Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers nor the song 'When Tomorrow Comes' by Pillar. I only own the plot.
Exit The Fall
August 25, 2019
Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico
The smooth purr of Bee's engine filled Sam's ears, lulling him into a contented stupor. Unseeing, he stared beyond the dust-streaked windows at the vast, empty landscaping flashing past at speeds incomprehensible to the gauges mounted on the dash. A fine plume of desert sand and dirt, kicked up by the Camaro's spinning tires, trailed in their wake. Sam, though normally acutely against attracting the attention of unwanted eyes, grinned giddily as Bee spun his tires jubilantly, catching a solid purchase upon the textured desert floor as he rocketed to even higher Earth defying speeds. He could only laugh with hapless abandon and rigidly clutch the seatbelt firmly secured around his waist and shoulders, when Bee's engine revved with a feisty growl, feeding off his amusement. With scarcely a warning, Bee's back brakes locked up and the steering wheel wrenched, of its own accord, careening them around, stirring up clouds of clotted dust as the honey yellow Camaro executed a sharp and erratic but controlled donut, eliciting a surprised, whooping holler from Sam.
A permanent grin plastered Sam's face, as his friend wheeled them around in a tight turn, playfully circling a sagebrush with all the mannerism of a cat stalking the unsuspecting. Affectionately, slapping the twitching steering column, he cast a swift analytical glance around they're surroundings, eyes scouring for anything suspicious or potentially threatening. Years of habit made a cautionary hand fall to the modified semi automatic, nestled against his hip. Sam knew they were an easy, open target, positioned as they were in the midst of the broad planes of the American high desert, whipping up mini dust storms that could be easily seen and tracked from miles away. He knew they were taking a huge risk, exposing them selves so voluntarily, but goddamnit they'd been lingering in the shadows for far too long to be healthy. It had been a particularly draining year, and Bee and himself, in turn, had been living on the very cusp of existence far longer than he'd like to think. They (Bee, most especially) deserved this short round of freedom to celebrate, even if it would only ever be short lived. After all, this could be the last time they would ever have to traipse the sands of this wretched desert. If all the pieces fell into their designated places, they would be going home permanently.
Latching his hands onto the doorframe, Sam leaned his head out of the open window, leisurely inhaling deep sucking breaths of the dry, desert air as it tugged at his unruly hair and roared in his ears, sampling the vague taste of sage and cliffrose on his tongue, mingled with choking dust. The scent of crushed sage struck him with a moment of nostalgia, bringing back razor sharp memories of the overlook at twilight, with Bee and Mikaela, watching the sun dip beyond the craggy, Nevada horizon. Thickly swallowing past the lump of longing and anxiety, that lodged itself in his throat at the haze of fond memories, he mentally shook himself free of their barbed edges, forcing them into the remotest reaches of his brain. That was then, this is now.
Sensing his distraction, Bee gently lurched on his axels, tipping Sam back into his seat.
"You okay Sam?" The yellow scout asked seriously, all traces of previous blithe behavior gone, melting at his charge's abrupt melancholy demeanor.
Sam grimaced, certain the Camaro caught the gesture since no one was as sharply in tuned (not that there was anyone else around to be aware of him) to him as his guardian. Issuing a reluctant sigh, Sam settled a reassuring hand on Bee's dash before answering his inquiry.
"I'm fine Bee. It's nothing, really. Just thinking," he answered, his tone indicating his dismissal of the subject.
Undeterred, Bee hummed indulgently.
"Thinking is bad for your health, Sam," the Autobot jibed lightly.
Sam's consoling contact to the Camaro's interior panels swiftly morphed into a joshing jab. Bumblebee chirped indignantly, accelerating in mock surprise.
"Shut it you. It's not like your one to talk," Sam chuckled softly. "All you ever do is think."
Bee's engine sputtered in serene amusement and he devilishly swerved a few times, playfully rocking Sam in his seat.
"I'm a robot. It's what I do," Bee retorted, deliberate hints of a smile lacing his disembodied voice."
Sam snorted appreciatively.
Comfortable silence lapsed for several of Sam's heartbeats before Bee spoke again.
"Whatever you were thinking obviously bothered you Sam," he prodded gently, allowing it to be known that Sam hadn't been successful in his attempt to uproot his focus.
Sam groused a murmuring agreement but didn't answer immediately, instead opting to shift deeper into Bee's warm, leather seat and fix an averted gaze to the endless stretch of horizon, expression evasive and distant. A leashed sigh emitted from Sam, after several fruitless seconds, as he tried, unsuccessfully, to divert his attention anywhere but at the Autobot he was confined within. Finally leveling a pensive gaze upon the steering wheel, he reverently smoothed the pad of his thumb across the Autobot insignia centered there, his expression delicate.
