Disclaimer: do not own Transformers.

Summary: (Oneshot) Movieverse: Maybe their almost desperate grab at something so warm is their way of assuring themselves that there is something out there that isn't all fighting and death and loss and…and cold. They were so cold, their friends. So very, very cold.

So Cold

If there's one thing that is very prominent about Autobot physiology—besides the fact that they are large enough to squish you without meaning to—is that they are very, very cold. Everything about them is, from their metal armour to their cool leather seats to the icy energon running through their wires. Sam is perhaps the first, though not the last, of the human allies/ friends/ charges to notice this, because Bee's picked up a queer habit. Whenever the family decides to go camping to sleep under the stars—taking Bee with them, of course—the yellow Autobot has taken to picking Sam up while the human boy is asleep and cradling him with cupped hands—cupped cold hands. At first, Sam protests, teases, and begs for Bee to stop—it is a very unpleasant feeling, after all, first sleeping in a warm cocoon, and then having what felt like ice seeping through his very bones…

Bee's apologizes every time, of course. There's something in his optics as he apologizes to a disgruntled Sam, something that Sam can't quite identify. But whatever it is, Sam knows that it makes it so that Bee can't seem to stop. And Sam has since stopped protesting, because he now has a sneaking suspicion as to why Bee is doing what he was doing. In fact, he suspects that all the Autobots share in Bee's 'problem.' The Autobots seemed to have an addiction to warmth—to human warmth.

Sam knows that the cause for such a strange addiction is not physical discomfort. It can't be, because the Autobots have wandered for eons without human heating packs, and besides, there are far more efficient ways to get warmer. No, it's something deeper, and Sam can't figure out what it is yet…and he's not really sure if he wants to.

Whatever it is, it affects all the Autobots. The same thing that prompts Bee to cradle Sam in the middle of the woods is the same thing that prompts Ironhide to offer to shuttle the Lennox family long distances, as if he enjoys the presence of a comfortable, innocent, warm family inside of him.

It's the same thing that makes Ratchet tolerate Mikaela's friendly banter as he shuttles her from place to place in the Autobot base, explaining the physiology of mechs as her warm frame leans against his thumb.

It's the same thing that makes Jazz allow Epps to attach DDR to his highly-advanced alien technology as the human dances close to him, radiating warmth and laughter.

It's the same thing that makes Optimus, the most subtle of all four mechs, allow Maggie and Glen to sleep safely and warmly inside of his interior instead of sending them home for the night.

Maybe they want the warmth to soothe whatever coldness that accumulated in them over the endless years. Maybe their almost desperate grab at something so warm is their way of assuring themselves that there is something out there that isn't all fighting and death and loss and…and cold. They are so cold, their friends. So very, very cold.

Sam, Mikaela, Epps, Lennox, Maggie, and Glen know of a great race that is capable of great compassion and sacrifice and justice. But they have seen the flip side; they have seen, in that same race, beings of great hatred and anger and greed. And they know that, in order to preserve kindness and freedom, the Autobots must have done things…things that kept them awake at night, or at the very least, things that kept them perturbed enough to make them want to keep annoying, laughing, lively, warm humans close.

Sam believes that Epps and Lennox have an advantage over him and Mikaela and even Maggie (and definitely Glen) in this sense. They have at least an inkling of what their friends have been through and do go through for the sake of freedom. But ultimately, it is just an inkling. Sam knows that, and Epps and Lennox know it too. They all know it.

That's why, though Epps will jab and joke with Jazz about it, Epps would never dare look Jazz in the optics without the visors there to soften the coldness. That's why, though Lennox trusts Ironhide with his daughter's life, there is a sliver of fear whenever Ironhide holds Anabelle, because Lennox knows that this being who is holding his daughter has done things that Lennox—a bona fide soldier himself—can't face yet. That's why, though Mikaela had asked once how many mechs Ratchet has fixed up over the eons, she will never, ever ask how many he lost, how many he had to abandon, or…or how many he might have terminated. That's why Maggie and Glen, though they will share jokes and stories with Optimus, will never ask him about Cybertron, or life before Earth. There are some things that the humans can't handle knowing yet.

That's why Sam, though he teases Bee about being a mother hen, ignores the scans that go through his window at night, scans making sure that he was still there, still safe and warm.

But Sam's getting close to the answer now. Too close. He's not sure he's ready for it, because despite all the happenings in Mission City, Sam knows that, in the grand scheme of things, he's just a little boy being cradled in the cold, cold hands of a soldier.

Bee has picked him up again. Sam bites back a protest and a flinch as the cold washes over him, seeping through his clothes and right to his core.

"Sam? I'm sorry, did I wake you?" Bee whispers sadly. One of his fingers brushes by Sam's cheek, and the boy shivers. Sam decides not to say anything, but instead turns so that his right arm wraps around Bee's thumb, enveloping it in feeble warmth.

Sam will never be able to take away the cold completely. He knows that. But whatever warmth he has, he's willing to give.

And, if that's enough for Bee, then that's enough for him too.