I'd really like it if people would read this AN. I know it can be a pain sometimes, but I gaurentee that if you read this you will understand what's going on a lot faster and save yourself a lot of confusion.

So, I love Transformers. And I recently came across an AU created by sleepyoldvamp on DeviantArt. All the characters, character designs, and most of the ideas belong to Sleepy. I just fell in love with this AU and wanted to connect the dots between the pictures Sleepy draws and the little oneshots I find here and there. Just a warning, I don't have all of the information and details on this AU so I had to improvise and work with what I know. I do have permission to write and post this from Sleepy. The name of this story is a nod to Sleepy since his gallery folder for this AU is 'Chasing the Flame'. The Preview Image is also a work of Sleepy's. Not mine.

This is a Humanized Transformers Story.


Not my problem if you read it anyway.

Anyway, the Autobots go by normal human names. For now, Bumblebee is the only transformers character in the story. Bumblebee=Alex. I'll have a link to Sleepy's pictures of him at the end of the chapter so you can see what he looks like.

Transformers belongs to Hasbro©.

Characters and Designs and Ideas and Preview Image belong to sleepyoldvamp.

I don't own anything.

Story Warnings: Swearing, Violence, Blood, Yaoi

Chapter Warnings: Mentions of Drugs, Swearing

Chapter 1

I gave a quiet sigh as I slipped into the tiny, filthy kitchen of my home. There was dirt in every low corner and mold growing in every high corner and even on the ceiling. The sink was cluttered with dishes and the oven covered with crusted and buzzing pans. "Chore after school," I mumbled to myself as I dug through the bread bin, searching for the loaf with the least mold on it. When I located it, I flipped through the slices until I found a clean one, pulled it out, and plopped it in the ancient toaster.

As my breakfast cooked I moved over to my backpack, which was sitting on the table. I loved the thing. I'd had it for three years now and it was still going strong. Sure the straps were held together by duct tape and the zipper to the biggest pouch had to be careful coaxed into moving, but it was still working for me. I dug out my school-given planner and opened it to the page with yesterday's date on it, looking through my neat hand writing and seeing if I missed any homework last night. Behind me, I heard the heavy steps of my druggie mother enter the room followed by the sound of the fridge opening.

"Morning," I greeted softly, not wanting to aggravate any headache she might have.

The sound of a beer can being opened was my reply and then a sloppy sip of the liquid. "I'm out of my meds," the woman rasped. My eyes closed for a moment, shoulders drooping. Shit. Of all the times this had to happen it had to be now when father was on a losing streak. My mother had been diagnosed with lung cancer when I was nine and, because we couldn't afford chemo, she was on pain medication and the kind of meds that kept her from coughing up a lung. They were expensive to purchase and my mother was liberal in their use as well as mixing in her own drugs to ease her pain. And since her unemployment check went to meth that left it to father or me to get her the other meds.

My silence apparently wasn't enough of an answer for her. "You know we wouldn't have to worry about this if you actually got a job," she snapped, voice husky from years of smoking and the cancer.

It was on the tip of my tongue to snap that she or father should get a job, but I bit my cheek as I turned and grabbed my toast from the toaster, stuffing the corner into my mouth. "I can't, mother," I said around my toast, careful not to look at her as I grabbed my jacket and shrugged it on. "I'm 17, remember? I can't legally work until I'm 18." I didn't want to look at her. I didn't want to see how far she'd deteriorated over the years. My mental picture was a lot less painful to see.

The woman snorted and I felt a hand hit my shoulder. "Like that's ever stopped anyone. Stop making excuses and go get a goddamn job, you bum."

Ignoring the hit, I zipped up my backpack and threw it over my shoulders. "I'll look for places to work after school," I offered quietly before sighing when that only earned me another smack and a push.

"You and your fancy education. You're only wasting your time on books and teachers. Not to mention you're wasting my money, Alex. I don't know why you keep insisting on going back there."

"I need my diploma to go to college," I pointed out resolutely, squaring my shoulders for the reaction. No matter what she said, I was going to college. I was getting out of here.

