Author: Tirya King
Timeframe: Before the movie.
Summary: G1. Sometimes it's not always the quiet one. Sometimes it's the lovable cute one. Sometimes the least likely can be the most dangerous.
Disclaimer: Nope, not mine. It's Hasbro's and I'm just borrowing it for a lil bit.
A/N: This has to be one of the most bizarre things I've ever written in my life. When you finish it, you'll know what I mean. Let's just say: it turned from a comedy into a drama into an I-don't-know-what. For what it's worth, this is dedicated to Cattico who knows why.
A/N2: I am home for the weekend due to studying abroad issues I need to take care of. As I have been a writing maniac for the past 2 months, I thought I'd post this now rather than wait. I'll be home for good next week once my job ends. I will then have a week to get ready to leave for China. Expect a lot of updates, but not too much as I will be very busy.
The target was close. So close he could nearly touch it. And the beauty of it was that he had yet to be detected. Bumblebee grinned as he hugged his blaster to his chest. There was something to be said for small size. Mechs like the fierce twins, brilliant Perceptor, and even the brave Optimus Prime were worthless when it came to tasks such as this. Here he was king.
Just a few more steps and he'd be in the perfect position to act. Let no one ever again mock the mini-bots for their small stature and weak weaponry.
He crouched behind a boulder and took careful aim. Just one precise shot and the battle would be over. With no space bridge to protect, the Decepticons would flee. True he was no master sharpshooter like Bluestreak, but he could hold his own well enough. It just took a little more time…
"Bumblebee!" he heard Mirage cry out in sudden alarm. "What are you doing?"
He subspaced his weapon quickly and let out an uncharacteristic snort of frustration. Oh Hell! The mech was a spy for the love of Primus! Didn't he know when to shut his mouth? Either way, he had better get out of there now that his perfect position was blown. Mirage had all but told the 'Cons to shoot the yellow mini-bot.
Transforming quickly, Bumblebee peeled out from behind the boulder just as it exploded. A cackle of glee behind him let him know that Starscream was quite pleased to have found a small defenseless mini-bot so far into the enemy line. Bumblebee pushed his engine to its limits, knowing that the red jet was having way too much fun with this. He also knew, however, that one tiny Volkswagon beetle could never hope to outrun an F-15 Eagle.
Another blast came far too close to his skid for comfort. The spy's time was just about up and no closer to safety than before. And now there was no boulder to take his blow.
A red blur was his only indication of someone else before the yellow mech found himself physically thrown toward safety. His exit was heralded by a large crater where he had been driving. Rolling as he landed, Bumblebee managed to avoid any further damage from the toss.
"Why don't you pick on someone your own size, Screamer," Sideswipe smirked as he covered Bumblebee's retreat.
Ah, of course. What was a battle without the incredible Rose o' Death playing big brother? Well, he did save the mini-bot's mainframe, so he cut the show-off warrior some slack.
As the clash of the two Titans raged on behind him, Bumblebee finally made it safely beyond the front-line. Joining the ranks of some of the other mini-bots who were content to remain in the second or third line of defense, the small spy sat down for a moment to catch his breath. A dull pain on his left arm caught his attention as the battle rush calmed in his circuits. Upon further inspection, he noticed a nasty burn gracing his arm. The yellow paint was bubbly and warped, not to mention the melted wires. Ratchet was going to throw an absolute fit. Especially when he found out what Bumblebee had been doing to get such a wound. Little mini-bots had no business in the front-line of battle.
Especially little yellow Intelligence mini-bots with all of enough firepower to tickle a cassette.
"You ok, Bee?" Cliffjumper asked as he reloaded his weapon. His voice had concern for his teammate, but sapphire optics betrayed his amusement. That's what the little spy got for venturing out where he had no business being.
The yellow Volkswagon smiled in his normal cheerful way. "Just fine, Jumper. Barely touched me. That jet couldn't hit a Guardian five feet in front of him."
Chuckling at his friend's enthusiasm, the little red bot returned to his job of giving coverfire. Therefore he missed the scowl that crossed Bumblebee's face.
Honestly, sometimes it was just too hard to keep up this 'cute little brother' act. It was fun at first, exercising his skill to see just how far he could push it. Not to mention the perks it lent him. Ratchet had a habit of striking fear into everyone without prejudice, from the gargantuan Skyfire to the smallest mini-bot. And he would be absolutely livid when Bumblebee showed his sorry face.
Yet, however angry the CMO may get, the cute little spy was rarely on the receiving end. Ratchet would sooner rough up any of the other mini-bots before Bumblebee who never argued with him, and most importantly, rarely needed repairs beyond the occasion battle wound. Endearing himself to one and all certainly paid off there. And that quite made up for the belittling that often came from the others.
