Optimus Prime carefully lifted Mojo up from his position on Ratchet’s medbay table, inspecting the dog critically for himself. “I’m glad you’re okay, Mojo. It was a terrible thing for us to let Barricade get his hands on you. I am sorry.” He held the dog on the palm of one hand, at optic-to-dog-eye level, looking sincere.
Mojo huffed, propping himself on his haunches and panting. His tongue hung out the side of his mouth and his eyes squinted. He was a happy dog.
It was early evening, the Autobots had insisted on thoroughly checking Mojo over with medscans and a physical examination before the teenagers were allowed to take him home at last. It had been a laugh for the humans, standing on the table with the dog and watching Ratchet and Optimus carefully conduct exams on the worried dog. Ratchet had downloaded all the Veterinary information from the World Wide Web. He was fascinated! He could barely contain himself at the chance to play real animal doctor with the placid canine.
Long-suffering and patient Optimus had helped keep the dog still for Ratchet’s gentle prodding and poking. He contained him in two cupped hands and said soothing words when Mojo got uptight. Prime knew what it was like to have Ratchet’s intimate attention - professional but unpleasant! At least the medic was putting a soothing bedside manner on for Mojo, not all his patients were so blessed.
Ratchet smiled indulgently, leaning both hands on the table top and watching his Leader handle the mutt with critical optics. “He passed his first test as an Autobot with complete success, and he is perfectly healthy,” he said, “I still think we should consider upgrading him with his own weapon, though. Think about it – all Mojo needed to do was put one missile through Barricade’s forehead at close range, and wham!”
“RATCHET! Don’t you go putting weirdo missiles and shit on my dog! God almighty, what would Mom say?! It’s not on, dude!” Sam burst out, cringing at the thought of his hysterical mother swearing to hunt down the Autobot medic and beat the crap out of him with a baseball bat when Mojo was delivered home with shoulder missiles and side cannons. He still didn’t know wether he should let his parents know the Autobots had done ‘dog babysitting’ while they were away.
Ironhide groaned from his position on the other side of the table, propped against a spare bench. His enthusiasm for the dog was only one notch higher than before the Barricade incident. “Ratchet, you are one life-fluid thirsty mech.” There was a loaded pause. “I like it!” he said brightly.
Optimus put the dog down on the floor carefully, letting him get his balance on all four legs before he released his grip, and then helped Sam and Mikaela down from the table as well. The Commander straightened up, looking back and forth between his two high ranking soldiers with pity. He sighed, looking down at the floor, “I believe I have finally run out of clever things to say about the remarks you two come out with. Retirement is looking good,” he grumped, turning on one foot and heading with long strides to drop himself butt first on the Autobot ‘couch’. He needed recharge and peace. Retreating early to his room was looking good.
Ironhide came to stand next to Ratchet and the two studied the large tired Leader mech as he sat and stretched the muscle cables of his powerful legs out, leaning his head back over the headrest with optics blinking off. Ironhide nudged Ratchet with one armored elbow, “He’s missing Elita,” he muttered conversationally.
Ratchet nodded, leaning over and murmuring back, “...it has been a long while since he last had some alone time with a female, you know how cranky and sour he gets. He doesn’t process his energon efficiently.”
Sam lifted his head to stare up at the two bots, his lips pursing; more female references! Maybe this would be a good time to ask questions. Mojo was sitting by his feet, sneezing, not interested. Wasn’t it dog food time?
“Will you guys stop it?! Like he said, give him a break, he looks after you lot like wayward children,” Mikaela huffed, walking over to Optimus and reaching out a hand to pat Optimus’ leg in sympathy (it was all she could reach from the floor, even if the giant bot WAS sitting down!).
There was a whistling noise and two empty energon cans went sailing through the air to collide with Ironhide and Ratchet – ‘Hide got hit in the head, Ratchet in the chest. Even empty, the cans were heavy enough to leave scuff marks.
