Title: Contemplation

Rating: T

Universe: Pre Movie 07

Characters: Ratchet, Ironhide, Jazz and mentions of Optimus and Bumblebee

Pairings: slight RatchetxIronhide, slight mention of ProwlxJazz

Warnings: excessive use of profanities, slightest bit of fluff, humour, tad bit of angst and spoilers for Ghosts of Yesterday

Disclaimer: Not mine, I just toy with with them and hand them back in less than pristine condition.

Summary: PreMovie07: Ratchet broods, Jazz attempts an escape out of the med-bay and Ironhide tries to cheer up a certain medic.

Gogglehead84 mentioned to me that there wasn't enough RatchetxIronhide fics, so I decided to venture from my normal pairing to write a fic for these two lovable characters.

'Blah' - Thinking

The low hum of the Ark's engines and systems reverberated throughout the entire ship as the large spherical transport turned battleship travelled at sub-light speeds though the blackness of space, the stars looked like long white streaks of light instead of pinpricks in the black canvas whilst nebulas and star clusters looked like masses of colours. Although much of this was ignored by the Autobots Chief Medical Officer Ratchet as he sat next to one of the sterilised berths with an assortment of his medical tools laid out before him, he knew much of the repairs to the Ark had been completed and the wounds his comrades had acquired in their last skirmish with the Decepticons had been treated. However Ratchet's spark wasn't really set on inventory or the cleaning of his tools in the slightest as his processor was a whirl with thoughts from the last few orns. It seemed that no matter how close they were to retrieving the Allspark, another obstacle would move to stand in their way to prevent them from obtaining it before their enemy did. He vented a deep sigh out of his intakes, he knew the location of the Cube had come at a price and although he hadn't been profoundly impacted by the small creatures destruction, he had felt that their deaths had been needless. The small group of organics had mistakenly come through a wormhole after a manoeuvre they were attempting went awry and they had moved in to investigate, unfortunately so did the Decepticons and choosing flight over fight, the small bipeds took their antiquated craft down onto the nearest planet. Of course the fragger Starscream had followed them down and managed to convince the humans, as they called themselves, to attack Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. However it seemed that the humans had seen the self proclaimed leader of the Decepticons to be the back stabbing glitch that they all knew he was and helped the Autobots attack their enemy, however Starscream didn't take double crossing lightly and destroyed the small craft without so much of a second thought.

'Just like other lives he and the other fraggin' 'cons snuffed out mercilessly.' Ratchet thought to himself. The battlefields were always a constant dance of death whether it was quick and painless or slow and agonising depending upon the mood of the executioner or whether they were Autobot and Decepticon. The CMO knew there was a fine line drawn between both factions in regards to killing ones enemy that set them apart, as the Decepticons enjoyed killing for pleasure, they were unrestrained and relished in tormenting and torturing their victims into deactivation whilst the Autobots only killed in self defence or if it was a last resort, unless of course it was the twins who killed first and asked questions later. The medic knew he had seen so many cases of such cruelty displayed laid out upon his operating tables, although he understood there were some Autobots who had crossed that fine line and delved into Decepticon territory when it came to fighting or the interrogation of prisoners. But they were rare occurrences and the twins were getting better at restraining themselves, although the same couldn't be said for the special operations unit who carried the motto of 'kill or be killed' on their missions.

Ratchet vented a heavy sigh as he glanced at the only other occupant in the med-bay, he was keeping Jazz in over the night for observation after the mech took a pretty nasty hit from Bonecrusher in the last fight. The First Lieutenant was healing nicely and would no doubt be back up and around creating havoc with Bumblebee like they normally did in their efforts to 'raise moral', although most of the pranks only proved to annoy the three older mechs further and have them threaten the two youngsters with the idea of being flushed out of the nearest airlock. But he knew it would be a while before the silver mech was up to that kind of activity after all one did not take a nasty blow to the shoulder like he did and bounce straight back, there was going to be a recovery period first although he knew Jazz was unlikely to follow his orders whilst he recuperated. A process that many of other Autobots would never get the chance to experience, the CMO thought bitterly, so many young lives had off-lined during the course of the war before they could receive medical treatment or had died during or shortly after their injuries had been seen too, and each one lost had ingrained itself on his ageing spark.

"How are the younguns?" Came Ironhide's voice, drawing Ratchet out of his thoughts. The CMO glanced over to the entrance of the med-bay just as the weapons specialist entered the room, his presence suddenly calming and reassuring to the chartreuse mech.

The medic put down the tool he had been cleaning and faced his comrade fully "I've already sent Bumblebee back to his quarters to recharge so the youngling can let his self repair take care of the scrapes and dents he acquired, Jazz on the other hand is gonna be here a little while longer."

The black mech glanced over to where the silver form of their First Lieutenant was laid out on a berth "Oh he's gonna love that, you know how much he hates bein' cooped up in one place for too long."

