Once again betaed by Rainlightautumn because I'm utterly incompetent when it comes to fending off attacks by rogue commas and other grammar thingies.


Text Messaging

Real Time Events ('Cause Sam is asleep at the moment)


Eight-year-old Samuel James Witwicky was scared. No, he had long ago passed the point of being scared; "terrified past the point of all rationality" would probably be a good way to phrase it. Small hands held on tightly to the battered case of an even more battered pair of eyeglasses that he'd found just before the house began to shake violently. He'd had only moments to stumble his way downstairs before the roof of the house was torn off and one of the falling pieces of debris hit in him on the head, knocking him out cold for the next hour.

When he'd finally awoken, it had been to his father's pained screams and his mother's terrified pleading. Slowly, he'd pushed away the large piece of drywall that had been shielding him from view and forced himself to stand. In the clearing where his grandfather's house had been built in were three large figures standing over two smaller ones that he knew, without having to be told, belonged to his parents. Absently holding onto the glasses still in his hands, Sam had climbed his way out of the wreckage in an attempt to reach his parents. He'd frozen in place climbing over what he thought used to be the stairs when a pair of scarlet optics immediately locked onto him and now here he was trembling with fear at the dark promise lurking there.


His mother's voice shocked him into moving as he instinctively recognized the unfamiliar tone in her voice when she noticed him standing amongst the debris of the house. A small whine escaped his throat as he nodded his head and immediately whirled around to begin his headlong run through the forest his grandfather's house was situated in. In spite of himself, Sam couldn't stop from looking over his shoulder as he started running, although later on he would wish he hadn't. Tears fell freely from his eyes; he ignored the stinging pain of the wayward branches smacking him in the face as he forced himself to run as fast as he could. Sam nearly sobbed in relief as he rolled down a steep embankment to land roughly on the asphalt of one of the few roads in the area.

The sounds of screeching tires made his eyes snap up. He was met with the sight of a yellow Camaro stopped just inches from his nose with the passenger side door opened invitingly. Brown eyes darted back and forth between the forest and the open door before the young child made up his mind and pushed himself to his feet. Sam slammed the door of the car closed just as the three figures that his mother had told him to run from emerged from the surrounding foliage. Glancing over to the driver's side to tell the driver to leave and leave quickly, his words froze in his throat as his mind registered the fact that the seat where the driver normally sat was empty.


"Slag it all! Bumblebee, you need to get out of the way!"

"How is he?"

"Alive. But you won't be if you continue to get in my way."


"Jazz! Get your Pit-spawned aft in here and get this little glitch out before I do something more than dent him!"

"C'mon Bee. Ya know better than to get in the Hatchet's way when he's workin'."

"But Sam…"

"Sam'll be fine. Ya know ol' Hatchet'll fix 'im up in no time, 'specially with the way he's scarin' the human medics."


Large metal fingers brushed gently against the feverish forehead of the child sleeping fitfully in the safety of his arms. Blue optics darkened as the child began to cry in his sleep again and he cursed himself silently for not being fast enough to beat the Decepticons. The first casualties of his people's war being brought to this planet were devastating. By the time he'd managed to figure out which of the thousands of Witwicky's the Decepticons had targeted, Bumblebee had been too late to save any of the family--with the exception of the youngest, Sam. The slim consolation of the ordeal the youngling had been forced to endure was that the boy carried with him the very thing that they were searching for.

The glasses that had the coordinates to the location of the Allspark etched upon them.

Bumblebee's hold on the tired boy tightened unconsciously as he thought of the scene that he had come across as he raced along the road leading to the house owned by the youngest son of Captain Archibald Witwicky. His scanners had been occupied with tracing the movements of the three Decepticons in the forest so he'd been distracted when the frail body had tumbled onto the roadway before him. His tires were still sore from the amount of friction that had been caused when he'd slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting the child. An astrosecond had passed while his processor rapidly brought up the picture of Samuel James Witwicky, and he'd been astonished to learn that the child lying on the road was none other than one of the ones he'd been sent to protect.

He hadn't thought any further than that when he'd popped the passenger side door open in a desperate plea for the child to climb into the safety that his interior would provide. For a brief, Spark-chilling moment, he'd worried that the child would rise and continue to run instead of allowing Bumblebee to protect him. But he hadn't run. Instead he'd forced himself to enter Bumblebee's interior and, while frightened by the sight of a driverless car, the child had remained seated and had even taken the initiative to connect the safety harness.

It had taken Bumblebee nearly an entire orn to escape the Decepticons. He hadn't wanted to stop and fight them. Not with the precious cargo that he carried with him. Protecting the child curled up in his seats was more important to him than maintaining his pride by fighting the Decepticons when he had no safe place to leave the child. Three orns later and both he and the youngling were exhausted beyond belief while Bumblebee's scans showed signs that the youngling had become infected with a virus of some sort. Based on the information he was able to gather from the internet, he'd come to the conclusion that the youngling's body was simply too tired to protect itself against viruses and that with time the virus would leave his systems. Or at least he hoped so. Not being able to communicate with his charge was at the best of times a frustrating aspect of their situation, but with the youngling sick there was no way for him to remedy that. He would simply have to wait a little longer before finding a way to communicate to his charge that he wanted him to purchase a cell phone--preferably one with text message capabilities.


"Samuel will be remaining with us, Secretary Keller."

"But the boy has family willing to take him in. Surely you agree that the boy would be better off with his family."

"Normally I would agree, but in this instance it is not in the best interests of the boy to be removed from our custody. He has spent the past nine years in the care of Bumblebee and would most likely refuse to leave if he were conscious. As it is I will not allow you to remove him from our care until Samuel himself agrees to it."

