Four Senses

By: Sinead

Author's Note: And I got bored again, so I decided to write something. This is almost a story of slowing yourself down so that you may learn how to really appreciate the small things. It's almost a story of learning to leave some things behind so that you may experience life to its fullest. For me, this is almost a story of "starting over," seeing things from a vastly different perspective than they had originally been seen in. Sure, this is an extreme case, but . . . sometimes, that's what someone needs to read.

Where am I?

Wait.

Who am I?

Why can I not see?

Pain . . . pain? Where's it coming from?

My eyes.

My head . . . right there, behind my right ear.

My God . . . I'm blind. I have . . . I have amnesia.

What happened to me?

Dinobot looked at Rattrap and the human girl beside him. Sapphire. That's her name. Slaggit, but she always managed to correct him whenever he said "female" or "girl" with a smile that made his core processor flicker with regret. Sapphire looked back up at him. "So you have the new orders?"

"Affirmative."

"'Ya gonna tell us, Lizard Lips?"

Dinobot snarled at Rattrap before replying. "We are to infiltrate the Predacon base and find that girl. Optimus changed his mind upon who was going in."

"Why?" Rattrap asked. "I thought dat it was gonna just be me an' Sapph."

Sapphire smiled and said, "Because Nurannoniel and Hacker think that it'll be for the better. I really don't blame them."

"'For the better?' What's dat supposed ta mean?"

Sapphire gave a noncommital shrug. Rattrap sighed. Dinobot snorted, and the three waited for the signal.

He's back.

What did I ever do to him? Why does he torment me like this?

Someone's with him. Who is it?

Female voice, telling him . . . that I am not worth any more attention? Who is that other voice that's agreeing with her? He sounds Texan.

Texan?

What's that? Why did that word come into my mind?

What . . . what's happening to me?

Optimus' signal burst to life over the comm-links, a short beep quickly followed by a longer one. The two Cybertronians and one human started forward on the selected path, always keeping under cover, always watching for a trap of Megatron's.

And then they were inside the Predacon base. Dinobot reverted to beast mode and took a deep breath in through his nostrils, sifting through metallic smells and the individual scents of the Predacons, searching for . . .

There!

With a nod to the two others in his team, he started off at a swift pace, carefully navigating the halls of the Darkside, avoiding a trigger-laser here, or pointing out a surveillance camera there for Rattrap to snipe out. Occasionally, he'd stop and have Sapphire walk forward a few paces after describing to her what to hit with her sword. Those were Megatron's most dangerous toys. They were the ones that detected a Spark signature, then fired a burst of Energon into the body of the intruder. Fortunately, humans didn't have traceable signatures.

And then they were at the torture chamber.

Dinobot opened the door.

The door's opened. Someone's there. More than one person, again.

What are they doing?

Nothing. With a hissed curse, Dinobot walked further into the room, trying to read the smells that clung to the walls, the floor, and even on a few patches of the ceiling.

She had been moved.

Slag, but that sucked.

Hands . . . no, not hands. Pincers? Something like that.

They're releasing me.

Why?

Won't they be punished?

I can't speak right. I can't . . . what?

They're . . . what?

What are Maximals?

And why am I going to them?

Rattrap, Sapphire and Dinobot were retracing their steps, hoping to find a second trail.

The second trail found them first.

Weapons were drawn by the two Maximals in a flash. Blackarachnia and Quickstrike weren't armed. Rattrap saw the limp figure being carried between them. "Hand da girl over."

Blackarachnia sighed, and looked at Quickstrike. As soon as she was supporting the girl completely, she walked forwards. "You don't have to believe me, but that's what me and 'Strike were going to do in the first place."

Sapphire walked forward, covered by Rattrap and Dinobot. Looking once at the girl's face, she looked at Dinobot. "You'll have to carry her. She won't be able to walk." As soon as he picked the girl up carefully, Sapphire looked back at Blackarachnia and asked, "What happened to her?"

"Megs . . . he burned her eyes with some sort of light. Dunno how, 'cause we're impervious to most types of light radiation, the exception being Energon poisoning."

"What about the cut on her scalp?"

"She mouthed off to Boss Bot," Quickstrike supplied. "He hit her. She hasn't spoken since."

