A cursory rinse in the washracks was not enough to wash out the energon and grime. It was still in his seams, his joints, his gears.
Hook was the only one who ever insisted Ratchet be immaculate before entering his berth. For the first time since becoming property of the Constructicons, Ratchet wished it were Hook’s turn.
That would have meant scalding solvent, scrubbers, a wire brush. Cleanliness that bordered on painful, but it had to be better than this.
Beachcomber’s energon was in his gears and Ratchet couldn’t look at his hands without thinking of his failure to save the minibot’s spark.
He’d take Hook’s snide comments, jeering, lashing – if only it meant he could feel clean for even a moment.
“Hey, why’re you shaking? I never treat you bad, do I?” Scavenger’s voice pulled Ratchet from the dark, a mixture of confusion and exasperation.
Ratchet twisted his face away from Scavenger’s, fisting his hands at his sides. “Just get it over with,” he hissed, vents hiccuping. He pushed his thighs apart, bared his array, and braced himself.
What was the point? He should be lucky. Glad he wasn’t Beachcomber. Ripped apart by those monsters and dropped in front of Ratchet like spare parts.
They taunted him with the impossible.
“Fix him and we’ll let him go,” they said. False promises. Empty promises.
Beachcomber’s spark was already guttering.
Ratchet reached for him anyway. He had to try. He was their medic. He had to–
“Hey.” Scavenger’s hands landed on Ratchet’s knees, only to push them back together. “It isn’t fun like this. You know you tried, right?” A finger brushed Ratchet’s cheek, almost gentle. “He was dead before you got him anyway. That’s why Hook stopped fixing their toys centuries ago.”
Ratchet’s plating clattered. Heat gathered behind his optics.
Frag it. No.
He couldn’t stop shaking, but he’d be damned if he freed a sob.
“Hey. Hey. Shh.” Scavenger curled against him, his field unreadable, one finger still stroking Ratchet’s cheek. “Ya must’ve been close to that one, huh?”
Ratchet shuttered his optics.
Close? He couldn’t tell you a damn thing about Beachcomber, not the things that mattered. All he could think of was the lack of terror in the minibot’s field. There’d been nothing but relief. He’d given up long before Ratchet got to him.
“Shh. It’s okay,” Scavenger murmured. “Ya don’t hafta do anything tonight, all right? Get it out now cause Scrapper won’t care tomorrow, okay? It’s gonna be all right.”
No. No, it wasn’t.
Ratchet gritted his denta.
It was never going to be okay again.