Warnings Might be a touchy subject, and cheeeeeeeese at the end.
Author's Note I'm taking a break from SC to poke some other things that have been floating around. Such as the one I'm posting here. I'd like to say that Nowhere to Turn will be poked, but... I opened it today at work and read through it and kinda came up as blank as I have been with Star-crossed.

This has been itching at my brain for a year now. It seems that Sparkplug disappears after Season 2, so this is a what if of why that might be. It also ties into the drabble 'Misfits' found in my 'Unrelated Gibberish'. Expect to see another fic from this verse in the future.

It didn't surprise Spike when it happened.

Joy turned to anger in the flash of a fist crashing into his cheek. Knuckles pressed deep, cutting his lip open on his teeth. Words roared in his ears, a condemnation from an unlikely source.

It was a severe reminder of just how strong his father was.

Spike shook his head, one hand coming up to finger the heated flesh that would bruise before the day was over. His pulse pounded in time to the ache in his jaw, rushing in his ears.

Heavy footsteps faded around a corner, going in the direction of the Autobot offices.

He picked himself up slowly, the metal cool under his hand. He was glad that no one else had been witness to that. Shaking his head to clear the fog one more time, Spike made his way to the rec room, praying to whatever god listened in this metal city that no one would be in the hallways.

Someone must have heard, as the corridors remained blissfully empty.

He glanced around the room, finding the only other occupants to be a gaggle of minibots surrounding a console, laughing uproariously at whatever played across the screen.

Trying to stay as quiet as possible, and hoping the Autobots would obligingly ignore him, he went over to the little sink installed at human height on the wall. He snatched a few towels off the roll on the wall before finally taking his hand from his face.

He stared down at the smudge of red on his palm. His eyes burned, but when he swiped at them in irritation, his hand came away dry.

Spike took a deep breath, trying to smooth the slight shudder in his throat, and his eyes burned a little more. A surreptitious glance at the minibots showed them still cheering on whatever the little figures on the screen were doing. He folded up one of the paper towels and put it on his face, covering it with his hand. Then he turned and eased his sore body down into one of the chairs at the human-sized table. He had landed a little hard, and jarred his shoulder and hip.

He closed his eyes, focusing on steadying his breath, and soothing the stubborn burn.

He should be upset, he thought, he really should. Instead he felt empty. Now, sitting at the table, he found that he had used all his strength just getting there, and sagged in his seat.

He wasn't entirely aware of the passing of time, intent on the slowing pace of his heart. His thoughts swirled aimlessly, trying not to remember the flash of fire in his father's eyes, or the words that passed his father's lips. But trying not to remember only prodded the memories forward.

He didn't react when someone pulled his hand away from his face, tugging the towel off when it stuck to his lip.

His eyes opened, knowing it wasn't his dad; it wouldn't ever be his dad, likely, never again. Blue eyes regarded him, eyebrows knitted together in consternation. Then as though the expression had never crossed her face, the lips pinched together in a no-nonsense purse that went all the way down her posture.

"Well, I can't see it when you're sitting like that. Sit up."

The gentle hand grasped his shirt in an iron grip and tugged him up.

He sighed one last time, but obeyed, knowing there'd be hell to pay if he didn't. The woman was made of steel at time, and refused to bend when she had set her mind to something.

Carly tilted his head back, hands gentle once more as she stroked the edges of the wound.

He winced, the burn back in his eyes, but he refused to give in to any tears. He stared at a point on the distant wall, relieved that Carly hadn't brought any of the Autobots with her.

One in particular.

He didn't exactly know how he was going to explain this to any of them. He didn't think they would understand.

"This is going to sting," she announced suddenly. Even as she said it, she pressed a wet pad to his cut, and it did more than sting.

He jerked his head out of her hands. "Ow! Christ, Carly. What the hell are you doing?"

She seized a fistful of hair, effectively stopping his struggles. "I'm tending it. Now stop it, or do you want me to call Ratchet down here to do this?"

That stopped Spike surer than anything she might physically do. He glanced wide-eyed about the rec room as though Ratchet would appear at just the mention of his name. He'd heard of it happening with Jazz and Prowl often enough.

"Well, am I going to have to call Ratchet about this?"

