Transformers: No Sacrifice, No Victory.

Introduction: The Lingering Effects

The alarm clock was going off again...

It was annoying really. After all there were only so many times a person could hit the snooze button before the blissful comfort of sleep completely fled, and one was left with the inevitability of having to get out of bed and actually having to do something. Sam was unfortunately at that point. With a growl the teen reached over and unplugged the alarm after not being able to turn the alarm off when he hit it three times in a row and it refused to shut-up.

It was only after he groggily sat up in bed and tossed the covers aside did Sam actually notice that it was almost noon. With a noise that was half yelp and half curse he started to dig around his room for some clothing that smelled clean. He was supposed to meet Makayla in the part in fifteen minutes! As it was he would have to really haul arse to make it and not be significantly late! His body protested the quick movements, aching and sending little twitches of pain occasionally as he hurried to dress.

It had been like that for two weeks now, ever scence the epic battle over the 'All Spark'. At first Sam had shrugged it off attributing the pain and dizziness to all the stress and trauma his body had gone through in the forty-eight hours leading up to the end battle, but the truth was things had started out weird and just gotten more worrisome as time went by.

For starters, by the time he and the autobots had gone to the lookout the day after the battle…all the bruises and cuts on his body and already…vanished, leaving him with headaches and aching muscles. Only those headaches and dizzy spells hadn't gone away, instead for a few days they had been joined by nausea, lack of appetite and a fever. He had kept that to himself of course, no need to worry anyone over something that small.

But, while the problems came and went…they didn't stay away…and it almost seemed to be getting worse. Sam finished dressing and ran his hands through his short cropped dark brown hair, then paused and looked down at his hands palms upwards. His hands had done a lot lately. They had held onto the shoulder of a giant robot, carried a powerful alien powerhouse through the middle of a battle. And it was those hands that held onto the All-spark as it was fuzzed with Megatron, killing the leader of the Decepticons.

And that last one had been a singularly painful and unique experience. One he would never forget even if he wanted to. Because there sprawled across his palms in slowly healing burns happened to be the markings that had once covered the cube.

Those symbols were slightly raised markings branded into his flesh like a tattoo during the energy absorption. Sam rubbed the thumb of his right hand against the markings on his left palm and winced slightly at the sting. They were getting better, but slowly, and he wondered if maybe it really was something he should be worried about.

For a second he considered mentioning the wounds to Bumblebee…but then decided against it, after all his new friends had been through enough without him adding anything to their place And than he remembered with another yelp that he was in a hurry and ran out the door without giving the worried feelings another thought.

He should have listened to his instincts.