He found Anodyne in their shared quarters -- he'd stopped thinking of them as 'his' quarters months ago.
"Sorry about Cliff," Ratchet said, as he shut the door behind him. "He's always an aft, but if I knew he was going to go there I'd have gotten someone else to assist."
"... It's nothing I haven't heard before." Anodyne sat cross legged on the floor, sipping a cube of solar midgrade.
"You shouldn't have to hear it. People shouldn't think that way." Ratchet settled down on the edge of the berth, and scrubbed at his face with his hands. He knew he should be angrier than he felt, but he'd gotten used to the numbness. It was as if his processor was disconnected from his spark.
Anodyne sighed. "They assume we're sleeping together. You know that, right?"
Ratchet snorted. "I don't do casual, and that's all you do."
He hadn't meant the words to be cruel; rather, he was trying to tease. Anodyne was well known for his willingness to roll into berth with anyone who liked him enough to ask. He said he simply liked interface and he normally wasn't shy about it, either. He could be remarkably blunt and matter of fact about his interfacing habits.
So Ratchet was a bit surprised when Anodyne flinched, and his plating slicked down.
"What did I say?" Ratchet blinked at him.
"... sometimes," Anodyne said quietly, but then he looked up and fixed Ratchet with a sharp golden gaze. "I wish I I could have more than just a casual fling with somebody."
Ratchet frowned at his Amica. "With me?"
" I'm happy to be your friend," Anodyne tucked his knees to his chest. "You're not ready -- you're grieving Res still. And you see me as a kid."
It had been six earth months since Resonance had died. Ratchet also hadn't seen 'Dyne as a child ... basically, ever. Anodyne was too responsible and mature for Ratchet to ever see him as childlike. He seemed far, far, older than his years, and anyway, he was almost the same age as Res. Megatron had actually died first by a few weeks, but apparently, it had taken Soundwave a few earthly months to find a vat for Megatron's spark.
'Dyne was, also, the type of mech that Ratchet fell in love with. He was big, heroic, and full of unshakeable convictions.
"I'll always grieve," Ratchet said, softly, looking down at his hands. The psychiatric code was particularly annoying tonight; he thought he should have a stronger reaction to Anodyne's admission. He responded, eventually, "A part of me died with Resonance, I think. 'Dyne ... have you desired me all this time?"
Anodyne shook his head quickly. "No. Well -- yes, you're pretty damned attractive, but I wouldn't have come between you and Res. The idea of hurting you two was a bit of a mood killer."
He really looked at Anodyne, and tried to feel the desire he knew that Anodyne ought to inspire in him. He had powerful limbs, broad shoulders, a comparatively narrow waist, big hands and feet. His treads were slung over his shoulders. A helm, unadorned and elegant in its simplicity, framing strong features with high cheek struts and amber optics. Anodyne was dark brown except for a few gold highlights, and his biolights were the exact same shade as his gaze. He felt a flicker of interest, and seized on it, knowing it would have been a burning fire if not for the code. Anodyne was gorgeous.
They were in a war. Even on Earth, they weren't really safe ... Ratchet shuttered his optics, and thought that if anything happened to Anodyne he would someday, when the code was not blunting his feelings, regret not acting on the warmth rising in his spark. He cared about the young mech so very much. He ... wanted him. Even now, he wanted him desperately.
When he opened his optical shutters again, Anodyne had risen. "I should go."
"No!" Ratchet held a hand out. "Come here. Stay."
Anodyne hesitated. "I don't want you to regret this later."
But he took a step closer.
"I won't." Ratchet thought that was true. "I'll regret it if I don't, Anodyne."
Anodyne dropped to one knee and swept Ratchet into a kiss that seemed to go on and on. Even with the effects of the code affecting his emotions, it felt so good to be held, and caressed, and kissed until he was breathless. He clung tightly to 'Dyne's shoulders, and returned the kiss with eagerness that he didn't need to feign.
The world spun abruptly, as 'Dyne scooped him up, turned around, and sat down on the edge of the berth. Ratchet found himself straddling Anodyne's lap, pressed against the mech's hot interface paneling.
'Dyne's optics were bright with arousal. His fans were howling, his power plant rumbling. "... Ratchet," he groaned, hands sliding over Ratchet's plating and fingers dipping into sensitive channels. "Oh, Ratchet. I don't ... I don't even have words."
"Anodyne," Ratchet pressed a kiss to his lips, then withdrew, though he slid his own fingers under Anodyne's pauldrons and teased sensitive nervewires. "Listen to me for a moment."
Anodyne blinked at him, then said uncertainly, "... what?"
"I can't ... I can't, sexually. Those circuits are damaged. They won't come online. I can't get aroused, much less climax. But I can enjoy this anyway."
Anodyne blew out a sharp breath.
