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; 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?


[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!


Recap:

Can't a girl catch a break? Have I got a sign on my back that says, "Kick me while I'm down"? But I guess big shape changing robots from outer space is pretty cool. Except when they step on your mother's prized garden. And when they want to turn Earth's tech into more potentially hostile robots. So the Autobots need the glasses to stop that from happening? Okay, that's fine. I'll turn over the glasses. Just let me get a shower and some sleep! Demanding bastards.


[Chapter V: All Good Things Come To An End]

Ch. Warnings: Language; minor violence; etc.


Sam seriously hoped the robotic leg planted in front of the SUV was an Autobot-leg, but she doubted it. It looked distinctly Decepticon, if one could tell the difference from appendage alone. God how she hoped it wasn't; the day had been bad enough as it was, there was no need to make it worse. At least it was night and the traffic was light, because this could turn out to be quite a mess, and fast. The driver, who recovered quickly, threw the vehicle into reverse and floored it; Sam felt like the little metal ball in a pinball machine, being jostled around so much.

Another appendage set down behind them and they plowed right into it, more than just denting the bumper; it looked like the back end had folded into itself. Definitely not Autobot, then. Glass shattered and metal bent with a whine of protest as a massive hand took hold of the roof and lifted. Sam, personally, was too stunned to scream, but Agent Simmons made up for it, until the roof gave above them and they started to drop. That got her to scream, along with Michael and the driver. At least they were wearing their seatbelts. Small mercies, that.

Sam bit into her tongue as Michael's head collided with the window, shattering what was left of it. The driver was out cold, and Simmons was groaning, having hit his forehead on the dash during their rough encounter. The truck? Well, it had a permanent sunroof and would meet its maker in the very near future. The other vehicles hadn't been assaulted, so it was fair to say the target was in that particular truck. Wonder who that was?

Overhead was the daunting black and white Decepticon that was more familiar to Sam than she'd prefer. Barricade. Shit. His red optics had focused on her and she concocted a few plausible reasons for his appearance; one: he thought she still had the glasses, two: he knew she didn't have the glasses and was going to torture her, three: he'd take her hostage and use her as a bargaining chip, four: he was going to kill them all, or five: a combination of those four. So, what were her options?

Apparently, she wasn't getting any, because there was suddenly a mounted cannon aimed at them and a cold voice that ordered, "Get out of the car."

Yessir. Sam didn't waste any time as she unbuckled the seatbelt and vaulted out the door as best she could in bunny slippers. Michael and Simmons did the same, the latter having to struggle to remove the driver as well. And just in time, too, because as soon as they had cleared the vehicle, Barricade's cannon had powered up and released on the poor unsuspecting thing.

By this point, the accompanying Sector Seven agents had piled out of their respective vehicles and cocked their guns, aimed at Barricade, which was stupid, because he was a super advanced robot; gunshots were raindrops to this guy! If Sam didn't think her death would be coming in the next few minutes, she would've grabbed a gun and shot herself. At least the agents were making an effort to cover her parents, another small mercy. They had nothing to do with this and for them to get hurt… no, she'd do anything to make sure her family got out of this safely. Even if that meant surrendering herself.

As quickly as the agents had armed themselves, they had been relinquished of their weapons. The guns crumbled in Barricade's hand, just as the plating somewhere on his chest opened to eject a small figure — Frenzy, she reckoned, the little 'bot that needed to stick with decaf. Before it even hit the ground, Frenzy launched what appeared to be shuriken at over three-fourths of the agents, downing them in one go, buried into fleshy necks, while Barricade took care of the remaining cars without even looking; his gaze was narrowed on her. She was so dead!

… Might as well make the best of it, then!

"Yo, dude! Big guy, down here, with the peeps! Sorry, but you're a little late for the hand off! Prime and them have the glasses and are on the way right now to get the Cube, so you can just give it a rest, you know, with the whole 'terrorize the world' thing. We can, you know, have a sit down, drink a bit, your gang with petroleum, mine with beer, and talk about how life is so screwed up, like good ol' buddies; it'll be fun!"

"Yeah," Michael grumbled. "Fun like having teeth pulled without a local. Sounds great."

"D'you like karaoke? I know a place — hey, don't be like that! Point your cannon somewhere else, I'm trying to have a productive and mature conversation here! Okay, okay, so you don't like karaoke. How about the arcade? I bet you're good at video games. First-person shooters, yeah? Or racing? Give me something to work with, will you? This feels so one-sided and I'm trying to make a connection here, you know, a relationship? You just can't take and take and take, you've got to give some, too, unless you're into dysfunctional relationships, not quite my forte, but I'm game if you are! So what'cha think?"

