Title: Unlikely Partners, 3/3
Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)
Word Count (Fic Portion):
Notes: Done as part of lj's fanfic100 themes, theme #54 – Air. A fusion of the 2007 movie and old school Gen 1 (Season 2ish) because it has Sideswipe in it, and makes references to events in the movie.
Additional: I suppose I moved things kinda fast, but considering this was supposed to be a much-shorter 2-shot, I figure it's still doing pretty good. :) Pre-read done by Sabrina. Thanks girl!
When Mikey fell over in a heap, Sideswipe instinctively tried to reach out to catch the fleshling. Unfortunately for him, his physical well-being did not match his good intentions; his arm merely flopped left of center, and instead of catching the turtle, he barely managed to get the damaged arm back underneath his own body to keep him from falling forward and crushing him instead.
"That was smooth," he groused, mentally smacking himself. "Mikey?"
The super-charged energon Mikey had given him had boosted his systems a bit. Easily enough to perform a routine scan. He wasn't exactly sure of what he was looking for – human anatomy was not something he was an expert on, human Internet and Ratchet's lectures aside. Still, as far as he could tell, the turtle was in no immediate danger of expiring. His pulse, though a little weak, was steady, and most of the leaking had stopped from his various wounds. His bones were obviously still damaged – fingers, human, turtle, whatever – did not look like that.
The turtle moaned a bit at his call, its face creased in pain even while unconscious. Sideswipe bit back a few of his favorite Seibertronian curses and tried to think of what he should do. Standard procedure dictated that he continue to try and contact his brother and the human authorities, who would begin rescue operations. Problem was, that scenario involved humans, which Mikey was not. Mikey had specifically requested that the humans not be brought in – he was certain that he would be experimented upon, and mindless torture on creatures not Decepticon in nature, was something Sideswipe could not - and would - not tolerate.
Well, first things first. He tried his radio again. If it didn't work, he had much bigger problems to worry about then calling humans. His patch job was holding, but it didn't change the fact that he still needed his own medical attention. "Sunny?"
Nothing. Just a faint hiss over the airwaves. Then, a crackle. "Sunstreaker?"
Another crackle. Then again. Something was trying to get through the static and contact him. "Come on, Daffy!"
Finally - "...call...slaggin' Daffy...beat you...die!"
"That's my happy Daffodil." Sideswipe grinned in relief at the curses making their way over the statick-filled channel. "Are you okay? You got a lousy connect going here."
"..-rew you, you reject from Subaru." Sunstreakers radio signal was growing in strength. "I didn't see your exhaust-sucking carcass up here to lend a hand against a missile-happy Starscream."
That explained the wonky radio. "He zapped you, didn't he?" Sideswipe snickered.
"I hate those slagging null rays," came the snarled retort. "And if you don't shut up, I'll hunt him down, strip the rays for my own collection, and use you for target practice!"
"Aw, you really were concerned about me." Something he'd picked up about his brother, was that the more Sunstreaker told him off after a battle, the more worried he was. He'd never admit to caring though, and so Sideswipe had learned to read between the lines Megavorns ago. "Sunny, I got a situation here."
"Did you break an axle? Poor little sparkling."
"Stuff it, Sunshine. My central fuel line was cut."
There was a long moment of silence on the other end of the radio. "How long?" Terse. Hard. Chilling.
To anyone else, it would have been intimidating. However, this was his brother, and Sideswipe knew what he was asking. How long do you have left? "Relax, Sunny. I've got someone here who did a patch job for me. I'm good for now, but man, I'll be happy to set my optics on Ratchet when this is over."
"...you must be delirious. No one, not even the near-dead are ever happy to see Ratchet. The worse off a patient is, the shorter his temper gets, and the better his aim becomes."
Sideswipe snickered again. "Then he's gonna blow a gasket when he sees me."
There was another brief silence. Then, "Sides?"
That brought Sideswipe up short. There was real concern in Sunstreakers vocal unit. Enough playing around. "I'm okay, Sunny. Just a lot of dents and scrapes to touch up. Relax."
A snort came over the radio. "'Relax', he says. Whatever. Optimus said Jazz and Ironhide are the way. They'll be able to dig you out."
