Title: Everything Changes

Rating: K+

Characters/pairings: OptimusXSentinel, hinted OptimusXRodimus

Warnings: Gender-bending, I suppose it could be viewed in a way as slash?

Summary: Optimus confronts Sentinel and has a talk with Ultra Magnus. Sentinel reflects on his feelings.

Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers Animated, just this idea.

A/N: Holy freakin crap. I swear I never intended for this story to be so popular because I'm an unreliable, crappy writer! It's been over two years since I've updated this and you guys are STILL reviewing/favoriting/following?! You guys rock and make me want to be the author you guys deserve.

Anyway, it's certainly been a while since I've written anything Transformers related, but I really want to give this story another go, especially since I believe that I'm a bit better writer now. Some relationships may read differently than before because I see them a bit differently now. I honestly don't remember my original direction for this story, so I'm just going to take it where I feel it should go. This chapter is just a filler, I rewatched the Career Day short with Optimus and really wanted to rewrite it with femme Optimus.

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Career Day

Optimus felt a swell of nerves rush through her as the primary school teacher herded the tiny children out of the school and sat them down on the grass. She had never been particularly good with cybertronian sparklings and younglings; she felt awkward, she didn't know how to hold them, and she never knew if she was supposed to talk to them like adult cybertronians or like sparklings. She had even less of a clue on how to deal with human children. The only human child she had contact with on a regular basis was Sari, and, from what Optimus understood, the child was far from typical of her species.

But, awkward as she felt, Optimus still wanted the children to like her. If she was ever to have sparklings of her own someday (and Primus wasn't that a scary thought), she would have to learn how to connect with children.

One of the children sneezed and Optimus refocused on them. They were staring at her, murmuring amongst themselves, and the teacher was making a shooing, 'go ahead' motion with his hands. Slag it, already off to a bad start. What was she supposed to say?

"Greetings, young humans of Black River Elementary School!" Optimus began, a little too loudly. Resisting the urge to wince, she adjusted her volume and continued. "I am Optimus Prime of the planet Cybertron. I, uh, am extremely honored to be invited to speak at your school's uh, um…" Optimus faltered as she struggled for the words, glancing back at the teacher who mouthed at her, 'career day'.

"Career day!" The femme continued, nodding gratefully at the teacher, who smiled at her in turn.

Suddenly a little hand shot up in the first row, blurting out before Optimus could acknowledge him. "Are you the one who turns into a firetruck?"

"Ah, well," Optimus chuckled nervously, "I was, uh, actually hoping we could save all the questions for the end-"

The same child interrupted Optimus, "Oh! Oh! Where does your head go when you turn into a firetruck?"

Optic ridges coming together in apprehension, Optimus attempted to explain, gesturing vaguely. "Well, it-it sort of gets… tucked in and- um," Optimus cleared her throat, voice gaining strength as she attempted to take control of the conversation again. "Anyway, it's not important!"

The same little boy's hand shot up and he ran right over Optimus's well-meaning attempt to steer the conversation back onto its intended course.

"How do you see?"

Confused, Optimus could only say, "Excuse me?"

"When you're a firetruck with your head tucked in, how do you see?" The little boy in the white suit clarified, crossing his chubby arms as if it should have been obvious.

This was why children made Optimus feel awkward, and this child in particular was truly testing her patience in a way even Bumblebee was incapable of, she could at least smack Bumblebee when he got too annoying.

"Well…" How in Primus' name was she supposed to explain this to a human child? "It's rather complex; you see, our optical units are made up of, uh, a network of visual sensors, connected by-"

"Are you a girl robot?" A little girl in pink piped up this time, her question followed by a wave of murmurs among her classmates, ranging from "Of course she's a girl, look at her!" to "But I thought the firetruck was a boy?"

Caught completely off guard by the question, Optimus floundered for a moment because this question was even harder to explain to humans as organics identified as being male or female, while Cybertronians had no such things as genders; there were only the differences between the hundreds of different model types. The Autobots on Earth merely identified themselves as 'he' and 'she' because the humans stereotypically labeled the higher pitched voices and slimmer bodies of femmes as being 'female', while the more broad shouldered, deep voiced mechs were called 'male'.

"Um, well, we Cybertronians don't actually have genders, you see…" She began quietly, looking anywhere but at the children. Surprisingly, or rather, unsurprisingly, Optimus was saved from her potentially embarrassing explanation when the little boy in white spoke up again.

"Can you turn into a firetruck right now?" He pleaded.

Tamping down the feelings of relief, Optimus said, "Well, I wasn't planning-"

She was interrupted by the cheers and cries of 'please' from the children, followed by chants of, "Firetruck! Firetruck! Firetruck!"

Slumping in defeat, the femme muttered, "Firetruck, right."

She initiated her transformation sequence, her plating and armor gliding and rearranging to form her alt. mode, much to the delight of the children and even the teacher. She then transformed back, trying to ignore the disappointed noises and mumblings.

"Uh," Optimus tried to put on a smile and continue, "Well, um…"

The little boy raised his hand and Optimus valiantly fought the urge to groan and scream in exasperation.

"Where does your trailer go when you turn back into a robot?" He asked and Optimus did let out a little groan.

She may have to leave before she did something she'd regret.

Pinching the bridge of her olfactory sensor, the Prime struggled. "Trailer, right, um…"

It was gonna be a long solar cycle.

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Like I said, its been a while since I've done anything Transformer's related, so forgive any terminology slips.

I love these little shorts and I may do more filler chapters like these since I don't have a lot of time to sit down and write the main story. Also, those of you that read 'Love, Maybe' I seriously doubt I will continue that story, if I do, I'll have to completely rewrite it, as I have refined the characters in my head and made them a little different than they currently are (and better, in my opinion).

Love, Firefly.