Decepticons And Toddlers Don't Mix.

Summary: When Barricade decides to kidnap Annabelle Lennox and hold her as a captive for leverage against the Autobots, he finds that when it comes to not co-operating, Decepticons have nothing on wilful toddlers.

Rating: T

Continuity: Movieverse

Disclaimer: Transformers belongs to Hasbro and DreamWorks/Paramount, not I.

A/N: This was meant to be a lot funnier and less stressful than it actually turned out. This is set approximately a year after the events of The 2007 Transformers Movie.

Decepticons And Toddlers Don't Mix.

Barricade looked at the child he'd taken, wondering just what to do now. The horrendous screeching noise she was making was at a pitch and volume that was hurting his audios, and her mobile face had screwed up into an ugly-looking mass of bright red skin. Her organic optic sensors, although shuttered by what the humans called 'eyelids' were leaking secretions, and Barricade had no idea what do to get the youngling to stop doing it.

He had tried shouting at her to shut up: that had only caused the volume and pitch of the sounds she was making to increase and the leakage turn from a dribble into a flow. The simplest solution of course would be to permanently offline her. However, she had been taken as a bargaining chip, and a dead bargaining chip was of little or no use. Add to that the fact that Ironhide was fond of this one, and Barricade knew that to offline her would result in Ironhide hunting him down and offlining him, and it was unlikely to be swift or painless. Although right now, being permanently offlined actually seemed a more attractive proposition than having to put up with much more of this!

Besides, no matter the species even most Decepticons, Barricade included, balked at the thought of killing sparklings.

It had seemed such a good idea at the time, and as even the dog holoform he had used to help lure the child to him failed to distract her enough to stop her screaming, he recalled how he had, in a flash of what had seemed inspiration, come up with the plan to take her when he saw her with her mother by the mall.

oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo

Two hours earlier.

Barricade was bored as he cruised around the mall, Starscream had gone off on yet another jaunt into space to try and gather more followers, which meant that he was to be alone on this miserable rock for about three weeks with nothing to do. Oh, he could stay in the base, make it ready – again – for the reinforcements Starscream was insisting he would soon find, but no, stuck in there for the duration would send him into stasis lock with boredom within a week. Even cruising round here, watching the squishies, was more interesting than being boxed up alone in that building, so here he was, counting down the time until Starscream was due to come back. Starscream was an arrogant Seeker, but at least he was another Cybertronian, and another Decepticon.

He saw a woman with a child at a window, they seemed familiar, and in an astrosecond he had worked out who they were: the mate and offspring of the male Lennox squishy. The infant was standing by the stroller the woman had. Barricade figured that the Lennox-sparkling was at the walking but tiring easily stage he had read about while surfing the internet to relieve similar periods of boredom just after Mission City, when prudence had suggested he not venture outside.

The child was also at that curious stage, looking around her while her mother continued to look in the window, the child smiling as she saw Barricade draw closer.

Barricade had seen about this on the internet, about human children's apparent fascination with police cars and fire engines. It was then he realised that if he could lure the child to him, he could keep her and use her to extract fuel or supplies from the Autobots, or even just keep her to worry her squishy parents. There would be little point in harming her: that would benefit nobody, least of all him when Ironhide found out, but if he could keep her, threaten to let Starscream decide her fate – or even carry the threat through and give her to Starscream and let him decide what to do with her – at least then he'd be doing something different than circling the Mall because he had nothing else to do!

Barricade knew that the Lennox-sparkling would not come over to him automatically, would need luring, but he had to act fast. He saw her pat an animal on a leash as it walked by, the owner stopping to allow the child to touch it, and Barricade took the opportunity to scan it, fashioned a holoform of it, and watched as one of the Lennox-femme's friends stopped to talk to her. Now, while she was distracted, would be the best time.

