A/N: Smokescreen x Wheeljack, or rather; Smokescreen crushing hard on Wheeljack as he becomes aware of his taste in older mechs and falls into the routine of living with Team Prime.
Kind of a teaser fic. Could be persuaded to write a second part. Fuzzy made up timeline that enables Magnus and Smokescreen to both live at base with everyone while Wheeljack is adjusting to becoming part of a team again. Sometimes it's nice to pretend nothing bad happened yet on Earth and they're just a big bot family with issues. Sob.
I used to be neighbors with one of the child actors in Smoke Signals, and lately I've been thinking about that movie a lot, and the poem about fathers at the end. Somewhere while writing this I had some thoughts about Smokescreen and father figures. Well. Anyway. Enjoy. :
Mask up and audials pointed back, Wheeljack was nano-kliks away from losing his patience and bursting into the clearing in the cave. His fingers twitched at his swords.
"C'mon," he gruffed. They'd been waiting for hours. He could've been in an out of there with a subspace full of raw energon in 20 kliks. But now that he was part of the team he had to do it their way. And their way was slow and steady with minimal kabooms (that's actually bullslag). He was at least trying to be a good 'bot.
"Not yet, Sparky," came Arcee's smooth voice on the commlink. Smokescreen and Bumblebee tried not to laugh as Wheeljack physically turned to look at the femme across the cavern in protest to the nickname. Oh, boy. Here we go again.
He looked like he was about to start something with her when Magnus sent out a punishing pay attention! ping and everyone went still and silent again.
After another few kliks, Wheeljack rapped and tugged Smokescreen's shoulder. The rookie blinked stupidly at him but readied his blaster. (Scrap, something about that mask... Did he have a thing for masks? Optimus, Bee, Wheeljack... Holy frag, he did.)
"Got a visual," Wheeljack announced while pointing to the Vehicon loading raw fuel, gesturing vaguely with his helm to confirm that Smokescreen remembered their game plan. When the 'bot nodded hurriedly, Jackie smiled with his optics. "Ready to engage, commander."
Smokescreen was never unimpressed with Wheeljack's strategies during missions. There was something about the way he just went for it.
Everyone thought of them as the lowest because they existed to die first but Wreckers had to be technical geniuses in battle. The first time Smokescreen went on a mission with Wheeljack he was stunned at his precision and his ability to take hits that would knock the gas out anyone else's tanks. And he was always so cool about it even if he'd just narrowly avoided decapitation and deflected 48 blaster shots aimed at his chassis. That smooth fragger even made time to flirt with 'cons.
Smokescreen was realizing his taste in older mechs had a pattern to it: gruff old living legends. Magnus was the most serious of them all but watching him swing that hammer was an experience. And Optimus was someone he could always find inspiration in.
But Wheeljack was a rookie's wet dream. He was roughed up, shook up, had a great laugh and the way he smoked cygs after fights with Ratchet made Smokescreen wonder about their relationship. When he didn't think anyone was looking, the old war hero looked like a sad dog but as soon as you got his attention he was grinning and telling stories about the good old days.
Smokescreen realized he was staring at his friend when Ultra Magnus finally gave the okay.
Wheeljack just strolled up to the Vehicon like he was out enjoying a walk and within seconds he had a whole squad chasing him with blasters. Total chaos.
But it worked.
And that was their cue.
• • •
Joints ached as Smokescreen lifted the large crate over his head. He shuttered his optics, tilting it and feeling every sensor prickling as the hot water washed over him, cleansing the energon from his plating. He ex-vented in a puff of steam and stared at the blue fluid trailing towards the drain in the center of the washracks.
He had to admit, when he'd joined the team and discovered their base was an old missile silo, he wasn't expecting them to even have warm water. Apparently it wasn't always this nice, and during droughts they had to go weeks without a wash unless it was an emergency. But Ratchet, being Ratchet, would demand Fowler find a way to bring them at least enough water to keep their wounds and vents clean.
He was grateful for today's hot water and the steam billowing around his sore frame. It had been a successful but tiring mission. After this he'd be happy to power down with a tank full of warm fuel.
Wheeljack's deep voice brought Smokescreen out of his sleepy thoughts and he peered across the steam. The Wrecker stood in a pool of dirty water, ventilating deeply, the rest of him still caked in dirt and grime and energon.