"Sir, if I may?"

"What is it, Lennox?"

"He's been living with one of the Autobots for so long that I don't think he's ready to reintegrate himself into human society. From what I've been given to understand, school was hard enough for him to handle."

"I understand that, Lennox. But his family has been living under the belief that he died with his parents. Is it really too much for them to want the boy back with them?"


Brown eyes stared worriedly up at the injured mech sitting next to him on the cold concrete flooring of the warehouse they'd been hiding in for the past two hours. Lips tightened into a grim line, Sam stood up and un-slung his backpack letting it drop quietly to the floor. Unzipping it he dug into its contents before taking out a pair of well worn leather gloves, pulling them on he stared up at his guardian with determination bright in his eyes. "Put yourself into stasis lock, Bee, and get my tools out of subspace. Either you do it or I'll find a way to make you do it. It's been two hours, if I wait any longer to treat you then it won't matter if you're in stasis lock or not."

As he backed away, Sam's expression remained pleading until it faded into relief still tinged with concern when the yellow 'bot stretched out on the concrete floor after retrieving the battered metal lockbox he needed. Waiting until the vibrant glow of the blue optics dimmed, Sam opened the metal box digging around for the tools that he knew he would need. When he'd been eight he'd never thought that in five years time he would know more about mechanical engineering and hacking than most of the experts in those fields. Then again, he never thought that he'd be forced to watch his parents die and nearly die himself before bring rescued. Swiftly pulling his shoulder length brown hair into a ponytail that rested at the nape of his neck, Sam pushed up the sleeves of his shirt and climbed agilely onto the dormant bot's frame.

He gasped when he was finally able to get a good look at the extent of the damage caused by their latest run in with the Deceptions. He'd known the damage would be bad simply by the way that Bee was sitting in the hours that they'd spent in the warehouse. He'd wanted to start fixing him as soon as they had found the hiding place, but his guardian refused to let him, saying that he needed to be online in case the Decepticons found them and they needed to make a hasty exit…again. "Slag it all," the thirteen-year-old whispered viciously under his breath. He walked carefully along Bumblebee's frame to where the trunk compartment was on the mech's form to retrieve the laptop that he knew was kept safe there.

Four hours later he was sweaty, exhausted, and covered from head to toe in the blue liquid energon that could be found like oil in the mech's structure. Falling onto his butt, Sam dragged his knees up to his chest before wrapping his arms around them and burying his face there. Hot tears stung his eyes as his mind reeled with the realization of how close he had come to losing Bumblebee, of how close he had come to being all alone again. He'd never been driven to the lengths that he'd gone to while he worked feverishly to stop and repair the energon leaks that he'd found in the systems check. Thankfully most of them had been in the secondary lines while only two of the leaks had been in the main lines. Unfortunately for him, the two main line leaks were more than enough to threaten the stasis locked mechanoid's Spark.

Idly Sam wondered what the rest of the Autobots would think of a human being raised like someone from Cybertron. Bumblebee seemed to think that Ratchet would take to him immediately simply because of the innate talent he seemed to have for repairing Bumblebee's damage whether internal or external. Rubbing at his eyes tiredly, careful not to get any of the still drying energon in his eyes, Sam yawned widely as the adrenaline that had been driving him slowly ebbed. His eyes closed and his head fell back to rest on the familiar metal frame of Bumblebee as he fell into sleep, never noticing the blue liquid on his hands slowly fading.


"—the Allspark. I don't understand how it could have integrated into an organic life form."

"We have always had suspicions that the Allspark was sentient, Bumblebee. This is simply a confirmation of those theories."

"But our war has already taken so much from him, Ratchet. He never asked to be involved with any of this, and yet he's always acquitted himself in a manner befitting that of a soldier rather than a youngling. How am I supposed to tell him what else he's lost as a result of our war?"


Breathing heavily, Sam warily eyed the black Decepticon that was fighting to get past his guardian to him. Digging into the back pocket of his jeans, Sam's fingers brushed reassuringly against the eyeglass case before brushing against something else. Wrapping his fingers around the object Sam pulled it out, his attention divided between the object in his hand and the fighting mechs. Glancing at the pair of wire cutters in his hands, an unholy grin crossed his face as he hurriedly sent a text message to Bumblebee before sprinting across the empty lot they'd been cornered in.

A loud burst of music from above him caused him to look up and hurriedly throw himself to the ground as a large foot passed overhead to land with an earth shaking thump beside his prone body. Scrambling back up, Sam continued running towards the black mech whose foot was now right next to him. Muscles tensing, he bent his knees slightly before jumping up onto the metallic foot and clinging to it tenaciously as it moved. Shifting his body around so that he could free the hand holding the pair of wire cutters, his blue eyes darted around the immense frame looking for the sensitive wires hidden beneath the Decepticon's armor.

Eyes gleaming with triumph as he spotted the panel he was looking for, Sam hissed as his hands were burned by the automatic defensive mechanisms coming online. Ignoring the pain in his hands he forced the panel up and rapidly cut the wiring he was searching for. Tumbling to the ground with a grunt as the leg crumpled from the lack of support, Sam rolled to his feet before dashing to the transformed Camaro waiting for him with the driver's side door already open. Throwing himself onto the leather seats, trembling hands carefully set the wire cutters onto the passenger seat, wincing at the loud roar of anger that came from the downed mech behind them.

That was by far the most dangerous stunt you have ever pulled in my presence, Sam.

Grinning unrepentantly at the text message from his guardian, Sam rubbed the Autobot emblem on the center of the steering wheel absently as he responded, "Yeah, but it was kinda fun. In an "oh Primus I'm going to be scrap metal" sort of way."

