This one is set between "Party Time" and "My First Decepticon" in my whole "Black Crayons" storyline. As I've said before, these can be read alone or together, and the intended order is on my profile page. I wrote them out of order. And this one is during the summer and one bored, curious child is seeking some entertainment.

Language Lessons

The summer day was quickly growing warm as the sun continued to rise. A certain newly-turned five year old was determined to climb to the top of a tree that lay just out of sight of the house. Mommy would get mad and make her get down. Daddy would grin, but would have to make her get down too or Mommy would yell at him too. But Annabelle wanted to climb really high.

Bark dug into her hands as she pulled herself up to the next branch. Her tree was an evergreen, a pine tree with strong smelling needles and sticky sap. As she reached towards the next handhold, a deep voice startled her.

"Annabelle, what are you doing?"

The girl tried to see the source of the sound, but nearly fell out of the tree. A giant metal hand reached out to steady her. The child looked up to a pair of large blue eyes that still towered over her even from her current perch.

"Climbing," she answered simply.

"Didn't your mother forbid you from scaling the local flora without supervision?" he asked.

Annabelle pointed out, "You're watching me climb right now, aren't you? Besides, Mommy won't let me go very high. She's always afraid I'll fall."

"You nearly did, Annabelle. Please get down," a kind but firm voice requested.

She sighed, knowing if she pushed it, he would get back up (like her mommy). She stretched out her arm.

"Okay Ironhide, but can I ride down in your hand? Please?" asked the child sweetly.

The giant alien robot, weapon specialist of the Autobots, reached out the requested appendage. Annabelle clambered over the smooth metal until she sat securely on his palm. The girl was completely fearless of the large alien. She had known him for as long as she could remember and trusted him completely.

The young child understood her friend was a secret, that he was from very far away, and that there were so many differences between humans and Cybertronians. These things didn't matter to her because Ironhide was her best friend. But it did create fun conversations. And, since her tree-climbing plans were canceled, she tried to initiate a new topic.

"Ironhide, you know people don't all talk the same way, right? There're lots of languages, so you need to learn new ones to talk to people sometimes. Did you guys do that? Learn English so you could talk to us?"

Setting the child down, the black robot answered with a chuckle, "Of course we did. Do you think we arrived on this planet speaking your language? We picked it up off the internet."

"So what did you used talk like?" the girl inquired.

A series of fast clicks, chirps, and other sounds came out of the transformed truck. The child stared in wonder at the assortment of mechanical tones. When he stopped, she jumped up and down excitedly.

"Teach me! Teach me!" she squealed.


Annabelle explained, "Teach me how to talk like you and your friends do."

Ironhide tilted his head, "I'm not sure you can produce the right sounds. I do not believe any human can."

"Please, I'll try really hard," begged the child. "The only word I know so far is 'slag' and Mommy and Daddy says it's bad."

The normally fearless warrior glanced at the house. Annabelle knew her mommy would get really mad if she heard that word. The daughter would get in trouble, but she knew Ironhide would get in even worse trouble because he taught her it.

"I promise if you teach me more, I won't use that one anymore ever," she sweetly offered, knowing what his answer would be already.

After considering whether it would be easier to just stop even attempting to argue or reason with the girl all together, the feared weapon specialist shook his head ruefully.

"Alright, I'll see what I can teach you. But remember, humans are not designed to speak Cybertronian," he sighed, hoping she would give it up quickly when she saw how hard it was and still keep her word about not using curses like 'slag'.

When Sarah Lennox came outside to call her daughter in for lunch, she found the girl curled up against the giant mech. Ironhide gave a short series of mechanical chirps and clicks. The woman assumed that was part of his native language, though he normally used English around them. However, it was when Annabelle tried to mimic the sounds that the woman became truly surprised. She started out fairly similar, but the girl dissolved into coughing and then laughter.

"Why is your name so hard," she giggled. "It makes my throat all scratchy."

The Cybertronian chuckled, "I did warn you. If you want to stop…"

"No! I'll get it."

"Are you sure you want to start with my name though? There are easier…"

"I'll get it, Ironhide," she assured him quickly. She attempted the complicated series of sounds again, getting closer this time.

Sarah gently eased herself out of the pair's easy view. Lunch could wait. She just watched the interaction with a faint smile. While the woman had been nervous of the alien robot upon their initial meeting, she had come to consider him as an unusual member of the family. Annabelle saw him as a combination third parent, big brother, and best friend. And it was so sweet seeing them together.

The young girl took a deep breath and produced the appropriate electronic-sounding clicks and chirps. While it wasn't identical to Ironhide's verison, it was as close as humanly possible for her to produce. The child looked thrilled and the weapon specialist looked moderately surprised.

"I did it!" she squealed. "Teach me more!"

"How about after lunch, sweetheart," suggested the amused parent, enjoying how they startled at her voice. "You and Ironhide can practice more later."

"Okay," the cheerful child agreed, dashing into the house.

The tall robot looked vaguely uncomfortable as Sarah studied him. Finally, he adopted an extremely defensive tone.

"I'm not teaching her any curses. I promise."

Yes, that was part of his reluctance to teach her Cybertronian. That Sarah would think he was teaching her more Cybertronian curses. Mrs. Lennox is an strong-willed individual that can make even Ironhide nervous.