"And what's stopping you from doing that?" Sideswipe prodded. What was the other mech hiding? Sunstreaker normally would never entrust the safety of his brother to anyone, not even a fellow Autobot. "Did Starscream actually get the drop on you? Apart from those lovely null rays, o'course."
"I'm functioning," Sunstreaker said frostily. Any attack – real or even implied - on his personal performance was guaranteed to tick him off. Sideswipe had been the recipient of his rage many times over the years, the price for making the last crack too perfect to let drop.
"Shut up. Anyway, the humans will want to know about the condition of the one with you, so they can be ready for any injuries."
Sideswipe's optics focused back on the injured turtle. "Yeah, about that..."
Ironhide and Jazz sounded their horns as they drove into the blast zone. Finally within range of Sunstreaker's weakened radio, the yellow Lamborghini sent them an update through internal communications, as well as his location amidst the rubble.
Jazz transformed and leapfrogged a chunk of what used to be a floor in the ex-building. "Sunny, m'man!"
Laying on his back, arms folded, both covered and semi-propped up by a mound of debris on and behind him, the injured Autobot glared daggers in his direction. "Took your sweet time, didn't you?"
The black and white Porsche cocked his helm at the incapacitated 'Bot and grinned. "I'm thinking, ya might wanna try bein' a little nicer to me, Sunshine," he drawled. "I'm sure Ironhide would love to help get you out of here. 'Course I can't vouch for what's left of your paint job..."
Sunstreaker's optics widened. Ironhide had a grip as strong as his namesake, and more then one Autobot had required limb attachment as a result of his enthusiastic and less then gentle method of extracting someone. "This is me being nice," he shot back quickly, flashing a wide and completely false grin at the saboteur.
"S'what I thought man, that is most definitely what I thought." Jazz grinned, his visor glinting in the light, and he got to work, lifting up girders and I-beams, setting them aside. "Ironhide, why don'tcha see what's keeping us from our other damsel in distress?"
"Already on it, Jazz." Ironide's deep, gruff voice was slightly muffled. He was already in the crater caused by Starscreams missiles, methodically pulling debris out of his way. "My scanners are pointing me this way. Shouldn't take too long."
"His fuel line was cut," Sunstreaker told them. "He said a...friend, patched him up, but it won't hold forever." He locked optics with Jazz who read the unspoken words behind them. Hurry up and get him out of there.
"On it, Sunny, on it. Relax." Jazz paused for a second. "By the way, curious minds wanna know why you were so insistent that the identity of the poor unfortunate trapped with your brother stay anonymous? Things like this make officials worried that we might be covering up something."
"Yeah, well, tell those curious minds to stuff it up their collective tailpipe," Sunny muttered. "And uh, hello? Not break time, Jazz. I can feel dirt rolling down my chassis. This is not a good thing, you got me?"
"Poor, delicate, little sunflower." Jazz reached out and pat him on the head. "You obviously ain't that bad off if that's the worst you can find to complain about."
"Less talking. More moving."
"Yessir." Jazz chuckled and shoved a few more boulders off to the side. "So what's the deal with this human?"
Sunstreaker smirked. "That's the whole problem right there. It's not."
Jazz blinked curiously. "Not what?"
Sideswipe's continued calling of the turtle's name finally had an effect. Mikey groaned and opened his eyes, staring blearily up at the devastated ceiling. "...'M I alive?"
"Not that you look like it, but yeah, you're alive." Sideswipe grinned at him. "Kinda glad you didn't die on me, ya know. Earth fleshies smell really bad when they die." He was amused - and intrigued – to see the sea-green turtle pale into a lighter shade, the kind of green Spike called 'puke'. "If you're gonna do what I think you're gonna do, you better turn around. My paint job's taken enough of a beating for one day."
"Thanks for the concern," Mikey gasped. He coughed a few times; the air was gritty, dusty. His ribs were sending searing hot flashes of pain through his entire body. His hands ached. "Are we trapped?"
"Temporarily," Sideswipe assured him. "Two buddies of mine are on the scene. They'll dig us out."