"You are a bothersome human. I would kill you myself, but that pleasure is not mine. If you wish for your disgusting fleshy companions to live, you will surrender yourself immediately."

Sam huffed in faked annoyance; she was actually quite frightened to hear that ultimatum coming from the Decepticon himself. "Not gonna even buy me a drink first?" Her jaw shut quickly, however, when that cannon took aim at her parents; she waved her arms frantically. "Okay, okay! Sorry! I'm sleep deprived. I say stupid things when I'm tired! It's not their fault; if it's anyone's, it's mine, so take it out on me! I did give the glasses to the Autobots, after all!"

"Sam," Michael enunciated slowly, moving to her side and gripping her shoulder tightly, which hurt because it just happened to be the very same shoulder that had an up close and personal with shattered glass that previous day, thanks to Bumblebee and his high-pitched radio static at the car dealership, "What are you doing? Please tell me this is one of your silly ploys, because you are not turning yourself over to that… monster."

"Sam!" This time it was her mother; it seemed like her parents had kept up with the dialogue, even if they didn't really understand what was going on. The remaining agents, however, prevented either of them from getting any closer than they already were, for which Sam was grateful. Hysterical parents didn't bode well with human-alien diplomacy. Except this wasn't really diplomacy at all, was it? It was outright defeat.

"You don't have the authority to negotiate with—" That was Simmons; Sam really wished Frenzy had taken him out with a shuriken. "—with the, err… N.B.E.s…" He wasn't too keen to finish that thought, however, when Barricade pointed his cannon at the Sector Seven agent. He just chuckled nervously, smartly deciding to keep his mouth shut; he wanted to live, after all.

Well, seeing as time was of the essence — Barricade looked as if to be on his last straw — Sam gave them a very abridged version of what was happening. "My car's an alien on Earth with the Autobots, a.k.a. good guys, to keep the Decepticons, a.k.a. bad guys including mean and grumpy here, from turning all our technology against us with the power of the Cube. Capice? Great! Onward." She gave them the most earnest smile she could manage given the circumstances, then turned back to Barricade. "You let them leave unharmed and I'll come without a fight. Deal?"

"We make no deals with itty bitty humans!"

Sam did a double take before realizing Frenzy had spoken. He'd been busy retrieving his bloodied shuriken and admiring his work; they were rather impressive shots to make, actually. "Who are you calling itty bitty, munchkin? This is none of your business, I'm talking to him, not you. Go play in your baby robot seat!"

"Why, you—!"

"We haven't the time for this. You," Barricade lunged his hand forward, pinching her torso between two fingers and lifting her clear off the ground, "Are coming with me." He turned his cannon on the agents, Michael, and her family, oblivious to Sam's struggles and protests. "You will run like the worthless insects you are and stay out of our way." He emphasized his point by blasting a crater into the asphalt, incinerating several dead bodies and one unfortunate agent that stood too close.

Michael glowered up at the Decepticon, standing his ground even when the cannon repositioned itself in his direction. There were no weapons in the direct proximity, the remains of the vehicles too devastated to provide anything makeshift. Despite the surge of adrenaline, he knew there was little he could do to injure Barricade.

The cannon lifted and discharged, shocking everyone and obliterating a stray car that got too close for comfort. The occupants were killed immediately. "Run or you will die." That finally got them to move.

"No, Sam! Sam!" Judy again. "I won't leave my daughter!"

"Michael, get my parents out of here!" Sam's shout became a wheeze as the fingers tightened. She felt a rib crack under the pressure and rolled her eyes back in pain. Her vision was beginning to swim and she could no longer find her breath; she went limp in the brutal grasp of the enemy and waited for it to be over.

Michael didn't like running away; he did not like 'leaving a man behind,' as they said. But what choice did he really have? Six foot tall human against a sixteen/seventeen foot tall alien robot? No, Sam was right. The best he could do was to get everyone to safety. If that meant running away, then so be it. Turning on his heel, he sprinted to the Witwicky's and helped Ron tug Judy away.

"What's going on? What is that thing?" Mr. Witwicky demanded as they went in the opposite direction of Barricade, wanting to know why they were letting some monster leave with Sam. And it had better be a damn good reason, too!

