I think my will to write is slowly coming back!
I'm actually surprised that this is actually my writing and not someone else's, as it's a farcry from my usual style. Although it combines two elements of my usual story types (humor and drama), it still seems so...different...and I think somehow I might have added a gay overtone towards the ending, hell I don't know, maybe I'm just thinking that way because I'm tired.
I noticed that the more I write, the further and further from canon what I write gets. While I like the personalities that I've come to give the Decepticons over the months, it's nice to go a little more in-character once in a while. Therefore, this story is more of an attempt to do just that and has nothing to do with any previous relationships established in my past writings between the characters, and more how I think they'd interact based on canon. You'll likely notice that if you compare certain characters in this story with their portrayal in other stories (most notably Frenzy, who's been restored to more of an unfortunate bystander/comic relief character than one of Barricade's friends) most of them are quite different. Accidental gay overtones aside, I rather like how this one turned out. =P
This story rated M for strong language.
Bumblebee learned the hard way not to nap out in the open when his sleep was rudely interrupted by 2.2 tons of Mustang ramming sharply into his side. Angered by the dent left in his door from the impact, he raced off after the police cruiser. The cruiser in question had his speakers all the way up so that Bumblebee could hear what he was listening to: Indestructible by Disturbed. Barricade was bragging, as usual.
Barricade had made a career out of illegal street racing in the past, making him more suited to zooming down the street at 120mph while weaving in and out of traffic, keeping him way in the lead. The fact that he also had the benefit of not giving a rat's ass about what happened to what he considered to be worthless sacks of meat helped. Bumblebee, on the other hand, took more concern with the humans on the road, taking great care to not hurt any of them.
To Bumblebee's relief, the highway they merged into was barely occupied, allowing him to go faster without the threat of causing any harm. Desperate for a way to avoid the angry Autobot, Barricade made a sharp turn to the right and sped off through a field. He slowed down to avoid a collision with a tree that blindsided him, only to be rammed from behind into said tree.
Barricade peeled himself off the tree, groaning about the pain and the possible damage to his engine, aware that Bumblebee was doing a few celebratory donuts behind him. "Oh come on, this isn't NASCAR!" Barricade growled, finally separating from the tree.
To his horror, Bumblebee smashed into his back end again, smashing him once more onto the tree. Barricade could hear his radio turn up to a significantly high level as the Autobot drove off:
"I know who you are/The leader of lost souls/You can't kill me, I'm immortal
I'm not afraid to die/My soul will travel on/You can't kill me, I'm immortal"
"Such a cruel irony…" Barricade grumbled. "You okay, Frenzy?" The mini-con squeaked and slowly slid off the dashboard onto the floor.
Bumblebee hoped he hadn't injured Barricade too bad as he drove away. He knew Barricade was just playing around (had it been a real attack, one of them would have been lying in a ditch in their own fluids by now), so maybe slamming him into a tree was a bit too extreme. Then again, it served him right for harassing the young Autobot like that. Maybe now at least, he'd get a chance to sleep.
"OW! Fuck!" Barricade jumped when Frenzy pulled out a broken wire. "Watch where you put those claws!"
"Sparkling," Frenzy mumbled. He quickly jumped off and out of the way when Barricade snapped the hood shut in an attempt to whack him with it.
"I can hear, you know!" Barricade snapped. He silently wished he hadn't slammed the hood shut, the pain reverberating from the front of his vehicle mode all through his frame. He very carefully popped it open again, allowing Frenzy to jump back up and take a look. "Just be careful, or next time I'll take your head off!"
"It's your own damn fault this happened. I warned you not to do it!" Frenzy scolded.
"Oh, like you're the one to talk," Barricade countered. "Do you know how many times I've had to save your aft because you did something stupid?"
"Starscream won't like this…"
"Starscream can suck my…"
A beep indicated an incoming message on his comlink, interrupting his statement. "Barricade? Are you there?"
Barricade jumped at the unexpected timing. "Oh… Starscream… Hi!" Frenzy gave him an unimpressed look when his tough guy persona faded at the sound of Starscream's voice. He fell off when the Mustang made a jerky motion backwards and caused him to lose his balance.
"Blackout's scanners indicate that you had a confrontation with the Autobot, Hornet or something like that…"
"Bumblebee," Barricade corrected.
"Whatever. I was just checking on your status. Are you injured?" Starscream continued.
Barricade paused a moment, running a quick internal scan. The scan turned up with a long list of damaged or totaled components. "Neh. I'm fine. It's just a ding."
"If that's a ding, then the Mariana Trench is a crack," Frenzy butted in. Barricade swung open his passenger-side door, taking Frenzy out with it in one shot.
"And the Autobot?" the F-22 asked.
"I don't think he'll be bothering me for a while," Barricade lied.
"Only because he feels sorry for humiliating you," Frenzy once again interjected.
"Do you want to lose your face?" Barricade asked in a threatening tone. Frenzy screeched and ran away to hide.
"Good. Let me know if any progress is made towards the location of the All Spark," Starscream added before signing off.
Barricade sighed in relief when he finally left him alone. Frenzy poked his head out of the gopher hole he was hiding in. "What are you doing over there? Get back here and help fix me!" he snapped at the mini-con impatiently.
Slowly, ever so slowly, Bumblebee snuck up to the sleeping Decepticon. The moonlight reflected off the cruiser's black and white armor, highlighting the dents and scratches that remained from the unfortunate "accident" that had occurred only three days ago. Barricade remained unaware of the encroaching evil in his unconscious state, allowing Bumblebee to get closer and closer until he was right next to him. He waited a few moments, peeking in through the side window at Frenzy, snoozing unaware. They looked so peaceful and secure. Too bad it couldn't stay that way.
Bumblebee bleeped his horn, quickly taking off in the other direction afterwards. Jolting out of recharge, Barricade let out a mechanical squeal of pain when Frenzy hit the roof with an unusual amount of force. Turning around to face the retreating Autobot, he angrily tore off after him. "I'm gonna kill you for that one!" he screamed over the comlink at him. "I swear Bumblebee, if I ever catch up to you, even Xzibit won't be able to put you back together again!"
"He wouldn't be doing this if you hadn't harassed him before," Frenzy pointed out.
"Frenzy, you're going to lose your face privileges if you don't shut the hell up!" Barricade snapped. Frenzy gave off an offended trill and slumped in the seat with an annoyed look on his face while Barricade accelerated. He quickly put on his seatbelt to prevent another face plant against the dashboard.
"He's baiting you," Frenzy warned. Before Barricade could respond, Bumblebee made a sharp, unexpected turn to the left. Unable to slow down in time, Barricade skidded into a dumpster. "Told ya," Frenzy added once the cruiser was finally halted. Barricade deployed the airbag, smacking Frenzy square on in the face.
Bumblebee's engine revved up, taunting his Decepticon adversary. Taking the bait yet again, Barricade sped off after him. This time Bumblebee had no humans to worry about, as the roads were relatively empty this time of night, which allowed him to drive faster. He proved himself to be a skilled driver, and also proved that he had an uncanny ability to trick Barricade into crashing into things. Maybe it was the fact that Barricade was tired, or perhaps even that he was built up into such a rage that his performance wasn't that great, but whatever advantage Bumblebee had on the Decepticon he was definitely using.
"Slow down!" Frenzy warned, seeing what was up next.
Bumblebee quickly skidded to a halt before he made a splash into a lake, something which Barricade failed to do. Bumblebee waited to see how long it would take for him to resurface. His wait turned to several minutes, until the Autobot began to grow worried and made his first fatal mistake in transforming and approaching the water's edge. His guard down, he was taken aback when Barricade pounced on him from the water like an angry tiger, intent on carrying out his previous threat and making it painful.
"What the fuck is your problem?!" Barricade snapped, pinning a struggling Bumblebee down. "I was trying to sleep! Don't fuck with people when they're sleeping!" The Autobot avoided looking at Barricade, aware that he was in trouble when he remembered that he was the only Autobot currently stationed on the planet. "Say something, don't just ignore me like-!" Barricade paused. "Oh…right. Sorry." Bumblebee looked up at him, confused as to why he wasn't in a million pieces at the bottom of the lake by now.
