Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers or any of the characters, Hasbro & Paramount Pictures does.
This was just something that popped into my head when I saw the movie in the theaters. Just how did Optimus Prime and the other Autobots cope with raising Bumblebee, the last of the younglings? Protocol only goes far when a youngling is involved...
I'm not very familiar with the series, so please be gentle. What I know is either from the movie or from quick, random reading. This is a numerous-part series focusing on Bumblebee's childhood and side-story of my earlier story Little Brother and I would suggest reading that story first to give you an idea of the storyline, but constructive criticism is welcome. I will probably pay the closest attention to Autobots from the 2007 film since they seem to be the closest to Bumblebee, although others will be included. Whenever an idea pops into my head, I'll write about it. Thank you and please enjoy reading.
Now remember, Bumblebee may seem OOC here because he is very young, practically a baby-bot and he is quite a bit smaller without all of his armor and additions yet. This is how some of my very little cousins and much younger brother would probably act in a situation like this, so be open-minded and nice, please. Bumblebee would want that.
Sparkling - Newborn
Youngling - Child
Italics - Thoughts
Breem - 8.3 Earth minutes
Joor - About 6.5 Earth hours
Orn - About 13 Earth day
Vorn - About 83 Earth years
Youngling - Chapter I - Ironhide
The sleek silver exterior of the Beta Nebulae Autobot Military Base and Outpost had shone brilliantly as the two suns set on the horizon and thousands of stars dotted the moon's night sky. Four titanic figures strode down one of the outer hallways, their shiny armors gleaming in the last rays of light and giving them an ethereal glow. The bulkiest of the four turned and stared at the darkening sky with hard blue optics, his hydraulics hissing slowly with suspicion…
"This base isn't nearly as fortified as I had hoped," Ironhide rumbled, his massive plasma cannons crackling slightly with apprehension. "We could've waited another few orns until we reached a more secure sector."
"You heard the Hatchet, though," Jazz argued, trying to diffuse some of his friend's tension, "The medical bay's almost out of medical supplies and we can't risk the chance of an attack and not have the means to treat the wounded. Too risky."
"This outpost is too risky," Ironhide snarled, punching in the code to the rec room keypad of the base, "Outposts draw attention and attention draws…"
The colossal weapons specialist didn't have time to take no more than four steps through the rec room doors before he was physically assaulted by a bubbly yellow version of a minibot missile. Hydraulics hissing in protest at the sudden attack, Ironhide shifted his large frame to gaze down and into the shining baby blue optics of his youngling charge. "Can't get away from you for one joor, can I?"
"Nope!" the youngling giggled, grabbing hold of one of Ironhide's bulky hands and dragging him across the room with little effort. "Look at what Hound and Blue're doing!"
Ironhide had discovered long ago that being gentle and indulgent was key when handling a youngling, especially where the little bot's health and wiring was concerned since both were very fragile and very undeveloped. Although Bumblebee was now the Cybertronian equivalent of a five-year-old Earth child, he still needed to be handled with excessive care and delicate touches. Ironhide had yanked the little bot's arm not too long ago when Bumblebee was being especially ornery one orn, severing the youngling's shoulder joint and completely shredding the wiring in his forearm. His youngling's cries of pain and anguish had nearly made Ironhide order Ratchet to deactivate the old mech himself.
It had taken over four orns to repair the excessive damage the firing range had sustained during Ironhide's rampage, nothing in the room escaping his grief-and-hate-stricken wrath.
Nothing except the Autobot cause came close to rivaling the devotion that Ironhide felt towards the youngling. None of his fellow Autobots dared to comment on the placidity that gruff ol' Ironhide seemed to develop when in the little bot's presence. They all valued their voice capacitors far too much to ever take such a life-threatening risk.
Ironhide's fatherly love for Bumblebee far surpassed his ardent passion for blowing Decepticons into thousands of pieces. Not that he'd ever admit to that, of course.
He did have a reputation to maintain, after all.
Fireflight, the only other youngling onboard Artemis I besides Bumblebee, was not present and was most likely in the flight simulators with his own guardian, the Autobot aerial commander, Silverbolt. Unlike Bumblebee, Fireflight was a survivor of the Youth Sectors, the only survivor of his particular sector, and was about the Cybertronian equivalent of a thirteen-year-old Earth child. The young mech had received his third-frame not too many vorns ago, so it was not uncommon for the little red flier to spend a large portion of the orn training with his fellow aerialbots. Bumblebee was not too happy about losing the only playmate remotely close to his age bracket, and often let his displeasure be known when he saw the older red and white youngling leaving the rec room for his regimen of flight training.
The two Autobot mechs in charge of youngling-sitting while they were at the outpost, Hound and Bluestreak, were currently tackling one another on the mats in the practice room. The sounds of hydraulics wheezing and joints straining could be heard on the far side of the room. Neither looked like they were going to be disentangled any breem soon.