Blackarachnia silenced him with a glare. "She's tried speaking. I don't know what she was trying to say, but she mumbled something or another when we were freeing her."

"Any other major injuries?"

Blackarachnia sighed. "Cracked rib or two, cuts, bruises? And her left wrist looks funny."

"That's because it's broken," Sapphire hissed. "Blast it all." She looked at her watch, then shifted her eyes back up at the she-spider. "I don't know why you're doing this, and frankly, I don't care. But . . . thank you. At least you helped us."

"At least you gave me a chance to speak before Rattrap blasted my brains across the walls," the Predacon replied. "Now get out. you don't have time to spare."

Cool hands . . . flesh. Not metal. One of my kind, whatever I am.

How long has it been since I came here? It feels like many days. I'm stronger now. I can feel that. I guess that I've been here longer than I thought I had been. That's good. I'm in a good place.

A feminine voice demanding answers . . . and getting them from the girl who was with those who saved me. I remember the . . . the whatever-it-was that carried me back to this place. He was strong, silent. I was safe with him.

Names are flying around my ears.

Sapphire.

Nurannoniel.

StarGazer.

Dannn.

Hacker.

Starath.

Miss Special.

Lady Venom.

Skyfire.

They're crying. Someone's crying . . .

Starath was seething. Silverbolt had his hands full with StarGazer, who was trying to go after whoever had hurt her friend and comrade. Tears were in the eyes of most of those who were in the room, but whether they were of anger or of complete heartache that something like this had been done to one of their own . . . it didn't matter.

"Who . . . who's crying?"

StarGazer turned at the sound of the weak voice.

Optimus rested fingertips on the back of the girl's right hand, resting them there gently. Thank Primus that she was unconscious while they had set her left wrist. "Nurannoniel is."

"Nurannoniel?"

"Sinead? Sinead, you're awake?"

Sinead?

Who's . . . why is that familiar?

I ask them who Sinead is.

A voice, soft and sad, whispers, "Amnesia."

StarGazer was more livid than before. Rhinox had to help Silverbolt hold StarGazer down. Her racket distressed some of the authors, but . . . Sinead was calm. Dinobot watched Sinead's face in silence. The eyebrows raised slightly from a slight frown, the upper parts of her cheeks tense slightly, and her mouth relaxes. Her voice speaks.

"StarGazer."

The author stopped immediately.

"Star?"

"I-I'm here."

"You . . . I know your voice."

"Oh, God . . ." The shortish blonde struggled again, but only to get to Sinead's side and fall to her knees and hold Sinead's hand.

Sinead's face lifted into a brilliant smile, albeit one in a bruised face. "You're familiar."

"I've been here the whole time."

"Then you should rest."

"But–"

"But you should rest. Your voice is tired."

"Blast it, Sinead, you're too much of the Fearless Leader. You're giving orders even when you're flat on your back."

"I'm leader?"

"Yeah."

"Then that's an order."

Laughter rippled nervously around the room, and StarGazer sighed, smiling, resting her forehead upon Sinead's hand. She'd be all right.

Two weeks passed since Sinead came to the Maximal base, and only now was she sitting up in bed. Every so often while she was speaking, a sort of surprised look would drift over her face, and she would explain what her memory had surrendered to her to whoever she was with. They would get one of the others who might have heard something about it, and the memory would more often than not be confirmed. While the other authors all spent shifts in with Sinead, most of them never even leaving the room when they were "off duty," StarGazer absolutely refused to leave Sinead's side. She'd sleep when Sinead slept, and would wake when her friend did.

Which was the argument at the current moment. Rattrap was sitting in on this, playing cards with Sapphire. Dinobot entered the room in the middle of a sentence.

"–'m not a child! I can wipe myself, thank you!"

A few muffled snickers echoed around the room.

"Becka, I really hate to point this out, but you're blind and you don't remember even half of what you've done in the last year alone."

"That doesn't mean that you have to be there every second of the day, jumping to do something for me that I can do for myself!"

"Really?"

"Yes, really!"

"Well guess what, Scalebelly: Live with it. I'm the one who got you captured in the first place, and I'm trying to make it up to you."

