A/N: Sooo…it's been a few years, huh? Again, I am sorry for how long this took. The first scene kicked my butt SO BAD and it was an uphill struggle the entire time. Thank you to the wonderful people who got multiple versions of it and were kind enough to tell me what sucked and what didn't and thank you to everyone who was so wonderful and helped me through the overwhelming writer's block. Thank you especially to Azkadellia, Rhyagelle, Kd Zeal, Dragowolf, Jay-Shing and everyone else who was so kind to me and that I know I'm missing, and everyone who reviewed. Honestly, you folks keep me sane.
To Daebereth, you are amazing and lovely and fantastic and I owe you so much. Kesera you are one of the strongest people I know and thank you so much for your amazing beta-powers of awesome, you made this chapter so much more then it would have been without you.
Side note: I went through the other chapters and messed with them a bit, just in case anyone's keeping track. Not that it made that much of a difference, but just in case! Thank you all for reading and I truly appreciate it. Thank you!
Ratchet had always been sure that there was at least someone out there, in the ever-after Matrix, who was watching over him. The number of lives he had been able to miraculously save—while he would like to attribute them solely to his extraordinary skill—more or less proved it to him.
Given his current situation, however, Ratchet felt he was perfectly justified in the belief that this someone was currently taking a very long vacation.
Silence had never been one of the medic's strong points—he preferred enraged words and a carefully targeted wrench to quiet reprimands. And yet he still didn't know how to break the almost palpable hush that surrounded him and the other two mechs.
What were they expecting from him? Ratchet flexed his hands, the first movement he had made since the other bots had exited and left him alone to his fate. Making a quick decision while telling himself that no, this wasn't avoidance, exactly, the red and white mech quickly strode towards the door, determined to make his escape from the two resolute stares he could feel boring into the back of his helm.
"Running away again?"
The tone was flat and more than enough to make Ratchet stagger slightly, his pace slowing until his legs refused to respond to his CPU's commands and he stood just inches from his escape.
"I just…need to think. About this." Ratchet said slightly, head bowed and refusing to turn to face the bots behind him.
"Think about what exactly?" Sunstreaker growled startlingly close to his left audio. Flinching to the right, Ratchet stumbled into Sideswipe who had crept up on his other side. Optics wide, Ratchet backtracked a few steps; he hadn't even heard them move!
"We let you run away from us once, Ratchet. Like slag we're gonna let it happen again." Sideswipe stated, his faceplates drawn together in an uncharacteristically harsh and open look, his usually jovial demeanor relinquished in light of the situation.
"We figure you need to talk about it. So talk." Sunstreaker said forcibly, stepping forward and pushing down on both of Ratchet's shoulders until the smaller bot was forced to sit on the couch that had previously housed the two black and whites. The golden bot's face softened slightly, "We know you, Ratchet. We know you need this. Hell, we need this—"
"Wait." Ratchet's intakes fluttered and he focused narrowing optics at Sunstreaker, "Know me? The only time I ever even see you is when you're both so slagged from battle you need a complete overhaul on your lousy chassis!"
"Ratchet—" Sideswipe moved closer to the medic and his brother, hand reaching out to somehow pacify the suddenly furious and shaking medic and get back control of the spiraling situation.
"No!" Ratchet said, standing and slapping Sideswipe's hand away and shrugging out of his position between the two mechs, "This was just one pit of a mistake, and I won't let it pass for anything else—"
"You do not get off so easy by labeling this a mistake!" Ratchet only had a moment to register the unrestrained fury in Sunstreaker's voice before he found himself shoved against the closest wall, the golden twin's face millimeters from his own. The medic's intakes gasped, more from surprise than pain, and any thoughts of his own fury slid out of his processors as he locked optics with the narrowed ones so close to his own.
"Are you even listening to yourself? You're so quick to write this whole thing off so you can get back to your slagging comfortable routine and fragging forget that any of this ever happened that you don't even seem to care that it isn't just about you. We want what's best for you, Ratchet, we do—but we're what's best for you, slag it! What are you so afraid of?" Sunstreaker hissed, optics overly bright and his arms straining with barely controlled tension as he flexed his fingers around Ratchet's captive shoulders.
