Title: The Most Unexpected Courting
Fandom: AU Dragonformers with mainly G1 colorations but with a twist of Bayverse
Pairing/Characters: RatchetxTwins as the main pairing, loads of other G1 characters and some minor pairings
Rating: M
Word Count: 5900, all in all over 30 000
Summary/Warnings: As one of the oldest dragons in his clan, Ratchet has seen almost everything but when he's rescued from an unwanted claiming by a pair of clan-less dragons, he's faced with a whole new problem. Violence, cussing, big robotic dragons mate
Disclaimer:Transformers belong to Hasbro/Takara, the idea of dragonformers belong to various other people, the first ones appearing at least in 2007. I can only claim this plot as mine.
AN: Umm… Hello? ^^ It's been a while. I can honestly say that I never expected my RL to turn into what it became; I've been battling with my thesis pretty much since last September and been having such an emotional roller-coaster because of it ever since. But now things are getting better and my muse is also starting to show signs of life. Also, my beta's RL gave them problems and I wanted them to clear them out in peace, because that's the right thing to do.

A huge thank you for ever so lovely Fuzipenguin for putting up with my grammar. :)

AND ALL THOSE LOVELY PEOPLE WHO HAVE READ, FAVORITED AND REVIEWED THIS STORY! I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR THAT! THANK YOU!

- Nokkonen


PART IV: Claiming The Healer

Ratchet squirmed and the big, folded wings all but vibrated against his heaving sides as another hot wave swept hit him. The dull but easily dismissed ache, that had been Ratchet's companion for the past lunar cycle, was gone, meaning the healer's frame had finished leeching the energy and material needed to create a clutch. The only thing that was missing was the last element, the transfluid.

Which was the reason why Ratchet's scale plating was all but steaming, releasing a sweet, hypnotic scent that would attract the attentions of every single dragon – unmated or not, mech or femme – within half a joor's travel. While dragon mechs could be harder to fight due to their physical size, dragon femmes were not to be underestimated either. They were more than capable of claiming and mounting a dragon mech; it was how it had been with Ratchet's creators.

But to gain the right to mate with the healer, well, that was another story. Ratchet snarled, angry. His optics turned nearly white as the thought of an unworthy sire claiming him crossed the healer's fogged up processor.

Fragging Skywarp, fragging heat and fragging Pit-spawned twins!

It was entirely those two glitchlings fault that Ratchet was suffering like this. If they hadn't been courting Ratchet – following the traditions perfectly, a small part stubbornly reminded the white dragon even through his haze – the mating protocols wouldn't have gone overdrive and Ratchet would have not entered his heat for at least half a lunar cycle. It would have given the healer enough time to prepare himself for the self-inflicted isolation.

But instead of gathering needed energy stocks, Ratchet had been forced to leave he mountain like a thieving egg-eater.

After Ratchet had taken one last glance at Sunstreaker, he had stepped outside of the twins' cave, hastily beating his wings. The moment the healer had gained enough altitude, he had headed north.

The sun had barely reached its zenith, when the white dragon's optics had landed on a narrow opening between the mountains. The crack had been so covered by overgrown crystals and bushes of bronzethorn that it would have been almost impossible to notice unless one knew it was there. Folding his wings, Ratchet had plummeted from the sky and staggered inside.

The narrow path had lead into a tunnel and after stumbling in the darkness for several breems, the healer had entered a valley, no bigger than his cave back in the mountain. It must have been a large cavern in the past before; the surrounding, uneven walls stood steep, almost vertical. Lush crystals that grew on the edges reached towards each other, creating a natural cover that hid the small grotto from prying optics above.

He and Wheeljack had found this little sanctuary centuries ago, when the grey and white dragon had been suffering from his own heat. Back then Wheeljack had been evading the attentions of a rather persistent femme. The stressed out clan elder had snarled at Ratchet to keep quiet about his whereabouts, before confining himself into the grotto.

Ratchet groaned yet again. The scent of lubricant invaded his olfactory sensors, and he could feel it dribble from his barely covered valve. Cringing inwardly, the healer could only guess just how big a mess he was creating. Claws dug into the ground as Ratchet moved his tail, the long appendage coming beneath him to rub his burning interface equipment.

