Author's Note: Hopefully this will be as comedic as intended instead of just a horrific "bad!fic" with a blatant self-insert. In any case, you have been warned. Written half as a self-challenge and half because this ridiculous idea wouldn't leave me alone for the life of me after one of those "getting to know you" question memes that go around. The notable degree of OOC-ness in 'Jack is deliberate, will wear off in a day or so, and will make sense by the end, I promise – it's not his fault! XD

Disclaimer – "Transformers" and all related characters, events, and concepts belong to Hasbro, Takara, and any other related owners/distributors/producers. I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters.

"Snapshots"
by DragonDancer5150

Chapter 1 – A Small Problem

"Optimus Prime? We, um . . . I think we've got a problem."

Optimus shifted from the console on his desk to turn a questioning look down on Bumblebee. 'We've got a problem' brought directly to him usually prompted a great deal more alarm – and far less raw confusion – in a mech than the Minibot espionage agent was showing. Before he could comment, though, the roar of a high-performance engine reached his audios from the corridor outside. Well, that narrows it down at least somewhat, the Autobot commander thought with a sigh. He recognized the pitch of a racing engine, which meant Jazz, Wheeljack, or Mirage. Of the three-

Wheeljack's white form streaked into the room, skidding to a stop. "Prime! Hey, I got someone I wantcha ta meet." He opened his driver's side door and, to Optimus's surprise, a female human in what he guessed to be her mid-thirties climbed out, looking a little shaken. She slung a backpack up on her shoulder and clutched the handle of a walking cane in her other hand, leaning on it as she stepped away from the Lancia Stratos to allow room to transform without having to be told – humans normally had to be reminded the first few times. She yelped softly when, once fully in root-mode, the engineer scooped her up in his hands to show to Optimus.

"Her name's Beth. She's from San Diego and she's divorced – well, she was – and she was just coming back from Las Vegas visiting her brother and his partner but her car broke down last night, but that's okay, because I found her this mornin' an' . . . an' she's funny an' she's smart an' beautiful an'-"

And the energetic engineer rambled on with a few other flattering adjectives that Optimus tuned out for an astro-second as he focused on the girl. Beth had started out lightly blushing at being picked up and might have been about to introduce herself when Wheeljack interrupted her. Optimus watched her go from flustered to mortified, bright-red face burying into both hands at "beautiful", hard enough that he feared for the glasses she wore now caught in between. The Prime was about to halt Wheeljack's enthusiastic gushing when the girl did so for him.

"Wheeljack!" she suddenly cried, head snapping up to pin something close to a glare on the mech. Her tone, sharp and exasperated, was the kind that one used to "finally" get someone's attention after trying a few times more gently first. Except that she hadn't spoken aloud until that point.

The engineer flinched, gaze apologetic as he looked down at her. "Heh, sorry, love." He shifted her gently in his hands, freeing one to brush large, careful fingers over her head and down her back in an affectionate gesture.

Love? Optimus thought, alarm starting to set in. For all the time that he had known Wheeljack, he had never known the mech to show even passing interest in another, not in that respect. He looked down at the girl again. "My name is Optimus Prime. I . . . apologize for the behavior of my engineer. You are unhurt?"

Beth looked up at him, seeming just as bemused by everything as he felt. "Um . . . I-I'm really honored to meet you, sir. Thank you. And no, I'm fine – yeah, but that's from sleeping in my car all night, 'Jack." The sudden interruption was directed at the engineer. "I'll be fine, promise." She turned back to Optimus. "Just . . . " She glanced up at Wheeljack. "Either I'm dreaming . . . or he's got a serious glitch. Or . . . we both do."

"It's not a glitch, love. It's called a sparkbond." Wheeljack was so patient – and so happy – in saying it.

"Sparkbond?" Optimus and Bumblebee chorused in matching shock.

"What . . . but . . . how . . . how is that even possible?" Bumblebee sputtered.

