The following morning . . .
"I don't believe you." Will was sitting backwards on a folding chair, rolling his eyes at Epps who was stretched out on the couch. His bandaged right hand hung in front of him. "You're making it up."
"I am not." Epps had slung an arm over his tired eyes to protect them from the harsh sunlight. "You lost your freakin' mind last night."
"You're making it up." Will said again.
With a snort, Epps moved his arm and looked to Sideswipe. "You tell him."
Sideswipe obliged. "You lost your mind last night, Boss."
They were waiting for Sarah and Annabelle. Ratchet and Thomas were in their respective medbays and Optimus and the Wreckers had retired to their quarters for some recharge. Patrol shifts had been quiet. Quieter than base shifts, anyway.
"Now he's got you in on it, huh?"
"There's nothing to get in on." Sideswipe grinned. "You spent the night making Epps and I chase your butt all over this base."
The door to the main hangar opened and Hound stepped through. Bluestreak followed and Prowl brought up the rear. Sideswipe gave a nod to the Enforcer as the trio approached.
After the Mamma Mia! medley, Lennox had finally gone to sleep and stayed there for a few more hours. When he had awakened, he was back to his normal, efficient self, but with absolutely no memory of the previous night's events.
Immediately, Will stood up. He was all business, but there was a soft smile on his face. "Welcome. It's a pleasure to finally get to meet you. I'm Colonel Lennox. And the lump on the couch is Sgt. Epps."
Hound stepped forward. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Colonel. Sergeant."
"Call me Will."
"Epps. Or Bobby." Epps spoke up.
Sideswipe nearly cracked up at Prowl. The Praxian was eyeing Will warily, waiting, it seemed, for something stupid to fall out of his mouth. Those doorwings were up again, watching with shrewd optics on the man as Hound introduced himself and Bluestreak.
"And this is Prowl."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Prowl." Will replied politely. "Now, I just want you all to know-"
Prowl cut him off. "That you know twenty-five ways to kill a man with a stapler."
Sideswipe lost it as Epps sputtered his own laughter. Will looked surprised, then confused. "What?"
"That's what you said last night." Prowl told him, completely serious "That you wanted me to know that you knew twenty-five ways to kill a man with a stapler."
"What's a stapler?" Hound asked, looking rather amused.
"Unclear at this time." Prowl replied.
"Prowl," Will began gently, "This is the first time I have met you."
"No, sir." Prowl looked like any notions he had about low Will's intelligence level were being confirmed. "This is our third encounter."
"Yes." Prowl said. "The first time, you told me about the stapler. The second time, you asked me to procure supplies for you."
"What Sgt. Epps termed a 'munchie-run'."
Will looked at Prowl for a moment before narrowing his eyes at Epps. "You've even got the new guys in on it."
"In on what? Prowl asked as Epps just shook his head.
Sideswipe took a deep vent to cool his systems. "The Colonel believes you are part of a grand conspiracy."
"To what purpose?"
"I haven't got a clue."
"To make me crazy." Will put in. "You guys really expect me to believe that I did all of this stuff and I have no memory of it?"
"So, your theory is that your entire staff has gotten together and concocted some elaborate farce simply to embarrass you?" Prowl canted his head to study Lennox. "You think very highly of yourself."
Will looked stunned but Epps laughed. "Because we have better things to do than sit up all night thinking up crazy stories."
"Yeah, Boss." Sideswipe grinned. "You might be interested to know the Earth exists in a heliocentric solar system. The world does not revolve around you."
The colonel was laughing himself, now. "That's not what I meant. I remember none of this."
Hound had sat down on the couch, settling into the padding and looking comfortable. Bluestreak had scrabbled up beside him. The youngling was watching them all, and Sideswipe couldn't help but wonder what this whole situation might be like for him. He moved in close to Hound, but watched them all curiously instead of frantically scanning the room like he had done the night before. Sideswipe offered a smile and a slight wave. He got a smile in response before the mechling shyly buried his face into Hound's plates.
Beside Sideswipe, Prowl was recounting the entire exchange from the previous night. Will was listening, but when Prowl finished, he said bluntly. "I don't like rootbeer."
"That's your rebuttal?" Prowl replied. He seemed annoyed again, but almost amused, too. "You don't like rootbeer?"
"Totally blows apart the whole story." Will told him. "If I had asked for ginger ale, I would be able to believe you."
Prowl looked to Sideswipe. "Are humans always like this?"
"What? Glitch-headed and completely illogical?" Sideswipe just wanted to make sure he was clear on those points. Prowl nodded. "I can't speak for the whole human race, but such seems to be the case with our humans."
"We are not your humans." Epps spoke up again tiredly. "How many times do I have to tell you that?"
The human door to the hangars opened and blonde flash sped across the floor. "Dad!"
"Hey!" Will moved forward, catching his daughter with his good arm and locking her in a bear hug. He gave her a sound kiss on the cheek. "How's my girl?"
"Good." Blue eyes looked down at the sling. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine." Will bounced her a little as if to illustrate before turning to his wife. She had followed at a more sedate pace and grinned when he kissed her. "How was the trip?"
"Long." Sarah pulled a face. "I forgot what it's like to actually have to drive that distance. Sideswipe has me spoiled."
"Once you go Autobot you never go back." Sideswipe responded.
She laughed at him, leaning against Will as she raised an eyebrow. "So how was your night?"
"Fine." Will answered far too lightly and far too quickly.
"I wasn't actually talking to you, dear." Sarah looked over at Epps on the couch. "Well?"
"You married a nut."
"I knew that. What happened?"
"They're trying to convince me that I threatened our new friends with office supplies." Will nodded towards the three new mechs. "Hound, Bluestreak, Prowl: meet my ladies. Sarah and Annabelle."
"Hi!" Annabelle bounced over Will's shoulder and Sideswipe held down a servo to her. She climbed on and followed her father's instructions to sit still as Sideswipe smoothly brought her up against his chassis. "Hi, Sides."
"Hey, Bit." Sideswipe responded fondly.
"Hi, Prowl." Annabelle looked up at him happily.
"Greetings, Annabelle." The bot looked to Sideswipe as the child called greetings to the other two bots. "I'm amazed that a creature so small is not intimidated by us."
"Nothing fazes her." Sideswipe smiled down at her. Annabelle was talking to Hound now and Bluestreak was curiously watching her from beside his adopted caretaker. "Course, she practically grew up with Ironhide. I guess that's to be expected.
Keeping an optic on his youngest charge, Sideswipe turned to Sarah. "I've got something for you."
A knowing smile spread across her face. "Do you now?"
Epps held up a disc. "Material suitable for blackmailing purposes."
"You taped it?" Will asked incredulous as his wife made a giddy noise and trotted over to collect her gift from Epps. "Why didn't you tell me that?"
"How is that fun for us?" Sideswipe asked as he carefully set Annabelle back on the floor.
Immediately, Sarah dropped the disc into the tray of the DVD player and turned on the television. Grinning, she turned to her husband. "Maybe now you'll believe me about the Waffle House Incident."
As the humans settled down to watch the footage, Prowl shook his head. "Strange creatures, humans."
"You have no idea." Sideswipe responded with a small grin.
Author's Note: So ends the craziness. I have a collection of fluffy one-shots in my head that might make it on here. I'm not sure. They're from the same continuity I outlined with this silliness.
Thanks to everyone that reviewed. I love it when someone tells me that they laughed so hard they cried. You guys were so awesome. I'm glad you enjoyed it.