"Before or after the air runs out?" Mikey glanced nervously around at the debris-sealed room. "You may not have to worry about breathing, but I do."
"Better stop talking, then," Sideswipe advised.
"Ha. Ha. Ha."
Sideswipe grinned. "Okay, seriously, we have to figure something. I told my brother you're in here. He told Jazz and Ironhide. So far, no one's told the officials, though they believe someone's down here. They're going to be swarming over this area when I get out. What are you going to do?"
The turtle shrugged painfully. "Don't know. Thinking and planning is usually Donnie and Leo's thing, not mine." His eyes suddenly lit up. "Dude, your radio!"
"What about it?"
"It's working now, right? So, can you like, patch in to a different frequency? My shell-cell's busted, but maybe you can figure out what frequency it was on, ya know? Then I can contact my bros and figure out a plan."
Sideswipe looked at the tiny piece of machinery and shook his head. "I can't do anything with that. You need Ratchet, or even Blaster – he's one of our communications experts."
"Don't suppose you have a cell phone?"
Mikey's face fell. "So I'm on my own then, huh."
"Excuse me?" Sideswipe was mildly insulted. "I'm sitting right here."
"Heh, oh yeah." Mikey smiled sheepishly. "So, got any ideas?"
"Can you hide when I leave? Then your brothers can come get you later?"
Mikey took a long look at their 'prison'. Sideswipe followed his gaze, and guessed what he was thinking. No escape exits, except the area behind Sideswipe when he would be pulled out. Nothing to go through, ceiling-wise, nothing in the floor. The hallway was completely caved in just ahead of him. The room he'd been kept in, had no doors or windows. Sideswipe knew the turtle's answer before he gave it. "Nothing to work with there, dude." Mikey gazed up at him, and then his eyes lit up. "I can hide in you!"
"Yeah!" Mikey stopped for a second. "Well, if you don't mind, that is. I mean, the humans will come in after you get pulled out, to check for anyone in here. I already fit inside your chest plate once to save your life. Can I hide there when you get pulled out? And then once we're away from everyone else, you can let me go. I can call my brothers to come get me."
Sideswipe thought it over. He didn't particularly like having anyone – humans or turtles – in his car form, let alone his mech state, but he did owe the turtle his life. Giving him a ride out was the least he could do. "That could work," he allowed. When he looked back at the turtle, he was startled to see him coughing again. Blood erupted from his mouth at each explosive cough. It didn't look very good. "But I think you'd better see a medical officer of some kind. You are not supposed to be jettisoning your fuel supply like that."
"Tell me something I don't know," Mikey gasped, squeezing his eyes shut. "Oh my God, that hurts."
Sideswipe watched the turtle, and then craned his head to peer behind him at the rubble keeping him from freedom. Hurry up, he said, both inside his head and over his internal radio to his brother. He had a sinking feeling time was running out.
"What do you mean, keep the humans away completely?" Bumblebee said in confusion. "They need to get in there and see if anyone needs help!"
The little VW Bug had arrived not long after Jazz and Ironhide, and was standing guard. Jazz continued to dig away at Sunstreaker. He was almost completely free, but something had been damaged during Starscream's attack. Sunny couldn't move his legs, and his arms were slowly losing their functioning. Jazz paused in his unearthing, and looked up at the youngest Autobot, seeking out his blue optics, willing him to understand. "Just trust me, 'Bee. There's no other humans down there."
Bumblebee didn't look convinced. He crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at Jazz. "You're hiding something."
Jazz nodded cheerfully. "Sure am," he agreed amiably. He didn't see the point in lying, especially when Bee was so good at seeing through them. "But you'll see soon enough, I promise. Just go over there, and make sure the humans stay back. It's still not an entirely stable area, so use that as your excuse. It's not like we need to worry about it as much as they do."
Bumblebee still looked skeptical, but he finally nodded and headed back. Jazz knew the 'Bot would carry out his orders. Bee was a good soldier. Young, but intelligent, and loyal to a fault. Compassionate, too. Bumblebee had developed a very strong tie to Earth, possibly even stronger then his sparked-bond with his home planet, and had a best friend in Sam Witwhickey, the earth native. Jazz was not surprised that Bumblebee had expressed so much concern for a human who may have been trapped.