Beth flinched back, hands up. "I-I don't know!" There was a note of 'I didn't do it!' in her tone.

Wheeljack shrugged, visibly careful that the motion didn't jar the human. "I dunno either . . . but it's neat, isn't it? I think it's great! An' Beth's perfect for me. Her dad's an engineer too an-"

"'Jack…" That one was a desperate 'please don't start' tone. She certainly sounded like she knew the engineer better than she should for having just met him.

Optimus shook his head. "Wheeljack, go to Med-bay. Tell Ratchet that you're to have a complete diagnostic. I want everything checked out. Especially your spark chamber." If his spark had been tampered with somehow…

"Okay!" the engineer chirped, then turned on his heel to head out, tucking the human to his chest up by one shoulder. "You'll love Ratchet. He's my best friend. We've known each other since forever."

The engineer turned a corner in the hallway, his voice fading as he went, and Bumblebee looked up at Optimus.

"Sparkbonded? With a human?"

The little scout didn't seem completely adverse to the idea, per se – one of his best friends these days was a human, after all – but the idea of being actually bonded to one . . . first of all, how could that possibly even work?

Optimus didn't know either, but he intended to find out. "Bumblebee, go find Beth's car, then scout the whole area between it and here. Take Hound with you. If you find anything at all out of the ordinary, report it."

"Sure thing." Bumblebee nodded and headed out.

Optimus turned back to his desk, report forgotten as he comm'd the Med-bay. "Ratchet, I've just sent Wheeljack to go see you. I think we've got a small problem…"


Beth leaned back against surprisingly comfortable metal – not hot but pleasantly warm, the thrum of workings and life within palpable from her shoulder clear to her soul.

That . . . was probably the sparkbond talking. If that's not a purple thought, she mused with a frown, it's at least a strong lilac.

Ever since the giant robots had woken in Southern California so many months ago, some wreaking havoc and others obviously trying to stop them, Beth had wanted a chance to get to meet at least one of the ones calling themselves Autobots. Hell, who didn't? But the federal government had declared the area surrounding the mechs' spaceship as strictly off-limits to any unauthorized personnel. Which pretty much meant everyone. Not that Beth could blame them. The giants didn't need pesky humans invading their ship, getting in the way of their work, or worse, trying to capture one of them for study like a new toy to take apart and put back together at their leisure.

But when her car had broken down last night, she'd been unable to resist. She'd turned off the I-15 to the 58, aiming to visit a friend in Tehachapi before heading home, but then she'd taken a wrong turn at some point, and when the car quit, she didn't know where she was. Until she got out and walked around a little bit, spotting the end of the mountain range in the distance. Under the light of a full moon in a clear sky, even in the dark, it was impossible to mistake the ass-end of the Autobot's spaceship sticking out of the mountain's base. With her cell phone dead and nothing else out here for miles that she knew of, that might just be her best bet. She'd known better than to wander the woods at night, so she'd slept in her car – uncomfortably even if she hadn't been excited at the prospect of getting to meet the giants at last – and set out in the morning, thankful that it was late autumn. Summer in this semi-arid landscape would have gotten unbearable in a hurry.

Apparently, she learned later, it was a common practice of the Autobot's chief mechanical engineer to go for early-morning drives on the access roads around their base. He'd run across her – almost ran over her! – on one of those roads, and it was love at first sight.

Well, for him, anyway.

She'd felt something, though she couldn't have said what. It was jolting and invasive and powerful . . . and had left her hearing and feeling things that weren't her own. Beth was an avid fantasy reader and fan-fiction author, so she wasn't wholly unfamiliar with the concepts of empathy and telepathy. She'd just never thought she'd actually experience any such things herself, let alone shared with a giant, alien mechanoid who was older than the entire history of her very species.

Okay, she needed to just not think about that. It was too weird.

~It's okay, love. We'll work somethin' out.~

Wheeljack.

She had learned the names of a few of the mechs from news reports on TV – Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream – and had seen this one on occasion, though she'd never caught his name. She'd learned that and so much more in an instant.

