Thank you guys for the responses last chapter! It made me feel good and totally inspired to get this chapter out, all you wonderful people; NovaShifter15, 99luftballonsx.o.x, JessieBWriting, SolusPrimeLightblast, Ekeifer, Khalthar, AutobotSeeker98, emzydatffan, xXTheLegendXx, CastielLunaWinchester, jgoss, SeaKissed140, mostly a reader fangirl99, SapphireSpark, and Guest (Can you log into your account and PM me so we can talk about your request? Thanks).
Also, NovaShifter15 and I have been talking about keeping the fandom alive. And she came up with a great phrase "KTL" which is short for Keep Transformers aLive. She's been encouraging her favorite authors with success, and reviewing people's works for reassurance and I encourage y'all to do it too. #KTL.
Now onto the chapter.
Chapter Forty-One: Reunion
I was up on my feet in an instant, running out of the room with the red mini-bot right on my heels. We traveled down the halls, out of the civilian areas and into the hangars where the main activity was. Not long, we arrived at the Main Hangar, which large metal doors were wide open to display the courtyard, where two cinereal military planes that landed down on the strip. One had soldiers coming out of it, while the larger one had the Autobot's coming down in their alte-mode forms. I recognize Sideswipe and Sunstreaker's alt modes instantly and couldn't fight the smile that wormed its way up my lips. Seeing them here and unharmed sent a burst of joy through my chest, but I couldn't go to them just yet. First, I needed to find my family.
As soon as I saw Lennox, I ran over to him.
He turned around at the sound of his name being called, his eyes widening in surprise, "Charlie?"
I pulled him into a hug, a hug he wasn't entirely ready for considering the surprised gasp that escaped him. But then he relaxed and gave me a quick pat on the shoulder before we parted, "Where are they?"
He nodded towards the Hangar across the courtyard, "In the human medical bay."
I nodded, turning to go off, but he stopped me by grabbing me upper arm, "Wait, wait Charlie hold on! You can't go in there yet!"
I frowned, trying not to show my panic, "Why not?"
He shook his head slowly, "They're in shock right now. Everything is overwhelming for them right now, they were kidnapped by one set of giant robots, and now they're with another set."
My eyes widened, "They're...they're not hurt are they?"
"Not physically," He said, "But their emotional state is a bit...it's better to just give them a little time first."
"So what are you saying? I can't see my own mother and brother?" I asked, my voice getting louder as the anger grew.
"Charlie..." Quickshift murmured.
"No, that's not it at all," He replied quickly, "Just let the doctors check up on them, okay? I'll let you know when they're ready, I promise."
Before I could protest anymore, a soldier called for him, and he quickly excused himself. I watched him go, feeling the anger and panic begin to simmer down as I took a deep breath. I felt Quickshift tug on my arm, and I looked down at him.
"You okay?" He asked.
"Yeah...well," I mumbled lamely, "It's just, my family is closer than ever and I still can't see them. It's driving me insane."
"You'll see them Charlie, when the time is right, I promise." He said softly. Everyone keeps making these promises.
I nodded silently, turning around at the sounds of the familiar smooth, nice engines of the twins. Sideswipe was the first one to pull up, and opened his driver's door to reveal his holoform. Despite my mood, I smiled as I ran over to engulf him in a much needed hug, wrapping my arms around his neck tightly. I took in his familiar scent, and felt the access anger and anxiety draining away...I always felt safe when I was in his arms. I only pulled away just to look up at him, suddenly aware of how close I was to his face and blushed a little.
"I'm so glad you guys are safe." I told him earnestly.
"Me too, Sweetspark." He murmured softly, leaning my head back into the crook of his neck. I didn't fight it. Instead, I just watched as Sideswipe nodded in acknowledgement of Quickshift's presence. "Quickshift."
The mini-bot shrugged, "Slightly less irritating red twin."
Sideswipe chuckled, and I heard Sunstreaker's door swing open, and his holoform generated right beside us. I pulled away from Sides just to envelope myself in his brother's arms.
