Okay, first off, I want to make things clear. I am not generally one to write alternate universe type stories at all. I work with canon and explore the gaps that the movie/show/cartoon/book/whatever leaves behind. I work with the background characters or what happens after the end. Unfortunately, when a new addition to the series comes out, it can mess with the storylines a fanfiction writer has in mind. The perfect example? "Dark of the Moon."

Due to the events of the new movie, I have a few choices to make. Since my "Black Crayons" stories are set prior to the third Transformers movie (by approximately a year at least for some of them), I could possibly adapt my ideas to make it work correctly with the new movie. Or I might "bend" events from the movie. And, given the choice, I think option B is looking more promising. I will incorporate events and elements from the third movie, alter a few important things, and combine them with a charming little girl who would now be six years old.

Some changes are obvious from the beginning, others will be revealed as things progress. Due to the nature of this story, there will almost certainly be some spoilers for the third movie, though not every event from the film will be shown. There will be some adaptation and changes to them or a scene from the movie may only be hinted at so that I don't have to replicate every second of it. Different points of view will be explored, thus not every event will be directly viewed. The repercussions of even unseen events that were directly shown in the movie will still show up. So, my advice is to watch the movie first.

Okay, here are the important changes to know up front. First, Mikaela is still around in this. The explanation in the film, that she simply broke up with him with little more discussion of the event, was unsatisfactory and Annabelle has already decided that the dark-haired young woman must stay. If this is a problem, go argue with the kid. Next, I will be including the twins, Mudflap and Skids, while trying to turn down the annoying. Jolt and the triplets will also be there a little. I know that the prequel comics and/or novelization likely covered what happened to all of them, but I haven't had the opportunity to read them. I've just watched the movie and they deserve to have at least some attention. Also, Megatron will remain scary and powerful. He's supposed to be the main antagonist of the "Transformers" franchise, right? He will be treated as such. I'll be bringing in some of the new characters of the movie too, but with a minor change. Even if they were referred to as "Dino" and "Que" in the actual movie, originally the Autobots were intended to be "Mirage" and "Wheeljack" respectively. I'm using those names. Other changes will become obvious as things progress.

Okay, this was a very long introduction, but this is likely to be my longest "Black Crayons" story ever and it ends up being mildly AU. And, due to the event that it is pretty much connected to the third movie in many ways, this is likely to be my darkest addition. There will be deaths involved. I apologize now for what is likely to be very, very long delays in between updates and I deeply hope that you enjoy the story. This is set after "Nightmares," but the correct order is viewable on my profile page. I highly suggest reading the previous stories before this simply because it makes more sense. Enjoy!

A Child's Innocence

She didn't like change. Going from preschool to kindergarten or anything school related wasn't too bad. She liked learning and the fact that Carl hadn't bothered her or anyone since his encounter with Barricade, an event she believed still gave the red-head nightmares, was a positive thing. Even when Suzie was transferred to another class wasn't too bad. They could still play at recess. School-related change was nothing she couldn't handle.

Other changes were more disturbing. Once Sam graduated from college, he and Mikaela had moved away to Washington D.C. so he could get an important job to help people. Why he didn't work with her father, Ironhide, and the big-headed joker, Mr. Simmons, was complicated and boring. Apparently a new "paper-pushing headache" was handling things now. This one, a woman, was less annoying than the grouch, Galloway, that Daddy tossed out the plane, but was too "by-the-book" in her parent's opinion. Anyone not really in the chain of command wasn't allowed anywhere super secret anymore. Simmons had somehow slipped out before the woman took command and Annabelle hadn't been able to go to the NEST island base that summer. The girl didn't understand the entire thing, even after Daddy and Ironhide explained the situation to her, but apparently grownups could be silly when it came to government stuff. And she didn't like it.

Her favorite babysitter was now living very far away, Daddy and Ironhide were busier than ever while the Decepticons had practically disappeared, and some people were beginning to wonder a little if the strange stuff like the really bad robot who appeared on television a few years ago, the Fallen (a funny name in her opinion), and the pyramids getting broken by a big fight might actually be real. Not all people. It still seemed too strange for them and strange things scare people, so they pretended it was just a big joke on the computer and meteors. Now, she sometimes heard other grownups, those who didn't know Ironhide or his friends, talking about how it was possible that some of the "fake" stuff could be real. Annabelle didn't know if that would be good or bad for her favorite Cybertronian. Either way, she kept it secret like she always did. No one would ever hear a word about Ironhide from her.

