the aerial's dark frame in a dizzying array, snaps of static sparking through the air, jolting over Ratchet.

"Stop. Chatting," Ratchet growls out, vents heaving, systems redlining and screeching warnings at him from all directions. His HUD fritzes, the smell of hot metal and friction tangy in the air, sharp on his chemoreceptors. His sensory net feels like it's on fire and Starscream doesn't fare any better.

Not with the way he's twitching atop Ratchet, the way his hips rise and fall with Ratchet's movements, the way his grip tightens sure to leave dents Ratchet will have to fix later.

Claws still buried in gaps in Ratchet's hip armor, Starscream's free hand skitters down Ratchet's side, finding a smooth panel with delicate claws.

"Oh," Starscream says, his vocalizations rattled, full of static. "What's this?"

Ratchet's grip on Starscream's wing tightens, blunt fingers scraping over sensory nodes, knowing that it must be more pain than pleasure. "Don't play dumb, Starscream."

The Seeker laughs. "Could this be your interface panel? Why don't you open for me, Ratchet. We could play." His claw scrapes over the smooth panel, vibrations of metal on metal ricocheting through Ratchet's frame.

Ratchet's energy field rolls outward, and Starscream retaliates with a searing wave of demanding need.

"Not going to happen," Ratchet snarls and his grip on Starscream's hip slides downward, fingers locking around a thigh, curling around, hitting a seam between legs and pelvis. One he knows to be sensitive.

Starscream shudders from helm to pede, opens his mouth to speak, but his vocalizer dies when Ratchet deliberately revs his engine. Vibrations travel through both of them and Ratchet's sensory net lights up with greater charge. It's hot, too hot, he's going to overheat, fraggit.

The aerial rocks down against Ratchet. Friction, delicious friction. And static making the air charged, scented of sweet, hot metal and need.

His HUD brought up all kinds of tempting suggestions to connect. Starscream's teasing scrape over his interface panel doesn't help. Ratchet ruthlessly denies those proposals and bucks upward, metal sliding across metal. He aches in the best kinds of ways, charge crawling visibly. He can see it, sense it, the blue static racing over his lines and making the glow of his optics glint across Starscream's armor.

The Seeker is venting loudly, his thrusters spitting erratic spark against the forest floor. They'll be lucky not to set anything aflame. Ratchet doesn't give a frag if they do.

Starscream's claws are a delicious torture on sensitive lines, half-pain, half-pleasure. He twitches his wrists, pushes in deeper, and Ratchet writhes. His lipplates part in silent scream, frame seizing, overload pouring over him like a blaster shot in the dark. Frenzied sensors spit pleasure-pleasure-pleasure in a cacophony of sensation.

"Yes," Starscream growls, a low, throaty tone that suits his vocalizer perfectly. He hunches down against Ratchet, the static from the medic's overload transferring to his frame. Sharp and stinging, almost pain, sure to ignite every last hyperaware sensor.

Ratchet's trembling from helm to pede, but he summons the strength from some deeper well. If he's going down, he's taking the Seeker with him.

He surges up, slamming Starscream backward, half-sprawled against a tree. Starscream yelps, wings giving an ominous clang, but Ratchet doesn't give him a cred of breathing room. He dives in, hands finding gaps in plating and tugging on delicate circuitry.

Starscream throws his head back with a shriek and Ratchet goes for long neck cables, sensitive and sleek. His glossa and denta bite down, hard enough to leave impressions, Starscream a writhing ball of pleasure beneath him. He jerks his knee up, Starscream bucking up against him and over his leg, body moving in instinctual desire for friction.

"Yes," the Seeker babbles, hands grabbing Ratchet's shoulders and clenching down, claws scraping a shrill noise into the night. "There, there, yes!" Starscream jerks, arches hard, overload crackling over and through him, energy field slamming into Ratchet and pulling him into a second, painful overload.