"You just couldn't stay in the med bay, could you?" He mumbled, but there wasn't any annoyance in his tone. If anything, it sounded affectionate as he brushed the wild strands of hair out of my face.
I snorted lowly, "It's not like Ratchet hasn't been dragging me back there every day for check-ups."
"Still," Sideswipe said, and I turned my body to look at him while I was still in Sunstreaker's arms, "We just want to make sure you're okay."
I nodded, "I would be...if they'd let me see them."
Sideswipe's eyes widened, "You haven't seen them yet?"
I shook my head, "Lennox said they're in the human med bay, getting checked out."
Sunstreaker grunted, "Get in his mode."
I blinked, "What?" He maneuvered around me, and I admit that I was disappointed at the loss of contact. Sideswipe's Corvette started up, the light's flashing as both doors swung open.
"We're going to take you to them." Sideswipe answered, grabbing my hand and interlacing our fingers. He gently tugged me in the direction of his car, but I was hesitant.
"But...Lennox said that-"
"Frag what he says," Sunstreaker answered gruffly, "We didn't fly half-way around the planet to rescue your family just for you to remain separated. Get in the Corvette, Charlie."
Well, when he put it like that. I nodded, letting the silver twin guide me to the car and climbing over the console to get to the passenger's side. The golden twin's holoform disappeared into small sparks as Sideswipe shut the door, buckling himself up, before turning to me.
He had a serious look in his eyes, "Are you ready to see them again?"
I nodded quickly, the anxiety starting to build up in my chest again. "Yes." Please, hurry before I burst.
"Hey what bout me? Ya weren't just gonna leave me out there!" Quickshift said, opening the passenger's door and crawling over me to get to the backseats. That actually made me laugh, as he fixed himself all nice in his seat before crossing his silver and red accented arms, "Aight, now I'm ready."
Without another word, Sideswipe's engine revved that deep, smooth sound I liked. It vibrated through the seats and into my skin, making me calm down for a moment. God I loved his alte mode. And then we were off, towards the other side of the base where the med bay awaited, with Sunstreaker right behind us.
I opened the door before Sideswipe finished parking, walking through the door to get inside. It's been a long time since I was in the human medical bay, in fact, the last time I was here was the first day I arrived on base. I was so used to Ratchet's enormous med bay, that seeing the small size of the normal med bay made me feel a bit claustrophobic, but I pushed those thoughts to the back of my mind as I went up to the lady at the reception desk.
"Excuse me," I asked politely, gathering her attention, "Can I ask which room Evelyn and Colton Garrison are in?"
She looked down at the screen, hands flying across the keyboard in concentration. She fixed her glasses before glancing back up at me, "Room 34."
"Thank you so much." I said eagerly, before going towards the hall where many medical personnel were walking to and from. I heard the rather surprised sound the lady at the desk made behind me, probably at the sigh of Quickshift, but I didn't focus too much on it. My eyes scanned each door on both sides of the hall, looking for 34. It took me up two flights of stairs before I finally found the room, and went for the doorknob but paused at the last moment.
"Well...what are ya waiting for?" Quickshift asked, also breathless, from running.
"Everything's changed now," I said, the realization just coming to me as I looked at him, "They know about your kind."
"Yeah, that's kinda obvious." He said.
I turned to the twins, who shared a look of confusion at my reluctance. Nervously, I found myself playing with my fingers, looking down at the bright, tiled floor. Their long legs were still in my peripheral vision, and I watched as they shifted back on forth on their weight.
One pair of legs stepped out towards me, "Charlie, what's wrong?"
I looked up to see that it was Sideswipe, a worried look in his sweet blue eyes. I shrugged, looking back down at the ground, "What if they don't like you guys? What...what if they can't accept you because of what happened with the Decepticons?" The thought didn't cross my mind until now, and the more I was thinking about it, the more I had to wonder. If Colton and my mom could never accept them in my life, what would I do? I wasn't strong enough to chose one family over the other. I couldn't replace them. I depended on both.