You were lucky that it was Blackout who discovered our presence and not Barricade or Starscream.

"Hey! I can so handle that whiny little glitch Starscream any day!"

And yet I notice that you say nothing in regards to Barricade.

"That's because Barricade has that freaky little piece of scrap metal that he calls Frenzy!" The car's engine revved as though chuckling at the remark made by the teen. "I swear that Stephen King must have had a nightmare about Barricade and Frenzy when he wrote Christine. What else could make someone think to write a book about a psychotic, homicidal car?"

For the love of Primus, please keep that observation to yourself the next time we are unfortunate enough to cross paths with Barricade. The last time that you referred to Frenzy as the robotic adaptation of Pet Semetary come to life, he nearly offlined you before I was able to come to your assistance. Although with the increasing amount of parallels you are making between the Decepticons and Stephen King, perhaps it wouldn't be too much to ask for you to find different reading material.

"But Bee!" The fourteen-year-old protested, blue eyes sparkling with barely suppressed mirth, "Did you see the look on Barricade's face when I said that Frenzy was his pet?"


"Where is Bumblebee?"

"In recharge. I had to get Ironhide to hold him down long enough for me to override his systems and force him into one."

"I see. And Sam?"

"He's as well as can be expected, Optimus. His body's healing but from what Bumblebee's told me, I am more concerned about his mental state when he awakens."

"What happens will happen, Ratchet. Although much of this could have been avoided had we simply dealt with Soundwave and the others before we were knocked off course."

"What happened to Bumblebee and Sam is not your fault, Optimus. We had no way of knowing that the situation on Earth had deteriorated so rapidly."

"Words alone cannot excuse the consequences that our war has brought to both the planet and the youngling, Ratchet."

"And the blame isn't yours to shoulder alone. If you insist on blame being placed, then we will gladly hold that burden with you."


Are you well, Sam?

Glancing up into the concerned visage of Bumblebee, Sam nodded his head before turning away to stare at the setting sun. "I'm just thinking."

I see. Will you be requiring painkillers once this momentous occasion has passed?

"Hey! I'll have you know that I can think without hurting myself," Sam retorted his voice softening before he continued. "Um…Bee?"


"Do you—Do you ever wonder what we'd be like if things were different?"

What do you mean?

"I mean, do you ever wonder what would have happened if the Decepticons hadn't decided to go to my grandpa's house looking for him on the same day that my parents were there packing up his things after the funeral?" Sam asked quietly, refusing to look over at his guardian as he moved to sit next to him on the sandy hill they were resting on.

We cannot change the past, Sam. What has happened is in the past and thinking on it will only bring you pain.

"Maybe, but I was just thinking that if my parents could see me now that they wouldn't recognize me," Sam smiled wistfully, his hair shadowing his eyes as he tilted his head downwards. "I've read that our experiences are what shape us, and I was wondering what kind of person I'd be if I didn't know everything that I know now. You know, like how I would react about finding out all of this. Would I be okay with it, would I freak out? Just wondering if the person I am now is better than the person I could have been."

That is something that only Primus knows. The person that I would give my Spark to protect is someone I believe to be worth protecting. It may be small comfort to you, but let it be a comfort nonetheless.

"I guess that means that the person I am now is better than the person I could have been."

And how have you reached that conclusion?

"Because I have you here with me, Bee," Sam said sincerely, meeting his guardian's blue optics as he spoke softly. "Anything that ends with you by my side has to be worth it. And since experiences shape us that means that all of my experiences with you make the person I am now much more appealing than any other version of me could possibly be. You were the only thing that got me through those weeks with Sector Seven. Seeing you again was the strongest motivator I had for escaping."


"We talked about this once. When he was fifteen by Earth's measurements."


"He was scared that his Creators would disapprove of the person he had become while in my care."

"Gotta be tough for anyone to be thinkin' that 'bout their Creators."

"It was. He wanted to know if the person he was then was any better or worse than the person that he could have become had our war not interfered."

"It ain't your fault, Bee. Ya did what ya could, what ya felt was the right thing to be doin'. Jus' sometimes your best ain't good enough for what we gotta do."


"I want to get a job."

Ignoring the questioning optics on him, Sam folded his arms underneath his head as he stared up at the twinkling stars lining the night sky in the meadow in which they were spending the night. "Frenzy keeps tracking us by following the ATM's we're hacking to get money. I can find work at a garage and maybe we'll be able to stay for longer than an orn in one place."

I apologize for my deficiencies in providing for you, Sam.

"It's not that, Bee," Sam said quietly. "I know that you feel bad taking the money from the ATM's just so that I'll have something to eat with. Besides, it's not like me finding a job is the end of the world. It'll be good for me to be doing something that I know I'm good at."

And what of your studies?

"Maybe we can see about faking the paperwork for me to go to an actual school?"


"You wanted to speak with me, Ratchet?"

"When did he first begin to change, Bumblebee?"


"I was a medic long before your Spark was even created. I know that some of the changes in his body are far too old for the Allspark to be responsible. I need to know when he started changing so that I can treat him correctly."

"By Earth's measurements, he was thirteen years old when the changes first began. One day his eyes were blue, rather than the brown they had been the previous day. After that, the changes continued until he was able to connect with me in much the same manner that any of us are capable of doing."

"Why did you not tell us, any of us, about this?"

"Because I made an oath to him that I would never speak of it unless his life could be saved with that knowledge. So much has already been taken from him; I would not take the trust he holds in me from him as well."


