Title: Squishy, Prologue
Characters: Barricade and Frenzy
Rating: T for swearing
Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Transformers except merchandise, and I am making no money off this story.

Author's Note: This fic has been completely revised and is close to double its original word length! I highly recommend any old readers re-read the entire thing.


Barricade prowled restlessly up and down the dark street. He was waiting for Frenzy, the two of them having split up earlier: he to get a break from the spastic little glitch, and his partner to raid a computer store for Allspark-knows-what reason. But their chosen meeting time had come and gone and there was still no sign of the diminutive 'Con. Sure, Frenzy wasn't always the most punctual of Decepticons, but being over a mega-cycle late was pushing it, even for him.

Of course, Barricade wasn't worried, never that, he was just irritated. He didn't appreciate being forced to wait around for that shoddily thrown together pile of broken razorblades, which was exactly why he was currently searching through the surrounding area again and again. And again. Right.

As worried as he definitely wasn't, it was still… disconcerting that he hadn't picked up a single sign of his partner. He wasn't too surprised that his scanners hadn't caught anything, as Frenzy was an expert at not being found, but what was really worryi- disconcerting was that he had been unable to contact Frenzy. Barricade didn't understand it. Distance was not an issue for their comms, and not even enough cement to hide the Allspark's energy signature could block them. So where the slag was Frenzy? Barricade swore that if the little glitch thought he was funny, hiding and ignoring his calls…

Finishing another circuit of the area, Barricade returned to the alley where he had dropped off Frenzy in the first place and parked. He glowered – as much as a car could glower – at the computer shop that seemed to have swallowed up his partner. Frenzy wasn't in there, he was fairly sure. If nothing else, his sensors would pick up the movement, and there was none-

Movement in the alley.

Barricade's attention snapped to the far end of the alley, where something was moving in the shadows behind the dumpster. He couldn't technically see it yet, but he had other senses beyond sight, and he quickly realised that it wasn't his partner. Just another worthless human. For a moment, Barricade considered just leaving and continuing his search, but then he thought better of it. Or perhaps worse. Here he was, all riled up and irritated, and there was a little squishy, all vulnerable and ripe for the terrorizing. What a perfect way for him to de-stress.

The human was stumbling to its feet, one hand braced on the dumpster, and turning toward him, its features still obscured in shadow. Revving his engine loudly, Barricade turned to point straight down the alley and snapped on his high-beams. The effect was immediate, the human recoiling from the sudden light and letting out a strangled yell. Seemingly unsteady, it took a step back and tripped over its own feet, falling to the pavement in a shuddering, whimpering heap with its arms clasped protectively over its face.

Enjoying a cruel mental chuckle, Barricade snapped off the high-beams and with a threatening rev of his engine, drove closer to the human. He had to admit that as humans went, this one seemed to be an especially pathetic specimen. It – well, obviously a 'he', actually – curled naked and shivering on the ground, its skin pale enough to almost glow in the light of his headlamps. Where most humans were all round edges and large, squishy areas, this one seemed rather… less squishy than most. All sharp points and highly defined bones, as though it barely had enough fat and muscle to support itself. Frankly, he thought it made the human look less ugly than most of these fleshbags. Still, maybe he should put it out of its misery. With another loud rev, he jerked closer.

Stick-thin arms drew away from the human's head, revealing strangely electric blue eyes, widened with fear. But shoving itself into a sitting position, the wretched creature actually reached towards Barricade instead of pushing away, and began to babble and stutter. Stupid thing probably thought he was just a cop here to help. Well, better dissuade it. Another jerk forward with accompanying rev brought him dangerously close to the human. Instead of frightening it further this just seemed to piss the meatsack off, prompting it to shout unintelligibly at him. Except Barricade was quickly coming to the realization that he actually could understand a few words of what the pale human was saying, but it wasn't in any language that had originated on Earth.

It was Cybertronian.

There was swearing. A lot of swearing. Something about being confused. Something about waking up. Some other words that didn't really connect into anything understandable, and a whole lot of garbled attempts at what were probably Cybertronian words. Stunned, Barricade could only stare at the human in confusion. How the slag could a human know his language? Or even know of his language, let alone try and speak it to him. Did its speaking Cybertronian to him mean it knew who he was? What he was?

As though reading his processor, the human promptly answered that question. Apparently getting tired of trying to choke out understandable Cybertronian, the human snarled and, using Barricade's fender to help force itself to its feet, slammed its hands down on his hood. Angrily, it stuttered in English: "Ba-ba-barricade! What the fuck?!"

Suddenly everything about the disgusting little creature seemed horribly familiar. The electric blue eyes, the freakish thinness and pointy edges, the stuttering and swearing, even the Allspark-damned crest of silvery grey hair on the thing's head, its posture and the general twitchiness it was beginning to exhibit… All of it just screamed something at Barricade, something terrible and impossible and unthinkable, but he couldn't get it out of his head.

In a voice that fully acknowledged how insane he felt for even thinking of this, Barricade choked out one word.