AN: I have nothing to say for how late this chapter has been coming. Real life decided to intrude, and then I systematically got sick and stressed out, so I could only write out this chapter in bits and pieces over the past couple of weeks. But today I buckled down, and here is the end result-because I just wanted to update. Feel free to stone me if you wish. (cringe)
I just want to say, thank you ever so much again to all the reviewers-all 800+ of you. You've helped me and given me a lot of encouragement, and I feel honored that you would hang around for so long to read my ideas. (bow) Special thanks go to Karategal, TheMoonlessKnight, Hearts of Eternity, VioletLight, Litahatchee, Melora Maxwell, and LandrayDepthCharge for letting me play with their ideas. It goes without saying 1/2 of the stuff in the fic belongs to them, but the other half is mine-including Nightfire and now Artemis. Use without proper permission and Frenzy does get to send presents to your computer. (Credit of the term newspark also goes to Violet)
As for continuations...Unholy will be on hold-Violet and I have to get our ideas sorted together, so Guns and Cyber-Roses will be starting immediatly after this story, along with new updates to System and maybe Intimacy. I also have a few oneshots in mind as well.
A big thank you to Lita for betaing this chapter, and once again I offer my apolgizes for how late this chapter was in coming.
One year following the events in Canada
Things were going very well, Shockwave mused as he leaned back in his chair, watching a monitor. His decision to retreat had been the right one, for it had given him several fresh…opportunities to refine his methods and goals. Unfortunately they had to be kept generalized, but there were one or two projects that would require his personal touch soon.
I will have to be careful. For the Autobots had ensured that what remained of their forces and the colonists knew of his plans, it was now officially impossible to go near any Autobot base. Of his former faction…he had very little information.
If anything, that must be Soundwave's doing. Him or maybe one of his symboites. Shockwave turned his head, optic focusing on another monitor. Logically-the Decepticons should be in more dire straits, as there were no femmes left at all among them. But now I wonder… His optic flicked back to several datapads on the desk nearby. While going though some old files several orns ago, he had come across Hook's data on the number of dead femmes, younglings, and sparklings following the attack at Floatila. The Decepticon CMO had been tasked with providing the gruesome data to Megatron, and Shockwave hadn't looked over it at the time. But now, revisiting those old files…
The numbers seem to add up too perfectly. The Decepticon femmes were equal in power to the Autobot femmes-and they were more scattered about. Even at their fastest, the teams still took a while to get to each and every territory within Decepticon borders. The more he had thought about it, the more the new theory that was being presented to him made sense. Somehow in all the chaos, a good number of Decepticon femmes had escaped…and the Constructions had helped.
That explains why the numbers tallied up so perfectly, and the reason for the Constructions keeping their distance from the main forces for a long time afterwards. They knew that there were surviving Decepticon femmes-warned them, helped them escape, and made sure nobody ever found out. Several small drones skittered about Shockwave as he lifted a hand to his faceplates.
I must tread carefully. For now, I will have to focus on what I have at the moment. Perhaps an opportunity will arise…
Autobot City, Medical Bay
Ratchet muttered darkly under his breath as he gently laid out a sparkling frame-freshly created from Perceptor's lab.
"You think you two could have given me any warning, hmm? At least Ironhide and Chromia were nice enough to tell me shortly before the blessed event, so I had time to prepare!!" His audience cringed slightly, pulling a small blanket even closer to her frame.
"It…it was an accident!"
"You do know once Sideswipe hears this, you…well, you'll live it down, but not him." The yellow medic grumbled, starting to run his own set of scans and checks on the tiny frame in front of him. "And I assume that your first sparkling is being informed of this happy event right now?" Elita winced away from Ratchet's temper, but looking down at the soft glow hidden in the blanket her body relaxed, all her attention focusing on the new little life she held in her arms…
I have a sparkling. The rose-colored femme was afraid to voice her thoughts, afraid that she was in a good dream that would end all too quickly if she did anything. I sparked….I have a sparkling… Ratchet opened his mouthplates to very rudely snap Elita out of her daze, but seeing the look in her optics he quieted. This was another reward he'd felt that was long in coming to both Optimus and Elita.
It'll be good to have another sparkling around here. He thought. Frankly, both Optimus and Bumblebee need something other than work and Decepticons to fret over.
Optimus on the other hand found himself in a state that closely resembled Red Alert when the Security Director was about to fry his circuits.
It was an accident… But it'd been a good accident, and it had been something he and Elita were considering…he just hadn't expected it to happen so suddenly.
I can blame Ratchet for this-I think…no! Somehow this is his fault! He Autobot leader found himself torn between pride, worry, and shock-and it wasn't helping matters that Bumblebee was just staring at him. Not that he could blame the yellow mech, if Optimus had been in his position, he'd be staring too…
Bumblebee blinked, his processor slowly going over the words he just heard. The yellow mech found that he wasn't angry or upset; he just needed to make sure his audios weren't malfunctioning.
