AN: Any newcomers, you'll be severely confused. This is a sequel to The Change! First chapter mainly skips to the group back on base, just skimming the flight back, and a few necessary talks. (code for another silly chapter!) I can't imagine Sam and Miles ever being able to have a fully serious conversation, especially not right after they came back to life and are high on life.
A long fight coupled with a long flight back to their Nevada base wasn't one of the best experiences ever. Before everyone and mech had been tense, waiting for what was to come. Now some were tense for a very different reason, this reason being three large, metal things with wings. If nothing else it did calm the soldiers, and Ironhide, down that the Seekers could fly and they would not be stuck in the air with them in a tiny space. Starscream and Skywarp stuck near Skyfire, flying around the larger Seeker, while Thundercracker flew off a bit on his own, as if giving them the silent treatment.
Starscream and Thundercracker had yet to have their fight, both receiving medical aid and flying with the Autobots to the States. Receiving medical aid would put them both on a level playing field, and if they had the 'bots vouching for them then there was less likely to be the air force of an angry Egyptian country trying to shoot them out of the air. Those were the two main reasons, though there was a third in that Skywarp had demanded they go with the Autobots and then they fight, or otherwise he wasn't watching. As his mate, Thundercracker would want him there to impress him, especially if he managed to defeat Starscream, however unlikely that was.
There was no rest allowed to any of them, all the organic soldiers and mechs piled back in to the various military planes and Skyfire. As soon as they landed in the designated landing area of the base, which was really just an empty space about a mile in front of it, Ratchet and Ironhide were off, dragging a reluctant Optimus behind them, Soundwave following them with his cassetticons and Blaster being commed. The four would attempt to contact, or at least locate Perceptor, the Prime made to sit there because Ratchet didn't want him overexerting himself, and the cassetticons wishing to stay with their creator. Ratchet did pause momentarily to grab Barricade, mumbling something about making sure his spark was stabilizing well after the loss before helping the others.
That left Skyfire stuck with the three Seekers, Bumblebee, Jazz, and Miles. Sam had gone off to help the soldiers tell everyone and mech else the news of the base, scouting for his and Miles' parents in case they were there and ready to throw a fit.
Prowl nodded at Sam as he passed the young organic, heading towards Skyfire and the head trine immediately. Prowl stared at the head trine with wide, surprised optics, utterly flabbergasted at their calm presence on the Autobot base. Thundercracker was the only mech out of the group who looked discontent, sneering at Prowl as the SIC looked them over. Skywarp stood next to Jazz, the two of them talking in an animated manner. Starscream had his arms crossed over his chassis, a bored expression on his face even as he leaned closer to Skyfire to hear what the larger mech was saying better.
"What are they doing here?" Prowl hissed, looking to some semblance of sanity: Bumblebee.
Bumblebee raised an optic ridge, "Optimus didn't tell you? They're under the Treaty of Iacon at the moment, until further decision is made within the trine to determine whether they'll turn Autobot or not. It turns out Starscream really was reprogrammed by Shockwave, and, for lack of a better term, Miles basically reset him. He's in his right mind now."
"Of course it was you," Prowl said dryly, optics immediately going to the teen in question.
"Next time I play with the 'cons I promise I'll try to remember not to bring any back, 'kay?" Miles retorted, smirking, and high fiving Jazz's servo when the Saboteur offered it to him.
"Don't worry, if I win we won't be here long, Autobot." Thundercracker vented sharply, refusing to even look at Starscream and Skywarp. Despite being his sparkmate, Skywarp hardly seemed to care while Starscream frowned sadly.
"How much do you not know?" Bumblebee asked, shooting Miles and Jazz a disapproving look.
"I got a message directly after Prime offlined the Fallen and the Harvester was destroyed, but I would not put much credence in it as I was told that Sam and Miles both have offlined, but I can see with my own optics that Miles is very much alive, and I just saw Sam walk towards one of the military planes where Will and Epps had come off of."
Starscream shuttered his optics in a small amount of surprise, "You really are misinformed, then. I imagined that the Autobots would be a little more put together."
"Ca' yah blame us, Screamer?" Jazz asked with a laugh, "Hide and Ratch ah flippin' their lids tryin' ta figure out how ta contact Perceptor, even draggin' in poor ol' Wave and Blast."
"Why are they trying to contact Perceptor?" Prowl asked, quickly becoming annoyed. He was the SIC, he was supposed to be kept informed about these things!
