This is going be a one of those long slowly developing stories.

Title: Flare
Summery: The events of Mission City has lasting effect on Sam. A new girl, boy, her car, Decepticons, and the way his life might have changed more then he thought. Sam on (not) being a hero and human.
Pairings: SamMikeala, hints SamBumblebee

I am Optimus Prime. And I send this message to any surviving Autobots taking refuge among the stars. We are here. We are waiting.
Sam had thought it was over, for the most part anyways. Megatron was destroyed, the remains of the Decepticons dropped into the ocean, the Autobots accounted for and following him most days. Strange to be in the presence of alien robots was what accounted for normal these days, but that was the way things were.

Mikeala and he was now a couple, a happy couple, to the bewilderment of the school and their friends. Trent and the other popular crowd thought Mikeala was making a huge mistake but she said she didn't need their approval. Miles thought Sam was the luckiest guy alive to be able to finally get her to be his girlfriend after years of crushing on her.

There should have been a great many things he needed to explain to his parents, like where he had been taken by Sector 7, Bumblebee's new appearance, and why he had returned home escorted by discreet military bodyguards. But the government had wanted the facts kept hidden and Sam had been ordered to keep silent about the Autobots and the AllSpark. They provided a cover story for him; that they had taken him for an issue of national security, due to some unfortunate events, which were classified, Sam's old Camaro had been destroyed and they provided the new car (they replicated the custom paint job as well) and hoped it was satisfactory, the damage to their property was to be repaid and repaired (as well as some upgrades pitched in free) by the government, and everything was going to be fine - as long as they signed on the dotted line about discretion.

The hardest thing to explain was the bruises all over Sam's body, his parents were ready to sue for brutality but Sam quickly said that they had been from his own foolishness that as long as he had been with the military he had asked to be taught some martial art and defense (as opposed to falling from Optimus Prime's shoulder at the bridge to land into Bumblebee's rigid metal hands with too many corners, rolling and running for his life in a war zone, falling from a collapsing building as Megetron sliced off the corner and landing in Optimus Prime's cold, metal, non-soft fingers), and ended up on the training mat more times than not, since the agents did not pull their punches. The many bruises and internal injuries were healing quite well, he was just not allowed on doctor's orders to be doing any vigorous exercise.

If some houses close to his were bought and a freight truck, ambulance, a hummer, and a few non-descript cars with tinted windows were often parked around the neighborhood, not too many rumors were attached to him in significance.

Sometimes Sam wonders at things, late at night in his room when he's not with Mikaela at the rock edge, when he's not evading his parent's not-so-subtle questions, when he's not trying to hide from the government agents who come to check up on him every few days, when he's not speading time laughing, lounging, talking with the Autobots.

' No matter what happens, I'm really glad I got in that car with you.' Mikaela had said in the middle of the crazy battle scene where there had been people dying left and right, military troops pulling maneuvers and trying to save lives, Autobots fighting to protect the humans from the Decepticons, Bumblebee crippled and alone in the middle of the debris, the All Spark and a flash rod held tightly in his hands as he raced towards what could have been his death.

' 50 years from now when you're looking back on your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?' He had asked her merely the night before.

He had her answer then, but now, he wondered about his. He had the guts to get in the car, that was over and done with but 'I'm really glad I got in that car...'. He wasn't sure what he felt. His life could have been so much different, maybe, if he hadn't gotten in the car. Hadn't ridden Bumblebee, let the Autobot drive him to where the other Autobots were gathering after crashing onto Earth, finding out the survival of the human race depended on him, that his great-grandfather's glasses held such important information, to meet Simmons, Sector 7, the Army, Captain Lennox, the Secretary of Defense John Keller himself.

Now he lived his life with a beautiful girl by his side, four Autobots who watched over him so closely that it was hard to even find time alone with his girlfriend, many times having to settle with making out on top on Bumblebee's hood as the other Autobots ignored the display. His relationship with the Autobots was another thing he never could fully explain (nor did he try to look too closely on).

'I'm not going to leave you.' He had told the crawling Bumblebee in the torn up cement and fighter jet screeching in the background, right before his beloved transformed Camaro put the AllSpark into his too small, too human hands and made him responsible for the success of the whole mission.

