All My Best Friends Are Metalheads

An Alternate Universe Transformers 2007 Movie-verse fan story.

By Riariti no Iru-jon

What if Ron and Judy Witwicky had a daughter instead of a son?

This is my disclaimer for the whole story. I'm not going to crowd each chapter with the same repeated words starting with, "I do not own…" And here it is: I don't own Transformers or any creations associated with it. Wasn't even born when it made its first television debut. The title is actually a song, though I've never really heard it. Just sounded appropriate. I don't own it, either. Disclaimers for song lyrics will appear at the end of the chapter they are in.

Samantha Witwicky is an ordinary teenager who's about to get her first car. What all can possibly go wrong? Everything, apparently, as a Camaro's identity is discovered sooner than anticipated. As always, constructive criticism is welcomed—just NO flames.

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Chapter One

Ch. Warnings: Language

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Samantha rested her forehead on the cool surface of her desk, the fabricated voice of her father reverberating in her mind as she mulled over his deal he'd made with her several months ago—earn two thousand dollars on her own and make an A on any three major assignments at school, and she'd get a car—her first car! She'd just finished doing yard work for the old married couple across the street cattycorner from them, and it was the nastiest yard she'd ever laid eyes on. But the thirty dollar reward had been worth it, because now she had the two thousand, plus a few extra she could waste on a soda or something.

The wad of two grand was safely stowed away in an envelope, which was wedged between the pages of her old bible at the bottom of the drawer in her desk, under old school books and used spirals. She'd gotten an A+ on a science project in which they were required to make 3-D models of an animal or plant cell using scraps of material from around their houses… She'd built a drive-through movie theater, with little plastic cars, popsicle sticks, and props from her friend's younger sister's many doll sets. Then in English class, they received test grades for memorizing and acting out scenes from any of Shakespeare's plays. The group she was in got a B average, but she'd personally begged the teacher to bump it to an A-. And now, all she had to do was finish that damned genealogy report for history, upload it to the Mr. Hosney's online archive, and present it in front of the class on the designated date.

It took hours of sifting through cardboard boxes in the attic and basement to find her great grandfather's most prized possessions—leniency on the definition of 'prized,' please. Apparently, her parents weren't overly proud of how Captain Archibald Witwicky came back from an adventure in the Arctic Circle with some loose screws and missing marbles, so anything that once belonged to him was purposefully stowed away from any prying eyes and made quite difficult to unearth. She hadn't even known her great grandfather's name until she came home after school and announced she had to do a presentation on someone down their family line—parents excluded, and her grandparents were downright boring. It was actually her grandfather who suggested she do her project on her great grandfather, Archibald Witwicky, an earnest but nutty explorer.

It wasn't as horrific as her parents made it out to be. Practically all famous people had some kind of mental problem after all, right? Otherwise, they wouldn't have been so successful… her parents still didn't share her enthusiasm and were horrorstruck to hear the report would be accessible on the school website. They couldn't appreciate the effort she put into the writing of her great grandfather's legacy, referencing between newspapers from the late 19th century, ancient journals, and even doctor's reports after he was institutionalized at an insane asylum, making notes of his discoveries, many overlooked, and praising his hard work now long forgotten. She'd even tracked down a descendant of one of the sled dogs that accompanied the sailors on their journey, getting lovely pictures of it to include in her report.

All this thorough work—she'd be royally pissed if she didn't get top marks, and rightfully so. Now that she thought about it, she only had the conclusion to finish writing, and with a spur of inspiration, sought the binder containing the report's rough draft. Removing herself from the desk, Sam snatched a ballpoint pen and twirled it between her fingers as her free hand dug into her backpack, which was sprawled carelessly on her bed. Transferring the pen to clutch it between her front teeth, she sunk both hands into its depths and tugged out a smudgy white binder, flipping to the last page she'd written on. She crawled onto her stomach on the navy comforter over the double-sized mattress and jotted her closing thoughts.

"When one thinks of explorers, one's mind automatically concocts names such as Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, and Hernando Cortes. Our books are brimming with names of scientists and discoverers, like Charles Darwin, but where do they mention the contribution of everyday men, whose names are forgotten as the years pass. Their lives are preserved only in old, yellowing newspapers and letters to family and friends, half-hearted mentions and notes. Yet they deserve just as much recognition, like my great grandfather, Captain Archibald Witwicky, who braved the treacherous conditions of the Arctic Circle to make discoveries that would forever benefit mankind. Remember the men whom history has forgotten. Remember Archibald Witwicky."

Samantha grimaced vaguely to herself, as her concluding paragraph sounded melodramatic and akin to something that belonged in a eulogy, not a report. Over-pronounced sentiment… how would Mr. Hosney take that? As mockery or too much sickly dedication to a dead man? She willed herself not to think further on it and snapped the binder shut, rolling on her back to rub her eyes with the heels of her palms. It was a Saturday evening and she'd spent it doing work outdoors or on the pile of homework that had manifested itself over the days she was ill with the stomach flu… what a boring life for a seventeen-year-old. And she needed a shower.

Sliding off her bed, she snagged the cell phone from her bedside table and flipped it open. Hopefully, with any luck, she'd be able to get a hold of her friend, Milli, so long as she wasn't out with her football-playing boyfriend, Trent… oh, she hated that man! So confident in himself, but that's what had originally attracted Milli to him. For her sake, she wouldn't talk trash about him too much. However, he did have a sweet ride, a blue SUV of sorts… she wasn't that much into cars, though, and Trent treated his like a true prized possession. When would someone go ahead and slash his tires? Or at least break a window…

She speed-dialed Milli's number and tucked her cell between her ear and her shoulder so her hands were free to grab a clean change of clothes from her dresser and fresh towels from the linens closet across from the bathroom. The phone rang once—twice—thrice—and Sam began to expect that it would keep doing so several more times before she'd be connected to voice mail, but, just as the fifth rang sounded, a voice interrupted, "Hello?"

"Hey, Mills," Sam murmured, comforted by the familiar chime of her friend. She stacked the clean clothes on the counter beside the sink, then draped the towels on the handrail outside the bath and pulled back the curtain. "What's up?"

"Nothing much." Which was what Sam knew was coming. It didn't matter what she'd be doing, if the world was coming to the end or whatever, when prompted she'd say the same thing without fail—nothing much. "I was just talking to Trent."

Figured.

"Anything interesting?" She turned the hot water on and from the tub faucet it spewed. She had to twist the middle of the three knobs to redirect the water to the showerhead above.

"Yeah." There was a short pause on the other end, as if Milli was silently debating whether to reveal this particular piece of information or not to her friend. "Trent and some of his friends are going to dirt race Tuesday morning at 1:30, just past the lake."

Sam suppressed a snide snort. Trent and his friends all had their own cars and it was a common competition to see whose was the fastest. Ever since a senior friend of Trent's got a new convertible after wrecking his old car, they'd been dying to see what it could do, under night cover, of course. It was only during one of these times that Trent actually didn't mind pushing his car's limit at the risk of denting, scratching, or crashing it. No doubt they'd be drunk, too. "You're not going to sneak out to watch, right?" she pressed, naturally concerned with Milli's obsessive loyalty to her boyfriend. She tested the water and adjusted it accordingly, a little on edge.

"Uh."

Sam sighed. It was obvious the girl was seriously considering it and it suddenly made her too sick to want to discuss it further at that time. "Never mind. I'm about to take a shower, so I'll talk to you later." She didn't wait for a reply and snapped the cell closed, flinging it onto the counter with little thought; it had been through worse. She stripped down, pondering over the consequences Milli would face if she was caught by her parents or by the police. Which would be worse? What if there was an accident? She could really care less about those stupid boys, but if Milli got hurt…

She climbed into the tub, tugged the curtain shut, and put her head into the path of the torrent, letting the water jettison all worries from every fiber in her body. All her troubles, down the drain. If it only really did work that way, no one would need to spend hours with a therapist, they could just take a nice, long and hot shower. Though water bills would skyrocket. Wallets suffered either way, so which would be the better loss? The insurance or utility companies? She smirked to herself at the thought of insurance companies going out of business when no one needed help paying their medical bills because they didn't need a doctor to get rid of their problems.

