Nightstalker blinked as the snapping fingers broke her from her thoughts, she went crossed eye for a second as she focused on them when a loud clang rang out followed by a grunt of pain.
“Ow! I was only kidding!” Ironhide complained, rubbing his helm.
“Sure you were.” Ratchet replied in a less then amused tone.
Nightstalker coughed clearly embarrassed when she caught the amused look in Optimus’ blue gaze.
“You alright? We lost you there for a second.” He asked.
“She was lost in my allure- ok, I’m going!” Ironhide stated before running off, not wanting another taste of Ratchet’s wrench.
“Shameless insufferable slagger.” Ratchet muttered as he rejoined Optimus and Nightstalker.
She remained silent as Ratchet removed the cuffs.
“Don’t worry, you’re not the first nor will you be the last to fantasize about Ironhide.” Ratchet told her.
She gestured her head in Optimus’ direction. Thankfully, Optimus was focusing on the monitor.
Ratchet raised an eyebrow; there was an amused look in his optics. “Him either.” He quietly told her.
She covered her face with her hand even more embarrassed then she already was. When she uncovered her face, she glanced at Optimus and blushed even more as she saw the amused smile on his face.
“Don’t worry,” He said, turning to look at her. “I get it all the time, I’m use to it.”
“That’s not helping.” She replied.
Optimus chuckled softly before turning his attention back to the computer.
Shaking his head, Ratchet help up a chip for her to take. “Here, in a month contact me using this.”
She looked uncertainly at the chip in her hand. “Umm, ok, sure.”
“The sparkling should be ready to transfer by then.”
“Should be? That doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, Doctor.”
“It’s the best I can do. Every Sparkling growls at slightly different rate, especially those of a bestial nature. No offence, of course.”
Nightstalker just waved it away, not taking any offence at his statement.
“Having said that, I have certainly never delivered a Predacon sparkling before.”
Nightstalker’s spark fell at that and glanced down at her chest, her spark jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
“Ratchet is an amazing medic,” Optimus said in a comforting tone. “He will do everything in his power to insure the safety of your child.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ratchet give Optimus a small grateful smile and she couldn’t help but feel slightly better, but she still felt a little nervous.
“And in the mean time, I’ll do some research on Animal Cybertronian Sparklings.” Ratchet said as though sensing her unease.
Nightstalker managed a small smile. “Thank you, Ratchet.”
Ratchet returned her smile with one of his own. “You’re welcome.”
Nightstalker looked down at her hands for a moment, feeling nervous about the question that she was just begging to ask.
“Do… do you have anyone in mind who would carry it, the sparkling I mean?” She asked without looking up.
Ratchet was silence for a moment before finally saying. “Hard to say, as you could probably guess the list of possible surrogate carriers is limited. Even if Arcee were willing, she wouldn’t be able to carry the little one full term due to her size. Bumblebee is too young; I can’t because I will be doing the procedure…”
Nightstalker spark fell as Ratchet ticked off those who were carriers but were unable to be the surrogate.
“So that just leaves Optimus and Ironhide.” Ratchet finished.
She looked at Ratchet surprised, not because that Optimus was also a carrier but that Ironhide was as well.
“How does that work? Wouldn’t you both end up pregnant at the same time?”
Ratchet chuckled softly. “It happens, though rarely. When both are carriers, there can be an unspoken agreement as to who will be the carrier of future children or they can just take turns carrying. That or one of the carriers can undergo surgery to have their gestation chamber removed.”
“I guess that makes sense, now back to Optimus and Ironhide as possible surrogates.”
Optimus came over with two cubes, he handed one to her and the other to Ratchet. “I would be more then willing to carry your child, Nightstalker, but as Prime I am a constant target on the battle field and it wouldn’t be fair to you or the child.”
“Still, thank you for the offer, Optimus.” She said with a small grateful smile before drinking her cube.
Optimus’ optics softened as he smiled back.
“Well, that just leaves Ironhide.” Ratchet said with a small sigh.
