Disclaimer: I don't own them and I'm not making any money off of this. I'm just having some fun with the characters and I will put them back in good order just as soon as I'm done tormenting them.
Author's Note 1: This is sort of a companion piece to my other Transformers story, InCARcerated, though you don't have to have read that one to understand what's going on with this one. This is set after the movie so if you haven't seen it, there will be some spoilers in it. Like a lot of other people, I'm assuming that Ironhide went to live with Will Lennox and his family after the movie was over. However, this will not be another 'Annabel (the baby) is a baby/toddler/kid/teenager/young adult and Ironhide is her guardian' story. Please read and review, more reviews make me write faster.
"Will, please keep your voice down, you'll wake the baby," Sarah quietly admonishes as she continues washing the dishes.
"Please tell me you didn't just say what I think you just said," Will nearly begs while he dries off the rinsed dishes.
"What's the problem?" she asks while she finishes rinsing off the last pan. "You'll be gone on assignment for nine months and the truck's just going to be sitting out in the garage getting dusty. At least this way the dirt will be well earned and it'll be there in case Alex needs it. It'll be back before you are."
"No!" he sternly tells her. "There is no way I'm lending your tree hugging, incense burning, tie-dye wearing, hippy cousin Ironhide."
"Ironhide?" she questions, trying to keep from laughing. "You named the truck Ironhide?"
"No, he came with that name," Will grumbles, getting a bit nervous. "You haven't told her yet that she can have him, have you?"
"No, I haven't," she replies while she rinses out the sink, trying to contain her snickers.
"Thank god," he sighs in relief.
"I thought you should make the offer tomorrow night when she comes over for dinner," she tells him as she pulls her rubber gloves off.
"WHAT!?" he nearly yells.
"Will, the baby," she reminds him sternly.
"No! Absolutely not!" he states firmly.
"I cannot believe that you aren't willing to help Alex out," she says sounding hurt and her fists come to sit on her hips. "She's been like a sister to me, she baby sits whenever I need her, she was here within an hour of finding out about the base being attacked to be here for me and letting her borrow your truck is the least we can do for her."
"Remind me again why she's doing this?" he asks with a moan, knowing that the battle is pretty much lost.
"She's writing her thesis on cabin fever and she wants first hand experience in what it's like to go through several months without human contact," she answers, her arms crossing over her chest. "She's taking a year off from school to do this."
"I'm guessing the only reason she's trying to become a psychologist is because she has some serious mental issues," he mutters as he dries off the last pan.
"I heard that," she growls.
"This is nuts," he boldly states, looking her in the eye. "Can't she borrow someone else's car?"
"Who do you know who doesn't need their truck or SUV for six months?" she questions, her pursed lips telling him how displeased she is.
"Couldn't she rent one?" he asks, nearly desperate.
"Do you have any idea how expensive that would be?" she counters.
"So how was she planning on doing this thing in the first place?" he inquires.
"She was just going to have her dad drive her up there in his van with all of her supplies, drop her off and then come back and get her in about six months," she tells him.
"What's wrong with that plan?" he questions, nearly desperate.
"What happens if something goes wrong and she needs to get out of there in a hurry?" she demands. "She won't have a car, phone or an internet connection. At least this way I know she'll be somewhat safe."
"Or more in danger," he mutters under his breath.
"What?" she asks.
"Nothing," he mumbles. "Hon, this is really a bad idea."
"Why?" she inquires, an eyebrow rising above the other.
"Well for one, Alex hates trucks and SUVs," he states.
"No, she hates people who own them only as a status symbol, she has no problem with people who buy them to actually haul things around in," she responds, waving a hand towards the door that leads out to the garage where Ironhide sits peacefully next to Sarah's Honda Accord. "Since the Army gave you…um…Ironhide…then you didn't buy it for status."
"She hates me and she'll try to total him," he continues.
"She doesn't hate you," she replies. "You two just don't see eye to eye on some things…well…ok…on most everything. But she's not about to try and total your truck to get at you, her insurance rates would go up. Besides, she needs it to get to and from the cabin up in the mountains, so she needs it one piece."