He pouted at her. "No, you don't."

She nodded once, and tilted his head back with the hand still tangled in his mop of brown hair. "Good. Now, hold still."

He scrunched his face up as she gently dabbed the alcohol pad on his lip.

"Honestly," she huffed as she worked, "considering how often I know you and your father wash your hands, this should have been the first thing you did."

"It wasn't exactly on my mind," he mumbled back, the taste of the alcohol burning his tongue. Waitaminute… "-hey, how do you know about that? No one was there."

She paused, eyes wide, an almost guilty expression on her face. "'Bee told me." She pressed her lips together and squared her shoulders before turning back to examining and cleaning his wound.

Spike turned that over in his head for a few minutes, giving her time to finish.

She finally pulled away, leaning back in the chair she sat in. The fingers untangled from his hair to stroke down his cheek. The steel melted away, and something akin to pity shone in his wife's eyes.

He caught her hand, pulling it down to his lap. He glanced around the room, suddenly realizing it was empty. When had the minibots left? Normally a crowd of Autobots passing by couldn't be missed. However, he had more important things on his mind. He turned back to Carly, meeting her blue eyes. "How did Bee know?"

She flinched, fingers twitching in his hand. "Optimus told him." Which meant that Sparkplug had gone straight to Prime's office after their 'talk.' Her hand came to rest on his shoulder. "Sunstreaker is meeting up with Bee and Hound so he can come back from patrol. Are you-" She hesitated, stroking her hand down his bicep. "Are you okay?"

"God." He rubbed his hand over his face, moisture leaking from the corners of his eyes. "Carly, what kind of question is that? My father just slugged me in the face. So, I don't know, should I be okay?"

She didn't take her hands away, if anything her face softened just a little more. "You know I didn't mean it like that."

Spike pinched the bridge of his nose, a headache looming on the edge of his temples. "No, I'm sorry. I'm just really stressed out about this."

She finally pulled her hands away, but only to pull her chair closer so that their knees touched. Her smile took on a sardonic tilt. "I couldn't tell." She took his hands into hers again, regarding him with that soft light in her eyes.


Spike didn't look up at the soft query. He knew who waited at the door.

Metal clanked together, not the echoing thooms of larger Autobots feet, but the scuffing of one of the smaller ones, one who was making the noise purposefully after a lifetime's habit of silence. Carly didn't say anything, but he knew her gaze had left him to look at their visitor.

Spike sighed in defeat. "Hey, Bumblebee."

Bumblebee stood there for a moment, quietly contemplating the two humans. "You're bleeding," the mech observed in a subdued tone.

Spike almost smiled. "I hadn't noticed, 'Bee, thanks."

Bumblebee still didn't move, though confusion worked it's way across his expressive face. "I don't understand," he finally admitted.

Spike glanced at Carly for support, but his wife only lifted her brows. "I told you this might happen."

The yellow head tilted in a nod. "You did, but…" and finally he sat down behind them. "I still don't see why it has to be like this."

Carly shrugged. "It's the way people think. A lot of them. We're just not something they'd be willing to accept."

Bumblebee tilted his head back, eyes flickering still with his confusion. "Because I'm not human?" Though his tone made it less of a question, and more of a statement.

Spike laughed at that, he couldn't help it, even though it made his lip hurt. "As if that isn't bad enough for some of those people."

Bumblebee continued to frown. "I didn't think it would bother Sparkplug, though. I thought he would understand that we're people, too."

Spike laughed again, but this time his chuckle held a deprecating tone. "If only that were the problem."

The blue eyes turned to the two humans, and Spike knew with a certainty that crawled down his back that the mech had turned all his attention on them. "What was it then? If it's a biological influence, due to his inclination to spread his genes to the next generation, then I can assure him that there is no way for Carly's fetus to be mine."

Carly laughed this time, and Spike shook his head, even though he grinned. "That's not it either, 'Bee." Spike sobered as his friend didn't say anything. He looked up into Bumblebee's expectant eyes. "It's because you're a guy."

Bumblebee's brows knitted together. "He considers it homosexuality?"

Spike smirked at the tone of disbelief in the mech's voice. "He called me a fag." 'No son of mine grows up to be a fag!"