"Are you quite finished your mooning, Jazz?" Sunstreaker huffed, drawing his attention back to the stranded mech.
The Porsche rolled his optics behind his visor. "Just about, Your Majesty," he quipped, and freed up the last bit of debris. He ran his scanners over the Lamborghini, and was relieved to see that most of the 'Bot was intact. A few things had come loose, resulting in Sunstreaker's paralyzing state, but he knew that short of a spark-death, there were very few things that Ratchet couldn't ultimately patch up. The humans had offered to help transport the injured Autobots back to their Portland base, sending a huge flatbed truck that Jazz now helped the incapacitated Sunstreaker to.
After getting the fussy warrior settled, Jazz turned and headed back to help Ironhide. Sideswipe needed medical help urgently, and besides, he kinda wanted to see what, exactly, a 'mutant turtle' looked like.
Sideswipe was worried. Though he didn't need to breathe, his scanners could still register the air quality around him, and the oxygen level was getting pretty thin. Mikey was still lying down, flat on his back, breathing shallowly. He had told Sideswipe it was something called 'meditation' – a way to slow down his breathing in order to conserve what little air there was left.
A quick scan on the Internet told him that what the turtle was attempting was theoretically impossible, and yet he seemed to be doing it. By his calculations, the air supply should have dwindled away to nothing, about twenty minutes ago, but there was still trace amounts remaining. It was interesting. He was sure Ratchet would think so too.
Rumbling noises sounded behind him, and Sunstreaker's voice came over the radio. "They found your ugly, over-sized feet," he informed him. "Jazz is helping Ironhide clear the tunnel. In a minute, they're gonna pull you out. Are you ready?"
"Just a minute," Sideswipe sent back. He looked over at the turtle, who still hadn't moved from his relaxed position. "Hey, Mikey. Mikey!"
"...mmmm?" A low, sleepy-sounding hum.
"We're getting out of here in a minute. If you're hitching a ride, now's the time to do it."
Mikey's eyes slid open, and he slowly sat up, wincing in pain as his ribs protested the movements. His breathing was even shallower, his face pale under ribbons of blood. The skin around his mouth had taken on a slight bluish tinge, and Sideswipe suddenly wondered if maybe the slow air intake had less to do with meditation and more to do with the fact that he was...
"C'mon," he urged him. "You can do it."
"...yeah...sure..." Mikey braced himself and slowly got to his feet, hunched over. He staggered a bit to the side, but kept to his feet, and slowly made his way over to the Autobot.
Sideswipe watched in sympathy. He couldn't even help the turtle climb in to the hatch in his chest plate. Mikey made it underneath him and then reached up into the shattered windshield, using damaged hands that refused to work properly to grip whatever handles he could reach. Hissing with pain, trying to stifle whimpers that did not go undetected to advanced audio receptors, he pulled himself up and inside, bracing with his legs as much as he could to take the strain off his broken hands. It wasn't the most comfortable fit, wedged in around what was the roof of his vehicle form, but he made it.
When Sideswipe was in an upright position, the turtle would settle in beneath the glass, hidden from sight by his panels. As long as he didn't move and kept his head down, none of the humans would see him.
"Ready when you guys are," he said out loud, and Ironhide must have been close enough to hear because as soon as he finished talking, he felt something grip him around the ankles and pull.
With his optics squeezed shut, he let out a surprised yelp as he went hurtling backwards. Debris crashed down overhead, filling the space his body had taken up. Back, back, back and then suddenly he was out in the air, looking up through a familiar crater view to the blue sky overhead.
"Oh, good," he said dazedly. "I'm back where I started from."
Ironhide's red helm filled his field of vision. "How you doin' there, son?" His voice was gruff, but his tone also held a touch of concern.
Sideswipe grinned. "Just great," he chirped. "Lovely day for a stroll through the sewers, don't you think?"
Ironhide shook his head, optics rolling. "Why do I even bother?" Wrapping an arm around the fallen 'Bot, he helped Sideswipe to his feet.