She turned in his palm, looking up at the massive face gazing down at her. She thought she should have been at least nervous, if not terrified, to be at the mercy of such a huge being. She was, after all, being carried at a height some two stories off the ground. In his hands, she was the about the size of a Barbie or similar doll in her own. If he should move wrong or, God forbid, drop her even by accident, he could do her a great deal of damage without even trying, without even meaning to.

~I won't. I promise. You're safe. I won't let anythin' happen to ya.~

She believed that. Whether it was the way he carried her, the feel of his spark in her chest, or just a compulsion of the bond, she believed him.

On a whim – or maybe another compulsion – she put down her backpack and cane, climbed to her feet, shifted to set one knee on his shoulder, and reached up, brushing a hand across the front surface of his vocal flange. It was cool to the touch, and smooth but with enough texture that her hand didn't just glide like it would have across finished metal. It was something almost more like Plexiglas.

He shivered a bit at her touch, the sensation vibrating across the bond as well. His flanges were highly sensitive – she knew that without understanding how she did – and he didn't let just anyone touch them, but he let her.

Compulsion or not, the engineer really was a sweet person, and she could see herself getting to know and like him well enough, plus the others who were here, whom the engineer loved as family. She was glad to know that the behemoth robots were capable of such emotions . . . even if it was more than a little disconcerting to have such a strong one as outright, romantic love pinned squarely on her. But from what she had learned of him, she really did like him, and she figured she'd enjoy this for as long as she could, until their medic Ratchet figured out what was wrong. Shifting around, she sat on his shoulder, her back lightly resting on his flange, and tucked her shoulder and head against what would have been the side of his jaw if he'd had one.

And suddenly a thought hit her that made her drop her face into her hands again. She felt Wheeljack's questioning glance.

~Who's Puck?~

That was it. Ludicrous as it sounded, that had to be it. She'd turned out to have a power like in that movie "Inkheart". Bethany 'Silvertongue' Sanders. Ugh, that even sounds like a Sue-name, doesn't it?

~A what?~

~Never mind.~

She had loaned her brother her copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare a few months ago, and he'd given it back to her yesterday. Before trying to go to sleep last night, she'd been reading A Midsummer Night's Dream. Aloud.

She snuggled a little closer into the corner of Wheeljack's mouthbands and flange, pulling her knees up, as they reached another room. She couldn't read the Cybertronian glyphs on the door, but she knew from Wheeljack that they read "Medical Bay".

Just before the door closed behind them, Beth thought she heard – right on the edge of hearing – an echo of impish laughter.


x


Author's Note: The question, given to me by a fellow Transformers fan friend, had been this: "You wake up tomorrow to find yourself bonded to a Cybertronian. Any continuity, any faction... who is your new bondmate?" My answer: "Bonded? That's basically saying "married, with telepathy/empathy" right? Probably either Wheeljack or Bumblebee (G1, of course). Or . . . you know . . . whatever poor sap Puck used the rest of his love-flower juice on after he was done messing with Lysander and that bunch, and I just happened to be the first person the unfortunate idiot spotted upon waking. (LOL Shakespeare reference ftw?)" Because really, I couldn't see it happening any other way. Why in the HELL would a Cybertronian take notice of me – however much I fangirl him – let alone fall in love and be bonded (not that it should even be possible). But then, the idea bit and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it. ,o So . . . I did. XD

What's more, this was originally written as a one-shot but . . . I've decided to continue this exploration. Just for fun. I wrote the above a few months ago, back in August. I've since had snippets of ideas hit me, just silly fun stuff to play with and see where they went or how they'd play out. This won't be a fic with a plotline. Just a series of one-shots, almost slice-of-life sort of stuff I'll upload as I think of and write them – hence the title. I have two or three I'm hoping to get written and uploaded in the next week or so. Hope you guys get as much of a kick out of my dumb silliness as I do. :grins: