Disclaimer: Transformers belong to Hasbro, and lately, Micheal Bay & Paramount. This is not for profit. There are also several song lyrics used in the fic without permission that belong to various artists and not the author; but again, not for profit.

Warnings: Violence, mild bad language (teen foul mouth variety)

Authors Notes: It's been such a long time since I saw a movie that stoked me so, but I thoroughly enjoyed Transformers. So much so this started cooking in my head as I left the theatre. I asked myself – can the Cube affect all things, not just technology? Why? Or, perhaps more accurately, Why Not?

Be warned, there are spoilers here. Only vaguely in this chapter, but you might want to see the movie first. It'll make for good entertainment. Really.

Please, read and review. And don't worry – I'm not good at lasting angst. It'll be a happy story. Promise.

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Prologue

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First day back at school. It seemed so…so…Sam didn't know….normal. No, that wasn't quite the way to put it. For Sam, talking with giant robots from outer space was becoming normal. School was full of teenagers brimming with angst and enthusiasm (both at once. No, seriously Ratchet, they really are. It's hard to explain. Um…you know how you said humans aren't logical? Well, we kinda learn that when we're teenagers. And it sticks.). It seemed…well, not abnormal, just mundane. Colourless.

It would have had more appeal if Mikaela was there with him. But the government had been very grateful or her father model prisoner, because he had been released a few days ago. Mikaela and her dad had gone up to a summer cabin out of state for a little while. Sam figured, quite shrewdly, that they had a lot to say to each other and was willing to swallow loneliness for her sake.

He parked in the school parking lot and restrained himself from telling Miles not to fiddle with the radio. He still didn't know how personal Autobots get about that sort of thing, and he'd hate to have to explain to Miles just why he'd been ejected through the passenger side window.

Miles was going on about the latest news – ie, Mission City, War-Game Gone Wrong, Newest Jets Go Haywire etc, etc, and so forth. Sam couldn't believe anyone, especially the people on the streets there, had actually bought that, but Captain Lennox had said that that was the point. It wasn't about what anyone said; it was about what anyone could prove.

Sam had found himself on Lennox's special ops team's mailing list, for some reason. It was immensely flattering (and slightly worrying) that they really did consider him to be a soldier after everything that happened – even just an honorary one. Messages bounced back and forth between the team, Sam, Mikaela and the 'Bots. Sam guessed that made him a sort of ambassador. The 'Bots didn't like talking to the government, but they would talk to Sam.

Speaking of which… "Miles? I'll catch up in a minute, okay?"

"Yeah, you got it," Miles levered himself out. "You're gonna have to tell me sometime, bro."

Sam stared at him.

"You know, you being away for two weeks, landing Mikaela, and trading up your POS Cheapo Used for this sweet ride," Miles snorted. "After having the Used for just a week. I'm a freak, but I'm not stupid. You're crap at keeping secrets, I can see it."

"Yeah, I know man," Sam sighed. "It's not trust or anything. It's just…really, really complicated."

"Okay, bro," Miles shrugged. "Whenever you're ready."

"….Thanks, man."

Sam felt bad as he watched Miles walk away. He felt like something a slug would scrape off it's slime trail.

The radio whirred. "…As the years go by, our friendship will never die. You gonna see it's out des-ti-ny, You've got a friend in me. You've got a fri-end in me."

"Yeah, that's me and Miles, Bee," Sam nodded sadly. "We've been buds since we were eating worms. I'm gonna have to tell him sometime. I haven't exactly been treating him like a friend these last few weeks."

The radio switched to Darren Hayes "…How your lies have buried me, But I forgive you…"

"I hope so, Bee," Sam patted the dash affectionately. "Hey, why are you doing radio speak? I thought your voice was…"

Whitney Houston crooned "Hurts so bad (hurts me so, gonna schoop now), Hurts so bad (Hurts me so)."

"Oh. You wanna go visit Ratchet?"

"…the local council states that there is nothing that can be done…it's a price malfunction!! …Sometimes it takes time it takes time to…"

Sam rubbed his fingers over the dash comfortingly. "Okay bud, if you're sure. Are you going to be okay just sitting out here all day? You don't have to hang around, you could just go off and…" Sam paused. What did Autobots do with time off? "do stuff."

"Could you believe that I could be your guardian angel?" Lee Ryan demanded.

Sam laughed. "I dunno, Bee, angels tend to be more…feathery." But if he had to put his faith in any guardian, he'd take fifteen feet of cannon toting metal over a white robe and a halo any day. He opened the door. "Besides, the baddest things in there are teachers with no sense of humour. Not exactly lethal, ya know? What's the worst that could happen?"

Famous last words, Witwicky, Sam thought to himself as Trent's jacket clad elbow swung in and slammed his locker door shut, nearly catching his fingertips.

"Whoops, sorry man," the big jock's sweaty face grinned unrepentantly. He innocently twisted back around from 'accidentally' putting his elbow against Sam's locker to talking to his group of hulking friends.

"No, 'sorry' is for the first time," Sam snapped out. "The second time the phrase it 'what the hell is your problem'! Or is all that football-based brain damage giving you memory loss too?"

Sam cursed his mouth. How many times had the crap been kicked out of him because the words shot out before he could think to rein them in? A lot, that's how many. But after everything that had happened lately, Sam Witwicky didn't find fear in a puny six foot tall, flesh and bone human. Autobots and Special Ops – Trent and company didn't stack up well in comparison.

"Real funny, Wichity," The guy slammed a hand against the locker row.

"Witwicky. And if you got something to say, line up the words in your two brain cells and say it." It was the tone. Captain Lennox and Optimus used it all the time. It contained the promise of trouble if not obeyed. It was an order voice and it was all in the delivery.

Trent sneered. "Okay Wiwitchy, you think I got a problem? I heard some stupid rumours around about you and Mikaela. Stuff like she was going out with a loser like you. You certainly have a lot to offer her, right; what with your cheese sting arms and your crap-fest car and your empty bank account that had you hocking your stuff just to get by. Went to your eBay page Ladiesman. Who are you trying to kid? How much is the rental on the car you're pretending is yours out in the lot? You sell yourself on the street to get the money? Are you somebody's bitch, Wierdwickety, cause it's probably the only thing you're good at." Trent prodded Sam with an unfriendly finger. "You stay away from Mikaela. Be a good bitch, or I'll take you out and neuter you – not that that's make much difference, right?" His friends all sniggered.

Sam, bored, opened his locker. That was the worst they could do? They should try having a heart-to-heart with Megatron. "Really? You own Mikaela, right? She's just another shiny car in your garage? 'Cause, you know, last time I checked, she was her own person. In fact," Sam got his books out, ignoring the guy's glare. "Last time I checked, she would rather walk home ten miles than get in your shiny new truck which, by the way, is kind of a hugely unsubtle overcompensation. You get mag wheels and you are whining about scratching the chrome? What kind of moron buys an off road truck and is scared to go off road?" Sam slammed his locker closed, packing his books in his bag. He felt his anger skyrocketing a lot faster than it usually did. He'd spent the last few weeks either dodging cannons or getting debriefed by Agent 'Paranoia' Simmons and people like him. There were entire races out there in the stars getting wiped out in a war, and the human race might be next. Sam had enough on his mind, he didn't need to handle an ass like Trent. "How would it ever have worked out between you two anyway? You can't stand any girl smarter than you are. But, you know, stuff growing in my shower is smarter than you are."

A meaty hand grabbed him by the shoulder and dragged him up from packing his backpack. "What was that, Witgeekity?

Sam's hands snapped up and grabbed the offending wrist, clenching his fingers around it. He kept his stance wide and his grip solid. "You wanna start something?" Sam snarled, twisting the grip loose. It didn't matter that he only came up to the hulk's chin, he was holding his ground unflinchingly. His hands started to tingle as his grip hardened. "Right here, right now?"

The hallway was still fairly crowded and everyone was watching. It was a rare sight to see skinny Sam Witwicky challenge the guard of the football team. Trent was taken aback. He was used to people backing down. He was used to Sam backing down, throwing out all sorts of stupid excuses that proved what a pussy he was. This was a different Sam. He was steelier, harder and poised.

But the big footballer's pride wouldn't let him back down. He shoved Sam hard, sending him back against the opposite row of lockers. "Yeah, I do Witweakling," Trent laughed. "You're such a bitch. You're all talk and no ac-"

The breath was driven from his body as Sam's foot hit his solar plexus. Hard. The kid had used the opposite locker wall to brace his body and slammed Trent with the full force of his runners legs. Not only was Trent sent flying back against the lockers, he actually slid down them, landing in an ungainly heap on the floor, gasping and coughing past the knot of agony that was his diaphragm.

There was a dead, shocked silence. To anyone's knowledge, this had never actually happened before. Trent was down – down, as in floored – and Sam was standing. "Things change, Trent." Sam spoke flatly.

The bell ringing shattered the tableau. The students all began to scatter, chattering excitedly at what just happened. Trent's friends bent to help him off the floor. He shook them off angrily, still coughing and gasping. "You're dead, Witwicky!"

He lunged forward, but Sam was agile. He ducked around the first punch and got away from the wall of lockers. Unfortunately, he was outnumbered. One of Trent's buddies grabbed him, swung him round and slammed him face first into the lockers, so hard the vent mesh cut into his face. Trent's fist slammed into his kidneys from behind. Sam gasped as the pain exploded.

"Not so tough now, huh? Huh?" The fists kept coming.

Sam got one arm free and sent it back like a piston. It connected with something hard enough for the joint to burn. There was a yell, and the restraining grip loosened enough for Sam to struggle free. He didn't even pause to scoop up his backpack; he just ran for it. Parking lot, third row back. Bumblebee.

"Where you goin', Witwussy, where you goin'?" Trent yelled as he and his henchmen gave chase.

Out of here, Sam decided. This wasn't a fight he could win, or even draw. His back burned, his face was wet from bloody cuts, his heart was hammering so hard onto his ribs it felt like it was being bruised.

And then a horn blared. Squealing around a row of cars, his bright yellow, stylish and currently infuriated guardian rolled into their row behind the chasing boys, headlights set at a menacing brightness. "Back off, back off bitch! Down in the gutter, dyin' in the ditch. You better back off, back off bitch!" The song was so loud it actually rattled the windows of the other cars in the lot.

The footballers all spun around, backing away from the blaring, revving Camaro.

"Go Bee," Sam muttered, grinning slightly. Then his amusement faded.

Trent had picked up a rock from somewhere as he chased after Sam. Now he hefted it in his hand like he was going to make a pass, grinning cruelly. "You think you'll get the deposit back when there a big freaking hole in the windscreen, tough guy?" he sneered.

Sam's heart jolted. Something white hot blasted him all the way to his bones. What had started as a slight ache in chest distilled agonisingly, and spread through his muscles like hot ice, winding him like a spring and superheating him. It happened so fast and so furiously that he only had time to open his eyes to nearly full whiteness. "NO!"

Whatever it was exploded out of Sam, knocking out windows and mirrors in cars around him. From overhead sparks flew and came down in a rain of burning light from the power lines, blue arcs were jumping and dancing between the cables. They sprang loose from Sam, bouncing and arcing across cars and poles and streetlights, blowing out bulbs and throwing glass shrapnel around like bullets. Lighting bolts as thickset as Sam inscribed giant flickering arches in the air, taking out the windows of the school complex and flash burning off paint.
Sam screamed as his hands felt the burn of the crackling bolts earthing in a wide circle around him. Bumblebee sped past the screaming and retreating teens, making a beeline for Sam. One of the bolts reached out and stuck the yellow 'Bot.

Sam fainted.

A few minutes later he woke up. His chest felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to it. His muscles twitched and cramped tortuously, and his hands stung and burned. His breath was like razors in his chest. Somehow, he forced himself over and got to his knees.

Around him electrical wires lay on the ground like giant pieces of dropped string. The ground was covered with glass, and smoke rose from a dozen tiny fires started by the sparks.

"Oh. My. God," Sam gasped, slumping. He had to …his brain was buzzing and blacking at the same time….he had to…he couldn't…he had to go. A picture of Optimus Prime flashed in his head, and it took his brain a minute to actually recognise it. The Autobots. They could help. He had to find the 'Bots. He crawled towards the nearest car, and for a moment didn't recognise it. He panicked until his fried mind connected the dots.

"Bee," Sam croaked. "We … have to go…call…others…"

Silence.

"Bee?"

Silence. There was a crackle and hiss, the smell of burning wire.

Horror drove the boy to his feet, his hands frantically on the hood. "Bee? Say something! Bee! Bumblebee! Come on, don't do this! Please! Bee!" Tears made tracks down Sam's face, his shaking body was now convulsed with agonised sobs. "Bee! Please, Bee, please…Bee! Nonono, Bee, you can't…I need…Bee…Bee! BEE!"

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