Cybertron's brilliant sunset had just begun, the sky softening and changing color, the first stars speckling the darker edges. The first city had been- for the most part- rebuilt. It was glimmering wonderfully, a stunning contrast to the wreckage of the rest of the planet. The majority of the city was housing and energon distribution centers. The apartment buildings were absolutely beautiful, sparkling windows, balconies, lights. . . They were standing tall and grand, hundreds of vacant rooms ready for the cybertronians flocking home.
A small park had been built, courtesy to Bulkhead, a block or so away from one of the apartment buildings. It had a precious little playground, and was sprouting a beautiful crystal garden. It was a gift to two of the most respected individuals supervising the restoration of Cybertron, and their young child, the first known sparkling born after the war had begun.
Ratchet and Optimus were peacefully strolling down the road, their little mechling between them, babbling happily. He held both of his creators' servos, squeezing tightly and squealing in excitement as they carefully swung him to and fro between them. Both of them would murmur, "one. . . two. . . three!" And then swing the little mech forward and up into the air so he could kick his little legs, and carefully swing him back down. The sweet sparkling would shout "Again, again!"
The little family walked to the park, laughing and lightheartedly conversing. Once they came to the gate, the little mech let go of his parents and ran to the swing as fast as his little legs could take him. "Push me!" He demanded shrilly as he tried to hoist himself up to the swing.
Optimus chuckled, striding over and lifting him onto the seat, before gently pushing him and letting the momentum build. His mate sat on a bench, watching with a smile, rubbing his swollen middle. He was well along, only a month left in his gestation period. His back ached and he was absolutely huge, which made their little strolls tiring, but he couldn't say no to his mate and his son when they begged him to come to the park. It was little moments like this that made his life so wonderful.
The mechling had grown bored of the swing, and promptly hopped off and went to tumble down the slide a few times. Optimus joined Ratchet at the bench, sitting down beside him and draping his arm around his shoulders. "How's our youngest treating you?' He asked with that benevolent look of his, pressing a kiss to his mate's cheek.
"He's quieter than Mister Energy over there was." Ratchet huffed as he watched his son plummet down the slide helm first. "Less rambunctious." He rubbed his tank, smiling at the small, gentle kicks that answered him.
His Prime hummed and rested his servo over Ratchet's, giving it a squeeze. "Thank you for carrying our sparklings, my love. I know it hasn't been easy."
"It's all worth it. I love them, and you. My handsome mechs." Ratchet turned his helm to brush his mate's lips with his own. Optimus responded in kind, kissing him slowly and lovingly.
There was the pitter patter of small pedes.
The pair stopped and looked down at their mechling, who stared up at them with his big, glimmering optics. "Yes, Dear?" Ratchet smiled at him.
He reached his arms out, and Optimus lifted him into his lap. "When can I play with brother?" He asked, pointing at Ratchet's enlarged middle. "I want to show him the swingset."
"It won't be too much longer, Sweetspark. He'll be born soon." Optimus answered gently, his voice softening as he spoke to his son. "But he won't be able to play for some time. He'll be very small, and he won't be able to walk."
"But can I still show him the swingset?"
"Of course." Ratchet pulled the small mech into his own lap so he could rest his little helm against his carrier's stomach and feel the gentle kicks.
"I want to meet him now." The sparkling said, sighing.
"I know. Just a little bit longer."
The younger mech, once he was born, was much quieter and was very shy. He loved his big brother, and would laugh and giggle with him, but he didn't have the same adventurous energy. He enjoyed staying beside Ratchet, hugging his leg and hiding whenever he was introduced to strangers, while his brother bounded forward and loudly announced who he was.
The pair were a bit of troublemakers, getting into things, running off, the younger sparkling often being the voice of reason amidst their shenanigans.
When their carrier reprimanded or lectured them, the little one would turn on the cute, and their parents would swoon. It worked the first few times, but Ratchet quickly caught on and wouldn't falter at the sight of those precious, beautiful optics. It still worked well on Optimus, though.
