Talk of the Future

Summary: Third in the "talk" series. Sam finally comes to term with his guilt of getting Optimus killed.

Author Note: I dunno what's wrong with me. My god. I need to stop writing such sappy fics. Seriously, I really don't know what came over me. Please review and I hope you enjoy.

From afar the large unhitched eighteen-wheeler looks like any other type of Detroit made truck, hefty and powerful. From afar the metallic and chrome rig appears well cared for, the sharp metal reflective and gleaming as the paint job picks up the rays of the dying sun. From afar no one would be able to tell the eighteen-wheeler is a several millennia old alien organism from a far off planet, now long dead after a brutal civil war; called Cybertron.

But Sam knows and has come to enjoy the company of the Autobot leader; his vast knowledge on numerous subjects and his desire to help with Sam's astrology work has made him a vital asset to the college student. That and Sam felt that he owed Optimus something after the mechanoid sacrificed himself to save him from Megatron, although Optimus had thanked him for nearly sacrificing his own life to bring him back to Sam it wasn't enough.

Sam approaches the still big rig with an air of caution, having been nearly blown apart by plasma cannons when he accidently startled Ironhide out of his thoughts. The warrior mech had reacted badly and abruptly apologized but Sam has carried the lesson of 'approach with caution' with him. Optimus seems to shake, his chassis moving slightly before he greets the student.

"Evening Sam." Sam lets of a breath he'd been holding and smiles, holding up his Astrology book.

"I brought my book and note book this time." He says approaching the nose of the truck and sets up the camping chair he'd brought with him. Sam's parents hadn't been too happy to hear about his plans for the third evening of his too short spring break, but with Bumblebee's help he was able to slip away easily enough. Even Mikaela had seemed a bit put out when he declined plans to spend tonight with her, but better than anyone his girlfriend understood the reasons behind the meetings with the Autobot leader.

"Was your Professor impressed with your last paper?" Optimus asks and Sam smiles widely, digging into his notebook to pull out the fifteen paged research paper, the large A minus displayed proudly.

"Only problem I had, was trying to find a book to cite that would have even a smidge of the information you gave me so it looked like I did some research because I can't put down 'interviewed Autobot Leader Optimus Prime'." Sam says, earning a soft rumbling from the Autobot warrior. To Sam it had sounded somewhat sad and waits for Optimus to bring it up or to move on, knowing that Optimus wasn't typically one to share his private thoughts often. The silence that falls upon them only lasts a few minutes, the loud blare of a truck horn going by splits the silence.

"Do you think your people will be able to accept having us here?" Optimus suddenly asks, startling Sam and for a moment the student has to consider the question.

"Well, think of how many people already know about you? I mean NEST and the government, my family, Mikaela and Leo. We accept you." He says and watches as the Autobot warrior transforms into his natural shape, towering three and a half storeys above him. To Sam the transformation between car and their bipedal forms hasn't lost it's awe factor, the young man often finding himself gawking at the moving vehicle parts and delicate wiring that makes up the Autobot anatomy. Optimus seems to stretch for a moment and gently eases himself to the ground near Sam, his massive legs dwarfing the student. Sam isn't afraid to be this close to the menacing leg armor, knowing the Autobot leader is ever cautious of the area around him. Large hands are pushed into the soil, the metal scarred and nicked.

"The people you listed know about us through accidental reveal, such as Mikaela or formal debriefing, such as your parents and the members of NEST. As for your government beyond those that have seen us during controlled conferences very few know what we look like." Optimus explains, his bright blue optics glowing steadily bright as his head tips back. Sam leans back in his camping chair, knowing that they won't be covering his astrology questions and focuses on what the Autobot is saying; knowing Optimus wouldn't have brought it up if he hadn't thought it over.

"What are you saying?" Sam implores when Optimus remains silent.

"When the Fallen advertised our existence to your people, Earth's governments covered it up as a prank, as a way to cause mass hysteria in the wake of the random attacks and sightings." He says and Sam nods but quickly brings up his own freakish room mates.

"There are people who believe something bigger is going on. My room mates Sharsky and Fassbinder don't believe the hype, they're sure 'alien robots' have came down to Earth and are doing everything, almost every gaming nerd who never leaves their computer seems to think there is something else going on than what the government is saying." Sam explains to the warrior, watching as Optimus' optics dim slightly. Somehow Sam can tell that his words didn't put the Autobot commander at peace and watches the mechanoid for a few minutes, silence only interrupted by the crickets living in the tall grass.