From overhead, Jazz let out his winch cable, lowering enough of it to be wrapped around Ironhide's forearm twice. "You boys about ready? I've got someone's mother hen up here, clucking in my audios."
Sideswipe laughed as he heard very familiar cursing from behind Jazz. "Tell Sunshine I'm on my way."
As they were pulled up, Ironhide glanced sideways at the Lamborghini. "How's your 'passenger'?" he asked quietly.
Sideswipe looked down at his chest plate. He couldn't see Mikey from his current vantage point, but he could feel him moving around weakly, trying to get comfortable. "Still alive," he said.
Ironhide nodded as they crested the top of the crater. Jazz rushed forward and helped lighten Ironhide's load by taking up residence on Sideswipe's other side. "What's the plan, boys?" He asked in a whisper.
"Get us away from here," Sideswipe told him. "He can call his brothers for a pick-up."
Jazz nodded and the three of them made their way over to the flatbed that held Sunstreaker. Sideswipe took one look at the mud-streaked mech, the soot marks, and grumpy expression on his siblings face and burst out laughing.
"Oh, that's nice," Sunny griped. "I sit here wondering if someone's about to inform me that I am an only sparkling, and you laugh at me."
"Just happy to see you bro, just happy to see you." Sideswipe groaned as Jazz and Ironhide set him down next to his brother. He ached, he was in desperate need of a wash station, and Ratchet was probably going to rebuild him as a can opener, but he was free. It felt so good.
"Do you really have an over-sized humanoid turtle in your chest?" Sunstreaker asked.
It was getting dark by the time they finally got away from the humans and the destroyed complex. It had taken a long time to convince them that there were no other humans down there, that their scanners would have registered life forms if there were. Bumblebee and Jazz were staying behind for a minute, to answer questions and make sure the site was secure. Ironhide was playing workhorse, pulling the flatbed upon which Sideswipe and his brother were currently resting.
Once a decent distance away from the humans, Ironhide pulled over on an empty road across from a pay phone. Sideswipe looked down.
A low grumble. "What?"
"Take a message."
Sunstreaker snickered, and Sideswipe rolled his optics. "No, Mikey. Telephone, as in, we found one. You need to call your brothers, remember?"
There was a lot of slow movements, even more pained moans, and then Sideswipe could see green legs dangling from his busted windshield. Ironhide transformed and stepped over, holding his large hand under the turtle.
"I wouldn't jump, if you're as bad off as Sideswipe seems to think you are," he advised gruffly.
"Thanks." Mikey slid down, gasping with pain as he landed on the mech's palm. "Ohh...I'm gonna feel that in the morning," he groaned. "This is not my idea of a good time."
"You're alive," Sideswipe told him. "I'd say that's a pretty good thing."
"If you felt like I do, you'd change your mind." Mikey suddenly became aware of the three giant mechs studying him with interest. "Um, hi?"
Sunstreaker looked disgusted. "You had that in your chest?" He shuddered. "Better you then me."
Mikey glared. "Gee, thanks."
Sideswipe chuckled. "Ignore the princess over there, Mikey. He'd have done the same thing." His grin grew a little wider. "We'd just be hearing about it longer."
Sunstreaker snorted, but didn't say anything.
Ironhide carried him over to the phone booth and set him down. Mikey made his phone call, and Sideswipe guessed that his brothers were more then a little upset. Shouts emitted from the receiver as soon as Mikey said 'hello', and several times, the turtle had to hold the handset away from his head. Mikey finally gave his current location and then hung up, turning back to face the three mechs with a smile.
"They're on their way," he said. Then his legs gave out, and he sat down hard. "Ow!"
"Your brother is a trained medical officer?" Ironhide asked. "Because you need medical attention."
"He just plays one on TV," Mikey mumbled, slowly getting back up and crawling into Ironhide's hand. "He can fix anything though. This is just minor stuff, really. Wrap the ribs, tape the fingers, stuff like that."
"If you say so." Ironhide didn't look convinced. A black and white Porsche and a yellow VW bug suddenly pulled up. Mikey yelped and tried in vain to hide behind Ironhide's fingers.
Sideswipe grinned. "Relax, Mikey. It's Jazz and Bumblebee."
