AN: A wild update has appeared! No excuses, I just haven't been all that inspired. Hit a major writing block; everything's being updated whenever I get a good go at it.
On their way to washing the Seekers, all four organics were surprised to be stopped by three mechs. Trent had to slam on the brakes of his truck because suddenly they were just there. It was an unwanted reminder of just how fast these large beings could be, considering they were now being almost literally cornered by four of them. Inferno stood in the front, while Red Alert hovered directly behind him. Blurr was a bit behind the Security Director, looking as if he didn't want to be there.
"What's up guys?" Trent asked, head leant out the window of his truck to talk to them better.
"We do not think it wise for you to go and be with the Seekers," Inferno spoke up, arms crossed over his chassis. "It is a problem if you think you'll be safe with them."
Mikaela smiled sweetly, "Does that mean you'll be washing them with us, then?"
"Of course not!" Red Alert sounded horrified.
"We would not want to degrade ourselves to touching them," Inferno agreed, snorting.
"They've already been accepted on base by Prime," Sam pointed out, "And their weapons aren't active."
"I don't believe Starscream needed a weapon to kill Miles." Blurr offered up, the first thing he'd said the entire discussion. He appeared more confused than angry, like Inferno, or concerned, like Red Alert, though. It almost sounded questioning, as if he didn't understand why they'd want to go around them, especially Starscream.
"Ouch." Miles clasped at his heart, making a mental note to speak to Blurr later about everything. "I don't know what hurts worse, that low blow, or you being ignorant fucks."
"We are simply concerned for your safety, organic!" Inferno snapped.
"That's sweet, really, but fuck off." Mikaela crossed her arms over her chest, a dark look on her face. "If we want to hang out with the Seekers we will, and you won't stop us."
"Now, see here-"
"Trent, drive around them." Miles ordered swiftly, "They stop us then we'll just tell the head honchos. Also, Blurr, seriously?"
Blurr had the grace to look somewhat ashamed. Inferno and Red Alert didn't appear to be changing their minds anytime soon, however.
"Would you four be willing to help me with something off base?"
That simple question had spelled doom, they all knew it. Mikaela, Trent, Miles, and Sam had gone and washed all the newly arrived Seekers, despite their little detour caused by certain mechs, but afterwards Skywarp had followed them for a bit before popping the question. Thundercracker was following up behind, though, so the Seeker had quickly rattled off that they'd need to leave a bit later that day when no one would notice, before moving to cut his mate off so as not to seem suspicious. Trent had already said no, that he'd like to go home thank you very much, but Mikaela and Sam seemed all for it.
Miles took a long look at the three teens in front of him, weighing his options. Past experience said that this was a horrible idea, so did common sense, but then again he had willingly gone with Soundwave, hadn't he? And he regretted that. Not in saving Orion and the cassetticons, or having Soundwave over on their side now, but it had been one of his worse ideas ever and he doubted he'd ever stop having the occasional nightmare about it. The only idea of his that had been worse than that was agreeing to die to save Starscream, and thank Primus only Sam knew about that.
Miles reviewed the facts that had been given to him, which had been basically none. All they knew was that Skywarp wanted help with something, but not with what or what would need to be done to give him that help. A part of him really wanted to say yes, because whatever was going to happen was probably badass, but there was the nagging thought of Barricade in the back of his mind and he'd done enough to make the ex-con worry, at least for a while.
"No," Miles half shrugged as he said it. Sam's dumbfounded look was almost worth missing out on whatever happened, "Think I'll sit this one out. You guys have fun."
Trent whistled, "Cade's finally got you whipped, then?"
"You're just jealous he's getting laid," Mikaela said, smiling at Miles. "You're probably making the smart decision here, Sam trapped me into it. Trent's being a wimp, though."
"What? You said you wanted to go!"
"Hey, some of us are still trying to lead somewhat normal lives, here!"