As the city expanded, and more was built and restored, the family would go farther and farther on their walks, having picnics along the border of the city. Now that Ratchet had recovered from his gestation, walking wasn't a problem, and now their oldest had a playmate to run with.
One peaceful afternoon, they had settled on the very edge of the beautiful city, laid a blanket out, and were enjoying some time outside. Optimus had brought a stack of datapads with him, and was reviewing construction plans with his mate's help, as their little ones ran around and chased each other.
Now, the edge of the city was the border to the unrestored destruction of their planet. Wreckage, rubble, debris, all the evidence of the war surrounded the city, and was a bold contrast to the wondrous environment the sparklings had been born in. They were both very curious, and were desperate to explore the wreckage.
"Don't go too far, stay where I can see you." Ratchet had warned sternly.
The younger one nodded in understanding, but the words seemed to go straight over his brother's helm.
The moment Ratchet wasn't watching them, and was instead looking over Optimus' shoulder at a datapad, off they went. The older brother led the way behind a crumbling wall, and climbed up a steep pile of rubble. It was a far climb up the build up of debris, and the trip down would be difficult, but the little mech was determined. His younger sibling followed slowly, continuously looking back in the direction of his parents. "Carrier said to stay," he whined as they made it to the top of the pile.
"It's okay, I'll protect you." His older brother beamed, puffing his chest out proudly. "C'mon, I've never been out here, I wanna explore."
"We're too far away. Carrier will be angry."
The older mech opened his mouth to rebuttal, but there was the sound of shifting rocks and crumbling rubble beneath heavy pedes. They both turned to see a large figure emerging from behind a boulder. His armor was long and jagged, protruding as spikes from his shoulders and helm. His optics gleamed a fiery red as he stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of the two young mechs. They narrowed, and both of them shivered. The mech was huge, bigger than their sire. His appearance was frightening for a child, his deep red optics flashing and his pointed denta peeking from behind scarred lips.
"Carrier," the youngest whimpered, flinching as the scary mech pushed a heavy slab aside and took another step closer. "We need to go back. I want carrier and sire."
"I'm not scared." His brother crossed his arms, stepping in front of the younger mech protectively.
The terrifying silver mech spoke. "You shouldn't be here." His voice was deep and throaty, and both of them jumped. "You need to go. Now. " He hissed the last part, sneering. Both sparklings yelped.
"Carrier!" The youngest shouted.
His brother, when he startled, lost his footing, and tumbled backwards down the pile of debris, rolling down the steep decline for a good distance and yelping as he hit the ground with a painful thud. Tears sprang to his optics, as he sat up, grabbing his scratched knee. "Sire! Carrier!" He wailed.
The youngest stood frozen, staring down at his younger brother in terror. The trip down was too steep, he couldn't make it down without slipping, and it had been a painful trip for his brother. His little spark pounded in it's chamber, he thought he'd be sick. He didn't want to fall, it looked scary.
The debris he stood on shifted, and he realized with dread that the scary mech had climbed up and was only a couple meters from him.
"Carrier!" He screeched, bursting into tears.
"Hot Rod! First Aid!" Ratchet skidded around the corner, before grinding to a halt, Optimus on his heels. Both of them exchanged looks of horror at the hulking mech that stood beside their son, out of their reach.
"Carrier!" Hot Rod sobbed, his frame covered in scuffs and dents, his knee bleeding.
"Shh, Sweetspark," Ratchet shushed, scooping him up right away and tucking him against his chest. "You're okay, it's okay." He looked up at his younger one fearfully. "Optimus. . ."
One of his mate's servos had already transformed into a blaster, and had it aimed at the Decepticon insignia at the center of the mech's chest. "Don't touch him," he growled.
"Please, don't," Ratchet pleaded. His maternal coding was off the charts, his spark fleeting in panicked desire to help his offspring.