Nine years is a long time. It might not seem so long for the ones he was waiting for, but when you'd spent the majority of your youth in hiding from beings that wanted nothing more than to take the only thing you had left to remind you that everything wasn't always like this, nine years seemed more like a thousand.

Washing the grease from his hands, a tall youth grinned at the older men around him who were just as covered in grease as he was. Flicking water playfully at them, he dried his hands and ducked behind the service counter to retrieve his backpack from where he'd dropped it after coming there straight after school. Stepping out of the garage that he worked in, the teen paused for a moment to let his eyes adjust to the fading sunlight before walking to the yellow '75 Camaro parked just outside. Keys in hand he fumbled for a moment pretending to unlock the already unlocked door before pulling the door open and sliding onto the familiar leather seats. "Ready to go?" he asked softly, his hands rubbing the steering wheel gently as the car's engine turned over and pulled into traffic with the radio turned on.

Like it had been for the past two years, the drive to the place they currently called home was uneventful and both car and 'driver' were grateful that it hadn't yet changed. Grabbing his backpack from the passenger seat the brown-haired youth got out of the car to stretch, a pleasant smile curving his lips as the familiar sounds of metal shifting behind him reached his ears. Lowering his arms from where'd he raised them above his head, he walked towards the far end of the warehouse they'd stopped in. Eyeing the battered couch in the corner he was walking towards, he flopped down onto its comfortable cushioning with a tired sigh.

Twisting from his cozy position to dig into the pocket of his jeans, he pulled his cell phone out and flipped it open to read the text message his phone had buzzed for.

You should get some sleep, Sam.

Pushing himself up so that he was sitting instead of lying facedown on the couch, brilliant blue eyes looked up at his transformed guardian. The yellow robot stood over sixteen feet tall and was the same eye gouging shade of yellow that he was when in his alt. mode, complete with black stripes as well. "Something up, Bee?"

Glancing down at his cell phone when it alerted him to a new text message, he couldn't help but remember how hard it had been when he was eight and hadn't been able to talk to his guardian. Blue eyes darkened slightly as he read the text message from his guardian and he wondered not for the first time what the other Autobots would make of him.

They will arrive tomorrow night.

After all, he was pretty sure that when the leader of the Autobots had sent Bumblebee to protect the descendents of Archibald Witwicky, he hadn't been counting on Sam being raised by the yellow 'bot, or on the bond that had formed as a result.


"If he hadn't clamped the leaks when he did, there wouldn't have been anything I would have been able to do for you. Energon deprivation would have set in long before the battle ended. His work is well done considering that he still lacks formal training."

"He was an excellent student."

"As were you if you taught him to complete repairs of this magnitude on your system. And here I was worried that all those vorns spent trying to teach you something were going to waste."

"No. He learned quite a bit on his own through the experience that running gave him."

"Hmm…I can't argue that. But you still gave him a good base to build his skills from. You should be proud that you trained such a gifted medic, Bumblebee."


Today was just not his day. He'd gone to school, mouthed off to that idiot Trent and had begun walking to the garage for work while Bumblebee was busy figuring out what time the Autobots would arrive and where. He hadn't expected to find a very familiar Saleen trailing behind him from the second that he left the school grounds. Of all the stupid things he had done, staying behind after school without Bee waiting for him outside had to be one of the stupidest. Glancing at the police car from the corner of his eyes, Sam tightened the straps of his backpack before breaking into a run down the sidewalk. Turning to look back, Sam missed seeing the upraised edge of the sidewalk he was running down and ended up tripping over it to land heavily on his hands and knees. Ignoring the fact that Mikaela--who might he add was looking quite well--was asking him if he was alright, Sam pushed himself to his feet and continued his frantic run.

"Oh Primus, Bee! I'm in big trouble. Like the kind of trouble you get in when you have Barricade behind you and you're running like you're psycho to try and get away!"

Holding onto the cell phone tightly, Sam's eyes darted down to read the incoming text message on his phone. I am on my way, Sam. Please try to avoid contact until I arrive.

Sam snorted. "Right, 'cause you know I'm all about jumping giant robots that are like three times my size."

Crawling beneath a section of fence that had been cut, Sam ran into one of the older industrial districts in town. Darting between the multitude of old warehouses, Sam prayed that he would be able to run long enough and would be skilled enough to avoid getting caught until his guardian could get there. It was the last thought he had before he was slammed violently from the side, the impact lifting him off of his feet and throwing him onto the windshield of an abandoned car, causing it to break beneath him. Massive black armored hands slammed down on the car's hood on either side of him as red optics peered down at him, a glimmer of satisfaction visible.

"You have nowhere left to run fleshling, and your guardian is not here to protect you. Tell me where the glasses are and I may be persuaded to make your death swift."

Grimacing against the pain that was flaring in his ribs, Sam gathered himself enough to duck beneath the mechanical hands and roll to land on the packed dirt. One arm wrapped around his aching ribs, Sam sprinted away from Barricade as the mech swatted aside the car he'd been thrown onto like it was nothing more than a child's plaything.

Almost there, just hold on for a few more seconds.

Reading his guardian's message with relief, Sam's expression turned into one of pure horror as he realized that a Vespa was driving into the abandoned lot. A Vespa with a very familiar rider. Waving his arms in the air wildly in an attempt to get her attention, Sam cursed under his breath and pulled Mikaela from her Vespa as soon as the girl was close enough.

"What the hell is your problem, Sam?"

Ignoring the indignant questions, Sam tugged desperately on her hand trying to get her to stand and start running before Barricade could catch up to them. "He's coming! Come on! You need to get up! Get up, Mikaela!" Glaring at the teenaged boy still tugging on her hands, Mikaela's jaw dropped as she got her first glance at the mechanical monster that was still pursuing Sam. "Wha—Wha—What is that?"

