Ratchet carried a lifetime on his frame: weldlines and protoform deep scratches and mismatched armor plates and empty spaces where extra components had been yanked free for a patient in desperate need.
He was sturdy and solid, harsh angles and deep valleys, and he smelled of history, of pistons and gears and pulleys and levers, and faint whiffs of a coolant no one used anymore.
He was inflexible, but all the more stable for it, and he bent where it counted. His hands were nimble, each finger a tool into itself, the paint over the tips often worn away to the silver protoform.
Sunstreaker loved to lave his glossa over those careworn fingers, sucking them one by one into his mouth, tasting the evidence of a hard lifetime’s work. Ratchet’s hands were impeccably clean, for all that they were scratched and raw, and they tasted of his gentleness.
Sideswipe was partial to dragging his lips over Ratchet’s chevron, insensitive until he was already on the way to overload, his frame writhing as charge lit up from his substructure. At that point, the sensor laden arch warmed and hummed beneath Sideswipe’s lips.
He loved the way it framed Ratchet’s face, dermal metal creasing around the edges where age had stripped away some of the elasticity. Where dermal nanites were slow to repair and replace, and lines streaked across Ratchet’s face.
He was tired, and it showed.
‘Don’t know why you bother with an old mech like me,’ he was prone to grumble from time to time, when he tried to leverage himself off the berth and he creaked and rattled like a tin can of spare parts.
‘Don’t know why you bother with a pair of troublemakers like us,’ Sideswipe liked to say with a smirk.
‘You’re you,’ Sunstreaker always said, like it explained everything, and maybe it did. Maybe it was enough.
Because one thing led to another, led to an ancient ambulance falling back to the berth as he was pounced by a pair of eager Lamborghinis who couldn’t wait to get their hands and mouths over and into every age-worn plate, and rough seam.
And Ratchet sighed into their hungry kisses, his spark throbbing like a youngling’s, and thought that this was the key right there.
This was enough.