I'm just a sixteen-year-old boy scared out of my mind. He thought as he ran for the building with the statues on top leaving his crush hotwiring a tow truck, his trusted Autobot without legs, his safety, and his sanity behind as he mad dashed it across the city streets.

He wondered why it had to be him. Why it had to have to been his great-great-grandfather.

When Megatron asked him 'is it fear or courage that compels you, fleshling' all he did was not think. Not think and repeat the Witwicky motto over and over in his head: no sacrifice, no victory. No Sacrifice, No Victory. He had just wished he wouldn't have to be the sacrifice for the victory.

Later when he fell from the top of the building, when he landed in Optimus' hands, when he crawled back towards Optimus, when he was shoving the AllSpark into Megatron's chest, all he was doing was Not Think.

And when they won, when Megatron was dead and the Decepticons were defeated, and people were slapping him in the back in exhilaration and victory, all he could do was let himself feel the relief and happiness of a battle won and Not Think of how he had just killed Megatron, of the blistering heat of the cube and the Spark in the Lead Decepticon's chest as they contacted, of the sadness in Optimus' voice when he looked down on Megatron's corpse and proclaimed 'you left me no choice, Brother'.

Had Sam had a choice? What would Bumblebee and the others have done if he hadn't gotten in the car that time? What if he ran with Mikaela away from the super-advanced-definitely-Japanese-robot?

Sam tries to Not Think about things like that as well and it doesn't matter if he is glad he got in that car or not, because the fact is he did and he had had the guts to get in that car.

It's a quiet night as he lay in his bed, staring to the ceiling, a rare thing these days. There's always something to do, someone to meet, some people to debrief. He has a file marked 'Top Secret' in the Pentagon, a list of key words to say over the phone in emergency, and phone numbers to several key top military personals that sometimes don't exist.

He really tries to Not Think about how his life ended so screwed up in a matter of days and if there had been some way, some thing he could have done to have made it all better. Because a few weeks down the line, now that all his injuries and bruises have healed, the government settling in nicely around his neighborhood, the Autobots somewhere in the night with Bumblebee, his life is finally getting back to a manageable normal.

When the doorbell rings he shifts to his side on his bed, hoping it was not another one of the neighbors or his parent's friends who came to ask about the rumors of having been taken by the Secret Agents that night and not returning till a few days later. About how their son has shady looking guys following him around sometimes. About how the house under went a totally professional makeover.

" Sam!" His mother called. " It's for you!"

He pushed himself up and headed downstairs, wondering who it was at this time of the night. He had driven Mikaela home earlier, Miles was not allowed out this late, and the agents checking in on him usually did it during the day so they could avoid his parents eavesdropping.

He walked down the stairs to see his mother standing by the opened door and a teenage girl on the outside step. His mother sent him a sly smile before not so subtly winking leaving them alone.

She was small, around 5 feet, black hair, brown eyes, and Asian. She had her hair tied up in a high ponytail, wore running shoes, blue jeans, a black tank top and a purple sweater.

He had never before seen her in his life.

" Uh..." he said so eloquently.

" Can we talk?" She said softly.

" Sure, yes! Um," he looked around to see his parents sitting on the couch, pretending to watch TV but turned to watch him. He shot them an annoyed look, they presented to watch TV, and looked for a place he could talk in privacy, " let me just find..."

" Outside?" She asked with a quirk of her lips at his bumbling.

" What? Oh! Outside, what, okay!" He quickly stepped out and closed the door behind him.

She took a few steps back off the steps and onto the lawn. He wondered if he should tell her that his father wanted her to stay on the steps but held his tongue, he was more interested in what she wanted to say. He didn't know her and it was probably a stupid move to walk outside with her so freely but she was shorter, and smaller than him. She also had her arms wrapped loosely around her middle as she walked lingeringly across the grass back to the street, like she wasn't sure where to go.

He looked around the street, seeing the cars parked along the side but none recognizable Autobots in disguise. There was a nice looking Honda Accord parked next door with a shiny blue paint job that looked black in the night. His neighbors had felt slightly upstaged by his new car as his dad bragged and they had upgraded some things.

