Ironhide had ranted and thrown a few things around his room after the ‘Optimus-and-Ratchet-betting-on-the-time-frame-for-Ironhide’s-next-femme-victim’ incident. The humans had withdrawn back to the rec room with a smiling Optimus Prime and mournful, money-losing Ratchet (and Mojo).

While Optimus had settled himself sitting at one of the tables with his head leaning on one hand, Sam was gazing at him with interest. He had questions. Would the giant Transformer answer them or tell him to get lost?

Mikaela played with Mojo on the human-sized couch. She looked up from dispensing kisses and ear scratches when Sam walked across to Optimus.

“I didn’t know you guys made bets. I thought you were, you know holier-than-thou, and didn’t get into that stuff,” Sam started.

Optimus’ optics looked at him down the side of the table. “Of course we do. We do have recreational activities, Sam. Here,” he lowered his hand to the floor and waited for the boy to climb on. He lifted the human up to the table. Sam wobbled when he stepped of the hand, then stood there uneasily, tucking his hands under his armpits. “Better?” Prime asked.

“Yeah, thanks.” Sam smiled. “So, five hundred credits, is that a lot of money? And do you mean credits as in credit cards?” He was carefully working himself up to asking about the whole femme thing. It still blew his mind. Women transformers? Yikes. And what was it that Ironhide had done? He reckoned poor Ironhide wasn’t much of a ladies man, and that it would take a lot of effort for him to get a female interested in him. Like himself, Sam mused, before Mikaela, and the whole hero thing.

Ratchet joined the conversation, leaving his medbay cleaning tasks, “We use credits like you use money. We have accounts.”

“Yeah, but..” Sam shrugged. “For me, five hundred dollars is a heck of a lot to make bets with. If I bet on a racehorse with dad, its like five dollars, each way.”

“Mmm,” Prime nestled the side of his head on his hand again, “if it makes you feel any better, we don’t make any actual transactions. We keep track of the totals owed or lost. Whoever owes the most, is the overall loser.” The Commander pointedly looked at Ratchet, who grumbled something unsanitary.

“Like Poker chips, in card games.” Sam said brightly, scuffing on the toe of one foot on the table, back and forth.

“I’m assuming you’re the outright winner, Optimus,” Mikaela said dryly, rubbing Mojo’s head. The dog had curled up next to her thigh, head in the air for the girl to rub, his eyes closed and mouth hanging open. Enjoying human attention again. Bumblebee sat on the ground in front of the pair. Watching Mojo and occasionally extending his own hand to stroke the dog with one careful finger. He’d missed the mutt too. Mojo never lubricated on him, they had a good relationship.

“You would be assuming correctly,” Optimus’ optics brightened as he answered the girls question, his mouth making the ghost of a smile.

“Eh, frag it,” Ratchet swore lightly. He was a sore loser, leaning himself grumpily against the table Optimus was using.

They were interrupted by the musical melody of Mikaela’s cell phone ringing. With a quick, “Excuse me,” she dug around in her pocket and answered it. There was a short stilted conversation of ‘Hi, yeah, no, yeah, maybe, ok, sure, bye’ then the girl clicked the phone shut.

“Um, guys, my Aunt Helen has asked us over for dinner tonight. She’s doing a barbeque thing. Would you mind looking after Mojo for one more night?” She made sexy pleading eyes at the two Autobots. “Aunty Helen has two Rottweilers, they’ll eat Mojo! He can’t go. She’s asked us to stay the night too. She wants to meet Sam, you know? Please?”

“Meet me..?” Sam’s eyes widened nervously. He wanted to hide behind Optimus, the robot with the big gun. He didn’t know he and Mikaela were up to the relationship stage of Meet The Extended Family.

“YES! Yes, we will! The rodent stays! I insist!” Ironhide’s voice boomed out of the hallway as he strode in, armor gleaming.

All heads turned to stare at the broad shouldered black mech with slack jaws and open mouths. Ironhide wanted Mojo to stay?! Wuh..??

“What?” the Weapons Warrior asked, irritated. “I like the little guy. He can stay.”

“There must be an ulterior motive to this,” Optimus muttered, putting his arms on the table and dropping his head with a ‘thunk’ onto his forearms. Maybe he could go to this barbeque thing too? If it was time away from Ratchet and ‘Hide, it was a good choice.

“Ummm...” Sam shared a concerned glance with Mikaela. Bumblebee’s optic ridges had shot up in wonder. He sent a whistle of communication to Optimus.

Prime didn’t raise his head from his arms, his voice came out muffled, “No, no, Ironhide is definitely not allowed to squash, kill or maim the dog. I don’t know why he said yes either.”

“I think maybe you guys have had enough of Mojo, we don’t have to go to this party,” Sam began uncertainly, looking at the sad hunch of Optimus’ thick shoulders and his slumped head.

Ratchet shooshed him with one hand. “I, for one, have been enjoying the company of Mojo, and would be very pleased if he did stay one more night,” he said. “Optimus? Do you concur?”

Finally, Prime lifted his head, optics dim. “I do. He can certainly stay. I have some affection for the dog also. Its just that...” his head swivelled to look at a smug Ironhide.

“Despite what the two of you, sorry, THREE, of you think,” Ironhide said, and squinted an optic at Bumblebee, who was sitting with crossed arms and staring at him with promised violence, “I have no problem with the rodent hanging around. He’s entertainment. And I am capable of showing affection.”

