By Dreaming of Everything
Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers in any way, shape or form. This is a fanwork done only for my amusement and, hopefully, the amusement of others.
Author's Notes: This ended up—cuter than I had thought it would, considering the subject matter. (Hopefully it's cute. It's meant to be.)
As always, please read and review!
Annabelle Lennox, Captain William Lennox's daughter, had squealed with joy when she'd looked out the window on her 17th birthday to find a brand-new truck waiting for her on the lawn. She'd run downstairs, grabbed her father and mother into excited hugs and then made it outside in record time.
"Huh," her mother, Sarah, said. "Fastest I've ever seen her get downstairs in the morning in the past, let's see, four years."
"And that's the cheeriest she's been for half a year," William replied.
"She never really did forgive us after we grounded her for that party, but what else were we supposed to do? I mean, she was four hours past curfew and drunk by the time she came staggering home…"
"And I know who to blame for her rebellious streak," said William with a grin, pulling Sarah into a hug.
"Just because you were boring when you were a teenager—" his wife protested.
"I wasn't boring, I was in control…"
"Just as long as we remember who's idea it was to call Ironhide in when she finds out," his wife drawled.
"Well, if she's anything like Sam and Bumblebee."
"Sam was better-adjusted at her age than Annabelle is, and Ironhide's no Bee."
"You're right there."
"I'm your wife; I'm always right."
"But they are both guardians! Although I suppose that situation was different from our current one…"
The two were interrupted by the door swinging shut, and Annabelle walked back into the room.
"God, you two are revolting," she said, casting a disgusted look at how her two parents were curled around each other. "And you still suck. But you've been temporarily made the best parents ever, so I promise I'll be good for a mo—week, at least.
"So can I go out with Dirk tomorrow, please?"
"She's using her manners," mouthed William at Sarah, who pretended to fall over in a dead faint.
"Ha ha," iced Annabelle.
"You know what I think of that boy, Anna," her mother said with a frown as she straightened up, all traces of silliness gone.
"Mom, please. It's Belle, and I know you've been talking to that bitch—"
"Language" both of her parents barked.
"—that woman Kanazawa."
"Yes, we do talk to your guidance counselor, actually," said Sarah brightly.
"I'll be careful, and I'll be home by my curfew, okay? I promise." She shot them her most pitiful puppy-dog eyes.
"Fine," said William. "But just as long as you understand that this is a probationary period—you give us any reason to think you're doing drugs of any sort, or if you're half a minute past curfew, you're not leaving the house until after Christmas break next year. And the car goes back."
"Fine," Annabelle said, narrowing her eyes and spitting out the word.
William rubbed his temples as his daughter slammed up the stairs with the phone in one hand and an energy bar in the other.
"I liked her better before she learned to talk," he sighed.
"Of course, I dealt with the diapers," Sarah said back.
"Do you think we did the right thing?"
"What thing did we do possibly right?"
"Not telling her about the Transformers," William sighed.
"It's what the government wanted… And they have a point. You remember what she was like in elementary school—cuter than now, but just as hard to handle."
"The government included Sector 7, you know. It's a miracle I wasn't shot for insubordination."
"I do, Will. Think it's the right thing, that is. I mean, Sam got thrown into all this pretty young, and it was hard enough for him. I think it was good to let her grow up normal—and even if some of our baby albums have pictures of her gnawing on Ironhide's seats, she doesn't remember any of it, at least."
"Well, we must have done something wrong, even if we did raise her as normal as we're capable of getting. Anna's a mess. I just hope Ironhide'll forgive us for dropping her on him…"
"He'll straighten her up at the very least," said Sarah with quiet finality. "And that's more than either of us can do right now, it seems."
Annabelle was excited. She was finally getting her chance with Dirk, who'd been hinting that it would be cool to 'hang out sometime' for half a year. She hadn't been able to say yes—she'd been permanently grounded, and her dad was good at catching her when she tried to sneak out—but it had turned out in her favor in the end. Apparently playing hard-to-get had been the perfect tactic.
