Mikaela slammed the door to Sam's house behind her as she angrily brushed tears from her face. She had had another fight with Sam, and it frustrated her to no end that she was in tears. Again. He was so...wrong for her. She knew it, and he knew it too. She was wrong for him, they were just wrong for each other. They both could tell, and it was only a matter of time before the final breakup. She could really tell they were finished this time. she felt a strange sense of relief at this, and at the same time, an inexplicable sadness. After all, who else had been through what they had? She stalked out of his front yard and towards the road, aware that she had no car yet powerless to do anything. Bumblebee was faithfully loyal to Sam and if they had a fight, it would be Sam he sided with. She had no idea where any of the other Autobots were. She felt childish for being so angry, but at the same time justified. She sat on the curb, dejectedly staring at her cell phone. She didn't even notice the low roar of a semi-truck rolling up beside her. She didn't see it until she heard a deep voice speaking to her.
She started, then smiled up at the red and blue semi parked in the street next to her. The passenger door popped open, and she gratefully pulled herself into the vehicle. The engine road, and soon they were driving down the dusty highway in silence. Optimus veered off the beaten path and stopped at an overlook, not unlike the one Bee had taken Sam and Mikaela. Mikaela climbed out of the semi, and watched in fascination as Optimus transformed, his gears whirring and clicking into place, bright blue fiber optic eyes gazing quietly into her own. He held out a hand without saying anything, and she climbed onto it. Lifting her up onto his shoulder, he let out a deep sigh that made Mikaela feel sad. She was never sure how to act around Optimus. He always seemed so quiet, so in control, and yet so sad.
"I don't know how to act around him anymore, Optimus. We are so different." She said quietly, unsure of herself and the whole situation. "I feel...like I've been ripped in two. Part of me says, yes, everything is fine...yet the other part of me is screaming out 'No, this isn't right. Nothing about this is right!'" She felt strange confiding in Optimus, yet immeasurably comfortable at the same time. She felt him shift, as though he was trying to decide on what to say, how to respond. She leaned back, resting her hands against the surprisingly warm metal of his shoulders. She briefly wondered if he could feel it.
"Whatever you think is best Mikaela. Only you can know the answer for certain." Optimus seemed hesitant in his answer, almost as though he was refraining from saying more. Mikaela smiled to herself. Optimus, always the leader, always so careful with his words. They were always of encouragement, words of faith and hope.
"Optimus...can you feel things? Like the way we do? Can you feel me sitting here?" Mikaela ventured, running her hands over his broad shoulders, curious. She pressed her hands on the metal, feeling the warmth from his shoulders flowing into her hands. She thought she felt Optimus shudder before he answered.
"We do feel things..." He said slowly, as though trying to formulate vocabulary she would understand. "When we feel, it is as a pressure, a warmth. I imagine it is very similar to how you feel things. We are sentient, and while we are robotic, we are also DNA based organisms. We think, feel and breathe, though not in the exact same way you do." Mikaela nodded slowly to herself. She had a million questions, questions she had never asked, nor dared to even think before. She rested her head softly against the side of his, tracing the hieroglyphs on the side of his helm with her pointer finger.
"Do you love?" She asked after a long moments pause. Optimus seemed to give a heavy sigh, and turned his head to look at her. She still had never really quite gotten over how huge he really was, and what it was like to look into those bright blue fiber optic eyes. She wasn't afraid anymore, however. She leaned closer to him and scanned his face, waiting for an answer.
"Love...that is so complex. Humans believe they are the only creatures upon earth capable of love...but how often do they really look around themselves? Mammals around your small world show as much compassion daily as the human race. Our race shows this same compassion to one another. We had females...although I fear most of them are now gone. If there are any survivors, then they have not received my message." Optimus sounded so sad, Mikaela had to stifle tears. But she felt as though she had to hear more.
"Did you have someone special?" She asked quietly, her voice almost inaudible to any human that may have been listening. Optimus, however, was not human, and heard everything she said. His head swiveled away from her, staring out into the now evening sky.
"No." His answer was soft, but short. Mikaela felt an immeasurable sadness emitting from Optimus. His home was now on an alien planet where they must hide from humans. She felt ridiculously stupid, but she acted on instinct and pressed her lips softly to the side of his head. The metal was warm under her lips, and a slight static charge sent a tingle through her entire body.
