I couldn't sleep tonight, and after tossing on my bed for two hours, reading for another two and then moving to the couch since my boyfriend took up the entire bed in my absence and failing to sleep there, I finally decided to channel my frustrations here. This is dedicated to all those who have suffered nights of insomnia. I feel for you. This is unedited, since I wrote this in a, you guessed it, insomnia induced fit, so if there are mistakes, so be it. I'm too tired to fix it right now.

Transformers is not mine. If it were, Ironhide would not be dead. Also, in this Annabelle is 15 years old. They still live in California, or wherever they were after the first movie. I'm taking author liberties here. And of course, certain events of the third movie wouldn't have happened.





Annabelle sighed in frustration as she flipped on to her other side, head landing with an aggravated thud against her pillow. She blinked sluggishly in her dazed, sleepy stupor as she attempted to will her mind to sleep. Not that that had worked oh, so well in the past four hours or so. She closed her eyes and evened her breathing to a slow, steady pace. Yet, even in the darkness of her eyelids, she could still hear the rhythmic beating of her heart, its continuous thump thump thump rocking her eardrums, a cacophony staccato that, to her mind's eye, brought forth a show of a multitude of colors as blood rushed through her brain. Annabelle attempted to ignore it, focused as she was on her mission to sleep.

A growl filled the air about a minute or so later.

Mission: Failed.

Annabelle's hazel eyes popped open, the whites of which were slightly red from her tiredness. Not that she could tell in the dark even with a mirror. The aforementioned heavy orbs rounded to her alarm clock sitting across the room, its innocent green numbers reading 4:37 a.m. She blinked slowly at the device. Once. Twice.

4:38 a.m.

'I hate you,' she thought bitterly, glaring intensely at the clock. She thought of all the ways that she could possibly punish the oh-so-innocent time telling device: perhaps throw it out the window, 'borrow' one of her dad's guns and use it for target practice, or perhaps even politely ask (translation: beg) Ironhide to run it over for her. How dare this nonliving thing remind her of her failure to catch the Sandman tonight?

4:39 a.m.

Running a hand violently through her long, blonde locks, Annabelle swung her legs over the side of the bed. She resignedly pushed herself up, another sigh escaping her lips. Moving away from the mocking piece of furniture and past the even more annoying machine, she quietly opened her bedroom door and walked into the hallway beyond. She padded quietly down it, the rug against the hardwood floor muting her steps. Passing her parents' bedroom door, she could hear the quiet breathing and occasional snores emerging from within.

Her eye twitched.

Envy flooded her system.

With more will than she thought herself capable of mustering at this godforsaken time in the morning, she pushed herself past her now teasing parents' doorway and down the stairs, not caring if she stepped on a creaking board. Walking into the kitchen, her eyes avoided every appliance within that had the capability to remind her of what time it was in the morning. From the window above the kitchen sink, she could already hear the minute chirping of birds beginning outside. That was all that she needed, no numbers, thank you very much. She took a deep breath as she decided what to grab from the refrigerator in hopes that it would help lull her to sleep. She didn't care what her mother told her. Warm milk didn't help. Water eventually pulled her from her bed into the bathroom within an hour. Caffeinated drinks didn't even make the list. Annabelle briefly considered grabbing some sleeping pills from the medicine cabinet before marking that off the list as well, already hearing her mother and Ratchet's voice scolding her for even thinking about taking even one at such a young age.

With every breath, the air seemed to attract a stale quality to it. There was no circulation. No breeze. No sound. No light. Just darkness from within the house and reflected from the grounds outside.

With the barely noticeable sound of grating metal, Annabelle unlocked the kitchen door and headed outside to the porch, quietly closing it behind her. She slumped onto the porch swing, the item swinging slightly from her force. She let it continue, her feet only rocking from the original momentum.

The cool night air was refreshing, although it did nothing for her insomnia. The moon basked the Lennox farm in a pale glow, shadows stretching from the barn just slightly beyond. Besides the just waking birds, it was fairly quiet. It would appear that the entire world was dead at this moment, asleep. Everyone but her.


Her eyes focused (with some effort) on the dark barn and the individual who rested within. No doubt, even in recharge, that he could tell that she was awake. Probably. With his systems and battle protocols, there was no telling. Always at the ready even out here in the country.

'Lucky bastard.'