"Hmm I'm ready for any escape attempt he'll try." Ratchet responded as he also glanced across the room again and scanned the silver form "he'll stay if he knows what's good for him, I maybe old but my aim is still perfect." Ironhide chuckled at that, the CMO let a small smile curve his lip components "anyway where's Prime?"

"Where else? Still in Stellar Cartography." The weapons specialist told him as he leant against the berth and folded his arms across his chest "mech refuses to leave."

The chartreuse mech pushed himself up out of his seat, groaning slightly when his joints protested the movement before they all gave off small subtle cracks as he stretched "He will if I make him, I assume he still has the Arks scanners searching for the planetary system that contains this planet called Earth?"

"Yea he's still lookin', think you may have to get him to leave by threatening to reformat him into a femme or taking him out with one of your infamous wrenches." Ironhide replied with a small smile curving his lip components.

Ratchet smiled "I think I'll go for the second option as I hate to see what a femme with Optimus' strength and size could be capable of."

The weapons specialist chuckled "Very true but it might keep the younglings in line." The CMO shook his head in amusement but his good mood quickly faded, the black mech immediately picked up on the sudden change and a concerned look appeared upon his facial plates "Ratch?"

"We're so close to retrieving the Allspark but …." Ratchet trailed off.

"But what?" Ironhide inquired as he gently touched the CMO's elbow, his black frame a mere couple of metres from the the chartreuse frame.

The medic vented a deep sigh out of his intakes "Well this war has pretty much dominated most of our lives, it just makes me wonder if we can truly go back to being ..."

"Normal?" The weapons specialist asked "Ratch we've never been normal, the twins especially."

"No those pit spawns were sparked just to drive me over the edge at neck breaking speeds." Ratchet replied, a small smile quirked the corner of his lip components before it disappeared again "but I've wondered what mechs like Bumblebee and Jazz will do once this war is over and done with, they're so young compared to us."

"Well I know exactly what that little silver glitch will do the moment this war is over, he'll bond to that stick in the slag Prowl once they've been reunited and have more sparklings than we dare to count." Ironhide replied as he pushed back the thoughts of what the future hell spawns of their second and third in commands would be like and the chaos they would likely create. He shoved them aside as he focused his attention back to his comrade "what about you?"

"Not really thought about it, although I wouldn't mind trying my hand at mechanical engineering, practising medicine wouldn't feel the same after everything that has happened." The CMO told him 'after most of everyone we've known during this long war have died on my tables' He wanted to add but didn't. The medic didn't need to ask what the weapons specialist would do once the Allspark was back safely in their hands as he already knew the answer to a pretty simple question; Ironhide would spend the rest of his orns tracking down any and every Decepticon and terminating them. As for Optimus and Bumblebee, Ratchet had no idea as to what the pair would do, after all the latter had been practically raised during the war and knew nothing else.

"Then we'd have two Wheeljacks on our servos." The weapons specialist responded with a chuckle.

The CMO glared at him "Hardly, that fragger forgets where his berth is and runs mostly on reserves, that's why I always end up picking up the pieces after he's blown up his lab when he's inconveniently forgotten to recharge."

"Sounds like somebot I know." The black mech said as he took a step backwards out of swiping range "except he doesn't blow up his med-bay, just growls and threatens to disassemble his colleagues instead."

"Very funny, remember I know how to disable your cannon functions, not too mention other parts of you." The medic growled.

Ironhide scowled at his comrade "You're a downright evil mech, you know that right?"

Ratchet smirked "Of course, how else am I supposed to keep you ungrateful ingrates in line?"

"Aw Ratch you love us really." The weapons specialist said with a mock hurt look upon his facial plates.

"That's debatable." The CMO responded as he quirked an optic ridge, from the corner of his optic he could see the slightest of movements from the only other occupied berth.

"Not even little old me?" The black mech inquired, the chartreuse mech cocked his head to the side in an imitation of an eye roll, although his attention was drawn once again to the other side of the room by another flicker of movement.

"Hold that thought." Ratchet said as he slid off the berth, Ironhide followed the chartreuse mech with his gaze and smirked when he saw the CMO pick up a hefty wrench.

"Where do you think your going you little fragger!" The medic cursed before the wrench he was holding was sent sailing through the air, the weapons specialist cringed when he heard the solid clang of metal meeting metal and a yelp of pain from their First Lieutenant.

"What th' frag Ratch?" Jazz demanded as he clutched his aching helm, the chartreuse mech had hit him in just the right place to disrupt his motor controls which had sent him crumpling to the deck plates in an undignified heap "slag's sake what is it wit' ya an' concussin' us mechs?"

"It's the only way I can take little glitches like you down." Ratchet growled as he brandished another wrench at the special ops mech "now get that pint sized aft back on that berth and stay there." The CMO gestured to the berth the First Lieutenant had just recently vacated before he glared at the silver mech "and I swear Jazz if that aft of yours so much as leaves it, I'll weld you to it am I understood?"

Jazz grinned sheepishly "Perfectly."