The biggest change, however, was one that hadn't happened yet. Mommy was talking about moving. Even though they still had the island with the nice beach, the NEST people also had a new base in Washington D.C. that they spent lots of time at now. And since Daddy and Ironhide spent more time there now, Mommy thought it would be better to live closer so that it would be easier on the family. Annabelle didn't know what to think about it. On the bright side, she would be close to Mikaela, Sam, Bumblebee, Wheelie, and her other friends that stayed in that city now. She would get to see Daddy and Ironhide more often again, which she really wanted to. But, at the same time, she didn't want to leave. She didn't want to go to a new school, one that didn't have Suzie. She didn't want to leave her home, her room, and go to some strange place to live. What if she didn't like it? What if it didn't have a big yard where she could play with her best friend, where no strangers could see him transform? What if nobody there liked her?

Annabelle curled up on her bed, refusing to admit even to herself that she was sulking. She didn't know if she wanted to move or not, but she knew it really didn't matter what she wanted. Big choices were always made by grownups, not kids. Mommy, Daddy, and Ironhide might listen to what she wants, but the final decision would be theirs. If they thought that moving to a strange city would be the best thing to do, that was what would happen. She didn't like the idea that she didn't have a choice about big changes to her life, but that was how the world worked.

The girl sat up with a sigh. Pouting wasn't going to help her and she was better than that. She was a big girl, six years old for a few weeks already. Her teacher, the Autobots, and almost all grownups she knew always mentioned how mature she was and she knew that sitting around sulking was no way for her to act. But she didn't know what else to do. She couldn't talk to Ironhide since he was gone and he was probably really busy. And she couldn't talk to Mommy since she was sort of the problem.

Finally, she came to a decision. If she needed advice and she couldn't ask her parents or Ironhide, there was another person she could talk to. The only problem was that she was harder to talk to now, but Annabelle was resourceful. And Ironhide brought her a present the last time he was home.

Reaching under her pillow, she pulled out what looked like an ordinary cell phone like Mommy or any other grownup had. It was the kind that flipped open and it was a shiny black color that reminded her of her favorite truck in the world. The only difference that she could really see was that, when you opened it, there were no buttons. It wasn't a normal cell phone though. It was made by the new Autobot named Wheeljack and it could call any of the Autobots or their allies. It was also was supposed to be "untraceable" and "completely secure," which meant it was the only phone she could talk about secret stuff over. She didn't know what all the super high-tech stuff that the scientist Wheeljack was supposed to have done to it, but Ironhide had assured her that he made certain it wouldn't explode. So she wasn't really worried and she was probably the only kid in her class with a cell phone, even if she wasn't going to show it to them.

Opening the phone, she carefully stated, "Mikaela."

The small black object began ringing, something that it only did when she called humans. If she called an Autobot, it would connect immediately. They didn't have cell phones so her phone let her talk in their head, kind of how they would talk to each other silently. It was neat, but Annabelle didn't do it often since they were usually busy.

After a few moments, the other line connected and a familiar voice responded, "Hello? This is War- I mean, Mikaela's phone."

"Hi, Wheelie," she greeted, smiling at the voice of the small Cybertronian. "It's Annabelle. How are you?"

"Hey, Mini-Ironhide. Thought it was going to be Sam calling again. The boy's out trying to get a job still while Brains and I get stuck with Slobber-puss."

"Oh, tell Brains I said 'hi,'" the friendly girl grinned, remembering the odd new addition to the group of Autobots. He was supposed to be doing the same sort of thing that the other ex-Con was doing: hiding from the Decepticons by pretending not to exist anymore. He was even a little shorter than Wheelie, turning into a laptop computer. She'd never got to meet him personally yet, but knew he was staying with Sam and Mikaela. "Is Mikaela there? I wanted to talk to her."

"She's in the bathroom, changing for dinner later with the annoying loser," he answered. "And I know better than to-" He trailed off before shouted at someone else. "I wouldn't do that, Brains. She doesn't like to be disturbed." A second later, Annabelle could hear a furious female shriek and a loud crash through the phone. "Told you," muttered Wheelie. "Not my fault Warrior Goddess kicked you across the room." Apparently turning his attention back to the girl on the phone, he remarked, "I don't think now is a great time, but I'll tell her you called. Anything else, kiddo?"