An overload would bring at least some level of relief; Ratchet knew that.

His painfully erect spike slipped out soon after few rubs against his valve rim, and Ratchet reached down and took the hot length into a firm grip, pumping impatiently. It didn't take long before Ratchet reached overload, moaning raggedly as the sweet pleasure traveled in ripples through him. Hot transfluid coated the red talons and the big wings rustled loudly as Ratchet's shuddered from the tip of snout to the end of his two-barbed tail.

Slumping ungracefully on the ground, the white dragon kept shifting restlessly in order to find a better position that would not press anything against the heated interface equipment. Even though self-service was a cheap imitation of what his frame was yearning for, Ratchet felt a bit clearer in his helm.

How long he had been here already? A joor? A whole solar cycle?

To Ratchet it seemed that the battle with the Decepticons, the long groons spent treating Tracks, and the dark cycle with the twins were all events from a distant past. The healer didn't even want to begin to think how long he would have to be stuck in this cave. With no possibility to go hunting and his energy levels already low, Ratchet was going to be famished by the time the heat would be over.

The overload gave Ratchet maybe two groons of peace before his valve throbbed again, the half-hard spike pulsing in synch with it. Cursing, Ratchet shook his helm in irritation, the haze starting to build up once again.

As a healer, he knew these waves would slowly start to come in closer intervals until the mating protocols were primed up to a point, where even one proper interface would get him gravid. It would also mark the midpoint of the heat; after that the protocols would slowly turn inactive until the next heat.

Ratchet cursed breathlessly as another intense flash of heat passed his frame. Primus, what have I done to deserve this? he thought, turning his optics upwards as if the Creator deity could hear the healer's frustration.

"Rrrrraaattccchhheett?"

Startled, Ratchet jumped to his feet and the hiss that left the white dragon's vocalizer, echoes of the angry sound bouncing from the little grotto's walls. The half-folded wings shifted restlessly as Ratchet watched the two large frames slither from the shadowy tunnel, and the healer's heat-hazed protocols reacted strongly to the sight of his suitors, releasing more of the heat scent. While a part of him was delighted at the twins' sudden appearance, another part of Ratchet was prepared to kill both of them, should the twins turn out to be unfit sires.

The presence of the two massive dragons crowded the small grotto, their frames easily blocking the way out. The twins' optics glowed brightly as each breath brought more of Ratchet's thick scent into their olfactory sensors, kindling strong desire deep within them.

Sideswipe, whose vocalizer had mangled the older dragon's designation due to the gut-deep growl that kept coming from him, slowly approached the hissing healer. Sunstreaker reluctantly stayed behind to make sure this time there would be no escape for their elusive mate-to-be.

The red dragon started to strut around, unfolding big wings as much as he could in the small space. The long neck arched proudly as the dark grey dorsal spikes raised and lowered rhythmically in time with Sideswipe's rumbling. The tri-colored scale plating puffed out, showing the sleek frame, and Sideswipe purposely passed through the little patches of sunlight to make sure the healer could see how bright his scales were.

Ratchet's optics raptly followed the display, but his stance remained tense, dorsal spikes flared in a clear warning. The angry hisses quieted, though, and a small purr of appreciation was heard, when Sideswipe spread his black and red wings as wide as possible. The red twin's wingspan was impressive, and the fragile membranes were free of scarring, which was a good sign.

Ratchet crooned, fluttering his own red and white wings invitingly; Sideswipe answered with a pleased rumble and a flick of his tail.

Despite doing his best to flaunt his frame, Sideswipe stayed cautious. The red twin was well aware that just one wrong move could provoke the older dragon into a vicious attack. It was hard, especially when the twin bond burned with lust along the strongest urge to claim, the strongest the two of them had ever experienced.

Watching his brother attempts to charm the wary Ratchet, Sunstreaker physically forced himself to stay put by sinking his claws deep in to the cave floor as his own mating protocols responded to the scent of a carrier in heat. Sunstreaker's optics flashed, and he couldn't stop a ground-shaking rumble, when his olfactory sensors managed to pick out the unmistakable scent of tangy lubricant. His gaze narrowed in on the glistening streaks of the insides of Ratchet's thighs, growling louder as Ratchet shifted and Sunstreaker was able catch a sight of the lubricant covered interface equipment.