And now she had him wrapped around her fingers. Hah. Take that, Alise. She also had a car—it was, admittedly, not a sports car, but it was a) new and b) an acceptable alternative when it came to the type of image she needed. Power and independence—yes. Perfect for keeping Dirk. And for getting them around—he'd lost his car for drunk driving. Not that her parents knew that—she'd told them that gas and maintenance had been too much, so he'd sold it. Anna—no, wait. She was going by Belle now, the best alternative to Annabelle she had been able to come up with—planned on keeping it that way.
But now was not the time for self-congratulations. She needed to decide what to wear. It had to be edgy, just not so much she scared him off; attractive but not desperate; effortlessly glamorous but not too dressy; casual enough that it didn't look she cared too much, but not too casual or it wouldn't make a good impression; it needed to be out-of-the-ordinary so she was memorable, without verging on strange, or weird, or too extreme...
"She'll be downstairs crying in an hour and a half about how she has nothing to wear, just you wait," said Sarah quietly to her husband from their position downstairs, as they listened to the sounds of dresser drawers being slammed open and shut above their heads.
The date had been going well. She'd found an outfit that, while not perfect, was serviceable, and Dirk was just as incredible as she'd imagined he'd be—funny and caustic, but sweet when it came to her, and incredibly romantic without being cheesy or sappy. Plus, there was that edge to him that made him so incredibly, deliciously appealing.
So she had a thing for bad boys. So what? Mikaela—the only person over 30 she currently liked—had a thing for dweebs, apparently. (And cars, but she was still trying to ignore that. And pretend she'd never seen it.)
The only awkward moment had been when Dirk had offered her a drink. She'd had to turn it down—all he'd managed to get was mint liqueur swiped from his parents, and she hadn't been able to stomach the taste of mint since she'd gotten airsick while chewing on spearmint gum at age three, as the airplane was taking off.
So that sucked. Still, the evening was going well.
"Hey," Dirk said, voice low. His arm was wrapped around the back of her seat, his fingers tangling in the fine, short hairs at the nape of her neck, and it was making heat pool, deep in her body, already. "I know a nice place to go, away from the city a bit—you can see the stars better from there, you know. Less light pollution."
"Sounds nice," she said, eyelids half-lowered. She purred the words, liking the expression that crossed Dirk's face at the sounds—hunger.
Half an hour later they were there: a small park out in the middle of nowhere. It barely qualified as that; there was a bench and a sad, dusty attempt at a garden, and a mostly dried-out pond, but nothing else.
Not that they were paying much attention to that. They were in the truck bed, Dirk heavy and warm on top of Anna in the cooling night. He was nuzzling at her neck, nipping the flesh almost hard enough to be painful. She could feel his dick, hard against her stomach.
She rolled her hips under him, working to get into a better position without breaking away from him; she was gasping already, breath coming harder as the hand he'd worked into her shirt played with her breast, fingers scraping against a hard nipple.
He moaned into her shoulder, and the noise sent shivers down her back.
"Want to hear you scream," Dirk said, raising his head to look her in the eyes. She rocked her hips again, and felt him gasp at the motion. He pressed further down against her, then bit down hard on her shoulder. She gasped, as much at the pain as the pleasure.
"Want to hear you yell, feel you struggle," Dirk whispered. Then again—"Want to hear you scream."
"Want to see you beg, bitch," he said, struggling up, an elbow grinding painfully into her ribs as he did it. He kept a hand on her shoulder, forcing her down, as he straddled her waist, a leg on either side, kneeling over her. He slapped her, and she gasped. "I want to see you grovel while you beg me to let you go—"
"No," Anna whispered faintly. She thought, vaguely, that she could feel the truck's engine rumble to life underneath her.
His hand was scrabbling at her pants, fingers slipping into her—
It was disgusting, horrifying, but she was still so painfully aroused. She whimpered, and felt tears slip from where they'd gathered at the corners of her eyes.