"I'm sorry." She whispered. Again, his head swiveled back towards her. She swore she could see sadness in his eyes. And something else too...was it possible to read emotion through robotic eyes? She wondered if her own eyes gave away the strange feelings stirring inside her. Strange...yet wonderfully pleasant.
Optimus leaned heavily back against a tree, Mikaela holding on tightly. He couldn't think straight, he couldn't tell what was happening with him. For as long as he could remember, he had been battling Decepticons, first on his own home, then on Earth. He had had no time at home for female companionship, and the lack of autobots on Earth seriously diminished his chances of ever having any. Yet he could feel deep rumblings within his chest at the thought of Mikaela. And when her lips had pressed against his head, he had most certainly felt it. He had felt every second of it, from her soft lips to her breath as she had whispered. He forced the thoughts out of his head. She was a human. Not only were they a totally different species, but he was also much bigger. And he would also live much longer than her. Nothing would ever come of it. Yet her presence was so comforting, so delightfully fulfilling.
They sat like that for a long time watching the stars in silence. Mikaela was the first to break the silence.
"Do...robots reproduce?" She asked shakily. She felt utterly stupid for asking, and was horrifed at herself for continuing an obviously sensitive topic. But instead Optimus laughed.
"The Allspark was used for that, Mikaela."
"Then how...do you...do robots..." Mikaela's cheeks were burning and she couldn't finish her question. Optimus chuckled.
"We don't..mate as humans do. But like I said before, we share companionship. We merge sparks. It is actually a rather pleasing process." He said slowly. He turned his head to look at her, bringing a hand up for her to climb onto. He held her up in front of his face, staring thoughtfully into her eyes. He gently set her down on the grass. Gears clicking and whirring, and right before Mikaela's eyes, a red and blue semi truck sat.
"It's late." Those few words were all he said. Mikaela drew a heavy breath, and feeling more than a little disappointed, got in the passenger side.
Sam and Mikaela officially broke up the next day. There wasn't a lot of sadness between them, simply more of a mutual understanding. It was hard, as all breakups were, but they agreed to be friends, which Mikaela honestly thought was possible. After everything they had been through together, she was confident he was one of her closest friends. She was pretty sure that Sam felt the same was as she did as well, which was comforting. What wasn't comforting, however, was the odd feeling that had been stirring in her chest for many months about Optimus. Mikaela was frustrated after her talk with him. She didn't know what to think or feel about it. She hadn't seen him yet today, although she had seen Bumblebee in Sam's driveway as she was leaving. She had given him a small wave as she had left and while she received no vocal response, she could have sworn as she left she could hear a quiet refrain of "Baby, come back..." She frowned to herself, wondering what in the hell that could have possibly meant, but simply shrugged it off as she walked down the sidewalk towards her home.
I should really get a car...She thought to herself as she strolled down the sidewalk, taking in all the scenes around her. Sam's neighborhood was very nice, unlike her own shotgun housing complex just outside of town. She watched children playing in a yard nearby, and smiled to herself. Although she didn't want children of her own, seeing them happy and safe made her smile, and it reminded her of when she was young and carefree, without strange feelings for a robot. Dammit...there he was again, creeping back into her thoughts like a snake. She pushed Optimus out of her mind and tried to concentrate more on where she was going. She didn't know Sam's neighborhood all that well. Bee usually drove them everywhere, and she had never paid attention to detail before. The sun was going down, and it was starting to get chilly outside. She wished she had brought a jacket with her. Her feet were also starting to hurt. She shivered, and thought about calling Sam for a ride home, or even directions. She was starting to get lost, and the further away from Sam's nice neighborhood she was, the more uncomfortable she was. She stopped at an intersection, peering at the street signs when she heard a low rumble of thunder. Terrific. That's exactly what she needed. She sighed and pulled out her cell phone to call Sam, totally oblivious to the fact that there were now three large men standing behind her.
"Hey there gorgeous...no ride home tonight?" Mikaela froze, the gruff voice rasping in her ear. Oh, shit. She slowly turned around and addressed him, fear almost rendering her speechless as she saw the other two as well.