He noticed that the youngling was attached to her Creator by a wrist strap: a brief laser beam which severed the strap took care of that. Barricade allowed his back door to open and reveal the dog holoform, wagging its tail, its tongue lolling out of its mouth. The child's eyes widened and it toddled over. Barricade allowed the child to pat the holo's head twice before he made it back off further into the car. As he'd anticipated, the youngling, oblivious to his plans, clambered up to stroke it some more.

oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo

Sarah did not notice the wrist strap go limp because Annabelle was so close to her that it was already hanging in a loop between them. It was her mother's instinct, the almost unconscious sensing that Annabelle was no longer by her legs, but the strap was still limp, that made Sarah look down and see where it had been sliced across its length.

Fear and instinct made her turn, her eyes scanning the area, looking for the familiar form of her daughter. She spotted the police car, saw her daughter crouched on the back seats, petting a dog, one that did not look like a police working dog. Alarm bells rang in her head, hadn't Will and Ironhide warned her to avoid a certain police car if she saw it? What was its number, 643? Ironhide, their alien robotic friend had told her about the events of Mission City, had warned her about one of his side's enemies that disguised itself as a police car, a robotic foe with an aggressive temperament that was known by the name Barricade.

How she knew, she couldn't have answered anything more than 'mother's instinct' if asked, but at that moment, she knew something was wrong, Annabelle was in danger. Sarah took a step towards the car. As if it had been a cue, the open door slammed shut.

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Movement from the femme drew his attention back; she had discovered the severed strap. She turned, and she caught sight of her daughter inside the police car. Barricade saw confusion, and then alarm register on the femme's face: her mate may have told her about him, or it may just be the mother being anxious about the situation in general. Whichever it was, his time had just run out: it was time for him to go.

He slammed the door shut and pulled away from the kerb.

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"ANNABELLE!" screamed Sarah as she saw the car with her daughter trapped in the back pull rapidly away from the kerbside. Her friend was staring with an open mouth, said "The officer must not realise she's in there, I'll call the local station." Sarah only just heard her, her fears confirmed as she spotted the cruiser's number: 643.

She grabbed for her own cell, hit the number Ironhide had given her once Ratchet had adapted all the Autobots to be able to receive calls from human cell phones.

"Sarah?" she heard Ironhide answer.

"Ironhide, help, please!" she sobbed into the phone. "It's Annabelle, she's gone, he's taken her!"

"Who's taken her, Sarah?" rumbled the big Autobot, concern registering in his voice.

"Barricade!" she cried, tears running down her face. "He's taken her, Ironhide, Barricade's got my baby!"

oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo oOo

Annabelle looked up from petting the doggy at her mother's cry.

"Mommy?" she cried, moving back over to look out of the window.

"It's okay, kid, I'm just taking you for a little ride, I'll take you back to your mommy later." He said. "Want me to put on my lights and sirens for you?"

Annabelle looked uncertain at first, but the man was a policeman, she had learned from the telly you could trust policemen, and he had said she'd go back to her mommy, maybe he'd take her back after her ride? She knew Mommy would shout at her, call her a Bad Girl, maybe even smack her, but a ride in a Police car would be worth it! The police officer was ugly-looking and old, but he was being nice and smiling at her, it would be all right!

"Yes please." She said, stroking the doggy again. Barricade activated his lights and sirens, and sped off with the small, trusting child in the back.

Barricade had turned gaining trust where it was not deserved into an art form, and had managed to gain- and break – the trust of older and smarter beings than any human. Gaining the trust of this human child was a simple task for the Decepticon.

Barricade stopped off briefly at a store for a few supplies: his research on the Internet told him the child would need clothing, food, and water, and things called a 'potty' and "pull-up disposable pants" for the messier results of eating and drinking. He had found out the hard way what "need a pee-pee" meant: he now had a smelly wet patch on his back seat. Her current pair of pull-up disposable pants had caught most, but not all, of her leakage.

When he got back to the base, he had let her out.

"Back to Mommy now?" she asked.

"Change and eat and have a nap first." He said to her. Her mouth turned down.

