As I've said pretty much every chapter for a while now in my author's notes, this story is not dead.

And can I just tell the noobs, it's kinda rude to leave a review that just says 'update moar plz'. I'm cool with you wanting more, but at least leave some kind of actual commentary on the story.

That said, here is some of my commentary on the story NOT THAT MOST OF YOU ARE READING THIS because apparently people don't read author's notes.

I've re-read a few of the last chapters leading up to this one to try and stamp out continuity errors cased by writing this over a period of 7 to 8 months, and I have come to the conclusion that this story is terribly written.

My intent was to go for intensity, but I think i strayed too much into the realm of needless, irritating repetition.

This is OK. If people still like it, that's alright, and to be fair I've been writing it over a period of about 4 years now (and holy shit didn't that surprise me when I realised it) and so my writing has been growing with it. Albeit veeeeerry slowly growing. As in, I still do the bad shit in this chapter :/

As it stands, I'm hoping this is a better one of my chapters. As always, I spent most of it with writer's block, and then suddenly i got in my Repro headspace and the rest flowed out in a few days.

That said, this is a slightly more bitter-sweet chapter, and while I meant to do short updates, it seems i am physically incapable of that, because this hit the 10,000 word mark rather effortlessly.

That said, while I may end up updating again soon simply because I'm on a roll, I am in the last semester of my masters of animation, and to be frank, I have a FUCKTONNE of work to do. Like, you do not understand. A FUCK. TONNE.

I was going to explain some stuff from the chapter here too but I forgot what so nevermind, and let me just say, it's a goddamn pain in the ass typing with a keyboard that has a messed up 'R' key OK.

~Death Out.


By the time the medical team had gotten well into the task of leg repairs the next day, Bumblebee was singing.

Prowl cringed at the worse notes and continued to hold the small mech's servo, sharing looks with Ratchet.

Oh they'd heard him sing before, but whenever he had, they'd shut him up by throwing various things at him.

Right now, a shuriken bounced off his helm or a smack upside the cranial unit could do serious damage. Plus, it WAS their fault.

He was back on high-grade while they repaired his legs, and at some point halfway through he had decided to start singing a few of his and Sari's favourite heavy metal ballads.

He tended to tunelessly mumble his way through the parts he didn't know (which was most of it) and then blare out the lyrics he DID know (or at least the bits he thought he did, though he'd misheard a lot).

Wheeljack worked on serenely like it was nothing, but Perceptor seemed extremely put off whenever the sub-compact chimed out off-key choruses.

"Bumblebee…"

" Nananaaanaanana na-RIGHT IN THE EEEYE OF THE STOOORM!"

"Bumbleb-"

" You know that when duuuuuuhduhduhduuuuuun- YOU GOT THE TOUCH!"

"BEE"

"Yea Prooooowl?"

"Would you like it if I brought you your MP3 player?"

"…That'd be aweeeesome."

"Would you like me to adjust your tonal reception and feedback software?" Perceptor asked as politely as he could.

Bumblebee frowned slightly. "Why? S'nothing wrong with it."

"He's sayin' you sing off-key kid." Ratchet's tone was amused rather than chastising.

Bumblebee turned his frown on Ratchet.

"No it isn't, my singing s'fine, Sari says I'm good… jus' don't know all the words."

"With all due respect, you are switching between three different octaves in a random sequence, sometimes within one note. I believe the piece you are trying to reproduce is in the key of D."

Perceptor said rather matter-of-factly.

Wheeljack gave him a look across the table and the scout's deconstructed leg-struts.

"For starters, why do YOU even know that song Perce, and second, it's not in the key of D, it's in the key of awesome."

Bumblebee snorted and held up a servo.

Wheeljack looked at it, puzzled.

"He wants you to give him a high-five." Ratchet explained.

"Yeah, you jus' pwn'd him, don't leave me hangin' bot" the sub compact stated seriously.

Behind him, Prowl mimicked a high five with his own servos to show Wheeljack what to do.

The engineer tentatively clapped his palm against Bumblebee's, and that seemed to satisfy him.

His helm panels flashed a curious blue before he went back to his work.

"How do YOU even know that song Wheeljack?" Ratchet piped up, raising an orbital ridge at the white and green bot.

"Oh, I overheard the femmelet… Sari, she was showing Sunstreaker and Sideswipe a bunch of earth culture. I took a look out of interest. Earth has much stranger music than us."

"Who and whoooo?" the scout on the berth rolled his helm to look between the medic and engineer.

"Two of the elite guard mechs stationed here to help us run the base." Prowl explained. "Actually, they're not unlike you Bumblebee. Different frame type, same attitude to speed limits and road rules."

Bumblebee made a snort-like noise. "How many ticket's they got so far?"

"Twenty One." Prowl replied nonchalantly.

"So no, they haven't beaten your record yet." Ratchet added with a small snicker.

"Hehn. Good… I guess." The scout sounded more bemused than pleased, flinching when Wheeljack had to snap a wire to remove it from where it had been cinched against a warped strut.

"Sorry."

"S'ok. HEY…Heyyyy Prowl, you can sing yea?" Bumblebee asked with intense curiosity, ignoring whatever other pains were caused by the repair work.

"Ummm. I've been told I can carry a tune, but that's about the extent of my abilities."

Prowl seemed both apprehensive and a little confused.

"Why don't yooooooou sing something, so 'Ceptor doesn' keep cringin'".

"I wasn't-"

"I can see you from here y'know"

"…Alright, maybe a little, but my scale detection software is easily irritated when something variates off a set Soundwave path that it should be following"

"You'd be good at singstar" Bumblebee snickered.

"At what, sorry?"

"It's a videogame Perceptor." Ratchet waved a servo at him distractedly.

"A videogame?"

"I'll show you later Perce'." Wheeljack said with a hint of amusement.

Bumblebee ran out of songs after a little while, humming petering out to nothing, the sub-compact studying his repaired shoulder joint listlessly, optics focussing in and out depending on how much he concentrated.

Sensing the onset of overcharge melancholia again, Prowl searched his meta for something to distract the scout.
"Bumblebee… I wanted to ask you about something."
"Hmmmm?" The dull blue optics turned to him, and he could see it was in fact an effort for him to focus them.
"You muttered something in recharge the other night that got me thinking… it was just a designation. Proto-designation. S5?"

Bumblebee blinked at him slowly.

"Yeah?… was in m' batch. I'm Essex."

"Essex?" Prowl tilted his helm, a little confused.
"He's saying 'S' Six. High-grade makes it harder to separate common phonetics. It took you that long to realise he was a batch spark?" Ratchet answered, looking up at him briefly from his work.

"Wassabigdeal? Was th'laaaast batch. My serial number's'on my casing." He gave Prowl a slightly shrewd, curious look. "Why, waddidisay?"

Prowl gave a nonchalant shrug. "Just something like 'stop it or we'll get in trouble'."
"Oooooh he DID get in trooouble. Kept fooling 'round. Broke m'seals."
Wheeljack paused, frowning slightly. "Wait, he…"
"I'm not sure we should encourage this topic, it is rather personal and he is not master of all his facaul-"
The minibot cut Perceptor of with a barked laugh that held no amusement whatsoever.

"Pers'nal… 'case you hadn' noticed, I'm a bit past personal, with no panel n' no chest-plating n' all the other slag." He drawled, bitter edge to his voice not hidden.