Bumblebee…you have a sibling.
Now certain that everything was functioning properly, the scout blinked and looked at his Creator, noticing the worried light in Optimus' optics, the tenseness of his frame, and the maelstrom of emotions that were twisting his spark via their bond.
And then to the Autobot leader, Bumblebee did something very strange. He let loose a high-pitched series of squeaks and clicks, throwing his arms around Optimus.
"Congratulations! Can I see? Where's Elita?!" Now it was Optimus' turn to try and process what his audios had just heard-was Bumblebee actually happy? Pulling away, he surveyed the yellow mech warily.
"You're…you're not upset?"
"How could I be?!" Bumblebee answered, throwing his arms about the massive red and blue mech again.
"Do you know how long I've wanted a little brother or sister? I mean, well, Nightfire's sweet, but she belongs to Ironhide and Chromia and I was hoping that you and Elita would-can I see them? Do you know if it's a mech or a femme? I-yow!!" Bumblebee found himself being cut off as a pair of red and blue arms reached up to crush him in a bear hug, and something that sounded like a shaky sob was picked up by his audios.
"Oh Primus, I thought…I thought you'd be angry with us. It was an accident, we just-"
"I don't need to hear that!" Bumblebee interjected, pushing away from Optimus and wriggling out of his grip. "I don't want to hear the details, thank you!" This brought a small smile to the Autobot leader's faceplates, watching as the younger mech shuddered at the idea of him and Elita engaging in…activities.
"I'm still trying to figure out how it happened myself." This statement had Bumblebee's head whipping around to stare at Optimus as if to say 'are you malfunctioning?' "Well, I know how it happened, it's just…" Optimus found he truly didn't have any words to describe his situation, sparking by-well; accident was a rare occurrence among their species.
It's Ratchet's fault. Somehow-just somehow, he had to blame his old friend. After all, he and Elita had been kicked out of Autobot City for a second 'honeymoon' on the CMO's orders. And if the others find out…Oh Primus, I'll never hear the end of it… Optimus' musings were broken as Bumblebee started to pull on his arm.
"Can we go see?!"
"Well, well, well. If it isn't the instigator of this event." Ratchet remarked dryly as Optimus and Bumblebee entered the medical bay. The yellow scout made an immediate beeline for the table where the little frame lay. The CMO had his hands full with the softly glowing spark, Elita hovering anxiously by his shoulder. "I thought we were going to have to online this little one without you."
"This is your fault." Optimus muttered, his own spark skipping a pulse at seeing his new creation's own still out in the open.
"My fault? Pray tell, how is this my fault? I'm not the one who has the bonded mate and a little femme, mind." Here Ratchet smirked as Optimus and Bumblebee both came to a standstill, and Elita uttered a squeak of surprised.
"F…F…Femme?" The Autobot leader finally stammered out. Elita joined him at his side, her optics locking onto that tiny flickering ball of light.
"I have a sister?" Bumblebee whispered, watching as Ratchet gently started to insert the spark into the tiny frame on the medical table. Ratchet smiled, pausing to shoot Bumblebee a glance. This would be the younger mech's first time watching a newspark online.
"Congratulations." Watching as the spark settled into its case-not with the violent reaction that had been with Nightfire, thank Primus- Ratchet deftly closed the sparkling's chassis. Immediately turning his attention to the console alongside the bed, he started to monitor the readouts as the sparkling started to activate, allowing Optimus, Elita, and Bumblebee to crowd around the berth.
Bumblebee watched in awe as the sparkling slowly started to move, little fingers curling and uncurling-feet flexing. Never had he imagined that something could be so tiny-he was used to Nightfire, but this…this was something different.
"Little one?" He heard Elita whisper, the rose colored femme reaching out to gently touch the sparkling on the head. The rose-colored femme was trembling slightly, her fingers softly tracing the lines of the sparkling's frame. "Wake up, sweetheart…"
After what seemed like ages to Bumblebee, but in reality were only a few minutes, the sparkling's optics slowly opened, the blue orbs flickering to life. At this Elita muffled a small sob, clinging to Optimus, who embraced her back.
"Sssh..." He whispered. At the sound, the sparkling turned her head, searching for the source of the noise, and her little optics met Bumblebee's own. Instantly the yellow scout felt his spark stop, and then fall…
"Hey." He whispered, reaching out and watching as the sparkling touched his hand, clicking in curiosity. "I'm your big brother." He could feel a curious tugging at his spark...it recognized the little being in front of him, and was trying to establish a bond with it. "I'm your big brother…"
To this, the sparkling clicked. She didn't understand what was going on, but she sensed warmth and love coming from the sparks around her. This strange 'bot in front of her…there was something strange about him, but his spark felt so nice… Trying to get closer, she slowly crept over to Bumblebee, who gently picked her up in his arms.