“But isn’t he always in the thick of trouble?” Nightstalker asked.
“Yes, but if there’s one thing Ironhide loves more then battle, its sex.”
At those words, Nightstalker nearly choked on her cube, she started coughing, and Optimus gently patted her back until she stopped and recovered.
“I’m sorry, what?” Nightstalker rasped after she had stopped coughing.
“I said the one thing that-”
“I know what you said, Ratchet. What does sex have to do with Ironhide being the possible surrogate to my child?”
Optimus was curious about this as well, but he was thankful that Nightstalker had voiced his question for him.
“Should Ironhide agree to be the surrogate carrier, he won’t be able to return to battle and fight the way he likes, he will need to find another outlet and being pregnant will cause his sex drive to-”
“Ok! I get it, just please no more,” Nightstalker all but pleaded. “I came to you asking for help, not how your bond mate is a sex fiend.”
“What’s this about me being a sex fiend?” Ironhide asked as he entered the room, a devious smirk on his face.
Ratchet mentally rolled his eyes and thought. Right on cue.
“We were discussing whether you were willing to carry Nightstalker’s sparkling when she returns in one month’s time.” Optimus stated coolly.
Ironhide just raised an eyebrow. “You do realize this is me we’re talking about right? I survived multiple battles, an outpost explosion, a sharkticon ambush, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Like you, Optimus, I have a target painted on my back.”
HOW ARE YOU EVEN STILL ALIVE!? Nightstalker resisted the urge to shout as her eyes widened.
“We know that, Ironhide. But Ratchet can’t carry the sparkling himself as he is the only medic we have and he will be the one performing the procedure,” Optimus said calmly seeing Nightstalker’s dread. “I would gladly carry the sparkling but I can not. It is up to you, old friend.”
Ironhide looked like he wanted to argue but he thought better against it. “Yeah, alright, I’ll carry it,” He looked at Nightstand and winked. “Never could say no to a pretty face.”
Nightstalker rolled her eyes, but she was relieved to know that her child would be safe now, even if she wouldn’t be able to see her little one grow with her own eyes.
X X X
“Should I put the cuffs back on her?” Bee asked, as they were getting ready to meet Megatron.
Optimus nodded. “Megatron saw her in cuffs and will expecting her in them, it would look suspicious other wise.”
Nightstalker gave a slightly overdramatic sigh as she held out her wrists to Bumblebee.
Bee put the cuffs on her then quickly stepped back, clearly still afraid of her.
Optimus gestured for her to follow him out into the main room where Ironhide and Bulkhead were waiting, He saw Nightstalker glance over at Ironhide, he couldn’t tell if she was impressed or intimated the assortment of weapons that he had.
He caught Nightstalker’s eye and gave her a small smile of reassurance before turning to Ratchet, he paused in giving Ratchet the command to open a ground bridge as bond-chilling terror filled the bond. Before he could process any of it, a white blur as though shot out of a gun came out of nowhere and slammed into Nightstalker.
Optimus gave a shout of surprise when he realized that it was Wheeljack! He quickly moved in to grab his terrified mate around the waist and haul him back.
Wheeljack struggled to get free and continue attacking this nightmare as terror continued to blind him from anything sane and rational. He had no idea who was pulling him but that didn’t stop him from getting a well-aimed kick at Nightstalker’s side all the same.
Nightstalker reacted to the attack and the kick to the side by transforming, breaking the cuffs in the process, she would have finished the job and put Wheeljack out of his misery had it not been for Bee’s and Ironhide’s weapons aimed at her. She growled but backed away from the weapons as Ratchet quickly rushed past them with a sedative in hand to knock the wrecker out.
Wheeljack went limp a moment later in Prime’s arms as all the fight seeped from his body as the sedative took affect, he gave a soft groan before losing consciousness.
Optimus had gone to one knee as he held the shorter mech to his chest, tenderly stroking his helm just as Arcee rushed over, tired optics wide with worry.