Mikey peeked over the rim of Ironhide's fingers and watched in awe as the two 'Bots transformed. "That is so cool."
Jazz chuckled. "I do love an appreciative audience." He moved closer, peering down at the turtle. "And you are certainly a unique member of it."
"Let me see!" Bumblebee waved at Ironhide, too short to see Mikey from that height. Ironhide shared an amused smile with the other 'Bots and then lowered his hand. Bumblebee gave Mikey a cheerful smile. "Hi! I'm Bumblebee!"
"I'm Mikey, current tourist attraction," Mikey said, reaching out with both hands to shake the smaller 'Bots finger. "Nice to meet you!"
"No, Bumblebee, you can't take him home no matter how much you promise to feed and take care of him," Sideswipe droned. "One pet human is enough."
Mikey looked warily at him. "Say what?"
"He's joking," Bee told him, sending Sideswipe an annoyed look. "My best friend is a human named Spike."
Bumblebee grinned even wider. "Did you really mutate out of green slime?"
Mikey blinked. "Umm..."
By the time Mikey finished telling his story, the sun was gone completely. As he wound down, Mikey suddenly looked up. The Autobots followed his look, but didn't see anything. Mikey grinned.
"My brothers are almost here," he said. "You can leave now, if you want to."
"We have to be getting back to base," Ironhide said. "We have a report to file with Prowl, and the twins here need help of their own."
"I don't know," Sideswipe mused thoughtfully. "Having a Sunstreaker that can't move, completely at my mercy, could be a good thing." He used his hands to frame his brother. "I'm thinking, pink polka dots, and a wreath of daisies. What do you think Jazz?"
"Maybe some lace," Jazz suggested, playing along. "Or a nice, Autobot-sized dress with ribbons."
"I hate you all," Sunstreaker said flatly. "You can all go to the Scrap Heap."
Ironhide lowered Mikey to the ground. The turtle stepped off his palm and leaned against the phone booth wall. "You sure yer gonna be okay?"
"Yeah," Mikey said. "I promise."
Ironhide nodded, and then transformed, backing up to the flatbed. Jazz waved at Mikey. "Take care of your self, little buddy," he said, and went to hitch Ironhide up.
Bumblebee crouched down next to the turtle. "I'm glad I met you," he said cheerfully. "It's too bad you can't come to Portland with us. Hound would just love to meet you!"
"That's what Sideswipe said," Mikey grinned weakly. "See ya, 'Bee."
Sideswipe waved from the flatbed. "Make sure you get medical attention," he instructed brusquely. "I don't wanna find out I wasted my time saving your sorry butt only to find out you died, got it?"
"Who saved who?" Mikey shot back. "I believe I was the one that patched your fuel line, dude."
Sideswipe waved that away. "Details, details." He winked. "If you ever find yourself in Portland, look us up, okay?"
Sunstreaker didn't look like he was going to say anything, but as Ironhide revved his engine, he called out. "Turtle!"
Mikey raised an eye ridge. "Yeah?"
"Thanks for saving my idiot spark plug of a brother."
Ironhide blasted his horn, and the convoy pulled out, Bumblebee taking point, and Jazz following behind to make sure no one fell off. Sideswipe watched Mikey get smaller and smaller. Suddenly, he blinked his optics in surprise as three shadows suddenly jumped down from a nearby building. He could see the smile on Mikey's face practically light up the surrounding area before he was gathered up and taken away. Seconds later, there was nothing left by the dimly-lit phone booth to ever prove they were there.
After another minute, Sideswipe turned his optics back on his own brother, knowing how Mikey must feel to be with his family again.
As they continued on through the night, heading for home, Sideswipe wondered if he'd ever see his new friend again.
He hoped so.
It's done! The fic that would not end is finally finished!!!
Special thank you's to Sabrina for reading this, and to all the people who reviewed and gave me the motivation to see this fic through. Tri-stripe, Gohanz Girl, and Just-Caro who have followed a few of my fics now – thanks for putting up with yet another one. :) Dierdre, thanks for the lovely words. I appreciate them. All the people who commented on LJ, I already thanked, but here's another thank you.
See you next time!