A/N: Guys, I absolutely LOVE Transformers....the cartoon was always intense in that dorky, outragious way. But I enjoyed it! The movies are gems in my opinion. Totally take me to a different place!

Disclaimer- Transformers belong to Hasbro, those lucky devils.

~Comrades~ by: Berouge

The dull roar of crashing waves against the metal hull of the carrier brought with it, a calming affect that the multiple pain relievers he was currently being forced on, didn't seem to posses. The velvety sky with its liberal dusting of dancing stars was a gorgeous and welcoming change from the Sun seared sands they had left behind not more than a scant few hours ago.

Except for the dozens of military deckhands, mechanics and the occasional giant, automobized alien robot, Sam Witwicky had the massive landing deck to himself. Unconcerned about the chance of being smashed by departing or incoming aircraft, as the carrier had been under lockdown since he and the unusual crowd he was with came on board, Sam took full advantage of such a rare opportunity to enjoy the relative quiet and solitude that cool night air afforded him. He had isolated himself at the bow of the ship, perched on the edge, with his legs dangling over the side for the most part ignoring the shear drop hundreds of feet below to the ocean just beneath his battered sneakers.

He had needed time to think. Mikaela, having apparently sensed this without his needing to voice it, willingly distracted their larger than life autobot friends and their handful of human comrades so he could sneak away.

Or at least try too.

He would have been completely surprised if at least four of the present nine autobots hadn't noticed his departure.

Sitting there, on the cooling landing deck beneath the millions of winking, flickering lights, with the basso of sloshing water all about him, Sam felt the weight of the last few days' traumatic events slide from his shoulders.

He had survived.

Somehow, someway, he had managed to slip through deaths closing grip, and survive.


More importantly, Mikaela, his parents and the oddball acquaintances he had scattered throughout all walks of civilian and military life, which had stepped through this battle with him, survived as well.

But what really made him sigh with ill concealed relief, was that Optimus Prime was still with them; had come back to them. The sickened, pulsating pain that lodged itself in his mind and heart at having watched the titanic autobot give his life for Sam's own, still made itself known when given to thoughts of remembrance or 'what if' scenarios.

The leader of the Autobots had expressed his deepest gratitude at having not been 'given up on,' and had made him self crystal clear that he was in the human boys' to say, Sam rambled and stuttered his objections to the gargantuan mech, but Optimus would hear none of it.

"You refused to give up on me when others had already accepted my defeat. It would be dishonorable for me to ignore such a hard won gift, and act like we are anywhere near even." His deep rumbling voice had murmured softly through the truck cab at Sam as the caravan of surviving military personal and autobots rolled down the Cairo streets towards the delta harobor. "Twice you have risked your own life to save mine. Please allow me the honor of returning at least a fraction to you, of what you have bestowed upon me."

Sam's adamant protests had died on his tongue after such a request. As far as he was concerned, Optimus had saved his skin (not to mention everyone else's on the planet) on more occasions than he had fingers. In fact, the entire reason Optimus Prime even died, was Sam's fault to begin with! He wouldn't have been surprised if the other autobots didn't hold something against him as well.

Optimus was right. They weren't even remotely close to being even. Sam owed more to the fearless leader and the other mechs, than he could ever hope at repaying in a single life time.

Shifting back to gaze directly up at the spray of stars above, Sam barely had time to contemplate exactly how he could even try to begin to repay the blue and red mech leader and his crew, when the thumping of giant feet announced the approach of one of the autobots.

Sam furrowed his brow in concentration as he listened to the sound the mega cleats made on the concrete decking. The distinctive clicking, like humongous dog claws against tiled floor ruled out Ratchet, Optimus, and Sam's self appointed guardian, Bumblebee; whose large feet were more boot-like in design. That narrowed the choices down. He hadn't been around Jolt, Sideswipe, the twins or the three motorcycled autobot enough to know their distinctive walking sound but judging by the rumbling shake of the decking with each footfall, it was a much heavier autobot than either of those four.

Craning his head back, a surprised Sam took in the upside down sight of the enormous weapons specialist, Ironhide, as he paced up towards the boy.

Scrambling to his feet, Sam turned fully to watch as the bulky autobot came closer and closer. His king sized, three toed feet sending small tremors through the immense aircraft carriers' A-deck. A feat that, Sam knew, even landing jets couldn't recreate.

