"There's a holomatter party at Swerve's tonight."
First Aid glanced over at Ratchet,
"You need me to watch the medibay?"
"No," the senior medic said, "I want you to go."
First Aid cringed,
"Because I think it would be good for you," Ratchet replied, "You need to socialise a little."
First Aid stared at him disbelievingly,
"You realise this is you telling me this."
"I know it sounds hypocritical," Ratchet admitted, "But you might enjoy yourself."
First Aid doubted that,
"I don't even have a holomatter avatar," he tried to argue.
"I already asked Brainstorm to make you one," was Ratchet's answer.
First Aid ex-vented.
He still could have refused. But it was obvious Ratchet was worried about him. It wasn't the first time he had suggested First Aid participate in a non-medical activity. Perhaps if he went along with it this time, Ratchet might be reassured enough not to ask again.
So he agreed to attend the party. Just this once.
"Are you going?" he asked Ratchet.
Ratchet had already turned back to his data entry.
"Someone has to watch the medibay."
"Hypocrite indeed," First Aid huffed before he went to see Brainstorm.
The weapons specialist already had the prototype avatar ready upon his arrival.
First Aid found himself staring down at two large mounds protruding from his chest-plate, concealed by tight-fitting white fabric that stopped just shy of the apex of his legs, or rather his avatar's legs. Sheaths made of flimsy material ran from his pedes to his thighs, white with a red stripe. Speaking of his pedes, the heel was elevated on a sharp point. He almost toppled over as he went to look at his reflection.
Red fur spilled out from the top of his helm in dense curls and his faceplate had been replaced by a white mask that hooked over his audials, now soft and pink, like the rest of his avatar's flesh.
Human. He was human, though he was confused by the style of attire.
The red crosses on the shoulders of the white garment were at least familiar. Though he wasn't sure if that was any sort of clue.
"What am I supposed to be?"
"A human femme, aged around 20-30 years," Brainstorm answered, "Profession type nurse. I thought it was appropriate."
First Aid could hear the mirth in Brainstorm's voice.
"I'm not a nurse," he shot back dryly, "I'm the CM... Ow."
He winced as Brainstorm clapped him on the back.
"Come on First Aid, it's all in good fun."
First Aid had to admit the sensor relay was impressive. But still...
"Can't you at least change the outfit?"
Brainstorm shook his helm,
"No time. I'm still tweaking Rodimus' 'cause he's not happy with it. Just be glad you're not an infant like Tailgate."
First Aid ex-vented.
"Could you at least change the pelvic covering, it's very uncomfortable."
"It's called lingerie I believe," Brainstorm said, "And no."
"Shoo now," Brainstorm waved a hand at him, "Busy busy busy."
First Aid staggered out of the workshop grumbling - trying not to slip in his uncomfortable pedes with the 'lingerie' pinched him in a rather unpleasant manner.
He considered returning to the medibay. But he didn't want Ratchet to see him like this and the medic would only send him packing in the other direction.
Swerve's was his only choice. At least Swerve's had seats. His pedes were starting to ache.
How did human femmes stand to walk about in such impractical footwear?
Or this 'lingerie'. It was some form of torture device.
There were already a host of avatars at Swerve's by the time First Aid arrived, now acutely miserable.
He made a beeline for the front of the bar, determined to sit down and order a potent drink before he went about disabling the sensors in the lower half of his avatar.
First Aid halted as something pinched his aft.
"Hey sexy nurse."
The medic whirled around. The action almost causing him to slip on his idiotic pedes.
It was Whirl, in his gleeful avatar form, complete with two guns.
"I hope those were your guns you just poked me with," First Aid told him - or rather her.
Whirl continued to grin,
"Ha, there's a joke in there somewhere," he said, "'Whirl, are those guns in your hands or are you just happy ta see me?', no, that's no good, how about 'Whirl, wanna hang your guns on my rack?'"
First Aid stiffened as Whirl pressed his guns into the twin mounds on his chest.
"Don't worry," he whispered conspiratorially, "I got the safety on. Safety first nurse."
"Whirl!" another human femme avatar came running towards them, "I told you those accessories are prohibited!"
First Aid relaxed as Whirl shifted the guns away.
"Aw c'mon," he said to the avatar who could only be Ultra Magnus, "It's not like I'm packing any grenades. Well except this one..."
Whirl produced a grenade from his avatar's clothing.
"But I think it's a blank. Let me make sure..."
"Don't you dare pull that pin!"
First Aid teetered away before he could be caught up in a possible explosion. He toppled into the nearest unoccupied seat and sagged with relief. His poor pedes. Not to mention his chest-lumps were sore from Whirl digging the barrels of his guns in.
What had he called them? A rack? That couldn't be the scientific term.
First Aid rubbed them.
Were humans really this sensitive to pain?
His pedes were still throbbing too.
"Hey there little lady."
First Aid turned to see a male human avatar dressed in a dark uniform with an shining Autobot badge leering at him.
Before he could reply, the stranger's smile faltered.
