Sam is so, so tired of being the sacrifice. Sam hates the Witwicky code: No Sacrifice, No Victory.

He's tried of being the one who has to give things up, to be the one who has to pay the cost for an alien race's war. The military have things set up now. The Secretary of Defense said that Sam's done his part. He said Sam was okay now.

So Sam wants his normal back, he's going to college and he's going to make friends that are not national security measures, go out late at night without a yellow Camaro beeping after him for curfew, talk to his friends about girls and cars and not weapons and lists of the dead – he wants to be normal.

. : - : .

"I just want to be normal."

Optimus has raised enough soldiers in his time, and he wants to let Sam have this; this dream of his – to be normal, to be a civilian, to be safe. Even though he knows that it won't be possible, won't be long before that dream shatters.

Optimus is a Prime, and Prime's protect the Allspark. And he knows, as a Prime and as the one with the most knowledge on how the Allspark works, that the Allspark is not destroyed, just hidden. Transmuted.

But Optimus is a leader and as a leader he knows that the most important thing to have is hope.

So even though he knows different, he wishes, hopes, that Sam could get his normal.

. : - : .

Leo is freaking out.

Leo is freaking out and two years ago Sam would have had sympathy because two years ago when Sam found out about Alien robots he freaked out; but freaking out and running away isn't going to help anyone.

Sam's been trying to run away from it all since he found out, but look where that got him. A friend is down. Optimus is gone. That is the price for his attempt for trying to be normal. Running away isn't going to help anyone and keeping someone who doesn't want to be there is only a liability.

Sam spins around and yells at Leo. He really should have more sympathy for his roommate, but he can't. Leo is normal, a normal guy (who Sam had been two years ago) would be freaking out – but Sam isn't that guy anymore.

Sam is abnormal: he knows alien robots, his car is an alien, he sees burning symbols in his mind, and he's watching the universe expand out from under his eyelids but doesn't understand what that means. He's a guy who long lost normal and instead of accepting it his futile attempts to cling to the shards have cost him a friend, and the Autobots a leader.

Sam is a failure. Sam is the guy who got his friend killed. He got his friend killed for something that isn't even possible for him anymore: the whole world knows his face and name, every government agency has his statistics on hand, his history on black and white pages, and there's no way back from this. Sam was reaching for the impossible and blinded himself from what the sacrifice would have to be for his dream to become a victory.

Sam hates himself and he would understand if Bumblebee hated him too. He hopes Bumblebee hates him too.

. : - : .

Little kid. Now matter how much they want to mislead themselves both Epps and Will knows there is only one 'kid' to Will and the soldiers in his command from that time two years ago. Epps doesn't know the kid's name because Epps hadn't wanted to know. Epps was good at compartmentalizing, his way of adapting and he had always been better at detaching himself than Will.

William never told Epps but after the Mission City battle he pulled Sam aside and talked to him about joining the military. Out there in the battle field he had told Sam he was a soldier now and pressed the Cube into his hands and made him run: for his life, for Will's life, for Sarah and his daughter's life, for the sake of everyone's life. He placed a heavy burden on Sam's shoulder and Sam had pulled through, made everyone's sacrifice worth it. Sam had carried out the mission Will had given him and that made him one of Will's soldiers.

William Lennox who had recently lost his base, every one of his soldiers who had been resting on base, all of his immediate commanders, all of his friends on personnel; and only the bare remains of his team staggering along with him in a war not of humanity's own and the then Army Captain was going to be damned if he was going to lose another one.

But Sam said no, turned him down, said he wasn't going to join the military – not joining Will's team.

And as much as he hates the situation, as much as he's gotten closer to the new soldiers in NEST under his and his leftover ragtag team's command, and he hates that the men who follow him are once more out there dying in a firefight with sentient beings larger and more advanced then they are, he can't help the part of him that is happy, the small part of him that swells up in inexplicable mix of anger, joy, fear, and sadness as he see's Sam and Mikeala running under live fire towards his team, as Sam finally runs toward instead of away from where he belongs.