Has it been a while, or is it just me?

Dr. Cox: Just you! *stones me with rocks*

Me: Hey! *shields self* I thought you only stoned surgeons with rocks.

Dr. Cox: Surgeons, writers, you know. *continues* You're a bad person! It HAS been a long time, you know it, and it's not just you!

Me: You're not even in this story, you freak! *shoves him out* Now go sing Waffle Time or something!

Anyway. I have an important message, and it goes something like this:


Ironhide: *pulls out cannons* Go on, punks... make my day.

Me: Good one! *high fives* I thought you were gonna say "You feelin' lucky?" again, but that was a good one!

I have a few twists coming up... hopefully I'll get to one of them soon, and I don't think it's what any of you are expecting.

... OK, be honest. You're just WAITING for her to get kidnapped by Barricade so Ironhide can come rescue her, aren't you?

... Yeah. Yeah, that's what I thought. Oh well, in some recess of my brain I probably planned on that anyway...

Hope you guys enjoy! More coming your way hopefully soon! :D

"Your ex sounds like a raging dick-a-holic."

Autumn almost spit out a mouthful of rum and Coke upon hearing Will say what was clearly on his mind, but she managed to swallow it and ended up coughing instead. Though, only because she was laughing so hard. When she looked up from her mini fit, she saw Will grinning and Sarah nodding her head in agreement, trying to hold back a laugh. She quickly put her drink (or what was left of it) down and collapsed in the chair trying to hold back more giggles.

After a minute she let it fizzle out into a sigh, and shook her head. "Y'know, you guys are my kind of people. You're fun. It makes me feel really bad for holding your truck hostage."

Sarah smiled and stood up, reaching down and grabbing the nearly empty glass. "Autumn, is this what normally happens when you have more than one drink?"

"No...!" She pushed herself back up and waved her hands. "No, usually I'm not so bad. Can I have the last sip?"

Will moved his arm forward to block their new friend from grabbing at the glass, though he was laughing the whole time. "Whoa! You're one last sip away from slurring your words and having a hangover tomorrow."

She pouted, but just let out a breath and closed her eyes. "I've just... had a really shitty day. I mean, meeting Ironhide was cool and all, but... I mean, he was my boyfriend. You know? I hated the way he was and... and he did drugs, and he drank a lot, and... believe me, this is nothin' compared to his drinking... and... 'Hide was right. He thought I was dumb. Can you believe that?"

She opened her eyes. "But... I just... half wish he was still with me. What am I supposed to do now, you know? I finished college, but I only worked long enough for the down payment on the house and I got fired, and he was working."

Sarah looked over at Will, then and grabbed the rest of the glasses. She motioned her head to Autumn and mouthed something before heading to the kitchen. "I'm just gonna wash these out, they can stain like you wouldn't believe. Be right back, children."

By that time Autumn had thrown an arm over her eyes and was trying not to burst out in tears. After all, what had Jared ever done good for her besides "introduce" her to Ironhide? She shouldn't be upset about dumping his sorry ass, kicking him to the curb, and coming at him with a baseball bat and full intentions to beat his brains out. And she didn't regret doing it, but financial insecurity scared the living daylights out of her.

Will looked back at his wife in the kitchen, then sighed before leaning forward. "Autumn? Hey?"

She sat up, letting her arm fall down. "Uh-huh?"

"What, uh... what'd you go to college for?"

She rolled her eyes. "Marketing. I mean, how stupid is that?" She blew a raspberry and twirled her finger. "Big whoop. I only chose it 'cause I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Two years of tuition down the drain, since I pretty much suck at it."

He nodded, then scratched his head. "So, uh... seems like you really like 'Hide."

She smiled. "He's pretty great, isn't he? I mean, you guys already know that. I can't believe it, you know? He... he was willing to give up his secret, not even knowing whether he could trust me or not, just to keep me safe." She crossed her legs, slinking down in the chair and closing her eyes. "What a guy, right?"

