Note: This is a short plot bunny that popped into my head. It takes place about twelve years after Sam first meets the Autobots and ten years after he leaves Earth with them. It's based loosely on the idea that Spike joined the Autobots in space and that if Sam was based on Spike, then he might go there too. I wanted to see what it would be like for him to come home to find everything changed. What hazards he's gone through is left to the reader's imagination, though knowing the Decepticons, it probably wasn't pretty. Enjoy.
The room was dark. Someone had come by to close all of the windows, draw the curtains, and turn off the appliances. It was quiet here. There was no soft murmur of a television in another room, no deep-toned hum of the heater or air conditioner, no muffled footsteps across the thick carpet. No one had been here for a long time. A thick layer of dust had settled over every surface. and what was left of the furniture had been covered with white sheets.
Sam reached up and flicked the light switch, but the room stayed dead. Apparently someone had cut the power too. Sighing, he stepped into the old living room. It used to be lit with the warm glow of half a dozen lamps and filled with the quiet sounds of his parent's voices. His father had died four years ago, and his mother followed two years later. It had been a shock to come back to that, finding out that he'd missed so much, that so much had changed while he was gone.
Ten years ago, when the Autobots told him that the Decepticons were planning an assault on Earth, he knew that he couldn't just sit by and let it happen. They told him that it would take time, his whole life, perhaps longer, before Earth was truly safe. They told him that if he chose to come with them, he would be gone from Earth for a very long time. It was even possible that he might never see it again.
"Fifty years from now when you're looking back at your life, don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?"
When he had said those words, life had been just that simple. The only thing that mattered was living life and not letting it slip away. Even after having been chased down by Barricade and Frenzy, he never questioned the idea that he would grow to be sixty or seventy years old. Now that he looked back on it, it was a stupid, selfish thing to say. With those words, he'd dragged Mikaela into a war she should have had no part of.
It was lucky, he supposed, that Mikaela seemed born to live in their world among the stars. She had come with him without hesitation, boarded the Ark and set off for new worlds, new dangers, new horrors. Maybe she was even better suited for this life than him. When they first arrived home, she hadn't even wanted to step outside, not even after hearing that her father was out on parole and living in Tranquility. It was only when Arcee asked her for a tour of her old hometown that she relented somewhat.
The Ark had landed outside Tranquility almost a day ago. In that time, Sam discovered the fates of his parents, friends, and Mojo. His father had died in a car accident and his mother had fallen victim to cancer. Mojo had died peacefully of old age. His best friend, Miles, was working a desk job for some huge corporation in New York. After his parent's death, Sam's house had been closed up and sealed off by the government, a promised sanctuary for him should he ever return to reclaim it.
Will Lennox had told him all of this in his briefing before he'd even left the Ark. Since then, he'd gone to visit his parent's graves, his old high school, the Lookout, the lake, and finally his home. It was strange to see this place covered in the dust of ten years gone. This must have been how Rip Van Winkle felt when he came home to find the whole world changed in his absence. A part of him still felt that his mother would come walking through the door and tell him his room was a mess and that he'd better clean it before dinner. It wasn't much of a life. There was no grand adventure to it, there was no mystery. The only drama he'd ever known was trying not to humiliate himself too much in front of the jocks. The only goals he'd ever had were to survive school and get Mikaela to notice him.
Well, she had noticed him. They hadn't gone through the Earth custom of marriage, but Sam still considered Mikaela to be his wife, his love, his soul mate. For a while he'd harbored ideas of returning to Tranquility and starting a life with her, getting a salaried job and having kids. He'd imagined the looks on his parent's faces as he told them they'd finally be grandparents.
He wished he could have told them.
Sam sighed, stepping back into the main hall and out the open front door. Bumblebee sat parked in the street, his golden armor shining unnaturally bright in the pale glow of the setting sun. Sam turned to lock the front door. The key scraped against a lock that did not want to turn. He stood staring at the small piece of metal in his hand for a long time. Then he placed it carefully under a flower pot and strode down the steps. In the morning he'd call Will and tell him to sell the house.
Bumblebee's door popped open as Sam neared the curb, and Sam sat down in his old friend.
"Are you certain you don't want to stay longer?" his guardian asked. "I don't mind waiting."
"It's alright, Bee," Sam sighed, running his hands over the steering wheel. "It's not my home anymore. It's just a house. It was kind of stupid of me to think that I could come back."
Bumblebee was silent for a long moment.
"No," he said softly. "I felt the same way when I found my old quarters on Cybertron."
"How long were you gone?" Sam asked.
"Roughly seventy thousand vorns," he sighed.
"A vorn is about 83 years, isn't it?" Sam asked. "So that would be..."
"581,000 years," Bumblebee supplied.
"Wow...that makes ten years feel like nothing."
"For such a short time, much of your world has changed," said Bumblebee. "Cybertron is constant. Change rarely occurs, and when it does, it does so slowly. But I've found that I have changed more than my home, and the place where I once belonged could no longer hold me."
"How did you deal with it?" Sam asked.
"I realized that my new home was a better place for me, and I decided to never look back."
"Never look back," Sam echoed. The ghost of a smile tugged at his lips. "That's...good advice."
Bumblebee's engine started with a soft purr and he rolled down the street. The row of neat houses stood undisturbed. Two children played with a football in their front yard, and an old man barely paused in his gardening to glance up at the sleek gold and black Camero. The people lived on, unaware of the fantastical things passing them by or of the boy swept up and changed by things beyond this world.