Disclaimer: Transformers in any of it's incarnations is NOT mine!

Summary: After a battle, Optimus has a chat with a bystander. Takes place sometime in season 2.

Bringing Change

The shard of the All-Spark had been kept out of Decepticon hands, but the damage from the battle was being estimated in the millions and it was rising. He felt shame that they had brought this upon the humans of the world.

"Why the long face my vertically gifted friend?" The voice came from audio level and he quickly whipped his head around only to come optic to eye level with woman quietly sitting on the remains of an overpass. His optics flicked off and on in a blink as he processed the strange question.

"I am as I was manufactured by my creator and ..." He peered at the woman closely, taking in her tanned, weathered, wrinkled skin. The streaks of gray in her long dark brown dred-locks, and her green eyes. "I do not believe we have ever met."

The woman chuckled in a motherly fashion as she arranged her clay coloured skirt over her legs. "No. But everyone is a friend to me unless they prove otherwise. And I was asking why you look so sad."

"Well ... look at all this damage, the cost for the city to repair is all will be astronomical." He gestured to the furrows torn in the streets, the half-collapsed buildings and the fires that were being put out.

"You shouldn't be sad about that. Nothing of value was lost."

"But ...!" Optimus began to object. The woman simply wagged her finger to silence him before she stood and straightened her beige blouse.

"Now listen. You shouldn't be ashamed of defending yourselves and defending those who can't." She gestured to the only intact building on the block and Optimus turned his head in time to see a class of young children being led from the building by police and looking about nervously. He felt some of the weight being lifted from his spark as he turned back to the woman. "All this .." She gestured to the structural damage he had pointed out earlier. "Can be rebuilt, replaced. That's why it's assigned a monetary value. The lives of the people are priceless, for once they're gone, nothing can replace them. I know, as a Mother myself, I am grateful for what you and your team have done for humankind."

"We have involved you in our war. You are grateful for that?"

"I'm sure you'll be surprised when I tell you 'yes, I am'."

He was stunned as he struggled to wrap his processor around the fact that this woman was glad to be pulled into an intergalactic struggle.

"I'm sure you've noticed by now that Earth is always changing. The survival of the children, both man and beast, is highly dependant on the ability to adapt. The arrival of you, your team, and the Decepticons are the heralds of a new era. Your species has proven life on other worlds and has sparked anew the curiosity and ingenuity that will, in a relatively short time, allow humans to develop deep-space technology and explore new planets themselves." The woman had an expression on her face he couldn't identify despite all the time he an his team had been active on Earth. A small part of his processor noted that during the entire conversation the woman had not referred to being a part of the human race herself, but it was ignored in the belief that it was one of the many incomprehensible quirks that humans possessed.

"I had not thought of it that way, that our presence will benefit in such a way. Are you so sure though? Not everyone seems to accept us as you suggest." He thought of Fanzone, of Powell.

"Then those who can't adapt will be left behind, staying at the level at which they're comfortable while others surge ahead. Humans are a very diverse species with many different beliefs. Adversity is to be expected." The woman shrugged, and the sleeves of her blouse lifted a bit, exposing a cluster of small purple bruises and part of an old scar. His optics widened as he connected them to the battle that had taken place less than fifteen earth minutes ago.

"You are injured! Allow me to take you to the nearest hospital!" He exclaimed as extended his hand for her to climb in. The woman stepped aside with gentle amusement on her face.

"I'm alright. I am getting older and many of my children simply do not respect their Mother as they once did. It's kind of you to worry for me though." The woman sighed and he recognized the exasperation in her tone, having heard it from Ratchet many times.

"Is there anything I can assist you with?" He asked, thinking it was time someone talked the nice womans' offspring into being more gentle with her.

"No. This conversation's made me realize I've misjudged some of my rowdy guests, and that I must apologize to their old, technologically inclined, know-it-all Father." The admission was so reluctant and grudging he couldn't help but be amused. The woman smiled at him and gave a brief wave. "It has been an unexpected pleasure speaking with you Optimus Prime. I hope we cross paths once again." She began to walk away.

"Wait!" He called and the woman paused. "What's your name?" His sensors detected Prowl close by and he turned his head to look at his teammate while keeping an audio open for the answer to his question.

"My name is ..."

"Optimus, who are you talking to?" Prowl asked, sounding concerned. He pointed to the woman behind him.

"The woman on the bridge.

"There's no one there sir. Perhaps you should visit Ratchet to make sure your optics weren't damaged in the battle."

"Gaia."

He quickly turned around. Prowl was right, there was no sign of the woman anywhere, or that there had been a person there at all.