She shampooed her hair, having to fight her fingers through the tight curls. She seriously considered chopping it off at some point; it would eliminate a good forty-five agonizing minutes in the morning as she struggled to brush it out and do something decent with it. She piled the mane atop her head as she worked the shampoo in and thought no more over it, luring her mind into blissful oblivion as she finished her shower, simply reveling in the water to her heart's content.

After showering, she ate an early dinner instead of waiting up with her parents and turned in by 8 o'clock. Drawing the blinds to the window, she powered down her computer and moved unwanted things off her bed. She turned off the overhead light and crawled under the sheets, switching off the lamp on the bedside table, and got comfortable, tucking in the quilt up to her chin and around her tightly in something akin to a cocoon. It had been a long day, she mused, and she was rightfully tired. It didn't take her longer than ten minutes to drift off into a deep slumber.

Sunday was boring, as it usually was. She was awakened early by their two dogs—a Chihuahua named Mojo and Mojo's complete opposite, Mace, a rescued Siberian Husky and German Shepherd crossbreed. She could only imagine what people thought of her family when they saw the daughter walking a puny Chihuahua and large rescued dog side by side. This day, she donned rollerblades and allowed the two energetic dogs to pull her—well, Mace did the majority of the pulling, and was eager to do so. After a few blocks, Mojo was hopping on her in an attempt to get carried the rest of the way, completely defeating the purpose of a walk, although by the point it was halfway over, she was rolling alongside Mace.

On her way back, she stopped and chatted with a ten-year-old African American, who wanted a dog, but his parents wouldn't let him.

"Mum's allergic," the boy said solemnly, sitting in the grass of the front lawn.

Sam sat beside him and the two dogs followed suit, Mojo practically bouncing in his lap to lick his face while Mace took a seat next to his human, his sides expanding and contracting with each breath, aloof to everything except her. The little boy seemed to forget his mother's predicament and played enthusiastically with the Chihuahua, who would scurry on his small legs after the boy wherever he went. After a bit, Mace warmed up to the child and joined in, his long pink tongue lolling out of his mouth.

They had to leave, however, when his mother came outside after hearing the commotion of the boy's delightful squeals, Mace's barks, Mojo's yips, and her own cheery laughs. Though the boy was chided by his mother, a grin lingered on his face and he waved to Sam and her dogs, bidding them goodbye as he was ushered inside. Gathering the leashes, Sam led her two charges back, though not after Mojo did a fair amount of marking and Mace took a hearty dump in someone's flower garden by the sidewalk, after which they fled with as much haste as could be mustered.

She braked against the block on the heels of her skates, turning into the driveway and rolling to the path winding through the manicured lawn and to the front porch. She plopped on the steps and undid the straps on her skates before removing her helmet, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards, all of which she gathered into her arms and did an impressive balancing act to get the door open. Mojo bounded forward but when given a wait command, Mace let her through ahead of him.

She dumped the skates and accessories at the first convenient spot she could find, then took the leash and harness off Mace, having to scour the house for Mojo to remove his. She smiled at her parents, who were awake and sipping coffee in the living room. "Morning," she chirped, before catching the Chihuahua.

Judy Witwicky regarded her daughter with sleepy eyes, her cup of coffee having not yet delivered all the caffeine she needed to give her a much needed morning boost. "Good morning, sweetie," she yawned and patted the cushion between her and Ron. "Thanks for walking the dogs."

Sam took the invitation and wedged herself between her parents, Mojo clambering over them. The news was playing on the television, but nothing much was worth listening to. She leaned her head on her mother's shoulder and stifled a yawn. "Pancakes sound good for breakfast?" she asked.

Her father gave her a toothy smile. "Well, so long as your mom isn't making it."

At her left, she felt her mother chuckle. Mrs. Witwicky could prepare fine meals for lunch and dinner, that was true, but she'd never quite mastered the art of cooking breakfast. It wasn't hard to do, and maybe that was the problem. It was too easy a task that her mom always overdid it, put too much effort in it.

Giving her parents each a kiss on the cheek, she got back up and forged into the kitchen to wash her hands and begin pulling things from the cabinets. If there was one thing she could do it was multitasking at breakfast. She retrieved the pancake mix, a large bowl, a hot plate, two skillets, and several spatulas. She'd make the pancakes on the hot plate, eggs in a skillet, over-medium, bacon in the other skillet, and bread in the toaster, and everything was made without a hitch—a stack of pancakes to be placed in the middle of the table with a bottle of syrup and block of butter; toast with mayo spread over it, cheese, and egg to make an open-faced sandwich; crisp bacon on a platter; and three glasses of orange juice.

"I think maybe I should start charging a fee for breakfast," she teased as they joined each other at the dining table and dug in, both dogs close by and hoping for a scrap of food to fall onto the floor by accident.

"I paid for the ingredients, though," came the good-natured rebuttal from her dad after swallowing a bite of pancakes. "And your mother bought the kitchenware."

"And I put in the effort to make you a marvelous meal. I should at least get a tip."

"Have you got the money for the car?" her mother abruptly asked, changing subject matter swiftly.

"Yup, all two thousand dollars," said Sam, before adding, "And I'll upload my report today so it'll be cleared for presentation tomorrow in Mr. Hosney's class. If he gives me an A can we look at the dealers after school?" Her hazel eyes peered inquisitively at her father, who looked thoughtful as if musing over her request.

Finally, after several long minutes of deep consideration, he responded with an affirmative, "I suppose we could do that." So they'd go visit every used car dealer in Tranquility, Nevada.

Sam beamed and no longer complained about the under-appreciation she received from cooking breakfast, deeming it suitable reimbursement for her hard work.

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Samantha Witwicky was proud of herself as she gingerly packed away the old gadgets that had accompanied her great grandfather on his voyage to the Arctic Circle. Her presentation had gone flawlessly and Mr. Hosney was pleased with the report she'd archived on the school's website the previous day—she personally thought it was the multimedia she incorporated into it, like pictures she'd taken of the ancient map Captain Witwicky used, a compass, even his cracked glasses, which showed bizarre fractures in the oculars. In the presentation, she had given her history class a closer view of the artifacts while reciting the importance her great grandfather was in the late 19th century. She had at least had been successful in holding their attention the majority of the time, while other presentations were rather bland and she'd even been tempted to doze off.

Milli dismissed her boyfriend to wait for her at the door, falling into step beside her. "Nice project," she commented, nodding at her grade sheet, which flaunted a bold letter A on it.

"Better than most of the others, at least," Sam said, grinning at her accomplishment, as if it were a major feat. "And Dad's going to take me to look at cars once I show him this." She waved the paper in her hand. "Gosh, I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," she reminisced. As they stopped at their lockers, Sam glanced sideways at her friend and lowered her voice. "Please tell me that you're not going to that stupid street race tomorrow morning," she pled, a worried grimace working its way on her face to replace the now faded smile.

Milli fidgeted with the combination lock and the look in her eyes were unmistakable. Trent had pulled some sort of manipulative guilt trip scheme to coerce her into going with him. She didn't answer and hid her face behind her auburn hair, quickly exchanging books from her locker to her backpack.

"Mills," Sam declared, grabbing her arm to forcefully turn her and look at her. "He's not worth it. Not Trent, of all people! Someone could get hurt and if the police catch you…" She trailed off into grudging silence when Milli shook her head and looked up at her defiantly.

"You're not my mother, Samantha," she enunciated bitterly with new resolution. She wormed her arm free and slammed the locker door shut. "I'll go with Trent if I want to. You, of all people, can't stop me." She left Sam by the lockers as she stormed off, flinging her backpack over her shoulders and exiting the school as fast as her feet could carry her.

Sam watched, dumbstruck at the sudden outburst, and felt the back of her head clunk against a locker door. Milli knew she didn't like Trent, thought he was lower than scum at best, and accepted it. She knew that Sam only had her best interests at heart, so why did she turn on her like that? Why wasn't she seeing reason? Why couldn't she just take the advice for once and appreciate why her parents didn't give her extra privileges, because they loved her so much. Milli, always a sweet girl, good girl. Never broke the rules, never thought of disobeying her parents' wishes, and now she was going to sneak out to meet her boyfriend with a lot of stoned guys, and—what if she got hurt?