"Good now move." The medic snapped. The saboteur squeaked and scrambled to get off the floor, once he reached the berth he used his good arm to pull himself up onto it and collapsed onto the padded surface. Ratchet stalked over, he watched and waited for the special ops mech to get himself comfortable before he clipped Jazz round the back of the helm "that ..." He brandished the wrench close to the smaller mech's facial plates "... is for disobeying my direct orders, now are you gonna be a good mech and stay or do I need to get the welding iron?"

"I'll stay." Jazz grumbled under his breath as he sulkily folded his arms across his chest, although he grimaced slightly when the action pulled upon his healing shoulder. Ironhide couldn't hold it in any longer and burst out laughing at the expression upon the saboteur's facial plates, whilst ignoring the dark glare Jazz was throwing in his direction before the saboteur was glancing at Ratchet "but seriously if ya want me ta stay, couldn't ya move ya flirtin' ta somewhere else or at least let me leave if ya feelin' th' need ta frag each other senseless."

Both older mechs started at the rather bold statement leaving the silver mech's vocaliser before they glanced at one another, they weren't as Jazz called it 'flirting', they were simply having a conversation between colleagues … close friends, nothing more. But as usual the little silver glitch had determined something out of nothing and making them uncomfortable of the idea that there was more going on than they had anticipated. After all neither of them could afford to get close to anyone since they had lost many close comrades in the long war that had plagued their world and had spilled out into space, they both knew that allowing themselves to get attached to another Autobot would only mean spark-ache in the long run should anything happen to the mech or femme they had grown close to. But the pair knew that others had taken the chance that they themselves were too scared to take, Prowl and Jazz were a prime example of that as the pair had overcome their responsibilities and their duties as second and third in command to the Autobots to pursue a relationship, even when they were also faced with the very real reality that either one of them could be killed.

Ratchet glanced over to where Ironhide was stood, the weapons specialist seemed to have found his twin plasma cannons to be all of a sudden a lot more interesting than what was going on, and the CMO couldn't help the small smile that wanted to appear upon his lip components. When he truly thought about it, they really were very much alike if not compatible in a sense, after all they were both gruff, somewhat volatile if they were pushed a little too far, bad temper, a proverbial walking dictionary of profanities, but despite their shortcomings they both had a caring nature that although was a rarity to see, was there. And as much as the chartreuse mech hated to admit he did find Ironhide ruggedly attractive, and always found himself being drawn to the dark foreboding presence every time the weapons specialist stepped into the room. Ratchet vented a deep sigh, maybe there was nothing wrong with taking a chance, but the question was how did he plan to broach that kind of subject with the black mech especially if Ironhide didn't feel the same way toward him.

"Fine I'll release you, but if you feel anything out of the ordinary you are to report back here immediately am I understood?" The CMO demanded as he fixed Jazz with a stern look.

"Perfectly." The First Lieutenant replied as he slipped off the berth he was on whilst trying to make sure he didn't perform a spectacular face plant in the process.

Then the two older mechs watched as the small silver mech retreated from the med-bay like his aft was on fire, before they were left alone in the room. Neither of them said anything for a few moments as they tried to gauge the situation between them, but they both knew that whatever was between them they had to get it out in the open. After all they didn't know how much longer they would be on this ship, and the last thing they wanted to do was create tension aboard the Ark although they both knew there were plenty of locations for them to spend the rest of the trip separated in. However there was the issue of a particular silver nuisance who would not let the subject drop, even if they ejected him out of the nearest airlock.

"You know frag this I've never been good with words, let's grab some high grade as I know where that two bit slagger keep it, and head to the observation deck." Ironhide suggested.

"Sounds good to me, I need to get out of here for a while." Ratchet replied as he trailed after the weapons specialist "I'm curious though, how the frag do you know where that little silver glitch keeps the high grade the twins no doubt left on board?"

The black mech smirked as he glanced at his comrade "Let's just say Jazz is too predictable for an unpredictable mech like him, besides one can hardly hide the smell of high grade from my olfactory senses."

The CMO chuckled "No its probably the only part of you that functions properly." The pair of them made their way through the interconnecting corridors, and the medic quickly realised that they were heading to the storage bay. The chartreuse mech smirked, trust Jazz to hide something in such an obvious location

"Hey I take offence at that." Ironhide said as he lightly shoved Ratchet before dodging out of the way when the CMO attempted to hit him.

"Alright then if you think you're functioning at a hundred percent, I'll race you to the storage bay." The medic responded before he took off.

The weapons specialist chuckled "You're on." The black mech took off after his comrade, he had to admit he was glad to see Ratchet in a much chirpier mood compared to earlier. Ironhide understood that the CMO had been affected by the organic creatures demise, after all it was a medic's duty to save life and no doubt seeing the humans perish at Starscream's hands, had dredged up past memories of the chartreuse mech's failure to save the many lives that had been lost during the course of the war. However he knew that they had to focus on the here and now, and worry about lay in store for them tomorrow.

A/N: The plot bunny attacked me whilst I was writing Renascentia and one of the planned one shots for 'Growing pains' and refused to let go.

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