Suddenly they were falling, and even though it took her a minute to figure out why—the truck had moved?—she was on her feet almost before she'd hit the ground, backing away from Dirk to steady herself against a tree, hands pressing into the rough bark. He righted himself, clutching at the ribs he'd bruised on the way down, and headed for her, pressing her into the trunk she was leaning against. She gasped, throat working convulsively.
"You're gonna pay, whore," he whispered, voice hoarse, into her ear.
The words broke the spell. Her eyes snapped open with sudden determination, and before he could react she was springing into motion—she bit hard at the hand he'd pressed over her mouth first, because it was there. Self-defense movements she hadn't thought about since the eight grade came rushing back to her. Step on the foot, she thought, aiming closer to the ankle, where it would hurt more. Knee to the groin. Dig your fingernails into whatever you can reach—he had her in a bad enough position that she couldn't go for his eyes.
And then, suddenly, a giant metal hand was ripping him off of her—thank God, thank God, some part of her mind whispered—and swinging him, roughly, up (and up…)
He dangled in the air like a limp dummy, swinging from the giant robot's hand. Her mind was agonizingly slow to grasp the situation, and her thoughts kept skipping from detail to detail. Robot. Dirk. Truck. Rape.
She fumbled with the button on her jeans, trying to get it closed. It took her two tries before her hand was steady enough to grip the little metal knob at all.
I'm crying, she thought, a minute later. She had collapsed, she was on her knees on the ground, her hands pressed to her face. There was a few quiet whirring noises, the bright flash of lights pressing through the cracks of her fingers and into her eyes, a heavy thump that shook the ground, and when she looked up the metal giant was kneeling next to her, looming and threatening.
The scream died in her throat, before it was ever voiced. Her eyes were wide, and she knew she probably looked like a deer in headlights. And that's what they were—headlights.
Did Daddy know about this? she thought, then told mentally told herself to stop calling her father something as childish as 'daddy.' She was too old for that sort of thing.
"Annabelle?" said the robot, voice low and careful—like someone talking to a skittish cat, she thought. Tears were still streaming from her eyes.
She was shaking, and it was only because every muscle in her body was tense that she wasn't shuddering back and forth.
"Annabelle. You need to go home," it said again, and this time she shook her head, convulsively—it took her too long to make it stop.
"No," she said, voice choked. "No."
"You need to be home," the robot said. "Your parents will be able to help you."
I'm crazy, hallucinating, some cool, analytical part of her mind thought. And that's why it knows my name.
"No," she said again. "Mommy warned me about this, she told me, I can't—"
"Illogical," said the robot, and her tears started coming harder. He—it—made a short, sharp, frustrated movement with a hand, and she flinched away from it. He stilled suddenly, unnaturally, making what sounded for all the world like a sigh.
"You know them better than that," he said finally. "They would want you home more than anything else right now."
Some part of her knew he was right, so she nodded, stopping herself sharply before she could go on nodding too long, this time.
He stood and it was horrifying how tall he was. Annabelle pressed herself further into the ground, unaware and unthinking, for once, of what she was doing to her clothes. She cowered.
The robot took a careful half-step back, and she could feel the vibrations his feet made juddering through the ground and into her bones. He paused, then—slowly, at first—things began to flip and switch and turn until finally it was just a truck sitting there. She shivered harder.
Slowly, almost cautiously, it rolled forward until it was sitting in front of her; the door popped, then swung until was fully open, waiting.
She crawled into it, hesitantly, curling into herself on the seats once she was inside, body tense and shaky, and her bruises starting to make themselves known.
Anna was crying in earnest, now, the tears streaming down her face. If she had been driving she wouldn't have been able to see the road, even if she could hold her hands steady on the wheel.
After a minute, she became horribly, awfully aware of Dirk's scent pressed into the seat, wrapping around her. Her stomach roiled, and she bit down on the urge to vomit.
Finally, she went numb, blank.
She came back to herself as the truck pulled up to the house. Insistently, the door pressed itself open. Annabelle dragged herself up, dropped awkwardly to ground, staggering as she hit it.