"So…" Bumblebee trailed off, leaning back on his hands to stare up at the ceiling. "My adopting a masculine voice and pronouns offends his sense of morality."

Spike and Carly glanced at each other, uncertain where Bumblebee's train of thought was leading him.

"Would it mayke thangs much bettah if li'l Bumblebee becomes ah she."

Spike and Carly gaped at the yellow Autobot, unable to believe that the voice they'd just heard had come from him. It sounded like a women from some cheap spaghetti western.

"Is thar a prahblem? Ya'll are certaynly maykin' this li'l lady all kindsa uncomfahtable." Then he blinked, turning to Carly, and returning to his normal pitch. "Of course, then your parents might have a problem with it."

Carly waved both hands in front of her in vehement denial. "Oh no, I am not telling my parents about us at all. It's bad enough that I spent time here and married Spike. But if they found out I'm having sex with you, it just wouldn't be pretty. I think they'd actually disown me."

Bumblebee shifted, leaning his elbows on his thighs. His blue eyes locked onto the floor, a sigh venting from his frame. "I thought Sparkplug would take it better than he did." He looked up, and reached out to lay his hand on Spike's shoulder. "I'm sorry, I feel like this is my fault. I asked you to tell him."

Carly's hand suddenly smacked onto the mech's arm with a solid clang. "Don't you dare blame yourself, Bumblebee." Steel returned to her voice, and she turned to include Spike in her glare. "Don't you blame yourself either. This is no one's fault, but Sparkplug's!"

His eyes burned again, and he scrunched them shut with a shuddering breath. His father's face, contorted with hate, flashed before his lids. He pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes, igniting ghostly specks across his darkened vision. "Why does humanity have to be so stupid?"

Carly's fingers stroked his knee and up his thigh, a reassuring touch to sooth away the tenseness in his body.

The large hand on his shoulder slid around to stroke his back. "Humanity doesn't have exclusiveness to stupidity."

Spike lifted his head to look at his best friend and lover. "I thought the Autobots supported…" he circled his hand to span their group and their room, lost for words for a moment. "…us."

Bumblebee scooted a little closer, his eyes dimming. "Not the Autobots, but other Cybertronians. And I can't say I understand them either."

Spike exchanged another glance with Carly, brows bunched. So Bumblebee explained about makes and models, and processing codes and operating systems, and mechs and femmes, and how they all kept the variations apart from one another. Never mixing. Never exploring the possibilities that came from pairing together two personalities or two frames that had nothing in common except for the language they all spoke. He spoke of Optimus Prime who defied tradition and declared that no one had a right to say how love should be apportioned between sentient beings. He told of how the Senate ostracized Prime and those who followed him, and because of them the Decepticons managed to gain a major foothold in one of Cybertron's largest provinces from which they launched their attacks on the rest of the planet. He told of how, finally, the Senate moved to fund Optimus Prime's war efforts, allowing him to expand his recruitment efforts and giving him control of the military installations around Cybertron.

"The Senate was then assassinated by a Decepticon strike force."

Twin gasps of surprise burst from the two humans' mouths and they jerked around to face the interloper, hands clutching at their chests.

Optimus Prime gazed down at them, eyes dim, but his expression otherwise inscrutable. "Megatron told them they were disgusting for backing 'a bunch of radical heathens', I believe is what he called us."

Carly found her voice first. "God, Optimus! Haven't you learned not to sneak up on us by now? You nearly gave me a heart attack!"

The blue eyes gazing down at them brightened. "It was never my intention to startle you."

Spike swallowed a gulp of air, trying to force his heart out of his throat. "What are you doing here, Prime?"

Optimus tilted his head. "Is there a problem with me wandering around Autobot City?"

Flustered, Spike ducked his head. "That's not what I meant."

"I came to see Bumblebee."

Bumblebee straightened, eyes bright. "Me?"

"Yes." Optimus approached them, his eyes on his soldier. "Sparkplug came and spoke to me a moment ago."

And Spike felt like he'd been dunked in a tub of ice water. His breath caught in his throat, and his hand wrapped around Carly's, seeking support.

Bumblebee glanced down at the two humans. "I imagine he did." Bumblebee's mouth turned down. "Did he want something from me?"