A loud trill caught the yellow dragon's webbed audios, and Sunstreaker's gaze moved to meet the healer's. Ratchet was frowning but then the frown melted into a knowing smirk. The yellow dragon watched, hypnotized, as the red and white wings fluttered teasingly while the white tail sensuously dipped between his own gleaming thighs. Sunstreaker's vocalizer glitched mid-growl at the sight and the static-filled sound made Ratchet chuckle.

It was the bright mischief in Ratchet's optics that made Sunstreaker forget his arousal long enough to vow in his spark it wasn't going to be the last time he and Sideswipe would see their mate-to-be grinning like that.

Smirking, Sunstreaker cleared his vocalizer to answer the trill with a croon of his own. The yellow twin stepped away from the mouth of the tunnel, intending to get closer to the approachable healer.

Ratchet's optics flashed, triumphant.

Sideswipe saw the glint and the twist of lip plates before his brother. His dorsal spikes flared in panic, mentally screaming ::stop-mate-escape!:: through the twin bond even as he jumped to tackle the healer.

The older dragon snarled loudly, spewing a large fireball and forcing the twins dodge, leaving a clear path to the tunnel. Ratchet was gone in a flash of barbed white tail, and the twins scrambled after him with loud roars that made the crystals fracture and shook the very mountain itself.

They shot out of the cave, all three instantly in the air.

Ratchet beat his wings furiously, the warm thermal winds carrying him higher and higher, until the mountains had shrunk and the crystal forest glittered far below. Then, without a warning he twisted, and plunged towards the trailing brothers. A series of inviting trills and croons poured out of his vocalizer as Ratchet passed the twins so close that his wingtips grazed their scale plating.

Sunstreaker and Sideswipe shared a look before they too turned around. Their frustration got replaced by an age-old thrill, when the red and white healer called for them again.

Ratchet felt the energon rush through his fuel lines as his audios heard the twins' loud roars as they chased after him. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker's demands for a domination fight made his mating protocols respond with a quicksilver attack on the red and yellow brothers, snarling out a challenge.

Sunstreaker felt Sideswipe's side of the bond come alive with excitement and arousal but underneath those feelings was something else. The yellow brother could almost feel the shift in Sideswipe's processor, when the sire protocols activated. And Sunstreaker, the other half of one spark, was also swept up by those same ancient protocols, giving them both the knowledge of what must be done.

The yellow dragon, faster than his brother, closed the distance between him and the white healer first.

Ratchet snarled, twisting his neck in an attempt rip Sunstreaker's throat open but the younger dragon canted his wings in the last moment. The sharp teeth grasped nothing and Sunstreaker's grey belly plating almost grazed the white snout as the yellow brother suddenly moved above the healer. Noticing the shadow looming over him, Ratchet released a warning hiss, trying in vain to shake Sunstreaker off but it was no use. Locked on to his prey, Sunstreaker dropped down and wrapped all six limbs around the red and white chassis.

Ratchet screeched as they began to plummet down from the skies. From the corner of his optic, Ratchet could see Sideswipe following them, the red frame streamlined to gain more speed. Snarling and hissing, Ratchet tried to free himself from the younger dragon's grip, which merely tightened as Sunstreaker growled deeply. The yellow twin's optics glowed victoriously as they approached the ground with alarming speed, knowing that when they reached it, there would be no escape for Ratchet this time.

Sideswipe caught his brother's thoughts, rumbling in appreciation as he tackled the pair midair. The impact sent them careening sideways, providing enough time for the twins to entwine themselves around Ratchet in one colorful jumble of limbs and trapped wings. Keeping the struggling healer firmly between them, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker answered the hissed protests with vibrating purrs. One of them even dared brush a paw between the red thighs, claws skimming dangerously over the heated interface equipment and bringing out a strangled cry of pleasure from Ratchet.

Right before they hit the tops of the crystal forest, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker snapped their wings wide open. The sudden slowing of their speed made them grunt as their wing joints protested the extra weight they carried. Despite the pain, they managed slow down the descent. Making sure Ratchet was protected by their frames, the younger dragons maneuvered so that Sunstreaker took the impact while Sideswipe kept a tight hold of the healer.