"Look, 's no biggie. So I lost my seals early. Better that th'n the altre-… atlern-… than if he hadn' n it woulda been the cons. They didn't get that. Least they didn't get that". His tone was sullen and he wasn't looking at Prowl anymore, gaze falling instead on some point on the wall to his left.

"Bumblebee, it is a good thing they didn't get that… but you could only have been orns old… for all intents and purposes none of you should even of HAD the programming that guides or initiates those… urges, until you were given your final upgrades and emancipated." Wheeljack explained gently.

Bee frowned slightly. "So?… They wanted t' reseal me but I said no. Hurt 'nuff the firs' time getting 'em off. S5 only did it 'cause warden Greenhelm did it t' him. I liked S5, I wish they hadn' sent him away after."

The other four mechs shared grim, mortified looks that the sub-compact remained oblivious to.

It was clear Bumblebee either had no idea how exploited his young innocence had been, or he dealt with it psychologically by telling himself there was nothing very wrong with it.
All four of them had questions, but none could quite bring themselves to push the topic, not when it would likely distress or aggravate Bumblebee, who went back to quietly staring into space again.

Possibly the worst part was that S5... Whoever he was now, had also been gravely wronged.

For all intents and purposes, de-sealing a minor, even if you were yourself a minor, was rape.

And the revelation that a public warden… charged with a duty of protection of what was essentially full-frame sparklings, had violated one of them and caused them developmental harm introducing interface protocols too early…

That was an offence that garnered decavorns in the stockades.

And they were on a planet light-years from Cybertron, suddenly armed with incriminating evidence for a violation that was by now vorns old.

It made Ratchet angry to the point of feeling nauseous that he couldn't do anything about it. That he couldn't hunt down the filthy mech called Greenhelm and have him punished for what he did.

Primus… just when he thought his spark couldn't ache any worse for Bumblebee, now he found the kid had been the victim of violation before he'd even reached maturity.

He'd always questioned the will of Primus in his line of work. But he'd never thought such a victimisation against one soul was so horribly possible before now.

They worked in heavy silence, Bumblebee's gaze glazing over as he stared at the ceiling.

Prowl was pretty sure Bumblebee was in that state of overcharge that came on with the steady saturation of a certain level of high-grade. Where you weren't quite sure how awake or in stasis you were, and the world became surreal and displaced.

Bumblebee was certainly awake, but the ninja couldn't even begin to know what he was thinking about, his faceplate void of any real emotion.

He hoped that the scout had found some sort of space between memory and thought, something akin to a meditative haven where he didn't process anything of consequence.

Perhaps he WAS remembering things… reviewing times from the institute that had housed him before emancipation.

Prowl still had questions floating around his helm about what it was like, being raised (in a sense, given no physical changes took place for batch mechs) in an institute. What had Bumblebee WANTED to be before he'd left it? Had he always wished to join the elite guard? How long had he spent out before enlisting?

It suddenly occurred to the black and gold mech, to his own shame, that he had never wondered these things before.

Not just that… he hadn't cared. Which had been rather callous of him, especially when observation and self-education where key principles by which he lived.

No. He had dismissed Bumblebee before truly knowing him. He felt a pang of self-disgust to realise it was only after the sub-compact had been through trauma and come so close to off lining that he actually cared enough to be interested.

He opened his mouth to apologise, before closing it again, turning his helm to watch Ratchet's servos at work. It could wait until later, when they were alone. Talking about it in front of the others was too awkward.

Bumblebee had been distracted from his sightless staring, focussing slowly in on Prowl's face above him.

"Sup?"

"Hmm?" Prowl turned back to look at the scout.

"Sup? Y'look worried?" Bumblebee tilted his helm a little, looking searchingly over the ninja-bot's faceplate.
"Oh… it's nothing. Just thinking."
"Well yea… y'r always doing THAT."

Before Prowl could think up an excuse to satisfy the still intently searching gaze of the scout, Wheeljack cut over them.

"OK, that's the major struts and joints in your legs fixed. Reshaped and aligned the grindy hip. Think you're ok to try standing up Bumblebee?"

"Yeeeah why not" He slurred, letting Prowl help him sit up without protest, the engineer swinging his legs carefully over the edge of the berth for him.

Slipping off the berth, Prowl slung Bee's arm around his shoulders to help him stand, the scout hanging his unsteady weight on him, reminding him just how inebriated the small bot was.

Bee tried to pull his own weight with a grunt, making the repaired joints work.

He ex-vented heavily and flinched a little when he moved one, then the other, stepping in place rather than trying to walk.

"Y'know kid, with your legs functional you can get around the rest of the base instead of just being cooped up in here. No going outside I'm afraid, not with so much exposed circuitry. But still… you can go and hang out in the common room if you feel like it, play video games with Sari, watch some TV."

Ratchet suggested encouragingly as Prowl helped the scout test his weight walking on the repairs.

Bumblebee looked up at him, shuttering his optics a couple times. "Huh… I hadn't thought about that… but whadabout… y'know, m' still naked."
Wheeljack waved a servo, "We can fabricate you some temporary panelling to cover you up. Just some light stuff, doesn't need to be high impact gear."

The sub-compact nodded slowly. "OK… sounds good." His optics dilated rather suddenly, Prowl tensing as the scout's weight fell on him, Bumblebee curling over on himself with a low whine.

"Nononono not another one, please not a-hnnnnnnnngh!"
Prowl got him back on the berth as he tensed and shuddered.

The mood dropped with the onset of another purge so soon after his last. Prowl rubbed his back and helped him lean over the barrel they used to catch his regurgitations, the high grade making the purge particularly nasty.

The scout whimpered, bringing up energon before it had even been negatively charged with the expelled energy from his spark.

The rest of the mechs shared distressed looks as Bumblebee lapsed into more than one memory glitch.

Ratchet helped to stop Bumblebee kicking out and hurting himself or Prowl.

Wheeljack moved around to the other side of the berth so he could face Bumblebee, trying to talk him back to reality as he sobbed and pleaded for them not to take him again.

Perceptor, feeling awkwardly useless, gathered up their tools to get them out of the way and cleaned a few. He watched the others furtively though.

It was times like this he wondered if he shouldn't have just left his emotional programming offline.

On the other servo, it may have been even more detrimental to the situation if he had. Bumblebee did not need to be worked on by an intelligent drone, he needed compassionate healers.

But… for all his intelligent he'd never been emotionally smart. Perceptor didn't know how to deal with emotional extremes, so he'd negated the problem by removing them, but the experiment had been such a failure he'd conceded to re-installing them, adding in control parameters to assist him.

Without his emotions, mechs had discounted him and his work, and he knew, ego aside, that he was too valuable an intellect to the Autobots, and couldn't afford to make himself a scientific pariah.

For all his attempts to improve his ability to deal with and understand his and others emotions, he still found himself frustratingly lacking.

If he had not put himself through the procedure, he might have thought Bumblebee a perfect candidate to test it out on.

The sub-compact was being overwhelmed by his emotions to the point of wanting self-termination to escape them.

If he just removed them… it would be so much easier, and yet… he knew that to do that, the scout might as well die. Without his emotions, without being able to feel, he wouldn't be himself. The ghost of a mech in a shell, his team mates wouldn't even know him anymore.

Perceptor stood, watching the scout writhe and plead, lapsed into a memory and convinced those touching him were trying to rape him again, and the irony caused his spark to clench in a sublime sort of feeling he rarely ever experienced… in suffering, the scout lived more truly than he would completely devoid of feeling. The price of keeping himself was his agony.