Sideswipe gently tilted up my chin, so that I had no choice but to look at him. "Don't worry about that right now Sweetspark. Just go and be with them."
"We'll wait out here." Sunstreaker added, and his twin nodded.
"Wait, what? I didn't agree ta that!" Quickshift protested.
"It was never up to you." Sunstreaker said curtly, shooting the mini-bot a pointed look. Quickshift just glared back, but soon gave up and went to sit quietly down in a chair outside in the hall. Good, I really didn't want him to make a fuss out of this. Sunstreaker nodded, "Go ahead, Charlie."
"We'll be right here, promise." Sideswipe encouraged.
I nodded, taking in another deep breath, before turning and knocking on the door. It didn't open right away, but when it did, a doctor appeared in their standard medical uniform. It made me briefly wondered why Ratchet dressed in such a large white lab coat, if anything it made him seem more like a scientist...but that's not important right now.
"And you are, miss?" The man asked. He had short cropped black hair, thin glasses, and wide green eyes.
"I...I'm here to visit the Garrisons. I heard they would be here." I forced myself to speak, trying to ignore the lump in my throat.
He peered at me for a moment, before widening the door to reveal two familiar people sitting on two beds near the back of the room. My eyes widened, and every ounce of fear, anxiety, and worry seemed to evaporate into nothing when I saw their faces. Their beautiful faces...they're alive. I ran over to them, hugging my mother without any hint or warning. Her gasp was short-lived once she recognized me, and nearly cried out my name as she wrapped her arms around me tightly, and so did Colton, hugging me from my other side. I could already feel the tears, but this time I didn't stop them. I was tired of crying, but I let it slide this once.
I pulled away, looking at the matching red and puffy faces of my family. We were a mess.
"I'm so glad you guys are safe, I'm so so sorry! I didn't know they would come after you! I always feared they were gonna do it, and it scared me so much! I'm so sorry I put you guys through that, it's my fault, I should've done better! I should've protected you guys better, it's my fault I'm so-"
"Charlie," Mom interrupted softly, "Honey, what are you talking about?"
"You," I sniffled, "You guys were captured and..."
"That wasn't your fault," Colton spoke up, with a shake of his head, "There's nothing you need to apologize for, we're just glad to be with you again."
"What?" Now I was confused, my eyebrows drawn in as I stared at them, "W-Why are you guys acting so calm about this? You were kidnapped by giant, alien robots."
"Sweetheart," Mom said softly, rubbing my shoulder in a comforting way, "We knew about those aliens, before we were kidnapped."
I was surprised. I jolted in shock, snapping my head to look at her, "What?!"
"We saw them the day they attacked Washington." Colton said, his mood blackened and his tone had an edge to it. He shook his head as he stared hard at the ground, "The government tried to cover it up, but we knew the truth. The survivors knew."
"You...you knew?" I repeated, still in shock.
"Yes, we knew. We didn't want to tell you because well, truthfully we were still coming to terms with it ourselves," Mom answered honestly, "But yes, we knew. And we certainly didn't think you knew."
"I..." I trailed off for a moment, trying to gather the right words to say, "I knew for a long time. It was the reason I had to leave you guys in the first place, because of this exact thing. I didn't want my family to get involved, I had to disappear..."
"We get it." Colton nodded, "Doesn't matter, the past is the past. Let's just be glad we're all here together."
"Thank God." My mother murmured.
The doctor cleared his throat, reminding me that he was still in the room as we all glanced at him, "If that is all, I would ask for you to please step out and-"
"What?!" Colton was the one to rage, "No. Hell no, she's not leaving us again!"
"I-I sir, calm down, I'm still performing check-ups on you and I-"
"So? Why can't she be here for that?" Colton asked, getting off of his bed to go toe to toe with the doctor. It didn't help that he happened to be a whole head taller than him.