Like they had expected, as soon as Ratchet felt the solid ground, he immediately started his fight anew, clawing and biting whatever he could reach.

The yellow twin snarled, when red claws painfully scored his scales, and Sideswipe hissed as his hold of the bucking healer started to slip.

::Hold-mate-now!::

It wasn't clear, which one of them growled the order; it could have been both of them, their split spark acting like it had never been halved. Nevertheless it was what made Sunstreaker and Sideswipe growl at the same time, the bright optics almost white with the intensity of what they were feeling. Sunstreaker twisted and turned until he was completely free from underneath the older dragon, and Sideswipe used his last remaining strength to pin Ratchet down even as Sunstreaker's jaws clamped down on the healer's neck, right behind his helm.

The effect was instantaneous.

Ratchet, who before that had fought tooth and nail, became utterly limp; the wildly beating wings sagged and the strong tail fell on the ground mid-strike. The bright optics dimmed and the snarls quieted, turning into small, high-pitched warbles as the healer's mating protocols came to a screeching halt.

For a nanoklik the twins couldn't believe it, too stressed to even twitch.

Then, exhilaration started to fill their bond, the intense relief and joy pulsing back and forth between them as reality sank in.

They had won. They had won.

Ratchet whined at the vibrations travelling up and down his spine struts as his mates accepted the submission with deep purrs. Sunstreaker's dangerous hold on Ratchet's vulnerable neck eased and a warm, wet glossa licked the white scales and dorsal spikes. Ratchet trilled at the gentle touch, rubbing Sunstreaker's grey cheekplate with Ratchet's white one.

Purring, Sunstreaker twisted his helm to nuzzle Ratchet, his webbed ears shuddering in obvious pleasure.

The tender moment was ruined by a slow, rolling growl from Sideswipe. The red twin shifted, dragging his black hips against the healer's red ones. Ratchet jerked his helm away with a loud gasp, the plating protecting his interface equipment retracting instantly to reveal a dribbling valve. The healer's spike remained sheathed, his protocols now concentrating into mating and impregnation.

Sunstreaker, not appreciating what Sideswipe had done, hissed loudly, dorsal spikes flaring. The hiss, though, turned into a curious growl the moment his olfactory sensors caught the scent coming from between the healer's thighs.

The yellow twin's optics sparkled with interest, and he promptly twisted his neck to inspect the source.

Sideswipe rumbled threateningly at his brother's approach, hunching possessively over the fidgeting healer. ::Mate-mine:: he growled, the rampant sire protocols narrowing their bond into the most primitive thoughts and feelings. ::Back-off-mine::

Sunstreaker froze as if Sideswipe had physically struck him. The yellow frame grew taut and the pale grey faceplates twisted into a dangerous grimace. ::Mine-mate-mine-back-off:: he snarled back, the big wings spreading wide open and the scales puffing out.

The intimidation didn't work. It only made Sideswipe more irritated, pinning the confused healer harder against the ground. The angry hisses and growls started to grow louder with each passing nanoklik and the twins' optics started to bleed into pale purple as their aggression were fed by the sire protocols.

Ratchet, caught in the middle, winced as he was pressed almost painfully against the tingrass. Why his mates were fighting with each other and not sealing their well-earned claim? Was it something he had done? Did they not find him good enough, just like the healer had been afraid of?

Anxious, Ratchet warbled, questioningly, hoping to gain the twins' attention.

The light sound was caught by sharp audios, and the newly engaged sire protocols immediately demanded both Sideswipe and Sunstreaker to calm down their distraught nestmate. Forcing aside their need to establish rank between them, the red and yellow dragons quickly started to soothe Ratchet. Crooning comfortingly, rubbing their scent all over the red and white scales, using their actions to tell the healer that he was still desired by them.

Sideswipe growled, and he nipped Sunstreaker's left ear, when the yellow twin's snout moved across Ratchet's white sides and towards the red hips. The short hiss following the bite clearly informed that his brother's did not have the right to touch their mate yet. Sunstreaker's optics narrowed even as the yellow dragon lowered his wings and frame just enough to show that this time he would submit to Sideswipe.

