AN: Thanks for being patient, and for the reviews! :) Bit short of a chapter, but I had it mostly done and finished it up quickly for all of you. Enjoy.
The next day it took Miles awhile to get Sam to agree to come and visit Barricade with him. Bumblebee insisted on coming along as well, and neither teen put up a fuss about it. Optimus, Ironhide, Jazz and Ratchet had been called away momentarily to talk with Will about how exactly the Captain would be explaining the Decepticon's presence on base. It was nearly lunchtime before the trio walked into the Medbay, Barricade sitting up on a berth and watching their entrance with boredom.
Sam stayed up on Bumblebee's shoulder, feeling safer there than he did anywhere else while near the 'con. Miles had shared his tale of the alone time he'd spent with Barricade, and Sam had shared his own terrifying first encounter. He'd be civil if Barricade was, but the 'con didn't even glance his way for more than a second. Miles was the only one who wasn't wary as they entered the Medbay, and walked on his own right up towards Barricade.
"Well, Barricade, how do you feel?" Miles asked, glancing around the Medbay in mild curiosity. It was rare to see Ratchet not in it.
"Better with some Energon in me," The Decepticon replied with a neutral tone, optics focused on Bumblebee and Sam. "The pit-spawn of a Medic has been trying to get my systems to cool down all night through a direct connect in my port but he hasn't been able to get past my coding so far. He has to be careful."
"Why?" Sam asked from his place on Bumblebee's shoulder, "Is there a chance he could get infected?"
Barricade's optics flickered to Sam in surprise, it seemed as if he hadn't noticed the organic on Bumblebee's shoulder strut and had just been eying the Scout warily. Miles knew it was lucky that Sam was even there, after his friend's initial encounter with the 'con he had been less than welcoming to the idea and the blonde had been determined to show Sam that the Decepticon wasn't actually that bad.
"There's a slight risk, but I imagine the Medic is a bit more intelligent than the Autobot Weapons Specialist." Barricade's optics flickered back to Bumblebee to gauge his reaction, but the Scout just snorted, so he returned his attention to Sam and sneered. "I suppose since I'm expected to be polite, I'll introduce myself. I am Barricade."
Sam stared at Barricade in momentary confusion, and then rolled his eyes. "Very funny. I know exactly who you are, Barricade."
"I would expect so since you met me yesterday, but this is more to please the Prime than you." Barricade looked unimpressed, "Are you going to introduce yourself or are you incapable of doing so?"
"Barricade, you know him." Miles answered, Sam looking torn between wanting to be mad or just confused. "He shouldn't have to introduce himself, that's not how humans do it. Once you know someone there's no point in re-introducing yourself."
"Outside of yesterday I have never seen this organic before in my life, Fleshling, and I did not catch his name then."
The silence that followed his statement seemed to surprise the 'con, and he glanced between Bumblebee and Miles. Sam's gob smacked expression was evident, and Bumblebee was just staring at the 'con with disbelief. Miles was doing much the same, looking at the 'con and trying to convince himself that it was just a joke the 'con was trying to play. He was sure he'd mentioned Sam at some point yesterday, and the 'con hadn't questioned him, then. But then again he hadn't asked about Will, Epps, or Fig, either. Miles and Sam didn't need to be told that Barricade not remembering an organic, one as important as Sam and that he himself had tracked down, was a bad thing.
"I'm Sam," Sam offered finely, voice soft and unsure. "My Ebay name is Ladiesman217."
"What the pit is Ebay?" Barricade growled, "The Medic turned off my internet, organic, so you'll have to take the time to explain it to me."
There was no doubt that Barricade was being serious now. The chance of the 'con trying to initiate a joke on Sam of all people was unlikely in the first place unless he had Miles to back him, since none of the soldiers were currently being that active towards him, and given his unstable position with the Autobots he wouldn't want to risk the chance. Bumblebee brought up a servo and ran a finger down Sam's back comfortingly, faceplates neutral as he kept his optics trained on Barricade.
"You'll have to get Miles to explain it to you, Barricade." Bumblebee replied for Sam, "Ratchet wanted to see Sam for his check up and you can imagine how he might react if we're late."
Bumblebee left quickly with his Charge after that, and Miles could easily translate his excuse into what would most likely happen. Ratchet was going to have to know that Barricade was at least missing some of his memory, if not more. The teen wasn't sure how Cybertronian processors were wired, but Miles would assume if they even forgot something it would be something that was old or deemed unimportant, and in the case where Barricade met Sam his friend had been very important and it hadn't been all that long ago.
But Barricade was looking at him expectantly for an explanation, so Miles put on a smile. "Ebay's a website where you can sell stuff. Sam's been trying for forever now to hock some of his Great-grandpa's stuff on there, even tried to sell some broken glasses."
Barricade just vented softly, showing he had paid attention but obviously didn't care all that much. Miles had hoped by dropping something about the glasses it might jumpstart the Decepticon's memory, but it seemed to have no effect on him. Miles' smile faltered momentarily, before the teen pulled himself up onto the giant medical berth that the 'con was on and sat next to him.
"Since we're both here and have nothing better to do-"
"It's a long way I've fallen if conversing with an organic or an Autobot are my only options of entertainment."
"-what about story time?" Miles asked, completely ignoring Barricade interrupting him.
Barricade glared at the teen, "Story time?"
"You tell me awesome shit you've done, like kicking Autobot ass or narrowly escaping the hands of Unicron or some shit, and I'll regal you with tales of my own awesome life."
"…" Barricade didn't seem to be at all interested.
"Oh, so you don't have any cool stories?" Miles asked in mock-disappointment, knowing if he riled the 'con up he'd get what he wanted. "And here I was thinking that since you were a Scout you'd have awesome things to talk about like Bumblebee."