"I'm nervous Bee. How do we go back, after everything? Everything we've seen? Everything we've done?" he caved, voice strained and fissured mere inches beneath the surface.
It was a mark of how well Bee knew Sam that he didn't have to question what he meant. Decelerating to a more reasonable speed, Bee deliberated meticulously before replying.
"I wish I could of made it easier for you Sam; Taking you away from all that you once knew and held dear. Taking you from Mikaela," a low whine of sadness escaped Bee when Sam elicited the minutest of flinches at the mention of her name.
"I am sorry Sam. If I had known how much going back was going to hur—"
"It's not that Bee," Sam cut across him hurriedly, swiftly dashing Bee's unnecessary apologies and regrets before they could snowball.
"I don't regret deciding to go into hiding with you. It was necessary. The whole world was hungry for my blood. Somebody would have been killed eventually, had we not done something drastic," he paused, not adding that that 'somebody,' namely, would have been him. There was no need. They both knew it.
"It's just…I don't think I can bring myself to face Mik—her, after choosing to abandon her. I—I willing left her Bee. That sort of thing you don't forget too soon, even after so many years," Sam's voice held a quiet plea, a sort of undertone that begged to be heard and reasoned with, even if the person it was intended for was not in the proximity.
The seat restraints momentarily tightened gently around Sam's wiry frame in, what he imagined was Bee's way of offering him an understanding embrace. Almost immediately, as if he was still striving to be as subtle a possible, the seat restraints quickly and discreetly, snapped back to their respective lengths. Sam smiled lightly. Though the gesture had been simple and barely perceptible, it still warmed him to know that he at least still had Bumblebee to ease his strains.
"Sam, we left, not only to protect you but also to protect her; to ensure everyone's safety in our absence. If she loves you, like I'm sure she does, then I know all is forgiven. And besides, were not the only ones who had to go underground. She went with Ratchet, remember?" the Camaro prompted sagely.
"Yeah, after the fact. You and me were half way through Kansas before she, the rest of the Autobots, Lennox and Eps, and their families finally spilt. It just felt…" Sam contemplated briefly, sifting for suitable words before alighting on one. "I don't know…cowardly, being the first to high-tail it out off there like bats out of hell."
Bumblebee hissed and clicked in agitation at his poor choice of words, and Sam felt a moment's twinge of guilt before the Autobot leapt to their defense.
"Optimus approved and encouraged our decisions. There was nothing cowardly about our actions, rash though they may seem," Bumblebee defended rationally, though his speedometer leapt from sixty-two to ninety-four in mere seconds.
Sam winced, placing a placating hand on the dash, the motion pacifying and yielding; waving a proverbial white flag.
"Okay, that was my bad. Stupid word choice," Sam amended lightly, feeling like a complete and utter ass.
Bee's engine revved noisily in what sounded suspiciously like a grating harrumph, before dropping to a more relaxed speed, the defensive tension draining out of him. Sam wasn't even certain anymore how he had discerned that Bee had bristled like a territorial cat at the implication, because the Camaro had done little besides hit the gas. Perhaps it was a tuition thing. Or maybe it was the fact that Bee's seats, normally comfortably contorted to the curves of his spine, had stiffened and hardened like a slab of iron. Or maybe he just knew Bee better than the palm of his hand? Whichever, it spoke volumes of their bond, of the amount of blood, tears, and energon shed between them.
Sighing gustily, Sam leaned his head back against the seat, staring blandly at the infinite stretch of single, toned desert playing out before them like an insufferable amount of movie credits. The silence that pursued Bee's grumble was fraught with all the awkwardness of a minor disagreement and Sam hated it. Mentally berating his insensitivity, he cast about for a way to broach the prior topic of discussion without seeming like a ninny, but Bee, sensing his internal flailings, took pity on him, and beat him to the punch.
"Four years ago, when we decided to go underground, I only had you in mind Sam. Taking you away from the building violence of your crumbling world was the only way I could think of to save you from an inevitable fate. I did not deem it 'cowardly,'" Bee's engine twittered disapprovingly. "By valuing your life far too much to want to spare you from a premature death, Sam."
"I know Bee. I know," Sam patted the bot's dash reassuringly. "It was just—hard leaving her like that. It felt low on my part. Not yours. I'm supposed to protect her. It's my duty as her--," he broke off, venting a frustrated puff of air, his right hand absently caressing the slightly tarnished, silver band encircling his left ring finger. Idly, he rotated it thoughtfully, the feel of worn, flesh warmed metal sliding smoothly against his skin, both calming and nostalgic. It was a shiftless gesture he'd picked up as of late, often belying the exposed thread of his thoughts whenever he fell into another of his apathetic silences, the likes of which Bumblebee was becoming increasingly familiar with.