Ironhide edged up beside him even as he continued to fire round after round upon the enemy. Normally he would have charged to the fore of the fray, too eager and too old to know any better. The fact that he had abandoned this task to play mini-bot nanny did nothing to improve Bumblebee's failing mood.
This was not shaping up to be the best of days.
"Hey, Ironhide," he chirped back, ever the happy-go-lucky buddy. "What brings you back here? Why aren't you out there showing the twins how it's done?"
The larger officer shrugged, looking unconcerned. "Ah'm getting' too old t' keep up with those pups out there."
"Ah like it back here," he waved his free hand flippantly.
I can see you staring at the others. Don't lie to me!
"B'sides, ya'll look like yeh might need some help."
I don't need your protection!
Bumblebee was practically quivering as he struggled to keep grinning. He could not blow his top. He could not lose focus, not for an instant. All it would take was one good tantrum before they realized what sort of mech he was, and what he had been pretending to be all along. So focused was he on this one task, the whole world around him began to blur.
With a quick jolt it was brought back into sharp clarity. Knees yelling out in protest, he realized that he had somehow fallen to the ground. Fire raced up and down the spy's right arm, fritzing his circuitry completely. The blaster he held was now clenched painfully by a hand wrought with uncontrollable spasms. The frustration and anger he had restrained now came out in a pained cry.
"Bumblebee!" Ironhide called out as he, Cliffjumper, and Windcharger quickly moved to provide cover fire. He looked behind at the little bot in pain even as he continued firing, concern clouding his optics. "Yeh alrigh'?"
Holding his arm tightly against him, the yellow mini-bot managed to nod, not even pretending to smile anymore. Somehow he was able to make his paralyzed hand let go of the gun. It wouldn't do for it to accidentally go off and hit someone. A quick check of his internal computer assured him that while it hurt like the Unmaker, nothing critical had been hit. "Yeah, yeah, I'm fine."
"You're one lucky bug," Cliffjumper remarked over the sound of shots being fired. "Dirge is usually a better shot than that. He could've taken your head off!"
Grimacing, Bumblebee crouched down so as to make a smaller target of himself in case the jet decided to make another pass. Stupid! He raged at himself silently. How could he be so stupid as to let his emotions block his other senses? He could have been killed! He was too old and too good for such idiocy! Not some little fledgling fresh from the Intelligence Academy.
Well, he was only good for cannon fodder at this point now that both arms were nice and effectively fried. There was no use in staying here just to act as a nice helpless yellow target. "Guys, I'm going to go visit the good doctor," he informed them.
"Good idea," Ironhide nodded sagely. "That looks right painful."
Mind of a steel trap, that one.
"I'll live," Bumblebee muttered, falling further back into the defenses where the wounded were. It wasn't often that Ratchet went with them into battle, but with so many of the fleet out and so many miles away from the Ark, the CMO decided to come along.
And from the clump of wounded orbiting the makeshift med-station coupled with less than ideal working conditions and tools, Ratchet was sure to be stressed to the point of madness. He always hated not being able to give proper care to his patients. And with shrapnel flying around him as he struggled to save those more injured, having less than prime conditions was a certainty. His firm optics and set jaw, rather than his characteristic ranting, was sure indication of his sober focus.
First Aid worked beside him silently, steady and sure. The young Protectobot was already a decent medic, and under Ratchet's tutelage, he would be one of the best. Now and then he looked over to his mentor, observing a procedure, before returning to his work. Ratchet's optics too glanced at the younger medic, making sure everything was alright.
"Hey, Bee," greeted Powerglide from his seat on a nearby boulder. The flying mini-bot looked like he had seen the wrong end of Megatron's fusion cannon, though his spirits were high as ever. Now and then he glanced the sky longingly. Like any flyer, the eager young bot was most at home on the wing, limited only by fuel and time. Sitting still, even with such nasty-looking wounds, only made him unusually grouchy.
"Hey yourself," Bumblebee greeted. "What happened? You taking flying lessons from Ramjet again?"
"Oh hardy-har-har," his friend snorted. "Yuck it up while you can, cause once I get my wings fixed, it'll be all over for those 'Cons."
"I think your wings are the least of your problems," the yellow spy said incredulously. "You look like you're one bolt away from the slag heap, my friend."
"You don't look ready to attend any car show yourself. What happened to you?"
"Got used for Seeker target practice," Bumblebee tried to wave it off… figuratively of course as both arms were currently shot to merry hell.
"Yeah, I heard you got caught out in the open by Screamer," Powerglide chuckled. He did so enjoy teasing his friend. "Playing the hero again?"
The little spy shrugged, choosing not to go into detail. What did it matter? All that would earn him was a pat on the head and a nod meant to humor him. Yes, let's all look at the cute little mini-bot. Isn't he adorable? See how he wants to be a big bad warrior?
