He just wanted to go home.
Ratchet carried his datapad in his hand as he walked through the streets of Iacon. To him, the reason for doing so was very insignificant. Ratchet was tired, he was grumpy, and he most certainly did not want to go out near the end of the Orbital Cycle to cure some stuck up scientist of one of the most trivial viruses on Cybertron. Of course the Medical Center's data banks contained absolutely no details of how to fix one of the most common and least deadly viruses.
So, Ratchet was forced to go all the way to the Iacon Hall of Records to find a way to cure something that went away on its own in an Orbital Cycle or two.
"I've never actually got a good look of this place," Voltlock said, trying to start a conversation. "It's really big, though. You're going to have fun trying to find what you're looking for."
Ratchet knew right then that he wasn't going to get a moment of peace during the trip. Ratchet nodded in acknowledgement, but he didn't reply. Voltlock gave up trying to talk to his fellow medic after that.
Voltlock had decided to come along. Ratchet asked if he had a patient to get to, but Voltlock said that he was free for most of the Orbital Cycle. Ratchet couldn't do anything to stop him from coming, so Voltlock ended up walking a few steps behind Ratchet, knowing that his fellow medic wanted silence but clearly not giving a scrap. That wasn't even the first time Voltlock had tried to speak with him. He tried as soon as they left, and got absolutely no response. He tried after a few Breems as they passed the monorail, and he managed to get a few words in return but nothing after that. Voltlock knew for certain that he wasn't going to get him to talk again.
They walked the busy streets of Iacon without making another sound. It wasn't going to take Ratchet long to get where he needed to go. He didn't necessarily know the way, but he knew that when he saw it, he'd know, and as he stopped in front of one of the tallest buildings in the city-state, he knew.
Ratchet hadn't been to the Hall of Records in so long. Solar Cycles ago, when he was there against his will. It felt a little strange to go there on better circumstances, but Ratchet had a job to do, and he was going to do it, though he was definitely not going to do it for the snobby high class mech. He never had an excuse to go to the Hall of Records. He never had a real chance to do so. Apparently, some new Gladiator was tearing his opponents apart, and that left a lot of medics very, very busy. All the time.
As he entered, Ratchet noticed that the Hall was rather empty. Ratchet didn't expect it to be busy, but there were very few Cybertronians in the building, or at least the main level, in contrast to the stampede outside.
Voltlock turned to Ratchet with a smirk, swiping the datapad from his hand. "Bet I'll find it before you."
"At least you'll save me time by doing my work for me," Ratchet countered, and got a laugh from his fellow medic before Voltlock began making his way over to the stairwell, intending to split up and go to a higher floor. Once he was gone, Ratchet took a better look around the area.
A violet framed femme was sitting at the front desk, seemingly bored with assisting Cybertronians who didn't have a clue about where anything was. Ratchet decided to avoid her. He highly doubted she would be much help, so he continued on. He didn't think it would be that hard to find the information. He had clearance to view files concerning medical maters, though some higher class information disks would still be withheld. He would just have to download it into his datapad.
Which Voltlock had.
He really didn't think that through.
Ratchet walked around the shelves, looking over the type of information they held. It took him a Breem to look over each subject, and none of them had to do with anything remotely concerning medical matters. Giving up on finding anything on that floor, he decided to go up the stairs, walking around a rather large blue and green mech that seemed to make it his job to block everyone's path. Ratchet forced himself to keep from saying something he'd regret, just passing and going up.
Ratchet didn't see Voltlock on the next floor, so he decided to go there and look. It was the same as before. A Breem spent looking over information that didn't concern him or his needs at all. He decided that he should start going to the next floor.
As he began to make his way to the stairwell, Ratchet walked around a blue and red mech holding a tall stack of datapads that were most likely obscuring the mech's view, seeing as it was blocking his entire faceplate. Ratchet paid that mech no mind. He highly doubted that mech would be of any assistance, or even be willing to help. Even if the stacks of datapads where in front of him, he would probably be looking over the shelves, and not at some medic that happened to pass by.
Ratchet made it to the stairwell and walked up them, seeing a new room that looked exactly like the one below it. He started looking over some of the subjects, but soon stopped.
Ratchet had no idea what he was doing.