“I’m sorry; I just closed my optics for only a minute. I-I didn’t know…”
“How is he even out of bed? He’s in no condition to be up and moving.” Ratchet wondered.
“It doesn’t matter now,” Optimus coolly replied before looking at a clearly shaken Nightstalker. “Are you alright?”
Calmer now, the female Predacon nodded once before transforming back into her bipedal form.
“I’ll take Wheeljack back to his berth,” Ratchet stated. “You return her to Megatron before anything else happens.”
Arcee helped Ratchet with Wheeljack; she glanced back at Optimus before disappearing into the other room.
“Let’s go.” Optimus said after opening the ground bridge.
Ironhide found another set of cuffs and snapped on Nightstalker before leading her through it with Optimus and the others in toe.
X X X
“You’re late.” Megatron growled after the Autobot stepped out of the portal with Nightstalker in toe.
“Cool your jets, Bucket head,” Ironhide scoffed. “We’re only late by three minutes.”
“There was a small incident, but nothing to worry about.” Optimus calmly replied.
A massive dust cloud suddenly erupted, making everyone but Megatron jump as Predaking landed heavily on the ground from a freefall.
Show off. Nightstalker thought as the dust cloud slowly dissipated.
Ironhide was the first to recover; he whipped out his canons and aimed one at the growling dragon, the other at Megatron. He watched them through narrowed eyes, waiting for a reason to shoot them.
Predaking clearly had the same mind set as he remained as a dragon, his yellow eyes narrowed and his jaws partly opened as he continued to growl menacingly. His chest starting to warm as fire slowly brewed.
After a long tense minute past with nothing happening, Optimus put a hand on Ironhide’s shoulder, a silent order to stand down.
Ironhide allowed himself to relax a little, but remained alert.
“Send Nightstalker over.” Megatron growled a moment later.
Optimus nodded once before reaching over and removed her cuffs.
Nightstalker rubbed her wrists and gave him a small nod in thanks.
Predaking’s left mandible twitched a little, wanting to pull Nightstalker to him and never let her go.
Without saying a word, Nightstalker coolly headed over to Megatron and Predaking who transformed as she joined them.
“Are you injured?” He asked quietly.
“I’m fine, Predaking.” She replied with a small smile.
“We’re done here,” Megatron stated. “Soundwave, Ground Bridge.”
A portal exploded into life and for once, a confrontation with Megatron would end without blood shed.
Megatron ignored the other Autobots as he stepped into the portal followed by the two Predacons.
Nightstalker glanced over her shoulder and smiled a little when Optimus gave her a small smile moments before the engulfed her.
X X X
She was back in the snake pit and would need to tread carefully for the time being until it was time to return to the Autobots. On top of that, she would also need to distance herself from Predaking, the father of her unborn sparkling. It wouldn’t be easy, but it was necessary.
“Nightstalker, is something wrong?” She could hear the concern in Predaking’s voice.
“I’m just tired.” She told him.
“You should get some rest then; it’s been a long day for all of us. Come, I’ll take you to your quarters.”
She didn’t see the harm in that and didn’t object to a little company.
Predaking smiled and took her hand as he escorted her down the hall.
How am I going to do this? She wondered.
Predaking’s voice brought her out of her thoughts. “Do you want me to stay with you tonight?”
Her spark skipped a beat at his request. Primus, help her. She was sorely tempted to ask him to stay.
Preaking’s optics narrowed slightly in concern as he saw her tense up a moment later, he reached out and placed a hand the side of her face, she looked at him and saw something in those green orbs.
“Is something wrong?” He asked in a concerned tone. “Should I bring you to Knockout?”
“N-Nothing is wrong, Predaking,” She gave him a small smile. “I’m just tired is all; I’ll… see you tomorrow.”
Predaking wasn’t totally convinced but he nodded anyway, leaned forward, and placed a brief but tender kiss on her lips. “Sleep well, my love.”