"The answer is still no," he says in a decisive tone as he unconsciously puffs up his chest and cross his arms over it and almost instantly regrets it. "She's not laying so much as a finger on Ironhide and that's final."
"William Brian Lennox, I cannot believe that I married such a cold and uncaring man," she huffs, her hands balling to fists by her side and a hurt look on her face.
"I am not cold and uncaring," he protests and he knows the battle is already over, but the soldier in him can't quite come to terms with losing just yet. "It's just…Ironhide needs…it's just that…I'm not supposed to…"
He stumbles for words to explain why he can't lend Ironhide out without telling her what exactly that benign looking truck in the garage really is and then he looks into her eyes. He instantly knows that the battle is completely over and he's lost big time.
"Oh, honey, don't cry," he begs as he takes her into his arms and she sniffles.
"I can't believe you're not willing to help Alex," she pouts as she buries her face against his neck. "She's very important to me and just lending her the truck would mean so much to me."
"Ok, ok, I'll think about it," he tells her, but when she doesn't say anything after a few moments he sighs in defeat. "Alex can borrow Ironhide, but if there's so much as a scratch on him she's going to owe me big time."
"Thank you," she whispers as her arms wrap themselves around his waist. "I'm sure Alex will take very good care of Ironhide."
He drops his face down into her hair and breaths in her wonderful scent, remembering how much he missed it all those months while he was stationed in the Middle East. He quickly pushes out of his mind any thoughts of Blackout and the attack on the base, the memories of Connelly and Fig's deaths still painful all these months later. He starts to relax and certain ideas start to creep into his brain that involves him, Sarah and their bed when the baby starts to cry and they both groan.
"I'll go check on her," she says as she slowly pulls back and looks up at him. "I love you."
She kisses him softly and then goes to check on Annabel while he gets the overwhelming urge to pound his head against a wall. With a sigh and a sense of dread, he turns towards the door that leads to the garage and stares at it for a moment. Figuring it's better to get it over sooner than later, he heads out to the garage, carefully shutting the door behind him while he turns on the light.
"Hide, you awake?" he softly calls out, knowing from past experience that the Autobot tends to take exception when startled awake.
"I am active," Ironhide grumbles. "Your yelling at your female brought me out of stasis."
"Sorry, about that," Will replies with a cringe. "She caught me by surprise with what she said."
"So I surmised," Ironhide responds as he carefully opens one of his doors so as not to ding the regular car sitting next to him. "Get in; we can talk more securely if you're of inside me."
"Yeah," Will agrees as he ducks under the open door and then climbs inside the cab.
"Now what exactly does your female wish for you to do with me?" Ironhide asks after he shuts the door.
"She wants me to lend you to her cousin," Will answers as he settles down in the nice leather seats. "And her name is Sarah, not 'my female'."
"I assume that you told Sarah that this is not acceptable," Ironhide nearly growls.
"I tried to, but she kept pushing," Will admits with a sigh. "She's thought this thing through and when she sets her mind on something, she usually gets it. She's a very determined woman."
"I am not yours to lend," Ironhide reminds him.
"I know, but how do I explain that to her?" Will asks in frustration.
"You could tell her the truth about me," Ironhide suggests.
"I can't," Will tells him. "I'm under strict orders not to tell anybody about you, not even Sarah. If I do, it'll be my head. That was the condition for letting you stay here."
"Than I shall tell her," Ironhide states.
"Then you might as well shoot me now," Will grumbles. "If Sarah doesn't kill me for not telling her right away about you, my superiors will because she found out."
"That seems to be a bit harsh a punishment, but if it maintains order in the ranks…," Ironhide observes.
"They wouldn't literally kill me, it's just a figure of speech, but they'd make my life a miserable living hell," Will amends. "Unfortunately, Sarah made me swear to make the offer to Alex. Let's just hope that her hatred of big vehicles makes her say 'no'."
"And if this 'Alex' says 'yes'?" Ironhide questions. "And who is this Alex person? Why does Sarah feel such a close attachment to her? I thought Alex was a male name."
