Things We Don't Tell Humans
Dark of the Moon - 1
Author's Note: A newly-introduced character has decided to use Tom Hiddleston's voice. I'm sure you won't have any trouble figuring out who.
On a serious note, I was let go from my job mid-February. Annoying, but I was miserable there, was exhausting myself for a small company that was mishandling their living and nonliving assets. So whatever. Better off without them, and looking for a job that will be fulfilling in a company that I can recharge my creative batteries through. Currently working part-time at a
So now I'm able to start posting this story on AO3 as well as here, which is going to take a while because I don't like how their Rich Text formatting spaces things so I have to HTML-tag all italics. Gives me a reason to read through this glorious monster again.
The warm, acrid scent of coffee dragged the young Prime from his soft, peaceful slumber, nanites buzzing with a morning greeting to his adopted and fostered Younglings. Carly was in the shower in their fixer-upper of an apartment. The dog was out on the porch. Sam didn't bother opening his eyes as he pulled himself out of bed. He ended up in front of the coffee machine, staring at it blankly before a nudge at his knee made him look down. Brains, his foster Sparkling, held up a mug. Grunting in thanks, Sam took it and ruffled the little sensory-filaments that made up the little mechling's "hair." Brains preened for a second, then darted away to the couch again.
Five months graduated, no job, no prospective job, just a lot of dead ends, his girlfriend paying for his lunches, and trying to find a way to actually get the job he was chosen for.
He grunted again.
Slim arms wrapped around his waist from behind, and a damp cheek pressed against his neck. "Where are you going to look today?"
"Mm-hm. And where is 'out,' exactly, hero?"
". . . out." Sam said, just to be ornery. He felt her cheek lift in a grin. "I have three interviews. One in the morning, two after lunch."
"Good luck. I'll see you when I get home, yeah?"
He turned his head, captured her lips for a soft moment in time. "Yeah. Love you, babe."
"Love you too, Lucky."
Sam smiled as he pulled away from the last (failed) interview of the day. ~Beezer.~
After his connection with Optimus solidified, the nanites seemed to adapt to knowing that the human they resided within needed to speak with the other Primes. Ratchet and Jazz had looked at the nanites' adaptive coding which neither of them had touched after the last update prior to The Ceremony. From what they could understand, Sam's Matrix and the AllSpark had worked together in Sam's hybrid-like existence to make it easier for Sam to mesh with the Primes. Ratchet started keeping an eye on Lennox's nanites, finding that over time and with more exposure to Sam, his own nanites were beginning to make the same changes.
Ratchet, author of more cyber-medical journals and findings than Ironhide had scars, had handed this over to First Aid to research and delve into, giving his once-apprentice the opportunity to be responsible for this unique accomplishment.
~Not much time before the next engagement, but there's reason to believe that we might have to activate the amnesia protocol in your and Carly's nanites.~
Sam pulled off of the main road towards where he felt the "tug" lead him, rounding his way behind a construction site and to a broad alleyway reminiscent of his first meeting with those whom he now called brothers.
His heart soared at seeing more than just Bumblebee awaiting him, then crashed when he knew what it meant. Parking and killing the engine, he closed the door and walked closer to the gathered mechs. Optimus, Ironhide, Ratchet, Bumblebee. Jazz remained in Oklahoma with Prowl and Elita. He stopped before Optimus, hands in his pockets. Waves of acceptance flowed from the Primes, an echo of that same acceptance "pinging" off of his nanites through Ironhide. Which he shouldn't feel unless . . .
He kept walking, but expanded a similar "field" to a Cybertronian scan, pointing up and to his left at a catwalk without looking. "Will."
"Ha! Told you he'd find me, 'Hide. Hey, Sam." Lennox accepted a hand down from Optimus, moving to stand beside Ironhide.
Drawing in a deep breath, Sam craned his neck back to look up at Optimus. "Are we compromised?"