If he did not feel so saddened by the realisation, he might have written a whole dissertation about it.

But the thought of doing so gave him an empty feeling, and he knew it would simply be one of those internal revelations he would carry in his spark, colouring his view of the world around him without being spoken.

Ironic, that he should find such emotional growth while not even knowing how to feel.


"Nuhh… nnn don'… don't take him… nooo don't… he didn' hurt me… esss fiiiive… dooon't…"

Prowl stirred at the sub-compact's murmuring, reaching out when he registered what Bumblebee was saying.

"Bumblebee… Bee, wake up."
The scout jolted awake, optics flashing with the pale panic of a mech disoriented and not quite caught up with the real world.
He turned to Prowl, optics dimming when his processor kicked in with the necessary information.

"You were talking in your recharge again. More memory purges from the initiation centre." the ninja explained, Bumblebee nodding and dropping his gaze from Prowl's.
"Yeah I… remember… don't know why I keep defragging it…"
"Perhaps it is because we spoke of it? Brought it back to the fore of your mind?" The black and gold mech offered, shifting to prop himself up on one elbow, trying to gauge Bumblebee's expression.

The sub compact made a non committal noise before frowning slightly.

"I was doing that before we talked about it though. I guess… maybe it just stuck in my processor, I don't know."
"It could be related to the things your processor is being blocked from defragging in recharge." Prowl noted gently.

Something in Bumblebee's expression shifted, taking an a low level of anxiety, but he didn't say anything.
There was a brief pause, filled only with the general night-time sounds of the highway's few passing cars. A meagre amount of crickets having a back and forth chirping match and the slight rustle of leaves from Prowl's tree.

"Am I… was there always something wrong with me because… because I got de-sealed too soon?"

Prowl, who'd let his gaze shift to the skylight above them and the quarter moon peeking through, snapped his attention back to the scout.
Pale blue optics met him with a deep seated sort of worry, as if he were finally asking a question he'd swallowed for vorns and wasn't sure he even wanted to know the answer to.

The ninja shifted under that gaze to ground himself and choose his words carefully. He was no expert in this, but he wasn't about to brush a question like that off.

"I do not think, even if it did have a poignant effect on you, that it means there is anything fundamentally wrong with you because of it…" He realised from the tightening of the smaller mech's frown that he was not satisfied with Prowl's answer.
The Black and gold mech cycled air slowly and tried again. "I'm not entirely sure I know what you mean by 'wrong'. But… unless it negatively altered your moral character… unless you feel the need to lash out at other mechs or treat others badly because of it, then no. I do not think it made you 'wrong'. I do think that it… confused you. On a level that no one has been aware of, and so could not help you with."

Bumblebee's optics dimmed slightly and he looked away, seemingly digesting that answer.
"So… so it didn't mess me up."

"That depends. How did you feel about it at the time?" Prowl felt a little guilty, since he was asking just as much for his personal curiosity as to try and help the scout, but he reasoned that at least he was helping… he hoped so, anyway.

"I don't know, I mean… It was my first time. The seal breaking kinda hurt since he didn't really know what he was doing, but the rest… the rest wasn't so bad. We faced, it was clumsy, but we overloaded and it was nice I guess. I'm just glad that he did it and the-"
Bumblebee's vocaliser cut off rather abruptly as he turned away and shuddered.

He didn't want to go there, didn't want to think about that.

"So you don't feel any remorse for it happening?" Prowl asked gently, as much a distraction from Bumblebee's train of thought as a genuine question.

"That's the thing, I don't know… I didn't even know what we were DOING at the time, how can I say if I would have wanted it had I known?" The scout looked anxious again.
"Well, did you particularly like him at the time? Did he force anything on you, or would he have stopped if you asked?" the ninja prodded softly.

Bumblebee considered that rather seriously, but he seemed to settle as he thought it over.

"We were… I mean, everyone there was practically a sibling. Same batch, all living together… he was the mech I was closest to though. We… I don't know, gravitated towards each other. That's what happens, other bots in the batch did that. We were as close as bots without full upgrades and no real idea of who we were could be. I guess… I guess I would have said yes if I knew what it was. And I never thought to tell him to stop, cause I never thought he'd really hurt me, and he didn't."

"Then I do not think, despite the tragic circumstance of him being taken advantage of, that the two of you interfacing prior to having full integration would have any true negative effects on you." The black and gold mech reassured him, and some of the tension of anxiety visibly left the sub-compact's frame.

"I always missed him though. I wanted to know where they took him, if he was coming back, but they wouldn't tell me. They said they were making him feel better and he'd be OK, so I just… accepted it and hoped I'd see him again. I mustn't have ever run into him again, or he would have recognised me and said hi, even if I didn't recognise him."

Prowl nodded, ideas forming, spurred on by the scout's regret. "Perhaps… given you are fully integrated and still care about S5, we can attempt to find him again? There are always records of these things, I'm sure I could… pull a few strings and see what comes up."
Bumblebee gave him a curious, if not tired look. "Pull a few strings?… You know bots who could find that stuff out?"
The ninja nodded, a tiny smile curling the corner of his mouth. "I know ONE bot. You only need to know one when it's Jazz."


"Ooookay. That's your comm unit fixed, give it a go to make sure your reception is good." Ratchet patted Bee's helm gently after closing the cranial casing. The sub-compact nodded and sent out a wide band ping.

That seems to be working normally.

The sound of the medics voice in his helm startled Bumblebee slightly, despite the fact he'd expected it.

Heh. Don't know why, but it feels a bit weird, taking calls through my head again. It's all working right again though.

Ratchet grinned at him and moved to set down his tool.
From the bench against the wall, Wheeljack made a satisfied noise and wandered over with a piece of light, temporary plating he'd been fabricating.
He held it over Bumblebee's chassis and hummed thoughtfully at the fit and look. It was not like his missing chest plates, being neither square, nor including any glass panelling.

"Mmmmm not sure this is gonna work actually. I'm thinking you might be better off with the new armour that already fits, I mean this won't help keep ya warm, it's just a barrier. Might as well just make a blanket poncho or something since you're not going outside for a while."

Bumblebee just blinked up at the engineer owlishly.
"If you say so. I thought I couldn't use the armour yet 'cause my integration panels haven't finished fixing themselves."

"Oh, yes, that's still true. But it's easier to latch them onto you with some magnetic clips than to make a full set of this panelling which wont help regulate your temperature or give you any transmittable readings." The engineer explained, moving to set the plating down and coming back to look over Bumblebee's frame critically.
"Hmmmm. You OK with me doing a check on your transform cog? It'll let me know how close you are to being able to transform again."

"If you want to, go right ahead." Bee gave a slight shrug with his old shoulder, his meta still telling him not to move the new one too much despite the fact it didn't hurt to do so anymore.

Wheeljack set about feeding a small, long tool through a side panel in Bumblebee's chassis, below his arm.
It felt quite bizarre, even moreso when Wheeljack prodded at his transform cog with it, managing to plug the end of it into the readings module for the critical piece of his anatomy.

He hummed thoughtfully again as he got his readings, Bumblebee forcing himself to lie still, resisting the urge to squirm.

"Cog itself is fine, but transforming will take more energy than it's worth given your spark's current condition. Plus, you might still have loose bits of metal stuck in seams that would stall you, so best to leave off it for a while. At least until you're ready to re-attach your armour completely."