The medic trembled slightly, the blistering warmth from the bot before him rolling at him in waves and Ratchet just couldn't face the optics before him, sharply turning his head to the side, his arms going slack and falling limp at his side, "Sunstreaker. Let me go."
"No," the single word lacked the warrior's previous heat, whined instead in a voice almost overcome with an emotion that Ratchet refused to analyze. Ratchet winced at the tone but still resolutely refused to face him.
"Please," Ratchet entreated, wincing at the squeal of grinding gears that left Sunstreaker before he felt the hands slowly let him down.
Ratchet kept his head down and slowly stepped away from the wall, taking a few steps from the figure of the suddenly subdued twin and doing his hardest to avoid Sideswipe's penetrating stare that he could feel itching just underneath his plates. Ratchet knew that this wasn't just about him, he did, but frag it all, he needed to get his slagging thoughts in order and—
He was afraid. Afraid that he might have to admit to something that he was sure he'd wanted for orns. Something he knew, based on the leering gossip and account after account of bots being invited back to the twins' berth, that he couldn't have. He didn't want to fall into their waiting, outstretched arms only to be thrust away after a quick tumble. To let them convince him that what they had was, as trite as it sounded even in his own CPU, "real"—that it was more than one night brought on because they just happened to be in the right place at the right time was foolish. Unrealistic. Naïve.
And Ratchet was above all else realistic. He wasn't naïve and he wasn't a fool, so he certainly wasn't foolish enough to believe in love at first sight. He and the Twins wouldn't work—their relationship hadn't ever been based on more than exasperation and annoyance, and a one-time interfacing didn't, and couldn't, change that. They weren't ready for what he wanted—the assurance of being the only bot to share their berth and before their little "tryst" he had been perfectly fine with that. And Primus damn it he would get over this and be okay with that again.
Slowly making his way to the door, Ratchet repeated his convictions to himself over and over in a continual mantra until he was safely past the threshold and into the hallway.
Right before the door to the rec room cycled shut behind him, however, Sideswipe caught his hand and squeezed, "We'll wait for you, Ratchet."
Ratchet's intakes heaved and his frame shook and a tugging spread from his chest to his spark, insistent and burning. Sideswipe released his grip and the door closed between them, leaving Ratchet alone in the hallway.
Wait one slagging minute here.
Ratchet twisted on his heel and the door barely had enough time to struggle open once again before he stormed back into the room, "Excuse me? You'll wait for me?" The burning in his spark was a throb and Ratchet could feel a tingle in the tips of his fingers but he couldn't say if it was from rage or something else altogether.
Sideswipe froze still, the hand that had grabbed Ratchet still outstretched slightly while the other hung limp at his side. Sunstreaker's frame was still torn with tension, but he managed enough arrogant incredulity to raise one mocking optic ridge, "'Waiting' too hard a concept for you, doc?"
And now Ratchet was almost positive that it was a spark-sucking fury as the tingle ran up his palms and wrists and through his arms, "Oh frag the both of you. You're incapable of waiting for anything. You're both such spoiled sparklings—so used to getting what they want—I will not be talked back into your berth through stupid, half-aft promises designed to make your berth-partners weak in the knees!"
Ratchet had the pleasure of watching Sunnstreaker's face fall from a fixed haughtiness to a look of sheer disbelief while Sideswipe's optics went wide. He had a second to pat himself on the back for a job well done of dissuading the twins that he'd ever be at their mercy again before Sunstreaker's and Sideswhipe's expressions fell even farther and then they were smiling and a stuttering of air flew out their intakes.
"Oh Ratchet." Sideswipe's intakes stammered over a last hiccup of laughter and Sunstreaker's smile stretched even wider.
It was like the ground had dropped underneath him—Ratchet's insides recoiled and for a second he thought he lost his center of gravity as the tingling frenzy of anger abated to a numbing pulse that echoed through him entirely. His CPU flailed—he hadn't been expecting laughter, of all things. He turned, but before he could stumble forward and away, two hands grabbed his arms and twisted him back around and away from the door. Both twins were still smiling and Ratchet's optics frantically shifted from the two stares glinting back at him and the wall at his back helpfully informed him that he was trapped, yet again.
"You're adorable, Ratchet." Sideswipe flicked a finger against his right audio and Ratchet twitched away.
"A dolt, but adorable." Sunstreaker agreed. Ratchet's optics narrowed and he stood up straight, his mouth open to regain some kind of control here.
