Ratchet had been alive for a very, very long time. As a result of his long life, he'd seen a lot, witnessed a lot. He'd experienced so many new things he'd lost track of them all. He'd changed his daily routine so many times he was confident that not one thing had been kept the same. Some of the things he'd added or taken out of his routine he'd loved, some of them he hated.
He'd never imagined that his favorite part of the day would be to tell bedtime stories to the tiny little organic children who lived in the village.
"Come on Ratchet! One more please!" The young girl with black hair begged, clasping her hands in front of her face and giving Ratchet the best puppy dog eyes she could muster. Ratchet chuckled and was tempted to say no; he'd already told several stories and he knew Optimus would be waiting for him, should he ever escape the children.
"Oh, I don't know. It is far past your bedtime and you will all need to get up early to do your chores," Ratchet tried to reason, but he had secretly already given in. The small girl pouted even more, and the young brunette boy next to her joined in, taking off his glasses for extra effect.
The older boy on the girl's right rolled his eyes, but Ratchet could tell he wanted a story just as bad.
Ratchet sighed, a small chuckle escaping him. "Alright, alright. One more, but that's the last one, understood?"
All three children cheered, and Ratchet smiled a little more. The children settled themselves further into their blankets, eager to hear one last story before they fell asleep.
"Which one would you like to hear?" Ratchet asked, but he had a feeling he already knew the answer.
"The Adventure One! With Cybertron and Primus and Unicron!" The young girl hollered, grabbing one of the older boy's pillows out from behind him and holding on tight. The boy grunted but said nothing, a small smile on his face.
Ratchet nodded. "Well, if you insist." He adjusted himself on the large rocking chair he was sitting on, and began his story.
"Many, many years ago, in a galaxy far from this one, lived an immensely powerful being named Primus. He was a deity of immeasurable power and strength, but also goodness. He traveled the galaxy and created stars and planets and creatures of all shapes and kinds as went, breathing life into the universe.
But Primus carried a dark shadow with him at all times. His brother, Unicron, was also an immensely powerful being who had unmatched strength and talents, tied to only his brother. But while Primus created life, Unicron destroyed it.
Unicron followed behind Primus wherever he went, tainting his beloved planets with darkness or destroying them all together. He would fill the formerly kind and benevolent beings with hatred and watch in amusement as they tore each other apart, and their planet destroyed itself from the inside out.
His brother knew what Unicron was doing, but instead of fighting his brother, he countered the evil by creating more life, hoping that Unicron would eventually leave his creations alone. He prayed they would not come to war over the destruction of Primus's creations.
One day, after many long years of creating life, Primus became tired. He loved his work and he wished to continue, but more than he loved his work he was sick of his brother ruining his perfect creations. He soon arrived to a remote corner of the galaxy, where he decided to create a planet and life forms of his own image.
These new beings, unlike Primus's other creations, were gifted with small fractions of Primus's power, able to harness the wind or captivate the world with beautiful music. He gave them all personalities and abilities to develop together and grow.
Primus then gave his children a home to live by creating a planet of his own body, becoming the very core of the planet itself. Primus could still interact with his children and provide council, but he was unwilling to take any physical action in helping his children.
A few millennia after Primus became half dormant, Unicron appeared at his brother's planet, which the children had named Cybertron.
Unicron, despite his actions, cared deeply about his brother and was saddened by the loss of his brother's physical form. For his acts of destroying his brother's creation were really only to gain his brother's attention."
"That's really the wrong way to do it." The young boy interjected, a yawn escaping him.
"No interruptions," Ratchet barked, ans the children all giggled. The red and white mech took a deep breath and continued.
"In his anger and sadness, he attempted to destroy Cybertron in the hopes that Primus would emerge and Unicron could see his beloved brother once more.
His plans did not exactly work out that way.
When Unicron attempted to destroy Primus and Cybertron, the super powered children rose up to defend their home. They fought back against Unicron, able to take him on with the power given to them by Primus.
Unicron knew this would be a losing battle on his own, so he created children of his own to help him fight the war. His children, like the Children of Primus, carried small pieces of his powers and were able to even the odds. They were fierce, emotionless, faceless, and perfectly obedient to Unicron.
Despite his best efforts, after thousands of years of war, Unicron was defeated.
He couldn't be killed, not even by Primus himself. So the being was cast out into the stars, never to be heard from again. As for his children, they were not so easily dismissed.
They set a dreadful curse on the Children of Primus, a way to bind the two races together.
No matter where the Children of Primus would flee too, the Children of Unicron would for surely follow. If they were banished to the stars and the Children of Primus left Cybertron, the Children of Unicron would eventually catch up, and destroy them.