"Yeah, well… like you said. I'm not really going anywhere." Bee murmured, pulling a face as the tool was extracted.

Ratchet came back over and helped Bumblebee to sit up, handing him a cube of energon.

"Hmmmmm. You're not gonna like me for saying this Bumblebee, but before they mag-latch any armour on you, I think you ought to have another shower to get rid of the gunk from all the repairs and energon leaks. And you'll hate me even more for suggesting you try to clean out your transformation seams thoroughly in case there is shrapnel the water can remove."

Bumblebee grimaced and hid his face behind the cube, sipping slowly from it.

"On the upside however, you can probably manage it on your own now you can walk and that shoulder is a little broken in. And you can get one of us on comms if you need assistance." He added, trying to make the small bot feel less uncomfortable with the prospect of the inevitable reaction his frame would have to the shower.

Bee only nodded vaguely, trying not to look at either of the bots.
Wheeljack crossed his arms, determined to break the tension around the matter. He had a good insight into Bumblebee's feelings now, and he wasn't going to waste it.

"You're about the only mech your age that looks that grim in the face of getting a couple of overloads in the wash racks. Don't get me wrong, I know why you feel weird about it, but I'm sure you didn't discover what water could do aimed in the right places a loooong time ago."

Wheeljack kept a light edge to his voice, Ratchet throwing him a shrewd look and a half-grin as he realised what he was doing.

Bumblebee looked up at the engineer a little uncertainly. "Uuh… well… yea, I guess…"

Wheeljack took that as a cue to continue.

"You know how you don't seem to think you have the right to keeping secret your personal stuff anymore, that might not be a bad thing in this case. Don't get me wrong, there's a line between being open and being lewd, but why can't bots just share tips on getting a good charge release now and then? I never liked the prudishness around that."

The sub-compact looked up at this, visibly relaxing a little at the candidness of Wheeljack's tone.

"It was always kinda dumb. They didn't like us asking too many questions about interfacing when they gave us the downloads. They just said 'the information in your databanks should be sufficient'. It gave us the mechanics of how a charge is built… but nothing about how to physically, you know… DO it."

The sub-compact frowned slightly.

"Taught yourself though, didn't you? I was lucky, I had a medic to show me the ropes back in my academy days. BOY did that mech know some great tricks."
"Wheeljack, don't go down that path, or he'll never look at me the same way again." Ratchet groused in a pained sort of tone.

"Um… yeah… don't go there. There's a line between open and super awkward." Bee mumbled with the tiniest hint of a grin at the engineer.
Wheeljack chuckled at that. "Well, you probably worked out the benefits of the wash racks pretty quick I guess, since you're a resourceful bot.

Bumblebee made an odd noise of not-quite-disagreement.

"Actually, that one took me a while to realise. I knew wash racks were a good place for it… but I didn't think of actually using the water for a few vorns. Felt kinda dumb when it dawned on me." The scout admitted sheepishly.

The engineer's helm fins flickered blue as he nodded. "Aaaah well. Every bot at their own pace I guess. I can't really act cocky, most of what I know, my friend taught me. Before that I only had a couple basic techniques. Want me to share any?"

"Um… maybe another time. Can't really, y'know, use them for a while. Not sure I want to even think about touching anything to do with interface equipment for a while. Literally or otherwise." Bumblebee muttered, looking into his cube soberly.
"Well, got some doozeys when you're ready. I know you're not keen on thinking about it, but do you think you'll be ready for the replacements anytime soon? You don't have to use them, it'll just be good to get it in and let it integrate and settle." Wheeljack asked gently, not wanting to make the sub-compact feel pressured.

Bumblebee considered it carefully, frame tensing at the very thought of having anyone touch him down there, even to remove the ruined part that plagued him with the memories of their abuse.
After a while he shook his helm. "I'm sorry, I… I can't, I just… I don't…"
"Hey, it's OK. No rush. It's your frame, and you'll know when you're ready." Wheeljack's voice was soft, and he gave Bumblebee's shoulder a gentle squeeze. "We don't control your frame, we just fix it. What happens to it is up to you."

Bee made a sceptical noise at that, un-tensing as the prospect of having to let them touch him there was put off.

"Not really. I can't stop it going haywire because of water. I can't control the spark purges, I can't even control my own processor. I don't have any say in what my frame does. Or what happens to it." His voice had turned bitter and he put down the half full cube so his shaking servo wouldn't spill it.

Wheeljack sighed softly and leant down to bring his optics level to Bumblebee's, servo still on the little mech's shoulder, feeling him fight to stop the trembling caused by his emotional flux.
Bumblebee wouldn't look at him, deliberately keeping his glare on his cube, as if blaming it for all his problems.

"Hey, listen… I know you don't believe me when I say this, but you'll get control back. It'll be OK. When you're strong enough, you can take back control. You can learn how to keep it. It's YOUR body, no one else's."

The sub-compact's shaking only got worse, and he shook his helm. The overwhelming feelings of helplessness and self-loathing and fear were welling up, and he felt as if they were strangling his spark.
His vents gasped in cool air, and he couldn't help but bury his faceplate in Wheeljack's shoulder when the engineer drew him into a comforting embrace.
He shook his helm, Wheeljack's words still echoing in his audios, his meta throwing up arguments until his vocaliser disobeyed his order to remain silent and the clicks snuck out between words.

"I can't stop them… I don't want… never, never want it to happen again… but I can't stop them, I'm weak, I'm stupid… can't control myself, cant save myself, can't even… slagging…" He let out a frustrated, pained sound, and all Wheeljack could do was hug him and rub his back.
"I know Bee… I know. I'm sorry… I'm so, so sorry… but it wasn't your fault, don't ever think you deserved it, nobody deserves it. You're a GOOD bot, alright? And I know you are, I SAW it. It wasn't your fault."

You know, I was kinda hoping I'd cheer him up enough that the shower didn't bother him so much. This wasn't what I meant to do.

Wheeljack comm'd Ratchet, sharing a helpless sort of look with the medic who had come to stand by the berth and offer Bumblebee as much comfort as he could.

I know. This is probably good for him, as painful as it is. He can't bottle this up. And if you can get him talking about it, relieving it, then he knows he's got support. Maybe… it may just have been a good thing, you touching his spark.

He's less likely to fight you when you say you know he's good, after all if you can tell him that after seeing everything he went through, why would you be lying.

Wheeljack nodded, optics and helm fins dimming slightly as he continued rubbing Bumblebee's back plating as if he were his progenitor. He almost felt like he was, with how strong he found his feelings of protectiveness for the little bot now.

Not to mention he'd had a servo in rebuilding him, and an investment in his life.
He WANTED Bumblebee to pull through, wanted him to recover, wanted to give him the kind of life he deserved.

He might as well just adopt Bee as his own, and he might if he didn't already feel that Ratchet, Prowl, and in fact the whole earth contingent had already made it clear that Bumblebee was an irreplaceable element of their 'family'.

For now, he had a duty. Touching the scout's spark, seeing what he did, feeling that internal cry of desperate need in that small mech, this was why he was there, this was what he needed to be doing.

But Primus be damned if it wasn't hard as pit to see the wounds open up like this, so easily, so raw.
He wondered, probably for the thousandth time now, just how long the road to recovery would be. And then remembered that however long and arduous it felt to them, it was ten times worse for Bumblebee.

