LOL, so. It's been a while since I've written any of this story, so sorry about that. And it's a little shorter than usual, but hopefully it's funny and cute enough to make up for it.

... Optimus and Rayne's relationship is the most awkwardly adorable thing in the history of the universe. Ever.

IMPORTANT: If you like Ironhide - and romance! - check out my other 'Hide story on my profile. It's call A Shoulder to Lean On.

Hope you guys like tis chappie! :D

It was slow coming out of recharge for Ironhide in the morning. He had the impression that Rayne had been shaking him for at least five clicks, since she looked rather annoyed at his not awakening. She wasn't calling his name, or speaking at all, but just sitting there on the bed, propping herself up on her knees, jostling the armor of his waist. With every shove, she gave a little grunt, and her expression did not convey happiness.

He shook his head, reaching over and picking her up by the collar of her shirt with his first two fingers. "Sparkling. I'm awake. You don't have to do that."

She blinked her big eyes at him a minute, then swung her leg at him. "Push!"

"No, that would be a kick." He frowned, setting her back down on the berth. She was well on her way to becoming a warrior, evidently. He glanced over at the human clock, only to see that he had overcharged and it was now eleven in the morning. Ah, well... afternoon training instead of morning it was, then. He stretched a little and then allowed Rayne to climb back up on his hand. "What do you say we go meet some of the others? Most of them should be out of stasis by now."

She jumped up to her feet and stuck her tongue out at him, grinning. "Go!"

He rolled his optics and shook his helm as he carried her out of the bay. "Yes, let's go."

She scrambled up on the outside of his servo and slowly crawled up to his shoulder. The crippling fear from the previous night was nonexistent now, as she moved around and held onto him with no real intent of falling. "Yay!"

Ironhide snorted and rolled his optics. "Well, Rayne, I can see you're full of energy when you're not scared out of your wits."

The child's reply was to grip his rotator cup and giggle incessantly, as if he'd just said something very funny. She didn't speak again though.

"Now let's see, who should we introduce you to... ah." He glanced over at her. "How would you like to meet our leader?"

She grinned up at him, straightened, and pointed in no particular direction. "Take me to ya leader, fleshy!"

He raised an eye ridge. "Where the Pit... the fragger must have taught you that. Don't worry," he added, patting her head with one finger, "we'll fix that."

All this time he'd been walking with her, and at last they'd reached Optimus, who was looking out of a window. Probably admiring the scenery; anytime he could look at Earth, he would. "Hey!" Ironhide nudged the Prime. "Care to meet our little sparkling properly?"

Optimus turned, and had a faraway look in his optics, but once they fell on the girl his expression softened. "So she woke. Is she doing well?"

"Ah, I think so." Ironhide picked her up off his shoulder and she kicked a little, but then just fell down in the palm of his servo. "She did wake up last night, but it didn't take long to get her back to sleep. I don't know if she should be sleeping in the med bay anymore, though."

"Why not?"

"Oh, she got scared." He shrugged. "Thought she saw something in one of the cabinets. I looked, and I showed her, and there wasn't anything in it except Ratchet's torture - err, medical equipment."

"I see." He looked down at Rayne, who was busy making snow angels in the middle of the weapons specialist's servo. "Is her name what was inscribed on the charm Ratchet found? Rayne?"

"Yes!" Instantly she shot up, looking around for where her name had come from. "What?"

Ironhide snorted. "Yes, that's her name." He reached down with his other servo and gently pushed a finger against her cheek. "Nobody called you. But while we're at it..." He turned her face toward the taller 'Bot. "This is the Autobots' leader, Optimus."

After a minute of wide eyes meeting wide optics, Rayne opened her mouth. "Op... Opi... time... bus."

Ironhide couldn't help it, he nearly burst out laughing right there. Judging by the look Optimus gave him, though, he thought better of it and choked out a snicker. "Y-You can't exactly blame her, Optimus, she's only a sparkling."

Optimus's fans whirred, but he didn't say anything to the older mech. Instead he looked pointedly down at Rayne, and shook his helm before speaking. "Just... call me Prime."

She blinked, then broke out in a wide smile. "Uncle Prime."

"I'm not-" He vented and decided to give it up. "Fine. Yes, that's me."

Ironhide gave the other mech a nudge. "I'm sure you'll get used to it, Optimus. Maybe one day she'll learn how to say it right. The humans grow pretty fast, don't they?"

He noticed that Optimus had gone back to staring at Rayne, and after a nanoclick he realized what must be going through his commander's processor. "Optimus, would you... would you like to hold her?"

His optics flickered to meet Ironhide's. "I... well... if that's alright with you."

"Rayne?" He brought the girl up to face level with them. "It's okay if, err, Uncle Prime holds you for a minute?"


"Good enough for me." He carefully transferred the little femme into Optimus's servo, but he shouldn't have been worried. She picked up on how to move between them quickly, keeping her feet on his palm until she had a good grip on Optimus's finger, then swinging over onto his.

Optimus was clearly more concerned about handling her than Ironhide was. He moved very slow as he raised his hand so the child could meet his eyes. "She's small."

"Isn't she? And I think they can get even smaller than her. When they're just formed."

"Humans aren't much different from us, the way they grow." He cupped his servo, and was both pleasantly surprised when Rayne lie down as he did so. "She must still be tired."

Ironhide chuckled. "I don't think she would have gotten up if she didn't want to."

He looked down at her, and made a sound akin to a nervous swallow. "Rayne?"

She looked up. "Mm?"

"I just... want you to know that we will always protect you. We will not turn our backs on you." He brought her closer, close enough that she could have touched his faceplates if she wanted to. "You... You were left alone to fend for yourself... you were forgotten. But don't worry." He pulled her even closer, and allowed her to throw her arms against his face in an awkward but emotional hug. "None of us will let that happen again."

"I know," she whispered, and her voice was scratchy again. Ironhide couldn't tell which it was; if all the talking was wearing her out, or if she was crying. "'Hide told me las' night. I know you take care of me forever 'n' ever."

Before Optimus had a chance to start with any inner monologue about the sanctity of life and sparklings, which never failed to wear out his processor, Ironhide gently snatched Rayne away and put her on the ground. "Come this way, Rayne. You'll like Bumblebee."

Awwwwwwww! *hugs Rayne* YOU SO CUTE.

Ironhide: *growl*

Me: Oh, yeah, right, she's YOURS. *holds Rayne out* Meanie...

Mirage: He get-a jealous easy.

Me: Yeah, I didn't notice that at all. Just remember, Hidey, if it weren't for ME you wouldn't even have Rayne...

Thanks for reading, guys! ^^