"Those are mere children saying such things Sam, children and conspiracy theorists scanning armature video and listening to others like them. These types of people, in your society Sam are not trustworthy with the information they throw around, no one believes them." Sam nods his head but catches the tired edge to the mechanoid's voice and watches the confident shoulders sag a bit. Having watched Bumblebee and interacted with the other Autbots (and nearly killed by the Decepticons) Sam has come to find that although their bodies are made of battle hardened metal the Autobots have emotions just like humans do and express them in body language.

"I fear that we will be reduced to hiding behind our alternate form and being covered up, swept under the rug and shut into the shadows. This isn't what I envisioned of our time on Earth, being a tool of your government and pressed for knowledge too advanced for your kind to comprehend." Sam understands, having been told of Advisor Galloway's demand for the Autobot's weapons technology.

"Are they still hounding you over that?" Sam asks, suddenly angry that the government weasel would still be trying to get Optimus to tell them. Optimus lets a long sigh escape his exhausts before responding, his massive hand gesturing to the stars above.

"They ask after a lot of things Sam, our weaponry being only one. They have asked of how we transverse the universe. They ask to study our armor and take samples of the energon running through our tubes. They ask us about the creation of our world, your world. I was forced to sit through a meeting with a 'Big Bang' Theorist and a Priest of your world's religion." Sam winces at this, having gotten an abbreviated version while in his Astrology class the previous semester.

"How'd that go?" he ventures and Optimus' steady gaze falls on him. Sam laughs at the expression, no need for imagination or assumption there.

"I fell into a light recharge thirty earth minutes into it." Sam laughs even harder, his lungs aching as he folds, clutching his stomach. Optimus was fairly amused as well, allowing himself a few deep rumbles of laughter.

"Have you recovered Sam?" he asks after a few minutes, Sam straightening up in his chair, face hot from the exertion. Laughing once more he wipes the tears from his eyes and settles back, wincing at his cramped muscles.

"I'd of loved to have been there. See the theorist and the priest going at it and you asleep throughout it all." Sam laughs earning him a mischievous look from the usually stoic Optimus.

"At least they couldn't see me. I use to do the same on Cybertron during those long boring meetings. Prowl had to continually prod me." Optics growing dim once more Optimus turns his attention to the stars above, his expression taking on one of a homesick man.

"You'd rather be up there wouldn't you?" Sam suddenly asks, drawing the Autobot's attention back to the world beneath his body. Optimus slowly looks down at the young human sitting in the red camping chair.

"Is it that obvious?" he asks and Sam gives a shrug, drawing in the loose dirt with his sneakers.

"At times, we'll be talking and you'll just suddenly stop and gaze upward for a few minutes before returning to the conversation. That's all; I assume there are many Autobots maneuvering out there among the stars." Sam informs and glances up, finding an expression of almost shame crossing the warrior's metallic features.

"Hey, it's no big deal. I'd be wondering about them too if I were in your---er-shoes." Sam admits, stumbling over the old saying.

"So many I have grown attached too in the eons as I commanded their attacks and fought beside them. They are all good Mech's Sam, loyal almost to a fault. But, with the loss of Cybertron and the quick evacuation of our dying world our communications were jumbled. I don't even know how many are still alive to have heard my call." He says and Sam nods, knowing the loss and unknown status of his soldiers weight heavily on the leader's mind.

"SideSwipe says he and his brother had been split up and that he'll be catching up sooner or later." Sam says, trying to turn the conversation from such morbid thoughts of the gone Autobots floating around in space. Optimus groans and shakes his head, making Sam smile.

"Sunstreaker and SideSwipe once restored to their partnership will cause unimaginable chaos, which I can say with some apprehension, I'm looking foreword to their reuniting, even if it's for some relief from the tedious questions of your government and scientists." Optimus rumbles and Sam excitedly agrees.

"Who do you miss the most Optimus?" Sam asks, leaning forward in his chair, elbows resting on his thighs. Optimus gives a soft rumble.