"Wait that sounded a little too cowboy. Let me try that again."
He actually whirled around before reassuming his slanted position,
"Evening Ma'am, do you know how fast you were going?"
"Not excessively," First Aid glanced down sullenly at his still aching pedes, "Is it relevant?"
The stranger shrugged,
"I don't know. Cops say it in movies."
"Bluestreak?" First Aid said.
He received a grin in confirmation.
"Wasn't it obvious?"
First Aid shrugged,
"I couldn't tell from looking at you."
On closer inspection, the cap on his helm had a crest resembling Bluestreak's signature horns
"Well cop wasn't my first choice," he confessed, "Don't get me wrong, there are some good cop movies. Police Academy, Lethal Weapon..."
He continued to list titles that First Aid had never heard of. He wasn't exactly a regular at Bluestreak's movie nights.
"So why a cop?" he interrupted after a moment.
Bluestreak rolled his optics,
"Brainstorm thought it would be funny. You know, 'cause I look like Prowl."
First Aid couldn't help silently noting the resemblance himself.
"That must get annoying."
Prowl was one of the last mecha First Aid would want to be compared to.
"It is a bit," Bluestreak replied, "Especially since Prowl stole my look."
First Aid wasn't sure if that was a genuine complaint or a joke. Bluestreak smiled so he assumed it was the latter.
"Too bad you don't have an eyepatch like Whirl," Bluestreak went on, "Then you would look like Elle from Kill Bill."
"The movie," he elaborated, "Well two movies. I screened them in a marathon three weeks ago."
"I wasn't present," First Aid said.
"Oh," Bluestreak actually sounded a little put out, "Well the character, Elle, was a one-eyed assassin who tried to murder the protagonist in hospital by dressing as a nurse."
First Aid grimaced.
"That's not really someone I'd like to resemble."
"But she was cool," Bluestreak enthused, "And the fight scene in the second movie... Admittedly, I didn't enjoy it as much as Reservoir Dogs."
"I haven't seen that either," First Aid informed him.
Bluestreak shook his avatar's helm,
"Primus, First Aid, you're so sheltered. You need to get out more often."
First Aid glared. Why did everyone insist he do that? Why couldn't he just stay in the medibay?
"Why should I?" he found himself complaining to Bluestreak, "So everyone can call me Nurse? So I can go around looking like this?"
He gestured at his ridiculous holomatter form.
"But you look good," Bluestreak insisted.
"I'm the Chief Medical Officer," First Aid ex-vented before correcting himself, "In training. Not a nurse. My avatar should be a human medic."
"Guy wearing a white coat?" Bluestreak said, "Not as interesting as your current form."
He surprised First Aid by touching his shoulder,
"I get what you mean though," he went on, "It's like people looking at me and seeing Prowl. You don't want to be seen as something you're not."
"Yes," First Aid found himself agreeing gratefully, "That's it exactly."
"Hey do you wanna get out of here?"
First Aid was taken aback,
"You mean, together?"
"Yeah," Bluestreak said enthusiastically, "We can go back to my hab suite, get you up to date with off-world culture."
First Aid glanced around at the sea of holomatter avatars. Whirl seemed to have given Magnus the slip. Magnus' avatar was currently being hugged by another femme with long orange helm-fur. Her chest lumps were much bigger than First Aid's, in fact they were all but suffocating the face of Magnus' avatar.
Judging by the flame design on her rather revealing attire and the fact "Til' all are one!" was being shouted drunkenly, it was undoubtedly Rodimus.
First Aid turned back to Bluestreak's expectant expression.
"Yeah okay," he said.
He stood, remembering his awful pedes the moment they touched the floor. Still he endured the discomfort as he and Bluestreak exited Swerve's. Thankfully his hab suite wasn't too far away. Closer than the medibay so First Aid told himself it had been the right choice.
"Shouldn't we deactivate our avatars?" he said regardless.
Bluestreak gave him a sidelong frown,
"Didn't Brainstorm tell you? He programmed the avatars to only deactivate at 2400. He called it the Cinderella Effect."
"It's a human fairytale."
Bluestreak went on to explain the story about a low-born human femme with a ridiculous designation, who disguised herself as high-born to woo the attentions of a male royal, only to revert back into her true self at midnight.
First Aid had no idea what a fairy godmother was. Or how credible it was for something called a pumpkin to transform into vehicle mode.
But he got the general gist.
"So we're stuck like this?" he complained.
"For the next couple of hours yeah," Bluestreak patted him on the back, "Don't worry. We'll watch a few movies and before you know it, you'll be back to your old self."
Not for the first time that cycle, First Aid had little choice but to agree.
They reached Bluestreak's hab suite and he flopped down on the berth.
"Eager are we?"
First Aid craned his helm to see Bluestreak's grin.
"My pedes are killing me," he grumbled in response.
Bluestreak moved closer to inspect First Aid's pedes dangling over the edge of the berth.
"Yeah they don't look comfy. You should be able to take them off though. Brainstorm designed the avatars so anything other than the body itself can be removed."