He raised an eyebrow, leaning back. "Well, uh, yeah, I guess..." What a guy? Wasn't that something people said either to convince their friend to go out on a blind date or when they just came back from a date with a great man? "You... wanna keep seeing him?"

She shrugged, straightening herself up. "Y'know, that would be awesome. But I can't, since he's back with you now. My work is done, all I had to do was return the truck my dumbass ex stole."

"Yeah, well, I got an idea." He clapped his hands, then rubbed them together and grinned at her. "How would you like to join the super top-secret military team known as N.E.S.T.? You'd get to see 'Hide everyday."

Her eyes widened, and she almost felt like jumping out of her chair. Seeing Ironhide everyday? That would be a freaking dream. "What?! Can... Can you do that?"

"Hey, sure. The only real qualification for the specialized training is you have to be willing not to blab about the 'Bots, and you've kinda already proven you don't have the loose lips that usually get blamed for sinking ships." He put his arm around Sarah once she'd come back in and sat down beside him. "I can pull a few strings. Or give Galloway a kick in the ass, whichever works better."

"I vote that second one," Sarah joked, nudging Will in the stomach with her elbow. "And have someone take video of it. Ironhide would get a laugh out of it."

"Yeah, he already hates the guy!" Will pulled his wife closer and brought his hand down to rest on her hip. "I bet I could probably even pull some higher-up strings and get you partnered with 'Hide for most missions. What do you say, Autumn?"

She crossed her arms, tilting her head. "Military, huh?" After a few minutes of pondering and silence, her admittedly impressive poker face was broken by a huge smile. "My parents never wanted me in the military, but if it means I get to keep seeing Ironhide, they're just gonna have to deal with it!" She reached over and grabbed his hand. "So, should I show up tomorrow, or...?"

"Nah, tomorrow's a Friday." He waved his hand at her. "Why don't you just, you know, sleep off your teeny hangover-"

"I had one drink."

"Okay, okay, duly noted." He stood up. "If you email me your resumé, I'll turn it in to Galloway tomorrow. And by 'turn it in', I mean 'shove it down his throat while being flanked by two giant Autobots who both think you'd make a great soldier'." He winked and gave her a thumbs up. "Oh, and also 'one Autobot is more than prepared to shoot you into Nairobi's next week, and the other will happily put a wrench up your ass if it'll get the job done'. But yeah, I'm sure Ratchet and 'Hide will back me on this. You know where the base is, and we just got settled in this location, so I doubt he'll refuse. I'll text you my email later, okay?"

"Okay." She shakily got to her feet, and was glad to see that the room was, in fact, not spinning. "Oh good, I'm not drunk. For a minute there I thought I was, and then I thought, 'Who the hell is so bad at holding their liquor they get tipsy after one drink?' Anyway, I should probably head home, it's getting dark."

She walked over and hugged Sarah, then gave Will a friendly punch on the shoulder. "Thanks for everything, you guys are great. I should hang out here again some time."

Sarah grabbed Autumn's shoulder. "Hey, I have an idea! Will and I are looking for a regular babysitter. Ironhide trusts you, and I think it's pretty clear that Annie likes you. How about weekends? You know, like Friday or Saturday nights when Will and I want to go out. Plus," she added, her eye sparkling with some unspoken exchange just between the women, "you don't usually work weekends at N.E.S.T., so it'd mean you would get to see Ironhide more."

"Deal!" Autumn grinned. "You don't even have to pay me. Time with Ironhide and Annabelle? That's like paying me overtime. Sheesh, woman, slow down."

Sarah laughed. "Will, I like her. She's hilarious. I think you'll do great with Annie, Autumn. Start next Saturday?"

"I could start this Saturday, if you want."

"No way, Red." Will grabbed her by the shoulders and started leading her toward the door. "The stuff we do is hard-core, working with the Autobots. I want you to rest for the weekend and be in top form to start your training. I'll make sure 'Hide and I see to it personally, since there's not much going on right now, but that doesn't mean we'll go easy on you."