"Oh no—as much as we love to hear you yell at us, you are going to hear this." Sideswipe's hand shot out and covered Ratchet's opening mouth and he shot a look at his twin and they seemed to have some kind of fast conversation with head nods before they turned back to fix Ratchet as the sole object of their attention.
"We didn't take you for a one-off, Ratchet," Sunstreaker's voice was small, but he fought to put some kind of his usual pride into the tone, "We figured it was a long shot that it'd ever happen, but we knew if it did that it wouldn't just be once."
Ratchet bit at Sideswipe's fingers that were still covering his face and the red twin's hand fumbled back in surprise, "Oh I am so sure that you both had this whole plan thought out prior to everything—"
"Ratchet, hush for a moment, okay?" Sideswipe glared narrowly and Ratchet huffed into weary silence at the look, "You're right, we didn't. When it happened, we didn't question our luck and took it at face value." Ratchet's face contorted and he growled and made a half step to slink out from between the twins and the wall. Sideswipe shouldered him back into place and Ratchet adverted his helm to glare hotly at him.
"However," Sunstreaker continued where his twin had stopped off, his tone sharp, "After you took off and left us to wake up alone on the floor of the med bay, Sides and I had a little spark to spark and came to a decision."
"We decided, Ratchet, that we want this. Want you. We'd like it if you did, too. Want us, that is." Sideswipe and Sunstreaker shuffled away from the medic nervously and Ratchet realized they'd given him enough room that he could make a break for the door if he'd wanted to.
Did he want to? Ratchet frowned at the floor and his hands clenched as the tingle started again but this time he couldn't pretend it was anything other than the sharp, physical reaction of pleasure as his spark screamed that yes, thank you very much, you do want this. Ratchet's CPU skipped and his spark skipped with it and damn it, he wasn't this easy.
He raised his helm and took the time to look each twin in the optic before he opened his mouth to tell them just that. Except, of course, nothing ever worked the way he wanted it to and instead his faceplates went hot and he mumbled, "Yes, I suppose I do."
The twins beamed back at him and Ratchet was horrified as his faceplates echoed the movement.
The doors to Prowl's office cycled open silently, permitting the two black and white bots into the room.
"Well," Jazz said softly, escorting his commanding officer inside, "Guess I'll be seeing ya tomorrow, Prowlie. Recharge well." And with a grin and a wave, the saboteur headed out the still open door.
"Jazz—" The tactician said hastily, catching the saboteur around the elbow and keeping him from leaving the room.
"Yeah?" Jazz asked, tilting his head and turning around a bit to look at Prowl. The Datsun looked away and down quickly and the arm holding Jazz was wavering slightly. Jazz creased his eye ridge in slight concern and turned completely around, dislodging the tactician's weak grip and stepping up to him slightly, "Prowl?"
At the soft question, the tactician's head rose slowly and he locked optics with Jazz's visor, "I…well, if you…I mean—" Abruptly seeming to come back to himself, Prowl's optics flashed and he straightened until he was at complete attention, though he never broke the visual contact, "If you would be so kind as to acquiesce to it, I would like to request your presence."
"What?" he couldn't be asking what Jazz hoped he was asking.
"Stay with me tonight. Recharge with me." It was soft and hesitant and the fact that it was so unProwl made Jazz stutter to a stop.
Optics flashed as the tactician took his silence as answer. Neither bot noticed as the door slowly slid closed, Prowl only straightening his shoulders farther back as his stance grew even stiffer, "Right. Never mind. It was an imprudent request, I'll see you tomorrow."
"Prowl…" Jazz murmured, not leaving despite the obvious dismissal, instead moving farther into the quarters.
"Don't worry about it, Jazz. I had no right to ask—" the saboteur couldn't help but notice that Prowl's shoulders were so far back that his wings quivered with the stress and strain of keeping the position.
"You had every right." Jazz said, laying a gentle hand on a shuddering shoulder, "And…I would love to stay the night. And, Prowlie, this is a new side to you. All hesitant and bashful, I'm touched."
"Don't be." Prowl snarled without any real heat, reaching a hand up to bash Jazz lightly on the back of the helm, "It'll only last until I can logically discern where I stand in this relationship."
