My first attempt at a Transformers Prime fic. I don't get the Hub on my TV at home, so I have to watch all the episodes on YouTube, so forgive me for any inaccuracies. Whether or not this story is continued will depend on the amount of reviews I get. No flames, but constructive criticism is welcome.

WARNING: This chapter does contain abuse.

Chapter One: Out of Hell

Darkness. Her only companion. Fear. The only emotion she knew now. Clamping both hands against her mouth, Elizabeth Ann Dowell (called "Liza" by her friends) struggled vainly to stifle her sobs of pain from her fresh wounds, and fear for her life, never knowing when he would go too far. After she'd finally escaped her father's wrath, Liza had bolted into her room and hidden in her closet. Her fiery red hair fell around her face like a curtain and her jade green eyes were shiny and wet with tears.

Only a sliver of moonlight filtered in through the crack in her closet door, but it was all Liza needed to see the damage: several large, dark bruises on her upper arms, courtesy of her father's unGodly powerful hands grabbing her, and some small cuts from his short, but sharp fingernails digging into her skin. She felt her cheek, wincing at the touch. He had punched her as well, and it felt a little wet, likely bleeding.

Liza listened carefully. If the TV was still sounding, it meant her father was still awake. He went to bed rather early, which was fortunate; it allowed her to sneak over to a friend's house right across the street if she had to. This was an almost nightly occurrence, for obvious reasons. Sometimes Liza would make a risky move and not even wait until he was in bed, but she would only attempt this if he was passed out drunk, or simply too drunk to notice or care.

As the TV announcer droned on from the living room, Liza sighed and sank back into the wall of her closet, thinking of all the events that had led to her situation. Her father had always been an alcoholic – and abusive. When Liza's mother, Diana was still alive, he would smack her around too. Diana had repeatedly tried to persuade her husband to get some help for his addiction, but that only resulted in more beatings for both her and their daughter. Then, when Liza was only six years old, Diana passed away in a horrible car accident. Ever since then, Liza had been completely at the mercy of her abusive father, Raymond. Diana's death only worsened Ray's alcohol problem, and Liza paid the price for it. The beatings became much more frequent, essentially nightly, except for the rare occasion that he came home too drunk to pay her any mind. He had no job, so he basically spent all his time at home or at the bar getting soused.

Liza always wore a jacket to school, regardless of the temperature outside (which was always hot) to hide all the marks of abuse. The ones she couldn't hide (like the one on her cheek) she made up stories about, like getting hit with a soccer ball. She had a few scars as well; there was one on her stomach after her father had kicked her down and pressed down hard with an iron until the skin broke.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, the sounds of the television died and Raymond's footsteps headed for his room down the hall. Time to make her move. Grabbing her shoes (a silver pair of flats) and carrying them in her hand, Liza tiptoed down the carpeted hallway until she reached the front door. Slowly opening and closing it, thanking her lucky stars that the hinges didn't creak. Slipping on her shoes, she darted across the street, silently cheering when she saw the inside lights still on. She slowed to a walk as she approached the house and rang the doorbell.

If her gaze had strayed to the garage, she would have noticed a blue motorcycle slowly inching out the garage door, an invisible look of disgust and rage on its face.

Seconds later, the kind, familiar figure of June Darby opened the door, smiling kindly – a smile that vanished the instant she saw Liza's cheek.

"Elizabeth, again?"

The girl silently nodded, feeling the tears surfacing again.

"Come on in, honey. Let's see if we can take care of that cut." June led her inside and sat her down on the couch while she got her first aid kit out. Being a nurse, she always knew how to handle Liza's injuries.

Liza was always welcome in the Darby household. June and her son, Jack were well aware of the abuse that took place in the Dowell home every day; Liza spent every weekend there as well, often joining Jack and their friends, Miko and Raf at the mall, or the movie theater, or some other place. Liza didn't let up that she knew this, but June had called the Child Protection Agency on Raymond Dowell at least three times – all three times he'd acted like the loving, nurturing father who'd do anything for his little princess. And after every visit, he'd shown his devotion to his daughter with a series of thrashes and even some belt-whipping at times.

"Jack," June called upstairs, "Liza's here!" Immediately, footsteps rushed down the stairs and into the living room. Jack Darby looked at his friend on the couch, obviously worried for her.

"Hey, Liza," he smiled as he took a seat next to her and June entered the room. "What happened?"

"I was getting a snack from the fridge and he got angry at me for 'interrupting his show.' He punched me and I fell into the corner of the kitchen table." Liza winced as June applied hydrogen peroxide to the cut on her cheek.

Jack looked down, too disgusted and enraged for words. June inaudibly growled, equally furious as she finished tending the wound. "I swear, if that man doesn't shape up soon, you're just going to live here, Elizabeth Dowell. I don't care what the Child Protection Agency says; how they've been unable to see that he is horribly unfit as a parent is beyond me." The woman heaved a sigh to calm herself down and put the first aid kit back under the kitchen sink. "Why don't you stay here tonight?" June offered. It was not the first time; Liza had spent many nights at the Darby household. She'd even begun to keep a few sets of clothes, pajamas, and her schoolbag there full-time. Jack took her to school every morning on his motorcycle as well. Liza smiled and nodded.

"Sure, thank you."

~~The Next Night~~

Liza felt her heart rate spike as she heard the garage door opening. When she'd returned home from the Darby home after school, Raymond had been absent, probably at the bar. When he opened the door, her suspicions were confirmed. But he was different tonight. He looked furious, demonic even, further accented by his bloodshot eyes.

"They've banned me . . ." his words were so slurred, it was hard to understand him as he pointed at her with one of his large fingers, "because I put some crazy bastard in his place. I can't go back no more . . . and it's ALL YOUR FAULT!"

Grabbing a butcher knife off the counter, Raymond lunged for his daughter, who was already on her feet, prepared to run. He stabbed at her, but she dodged and the knife only pierced empty air. Raymond chased Liza as she bolted for the front door.

"Oh, no you don't!" The drunken lunatic managed to seize the back of his daughter's shirt and pull her back towards him. Liza screamed in pure agony as an indescribable pain erupted from her lower back. Raymond, in his rage, shoved the wounded girl to the ground and drove the butcher knife into her stomach.

No, I have to fight back! I'll die if I don't! Liza somehow gathered enough strength to kick her assailant into the wall. As she staggered to her feet and rushed for the door, she felt the sharp blade tear through her shoulder and halfway down her arm. Liza stumbled and nearly collapsed, but managed to regain enough balance to push her father away again and bolt outside.

The normally short distance felt like miles to Liza as the rapid blood loss began to take its toll. Dizziness set in and her balance began to deteriorate. Finally, she made it to the Darby's front door.

"Jack, help!" She shrieked as loud as she possibly could, banging on the door. She knew that June would be working, but since it was Saturday, Jack would be home, likely with Miko and Raf. Her vision blurred as the blood loss continued to ail her. Unable to stand any longer, Liza slumped to her knees as Jack threw the door open.

"Liza!" The sixteen-year-old knelt down and helped her walk into the house.

As he set her down on the sofa, the last thing Liza was aware of was Jack shouting, "Miko, call for an ambulance!"

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