"No time! Just run!" So they ran. Once at what could be considered a safe distance, Michael turned around just in time to see Barricade hunker down to become the police cruiser, Sam in a brief freefall as she plummeted towards it. For a breathtaking moment, he thought she would impact with the top of the car, but she didn't. Instead, Barricade kept the roof conveniently out of way, so that she presumably fell into the backseat, before the transformation completed and he took off, Frenzy in the front passenger's seat.

Michael watched the taillights until the dark of night shrouded the view, then marched to Simmons and took him by the collar, dragging him forward till they were practically nose-to-nose. "You see that there? That was a seventeen-year-old girl saving your ass. If you have a shred of humanity in you, then you will call for backup, chase that cruiser down, and find a way to save her. Only fair, don't you think?"

"Listen, kid," Simmons said, hands up in a placating gesture. "Sector Seven will do everything in its power to get Ms. Witwicky back. But," he carefully disengaged himself from the fuming teen's grip. "But first I need to know what you know. Then we can come up with a plan. Got it?"

"Fine," Michael spat, shoving away from the field agent. "At least give me my cell phone. I know someone who can help."

Simmons looked from the kid, to the cars, then back. "Err, I'm afraid that's not possible. You see, all the evidence was in the trucks, so…"

The driver had long since regained consciousness and held up his cell. "I recorded everything."

"Give it," ordered Michael, not waiting for a response as he sprung forward to snag the small device away. "Mr. Witwicky, I need your cell number. They should be monitoring your phones as well as Sam's."

To: Ronald Witwicky

From: Michael Banes

I know you guys are keeping an eye on these. Barricade ambushed us and took Sam. Need help ASAP!


Something was wrong, off, not right. The glasses had sent them towards Colorado, coordinates indicating the Cube, the Allspark, was somewhere submerged. Except water couldn't dampen energon radiation, so they should have been able to detect it, even from a considerable distance. There should have at least been a smidgeon of radiation, faint and hard to read, but there nonetheless. It wasn't. Which meant they were back at square one.

"Humans must have found it and relocated it," Optimus mused, unable to disguise the heavy disappointment in his voice. They didn't have time for a grid search or anything of the like. "Most likely at a military compound or research facility. I believe it's time we regroup and reassess. This won't be as easy as I had hoped."

"What now, Optimus?" asked Jazz, rolling to a stop beside their leader. "We have nothing to go on."

"You know, humans have this incredible and fascinating network of information they call the Internet. Perhaps that would be a good as any place to start," the medic said.

"Though I don't condone the invasion of privacy, I believe we have no other choice. Use whatever means necessary to access their top-secret files. I trust you to use your discretion accordingly."

It was then, just as they were about to begin their investigation, that a message got through their firewalls, carrying chilling news: Sam had been taken by Decepticons.

Bumblebee made a small whining noise, engine revving restlessly as he contacted his teammates via the Autobots' internal comms. "I must go back, Optimus. It was my responsibility to protect—"

"I know Bumblebee. Perhaps it would've been safer if the children came with us, but at the time… We didn't want to expose them to any more danger, but it seems like our absence has only done just that. Go to them, but return as soon as you are able to. A storm is brewing; we'll need all the help we can get."

With that, Bumblebee did a spectacular one-eighty and shot off not unlike a bullet back in the direction they'd come.


Well… that hadn't been one of her brighter moments. Note to self: don't piss off hostile alien robots with cannons. She was sprawled out in the backseat of the Saleen, bruised and in pain. Barricade wasn't being especially careful driving, taking corners too fast and at too sharp angles, tossing her around like a rag doll. She wouldn't be surprised if she had a concussion along with the myriad of bruises. It took all her self control not to vomit all over the interior — would that really be so bad? No, she really didn't want Barricade angrier than he already was. So long as he pulled over soon, she'd spare his nice seats from any regurgitation.

Sam was personally too tired to do more than cling for her life as they barreled down back roads; at least, she thought they were back roads — she hadn't managed yet to sit up so she could glance out a window. Where they were going, she didn't know, but she was willing to bet that wherever it was, it wouldn't bode well for her. All she could really do was wait and pray. Now would be a good time for some R and R — after all, you're not supposed to go to sleep with a concussion. As if she had a choice.