"No time!" Sam yelled as he finally succeeded in lifting the girl from the ground and heard the sound of squealing tires behind them. Looking behind him, Sam let loose a relieved grin at the familiar yellow Camaro racing down the lot's entryway. Urging the stunned girl to her feet, Sam watched as Bumblebee collided with Barricade knocking the transformed mech's legs out from beneath him before swinging around to come to a stop in front of the two teens. "Get in the car Mikaela! Just get in the car and I'll explain later okay?"


"Ya mean to tell me tha' the kid can read and write our language, Bee?"

"Yes. But without a functioning vocal capacitor I was unable to further his studies in our language. He was quite insistent on learning our language since during the times I fell into an emergency stasis-lock, my operating systems reverted back to Cybertronian letters."

"So what if ya didn't teach 'im to speak our language. It's not like he coulda done it anyway. He ain't built like us, so his vocal capacitor wouldn't be able to handle the stress that speakin' it would cause."

"Perhaps. But I don't believe that the humans refer to the biological device that governs their speech capabilities as a vocal capacitor, Jazz."

"Oh, what they callin' it then?"

"Look it up."

"Don' want to, and I'm older than ya are, so I can make ya do the lookin' for me."

"You might want to see Ratchet if your processor is beginning to fritz with the onset of senility."


He'd known that Optimus Prime would be big, but nothing in Bee's stories could have prepared him for the sheer height of the Autobots' leader. Beside him he could feel Mikaela trembling as the other 'bots began to transform as well. Absorbed in staring at the Autobots, Sam missed the scan that Ratchet ran over him and Mikaela, as well as the medic's announcement that according to his society's standards he was underweight. Flinching when he felt the heated blue gaze of his guardian on him, Sam read the incoming text message with trepidation wondering what he could have done to make his guardian so…well…upset.

Why would you be underweight, Sam? I clearly recall you purchasing foodstuffs for consumption, so I know that you have been eating. But my question is; have you been eating enough?

"Well, I uh…" Sam winced as his guardian dropped down to one knee to stare at him piercingly, as though daring the teen to lie. "We were running low on money and you were hurt so I used some of the food money to get the parts to repair you."

You did what?

Sam had never before been so glad that his guardian was incapable of speech. Just reading the text message was bad enough, especially when combined with the shock and not a little bit of anger coursing through his guardian's metal frame. "It was only a couple of meals here and there. 'Sides, it's not like the guys at the garage never bought me food while I was there after school."

You should not have done that without first consulting me, Sam.

"Right, like you would have let me do it if I had told you," Sam replied angrily, his own blue eyes meeting his guardian's as the pair ignored everyone around them, including the Autobots who were listening to both sides of the conversation since Bee had yet to change the Cybertronian frequency his phone was using. "You needed the parts so I did what I had to do. No sacrifice, no victory remember?"

I could have survived without you sacrificing your personal health, Sam.

Sam snorted derisively. "Yeah right. And what would have happened if the Decepticons had found us? You would have been turned into scrap metal if I'd have left you as you were and if I was lucky they might have been merciful enough to kill me without torturing me first."

I would have protected you from any such occurrence.

"I told you when you started teaching me how to repair you that I would do everything I could to make sure that you were always ready to fight, Bee," Sam said his hands clenching into angry balls at his side. "Do you remember that? Or has your processor malfunctioned?"

"Enough." Optimus' voice broke through the angry words being traded back and forth with an air of quiet command underlining his voice. "I believe we have much to discuss. But if we could first get to the matter of where the glasses are currently located?"



"Yes, Mikaela?"

"I just…I just wanted to ask about…Well I wanted to ask about Sam's parents. What happened to them?"

"The Decepticons discovered the biological descendants of Sam's great-great-grandfather before I was able to. He watched his parents die before he ran into the woods surrounding the remains of the house his grandfather owned, in accordance with his mother's last wishes."

"I—I didn't know."

"You could not have. Sam has always refused to speak at length about it, even to me. I have refused to pressure him about the details of what he witnessed that day and perhaps it is for the best that I did not."

"But—But why?"

"Because the pain of that day still haunts him and until he has learned to accept it, it would be unwise for any of us to force him to speak of it when he cannot speak of it even to himself."


"What are we doing at a cemetery?"

Ignoring the whispered question, Sam exited the Camaro and began to walk through the wrought iron gates leading in. He hadn't been back here in years, not since he'd hidden the glasses after he'd been kidnapped by Sector Seven when he was fifteen. Stopping before a pair of well maintained graves, Sam trailed his fingers across the names engraved into the smooth marble.

Ron and Judy Witwicky.

His parents.

Biting his lower lip until it began to bleed, Sam unscrewed the top of the permanent flower vase that had been put between his parent's graves and pulled the long tube out before laying it on the grassy ground. Reaching into the hole left by the tube being removed, Sam pulled out a worn case that still held a pair of cracked glasses inside. Sam replaced the tube back into the ground as he heard Mikaela walking towards him, standing and dusting the grass off of the knees of his jeans.

"Who are they?"

"Nobody," Sam answered calmly as he slid the case into his back pocket. "Let's go before they decide to come looking for us."

"I don't think so," a recognizable male voice said in a sing-song tone behind him. "We've been looking for you for a long time, Samuel James Witwicky. Or should I just call you Samuel James?"

"Sector Seven."

"Awww…I'm so happy that you remember me. Spares us the introductions."


"Sir, I have a request."

"What is it, Bumblebee?"

