Guardian Chapter 8

Emergency Part 1
By Steph

Another two month has past in a blur and during that time Annabelle's small bump had bloomed and now the young woman was now sporting a rather stomach. Despite this, Annabelle was still running… or rather waddling around the house, much to Jacob and Ironhide's dismay. Evening had finally settled in the house of Jacob and Annabelle, the sun just beginning to dip beneath the horizon dabbing the landscape in a wash of yellow and orange colours.

"Annabelle honey, why don't you come and sit down and rest for a while?" Jacob's tone conveyed concern.

Despite being heavily pregnant, Annabelle still insisted on being 'self sufficient' doing everything for herself, and trying to do things for others, (even to the point of trying to wash Ironhide much to the black mech's horror.)

"I'm fine" the young woman huffed, struggling to keep her tone even as she continued to dust down the kitchen counter with the cloth in her right hand. Jacob let out an audible sigh, he turned his gaze up to stare at his wife, one of her arms was braced against the kitchen counter, she leaned heavily against it, clearly out of breath. Jacob shook his head as he took note of the clear bands of sweat that had begun to form across his wife's head, some of the clear precipitation had begun to drip down Annabelle's face.

"You don't look 'fine."

Annabelle picked up her head, her eyes narrowed at her husband,

"I am fine, I just need to catch… my… breath" she breathed deeply, as if to emphasis her point.

Jacob rolled his eyes and waved one of his hands dismissively,

"Sure you are" he said sarcastically. "You're only nine months pregnant, due to give birth now anytime" he paused, his voice going soft towards the end, you're straining yourself."

Annabelle stood upright and stared at her husband, her eyes like ice daggers.

"You worry too much, I am perfectly all right" Annabelle's voice wobbled, she shook her head to gain her composure and without another word continued the task of scrubbing the already clean kitchen counter. Jacob flopped back on the sofa he was sitting on and threw his hand in the air in expiration, he put one of them over his face and growled slightly.

"Annabelle…" he admonished, you are definitely Ironhide's charge, your just as stubborn as he is."

Annabelle just let out an amused laugh, one of her hands going to her stomach, gently patting it. "I learnt from the best" she reminisced .

All of a sudden Annabelle breathing hitched and she began to pant and before Jacob could react, her eyes had rolled back, both hands flew to her stomach protectively just as Annabelle let out an uncharacteristic squeak. Her legs crumpled out from beneath her body sending the heavily pregnant woman tumbling towards the floor. Jacob grunted in alarm and a sudden surge of adralin shot through his body like fire, acting on impulse Jacob lurched forward in a desperate attempt to catch his falling wife from her fall. In the nick of time, Jacob caught Annabelle's body just inches before she hit the unforgiving floor, the young man grunted in slight pain, trying to bear all of Annabelle's weight, her body totally limp as a dish rag encased within his arms. As gently as he could muster, Jacob lowered Annabelle to the floor, both of his hands flying to her face.

"Annabelle, Annabelle!" his voice rose in pitch, the lack of response from his wife almost sending Jacob over the edge.

"Annabelle, come on talk to me" Jacob franticly began to stroke his hands up and down Annabelle's face in a sort of soothing caress to perhaps reassure his wife.

"Annabelle, Damn it come on!" Jacob lightly shook Annabelle's shoulders, a low moan etched from the woman sprawled out across the floor. Jacob's eyes went wide with relief, a gentle breath of air passed his lips coming out as a sigh. Gently Jacob placed an arm under Annabelle's head and eased her into a sitting position.

"Are you okay? You scared me there for a second" Jacob's voice went very soft towards the end easing into an almost silent whisper, he sighed deeply to keep his mood calm.

Annabelle looked up, her normally bright blue eyes dull in colour, she tensed her body squeezing her eyes shut preparing for the onslaught of a stern, possibly loud lecture but… it never came. Instead an eyrie silence filled the room, Annabelle slowly opened her eyes and glanced up at Jacob, he was breathing heavily and without warning he swept Annabelle up to his warm chest tucking her head into the crook of his neck. Jacob put his mouth to Annabelle's ear,

"I'm worried for you, I have been throughout this whole pregnancy, I just don't want anything to happen to you, but your not making it any easier for yourself." Annabelle sigh, she pulled her head back to stare at the floor looking almost ashamed.

"I hate being helpless! Since Ironhide saved me from the decepticons, I swore myself that I would always be independent and not have to rely on anyone else, the last time I did it very nearly cost someone I love their life.

Jacob knew right then he had struck a chord, that was a painful memory for both his wife and Ironhide, he shook his head, this was something Jacob knew he had to do, for the sake of his wife and baby. Even if Annabelle would resent him for it later…

"I know that Annabelle, but sometimes you have to let others help you."