He hadn't even really been paying attention to what he was supposed to be searching for. He had been instead searching for something else, even though he knew it was unlikely that he'd find it. He assumed that he probably missed the medical files, which were most likely on the floor he had been first searching on, that he missed because he just really didn't care. He didn't intend on asking anyone for help. He wasn't dependent.
Ratchet felt a hand on his shoulder, and he turned around to see the smirking faceplate of his fellow medic. Voltlock held the datapad loosely in his hand. "Got it."
Ratchet took the offered datapad, raising an optic ridge at his fellow medic. "How did you manage to get this?"
"I know how to talk my way through things," Voltlock said jokingly, beginning to walk towards the stairs, Ratchet following beside him. "Besides, they have almost twelve copies of this thing somewhere in this place, I'm sure of it. If we accidentally stole the official file they wouldn't be missing much."
"Of course, if they caught you, you could be put on trial," Ratchet pointed out with a roll of his optics.
"I can break the rules and take the heat," Voltlock dismissed with a wave of his hand. "Accidentally taking one of the infinite copies of the cure to a virus that goes about in about three Kliks isn't going to keep me imprisoned for long."
They soon reached to bottom floor, walking out through the doors and into the streets that, when compared to how they were earlier, seemed very empty. They began making their way back to where they came from. It was going to be a longer one. If the monorail was just beginning its rounds, then they'd have to wait a moment for it to pass so they could continue.
Sure enough, after a few Kliks of walking, they found their path was blocked by the loading monorail. For being such an impatient mech, Ratchet didn't mind waiting for a little while. Not right then, at least. He had been thinking about one thing ever since he left.
Ratchet couldn't keep himself from asking. "Did you see Orion in there?"
The question caught Voltlock off guard. Ratchet hadn't spoken of Orion in any conversation they had since he had been taken away. Though, Voltlock did hear Ratchet whisper the sparkling's name when he was looking over his datapad or just sitting on his berth, when he thought no one was around, but that had been only a little while after the relocation occurred. Ratchet soon stopped speaking of Orion all together, as if he had never existed.
Orion's berth had been removed shortly after his departure. The spark monitor had been placed in an examination room, though it was probably no coincidence that it happened to be in the room Ratchet worked in most often. All traces of the sparkling were gone. Nothing was left, except an empty space that Ratchet never filled.
Voltlock shook his head. "No, I didn't."
Ratchet had expected as much. Still, hearing that didn't make him feel any better. It had been hard to accept at first. He was immediately forced to try to get used to living for his work and nothing else, just like he had before. It was hard. The next Orbital Cycle after his sparkling had left, Ratchet had woken from recharge and turned to see an empty berth across from his.
Orion was gone. He wasn't coming back.
Ratchet already knew that from the moment his former charge stepped outside of the Medical Center for the last time, his hand held by someone else.
Voltlock watched his fellow medic for a Klik before speaking.
"You know what, I think you've been too stressed lately," Voltlock said, trying to lighten the mood. "We can invite Motor and go get a few cubes. That'll get you relaxed."
Ratchet frowned. "I'm still not going to drink any High Grade, if that's what you're implying."
Voltlock feigned innocence. "Oh, of course not. I wouldn't dream of tricking you into letting loose every once in a while."
Ratchet grumbled something under his breath. Voltlock chuckled lightly, but then his expression grew stern.
"Seriously, Ratchet," Voltlock said, his tone changing dramatically. "I haven't had a chance to speak with you in nearly an Orn, and we live in the same building. And this isn't the first time it seemed like you're throwing yourself into your work. You need a break."
Ratchet shook his head. "I'm fine."
"No, you're not." Voltlock continued, and he appeared to keep speaking, but Ratchet couldn't hear him.
Ratchet stopped listening. He felt strange, as if he was missing something. Almost like he forgot something important. Something so important.
He felt something tugging at his spark.
The sudden shock of that made Ratchet stiffen and freeze midstep, almost dropping the datapad he had received. Voltlock ceased speaking immediately, watching him with concern. "Ratchet?"
Ratchet didn't respond. He turned around to look back towards the building they had just left. When he looked at it, the pull in his chest grew stronger.