He gasps, fans already overworked and struggling to keep up. His HUD screeches at him about energon levels and overheating issues but Ratchet ignores all of them. The lazy charge rolling across his frame feels like a lover's caress and the little twitches in his limbs are an interesting sort of soothing.

Starscream slumps against him, optics half-dim. He's even lower on energon than Ratchet as he discovers on a subtle scan.

Processor feeling more than a little pleasure-fried, Ratchet carefully detangles himself from the Seeker and tries to put a more professional distance between them. Professional. Hah! Too late for that now, medic.

He looks down at himself. Frag. That's the trouble with white. It transfers everything including the now obvious dark grey streaks on his finish. Double frag.

Starscream's hoarse chuckle breaks the silence. "Mmm. Not bad for an Autobot," he says, and shifts into a more comfortable position, lounging against the tree. He examines one of his hands, a few flecks of energon staining the tips of his claws. No doubt Ratchet will have to fix some of his own dents, scrapes, and tears.

Fragging a Decepticon doesn't come without it's own risks.

"And yet you came crawling back for more," Ratchet huffs. He can't really claim to be offended either. Starscream's favorite past time is irritating any bot who dares associate with him. It's always been a wonder amongst the Autobots that Megatron hadn't offlined him sooner. Theories abounded as to why.

Ratchet himself now votes firmly in the realm of "because he's a damned good frag."

"It must have something to do with the quality of medical care around here," Starscream says with a lazy gesture of one hand, his optics at half-mast.

Ratchet grunts and hauls himself to his feet, ignoring the creak of gears and all-at-once eager for his berth. After this, he could recharge for a full solar cycle.

He looks down at Starscream who plays nonchalant perhaps a bit too well. "You are an irritating scrap of shareware," he says, and pulls a half-cube out of subspace, tossing it to Starscream.

The Seeker catches it easily, flicking open the seal and downing most of it in a flash. "It's part of my charm." Gratitude, as usual, is beyond Starscream.

Ratchet drags a hand down his faceplate, thumb and forefinger digging into the corners of his optics. Any number of responses crowd his vocalizer, but Ratchet discards all of them. Worry is wasted on the Seeker. They are enemies after all, even if Ratchet does feel a scrap of concern since Starscream is without his t-cog and practically defenseless against Megatron.

"Stay off that leg for a few hours to let the weld set," Ratchet instructs, picking up his scattered medkit and tucking it into subspace. "I'm not coming back out here to fix it again no matter what intel you claim to have."

Crimson optics glitter at him from the shadows of the large tree. "Don't make promises you can't keep, medic." Starscream pours the last of the energon down his intake and crushes the cube with a fist.

Ratchet snorts and contacts Bulkhead, calling for a bridge back to base. The former Wrecker can't hide his audible relief. The swirling vortex of energy appears almost immediately, a few paces away from Ratchet's current position.

Starscream leans against the tree, languid and nonchalant, though the ginger way he treats his leg is too telling. "Be seeing you, Ratchet."

He flinches. There is something too intimate in Starscream using his designation. More intimate than the fact they've already interfaced twice and Ratchet's breaking all kinds of rules - medical, Autobot, and personal.

There are no responses that won't implicate Ratchet further. So he opts for silence. He doesn't allow himself a backward glance at the Seeker either. The sensations of Starscream pressed against him, energy field bursting with pleasure, keens echoing from his vocalizer... all are still too fresh.

Starscream will never be an Autobot and Ratchet will never abandon his Prime. Such is the way the lines have been drawn.

Ratchet steps into the ground bridge, feeling Starscream's gaze on his dorsal plating like a searing accusation. He holds no illusions that this is the last time he'll see Starscream. It's an inevitability that their paths will cross again. What remains to be seen is whether or not Ratchet will be able to resist the temptation.

These two are trying to make themselves into a series. A series I don't have time for. lol. Maybe I'll see what happens after I clear my task bar.

Feedback is welcome and appreciated.