"Is that so?" Jazz said with a chuckle, rubbing his hand over the whacked area and following the tactician as he led the way into his adjacent quarters, "Then I'll have to be sure not to let you."
Prowl's pace slowed slightly, "What?"
"Oh come on, Prowlie! What's the fun in a relationship if you can predict all the twists and turns? Where's the spontaneity?" Jazz exclaimed, trailing one hand down a nearby doorwing before throwing himself onto the tactician's berth and making himself comfortable, his arms snaking up to pillow his head.
"Right where I left it, thank you." The tactician growled, his optics and doorwings twitching from the ghost of the caress. He settled down on his berth a bit more sedately, turning so that his doorwings slightly overlapped with the edge while still making sure that the hinges were well supported.
His position, however, also made it all the more easy for sneaky saboteurs to use him as a giant squeeze toy. Wrapping his hands around Prowl right under his doorwings, Jazz pressed the tactician to his chassis tightly, burrowing his head into Prowl's chest plate and humming contently, "Then we best find it, huh?"
Prowl cycled air through his intakes in a long suffering sigh, though he retaliated merely by reaching his own arms up and around the saboteur's back, pulling him even more snugly against him, "We'll talk more later. Just get some recharge, Jazz."
"Can do, Prowlie!" Jazz said and, with one last squeeze of a hand that had found itself lower on the tactician's frame then Prowl remembered it being, the saboteur instigated his recharge cycle.
Rolling his optics at the unrepentant grope, Prowl allowed a small smile to grace his own features before following Jazz's example.
"Aw, come on Wheeljack! That's not even all that important!" Bluestreak wined slightly, twisting around awkwardly as he attempted to dislodge his mate's hold on his wing.
The engineer paid no attention to the squirming gunner in his one-handed grip, merely punching in the code to their quarters and dragging the grey mech in after him, "Important maybe not to you, but I'd like to have known that you were allergic to that particular brand of energon so that I would stop making you drink it!"
Bluestreak winced, "But it was always so sweet of you when you brought me fuel that I didn't want it to seem like I wasn't grateful—"
"Telling me that what I'm all but forcing down your intakes will cause your fuel lines to process in burning agony for an astrocycle is not being rude, Blue." Wheeljack said dryly, finally releasing the captive wing as the door cycled closed behind them.
Twitching his wings as he registered their freedom, Bluestreak could only offer a small smile and a sheepish shrug, "It was worth it to know you cared."
Wheeljack sighed out his intakes and rolled his optics, "You're impossible."
"I'm impossible? You wanna talk about ridiculous secrets, 'Jack…" Bluestreak said lightly, reaching out to tap meaningfully on the engineer's mask.
Wheeljack drew back with a huff, "That is not ridiculous!"
Bluestreak snickered out his intakes, "You hide your face because you're a wrongly accused thief. Key word here is wrongly—you were cleared of all charges while we were still back on Cybertron!"
Wheeljack gaped for a moment before abruptly remembering how his vocal processors worked, "Well…I didn't exactly start wearing the mask after they cleared my name, I'll have you know. And it was theft and murder, thanks so much. For a while this thing was all that stood between me and, if they had caught me, deactivation."
Sniggering at his lover's put upon look, Bluestreak couldn't help but continue to tease, "Oh yes, because the only identifiable part of a bot is his lower face. I'm sure that there was absolutely no other way to identify you."
Wheeljack stared at the gunner, his face twitching and Bluestreak felt the flash of hurt through the bond.
"Hey 'Jack, I'm sorry." Bluestreak said hurriedly while simultaneously sending a pulse of remorse down the bond's pathway, all traces of teasing dropping from his frame.
Wheeljack's eyes crinkled a bit at the edges and he visibly shook off his melancholy, sending his own pulse back in response, "I know Blue, it's fine. It was a…stressful time in my life, sometimes it still aches to remember it."
Bluestreak pulled the engineer into a light embrace and Wheeljack dropped into it, leaning his helm against the gunner.
"Aw, 'Jack…I really am sorry." Blue said softly and the engineer hummed in agreement, burrowing his head into the crook of the gunner's neck. Blue tightened his embrace and sent another pulse down their bond, attempting to form words this time.
Wheeljack smiled softly behind his mask before retracting it and planting a small, mischievous kiss on the underside of the gunner's jaw, "Love ya too, Blue."