Rattrap interjected at this point. "Ah, sorry ta butt in, but Sapph told me about what happened, an' I think that Sinead would say dat it's her own slaggin' fault if she remembered."

"I'm the one that fell asleep on watch!" StarGazer snapped.

"So she took over for you! It was her own choice!" Dannn said, sighing in exasperation.

Sinead's voice broke the argument. "If I hear one more word about that discussion, I'm going to hurt whoever it is, no matter what my condition may be. Until I remember what happened to me, I don't want to hear what everyone else thinks on the matter."

StarGazer muttered a consent. "But I'm still not leaving your side."

Sinead ignored her. "Who just walked in?"

"Dinobot," Rattrap supplied.

"Thought so."

"Really," Skyfire replied, handing her a nutrient bar.

She fumbled with it for a moment before finding the notches and tearing the packaging open. Skyfire had held StarGazer's hands still while Sinead did that for herself, giving her a smirk. Sinead took a bite, swallowed, and replied to her Floridian friend, "Yeah. He walks differently than the others. Rattrap has a quick step, thanks to short legs."

"Hey!"

"But it's true, isn't it?"

"Yeah . . ."

"Rhinox is heavier than a lot of them, and he walks with a sort of purpose. Silverbolt has talons, so you hear those click. Then Cheetor walks with a light, sorta prancing step–"

"Because he's got Kacheetah to talk with," Starath said, laughing.

"Kacheetah's the one with the laughing voice?"

"Yep."

"Okay. Yeah, so anyway, Dinobot walks with an even pace that never changes, and it sounds as if he has a better balance than some other people I know."

"Alright already! I'm sorry dat I nearly tripped over 'ya! Happy?"

Sapphire laughed. Sinead aimed her bandaged head towards Dinobot, white gauze covering both eyes to try to rest them enough so that they could at least partially heal themselves. "And you also don't do anything unless there's a reason behind it."

Dinobot stayed as far from Sinead as he could manage. His voice was as measured as he could possibly keep it. "Rhinox says that you are well enough that tomorrow you may be brought outside." He turned and left before anything more could be said to him, walking down the hall to his room. Every time he saw that girl, his Spark jerked within him. It reminded him of his younger days, when he had once felt some sort of affection to a femme who was older than he had been at the time. She had burned him, rejecting his feelings in such a harsh manner that he had never quite gotten to the point of talking to a female on the same level. They confused him.

Then why was he feeling this way?

Sinead listened to the ex-Predacon's footsteps retreating. "Why does ne never say more than a sentence?"

Rattrap sat back, laying his cards down upon the table. "Huh. Looks like he doesn't around you, for some reason."

StarGazer blinked. "Holy . . ."

"What is it?" Hacker asked.

"Well, I don't know Dinobot well, but I know how most guys act . . . Hey, Skyfire, Dannn!"

"Yeah?" the boys chorused.

"When you like a girl, how do you react around them? You clam up, right?"

Shouts of surprise shot up around the room. Sinead frowned. "I doubt that."

Rattrap shouted for quiet. When he could sort his thoughts out, he sighed. "I dunno what da Choppuhface thinks, or how he thinks, sometimes, but . . . I know one thing 'bout 'im. An' dat's never ta ask him somethin' like dat."

"You found that out for yourself, didn't you?" Nurannoniel asked.

"Sorta. I learned not to really ask 'im personal stuff. He's touchy. Anyway, I'll see if I can dig sumthin' up. Don't say anythin' t' 'im until I get back ta 'ya, got it?"

All those who were in the room either nodded or murmured an affirmative. All, that is, except Sinead.

Dinobot had been the one delegated to keep watch over Sinead when she was outside. She had walked on her own, but now she lay back on a sun-warmed rock, feeling the breeze brush over her, cooling her bare arms as the sun warmed them. The others were positioned around her, some with weapons in case something came up. Dinobot sighed, unable to drag his optics off of Sinead. He wasn't even aware of Rattrap until the rat spoke. "Oi! Romeo!"

All the heads turned to where Dinobot snarled and gave a right-cut to the Transmetal's shoulder. Rattrap danced out of reach, holding his hands up. "Kiddin'! Kiddin'! Yeesh, Choppuhface! Don't overload on me!"