Her parents were at the door, then running to her, as the truck shifted back into the robot-form. She was wrapped up into her mothers arm, and she started sobbing, the cries wracking her body, though the tears had never really stopped. Her father was there, she realized dimly, his arms around her as well, the three of them kneeling in a huddled tangle on the wet grass of the front lawn, her truck standing above them.
"What happened? What happened?" her mother was asking her. Annabelle started shivering again, violently.
"It was—Dirk," she said, his name dripping poison into her mouth as she spit it out.
"No," he mother said faintly. She could hear the gritting of her father's teeth, behind her.
"He tried— tried to—"
"No, Annabelle, my little girl," her mother was saying, gripping her tighter. "Come inside. We'll get you clean and warm. I'm so sorry, Anna…"
"The truck," she managed, between chattering teeth.
"Ohhh," her mother sighed. "That, too? I'm sorry, baby, for dropping this all on you. I'm so sorry, Anna."
Slowly, persistently, her mother chivvied her to her feet, pressing her in the direction of the house. Slowly, the girl let herself be led, leaving Will and Ironhide standing the front yard. As Annabelle let the front door swing shut behind her she heard their voices: her father's warm tenor and the deeper, mechanical rumbling of the other.
"What happened?" Will demanded of Ironhide.
"The fleshbag tried to force himself on Annabelle," said Ironhide, voice lowered despite the heavy undercurrent of anger that ran through it. "He was a sadist."
William hissed, fists clenching subconsciously. "Is he alive?"
"Yes." There was a strong hint of regret in the word. "It would have been more traumatic for the girl. I knocked him around a bit, then left him. He had a blood-alcohol level of .11 percent, and it is unlikely anyone will believe what he says, particularly if Annabelle does not back him up."
"That fucking son of a bitch," Will said, every inch of his body tensed. A minute later he relaxed suddenly, shaking a little. "My little Anna—I can't believe what almost happened… Thank you, Ironhide, for being there for you."
"I—am glad I was able to help," the Autobot said, almost hesitantly.
"What's wrong?" said Will, looking up at his friend. He'd gotten to know Ironhide pretty well, over the 16, 17 years he'd known him.
There was a brief pause.
"The idea of sexual violence is not one we are familiar with," said Ironhide finally, and Will translated the 'we' to Transformers as a whole. "And I was very nearly not there at all."
There was another solemn silence. It made sense to Will, that sex as violence would bother Ironhide, especially when it was one of 'his' humans being hurt; from what he'd picked up, Cybertronians didn't necessarily not have sex, but they certainly didn't have it often. It certainly wasn't the driving force it was to humanity.
"I'm—so glad you were there," William said finally.
It was four in the morning by then, but Will and Sarah were both still awake, sitting together in the kitchen. Annabelle had been asleep in her room for just over two hours.
"I knew he was off," Sarah said, "but I didn't know that he'd do something like… that. I—"
"I know," William said, hugging his wife closer to him. "I know."
It was noon before Annabelle slipped out of sleep and two in the afternoon before she left her room. Ironhide had been running a couple of different visual filters through her room—as the humans would say, 'keeping on eye on her'—and so he knew.
Once she moved downstairs, he turned the programs off. Now, she was on her parents' watch.
Briefly, he considered leaving—she was probably going to end up confronting him about all this, and he didn't want to be there when that happened, particularly. Not after the night before, certainly.
After a few minutes of reflection, he decided against it.
When the sounds of arguing as humans did it—raised voices and slamming doors, similar noises—began to come from the house, Ironhide decided it was time to take a short drive on his own.
"What do you mean you knew about the giant truck-robot?" Annabelle yelled at her mother.
"Your father was one of the first to deal with one of his race on earth," her mother said, voice calm but with a snapping, short-tempered edge to it. "He helped them save the planet. And I know you know about the fight that happened."
"And you didn't think that I'd, I dunno, want to hear about this? Maybe even before the truck turns into a giant robot?"
