Ha-ha…guess who is back? Sorry if it seems a bit rough. I haven't written for several years. No beta reader so all mistakes are mine and the spell checker's. Thanks to previous chapter reviewers who gave ideas, some are quoted here or worked into the storyline. Onward to post mayhem work and more chapters.

TF TF TF TF TF TF TF Transformers

** Somerville, Watson County, Cobalt's Gas Station and Self-Serve Car Wash **

Ironhide waited, not sure if the silence at the other end of the comm channel meant Prowl had logic glitched, was conferring with Prime and Ratchet and who knew what other command level bot or preparing the brig for an extended stay. 'My stay, right next to those slaggin' twins.'

::Did we lose the line?:: Chromia prodded. She paused over his alt form, both their tactical computers confirming the car wash and nearby highway were deserted for clicks in all directions. Either could have shouted and fired weapons without any living thing noticing except an owl or bats.

::Nope. Went silent. Not good:: Ironhide answered her.

::Please hold for the next available representative. Your wait time is approximate to the amount of trouble you are now in. Fifty-five rules broken, fifty-six, fifty-seven and counting:: The femme joked, scrubbing softly across his dash and up across his simulated windshield. Her blue armor barely reflected the sole pole light in the area, fainter than his black armor.

::Twins hold tha' record. And I ain't apologizing for doing what's right. Threat is only a threat 'till eliminated:: He waited impatiently, ready to transform. His advanced arrays could read his mate's shape and movements but nothing matched seeing her with his own optics. Too many vorns they had been separated across space.

Suds drifted past on the ground, various fluids from two worlds intermixing among the soap. His cab began resealing, the hiss of pressure mixing with the sounds of the vents auto drying his simulated seats before fading under the clank and connection of his parts shifting. Rising to his true form, Ironhide shook final drops of water off his chassis. Spiritedly, he grabbed out and pulled the femme closer. Her foot pads skidded across the pavement, the sounds echoing off the narrow cement walls of the car washing station. "My femme. Mine." Whatever she had been about to answer was interrupted as the comm line powered back on.

:: An appropriate solution. Human problem with human resolution:: Prowl began. ::How did you correlate their actions with the presentation of the subject?::

::Humans are primitive and violent. Saw that first time on this mud ball planet:: Ironhide answered, suppressing the sound of a chuckle as Chromia slapped at his armor hand. The armor hand tracing down her back plates and pulling at an armor gap. ::And?::

:: You met the requirements of Prime's orders and we are all soldiers. While I do not always approve of killing, I understand it may be necessary depending on the situation. You showed considerable restraint. For once. And humans rendered their own judgement. Our existence was not compromised. Did you confirm termination?:: Prowl asked.

::Negative:. And what ya' mean for once?::

::Last monitored transmission was of their medics transporting:: Chromia added, the smirk on her faceplates contrasting with her flat reporting tone. They were not in trouble and the formality of Prowl's words conveyed approval, as much as the rule happy bot would ever allow himself to express. She leaned against her mate, resting on his broad chest plates.

::Understood. Prowl clear:: And the comm line officially closed.

"That's it?"

Ironhide shrugged, copying the human movement near perfectly, except for the rolling of his arm cannons. "It's settled. Locked and report filed on a back server array. No brig time and femme?"

"Yes?"

"Good job. Wha?" He asked, as she leaned away, her blue optics staring at him intently.

"What mech are you and what did you do with my Ironhide?"

"Funny femme."

'You did show considerable restraint."

"Not the first time I've to deal with icky organic fluids in my cab," he grunted.

"Icky? Been around Annabelle too long," she chuckled.

"Not long enough. Wasted time hauling after trash. Shoulda been offline first grabbing. If that…thing….had…" Enraged, he snarled the words out.

"Annabelle is safe now," Chromia soothed, resting one hand over his spark. "All the younglings in this area are. Because of us."

"Us aliens," he chuckled, recalling the monitored police radio traffic they had intercepted racing away from the scene.

"Command, who called it in?" The county sheriff queried, sounds in the background of the transmission filled with angry youth and more sirens, the higher pitch wail of an ambulance.

"Unknown voice. But on our frequency and powerful signal. Couldn't get a lock on it."

"Uh huh. Our encrypted official frequency and someone unknown helps us out with a tip. As it is happening. Untraceable and unrecognized."

"Some government type?"

"Out here? Better luck with aliens and I don't mean the undocumented type either. Gotta go for the Rigley brothers riot and tip over more tractors. They's all worked up. 10-8."

** Lennox Family Farm, Watson County, 12:05 am **

"Hide?" The softest of child whispers floated through the dark.

"Returning," Hound answered softly, his form blending in with the open window and night sky outside Annabelle's window. He knew the high shine of his blue optics would not scare her. 'Red optics probably wouldn't either,' he realized. The Cybertron scout almost pitied the mech that ever tried messing with her. Almost. Watching her sleep and monitoring the farm boundaries had been oddly relaxing even as he waited. Now his focus split between the tiny human shape in the bed and the incoming warrior signals.

"'Mia?"

"With him. Both are ok." He stated softly, deliberately using the simpler human term than 'full functioning' or a Cybertronian term. While Annabelle continued to learn their language, his sensors showed her brain activity hovering between wakefulness and returning to sleep. 'Anything too complex and she will wake up more. And a cranky tired Annabelle means explaining to her parental femme. Too late.'

"Hound?"

"Need a cylinder of H20…uhm glass of water?" he guessed, watching her sit upright.

"Nah uh," the little girl shook her head side to side. "CLICK WHIRR CLANK WHIM."

Sputtering, the scout wondered how on the seven planets that subject had come up! He had anticipated a request for more stories or details on where the pair had disappeared to but this? His data processor quickly supplied the best answer. Avoidance. "Annabelle, you have to ask them that question."

"Okay. Can we count stars until," she paused to yawn and wipe at tired eyes with a pudgy fist. "They get here? I know Cybertron…I think."

"I can find it." He extended his hand up to the window, watching as the child climbed out of bed, over the window sill and onto his metal hand without any fear of being nearly three stories up in the night air.

"Scouts find everything. Bee is a good scout too," she yawned again, stretching out to lay on her back and look up, pulling the transformer quilt closer. Falling asleep, she never noticed the stars being blocked out as Hound's other hand curved over her, covering her in a protected way.

To be continued…