Title: All About Us

Author: Riariti no Iru-jon

Fandom: Transformers 2007 Movie-verse; AU

Genre: Drama/Sci-fi

Rating: T [for the time being]

Warnings: Alternate universe — the typical if Sam was a girl gig; language [mostly Sam]; violence; some sexuality; crude humor; all around poor writing and unreliable updates; insane author; you get the picture

Synopsis: Meet Samantha Witwicky, an ordinary teenager who's about to get her very first car. But she gets more than just a car — an adventure of a lifetime, a friendship to last beyond a lifetime, and a purpose to life as never imagined before. After all, there's nothing like big mean robots after your great-great-grandfather's glasses, is there?

Big ass author's note: Okay, let it be said that you've never experienced quality theater until the power goes out and chops off about ten minutes of action sequence. [facepalm] Anyway, as it seems, my Transformers muse finally returned to duty after going AWOL for two bleeding years and I'm ready to tear apart and rebuilt the story that was once known as All My Best Friends Are Metalheads. As before, the title, All About Us, is also a song. I felt it fit better and wasn't as… immature. Personally, I'd take offense to being called a metalhead. My braces are long gone, thank you very much.

You'll have to excuse me — I'm a bit [a bit?] stressed from summer classes [a semester's worth of college algebra crammed into five weeks? Yeah, you hear me] and taking care of two sick animals [one cat, one dog, cat being the sicker of the two and a complete asshole, to boot]. I will hopefully manage to maintain this plot bunny for a substantial amount of time now that I've grown up a bit. We'll just have to cross our fingers and hope for the best.

[All About Us]

by [Riariti no Iru-jon]

Disclaimer: As stated in the original, I don't own Transformers or any associated materials. I have not a dime to my name — college is paid with federal grants, lovely things those are. So kindly refrain for legal action; I am merely indulging in twisted fantasies concocted by my sleep-deprived and math-riddled brain.

FYI, as usual, credit for lyrics, etc., will appear at the end of each chapter, if applicable. Thanks for reading!

[Chapter I: A Girl's Best Friend]

Ch. Warnings: Language; introductory chapter; AU; all that jazz

Samantha rested her forehead on the cool surface of her desk, the fabricated voice of her father reverberating in her mind as she mulled over his deal he'd made with her several months ago — earn two thousand dollars on her own and make an A on any three major assignments at school, and she'd get a car — her first car! She'd just finished doing yard work for the old married couple across the street cattycorner from them, and it was the nastiest yard she'd ever laid eyes on. But the thirty dollar reward had been worth it, because now she had the two thousand, plus a few extra she could waste on a soda or something.

The wad of two grand was safely stowed away in an envelope, which was wedged between the pages of her old bible at the bottom of the drawer in her desk, under old school books and used spirals. She'd gotten an A+ on a science project in which they were required to make 3-D models of an animal or plant cell using scraps of material from around their houses… She'd built a drive-through movie theater, with little plastic cars, popsicle sticks, and props from her friend's younger sister's many doll sets. Then in English class, they received test grades for memorizing and acting out scenes from any of Shakespeare's plays. The group she was in got a B average, but she'd personally begged the teacher to bump it to an A-. And now, all she had to do was finish that damned genealogy report for history, upload it to the Mr. Hosney's online archive, and present it in front of the class on the designated date.

It took hours of sifting through cardboard boxes in the attic and basement to find her great-great-grandfather's most prized possessions—leniency on the definition of 'prized,' please. Apparently, her parents weren't overly proud of how Captain Archibald Witwicky came back from an adventure in the Arctic Circle with some loose screws and missing marbles, so anything that once belonged to him was purposefully stowed away from any prying eyes and made quite difficult to unearth. She hadn't even known her great-great-grandfather's name until she came home after school and announced she had to do a presentation on someone down their family line — parents excluded, and her grandparents were downright boring. It was actually her grandfather who suggested she do her project on her great-great-grandfather, Archibald Witwicky, an earnest but nutty explorer.