Little First Aid stood frozen and trembling, staring up at the giant fearfully. "I want to go home," he whimpered.
The mech regarded Optimus with a cold stare, looking between the two mates, and their apparent children. "Megatron, let me bring him to safety." The Prime demanded.
A moment of excruciating silence passed, and Ratchet nearly blew a fuse at having to be patient.
"The drop is too far for him, it hurt your other one. If you want him unscathed, you'll let me hand him down to you." The silver mech said coolly, watching the distressed parents calculating optics.
"Don't you fragging touch him!" Ratchet thundered. "If you put a single claw on my son, I'll rip your fragging spark out!"
Megatron rolled his fiery optics. "It appears that you haven't changed, Medic. " He looked at Optimus, impatience flashing in his optics. "I'm going to hand him down to you. If you climb up to get him, you risk slipping on the way down and injuring both of you."
Optimus stared at him, searching his gaze. He didn't want to trust this mech. He didn't want him to lay a servo on his son. But if he didn't listen to Megatron, he risked the warlord growing frustrated or angry and taking it out on the young mech. This may be the quickest way to return his son to safety. Venting slowly, he disarmed. "Very well, Megatron."
"I will not let him harm our son, Old Friend." He soothed his mate quietly, reaching out to stroke Hot Rod's helm. The little mech was crying into his carrier's chest, his poor little frame scuffed, dirty and bruised. Optimus approached the rock, looking up. "Megatron, if you do not hand my son to me," he said slowly.
He was ignored. Megatron had already laid down on his front on the edge of the pile, taking First Aid carefully and lifting him over the edge. The little mech whimpered and stared at him, terrified, tense in his servos.
"It's alright, Aid," his sire said to him gently, reaching his arms up. "I'm here."
Gently, Megatron took First Aid's wrist and dangled him, carefully aiming him so his sire was just below him. "I'm going to let him slide down," he announced.
"Be careful!" Ratchet looked ready to blow.
Claws released Aid's arm, and he slid along a long sheet of debris and tumbled right into his sire's open arms. He hugged Optimus' neck tightly, squeaking in terror.
Relief flooded through Optimus, as he tenderly held his youngest. Ratchet approached, gasping in relief, reaching out to take him into his other arm. Both little mechs clung to their carrier for dear life, crying as Ratchet softly soothed them. "I'm here. . . You're safe. . . I'm going to take care of your scratches, Sweetspark, it's okay. . . Don't be afraid. . ." He was murmuring as he carried them a fair distance away from Megatron.
Optimus looked up at his former enemy, venting. "Megatron," he began carefully. "Thank you for assisting my sparkling. . . But I never want to see you near them again." He narrowed his optics.
The silver mech growled in his dark, low voice. "I can assure you, Prime, I want nothing to do with your family."
The two parted then, and Optimus hoped they wouldn't meet again.
Ratchet carried both of his sons all the way home, refusing to set down either of them for a single second. Optimus walked right at his side, listening to his mate lovingly reassure their little ones. They made it to their apartment, and Ratchet cleaned and bandaged all of Hot Rod's scrapes, kissed his helm, told him how brave he was, and laid him down for a nap. First Aid climbed into his brother's berth with him to cuddle, hugging him as their sire tucked them in.
"I'm disappointed that the pair of you ran off like that." Optimus said calmly, looking between them. "I hope you have learned a lesson today."
"We're glad you're safe." Ratchet reached out and brushed First Aid's cheek with a gentle servo. "We love you."
"Love you too." Both of them squeaked.
Ratchet led the way out of the berthroom, sighing. "Optimus. . . If we hadn't been there in time. . ."
"I do not believe Megatron had any intention of harming either of them. He is cruel, but he is above harming a sparkling in a time of peace." His mate rubbed his temple. "I'm concerned that he was this close to the city, however. That may raise problems."
“We’ll have to wait and see.”