"Dear God," she murmured, shaking herself free and making a beeline for the doors. Suddenly the A on her genealogy report seemed trivial and the excitement of her own car was siphoned out of her by the monstrous claw in her chest, threatening to rip her from the inside out.

She was hardly aware she'd walked out the school and across the grounds to meet her father in his green convertible, tossed her backpack into the seat behind her, and climbed into the passenger side until her father's voice asked, "How was your day?" Which didn't apply to her day, just more along the lines of, "What did you make on your project?"

She wordlessly handed him the paper, which was wrinkled from her anxious clenching and unclenching of her hands. He eyed it, nodded at the grade, and threw the car into gear. "All right, I had a specific place in mind to stop at first…"

Sam barely listened as they went from car dealer to car dealer, with little reaction from her when they examined used car after used car—you didn't get a nice-looking car for four thousand dollars, naturally, and just because she was his only daughter didn't make her any more special. They drove out of the third lot and Sam thought they were heading in the general direction of home, until they pulled into a Porsche dealer. Mr. Witwicky stole a glance at his daughter, hoping perhaps that a glimpse of something more expensive than what they saw previously might perk her, not that he'd be getting her a Porsche, just to see if she'd cheer up, say something, anything.

But she didn't.

"Last stop then," he sighed and turned into a shop titled Bolivia's. The cars out on display showed wear, as all the others did and he found a parking spot so they could take a look around. He had to remind her to get out of the car, but was relieved when she appeared to lighten up once they started to walk. He thought he caught a glimpse of a small smile as his daughter's eyes trailed towards the clown holding an advertisement sign, looking like he'd have a heat stroke at any minute.

"Hey!" came a loud declare from the man who evidently ran the place. He was black and a little beefy, wearing a Hawaiian print tee, khaki shorts, and a hat that was strikingly similar to a bucket; his hands were sweaty, they discovered, after shaking. "Welcome to Bolivia's, like the country, but without the runs." If that was their slogan, no wonder the lot seemed packed with cars that hadn't been touched in forever. Who'd want to touch anything there after that sort of introduction?

"It's my daughter's first car," said Mr. Witwicky.

The man was delighted and peered at her. "Her first car, eh? Well, you came to the right place. Uncle Bobby B., man."

"Sam," she automatically said, and followed him through the lot as he introduced the cars in his lot. She half-listened thoughtfully, allowing herself the independence of taking her own look at the cars. She wondered how many of them would give out only a quarter of a mile after driving from the lot. They walked to the right in front of an old, faded yellow Volkswagen beetle and she almost stopped to look closer—until, that is…

"What's this one?" she inquired, stopping in front of a yellow car to put a hand on the hood. She couldn't help but feel something different about it, and without waiting for a response, she went to the driver's side, pulled the door open and slid inside. A funny little disco ball hung from the rear view mirror along with a 'bee-otch' bumblebee ornamental piece, which made her wonder what on earth the previous owner was taking when they decorated it.

A look of confusion swept over Bobby B.'s face and he muttered something about not seeing the car before in his lot, but after a good look at it, was able to give a rather accurate description. "Err, '77 Chevrolet Camaro, custom paint job, looks in good condition… I'd say five thousand."

"Five thousand?" her father echoed. They'd already decided not to spend more than four thousand on a car.

"The paint's faded, though," Sam piped in, not ready to relinquish her interest in the yellow Camaro with its black racing stripes. She leaned back in the seat and gripped the steering wheel; it felt natural in the car. "And what assurance do we have it won't break down half way home?" Of course, she didn't actually think it would break down.

Bobby B. was indignant. "Are you implyin' I'm cheap? I don't sell busted cars, little girl, now get out of the Camaro." He gestured wildly.

Sam glowered and for a moment, considered refusing… the key was already in the car, in the ignition, but she really didn't want the fellow to call the cops or anything. She grabbed for the door handle, but…

"What're you waitin' for?" The man was getting impatient and suspected she was playing games, but the door was jammed and it didn't matter how she jiggled the handle, it wouldn't budge… "Well?"

"It's stuck," she protested, exaggerating her effort to get the door open to show she wasn't joking. She checked to see if it was locked, but it wasn't… it was just stuck. "See? I can't get it open!"

From the outside, both her father and Bobby B. took turns trying to pry the door open, but it wouldn't give, and she felt like they took nearly twenty minutes arguing over the best way to get her out. She chewed her bottom lip anxiously, one hand instinctively still clutching the steering wheel as they tried the passenger's door, but still to no avail.

"Climb out the window," Bobby B. finally settled. At her bemused expression, he threw his hands up and muttered something she couldn't understand.

"Climb out the window, Samantha," Ron Witwicky said, as if giving her permission that it was okay.

She shot him a venomous look and pondered the best way to go about climbing out the window. Head first or feet first? Head first would risk a free ride to the asphalt and possible brain damage. Feet first sounded safer…

Before she had to attempt it though, the door independently swung open in vigor, slamming into Bobby B. with such force that it nearly knocked him over. "Err… sorry," Sam mumbled. "I guess it came unstuck." That was the most reasonable explanation, though she didn't know exactly how it opened… she hadn't even touched the door handle, but at least she didn't have to climb out.

Bobby B. was momentarily shaken, but recovered in record time, brushing himself off and urging them back to the yellow Volkswagen. "But if you like yellow, I'd personally recommend this one. Reliable, a little small, but it'll get you where you need to go…"

"I like the Camaro," she stubbornly declared to both the dealer and her father.

And then something odd happened, because they could just barely hear the static of the radio inside the Camaro sifting through different channels, and the volume independently increased, until the words were crisply clear:

"Get me what I want

Everything I don't got

Get me what I want

'Cause I'm a big shot

"So give me what I want

I always get what I want

You don't want to see me red

If I don't get what I want

That's not what you want

If I don't get what I want

It's not what you—"

In a clumsy rage, Bobby B. scrambled to reach his hand through the window and switch off the radio, muttering to himself about a shortage in the wiring. He was obviously becoming increasingly frustrated with them and the Camaro itself.

"See? Five thousand for this car with a messed up radio? That's extortion!"

Bobby B. sniffed in her direction. "Uh-uh, I don' think so. Now the Volkswagen, as I was saying—"

As quick as it had been switched off, the radio burst to life again, but this time the noise it emitted was awful and shrill and mechanical, like grinding metal, and just as they clapped hands over their ears to shield themselves, glass was shattering with tremendous force. Sam felt a shard embed itself in her shoulder and Bobby B. was showered by fragments from the Volkswagen. Then it fell indifferently silent and still. As they looked around, glass was everywhere, broken, shattered, except the Camaro…

Visibly shaken, Bobby B. surveyed the damage with a look of horror, and possibly even fear. He couldn't explain it.

He spun about to face Mr. Witwicky and his daughter, four fingers raised on a trembling hand. "Four thousand!" he exclaimed. When they offered to help clean the mess, he quickly denied them, and forget the paperwork, he wanted them gone as soon as he could sweep a path clear from the Camaro out of the lot and they coughed up the cash.

Sam struggled to hide a triumphant grin as she took the driver's seat, the doors showing no resistance to her. She could still see Bobby B's expression of terror as he watched her drive out of the lot behind her dad, bug-eyed and shaky. It was a warm feeling in her stomach, like she'd gotten something that was worth much more than what it was actually paid for. Her car. Her car. She grinned openly and wondered what Milli's reaction would be—of course, it wasn't something fancy like what Trent had—oh, wait… Milli and Trent… She tightened her grip on the steering wheel and banned any further thought of her best friend and her best friend's boyfriend. This was her proud moment and she wouldn't let them spoil it.

It was closer to sundown than she expected when they drove up to the Witwicky abode. However, Sam's blood was pumping with adrenaline and she was nowhere close to chilling. With a renewed bounce in her step, she fetched several rags and a sponge, as well as cleaner and polish—she wanted to give her new car a good scrub, to rid it of any grime and dust, make it shine with pride, no matter how silly it sounded. It was actually the most fun she'd had when cleaning up anything.

