A/N: I'd like to apologize for taking so long. I was all silly on pain pills from my surgery and I wasn't in the mood to write, edit and whatnot. So, hopefully you won't come after me with knives and pitchforks. I'm still kinda bahh so I really wouldn't be able to put up much of a fight. Thanks for being patient with me!

I'd like to thank DemonicSymphony for helping me out with the editing. You rock!

I don't own Transformers.

The Ties that Bind
Epilogue: To Protect and Serve

One Week Later

My, how the mighty have fallen…

Barricade was idling on the driveway of a small suburban home. There was a police officer inside in the driver seat and it wasn't his hologram. There was another officer leaving the house and getting into the passenger side of the vehicle and buckling himself in. Barricade let the human put him in reverse, back out of the drive, put him back into drive and head down the street. Over the past couple of weeks one could say that he changed his occupation from Decepticon warrior to a real-life police car. Gone were the words "to punish and enslave" replaced with "to protect and serve". So, now back to his previous thought.

My, how the mighty have fallen…

The light up ahead turned yellow and Barricade immediately wanted to accelerate, but it seemed that his driver was the only cop who didn't use his power to cheat the system. Pressing down on the brake Barricade nearly sighed as he rolled to a stop behind a minivan. He hated minivans. They drove too damn slow and knowing the driver, Officer Michael Keen, he wasn't going to tailgate on a populated street. Barricade's engine revved irritatingly making Keen stop talking for moment to asses the sound along with his partner Officer Scott Ridley. When it didn't happen again Keen went back to talking about Primus knows what. The man didn't seem to shut up.

Ridley on the other hand was a decent human. He was a younger man, a couple years younger then Keen, and he was a good cop. Ridley talked about limited things, but one could get him really going on some woman named Kate. Apparently, this "Kate" was his wife and was pregnant with their first offspring. Despite Barricade's higher tolerance for Ridley over Keen, he was not a fan of humans and the fact that one of them was reproducing was disgusting to him. He had never actually seen Kate, only caught glimpses of her as she wondered through the house everyday when Keen came to pick up Ridley.

The light turned green and the annoyance of traveling behind the minivan was starting to wear on his circuits, but he had already decided that he was just going to have to deal with the incompetence of humans until he figured out how to leave the planet without being detected. It was easier for airborne mechs unlike him. He knew that Starscream had left Earth's atmosphere after the battle, but for some unknown reason he returned and stayed just under the radar in hiding. That's exactly what Barricade was doing.

Was he a coward? No.

Was he a deserter? Technically.

Was he a traitor? No.

Then why did he leave?

Barricade left for one simple reason. He was tired of fighting. He used to live for battle. He used to love taking down his adversaries one by one, but now, he just didn't see the point, but he was still a Decepticon. He was just taking a break. Though he knew that if Megatron found him his life would be forfeit. Megatron did not take desertion lightly and would kill anyone who tired. Even Starscream, who slipped by death via Megatron numerous times, probably ran out of lives. So now here he was. Playing the role of authority he picked to intimidate the humans. He went from being an icon to the real thing.

Keen drove up into a parking lot that Barricade dreaded. It was a small building with a drive through and a name that would live in his processor in infamy.

Dunkin' Donuts.

He hated it. The stereotype with cops and their doughnuts was true for these two, especially Keen who looked like he had eaten a few too many. They ordered a dozen everyday, six each but it ended up being more like eight-four by the end of the day, and coffee. He didn't like either. The coffee smelled and stuck to his interior and the doughnuts left crumbs behind, which irritated the slag out of him. It was like an itch he couldn't scratch. He hated them so much that he wouldn't let Keen roll the window down once to try and keep the out, but Keen wanted those doughnuts and merely opened the door to get them. To avoid having to go into maintenance for a "broken" window Barricade didn't pull that stunt again.

So now the doughnuts were in the car along with the coffee and he would just have to suffer in silence. The fat human even got the ones with sprinkles and Barricade was sure it was just to piss him off. At least Ridley used a napkin. So they were on the road again, patrolling Seattle, Washington like they did every day, pulling over speeders, handling minor disturbances, nothing exciting, just trying to keep the peace. Barricade just wanted a high-speed chase or something to keep him entertained. That would be something he'd risk exposure for at this point he was so strung up.

But Barricade didn't get his high-speed chase; just two speeders and a fool trying to shoplift a case of beer in his backpack. Of course the culprit was underage and they let him off with a warning. Barricade thought they should've arrested him, but the kid ended up crying and Ridley felt bad so they let him go and promised the store clerk that if he tried again and succeeded they would pay the price of whatever was stolen and arrest the young man who did it. Barricade was pretty sure you couldn't do that, but whatever. Humans made these laws seemingly to be broken everyday so it was their problem not his.