He treaded onto the grass with her. She stopped and turned to look at him, her gaze dark. Her face was drawn and bags were visibly under her eyes, she looked tired.

He was a teenage boy going through puberty and a sucker for pretty girls, and although she wasn't curvy or tall or as beautiful as Mikaela, she was tiny in a pixie way and fairly pretty. She also eluded a sense of fragility at the moment.

She had known his name, that much she had to know since she had asked for him with his mother. The only thing left to judge was if she was trouble, but the Autobots would be back soon and if he ended up somehow taken by a girl half his size, Bumblebee and Optimus would come get him.

But he doubted it; most of his danger came from large Non Biological Extraterrestrials. The human factors after were just annoying, not dangerous.

" Can I help you?" he asked hesitantly.

She looked at him with that gaze for a few more moments before her shoulder slumped the slightest noticeable degree and sighed, her arms tightening around her abdomen.

" My car told me to find you." She said solemnly.

" What?" He yelped.

" My car," She repeated slowly but nervously as some one did for the hard of hearing or stupid.

" No!" He shouted. " No, I mean...I heard you the first time." His shoulders slumped. There went normality. " Why me?" He questioned the heavens.

She was tense and jittery. " I...found a package with your picture, name, and address. I was encouraged...thought...I should probably find you."

He quirked his lips, surprised but not that she didn't come out right and say 'my super-advanced-car-turn-robot downloaded information on you by connecting to the internet and possibly hacking into confidential systems it didn't know was confidential, breaking several human laws.' His comment didn't really confirm that he wouldn't think she was crazy.

" I just," he covered his face with his hands and rubbed them up and down, " I thought we had everyone." He winced at the pain racing up his arms, the burns he suffered from pushing the cube into Megatron was mostly healed, but his new skin was sensitive.

She calmed a bit, no longer looking ready to bolt, but still tense. " So you do know what's going on?" she asked.

" If we're talking about." He stopped.

He looked around the yard to see they were alone on the street then twisted his head to see his parents had opened the living room curtains and were watching them from the couch. They quickly made to look like they weren't interested in the events outside the glass and sipped their drinks facing the TV. Sam jerked his head to lead her away from the window view to the sidewalk so he could speak without being overheard.

" If we're talking about cars having a mind of their down, breaking down and starting whenever they feel like it, choice songs on the radio," he shrugged, " yeah, I know about that."

She walked next to him looking relieved. " Thank God. Thank you."

They reached the pavement and turned left. They continued walking for a few steps, waiting for the other person to speak. As they reached the end of the Witwicky property there was the sound of an engine revving behind them. Sam turned quickly, he hadn't seen any suspicious cars on the street earlier, maybe it was Bumblebee, and was surprised to see the blue Honda Accord following them lights on, no driver in the seat.

" That's" was his proof.

" My car." She finished.

" I thought it was my neighbor's!" He told her shocked.

She shrugged. " Accords are very a common car; being a large or new, expensive car catches too much attention. It's good for staying low."

Sam laughed nervously, thinking of how large and blatantly colored Optimus was, the amount of awe and jealously Bumblebee invoked, and the attention Rachet and Ironhide sometimes caught. " Good thinking." He said smiling stiffly.

She looked at him from the corner of her eye as she walked near the edge of the side walk, the half hooded look that told him that she did not buy his comment at all, but was amused in how he didn't want to be caught doing what was the opposite of a good move.

" It's okay. You probably have a top of the line, new, expensive, way showy car." The flush started from his neck and went up. " But that okay. At least you have a nice new car while I have the three-year-old second hand shit box of an Accord - WHOA!"

The Accord revved and driving one wheel onto the sidewalk bumped her behind the knees with its bender, bumped her so she fell backwards onto the hood clumsily, rolled, and fell off the side onto the hard pavement.

" Hey!" She said, getting up by bending at the knees and pushing on her hands. " The paint job's nice but that doesn't mean you're NOT,"

A brief half-second beep of the horn and the front door swung quickly open in retaliation to smack on her on ass, sending her flying forward.

" Oh that's it," she snarled, " I'm going to make you pay you crappy car."