It wasn't as horrific as her parents made it out to be. Practically all famous people had some kind of mental problem after all, right? Otherwise, they wouldn't have been so successful… her parents still didn't share her enthusiasm and were horrorstruck to hear the report would be accessible on the school's website. They couldn't appreciate the effort she put into the writing of her great-great-grandfather's legacy, referencing between newspapers from the late 19th century, ancient journals, and even doctor's reports after he was institutionalized at an insane asylum, making notes of his discoveries, many overlooked, and praising his hard work now long forgotten. She'd even tracked down a descendant of one of the sled dogs that accompanied the sailors on their journey, getting lovely pictures of it to include in her report.

All this thorough work — she'd be royally pissed if she didn't get top marks, and rightfully so. Now that she thought about it, she only had the conclusion to finish writing, and with a spur of inspiration, sought the binder containing the report's rough draft. Removing herself from the desk, Sam snatched a ballpoint pen and twirled it between her fingers as her free hand dug into her backpack, which was sprawled carelessly on her bed. Transferring the pen to clutch it between her front teeth, she sunk both hands into its depths and tugged out a smudgy white binder, flipping to the last page she'd written on. She crawled onto her stomach on the navy comforter over the double-sized mattress and jotted her closing thoughts.

"When one thinks of explorers, one's mind automatically concocts names such as Christopher Columbus, Marco Polo, and Hernando Cortes. Our books are brimming with names of scientists and discoverers, like Charles Darwin, but where do they mention the contribution of everyday men, whose names are forgotten as the years pass. Their lives are preserved only in old, yellowing newspapers and letters to family and friends, half-hearted mentions and notes. Yet they deserve just as much recognition, like my great-great-grandfather, Captain Archibald Witwicky, who braved the treacherous conditions of the Arctic Circle to make discoveries that would forever benefit mankind. Remember the men whom history has forgotten. Remember Archibald Witwicky."

Samantha grimaced vaguely to herself, as her concluding paragraph sounded melodramatic and akin to something that belonged in a eulogy, not a report. Over-pronounced sentiment… how would Mr. Hosney take that? As mockery or too much sickly dedication to a dead man? She willed herself not to think further on it and snapped the binder shut, rolling on her back to rub her eyes with the heels of her palms. It was a Saturday evening and she'd spent it doing work outdoors or on the pile of homework that had manifested itself over the days she was ill with the stomach flu… what a boring life for a seventeen-year-old. And she needed a shower.

Sliding off her bed, she snagged the cell phone from her bedside table and flipped it open. Hopefully, with any luck, she'd be able to get a hold of her friend, Milli, so long as she wasn't out with her football-playing, jock, stick-up-the-ass boyfriend, Trent… oh, she hated that man! So confident in himself, but that's what had originally attracted Milli to him. For her sake, she wouldn't talk trash about him too much. However, he did have a sweet ride, a blue SUV of sorts… she wasn't that much into cars, though, and Trent treated his like a true prized possession. When would someone go ahead and slash his tires? Or at least break a window… perhaps she'd put some of those expired eggs to good use. Oh, if only she had the guts!

She speed-dialed Milli's number and tucked her cell between her ear and her shoulder so her hands were free to grab a clean change of clothes from her dresser and fresh towels from the linens closet across from the bathroom. The phone rang once — twice — thrice — and Sam began to expect that it would keep doing so several more times before she'd be connected to voice mail, but, just as the fifth rang sounded, a voice interrupted, "Hello?"

"Hey, Mills," Sam murmured, comforted by the familiar timbre of her friend. She stacked the clean clothes on the counter beside the sink, then draped the towels on the handrail outside the bath and pulled back the curtain. "What's up?"

"Nothing much." Which was what Sam knew was coming. It didn't matter what she'd be doing, if the world was coming to the end or whatever, when prompted she'd say the same thing without fail—nothing much. "I was just talking to Trent."

That figured.

"Anything interesting?" Listening half-heartedly, as she really didn't care for anything to do with Trent, she turned the hot water on and from the tub faucet it spewed. She had to twist the middle of the three knobs to redirect the water to the showerhead above.