"L-Listen sir, I know you have been in a traumatic, stressful situation, but you need to remain calm. I am simply doing my duty by following orders." He tried to explain, but Colton wasn't having any of it.
"Colton." Mom scolded firmly, cutting him off effectively. He glanced back at my mother, sensing her cold glare, and backed away from the shaken up doctor as sat back down on his bed indignantly.
Once he was seated, she turned back to the doctor. "What my son was trying to say was, this is my daughter, and she stays. Period."
The doctor seemed to acknowledge that he had lost this argument, and continued on with his check-ups, doing my mother first for obvious reasons.
Time had flown by, and it had been almost three hours since I've been with them, but of course I didn't mind. I had stayed and talked, catching up with my family while they were getting their check-ups. The doctor had declared they were both well, but they would still stay here overnight. I was hesitant about the subject of the Autobots because of the kidnapping and their involvement in dad's death, but I had to remind myself that I couldn't avoid the topic forever. Despite our nice conversations, it was a looming elephant in the room. So, as easily as I could, I eased them into the topic of the Autobots.
I told them about how they were faction, fighting for the freedom and life of others and against the Decepticons. I explained that their leader was Optimus, and he valued all living things. I told them about the vow Optimus made all of his soldiers swear to protect and defend all life, and that they had been protecting me for almost six months now. I explained to them how I had got in contact with the first Autobot (Sideswipe) and how that meeting had sealed my fate. I told them as much as I could, and they just nodded their heads, trying to keep up. And when I didn't have anything else to say, we just sat there, Colton moved over so that we were all on one bed. We sat in a contented silence, just holding each other and thankful that we were all living and breathing.
It was until nine pm that someone knocked on the door. I leaned my head up, "Yes?"
"Uh...you good in there?" It was Quickshift. I totally forgot about them, ohmygod.
I managed to pull myself away from my mother's grip to go to the door, cracking it open to look at him. 'I am so sorry' I mouthed towards him.
He nodded, "So, is everythin' goin' well, then?"
I nodded back with a small smile.
Quickshift nodded, "The twins had duty so they told me to tell ya they had ta go. They'll be back soon ta pick ya up tho...or ya wanna sleep here?"
"Um, I think I'm gonna be with them for the night." I said, "Sorry for making you wait this long, I should've told you earlier..."
The red mini-bot shook his head, "Nah, it's aight. I understand, I'll see ya tomorrow then. Kay?"
I nodded again, "Okay."
Quickshift nodded back, before turning and walking off. I shut the door quietly and walked back over to my family, sitting down next to my mother.
"Who was that?" Colton asked inquisitively.
"Um, just a friend." I mumbled. I don't think they were quite ready to see an alien robot yet.
"Is Santiago here?" My mother asked, seemingly out of the blue.
I stared up at her, "Huh?"
"Santiago, honey," She repeated, "You were traveling with him back in Washington. You said he saved you, from those Decepticons. Is he here too?"
I totally forgot I told her all that. Colton seemed to perk up at the mention of Sunstreaker too.
"Um," I scratched my head, "Yeah, he's here. He's working right now, I'm sure he'll stop by tomorrow."
"Good." Mom said, "I'd like to get to know my daughter's boyfriend a little better."
I looked at Colton and he glared at me, before glaring at Mom, then back at me. "And nobody was gonna tell me this until now?"
Mom feigned surprise, "Oops?"
I groaned, "Mom...stop, it's not like that."
"I thought you loved him." She said, now she was confused.
I felt myself blush wildly, so I averted my gaze. "I don't know..."
"No need to try and unconvince me, I know you like him. I saw the way you looked at him when we were in that hotel room," She said confidently, "And besides you're my daughter. You can't hide your true feelings for me, even if you tried."
"First of all, I did not approve of this Santiago guy as your boyfriend." Colton said.
I sighed, burying my head in my hands. So glad they're not standing out there anymore.