Nightstalker had to resist with every fiber of her being not to simply drag him into her quarters and not let him leave until dawn. Instead, she reluctantly backed away from him, opened the door to her quarters, and closed the door behind her.
Predaking watched her door close, his spark aching and wishing he knew what to do to comfort her, her time with the Autobots had clearly traumatized her. He vowed that she would never suffer in such away again and that he would rip apart the next Autobot he came across for hurting her.
X X X
Six days later… Autobot Mountain Base.
Arcee stood alone in the hallway, leaning against the wall as she hugged her self while her shoulders shook. Wheeljack was no longer in a coma but he still seemed to be in some kind of catatonic state even though he was awake.
He wasn’t speaking and he would just stare at something only he could see; on top of that, he wouldn’t even acknowledge her or Optimus. They had to move his berth so no one would accidently approaching him on his blind side, terrifying him even more. There were also times where he would shut them out over the bond when they tried to comfort him or speak to him.
She knew that shutting himself from them was his way of coping, she had done the same in the past, but that was before she had bonded to Optimus when she didn’t have anyone. However, for Wheeljack there was no need for that, he had two bond mates that cared for him he wasn’t alone. So why was he doing it when there was no reason to?
She sniffled softly as a pair of strong but gentle arms wrapped around her and held her close to Optimus’ soft purring engine. She turned around and buried her face into the lower half of his chest.
“He just needs time.” Optimus said as he stroked her back.
“I-I know, b-but-” She broke off as she tried to get a hold herself.
Optimus just hugged her closer, filling the bond with love and support; he could feel her shaking against him as her bottled up emotions tried to escape from her.
[It’s ok, just let it out.] He said softly over the bond.
[I’m just so tired of this war.]
[I know, my love. I know.] He was just as tired of it as she was.
Optimus continued to hold her even after she had stopped shaking, only the soft sound of his purring engine filled the other wise quiet hallway.
“Why don’t you get some rest, I’ll stay with Wheeljack tonight.”
He felt Arcee go still in his arms and instantly knew that she was going to fight him on this and he was prepared for it. Instead, she looked up at him with those beautiful blue and pink-rimmed eyes of hers and he saw desire and need there.
He couldn’t help it, he leaned down and claimed her lips as he pinned her to the wall, keeping her there with greater weight. She didn’t fight him; she eagerly kissed back, giving off a keen of desire and need as she wrapped her legs around his waist.
He was in the process of removing plating when he felt her deep buried exhaustion over the bond. Sensing this, he broke the kiss with great reluctance, much to Arcee’s confusion.
“Why’d you stop?’ She panted.
“I can’t, not tonight. You’re exhausted and you haven’t gotten any sleep.”
“I want you though.”
“I know. I know. I want you too; I’ve wanted you for a while now, but not tonight, not while…”
He trailed off when he saw anger flash in her eyes. “Not while what, Optimus? What exactly were you going to say? The reason you won’t frag me is because I might go into hysterics if I’m away from Wheeljack for too long, was that it?”
“That wasn’t it, Arcee. I want you, I really do. However, you are exhausted, you haven’t slept and you’ve been on your feet for almost a week, I don’t want you to fall into stasis while we’re doing it.”
This only served it anger her further. “I never thought I’d see the day when my own bond mate thought I was weak let alone say it to my face.”
Optimus opened his mouth to protest when Arcee smacked him across the face, it didn’t hurt but it left him stunned. Arcee had actually hit him and not in a playful manner, he was at a loss for words. All he suggested was for her to get some sleep and he didn’t think she was weak, she was the strongest femme he knew and he loved her spirit.
She didn’t let her smaller size get her down; she would willingly take on mechs three times her size and win, she had even taken on Ironhide just for the fun of it. Sure, he may have been going easy on her, but she still won. She knew that he loved her spunkiness and that she sometimes cursed, so why would she think that he thought she was weak? When all he suggested was for her to get some sleep?!
He gave a soft groan as he pressed his forehead into the wall; he just stood there for a while and wondered why life at the best of times was so slagging difficult?!