"The Fallen made sure to give Prime a little surprise, or as the humans would say, he wasn't going down without a fight." Bumblebee's tone was slightly bitter, but he had known Optimus nearly all his life. "He infected Optimus with Cosmic Rust, directly in his Energon lines."
"You shouldn't blame yourself, Barricade."
Elizabeth stated it simply, but Barricade didn't necessarily believe her. Sam had been right to guess that his and Miles' parents would be on base already, thankfully a bit more well informed than Prowl just because no one had told them they'd died in the first place until Sam let it slip up. Needless to say, they were pissed, but Elizabeth knew about Barricade from Miles, just enough to know that it was better to go to him, get the full story, and know he was already blaming himself.
Just to be cautious Ratchet wanted to give Barricade's spark an extended period of rest, only allowing the ex-con out in his holoform, even closing down his awareness of his bipedal body and any access to comm links or the world wide web. It was a bit disconcerting, but Barricade didn't have long to be bothered by it, Elizabeth and Bob grabbing him and dragging him into the room they had been given.
Before Barricade had been allowed to say anything Elizabeth had dragged him over to the bed, sitting down on it and manipulating him so he was half laying in her lip, the mother stroking his hair. It was even more disconcerting then being closed off from his bipedal mode, and that had been before Elizabeth had learned of the recent development between Barricade and Miles. Bob was more happy his wife had won the bet, which had piled into quite a bit of money, not nearly as ready as Elizabeth to accept that his son was not even bothering to try and date the same species and just immediately going for a robot. But if Miles was happy, then he'd be happy for him.
"I should. I've done the calculations in my head, if I had just been more careful, watched him better, or been faster-"
Elizabeth put a finger over the holoform's mouth, shushing him. "When Miles was little we used to go to a campground for a small family reunion every year, and one day I had an awful headache and the rest of them went to go horseback riding, but Miles wanted to stay with me to make sure Mommy was okay. I was miserable, it was almost unbearably hot, and there were thousands of birds making a racket, but I couldn't stand to see Miles cooped up inside while I felt bad, so I moved us out back. There was a river, and the banks were sandy. It was a perfect place to relax and keep my boy entertained; he used to love playing there in the sand, collecting shells or rocks, even twigs, and making castles or other odd shapes."
"I don't remember at what point," Elizabeth continued, resuming her stroking of Barricade's hair. "But I said I'd have to get us some ice cream later because of how hot it was. Miles was being such a good boy, sitting and playing in the sand, or splashing around just a bit in the water to cool off, careful not to make too much noise to make sure not to aggravate my head. I got up and went inside to get some Advil, it couldn't have taken me more than five minutes, but when I came back outside he was gone."
Barricade was silent, allowing Elizabeth to share. "So many bad things could have happened to him, Barricade, and they all went through my mind. He could have slipped and fell in the river, be carried away by the current before he could get back out, or could have just gone too far and been swept up in it. Someone could have taken him, or he could have seen some animal and gave chase and gotten lost."
"What happened to him?" Barricade asked softly.
"He'd gone off up to the camp store and used his toy money to buy us ice cream." Elizabeth shook her head with a smile, "There I was in near hysterics, and he just comes walking up with ice cream for me. I could have killed him for doing that to me, I was so worried. Couldn't let him out of my sight for two days after that, headache or not. I just kept thinking how many horrible things could have happened to him, all because I'd taken my eye off him for a moment. That's what you do when you lose someone, even if a hundred and one factors could have been the cause of them getting hurt, you'll always find a way to blame yourself. But if nothing else, he's always good about coming back, even if he doesn't realize he was lost in the first place."
"You're still young, Barricade." Elizabeth continued gently, "I don't care that you've gone through a war, how many deaths you've seen, maybe even how many you've killed. That doesn't change how young you are, or the fact that the only one holding you responsible for this stuff is yourself. Miles certainly isn't angry at you, and I'm his mother. If anyone had a right to be angry at you, to blame you, it would be me and I don't. My boy cares for you, a lot, and that means you're family, even more than you were before."
Barricade digested this in silence, Bob taking the opportunity to speak now that his wife was finally done with her spiel.
"If you're going to run, I'd do it now. Liz is five seconds away from adopting you as her second son." Bob said, giving half a shrug.
"Too late," Elizabeth grinned, and Barricade blinked up at her in surprise.
"Barricade Lancaster, huh?" Bob made a thoughtful noise. "If he's taking our last name does this mean he's the girl in the relationship?"