The Accord blinked it headlights and revved its engine in challenge. Sam watched wide eyed taking the scene in, half sympathizing from his own experience, and half trying to rein in his laughter. It didn't work. A guffaw escaped and he quickly crossed his arms with one hand covering his mouth, she flipped her hair out of her face and turned her furious eyes on him.

He coughed to cover up another guffaw. " Cars are sensitive." He said to her. " You just hurt its feelings." He tried to keep a straight face, but it wasn't working. " And as you said, its good for staying low." He finished before breaking out in laughter.

" Yeah, yeah, laugh it up." She said from her position on the ground.

Sam stopped as he remembered that laughing at the pretty girls while they were down was not the way to endear yourself to them. " Haha. Erm, here let me help you up." He said rushing forward and bending to give her a hand. " I was just remembering also when I was questioned why if 'it was this super-advanced-robot why did it turn back into this piece of crappy-'" Some thing large and fast smacked him in the ass and sent him crashing into her and both of them tumbling to the pavement.

They groaned when they came to a stop. Sam opened his eyes and despite his aching body, he found himself on the bottom of the pixie-sized girl, her small breast pressing onto his chest, their legs entangled, her head tucked under his throbbing chin, and silently thanked God. The girl pushed up on her hands and gave him a weird look.

" Did you say something?" She asked.

His eyes wide he shook his head decisively. She stared at him for a moment and then rolled off, sliding her body against his. He closed his eyes in wonder and promised to never tell Mikaela this happened. He turned his head to see her slowly getting to her feet. He quickly pushed himself up, as he ached less than she, having only kissed the pavement once. He extended his hand once more and she took it. They both hissed as open scraps brushed against each other and their hands exploded with fire, but they didn't let go until both were steady on their feet.

Sam tired to drag it out as inconspicuously as he could, but then she finally stopped wavering and the heat shooting up his arm was becoming too much. His whole palm throbbed and he slowly opened and closed his fingers to get the blood flowing correctly.

" So..." She shifted her weight from one side to the other.

He looked nervously at her " Yeah..."

An engine revved and the Honda came up beside them. She looked from the car to him.

" Do I...leave it with you?" she asked.

" What?" He looked at her blankly. " No! No, you don't have to ditch your car, I mean, how would you get anywhere from here?" He laughed but stopped, as she didn't recuperate. " I just need to some people. They already know about this." He reassured her. " I'll let you know tomorrow about what's going to happen. Do you have a phone number or something I can call you at?" He asked, hoping.

She shook her head. " I just arrived here today. Could we meet up tomorrow? Should I come by to your house again?"

Sam thought of his house, then the last time Mikeala, Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots were there at the same time. He quickly shook his head.

" No, no. There's a rock cliff by the lake, it's usually pretty deserted. We could meet there at sunset tomorrow? Don't worry, you can't miss me." He told her. " Just look for the yellow Camaro or the blue-red freight truck."

She sent him a weird look before nodding slowly. " Right. Rock cliff by the lake. I'll drive around."

" Just stick to the road from the lake, you'll see it." He said.

The Honda cruised to a stop beside the girl and gently popped open the door, this time making sure she was out of its path. She stared at the empty leather driver seat and slowly made to get in.

" Wait!" Sam called lurching forward.

She paused and turned.

" What's your name?" He asked nervously, suddenly realizing that he didn't know it.

" Syri Kasu." She told him.

" I'm Sam Witwicky." He said. She smiled at him and then he remembered that she already knew. " Ah, but, you already knew that. I guess." He laughed. " I just thought it would be better to be formally, you know, introduced to each other." He smiled, as naturally as he could, inwardly cursing himself why he had to be an idiot.

" It's nice to meet you Sam." She said smiling. " Formally."

So he hadn't totally blown it. He quickly stepped up and stuck out his head. " Yeah, me too."

She reached out and they shook hands, palms burning once more and they both winced.

" I'll see you tomorrow." She said, getting into her car.

" Tomorrow." He repeated and watched as the car rolled out down the street. " Tomorrow." He waited until the taillights turned the corner before bringing up the injured palm and kissed it. " Yes! I love my life." He quickly turned around to run back inside his house before his parents came to see what was holding him so long.