The up side was that her parents were out of danger for the time being and that Optimus had a head start to the Cube. And they'd maintain that head start, too, if Sam had anything to do with it. Just because she was a captive didn't mean she couldn't fight back. So with a disturbing little grin, she closed her eyes and began to plot, ignoring the fact that her antics could very well get her killed.


It had been a long time since Bumblebee had felt such overpowering worry. He'd known that the humans would stand a better chance at surviving if they were with them, but the issue of the organics getting in the way of their vital mission had overruled all concern for their safety. And now they were paying the price — Sam, kidnapped by a Decepticon, to be tortured, killed? Neither were great options and Bee couldn't quite decide which he'd prefer: Sam alive, but in terrible agony being tortured, or Sam dead, spared from the inflicted pain. Both hurt his spark; hopefully he'd be able to reach them in time.

While on the road, he constructed a reply to Michael: Bumblebee here; on my way. Short and to the point, but something was nagging at him, so he added: What happened? And hoped he would respond in a prompt manner. The more he knew, the better chance he had at finding and saving Sam. Michael was an intelligent human; he probably was aware of the statistics concerning kidnappings, which were generally universal on whatever planet you were on. The longer they were missing, the less likely they were to survive. He couldn't let that happen to Sam.


Simmons had backup there for them in record time and they scrambled into the newly arrived vehicles almost before they fully stopped. Once belted in, he turned back to Michael. "So this Cube they told you about can animate Terran technology, as well as create more… Autobots, is that what you called them?"

"And Decepticons," Michael reminded. "They are factions of a single species. Depending who has the Cube, they can expand their troops; needless to say, no one wants the Decepticons getting their hands on it." He paused to carefully consider the montage of emotions on Agent Simmons' face. He didn't seemed as shocked as one would expect, more thoughtful if anything, as if suddenly a puzzle previously unsolved made sense. "Wait, wait, wait." He shifted in his seat to lean forward. "You know something about this, don't you."

Simmons made a thoughtful humming noise, peering at the teen speculatively, as if trying to deduce if he was trustworthy, if he could handle the truth. But then again, the kid had just told him all about the Autobots and Decepticons, and even a little of the background on Cybertron. If what the kid was saying was true and Decepticon forces were aiming at world domination via the Cube, then they'd need all the help they could get. And really, what did he have to lose? If the brat gave them any trouble, it'd be easy to get him a one-way ticket to prison. Cue evil cackle.

"You could say we have extensive resources at our disposal. A boxlike object was found in Colorado in the early 1900s. It was quickly determined it wasn't terrestrial in origin and gave off peculiar radiation readings—"

"You know where the Cube is!"

Simmons gave him a nasty scowl. "I can't say either way; how am I to know if it's the Cube your alien buddies are looking for? It's not like we've gotten a chance to sit down and compare notes."

Michael responded with his own glare. "How many weird cubes from space have you heard of? Just that one? Then I bet it's the same Cube Optimus Prime is looking for. So how about you do your country a favor and give them the damn thing? Here, I can even call them, give them a rendezvous point. You can hand it over and they can make sure our world isn't overrun by renegade laptops and microwaves. Have you ever met a pissy blender? I haven't and I don't want to anytime soon!"

"Hey, hey, now wait a minute. Just hand over a piece of alien technology that we have barely scratched the surface of? The scientific discoveries—"

"—Won't matter one damn bit if the human race is wiped out. Look, it's our best bet at survival. If you don't do this, you could condemn us all. How would you like your epitaph to read 'catalyst of apocalypse' or something morbid like that? That won't look good on the record, would it?"

"Tell me, where's your proof of alien invasion to begin with? Huh? How about that? We can't go to war if there's no war."

"That bastard took Sam and killed your people! Isn't that proof enough? And — oh, look at that…" Michael brandished the agent's cell phone he'd borrowed to contact the 'bots. "We've got a response. Bumblebee's coming."

"Bumblebee?"

"The Camaro. Try to keep up, will you? Now shut up, he wants to know what happened."

A non-government agency picked us up; Sector Seven, have you heard of them? Anyway, Barricade came out of nowhere and pretty much threatened us. He blew up a good chunk of the agents, but was merciful enough to let the rest of us escape, so long as Sam turned herself in. Sam, being Sam, complied. They know you have the glasses. Any luck with those, by the way?

Flipping the cell closed, he gazed sternly at Simmons. "Okay, you have a very important choice to make and you need to make it fast: are you going to help or not? 'Cos if you aren't—"

"Alright, alright. Big guy needs the Cube, fine. We'll get the Cube. Hell, we'll help them protect the damn thing against the Decepticons, or whatever the fuck they're called. Tell them we'll meet them at the base, whatever, just get this over with already."