It was five o'clock when their shift ended and like everyday, Keen dropped Ridley off at home since the man had sold his car to help by the house he and his wife were now living in. There was a woman on the porch swing, her red hair long and curly, pulling into a loose bun at the back of her head with long tendrils falling to dust her shoulders. She looked up, her icy blue eyes sparkling as Barricade pulled up on the driveway. The woman stood up, holding her back for assistance for the extra weight of her protruding belly. She was beautiful, by human standards with a bright smile and soft looking skin.

"See you later, man," Ridley said with a wide grin at the sight of his wife.

"See ya," came the reply.

Ridley got out of the car and rushed up to his wife. "Hey, honey."

"Hey, yourself," she flirted back, "How was work?"

Ridley temporarily ignored the question to kiss her hello. "Nothing exciting. I won't bore you with the details. How was your day?"

"He was feisty today," she stated, placing her hand on her belly, "He was playing soccer with my bladder."

Ridley laughed excitedly. "Really? Is he doing it now?"

"Uh huh!" she laughed, "Here," taking his hand she placed it on her stomach. Ridley seemed to stop breathing as he waited for movement and when he did feel it his face broke into and ear splitting grin. "Yeah the novelty of it wears off when you're on the toilet every five minutes."

Ridley couldn't seem to get enough as he knelt down and pressed his ear to her stomach like he was listening while Kate ran her fingers through his dark hair. That was the last thing Barricade saw as Keen pulled away from the house. The interaction between Ridley and his mate was something familiar to their kind. The love and devotion between them was pure. Maybe spouses on this planet cheated on their significant other, something that was very rare in his own culture, but one could find a couple like Scott and Kate Ridley. Whether he liked it or not Barricade found a new respect for the young police officer. He still didn't like humans, but he had made an exception once so he could do it again. He didn't know what he was signing himself up for at the time, but Barricade would soon learn why the Autobots protected their human friends so fiercely. Without even thinking about it he assigned him to be the family guardian of Scott, Kate, and their unborn child.

And we're done. The Ties that Bind is offically completed. Holy crap. Kinda sad, but at the same time I'm excited for the sequel. You'll be happy to know that I already started it and I must say; it's a lot darker. I'm am not being nice to anyone. So this are the folks I'd like to thank...and there's a lot of 'em:

Akatsuki-No-Nemo, Alamo Girl, Alana Xavier1, annependragon, Aranel Latanya, Atiaran, Autobot Jazz-16, AyameMitsune, Blume, caz, Cascadia-Science, Cassiopeia1979, Crimson Starlight, Cursed One, Darth Pudding, Deathzealot, Dementa, DemonicSymphony, Dragon of Despair, DragonQueen90, EagleBlaze954, ED of Oblivion, Elita One, Fae Child19, fennecfox03, Fiery Kitsune, flamingmarsh, FORD B, Frog1, FunkeeMunky, Gloria Stone, GothicMiko, HotShot14, IdiotOnParade, inuficcrzy, I play wid fir3, ishmaranara, Jillian Jiggs, JML, Kirmon64, Kiashi Goldbeak 501, Kymera, L, LostSchizophrenic, MajinBakaHentai, Maraluch, Max Ferraris, Misao-CG, Miss Hiss, Mrs. Optimus Prime, Ms. Selena, Newtype Omega, NightElfCrawler, Nithela, Novamyth, NybCR, OblivionDragon, Orrunan, Ox-King, Padme4000, plunger02, PrimeFan, RachelMNiner, Riana1, RoseGad, R o X i a n, Sagibunu, Shini-666, Silver Fox Trot, SithelfJen, speedfweak, starseeker347, Stesuna the Dragon, "Stripperella", teh blumchenkinder, The Gandhara, The Otherworlder, tomorrow4eva, urbanlegend, Yami-Yugi3, yutakayumi.

If I forgot anyone, I apologize.

I'd like to give another shout to DemonicSymphony for the editing, and then Dementa and flamingmarsh for being chatting with me and, whether you knew it or not, giving some tid-bits and ideas for this story and more. Thanks a lot, guys!

And even if you didn't review and read it, thanks a lot! Thanks for sticking with me.

You can expect The Ties that Bind: Of Sparks and Hearts to be a little more dark, action-packed, dramatic and let's not forget romantic. We've got some unresolved relationship issues to take care of...coughSunny and coughMaggie. You can also expect it to make a debut in Summer 2008. But for now, I'm gonna focus more on Twin Times the Fun and get that completed.

So it's done. All over. For now.

Please Review!