"Hey, Ironhide!" Sam greeted quietly in a mixed voice brimming with intimidation and confusion. Ironhide and he hadn't really been close like several of the other autobots. "Nice…night!?" he tried.

"If you say so." The black mechs' deep, gravely voiced practically growled back.

Sam swallowed as the big cannons on his arms slowly rotated, giving off a near silent hum that was more felt than heard.

They stood in silence as Sams' mind raced for something to say while at the same time worrying about provoking the easily angered tank of an autobot with his questions.

He'd never really spoken to the weapons specialist before in a situation that wasn't life threatening, and what he knew about the giant gunner was just randomly assimilated snippets of info the other autobots had mentioned from time to time, and what Sam had personally seen in the midst of battle.

Ironhide was big, quick at the trigger, and completely devastating to opposing forces. Not much for polite conversations and stupid people's opinions. He was also unwaveringly loyal to Optimus and his autobot comrades, having placed himself in the path of danger on multiple occasions for the sake of the others.

Sam sagged slightly as he went back over his mental compilation of Ironhides' qualities and traits, stopping on the section: Unwaveringly loyal to Optimus. Optimus was a friend that Sam had managed to accidently get killed…

'Oh shit.'

"Calm down, boy. I'm not going to hurt you." The black mech uttered to the panicking teen. Seriously, humans were too wound up sometimes. He was surprised that they didn't blow a few gaskets more often with all the pressure they built up in those little bodies of theirs.

"Look Ironhide…sir." Sam added hastily, "I'm really sorry about getting Optimus…hurt. I...they…uhmm…" he was starting to stutter, having lost his steam when the weapons specialist narrowed his gleaming optics in the teens direction at the mention of Optimus' nearly permanent malady. Finally just shutting his mouth, Sam edged backwards a bit, mentally marking the end of the decking less than a foot behind him while simultaneously giving the cannoned mech more room.

Ironhide shifted his great weight from one hydraulic webbed hip to the other; his glowing optics never once straying too far from Sam's nervous form. "I should be thanking you Samuel Witwicky." The mech began as the bruised face of the teen lifted in blatant surprise. "You're unwavering belief in the possibility of Optimus' resurrection was a turning point for us in battle. Your unshakeable courage, and perseverance to see your vision through, simply remarkable. Without it, your people, this planet, the whole war in general…would have been lost this day."

Pausing, the military veteran scanned the young humans' response to his announcement. Ironhide wasn't an autobot known for handing out compliments, and the boy knew this. He was more likely to incinerate someone for wasting his time, than to be spouting flowery words of praise to anyone.

"I have been around for a long, long time. I've seen more battles, skirmishes, and wars than you can imagine. I have rarely seen such an indomitable spirited and loyal youngling." His voice lowered more so, to an almost warm tone. "I've been honored, to experience fighting by your side. And am eternally grateful to you for returning Optimus to us."

Sam stared in wide eyed wonder at the juggernaut of a mech; humbled more so than ever before in his life. What did he say to that? For some silly reason, thank you seemed ridiculously insufficient. Mulling on his response for a moment longer, a spark of an idea lit itself in his mind.

Sam stepped boldy foward and met the curious blue gaze of Ironhide with a solemn look of his own, before bringing his hand up in a crisp salute. "Please know that this sentiment goes both ways, Ironhide. More so than you might ever comprehend possible." Dropping some of his awkard formality, Sam cracked a grin at the weapons specialist as he brought his vast heals together to mirror Sams' own position.

"I'm happy to have you as friend, Ironhide." Sam admitted as both he and the mech relaxed after dropping the salute.

"As am I, Sam." the cannoned warrior tipped his great head in concession. "As am I."

They lapsed into a short lived, comfortable silence before having it interrupted by a bickering Skids and Mudflap tumbling across the landing deck. Granted, the two mini-bots could have been overlooked, if they hadn't collided with Ironhides leg.

The resulting ruckus had the entire front half of the ship rocking and shaking as Ironhide used the fleeing mini-bots for target practice, all the while being careful to not hit anything other than the irritating duo.

Sam watched the mayhem unfold, completely agreeing with what he'd said to Ironhide moments before. "I am so glad that we are friends on the same team." Because apparently, just being on the same side as the big black mech didn't exalt a comrade from his wrath.