"Oh hush now Colton," Mom said, before focusing on me again, "Do you really like him Charlie?"
She smiled softly, "Then he's alright with me, but I still want to see him again."
"Okay." I mumbled, still trying to find a way to stop blushing.
About an hour later, both of them were asleep. I couldn't blame them after all the stress they've went through. That combined with the jet-lag from the flight was surely enough to have them sleeping, together on my mother's bed. I couldn't sleep though, for reasons that involved with the dark energy that was contaminating my systems. It was easy to not think about it when I was with my family, but now, in the darkness with just my thoughts to entertain me, it was becoming difficult not to. I was gonna need those pills.
I started when I heard the sound of the door opened, revealing the slip of light that crept across the floor. I saw a figure's head poke through the crack, looking around.
"Schlemiel?" A voice called quietly into the darkness. I recognized that voice, it was Sideswipe's.
I carefully climbed my way out of bed, and padded over to the door. I grabbed it to slip past, and then shut it behind me. I smiled at him, before raising an eyebrow when I realized that Sideswipe was the only one.
Sideswipe shrugged, "On patrol, doesn't get off until thirty more minutes."
I snorted, "Someone's not gonna be a happy camper."
"When was he ever one?" I snorted a chuckle and Sideswipe grinned at his remark, before his face contorted into a look of veiled worry as he frowned. He seemed to catch himself though, and smiled brightly at me like nothing happened.
"What was that?" I asked.
"What was what?"
"That face you made, I know you know what I'm talking about Sideswipe." I said, poking him in the shoulder.
He sighed, putting his hands in his pockets, "It's nothing, I think I was just seeing things, but..."
"But what?" I prompted.
"Something weird happened on that mission, Charlie. Something abnormal."
Now I was intrigued, and a little worried by the troubled look on his face. "What happened?"
"Well, everything was going according to plan. Jenna was the decoy, and Optimus, Jazz and Bluestreak went to meet up with Starscream and them in another location while we infiltrated their base. Sunny and I were looking for them, and we found them in the cells, with this Con named Breakdown. Sunny and I were ready to slag him, but then he got your mom and put a cannon to her face," He hesitated for a moment, glancing up at me. When he saw that I had no overly-negative reaction, he continued, "He threatened to kill her if we took another step. We've...we've been in hostage situations like these before, so we already knew how we were gonna take him down, but...before we even got the chance to touch him, he started screaming out in pain." I raised both eyebrows, "I'm serious, we hadn't even slaggin' touched him and he was acting like he was getting his arm ripped off. But that's not the most disturbing part...His armor started cracking, his circuits all shorted out and it was like his frame was melting from the inside out. And I could've sworn I sensed something, something dark, it was like he was being possessed and killed slowly in the most painful away possible at the same time." Sideswipe shook his head, "He offlined, but...something just wasn't right with the way he died."
A certain dread filled me at the thought, but something inside me told me I already knew the reason why. "And...this all started happening when he threatened to kill my mom?"
The silver twin nodded, "Yeah. Was perfectly fine until then."
No harm will come to your family, little human...
I shivered at the thought, and Sideswipe caught it, "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," I shook my head, "I'm just glad he's dead."
"Yeah," He replied after a moment, "I am too." He glanced past me, although I don't know why because the door was shut, "Quickshift said you were gonna sleep here tonight, is that true?"
I nodded, "Yeah."
"Are they okay?" He asked softly.
"For the most part," I replied, "They knew about your existence before the kidnapping because of Washington."
"Oh." Sideswipe murmured.
"But, I think they'll fit in fine." I said, plastering a smile. "At least we're all back together again."
"Everything will be okay now." He said, pulling me into a hug.
And it was true. Now that I had both families here together, I felt more complete and happy then I had in a long time. And somehow, despite all of the madness going on around I really did hold on to Sideswipe's words. I really hoped it would.
Will they all be okay? Only time will tell, lol. Thanks as always for reading, make sure to review! And until next time, byez.