Michael tutted. "Pushy, pushy. But I'm glad you finally see it my way. Otherwise, things would've got a little messy." He consulted the phone again, eyebrows pinched. "Well." He reread the message, glanced at Simmons, then back at the phone. "Okay. Well, apparently the glasses were a dead end. We'll need to send the coordinates to the base. Latitude and longitude, you know?"

Grumbling, Simmons took the phone from him and punched in the approximate coordinates; or, at least, the coordinates his Palm gave: latitude 36°01'N and longitude 114°44'W. All they needed was a big red X and the words "Cube is Here" posted and they'd be in business, he mused sardonically to himself. He gave it back so Michael could finish up, then looked ahead of them, wondering just how he managed to get himself in these sorts of situations. He really needed to get a new job.


"Ow!" Sam was thrust from her contemplations as the police cruiser skidded to a stop and practically ejected her from the back seat, the sound of shifting metal filling the space. She rolled a few yards before she stabilized herself, glaring at the Decepticon. Well, she presumed she was glaring at the Decepticon. It was far too dark for her to tell for sure, but considering that something huge was blocking out the stars, it was a reasonable assumption. Oh wait. She was in a building; that's why she could see the stars. Abandoned, not unlike the one Bumblebee had taken them to meet the Autobots, but not the same one. That would be too easy.

With a groan, she struggled to her knees, an arm wrapped around her chest in a vain attempt to ease the pain in her ribcage. She winced and carefully maneuvered herself as she made to stand up. Alas, but it was not to be! She had barely got to her feet when something small barreled into her and knocked her back on the ground. Three guesses who that was. Frenzy, that bastard.

Now flat on her back with a vertically stunted robot on her gut, luminescent blue eyes the only source of light (it did wonders to illuminate those spindly claws, which flexed menacingly at his sides), Sam decided she was in a shit load of trouble. Not only was she injured and outnumbered; she had two angry, evil alien robots wanting a piece of her. She couldn't believe her luck — or lack thereof. She just had yet to decide which one scared her more. Sadistic Skinny or Brooding Hulk.

Red eyes turned on her, but Barricade addressed Frenzy instead. His words chilled her to the bone: "Do not let her escape. And make her suffer for her misdeeds against the High Protector." There was a pause. "Do not kill her. She will be a gift for Megatron when he returns."

Oh shit. Not that she expected anything different, but still; it was going to happen. And like hell if they thought she'd go down without a fight. Making to dislodge Frenzy, she lashed out at the small robot, getting a foot under him to kick him off. She heard heavy footsteps retreating and knew that she would soon be in the mercy of Sadistic Skinny; with a growl, she planted the bottom of her shoe into his 'gut' area and propelled him off. All she really knew was that she had to get away or she'd be in a whole lot more pain that she already was.

Breaths coming as harsh hisses between clenched teeth, Sam made to crab-crawl away. But Frenzy had just bounced back, almost completely unfazed by her retaliation, and skittered after her, easily able to catch up, as she hadn't made it far to begin with.

An ominous whistle of air and Sam gave an inhuman shriek, just shy of convulsing at the horrible, indescribable pain that consumed her, when what she distantly realized was shuriken had impaled her hand against the ground, the alien alloy easily cutting through skin and piercing the concrete. She tried to curl up on herself as Frenzy lunged, forcefully pinning her other hand and stabbing another shuriken through it. A claw dug into her shoulder, in the exact place of the glass wound; it was too much.

Concussion or not, she succumbed to darkness and welcomed it wholeheartedly. She really needed some sleep!

When she came to, the first thing that registered was the pain, naturally. Her entire body felt inflamed and she was ridiculously weak. Probably from blood loss, she thought idly through the heavy fog of her mind. By the constant jostling her wounded body was experiencing, she distantly figured they were on the road again. In the front seats, Frenzy and Barricade were holding a conversation in voices comparable to nails on a chalkboard. They weren't paying any attention to her, but sounded… excited? Well, that couldn't be anything good.

She shifted in hopes to relieve some of the pressure on her bruised ribs, eyes fluttering as she became more aware of her surroundings — and equally aware of her own injuries. She ignored the itty-bitty fact that it was nearing dawn, considering the splatter of color across the early morning sky, and took stock of the situation. Only then did she realize something notably disturbing: she could only see out of one eye.