"They were packin' some new toys today," he said suddenly, and that's when Smokescreen caught himself staring again, this time at some of those scars.
"Yeah," the rookie answered, cutting his gaze up and away. He needed to write QUIT STARING AT MECHS on his arm or something. He hoped no one had noticed. How embarrassing.
And he peeked over once again when Wheeljack dumped another helping of hot water over his helm. Despite the scars, his white plating was a sight. Maybe the scars are what did it for him, though. What about the ones on his mouthplate? He hadn't heard that story yet, mostly because it was too awkward to ask.
Scrap, he needed to quit acting like a blushing newbuild.
He started scrubbing at his leg furiously. Focus. It's time to get clean. Right. Don't think about the experienced older mech getting all wet and soapy over there. Nope. He was just by himself having a nice washy wash—
"Ow—frag!" Smokescreen swore suddenly, a bit of energon running down from his leg. After blinking a few times he squinted at the plating there and sure enough there was a large crack. Frag it, he must've fractured armor without realizing it. The 'cons really had been good shots today, for once.
"You okay, kid?"
Smokescreen nearly jumped out of his plating. The steam was starting to clear as his team mate walked over, dragging a crate noisily along with him. Wheeljack still had bubbles on his chassis. Primus help Smokescreen.
"Y-yeah, just... cracked plating. Nothing bad," he answered, silently scolding himself as he held his knee where it bled.
"Ya took some hard hits today." With all the grace of an old black ops soldier, Wheeljack thunked down on the crate and motioned. "C'mere."
Smokescreen stared dumbly for a moment before he realized Wheeljack wasn't asking him to sit on his lap, but to come closer so he could look at his injury. Primus, what the frag is wrong with me, he screamed in his processor before awkwardly moving forward.
He watched as the older mech gently lifted the affected leg, guiding and flexing it. Smokescreen thanked Primus for the steam hiding the extra heat to his faceplate.
"It didn't hurt until just now, I'm fine," he assured the other, squinting a little.
Wheeljack noticed the funny look. "I picked up a few tricks."
"From Ratchet?" Smokescreen blurted and then wanted to retract his helm into his fragging chest and die.
Wheeljack got a funny little smile on his faceplate that made Smokescreen feel less like a shithead (but all the more curious). The Wrecker skipped the question, turning the leg in his servos gingerly. "I used to be an engineer, y'know," he said.
Smokescreen had almost completely forgotten about his leg or bringing Ratchet up like an idiot and was staring excitedly with big blue optics. All at once he had funny images in his helm of a younger Wheeljack as a regular working mech in the city.
"Yeah." Present Wheeljack shrugged. "Maybe one day I'll tell ya some stories. Alright if I...?" the Wrecker asked as he reached over to grab a cloth.
"Huh?" Smokescreen asked. "Oh, uh—yeah, thanks." He wobbled a little and held onto his friend's shoulder armor as the cloth was given a nice dunk into warm water.
The two of them fell into a floaty sort of silence as Wheeljack showed what a gentlemech he could be. At least it felt floaty to Smokescreen. Washing another mech was a good way to bond, right? He tried to hold in hot ventilations as the older mech took it nice and slow. Wheeljack was extra gentle around cracked plating, and made sure to get the dirt and energon out of every little crevice on the front of that leg.
Though Smokescreen had gotten to know Wheeljack a little bit during missions, he hadn't really spent much time with him. Alone, at least. Optimus permitted and encouraged the team to refuel and play together often; he valued that closeness even if he didn't participate in it himself (or... did he?). Always went for a drive when they wanted to party.
And at those parties, they had a good lob and then came the stories. But he hadn't heard anything normal or everyday. Just war stuff. Which was always great, Wheeljack's stories never let anyone down. But Smokescreen found himself wanting to know what things were like before the war. He and Bumblebee didn't really know much about that. At least Bee had gotten to experience the war, while Smokescreen slept through it. How would he have turned out if he'd gotten to be a soldier and grow up with everyone else? Would he still be bright-eyed like the Scout, or would he be tired and sad, like the older mechs?
"You could tell me a story now," Smokescreen said, trying his best not to be awkward about it. He genuinely wanted to hear. But he also maybe wanted Wheeljack to keep washing him.