"It's because of the arc-out I had." He pressed his chevron to Anodyne's helm. "And the code doesn't help.
"I ..." Anodyne frowned. "Ratchet, I get turned on by bringing pleasure to others. It's how I'm wired. It's never about me when 'facing."
They looked at each other, dumbfounded and at an unexpected impasse. Then Anodyne laughed, suddenly, "Bet you're the same."
Ratchet considered, then snickered. "Yeah, pretty much. I get off on watching my partners come undone."
"I want to feel you lose control." Anodyne's thumb stroked his jaw. "Ratchet, you do so much for others, and you're so selfless, and I have this incredible desire to make you completely forget anything but pleasure for a few moments. You deserve it."
"Not happening." Ratchet felt inadequate, and useless, in that moment.
Anodyne cupped his hands around the back of Ratchet's neck, and looked him in the optics. "Do you trust me?"
"Yes," he said, without hesitation.
"You have the right pleasure centers, the connections are just broken, right? And the code isn't helping, it limits how much your processor is aware of your spark's emotional responses."
"... yes?" Now he was wary.
Anodyne said, "I've never used my gift outside a professional capacity. It would ... make me very happy ... if you would trust me now."
The big mech's fingers were warm against the back of his head. Ratchet couldn't help feel a curl of apprehension, but he also did trust Anodyne, and he knew how important it was to Anodyne to be trusted and accepted. This mattered to the Host.
He nodded, a bit jerkily, and said, "Go ahead."
Anodyne's touch in his mind was gentle, as always, and very focused. Ratchet gasped as pleasure curled through his frame while, simultaneously, the effect of the code disappeared. It felt exactly as if he were aroused, even though he knew it was impossible. His spark was full of excited joy and eager anticipation, and burning, ferocious desire. He'd known those feelings were still there, but now they washed over him in a tidal wave that made him cry out in surprised pleasure.
Anodyne pressed him back to the berth, one hand cupping his helm, and the other dropping down to stroke his hip. Ratchet willingly spread his legs, baring his interface array, groaning as the pleasure turned to hot and urgent arousal.
"Oh, Primus!" He cried out, wrapping his legs around Anodyne's waist. "Oh, that's good, that's so good ..."
The mech pressed into him, a hard stretch accompanied by a flare of pain. He was dry -- he wasn't truly aroused -- but due to the stimulation of his processor it felt so real.
The friction alone triggered lubrication. The pain faded quickly. Anodyne, who had started out slow and cautious, gasped and groaned. His field was electric with arousal, and his optics flared bright. "So good, so good, oh Primus, Ratchet, so good ..."
Ratchet reached the heights of the greatest pleasure he'd ever felt in his life, then went ever higher. He screamed, and sobbed, and clung desperately, all awareness lost except for Anodyne. 'Dyne reacted with shattering intensity of his own.
"Never been like this with anyone!" Anodyne gasped, "Oh, Primus, Ratchet, Ratchet, Ratchet!"
He wasn't gentle. Anodyne set a pounding hard pace, and Ratchet met him with full cooperation. It felt so very good to be taken like that, like he wasn't fragile or breakable, and Anodyne knew it and didn't hesitate to drive into him with enthusiasm. They both flew higher and higher, lost in mindless pleasure ...
... and then when he overloaded it was explosive, shatteringly good. He'd never come like that before in his life.
When he came back to himself, minutes later, Anodyne's bulk was pressing him into the berth. The big mech was ventilating harshly, and holding onto him with a fierce grip. At the same time, the look in his amber optics was one of stunned realization, more than anything else.
"Primus, Ratchet. I knew it would be good. I didn't know it would be like that."
"Direct stimulation of the pleasure centers. Of course it was mind-blowing." Ratchet grinned at him. "Pit, 'Dyne, I'm surprised you never tried that with anyone before."
"It ... is really intimate." Anodyne rolled off him, but promptly wrapped an arm around him and held him close. Ratchet, who was not normally a touchy-feely mech, relaxed into his embrace. It was Anodyne, and he found it easy to drop his defenses around the mech. "I wouldn't do it with just anyone. You, though ... you accept me."
Ratchet covered Anodyne's hand with his own. "More than accept you, 'Dyne. You are really special. I don't ... I don't deserve you, but by Primus, I want you."
After a minute, Anodyne withdrew from his mind, and the numbness returned. Ratchet sighed, and snuggled into Anodyne's arms. He could still feel a ghost of an afterglow, and the trust and affection he had for Anodyne was pleasant.
A bit later, Anodyne tried to return to his pallet on the floor. Ratchet stopped him by simply saying his name, "Anodyne," and scooting over on the berth. He patted the space he'd made.
Anodyne didn't have to be invited twice. They talked long into the night and then he slept in Anodyne's arms; for once, he had no disturbing dreams.
In the morning, they updated their personnel files to reflect they were Endura.