"Yeah." There was a short pause on the other end, as if Milli was silently debating whether to reveal this particular piece of information or not to her friend. "Trent and some of his friends are going to dirt race Tuesday morning at 1:30, just past the lake."

Sam suppressed a snide snort. Trent and his friends all had their own cars and it was a common competition to see whose was the fastest. Ever since a senior friend of Trent's got a new convertible after wrecking his old car, they'd been dying to see what it could do, under night cover, of course. It was only during one of these times that Trent actually didn't mind pushing his car's limit at the risk of denting, scratching, or crashing it. No doubt they'd be drunk, too, those no good miscreants. "You're not going to sneak out to watch, right?" she pressed, naturally concerned with Milli's obsessive loyalty to her boyfriend. She tested the water and adjusted it accordingly, a little on edge.


Sam sighed. It was obvious the girl was seriously considering it — where had all her common sense gone? — and it suddenly made her too sick to want to discuss it further at that time. "Never mind. I'm about to take a shower, so I'll talk to you later." She didn't wait for a reply and snapped the cell closed, flinging it onto the counter with little thought; it had been through worse. She stripped down, pondering over the consequences Milli would face if she was caught by her parents or by the police. Which would be worse? What if there was an accident? She could really care less about those stupid boys, but if Milli got hurt…

With a hand towel, she scrubbed off the thin application of foundation that hid the uneven tones of her face and neck. It was embarrassing for two-thirds of her face to be its normal apricot hue while the remaining third was slightly darker. No one really had an answer for it and the doctors labeled it a dermatological anomaly, triggered by puberty or hormonal imbalances [1]. Bullshit. And it wasn't as though she was vain, either, she just didn't want the morbidly fascinated stares that were bound to follow her if she showed up to school looking like only half of her got a tan — it had happened once and she swore it wouldn't ever again; thankfully, middle school students were well known for their short attention spans and would never be lacking in the field of rumors and stories, Robert's tongue ring, for example, and speculation that Nelly was engaged to some withered millionaire, and all that kind of shit. Knock it off, she mentally berated herself. No one's going to find out. God, not even Milli knows… Her shame, bared for only her reflection to see. She just wanted to be normal, damn it!

She stepped into the tub, tugged the curtain shut, and put her head into the path of the torrent, letting the water jettison all worries from every fiber in her body. All her troubles, down the drain. If it only really did work that way, no one would need to spend hours with a therapist, they could just take a nice, long and hot shower. Though water bills would skyrocket. Wallets suffered either way, so which would be the better loss? The insurance or utility companies? She smirked to herself at the thought of those arrogant, over-charging insurance companies going out of business when no one needed help paying their medical bills because they took a shower.

She shampooed her hair, having to fight her fingers through the tight curls. She seriously considered chopping it off at some point; it would eliminate a good forty-five agonizing minutes in the morning as she struggled to brush it out and do something decent with it. She piled the mane atop her head as she worked the shampoo in and thought no more over it, luring her mind into blissful oblivion as she finished her shower, simply reveling in the water to her heart's content.

After showering, she ate an early dinner instead of waiting up with her parents and turned in by 8 o'clock. Drawing the blinds to the window, she powered down her computer and moved unwanted things off her bed, without thought to where they landed. She turned off the overhead light and crawled under the sheets, switching off the lamp on the bedside table, and got comfortable, tucking in the quilt up to her chin and around her tightly in something akin to a cocoon. It had been a long day, she mused, and she was rightfully tired. It didn't take her longer than ten minutes to drift off into a deep slumber.

Sunday was boring, as it usually was. She was awakened early by their two dogs — a Chihuahua named Mojo and Mojo's complete opposite, Mace [2], a rescued Siberian Husky and German Shepherd crossbreed. She could only imagine what people thought of her family when they saw the daughter walking a puny Chihuahua and large rescued dog side by side. This day, after evening out her skin color, she donned rollerblades and allowed the two energetic dogs to pull her — well, Mace did the majority of the pulling, and was eager to do so. After a few blocks, Mojo was hopping on her in an attempt to get carried the rest of the way, completely defeating the purpose of a walk, although by the point it was halfway over, she was rolling alongside Mace and not hitching a free ride from the beast.

On her way back, she stopped and chatted with a ten-year-old African American, who wanted a dog, but his parents wouldn't let him. "Mum's allergic," the boy said solemnly, sitting in the grass of the front lawn. The longing gaze focused on Mojo and Mace pulled ruthlessly at her heartstrings and she surrendered to the compassion she felt for the lonely boy.

Sam sat beside him and the two dogs followed suit, Mojo practically bouncing in his lap to lick his face while Mace took a seat next to his human, his sides expanding and contracting with each breath, aloof to everything except her. The little boy seemed to forget his mother's predicament and played enthusiastically with the Chihuahua, who would scurry on his small legs after the boy wherever he went. After a bit, Mace warmed up to the child and joined in, his long pink tongue lolling out of his mouth as he wriggled on his back for some hearty belly rubbing.

They had to leave, however, when his mother came outside after hearing the commotion of the boy's delightful squeals, Mace's barks, Mojo's yips, and her own cheery laughs. Though the boy was chided by his mother, a grin lingered on his face and he waved to Sam and her dogs, bidding them goodbye as he was ushered inside. Gathering the leashes, Sam led her two charges back, though not after Mojo did a fair amount of marking and Mace took a hearty dump in someone's flower garden by the sidewalk, after which they fled with as much haste as could be mustered.

She braked against the block on the heels of her skates, turning into the driveway and rolling to the path winding through the manicured lawn and to the front porch. She plopped on the steps and undid the straps on her skates before removing her helmet, elbow and knee pads, and wrist guards, all of which she gathered into her arms and did an impressive balancing act to get the door open. Mojo bounded forward but when given a wait command, Mace let her through ahead of him.

She dumped the skates and accessories at the first convenient spot she could find, then took the leash and harness off Mace, having to scour the house for Mojo to remove his. She smiled at her parents, who were awake and sipping coffee in the living room. "Morning," she chirped, before catching the Chihuahua.

Judy Witwicky regarded her daughter with sleepy eyes, her cup of coffee having not yet delivered all the caffeine she needed to give her a much needed morning boost. "Good morning, sweetie," she yawned and patted the cushion between her and Ron. "Thanks for walking the dogs."

Sam took the invitation and wedged herself between her parents, Mojo clambering over them. The news was playing on the television, but nothing much was worth listening to. She leaned her head on her mother's shoulder and stifled a yawn. "Pancakes sound good for breakfast?" she asked.

Her father gave her a toothy smile. "Well, so long as your mom isn't making it."

At her left, she felt her mother chuckle. Mrs. Witwicky could prepare fine meals for lunch and dinner, that was true, but she'd never quite mastered the art of cooking breakfast. It wasn't hard to do, and maybe that was the problem. It was too easy a task that her mom always overdid it, put too much effort in it.

Giving her parents each a kiss on the cheek, she got back up and forged into the kitchen to wash her hands and begin pulling things from the cabinets. If there was one thing she could do it was multitasking at breakfast. She retrieved the pancake mix, a large bowl, a hot plate, two skillets, and several spatulas. She'd make the pancakes on the hot plate, eggs in a skillet, over-medium, bacon in the other skillet, and bread in the toaster, and everything was made without a hitch—a stack of pancakes to be placed in the middle of the table with a bottle of syrup and stick of butter; toast with mayo spread over it, cheese, and egg to make an open-faced sandwich; crisp bacon on a platter; and three glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice.

"I think maybe I should start charging a fee for breakfast," she teased as they joined each other at the dining table and dug in, both dogs close by and hoping for a scrap of food to fall onto the floor by accident.

"I paid for the ingredients, though," came the good-natured rebuttal from her dad after swallowing a bite of pancakes. "And your mother bought the kitchenware."

"And I put in the effort to make you a marvelous meal. I should at least get a tip."