His blunt question caused winces, but Optimus shook his head. "Not that we are aware of in the sense that you mean. However, Security Director Mearing seems to be adamant that regardless of personal sacrifice and our request that you join our personal relations team, you are not a candidate for any of our open positions." By the time he had finished speaking, the mech's voice had lowered into a disapproving growl.
Lennox picked up from there, his patience no greater for Mearing, but his patience for dealing with human politics and bureaucracy held more depth. "She's a hard woman, and a harder woman to deal with when she's got her mind set on a goal and people aren't fitting into the roles she has set out for them."
Cursing, Sam sighed and looked down. "So . . . right. So I need to stop poking my nose into NEST for a while?"
"Until we can arrange a position for you that she cannot argue, yeah, keep your head down," Lennox replied. "Find a job, get yourself settled, just work and build a resume, you know? It's not easy working without a goal, but . . ."
"But nothing we say is going to change her mind."
Cursing fluently in English, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish, Sam ran hands through his hair and sighed. "Okay. I can do that. So what's up with the amnesia bit, though? We agreed that this would only be brought up if the threat was great enough."
Ratchet took the baton from there. "We think it just might be, but we are unaware of that just yet. Intelligence is claiming that there seems to be a gathering of power and strength. The Decepticons may attempt for one great, final push. That leaves you vulnerable, AllSpark Prime."
Dammit. Sam held one hand out for Bee, who took the cue. Lennox was already climbing up onto Ironhide's shoulder, making it easier for mechs and humans to speak. "I have to speak to Carly about this, so we can get our consent recorded with Ratchet and Jazz. What is the cover story?"
"It's essentially the truth. Just . . . omitting sensitive information."
"My status as Prime?" Sam felt panic start to well up within him. "And Carly's status as . . ."
"Consort-elect," Bumblebee murmured. His hand rested against Sam's side. "And . . . I will have to remain mute around you. We wouldn't know our brotherhood. Your soul might remember me, but your mind won't until we're sure that you and Carly will be safe."
Sam buried his face in his hands, trembling. "All of who I have become will be forgotten."
"Not forgotten. Stored. Safely."
Sam looked up sharply at the smooth bass voice. Jazz melted out from the shadows, his normally-silver plating a motley patchwork of shadows. This was the Spec-Ops Officer, the Chaos Prime. He seemed so much more full after a few months of assimilating the Matrix. His small frame and stature filled more space, somehow, and his calm purpose reached out over the Prime-Bond, soothing Sam's rough edges expertly. "Bee. Put him down."
On his feet before Jazz, Sam looked up at the mech's visor, tinted almost completely black to shield his optic-glow from view, but two bright spots gave his gaze away. And then they were gone. Dark.
The tug on his soul drew him out of himself, into the space-between-Bonds, the outside-of-self where the twelve current Primes could gather and communicate. And he felt their welcome, their affirmation, their trust, their sheer love for him.
~Sam. we know that we will succeed. If we do not, if our Sparks extinguish, you will not go without your are us. We are you. Now bear the slag up.~
Broken out of the moment with his surprised laugh, Sam straightened up and felt his face split into a grin in response to Jazz's own open expression. "Still scared, though."
"Mortal condition, kid."
"Yeah. Okay. So who's coming with me to tell Carly?"
"Who the slag are you kidding? That's a one-man trip."*
Carly was mad. But mad worked out well when she was hiding from her boss, from the rest of his staff, and could just focus on detailing one of the vehicles recently pulled from another rich fop's collection that had been slated for a storage facility. It was the McLaren X-1, a custom order, and required painstaking maintenance. It was driven once a year, no more, and spent most of its time settled in the private level of Dylan's office-cum-showroom building.
When her tears finally clouded her vision, she settled on the passenger seat, leather cleaner and a rag dangling from numb fingertips, giving into her despair. She knew that there was a possibility that she and Sam would have to go under cover. But she feared what kind of person she would become if she lost the memories of her most dear moments with the man she wanted to spend the rest of her long life with. Sam annoyed her. Sam clung to her when his demons woke him at night. Sam loved her through her own grief at losing her brother. Sam was the other star in her binary star system, her other half, and she couldn't see herself without him.