Several times her parents came out to remind her there was dinner waiting, only to be waved off, so they'd watch her wield the water hose, wondering to themselves how many times she'd gone over the car in the past hour. At least twice, but it didn't stop there.

"Help me check the tires!" she cried to her father.

He barely gave them a glance. "The tires are fine."

"Check them anyway!"

He didn't dare argue.

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It was almost 2 A.M. when her cell phone began to ring and it took her almost until her voice mail picked up to wake up enough to answer it, groping in the dark for it at her bedside table. Bleary-eyed, she couldn't make out the name on the caller identification and didn't want to exert the effort to turn on the lamp. She opened it and leaned back into her pillow before answering. "'ullo?"

Instantaneously, she was assaulted by a stampede of voices and revving engines on the other end. She was wide awake. "Milli?"

"Hiya, Sammy!" came the delighted voice of her friend, their altercation after school forgotten. The slur in her words suggested the girl was drunk and/or high, and in a rush, she remembered the street race Trent and his friends were hosting… the one Milli had been invited to and accepted.

"Mills, are you okay?" Sam sat up and threw back the bed covers. She was fighting through a fog of sleep in her mind and she strained to decipher the words, both in the background and from Milli.

Milli didn't seem to hear her. "Sammy, we're having a blast! Trent brought some beer, someone else has vodka,"—a drunken giggle—"and they're about to start a race, Sammy, you've got to get down here and see for yourself!"

Beer and cars, the perfect ingredients of a death wish. Sam turned on the lights despite her body's complaint at being awake and began to change while still talking on the phone. "Mills, I'm going to come pick you up and drive you home, do you understand?" She wanted to talk fast, but resisted, enunciating carefully in hope that Milli might actually make sense of anything she said.

"You got a car! Oh, and Michael's here!" Milli giggled like a maniac.

Sam felt her insides turn icy and churn. Michael… Michael Banes. Her crush since forever. That was low for Milli to bring up, had she been in her right mind, but she wasn't. She was drunk and she was in the company of others who were more likely than not also drunk. But she wasn't concerned for Michael, though she admitted to herself that it would be a dream come true to meet him at night somewhere and perhaps…

No. She needed to get Milli. "I'll be there soon, Mills. Just promise you won't get into someone's car before I get there!" She didn't receive an answer, however, as Milli gave a squeal and laughed and the phone was overcome by chatter all over again. She waited; perhaps Milli would recover her phone and resume talking, but she didn't. Ending the call, she jammed her feet into her shoes, not bothering to untie them.

She frantically uttered prayers under her breath, pleading God to protect her best friend, at least until she could get her out of that place. Snatching the keys off her desk, she hurried out of her room and downstairs, trying earnestly to be quiet so not to disturb her parents. To her knowledge, they didn't stir at all… She fumbled with the house key, to unlock the front door, then lock it back when she was out on the porch. Mojo was barking; she winced.

She sprinted across the grass, not caring how much her father detested it when someone did. What he didn't know didn't hurt him. She had just as much trouble unlocking the car door as she did the front door that she nearly burst into tears, but finally, it worked and she fell into the seat, blinking rapidly and taking a moment to gather herself. She plunged the key into the ignition and turned it… the engine sputtered, but didn't start.

"Damn it," she hissed. It was just a coincidence… her hands were shaking so she fumbled with the ignition… that's it. She tried again. And again. And…

… all it did was sputter.

She slammed her fist into the dashboard, tried once more. "Damn it! Piece of shit car, I need to go get my friend before she gets herself killed! WORK, damn it!"

A forbidden sob erupted from her throat and she leaned her forehead on the steering wheel, her mind torturously mulling over all the horrible things that could happen to Milli while she was out there. She was starting to wish that she'd just left the Camaro and agreed to buy the Volkswagen; she'd always heard foreign cars were more reliable… No matter how attractive the racing stripes had been, it seemed now it'd only go a speed of nil miles per hour. And then…

Like an answered prayer, Samantha both heard and felt the soft rumble of the engine coming to life and her eyes snapped open. A chill crawled its way down her spine, but she didn't care how or why the car started, she just knew that now there was a possibility she could get to Milli. With new resolution, she wiped her eyes, a relieved, if not rather manic, smile on her face. She didn't hate her piece of shit car as much as she thought, so long as it didn't give out en route…

She backed out of driveway, squinting through a bit of exhaust that betrayed the car's true age. It cleared up, though, as soon as she was on the street. She accelerated, inwardly marveling at how fluid the car drove as it gained speed. Had that Bobby B. guy even know what he had sold them? It felt natural, for a girl that just got her first car. Couldn't ask for much more, though, could she?

On long stretches of road, she topped the legal speed limit. With hardly anyone out at such an hour, she didn't fear being caught. Not yet at least.

She couldn't help but jump a little as the radio crackled, the tuner went crazy, and now she knew what Bobby B. had meant by 'shortage in the wiring.' She eyed the radio, but hell, she didn't care what was playing. At least it was catchy…

"Turn on the dynamo, into the wild I go,

No other place I know, I know.

Turn on I see red,

Warhorse, Warhead,

Throttle up for speed ahead, yeah ahead."

How appropriate, she couldn't help but muse. Maybe she had a psychic car?

"Ooooh, on I burn,

Fuel these pumping engines,

Burning hard, loose and clean,

And on I burn, turning my direction,

Quench my thirst with gasoline"

She hoped Milli would be okay… if something happened to her that morning, she'd make sure Trent got the backlash. For Trent's sake, she'd be able to get Milli home safe and sound.

Gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire!

Can't fight the need for speed,

I'm loose, I'm clean, I'm burning lean and mean, and mean.

Ignite the open trail,

Excite, exhale, comin' on, hot from hell,

Yeah, hot from hell"

She was pushing eighty now, and the car transitioned smoothly, to her surprise. It was exhilarating, addictive—she didn't dare go faster, even though the Camaro handled flawlessly in high speed turns. She'd gotten a kick ass car, just with a deceptively outdated frame. Goes to show what really matters is on the inside after all.

"So gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire!"

Sam passed the lake and began to slow down as the asphalt turned to dirt. She switched off the radio, though how it had initially came on was a mystery to her. Within minutes she could see taillights, perhaps half a dozen pairs. Only when she got closer could she see the individual lights they'd brought with them to illuminate their track, dust particles visibly hovering. Otherwise, it was black. Not a good sign…

Coming to a stop, she parked, tugged out her keys, and literally sprinted out of her car to seek out her friend, ignoring mutters from the fair-sized crowd that had gathered for the event, most about her car and how lousy it looked. "Milli!"

From a handful of jocks and their concubines she saw the redhead emerge, stumbling on her feet and holding an aluminum can high in one hand. "'Ey, Sammy, you made it! T'ey're jus' about to do anudder race, since Trent said t'e last one wuzza tie…" The spew on her shirt suggested she might've already thrown up once, but went for a second drink anyways. She smelled like smoke and marijuana. In fact, the entire lot did. And the stench of alcohol was unmistakable.

"What is that?"

Sam found herself watching as Trent curled an arm around Milli's waist while the free one was pointing in the general direction of the Camaro. His breath reeked of booze and a goofy grin contorted on his face to emit a snicker.

She scowled. "It's called a car. You know, has four wheels and goes vroom-vroom?" Grasping Milli's nearest wrist, she tugged her away, guiding her friend to a distance so she could try and talk without interruption. She made mental notes of each stumble, counting them to know how many times she'd punch Trent when the first opportunity came. She led her to her car and let her lean against it. "Mills, let me drive you home, please," she said, taking the beer can from and pouring it out on the dirt to make a puddle of dark amber. Milli was too drunk to care and smiled with glassy eyes.

"I'm fine, really. See?" She shifted her weight to her feet as she tried to stand straight, and swayed. Sam caught her and pressed her back against the Camaro.

"You're not fine, Mills, you're dead drunk and wouldn't make it half a step without diving face first onto the ground."

Milli regarded her as if she'd grown another head, but her gaze drifted over her friend's shoulder to a figure she suddenly noticed. "Hey!" She grinned childishly and waved at the young man. "Mike, come an' take a look at Sammy's ride!"

