Title: Respawn, Replay

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Rating: PG-13/T

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not.

Summary: Sam stared at the fallen control pillar, pausing for a moment to wonder just what the hell he was supposed to do now. 800 words.

Spoilers: Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011); Bayverse in general

Notes: So I wrote this cliche!fic weeks ago in reaction to DOTM, with the idea of watching the movie again in theater to possibly kick off a fixit AU. The time and desire to do so hasn't yet materialized, though, and I'm weak on TF knowledge in general; so, it is what it is. Maybe, one day, there'll be more.


Sam stared at the fallen control pillar, pausing for a moment to wonder just what the hell he was supposed to do now. Dylan had reactivated the thing, he could see the light flowing up to join the others holding the gate to Cybertron open, and he had no idea, no idea at all, how to stop it.

Except, maybe... He squinted as glyphs floated up from the depths of his subconscious, glowing golden in the air around him.

"Oh, thanks a lot," he muttered to himself. "Now you have something to say." Why now, after four years? Why not earlier in the week, when he'd had that Decepticon watch on his wrist? Maybe he really was just a messenger, like Mearing had said. Forget ever deserving the Matrix, thanks a lot ancient Primes; they'd just used him as a conduit to get the thing to Optimus.

Whatever; at least maybe he still had a chance to do something, to maybe make the future destruction of his planet a little less inevitable. Because there was no way having another planet share Earth's orbit was going to end well for humanity's birthplace, whatever the Decepticons had told Dylan. And if he had to be a footnote instead of a hero- well, at least he'd be the horseshoe nail in this story.

Sam lurched up onto the wreckage again, fumbling for the access glyphs along the middle of the pillar's length. His fingertips tingled a little as he touched them, and more symbols fluttered at the edge of his vision, but if he thought about it too hard his fingers started faltering, so he tried not to let his human wetware interfere with the details.

Unfortunately, that freed his brain up to dwell on other recent details, and he sniffed awkwardly as wet warmth built up behind his eyes. Ironhide was gone, and Wheeljack, and so many of Lennox's soldiers- not to mention a big chunk of the population of Chicago, all partly because he'd been an idiot and let himself be used as a tool once again. It was worse than Mission City or the battle in Egypt; not just in terms of sheer numbers, but because he was finally conscious of his responsibility in the events that had led to so many deaths.

He didn't even have words for what the last week had been like, a hideous tangle of pain and wrong and crushingly inevitable doom that made him a hundred percent sure he should have given up on being normal after those first chaotic days of college. He should have known that if he didn't own his own role in things, someone else would, and then it would be too late. It was just, after Mikaela left him, claiming it was because of how dangerous his life had become...

He liked Carly. He really did; she was too good for a screw-up like him. But he'd never gotten over his 'Warrior Goddess' suddenly turning hesitant and ditching him right after Egypt. Hindsight was twenty-twenty: had someone fit Mikaela with a Decepticon spy-watch like his? Had that been why she'd pulled back? He should have paid more attention. She was stronger than he was, Sam knew it. He'd bent, but she wouldn't have- and he hadn't heard from her since.

'The one spy I could never provide was someone close to the Autobots.'

He swallowed, setting his chin firmly, and pressed one final button.

Under his hands, the pillar began to shake: its energy radiating a strange non-burning heat like the Allspark had when he'd destroyed it. Then the beam shooting up to the emerging hemisphere of Cybertron stuttered... and reversed, flaring out to envelop Sam instead.

"Oh shit," he murmured, clamping his eyelids shut around the inhuman glare, then tensed as it vanished as abruptly as it had appeared, taking all the sounds of battle with it.

Either he was dead, or... what? Could it actually all be over? He kept his eyes shut a moment longer, not sure whether the desert of the First Thirteen would be preferable to the wreckage of Chicago under the circumstances, then told himself to stop being an idiot.

It was... not Chicago, that was for sure. Or the desert. Or even daytime, which was a little disorienting. Not to mention... were those his grandfather's pair of glasses, lying on the pavement in front of his knees? Sam stared at them for a long moment, completely bewildered.

"Time and space," he murmured then, Sentinel Prime's words abruptly coming back to him. Had he somehow reprogrammed Sentinel's bridge to travel through time?

He held his breath and looked up to see a familiar bridge arching overhead... then started laughing in hope and disbelief, gazing into the puzzled optics of a dangling Optimus Prime.

-x-