Jacob gently lifted Annabelle to her feet and turned her to face him putting both hands on ether of her shoulders looking imploringly into Annabelle's eyes. Annabelle cocked her head to one side in confusion.

"What are you talking about?"

Jacob dipped his head for a second before replying

"I'm talking about stopping you from doing anything too strenuous until the baby is born."

Jacob closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable scream, three , two, one… he counted in his head and then…

"WHAT!" Screeched Annabelle, Jacob jumped slightly despite expecting the outburst.

"I think it's best, you just are too stubborn for your own good, please Annabelle, be reasonable."

"No No you are not doing this to me! I am fine and so is the baby, this is crazy! Why are we even having this conversation? Who put this stupid idea into your head, this is unlike you."

Jacob shook his head and put his hands up defensively, wisely taking a few steps back from the enraged woman.

"No one did, really!" he said too quickly. Annabelle put her hands on her hips, her stare like ice daggers, Jacob visibly cringed at his wife's expression, Annabelle put her hands on her hips and pointed at Jacob accusingly.

"It was Ironhide, wasn't it!"

Jacob quickly shook his head, "No it wasn't really!"

"It was, he better be watching his paint job because when I'm through with him, there won't be anything left but scrap metal!"

With that Annabelle sped out of the kitchen door with quite a lot of speed for such a pregnant woman and headed straight for the drive way where the unsuspecting black Topkick sat unaware of the crazed human heading towards him. Jacob put a hand up to his face.

"Shit!" he cursed under his breath and without hesitation Jacob bolted after his wife.

…...

Ironhide was sat out quietly on the drive way disguised as a Topkick, the old autobot sunk down in his tyres contentment and began to power down his sensors as he prepared his systems for a much needed recharge. A loud bang echoed out from behind the black Topkick immediately jolting Ironhide out of his pre recharge cycle, the black truck visibly jumped, sensors training towards the source of the commotion… it was coming from the house. A band of blue light swept across the building.

SCANNING…

ERROR… INTERFERENCE

Running self diagnostic systems

INITATING….

COMPLETE…

RESTART INITATED….

ERROR…

RESTART FAILED…

DIAGANOSTIC: Scanning component shorted. Consistence of excess moisture in systems…

SCANNING FAILED…

"Slag it" Ironhide cursed, he was over due for a systems check by Ratchet, not that the weapon specialist would remind the resident medical officer that… but of all the times for his scanning systems to fail. Ironhide might as well be blind.

Defence protocols kicked in and Ironhide went on full alert, he had to discover the source of the commotion… even if he was as good as blind. The black mech began to transform metal panels parted and shifted as the black Gm Topkick was quickly replaced by a bipedal mechanical robot. He stomped over closer to the cottage and both cannons on Ironhide's forearms whirred and powered up, a blue band targeting light pointed at the house.

"Who's there!" Ironhide's giant voice boomed causing the ground beneath the house to shake slightly,

"Show yourself!" The giant cannons spun and glowed a bright orange as Ironhide began to charge them, his artic blue optics zooming in trying to determine the source of the commotion, his giant cannons glowed brightly, Ironhide narrowed the traction beam to it's narrowest focus to as little damage to the house as possible but enough damage to eliminate the potential threat. Then Ironhide began to power them up light glowed on each tip and like a black hole both cannons looked as if they were gathering matter, the light became brighter and hotter. It was at that moment Annabelle made an appearance on the drive way followed by an agitated Jacob, both humans looked up to see two giant looming cannons pointing down at them, glowing bright orange… about to fire.

Jacob pulled Annabelle behind him, arms coming behind him protectively, adralin coursed through Jacob's body he tensed closing his eyes preparing to be undoubtedly blown to bits. Annabelle let out a terrified scream just as a the cannons let off a huge boom, she closed her eyes waiting for the pain… but it never came. Jacob and Annabelle looked up to see the field behind their house on fire, a small crater in the centre dust and debris high in the air. Ironhide had redirected his aim at the last second… missing them by a mere meter. Jacob gulped as he stared at the raging flames now roaring in the field, there was an unmistakable black scorch mark within the crater… Annabelle was shivering, Jacob cringed… that could have been them. Both humans looked up with wide eyes towards the black Topkick stood in front of them, both of their hearts hammering so loud they could both hear each other's. Ironhide noticed his two charge's wide stare, his huge metal shoulders slumped , they were afraid… Pupils dilated adrailn, coursing through their fragile human bodies, the rational part of themselves, telling them to run run run and leave the monster behind.

Ironhide's spark throbbed uncomfortably in it's chamber, he dipped his ebony metal head in shame, he was suppose to protect them slag it! Not torch them to death. A deafening silence loomed over the drive way, it was night, the sun having set enveloping the land in black, the darkness just seemed to fuel both human's fear. Ironhide waited for either one to speak, for their resolve. After sometime it was Annabelle who opened her mouth to speak.