Growling in approval, Sideswipe turned his attention back to the hot frame underneath him, nuzzling the white withers and giving playful licks to the grey dorsal spikes. Ratchet trilled louder, the long white neck arching in pleasure as the red dragon raked his claws against the healer's scales. The blue optics clouded with need as the healer's calls turned more desperate. The heat was wreaking havoc inside Ratchet's chassis, the burn verging on painful. Sideswipe, hearing the little whimpers of pain, purred gently as he coaxed the red and white frame to stand so that Ratchet's back legs were spread wide open to accommodate him. Making sure he kept pleasuring his mate with one paw, Sideswipe growled, pleased, as the white tail quickly moved aside to reveal the leaking valve. His own interface equipment had primed itself the very moment the red dragon had gained the right to mate first, the thick spike hard and slick with transfluid.

Sunstreaker slumped down with a heavy thud!, the burning optics glued on the pair. Ears twitching restlessly from Ratchet's cries, Sunstreaker watched, frustrated but intrigued, as Sideswipe's spike sank into Ratchet.

Sideswipe's triumphant roar scared whatever wildlife had been brave enough to stay in the near vicinity, easily drowning out Ratchet's lighter cries.

The combination of pleasure and pain overwhelmed the older dragon's and only Sideswipe's weight kept Ratchet from shaking the red dragon off. Red claws dug into the soil and more desperate sounds tumbled from Ratchet's vocalizer; piercing trills mixed with ragged moans and urgent growls, begging the dragon mech mounting him to claim Ratchet.

Sideswipe, encouraged by the sounds of his new mate, carried out the white dragon's wish with earnest. Purring, he pulled his spike out and thrust hard back in, the sire protocols urging the red dragon to fill his mate's gestation chamber with his transfluid. The level of intensity Sideswipe felt in spark was nowhere near any other time he had mated as he came to realize that this strong and beautiful dragon mech – Ratchet, Sideswipe's mind purred lovingly – was going to be his, his, his nestmate.

The red dragon could feel the exact same deep possessiveness from Sunstreaker's end of the bond; his twin's growing lust and thinning patience only fueling Sideswipe's own.

Moaning, the white dragon coiled his tail around Sideswipe's, trying to ensure the other would not pull out as Ratchet tried to move his hips to gain just a bit more friction, but it was near impossible with the upper part of his chassis firmly trapped against the ground. Ratchet could only groan, optics feverish as they blindly stared at the skies before spotting the bright yellow on his right.

The open desire in Sunstreaker's optics and the musky scent of an aroused sire invaded the healer's olfactory sensors, making Ratchet keen . Sunstreaker heard the whine, if the dark, promising grin was to be believed. The waiting brother was going to make Ratchet suffer in pleasure, when it was Sunstreaker's turn to stake the claim. Ratchet could see it in the dark, dark blue optics.

Unexpectedly Ratchet tensed and a strangled cry was ripped out of his vocalizer. The healer's valve clamped down onto Sideswipe's spike as one of the most intense overloads Ratchet had ever experienced took him over.

The sight and feel of his mate in the midst of an overload was too much for Sideswipe. Baring his teeth, Sideswipe clamped down into the arching, white neck just as his spike released the transfluid. With a groan, Sideswipe sagged against Ratchet's back, spent but sated. The sire protocols had settled for now but the red dragon had no time to rest. He had to get Ratchet to somewhere secure, the protocols whispered, find a cave to hide his mate from others.

::Ours-mine-mine-mine:: Sunstreaker chose the moment to batter his twin's processor with barely restrained lust and possessiveness. The strong yellow frame was coiled tightly and his optics burned as they stared down at the breathless Ratchet, the older dragon stirring a little at the low growl Sunstreaker released.

::Mate-ours:: Sideswipe crooned back and nuzzled lovingly the dark grey horns.

With a little hum of regret, Sideswipe pulled out, earning an irritated whine from Ratchet. Giving one last nuzzle to his new nestmate, Sideswipe stepped away.

Ratchet was confused, expressing it with an annoyed hiss. One overload had barely quenched the need, so why the frag his mate didn't do his duty as a proper sire?