The Children of Primus - who now called themselves Gods - put the Children of Unicron - who now went by Titans - into stasis and launched them to the stars, before they reluctantly left their planet.
However, before they left, Primus gave them a message.
He foretold of a mech from the new generation of Cybertron who would bear the power of fire, would find the Gods on whatever planet they landed on, and help them defeat the Titans forever, never to have to worry about being followed or destroyed ever again.
The Gods were given a renewed sense of hope, making it slightly easier for them to leave Primus.
When the Gods left Cybertron, Primus performed his last act.
He created a new generation of mecha on Cybertron, with personalities and abilities to love and hate and be alive. However, due to Primus's weakness of having just endured a war on his surface, wasn't able to give his new children powers. He instead made sure there was no memory of signs that the Gods had once lived on Cybertron as well, and the new people went about their lives, growing and expanding their knowledge.
At some point on their journey, the Gods arrived at a planet that was uninhabited, and was the perfect place to live. It was decided that half of the Gods would remain there, while others stayed on their ship to continue to try and find another home.
Meanwhile, after a long journey, the Gods crash landed on a far away planet known as Valeran. Valeran was home to a small community of organic life forms; much smaller than the Gods and without the special powers. They were originally hesitant of the Gods and their special abilities, but they agreed to a sort of business arrangement: the Gods could take haven on their planet, as long as they provided good crops and good weather (and never rose up against the people and slaughtered them all, but that went without saying).
Valeran was also a part of a interplanetary agreement that provided them protection and technology. A few of the Gods left to live on the different planets, in hopes of learning more about the different organic life forms there.
Over time, the Gods' deal with Valerans became less of a business arrangement and more of a happy and mutually beneficial relationship. The Gods grew increasingly fond of the small band of people, becoming friends and even family with a few of them. The two factions began to work together, and the Valerans provided the Gods with massive temples in their honor and many artworks and other things worthy of a God.
Some of the Valerans did not agree with bringing these massive, extremely powerful beings into their home; uniting under one leader: Silas, the leader of the small military the Valeran community had. Those who agreed with him grabbed many supplies in the night and left their village, determined to do whatever it took to expel these Gods from their home.
Several years passed, and for the first time since Unicorn's defeat, the Gods felt as if they had found a place to call home, a place they could live out their long lives; happy and free. The Gods lived peacefully in Valeran Village, in temples created for them, in a place they loved and cherished.
However, they knew that their time of freedom and peace was running short.
But the Gods are not afraid, because they remember the words Primus told them," The red and white God smiled down at the small children laying curled up in their beds. "and they know that someone from Cybertron will soon come, and help them stop the children of Unicron, once and for all."
"That story never gets old, Ratchet." The small boy whispered, his words becoming slurred with sleep. "Goodnight."
Ratchet let out a small chuckle and lifted his servo. He stood up from his rocking chair, and as soon as he did so, the wood and fabric vanished into thin air.
"Sleep well, Rafael." Ratchet whispered, before he walked away back to his own temple towards the back of the village.
He wasn't surprised to see his bonded waiting up for him, a glass of water in his servo.
"You should be in bed, Optimus." Ratchet protested. "I know you're on the first patrol tomorrow with Arcee and Smokescreen, you'll need some rest before you go and check on MECH. Primus knows they've become bolder."
Optimus, the taller red and blue God hummed in agreement. He allowed his digits to loosen around his glass, and when the cup fell, it dissipated into a thousand tiny shards before anything hit the ground.
Ratchet and his bonded made their way back into their temple, fingers interlocked.
The inside of their temple was beautifully decorated, with paintings on the walls and ceilings that moved in a constant action, resetting themselves after a certain period. There were pictures of the entire God family; the large and happy one that it was. On one wall there was a large berth, with two little tables on either side. There was a few other pieces of furniture, but they didn't lay in their temple for long periods of time, so furniture wasn't really needed.
"MECH has most definitely become increasingly bold, I will not deny that. But I find that I cannot sleep without you here." Optimus leaned forward and kissed Ratchet on the cheek and pulled them down into their berth, a warm smile on his face.
"You need rest," Ratchet repeated as he pulled the sheets over their bodies and cuddled up against the taller mech.
Silence settled between them as neither mech fell into slumber, and they both knew it.
"The more times I tell the story," Ratchet whispered. "the more it sounds like one. It sounds like we live in some fairy tale reality; waiting to be saved by some mech whose only power is the one that serves to only destroy."
Optimus pressed a soft hiss to Ratchet's shoulder. "As far as we know," Optimus argued. "Primus could have gifted him with the ability to use his power wisely."