"Ironhide, what on earth do you think your doing?" her tone was composed, though there was an unmistakable hint of fear etched within her tone. Ironhide crouched to the floor, his artic blue optics peering down at both humans, he winced as he sensed both of his charge's flinch, nether one dared moved, afraid that if Ironhide did not approve of their actions… he would do it again.

Ironhide modulated his voice trying to be soft and come across less threatening.

"I.. apologise, I thought there was a threat to both of you, my scanners have being malfunctioning, so I acted accordingly."

"Are you both alright?"

Jacob stepped forward, his posture in front of Annabelle still clearly protective, he put an arm around her trembling shoulders.

"We're both fine, as for acting accordingly, you scared us half to death!" Jacob found himself shouting the last part, surprising himself at how angry he really was.

Ironhide lurched back slightly as though Jacob had shot him. "I am sorry" he leaned forward, one of his black metal hands coming forward, both humans took a step back and flinched. The metal hand shook and then fell back at Ironhide's side, his optics dimming slightly. His voice barely auditable.

"I thought that…" he was cut off.

"I don't care Ironhide! Christ we thought you were going to fire!" Jacob threw his arms over his head and let out a frustrated sigh. Ironhide took a step back in shame, his voice a soft whisper above the breeze.

"I would never harm you or Annabelle" he said trying to convince them and perhaps himself.

Jacob snorted, "you could have killed us!" he snarled.

Ironhide lifted his head up, his usually soft and caring optics turning a hard, cold shade of blue, they bore into Jacob like ice nails. Ironhide leant his head closer to Jacob's face, the giant mech's gaze locking with his.

"I am no decepticon!" he spat the last word out like venom, Jacob's eyes softened, he breathed in deeply to calm himself.

"I never said you were, look I'm sorry Ironhide, I know it was an accident."

Annabelle was stood behind Jacob watching the events unfold in front of her, deciding to let Jacob and Ironhide sort this one out. Just them she felt a small twinge of pain well up from her abdomen. Instinctively Annabelle folded her arms across her stomach and patted it gently. "Hush" she murmured softly to her bump. Jacob and Ironhide meanwhile were still deep in conversation.

"You are forgiven, Jacob," came the gruff reply. Deciding his pride could stand to be wounded if it meant making amends.

"I also apologise, I shall be more careful in the future." he rumbled.

Jacob grinned up at the black mech, "It's fine big guy" Ironhide visibly relaxed at the familiar nickname.

"Guess it's something we should get used to living with you" there was a teasing note to the human's voice. Ironhide chuckled a low throaty laugh deep in his chest.

Annabelle smiled at the pair, glad that they had made up, another wave of pain suddenly gripped her body, she squirmed uncomfortably, sharp pains racing through her from her stomach to the edge of her fingertips. "Damn it, not now" she cursed under her breath.

"Errm, Jacob?" her voice was shaky with a slight hysteria to it. Jacob immediately turned to his wife, his eyes widened when she saw her posture, a low groan of pain escaped Annabelle's lips and she suddenly tumbled to her knees one arm clutched across her stomach in pain. Jacob quickly paced over to Annabelle with shaky fingers he touched her forehead.

"Annabelle, what's wrong?"

"It's time" she said in a small voice. Jacob's eyes went wide.

"What now!" he asked his voice surprisingly high.

Annabelle clenched her teeth together trying to suppress a yelp of pain, she managed to roll her eyes sarcastically at her husband.

"Yes now!"

Jacob stood up and began to pace, "Shit, shit shit,! He bent down and began to whisper comforting words into Annabelle's ear. He quickly looked up at Ironhide who had come closer, his optics glowing soft with concern. He bent down and touched Annabelle on her stomach with a finger, closing his optics for a few seconds, the black mech then stood up,

"I have preformed scan, the sparkling is ready, we need to get to the hospital, now."

Jacob nodded and scooped up Annabelle's body, Ironhide shifted into his alt mode and flew open the back and front passenger doors.

"Get in" the autobot's voice sounded from the cab. Jacob placed Annabelle on the backseat the seatbelt snacked around her as she settled into the leather seats. Jacob hopped into the waiting front seat, both doors shut of their own accord and Ironhide's engine rumbled to life. The black Topkick pulled out of the drive way and sped down the dusty road.

Inside the cab, Annabelle was writhing in pain on the back seat, Jacob watched with worry constantly fidgeting, just then Annabelle let out a loud shriek of pain, her eyes closed and another lose whimper passed her lips. Jacob lurched forward but Ironhide tightened the seatbelt around him stopping the young human in his tracks. Jacob struggled against the restraints in a futile effort to reach his screaming wife,

"Damn it Ironhide let me help her!"

The seatbelt tightened in response, metal wires flung out from underneath the front seat and secured Jacob's arms.