"I think we're stuck," Bluestreak murmured, giving his fellow Autobots a slightly sheepish grin from his place on the mat, "A little help would be most appreciated, my dear ol' friends."
Ironhide glared down at the two mechs who were supposed to be watching Bumblebee, not glitching around in the rec room. The enormous weapons specialist was not afraid to admit that he was paranoid. Younglings were extremely rare and as far as he knew, Bumblebee was the last living youngling who had been sparked after the destruction of the Youth Sectors.
The mere thought of some strange mech or Decepticon scum snatching the little bot up when no Autobot was looking nearly made Ironhide march down to Optimus's office and demand that Bumblebee be locked onboard Artemis I until he was old enough to receive his third frame and cannons. If Bumblebee threw a tantrum and did not talk to him for a couple of orns, so be it. He'd get over it.
Did he mention that he was paranoid?
"Were you two attempting one of Jazz's grappling tackles?" Inferno asked, giving the two tangled mechs and the Special Operation's leader a pointed look. "You both know you're not flexible enough to perform those grabs and holds."
"Well, you can't blame a mech for trying," Hound grumbled from where his face was shoved into the mat and he was forced to listen to Jazz's snickering. "Mute it, Jazz!"
Bumblebee giggled at his two caretakers as they tried to disentangle themselves yet again, which only seemed to make the situation worse. Thoroughly frustrated and uncomfortable, both grinned evilly and made a grab for the taunting youngling who was promptly saved from capture by the ever-loyal Jazz.
"Now, now," tsked Jazz whilst snatching up Bumblebee and then depositing the little bot next to his towering guardian. "No need to take your frustrations out on others, especially lil' younglings. Your Creator would be appalled if he saw you now."
Bluestreak couldn't help but laugh at the sight of Bumblebee. The youngling looked like a limp rag whenever someone grabbed him by the scruff-bar, just dangling there with his big optics taking on a watery look that no one onboard Artemis I could seem to resist. Not even Ironhide, whom many other mechs considered to be more ruthless and bloodthirsty than a greater part of the Decepticon Army.
"Well, I'm glad someone finds this funny," mumbled Hound whilst mock-glaring at the limp minibot, "Traitor."
Bumblebee merely made an obnoxious clicking sound at the mech and quickly grabbed a hold of Ironhide's larger hand, perfectly content to be in the protective presence of his guardian once again.
Bumblebee may have been an adventurous, inquisitive little bot who nearly made his caretakers go on the fritz on numerous occasions, but he was also very cautious and very clingy when surrounded by strangers. And this base had a lot of strangers in it.
Ironhide didn't object to the youngling's clinginess, preferring to keep his little charge close by his side whenever they were at a strange base or outpost. The black mech ran a gentle finger up and down one of Bumblebee's auditory receptors, easily lulling the youngling into a calm state as they watched Hound and Bluestreak attempt to disentangle themselves. Bumblebee eagerly nuzzled the colossal palm, content clicks and chirps slipping out as a result of his guardian's discreet act of affection.
"I think we should leave them like this," Red Alert laughed, "Primus knows it'll be good punishment for all the glitchin' around they do."
Ironhide sighed, gazing down at the struggling mechs with exasperation and mild amusement, "Unfortunately, these two half-processed glitch-heads are our most reliable youngling-sitters, they need to be salvaged. If not fof their own sake, then for Silver's and mine."
Disentangling the two mechs was enough to make Ironhide simply want to heat up one of his plasma cannons, blow them apart, and then hand them to Ratchet to piece back together. Of course, the youngling that held tightly onto his hand complicated things quite a bit in the blowing-things-to-itty-bitty-bits department.
"Come here, I wanna show—"
Bumblebee was cut off mid-sentence by a loud explosion from outside, Ironhide grabbing the youngling and pushing him protectively behind himself and Inferno. A shrill alarm sounded, the lights suddenly flickering on and off before the back-up generators kicked in and then the room was engulfed in an eerie red glow.
"Decepticons! We're under attack!" yelled the voice of a base sentry from down the hallway. "All able Autobot units report to the western docks!"
"Slag!" swore Jazz, running towards the doorway to join the Autobot soldiers that had just ran by not even a moment ago. "Those Pit-spawn slaggin' scrap-heaps must have been following us!"
"Fireflight's with Silver, right?"
"Yeah, he had simulator training during first-shift."
Inferno, Red Alert, and the now disentangled Hound and Bluestreak were not too far behind. Ironhide didn't move, placing a hand atop the youngling's quivering head and glaring at the doorway.
"'Hide…" Bumblebee whimpered, holding onto one of his guardian's thick legs and gazing fearfully up at him when he heard the titanic plasma cannons crackle and roar to life.