Bluestreak shuddered slightly at the innocent gesture and couldn't help but bask slightly in the realization of how much trust it had actually taken for the engineer to bare his faceplates to him. He couldn't imagine how hard it must have been for Wheeljack, accused of murder and pillaging of a neutral territory by neutrals and Autobots alike, to escape capture with the singular physical alteration of a facemask. And to then join the very organization that had been previously dead set on hunting him down once his name was cleared in the hopes of avenging a couple of bots he didn't even know—
Blue smiled slightly. Okay, it made him all the more dashing and heroic, he'd have to admit it. The bot in his arms chuckled as he caught the wayward thought, "Thanks, Blue. Glad I could please."
"There's never been a question of you being able to please, 'Jack." Blue said, his tone dropping a few octaves as he nipped at one of his lover's pleasantly and conveniently placed earfins in distinct retaliation for the inventor's previous sneaky kiss.
"Blue…" Wheeljack whined, his tone echoing his lover's and, in combination with the nickname, making Blue's spark throb.
"Mmmm…" the gunner purred as he continued to lightly kiss his kidnapped appendage, sending a hazy pulse of pleasure and tangled love over the bond.
"Blue!" Wheeljack said more forcibly, untangling himself from the gunner's embrace and putting him at arm's length. Blue pouted at the loss and sent a questioning thread through the link and Wheeljack replied with an only slightly aroused placation telling him to wait.
"Why?" Bluestreak asked dejectedly, resigning himself to the fact that there would have to be more talking before anything else could transpire.
"As much as I approve and appreciate your attempt to console me through bouts of interfacing," Wheeljack started dryly and Blue could only grin sheepishly, "I believe there's still one more issue that begs talking about."
All at once Bluestreak felt as if the very planet had dropped out from under him, leaving him high and dry and he could only gape at Wheeljack blankly in unwanted comprehension, "Really, 'Jack, we don't need—"
"Like slag, Blue." Wheeljack said sternly before his expression softened, "No wonder you have nightmares."
"It's nothing, 'Jack. Just leave it." Bluestreak's optics flashed and he folded his arms across his chest, hunkering down and turning slightly away from the engineer.
"Oh no you don't—we got to talk about my insecurity issues over some past traumatizing event and turnabout is only fair play." 'Jack said softly, moving closer to the closed off gunner and grasping his shoulder lightly.
"It happened a long time ago." Blue said gruffly, his voice sounding like it was all but torn from his vocalizer.
Wheeljack curled his arm around the gunner's shoulders, pulling the younger bot's back against his front and, mindful of the splayed doorwings, drew him over to sit on the berth.
"I…know I shouldn't still be this messed up over it." Bluestreak broke the expecting silence, slumping back against the engineer.
"You were just a sparkling, Blue. You don't just get over something like that—" Wheeljack attempted to soothe.
"And my CPU's telling me that I've heard all of this before." Bluestreak ground his dermal plates together, bringing his hands up to rub at his face before wrapping his arms around himself again.
Wheeljack sighed softly, bringing his own arms up and around Bluestreak's own, tugging him closer, "Maybe just a little more time'll be all it'll take. Besides, now you've got me up here, too." Wheeljack nuzzled the gunner's helm softly before flooding the bond with his presence.
Bluestreak couldn't get his vocals to work properly enough to force out any verbal reply, his intakes grating on static, but he nodded, settling for just burrowing himself deeper into Wheeljack's welcoming embrace and sheltering himself in the warm feeling of his bondmate's arms.
Sam was well aware that the highest and longest stint of adrenaline he was most likely to ever experience would probably be the time he found himself hanging from a stone statue ten stories up with a mace-armed mechanical maniac hell-bent on turning him into scrap. But really, there was absolutely positively nothing in the world that could ever compare to driving down a deserted highway with your bestest best friend going well past the speed limit, windows down, and your head far enough out it that you would have to unbuckle your seatbelt to get that far.
"Woo-hoo! Man, Bee, this is freaking awesome!" Sam whooped out the window and Bee revved his engine in agreement, pushing it to go even faster and Sam let out another yell of delight as his hair was plastered every which way and he blinked rapidly as his eyes were burned dry from the resulting wind.