My mother fairly hissed as she followed me out of the kitchen, smacking and pushing me the entire way with her feeble strength. "Do you have any idea how much money college costs? I bet you don't, you stupid little shit. I bet you don't care. Do you know what your father goes through to get the money he does to put food on the table?" He gambles and drinks and somehow always manages to avoid getting into trouble. Honestly, he was my inspiration to get out of this town. There was no way in hell I was going to chance ending up like him; unsure of the number of days passing by and instead living by the next beer to fit into my hand or the next card game to ultimately lose money in. No. I was better than that. I just needed another year and a half and I could get out of here. Just a year and a half.

I took a deep calming breath before taking a bite of my toast and opening the door. "I have to go to school, mother. I'll be home late."

"You better bring back some money, you bastard!" she screeched, practically shoving me down the stairs that led to the front door of our shack of a home. "We don't have to feed you and clothe you, ungrateful piece of crap!"

I waved a lazy hand as I quickly walked down the street, head down to avoid anyone's gaze, dodging around piles of trash and giving groups of people a wide berth without being obvious. The street was fairly empty due to the early morning, but there were those unstable in the head enough to force them out of their homes and ready to be triggered by anything. It wasn't pleasant to be that trigger despite the fact that I had years of martial arts training under my belt. A fight just wasn't the right way to start the day.

When I finished my toast, I brushed the crumbs from the front of my black jacket that was open to reveal the faded yellow shirt with white graphic designs. I frowned when I saw some dark stain on my black jeans, but, since a simple brush didn't make it disappear, I resigned myself to living with it until I could wash my clothes again. It was always a thorn in my side whenever my clothes were stained or rumpled. Just because I lived in the worst part of town didn't mean I had to look like it.

On that thought, I stopped in front of a shop with a glass window and squinted in it, fussing with my short blond hair. It was a length that I found easy to care for and I found it okay that it decided to stick straight up for the most part. Just above my forehead were two locks of black hair. Despite all the guesses and teasing they were, in fact, natural. Much to my displeasure. It just struck me as ridiculous. What genes did I have that gave me such weird hair? For a moment, I met my own tired blue gaze, debating if I should take out the piercing in my left eyebrow or the two hoops that pierced my left ear, before shaking my head and continuing my mile-and-a-half walk to school.

I got there about ten minutes before the bell would ring and immediately made my way to my small locker, crouching down to reach it and grab the books I needed. My hand was reaching to close the door when a hand grabbed my hip and another smacked my butt. "Looking good there, Alex," a male voice teased.

My locker slammed shut and I stood, smacking away the unwanted hand while shouldering my bag. "Careful, Jess," I warned in a low voice. "You keep that up and I'm really going to think you're gay."

The dirty blond teenager with an out-of-place tan pouted at me. "Aw. You're grumpy. Rough morning?" I rolled my eyes before turning to the other two. "Hey, Mike. Hey, Cal." Mike was a tall and burly senior who had red shaggy hair that he didn't bother to take care of. His nose was crooked in two places, showing his history of fights. At his side, Cal was almost tiny, dressed in all black with pasty, white skin and drooping, black, greasy hair and acne dotting his cheeks and jaw. The three were an odd group, especially with me added in, but they've been by my side since freshmen year, three years ago, and I wasn't about to question them.

Cal hummed a reply and Mike gave a feral smile. "You look like you went to Samantha's party last night," he commented in a deep grating voice.

I huffed and gave him a droll look. "You know I didn't." I got a smack on the back of my head for my attitude.

"Shape up. You're supposed to be cheery." I only sighed and stiffened only a little when Jess wrapped an arm around my shoulders as we walked to class.

"Oh, you should've been there, Alex," he exclaimed excitedly. "There was so much beer going around and even some liquor."

"Don't forget the dope," Cal put in from the other side of Mike.

Jess whistled appreciatively. "Oh, I don't think I can. My head is still buzzing from all of it. It was the good stuff, Alex. It would've been a good sample to start you on."

I grimaced and tightened my grip on my backpack strap. "Ugh. No, thank you. I'll keep my sanity thank you very much."

The dirty blond pouted again and dropped some more of his weight on my shoulders, dragging his feet as we approached our classroom. "You've gotten lighten up, Alex. You'll never get girls with that stick up your ass. Hello, ladies," Jess drawled his greeting to a couple of girls—sluts—walking past, leering at them, and only got sniffs in reply, which caused him to snort and mutter about girls playing hard to get.

Mike rumbled a laugh. "The ladies were good too," he said, bringing the topic back to the party. "There was quite a bit of action going on last night."