"Blasted rodent!"

"Right, right!"

With an irritated snarl, Dinobot demanded, "What."

"Da Boss Monkey want's 'ya upstairs."

"So be it."

As soon as the lift sealed behind Dinobot, Rattrap looked at the humans. "An' dat's da reason why I told you not ta slag da guy off."

"Where did he hit you?" Sinead asked.

"Shoulder. Nuthin' serious."

The raptor returned, and said, "Predacons approaching. Get inside."

Dannn helped Sinead off of the rock, then, at a light jog, guided her onto the lift with Lady Venom steadying her left side. The others packed as many as they could onto the elevator-like apparatus, and it lifted. Sinead was brought to her room with Miss Special to guard her, while Dannn looked at Optimus and Rhinox, who were preparing Sentinel to activate as soon as everyone was inside. Dinobot waited outside to wait under the Axalon so that he could pick off those who Sentinel didn't catch. Silverbolt and Rattrap went down to help him. The humans either manned a station, or waited out of the way to help out in whatever way Optimus told them to.

Hopefully this attack would be short.

Some hours later, Dinobot awoke in the CR chamber, hearing a large commotion happening outside the door. As soon as it slid upwards, he heard clearly what it was.

Sinead and StarGazer arguing about whose fault it was that Sinead was taken. Dinobot looked down at Rattrap, who said simply, "She remembered. She's also chewin' StarGazer out as thoroughly as you chew me out."

Dinobot looked at where StarGazer was standing before Sinead, now seeing why the lights were dimmed. Rhinox was replacing the bandage around Sinead's head, seeing to the small gash just behind her right ear. Sinead kept her eyes closed, but every so often they'd flicker when she spoke, as if she wanted to glare directly at StarGazer. Dinobot smirked, hearing as StarGazer got only a few words in before Sinead changed the subject. "Rattrap, did Dinobot just get out of the CR chamber?"

"Yeah."

"Good." She thus turned her wrath upon the hapless raptor. "What were you thinking when you turned your back upon Quickstrike?!"

"He shot Rattrap!"

"Yeah, and? Cover that idiot without looking at the poor guy! He's completely fine, and only took a glancing blow!"

"You haven't seen our battle!"

"I have too. And I have seen it with my eyes. I know how brutal you guys can get towards each other." She drew in a deep breath. "Oh, whatever. Believe what you want to."

Dinobot snarled, then left the room. Rattrap ran to catch up with him, keeping pace. The shorter bot said quietly, "Sinead likes you. She was worried that you were hurt worse than you had been."

Before Rattrap had finished the first sentence, Dinobot had stopped dead. His optics sought out Rattrap's, and the Maximal smiled, repeating, "She likes you."

"How?"

"Dunno. Don't want to know. But she does." Taking a cautionary step back, Rattrap said in an even quieter voice, "An' I think dat you like her, too."

Roaring in outrage, Dinobot would have chased Rattrap, but the bot had retreated to the command center. Dinobot turned and continued to his room, reviewing all his past exposures to the human. Always, she had been kind and smiling, despite all that she had been through.

But wasn't she like that to everyone?

Sighing again, the bot shut the lights off in his quarters, just managing to curl into a ball in the middle of the floor, finding that more comfortable than resting upon the bed.

A hand was on his shoulder.

Jerking awake and drawing a small dagger as he did so, he spun to see Sinead starting to lose balance. Cursing, Dinobot dropped the blade and reached out with both hands to steady the human. Her hands caught the inside of his elbows. Dinobot just watched her face, expecting some negative emotion at his actions, but she was smiling. Her voice was true to that mirth as she said, "Nice reflexes."

"I could have slagging killed you. What the Pit were you thinking?"

Her face fell the slightest bit. "I guess that I wanted to talk to you."

"About what? Why would you care?"

"Why? Because I want to know about you. And I care because I choose to."

Finally, Dinobot stood, and said, "You can sit, if you wish to."

"Where?"

In reply, Dinobot picked Sinead up carefully then set her upon his bed. His hands wouldn't release her, and Sinead noticed that. She reached up towards the Maximal's face, but he moved it out of her reach. Her voice was soft. "Why is it that you hide from me?"