That got her panicking. Ignoring the persistent aching of her hands — which she vaguely noted were bandaged with strips of what she'd later identify as her pajama bottoms — and groped at her face. Her fingers met moist cloth and she tugged at it frantically, hoping against hope that her one eyed blindness was because of the cloth itself, probably placed to stem the flow of a head wound or something of that sort, except that when she finally tore it away, blinking rapidly, her vision blurred as her brain tried to mesh the two different images: one clear as it should, the other… grey and fuzzy.

Well… shit. Frenzy hadn't taken the 'make her suffer' lightly. At least the pain was indistinguishable from that motherfucking migraine… which could be a reason for the visual anomaly, except that, well, she had the distinct gut-sinking hunch that it was her actual eye that was the problem, not the migraine.

Shuddering, she curled up as best she could, mindful of the other injuries Frenzy undoubtedly inflicted upon her. If she got out of this alive, she'd been in for months of physical therapy, because there was no way her hands were working anytime soon, if the partial numbness slash tingling had anything to say about it. Shit. Shit, shit, shit…

Aiming a kick to the back of the driver's seat, only in mid swing did she think twice. She wasn't in any state to put up a fight, so she sighed in defeat and tried to get as comfortable as possible, which wasn't much, because she hurt all over. The way she saw it, the only thing she could really do was conserve her strength, be compliant towards her captors, and sink into that precarious mental place where she could evade the pain that threatened to strangle the will out of her body.

God, she hoped the others were all right. Hoped Michael had gotten her parents out of harm's way, that he wouldn't do something stupid that would harm himself. Hoped the Autobots would find the Cube and send the Decepticons packing. Hoped Bumblebee would survive the battle that loomed on the horizon. Hoped, but didn't expect, she'd live through this so she could finish high school, go to college, be the person always wanted to be. Hoped, but didn't expect anything. Not at this point.

She drifted off again, unaware that Barricade had intercepted the texts sent by Michael, most significantly the one with the coordinates of the Cube.


Bumblebee was skeptical about just how motivated the so called Sector Seven was to rescue Sam, but, loathe he was to admit it, he had little choice but to detour to the Hoover Dam base. Despite his reservations, it was the best way to help her. On a lighter note, he wasn't quite sure how Michael had convinced these secret agents to relinquish the Cube, but there was little doubt that it would be an amusing story. Not that there was anything amusing about the current events.

He kept correspondence open with both Michael and the Autobots, all the while constantly scanning for any potential Decepticon activity, even nearing dawn, with the likelihood of Sam still being alive declining with every passing minute.


Sam remembered the last time she'd felt so much pain. 8th grade, after school track practice. The coach had been an Ass, with a capital A. She'd pushed them so very hard, especially with the upcoming meet and tournament. And Sam had wiped out, mangling her foot; Coach Boeing hadn't cared about broken bones — she cared about winning, at whatever cost. And Sam, not one to give up, sucked up the pain for the next week and a half, spending all her free time with her foot in a bucket of ice water to numb the pain away, mentally preparing herself for the agony that was bound to take her.

Surprisingly enough (or not), she'd come in third place, their school ranking two out of a dozen or so from all over the state. Needless to say that after that shebang, Sam quit the team and limped home to nurse her festering wounds. Her parents had been so utterly pissed when they learned she'd been limping around on a broken foot for over ten days and had just competed in a race, of all things. The sports medicine doctor clunked his tongue and shook his head and put her in a boot until they could schedule her for surgery to try and fix the extensive damage done.

There was mention of how, considering the circumstances, she could very likely develop arthritis in her foot, though she had only a very little nerve damage. How she managed to avoid that was beyond her comprehension; there was the occasional twinge, but nothing outstanding enough to require medical intervention. The recovery process had been grueling, physical therapy, careful exercising, to get her back on her feet — no pun intended.

But the experience had left her with a unique perspective about pain; it didn't have to control her life. Mind over matter, and the like. Light self-hypnosis and meditation had done it for her, so it was these techniques that she gradually guided her mind away from the distracting pain, falling into a shallow contemplative state. There wasn't much she could do at the moment besides wait. At least the road wasn't as bumpy; perhaps they were on a highway. Because, really, who would question the presence of a cop car?