"Unlikely." Ratchet scoffed. "The mech is probably powerless; a cruel joke by Primus himself. He always did have the sickest sense of humor."
Optimus said nothing.
Ratchet sighed, closing his optics. "Bumblebee received another vision yesterday." The God whispered, his voice scared and tired. "He said the Titans have awoken from their stasis lock and have picked up our trail."
"Did he say how much time we have?"
"No, he only knows that they are far away from Cybertron, and even in a large ship it took us several light years to find this planet." Ratchet paused. "We have no way of knowing when they will arrive."
"My darling," Optimus whispered softly. "do not fret."
"How can I not, Optimus? The mech from Cybertron has not yet arrived here on Valeran, and I'm starting to have doubts he ever will. Primus knew the only way to get us away from Cybertron was to give us some form of hope, and he did that through his little prophecy." Ratchet rolled over so he was facing his lover.
"Just because the mech from Cybertron has not arrived yet does not mean he will not."
"Optimus, I know you think -"
"Ratchet," Optimus interrupted. "I have had my doubts about the prophecy as well, and I agree that, on occasion, Primus did give us false hopes. But I do not believe this is one of those times. We know Primus created his second generation on Cybertron, and it would stand to reason that one of them contains the power of Primus within him."
Ratchet sighed. "We do not have forever, Optimus. Sooner or later the Titans will be here, and I do not know what will happen when they do."
Optimus sighed and hugged his lover closer to his chest, and Ratchet hummed as he pressed against Optimus's beating spark, the constant rhythm calming to him. "We are fighters, my love. We will be fine. Our future is still secure."
"I want to believe you, Optimus…" Ratchet slurred out, his voice becoming thick with sleep. "but what if you're wrong?"
Optimus didn't answer, but it didn't matter. Ratchet fell asleep a few seconds after the words left his mouth.
Optimus pressed a soft kiss to Ratchet's cheek and held him closer.
7:00 A.M. That's when Wheeljack started his day.
Every morning, he dragged - dragged was a little too nice of a word, he usually fell off the side - himself out of his very comfortable and warm berth to make himself three cups of coffee; two to have right away and one that would be stored in his thermos for work. He'd make himself look as presentable as possible without trying too hard - he worked in a engineering lab for Pit's sake, he wasn't about to dress up - water his little plants, and then he'd leave.
On the way to work, he'd always stop by a little public market and pick out a scone for his breakfast, and then he'd pick up his lunch from a booth a few steps down. He'd gotten his breakfast and lunch there so many times he was considered a regular, and had started to become very good friends with the owners.
The way Cybertronians developed their process of making energon into fuel for consumption had changed a lot in the past few years, going from regular old cubes to more organic food, picked up by a few travelers who journeyed to far away planets that consumed organic meals. Wheeljack wasn't complaining, he liked his energon scones and grilled cheese sandwiches much better than regular old cubes.
After he would get his lunch and breakfast, he would transform and drive the rest of the way to his workplace, the finest engineering building on Cybertron. He'd been working at this place for nearly a hundred years, and he loved every second of it.
Well, every second that Brainstorm wasn't rambling about his 'fantastic' love life.
Wheeljack could hear the scientist's loud voice through the door as he pressed his key card against the console, and he wasn't surprised when the door opened to reveal Brainstorm talking loudly to Skyfire, while the tall white mech was too polite to tell him to shut up.
"…He took us to the new Science Museum that opened up, and it is totally worth the couple hundred credits he probably spent on the tickets! So interesting, especially if you know a thing or two about a thing or two, which I do. I do happen to know a thing or two about a lot of things." Brainstorm said loudly as Skyfire nodded along. The tall mech had two beakers in his servos that he was clearly attempting to work with, but he was unable to properly focus on. Brainstorm's ramblings had a habit of slowing down the work day.
Wheeljack rolled his optics and tossed his lunch into the mini fridge they had, and took a large bite of his scone. His shift didn't technically start for another three minutes, so right now he was praying that Brainstorm's rambling helped the time slow a little.
Brainstorm looked up and his optics brightened. His wings gave a small twitch in delight as he realized there was now another member of his audience. "Mornin', Wheeljack! How much of that did you hear?"
"Science museum." Wheeljack grumbled around his mouth full of scone. Skyfire sent him a glare and muttered something about 'bad manners', and Wheeljack settled for chewing louder and with his mouth open. "You said it was worth it, right? I've been wantin' to go there for a while."
"Pit yeah it's worth it!" Brainstorm hopped off the counter he had been sitting on. "You should totally come with us next time."