Barricade calmed down considerably during a moment's pause, something that was odd for the two-ton killer robot. On a closer inspection, he noticed that Bumblebee, for the first time since he'd ever met the Autobot, actually seemed scared of him, like he realized that he'd pushed a prank too far and was worried that Barricade would kill him for it. It was either out of compassion, fatigue, or just plain stupidity that he decided to let him go, standing up and walking back to the water where Frenzy crawled out, choking and sputtering up water that managed to flood his systems, and aggressively scooped him up.
Bumblebee watched him curiously in an upright position, making no attempt to make a break for it as he felt there was no need to at the moment. He felt so confused…how was he still alive?
"Dammit, what are these kids on?!" Barricade growled when another group of schoolchildren walked in front of him without looking both ways, causing him to nearly collide with them. "I should just run the little fleshbags over! Maybe they'll see the error of their ways as I back over them a second time!"
"Cade…" Frenzy warned.
"I know… I'm not going to do it…yet…" Barricade knew that he had to pretend to be a normal police cruiser to keep up his disguise, and even Frenzy was smart enough to figure out that running over children was something that most police frowned upon on this planet. Still, nothing felt more satisfying than imagining sending what they could scrape off the asphalt to the morgue.
"Barricade, are you there?" a voice came over his comlink.
Barricade tensed at first, but then calmed when he realized it was a less hostile voice than he was expecting. "Oh Blackout, it's just you. I thought it was Starnacho at first," he replied.
Blackout laughed. "Neh, the Dorito with arms is busy cursing out Brawl and Bonecrusher right now. But that outlook definitely gets you the position of third-in-command when I take over the Decepticons."
"Only third?" Barricade said with mock disappointment.
"Yeah, I already promised the second-in-command to Scorponok."
"Scorponok, hmm? He'd make quite an interesting leader, should anything happen to you," Barricade teased.
"You know, the position of "Dungeon Warmer" is also up for grabs…" Blackout threatened.
"I'm only kidding, Blackout. Anyway, what is it that you need?" Frenzy started noisily sucking coffee from a straw with the intent to annoy him. Barricade intentionally hit a pothole to make him bounce on the seat.
"You had another encounter with the Autobot. Did you actually win this time?" His tone seemed highly critical of Barricade.
"What do you mean by 'this time', Blackout?" Barricade asked, annoyed.
"Oh come on Barricade, I'm not as stupid as Starscream. I know Bumblebee totally kicked your ass during your last encounter!" Blackout countered.
Barricade was silent. What should he tell him? Bumblebee in a way did kick his ass…but he was soon able to overpower him afterwards. But then again, he tore apart every chance he got for retaliation by letting the Autobot go. There really was no clear winner last night, was there? "I…sort of let him go." Blackout was silent. "Blackout? You still there?"
"You're gonna get it now," Frenzy snickered, only to get a punch in the face from Barricade's holoform.
"You…let him go?" Blackout finally said, obviously displeased. The uncomfortable silence that impregnated their connection was unnerving, and it seemed to last for eons. It seemed as though this information was still sinking into Blackout's mind. Barricade actually winced when Blackout finally spoke again in a more aggressive and angry tone. "Why the hell did you do that?! Give me one good reason why I shouldn't send Bonecrusher to gut you right now!"
"For one, Bonecrusher doesn't like following orders and likely won't do it, and for two, guts are an organic trait, so therefore I don't have them," Barricade offered. Blackout's growling indicated that these were the wrong answers. "Well we need him to find the All Spark, don't we?" he quickly responded to save himself.
Blackout was thoughtful for a moment. "That is a point… Okay, you're off the hook…for now. But don't let it happen again," he warned before cutting the transmission.
Barricade sighed, feeling thankful that Blackout was more reasonable than Starscream would have been. He quickly hit the brakes when another child ran in front of him on his way home from school. "Son of a…!" He grumbled while the child ran on his way and moved an inch forward, only to be stopped by an entire fleet of children. "Primus, they swarm like zombies!"
"Oh yeah. It's gonna be a bloodbath," Frenzy sighed, aware that Barricade was about to see how many of them he could send to the hospital. He cringed in fear of getting punched again when Barricade's holoform held up his fist threateningly.