Wheeljack dipped his helm to press his Blast mask against Bee's helm, feeling the clicks reverberate into him.
"It's OK… let it out, don't try and push it down, you're safe here, just let it out. We'll make you strong again, and we'll keep you safe, and that's a promise."


Bumblebee sat under the spray, hunched and trembling.

He hated the initial feeling, every sensor hyper aware of the barrage of water. He knew what came next though, and it made him feel sick.

He grabbed a cleaning cloth and quickly went about slewing as much solvent across his frame as he could, the quicker to clean it.

He swallowed the little noises of discomfort as he cleaned himself down a little too roughly. He growled low in his throat tubing, the irony not lost on him.

All I want is for the pain to stop, and then when I'm in danger of feeling pleasure, I seek out the pain again. I really am totally fragged in the head. Well… yea, metaphorically too.

He gave a hollow laugh at his own internal joke. The laugh morphed into a sob as a shudder of pleasure ran down his back.

He scrubbed at his legs, spray hammering down on his shoulders and back, panting as he tried valiantly to just get the cleaning over with so he could get out, but his body betrayed him.

He had to stop, the servo holding the cloth shaking too much to be of any use, other arm threatening to give out and make him curl too far forward, sending agony shooting through his still mutilated midriff sensor-net.

He leant back against the wall and whimpered, the water both causing a wave of stinging pain through said midriff sensors, and then a blinding shiver of pleasure.

He clutched at the washrag, quivering and sobbing as an overload ripped through him. It left him slumped and shaking on the bench, leaning back against the wall.

Slowly gathering his wits, he controlled his soft clicking, and sluggishly returned to the task at hand.

He didn't get very far before another charge had his servos trembling. Determined not to be so pathetic that he couldn't even wash himself, he reached up to try and get the shower spigot off it's bracket so he could clean out his seams.
Reaching it though proved nigh on impossible, even standing on the bench, without his midriff sensors screaming in agony. Every time he lifted his arm too high, it pulled plating around, tugging at fused micro-filaments in his haptic array.
He made a noise of frustration and tried to grab the spigot quickly and just bear the momentary pain, but when he managed to knock the spigot off it's bracket, the feeling was bad enough to make him double over.

"You OK in there Bee?"

Ratchet had obviously tried not to be too much of a 'mother hen' as Wheeljack had called him, but Bumblebee couldn't blame him for keeping an audio out for him. With how clumsy he was in his ruined body, he figured he was lucky not to have fallen and cracked his processor on the floor.

"Yeah. Fine."

Bumblebee was surprised just how… normal he could make himself sound, when he was unable to move from the paralysing sensations in his sensor net.

He knelt, hunched, hands clawing at the wall as he waited for the ache to dissipate and his head to stop spinning. At least with the spigot dangling and pointing the spray at the wall, he didn't have to deal with the feel of it on his frame.
Once he felt able again, he moved, grabbing the spigot and adjusting the spray with shaking servos and fumbling digits.

He sat gingerly and took a few deep, steadying ventilations. He put one leg straight along the bench before aiming the water into the ankle joint.

He snapped down on a small cry as wonderful sensations exploded from the joint and right up his leg into his back-strut.

Oh come the frag on, that's never been that much of an erogenous zone!

Still determined to complete the task on his own, Bumblebee flushed the joint and moved onto his knee.

He didn't even get past it and to his hip before he had to lay back, gasping for air to cool his frame and settle his engine.
This is STUPID, it's ridiculous, I hate this… why can't I just clean up and get out, why does it have to be so HARD.

He gave a strangled sound of frustration, gritting his denta.

Bumblebee? Ratchet tells me your comms are working again. Did you want any help in there or are you alright on your own now?

Bumblebee sat trembling, charge refusing to dissipate the way it had when he'd gotten the spigot down, and shuttered his optics tightly.

Yeah… yeah, I do… I can't… I just can't.

He hadn't meant to let so much desperation and frustration leak into his voice, but the first overload had already made him feel lethargic, socket burning the same way as last time.

And now he couldn't point the water into a joint without collapsing at the sensations or having his servo jerk the shower head away.

He didn't even have the energy to care about how pathetic he must look to the black and gold ninja when he walked in, one leg on the bench, the other hanging off the side, servos balled as he heaved air through his system.

Prowl didn't say a word, gently moving Bumblebee to lie on the bench and picking up the spigot.

"Is it the seams you're having trouble with?"

The scout nodded, not opening his optics until he felt a slight pressure on his thigh.
Prowl was bent over his chassis, placing his servo strategically on the bench to trap the leg against the wall without pinning it, before using the other to wash out his knee.
Bumblebee arched and whined, servos scrabbling against the bench beneath him.

Because Prowl was not pinning him down directly, Bumblebee didn't connect the feeling with anything Spittor had done.

He didn't even realise the ninja had cleverly negated triggering him.

Prowl calmly continued, quickly and efficiently flushing out the other leg, pausing momentarily on the last hip when Bumblebee overloaded again, letting out a bark of static.
The ninja gave him a moment to cool off before resting his servo on the golden chest plates over Bumblebee's spark.
The scout looked down at it, wondering momentarily why it didn't bother him, before he yelped and grabbed onto Prowl's arm.
Prowl sprayed out his side seams with the same quick efficiency as his legs, briefly getting into the shoulder joints. He let Bumblebee clutch at his arm, it was meant to be something for him to ground himself on, not a way to keep him still.

He pulled Bumblebee up and sat behind him, supporting him with an arm under the scout's. He rested the spigot against the top of Bumblebee's chest so the water slewed down gently through gaps and over the bared midriff lattice.
Bumblebee shivered and pressed weakly back into him to try and escape the sensation that was building a third charge in his systems.

Prowl made sure to get water into the seams around Bumblebee's neck before scooping Bee into his lap to face him.
The small mech rested his forehead on the cycle former's windshield, whole frame trembling, panting heavily.
"Bumblebee… stop fighting it. Just… let it happen. Don't think about it, just feel."

Prowl lifted the scout's helm to look him in the optics with a plaintive expression.

"E-easy… for you to say. I don't want to feel anything… n-not this… I can't… can't take the good when I know the bad comes after…" his voice was laced with static, third charge an odd interplay of aches and sweet tingles all across his frame.

Prowl had the shower head resting against the top of his back, spray washing down his sensors as he panted and clutched Prowls shoulders.
He looked into the black and gold mech's optics, the two of them having a silent battle of wills, and for a moment, and in some weird and out of context way, Bumblebee almost felt like it was back to how they used to be.

The ninja-bot wanted him to do something, and his natural reaction was to resist, because Prowl didn't get it. It wasn't that easy.

It wasn't.

Was it?

Wheeljacks words ran through his helm, even as fuzzy as it was with the overpowering sensations coursing through him.
He was… he was allowed to feel good.

As soon as he thought that, a dozen protesting trains of thought tried to tell him otherwise, but he shut them down because… pit slag it, he'd been over them enough times in his meta that he was tired of them.
He felt… just felt for a moment, and noted that it felt uncomfortable, accepting pleasure, because he'd been conditioned to expect pain as a direct result. As well as shame and disgust and a whole swathe of emotions he did not want to feel.

But then it occurred to him… he didn't have a choice to feel the pain, and he'd accepted it and dealt with it because that was his only option. Why not… why not take the pleasure the same way?

After all, it was the same thing, just at the other end of the scale.