"If you'd bothered to listen to me the first three times I'd said it, you'd know that the government told us to keep quiet!" her mother yelled back, losing the illusion of calm.
"So what I'm your daughter! Shouldn't that count for something?"
"I figure I've already done more than my due share by putting up with you for the past seventeen years!"
"You told me it was my birthday present!"
"And two months ago you told me you were going to a sleepover at a friend's house and came back stinking of smoke, sweat and God knows what-all with your bellybutton and nose pierced! Six months ago you came back from a party so drunk we had to rush you to the emergency room to pump your stomach!"
"But you're my parents!" Annabelle's voice was filled with anguish and betrayal.
Her mother deflated. "I'm sorry," she said quietly. Her daughter was crying again.
"My head feels all stuffy," she said miserably.
"It's all the crying," her mother said. "You're dehydrated. You need to drink more water."
"But that's what you say about everything…" The girl sounded mournfully dismayed, until the humor of the phrase hit her. She started giggling at herself, and after a few seconds her mother joined in, until they were both laughing so hard they could barely stand.
Ironhide had pulled back into the driveway recently enough that you could still hear the pinging of metal when Annabelle had walked out to him.
Taking a deep breath, she had looked over the truck before fixing her gaze approximately where the door hinged into the rest of him. "Thank you," she had said suddenly, then turned and walked quickly away, waiting for no response. Not that Ironhide knew if she knew that he could talk like this—he wasn't sure how much she understood, or even how much her parents had told her.
Enough that she had thanked him, apparently. Whatever that meant. Bumblebee would have been better for this; he probably would have stopped things, in a more subtle way, to boot, before they had gotten to the point they had, last night. Ironhide had never been good at little details, or dealing with humans, or even other Transformers, or basically anything that wasn't barging in, cannons blazing, to fight the problem face-to-face.
But Captain Lennox had asked for him, and he had agreed, and hopefully he had kept Annabelle from more trauma than he had inflicted himself.
Only time would tell when it came to that, though. And apparently one of her parents had convinced her to thank him, which said something—though he wasn't sure what, exactly. Humans were confusing.
Around nine in the morning two days later, William wandered down the driveway towards Ironhide, who had to admit that the distraction—a distraction, any distraction—would be good, at this point.
"Hey," Will said, resting a friendly hand on his door. "Would you be willing to take us into town today? We've got a report to file with the local police department."
Ironhide slung the driver's-side door open in response; he'd do anything to get a bit of driving in, right now, and he had a fair idea what they're complaint was—and if he was right, he was all for it.
William climbed into the truck and the two of them stood waiting for a few minutes, Ironhide's engine rumbling idly, before Annabelle slowly approached the truck. She hesitated for a few seconds at the door, until Ironhide shrugged that one open, as well—though the unexpected movement startled the girl, making her jump backwards, losing her footing on the slippery gravel of the driveway. She went down hard, and then clambered back up, rubbing at one of her elbows and eyeing the car nervously.
"Sorry," said Ironhide, slightly belatedly, the hours Bee and then Optimus had spent lecturing him about Earth manners kicking in. The girl flinched backwards again, eyes wide, though she kept her footing this time, even if just barely. After another few seconds of deliberation, she clambered up into the truck and buckled herself in.
It was dead silent for most of the ride, except for the rumble of a moving car and a running engine. Annabelle kept on fiddling with things and then catching herself, starting nervously, with her eyes darting quickly around the car. Twice she opened her mouth as if she was going to speak, then closed it again without saying a word.
Will appeared calm yet slightly preoccupied, although his death grip on the steering wheel belied his relaxed façade. He was still furious, still feeling helpless at how he hadn't been able to protect his daughter, his baby girl, still filled with rage.
Ironhide didn't know what to say, or even if it would be a good idea, what with how the girl kept on reacting to him, so he kept quiet. It usually served him well, when he was in a situation where intimidating somebody wasn't going to work—and this was really one of the times when it wasn't going to help. The girl was terrified of him as it was.