"All those under my command are missed Sam; I can not pick a certain one from amongst them since they are all my friends and my brothers." Optimus says and Sam accepts the answer, having had a similar conversation with Major Lennox not long after the battle in Egypt. Sam winces, in those days after Egypt he had been depressed and contemplative, agonizing over his choice to abandon the Autobots when they had asked for help and then watching the large Mechanoid sitting before him die to keep him alive. A knot forms in the college student's throat and he stands, drawing the attention of the alien leader, his bright optics falling on him.

"Optimus I…" he trails off, swallowing hard and it about to continue when Optimus holds up a great hand, the words dying in Sam's throat.

"I know what you're going to say Sam, I have seen this brewing in you for a while now, and why else do you think I have taken up these meetings, the time spent working with you on your Astrology?" Optimus says and Sam's eyes widen and he opens his mouth but Optimus quickly continues.

"Sam, Bumblebee is my scout. He wouldn't be a very good one if he didn't pick up on your distress and report it back to me." At my open mouth and shocked look Optimus shakes his head and gently picks me up, his large and destructive hands barely feather light on the back of my shirt.

"Now do not be angry with him, I was the one who ordered him to keep a sharp optic on you. He was only following orders." Optimus admits and Sam's anger at Bumblebee quickly melts away, leaving him almost chilled.

"You died protecting me. Me, the person you came to for help and refused, claiming normalcy and just wanting to be a teenager." Sam states, standing up on the scarred palm of the massive hand and stares at the unshielded face of the Autobot leader, suddenly ashamed. Although fully healed and functioning the marks of his battle with Megatron are still there, the deep nicks in the metal and a few cracks.

"Sam, if only you could have met all the Autobots who fell in battle defending their companions for a cause they thought worthy. I wasn't about to let Megatron get a hold of you, I only regret not getting there sooner." He says sadly, optics dimming slightly. Sam tries to choke back a sob as all the memories of that horrid experience come flooding back, his knees going week as the images of sparks and shrapnel, the smell of gunpowder and alien weaponry thick.

"Such an emotional species, always thinking too much on things that you can not change and wishing to control time so you can fuss with it and change it, but what good will that do?" Optimus asks, a hint of reprimand in his voice as he eases Sam back onto solid ground, allowing him time to catch his breath and sort through his emotions. When it seemed like Sam wasn't about to succumb to a complete mental breakdown the Autobot leader continues slowly.

"Sam you're a courageous person and although you don't know it you are filled with the things that make you an honorable and worthy friend. You risked your future in college, your human friendships and your own fragile and precious life to bring me, an aged and weary soldier back to life." Optimus states and Sam can hear the truth behind his words. Glancing up at the huge mech and shakes his head.

"But I left you behind…." Sam tries to defend, holding onto his anger at himself. Optimus gives a rumble which only makes Sam's anger blaze.

"What could you have done? Megatron would have done much worse to you if you didn't run with Bumblebee." Optimus responds.

"Oh and being stabbed through the chest is just a walk in the freaking park?" Sam shouts, anger reddening his face. Optimus is taken aback by his outburst but having been around battle traumatized soldiers he understands this anger has to be purged before it turns into a destructive force.

"Well no, it wasn't a 'walk in the freaking park' and I will not lie to you, in human terms it really, really sucked, but what would you have been able to do Sam. I'm lucky I didn't crush you when I fell. Think boy, think." Optimus urges, allowing himself to lapse back into his 'commander' mode and suddenly feels like he's once more lecturing one of the twins after a battle in which one of them was injured.

"I could of… of…" Sam trails off, his anger finally burning itself out.

"Done absolutely nothing." Optimus finishes for him, watching as the human seems to finally realize this. Sam runs a hand through his hair and laughs at how stupid he was for beating himself up.

"Your right Optimus, although I still feel bad for getting you… well… killed." Sam responds and Optimus only shakes his head.

"But you brought me back, at the risk of your own life. I heard later from Ratchet and then Ironhide the sacrifice you made and was told never to allow you to do that again, by Ratchet of course." Prime muses and Sam laughs, imagining the medical mech lecturing the convalescing leader. His laughter falls short as he gently places a hand on Optimus' thick forearm armor, feeling the wicked dents and thick scarring of the metal.

"Just, don't do it again okay? No more dying or getting killed trying to save me alright?" Optimus' thick and dangerously destructive hand gently rests over it, completely enclosing his flesh hand in metal.

"I will try in the future."

Sam could only smile.


Author Note: Not sure how many more of these I can take! So sappy. My god it's practically oozing. Hit the button and drop me a line!