"Have you got the money for the car?" her mother abruptly asked, changing subject matter swiftly.

"Yup, all two thousand dollars," said Sam, before adding, "And I'll upload my report today so it'll be cleared for presentation tomorrow in Mr. Hosney's class. If he gives me an A can we look at the dealers after school?" Her hazel eyes peered inquisitively at her father, who looked thoughtful as if musing over her request.

Finally, after several long minutes of deep consideration, he responded with an affirmative, "I suppose we could do that." So they'd go visit every used car dealer in Tranquility, Nevada.

Sam beamed and no longer complained about the under-appreciation she received from cooking breakfast, deeming it suitable reimbursement for her hard work.

Samantha Witwicky was proud of herself as she gingerly packed away the old gadgets that had accompanied her great-great-grandfather on his voyage to the Arctic Circle. Her presentation had gone flawlessly and Mr. Hosney was pleased with the report she'd archived on the school's website the previous day — she personally thought it was the multimedia she incorporated into it, like pictures she'd taken of the ancient map Captain Witwicky used, a compass, even his cracked glasses, which showed bizarre fractures in the oculars. In the presentation, she had given her history class a closer view of the artifacts while reciting the importance her great-great-grandfather was in the late 19th century. She had at least had been successful in holding their attention the majority of the time, while other presentations were rather bland and she'd even been tempted to doze off.

Milli bid farewell to her boyfriend to wait for her at the door, falling into step beside her. "Nice project," she commented, nodding at the grade sheet, which flaunted a bold letter A on it.

"Better than most of the others, at least," Sam said, grinning at her accomplishment, as if it were a major feat. "And Dad's going to take me to look at cars once I show him this." She waved the paper in her hand. "Gosh, I've been waiting for this moment for a long time," she reminisced. As they stopped at their lockers, Sam glanced sideways at her friend and lowered her voice. "Please tell me that you're not going to that stupid street race tomorrow morning," she pled, a worried grimace working its way on her face to replace the now faded smile.

Milli fidgeted with the combination lock and the look in her eyes were unmistakable. Trent had pulled some sort of manipulative guilt trip scheme to coerce her into going with him. She didn't answer and hid her face behind her auburn hair, quickly exchanging books from her locker to her backpack.

"Mills," Sam declared, grabbing her arm to forcefully turn her and look at her. "He's not worth it. Not Trent, of all people! Someone could get hurt and if the police catch you…" She trailed off into grudging silence when Milli shook her head and looked up at her defiantly.

"You're not my mother, Samantha," she enunciated bitterly with new resolution. She wormed her arm free and slammed the locker door shut. "I'll go with Trent if I want to. You, of all people, can't stop me." She left Sam by the lockers as she stormed off, flinging her backpack over her shoulders and exiting the school as fast as her feet could carry her.

Sam watched, dumbstruck at the sudden outburst and ears ringing from the snarl that Milli spoke with, and felt the back of her head clunk heavily against the locker door. Milli knew she didn't like Trent, thought he was lower than scum at best, and accepted it. She knew that Sam only had her best interests at heart, so why did she turn on her like that? Why wasn't she seeing reason? Why couldn't she just take the advice for once and appreciate why her parents didn't give her extra privileges, because they loved her so much. Milli, always a sweet girl, good girl. Never broke the rules, never thought of disobeying her parents' wishes, and now she was going to sneak out to meet her boyfriend with a lot of stoned guys, and — what if she got hurt? What if she got caught?

"Dear God," she murmured, shaking herself free and making a beeline for the doors. Suddenly the A on her genealogy report seemed trivial and the excitement of her own car was siphoned out of her by the monstrous claw known as foreboding in her chest, threatening to rip her from the inside out.

She was hardly aware she'd walked out the school and across the grounds to meet her father in his green convertible, tossed her backpack into the seat behind her, and climbed into the passenger side until her father's voice asked, "How was your day?" Which didn't apply to her day, just more along the lines of, "What did you make on your project?"