"We do not have last names, so it would be impossible for him to take mine." Barricade responded, trying to understand how he'd come to be having this conversation.
It was assuredly the most unusual conversation he'd ever had. Being comforted by the creator femme organic of his… his what? It was very hard to use a word to pin down what Miles was to him. More than just a Charge, more than just a friend, but not a Sparkmate. At least not yet, anyway. He didn't want to use the human term of boyfriend, there'd already been an incident with the couple meaning of that word when Sideswipe had lied to him about it all that time ago, before Miles had meant that much to him. The internet offered a list of terms, but they hardly seemed to help.
"Right." Bob glanced over at Elizabeth and Barricade. "Do I need to tell you to use a condom?"
"Bob!" Elizabeth frowned at her husband, "We can't treat them like a normal gay couple."
"Oh. Does that mean I have to give Barricade the talk?"
Barricade stared up at Elizabeth, and then looked at Bob, completely at a loss of what to say. Primus, this conversation had taken an abrupt turn and a steep dive down a hill. It didn't help that Barricade couldn't bring himself to use his usual snappiness or growls and the like.
"Hey, Barry, Ratch needs you to get rid of your holo before he can let you reboot and get up and move around." Miles said, stepping into the room with Sam following beside him.
"Oh, thank Primus." Barricade muttered, just dissolving his holoform immediately.
"What?" Miles asked, staring at the spot where the ex-con had been in mild conusion.
Elizabeth huffed, "Alien or not, a young male is still a young male. He didn't like our conversation topic."
"Which was?" Sam urged, already liking where this was going.
"I was wondering if he needs to use a condom when you two go at it," Bob replied bluntly, before realizing something. "Wait, can he even get horny in that form?"
"You'll be better off asking Skyfire, he's done research on it and everything." Sam supplied helpfully, smirking at the horrified look on Miles' face. "I'm sure he'll give you a crash course on Cybertronian sex-ed."
"I swear to God, Sam, we used to be normal!" Miles let out a long sigh, "Whatever happened to that?"
The two had somehow managed to escape and were in their room, lying on their beds. Sam hadn't realized that he'd be forced to sit through the crash course on Cybertronian sex-ed, because, as Elizabeth put it, he was just as capable to start up a relationship with one of the Cybertronians like Miles did. So Sam had to suffer right along with Miles, Skyfire more than happy to answer any questions Elizabeth and Bob had, like whether there were any STD's, and if Barricade could feel anything satisfying in his holoform. Starscream had been with the larger Seeker, seeming to take a sick satisfaction from seeing the occasional horror on the Sam's and Miles' faces.
Sam's head was pillowed on his arms, just staring up at the ceiling, while Miles took the face down route, careful to not smother his words so he could be understood. Miles was currently lamenting over the fact that they'd just had a crash course in alien sex, missing the days when nothing like that would have ever happened.
"I think it started when you didn't tell me how you felt about Barricade," Sam replied un-helpfully.
"Does it make you feel any better that you were the first person I wanted to talk to after I kissed him?"
Sam thought about that, "I guess I'll take that, at least. So how long have you known?"
"According to Mom she could tell for a while now and I just never really noticed until I actually kissed him," Miles frowned, turning his head to face Sam.
"Well, I do have to admit it's not so much shocking as it was surprising that I hadn't heard you freaking out about it." Sam mentally paused for a moment, glancing over at Miles. "It should be weird to think my best friend might have feelings for an alien robot, but somehow it isn't."
"Yeah? I wouldn't be surprised if you started popping boners for Bee, either." Miles retorted dryly.
"I wouldn't be either, actually…"
Both boys groaned in tandem. Miles pushed himself into a sitting position so he could face Sam better, and Sam did much the same thing, both leaning their backs against the wall.
It wasn't like Sam actually had the hots for Bee, or at least not that he'd noticed yet, but it just somehow wouldn't be surprising if he did develop them, like it wasn't surprising when it turned out Miles had. Luckily Sam had some experience in the love department already, while Miles was a complete novice. Sam and Mikaela couldn't have been called serious, but they were in love for a few months. Sam at least had a guess with what it felt like. As far as he knew Miles was going in blind.
"So does this mean you're gay?" Sam asked, and Miles just stared at him for a moment.
"You do remember that Barry isn't a guy, right?"
Sam rolled his eyes, "I mean about his male holo! Do you find it attractive?"
"Er…" Miles wasn't entirely sure he wanted to be going down this road with Sam.
