AN: We are just churning along here. Thanks to Answerthecall for reviewing, bro. Also the site is eating my pagebreaks, and my attempts to edit uploaded documents. Boo. And uh, yeah. Maddie's speech patterns are based on my own, and she's really starting to deviate from my personality, which is awesome. And I switch PoV's frequently. I'll try to keep it from being too confusing.

Hitchhiker

chapter two

If she had known what would follow after hitching a ride in a red and blue semi, would she have done it anyways? Definitely. Eventual pairings: Optimus/OC.

The fight had been brief, and Optimus had more or less let Knockout get away. His concern had been more for the girl who'd been caught up in this. As he turned to look down at her, he was a bit surprised to see she'd walked up to him, staring back up with a wide eyed look. He wasn't sure that expression was one of fear or awe.

-linebreak-

She still wasn't sure what the hell had just happened. The guy who she'd been chatting with had...well. She wasn't quite sure what the hell he was, or if he was real at all. After all, her hand had gone straight through his shoulder when she'd reached for him in a panic, screaming her head off as the other vehicle had swiped them.

And then the goddamn semi she'd been riding in had...had...freakin' changed. And fought with the car, and...and... 'Frikkin' laser beams' she thought idly. They'd fired LASERS at each other, exchanged a few punches, and the smaller one had run away. Or rather, changed and driven away. Whatever, semantics. She was briefly reminded of a smaller dog running from a larger one with its tail tucked between its legs.

She glanced up and almost cringed as her eyes met those shining blue ones, and she sucked in a deep breath...and decided she'd done enough screaming to last her 'til next week, thanks, and instead of shrieking, her voice came out surprisingly level, if shaky. "What in the name of whatever's still holy is going on here..."

The...thing that had been a semi truck a little while ago knelt in front of, one hand on the ground as it steadied itself, and up close it really hit her, how freakin' MASSIVE it was. "...You're not gonna eat me or something, a-are you?" Oh god that was probably the dumbest thing she'd ever said, it was a machine, it didn't eat...did it?

The bemused look on its face would have been amusing, had this been occurring on a movie screen, and not right in front of her.

"No, I am not going to harm you."

Oh, god. That voice. Her mind blanked for a moment, and then she screamed. "OH MY GOD! What'd you do to the trucker! You stole his voice! OH MY GOD! What are you!"

-linebreak-

That outburst was unexpected. Optimus sighed as she continued, and then held up a hand. To his relief, she fell suddenly silent. And stared at him. He activated his commlink then. "Ratchet. I need a groundbridge." He glanced down again, to see she'd approached him, still looking like she was about to bolt, and touched his hand.

"Okay...obviously I've somehow gotten into the Twilight Zone. I'm not hallucinatin', cuz...cuz you're real. Or...or...I've lost my mind... Or the travel brochures for Nevada are full of lies. Cuz they totally forgot to mention the giant, shape changin' machines an' kungfu laser fights." She looked back up at him, and he tuned out whatever Ratchet was saying. "I'm not crazy...I'm not on drugs..."

"No, you aren't, Maddie." He kept his voice soft, trying not to frighten her further, and noticed how she relaxed a bit at the sound of her name.

"...I'm talkin' to a sentient, shape changing machine. You're uh...um..." She shook her head. "I ...okay. What...happened to the trucker, first. Cuz um...he, uh...kinda, y'know, went poof." She laughed, her voice still retaining that uncertain tone.

"He was a holographic projection." He decided to with hold further information at the moment, let her get used to what had just happened first. Her hand slid down his, then she set her backpack down, and stared up at him, waiting. He saw the groundbridge open just beyond the girl, and she followed his gaze, turning.

Her reaction was bemusing, to say the least. A stammered 'what the' was heard, as she darted around, hiding behind his hand. A moment passed, and she reached out to grab her backpack and yank that to her. Her next words were so quiet Optimus almost didn't hear them. "What the hell is that?" He picked her up gently, using his other hand to shield her as he stood, holding her close to his chest, hoping to keep her calm.

"It's a groundbridge, leading to our base. Unfortunately, it would neither be safe nor wise to leave you here, since you've been spotted in my company by the Decepticons."

Her uncertain laugh rang out again. "I don't even know you, and apparently I'm in trouble for bein' seen with ya. Great."

He started towards the groundbridge, glancing down at the girl in his hands. "My name is Optimus Prime. I am doing this to ensure your protection, Maddie. I would rather you not have gotten involved..."

"Involved in what? Who was that other ...guy?" She stood up unsteadily, one of her hands clutching his finger as she tried to keep her balance, and continued with the questions.

Optimus sighed as he stepped through the groundbridge. Ratchet was going to have a fit.