Wheeljack shook his head. "Yeah, no. I ain't interested in third wheelin' you two, Brainy."
"Not even if we paid for your tickets?"
"Nope. Because then it'll just be like the amusement park, where I had to cover you two as you ripped the paint off each other in the bathroom."
"Alright, alright." Skyfire chimed in, chuckling a little. "We officially start work now, let's get these experiments done today, shall we?"
Brainstorm nodded eagerly and Wheeljack shoved the last of his scone into his mouth, and they joined Skyfire over by his station. They were trying to make a new form of Cybermatter that would be stronger and more stable in formula, but also easily accessible to the masses. They had been working on this project for weeks with little progress, but they were finally starting to get somewhere.
Wheeljack didn't look up as the fourth and final member of their team walked into the lab, but by the footstep pattern he could tell it was Perceptor.
"You started without me?" Perceptor asked as Wheeljack snapped his mask into place. He already gotten a few scars across the lips a few times after experiments gone wrong, and he wasn't about to gain another.
"You're just in time." Skyfire promised, holding up the beakers to optic level. "Brainstorm, how do we look?"
Brainstorm wrote a few things down on a data pad and gave Skyfire a thumbs up. "Both substances are stable, no sign of early reactions."
Wheeljack took his place beside Perceptor, and they waited anxiously for Skyfire to mix the two liquids.
"Here goes nothing," Skyfire whispered, and poured the two liquids in a large bowl.
The two substances merged to create a light yellow color, complete with some bubbles. Nothing fizzed, nothing imploded.
Wheeljack held his breath as the compound started to steam.
There was a small boom and a puff of smoke causing Wheeljack and the other scientists to look away, but when they looked back, there was gray metal coming out of the sides of the container, reaching up towards the ceiling like a twisted sort of plant.
No one said anything for a moment, all staring in shock.
Then, all in unison, the four mechs clapped and cheered; Brainstorm and Perceptor locked lips in a kiss and Skyfire and Wheeljack gave each other a high five, laughing and celebrating a job well done.
"Finally!" Perceptor exclaimed. "After so many weeks of fruitless results, we have finally created Cybermatter."
Skyfire picked up the metal carefully, flinching back a little as it was still hot to the touch. He carried the metal and placed it inside a machine, humming as he inspected it a little bit as he walked. "We will still need to run extensive tests on this material." He stated, and some of the excitement in the room faded at the prospect of performing more tests.
"True, it does hafta be strong 'nough to be used in construction." Wheeljack pointed out as he back tracked to his desk to continue working on plans for the city, using this new metal.
"Oh, Wheeljack, the furnace isn't starting again, would you mind?" Skyfire asked, and Wheeljack turned on his heel to walk over by his tall friend.
Skyfire stepped away to talk to Brainstorm and Perceptor about the next round of trials, and Wheeljack turned his attention to the furnace. The new Cybermatter was placed on a small silver platform in the center, but when Wheeljack stuck his servo inside, the box was nearly room temperature.
They'd been meaning to get a new furnace, since no one but Wheeljack could get it running. However, they figured they'd save their company a few credits and just continue to let Wheeljack work his magic.
Wheeljack glanced over his shoulder to make sure his friends weren't looking at him, before he redirected his attention back to the furnace. He stuck his hand inside, closed his optics, and concentrated.
Within moments, Wheeljack's fingertips ignited with a red hot flame, which in turn got the rest of the furnace working. Wheeljack pulled his hand out of the box, and shook it off, the last of his fire fading as if he'd caught fire, not started it.
Wheeljack wasn't sure when he developed his fire abilities; he'd had them for as long as he could remember. He'd been too scared to tell his carrier and sire about it, so he kept it a secret. No sense in having people look at him different or try and convince him to be a lab rat if there wasn't necessarily anything wrong with him.
"Thank you, Wheeljack." Perceptor said after he realized the furnace had started up.
"He does it again." Brainstorm sneered, and Wheeljack flipped him the bird.
The rest of the day passed in a blur for Wheeljack; most days did. He stayed at his desk most of the time, calling his superiors and reporting they had a breakthrough with the Cybermatter. He occasionally got up to help the others perform basic tests, and laughed and teased Perceptor the rest of the workday when one of the tests backfired and stained his chest pink and white.
They began to clean up for the day at 5:30 like they always did. Perceptor and Brainstorm left together, side by side and talking a mile a minute about more tests and experiments to run next week. It was only Wheeljack and Skyfire who were left, putting the last materials away and cleaning the last of the beakers.
"So, Wheeljack," Skyfire asked after a few moment's silence. "what are your plans for the weekend?"