"What do you mean?"

"I'm . . . I've partially forgotten my friends' faces, and they had helped me from stopping that by teasing and letting me see with my hands, if you will. Then someone said something to one of your comrades, and Cheetor came to me five days ago, and he was kind enough to see what he really looks like. His face is as young as he is."

"All you want is to see what I look like?" Dinobot asked incredulously.

"I want to see who you really are, Dinobot. Not just your physical appearance. I mean, I can tell you exactly what Rattrap's hair is like by touch, and roughly tell you its color . . . I can tell you how Silverbolt smiles when you complement him on something . . . I can tell you how Cheetor scowls when someone references his age, or how Rhinox's face lifts when he chuckles at how friends behave around each other, or even how Optimus makes that exasperated look when Rattrap makes a wise comment." She paused. "But all I know about you is your voice."

Dinobot swallowed, lowering his optics. "Would it have occurred to you that I might not want to be known more than that?"

"It has. But I don't like to think about something like that." She paused, sighed, and added, "I'd hate myself if I didn't at least try to get to know you."

Will he let me get to know him?

Hmph. I doubt it. Why did I even try this? I was only setting myself up for disappointment. And Star's gonna have fits when she finds out that I snuck out and found my way to Dinobot's room. Crap.

I wonder what's keeping him from opening up to others? I . . .

What's this?

Dinobot took her hand, kneeling. He guided it to his face. "I suppose that if you want to trust me you will do so without any regard to what I may or may not say."

The human's face drew up into a small smile. Carefully, not wanting to push Dinobot, or wanting to seem as if she wanted to know more than just his appearance at the moment, she rested her fingertips against his metal skin. Dinobot watched her face as he felt her hand glide over the upper part of his cheek, the small bit that showed.

Slag.

Catching her hand, he pushed it away for a moment. Sinead heard three clicking noises, not unlike a smaller version of the sound that a fabric snap makes. A rustle followed, and . . . her hand was brought to . . .

"How long is your hair?"

Unable to suppress a smile at her innocence, Dinobot replied, "Longer than yours."

"Thanks, but I think I got that far. Mine's almost as short as Rattrap's."

Still grinning, the bot replied, "Just below my shoulder."

"What color is it?" Sinead asked, carefully curling her fingers towards her palm, feeling how his hair reacted to the movement.

"Red-black."

"It's so soft . . ."

"I've been told that before."

"By who?"

With a snicker, Dinobot related to her an incident when Optimus and Rhinox had finally had enough bickering between the two, and let them brawl. Dinobot's helmet had been ripped free, as had Rattrap's, and Rattrap had managed to grab a handful of Dinobot's hair. Dinobot then threw Rattrap a good fifteen feet, picked his helmet up, and stormed off.

Sinead laughed, causing Dinobot to frown at her slightly. She had gone back to finding out what his face looked like, so she smiled at his expression. "Stop frowning like that. I'm just thinking about how similar your relationship with Rattrap is to my own with StarGazer."

"Slagging fleshlings. You always copy us."

"That so?"

"Hn. Of course."

Sinead chuckled, then let her hand drop from Dinobot's face. Both of them felt the contact end, and somewhere, neither of them had actually wanted it to end. A deep sigh came from Sinead, and she bowed her head. Dinobot blinked, then whispered, "What is it?"

She didn't reply. The bandage around her head was beginning to become wet . . . right where her eyes were. Dinobot inched closer, but still didn't touch her, waiting for her to reply. She didn't for a while, and, seeing that she wasn't going to for another long while, the ex-Predacon sat beside her on the bed and pulled her to his side. She clung to him.

"Sinead, what is wrong?"

She shook her head. "I'm remembering all these things from my life that I don't know if I remembered before . . . and I can't . . . I don't want the others to see . . ."

"You want to be strong for them. Is that it? You want them to see that you're handling things on your own, that you're still independent . . . yet you don't want them to see that you hurt."

"Yeah . . ."

Dinobot rested his cheek against the top of her head, trying to find a way to figure this all out. His door opened. Sinead jerked, but Dinobot said, "It's only Rattrap."

"Blasted right, it is," the rodent said quietly. "Sapphire woke up to check on you, Sinead, but you were gone."