Eventually, she found the strength to heave herself up into a sitting position, though she ended up leaning heavily on the door. She gazed outside, getting a better idea of where they were; fortunately, Las Vegas was easy to recognize, even on the outskirts. They seemed to be headed in a southward direction, but who was she to say so in her condition? Speaking of which… at least she wasn't in as much pain. Okay, take that back. She was still in the same amount of pain, she'd just adjusted to it so that it wasn't nearly as debilitating.

Gingerly manipulating the cloth around her hands with her teeth, she set about a makeshift exam. As she'd expected, her hands were torn up, but the bleeding was negligible, at the most. Still, she didn't feel like pressing her luck. It was quite a feat of mobility that she was able to snag the leg of her pajamas with her teeth, as she'd done with the bandages, and tore out relatively blood-free strips to reattach to her wounds. She left her eye alone, unwilling to risk making it worse… and perhaps still floundering a bit in her personal pool of denial.

She scoped out the rest of her body and was relieved to find that the rest of her injuries were for the most part superficial. She suspected she had a sprained ankle and her hip ached something nasty, as if it had been dislocated and incorrectly put back in place. Or, at least, that's how she'd describe it. Otherwise, she was basically one big bruise. Even her bruises had bruises. The scrapes were just the icing on top of the cake. Fuck, girl. You look like you went partying with Death, except Death got bored and decided to leave you paralyzed in the middle of a busy intersection. Damn it.

Her abdominals were complaining and it took her a minute to comprehend exactly why they were doing so. How embarrassing! She peered warily at Sadistic Skinny, who was puttering around with a computer console that was where the passenger airbag was supposed to be. She then looked at the driver's seat and was momentarily startled to see it occupied. Oh, well that's interesting. He's a little transparent though.

"Nice trick. If it weren't for the static, you'd almost pass for a real human," she rasped, her voice still scratchy from her previous screaming. She paused. Through the rear view mirror, she could tell that the holo-person hadn't even looked back at her. "But let me tell you something about real humans," she continued, slowly gaining back her usual spunk. "We consume sustenance on a regular basis. Our bodies take that sustenance and breaks it down into sugars and carbs and the like. What isn't used for nutrition is shipped south to be evacuated in a timely manner. With me so far?"

There was no answer. But who was she kidding? She hadn't expected one in the first place. She just needed to impress on him how important it was that she took care of her business, like, within the next twenty minutes or so.

"You know, getting rid of waste and stuff. Proper etiquette would be to allow guests access to some sort of receptacle. Even prisoners get to use the john. And I'll come out with it as bluntly as I can — I need a potty break. I highly doubt you want my bodily excretion all over your interior. Pain in the ass to get out of the upholstery and very unhygienic, you know? I mean, I'm not picky, just a deserted side road and some bushes and I'll be good."

Silence. Sam pursed her lips, but regretted the action, the chapped flesh protesting even at the slightest expression. The corners of her mouth were cracked; her tongue felt like sand. She could still smell her own blood, dried though it was. And she'd be smelling something else soon, too, if Barricade didn't fucking hurry up and make a decision! She was getting really uncomfortable, enough that she tacked on a strangled, "Please? It's not like I'm going to run off or anything. I'm in no condition for that." Still nothing.

She narrowed her eyes. "Okay, listen. I'm about to shit my pants. I'll drop 'em and squat in your nice leather seats and I can assure you, it won't be pretty. Can you imagine shit in your gears? Under your armor? Gumming your cannon? Doesn't sound fun, does it? Well, I'm getting desperate and if you don't pull over, say, right about now, I won't hesitate to—" She didn't finish as the Saleen swerved to the side, nearly causing a massive taffic accident, but more importantly, throwing her around the back seat, her head narrowly missing a collision of its own with a tinted window.

Barricade came to an abrupt halt and Sam found herself for the second time flung directly out of the seat; at least this time she landed on semi-soft earth and not concrete. The Decepticon had veered right off the highway, to a small cluster of bushes that had seen better days and barely came up to her hip.

"Make it quick," the Saleen snarled through his voice processors, engine idling as she scrambled for the cover of the bushes. Well, this was utterly embarrassing; her relieving herself mere feet from an evil alien robot. If Milli were here, she'd get a kick out of that; probably write something about it too.

Sam took care of her business, inwardly thankful her abdominal cramps had indeed been from her intestines and not her more feminine parts. That just proved she was naturally a bitch. A good-natured bitch, sure, but a bitch nonetheless. There was probably still a week before natural bitchiness became hormone-induced homicidal bitchiness. Decepticons sure lucked out on that. A week later and they'd have to face the full-blown wrath of a menstruating teenager. Even she'd steer clear of herself during those episodes if it were at all possible. Unfortunately, she was a little stuck with herself.