He had to choke off a derisive snort. He'd like to see their faces if they found out just how adorable he could be. Many liked to brag to friends back home how they had been appointed to Optimus Prime's unit which was universally known as the elite of the elite forces. What they seemed to forget when patting dear little Bumble on the head was that he too had been hired to the same elite team.
Top of his class in the Academy, he came highly recommended by his instructors when a young Optimus and his command element were looking for mechs to fill their slots. Jazz had even come to a training session of his to see how he handled himself and gave his own recommendation to his commander. That was why he was hired; he was one of the best in what he did. Not because he was cute. Not because he was an innocent. And not because he made a good little yellow projectile for Ultimate Mini-bot.
"Oi, bug-brain," Powerglide rapped on his head lightly. "You awake?"
"Huh?" he asked, coming out of his thoughts.
"Primus," the A-10 grinned behind his faceplate. "You get hit in the head too? What's up? Ratchet's been calling you and you're just spacing out."
"Well it's not my fault," the spy defended himself. "It's too loud to hear anything."
Powerglide, not having his sensitive audios, gave him a weird look but did not argue the point. How anyone could not clearly hear the sweet melodic timbre of the CMO's shouts was beyond him. He couldn't know that Megatron's hollers as a little gray speck on the horizon was just as audible to Bumblebee as Ratchet's. Right now, it was all one big jumble of sounds flying around his head.
Nevertheless, Bumblebee apologized to the medic as he hurried over, wanting to be seen as cooperative in contrast of many of his other fellow patients. As expected, Ratchet scowled and rebuked him for not listening the first ten times. Yet, when it came to treating the wounded arms, he caused no further pain than necessary and kept the language to a PG-13 level.
Eventually Ratchet informed the yellow mini-bot that he couldn't do much more in the field besides numb the pain and close off damaged circuits. Therefore, Bumblebee spent the rest of the battle sitting beside a stir-crazy Powerglide, waiting for the fragging battle to just be done with already. He did not enjoy the undignified position of helpless mini-bot and wanted to be fixed as soon as possible.
Back at the Ark, the little spy followed the injured to the med bay so his arms could finally be repaired. Lingering in the back of the crowd, he allowed the more grievously wounded to be treated first. Little whiners like Tracks and Sunstreaker were not so cordial and got a blow to the head each for their efforts by a very frazzled CMO.
Once again, his patience paid off well, for when Bumblebee's turn finally rolled around, all of the fight had been yelled out of the poor doc. Fortunately for the spy, the damage wasn't as bad as it looked. While his arms would be stiff and sore for a while, it was better than the alternative which included no arms at all. A final half-hearted 'slag off' from Ratchet and Bumblebee was officially discharged from the med-bay.
No doubt the medic would sip a bit of energon before crashing into his recharge berth. If only the yellow mech could be so lucky. He still had evening security camera detail, and since any medical excuse he may have was probably curled up beneath an operating table snoring peacefully by now, he had no choice but to go.
Not that he minded it much. It was only a few megacycles long after all. And besides, they were a nice and quiet few megacycles where he didn't have to worry about anyone bothering him. He wasn't anti-social by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, he quite enjoyed his comrades' presence even with the denigration that came with it. But sometimes he reveled in silence and in peace. Where he could be himself and not worry about anyone treating him differently.
When he first became a member of this crew, he acted like the 'little brother' because it was a game. It exercised his espionage skills constantly, not to mention the fun he had. When the proverbial slag hit the fan, this 'cute' Bumblebee served as a convenient mask for the pain this war caused. Everyone had their way of coping, and hiding behind another personality was his.
Over time, he saw that this 'little brother' act helped others just as much as it helped him. Just as Gears made others want to be happier because he was so miserable, Bumblebee had the same effect because they still saw him as an innocent who somehow found joy left in the universe. So, in a way, he couldn't go back to the mech he was even if he wanted to for the sheer reason that it would hurt too many if he did. This war had changed most of them for the worst. Peaceful mechs like Ironhide who had the gentlest spark Bumblebee knew had been forced to change into a hardened killer. Was he the only one changed for the better?
That didn't mean, of course, that he was any less of the mech he was those millions of years ago. And it didn't mean that he never reverted to his old self now and then. Why just last week he had decided to 'stretch out' as it were. See just what he was capable of.
It was a simple enough exercise. He was plenty small enough to fit into all the air vents that ran throughout the base. And he already knew that he wasn't a master spy for nothing. Not to say it was easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Prowl was a notorious light sleeper so he'd had to be careful when creeping up on him. The exercise was to get close enough to get a good kill shot in before making a quick exit. In the tactician's case, Bumblebee hadn't even dropped into his quarters at all. Just removed the vents, aimed with his gun, and whispered a quick 'bang' that was too soft for even him to hear.
