Chapter Seventeen

They met again near the wreckage from the battle, using the now completely abandoned place to hide their activities. Despite the recent truce between Optimus Prime and Starscream, there was still a lot of tension between the two factions. When Autobots and Decepticons met in peace, they would still have to be secretive.

Veris and Harbinger watched as Starscream, Barricade, Ironhide, and Jazz transformed into their mech forms and joined them by the ruins of the base. "Is Rae all right?" Jazz demanded, quickly cutting to the chase. Veris nodded.

"She still hasn't woken up." he said. "Case set her broken arm, but until she wakes up we won't know the extent of the damage. Case's sensors aren't as good as Ratchet's." He held up a hand as Ironhide started to speak. "Don't even suggest it. You know as well as I do the only way Ratchet is coming in our base is as a prisoner. It's not safe for us – or him."

Starscream smirked. "Don't tell me the others blame Ratchet for what happened."

"No." Harbinger said quietly. "That blame lies with Prime and Megatron. Still, I have a feeling Sheol and Silver would just love to take their frustrations out on a convenient mech. Ratchet would be a sitting duck considering his limited firepower." Jazz and Ironhide nodded acceptingly. Barricade chuckled dryly.

"And therein lies the problem. What are you going to do if something is wrong with her and Case doesn't catch it?" he asked, turning his optics to Veris.

The ex-Autobot shrugged. "Humans have a way of manifesting physical damages before they become too serious." he said. "I just hope this will be one of those times."

"Everyone cross your fingers and pray to Primus everything goes well." Starscream muttered. For once Jazz and Ironhide found themselves in complete agreement with the Decepticon. Jazz turned to Barricade and Starscream, an odd look in his optics.

"Now what do we do?" he wondered. "I know Optimus drew up a peace treaty, but are all the Decepticons going to be willing to follow you?"

Starscream sighed and shook his head. "No. Apparently there were some who were loyal to Megatron as opposed to his power. Ravage was the most powerful – consequently he's also their leader." He turned to face Veris and Harbinger. "You'll need to be careful. He blames Rae for Megatron's death."

Harbinger snorted. "I don't know who this Ravage is, but he better watch out." he growled. "No one will try to hurt Rae and get away with it. Not after this." Veris nodded assent, his optics glowing with frozen fury. Ironhide felt sorry for Ravage if the unknown Decepticon ever got the idea of hurting Rae. He had never seen Veris truly enraged before, but if even Optimus was willing to give him a wide berth, then there was no way Ironhide would be willing to risk it.

Barricade shook his head. "No. It won't be that easy. Ravage is one of the few mechs that Megatron liked to keep very far away from him, despite his devotion. See, Ravage has a way of killing people who get in his way. He's an indiscriminant murderer."

"And I wasn't?" Harbinger pointed out dryly.

"Good point." Starscream conceded.

"Enough." Jazz said suddenly. "Optimus wants us to report in. Apparently our absence has not gone unnoticed." Ironhide made a face.

"We'll just tell him we went out for a drive." the weapons specialist said simply. Jazz stared at him in shock.

"I never thought I'd see the day where you would lie to Prime." he murmured. Ironhide shrugged.

"I don't like doing it, but do you really think Optimus would let us get away with this?" he pointed out. "There's the peace treaty, yes, but we're still Autobots and Decepticons. It will be a long time yet before those lines are erased."

"If they ever are." Barricade murmured. Jazz nodded in agreement.

"Case is calling us." Veris said suddenly. "We should be heading back." Harbinger nodded and transformed back into a monster truck, waiting patiently for Veris to follow suit. Veris took an extra moment to talk to the other mechs. "Know this – whatever your leaders may say, you will always be welcome at the Neutral base. Rae has gotten rather fond of you, and I think she'd be upset if you never dropped by for a visit."

Ironhide nodded. "You have our word."

"Let us know when she's ready for visitors." Jazz added. In a flash the two Autobots and two Decepticons transformed into their alt modes and took off, leaving Veris and Harbinger by themselves. Veris quickly resumed his alt mode and kept by Harbinger's side, allowing the Decepticon to lead the way a bit. Most of the trip was done in silence, but then Harbinger broke it.

"You seem very quiet."

Veris would have smiled if he'd been able to. "I'm thinking."

"I thought I smelled smoke."

"Oh, mute it." Veris griped good-naturedly. "I was just wondering – all of this, the end of the war between our kind, and it was all brought along by a human girl. Who would have thought it?"

"Apparently Primus." Harbinger said with a laugh. "But as Rae is so fond of saying, she's not a human. Not anymore. She's a Transformer."

The End

AN: Ok, so it's a really short chapter. Sue me. The point is Drive is now done, and there is one more in this little trilogy coming up as soon as I either knock off Head Knowledge or school ends, whichever comes first. (pray for summer). Be on the lookout for Rebirth, the conclusion to the story of Rae and the Neutrals. For now.

Until then, I remain truly yours,

Shadowblade-tara