Wheeljack rocked on his pedes a little as he reached up to place a beaker on the top shelf. "I'm usin' some of my off days to go on another trip."
"Oh," Wheeljack couldn't figure if Skyfire was disappointed or not. "Where will you be traveling to?"
"Not sure," Wheeljack chuckled. "That's the joy of my trips, Sky. I turn on autopilot and see where I end up in a day or two."
Skyfire picked up his bags from the floor and offered Wheeljack a soft smile. "I hope you have fun on your journey, Wheeljack. I will see you when you get back?"
Wheeljack waved him off, but it was still a tender gesture. "'Course you will."
Skyfire gave one last nod and walked out the door, the metal panels closing automatically behind him.
Wheeljack left about fifteen minutes after him, grabbing his thermos that was still a quarter filled with lukewarm coffee. He got a text message on his phone and checked who sent it, and a smile came to his face.
Meeting at MaccAdam's. Wanna come? Impactor had asked.
Be right there. Buy me a round, will ya?
Wheeljack walked out of the lab and kept a quick pace, waving goodbye to a few of the janitors and members of other specialties as he walked past. He got into the first elevator and was on the ground floor in less than a minute.
The roads were suspiciously quiet for six o clock, but Wheeljack gripped his thermos a little tighter and kept walking. MaccAdam's wasn't too far away.
Wheeljack would never admit to it to anyone, but he was in a funk. The kind of funk that comes from doing the same thing for so long you don't know you're doing it anymore. All of his days were the same: wake up at seven, work until five thirty, come home at nine after a night out with some friends. Sometimes he went on dates, but nothing more than a one night stand would result from said date.
Wheeljack took his shortcut, cutting through a dark alley where there was even less people, but Wheeljack supposed that was a good thing. The less people in dark alleys, the better.
Some clanked behind him, and Wheeljack whipped around, scared out of his plating.
He was surprised to see that there was a mech standing there, tall and green with kind optics and a soft smile on his face. He was handsome in a rugged kind of way, and he looked weirdly Cybertronian, but Wheeljack had never seen this mech before, not even on his trips to Cybertron's neighboring planets. Wheeljack might have probably attempted to shoot his shot on the mech….
If he wasn't completely transparent.
Wheeljack closed his optics and opened them again, shaking his helm a little when the mech was still there, closer even. Wheeljack took a step back and the mech stayed in place.
"Uh, hi. Name's Wheeljack." Wheeljack said slowly. "I'm only tellin' you this 'cause I hear yer less likely to get killed if the killer knows things 'bout you." He paused as a humorous look came to the bot's face. "Are you gonna kill me?"
His response was a shake of the head.
"Are you gonna talk, maybe?"
Another shaking of the head.
Wheeljack groaned and pinched his nasal ridge with his thumb and forefinger. "Listen, I'm not the type of guy who talks to ghosts, so if you maybe wanna -"
Wheeljack opened his optics and for the second time that night nearly hopped out of his plating. The mech had completely closed the distance between them, standing right in front of Wheeljack, so close their plating was almost touching.
Wheeljack found himself staring into the mech's optics, well aware that he was likely a stammering mess at this point, but cut him some slack he wasn't exactly sure what was happening.
The mech reached up a servo, and Wheeljack physically couldn't react except to inwardly scream when the palm of the large hand touched his cheek, not fell through him.
A sickening feeling settled in his gut, one that made him feel like he was going to throw up and made him want to curl up in a ball and cry.
The white and red mech turned on his heel so fast he almost got whiplash, and he was relieved to see his friends: Impactor, Springer, Whirl and Blur all standing there, waving at him.
"You've been standing in this alley for like ten minutes pal, who ya talking to?" Whirl asked, his one optic narrowing in laughter.
Wheeljack turned and jerked his thumb at the green mech, but he stopped as he realized the green mech was gone. "What…"
"Did you short circuit or something'? Drinks are half off right now, and you're over here staring at the sky! Let's go, buddy!" Springer laughed, motioning for Wheeljack to join them.
Wheeljack sputtered again, giving one last glance around, looking for tall and handsome. He saw no sign of the mech anywhere, so he sighed dramatically and turned on his heel, walking towards his friends.
'I've been around chemicals fer too long today…' Wheeljack thought and greeted his friends loudly. He smirked to himself. 'Only good solution now is to get absolutely wasted.'
But even as Wheeljack went into the bars beside his friends in MaccAdam's, he couldn't shake the green mech from his mind. But something - maybe it was the sinking feeling he got in his gut whenever he looked back - told him the mech hadn't really left him either.