"Well, when you want to kiss him, do you picture yourself kissing that holo?" Sam was persistent.
"That's the only holo he's had," Miles said, before correcting himself. "Well he had that mustache one, but I never actually saw him use it… Bumblebee showed me what the 'stache one looked like and I can tell you there's no way in hell I'd be kissing that."
"Mustaches always did bother you for some reason, though, so that shouldn't count." Sam snickered, "So if that's what you think about when you want to kiss him then obviously you have to at least be attracted to how the holo looks. Would you want Cade with boobs?"
Miles made a face, "I can't picture Barry with a female holoform at all. So I guess I'm attracted to his current one."
"That, at least, doesn't sound as weird as saying you're attracted to a giant robot that turns into a police car." Sam pointed out, snickering once again as Miles tossed him a murderous look. "I'd be teasing you so hard right now, but I'm still mentally traumatized over what Sky told us."
"Thank Primus for small blessings," Miles groaned.
"Does this mean that any police car you see is a turn on?" Sam asked, smirking. "Or should I ask that after you and Barricade have sex? It'd be hilarious if you walked by Prowl and immediately popped a boner."
Miles stared at him in horror, "I hate you."
"I know!" Sam was absolutely cheerful, "Moving on to something a little less sexual, what about kids? Do you think Cade would want to adopt? And even then, what species would it be?"
"Sam, I'm seventeen! You're worse than my mom!"
Sam waved him off, "It's a plausible question. I mean what if all this freaky shit lets you get Barricade sparked?"
"Jesus, that is a horrifying thought." Even as Miles said it he was trying desperately hard not to laugh, "I know it doesn't work this way, but all I can see is Barry on a Medbay berth with Ratchet in between his legs telling him to push!"
"Wheeljack would have to make you something so Barricade could hold your hand, or more likely you, and squeeze without hurting you!"
"Bee'd be stuck doing late night Energon runs because it'd probably be too heavy for me, and you could be the Godmother while he's the Godfather…"
"Elizabeth and Judy freaking out over what the nursery will look like and who gets to be Grandma, even though they'll both end up Grandma. Or… or… God, could you imagine Barricade nesting?"
Miles snorted, "It'd be worse than Swoop!"
"He'd take to collecting the aft plates of whoever pissed him off, so we'd see a lot, and line the nest with them. Then there'd be you, forever trapped because he'd never let you go. There'd be the revolution of the aftless mechs, trying to get their afts back only to turn around and flee in fear of pregnant Barricade."
There was a beat of silence before both teens burst out laughing, Sam hunching forward and clutching his stomach as Miles tried desperately to remain sitting up and be able to keep air in his lungs, both hard tasks. Sam was soon moved on to a curled up position on his bed, holding himself as he laughed.
"There is something wrong with you!" Miles finally chocked out, still laughing. "This is why, even if I had noticed, I never would have told you about Barricade!"
Sam wheezed, "That hurts, man!"
"What, your insane cackling or me saying I'd never tell you?" Miles asked with a grin.
"Both." Sam took a deep breath, trying to keep himself calm as he sat up again. "You're right. We used to be normal, whatever happened to that?"
"Sam, meet the Cyber-" Sam cut Miles off by tossing his pillow in his friend's face, making Miles laugh.
"Even then, though." Sam sighed, "After Mission City it was pretty easy accepting the Autobots into my sense of normal. Then you came along with Barricade and everything got fucked up."
"You're blaming me?" Miles huffed, tossing the pillow back at Sam. "I don't see how this is my fault!"
"Barricade never would have come to the Autobots if it wasn't for you."
Miles frowned, "Okay, point taken. So your sense of normal and mine had to expand."
"And now our normal is just taking whatever comes at us and accepting it, chalking it up to those crazy robots, and trying to go on with what passes for our lives now."
There was a long silence.
"We died, Sam."
"And that's not too surprising either, is it?"
"No, it isn't."
"Be instilled with alien powers, save a Sparkling, drink Energon, die, talk to ancient aliens, come back-"
"-been there, done that, gone around the block twice since." Sam finished, staring at the ceiling while Miles nodded.
"Don't tell anyone, but…" Miles hesitated, "The old dudes told me that I was going to die. Well, actually, it was kind of like they gave me a choice. The energy inside of me could be used to save me from dying, or could somehow fix Starscream. Think it's obvious which door I chose."