Cal perked up and turned to look up at his taller friend as they weaved through the desks to the back row. "You got some action, didn't you?" he asked, a smile growing on his face.

Mike nodded as he fell into his seat, a smug smirk on his face. "Felicity Howells."

Jess gasped and practically threw himself across my desk to get closer to the bigger teen. "No way. Howells?" A smirk landed on his face. "Did she howl?"

"With the puns already?" I groaned, flicking his ear and making him yelp and go back to his seat. Even Cal was giving Jess an unhappy gaze, but Mike just grinned.

"Oh, yes. She did."

I tuned out the conversation as the other two wheedled Mike for details. The mental picture of Mike and Felicity together was unattractive to me. Hell, the thought of any man and woman together in bed was quick to kill any attraction in me. If I was honest, hearing my friends go on and on about how good or lacking a girl was in bed made me sick. Not only because of the disrespect and derogatory terms but because the thought of two men together was so much more nice to think about. And I would die before that truth left me and reached living ears. The fact that I was gay was going with me to the grave.

"Hey, Alex." I jolted out of my thoughts, which were taking a pleasant turn, to see Jess poking me with a teasing smile. "Imagining Felicity howling?" he asked in what I assumed was his attempt at a seductive whisper.

"Grow up," I commanded with a forced playful smile, pushing the teen away from me.

"We were talking about our next place to visit," Cal informed me as Jess got up and crouched between Mike's and I's desks so that we didn't have to talk so loudly.

My playful smile died and was replaced with a frown. 'Visiting': code word for robbing. When I'd first become a freshmen, I'd been struggling to keep as much monetary pressure off my parents. I'd met the three guys then and they'd invited me to 'visit' with them. It hadn't sat well with me at first, but the money I was able to take home with me and give to my mother, seeing her face light up, was worth it. So I'd kept 'visiting' with the boys and bringing home a somewhat steady and meager income. But somewhere in the middle of my sophomore year my house had been robbed, taking anything worth of value from the place that was supposed to be safe. I was given a taste of what I was doing to all those people I'd robbed, and it was a bitter taste. After that, I'd come up with excuses and reasons to avoid 'visiting' with my friends and I'd been lucky enough to avoid them over the summer, but now that junior year had started up again my friends wanted to go again.

"I don't know, guys," I murmured, glancing around at the other students taking their seats and at the clock. We only had a few more minutes. "I don't think I want to 'visit'."

"Oh, come on, Alex," Jess whined, shifting his hands to my desk and giving me puppy dogs eyes. "You haven't visited with us in forever! What happened to the good old days?"

Cal leaned over Mike's desk so he could speak quietly. "And we've already scoped out the place so you don't have to do it. It'll be an easy in and out. The Firebird Autoshop has basic security and the three workers always leave by ten. Piece of cake."

I was already shaking my head, reaching up to fuss with the piercings in my ear as I always did when I got stressed. "I don't think so. I'm fine right now. I don't need to visit."

"Bull," Mike said lowly, giving me a long and unhappy look when he saw I wouldn't be easily convinced. "We know you, Alex. You're the one who needs this money the most. Let us help you."

"And aren't we amigos?" Jess demanded. "We take care of each other. Even if you didn't need help you would help us, wouldn't you?"

"Of course!" I hissed before looking down at my desk. "But it's not right. I can't live my entire life 'visiting'. I need to stop before I become too dependent. The longer I keep 'visiting' the more prone I'm going to be to do it later in life. It's a psychological proven fact. It's like an addiction or habit. I've got to stop now so it doesn't get worse."

"But you're so good at it, Alex," Jess murmured, and I recognized the compliment as a means to make me relax and cave easier into his wishes. But I was smarter than all of them combined and recognized this tactic. "It's like your calling. You can pick a lock in less than a minute and get through practically any security system. Why stop at something you're good at?"

"Because it's bad for me and just wrong," I snapped quietly, glaring down at my friend.

Mike shifted in his seat, flexing his arms obviously. "Don't tell me you're a goodie-two-shoes now," he rumbled, a dark glint in his eyes.

I stiffened and held back the urge to either spit curses or punch him. "I'm taking care of myself," I hissed.

"You're being selfish," Cal retorted.