"I have a ride, thanks. He's on his way here." Mikaela hoped they didn't hear the fear in her voice, or the lie. She hadn't had a chance to call Sam yet. She risked a look at her cell phone, trying to bring Sam's number up as quickly as possible.
"Aw now, come on. Let me give you a ride home. You look lost. Besides, it's starting to rain." If anything, the man was right. She could feel droplets splattering on her head and running down her scalp. She found Sam's number with relief, and pressed DIAL.
"No thank you. I told you, I'm waiting for someone. He will be here any second." She said firmly, pressing the phone to her ear, desperately waiting for Sam's voice on the line. The man smirked at her, beady eyes skimming her up and down. He reached out and snatched the cell phone away from her, closing it with a snap.
"Well now. If he was already on his way, why would you be needing to call him, eh? Right Jake, Alan?" The man sneered at her and the other two in the background cracked their knuckles and watching her with anticipation.
"I wasn't calling him. I was calling my mother to let her know I'm on my way home. I'll have my phone back now, thanks." She reached out and snatched for it, but the man was too fast for her. Her jerked it away, and Mikaela lost her balance, crashing into the two men standing behind the speaker. They each grabbed one of her arms and held onto her tightly.
"You mother, eh? Your mother's name is Sam?" The man had opened her phone and looked at the last dialed number. Christ, this man didn't miss a beat. Hadn't Sam seen that she called? Where was he? Why hadn't he called back? She'd give anything to see her ex-boyfriend right about now. Or anyone she knew, really. She was in a strange part of town, at night, being held by two very large men. What a terrible situation I've put myself in... She was terrified. She was temporarily relieved when she heard her phone start to ring. She just KNEW it was Sam...it had to be. But the relief didn't last long, the call was cut off as Bernie snapped her phone in half.
"Now what Bernie?" The man on her right that Bernie had called Jake asked. Bernie gave her a nasty grin.
"Put her in the van, we'll give her a ride."
Oh, like hell you will, She thought grimly as she wrenched her arm from the two thugs and brought her elbow up and into Jake's face. She felt a satisfying crunch as his nose broke, and she quickly turned around and brought her knee up into Alan's groin before he could grab her again. She turned to run, not caring about her cell phone, and ran directly into Bernie. Shit. He grabbed her and pinned her arms behind her back, and as she struggled she saw Jake wipe blood off his face with an angry jerk. She didn't see anything else after that for a moment; the world had suddenly gone black as Jake's blow took her by surprise. She felt her jaw crack, and blood began to flow from a cut on her lip. She braced herself for the next blow. She saw black again, but this time it wasn't due to a blow. Something very, very large was now blocking all of the moonlight and streetlights. The brightest light she had ever seen was shining down on them. Bernie had relaxed his grip on her and seemed frozen to the spot. Alan and Jake had each tried running, but a large metallic foot stopped them in their tracks.
"Stop." A deep gravelly voice said, and Mikaela almost passed out with relief. Optimus. She wrenched herself away from Bernie and ran to Optimus, crying in relief and pain. Her attackers froze, huddling together as they stared up at Optimus. His light clicked off, and they were able to see the full effect of the Autobot. His bright blue fiber optic eyes were glaring at the men, his metallic features arranged in an expression of such anger Mikaela was frightened of him herself. She could hear his internal gears shifting as he settled into his fully transformed state. He bent down on one knee and looked at the three men straight in the eyes.
"Get away." He said in the coldest voice Mikaela had ever heard, and the men didn't need to be told twice. All three ran in the opposite direction as fast as they could.
Mikaela sank against Optimus' foot, leaning heavily on him for support. Her jaw was screaming in pain, but she ignored it and relished in the fact of who had just saved her life.
"Thank you, Optimus." Mikaela said, holding her hand to her cheek where she had been struck. "I don't know how much longer they were going to stand there...they were going to put me in a van...and take me...I don't even know where." She didn't know what to say. Optimus reached a hand down, and she eagerly climbed onto it. She thought she felt him tremble slightly at her touch, but she brushed it off. He held her up in front of his face, and she couldn't help but stare in total wonder at the complexity of his entire being. His eyes shone the brightest blue, and had seen so many things throughout the many millennia he had been alive. Her eyes scanned his features...so metallic, yet so indescribably alive. She leaned forward and touched his cheek, warm metal sending a static spark through her hand and into the pit of her belly.