That did it for sure. Letting Barricade have some sort of competition with the Scout, even with it just being storytelling, pleased the Decepticon. He didn't need to know that Miles hadn't actually talked to Bumblebee that much, or that the teen was really fishing for a moment where he could bring up a recollection of Optimus' where Barricade had been present and see if the 'con remembered it or not.
Ratchet, Sam, and Bumblebee stared into the Medbay in disbelief. It hadn't taken the Scout all that long to find Ratchet and tell the Medbot that Barricade seemed to be a lot worse off than they had originally thought, but when they went back into the Medbay Miles and Barricade were laughing. Not just any laughter, either, because the teen was doubled up and holding his stomach, and while Barricade seemed to be faring a lot better his fans were kicked up in high gear and none of the newcomers could even recall hearing him do anything more than a snort.
"So I take it you are feeling fine this morning then, Barricade?" Ratchet asked dryly, and Barricade immediately seemed to sober up once he realized that two Autobots were in the room, nodding. It was almost unnerving for the Autobot Scout and Medic to realize they could sneak up on Barricade with his current ailments, and Ratchet sent a quick message to warn Ironhide and Optimus to watch how they approached him just in case.
Sam was watching his best friend try to calm himself with a raised eyebrow, "Mind explaining what's so funny? I haven't seen Miles lose it like this since Mikaela accidentally turned her hair green."
"That is between me and the Fleshling, Witwicky." Barricade smirked, and Bumblebee and Sam stared at the 'con in surprise. Miles' humor dyed off a lot quicker as well, because all three knew that Sam had never mentioned his last name, and by Miles' reaction he hadn't mentioned it in the short time the teen and Autobot Scout had been gone either.
"Speaking of Samuel," Ratchet walked over to Barricade and started to scan the 'con, "Does Miles know yet how you met him, Barricade?"
"How am I supposed to know what you Autodolts do and don't inform an organic of?" Barricade asked with a scoff, "He hasn't mentioned knowing that I scared Witwicky here so badly that he almost pissed himself."
"Oh, this I have got to here!" Miles said with enthusiasm, grinning, but Sam kept his mouth shut, because he wasn't nearly as good as acting as Miles was and he didn't think he could act embarrassed or mad at the 'con right now. He just felt sympathy for him.
Ratchet had kicked everyone and mech out of his Medbay a while ago so Barricade could get a tour of the base. In truth, this gave the Medbot some alone time while he nursed his high grade, sitting at his desk and just staring at the wall in front of him. Optimus would need told of Barricade's condition, all of the 'bots would, but how much needed said?
Barricade was bad off. No matter how much Energon he fed him his energy levels only improved a little, and the slip up with Sam hadn't been the first thing that the Medic had noticed. Memory loss was one of the worst signs, and if he was right it was a sign that there was no going back for Barricade. He would either get worse or stay as he was, but he had never once seen a mech seemingly recover his memory with no aide at all. There was absolutely no reason for Barricade to have forgotten Sam completely and then not even twenty minutes later remember everything about the teen.
But Ratchet was lying to himself. There was a reason, even if he didn't like it. Miles seemed to be becoming a type of boon for the Decepticon. With the Allspark shard inside of him and the easy friendship they seemed to have developed, Barricade had taken to the young organic, and perhaps the Shard had noticed that. Or maybe it was just because Barricade was a Cybertronian and the Shard wanted to look out after its own, but his condition seemed to improve almost imperceptibly while he was around Miles. Not a huge amount, but Barricade had known who Sam was the day before and woke up worse, and the shard seemed to help with that.
With extended contact with Miles Barricade might improve even more, but Ratchet was unwilling to ask the teen to do something like that. It was just a theory, and if it was unfounded than he didn't want the organic getting too attached to the 'con only for Barricade to die on him. As much as Ratchet liked the possibilities he just couldn't lie to himself, he was no expert of this particular field of medicine, and all the good data about it would be back in the Iacon library. Maybe something like this had occurred before and it was just unheard of, maybe Miles was just a friend to the 'con and not a catalyst.
Miles stared at a near mirror image of himself in mild bewilderment, and from his left he could hear Sam laughing. His near twin gave an annoyed glance at the teen, the facial expression, lack of injury, and red eyes the only thing giving Barricade away as a holoform. Then again, Miles had never seen himself look quite so angry, so the expression alone was a huge tip off. But it was still unnerving to look directly at yourself.
The 'con had gotten a short tour of the base, short because it wasn't very big at all for even a mech his size to traverse, and now he had been left by his fellow Cybertronians just to be surrounded by the organics, much to his annoyance. It was a pain for him to constantly look down at them and keep track of them when they went underfoot, or near enough to give him pause, so he just created a holoform to get on his level. He did one the soldiers could agree with almost immediately, deciding to just erase the one he'd initially use in the first place as the Autobots wouldn't care to find out he was using a dead man's image. So Miles had been the next best choice, considering the teen was the only organic he liked on the pit-forsaken planet. Which left Miles staring at him, Sam laughing, and the Captain and Sergeant seemingly unsure how to take these turn of events. Barricade really didn't care.
"Try smiling," Miles suggested, deciding he didn't like the scowl on his face at all. Anger just did not suite him.
Of course, what Barricade then did was even worse. It wasn't so much smiling as it was bearing teeth with a small upturn at the corner of the lips and it made him look like he was about to murder someone. Sam's small utterance of 'Holy shit' got swift nods from both Will and Epps.
"Never smile again." Miles swiftly ordered, "You make me look like I'm about to rip someone's heart out."
"I fail to see how that is a bad thing."
Miles gave the 'con a pained look, while Sam patted him on the back and laughed. "Just don't make that face around Optimus or a normal organic and we'll be golden, 'Cade."