Title: Petting Feral Cats
Fandom: Transformers (mix Bayverse and G1) AU
Author: FuziPenguin
Pairing/Characters: Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Ratchet
Rating: PG
Word Count: 981
A/N and Warnings: For the Week 2 Challenge (Tag Teaming) at twins_x_ratch LiveJournal community. Spoilers for DotM - set at the end of the movie. Sadness, friendship. Title might be a mite confusing - when you run across feral kittens or cats, sometimes you just have to grab them and pet them until they just give in and start to like it.
Disclaimer: This is a piece of fiction. No harm was intended in the creation of this work. All rights belong to the original creators.

"I think there's something wrong with Ratchet," Sidewipe remarked in a low voice to his brother as they were taking a break from their daily chore of rebuilding.

"You think so?" Sunstreaker murmured back, observing the medic forcing Optimus to hold still while he poked and prodded at their leader's healing arm.

"I don't know. I mean, he's yelling and fixing, and generally being Ratchet, but it's like something's missing, ya know?" Sideswipe said, subtly leaning up against Sunstreaker.

"He misses Ironhide. Just like you miss him, and Prime misses him. He's been around forever; it's hard not to miss him," Sunstreaker replied and at the far away tone in the warrior's voice, Sideswipe leaned even further into Sunstreaker's space.

"I thought he was unkillable," Sideswipe admitted.

"He wasn't," Sunstreaker answered, voice low and pained. For several moments, the two hung their heads and tried to handle the resurfacing grief.

"So what do we do about Ratchet?" Sideswipe asked, trying to focus on those Authobots still left. "He hasn't recharged in days. I don't think he's gotten much energon either."

Sunstreaker lifted his head and eyed the medic, noticing how Ratchet's hands shook, just a little. "He's not going to go willingly."

Sideswipe grinned, an expression that made Sunstreaker's spark ache as it had been awhile since it had graced his brother's face. "Well. That's kind of our specialty, isn't it?"

Several hours later, after the crews had switched off, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker lingered across from the entrance of the makeshift medical bay on the outskirts of Chicago. They had watched Ratchet run another set of diagnostics on Prime's shoulder, bang out some dents on Bumblebee's back, and wrangle all three Wreckers in for their final check up. The majority of the large repairs had been completed a day or so ago. There was no reason for Ratchet not to shut down, at least for a few hours, so Sunstreaker and Sideswipe moved forward with their plan.

One of the Twins purposely made a sound at the entrance, alerting the medic to their presence and he turned, frowning. "Well, what is it now?"

Sideswipe stepped forward, rotating his shoulder with a pained grimace. "I'm still getting pains when I lift much with this arm," he explained, going over and hopping up on the exam table at Ratchet's motion.

"Well, how much are you lifting? I told you to take it easy," Ratchet scolded, already focused on the joint. Sunstreaker and Sideswipe exchanged a look over Ratchet's bent head. The lecture was half-hearted at best, with barely a change of tone. Ratchet was exhausted.

"Not much. Hey, when's the last time you had some energon? Me and Sunny's got a good batch of high grade just waiting to be broken into," Sideswipe offered.

Ratchet shook his head, a small frown on his face plates. "No. I have to hunt down Dino, take a look at that hit he got to his leg. This looks fine, Sideswipe. I don't see anything wrong!" he remarked, irritation finally making it into his tone.

"Dino can wait. He's fine," Sunstreaker remarked, coming up behind Ratchet so closely that the medic could feel the heat from the other's engine on his back plates.

"Don't you tell me who's fineā€¦" Ratchet growled and then jumped as Sideswipe shifted, snaking his legs around the medic's and hooking his heels across the back of Ratchet's knees, pulling him in to bounce off Sideswipe's chest. Sunstreaker moved forward with the motion, and Ratchet abruptly found himself sandwiched between the twins.

"What are you two doing?!" Ratchet exclaimed, beginning to struggle. Sideswipe quickly clamped hands to the medic's, pulling the other's arms down to his side. Sunstreaker wrapped himself around Ratchet, effectively pinning the medic in place. "Let go of me!"

"You haven't recharged in days, Ratchet," Sideswipe said, peering up into Ratchet's furious optics.

"Fraggers! I'm the medic here. I don't need you two glitchheads telling me what to do!" Ratchet yelled, still struggling.

Exchanging another look, the Twins fell silent, wrapping themselves even further around the medic as he wriggled and yelled. After several long moments, Ratchet's struggles began to slow, and his fans kicked on as the curses faded to grunts and growls, and finally he sagged in their embrace, intakes heaving as his exhausted body tried cooling off.

"You Pit-spawned sons of bitches," the medic said weakly.

"We miss him too," Sideswipe said, voice staticky around the edges with grief.

As if that statement was the key to the dam, Ratchet broke. His faceplates crumpled and a subsonic keen shook the Twins' frames. He collapsed against Sideswipe, head supported on the red warrior's shoulder as coolant trickled from Ratchet's optics to slide down Sideswipe's armor. They released Ratchet's arms, and he clung to Sideswipe, digits restlessly gripping and scraping against the red plating.

"I couldn't save him! There wasn't anything left to even try!" Ratchet wailed. Sunstreaker started up a low, soothing croon as he leaned against Ratchet's back, hands stroking the medic's sides gently. Sideswipe joined in on the calming sound, subtly rocking the medic back and forth, feeling his own optics begin to moisten.

Ratchet continued to wail wordlessly, oblivious to the outside world, finally safe to mourn. A metallic scrape against concrete caught the Twins' attention, and they saw Optimus in the doorway, gravely staring at the trio. He watched for a few minutes more, observing Sunstreaker's protective stance and Sideswipe's soft murmurs. He finally nodded to both of the warriors and left, confident Ratchet was in good hands.

The Twins' came to the assumption that Prime had warned everyone off from the med bay as no one else came in that night. If they had, they would have seen the sparkbreaking sight of Ratchet curled up between Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, keening even in recharge, as he finally began the slow process of healing.77

~ End