"Want Mommy!" she said, stamping her foot. "Want Mommy NOW!"

"No." he said. "Do as I say. Change your clothes and pull-ups, eat and then nap. That's what the internet says you need to do." Barricade was getting desperate: this was unexpected.

"Shan't! Want Mommy!" she cried. Barricade was sick of this: maybe he needed to tell her in his real form: he'd terrify her into submission.

Annabelle watched as Barricade unfolded into the robotic form: having seen Ironhide do the same thing many times, she was not too shocked.

"Want Mommy! NOW!" she shouted, tears trickling from her eyes.

"NO! DO AS I SAY!" he shouted at her, dropping to all fours to bring his face close to hers.

It hadn't worked: it had just caused the first of many screams.

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Half an hour later

Half an hour after that initial scream, Barricade had made no headway: the child would stop for a few seconds, then start again. The sounds were not quite so loud, the child's voice was obviously wearing out, but she was still rasping out screams of distress, still leaking tears, her face was still reddish-purple with her exertion, she had wet herself again, and to add to that, she had voided the contents of her stomach just a few minutes ago.

In the few pauses, Barricade had tried shouting at her to shut up, making more threats, offering chocolate, pleading, bringing back up the holo-dog, even singing to her to try and stop her screaming, but none of them had worked. A look on the Net told him that he should have offered chocolate or other treats first, his threatening had pushed her to the point where nothing was likely to work.

Her cries, although less piercing, were still unpleasant on the audios, and Barricade was now starting to worry for the youngling's health. Having lost all this liquid, he was concerned she'd get dehydrated, but she had rejected all his attempts to offer her drinks: opened cartons and cups with straws in were scattered about her, half of them overturned and draining onto the base floor. Getting away from her screaming could just mean putting her in a small room and locking the door and going out, but if she got sick and died, Ironhide would be after his energon for sure!

Eventually, she was lying on the floor, still red-faced, hoarsely crying, and in obvious distress. He decided there was only one thing he could do: he folded back into car form and opened his door.

"I'm taking you back to your mother. Now stop that horrid noise, and get in. But take a drink: I'll take you back but only if you drink."

She sat up, the crying subsided, and she grabbed a carton before crawling wetly back into his back seat and sitting down quietly, sucking the drink through the straw. He briefly considered waiting till she had drunk the drink and then ordering her out again, trying to keep her as planned, but then decided against it. She'd start crying again, possibly bring the drink back up, voiding the benefit of having it, and she'd lose any trust in him, making taking her back if the time came more difficult. No, trying to keep her until Starscream came back was too difficult and too risky, and even without the risk to her health, was too stressful. He shuddered at the memory of those piercing screams: he couldn't put up with much more of those if her voice recovered!

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Ironhide was driving around with a tearful Sarah and grim-faced Will when he received the communication from the Autobot base. He sighed with relief, told Cliffjumper to repeat, and put it on speaker: The Lennoxes needed to hear this.

"Ironhide, Barricade just drew up to the Base gates, got Annabelle Lennox out of his back seat, and zoomed off. Ratchet says she's tearful and frightened, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise unharmed. She's asking for her mommy so I think you should get back here."

"Thank God!" Sarah sobbed, collapsing with relief into Will's arms.

"Okay, Cliffjumper, we're en route, tell Ratchet we'll be back within 20 minutes."

Only just keeping within the speed limit, Ironhide headed back to the Autobot base.

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As Barricade finished clearing up the Decepticon base after the mess Annabelle had made, Barricade decided to keep this incident to himself, and mention nothing of it to Starscream. Not out of any shame, or embarrassment, no, but because he feared Starscream would suggest he try again. Barricade shuddered at the thought.

No, best to keep this to himself, and try to swiftly debunk any ideas Starscream might have himself involving holding human younglings at the Base. It was too much stress, too much trouble, and way too much mess and noise was involved.

Barricade made a silent vow that he'd permanently offline himself personally before taking on the task of looking after a young human ever again.