A cold sensation washed over Sam as she realized whom exactly Milli was waving down. Michael Banes. Oh, why did Milli have to call him over?! She couldn't be distracted from her goal—getting Milli out of that place before she got hurt.

Michael was the personification of a dark beauty that had many girls fawning over him, and it was clear why. Skin tanned and freckled, flawless, large angled eyes, rich ebony hair cut to about jaw-length. He was slender, lithe, and muscular without being overbearing, dressed nice, smelled nice. Just being near him was intoxicating…

He strolled over casually, hands in the pockets of his jeans. He looked so confident in himself and… he didn't seem to be drunk or high, or at least, not too much. Point for him. "Hey, Milli," he greeted with his mesmerizing velvet voice before peering at Sam, who had made herself busy scrubbing a nonexistent smudge on the car with the end of her sleeve. "How's it drive?" he asked, approaching to stand beside her and rest his hands on the top of the Camaro, completely oblivious she was smitten.

"Err…" She shifted her weight anxiously as he peeked through the windows at the interior. "F-fine, I s'pose," she stammered.

"Looks good." He walked around to the front. "Mind if I take a look?"

"Err…" Rather timidly, she opened the driver's side door to lean in and pop the hood. When she looked back at him, he was out of sight behind the hood, immersed in examining the Camaro's engine. At least he wasn't poking fun at it like Trent would do.

Michael looked thoughtful, creasing his forehead between his eyebrows. "How much was it?"

"Four thousand… got it at a used car dealer." She hesitated before slowly rounding the Camaro to see what he saw. She stood stunned. "Whoa."

"Whoa's right." He gestured. "Whoever had this car before you really liked it fast and good took care of the engine. No grime or buildup whatsoever." He closed the hood and led the way to the driver's side. "May I?"

"Huh?"

"Drive. May I drive it," he elaborated.

"Oh! Uh, sure… why not?" Sam extended the keys to him and stood back as he got in, turning the key in the ignition. The engine started up on command with a satisfactory rumble. She watched as he throttled it forward, leaving her to stand with her arms crossed in wistful longing while he got to drive her Camaro around, though she'd given him permission to do so. She was hit by a surge of jealousy, but ignored it, pushing it aside to confront later. Her mind was suddenly elsewhere when she realized she couldn't see Milli. No doubt she'd flagged down Michael to distract Sam from keeping a close eye on her.

"Milli," she called out, picking up her pace as she ventured back into the masses of drunken teenagers. It was a fairly large crowd, considering. Most likely it had been something between Trent and a few of his close friends, but word spread and no one could really keep away with such promise of entertainment, especially when entertainment included girls and cars. They had both.

She bumped into a few people she recognized from around school and held short snippets of conversation with them, but she was only partly listening, eyes scouting faces for the most familiar of people, her best friend. She could hear Get Stoned by Hinder playing from someone's car radio over revving engines. She spared a glance at the highlighted path, where cars were lining up. The crowd suddenly became denser as everyone moved in a single massive wave to become avid spectators, and Sam was helpless to escape.

Momentarily distracted, she caught sight of a yellow car with black racing stripes in the lineup. Her anger escalated. What was Michael thinking? Using her car in the race? She simmered, standing on tiptoes to give a heinous cry. "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING WITH MY CAR, YOU ASSHOLE?!" She lunged for the sidelines to try and intervene, but bodies were wedged so close together it was hard to move at all. She didn't even deny it when she stomped on several different sources of feet and did a bit of elbowing and shoving.

Sam was torn between rescuing her car or rescuing Milli, wherever the latter was. Only out of the corner of her eyes did she see a chunky boy run out to signal the start of the race by waving around his discarded shirt high up in the air. The cars rumbled with anticipation until finally he threw his shirt down in a signal to start. A roar erupted as wheels tore down the dirt road, kicking up a dusty cloud. She paid no more attention and again fought her way through the crowd. It would be easier to get to Milli than the car.

She wondered what time it was, and how long it would take for the police to realize there was a hazardous gathering. There weren't any houses along this stretch of road, though, so who was there to make a complaint? 'It's an accident just waiting to happen,' she thought, troubled.

"Hey there, cute thang—" drawled a young man who had actually noticed her efforts to squeeze through.

She wasn't going to have any of it, though. "Oh, shove off," she grumbled, giving him a firm push in the chest to remove him from her path. She hadn't necessarily meant to push hard, though, as he stumbled back in surprise, knocking into a quarterback, who slopped beer all down his front.

"Why the hell'd you do that?" the football player snarled.

"I—I didn't mean—"

She detoured around the two men just as a punch was thrown and a fight broke out. "Boys," she groaned in disgust.

The cars were returning in the same direction they'd left in, but were still some distance away. She couldn't see that far out in the dark, the many headlights too blinding to even try, but if she could, she'd have seen her Camaro and Trent's truck neck-to-neck in the lead position. She was too preoccupied as she saw the slight frame of her best friend dangerously close to the sidelines, waving hands in agitation as she talked to a girl she wasn't familiar with. It was an argument of some sort and both females were growing impatient and violent.

"MILLI!" she tried to yell over the engines of the approaching vehicles. The female without a name slapped Milli, leaving her momentarily stunned before retaliating; she grabbed the girl's collar and shook, screaming something incoherent from Sam's location.

They stumbled onto the ground, Milli leaping on Mystery girl and pummeling her face with her fists. The girl under her shrieked and threw her arms up to protect herself, but when that didn't stop the assault, scratched up at Milli's eyes, digging into her cheeks.

Milli screamed and in seconds, her hands were closing around her opponent's throat, eyes brimming with a psychotic fury brought on by intoxication and provocation. The cars were now perfectly visible and coming closer and Sam's world seemed to progressed in slow motion.

She wasn't aware that Trent was losing control of his truck, zigzagging on skidding wheels, and that her Camaro had relinquished the wheel from Michael's hands and steered on its own accord, as in a last ditch effort, Mystery girl kicked her feet into Milli's gut and flung her back into the dirt path, where she hit her head and laid sprawled out, dazed. She was too horrified to notice the Camaro fall behind to come around Trent's truck and attempt to nudge it away to avoid her fallen friend collapsed directly in their path. Trent was too stoned to care, too high with drugs and adrenaline of a top speed race. Giving the Camaro and it's no-longer-driver the finger, he rammed them maliciously. The Camaro decelerated to avoid the brunt of the attack, its hood barely getting clipped, as the truck skidded sideways, spinning out and —

Sam sprinted forward as fast she could. Someone had already tugged Mystery girl out of the way, but had left Milli, who in her stupor could only watch as the grill of the truck advanced on her. Tires lacking traction, there was nothing to be done as it closed in, Trent visible through the windshield trying regardless to alter the direction of their momentum, but to no avail. "SOMEONE GRAB HER!" she shrieked… but what drunk teenager was going to risk their life? They all just stared in frozen, morbid fascination.

She didn't see the impact, eyes swimming in tears and dust, but she heard it and it was the most awful sound she could ever imagine. She emitted a terrible scream just as her chest constricted on itself and she felt almost as if it was she who had been hit—who had been run over. "Oh, God," she breathed, inaudible over the crowd's cries, screams, and gasps. Several voices yelled for someone to call 911, but most were watching as Trent's blue truck finally regained control just before hitting a poor spectator's car. He fell out of the driver's seat after the door opened, only to be supported by a nearby dedicated posse. Other drivers were vacating their cars in dazes to inspect the damages; Michael Banes hadn't been given much of choice. The Camaro's door flung open and he was booted by some unapparent force.

Samantha dropped on her knees beside her best friend's mangled and bloodied body. Milli had been dragged by the truck nearly ten meters, and she thought she saw the remains of an arm in the tracks left behind. She sobbed, unashamed, patting the ashen face before her, but she knew in her heart its owner wouldn't stir, and that was probably for the best, because if she did, she'd be in so much pain… clothes were torn and an imprint of a tire sat over her chest… there was another one on her right shin… she couldn't bear to examine her friend any further and instead pulled her into her lap and cradled her lovingly, barely managing to sweep trembling fingers down over her eyes to close them.