Trying not to let the tears into her voice, she whispered, "Did she wake the others up?"

"No. Just me."

"Good. They need their sleep."

"So do you, kiddo."

"Maybe later. I have too many things on my mind."

Rattrap walked over, ignoring Dinobot's glare, and gently ruffled Sinead's hair. She sighed, relaxing again, and Rattrap smiled. "You do exactly what Sapph's done."

"Which is?"

"Find a non-human that you can talk to without having to really explain yourself, and stick by them, no matter what anyone else things."

Sinead smiled a little, then sniffed. Rattrap's face took on a slightly evil grin, as he said, "Besides. We all think dat da two of you make a cute couple."

Dinobot raced after Rattrap, but stopped at the door and closed it. "Infernal idiot."

Sinead was laughing quietly. "Oh, leave him be. He's being a jerk, and he knows that it bothers you when he says things like that."

"Still . . ." the raptor-bot growled, waking back to her. He looked down at the blind girl, then sighed in irritation.

"What is it?"

"I . . . I simply cannot stand seeing you like this. No vision, barely any memory to rely upon, and you do not show your despair. I do not understand, and . . ."

"And that annoys you," Sinead finished. "I know. I was annoyed when I could hardly remember my own name, even after it was told to me. But what's the real reason why you can't stand my condition?"

Dinobot sat beside her again, pushing hair away from his face with the back of his hand. "Because you shouldn't have to be like this. You're not supposed to."

"That's why you hide away from me. You don't know what to make of me."

"Nnn . . . affirmative."

Sinead rested her hand upon his arm. Dinobot looked down at that small, fleshed hand, seeing how delicate it was in comparison to his own, deadly, taloned hands. Her voice was strong, however, and he heard that she believed herself. "Dinobot, for me this isn't a prison. Sure, I can't read or write or draw right now. I can't even find my way around a cluttered room. But I'm learning how to do things differently. I'm learning how to make things simple for myself so that I can understand." She smiled. "It's something new for me to figure out. I can't seem to explain it any further."

Dinobot sighed, then rested his hand upon hers. "But you are hurt."

"So? Everyone has been at one point or another." She paused. "I feel that you've been hurt, too, but you don't want to say it."

Dinobot made a noncommittal noise, relaxing his shoulders. After a moment, he replied, "I was . . . harshly turned down by a romantic interest in my younger years."

"That sucks."

The bot turned his head sharply to look at Sinead. Her face was slightly blank, but a look of "so what?" was resting upon her features. Dinobot was in shock. "'That sucks'?! That's all that you can say?!"

"What? You want my sympathy? Okay. You have it."

"You slagging–"

"Don't care? Hah. Not in the least is that true. I care, Dinobot, but the thing is? We've all been burned by people like that in our lives. I've been burned like that more times than not, and I've gotten over it. So they don't like you? So what? Leave it alone. If you're friends, try to keep the friendship going. If not, then try to make friends. It doesn't have to be a dead end, Dinobot."

Silence passed between them for a moment. Then, finally, Dinobot gently rested his other hand upon Sinead's head, brushing his fingers through her short-cropped hair. She sighed and leaned into the caress slightly, the corners of her mouth relaxing into a contented smile. The Maximal smiled sadly. "You're always smiling."

"You haven't seen me angry yet."

"I can bet that you still smile."

"Nope. My eyes turn nearly violet."

"What color are they normally?"

"Blue."

"That's it? No shade?"

"The shade depends upon my mood."

Dinobot pulled the human onto his lap carefully, holding her against his chest. "You're exhausted."

"Yeah, I know."

Neither said anything for a moment. Just as Sinead was about to ask him something, however, the door flew open, and Sapphire walked in, closing it behind her. She saw how the two were seated, and blinked. "Oh. Sorry. But . . . StarGazer woke up. She's not happy that you ran off."

"Oh, for the love of all that's good and holy . . . can you just tell her to get her head out of her bottom and let me live?" Sinead grumbled. "I mean, I know that she only wants the best for me, and not just because she's my second-in-command, but because she's as close as a sister."

"I can tell her that you and Dinobot are busy."

"That works."

"Busy doing what?" Dinobot interjected.