"Are you hurt? Would you like me to take you to Ratchet?" Optimus asked, running basic diagnostic scans on her.
"No, lets just get out of here." She said urgently, looking at their surroundings. The rain was coming down hard now, soaking her to the bone.
Optimus gave a nod, and set her down. Once she knew he was finished changing, the final gears settlign solidly into place, she climbed into the semi trucks drivers seat and shut the door. Driverless vehicles tended to freak people out. She could hear music faintly playing on the radio, which surprised her. Then again, she had never really ridden with Optimus before, just Sam and Bee. She leaned back in the remarkably comfortable seat and closed her eyes, just now realizing how badly her jaw really did hurt. She didn't know if it was broken or not, but it definitely hurt. She wiped her face with the bottom of her shirt, trying to get some of the blood off. She looked at her wet sleeve and was horrified to see it covered in blood. That asshole must have hit her pretty hard. She stared out the window angrily, momentarily wishing Optimus had just killed the pricks. She sighed and berated herself for thinking things like that. Pushing the thought out of her mind, she stared out the window, watching as rain formed little rivulets as it ran down the window.
"How did you find me?" She asked quietly. She knew he could hear her
"It was quite easy, I simply tracked the call you placed to Sam's phone." She frowned.
"Really?" She asked, impressed.
"When Sam saw that you called, he called you back. When you didn't answer, he called a few more times, but he said your phone was just 'going straight to voicemail,' I think is how he put it. He informed Bumblebee of this, who forwarded the information on to me. That's how I knew something was wrong, and that you were in potential danger. I was correct on that, I think. I do not think those men meant you well." She shook her head.
"No, they didn't." She said ruefully, pressing fingers against her sore jaw.
"I think the rain is letting up." Mikaela said, changing the subject. "Can we maybe stop? I don't want to go home right now." In response to her question, Optimus took a sharp turn, and drove off the road and into the woods. Mikaela stepped out of the truck, and waited for him to change. Gears were still shifting as he sat on the ground and leaned against a tree.
"Are you all right?" He asked her, staring at her in concern.
"I'm okay. I just got a little knocked around." She said, rubbing her sore jaw. It definitely wasn't broken, thankfully. She looked up, and was surprised to see anger flicker across his face.
"I am glad I did not see them hurt you, Mikaela." He said, his voice lower and angrier than ever before.
"Why?" Mikaela asked curiously. Optimus seemed to search for words.
"I care for you." Optimus said quietly.
"You care for all humans." Mikaela stated as she stared into his optics, which narrowed as they focused in on her.
"Yes, in a sense that I must protect them. With you, it is..." He paused, searching for words, "Different." He couldn't believe he was admitting something like that. It wasn't like him at all.
"How is it different?" Her emotions were running wild, something was desperatly trying to surface, soemthing she had fought to keep hidden. Staring at him now, she felt excited, nervous, and apprehensive all at the same time. Optimus gave a grunt and didn't answer for quite some time. Instead he picked her up and placed her very carefully on his chest, watching her as she made herself as comfortable as she could get, grasping at the reinforced windows that comprised of some of his chest. She looked him in the eyes, and repeated the question.
"How, Optimus? Please tell me how I am different. I think...I would really like to know." Her question was heavy with implied emotions and meanings. Optimus' heavy lids closed off his blue eyes, and she searched his face for the expressions of emotion she knew he could emit.
"It is so very complicated. On our planet, we did know love. We knew happiness, sadness, fear, all emotions. Our emotions are the same, you and I. And what you felt yesterday when we spoke, the sadness, the..." He paused here...searching for a word. "What is the word humans use to describe...pain of the heart from sadness?" Mikaela thought for a moment.
"Yes. We experience that too. And it is not something I would want to happen to your, nor myself." He said, reopening his eyes and staring directly into her own. Mikaela stared right back, defiant as ever, tears having vanished.
"Tell me how I am different." Mikaela steeled herself for the answer. She had to know. Perhaps this was the reason for all the fights between her and Sam. Because someone...something else was on her mind, flickering in memories and hiding just far enough behind the breaches of her mind that she was uncertain what to make of them for months. She had noticed that Optimus had been around more often that not, especially lately, and especially when her and Sam were together. She remembered thinking at the time that she was glad he was there, but Sam had been almost...irritated.