The white dragon struggled to get onto his feet, ready to demand an explanation, when a deep, warning rumble reached his audios. Ratchet whipped his helm around and saw the yellow dragon mech stalking purposely towards him.

Oh.

Wasting no time, Sunstreaker closed the distance between them and guided the white dragon down again. Despite his growling and thinly stretched patience, Sunstreaker was gentle, more so than his brother had been. The fierce sounds changed into low, sensual purrs as the yellow twin made sure to rub his scent on every possible part on the red and white scale plating and especially on the healer's interface equipment. He even went as far as to nudge teasingly the underside of Ratchet's quivering spike with the tip of his snout, carefully blowing hot air against the sensor rich plating.

Sunstreaker chuckled at the loud squeak that came from the startled healer.

The yelp quickly turned into an impatient snarl, though. With a flash of sharp teeth, Ratchet bit the closest thing he could reach, which happened to be Sunstreaker's tail. The bite wasn't hard enough to pierce the scale plating but Ratchet used enough pressure to get his point across.

Not expecting the sting, the yellow dragon hissed, dorsal spikes flaring sharply. As retribution, Sunstreaker swiftly mounted the older dragon, asserting his dominance over the healer with a bite of his own on the back of the white neck.

Ratchet relaxed, showing his submission but a part of him was thrilled. Changing his tactics, the healer started to croon invitingly, spreading his back legs just enough for their interface equipment to rub against each other. The pleasure that came from the contact made them both shiver, and Sunstreaker caught a hint of mirth from Sideswipe, the red twin amused by their mate's deviousness.

Sunstreaker shared Sideswipe's amusement, a flash of sharp teeth, before he unceremoniously sheathed himself deep into the older dragon. Ratchet keened, the healer's frame tensing underneath Sunstreaker's as the tight valve tried to accommodate the stretch.

It was what made the younger dragon's patience snap. Sunstreaker all but pulled out completely only to slam right back in, wings spread wide open as he declared his claim over the healer with a loud roar.

Ratchet, blinded by pleasure, offered his arched neck to hissecondmate. Sunstreaker rumbled, pleased by the older dragon's submission. The low sound vibrated from the yellow chassis down onto the white one, eliciting a delighted trill from the healer. The red and white wings trembled in pleasure as Sunstreaker gently nipped the back of his neck, and just like with Sideswipe earlier, Ratchet twined his and Sunstreaker's tails together.

A sound, almost like a breathless chuckle was Sunstreaker's first reaction to have his tail held possessively by Ratchet's. "Mine," Sunstreaker hummed, nuzzling a white cheek plate, "my mmmmmaaatte."

Purring encouragingly, Ratchet licked the grey snout which unbeknownst to the white dragon made Sunstreaker's spark sing in joy.

It had been a lifetime since somebody other than Sideswipe had touched the yellow dragon with no ulterior motive; that joy cut through the sire protocol dominated mind. Crooning, Sunstreaker raked his claws across one white side, the dangerous talons skimming teasingly over the heated scales; determined to bring more pleasure to Ratchet than just fulfill the heat's demands. He slowed down, making sure to drag his spike moved across the every single node in the healer's valve in leisured thrusts as he drove Ratchet into another overload.

As the pleasure took over the white dragon, he was half-aware that Sunstreaker had not stopped moving. The hardness stretched Ratchet's pulsing valve in the most delicious ways before the yellow dragon roared, releasing his transfluid deep inside the healer.

Worn out but blissfully free from the heat's demands, Ratchet slumped heavily against the ground, optics offline. The weight across his back was uncomfortable, but the healer was too sated to really complain about it. Especially when Sunstreaker kept nuzzling him, the deep purrs soothing to the healer's audios. Ratchet groaned, when the yellow dragon slipped out, and he felt the valve's protective plating seal the transfluid inside. There it continued to slowly trickle towards his gestation chamber, an odd feeling, and Ratchet wasn't sure if he'd ever get used to it.

His attention was stolen by Sideswipe as the red dragon joined them, rubbing his helm against Ratchet's.

"Mate," Sideswipe purred, the simple word heavy with such myriad emotions but Ratchet could only recognize happiness as one of them.