"Hell, I don't even know what to call me and her any more. We moved past the stage of boyfriend and girlfriend a long time ago. Were not exactly married. Not exactly engaged. Lovers is inadequate. Soul mates? Too corny and overused, though it's a close enough description. Sounds ridiculous though," Sam contemplated aloud, uncaring that his mental ramblings fell on attentive audio receptors. It wasn't uncommon of Sam to voice aloud the inner workings of his often, random and directionless thoughts; And even if Bumblebee never made his concerns known, he took it all in stride and never questioned the spontaneousness and absurdities Sam's muddled mind spewed could out at times, though he couldn't help pondering every now and then if his charges heedless mind purging was a side affect of his contact with the Allspark.
"Sparkmates," Bee intoned, gently intercepting Sam from his entangled thoughts.
Sam blinked, dissuaded. Foggily, he retraced his mental steps until he regrasped the retreating tail of his precarious muse.
"Sparkmates? But isn't that a Cybertronian thing? I mean were not technically bonded to each other. If she chose to, she could easily love someone else. Not that I'd blame her if she did. The life that I have to offer her isn't an easy one," Sam mulled soberly, extracting the silver ring from his finger to stare at it sadly.
Bee was quiet for a few sparse seconds as his tires hit an unforeseen rut in the desert sand and his chassis lurched on his axels, momentarily swaying his attention. Steadying his body, Bee switched his focus back to Sam, who had replaced the silver band upon its designated finger.
"Sam, you do not have to be Cybertronian to have a sparkbond. Nor do you require a spark," Bee patiently explained, sensing Sam's confusion.
Sam raked a hand through his hair, listening intently, his brow arched skeptically. Uncertainty tugged at the corner of his lips, pulling the corners into a ponderous frown.
"When two beings love each other deeply, it attunes you to one another, connecting you whether your even aware of it or not. That sort of love and connection isn't easily forgotten, no matter how great the distance nor lengthy the time spent apart," Bumblebee's voice was soft with unbridled reverence and prudence. "That is the sort of bond you and Mikaela share. And that is also why I am positive she will not require you to explain yourself. She knew before even you, Sam, " an inflection entered Bee's voice, and Sam knew the bot was smiling fondly. "A sparkbond."
Sam was hushed and still as he mulled over Bee's explanation, accepting it unquestioningly as he understood that the description fit. Sparkmates. It was very—suitable, now that Bee had elaborated further. It no longer sounded quite so…alien and…out there.
Finally, face splitting into a slow, appreciative grin, Sam reclined in Bee's seat, hand petting the shifting steering wheel.
"When did you get so wise Bee?" Sam murmured. "Sometimes I think you know my life better than I do. No…scratch that. You do know my life better than I do."
Bee hummed good-naturedly, his engine revving in what could only be described as an automated chortle.
"You live a few thousand years, and your suddenly a wealth of wisdom," Bee said with mock thoughtfulness, twisting the wheel beneath Sam's hand, mischievously jerking his alt form from side to side a few times, before settling back into his unhurried, easy pace. Sam chuckled softly, amusedly tipping his head to rest it against Bee's door frame, a yawn escaping before he could snatch it back. Scrubbing his face, (grimacing internally when his calloused palm abraded against the three days worth of stubble flourishing on his chin) he sank lower into Bee's seat suddenly unexplainably weary. Bee reformed his cushions to accommodate Sam's weight shift, leather seats morphing comfortably to his passenger's lanky form. Sam uttered a sigh of contentment, nuzzling his cheek against the tooled, not-leather of the Camaro's door panel. Bee obligingly softened the hardness of Sam's chosen 'pillow,' thoughtfully cushioning his jutting cheekbone so it was no longer digging uncomfortably (on Sam's part) into the doorframe.
The sun was beginning to set in the sky, casting golden hues and shimmering rays dancing across Bumblebee's cheerfully scuffed and grime streak, sunshine yellow paint. The rugged desert stretched as far as the eye (or optic) could see. Bee knew it would only be a matter of hours before they left the desert, to be cliché', in their dust. With his swift, tireless, ground consuming, pace they would surely reach the cusp of the desert by dawn's first light. That is, if his calculations were correct (which he was quite certain they were) and they encountered the minimum amount of trouble, traipsing across this great plane, then Sam would awake to a Texan sunrise.
Crossing the Texas border, which could hardly be considered a milestone in this perilous journey they were embarking on, was definitely more spark warming, and motivational than the sinking sun playing across the slivers of his paint that still managed to gleam, despite its lack luster condition. They were one leg closer to the Autobots and dwindling ranks of the N.E.S.T. members gathered on the eastern coast. Within days they would be back within the sanctuary of his comrades and within breathing distance (or chucking distance he should say) of a medic for both himself and Sam. And he had no doubts that Ratchet would be leaping upon the both of them on their arrival. They weren't exactly in the pristine condition they had been in four years ago. Survival certainly hadn't been kind to the either of them.