"Yes." Optimus didn't move, a red, white and blue statue standing over them. "He expressed displeasure with your relationship with Spike."

"Did he?" Spike had never heard Bumblebee's tone sound so flat (he didn't count the time when the Decepticons had reprogrammed the location of their base of operations in his memory circuits).

"Yes. He said that it's unnatural for Spike to consider fucking another man, machine or not. He tried to tell me that you had done something to Spike. He demanded that I forbid you from seeing his son anymore."

Bumblebee said nothing, even as Carly sputtered in outrage. "He can't do that!"

The minibot's gaze weighed on Spike's shoulders, pressing him down into the emptiness that filled him at Prime's words. His eyes had stopped burning, and it was as though his father had struck him again. He should be upset, why wasn't he reacting to this?

Motors whirred as Optimus shifted his weight, drawing Spike's gaze back up. "I told him I'd ask." The blue eyes narrowed in his knowing smile. "It's not my place, after all."

Bumblebee's breath caught with a hiss, blue eyes wide on the peripheral of his vision. "I'm not going to just give them up because he says, but…" The horned head drooped, the flexible brows bunching together in consternation. "I don't want to take you away from your family, Spike."

There. A sob broke from his throat, and pain stabbed at his heart. His hands trembled, so he balled them into fists, knuckles making neatly curved dents in his pants. "No, don't say that 'Bee." He couldn't seem to draw a full breath without his shoulders shaking. "I think my family took itself away."

The giant pressure in the air that was Optimus Prime dropped closer to them. When Spike looked up from the floor he saw Prime before them on one knee. "I am sorry, Spike. If there is anything we Autobots can do for you, you need only ask."

And the dam finally broke. He shook his head, not even knowing what emotions choked his breath in his throat and seized his heart. He covered his face with one hand, trying to deny the tears that rimmed his eyes. The blood pounded in his ears, but he could still hear clearly.

Two hands touched him: the small fingers of his wife, circling his free hand and stroking the lengths of his fingers, one by one; five fingers stroked the small of his back, each one as big round as three of his fingers, Bumblebee offering his own comfort.

A soft rumble drew their attention back to Optimus. "Now, my mechs are wondering if it's safe for them to come in here now. Some of them would like to use the consoles, and Jazz would like his energon dispenser back."

Carly's fingers squeezed Spike's hand. "Have they been staying out because of us?"

The eyes narrowed again in that secretive smile. "Mostly," but Spike didn't miss the glance he threw at Bumblebee.

"Oh, tell them to come in. God, I know Jazz likes his office crowded, but, Christ, he shouldn't have to."

As if they were waiting just around the corner, Autobots came pouring into the room. They crowded around the humans, expressing outrage and sympathy and congratulations and curiosity.

"Don't let 'Plug getcha down." Jazz bent down in the front of the crowd, smile in place, "Ya still gotcha a family. We're all here for ya, whenever you need us."

Multiple voices chorused affirmatives around them.

"Let anyone say anything to you, and we'll kick their skidplates," Cliffjumper declared.

Sideswipe laughed, "Only if you can beat us there, shorty." Sunstreaker stood behind his brother, but his lips twisted up in an agreeable smirk.

Even Prowl's appearance among the group as he berated the two soldiers, spoke of support in his own way.

The mechs jostled each other, speaking to Bumblebee and congratulating Carly (or asking her what the big deal was-Gears). Optimus watched over them with only a few words here and there. Spike swallowed his anguish so that he could put a smile on his face and respond to his friends.

Their presence reassured him, covering the hole his father had left, even if it could never be filled in. Their caring suffused him with a warmth that chased away a chill he hadn't even realized had been there. Carly's hand clasped his arm and hand and she smiled for him, the half-lidded look she gave him after a round of making up, when their love for each other needed to be reaffirmed. Bumblebee pressed his palm into his back, scooting himself closer to the two humans in the crowd of Autobots. He leaned down and wrapped his arms around him, eyes light with relief.

Spike smiled up at his friends, their faces watering in the tears left in his eyes. His father might have left his life, never to return, but it was a pain that he knew he wouldn't have to face alone. Carly, Bumblebee, Prime, all the Autobots would be there for him, and his child.