"Ours," crooned the equally pleased Sunstreaker, carefully sliding off the older dragon and settling next to him.

Ratchet sighed, rubbing tiredly the twins. "Yours," he agreed, humming.

It was hard not to smile as Sideswipe and Sunstreaker's faceplates brightened. Their optics showed a combination of warmth and smugness, a characteristic the healer had come to known as the second nature to brothers.

"Mine?" Ratchet asked with a low purr, blue optics questioning as they looked at the two brothers.

"Yours," Sunstreaker rumbled gravely and there was a dark undercurrent in his voice, heavy with possessiveness.

"Yours," Sideswipe agreed eagerly, the wide grin a complete opposite to his brother's sternness.

The twins allowed the healer gather his strength but being out in the open was making them restless. Ratchet was their nestmate, but the scent of heat clung into the red and white scales, now mixed with the unmistakable smell of mating. It was like a beacon to anyone with proper olfactory sensors, a beacon that Sideswipe and Sunstreaker did not want anyone else to find.

When Ratchet was finally ready to move again, Sunstreaker and Sideswipe pushed and nudged the older dragon until the healer took wing. Not wanting their precious mate to be anywhere near other dragons, the twins made sure the healer's frame was firmly between theirs. They even as far as to occasionally swoop in, talons touching some part of Ratchet before continuing to circle around the healer.

The older dragon grumbled under his breath at this but it lacked the usual fire, the carrier protocols all but preening at his new nestmates protectiveness as they steered him towards and into the little grotto Sideswipe and Sunstreaker had originally found the healer in.

The air inside the cavern was still thick with the scent of heat, and the trio's protocols reacted immediately to the stimulation.

Ratchet didn't fight back, when Sunstreaker mounted him, even urging him. Their coupling was more frenzied this time, the need to satisfy the protocols more urgent than the will to indulge. Sunstreaker came with a loud roar and transfluid flooded the healer's passage, pushing the keening Ratchet into overload.

Sideswipe growled impatiently from where he waited, wings shivering, as he felt the echoes of Sunstreaker's overload over their bond. The red brother clambered on top of Ratchet as soon as Sunstreaker moved away, so fast that Ratchet's sensors didn't even fully register the yellow twin's withdrawal before he was once again stretched open. Grunting, Sideswipe thrust hard into the white dragon, black hips moving frantically as he chased after his own release as well as Ratchet's second one. Clamping his jaws around the white neck, the red dragon's growl of pleasure vibrated all over the frame underneath him, sending them both over the edge.

Groaning, Sideswipe felt like he was going to melt right into the very spot, the intensity of both his own and the resonances of his Sunstreaker's overloads having effectively drained all his energy. He pulled away from Ratchet, who then proceeded to scare the living Pit out of both of the twins by collapsing heavily on the ground.

"Ratchet!" Sideswipe called, panicked, as he and Sunstreaker scrambled to check on their mate, both of them whining loudly and butting Ratchet's helm and chassis with their snouts.

Relief flooded their bond, when the crystal blue optics onlined, dim and slightly unfocused.

"No more," Ratchet pleaded in exhaustion as his chassis slowly cooled down. "Primus, I can't – just – no more."

"Yes, whatever you say, Ratchet, no more, not until you have rested," Sideswipe babbled. He was still quite spooked as he lay down next to Ratchet, reaching to caress the white withers in order to calm himself.

Sunstreaker stayed quiet, but he was not unaffected either. Silently, the yellow dragon took the place on the other side of the drooping Ratchet, snaking his long neck underneath the healer's, so that Ratchet could rest his helm more comfortably.

Aware of his younger mates' fretfulness, Ratchet unfolded his wings to drape one over each twin. "Oh calm down, you glitches," he huffed grouchily. "I've never heard anyone offline from mating. I'm just a little tired, that's all. Nothing a good recharge and refueling won't cure."

"Never had a mate before," Sunstreaker reminded Ratchet but felt more ease with the familiar crabbiness they had learned to associate with the old healer.

Whatever Ratchet was about to say, it got interrupted by a massive yawn. Instead, he reached out with his claws to scratch one of Sunstreaker's grey cheeks. "I know," he murmured back, smiling slightly at the purr he received.