"Sam was kidnapped by Sector Seven and was held captive for three weeks before he was able to escape their custody while he was only fifteen by Earth standards. Will Lennox has expressed concern over Simmons' request that Sam submit to testing in their facilities. I ask that you decline any such requests that Secretary Keller may make on their behalf, sir."

"I shall do my best to ensure that Sam will not be forced back into their custody, Bumblebee. On that you have my word."

"Thank you, sir."


"So, how you been, Sam?" Agent Simmons airily asked the silent teen glaring at him from where he was restrained in the back seat of the SUV he'd been shoved into with Mikaela. "How's your giant guardian doing?"


"Now, don't be like that, Sam. I know we didn't get off of the right foot the last time, but at least I'm not going to throw you in the asylum like my grandfather did to your great-great-grandfather. Of course, if we had known that contact with the NBE would affect his biological structure we wouldn't have done that."

"You haven't changed at all have you?" Sam muttered still glaring mutinously at the man smiling at him. "You're still a fragging little glitch that needs to be scrapped."

"Don't tell me that you haven't missed me, Sammy." Simmons leered at the bound teen. "We've spent so much time looking for you, you know. The scientists are just waiting to see if your reaction has changed any since the last tests."

"Leave him alone!" Mikaela yelled, a bit unnerved by the conversation and the fact that they were being kidnapped by a government agency that didn't technically exist.

"I see that your choice in acquaintances has changed," Simmons bit out. "You're hanging around with felons in training now instead of NBE's."


"So you found out, huh?"

"You knew?"

"I didn't know until Ironhide told me after Mission City. Makes me respect the kid even more."

"I—I said some really horrible things to him. Before. About him having a perfect life. I didn't—I swear I didn't know."

"Do you think he wants your pity?"


"Sam. Do you think he wants your pity?"

"It's not pity! I just—"

"So you're feeling sorry for yourself?"


"I don't know what you said and I don't want to know, but you gotta stop thinking that telling him 'you didn't know' is gonna fix anything."


"Look. We all said some pretty harsh things to him back there, and he knows why we said them. You gotta let him come to us. You can't go trying to force him to forgive you after he wakes up, especially when the kid ain't ever gonna come straight out and say it."


"When've you ever had to sacrifice anything in your perfect little life? Did you cry 'cause you didn't get the latest Xbox for Christmas? All pouty 'cause you only got an old Camaro instead of a new Corvette?"

Sam inhaled sharply, taking a step back as though Mikaela's words were hurting him physically. "Don't," he hissed out, "Don't assume that you know anything about my life. Don't you dare tell me that I don't know anything about sacrifice when all I've ever known since I was eight is sacrifice."

Their argument was broken by the sounds of helicopter rotors and the sounds of fast approaching cars. Illuminated by the spotlights of the helicopters, Sam and Mikaela were scooped up and deposited onto the large shoulder of Optimus. The other Autobots transformed and left, Optimus following behind them with the two teens clinging tightly to the metal frame. Fingers bleeding with the strain of holding onto the shoulder plates as they hung from the underside of a bridge while the helicopters flew beneath them, Sam's eyes widened as Mikaela lost her grip and fell. Sliding downwards, Sam thrust his hand out and barely managed to stop the girl's fall, his muscles straining against the pull of her weight as he struggled to maintain his grip.

All thoughts of their argument were put behind them as their hands, slick with blood, separated and the sudden momentum pulled Sam's fingers from their desperate grip on Optimus' armor. The breath was knocked out of him as Optimus tried frantically to catch the falling teens, his large hands grasping at air as Sam's body bounced away. Closing his eyes tightly, Sam waited for the feeling of his body impacting the ground, when he landed onto the warm metal hand of a transformed Bumblebee. Deposited onto the ground, Sam could only watch in dismay as his guardian was pulled to the ground by the Sector Seven agents swarming around them. Struggling against the unrelenting hold of the man behind him, Sam bit down onto the hand, darting forward the instant the hold slackened. Tackling one of the men closest to his guardian, Sam grabbed the hose the man was using to spray his guardian and turned it on the agent instead. Wrestled to the ground in front of Bumblebee, Sam's head knocked against the ground, causing his vision to swim dizzily as he looked up through his bangs at the sad blue optics in front of him. "I'm so sorry, Bee," he whispered fervently.


"So what is he to you all?"

"He is…He's our youngling."

"Youngling? You kinda lost me there, 'Hide."

"I think the Earth equivalent of claiming him as our youngling would to you be the same as adopting him."

"Adopting him?"

"Bumblebee has raised the boy in our ways. He will never truly be able to function in human society as one of you. Your people would look down on him and pity him for being raised in a manner not fitting to their standards."

"Hey! Not all of us are like that, 'Hide."

"No. No, you are not. But the vast majority of those that inhabit this world are, and would not hesitate in hurting him with their careless words and actions."


"Will, he is one of us. Until the day he dies. We will never abandon him."

"Youngling, huh? Well you might want to talk to your youngling about his hair."

"What is wrong with his hair?"

"'Hide, it's too long. It makes him look like a girl!"

"Bumblebee informed us that the length of the youngling's hair was due to the increased manageability of it in that length."

"Yeah well…manageability or whatever, he needs to cut it before people start thinkin' he's a girl or something."


"Are you permanently defective or something, Simmons?" Sam raged, his hands swinging wildly in the general direction of the stasis locked Megatron. "You have the fragging Allspark in the same building as Megatron! You know the guy that wants to wipe us off the face of the Earth as he rebuilds his army?"