They really should have called in Bumblebee instead of himself, reflected the Autobot. A single, surprised and unarmed human wouldn't pose a threat to even the most helpless Transformer—which none of them were—and he wasn't good at these sorts of things. It'd been bad enough when Annabelle had been a child, and Will and Sarah had been—remarkably understanding. They also hadn't been moody teenagers, which had helped a lot.
Sarah had had a better introduction to them, though, and Will had fought with them, side by side. Annabelle had had her world shattered while she was being attacked by a would-be rapist.
Anna was crying when they returned to the waiting truck—not the desperate sobs of the evening before, but a miserable, muffled and hopeless sniffling that made Ironhide want to shoot something. Or someone. Not that he could, now that the case had been reported. Anything too out-of-the-ordinary might implicate the Lennoxes.
Will didn't turn down the road that would lead them back home; Ironhide figured he knew where he was going, and didn't say anything. He seemed to freak Anna out when he spoke.
"Where are we going?" asked Anna after a few miles.
"I figured we could grab some burgers and head out towards the park," he said.
"Dad, that's so lame," the teenage girl replied, rolling her eyes a little, although she didn't make any complaint other than that, and after a few minutes she began to smile a little through her tears, which slowly stopped falling.
The two humans returned to the truck laughing, and the girl, at least, was clearly feeling better.
She fell silent again, though, soon after they started driving back towards home.
"Penny for your thoughts?" William said finally.
"It's nothing," she said, shaking her head, and he let it rest.
"Bye, Mom!" Annabelle yelled from the porch, turning back towards the door. A few more days had passed.
Ironhide was surprised when she headed towards him, pausing a few feet away.
"Can I… drive you?" she said hesitantly.
In response, he shrugged open the driver's-side door. Carefully, as if unsure what to do, where she could place her hands, she got in.
She wasn't a bad driver, Ironhide was relieved to find, but she didn't seem to have someplace to go in mind. The girl seemed to be driving aimlessly. He could understand that.
He was surprised again when she spoke. "You… You can talk, you know," she blurted out.
"It seemed to disturb you, before," he said carefully, and her hand jerked on the wheel; the truck didn't deviate from its straight path down the nearly-empty road.
Again, silence fell.
It was nearly dusk when they finally arrived at the still-empty park her 'date' had taken her to, one day short of a full week before.
Ironhide didn't have the faintest inkling of what the little organic was doing here.
Slowly, she opened the door, slipped to the ground. She stepped out of the flip-flops she was wearing, and shifted her feet through the sand she was standing on.
Slowly, Annabelle wandered through the park. She touched a hand to the tree trunk she had cowered against; she stood where the truck—Ironhide—had been parked, and pressed a hand to the bruise that still lingered on her collarbone, slide it over the dark ring that circled her arm. She moved as if she was in a dream.
Anna didn't turn at the sudden, faint, clanking, shifting and grinding of an Autobot transforming. A few minutes she turned to look at the robot, who was sitting, hunched slightly, on the ground using the few scant trees as cover.
"Why did you come here?" he asked her, gruffly.
"Because I needed to know I could," she said.
A full year had passed. Anna had just turned 18; she was heading off for college in a few months. She had started dating again, but she had started using the family car. Ironhide and Will had both agreed that she could when she had asked.
But she always drove Ironhide when she wasn't with a boy or a few friends. "Why do you only drive him when you're alone?" Mikaela had asked her, curious.
"Because then he couldn't talk back," said Anna.
"You're both going to have to get used to it when you go off to college," replied Mikaela.
Annabelle had gotten a funny look on her face.
"What?" asked Mikaela.
"I—haven't talked about that with him," she said at last.
Mikaela just raised a single, expressive eyebrow.
"I'm leaving for college soon," said Anna finally.
"I know," replied Ironhide evenly.
"Would… Would you be willing to come with me?" she said finally, a little hurriedly.
There was a pause.
"…yes," said Ironhide slowly. Annabelle knew him well enough to know that he meant 'of course,' but couldn't bring himself to actually say it.