She wordlessly handed him the paper, which was wrinkled from her anxious clenching and unclenching of her hands. He eyed it, nodded at the grade, and threw the car into gear. "All right, I had a specific place in mind to stop at first…"

Sam barely listened as they went from car dealer to car dealer, with little reaction from her when they examined used car after used car — you didn't get a nice-looking car for four thousand dollars, naturally, and just because she was his only daughter didn't make her any more special. They drove out of the third lot and Sam thought they were heading in the general direction of home, until they pulled into a Porsche dealer. Mr. Witwicky stole a glance at his daughter, hoping perhaps that a glimpse of something more expensive than what they saw previously might perk her, not that he'd be getting her a Porsche, just to see if she'd cheer up, say something, anything.

But she didn't.

"Last stop then," he sighed and turned into a shop titled Bolivia's. The cars out on display showed wear, as all the others did and he found a parking spot so they could take a look around. He had to remind her to get out of the car, but was relieved when she appeared to lighten up once they started to walk. He thought he caught a glimpse of a small smile as his daughter's eyes trailed towards the clown holding an advertisement sign, looking like he'd have a heat stroke at any minute.

"'ey!" came a loud declare from the man who evidently ran the place. He was black and a little beefy, wearing a Hawaiian print tee, khaki shorts, and a hat that was strikingly similar to a bucket; his hands were sweaty, they discovered, after shaking, wide smile full of sparkling white teeth. "Welcome to Bolivia's, like the country, but without the runs." If that was their slogan, no wonder the lot seemed packed with cars that hadn't been touched in forever. Who'd want to touch anything there after that sort of introduction?

When they got into better speaking range, the dark man beamed at her, seemingly oblivious to that fact her father was right there. "'Ey, sweet cheeks, an' how may I help a lovely lady such as yourself?"

She barely withheld a snort as the man gave what was supposed to be a saucy wink. Though it was funny to her, her father didn't look at all amused. Before she could stop him, the Witwicky patron had him by the collar and looked just about ready to spit nails. "Okay, listen up, that's my daughter you're talking to and she's here for her first car, nothing else, so back off before I call the cops on your filthy child-molesting paws—"

She loved her dad, truly she did. It was a shame he was still in denial of the little fact that she was growing up and would be legal in under a year. It would only be endearing for so long, after all.

"'ey, 'ey! I didn't mean anything," he protested, his accent more pronounced in his concern. His eyes were bulging and he'd begun to sweat a little, but his sincere surprise was telling that he really meant nothing by it. "Jus' working the crowd an' all, you know?"

Stifling a guilty grin of amusement, Sam nudged her father and stage whispered, "Let the poor man go, Dad, you're making a scene." As if shocked, Mr. Witwicky released the dealer, looking torn between sheepish and justified for his hasty actions. He coughed in his fist and glanced away, a pointed glare from his daughter egging him to apologize finally getting him to utter, "Sorry," under his breath.

"Ah, anyways, as I was saying, it's her first car," Ron mumbled, not meeting her mildly accusing eyes, because, damn, but she knew how to lay it on thick. The puppy dog look didn't help either, as if she'd been kicked. "—First car, yeah."

The man was mutedly delighted, even more so relieved, and peered at her with renewed calm, going into salesman mode without missing a beat. "Her first car, eh? Well, you came to the right place. Uncle Bobby B., ma'am."

"Sam," she automatically said, the honorary not going unnoticed, and followed him through the lot as he introduced the cars in his lot. She half-listened thoughtfully, allowing herself the independence of taking her own look at the cars. She wondered how many of them would give out only a quarter of a mile after driving from the lot. They walked to the right in front of an old, faded yellow Volkswagen beetle and she almost stopped to look closer — until, that is…

"What's this one?" she inquired, stopping in front of a yellow car to put a hand on the hood. She couldn't help but feel something different about it, and without waiting for a response, she went to the driver's side, pulled the door open and slid inside. A funny little disco ball ornament hung from the rear view mirror along with a 'bee-otch' bumblebee air freshener, which made her wonder what on Earth the previous owner was taking when they decorated it.