"Wow…" He whispered, watching as his little sister pressed an audio against his chest chassis, listening to the beat of his spark. "She's…she's real." Glancing up at Optimus, he came over to the Autobot leader and his mate. "She's real…"
Optimus found he couldn't say anything as he reached out and took the tiny frame in his hands, cradling it close to his chest chassis-watching as those tiny blue optics blinked up at him, as if to ask 'who are you?' His spark threatened to explode from the surge of emotions roaring inside of it…after Bumblebee, he had been certain that he would never feel this away again.
"Hello little one." He whispered, tears threatening to fall from his optics. He could feel his daughter's spark as she snuggled close into his chest. He was in awe at the sheer power it held, how could something so small and delicate be so full of life? The sparkling's spark latched onto his, surrounding it with unconditional love.
Primus, did I really create this? Had he truly sparked this little miracle with Elita? He couldn't have, not for something this beautiful… The sparkling clicked again, curling up into a small ball and burrowing in as possible to that strong spark. She knew she would be loved and protected as long as this spark was near. Optimus shuttered his optics, silently vowing to Primus to protect the second little life that was in his keeping, grateful to be blessed with such a wonderful gift…
"I love you." He murmured, opening his optics and gently caressing his daughter's head. "Never forget that, my darling."
"And I love you too." Bumblebee said, putting his hand on top of Optimus's own. He looked up at the Autobot leader, his optics shining with love. "We've got the best family in the whole universe." To this Optimus had no reply but to pull Bumblebee into an embrace with him and Elita, his spark swelling with love and pride.
"We need to name her." Elita whispered as she reached out and took the sparkling from Optimus's arms, her spark silently crying for joy as the sparkling snuggled into her frame.
"We should." Optimus murmured. "What can we call you, little one?" Bumblebee racked his processors for a moment; there had been a name Mikaela had mentioned the other day…
"Artemis." He suddenly said. "Let's call her Artemis." Optimus and Elita looked at him, and then down at the sparkling.
"Artemis…yes." Elita answered. "You like that name, don't you?" In reply the sparkling clicked, looking up at her mother. "I think she does."
"Trying to give her a function?" Optimus whispered, a smile crossing his faceplates. "Artemis…our little huntress?" Bumblebee was quick to search the Internet for the name's meaning-Artemis had been an ancient human goddess of hunting.
"It sounds nice." He answered.
"I like it." Optimus said. "Artemis…the newest member of our family." He turned his attention to Ratchet, who had been busying himself with fooling around with the console. "Ratchet, I…"
"No need for thanks, it's my job." Was the more-than usual gruff reply. "Though it would behoove you-the next time you and Elita spark overnight, not to run in here like a crazed idiot, yelling at the top of your vocalizer the next orn."
"I have to go tell Sam and Mikaela." Bumblebee said; his optics bright with excitement. "I'll be right back!" He sprinted out of the medical bay, transforming the minute the doors shut behind him.
"Nightfire's probably going to be happy that she'll have a proper playmate now." Ratchet said as he came over, starting to run a series of scans on the still-clicking Artemis. "And I also sense you're probably going to get dragged off-you and Ironhide both for a very long overdue tradition…"
"If you lot even think about 'toasting the newspark' Chromia and I will make you regret it." Elita threatened, cradling Artemis even closer to her.
"Considering how she was created-" Then Ratchet grinned as Optimus' optics narrowed.
"If you say one word, you will suffer." He rumbled.
"You would have had the gold, silver, and bronze medals if you'd gotten her on the very first time around on the first honeymoon." Ratchet cracked, chuckling. "And you know it's going to get around…"
"No, it's not." Optimus growled. "That will stay between the three of us, and if I hear anyone ever mention it, I know exactly who I will go after."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that." Ratchet said, pointing behind Optimus and Elita. The couple turned around…
And there was Sideswipe, optics wide, jaw hanging open, staring at the Autobot leader and his mate. As Optimus watched in a mild sort of horror, the Red One closed his mouthplates, a gleam entering his optics as his processor fully realized the havoc he could officially cause…and not be blamed for it…
"HEY EVERYONE!!" He bellowed as he made a fast beeline for the exit. "YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THIS!!"
"SIDESWIPE!!" Optimus roared. "GET BACK HERE!!" Ratchet found himself starting to laugh as the Autobot leader chased the Red Lambo twin out of the medical bay, Elita looking on as Artemis curled up into a little ball in her arms.
Heh, by the time he can catch up, Sideswipe will have broadcasted it all over the city. The yellow CMO smiled as he picked up the blanket Elita had brought Artemis's spark in. From the way the situation looked, things were about to get interesting…again.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.
AN: There is a poll on my profile page regarding Nightfire and her new playmate...Guns and Cyber-Roses is the story that is mentioned in it.
And 'toasting the newspark' is an Autobot tradition...in which the new mech creator is dragged to a bar by his friends and well...(grin) trouble ensues. And yes, there will be a oneshot on this incoming.