"Highway to Hell!" Bee's radio screamed and Sam laughed again, ducking back into the car as a particularly tight turn knocked his center of gravity out of proportion.
"If hell's facing parental units with the request to take a few weeks off from school, then yes, that describes our situation more than perfectly." Sam said dryly, knocking his head against the backrest. Bee hummed slightly and wrapped the seatbelt around his human charge, tightening it slightly in his version of a hug.
Sam patted the belt and stretched with a yawn. He'd not been getting that much sleep lately and, though last night with Bee had been the best rest he'd gotten in a long time, his insomniac tendencies were steadily coming back to bite him in the preverbal behind.
"Need some sleep. Can't go on like this…" Bee's radio filtered the soft song through the speakers and Sam swatted at the air even while his eyes drooped slightly in response to the soothing tune.
"Stop that." Sam said, a smile tugging lazily at the edges of his lips, "I've got to be clearheaded to deal with the disgruntled parents and that's not helping."
"Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up!" the radio dial went all the way up and Sam winced, slapping one hand on the dash board in playful agitation.
"There's going to be some real rage against this machine if that volume doesn't go down, Bee!" Sam laughed and Bee's radio obligingly lowered the volume with a small spattering of static as the Autobot couldn't help but snicker at his charge.
Sam rolled his eyes and eased back into the seat, "I just had to get the Camaro, didn't I?"
Bee made an outraged turn off the deserted road as they slipped into the more residential area surrounding Sam's house, the sharp move throwing Sam a bit, "Hey! There shall be no banging up of the human, thank you!"
Static laughing again, Bee let loose another song, "You always hurt the one you love…."
Raising an eyebrow, Sam lightly placed his hands on the steering wheel for the benefit of the people he could see milling about outside their houses, "Don't be thinking I'll let you get away with stuff just because of how I feel about you."
"I love Bumblebee, Bumblebee Tuna! Yum-Yum Bumblebee, Bumblebee Tuna!" Bee's engine gave a small roar and Sam ducked his head as all the heads of the previously not paying attention citizenry turned instantly to glare at the hotheaded teenager in the new Camaro with a big engine and obviously something to prove. Sam glared at the steering wheel as his face blushed scarlet and he knew Bee could see it because the radio let out another burst of giggling static.
"Piece of crap Camaro." Sam grumbled, the grin lifting up one side of his mouth betraying the heat in the insult.
"Can't stand organics, they're soft and squishy!"
Sam balked at the female voice emanating from the speakers, "What the—where'd you pull that out of?"
"But I'm cool like that, cool like that, cool like that…" Bee said and Sam had to grasp for more handholds as the Autobot bumped to the beat.
Sam dropped his chin to his chest and let out a put-upon sigh, "Oh yeah, Bee. Real cool right there."
"Can't touch this!" And Sam had to tighten his grip on his handholds of door handle and gearshift again as his guardian swerved to the accompanying beat.
"Bee!" Sam shouted and Bee, snickering the whole time, obediently subsided his behavior, reigning himself in to drive demurely on the correct side of the road. And not a moment too soon, Sam thought sardonically, as his home street came into view.
Lowering on his axels and slowing down to where he was barely even moving, Bee still somehow managed to dredge up enough humor to find a radio station that was currently playing The Imperial March from Star Wars, effectively setting the mood. As they got closer and closer to his house, Sam shrunk more and more in on himself until, as they sedately rolled in the driveway, he was hunched up behind the wheel, a pile of shoulders and taunt muscles locked in place by his own anxiety.
After a few minutes where Sam didn't move a muscle, Bee's radio clicked back onto life as his engine slowly wound down, the Autobot's own voice issuing out through the speakers, "Sam?"
Shaking as he came back to himself, Sam rolled back his shoulders and sat up straight, "I know, I know. Better get this over with." Sighing dramatically, the teen nevertheless unbuckled his seatbelt and, with a quick caress over the metal buckle, he stepped out of the car and made his unsteady way towards his front door that he could swear had never looked as menacing as it did now.
Stepping up to the door and trying his best not to make a sound as he opened it in the hopes that if his parents didn't hear him come in, it would mean that they weren't there and he wouldn't have to talk to them, Sam crossed over the threshold and into his front room.