She didn't know how she would react to the mechlings, the dearsparks that relied upon her when Sam had to meet with Optimus or Bumblebee. They needed her affirmation, and what if she didn't treat them the way that they needed to be treated?
Almost ten minutes passed by before she realized that her nanites, still relatively new to her system, were registering the presence of a Cybertronian.
The field was wrapping around her, hugging her, full of wild, hardly-tamed edges under a smooth, silken veneer. She raised her head, drawing in deep breaths before whispering, "Who are you?"
"Under Jazz or Soundwave?"
Her phone, Autobot-issue, buzzed with a text message. She pulled it out, seeing the make and model of the car and two codes. One meant "Safe," and the other was a joint code for Jazz and Prowl as the commanding team. It deleted itself after the camera on the face of the phone tracked her gaze, "knowing" that she read the message.
Sliding the phone back into her pocket, she whispered, "I was just given an all-clear that you were part of the team. What's your name?"
Suddenly, the sense of "wild" in his field made perfect sense. "Hound's Bonded."
The car rose up on its axles in shock, possibly anger, and she gripped at the seat reflexively. "Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry! Terrible manners of me to-"
"Do not get out!" he hissed. "I have not hacked the cameras yet as I did not yet wish to alert anyone to my presence. Breach in etiquette is acceptable as you simply didn't recognize any sign that I was here, which was my intent."
"Why are you here?"
"Your employer. He is a powerful man, and his father's and his own rise to power is remarkable, possibly unnatural."
"I have two employers, but I'm assuming that you mean Dylan."
"Oh? The other?"
"I won't remember meeting him."
Mirage relaxed upon his wheels again. "Jazz has debriefed me. Carly . . ." He stopped, unsure of how to continue. His status and upbringing as a Noble did him no favors in this stage of things. He just simply hadn't been created to be more than a pretty thing to be displayed upon the arm of a higher-ranking Lord or Lady. Hound's reassuring brush over his Spark encouraged his next move. "Would you like to go for a ride?"
"I can't, I'm on the clock."
"Will AllSpark Prime be with you tonight?"
"He . . . might be. I think I need some space right now, though."
"Hmm. Come back tonight. I will leave a decoy in place. If the Prime wishes to join us, he is invited, but I have the feeling that he may wish to seek time with Bumblebee."
Her shy smile was the only reward he could have asked for. He pleased the Consort-Elect of the second-senior Prime. Spark-deep coding that continued to urge him to climb the social latter was satisfied with the strategic significance of gaining favor with a Consort-Elect, even though his conscious mind knew that there was no longer going to be caste and class to fight his way higher in status.
"I will. I'm sorry for disturbing you or blowing your cover, Mirage."
"It is of no consequence. I would be dishonored to ignore a Prime's Consort in a time of stress or need."
"Aw, you're sweet."
"Mm. Would you mind it terribly if I were to request a boon, Lady?"
"Would you think less of me were I to request you to continue the detailing job you started?"
Her chortle and another spray of leather cleaner to the cloth before it was applied to detailing on his center console was Carly's reply, much to Mirage's delight.
Sam reached over his head absently for the phone that went off. Carly was curled up over his bare chest, one hand lazily tracing the Matrix-fractals that lined his ribs. She had ambushed him as he trudged out of the shower in beat up sweatpants for a snuggle session on the couch. No words were spoken.
Fingers curling over the noisy thing, he pulled it closer to look at the screen. "Oh. Mirage resurfaced." He turned the phone on, answering, "One sec, Mirage."
He handed the phone over, but Carly just put it on speaker so that they could both talk to the mech. "Hello, Mirage."
"My lady," he greeted solemnly, making both Carly and Sam smile at his seriousness. He was a mech who found comfort in ritual, in culture. "I am waiting at the curb for you."
"Why, thank you!"
"However, this is an ill-suited place for personages of your importance to be residing within. Did they not have any other form of housing closer to where this country's own leader resides? It's deplorable!"