Mike nodded and glared back at me. "You haven't gone with us in over a year. It's about time you started carrying your own weight."

"My own wei—"

"We'll be on the corner of 1st and Redmond. Be there by ten."

I was this close to snapping at him that he had no right to order me around when the teacher came in and called for order. It was hard forcing my temper down, but I breathed it away using a trick I'd learned in martial arts. I took a deep breath, held it, and then slowly blew it, emptying out the reservoir of anger. It took a few repeats before my head was totally clear, but by the time I'd emptied myself and pulled the appropriate binder out of my backpack the teacher was done with roll call and class had started. It was difficult, ignoring the looks thrown my way from my friends and the bad feelings I was getting from them, but I managed it and went through the rest of my classes without further incident. After nearly a year of avoiding my friends but still keeping them as friends, I'd perfected the art of nonchalantly brushing off grabs for my attention.

My entire focus was on my classes and lessons. Yeah, I was bored out of my mind most of the time since I'd already read ahead in the textbooks, but sometimes the teachers gave little tokens of information I wouldn't have found anyway. Ever since I became aware of scholarships open to sophomores I'd been redoubling my efforts in school, fighting for each A that I got so I was that much more attractive to scholarships. It was obvious that I couldn't even pay my way through the local community college let alone the famous university right here in my city, so my only chance were scholarships and student loans to get into college. And everything I read on getting ready for college said I needed to start preparing as soon as possible. Every dollar and grade counted.

I wasted about seven hours after school, walking around the city and dropping by places to see if they would hire me. It was always the same answer every time. No. No. No. No. No. Jeez, a guy could only get rejected so many times. Sometimes I stumbled upon a small ma-and-pa place and they would let me do a small job for a quick buck; like take out the trash or wash the windows. That never yielded much money, but every dollar counted. Huh. I wonder if I should make that my motto.

So it was around 9:30 at night that I walked back through my front door. My ears immediately detected the loud snores of my fat, alcoholic father passed out on the couch with a blanket of beer cans and bottles covering him. My lip curled at the stench and disgusting sight before my stomach rumbled audibly. Maybe my father brought home some takeout. He was always fond of fast food and burgers that only cost a dollar. I preferred Chinese takeout and the good authentic spices, but that was expensive and, therefore, out of my reach

I made my way over to the fridge and opened the door, leaning down to peer in. Nothing but empty beer cases, moldy cheese, and a glob of something brown and green. Shaking my head, I closed the fridge and moved over to the sink, rolling up my jacket sleeves and turning on the water. At least I could keep myself busy with chores until I felt ready to go to bed. Besides, the water felt good and soothing against my hands and the mechanical motion of scrubbing dishes and reaching for the next one just numbed my mind.

Until chest rattling coughs interrupted my trance. I turned off the water and listened to my mother, fighting for breath down the hall in her room. A heavy weight sank into my stomach as I closed my eyes and rubbed my face with wet hands, black bangs drooping visibly to tickle my eyes. The coughing seemed to go on forever and when it stopped it was replaced by pained moans. It was in moments like these that I couldn't forget that my mother was dying. It was a miracle that she even lived this long, but she didn't have much longer. And the fact that I couldn't make her death easy or even stop it killed me. If I could just get the money she would be happier.

Money…I looked up at the old clock that hung from only one nail, tilting the whole thing. 9:46. My stomach rumbled and another round of coughing started up. I stood there for a long moment, staring at my clenched fists. Yes, it was the easiest and quickest way to get money, but that didn't make it right! But is listening to your mother suffering and neglecting yourself right? I can make do; I just need a few more months and I'll be 18 and working! Your mother could die in those few months. Do you really want her to die starving and in agony?

A pained sound escaped my throat as I lifted my hands and tugged at my short hair before I turned, pulled down my sleeves, and left the house.

I could make it to 1st and Redmond in time if I run.


But this pic is clean. Alex: ( sleepy old vamp . deviant art art / Bumble bee - Spex - 609 969 99)

sleepyoldvamp's Chasing the Flame Gallery: ( sleepy old vamp . deviant art gallery / 236 762 78 / Chasing - The - Flame)

sleepyoldvamp's DA account: ( sleepy old vamp . deviant art )

*hint: remove the spaces and parentheses*

*second hint: put a "dot" (c) (o) (m) and a forward slash after deviantart