Prime, to his surprise, was a deep sleeper and it was nothing to make the 'kill' and leave. The little spy went to one after another, practicing the mass assassination until only one bot remained. Jazz.
Of all the mechs to face off against, even in a secret simulation, Jazz was the last one he'd choose. Now the special operations officer was a great mech; he'd be the first to volunteer his laser core if you needed it. But the few lines he did draw, he expected you to respect. And one simply did not try to sneak up on Jazz. Ever. Not only was it damn near impossible, and not only did it make him so angry it made everyone around him run for cover, but on the odd occasion one managed to get close enough to surprise him, Jazz would shoot first and sort it out later.
Of course, it was the rare mech who knew this. As stated previously, no one was stealthy enough to surprise him anyway. And he wouldn't be mad at those who had no intention of sneaking up on him. Perhaps only Bumblebee, Mirage, and a few others had ever really seen that side of him. But being in the business that he was, Jazz was always on the alert, always aware of his surroundings. And he would not forgive Bumblebee if he tested this on purpose.
Light, easy steps approached him from behind. Large, but not too much so. Confident and balanced so that the bot could leap in any direction if need be. Probably a natural habit now rather than actual intention. The smallest hitch in the left step. Bumblebee knew everyone by their footsteps; a handy trick to have now and then.
"Jazz," he greeted without turning around. Speaking of the mech himself…
"Anything on the screens, Bee?" his superior officer asked, not at all surprised that the spy had known it was him. After all, he knew just who Bumblebee was and in turn did not hide who he was. They both knew that if he had really wanted to, Jazz could have hidden his footsteps from even the little spy's detection. But as well as being deadly good at his job, he was also very professional. He used what he knew when he needed to and only then.
"All quiet," Bumblebee responded.
The young officer nodded and they remained silent for a minute, just watching the screens together. Suddenly Jazz shook his head a ghost of a smile on his face. "Prowl woke up last week. He told me to check the vents for signs of intruders."
"Oh?" Bumblebee asked innocently. "Does he know who might've been up there?"
Jazz's smile grew. "Nope."
Then he'd succeeded. Rule number one of espionage: a spy did not fail unless they were caught.
"Me 'n Ratchet are gonna try to outdrink Prowl again. Wanna come watch when you're off-duty? We'll need a witness."
The spy chuckled and looked up at the black and white with the first honest smile of his all day. "It can't be done. How long have you been trying again?"
"Not long enough," Jazz replied stubbornly. "It can be done and it will be done."
"If you say so, Sir," he shook his head, laughing a little. "I'll be by later when I get off, alright?"
"You should join us. Who knows," Jazz offered, "you might beat all three of us."
No, honestly, Jazz could never outdrink Prowl. There was a certain program that could be installed so that a mech's systems never overcharged. The tactician had been installed with such a program due to his battle computer freezing up at illogical occurrences. One couldn't have their tactician blowing out his systems too. This knowledge wasn't open to the public however, and the little mischief-maker in Prowl decided not to destroy Jazz's dream of beating him one day.
Bumblebee had no right knowing any of this.
Nor did he have the right of knowing that while Sideswipe made an impressive show of not appreciating the Funshine Carebear given to him last Christmas as a joke, he still kept it for the nights when his brother was MIA or badly injured.
He didn't have any right knowing why Ratchet liked to get himself plastered before singing as though he hadn't a care in the world.
And he definitely didn't have the right of knowing why Jazz never took his visor off, even in recharge.
But he did know it all the same.
"Oh come on," he laced his golden fingers behind his head and leaned back to look up at Jazz. "I'm more a lightweight than Bluestreak. I'll be happy on the sidelines as a cheerleader."
"Suit yourself. I gotta go find myself some energon. Later!"
"Bye. See you later tonight."
Bumblebee's attention went back to the monitors lazily. By Primus he was bored. The reflection of Jazz leaving suddenly sparked his interest. Casting his optics to each side to make sure no one else was about, he quietly unhooked his long-range silencer rifle. Without turning around, he rotated it so the barrel lay on his shoulder, leveled perfectly. Using the monitor's reflection, he aimed the weapon right at Jazz's neck joint. One clean shot would remove the special ops officer's head from his shoulders and no one would be the wiser.
This shot was worth his superior's anger.
His finger rested against the trigger.
A/N: Like I said: bizarre. Whew, what a crazy couple of weeks I've been having. I now know exactly how poor Sunny felt when he had to go play with the kids. One kid handed me poison ivy to ask me what it was. I'm allergic to the stuff! And there's a million more stories like that! Lol, since I've been able to check emails at work, I also managed to sneak in a little time to read what people have been writing. Expect fun reviews once I get home next weekend!