This was unexpected. This was very unexpected. After the display Bumblebee had given him the night he'd sent him swimming in the lake, Barricade had expected him to be nothing more than a coward or a pushover. He was surprised to find that to the contrary, he was a skilled fighter. Maybe it was the addition of the meatbags that he had to protect that made him actually fight back. Maybe Bumblebee was only pretending to be helpless that night at the lake with hopes of garnering sympathy and subsequently, freedom. Whatever the reason might have been, Barricade had underestimated him, expecting that because he was young and preferred to avoid combat, he would be incapable of fighting back at all. Barricade knew that it had nothing to do with his own skills being less than desirable- he had years of experience in street fighting to back up his military training. For a moment he wondered who it was that had trained him, for he had deep respect for them after witnessing Bumblebee's surprising knowledge of hand-to-hand combat.
For the first time ever, Barricade finally found an opponent he couldn't take down. The realization came to him that never once had he been able to damage Bumblebee aside from a minor dent, while the Autobot each time managed to defeat and humiliate him with ease. Why should this time be any different?
Lying on the ground in a miasma of sparks and a pool of his own fluids, he stared up at a charged cannon, ready to end his existence at a moment's notice. Although he refused to let it show, he was scared. Not of death, but of being defeated. He knew what was coming next. Bumblebee would blow his head off and take the humans to retrieve the All Spark. Refusing to look away, for a moment he made eye contact with the Autobot. He wondered what was taking him so long to just pull the trigger already.
What happened next surprised him. Without breaking eye contact, Bumblebee slowly lowered his cannon. Confused, Barricade followed his movements as he walked away from him towards the humans. It only took him a moment of wondering to realize why he'd not shot him. It was Bumblebee's way of repaying him for sparing him at the lake, even though he'd had the opportunity and motivation to kill him.
Barricade envied him for a moment, recognizing why he'd lost. It hurt knowing that Bumblebee was stronger than him. Not physically, but mentally. Maybe Barricade did have him with physical strength, making him superficially indestructible, but Bumblebee's victory had nothing to do with anything physical. He won because he had a stronger motivation to protect this planet, as opposed to Barricade's more selfish motives to rape it of anything valuable and then destroy it. Bumblebee wasn't scared to die for his cause, preventing him from holding back. If anything should happen to him, he wouldn't be forgotten like any other soldier fighting for the same cause. His friends would fight back for him. In a way, he was immortal, which was way more than he could say for himself.
"Lucky," Barricade mumbled, laying his head back against the moistened ground in exhaustion.
Bumblebee sat alone on a hill overlooking the sunset. Finally, after all this fighting, he had peace. He'd never imagined that it would come at such a high cost, however. Saddened by the loss of close friends and even those he considered family, it was a high price for freedom, but a necessary one at that. He stood up and spun around when he heard something behind him, still instinctively high-sprung and sensitive to noise. He pulled his cannon out and glared at the intruder.
Barricade made no attempt to fight despite the obvious threat Bumblebee posed. "Can I sit with you?" he asked instead. Bumblebee cocked his head to the side, wondering if he should trust him, before agreeing. Moving towards him, Barricade had a noticeable limp from an injury that hadn't finished healing. "So…can you talk yet?" he asked as he sat down.
"Sometimes," Bumblebee managed in a heavily distorted and tinny-sounding voice.
"It hurts to talk?" Barricade inquired. The Autobot nodded, sitting next to him in the grass. They both silently watched the sunset for a few moments. Barricade's attention eventually shifted nervously to the ground. "Look, I don't usually do this, so don't tell anyone I said this, okay?" Bumblebee looked up and nodded. "Thanks…for sparing me back there."
"Well, I wouldn't have been able to fight you anyway "back there" if you'd decided to kill me at the lake, so I guess I should be thanking you," Bumblebee replied.
Barricade smiled and nodded before staring back at the sunset. "Yeah. I guess you're right." They watched it turn from day to night in silence for a while. "Hmm… I wonder whatever happened to Frenzy since I last saw him?"
Frenzy's arm protruded from the pile of tangled metal triumphantly. With only half a head remaining and having been buried under several tons of dead robot, it was a miracle he was still alive, and he was very grateful for this at that. "Finally! I'm out!" he cheered. He suddenly heard cables releasing, seconds before he was released along with Brawl's remains into the icy depths of the Laurentian Abyss. "Oh shit…"