She rubbed her eyes to peer over at Trent, who was staring at the remains of his now deceased girlfriend. What was he thinking? He looked horrified, but she couldn't discern whether it was triggered by the realization of what he'd done or of what might happen to him if he were caught. His posse, made of strong and bulky classmates, took the liberty of beginning to herd out the shocked spectators. She was pretty sure she heard them murmur threats if anyone repeated of that morning's events. They were all running away… had anyone bothered to call an ambulance? The police?

It was suddenly icy cold. "C—Cowards," she spat midst a fresh wave of tears. In her peripheral vision, she saw Michael, torn between leaving with his friends or coming to mourn with her, to wait for help. He was eventually pulled by someone close to him into a car. Engines were firing up and everyone was fleeing… cowards, all cowards…

It took over ten minutes before Sam was finally alone with the lifeless Milli and her Camaro, somewhere along the dirt road. She couldn't remember if she had her cell phone in the car or if she'd left them on the bedside table on accident. She feared it was the latter, but it didn't matter either way, because her body was too busy racking from her heaving sobs to be able to check, to call 911.

So many things Milli had wanted to do, and now she couldn't. Go to college, travel out of the United States, have a family, write a novel… So many unaccomplished goals and dreams… she'd kill Trent if he didn't come forward and admit what he did, ruin his life, make sure he spent a long time in jail, make sure he couldn't do the many things he wanted to do… make him sorry.

Her body ached and she moved Milli's head so she could lie down beside her, curl up around her, protect her from the elements, all alone. She wasn't aware of the blood she was getting on her by doing this, but if she were, it was unlikely she'd care.

In the distance, was that sirens she heard? Were the police and an ambulance coming? It was about time… but were they coming for Milli? Or were they responding to a different emergency, leaving Milli forgotten? A nobody? An insignificant American teen who made a mistake and paid for it with her life? Never, ever again.

Soon she was convinced the sirens were actually coming in her direction for a reason, she sighed in relief. Someone would be here soon and take Milli somewhere warm and safe… And she wasn't the only one; the Camaro could confirm they were indeed responding to a 911 call associated with Milli, but they couldn't be found. If Sam was sent to jail because they thought she was the culprit, then there was no way he could protect her when the Decepticons would surely come for the glasses pictured in her genealogy report, which was featured online for all to see. A Decepticon wouldn't care about casualties while pursuing a lead to the location of the Allspark. He couldn't allow the girl, a descendent of Captain Archibald Witwicky, fall into the wrong hands.

Transforming was nothing out of the norm for Bumblebee. Though he hadn't planned to take his bipedal form so soon, to reveal himself, he wouldn't be able to get Sam away from the crime scene if he didn't. The only other person in the vicinity to witness it was dead, and chances were Sam was so distraught, she'd subconsciously repress the memory and think if anything of it just a bad dream when she woke up to get ready for school. She didn't look at in the slightest as he shot up, car parts shifting themselves like nothing on Earth to construct a yellow and black humanoid figure.

He moved stealthily—well, as stealthily as a giant robot could be—over closer to the two humans and knelt down. It took extensive diligence to be gentle while handling fragile creatures such as humans. Sam was resistant at first when he tried to pick her up between two metallic fingers, unwilling to let go of her friend's dead body. It sent her into another fit of sobs that soon wore her out and he could then easily pry her from her hold on the corpse to gingerly put her in the palm of his robot hand. He could feel the warm tears, small as they were, dripping on his palm as she curled up in a dissociated state, where she slowly ceased crying and went emotionally and mentally numb.

He shielded her with his other hand, though there wasn't much to shield her from; it was predominantly instinct. He headed off, the police and emergency vehicles to arrive within visual range of him at any moment. As a scout, Bumblebee was good with keeping track of his surroundings. He remembered exactly how to get to the Witwicky household, though if he needed, he could consult the internet's Map Quest. The problem wasn't finding his way. It was more of getting there without being seen. He was a resourceful Autobot… he'd figure out a way. And once Sam was safe at home, he'd signal the other Autobots… it was time.

--------------------

The alarm clock buzzed it's morning greeting. Groggy as ever, Sam slapped the snooze button and rolled over to bury her face into the pillow at the head of her bed. It couldn't be time to get up, could it? Felt much too early. She sighed into the cloth below her face and twisted onto her back to blink sleepily up at the ceiling. She'd had such a horrible dream… gosh, she was actually glad to be awake. It had been awful, absolutely awful. Michael driving off with her car, Milli hanging out with a drunken party, Milli getting hit by Trent's truck, Milli dying… Her eyes watered at the imagery filling her head. It had been a dream, a downright lousy one, but, nonetheless, a dream. Had to be a dream, because in it, the Camaro morphed into a great, big robot, and tore her away from Milli's dead body to return her home. Cars didn't transform. It was definitely a dream.

She was completely unaware of the day clothes she was wearing, instead of pajamas, and that the clothes she wore, she had on throughout the early hours of the morning when she drove out to meet Milli. She was oblivious to the stains of blood and the dirt that coated her clothing and her own body. She just knew she was sweaty and wanted to change.

Sam grabbed a pair of khaki cargo pants and a lavender spaghetti-strap shirt, heading for the shower. Her dirty clothes were discarded carelessly into the laundry hamper without a second thought. She took the majority of her shower with her eyes closed, still half asleep and therefore noticed nothing of the grit and blood that washed free from her body. Far too tired to notice, to care… to realize what had happened.

She left the bathroom with her honey-bronzed hair wrapped up in a towel. The shower had helped restore her energy and she hopped down the flight of stairs to the living room, where her parents were huddling on the couch with troubled faces. "Good morning," she chirped, expecting a cheerful welcome that didn't come. She examined her parents; they were shocked by something and her mother's eyes were welling with tears. "Oh, gosh. Mum, what's wrong?" She crawled onto the couch beside her mother and gave her a one-armed hug.

Judy Witwicky turned her ghastly face to her daughter and clasped both her hands. "Oh, honey… I'm so sorry, I'm so, so sorry."

Sam was confused. "What? There's nothing to be sorry about." She looked from her dad to her mom, and back again several times. There was something they knew and they were having trouble coming out and telling her. "Mum, what's going on?"

Mrs. Witwicky instead began to sob and leaned into her husband's chest. Sam looked at her father quizzically. "Dad?"

He swallowed hard and gave a wet snort, blinking rapidly. "Samantha…" he began awkwardly. "There's… there's been an accident."

"Oh my… I'm real sorry to hear that." She chewed on her bottom lip. Why was she all of a sudden feeling anxious? Was it someone she knew?

"It… it was on the morning news broadcast and the local newspaper…" Her dad's voice cracked, so unlike his typical self. What the hell happened? Why were they hesitating to tell her who it was?

"C'mon, just tell me… I'm a big girl, I can handle it," she urged. "Was it someone at school?"

Her parents looked doubtful and both seemed to not be able to find their voices.

Sam's anxiety was replaced with impatience. "Come out with it already!" she exclaimed, jumping out of her seat to stand above them and begin to pace. "Mom! Dad!"

"Oh, God…" her mother cried. "I'm so sorry, Sam, I'm so sorry…"

"TELL ME!" Her voice became shrill and she was suddenly scared to hear what came next.

"It's… oh, my God, how do I say this? … Oh, Sammy, I'm sorry—it's Milli." Unable to continue any further, her mother shoved the newspaper into her hands for her to read herself.

It was Milli? Puzzled, numb, Sam unfolded the paper and scoped the articles for any clue to what was going on. She flipped it back to the front page and there it was, staring her straight in the face: Teenage girl found dead near lake. She felt a chill run down her spine and she found herself glued in place, eyes sweeping the script to absorb all the information, scrutinize it, rake it for clues that insisted it wasn't real. But it wasn't and as she read further through the article, she found a single name that made her heart leap into her throat.

"Milli," she echoed the name hoarsely. "No… not Milli! Oh, my God, NO!" Her voice escalated in intensity and she flung the newspaper aside. Climbing back up the stairs and to her room to grab her cell phone so she could call her friend. The phone rang as she held it up to her ear with shaking hands. Three rings, no one had answered. And with each passing ring, the further her stomach sank in horrible realization.