"Doing whatever," Sapphire replied. "I'll tell her that, simply because she won't let up otherwise."

"You're getting to know her well," Sinead said, grinning.

"Unfortunately," Sapphire said, laughing. "I'll see you two tomorrow."

"Okay," Sinead said. "Good night."

"'Night."

Dinobot sighed as the door closed again. Sinead aimed her head up towards his face. "Would you mind if I stayed here tonight?"

"I was actually going to ask you if you wanted to," he replied, carefully falling back so that he could rest with Sinead on his chest. "If you do not mind."

"Why would I?"

"StarGazer."

"Aah, whatever."

Dinobot chuckled, then curled his arm around Sinead's back, holding her close. Her right arm wrapped over his chest, and she moved her head into a more comfortable position on his chest. They were asleep within moments.

"Would you look at that . . ." Optimus said the next morning, when his requests for Dinobot to check in weren't answered.

Rhinox looked over his shoulder at the screen. His face broke into a grin, and Rattrap managed to get a look as well. Optimus grabbed his arm, and glared at the short Maximal. "If you annoy either of them . . ."

"Boss Monkey, dose two are slaggin' made for each other. Dey're complete opposites dat complement each other. Why would I do sumthin' stupid like dat?"

"It's you we're talking about, here," Optimus said.

"Yeah, well . . . whatever. I won't tease dem."

StarGazer wormed her way over to the screen. "Well. She looks comfortable."

"Not this with the beds again," Optimus groaned.

"Yes, 'this with the beds again'! You're made of metal! You can sleep on those things! I'm soft! I don't like hard!"

"I could say something raunchy 'ere, but you'd kill me," Rattrap said with a grin.

"Do it and die," StarGazer hissed.

"Can I buy tickets to that match?" Dannn asked, grinning.

"Popcorn! Get your popcorn here!" Skyfire said, holing an imaginary box up.

StarGazer glared around the room, then saw a thin figure walking towards her. "Becka! Make them stop!"

"Stop what?" the human asked through a yawn. Dinobot was moments behind her, still looking drowsy.

"They're making fun of me."

"So?"

"Raptor's gonna die," StarGazer said.

"Dragon will bite the dust first," Sinead retorted. "Dannn and Skyfire are just being who they are. They're idiots. Loveable idiots, but idiots nonetheless."

"We're loved!" the duo chorused.

Dinobot groaned, walking over to Optimus for the day's assignment. Could it ever get any more annoying?

"You're with Sinead for the day."

Oh, slag yeah.

I feel him watching me. His gaze is different than a human's. It's also different than those of the other Maximals. He has a feel around him that doesn't seem to fit with the image he's carved for himself.

He's kind . . . caring, I'll even dare to say, but . . .

He doesn't like sharing that side.

He doesn't want to be hurt again.

I know that feeling.

I wonder if he'll ever let me close enough to him so that I can see that he doesn't have to hide himself from me.

What . . . ?

Oh. Another memory.

Wait. That means . . .

Then how . . .

I gotta find Sapph.

Sinead counted her paces, feet bare to help with finding where she was going, keeping the lines of the halls perpendicular to the length of her foot. There! Left. She took the smaller hallway, then turned right again, and felt the wall. Not there . . . further . . . there.

Someone was behind her. She turned slightly, holding her hand out, encountering a scaled snout. Sinead moved her hand so that she it was resting upon the side of Dinobot's face. He moved to knock upon the door for her. Rattrap answered it. "Yeah?"

"I need to talk to Sapph."

"Okay. Come in."

"Alone, Rattrap. This is something that . . . that I just have to talk to her about."

Rattrap blinked, aimed his gaze up at Dinobot for a second, then said, "She's asleep."

"I know."

"Right, den. We'll be down da hall."

Sinead nodded, walking into the room. Rattrap closed the door, then did as he said he would, Dinobot followed him.

"Know what dis is about?"

"Negative."

"Great."

"Sapph?"

With a start, Sapphire awoke, then sat up, rubbing her eyes and grumbling. "I told him not to let me fall asleep . . . What is it?"

"They're a television show."

"Yeah."

"Then how are we here?"