He slumped against Prowl's frame in a silent defeat, feeling the thrum of the ninja's engine teasing at his sensors, keeping his charge on edge, but not enough to push it over.

"Would it be easier to accept feeling good if it came from me, instead of the water?"

Prowl's voice was soft, and even a little unsure, as if he was afraid to ask.

Bumblebee mulled it over momentarily.

On the one servo, he did not think Prowl was at all into him like that. In which case, he was offering because he just wanted to help him somehow.

And on the other servo… that sort of gesture made him wonder why he'd ever disliked Prowl. How could he turn down a bot willing to help him feel good when they didn't even have any sexual interest in him?

Optics over-bright with the charge in his systems, he nodded, letting Prowl pull him against his frame.
The ninja reached up to reseat the shower head in it's bracket, turning it so it didn't wash over them too much.
Bumblebee shivered as gentle servos slid up his back and Prowl pressed his fore helm to Bumblebee's.
"I don't want to trigger you… tell me what you need. Where I can touch." he murmured, and the scout shivered at the tone, not even sure why.
"I… I don't know… w-window… on my chest plate… Spittor never…" He shuttered his optics with a shudder.
Prowl slid a servo between them, tracing the edges of the glass, and Bumblebee gave a soft moan.

He was taking Wheeljacks other advice now. Why get uptight about charge releases? Why be bashful about them around others, especially if they were offering.

And why refuse when it was a mech he trusted implicitly?

Frankly, Prowl was surprised Bumblebee had said yes. A tiny part of him thought that maybe he was taking advantage, given Bumblebee was desperate and his judgement was impaired for the overpowering need for relief.

But he just wanted to see him in that moment again… that one point where the old Bumblebee seemed to come back, the few seconds during release where the pain fell away.
Was it so bad that he wanted to cause that?

Bumblebee gasped and whimpered softly, helm rolling back as Prowl tapped a rhythm across the faux glass plate, other servo teasing along the edges as he squirmed weakly.

He was on the very edge now, and it wasn't even because of the way Prowl was touching him. It was more just… The FACT that Prowl was touching him. Was trying to make him feel good.
And Primus but he hadn't realised how long it had been since another mech had touched him like this.

He didn't care that it wasn't out of interest in him on a relationship level.
It still meant something… and apart from that, Prowl was good with his servos.

Working on impulse, and hoping it wasn't pushing things to far, Prowl slipped an arm around Bumblebee's back and leant forward, bringing his helm down to kiss the glass just above Bumblebee's hidden spark.

The effect was instantaneous, Bumblebee chocking out a cry… pleasured, rather than pained, and arched into the contact in overload.

Prowl held him carefully as he trembled and arched. He couldn't see his face, but he could feel the tingle of his spark's EM field as it flared. Unconsciously, his other servo slid down to stroke the seam of the golden chest plates to prolong the pleasure.
He snuck a look up, and felt a shiver shoot down his backstruts. Even on the tail end of his release, Bumblebee was… weightless was the only word that came to mind.

The stress, anxiety, agony, frustration… absent for a few nanos until he slumped and groaned.

Gently, the black and gold mech leant back, letting Bumblebee rest against his chassis as he recovered.
The scout looked ready to pass out, vents whirring hard, and Prowl nuzzled his helm briefly.
He reached out to turn the water off, staying on the bench with Bumblebee until the sub-compact gave some sign that he needed to move.

"That w's… better. You… you let me choose… way better… than water." Bumblebee murmured through the panting of his ventilations.
"It was not too… presumptuous of me I hope?"

"Mmmmno. Was smart. I don't… it's not as bad, accepting it as help… you… thankyou…"
He nuzzled his helm against Prowl's neck sluggishly, since it was the only part of him he had the energy left to move.
"It's alright. I… please don't take this the wrong way, but I like seeing you overload. It's like everything stops, and you're… whole again. You stop thinking and remembering and feeling all the terrible things for a few moments and it makes me feel like… like we can do this. We can make it all better, we can give you back your life."

Bee took in a long ventilation and whirred slightly as he released it. "That's… true. I do stop… having to worry, when it just whites out my sensors. I still don't know why you care so much… but maybe I'll get it, eventually." Bumblebee murmured, shifting slightly and groaning.
"But three makes my socket slagging ache. Don't get used to it."
"Sorry about that. I'll take you back out and Ratchet can put you into recharge for a while to recover." Prowl replied sheepishly.

"You need to tell me… more about your life before space bridge repair. I wanna know where you learnt how to use your servos so well" Bumblebee said quite seriously.
Prowl chuckled. "I guess I owe you some stories, considering how much I've been learning of your own past recently. But first, recharge."
The smaller mech sighed, engine rumbling slightly. "Yeah yeah big brother. And 'Jack says Ratchet's the mother hen. Trust me, I don't feel up to a story before bed right now. Slagging weak spark, chewing up energy like it owns the place." he muttered.

Prowl simply made a noise somewhere between a concerned hum and amusement as he retrieved a towel and began to dry Bumblebee off.


Bulkhead looked nervously down again, as if fearing his moving an inch might hurt his small friend where he'd fallen against him in recharge.

Bumblebee had tested his ability to walk again by making it all the way out to the common room in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, it seemed even that small effort had taken it out of his weakened spark, and not a breem after sinking onto the couch had he slumped against his large green companion, having lapsed into recharge.

"He's OK right? This isn't a bad thing?" Bulkhead whispered loudly and anxiously to Ratchet, who was slogging back a can of oil.

"For the tenth time Bulkhead, he's fine. It's gonna take a while for him to build back up a normal amount of stamina. Plus he's not used to the weight of armour again yet, I'm surprised he got all the way out here actually."

"Hey guuuuys you miss us? Of course you did. Anything interesting happen while we were gone?"

Sideswipe strolled into the common area after rolling in with his brother and transforming smoothly without slowing.
Sunstreaker had to stop to let his passenger out before he unfolded himself, scowling heartily at the smear of dried, sticky fluid on his hood.

Sari pat his leg in consolation. "Don't worry Sunstreaker, I'll get a bucket and some soapy water and you'll be slurpey-free again in no time."

The golden mech grumbled something about 'lousy stinking human newsparks' and would have stomped off, except Sideswipe had noticed something odd about the atmosphere, which made him pause to hang around and see what was up.

"I take it patrol was fun. Sari, glad you're back, unfortunately you're a little late." Ratchet said conversationally, which piqued the half-human to something being different straight away.

"What, what is it? Is it Bee? What happened?" She trotted over closer, giving him an apprehensive look, but he just nodded at Bulkhead.

Turning on the spot, she blinked quizzically at the green, sheepish mech before the yellow caught her optic.
"Oh! Beeee!"

She ran at the couch, promptly stopping herself short from throwing herself on him and flinching slightly at the loud shushing Bulkhead gave her.

"Bulkhead, trust me, she ain't gonna wake him right now no matter how loud she is. His spark isn't powering him up again for at least another quarter of a cycle." Ratchet rumbled mildly. "Although, Sari, given what happened last time you touched him… I know you wanna hug him, but it's probably best you don't, just for now."

The lithe girl nodded sadly, kneeling and folding her arms on the edge of the couch, resting her head with a sigh to watch her friend's faceplate as he 'slept'. She knew it wasn't exactly the same as sleeping, but she could never help but think of it that way.
"What happened last time you touched him?" Sideswipe leant over the back of the lounge curiously, peering down at the bot.