"Mom? Dad?" Sam whispered as he glanced left and right. When this revealed no one in his immediate vicinity, the teenager shrugged, "Ah well, looks like they're not home. Too bad, better get back—"
"Get back where?" A voice asked from the kitchen entryway and Sam jumped about seven feet in shock.
"Mom!" He yelled, scrambling for his composure, "You can't just sneak up on someone like that, you've gotta give some warning!"
Judy rolled her eyes and wiped her hands on the apron tied around her waist, "Well I'm sorry Sam, but it sounded like you were looking for me and your father. You were, right? That's what that whole little whisper-thing right there was for?"
As his mother gestured wildly with her hands trying to indicate the area where he had done his little "whisper-thing" Sam just frantically shook his head, "No mom, no. Stop—stop doing that. Please."
"Doing what? This? Oh come on, Sam, I'm just talking! Moving your hands is natural when you talk!" Judy said, gesturing even more wildly to prove her point.
"Don't…do that, mom. Just stop, please. That is so not normal." Sam said desperately.
"He's right, Judy. You look like a flailing goose." Ron said as he came down the stairs, prompted into coming out of hiding by his son's voice.
"Oh that's preposterous, Ron. I do not look like a flailing goose." Hands on her hips and neck stretched out to better her point, Sam had to bite his lip to keep his laughter and agreement with his father from spilling out, "And so nice of you to join us, honey."
Wincing, Ron gave a sheepish look to his wife, "Well since he's back and all I figured—"
"That'd it be safe to come out?" Judy said, arching an eyebrow.
Ron shrugged in agreement, "Yes…?"
Judy rolled her eyes, "Well there's nothing for it now. He's back and he'll be going to school tomorrow so I suppose he can just ask for the work he missed—"
"Ah, actually…" Sam broke in nervously, growing even more agitated as the full force of both his parents' stares was suddenly locked on him. That odd, almost external nagging curiosity that had plagued him that morning when his dad woke him up came back to him again suddenly and he mentally shook his head, trying to shrug off the unwanted and overall surreal feeling and marking it down to some kind of residual of continued lack of sleep.
"Actually what, son?" Ron asked wearily, seemingly already sensing that what his son was going to ask for was going to cause some familial drama.
Sam had the decency to look abashed and he raised one hand to scratch the back of his head, "I…need to take a small break from school. Something's come up and they need me at the base—"
"Oh no, I don't think so." Judy said crossly, her arms following suit. There was no question as to who the "they" were in Sam's explanation, his parents were well versed in the many situations the Autobots were prone to throwing their son into, "You may think you're this whole great war hero and everything, but let's be honest. Is that really going to get you into college?"
"She's right, Sam. Your education comes first and that's the final answer." Ron said, stepping up next to his wife and providing a joint front against their son's request. Sam sighed brokenly, he didn't want to tell his parents about his…whatever it was, it would only worry them but they were leaving him no choice!
"It's my senior year, you guys! The end of my senior year, no less! Most kids don't even show up to class anymore, teachers are winding down, classes are starting to be a joke. And besides," Sam added hastily as his parents lifted twin dubious eyebrows, "Miles and Mikaela can take notes for me on what I miss."
"I don't think so, Sam." Judy said, face stern, "And that's the end of this discussion."
"Please?" Sam asked and, in a last ditch effort before having to resort to telling the truth, he pouted his lower lip, widened his eyes, and even managed to get his tear ducts working enough to make his eyes all watery.
"The answer is no Sam." Judy said and Ron nodded hesitantly in agreement with his wife. Sam saw the chink in the Parental Armor and he seized on the weakness, turning the full force of his pitiful puppy-dog face on his father.
Confronted with the pathetic expression for the second time in the same day, Ron couldn't help but break with an almost audible crack. Sighing and mentally preparing himself, he turned slowly to his wife, "Ah…Judy? He is an adult and it is his senior year…"
"Ron!" Judy said, turning to her husband with an undignified squawk, "You can't be considering this!"
"Well, what if they need him to…save the world or something?" Ron added weakly, turning a flighty gaze to his son.
Glaring slightly, Judy also turned to their son, "Do they need you to save the world or something?"
"Uhhh…yes?" Sam said uncertainty.
Judy's lips narrowed with unhappiness until they had all but disappeared into her face, "Fine. But only one week and when you get back I expect you to go to all your teachers and somehow explain away your absence to them, get all the work you missed, do all the work you missed, and god help you if your grades slip below a B average."