"Ratchet, what's wrong?" Voltlock asked again, voice much more serious than before, taking the datapad from his hands to make sure he wouldn't drop it. He was in front of Ratchet at that point. Ratchet hadn't seen him move.
Ratchet stared right through him for a moment before locking optics with him. "I forgot something."
Voltlock was starting to think that Ratchet had a screw loose. He just forgot something. That was it? Still, Voltlock was worried for him. "What did you forget?"
"Something important," Ratchet answered, beginning to walk past Voltlock, letting the pull lead him where he needed to go. "Go back without me. I'll return when I'm ready."
He heard Voltlock call him, but he didn't care. Ratchet knew that he was probably acting like he had a damaged processor and was completely insane, but something felt wrong, and the closer he got to the Hall of Records, the more that feeling began to fade away. Voltlock gave up trying to reason with Ratchet and started heading back to the Medical Center.
Ratchet knew that his patient was going to throw a fit for him not being back soon, but he really didn't care.
He made it back to the Hall of Records in less time than it took him to leave. He entered, and looked around, not caring for purple or blue and green, only looking for blue and red. His spark began tugging in his chest again, leading him towards the stairwell. He walked back up to the second floor, but he didn't see anyone there that he recognized. His chest tugged at him again making him go even higher up, to the next floor.
He saw blue and red.
Ratchet stared at the mech whose back was facing him. The mech had less datapads than he had before, apparently having been placing them back on their proper shelves, starting from the bottom floor. Ratchet couldn't see who it was. His spark was trying to force him forward, but he was hesitant to move.
He would be taking a chance. He would be taking a really big chance. Orion could have been relocated again. Placed in another mech's care. Sent to another records facility, though they would no doubt be much smaller and with much less information than the one he was sent to in the first place. Ratchet could be wrong.
It was a chance he was more than willing to take.
Ratchet walked into the room, until he was a few steps away from the archivist. He said nothing for a moment, and the mech didn't seem to notice he was there, or he did, and he was just continuing his work. Ratchet hardened his spark as the feeling in his chest reached it's peak.
The mech paused, shoulders tensing. He stood still for almost a Klik. Then, the archivist slowly turned around to face Ratchet, optics wide, and Ratchet saw his faceplate.
It was him. It had to be him.
For a long moment, the archivist and the medic only stared at each other, both of their processors going completely blank. The archivist opened his mouth to say something, but instead he took a breath, which left his voice in a disbelieving whisper when he finally spoke. "Ratchet?"
Ratchet didn't know what to say. He had thought about the moment when they met again very often after Orion had left. But, after a while, he simply stopped. He never forgot about Orion. Never. He just stopped hoping that he would come back.
Orion's voice had deepened considerably. He was much taller than Ratchet, and his frame seemed to be bulkier than it had been when he was a sparkling. Of course those changes would occur. They weren't anything strange or unusual, but it was still taking Ratchet a while to fully comprehend that this was the same sparkling that he had fed Energon to when he couldn't hold the cube up himself.
They remained silent for a very long time, though Orion was the first to speak up again. "It has been a long time since I had last seen you."
That was an understatement. Ratchet almost chuckled. Orion had become so formal. He had been very polite while Ratchet had been raising him, but never to the point where he sounded like he was reciting something from a data file. Ratchet nodded in agreement with the statement he was given, and was going to reply, when he paused.
What the frag was he supposed to say?
It had been Solar Cycles. Ratchet had thought about what he was going to say when they met again, but every thought he had about that had apparently buried itself in the back of his processor and he had absolutely no idea of what they could have possibly been.
Ratchet took a brief moment to think of something to say, though it took a moment more to actually say it. "Do you work here now?"
Ratchet knew how stupid of a question that was as soon as the words came out of his mouth. Ratchet was pretty sure he knew how Voltlock felt when trying to start a conversation with him. Still, Orion responded as if the question wasn't strange at all.
"Yes," Orion confirmed with a nod. "I am officially a data clerk, but I also sort information and send them to their proper destination."
Ratchet nodded again, and the tense silence returned at full force.
Orion instantly noticed how uncomfortable Ratchet was feeling and started speaking again. "Have you been well?"
"Yes. Everything's been busier for the longest time. I suppose the Gladiatorial Pits are to thank for that." Ratchet said with a hint of sarcasm laced in his last sentence.