"If Alex says yes, then you're probably going to be spending this winter up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains freezing your smokestacks off," Will replies miserably. "Alexandra, or Alex for short, is Sarah's cousin. When Sarah was growing up, her parents couldn't afford for her mom to stay home and take care of her, but they couldn't afford daycare either. So Alex's mom agreed to watch Sarah during the day. Sarah and Alex grew up together almost as if they were sisters.
"This is not acceptable," Ironhide huffs. "I chose to live here with you, not with some…cousin…your female chose to hand me over to."
"Listen, I'm not happy about it either, but with me being sent back to Qatar for nine months, it's not like I'm going to be here to stop her if she does decide to lend you out," Will retorts.
"Then make her stop this foolishness," Ironhide insists.
"How do you suggest I do that?" Will inquires.
"You are larger and stronger than she is, force her," Ironhide tells him and Will's jaw drops.
"Are you crazy?" Will demands. "Do you have any idea what she would do to me if I tried that shit on her?"
"She is smaller and weaker than you…," Ironhide starts.
"I don't know what it's like on Cybertron, but on Earth that don't mean shit, especially where women are concerned," Will interrupts.
"I do not understand," Ironhide admits after a few moments of silence.
"Back in high school I had a sadistic English teacher that decided that for part of our final we all had to memorize a poem and then recite it in front of the class," Will says suddenly, staring off into space remembering that time in his that seemed so long ago and Ironhide briefly wonders if Lennox's processors are offline. "I got stuck with Rudyard Kipling's The Female of the Species. Let me see if I can remember some of it."
"Never mind, I have found it on the World Wide Web," Ironhide states a few seconds later. "A most interesting poem. If this Kipling is to be believed than I have more to fear from your…Sarah than I do from you."
"Women don't fight the way men fight," Will replies. "They use what my dad calls emotional warfare. Instead of guns and bullets they use tears and words and if that doesn't work, then they fight dirty. Let me tell you, a few nights on a lumpy couch will get almost any man begging to give her what she wants."
"Yet men seem to be in control of this planet," Ironhide observes and Will give a mirthless chuckle.
"So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands," Will quotes bitterly. "From what I understand, that poem wasn't very popular when Kipling wrote it. Seems a lot of men took exception to it, but it's the truth, men are a conceded lot."
"So why do women allow this to continue?" Ironhide asks.
"Good question," Will sighs as he leans his head against the headrest. "Sometimes I think they do it because it amuses them. Who knows? That's just the way it is right now and I don't see it changing anytime soon."
"Optimus approved of me coming to live with you because he felt it would help me understand humans," Ironhide says thoughtfully. "However, I believe I'm more confused about your race now than when I first got here."
Will can't help but laugh and it's not until there's a tapping at the window does he pull himself together. He gives a little jump before turning and seeing Sarah staring at him with a funny look on her face. He quickly opens the door and slides out of the truck, acting like him sitting out in a truck by himself and laughing is a completely normal everyday thing.
"Why were you sitting out in the truck by yourself?" she asks.
"Oh, I was listening to the radio," he answers with what he hopes is an innocent look on his face.
"Why?" she inquires. "We have a radio in the house."
"I didn't want to disturb Annie," he replies a little too quickly and her eyes narrow.
"Right," she says in a disbelieving voice. "I got Annie back to sleep and I'm going to bed now. Are you coming?"
"Yeah, I'll be there in a minute," he tells her.
"Ok, don't take to long," she says as she heads back inside.
"I won't," he assures her and then lets out a sigh of relief the instant the kitchen door closes before turning back to the truck. "I'll try and talk her out of lending you to Alex, but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you."
"I do not need to breathe like you do," Ironhide points out.
"Just don't be surprised if you end up spending your first winter up in the mountains," Will warns as he follows his wife into the house.
"Primus," Ironhide grumbles. "I don't think I'll ever understand humans."
Author's Notes 2: You can find Kipling's The Female of the Species by Googling it.