A look of confusion swept over Bobby B.'s face and he muttered something about not seeing the car before in his lot, but after a good look at it, was able to give a rather accurate description. "Err, '76 Chevrolet Camaro, custom paint job, looks in good condition… I'd say about five thousand."

"Five thousand?" her father echoed. They'd already decided not to spend more than four thousand on a car.

"The paint's faded, though," Sam piped in, not ready to relinquish her interest in the yellow Camaro with its black racing stripes. She leaned back in the seat and gripped the steering wheel; it felt natural in the car. "And what assurance do we have it won't break down half way home?" Of course, she didn't actually think it would break down.

Bobby B. was indignant. "Are you implyin' I'm cheap? I don't sell busted cars, little girl, now get out of the Camaro." He gestured wildly.

Sam glowered and for a moment, considered refusing… the key was already in the car, in the ignition, but she really didn't want the fellow to call the cops or anything. She grabbed for the door handle, but…

"What'cha waitin' fo'?" The man was getting impatient, considering his accent, and probably suspected she was playing games, but the door was jammed and it didn't matter how she jiggled the handle, it wouldn't budge… "Well?"

"It's stuck," she pointed out lamely, exaggerating her effort to get the door open to show she wasn't joking. She checked to see if it was locked, but it wasn't… it was just stuck. "See? I can't get it open!"

From the outside, both her father and Bobby B. took turns trying to pry the door open, but it wouldn't give, and she felt like they took nearly twenty minutes arguing over the best way to get her out. She chewed her bottom lip anxiously, one hand instinctively still clutching the steering wheel as they tried the passenger's door, but still to no avail.

"Climb out the window," Bobby B. finally settled. At her bemused expression, he threw his hands up and muttered something she couldn't understand.

"Climb out the window, Samantha," Ron Witwicky said, as if giving her permission that it was okay.

She shot him a venomous look, silently expressing her incredulity at the completely undignified approach, before reluctantly acquiescing. She pondered the best way to go about climbing out the window, purposefully stalling because she really didn't want to get out. So it came down to this: head first or feet first? Head first would risk a free ride to the asphalt and possible brain damage. Feet first sounded safer…

Before she had to attempt it though, the door independently swung open in vigor, slamming into Bobby B. with such force that it nearly knocked him over. "Err… sorry," Sam mumbled, not really sorry at all but feeling obligated to say it anyway. "I guess it came unstuck…?" Lame though it was, that was the most reasonable explanation, though she didn't know exactly how it opened… she hadn't even touched the door handle, but at least she didn't have to climb out.

Bobby B. was momentarily shaken, but recovered in record time, brushing himself off and urging them back to the yellow Volkswagen. "But if you like yellow, I'd personally recommend this one. Reliable, a little small, but it'll get you where you need to go…"

"I like the Camaro," she stubbornly declared to both the dealer and her father, chin up in deviance.

And then something odd happened, because they could just barely hear the static of the radio inside the Camaro sifting through different channels, and the volume independently increased, until the words were crisply clear:

"—I'm not about to take no for an answer, no

If I tell you I can't I'm still gonna go

I did it all by myself and I found

I found my way around it"

Sam clapped a hand over her mouth to hide the smile fighting its way onto her face. A quick glance at her father and the car dealer almost undid her as she blinked back mirthful tears. Her father looked as if a barrage of little green men had waltzed out of the car and begun strip dancing to salsa. That particular imagery startled a choked laugh from her and she was grateful the malfunctioning radio had the forethought to crank the music so her laughter would be easily drowned out.

"Get me what I want

Everything I don't got

Get me what I want

'Cause I'm a big shot"

"So give me what I want

I always get what I want

You don't want to see me red

If I don't get what I want

That's not what you want"

It was a little ridiculous, she decided. Bobby B. was too busy gawking with the likeness of a fish out of water to unfreeze himself and turn the damn thing off. Come on, surely this isn't too unusual. You do sell old, used cars that aren't known for their top quality. Get a grip! Tapping her foot absently to the beat, she counted in her head, unable to stop a wave of irrational affection for the flawed Camaro. Inanimate though it was, it somehow managed to brighten her day. Would it be too weird to hug it?