Not that Bee was in dire need of repairs. His armor was dinged up and scratched in places and he certainly had a few gears loose in his joints and a couple severed circuits but he wasn't critical. His self-repair systems could take care of most of his damages; so long as he wasn't missing a limb or had a severed energon leak he could pretty much survive as is, uncomfortable or not. Sam on the other hand was an entirely different matter. Sam was nowhere near as fixable as himself.
Which brought him back to the other relief being back within the Autobot ranks promised; More pairs of optics, eyes, and hypersensitive sensors present, besides his own, to keep an attentive watch on Sam. The boy had a knack for trouble that only a few could rival. It was both alarming and (if you stood far enough back and were not currently his friend and guardian), mildly amusing (way, way, way back). Bee would never trade his impertinent role as Sam's guardian for the world. He cherished his friendship with Sam far beyond his own spark. Sam was everything to him. The sun, the moon, the sky and everything in between. His world. However, Bee did admit that fulfilling his guardianship was an emotionally arduous position. Particularly when his precious charge was wounded or ill and he was helpless to drive the pain away or soothe his fevered mind. Not being the only sentient being to care for Sam would be a profound relief.
"…Bee?" Sam spoke up groggily, his voice nearly inaudible over Bee's purring engine. Mildly surprised, the Camaro revved softly. His sharp sensors, always partially honed in on Sam's presence, hadn't even alerted him to the boy's slight, conscious stirrings. Making a note to send a memo to his self-repair nodes to analyze the minor glitch, he chirruped an inquisitive response.
"Do you think everything will be alright? Going back?" Sam asked fuzzily, hand unconsciously curling around Bee's steering wheel.
Bee clicked quietly, deliberating. It was amazing. After twelve years, Sam continued to take him by surprise. This query, to borrow the human saying, had come out of left field.
"I think…that we will find out when we get there, Sam,"
"Hmmm. I'm still nervous."
"Don't be. What ever awaits us, we'll face it together," Bee assured, his lulling voice soothing and gentle.
Bee felt rather than saw Sam's faint smile, when the warm face mashed up against his interior, twitched up minutely. Eliciting a jaw-cracking yawn, Sam arched his back as he stretched before slumping back into Bumblebee's obligingly lowered seat. Sensing Sam's sluggish descent from reality, Bee quietly flipped on his radio, swiftly sifting though his stored reams of music before alighting on one he deemed, would certainly persuade Sam to sleep.
'When the sun goes down
The future's looking bright
When all is said and done
And tomorrow has begun
Remember today is now yesterday…'
Sam murmured a vague sound of appreciation, before finally freeing himself from the retracting claws of wakefulness and nodding off, lulled by the soft bass of voice of the long forgotten musician and Bumblebee's smooth, considerate driving.
'…Can we find a way find a way to let it go
When tomorrow comes
Today will be a brand new day
Can we let it go?'
The dying sun cast one more stunning array of dazzling reds, golds, and pastel oranges before finally drifting beneath the rugged horizon. Only a feathery glow, glimmered dully in the distance, night overtaking day. Faint, silver pinpricks twinkled within the navy blue folds of the night sky, off setting the gleaming, half Cheshire cat grin beaming in the midst of it.
Settling low on his axels, Bee prepared to spend a restless night striving to reach their destination, undeterred. Checking to make sure the temperature of his cab was at a comfortable degree, he cracked a back window, letting the tepid night air circulate within his confines. The song warbled, slightly distorted as the wind snatched at it, ripping it into the desert wind. Bee didn't switch it off, however. The song was calming and neutral, even if a portion of the lyrics were only more or less befitting to their situation. It awakened long stored memories of easier, happier times within him. Of a Sam who was whole and content and completely unshattered. A more carefree and chipper version of himself. And a clean, untainted Earth.
Bee shuddered despite himself, as the lyrics, warped by the wind and filtering into his slipstream, took on the eerie tone of beleaguered ghosts of the past returning to beseech him. Unnerved and uncaring that he was being blatantly ridiculous, he hastily flipped it off, repressing the song and the memories that diligently pursued, but not before the last dying note reverberated from his speakers.
'…Memories I must erase
Here's one more chance for me
To throw them all away
Today's a brand new start
We made this way too hard
We both need something like
Amnesia of the heart…'
Ah, *ahem* okay. My first Transformers fic. How bout that. I never thought I'd finally get this published. It took me weeks to string together! But anyway, now that its here, I hope you all enjoy and review!
Sorry if it kinda rambles and doesn't make complete sense. Bear in mind this is the prologue and is designed for you to question it. I will be happy to give answers so long as it doesn't expose the plot.
Also this is a NON- slash fic. You can squint all you want but the relationship between Sam and Bee will only ever be that of friendship in said fic. Thank you.
With that out of the way, please be kind and review. I want honest opinions. I'm rather rusty so be gentle. Ehheh. ;)