First Aid immediately bent to remove the spiked bottoms of the pedes. Sure enough they slipped off, only to disappear into thin air when he tossed them on the floor.
"I think you can retrieve them from the avatar's memory bank," Bluestreak said, "But something tells me you don't want to do that."
Bluestreak grinned again before rubbing his hands together,
"So what genre do you wanna watch?"
First Aid shrugged. His knowledge of human cinema was practically non-existent.
"I don't mind. You pick," he paused before adding, "Nothing too heavy though."
He wasn't in the mood to watch graphic violence. He saw enough of that in real life.
"Back to the Future?" Bluestreak suggested.
"That's the title?" First Aid said, "That doesn't make sense. You can't go back to the future. You would go have to forward, if that was even possible, which I doubt..."
"Anything's possible in movies," Bluestreak assured him, "Anyway, let's leave the analyzing until after okay?"
First Aid nodded. The whole point was to occupy himself until his avatar deactivated. Besides, now he was curious how the human creators of this film would explain the inconsistencies of the premise.
Bluestreak set up the film on a small monitor.
"The set up at Swerve's is much more impressive," he told First Aid, "But Ultra Magnus denied by my request to install a widescreen in here for what he called 'frivolous purposes'. Pfft, 'frivolous', what's frivolous about educating myself with non-Cybertronian culture? I bet if Rodimus wanted a large monitor in his hab suite to play virtual fullstasis, Magnus wouldn't have objected."
"Yes he would, but Rodimus would have overruled him," First Aid said, "Anyway I don't mind the screen size."
That seemed to cheer up Bluestreak slightly. He joined First Aid on the berth after setting the film to play.
First Aid suddenly found himself distracted. Not just by Bluestreak's proximity, which he was unused to but not unpleasant. It was more the fact that as the film progressed, he noticed his companion had a tendency to mouth the lines the characters were speaking.
"Do you do that often?" he asked finally.
Bluestreak turned to him,
"Mouth the words."
Bluestreak rubbed the back of his helm sheepishly,
"Heh, I don't realize I'm doing it sometimes. Is it distracting?"
Bluestreak leaned in a little closer,
"Maybe you should find a way to occupy my mouth," he murmured.
First Aid reeled a little. He hadn't been hit on in quite some time. In fact he couldn't remember the last time. Perhaps in Kimia with Springer, or at least he had hoped the impressive green mech had been flirting just a little.
But hook ups had never been his priority. Especially not after Delphi, after...
No, he told himself not to think about that now. He focused on Bluestreak's face. His human face. Humans, he decided, had a lot less subtlety in their expressions. He could see the mounting desperation in every soft line.
Perhaps a little contact might be nice. At least then Ratchet couldn't say he shut himself away.
And Bluestreak wasn't a bad mech. Obsessive but then so was First Aid, according to everybody else.
Bluestreak also understood what it was like to fall under someone's shadow.
Enough to understand First Aid.
That was the logic persuading him.
But when he shifted forward, he found it was more instinct compelling him than anything else.
The unspoken encouragement caused Bluestreak to close the gap even more swiftly, human lips kissing First Aid through his avatar's mask. Gently, then with greater fervor, hands trailing over the medic's avatar, cupping, exploring.
First Aid quickly found new appreciation for Brainstorm's programming of the sensory experience.
He could feel every press of Bluestreak's mouth, his fingers, and his avatar’s soft organic form seemed to react accordingly.
Even the twin mounds on his chest seem to respond when Bluestreak cupped them, his mouth sweeping over the fabric as he moved further south.
Suddenly First Aid's 'lingerie' grew even more infernally uncomfortable, his avatar's spike began to strain against the fabric from Bluestreak's attention.
But when the other mech happened to glimpse the bulge now evident underneath First Aid's uniform, he froze.
"What's wrong?" First Aid asked.
"Er, I think Brainstorm screwed up your avatar."
"What do you mean?"
Bluestreak gestured at the bulge.
"I'm pretty sure human femmes don't have spikes."
"Oh," First Aid said with a trace of embarrassment, "I'm not that familiar with human biology. I thought it was normal albeit..."
First Aid found himself chuckling,
"Yes that was definitely the medical term I was looking for."
Bluestreak smiled up at him,
"You know that's the first time I've heard you laugh."
First Aid glanced away self-consciously.
"Don't be embarrassed," Bluestreak drew his gaze back, "It's nice."
First Aid reached down to caress his cheek.
"How long until this Cinderella Effect ends?"
Bluestreak nuzzled against First Aid's fingers.
"A few more hours."
"Let's keep watching the movie," First Aid suggested, "Once the avatar's deactivate, we can do things the old fashioned way."
"What about this?" Bluestreak gestured at the still-present bulge.
"I assume it will depressurize," First Aid said, "As long as I concentrate on the film and not you."
Bluestreak shifted into a position beside him.
"That might be a little hard. Pun intended."
First Aid rolled his optics,
"Shut up and watch the movie."
All the same he roped his arm around Bluestreak and drew him in tighter.