"It's not too lovely

It could start to get ugly

It really bugs me

If I don't get my way—"

In a clumsy rage, Bobby B. managed to snap out of his trance to take action, finally, and scrambled to reach his hand through the window and switch off the radio, muttering to himself about a shortage in the wiring. He was obviously becoming increasingly frustrated with them and the Camaro itself. Not that Sam cared; she wanted this car, damn it!

"See? Five thousand for this car with a messed up radio? That's extortion!"

Bobby B. sniffed in her direction with obvious distaste to her declaration. "Uh-uh, I don' think so, missy. Now the Volkswagen, as I was sayin'—"

As quick as it had been switched off, the radio burst to life again, but this time the noise it emitted was awful and shrill and mechanical, like grinding metal, and just as they clapped hands over their ears to shield themselves, glass was shattering with tremendous force. Sam felt a shard embed itself in her shoulder and Bobby B. was showered by fragments from the Volkswagen. Then it fell indifferently silent and still. As they looked around, glass was everywhere, broken, shattered, except the Camaro…

Visibly shaken, Bobby B. surveyed the damage with a countenance of horror, and possibly even fear. He couldn't explain it. None of them could.

He spun about to face Mr. Witwicky and his daughter, four fingers raised on a trembling hand. "Four thousand!" he exclaimed frantically, eager to get the demonic metalwork out of his lot. When they offered to help clean the mess, he quickly denied them, and forget the paperwork, he wanted them gone as soon as he could sweep a path clear from the Camaro out of the lot and they coughed up the cash.

Sam struggled to hide a triumphant grin as she took the driver's seat, the doors showing no resistance to her. She could still see Bobby B's expression of terror as he watched her drive out of the lot behind her dad, bug-eyed and shaky. It was a warm feeling in her stomach, like she'd gotten something that was worth much more than what it was actually paid for. Her car. Her car. She grinned openly and wondered what Milli's reaction would be — of course, it wasn't something fancy like what Trent had — oh, wait… Milli and Trent… She tightened her grip on the steering wheel and banned any further thought of her best friend and her best friend's boyfriend. This was her proud moment and she wouldn't let them spoil it.

Weirdly enough, the striped Camaro felt decidedly like home, worn seats warm and molding to her shape, engine thrumming like a living pulse underneath her. She was already attached to the hunk of metal and couldn't resist trailing a hand over the dashboard at a stoplight. She wondered momentarily at the lack of dust, her mind traveling back to the mystified look on Bobby B.'s face when she voiced her interest in the Camaro, as if he'd never seen it before in his life. She shook her head; that was nonsense, her brain over thinking the small details that were just that — small, insignificant. Get over it, Sam, it was just your imagination, as usual.

It was closer to sundown than she expected when they drove up to the Witwicky abode. However, Sam's blood was pumping with adrenaline and she was nowhere close to chilling. With a renewed bounce in her step, she fetched several rags and a sponge, as well as cleaner and polish — she wanted to give her new car a good scrub, to rid it of any grime and dust, make it shine with pride, no matter how silly it sounded. It was actually the most fun she'd had when cleaning up anything.

Several times her parents came out to remind her there was dinner waiting, only to be waved off, so they'd watch her wield the water hose, wondering to themselves how many times she'd gone over the car in the past hour. At least twice, but it didn't stop there.

"Help me check the tires!" she cried to her father.

He barely gave them a glance. "The tires are fine."

"Check them anyway!"

He didn't dare argue when he met her adamant gaze. One never argued with a Witwicky and got out of it easy.

I Always Get What I Want by Avril Lavigne.

[1] In later (much later) chapters, the relevance will become clear.

[2] Mace is named after a dog, now deceased, belonging to a high school teacher that showed me the wonders of canine companionship that ultimately led to rescuing Kya, my beloved German shepherd mix. May he rest in peace. [heart]

Riariti no Iru-jon