AN: I saw the Transformers movie a couple of days ago, squealed at the sheer cuteness that was Sam and Bumblebee, and returned home with the belief that I was the only one who thought those two should pick out curtains. And today I was browsing the internet and stumbled across several more people who felt the same way… whereupon I squealed again and immediately began writing a fanfic.

This fic is my first foray into the TF fandom, as well as being experimental in a lot of ways, so here's hoping that it doesn't disappoint. (Crosses fingers)

Time is an indiscriminate thief, and eventually it takes everything. Mountains erode to pebbles at its touch, stars flare in a burst of incandescence before succumbing to darkness, and humans barely have time to look up and smile before dissolving into ash. Such is the way of things.

Bumblebee's mechanical body ensured that he was immune to aging, time's favorite slow poison, but not even this child of the Allspark was beyond its reach. Deprived of the certainty of his life, time stole his memories instead.

He had told Sam about it once, this natural process that all transformers feared, but accepted as an inevitability. Their core processors were capable of storing a phenomenal amount of information, but the sheer onslaught of years meant that old data eventually had to be sacrificed to make way for new. Bumblebee had been one of the first bots to be created by the Allspark, and he found that he could no longer remember the first sight to greet his optics, or the first alternate form he had chosen, or even the feel of the wind beneath his first alien sky.

These experiences had surely been important to him once, but his recollection of them had vanished so completely that it was like they had never happened at all. The person he had once been had died alongside those memories, and this truth was made all the more painful with the knowledge that it would happen again, many more times.

Bumblebee had fallen silent then, turning his face away as his optics dimmed strangely, and Sam had reached out and gently touched the rigid plating that protected the Autobot's forearm. Blood pumped just beneath the skin of those small hands, fingers leaving trails of warmth along his armor as Sam whispered a string of soft, calming words, offering comfort in the human way.

Even as he accepted the reassurance, Bumblebee had known that he would one day forget this conversation and all the myriad emotions it had engendered. But on that day, under that familiar, blazing sun, he could not believe that he would ever forget the feel of those hands.

As he had predicted, when fifty vorns had passed and Sam had been reduced to nothing more than a footnote in humanity's history books, Bumblebee realized that he could no longer remember the words Sam had spoken to him that night. Time had also spirited away the color of Sam's hair and the name of his nervous little dog… but he still knew the feel of those hands running an oiled cloth through his knee joint, risking delicate human skin in an effort to soothe away his pain.

With the encroachment of a million new memories and the weight of another five thousand vorns, Bumblebee had lost the sound of Sam's voice entirely. The songs that they had listened to together had vanished with it, as had the pattern of starlight he had seen on the last night of Sam's life. But he could still recall the feel of the human's hand running along his steering wheel for the first time, those slender fingers wrapping around the curved metal as if they would never belong anywhere else.

And when humanity finally vanished from the galaxy, an entire race murdered by the passage of uncounted years, it took with it Bumblebee's knowledge of human languages… and, cruelly, the collection of sounds that made up his long lost friend's name. But he still held on to the memory of those hands, caked in dirt and blood and worse, reaching out to him through the screaming madness of a battlefield. Those frail hands clasping either side of his ruined helmet; in their fierce, frantic grip a promise of devotion unto death.

Inevitably, time stole away even that, along with nearly every other memory of his experiences on Earth. It would have been easier to continue on without those jumbled fragments of the past, if only time hadn't chosen, in its cold indifference, to leave him with two simple things: The gentle warmth of small hands running over his armor, and the knowledge that he would burn worlds for a chance to feel them again.