"See you soon, Autumn!" Sarah called. "Will, send Annie in. It's past her bedtime."

"Can do, honey. She'll be in soon." He gave Autumn a gentle push outside, shutting the door behind him. "Hey, Anna Banana! Mommy wants you inside, kiddo, it's bedtime!"

It was a little hard to see because it was getting dark, but Autumn could see Annabelle run over from her place with Ironhide into Will's arms. "But Daddy! Me 'n' 'Hidey havin' so mush fun!"

"Too bad, sweetie pie. He'll be here tomorrow." He blew a raspberry on her cheek, to which she responded by giggling and kicking her feet (Autumn knew because she was kicked in the side by a tiny, soft little foot), and then put her down. "Go on in, I'm sure she's already got your jammies ready. I'll come read you a story in a minute."

"Cinderella!" Annabelle requested loudly, then opened the door and ran inside. They just barely caught her squeal of "Mommy!" before the door closed.

"She tire you out yet, 'Hide?" Will chuckled as the Autobot came closer.

"Please," he scoffed. He was even harder to see, since his coloring blended in with the night. "We do not tire as easily as you." He glanced down at Autumn, who was attempting to find her way off the porch step without breaking her leg in the darkness. "Is she overcharged?"

"One drink! I had one God-damned drink!" Autumn protested, looking up and therefore ignoring where she was placing her foot.

"Frag!" Immediately Ironhide's servo was underneath her, somewhat cushioning her fall. It wasn't from as far this time, so it barely hurt. "Primus, Autumn, look where you're going. Are you trying to give me a spark attack?"

She glared up at him. "Thanks for catching me again, jerk. I gotta call Traci, I'm sure she's off work by now..."

"Nah, won't hear of it." Will gripped Autumn's arm. "'Hide, could you drive her home?"

"I knew it." He transformed and popped open his back door. "I knew I'd end up hauling your sorry aft home, Autumn. Did I not, as the humans say, call it?"

"Yeah yeah, shut up," she mumbled as Lennox helped her off the step and led her over to the truck. "I just wanna go home, it's been a hell of a day. I'm gonna have to buy a new car. With any luck, this one won't turn out to be an alien that can turn itself into a twenty-foot-tall robot. Oh yeah, and I'll see you on Monday, Will."

"Why will you see him on Monday?" Ironhide asked as she climbed into the backseat.

"'Cause I'm going to beat it over Galloway's chrome dome that she'd make an excellent N.E.S.T. soldier," Will answered, leaning against the hood. "She managed not to get killed by a Decepticon. Granted, you were with her, but didn't she say the thing picked her up and then dropped her from, like, ten feet? Over three feet can be lethal. And clearly she struggled with the damn thing too, if her personality is any indication."

"She did," Ironhide snickered. "She was screaming my name the entire time, but she was kicking and trying to get her arms free. I think if she hadn't been so terrified she would have spit in his faceplates. You should have tried that, Autumn - that would have gotten him to drop you in, like... a nanoklik."

"Do I even wanna know what the hell that is?" she mumbled, making herself comfortable by lying facedown on the seats and letting her arm dangle down onto the floor.

Will snorted out a laugh, then walked around and put his hand on the door. "Autumn, get some shuteye on the way home, okay? I'll text you tomorrow and you can email me your resumé so I can roll it up and annoying Galloway by whacking it against his big bald head. He's not really bald, Autumn, just so you know... that's what makes it funnier."

"Kay," she yawned, curling her legs up.

"You clean my interior on Monday," Ironhide grumbled, revving his engine. "I'll be back soon, Will."

"Alright, don't you kids have too much fun," he chuckled as he shut the door. "Keep her safe, okay, 'Hide?"

For a moment, the truck didn't say anything, but his heavy venting was heard. "If I can keep her safe from a Decepticon, I can keep her safe from anything. You can be certain she won't be hanging around with any more glitches like the last one."