Sideswipe chose that moment to hum thoughtfully, causing both Ratchet and Sunstreaker to twist their necks around to look at the mischievously grinning dragon. "Perhaps it's old age catching up? I mean, you'd not be so worn after, what? Five overloads?"

Sunstreaker snorted while Ratchet's gaze narrowed dangerously. Faster than the red dragon could react, the healer's tail swatted Sideswipe squarely in the back of his helm. Hissing curses through their bond at the smirking Sunstreaker through their bond, Sideswipe donned his best pout as he turned towards the scowling Ratchet.

"You would need a lot more than five overloads to tire me, pup," Ratchet said, the frown changing into a smirk and the sultry tone making the twins perk up.

"Is that a challenge?" Sunstreaker rumbled with a wide grin, the familiar words making Ratchet laugh loudly.

Leaning closer so that the tips of their snouts almost touched, the white dragon flicked his tongue playfully over the sensitive, grey plating. "Perhaps," he purred back, grinning at the needy whine that escaped from the yellow brother's vocalizer. Ratchet then turned to look at Sideswipe, who shuddered even as the blue optics brightened with interest. "But now is not the right moment to test your… endurance."

Ratchet chuckled at the disappointed look that crossed on Sideswipe's faceplates. "In case you haven't forgotten, I didn't get to refuel last solar cycle and have spent most of this one doing some enthusiastic activity, which means one of you has to go hunting soon."

Sideswipe pouted again, burying his helm underneath in the folds of Ratchet's left wing. "Don't want to leave you, not when we finally have you as our mate," he muttered, and Sunstreaker shared the same opinion, if the disgruntled looks the yellow twin was giving to the cave floor were any indication.

Ratchet sighed, realizing they had a lot of work to do to make this nesting truly work.

"Sunstreaker, Sideswipe," Ratchet called gently but sternly, waiting until they both looked at the white healer again. He looked at them one at a time, expression serious.

"You won the right to be my nestmates just as the traditions require, which means I cannot be claimed by another sire for a stellar cycle," Ratchet stated formally, before a small smile quirked his lip plates as he continued. "You two are a pair of exceptional dragons, one of the rarest, and to be your nestmate honors me more than you can imagine. You may have laid the claim as the sires of this clutch but you are my mates just as I'm yours."

A delighted purring had started long before Ratchet's little declaration was over, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker became positively overjoyed as the healer praised their worth as mates and the possibility of sharing the nest in the future.

And they were not ashamed to show it.

Despite Ratchet's earlier words, he did offline, when the twins drove the white dragon into the brink of madness with teasing caresses, until Ratchet overloaded with an almost painful sounding howl.

Sunstreaker and Sideswipe ignored their own need for release – this time – as they curled protectively around Ratchet. They'd argue later who was going to go hunt and who was going to stay. It would most likely turn a physical fight but for now the red and yellow dragons were comfortable where they were, watching their healer, their mate recharge in peace while their sparkbond pulsed with warmth and possessiveness.

And who knows, maybe one solar cycle there would be third spark pulse in the bond; a stubborn and cunning spark that had ensnared the brothers from the very moment they had seen the frame carrying it, wounded and covered with energon but still full of fire and determination not to give up even against the odds.

Ratchet grunted slightly in his recharge, the large wings trembling slightly as the red and white chassis twisted and burrowed closer to them before settling again with a contented sigh. The red twin flashed a bright smile at the yellow one, who answered to it with a rare smile of his own.

Yes, that was something Sunstreaker and Sideswipe hoped to see one solar cycle.

THE END


A/N: Well then. Here it was. I do apologize for it taking this long, but my thesis turned out to be a demon from hell and ended up eating all my time.

I also admit being rather nervous at posting this chapter, because of the mating part. It had to happen in dragon form, because the twins and Ratchet aren't close enough to show their mech forms to each other. Not yet. What happens now? Will the mating succeed? What will come of Ratchet's role as the clan's healer and how the twins fill fit into Autobots? Well… I've scribbled down an idea for sequel and been planning to write a story for Red Alert & Inferno but we will see.

But I welcome any ideas aor opinions, if you have some. Hopefully I'll see some of you soon again. :)