Sam nodded quickly, taking the generous offer of a week and hoping the whole situation could be resolved by then. "Thank you, thank you, thank you! And I promise I will and I promise they won't!"
Sighing, all the fight seemed to leave Judy's frame and she smiled a blinding smile again before turning to go back into the kitchen and mumbling, "Saves the world once and thinks he can do anything…," before announcing that dinner would be ready in thirty minutes.
Catching his father's eye, Sam smiled his thanks. Ron just shook his head and waved a dismissive hand, "Just don't expect anything like this to ever happen again."
Positively beaming, Sam leapt out the door, telling Bee to let Optimus know that a one week stay at the Ark was a go.
Contacting his commander, Bee passed along the message and was told to stay with the human and to transport him back to the Ark when they were ready. Bee acknowledged the order and promptly settled down on his axels to monitor his human as the boy had dinner with his family and then slipped into sleep some time after.
While he sat waiting for Sam to get some sleep—something that Bee knew the human desperately needed—before packing for the Ark, Bee hadn't exactlyplaned on slipping into recharge himself. But after the excitement of the previous day he couldn't help but nod off sometime close to midnight. As he transitioned into recharge, his systems automatically shut down everything except his scanners and emergency communications and Bee inevitably succumbed to the soothing sound of his human's heartbeat that, with his sophisticated scanners, he was still able to monitor from two stories away.
The infernal beeping of his comm. unit, however, was quick to wake him the next morning with its persistent beeping informing him of an incoming message.
His circuit boards and CPU leisurely booted up to their alert capacity and Bee paged into his comm. to receive the call that had been, to his chagrin, seemingly beeping at him for quite some time.
:—rusting heap of fried circuit boards! If you don't pick up right now, forget toasters, I'm reformatting you into something small, pink, and that requires batteries to operate!:
:Ah…Ratchet?: Bee interjected sheepishly, :Is there something you wanted?:
:'Something I—' Yes there's something I want! Where the slag are you?: Ratchet all but growled over the comm. link, seeming not to mind that it should be, by all rights, physically impossible to project such an aggravated air over the comm. that it practically had Bee shrinking on his axels is guilt.
:Still at Sam's.: Bee said shamefacedly, :Do you need me?:
:Need you? You slagging bet I do!: Ratchet all but hissed back and Bee felt the line shriek in static as it tried to fully transmit the medic's furry, :Do your audios need replacing or do you have some other reason for not comprehending that when I said "everyone's getting a check-up" that "everyone" actually included everyone?:
:But—but I thought that was for the bots who—: Bee stuttered uselessly, his engine revving slightly, causing a passing jogger to jump back in shock and quickly proceed with his chosen route, glancing nervously at the suspiciously parked Camaro while simultaneously trying to convince himself that there really was someone in the cab. Bee had been under the impression that he had plenty of time to bring Sam back to the Ark. He figured that with everyone else's checkups taking up the beginning of the morning that they wouldn't require his or Sam's presence until much later in the day, an assumption he thought it had been safe to make with Optimus not having taken him off the active duty roster.
Ratchet, it seemed, had a different view of the situation, :For the bots that were affected by the Allspark, yes. And I don't suppose that category would include you, would it?: Ratchet said sarcastically, :Were you or were you not in the room when I announced the necessary check-ups?:
Sometimes Bee hated the fact that Cybertronians could recall memories and past events in such clarity, :…I was.:
:Well then. Get your shiny aft down here immediately!: And with that final command the medic cut the link and Bee couldn't help an internal wince.
Cranking his radio up, Bee had a moment to silently apologize to his still sleeping human about the wake up call, but desperate times and all that.
A/N: No cliffhanger this time! Right? There're points for that (crosses fingers)? I don't know when the next part will be up, but there WILL be a next part. Eventually. And one day this will be finished, I swear to you! Want to tell me how much I suck at having an update schedule? Please feel free to leave a comment! Want to let me know that my crap spelling has messed me up again? Feel free to leave a comment! Just...I would really appreciate it if you left a comment, s'all I'm saying. They really helped me get this thing out and it's always so nice to hear from you! Thank you for reading, so much—I'm so honored that you did.