Leaves didn't make good toilet paper, she concluded as she climbed back into the cruiser. Not bothering with the seatbelt, she huddled down, feet propped up on the door, and decided to catch some Z's. Though she was unaware, they'd soon be reaching the Nevada-Arizona border, where a force of Decepticons were waiting for them.


Michael stood on top of Hoover Dam, staring down its massive walls. Sector Seven was being particularly stubborn about the Cube, insisting they negotiate and talk terms with the Autobots before they turned over the piece of alien technology. Unfortunately, Optimus had yet to arrive, although Bumblebee had appeared just shortly after they, themselves, reached the dam. He'd learned some very interesting things as they waited. For one, Bumblebee could make a hologram of himself. God, that had startled him.

It didn't seem to matter what form the Camaro was in; he was still as mute as ever. So conversation was little one-sided, not like they were discussing anything important anyways, as they both shied from sensitive topics, such as Decepticons and the fact that they had Sam. It was in that that they found something in common with each other: they were both worried for girl.

"It's bad, isn't it," Michael murmured quietly, hands in his pockets. He didn't know how these Decepticons treated their prisoners, but they were both fairly confident that they had ever had a human prisoner before. Perhaps that would make them a little more careful… or not.

Bee simply inclined his head, blonde fringe falling into his face. Michael had freaked when at first he'd been approached by a stunning, busty brunette with rich cocoa skin [1]. It had taken some sloppy attempts of charades for him to catch on, but by that time, Bee had abandoned that avatar for something more characteristic of his robot self. Male, for one. Blonde hair the color of his armor and inhumanly blue eyes. The yellow and black tee with a bumblebee logo was a good give-away, also.

Bumblebee's alt-form was in the base, but the scout had figured Michael could use the company; after all, he was Sam's friend. Though he couldn't speak, a strong and steady presence seemed to do the teen a bit of good. Silent support was often the best way to go about things. And they were in the same boat, really, as the human saying went. Someone they cared for was in mortal danger and they could do nothing about it.

"Sam's strong, though," the car savvy teen said, as if saying it made it so, reassuring, confirming. "She's a survivor. She'll be okay." Words, hopeful, wishing, and with luck, not empty. Then silence. In minutes, Optimus would be there and then they could finally get to work. Unbeknownst to them, with it came a battle.


[1] Fact: Bumblebee's holomatter avatar is a female in the cartoon. Also fact: this will be the only instance in this fic that his avatar is female.

Mini-rant ahead! After consulting the movie timeline on the Transformers Wiki, I discovered some interesting inconsistencies. Megatron is found in the late 1800s in the Arctic Circle; Captain Witwicky happens upon him and incidentally activates his navigation systems, engraving the location of the Cube on his glasses. Capice? The Cube is discovered in 1913 underwater in Colorado. So wouldn't the coordinates on the glasses indicate the Cube was there? 1969, Megatron and the Cube are moved to the base at Hoover Dam at the same time Ghost 1 is launched into space. Ghost 1 apparently contains the knowledge of Megatron's location on Earth and is intercepted by the Autobot ship Ark and Decepticon ship Nemesis. Awesome. Problem: was said location the original location, e.g. Artic Circle and Colorado, or the Hoover Dam base that they were moved to? In movie, Frenzy stowed away with Mikaela to the Hoover base and found Megatron that way. He then transmitted his data to the other Decepticons. So it seems that neither the glasses nor Ghost 1 had the current location for either. If Ghost 1 did have that information, they wouldn't have needed the glasses and could've gone straight to the Dam. Did they, or did they not? Presumably, after Bumblebee was defrosted at the base, he could've transmitted his location to the Autobots, because the glasses certainly didn't point to Hoover Dam.

Did that make any sense?

By the way, Jazz will die at the end of this fanfic. However, as it says on Wiki, he'll be rebuilt by Ratchet and become a main player again! For whatever reason, that didn't happen in the movie-verse. Cheers, my readers! Jazz will be alive and kicking for my Revenge of the Fallen. Squee!

Note: I've made Simmons not so much of an asshole, because he's better suited for comic relief, in my opinion. And I can picture him and Sam exchanging jibes while Jazz commentates. Heh.

Riariti no Iru-jon.