"Mikaela..." Optimus stared down at her, not knowing what to say. "The emotions I feel for you are far different than anything I've ever felt. I do not know how to put it into words. But do you not understand? I could never hurt you. I realize that nothing could ever happen...between us, the things that I would have happen never can, and even if it did it would only cause pain and...heartbreak. For you. For...us." Optimus felt wretchedly out of character. This was nothing like his normal, cool, level headed self. He was always so rational, focused, task oriented. But now, this little beautiful human girl was rattling him to the core, as she had since he had first laid eyes on her.
"What if I told you I didn't care? That none of that mattered? That...I know what you are trying to say, and that I feel the same way?" Mikaela asked quickly, trying to get the words out before she lost her courage.
"Shh..." She shushed him, as she slid a little lower, sliding her small hands in between his heavy metal chest plate. Pulling slightly, she could see the bright blue spark inside of him, pulsing slowly as though it were a heart. She was playing with dangerous fire here, and she knew it. But then again, she had done that her whole life.
"Don't..." He said slowly, although he heard himself rumble when he hands slipped closer to the spark. Mikaela didn't miss the rumble and was delighted that it was of her own doing. She was slightly unsure of herself, but she gained confidence with that rumble. This was the moment was when she realized all the pent up feeling, the anger, the bottled emotions were ready to flow out freely, and she was finally able to admit to herself what she had been denying for months. Clearing her throat, she spoke, her voice low and husky.
"Optimus, when I first met you, I'll admit I was terrified. I no longer am now, and for many months I have been denying what I knew I'd felt for you all along. And now...now I realize what I do feel, and what I need to say." She slid her hands closer to his spark, close enough for her to feel tendrils of electricity crawling through her hands and deep inside her body. She felt a little gasp, and she wasnt sure if it was from him, or herself. It was nothing like being shocked, and nothing like she ever would have expected. She hadn't really expected it to feel so...good. She felt Optimus shudder again, although this time it was accompanied with a slight groan of appreciation.
"I...love you. I want to be near you, with you, around you always. I kept denying it before because...I was scared. Maybe because of what other people would think or say, but not anymore. I'm not scared any more, Optimus. Ever since I met you I know I have changed. I've grown up." She pushed her hands deeper, letting her entire being soak up the energy from the spark, tingling and pleasing sensations racking her body, although she was ever careful to not emerge herself too deeply. She wasn't sure of the effects, but she didn't really care.
"Mikaela...please..." Optimus was having trouble forming his words. He couldn't even begin to describe the effect her words were having on him, nor what her tiny human hands were doing to him. He had, of course, merged sparks with other females on his planet, but Mikaela's hands were so...alive. They pulsed with being and life.
"Do you want me to stop?" Mikaela drew her hands back a little worried she had gone to far, maybe she had misunderstood him.
"This can't be." He said shakily. Her hands were still inside his chest armor, and it was hard for him to think clearly. "You don't realize...the consequences...what will or could happen..." He was clawing for words, anything to make her stop so she wouldn't get hurt. He couldn't hurt her, never. He wouldn't. He refused.
"What will or could happen was never my point, Optimus." Mikaela said steadily. "And I'm perfectly willing to accept consequences." Optimus shook his head shakily.
"I can not...you, you will grow old. And eventually die. I can't...I don't think I could handle that...perhaps it is best...if we leave now. And speak of this to no one." Mikaela withdrew her hands angrily.
"What was it you always said, Optimus? Humans deserve to choose for themselves. I'm choosing you and you refuse to let me make that choice." She thought she had him there. He looked at her sadly.
"You do have the right to choose. As do I. And...I choose to refuse you, for your own happiness." His words cut her like a knife. It was a hundred times worse than what the thug had done to her. Her jaw no longer ached, though she paid it no mind. She turned away from him, sliding slowly down his chest and onto the ground. Her eyes caught a glint of yellow off in the woods, but she brushed it off, whirling around to face Optimus again.
"Take me home." Her words were harsh, guttural, nothing like the pleasing tones she had been speaking in before.
"And know this- by refusing me, you have caused what you sought to avoid. Heartbreak."