Will frowned, rubbing the back of his neck. "You mean the one who gave her that bruise on her head?"

"It angers me to even think about it," Ironhide hissed. "Not he nor anyone has any kind of right to disrespect a femme like that. They should not be putting their hands where they don't belong. That micro-brain hurt her on purpose. You don't see any of us going around and smacking femmes in the face, do you? Next time one of them tries something like that with Autumn, they'll find their fragging hand slammed in my door."

His engines kicked in high gear, making the truck rumble. There was a thud from inside and then the muffled sound of Autumn yelling, "I'm trying to get some sleep, glitchy freakin' truck!"

Ironhide growled. "Alright, femme. I'll let you have that one for free, because I know you've been through a lot today. But if I find out you caused a dent, you'll be spending this weekend buffing it out."


"How was that one?"

"You haven't said a word the entire ride, Autumn. Do you expect me to believe that fake snoring, or is something bothering you?"

She looked down at the floor, and traced a circle with her finger in the carpet. "Ironhide..."


"Have you ever..." She shrugged. "Wanted to do something, but... you're worried about how well you can do it?"

He slowed down a little. "You're talking about you working with N.E.S.T., aren't you?"

"Yeah." She folded her arms under her chin and sighed. "I... I don't know if I'll be good enough. I mean, I didn't get killed today, but... that was only because you were protecting me."

"Are you serious, Autumn?" She heard him chuckle through the radio. "I told you to run, to get as far away from Barricade as possible. And guess what? You didn't. You just stood there, of course, but when I got a glimpse at your face, you looked like you were about to charge him before he picked you up. You'll do fine. They'll put you through training, and once you get the ability to shoot a gun, I think you'll be blowing out more than a few Decepticons' processors."

"Pfft. Okay, that makes me feel awesome." She closed her eyes. "First thing tomorrow, I'm calling the police and telling him my ex-asshole and his stoner pals have drugs. I hope they get thrown in jail again."

"I would do it myself, if I knew where he was."

She grinned. "I say he's halfway to Mexico by now, with the way he was running."

"Autumn, I don't want to talk about him anymore. It wasn't fair what he did to you, and he doesn't deserve to be a part of your future."

"Yeah, okay." She nestled herself into and the seat and patted it. "Yeah, you're a good truck, 'Hide. Thanks for everything."

"You're welcome."

She let everything in her body go lax, and took a deep breath. He'd switched to the radio, and she wasn't sure how, but the song playing somehow put her to sleep.

... A warning, to the prophet; the liar, the honest

This... is... war

To the leader, the pariah; the victor, the messiah

This... is... war...!

It's the moment of truth and the moment to lie

The moment to live and the moment to die

The moment to fight, the moment to fight

To fight, to fight, to fight!

To the right, to the left

We will fight to the death

To the edge of the Earth

It's a brave new world from the last to the first...

To the right, to the left

We will fight to the death...

Sorry, the lyrics were a bit long again. Song is "This is War" by 30 Seconds to Mars. Strikes me as the kind of thing Ironhide would listen to, LOL.

... I must go make a video of the Transformers to this. I saw an awesome one for TF Prime the other day, and I wonder if there's one for the movies. I think that Prime is the easiest one to make videos for that have effects, 'cause you can see both the vid and the effects pretty clearly, though I have no idea why...

Ooh by the way... Starscream in TF Prime? Sexiest thing ever, I love that they had Steve Blum voice him. Teehee hurr durr. Turns me into a puddle of fangirl goo every time. I swear he voiced Screamer just so he could make Orochimaru's voice come out of a giant robot.

Also... DEM HEELS. That is all.

I hope you guys liked! I wasn't sure how to go for this chapter, but I was looking at it yesterday and I was like, "Huh. I should get this up, I'm a lazy arse."

Ironhide: *optic roll* You do a wonderful impression... of yourself.

Me: *chases him out with a broom* Back into the closet with my other muses! You'll get your turn again later.

Thanks for reading! ^^