"He's frozen—"

"You think that matters?" Sam howled indignantly. "The rest of the Decepticons are probably already on their way here! You think they're going to leave Megatron frozen? You think that you can stop them from doing or getting what they want? You'll be lucky if you can bring even one of them down before they hack into your systems and reverse the cryo-induced stasis lock he's in."

"What're you saying, kid? That there are more of them coming over here?" Will Lennox asked, his eyes darting between the flabbergasted Simmons and the bloodied teen challenging him.

"What happened in Qatar will look like a day on the playground if they find Megatron and the Allspark in the same place."

"Are you sure?" Keller broke in, unable to remain silent as the teen continued to talk.

Sam turned haunted blue eyes in the direction of the Secretary of Defense before responding. "I've been running from them since I was eight, sir. You need to get the Allspark out of here and you need to give me my car back."

"Your car?"

"Sir, he's talking about NBE—"

"His name is Bumblebee, you malfunctioning piece of scrap metal."


"Look just let him go. Bee'll know what to do." Sam pleaded his hands twisting the hem of his ripped shirt nervously. "We don't stand a chance without Bee."

"Are you crazy?" Simmons exploded taking a threatening step towards the teen, missing the calculating look Will was giving Sam. "You want us to just let him go?"


"You did a good job raising him, Bumblebee. His parents would be proud."

"No. I believe that I had little to do with him being the person he is. He would have been this way even had I not found him that day."

"No, he wouldn't have."


"I saw it in his eyes when I made him leave you and take the Allspark. Until I told him that he was a soldier he didn't want to leave you behind. But what I said got to him and made him remember something. Something that gave him the strength to run and leave you behind. That's how I know that you did a good job and that his parent's would be proud. Guts like that are something you learn by example and not just because someone tells you."


"Slag it all."

The dust covered everything, preventing him from finding his guardian on the rubble strewn street. A flash of yellow from the corner of his eye caught his attention and Sam whirled around, ready to cry in relief at the familiar sight, when he noticed that something was wrong. Letting go of Mikaela's hand, Sam ran over to the mech lying on the ground, ignoring the fight continuing on around him as he tried to reach his guardian.


Sliding to his knees beside the sparking remnants of Bumblebee's legs, Sam fought down the nausea that seemed to well up in him at the sight. "Bee! Oh Primus, no!" His hands shook as he un-slung the bag that was miraculously still with him. Digging into the bag at his side, Sam swore viciously at the steady stream of blue energon leaking from the torn limbs. Hearing more than seeing Mikaela beside him, Sam spoke curtly to the horrified female. "There's a laptop in my bag. Get it out and start running the program on the desktop marked Sys. Check."

"Bee stop moving!" Sam cried as the yellow mech began to crawl forward using his arms to propel him. Looking up to see what his guardian was staring at, Sam stood and grabbed the metallic cube that had his guardian so concerned. "I got it. Now stay still! You're leaking energon and I don't know where the leak is, so if you have a microchip of common sense still left in your processor, you'll stop moving and let me find it!"

"SAM!" Mikaela yelled from where she was bent over the laptop's screen. "I got the program up!"

"Wait until it displays something about leaks and then tell me what lines it has listed, okay?" Sam called back as he started rummaging through his bag again.

"It says lines 3, 4 and 9!"

"What sectors?"

"Um…uh hold on…3 is in sector 2, 4 is in sector 2, and 9 is in sector 1!"

"Pit-slagging glitch," Sam muttered under his breath as he popped open a panel on Bumblebee's mangled legs and promptly clamped one of the energon lines. "He always has to hit one of the main lines. Can't cut me a break and disable one of the automatic shut-offs for the secondary lines."

"Should you…why aren't you giving him anything for the pain?" Mikaela asked as she paced uneasily behind Sam as he worked.

"I can't," Sam grunted as he glanced around for another clamp. "He's already lost too much energon. Giving him anything now could make his systems go into shock, and its too dangerous for him to go offline while I work."

Nimble hands made quick work of clamping the energon lines to stop anymore of the precious fluid from falling onto the street below. Securing the last clamp, Sam looked around him to find that Ratchet, Ironhide and Jazz were still fighting while the men with Will Lennox were doing the best they could to help. Mikaela had run off a few seconds before saying something about getting a hold of something they could use to get Bee out. His eyes snapped back down when he felt the rough edges of the Allspark being pushed insistently into his hands.


"No." Blue eyes widened in shock even as he began to shake his head. "I can't leave you here. Don't ask me to do it, Bee."


Sam tore his anguished gaze from Bumblebee's pleading optics long enough to respond to Will Lennox's frantic question. "I've got it over here!"

Tears were welling in his eyes when his arm was grabbed and he was dragged to his feet by Will. "I won't leave him," Sam whispered faintly, his stomach churning unpleasantly at the thought of leaving his guardian behind while he was basically defenseless.

"You're a soldier now!" Will snarled at the hesitant teen while shaking him roughly. "If you don't get that cube outta here, a lot of people are gonna die! Do you understand?"

A single tear slid down Sam's dusty, bloodied face as his eyes widened at Will's tirade. Unbidden images of Bumblebee through the years flashed his mind, memories of the many times the yellow 'bot had been forced to do something he hadn't wanted to do, simply to ensure their continued survival. Still shaking, Sam turned to look at Bumblebee's imploring blue orbs one last time before nodding. Gripping the Allspark in his hands tightly, Sam did the one thing he'd prayed to Primus that he would never have to do. He left. He ran straight towards the worst of the fighting, leaving his disabled guardian behind as he tried to protect the one thing that could mean either the salvation or destruction of both their races.


"You still don't remember anything past Megatron and Sam, do you?"

"Nope. Even Ratchet couldn't find anythin' when he went through my system logs."