Wheeljack's funny optics cut up to meet Smokescreen's interested stare, and suddenly he felt young again. Wouldn't hurt to share a little bit now, right? He deserved a little attention after such a drawn out mission.
He set the leg down and lifted the other one, searching his processor with a little hum as he tried to think of a good one.
"I took a lot of repair jobs for awhile," the Wrecker started, scrubbing slower at Smokescreen's plating. "Liked makin' my own hours. More time to be an idiot.
"Got a ping from a client one day when I was dealin' with a hell of a hangover. Happened a few times, but this was the worst."
Wheeljack lifted Smokescreen's leg more so he could clean a pede, and the younger mech tried to stay balanced.
"Why? Did you purge on their floor or something?" he asked, looking at the bubbles all over Wheeljack's hands.
"Nah," the mech answered. "Turned out to be my—"
"Your two nano-cycles in the washracks is up, soldiers!"
Both bots scrambled at the sound of Magnus's booming voice over their commlinks. Smokescreen slipped in his friend's hold and in the excitement, the Wrecker's bonked against his chest plate loudly.
"Whoa, whoa," Wheeljack said with a laugh, suddenly on his pedes and holding Smokescreen up with slippery servos. "Don't break your aft, I need ya out there."
"I'm sorry, scrap—"
Right. Relax. Smokescreen had steady footing now, though Wheeljack's servos lingered. Cleanser suds slid and dripped down his legs. By now most of the steam was gone but it didn't stop Smokescreen from feeling like he was full of hot air.
They looked at each other for a moment, and the Wrecker gave a casual shrug, fingers twitching on Smokescreen's waist.
"Guess I'll save that story for next time," he said.
Smokescreen stared stupidly before cutting his gaze down, certain that his faceplate was a different color by now. His spark swirled.
Wheeljack figured they should get to rinsing off, and started to loosen his hold and move away. To his surprise, Smokescreen practically yanked at his hands, keeping them in place.
"Y'know, if, uh," the younger bot started, already kicking himself mentally. "If ya don't mind overtime, I'd be up for more story... time." Frag, that sounded stupid.
But Wheeljack practically beamed and wasted no time in nudging him with his big stupid helm like a wet and happy rhino. Smokescreen nearly popped an optic from the sudden affection and sort of froze a little. He'd heard that helm nudging was something older mechs did a lot in place of kissing, but he'd never really... Wow. Being on the receiving end from a fragging war hero was kind of surreal.
"No patrol in the mornin'," Wheeljack murmured between nudges. "Gonna be in the Jackhammer tonight."
It was a soft invite (for Wheeljack, anyway) that a Smokescreen took eagerly in the form of shoving his face forward in an attempt to nudge the Wrecker back, and instead smacking into an audial.
Wheeljack started slightly, plated audial snapping back in a way Smokescreen sometimes noticed it did on the field. Or when Magnus was lecturing. For as stoic as Wheeljack could be, he was deceptively expressive with body language. Don't even get him started on those winglets. He wondered if he'd get the courage to ask if he could touch them. Frag knows he wanted Wheeljack to squeeze his doorwings until his vision shorted out. Primus, where was his processor tonight?
"Sorry—" Smokescreen tried, but shut up when he found his chin held—Wow, Wheeljack had really really big hands.
"That a yes?"
Smokescreen was practically steaming out of his intake.
"Yeah." His servos found his friend's sides and gripped plating when he finally found the courage to give a proper helm nudge. In exchange he received a chuckle and a glowing gaze.
Smokescreen arched against him and was... a little embarrassed at how ready he felt.
Why did he care though? He was on Earth, he was on a dream team with his idols, and he felt comfortable with Wheeljack right now. Maybe comfortable wasn't the best word for this moment, seeing as he wanted those soapy servos dragging down his backstrut and he was about a second away from asking for it right then and there—when a banging noise reminded them both they were being waited on.
Magnus glared holes into their heads when they exited the washracks still dripping. His "my soldiers are having fun" alarm was likely going off and Wheeljack took pleasure in teasing him.
After confirming their little date, the rookie went shuffling off to the med bay and Ratchet didn't even bother asking what his big stupid smile was about.