Carly's eyebrow shot up. Sam quietly put his hand over his mouth to stifle any laughter that might arise. "Excuse me, but I own this building. Yes, she's a work in progress, but do some history research before you deride our housing situation."
"My lady, I-"
"Furthermore, I am not 'my lady.' Reserve that for Elita or Chromia, or someone else. I'm just 'Carly.' Nothing more."
Silence rang for a beat, followed by, "They don't let me call them by anything other than their names, either."
"Good. Means that they're grounded and solid. Now, I'm still willing to come for a ride with you, but you mind your manners about us. Not everything about us that you can see is a reflection about who we really are or what the situation really is."
"Yes, Carly." His voice, though never humble, had a note of softness and respect woven through it.
"Good. I'll be right down." Ending the call, she sighed. "He's wound a bit tight."
Sam smiled. "Be easy on him, beautiful. He's from the nobility caste."
"But he's Bonded with Hound."
"Bonding doesn't overwrite coding. Yes, it'll change a mech's Spark and some behaviors over time, but it's not a 'fix' for any mech." He brushed hair behind her ear, stroking the soft skin of her jaw. A part of his soul lit up brightly, and he grinned. "Go enjoy your night out with Mirage. I'm going to go for a joyride with my Brother."
"Faustus or Bumblebee?"
There was a timid tap on the balcony door, and Carly smiled out at the golden optics. "I should let you get yourself dressed. Faustus, you bring him home in one piece, you hear me?"
Chuckling, the mech nodded, his voice rumbling softly through the glass panes. "I will."
Carly pulled Sam in for another kiss. "No matter what happens, Hero, I love you with everything I am. And I know that even though I hadn't understood why you had to be so involved with the Autobots, and I probably won't understand and will probably feel hurt, I know that they're your home, they're your responsibility and your people." Sniffing back tears, steeling herself, she whispered, "And they're my people, too. And I will do whatever I can to help you protect them."
The young Prime pulled his Consort in, kissing her to tell her all that he couldn't say with words. He walked her to the door, fingertips trailing off of her back as she left. Faustus' concern drifted over his soul, making him turn with a mournful expression. Silently dressing in clothes that could withstand some wear and tear, he walked to his balcony and into the arms of his Lord Protector. How odd that a child younger than him was feeling older, wiser, more settled . . .
~It's my Spark, Sam. It's what the AllSpark had a feeling that your world would need.~
~I know, Brother. I just ache that we have to do this.~
~When will you forget me?~
Sam broke into racking sobs. Faustus rose over the city, transforming around his Prime, nestling the human against the closest secure vault by his Spark. Sam curled closer to the life-force, hardly feeling the acceleration as they ran. And Faustus knew.
His keen reverberated through his structure.
Sam would forget tonight, while he slept.
Carly would forget.
The Sparklings with them wouldn't forget.
They touched down on an island off of the Massachusetts coastline, and Sam cried until sleep took him, safe in the arms of his mech.
Another streak of fire across the sky fell to the rocky outcropping. Having spotted him several hundred miles out, Faustus knew that he didn't have to run from the mech. "Lord Protector Megatron."
The old, scarred and craggy face smiled. "Lord Protector Faustus." Heaving his reinforced frame down beside the young Seeker, the oldest Protectorate whispered, "It will begin, soon."
"Can you do nothing to stop it?"
"No, little mech. I cannot. Not without facing deactivation from my own Lieutenants." He sighed and rubbed his helm. "You will not be without assistance, but I suggest that you and all other noncombatants withdraw to your hidden places. I do not wish to have the death of the final Sparklings on my hands."
"You continue to refuse us intel."
"Soundwave would find out."
"Mn. But know this and tell my Prime this," he turned the crimson optics of Kaon upon the expensive golden glow of his now-Brother. "When the final strokes of the war happen, I will assist him end it all."
Faustus nodded once, sensory-mane flaring once before falling back. "Acknowledged, Lord Protector."
* Line provided by LynxbyLynx, who helped Beta the first half of this mess.
Song Is: "Don't Sleep" by Reasoner.