"I apologize. I just—"

"Ya don' need to be explainin' yourself to me, Bee. I understand that you just worried 'bout 'im, worried for 'im. It's what happens when ya spend that long with someone, 'specially when you been carin' for them since they was jus' a sparklin'. Now you understand what we been through all these years with ya."


Strange things happened when people touched the Allspark. He remembered Bee telling him that on Cybertron, the only time anyone ever touched the cube was when their Sparks were first created. Running through the building Will had pointed out to him, Sam realized that there was probably a reason that no one ever touched the Allspark after they were Created. His mind kept going through images of cities and planets that he had never seen, much less even heard of. He knew that the images had to be coming from the Allspark itself, but he couldn't understand why it would show him things while he was in the middle of a battlefield trying to get the fragging thing out of danger.


"Is it fear or courage that compels you, fleshling?"

He must be having one massive glitch, because here he was dangling from a statue still holding onto the Allspark with Megatron staring down at him, and he was actually thinking about what the evil slagging Pit-spawn was asking. Fear or courage? Courage or fear? If he had to answer honestly, he would have to say fear. He was scared of what would happen if Megatron were to get his hands on the Allspark. He was scared about what would happen to the Autobots if he failed to keep the Allspark safe. He was scared about failing. Falling through the air as Megatron destroyed the edge of the building with his flail, Sam decided that fear wasn't really a bad motivator. You could lose your courage at any time, but fear is what made you keep going. It made you move beyond your limitations in a way that courage never could.


"Ratchet tells me that you omitted several things in the report you submitted to me of your time spent here on Earth prior to our arrival."

"Yes, sir."

"Why would you feel the need to omit something of importance from the report?"

"Sir, as I informed Ratchet earlier, it was, to put it quite simply, a matter that was not mine to disclose, sir."

"You are aware that something of this magnitude cannot be dismissed?"

"Sir, at the time I was well aware of the consequences for my actions. I will gladly take any punishment that you deem appropriate for my transgression, sir."


He hurt. Dear Primus he hurt. Groaning as he forced himself to his feet once more, Sam stared dumbly at the falling chunks of concrete around him. Was the Allspark really worth all of this? Was something that was the embodiment of life itself really worth so much death and destruction? Numbly Sam gazed up into the red optics of Megatron and made his decision in the second that it took for him to start running. Optimus was already beginning to kneel down, waiting for Sam to push the Allspark into his chest and destroy both it and Optimus.

Did Optimus really think that he could do something like that? Did he really think that he would choose to end the life of someone fighting for life rather than death? Sam's eyes met the dark blue optics of the Autobots' leader and watched as horrified realization began to set in, even as he lifted the Allspark up above his head. The power of the Allspark felt like it was twisting things inside of him that had no business being twisted, but he refused to let go. He held on through sheer stubborn will as the light slowly faded from the optics of the large Decepticon above him.


"We jus' finish gettin' our base all set up and ya already findin' a way to get locked up in the brig, Bee?"

"Don't you have someone else to bother, Jazz?"

"Nope. Jus' finished my shift and figured I'd come an' visit ya when 'Hide told me ya was down here."

"My Spark can barely contain its joy at your presence."

"Primus, the twins'd be so proud of ya for gettin' locked up. An' jus' barely a day after we finished the base, too."



"Go away."

"Hey now. Is that any way to be talkin' to the newly revived?"


Everything was so clear. So clear and yet at the same time it was all so fuzzy. He could hear Optimus and the other's talking around him and he vaguely realized that Megatron's Spark wasn't there anymore. How strange was it that he could actually feel that it was gone? Blue eyes glowed faintly as he felt the ebbing pulse of a Spark familiar to him. Ignoring the Autobots, Sam walked unsteadily to where Ironhide was laying Jazz onto the broken asphalt almost tenderly.

No more. He couldn't take any more death today. His body was screaming at him to stop moving, while his heart pleaded with him to find the last bits of energy he had left. Tripping as he finally reached Jazz's broken frame, Sam threw his hands out to catch his balance. His breath caught in his throat as he felt something pulse inside of him. Closing his eyes briefly against the overwhelming sensation, Sam opened them again to see a rapidly fading brilliance housed inside of what he knew was Jazz's Spark casing. It was like the sad beauty of a dying star. Sam didn't have time to wonder what he was doing before he reached out with one hand and his world exploded into a multitude of colors.

The brown-haired teen could hear the distressed yells of those around him as he struggled to control the maelstrom of power inside of him. Lifegiver. He'd heard that before when he was trying to run from Megatron. Lifegiver. Power of new life and Creation. Protect my children well, youngling. Protect them and give them new hope in the times of darkness. I acknowledge you as one of mine and so shall you be. A new era will be Created through the hands of a new Lifegiver, your hands shall be the hands of life.


"The Lifegiver's power will disappear without a new body to house it."

"Why are you telling me this?"

"You wish to prevent your friends from facing extinction and I wish for my children to live in happiness."

"But what can I do about it?"

"Allow yourself to become the new Lifegiver."


A flood of pain was the first thing he noticed. The second was that everything seemed to be quiet. The area he was lying in wasn't filled with the screams of terrified people or the crumbling of damaged buildings. Instead, he could hear the familiar hum of well oiled joints moving by him, and he forced himself to ignore the pain and try to swim out of the inky darkness that enveloped him with all the security of a well loved blanket. Blue peeked out from beneath thick eyelashes before disappearing with a hiss as the light hurt the sensitive nerves centered there.



A/N: There is a quote in here taken word for word from the book. All credit for that portion of Mikaela's little fit is credited to Alan Dean Foster. It's from page 210.