The porch swing had stopped rocking. The blonde flopped her head back uselessly as she kicked off, setting the seat in motion once again. She closed her eyes, hoping that the rocking motion combined with her soon-to-be exhaustion would send her off to sleep.

"Shouldn't you be in bed?"

Annabelle started with a gasp, eyes flying open. Hazel met bright yet soft blue. A near silent whir sounded as blue optics shuttered then opened again, assessing the girl in front of them.

"Ironhide," she breathed in relief, her body relaxing once more, "what are you doing up?"

"I believe that I have already asked you that."

"No. You asked, 'shouldn't you be in bed,' not, 'what are you doing up.'"

"It implies the same," he replied softly.

Annabelle blinked at the being before her. It always surprised her how someone so large could move so quietly. Even his voice, which held a booming quality all on its own, was just above a whisper in respect for the early hour. How she didn't hear his movement or even the shaking of the earth with each step he took was beyond her. Then again, she was zoning out rather well just a few minutes earlier. For all she knew, she could have been in the beginning stages of a light doze. Then that would mean that Ironhide, gun-toting, imposing, gentle giant that he was, had just kept her from achieving her mission.

Her eye twitched again. She stared at him for a few minutes before taking a calming breath.

"Can't sleep," she shortly retorted.

Ironhide shuttered his optics before looking her up and down again, a tell-tale sign that he was doing a scan.

"I can so no reason for that. Your heart rate is normal, no change in body chemistry… an illness would usually encourage one to sleep, but Ratchet would be better to confirm that rather than myself…"

"Prognosis: Insomnia," Annabelle tiredly replied, stopping the bot's muttered ramblings. She knew that she sounded short and bitchy, but at the moment, she couldn't bring herself to care. It was just about ass crack in the morning. She could afford to be just this side of crabby at the moment. He'd have to deal with it.

Ironhide cocked his head inquisitively. Annabelle couldn't help but think that he looked remarkably like an overgrown puppy with the movement. She stifled a giggle.

'It's probably best if I don't mention that. Don't think he'd appreciate it.'

Yep, she was definitely tired.

"Is there something troubling you, Annabelle? Something that could keep you from your rest?" Ironhide asked with a hint of concern.

"No, not really. I just get this way sometimes. Body just says 'no.' It's a pain in the aft, but hey, I deal with it."

For not the first time during his stay on planet Earth, Ironhide was thankful that his species was not organic. To be at the whims of a brain whose chemistry could change sporadically from one day to the next appeared tiresome to him. For Cybtertronians, all one had to do was start up their recharge protocols and set everything else to a looped stasis, if one still preferred to remain aware while at rest. Insomnia, this inability to sleep, was never a problem for his species unless some grave glitch or virus has infected their systems.

Yet he was aware that this 'glitch' occasionally occurred within Will Lennox at times. He'd notice that the lights in one of the rooms within the human dwelling would click on in the middle of the night and stay that way into the early hours of dawn. Ironhide usually left the man be unless he wandered outside. It would appear that his offspring had also developed the habit. Usually, she would just toss and turn in her bed and ride out the night. However, every once in a while, she would venture outside to the porch and perch herself there. In her youth, during similar instances or after a nightmare, she would occasionally make her way across the farm grounds to his barn and sit by his front tire before he would eventually open up his cabin door to allow her access. Ironhide would ask what was wrong, discover her current ailment, and then talk to her throughout the night, either calming, entertaining, or some variation of the two until she either fell asleep or one of her parents located her. They always knew where to find her if she wasn't in her room. Annabelle saw him as a member of the family, even referred to him as 'Uncle Hide' to those not in the know, and even to those who were. Ironhide saw her as his own, adopted sparkling. The mech wondered if perhaps she unconsciously sought him out in instances like this, distant memories of her youth urging her forward, almost as if she were somehow sure that he would find her. He felt comfort in that.

And so, the familiar dance began once again. The two talked into the breaking hours of dawn, Annabelle swinging ever so slightly on the porch seat, Ironhide kneeling on the ground, both listening to each other until the tell-tale sounds of breakfast being made reached through the kitchen door. The exhausted yet complacent girl rose from her seat, bid her uncle good morning and good night, and walked inside. Ironhide replied in kind before rising from the ground and looking across the farm, intent on continuing his guardian duties for the day.

Something a bit different for me, but I was just in one of those moods. Feel free to review, comment, send me a note, whatever. I have to be at work in three hours. Ugh…coffee…now!