“OW! HEY! What the-” Ironhide started up his cannons, getting their gyro’s to squeal at top speed.
“BUMBLEBEE! Frag off! Delinquent youngling!” Ratchet growled, feeling around blindly behind his back for a sharp medical tool to throw back at the feral bot.
“Heh.” Optimus had lifted his head, optics burning bright blue looking at his yellow scout appreciatively. “Thank you, Bee.”
Bumblebee nodded happily with a digital squeal at Optimus and blew a recorded raspberry at the Weapons Master and Chief Medic.
“THATS IT! You’re mine!” Ironhide roared, charging forwards in a black blurr of thumping thick legs and crackling cannons.
Bumblebee shrieked in fake horror - a sound byte from a horror movie - dashing out of Ironhide’s way on nimble feet. He wasn’t going to get caught! That was the trick with Ironhide; he wasn’t allowed to shoot fellow Autobots, Optimus absolutely forbid it; yet he was too slow at running to catch his prey. But if he DID get his hands on you, may Primus help you in the afterlife...
Optimus sat up, concerned, “IRONHIDE! Desist!” he began, but stopped cautiously. Mojo was moving towards the combatants.
“BARK! Barkbarkbarkbark! Grrrr!” Mojo had intercepted the fuming black Ironhide and brought the mech to a sharp, optic-shuddering, halt. The dog was standing in front of an astonished Bumblebee and defending his friend.
Tiny dog against large, black, weapons bristling, Autobot.
“Good dog!” Bumblebee’s crackly voice congratulated his saviour. He leaned over, patting gently at the dog’s head with one metal finger, scratching around the back of his ears. Mojo ruffed sweetly at him, pleased he was being acknowledged as having done the right thing.
Ironhide glared, “The rodent won’t be there all the time, runt. Just wait.” He walked off with pounding strides, muttering, standing at the hanger door and crossing his arms. He stared out into the evening sky with a sullen expression, ignoring them.
“Mojo, geez you’ve got a death wish,” Sam scooped up the dog, cuddling him close. “Hey, Bee? Time to go home, I think.”
“Yes, I agree,” Mikaela added, looking down at her dirt-smudged and smelly self. “We need showers and some sleep time guys, we better get going. Thank you so much for looking after Mojo. He couldn’t have had better protectors.” The girl smiled up at the Autobots.
“Yeah, yeah, I second that. You guys are legends. We so owe you. Thanks! Mojo says thanks too, don’t ya?” Sam added, holding Mojo up at them and wiggling the dog gently so his head bounced. “I reckon he’s had the time of his life here. He’ll get bored being home again. He’ll be soooo naughty.”
Optimus leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees. His faceplates formed a smile, his optics looked down at them. “I must say, it was a pleasure for us to have Mojo here as well, despite, er, the incident.”
More like multiple incidents, Ratchet thought, suppressing a snort, thinking of all the things that had happened to Mojo. Weeing on everyone in surprise attacks, getting walked by the most fearsome warrior in the universe (Optimus!), riding in Ironhide, infiltrating Ironhide’s room and claiming the recharge bed (now that was special! So rare an accomplishment!), being held hostage and battling Decepticons, and not to forget SLEEPING on Optimus Prime’s chest!
Ratchet frowned as sorrow washed over his CPU. No more Mojo. No more fun. He watched as Sam collected up Mojo’s bed and food from the medbay, bundling them into a bag. “Thanks Ratch! You’re the best!” Sam gave him the thumbs up and a cheesy grin.
“You’re very welcome, Sam. We will... I will.. m-miss him.” Ratchet cursed himself furiously for the hesitant catch in his voice. Everyone turned to look at him. Even Ironhide, staring over his shoulder curiously.
“What?” Ratchet demanded, trying to cover himself. “Mojo is a good Autobot!”