"Stay close," Ironhide gruffly commanded, signaling for Hound and Bluestreak to cover him as they left the rec room. Bumblebee stayed pressed to the back of his leg, trying to remain as close to his guardian as possible without causing Ironhide to trip and fall over him. "Where was the infiltration?"
"The western docks," said a voice from just outside the door, "Eight Decepticons should be coming down this hallway any breem if my thermo-heat-tracker is correct." The Autobot scientist stood with one of his high-tech cannons slung high over his shoulder, a look of complete concentration over his faceplate. "When they turn the corner down there at the end of the corridor," Perceptor indicated which one with a small laser-pointer, "It should give us an astrosecond to freely discharge upon them before we must engage them in direct combat. Then we can…"
The scientist trailed off when he saw the reason why his fellow Autobots seemed so tense and uneasy about his well-constructed and fully-processed plan. A pair of baby blue optics gazed at Perceptor from behind one of Ironhide's thick legs, shrouded within the protective shadow of the weapons specialist.
"Sorry, 'Cept, but Bee comes first," reminded Hound, stepping alongside Ironhide whilst firing up his large silver rifle and shoulder mounted rocket launcher. "Time to kick some Decepticon aft."
His fellow Autobots fired up their weapons, forming a protective circle around the youngling and quickly moving Bumblebee further down the hallway. Perceptor called for back-up, not wanting to take a chance with the youngling's well-being and presence no matter the odds. "Bumblebee's with us, Prime," he said into his com-link, eyeing the far end of the hallway warily, "We're going to try to move him to a more secure location as soon as we're sure that the surrounding halls have not been—"
Everything seemed to explode as black smoke enveloped the main hallway, the sound of intense gunfire erupting as flames burned down the corridor. Bumblebee held on tightly to his guardian's leg, burrowing his head into the familiar metal plates and desperately tried to block out the angry buzzing of explosions from his sensitive auditory receptors.
Ironhide watched as his fellow Autobots collided with at least eight Decepticons down the corridor, the battle escalating immediately when Inferno viciously threw one of them out a massive bay window. His plasma cannons fired into the raging battle, their missiles smashing into the chassis and legs of the Decepticons. Ironhide's longing to completely destroy the Pit-slagging scum almost overrode his processor until he felt a tiny head burrow itself into his right leg and a frightened whimper reached his auditory receptors.
Slag, Ironhide thought, firing at a Decepticon that was to his upper left, I've gotta get Bee out of here.
No sooner had Ironhide finished that thought did Bluestreak jump in front of him and angrily shout, "Get Bee out of here!" Another 'Con was swiftly blown backwards by the young gunner. "I'll cover you! Go!"
Every thought of engaging in battle was wiped from Ironhide's processor when he felt the youngling tremble at his feet. Instinct overtook his internal systems and the weapons specialist quickly hefted the youngling into his arms while blasting a 'Con in the chassis with his right plasma cannon. "Hold on, little one," Ironhide rumbled, "I've got you." His internal systems whirred protectively when a tiny head snuggled into his heavily built shoulder and small arms wrapped around his thick neck.
Nothing was going to hurt his youngling.
It still amazed the weapons specialist how small Bumblebee was compared to the other younglings he had seen before the Youth Sector attack. The youngling in his arms was still only in his second frame, thus making Bumblebee seem extremely small and light in his burly arms.
Ironhide sprinted down the reddened hallway, Bumblebee nestled securely in his left arm whilst his right plasma cannon crackled with frightening power. "Quiet, little one," he soothed, silencing the quiet whimpers of the youngling. He didn't know which halls had been infiltrated by the 'Cons and his fellow Autobots were a fair distance behind him. All he knew was that he needed to get Bumblebee as far away from danger as possible.
He hoped that Optimus and the others were on their way. Ironhide did not want to risk the youngling's well-being. He and his comrades knew that those Pit-slagging 'Cons had no qualms about hurting a youngling. They had proven that vorns ago when they had attacked the Youth Sectors…
The sound of breaking glass and Bumblebee's tiny whimper of terror was the only warning Ironhide had before he narrowly avoided being tackled from the side by an immense Decepticon in the disguise of a Cybertronian jet.
Ironhide viciously punched the large Decepticon who had smashed through one of the bay windows that lined the hallways. He took delight in the sound of crunching metal beneath his hardened fist and quickly fired a missile at point-blank range into the chassis of his enemy. His adversary howled in pain and anger, the buzz-saw-like weapon on its lower left arm slashing through the air and almost striking the youngling whom Ironhide clutched to his chest.
"Slaggin' scum!" Ironhide roared, his dark blue optics burning fiery red when the 'Con cruelly seized one of Bumblebee's arms from around his neck. The youngling screamed in pain and terror, desperately clutching onto his guardian and crying out to him. Blinded by rage, Ironhide maneuvered his right cannon onto his lower wrist and ferociously smashed it downwards onto his enemy's lower arm. The 'Con howled in agony, immediately releasing his hold on the youngling as his arm dangled almost uselessly at his side.