Orion nodded in agreement. "Indeed. The High Council is observing them more frequently than required because of this situation. The communication channels must be constantly monitored to have that information sent to them for investigation."
Ratchet wasn't sure if he was supposed to know that, but Orion seemed to trust him enough to share that information with him. Even though they hadn't seen each other in so long. Even if Orion didn't know about how Ratchet could have changed, even though he really didn't change. Of course, he kept a greater distance between him and others than he had before, but after losing so many that he cared about it was harder to start becoming friendlier with others once again.
But it wasn't about him. Ratchet was there to see Orion.
They were silent for a while longer, before Orion spoke in a quieter voice. "I did not believe I would see you again."
Ratchet blinked, then spoke with complete sincerity, a tone he had never used with anyone except the one he spoke with then. "I promised."
"Yes, you did," Orion nodded, a movement that he seemed to have picked up from Ratchet when he was under his care. Orion smiled softly. "Thank you."
Ratchet raised an optic ridge. How could Orion thank him for anything? Everything that they had been through had been a complete disaster, though the moments in between those disasters were what meant the most to him. But they did not outweigh the bad. Ratchet didn't understand. "For what?"
"For keeping that promise," Orion answered. "I had missed your presence greatly. This meeting means much to me."
Those words made Ratchet's spark soar.
"I..." Ratchet began, though he had to start again. "I want to know... How have you been?"
Orion's happy expression faded slightly, and he slowly shook his head. "I'm afraid I do not have time to converse for great lengths of time. I still have datapads to file and communications to analyze."
Ratchet nodded in understanding, though he was disappointed. Greatly disappointed. Of course Orion would be busy. He was an archivist. He didn't know why he had hoped for anything different.
He wanted to know what happened to his sparkling when he wasn't there to see it. He finally saw Orion again and he couldn't even stay long enough to know how his life had been without him.
Ratchet nodded again, though it was a less noticable one. Orion noticed Ratchet's feelings almost instantly, and he spoke up again.
"I would not mind speaking with you after I am finished my work, though," Orion said, straightening his posture. "I know you have to return to the Medical Center, but perhaps one day we could meet somewhere."
That made Ratchet very, very happy, but the only thing he did to show it was smile. "That would be fine."
Orion smiled again in return.
"I will have to return to my duties," Orion nodded to his former caretaker again. "It was nice to see you again. Goodbye, Ratchet."
With that, Orion turned around, walking away as he made his way over to the stairwell, though he looked back to Ratchet once more before going to a higher floor.
Ratchet's happy expression had long since faded, and a soft, sad look had replaced it. He stayed standing there for a long moment, before he spoke. "Goodbye."
He didn't know why it hurt to say that. It wasn't as if he would never see Orion again. They were going to meet very soon, once arrangements were made. Perhaps because it was the farewell they never gave. They had never said goodbye.
Though the next time they met, they could finally say hello.
Ratchet smiled again, and he walked over to the stairs, going to opposite direction his former charge had gone, not looking back.
Orion contacted Ratchet the next Orbital cycle.
Ratchet received a message on his datapad from the archivist earlier than he thought he would. Orion requested that they meet at the Observatory of Iacon, as it was not far away from the Hall of Records, seeing as he could only take a break from his work for a short while before he had to return to his duties. They met, and they talked. That was the only thing they did. They talked about what they did while the other was gone.
Orion was trained by Alpha Trion, though not in the same way as Ratchet had. There was always a distance, but Orion still trusted his mentor completely. He became a data clerk, working in the more secluded part of the Hall of Records. He told Ratchet of how he sorted information, and how it led him to meeting one of his closest friends. A Gladiator named Megatronus. Ratchet listened to everything Orion had to say. Of course, Orion couldn't stay long. He had to leave and resume his work, but they didn't stop meeting.
So many things would happen after that. A revolution, a rebellion, many losses.
Orion Pax had changed his name. It had been chosen for him, but even he felt that the mech he was before was not the mech he was going to become. He was still the same Cybertronian inside, the same spark Ratchet had found, the same sparkling Ratchet had raised, the same mech that Ratchet didn't get to see grow up. But that was alright. He had made a promise. He was there. He came back.
Ratchet would stay by Optimus Prime's side until the very end.