Even with his armour on, he seemed so tiny to the guardsmech.

He'd seemed small in the vid files, sure, but… against Decepticons most Autobots were scaled down. Even among his own kind, Bumblebee was diminutive.

"I can do this thing, since my upgrade… If I touch something electronic that's broken, I can… FEEL how to fix it. Even if I don't know how it works, I know how to fix it, or, well… my brain or… processor does, or something."
"Ssssoooo, what happened when you touched him?" Sunstreaker came up beside his brother, looking between the girl and the unconscious sub-compact, who looked sort of peaceful with his helm resting on the large green mech's leg.

"I… um, well, I didn't know how to fix him. I just… felt some of what he was feeling." Sari explained in a subdued tone.

"Oh… oh, yeah, OK… definitely no touching him for a while then. Sorry little S." Sideswipe murmured, reaching over to pat her on the head as a kind of comfort gesture.

She didn't mind, having gauged by now that while Sideswipe was awkward, he always meant well.

"Was he always this small? Seriously?" Sunstreaker piped up, leaning down and tilting his helm to look at the mech, noticing up close that beneath the armour, in the places that hadn't been covered with static bandage, the protoform showed signs of heavy damage.

Sunstreaker was not a sympathetic mech by nature, but he couldn't help feeling a tiny tug at his spark. It certainly reminded him why he respected the scout.

"Yea, he was always that small. We roussed on him for it, but he gave as good as he got." Bulkhead answered with a fond grin.
Although the gold mech couldn't be sure if that was his mouth or just his jaw-line.

He felt like he should have words with whoever designed the bulky mech's frame. They'd broken enough aesthetic laws Sunstreaker figured it warranted arrest.

"Ratchet, there you are. Where is- Oh. Testing the leg repairs. Wait… I didn't think he could recharge without you initiating it with the uplink equipment?" Prowl wandered in, seemingly trying and failing not to look anxious since he'd gone to the med bay only to find it totally empty.

"Yea, that WAS the case, but Wheeljack realised it would be better for him to have a remote uplink so he could do it himself outside of the med-bay. Perceptor managed to whip up a chip real quick, so now he's fine to drop wherever he wants. He might seem a bit narcoleptic for a while."

"Should we buy a bunch of mattresses and scatter them around the base for him to collapse on?" Sideswipe piped up, making Sari snort.
"That… might not be a bad idea, but Bumblebee isn't a fussy sleeper." the girl responded.
"I'll say. I came out here once and found him upside down on this couch with his head hanging off the seat and his legs over the back and he was out like a light, snoring through a half shuttered vent. And then one time in Boot camp, he fell off his bunk in recharge and didn't even online." Bulkhead rumbled with fond amusement.

"My god Sideswipe, we've found your kindred spirit." Sunstreaker snickered at his brother, Sideswipe poking his glossa out at him in retaliation.
"We don't need no rules, we're rebels without a berth, you can't keep us down! We recharge as unhorizontally as we want."

Bulkhead and Sari both tried to stifle their laughter, but to no avail.
There was a dull clang as Bumblebee startled out of recharge at Bulkhead's shaking and tried, in a panic, to flatten himself to the back of the couch.

"Whoa whoa, I thought you said he couldn't wake up for another two breems." Sideswipe backed up when he saw the pale, panicked optics that snapped up to him where he'd been leaning over the back of the couch.
Ratchet sighed and strode over to kneel in front of the sub-compact beside Sari, who had fallen backwards on her aft, as startled as Bumblebee.
"Yea, that might have been a hopeful estimate. His systems don't function like they should. He's been breaking medical rules-of-thumb left, right and centre."

The sound of Ratchet's voice snapped Bumblebee out of his alarm. He still remained pressed against the back of the couch, optics shuttering rapidly as they dimmed. "W-what… where am I…"
"It's alright kid, you're in the main room. Just relax and let your memory core reboot."

"You walked in and fell asleep on me little buddy." Bulkhead explained calmly, grinning down at him and trying not to grimace in concern.

"Fell… asleep… wait, but I… I didn't use the codes, I just… I did fall asleep. Without them. Ratchet, I just went into recharge…" Bumblebee stared at the medic, looking both surprised and slightly apprehensive.

"Well that's a GOOD thing. Your base coding is readjusting. It's fixing itself."
Just make sure to use it if you don't want dreams. It'll automatically block memory purges, but only initiating it for recharge stops the dreams.

Ratchet gave him a meaningful look, and Bumblebee just nodded, still slightly dazed. Slowly, he dragged himself into a sitting position, leaning back into the corner of the lounge opposite Bulkhead and looking around warily.

He was calmed slightly when Prowl appeared at his side, squeezing his shoulder briefly.

"Bee?"
The tentative, familiar voice drew his attention down, and he found himself even less anxious.

"Hey, Sari… Sorry, that… probably freaked you out a bit." He muttered quietly, shifting his legs to allow her room to sit next to him.
She glanced at Ratchet, as if needing his permission, and he just gave her an expectant nod.
"Not as much as you were freaked out. Sorry we woke you up." She responded sheepishly as she hopped up on the couch and sat beside him with her legs stretched out in front of her.
"How… how are you feeling?"

Bumblebee tried to give her a grin, but the half curl of his mouth was not much more than a slightly confused quirk.
"Um. Tired. Always tired… but… better."
He glanced at her and away again, feeling bizarrely out of place in his own base.
"That's great though! I mean… walking again must be good? You can hang out with us some more when you want. And don't worry about being tired. We're gonna get you a whole bunch of mattresses so you can sleep anywhere."

He tilted his helm at her, expression completely confused now, and Ratchet gave a small chuckle.
The medic caught him up quickly on what they had been discussing before he woke up, explaining Sideswipe's idea.
The notion seemed to bemuse Bumblebee, though he wasn't sure he was happy about being temporarily narcoleptic.

"I told 'em you could sleep anywhere though. Remember that time you nodded off here playing that new video game?" Bulkhead added.

Bumblebee nodded, looking slightly amused at the memory.
"Yeah… probably true, I don't really mind what I recharge on… but for the sake of my repairs, I'm not recharging upside-down."

"Damn straight you're not, I'm not having you misalign that hip gimble when we just got done fixing it." Ratchet rumbled with a grin.
"Oh, Bee! You haven't met Sides and Sunstreaker yet! Guys come over here, he's not gonna bite you." Sari piped up, waving a hand up over the couch back to beckon them closer.
Bumblebee turned his helm and found he had to look a fair way up from his position to meet their optics.

The first thing to strike him was their bold paint jobs. Not just regular paint, but very well cared for metallics. Something you only got if you had the substantial credits to upkeep it.

Other than this detail, they looked like any picture-perfect poster mechs for the elite guard.
Feeling slightly intimidated, he only managed to mumble out a 'hi.'

"Hey, don't worry, we don't bite either. Well… not in mixed company." The red one grinned roguishly, winking at him.
"Thaaat's Sideswipe. And he's always like that. His twin brother is Sunstreaker, and don't worry if he seems quiet and frowny, that's his happy face." Sari introduced them rather informally.

Bumblebee didn't think Sunstreaker looked particularly frowny, just… reserved. He even gave Bumblebee a half grin and held out his servo.
The sub-compact shook it tentatively, doing the same to Sideswipe's offered servo, the bot grinning in what he could only describe as a charming way at him.
"You might be famous, but don't worry. Me and Sunny are still gonna beat your speeding ticket record."