Ironhide quickly shifted his left side away from his foe to shield the youngling from another attack, firing up his cannon to maximum-power and unleashing six shots at point-blank range into the center chassis of his enemy; thus, completely obliterating the Decepticon's spark.
Ironhide glared down at the twisted wreckage that lay at his feet, his right plasma cannon pulsing and crackling with raw power. The small arm that hung around his neck and the tiny head that whimpered into his shoulder tore him out of his bloodthirsty haze, his optics shifting down to gaze at the quivering youngling who was nestled into his left side. He was horrified by what he saw…
"Primus, little one…"
The youngling's left arm was a twisted wreckage of sparking wires and wheezing hydraulics, bright blue fluid leaking out of the secondary energon line in his upper joints at a rapid rate. "Hurts," whimpered Bumblebee, baby blue optics glazed over in pain and small hand clenching at the back of Ironhide's neck.
"I know it does, little one," Ironhide whispered, running his fingers soothingly on the back of the little bot's head.
"Sorry," whispered the little bot, "Made noise."
Ironhide tightened his hold on the minibot and fiercely replied, "You have nothing to be sorry for, Bee, I'm the one who's supposed to protect you."
The little bot responded by making a small clicking sound as his internal systems gave an eerily quiet rev.
"Hey, I need you to stay with me, Bee, okay? I need you to show Sides and Sunny how tough you are, so that they'll stop with the short jokes about you minibots, okay?" This wasn't true, of course, since Bumblebee was the only minibot who wasn't teased about his short stature by the twins. But Ironhide needed to keep the little bot from going into recharge, so if he needed to feed the youngling's competitive streak, then so be it. "Can you do that for me?"
He received a faint nod as his answer.
Younglings were not like fully-grown mechs, their systems could not handle trauma nearly as well and what was a minor energon leak to an adult mech could be crippling or life-threatening to a bot as young as Bumblebee or Fireflight. Ironhide knew that if Bumblebee went into an energon-deprived recharge, he may not be able to boot back up.
His spark could fade.
"That's my lil' warrior," he murmured, preparing himself and his cannons in case of another attack. "Ratchet'll fix you right up in a breem or two, just you wait. And he'll be so proud of you."
Nodding his head and snuggling into his guardian, Bumblebee quivered when the sounds of explosions echoed from both ends of the hallways. Ironhide cradled the young bot in his left arm while contacting both Ratchet and Perceptor on his com-link, telling them both of the youngling's precarious situation and deteriorating condition. "He isn't going to last very long with an injury like this," Ironhide growled whilst glancing around a corner, "He needs medical attention now."
"There's too many 'Cons at my end and we've got injured down here," Perceptor said over the com, "I can't leave and it's too dangerous for you to bring Bumblebee back here."
"I'm not too far from your current location," Ratchet informed, his voice capacitor sounding strained, like he was trying to speak to two people at the same time, "Optimus and the others are with me near the eastern storage rooms…"
Ironhide quickly scanned his surroundings and discovered that he was a few steps from the entrance to the eastern quad. Not the best setting with Decepticon jets flying all over the place. "I'm near the eastern quad, not too far from the conference rooms."
There was silence on the other end for a few moments…
"You still there, Ratchet?"
"Yes, it's just that…" The medic sounded frustrated, which was never a good sign. "Prowl managed to download the blueprints of the base and is currently trying to figure out the quickest route to your location."
"Well, hurry up!" Ironhide snarled, frustrated by the whole situation and his inability to relieve the pain that plagued his youngling. "He won't…"
"Ironhide?" demanded Ratchet, "Ironhide, what's wrong?!"
Clutching Bumblebee close to his chest, Ironhide crouched behind the metal wall of the quad that separated him from the titanic demon that stood amongst the twisted and burning remains of his fellow Autobots: four Beta Nebulae sentries. He quickly hushed the quiet whimpers of the youngling and used the shiny metal of a nearby energon machine to look out at the smoldering quad.
Primus, thought Ironhide, This orn just keeps getting better and better. The blood red eyes of the Decepticon Lord suddenly shifted over towards the entrance of the building, a cruel sneer twisting his fearsome face and bearing his jagged teeth. I'm screwed.
I really hope I wrote this right and didn't butcher Ironhide's personality too much. It's rather hard to get into some of their heads, especially Optimus's and the other Autobots who I'm not familiar with (which is most, unfortunately). And I'm sorry for the amount of time it takes me to update, but I just really hope that the depth that I put into the characters works. I wanted Bumblebee to act his age and for Ironhide to come across as a believable guardian, so I hope I got it right. Please let me know if I should make any changes or revise this piece before I write any more. Any suggestions are welcome and I really hope you enjoy the story. Thank you for reading!