Smothering giggles as she imagined what happened to the poor Decepticon drone all the way in Washington D.C., Annabelle answered, "No, I'm fine. I'll talk to her later when she's not busy. Thank you."

"No problem. Try not to cause too much trouble," Wheelie warned her, sounding rather amused himself.

While she never got the opportunity to discuss her problem, the girl was feeling a lot better. Listening to the Cybertronian, even for a moment, had cheered her up immensely. Wheelie wasn't Ironhide, but he was still a friend. It was a nice reminder that there would be someone waiting for her there that already liked her. And she would get to see her best friend more. Surely she'd be able to handle anything if it meant seeing Ironhide more. Even if she ended up having to move, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

"I can't believe you would do that, you crazy little freak," yelled Mikaela, glaring at the small, "wild-haired" Cybertronian in front of her. Wheelie was hiding behind the couch, watching the ensuring chaos from safety. "I went through this with Wheelie, but even he eventually figured out not to cross the line with me. We laid down some ground rules when we allowed you to stay, but you keep on seeming to 'forget' them. If a member of an advance civilization can't remember 'stay out of the bathroom when I'm in it,' then there is something seriously wrong."

"What can I say? My memory is not what it should be," Brains commented, trying to act innocent while still giving her a suggestive look.

"If I wasn't already running late, I would introduce you to my blowtorch," she growled, diving for her purse as she headed for the door of the small apartment she shared with her long-time boyfriend. As she left, she called back, "You'd be amazed how much respect you can gain by frying an optic."

It was basically the upstairs of a small auto repair shop she'd been saving up for since her father was released from prison, but it had enough room for the two humans, her dog, the pair of miniature Cybertronians, and Bumblebee if he stayed downstairs in the garage itself. Not that the transformed vehicle was here often anymore, but there was room for him. It had taken plenty of work and dedication, not to mention she had to build a name for herself in a new city and essentially start over instead of simply build on her father's business. But it was worth it. She was already developing a reasonable clientele and word of mouth was bringing in new customers. She would have to hire on a couple of assistance soon if things continued at the current rate, though there was risk involved in having people around constantly since Brains was still working on the concept of "subtlety." Crazy, ex-Cons.

Once Sam found a job here, they would be making enough money to eventually afford to expand the shop by buying the building next door. She could hire extra help and turn the place into a real business to be proud of. She loved working on cars, and robots that could turn into cars, and knew she was good at it. The fact she was doing so well business-wise was proof of that. If only Sam was having equal luck in his career choice, things would be perfect.

Her boyfriend, the frantic and rather amusing young man who once asked her to step into his alien car years ago, was trying so hard. He wanted a job that mattered, a job that would let him help people. She could understand that. She could understand his need to be needed. He helped save the world twice and only a handful of people actually knew this. He couldn't tell any of his potential employers about what he did, he couldn't say why his face was on every screen years ago when Megatron and the Fallen demanded that he be handed over, and he couldn't explain why the president gave him a medal (though he seemed to like bragging to random people that he did receive one, including that blond girl standing just outside the oval office ten seconds after he was handed the thing). So far, his every attempt was met with failure. And with his parents planning a visit soon, Sam was trying even harder to gain employment before they arrived.

Grabbing her motorcycle and helmet from the garage, she raced away from her residence/business and towards her planned dinner with Sam. It wasn't very fancy; they were just meeting at a tiny family pizza parlor, but it would be just them. None of the commentary from Brains or Wheelie to distract them or having to deal with her canine, Bones, trying to beg for a snack. Just her and her favorite person on the planet. And, to make it even better, she could tell him about her big news.

She'd been approached earlier that morning about a rather good deal. Dylan Gould, CEO of the Hotchkiss Gould Investments and a huge fan of exotic cars, had apparently gotten wind of her quickly growing business and decided she would be perfect to help him. In his own words, he loved to work on vehicles in his spare time, but was finding that spare time was becoming a rare commodity. He wanted her to work on some of his beauties currently under refurbishment that he didn't have time to handle personally. He would pay insane amounts of money for the work, though she would be going to him rather than having him bring the cars to her garage. Mikaela knew exactly how rare such an opportunity was and she could only imagine how much this could help them.