Ratchet smirked, one hand on his hip, “Oh, we know that already, just ask that poor femme you-”

Optimus Prime’s hand shot up in the air so quick to shut him up, he almost smacked Ratchet in the nose. “QUIET! Enough of that topic, thanks.”

Mikaela giggled raucously, almost rolling over onto Mojo. She looked at them all. They were silly. Really. “Alright, so we can go? We’ll come back in the morning?”

Sam shuffled his feet, looking down.

Optimus nodded, “Of course. We’ll look after him again.”

“YAY!” Mikaela jumped up, “C’mon Sam, I need to do some shopping. And we’ll need to take dessert or something. Bumblebee? Do you mind?”

Bumblebee happily nodded his assent, standing up and walking out the hanger door to transform.

“Thanks guys, love you, bye!” Mikaela dragged Sam after her when Optimus kindly set him down on the ground. The boy looked scared. He waved goodbye to his friends like he would never see them again.

The sounds of the Camaro’s revving engine and wild fishtail slides in the dirt faded into the distance.

“Ironhide,” Optimus said darkly, staring at his friend.

“They needed to have some fun, we can look after it, its no big deal.” Ironhide said, keeping his composure even, not betraying anything. He knew what he was doing. When he had said Optimus was ‘IT’ after hearing about the bet, he had meant it. It was payback time, and he needed the dog to do it with. He didn’t often have such good luck. He was going to enjoy this. Such a pity that Prime wasn’t going to.

The rest of the day and evening had been quiet. Ratchet had walked the dog again. Fed him dinner. Put him to bed. He’d even tried giving him a kiss goodnight like the humans did, but Mojo was having none of that, squirming away.

Optimus had watched Ironhide carefully, looking for signs the strange bot was going to do something awful to the dog. He was confused. The evil minded, tough talking Autobot had been subdued and polite the entire time. Still, Optimus wouldn’t let himself go into recharge until Ironhide had disappeared into his room for the night. It seemed safer that way.

It was late morning when the Commander’s recharge cycle began to cycle down. He was flat on his back on his recharge bed. Nothing unusual about that. His systems came up slowly, one by one. No need to rush. No Decepticons running around to shoot. When his external systems came online, he felt something strange.

He was registering something on his chest. Something causing pressure, and warmth. Something that also seemed to be snoring. His recharge fogged CPU thought about Elita One. She used to put her head there. But wait. She NEVER snored, their species didn’t snore.

He cautiously flickered one optic on.

“GAH! PRIMUS!”

Both of his optics surged fully online in shock.

Mojo’s head snapped up woozily. His bright dog eyes made close up contact with the disturbed optics of one Optimus Prime. Inches away from each other.

Mojo was sitting on the upper portion of this chest, on his special dog cushion. He hiccuped and tilted his head to one side, staring at the robot with equal curiosity. “Urrmm?” he asked in his doggy way.

“How the heck did you get there?!” Optimus demanded. He brought up one finger to poke at the canine. Mojo growled and snapped at the finger; it wasn’t time to get up yet.

Cursing Ironhide’s name and his creators to kingdom come, Optimus carefully dislodged the dog by picking up the cushion with Mojo still on top. Swinging his feet over the side of the recharge bed and carrying the dog & cushion extra cautiously, he got to his feet and started to walk to the door – and stepped in a small pile of dog poo. Actually, there was more than one. Several piles were stacked neatly in a line from the bed to the door.

“What the pit-?!” he cursed and picked up his foot, recognising what it was immediately, the awful smell helped identify it too, “I thought you didn’t do that inside?” he said desperately. Mojo stared up at him. He hadn’t put that there. Not his responsibility. Honest.

Optimus tried to wipe off the disgusting stuff as best he could, and then avoiding the other strategically placed dog poo piles, he proceeded out of the room. He stopped. A huge sign was stuck to his door. Written in neat Cybertronian script were the words, ‘Mojo’s Love Shack’. Optimus growled. He was not amused. He stomped his way over to Ironhide’s room. The door was open and no one was inside. The culprit had fled.

Snarling words of great displeasure he kept going to the rec area, carrying his doggy companion in front of him like an offering to the Queen.

“Primus! What on Cybertron is that SMELL??” Ratchet was staring at him with rapidly blinking optics. “And what are you doing with Mojo? I wondered where he’d gone to. If you wanted to take him to your bed for the night you should have told me, I thought he was missing!”

A few rarely heard curses in Cybertronian came from Optimus. “I did NOT take the dog to my room. Someone else did that.”

“Ohhhh. Right. Ironhide.” Ratchet shook his head. “I knew something was going to happen. I’m going to be putting his arms and legs back on, aren’t I?”

“YES.” The growl was low and malevolent. “Take this.” He handed Ratchet the dog and cushion before withdrawing his rifle from its position on his back. He’d brought it out of subspace.

“AND WIPE OFF YOUR FEET! You smell!” Ratchet called after him as Prime stalked off, a hunter after his prey. Ratchet caught sight of something stuck to Optimus’ backside. Right on his aft was a sticker of some sort. Saying something about ‘I Heart Chihuahuas’. What an odd thing. How had Ironhide put that on there? Didn’t Prime recharge on his back?

Ratchet looked down at the poor dog. “Its just you and me for a while, mate. Ironhide will be hard to catch.”

“BARK!”

“Yes, I agree. Listen, do you want to learn how to robot surgery? You can help me with Ironhide when Optimus is finished. But first, lets get you some nice brekky, hmmm? Those bad mech’s shouldn’t make you rush your food. Its not healthy.”

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