It started with the little things.
The way his engine snuffled when we went without energon for too long. The way he grumped about all of the little pests running around under-pede, but would sit and patiently listen to Rafael anyway. The little scuff on his backplate that really needed buffing out, but Optimus had yet to bring himself to offer his aid.
It did, however, provide an excellent excuse when Ratchet caught him staring one day.
“You have a scuff,” he said.
Ratchet blinked at him. “A what?”
“A scuff.” Optimus gestured vaguely to his backplate. “When was the last time you visited the washracks?”
“Hah. Those narrow things? Only Arcee fits in there.” Ratchet harrumphed and turned back to the space bridge controls, leaning over to dig deep into the gears.
He had to be doing that on purpose. Because there was aft, suddenly, and Optimus was supposed to be a gentlemech who didn’t look.
Except that he did.
He wasn’t sure if that counted as a ‘little thing’.
“You could ask for help,” Optimus pointed out with a little cough of his ventilations.
“Are you volunteering?” Ratchet’s vocals echoed from within the console. He also muttered a curse, but even that was endearing as of late.
Optimus’ gaze wandered back to the medic’s, well, back. The antenna protruding from Ratchet’s pack wiggled as he did. It was oddly hypnotizing.
“Yes, of course. I am always willing to lend a hand, old friend,” Optimus replied. His faceplate heated.
This was, hm, this was surprising, to say the least. He’d always been close to Ratchet, but recently, it somehow started being more.
The gray aft, delightfully accented in red, wriggled. “Then get your aft over here and help me with this. I need more than two hands.”
Optimus blinked. “But the scuff?”
“The scuff can wait. This spitting circuit can’t.”
Very well then. Optimus eased himself to the other side of the console and lent a hand. As much as he was capable at any rate. There wasn’t much room for him to work with.
It was the little things, he noticed as Ratchet muttered another curse and made some reference to the poor quality of Earth-based materials.
The little things that were developing into a rather large crush Optimus could have never expected.