Half a world away from his wife and child, heading towards a site of intense radiation that could probably leave him glowing in the dark, Lieutenant Colonel William Lennox couldn't help wondering when his life took an abrupt left turn at sanity and drove straight into science fiction. He could probably say it was when Blackout attacked the base he was stationed at and wiped out almost everyone present, but that didn't quite seem right. At that point, he could have still believed it to be some high-tech piece of equipment that he'd never heard about, but was still human-created. He could have remained in denial through Scorponok's attack and the trip back state side. It would have been hard at that point, but he could be stubborn. Probably, the point of no return into his new view about the universe would be when he saw the frantic high-school student, Sam Witwicky, stubbornly trying to convince Simmon, the big-headed joker who was even worse back then than he was today, to set his "car" free and observed the first Cybertronian not intent on killing him. Bumblebee was just the beginning, but something about the Autobot convinced Will beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was dealing with actual aliens and not some science project gone wrong. Now, years later, he accepted such concepts as life on other planets and alien technologies without hesitation. And some of his best friends were not even close to being human.

A rumor of Cybertronian technology in human hands was enough to bring him and his team to this death trap. Humanity caused enough problems with their own weapons and technologies. Providing the type of inventions that Cybertronians had created to people not ready for the responsibility could only lead to trouble. They needed to find whatever was here and take it back to NEST quickly. Preferably before everyone present suffered irreversible harm.

He still half-expected to hear Epps make some comment about radioactive spiders and superpowers. He never thought that he would retire from this, but his friend had finally had enough of the fight. He had several children, beautiful girls who needed their dad alive and well, and ended up taking a different route to help the Autobots. Epps was working with a group of Cybertronians referred to as the Wreckers. The trio, Roadbuster, Leadfoot, and Topspin, were a group mechanics who loved NASCAR and were too much trouble to be left unsupervised. They stayed out of the way and Epps played referee with them. Still, Will felt surprised every time he realized his friend wasn't standing beside him.

As they rolled to a stop, his gaze fell on a long-abandoned merry-go-round that sat innocently in this area of radiating death. Children once stood here, children like his daughter, before this site was ruined for generations to come. Somehow, the idea of innocence once existing in this forsaken place felt like an omen. Though, whether for good or evil, he didn't know.

The red optics of the hiding Cybertronian watched the group enter. This place, Chernobyl, was just the first piece of the puzzle. The avian-shaped being watched the poor fleshlings, wrapped against the radiation, walk deeper into the building towards the bait. A plan that had been in place for a long time, from before Megatron's return to the Decepticons from his icy prison, was coming to fruition. All they needed was for the Autobots to do what they always did.

Laserbeak was here to tie up loose ends. As soon as their little "friend," Alexi Voskhod, the only human here not wearing protection, led the group to the clue waiting for them, he would have to be removed. Not that the Decepticon minded. He was a vicious and cruel being without a shred of empathy for anyone. And the weak fleshlings were so easy to kill. There was so many possible ways to end their short lives and Laserbeak enjoyed exploring new ways. Every time Soundwave informed the avian-like Cybertronian that another human had outlived their usefulness was a new opportunity to slaughter the beasts.

Shockwave was waiting here as well. Hidden deep underground with his "pet," the cyclops-like entity would distract the group of humans and Autobots. He would try to "steal" the small object using his enormous, bladed, digging creature. The attack would convince them that the fuel cell was important and that they must hurry to the Ark. And the fools would. They would play directly into the Decepticon's servos.

Yes, things were going well. The plan was coming to fruition. And he would soon be able to murder another target. Laserbeak's smile, a cruel thing that would send the fragile fleshlings into a panic, spread across his metal beak.

As I stated, updates will be impossibly slow at times. I accept this for a fact. But I am recreating an entire movie, going from the viewpoints as diverse as those of a child to a bloodthirsty Decepticon. It is not as easy as you might imagine and I have other stories going at the same time. And, even if I am not replicating every single second of the film, I have plenty of work ahead of me.

And I've decided that the movie is likely set during the summer time for a couple of reasons. Which means no school for Annabelle, which should make things easier for me. I included a small reference to Carly, in case you're interested and I've hope you like how I've worked in a few things tidbits from the movie to combine with my "Black Crayons" stories. Things will certainly get exciting for everyone involved.

I deeply appreciate reviews. Feedback makes me happy and keeps me motivated. Thanks.