"Heh, okay… I don't know about famous…" He mumbled back sheepishly, trying not to feel unsettled by the strangely unfamiliar bots.

"Yea, half of Cybertron probably knows you by now." Sunstreaker added thoughtfully.

Bumblebee frowned in confusion at that.
"Wait, what?"

"Oh, uuuh… guys, I think we were meant to WAIT to tell him that when he wasn't… uhhh… when he was feeling better." Bulkhead rumbled, sounding slightly guilty.

"Technically, he is? He said he was better." Sari offered, giving Bumblebee an apologetic look.

The sub-compact looked between a bewildered Ratchet and Prowl, and then a sheepish Bulkhead and Sari.

"Guys? what are they talking about?"
"That video of you kicking Con aft went viral! It wasn't us though, we only found out we were coming to Earth AFTER it got out." Sideswipe explained with a shrug.

"It was all Rodimus Prime's fault." Sunstreaker drawled.

"What exactly was my fault?"
The twins turned identical innocent looks to the red and orange, flame painted Prime as he strolled in from his own patrol with Ironhide.

"I'd like to know what the SLAG you were doing with the footage for one." Ratchet growled, standing and making his way over to meet the prime half way.
Rodimus stopped, looking apprehensive, and just a little scared of the resident medic as he loomed over him, glaring expectantly.

"Uuuuh footage? What footage? Oh, OOOOH wait, THAT! Riiight right… uuuuuhm… it was an accident?"
He gave Ratchet what he hoped was a winning smile, but it seemed to have no effect.
"You ACCIDENTALLY spread CONFIDENTIAL footage to the public WITHOUT the consent of the mech IN the footage? How EXACTLY did you earn the rank of Prime?"
Ironhide stood just behind his team leader, biting his glossa and trying not to laugh.
He knew that the medic, a living legend in his own right, had a very good and serious point.
But the look on Rodimus' face nearly had him losing it.

"Why am I famous for failing?"
Bumblebee had murmured it more to himself, sinking down in his seat when most of the optics in the room shifted to him looking puzzled.
"You aren't famous for failing, you're the people's slagging hero!" Ironhide said proudly, stomping over to greet his ex-boot camp acquaintance.
His grin faltered when he noticed Bumblebee drawing himself in defensively at his approach.

"It's good to see you again Bee. How you holdin' up?" Ironhide pressed on valiantly, grin spreading wide again as he looked the smaller mech over critically, noticing much of what Sunstreaker had.
His attitude was however, it seemed, not as well received as he'd hoped.

"Oh, OK. You like me now. Guess you don't remember the last thing you said to me. Something about wanting to slag my axles when they took Wasp into custody." Bumblebee murmured coldly, position wholly defensive now, as if expecting an attack from the large, rust coloured mech.

Ironhide took a step back and looked rightfully abashed. "Aw, well… gee Bumblebee, it's been a long time. I didn't really mean it, I was just hot in the head, y'know? He was my friend. Longer I thought about it, more I realised I was angry at him for deceiving us, not you."

Something painful passed over the minibot's faceplate and he looked guilty.
"Yeah… well, you can be angry with me again. It wasn't Wasp. It was Longarm."

"Whoa whoa, wait, what? Are you crazy? Longarm Prime, a spy?" Rodimus piped up from where he and Ratchet had frozen in place to watch the conversation between Bumblebee and Ironhide unfold.
"He ain't anything like as crazy as you! Bumblebee's the only eye witness who can vouch for the fact Longarm is Shockwave masquerading as an Autobot! Which reminds me, we need to be getting onto Cybertron central command about that." Ratchet growled, making Rodimus cringe slightly

Bumblebee had flinched as if a gun had been fired at the mention of his name.
Prowl had placed a supporting servo on his shoulder in response.

"But… he was in his office when we left Cybertron? Are you absolutely SURE? He probably got the video sent to him, if he knew Bumblebee was here wouldn't he have, you know… come here?"
Rodimus looked over at Bumblebee, expression changing when he noticed the sub-compact was visibly trembling.
"Bee?" Sari, sitting right next to him, had noticed it as well, but she daren't touch him to get his attention.
Prowl shot a glare in the red Prime's direction.
"You have no idea what you've done."

"He knows."

His voice cracked with fear.
Bumblebee's intakes had begun hyper-ventilating, optics paling as he went into a full blown panic attack.
"He knows I'm alive and he's going to come back and… no…no, I-I can't-"
His voice was thready and panicked, and he pressed back against Prowl, servos clutching so hard against the back and arm of the couch his servo mechanisms squealed.
Ratchet moved swiftly to the scout, ignoring the other, bewildered mechs who darted out of his way.
"NO. NO, he won't, Bumblebee we promised to protect you, and we WILL. We're gonna get him. One call to Jazz and they'll move special operations in on him and get him."

He put his servos on Bumblebee's, gently trying to pry them off the concrete slabs.

"But he RUNS special operations!"
Prowl was unsure what to do. Bumblebee almost sounded like a different mech… he'd never seen him this afraid.

Bulkhead scooped Sari up, watching in alarm as Bumblebee shook his helm, engine making horrible sounds as fight or flight locked the scout's frame.

"W-what's the deal? What am I missing here?" Rodimus put up his servos. "What does the video of him fighting those Decepticons have to do with Longarm being a Decepticon spy?"
"Because he WAS here. And he tried to kill Bumblebee when they had him. And now your slagging IDIOCY has informed him that his plan did NOT work, and the one mech who can blow the whistle on him is still alive." Prowl snarled.

Bumblebee moved rather suddenly, the flight part kicking in.
His body however, was not ready for such sudden, drastic motion, and he only got five strides before staggering into the wall and falling to his knees.
Servos clutching at the wall, he purged his tank, Prowl with him a nanoklik later to stop him from collapsing.

He gave a shuddering keen of fear, clinging onto the black and gold mech as Prowl slung one of his arms over his shoulders and helped him stagger back towards the med bay.

Ratchet made to follow them, pausing to glare at the red Prime.
"I don't know how you got your servos on that file, but I swear to whatever slagging deity that likes to play cruel-aft jokes on that poor kid that if Shockwave comes back here trying to finish him off it will be YOUR aft on the front line to defend him."

"I think you really fragged up this time, sir." Sunstreaker said somewhat solemnly, patting him on the shoulder, passing him as he and Sideswipe followed a rather shell-shocked and distraught looking Bulkhead and Sari out of the room.

"No one's said it, but I think you're expected to clean that up." Sideswipe added as he left, jabbing a thumb in the direction of the freshly purged energon.

Rodimus watched them leave, feeling helpless.

Ironhide crossed his arms and wandered over to his leader.

"For what it's worth… I don't think I woulda thought this would happen if I'd sent that video 'round neither. But it looks like you goofed big-time Roddy. I ain't seen Bumblebee like that… ever. Not even when he was flailin' around in simulated combat."

"I wouldn't have done it if I'd thought it was THAT confidential. Wheeljack and Perceptor don't usually hold confidential footage. I'd never spread their work documentation around, but I…"
The red Prime slumped where he stood, looking anxious.
"Slaggit, in retrospect, I feel like a total fragging idiot. I gotta fix this somehow."

Ironhide gave him a sympathetic pat on the shoulder.

"Well… I'm not sure I can help you figure out what to do there. But I'll tell you one thing, you'll wanna get some turpentine for that energon, or it'll stain the floor."