Optimus and Ironhide glanced at each other meaningfully. Bumblebee snickered, grinning, standing over his two humans who were looking at Ratchet curiously.
“I was expecting this,” Optimus Prime said softly, gazing at his CMO with understanding and standing up.
“Expecting what? There’s nothing to expect!” Ratchet huffed, holding up empty hands, trying to fend them off.
“Oh Ratchet, you really will miss him, won’t you?” Mikaela had walked over to him, putting a hand on his leg and looking upwards sympathetically. Sam frowned; would she stop putting her hand on the legs of other men? And robots, at that! Gross!
Ratchet wasn’t trusting himself to speak. His optics flickered over the faces of every human and mech in the room. They were all looking at him. “I will miss Mojo. Yes, alright? There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Sam spoke up, “Ratchet, you can come and visit him, y’know. Just drop by! Mojo can use his dog door, he’ll come running out to you. And hey, now we know Mojo can come here, the next holiday we have, we’ll bring him back. How’s that?”
Ironhide’s air in-takes froze, horrified. More dog?! This wasn’t going to be a one-off event? He had to find new lodgings! Urgently! Primus, Captain Lennox had a spare garage, didn’t he?
Ratchet perked up slightly, “I didn’t think of that, Sam. Of course I’d like to visit, with Optimus’ permission, of course.”
“You have it, Ratchet. Go whenever you have time off,” Optimus confirmed, relieved. He hadn’t thought of Ratchet ‘visiting’ the dog either. Thank Primus for quick thinking organics.
“And Ironhide, if you’d like to-” Mikaela tried to extend the invitation.
“But Mojo would-”
“He likes rides in trucks!”
“Oh, okay. Nevermind.” Mikaela smirked. She’d been deliberately rattling Ironhide’s cage. That bot would never come by to visit the dog – unless he needed weapons target practice.
“Look, you’re all welcome to come over whenever you want, just, you know, keep it discrete, and weekends are better, not school nights. I’d love to see you guys more, and not just for official purposes. You creep around too much, we’re friends, come visit!” Sam added his opinion.
“Thank you, Sam, we will make sure to drop-by,” Optimus thanked him, inclining his head. It would be nice to be sociable without war duties interfering. They would make the effort.
Bumblebee was looking cautious. If Ratchet put his leg over the backyard fence and stepped on him while he was recharging on the lawn, there would be discussions! That medic weighed as much as Megatron did!
Eventually the humans, Mojo, and all possessions, were bundled into Bumblebee’s car form, and the group sped off into the night with vigorous car horn beeping from the Camaro and human arms waving from windows.
Ratchet caught sight of Mojo perching himself on the inside ledge of Bumblebee’s back window, front paws on the glass, his little face staring back at the Autobots standing in the light spilling from the base as Bumblebee drew away down the road. The medic focused his optics on the dog until he could no longer make out details in the night darkness. A hand dropped onto his shoulder.
“Its alright, Ratchet. You’ll see him again.” Optimus reassured him.
Ironhide barked a laugh, bending over, “Ratchet loves Mojo! Priceless!”
“SHUTTUP!” A smack landed on Ironhide's armor.
“Ow, Ratch, what is this, pick-on-Ironhide-week?” Ironhide rubbed the back of his head sorrowfully.
Optimus ignored the both of them, turning away, “I think I need the longest recharge of my life. The best thing I can say is the dog is alive and not missing any important components. Right, no one bring me on-line early unless Megatron returns from the dead or the Earth blows itself up. See you in the morning; LATE morning.” The Autobot Leader stalked off to his room with a casual wave.
“Eh. Whatever. Hey Ratch, you want to try that poker game thing again?” Ironhide asked, feeling the sudden weight of the emptying base on his shoulders.
“Sure, why not,” Ratchet shrugged, it would be a good distraction from a Mojo-vacant medbay, “Don’t cheat again or I’ll remove your arms, with no pain killers.”
“Primus, you’re aggressive. I like that.”