"No…" The phone dropped from her hands, fingers unable to continuing grasping it. She meant to sit on her bed, but it wasn't what was under her at the time and she was suddenly sapped of all mobility, so she flopped onto the floor instead beside her cell. She buried her face in her hands, trembling like a leaf in the wind. "No no no no nonononono…"

She was oblivious to her parents' presence as they joined her in her room, trying with all their might to comfort her, to console her, to soothe away the pain… but no mortal could possibly do that.

It was real. It had happened. All of it. The dream hadn't been a dream at all, but a memory, a dreadful memory. Trent had killed Milli and her car… it couldn't have transformed. That was impossible, unrealistic. Perhaps her mind had concocted it midst raging emotions… yeah…

As she crawled back into bed, she heard her parents' voices in the distance, saying they were sorry and that they weren't going to make her go to school if she felt this bad. The majority of their words held little to no meaning to her and she curled up tight under the covers until they finally retreated and left her alone. Her body ached all over as sorrow flooded through her entire being, crying tears like a leaky fountain. She wished she had died instead of Milli… she wailed in agony and beat her fists into the bed mattress.

"Why…" Sam continued sobbing, until perhaps half an hour later, she cried herself into a restless slumber.

For the rest of the morning and into the afternoon, Sam sunk in and out of a tear-filled sleep, which was interrupted regularly by crying fits from visions of Milli's death searing through her dreams. There wasn't a moment that her pillow was completely dried of tears. And at lunch, her mom brought up a tray of food that she barely touched, before resuming her sulking. Several times in brief spurs of hope, she'd fetch her phone and send a text message to Milli, though deep down, she knew she wouldn't get a reply. She then cried again.

She finally removed herself from her bed to carry the tray down to the kitchen. Disposing of the remains, she rinsed the utensils to be placed in the dishwasher. A note on the fridge informed her that her mom had gone to run some errands and would be back in a few hours. She absently traced the doodle of a smiling face at the end of the note, then took a can of soda and retreated into the living room to watch television. She curled up on the sofa and grabbed the remote off the coffee table, purposefully evading news channels, eventually settling for an old horror film that barely held her attention anyway.

Ten minutes into the show and the phone rang. Sam groaned—it was just getting good—but left the warm space on the sofa to answer. Caller I.D. came up blank and she picked up the receiver. "Witwicky residence, how may I help you?" she recited monotonously.

There was nothing but a calm silence on the other end.

"Hello?" she tried again. The lack of response was quickly pissing her off. This was a complete waste of time… She waited a few seconds. Nothing. "Say something or I'll hang up."

With a noise of anger, she slammed the phone back into the cradle and stalked to the living room. As she passed a window, she glimpsed a police car parked across and down the street out front, facing towards the house. Odd. Shaking her head in dismissal, she plopped down and tried to focus on the movie. She'd missed something vital to the storyline however; there was no point trying to follow it now… so she flipped channels again.

When nothing proved worthy of watching, she hesitantly risked a peek at a local news station. A commercial… but then, wait—what was this? An update on breaking news? She'd obviously missed something. According to this, soldiers previously thought lost in a camp in Qatar had been recovered and brought back to the States. Something about the U.S. military mainframe being hacked by possible terrorists. 'Great, just what the world needs… another crisis. How much longer till we just blow each other up?'

She turned off the T.V. and trooped back upstairs to her room. She was weary, though she'd been in bed all day. Was this how depression felt? She couldn't remember a time when she felt this bad. At times she was pessimistic, but never depressed. And the day ticked away.

--------------------

"Sam." A sharp rap on the door jerked her out of slumber again and she slowly pushed herself up. The door opened and revealed her father's stubbly and tanned face. "Someone's on the front porch and wants to talk to you. Think you come down for a bit?"

She rubbed her face and glanced at the clock. School had let out forty-five minutes earlier. A sympathetic peer? She hoped not. Even worse, the police. Perhaps someone had let slip she'd been at the crime scene, and was also a close friend of Milli's. She wasn't in the mood for an interrogation. So who else would bother dropping by to talk to her? Oh God, was that why the police car was parked out front? Waiting to see if she'd leave the house so they could corner her and try to weed out what had happened without the protective guidance of her parents?

No, police wouldn't do that. Even they have rules to follow. They wouldn't harass a teenager in a delicate state such as herself at this point of time.

Mace gave an alarming bark, hackles raised as he stood rigid at the door, ready to lunge if anyone tried to get in. "Good boy," she murmured, giving him a hearty scratch down his spine before nudging him away so she could pry open the front door and slide out without him trying to get loose. Closing it behind her, she turned to look at the visitor.

"Hey." It was Michael Banes, hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans and looking sexy in a black muscle shirt under a denim jacket. "I wanted to check on you after…" He trailed off and had the decency to make eye contact. "Well, you know."

It took all her self control not to gawk and she shifted her weight anxiously from one foot to the other. Never before had he talked to her, excluding early that morning. On a regular basis, she could've been nonexistent. "Err, yeah… uh. How'd you get this address?"

His smile was slight, but evident on his tanned features. It held a warmness she'd never witnessed before. "School directory." However, he wasn't letting the focus of his meeting stray. "Listen, about Milli—"

She cringed. "Don't."

"It's hard, I can understand that but—"

She cut him off. "Is Trent going to at least turn himself in?"

Michael fell silence and abruptly looked regretful. "Trent? No… he doesn't want to lose the scholarships to get him into college and play football."

Sam snorted and crossed her arms over her chest, haughtily. "Son of a bitch." Visibly fuming, she began to pace back and forth, her arms unconsciously shifting to hug herself. She wanted to fall into a gory fantasy of all the things she could do to him, to make him sorry, to make him turn himself in. Milli's death needed to be avenged…

"This is hard for Trent, too. He killed his girlfriend—it was an accident. Have you any idea what he's going through?" he asked calmly.

She wheeled on him. "If you came here to defend Trent, then forget it. Get out of here."

"No. No, that's not why I'm here." He looked sincerely apologetic for making a stand on Trent's behalf, then regained an indifferent mask. He watched her from behind a few wisps of dark hair.

"Then why are you?"

"Can we walk?" Michael removed a hand from his pocket to gesture at the sidewalk.

"I s'pose…"

It was a casual stroll down the street. Samantha busied herself by studying the cracks in the concrete walkway, feeling strangely exposed of her emotions and thoughts. Only the steady pat-pat of their shoes on the ground, the occasional rustle of clothing, and perhaps even a sigh. The silence was awkward; Sam never imagined Michael to lack the words to say. At school, he'd seemed perfectly outgoing, especially around his friends. In class, he was observant and a listener. If he ever said anything then, it was precise and thought out to the last syllable. Suave, even.

"What'd I miss at school?" she forced herself to speak. Did he even know they shared the same classes? She had a tendency to be invisible when around groups of people.

"Nothing worth repeating." He grinned with full, seductive lips.

Another lapse of silence and they took a turn.

"So, why'd you come? Felt sorry for me? Pitied me?" Sam was struggling inwardly, trying to decipher the meaning of this unexpected visit. Michael Banes was the last person she could imagine winding up on her front porch, requesting to speak with her. Perhaps this was a dream? Her subconscious at work?

"Actually," he hesitated, though just momentarily. He was debating how to say what was one his mind, but the best way was always just to come out with it. "I want to talk about your car."

Sam stopped in her tracks at a sensation of a foot behind thrust into her gut. "My car?" She felt her innards begin to stew. He'd come all this way and requested her presence from the comfort of her room to talk about her car? What the hell was wrong with him?

"I know this sounds completely ludicrous but…" Michael stepped in front of her to stop her from walking any further while turning to stare her in the eyes. "Your car tried to prevent Trent from hitting Milli."

Samantha stared as she processed this odd detail coming from her crush. Tears started to prickle behind her eyes and she released a shrill bark-like laugh, frantically shaking her head. "You're enjoying th-this… aren't you," she stammered out, her arms swinging at her sides anxiously as she tried to control the monster of rage stirring in the depths of her chest. She wanted to run, but she couldn't make her legs move. They were numb and unyielding. "M-mocking Milli's death… God, you think this is funny!!"