"There is nothing you can do for her, the doctors will help Annabelle, now fraggin sit still so I can get to the hospital!"

Jacob slumped in response, he cringed as he heard his wife whimper in pain. Ironhide moulded the seat around Annabelle's body and gave her a gentle reassuring squeeze, something akin to a hug.

"Shhh Annabelle, everything will be all right, we are on our way to the hospital" his voice was soothing trying to calm his distressed charge. Ironhide suddenly flinched, the Topkick lost control of his driving for a few seconds, as something warm and wet hit his interior, "Oh slag it" he cursed in cybertroian. Annabelle's loud voice filled the cab.

"My water's broke! Ironhide, you better hurry up! Otherwise I swear when I am able to walk your going to the scrap yard!"

Jacob despite the situation at hand let out an amused laugh, Ironhide grumbled over the speakers.

"Ok Annabelle, just stay calm" he tried to keep his tone soft, Ironhide speeded up heading off the highway towards Tranquillity hospital.

"Calm, CALM, I am in LABOUR here you giant tin can" despite being heavily pregnant and in labour Annabelle managed to thrust one of her feet to the roof and aim in a good hard kick.

"Ouch, Primus, Annabelle, keep calm please we will be arriving at the hospital soon."

Jacob began to howl with laughter at his wife's antics, Annabelle's head snapped up, Jacob's gaze locked with hers…. He immediately stopped laughing.

"And YOU! This is all your FAULT!" she shouted as another contraction wracked through her body. Jacob gave her a ludicrous expression, cars screeched past them as Ironhide weaved in and out the traffic.

"My fault!"How is this my fault?" he asked, there was a slight twinge of confusion to the young man's voice. Annabelle let out another shriek of pain before panting slightly.

"You got me damn pregnant! That's how!"

Jacob's mouth dropped, "Why you…" his voice was cut off by a loud voice from the speakers.

"DO NOT argue with the FEMIN!" he boomed. Jacob slouched further in his seat muttering something about woman and pain.

Annabelle punched the backseat in pain as another low moan escaped her lips.

"Annabelle"… Ironhide admonished.

"Slag it to the pits! This youngling better be worth it" he growled. This earned him another kick from the enraged woman on his backseat.

"Oh frag it" he muttered.

Just then a huge mass of cars appeared in front of the black Topkick, Ironhide slammed on his breaks and swerved, Jacob shouted as the truck came to a stop inches from the blue car in front.

"What the hell is going on here!"

Ironhide's voice sounded from the cab "I believe…" he was cut off by a loud shriek from the backseat.

"Why have we stopped! Ironhide get me to the God damn hospital now! This kid is not going stay inside me forever!" she let out another painful screech.

"Calm yourself Annabelle, there is no way through, I have checked the CCTV cameras, all routes into Tranquillity are blocked."

"WHAT!" Listen here you slagheap, you get me to a doctor, any doctor, right now!"

Ironhide turned around and took off in the direction they came, he did not answer for he was accessing his com link.

"Ironhide to Ratchet… come in"there was a few seconds of static before a gruff response echoed through the black mech's receivers.

"Ratchet here… Ironhide, what in the matrix is it this time?"

Ironhide grumbled low in his chest, not trying to hide the annoyance in his voice.

"Put a gasket in it for a nanosecond and listen, I'm on enroute with Annabelle, we have a medical situation, she is in labour, anbyotic fluids have broken and she is in moderate to severe pain. All routes to Tranquillity hospital are blocked."

There was a small pause…

"Acknowledged, what is your ETA?"

"Ten cycles, I am approaching west bound."

Ratchet's tone became quipped as he responded.

"Slag! I'll be ready, keep her calm."

Ironhide let out air from his coolant system in relief.

"Acknowledged, and Ratchet… thank you."

"Your welcome"came the gruff reply.

"Ratchet out" then the line went dead.

Jacob looked around in confusion.

"Ironhide, where are we going?" he half shouted over his wife's screams.

"To the autobot base, Ratchet is standing by."

Annabelle made a slight chocking noise in the back of the Topkick.

"What, Ratchet, but he's an autobot's medic." Her tone was worried despite her pain.

Ironhide vented out air, the autobot's version of a human sigh.

"Ratchet knows what he is doing Annabelle, he has studied human medicine for over fifty earth years, you asked me to take you to a doctor, I am taking you to the best doctor I know of."

Annabelle nodded, she clenched her teeth together in pain, Jacob leaned over and gently kissed his wife's cheek. Ironhide's soft voice came over the interior as he sped in the direction of the autobot's base.

"Everything is going to all right Annabelle, I promise." he said trying to reassure both of his charges.

"Pray to Primus, let her be all right." Ironhide thought to himself. Out in the distance loomed the familiar air craft carrier, the autobot base, and outside stood perhaps the one hope for Ironhide and his growing family, Ratchet…

To be Continued…