Miles sighed, "It was a lot less of the self-sacrificing 'Oh, I want Screamer and Sky to be happy!' and a lot more of the holy fuck I'm a human who's in love with a giant alien robot, how the hell is that going to work out? Oh, right, it won't because I'll die in like fifty years and then he'll be left alone. It's going to be like that ending scene in Titanic where it goes through and shows all the pictures of Rose and how she went on and lived her life without Jack, getting married and having children, but still being head over heels for him and not having that nice of a life."
"You're only giving yourself until 67?" Sam asked.
"Well, it's kind of depressing to think of wrinkly me. Like you don't talk about old age with Bee, right?"
"Yeah," Sam agreed, "Us at 67 is still Bee and 'Cade as young adults. It's probably like 200 fucking years is a year for them, the bastards."
"I actually think they have it worse," Miles said softly, "We'll be dead and they'll be living forever without us."
Another long silence, both boys wondering where their Guardians were now.
"Love, huh?" Sam asked, glancing at Miles.
It took a moment for Miles to realize what Sam was talking about, and then he flushed. "Fuck off."
"Barricade, oh Barricade, where for art thou, Barricade?" Sam teased.
"I'm seriously going to just smother you with a pillow one of these days!" Miles groaned, dropping his head in his hands.
That caused an unexpected silence from Sam, "We died, Miles."
"Yes, we've been over that."
"It kinda makes me wanna…" Sam trailed off, glancing at his best human friend to see if he got it.
"Road trip?" Miles filled in, "Just the two of us?"
"Yeah, get a car, a legit non-sentient car, and just go. Summer will be here in a coupla months, the hardest part would be convincing Barricade and Bumblebee. Then again they'd probably just follow us… but we should really do something just the two of us. Reconnect."
"You're saying we're not connected now?"
Sam shook his head, "Not nearly as much as we used to be, back before Mission City. Partly my fault for being a douche, but then you got Barricade."
"So it's Barricade's fault?"
"You have to admit you've changed a lot since meeting him," Sam retorted, before deciding to include: "And so has he. I've changed, too, but not enough to start poppin' boners for giant alien robots."
"No, just enough that you practically have your own spark filled with Allspark energy from said giant alien robots God, saved a Sparkling from dying, can guzzle Energon like a true mech and survive on it, and then died and came back to life."
Sam shot Miles a sour look, "That we did together. Everything else is Barricade stealing you from me."
"Are you jealous of Barricade?"
"If I was?"
"And if I said I loved you sexually?" Sam asked, waggling his eyebrows in a suggestive manner. Miles snorted, tossing a pillow in his face.
"I'd call you a vagina cleaner and laugh some more, touch my ass though and I'll knock you out."
"I'd like to see you try," Sam snorted.
"Wait a second, your good night kiss!" Elizabeth called, and Miles obediently stopped, allowing his mom to hug and kiss him, giving her a quick hug and peck back. "Night, baby."
It wasn't actually bedtime, or when they'd usually go to bed at least, but Egypt had screwed up their schedules a bit, and Miles and Sam were tiring quickly, being dead apparently not counting in to the sleep factor. Several of the mechs who had gone to Egypt had crashed already, except for Ratchet, Ironhide, and Soundwave, who were mapping the stars for Perceptor still. Optimus had managed to escape, only to be cornered by Prowl, who ripped him a new one despite the Cosmic Rust. Starscream and Thundercracker had slated their dual for the next day after they'd both rested a bit.
"Goodnight, Mom." Miles smiled.
"Barricade, dear, pick me up." Barricade moved his servo down so Elizabeth could climb on to it, lifting it back up. The mother leaned up and placed a kiss on his faceplates, surprising him, before giving a pat and a grin. "Goodnight to you, too, darling. Now put me back down, please."
Barricade did so, shuttering his optics. "Goodnight, Elizabeth."
"No, goodnight mom." Elizabeth corrected, smiling warmly at him.
"Goodnight, Mom." Barricade amended with a grumble. He was a grown mech for pit's sake, he shouldn't have to listen to a tiny organic.
Elizabeth grinned, before walking off humming towards the barracks, while Miles was desperately trying to fight the smile off his face, Barricade turning a glare on him.
"And what are you smiling at?" Barricade growled.
"Oh, nothing… Darling." Miles batted his eyelashes, not able to stop a snicker.
"Keep it up and you'll be following your mom to the barracks." It wasn't much of a threat, given that Barricade would prefer Miles sleeping right next to, if not inside, him after his death in Egypt, and Miles knew this.
"Sending me to the couch already?" Miles mock-pouted, "That's cold, Barry. Real cold."