Fighting back a fresh torrent of tears and losing, she pushed past him.

Michael had expected a reaction like that and tried again, naturally composed. "I'm telling you the truth, Samantha. Your car drove itself—I had no control over it. The wheel… it was driving itself."

"Yeah, after you drove it into a stupid street race that killed my best friend!" She pivoted around on her heel, almost reluctant to show her tear-streaked face, and contemplated for the briefest moment giving him the nastiest right hook she could manage. Not too far away, she heard squealing tires, but that was no concern to her. She wanted nothing more than to make Michael feel the pain she did.

"Your car literally booted me out of the driver's seat," he stated. How could he act so indifferent? "Your car—the Camaro… I've never seen an engine like the one it has, not in a piece of scrap, at least. I don't know how, but—"

This was a sight she never imagined before. No, not Michael, something else. A police car, lights flaring, and barreling straight at them, having evidently started from a distance judging by its speed. Sam's breath caught in her throat; this must've been what Milli felt as she saw Trent's truck swiveling towards her. They were going to be hit…

"MOVE!" Fight or flight response had kicked in just in time and she grabbed Michael by his shirt, throwing him forcefully out of the way and onto the ground and just barely dodging herself. The police car's engine roared and she watched in shaky horror as it reversed. It occurred to her almost instantly—there was no one in the driver's seat.

"Shit." She didn't look to see if Michael had gotten up, though he had, and instead did the most logical thing when an apparently homicidal vehicle was trying to run you down—get somewhere that it couldn't get.

If there was one thing Samantha Witwicky was good at, it was running—well, at least, she used to be good at it. She'd been in track for as long as she could remember, until a stupid accident left her with a broken ankle and sprained foot, and the recovery had been a tricky one with complications that made her swear off even the idea of track. Running had once been a passion, something she enjoyed. Now running was the best plan she had at staying alive. Never thought her life would depend on how fast she could run… until then.

She sprinted down the sidewalk, arms pumping, and feeling a sensation of exhilaration she hadn't felt in a long time, despite the criticality of needing to run as fast as she could. She risked a glance backwards and her fears were confirmed—the car that was supposed to help save lives and put bad guys in jail had jumped the curb and was now pursuing her as if it was still on asphalted street. How did you trick a car? A car that has no driver? Had she had the time to run to a busy intersection, she'd risk going across it in hopes of the traffic blocking the police car from advancing. But she didn't have the time and the police car was right on her heels. Why didn't it just ram her already?

She cut into the front lawn of a family's house she knew nothing about, hoping her sudden detour would make the car hesitate. It didn't… figured. It rolled through the flowers and bushes and even the hedge, without the slightest pause. Sam found herself leaping for the nearest tree with the lowest branch, which actually wasn't all that far, and gripped it with her hands while scuffing her feet up the trunk until she had enough leverage to swing her legs around the limb to secure herself. She was almost upside down.

"Sam!" She heard Michael yell just barely over the car's angry revving.

And as if things couldn't get any worse, well… they did. She struggled to right herself on the branch as an odd variety of sounds erupted from a place much too close for comfort. She begged herself not to look, but the sounds were growing, coming up all around her, consuming everything. Clanking, grinding, hissing. She trembled so bad she feared she'd lose her grip.

One leg on the branch, she swung the other off to hoist her chest up with shaky arms. A series of 'don't falls' became a mantra in her head that she repeated silently. The shadow on the tree was dark… darker than normal for the time of day, for its positioning. She crawled to the crook of the branch and clung to the trunk's bark, trying to hide in its leafy confines, but she knew whatever it was the police car had become was perfectly aware of her location. She hugged the tree and edged around, groping with one foot for a nearby branch to transfer onto.

A cruel laugh swelled around her. "You think you can hide? Descendent of Captain Archibald Witwicky?" The voice was mechanical. And if evil had a sound, that voice owned it.

She shrieked when she saw the metal face looming through the branches, directly at her. Her body was gripped with terror for her own life. Her mind was racing frantically. What was this thing? What did it want with her? What the hell was going on?!

"Leave me alone!" Sam screeched. "I've done nothing wrong—I don't have anything you want!" Her own voice sounded distant as the blood pounded in her head, like ceremonial drums preceding an execution or burial or even a battle. She didn't want to die, no, she wasn't ready for that. She wanted to live so bad, so bad, so bad. "Please don't kill me!"

Something had been ejected from the giant black and white mass, something much smaller in comparison, but she had the impression it was equally dangerous. She didn't see it at first, just heard it as it purred and chittered, hacking its way through bark and leaves toward her. The big monster growled to it an order. "Apprehend the human and drag her out, but don't seriously harm her. If she has the glasses—" The smaller thing sounded as if it grumbled, "I know, I know," impatiently in response.

The tree was no longer safe. Panicking, Sam swept her gaze beneath her. In her hurry to evade whoever—whatever—the now taller and humanoid police car was, she'd scaled further up, maybe ten feet. If she jumped, she knew it wouldn't do her any harm, but recovering from it might give the police car and its accomplice the opening they were looking for to snag her.

Then it was above her, an odd looking thing with manic glowing blue optics. It could've been a toy, for all she knew, but she knew that toys didn't move. Or at least, not with as much ease as this thing did. She had to get down, but after that, there'd be no place to escape to, no place…

"SAM!" It was Michael again, but this time, his yell was followed by two urgent honks. "JUMP!"

She twisted her neck towards the call. Michael Banes had just leapt out of the passenger side door of… her Camaro? Her Camaro, which was actually just stopping at the end of a controlled skid so that the driver's side was facing her. The door flew open, no one in the seat. Another honk, and Michael was beckoning to her while running, though dodgy in her direction. "JUMP!"

The small robotic creature was less than a foot above her and it was about to pounce—she jumped first with a yelp as she plummeted the ten feet, half through the tree's clinging appendages, then a free fall the last five or so feet. She toppled backward onto her butt and scrambled around to her knees, getting up just as Michael grabbed her arm and tugged. The robot jumped after her, but it was too late. Half dragged to the car, Sam clambered into the driver's seat while Michael hurdled across the hood to take the passenger's side. The doors slammed shut and the tires squealed.

"AUTOBOT SCUM!" the police monster roared as the Camaro accelerated away. Furiously, it collapsed down back into a car and chased after them.

Sam leaned back in the seat after watching the large robot's transformation back to its car form. She was still shaking and out of breath, absolutely terrified but so alert, adrenaline doing its duty. Gradually, she became aware that indeed the Camaro was driving itself, the steering wheel operating independently as they sped away from the neighborhood. She held her hands up, not sure what to do with them—should she try to drive? What was driving? Her hands dropped in her lap and as inhaled deeply, her eyes landed on Michael.

"You were telling the truth."

Michael nodded mutely and both turned one last time to look back at a street that was filled with scared and befuddled citizens of Tranquility, Nevada, staring after them in the Camaro and the police car that really wasn't a police car.

She licked dry lips and sunk further into her seat, lifting a hand to place upon her forehead. How the hell was she going to explain this to her parents?

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'I Always Get What I Want' by Avril Lavigne. Don't particularly like her, but the song served its purpose.

The Fuel demo, 'Fuel For Fire' by Metallica. Lyrics from the Let's Sing It website.

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Wow. This is like the longest thing I've written… ever.

I'm new to the Transformers fandom. Didn't grow up on it. Saw some Beast Wars when I was younger, but it usually came on too early for me to drag myself out of bed to watch. Didn't understand what it was about. So, yeah. The 2007 film made me a fan.

I have little knowledge of Transformers, except from what I can dig up on the internet. I'm perfectly aware I'll probably make dozens of mistakes. I just won't know what they are.

So, an A.U. 2007 film fan story. Have you ever wondered what would be different if Sam had been a girl? Same basic plot, just a different way of getting through it.

Forgive me if my writing of the Transformers is amateur. Just reading it isn't enough. Don't be surprised if I focus more on the humans with the Autobots and not much of the Autobots on their own. Not quite ready to tackle that aspect.

But anyway, thanks for reading. I'll hopefully have a second chapter up within the next few weeks.