Sapphire stood, and took Sinead's hand, bringing her to the bed. Sinead sat, rubbing at the bandage over her nose, trying to get rid of a headache. Sapphire rested her hand upon Sinead's shoulder, replying, "The Vok brought us here."

"How? When was this?"

"The when is simple. We've been here two months. A week after we got here, you were the one scouting ahead, and you nearly ran into the midst of a battle between Quickstrike, Inferno, Optimus, and Rattrap. You watched it all, then came back and told us. We didn't believe you at the time, so in anger, you went back to where the battle had been, and brought back a piece of metal. Hot metal. You had to carry it back in an extra shirt. It had the Maximal insignia upon it."

"Are you saying that I discovered where we are?"

"In a way. We had seen things, craters, burnt areas, the like, that suggested to us that there was some sort of war going on. Some places were still steaming from battle." Sapphire paused, watching Sinead's face. With a sigh, she added, "And you had seen animal trails that you couldn't identify. You saw footprints and tire tracks. You saw where something partially avian and partially canine had walked. When we had stopped one night, you saw Velociraptor footprints. You looked at them for an hour, then grabbed your dinner and went back to study them."

Sinead sighed, and nodded, whispering, "I can remember that, now. But . . . It still doesn't make any sense to why we're here."

"Nobody knows the exact why or how. Not even the Maximals."

The door opened, admitting Rattrap. He blinked. "Uh . . . I hope the conversation's over."

"It is," Sinead replied, standing. "Why?"

"Dinobot's . . . uh . . ."

"This does not sound good."

There had been a small battle, and Dinobot had been the first one outside. He was working off frustration, Sinead now saw. That's why he enjoyed the rush of battle. He could forget everything and just retreat into instincts as he fought.

But this time, he had been hurt badly.

Even though he was out of the CR chamber, he wasn't either rested or completely awake. Rhinox and Optimus had brought him back to his quarters. Sinead was now facing Optimus, with only Rattrap and Rhinox listening in. "Why didn't backup come out?!"

"The lift jammed because of enemy fire!" Optimus replied, angry as well at the results of battle.

"Why didn't anyone take the other lift, then?"

"Cheetor did, but one of the Predacons was waiting for someone to come down!"

Sinead found a seat, then sat and rested her head in her hands. Rhinox walked over to her, resting a hand upon her back. "Are you all right?"

"My head just hurts. I'll be fine."

Rhinox turned the lights nearly out, causing Rattrap to stumble into a chair and curse. Carefully, the technician/medic undid the bandage, and said, "Open your eyes."

Sinead did so, blinking. She looked up at Rhinox, squinting for a second to focus her eyes, then smiling and laughing. Rattrap ran over to her, face lighting up. Sinead sighed, and rubbed at her eyes with her fists. "Things are blurry, and it takes a lot for me to focus, but . . . I can see."

Optimus stood behind Rattrap, and the girl turned her eyes up at him, seeing him smile kindly and gently, relief evident in his face. Sinead pushed her way between them and ran down the halls, unable to keep it in any longer. She slammed the door open to the quarters she shared with all her friends, and grinned as some awoke sleepily. Those who had been awake just stared at her, while StarGazer rolled over, grumbling, "Go back to sleep and leave . . . wait."

Sinead laughed. "Get it yet, dragon?"

"BAKA! You can see!"

Dinobot awoke, then looked to his right. Two dark blue eyes watched him. He didn't know these eyes.

He knew that face.

"Sinead?"

"Morning, lazybones. You've been asleep for two days."

"Your eyes . . ."

The young woman smiled, and curled up against Dinobot, still careful of her left wrist. He blinked down at her, then sighed and smiled, saying, "You enjoy nearly giving me a Spark-attack."

"Mm-hm. Don't move. You're warm."

Laughing, Dinobot embraced her gently, then whispered, "So are you."

"I'm known to be a radiator."

"So what are you going to do, now that you can see?"

Sinead rested her chin upon his chest, watching his optics. After a minute, she whispered, "I don't know about my future, but . . . for now, I want to stay right where I am."

"And that is?"

"Here, with you, for as long as I'm able to be."

Dinobot smiled. "I like that."

The smile was returned, and Sinead curled back into Dinobot's side, falling into a state of half-slumber. Life was good again.