That set Mikaela off, and the teenager turned on Trent to ask what the hell he meant about her not being normal. The poor teen had to backtrack so quickly just to save his ass he almost choked, and Sam took the opportunity to grab Miles and lead him off a few feet. Sam knew for a fact that he wasn't insane in just assuming Miles would agree, Trent and Mikaela had thought the exact damn thing. It wasn't like they hadn't agreed to go spy on Wheeljack per Ratchet's shady request, it wasn't all that different, was it?
"What do you mean no?" Sam hissed, frowning at his longtime friend.
Miles looked unimpressed, "No. Skywarp's not giving you the full details, and even his Sparkmate agrees that the seeker ain't all there in the head. You know as well as I do that anything that could happen will happen, especially if it's a bad anything when concerning the Cybertronians."
"That's not true!" Sam retorted, and it wasn't. All of the time. If they let the bad outweigh the good, how did they ever expect to actually live?
"Okay, fine, have you asked Bumblebee what he thought?" Miles raised an eyebrow lazily, both boys knowing that he'd caught Sam now.
"No," Sam grumbled, glaring down at the ground. He knew full well what his Guardian would say, and so did Miles.
"And why is that?" But apparently Miles was going to make him say it anyway.
"Because he'd say it might not be safe, and that without knowing exactly what kind of help Skywarp wants we could get in trouble."
"Exactly." Miles looked smug now, "You know exactly what he'd say without having to ask, so why are you bothering?"
"Because he's not my keeper!" Sam huffed angrily, giving Miles a sour look.
"No, but he is your Guardian, and you know as well as I do what that means!" Sam didn't bother to respond, and Miles returned the silence with a glare and continued on. "Bumblebee's job is to look out for your best interests, and no he can't dictate everything you do, but I haven't seen him try. Honestly, with all the stupid shit we've done and gotten into, I'm surprised he's managed to not call you out on your-our-stupidity. We died! Maybe you should give your Guardian a break from worrying like I'm doing for Barry."
"Bee doesn't worry unless there's a reason to! Mine and Bee's relationship is completely different from yours and Barricade's!"
"You'd be surprised how much it isn't." Miles said dryly, before turning on his heel and walking off.
They could go back and forth for an hour and neither would change their viewpoint on the subject. Sam would rather bury his head in the sand before thinking about how bad things could go, or look at past horrors to decide that maybe it might not be the best idea unless he got his Guardian in on it. Miles used to be the same way, hell he was the one who let Soundwave willingly kidnap him without a fuss and gotten Sam in on it without much of a second thought, but maybe he was maturing. Or maybe he was just getting tired of worrying and worrying others. Plus his mother had promised to bake cookies with him and that was something he definitely was not missing out on.
"What are you doing, squishy?"
The only reason Miles didn't jump out of his skin was the fact he was just putting the cookies in the oven, but he did let out a very manly squeak around the spoon full of cookie dough he currently had in his mouth. Apparently what his mother had meant about them baking cookies was really him doing the baking so her and Judy could take control of the rec-room and make it chick flick day.
Miles closed up the oven, setting it to the right temperature and setting a timer, before turning around to face who had come up behind him and realizing he couldn't recognize whoever it was. A mech, undoubtedly from the term 'squishy', most likely Thundercracker, Rollerforce, or Motorhead from that term too, but which of the three he had no idea. All of the 'con's tended to sound alike in holoform as they all growled a bit too much to come off as human.
"Making chocolate chip cookies," The teen replied, licking the rest of the dough off of the spoon he had been sucking on.
"And is this organic substance good?" The holoform sneered-and yup, that was Motorhead.
Now that he was actually listening he could pick the voice out. The mech's holoform was rather plain, which was a surprise. He was used to Barry's, Bee's, Jazz's, and all the others who went out of their way to look good in their alt mode and in holoform. Motorhead, however, just had a military buzz cut, red eyes, and plain features.
"I think so," Miles replied after a moment. He picked up the bowl and then offered it to the mech, "Here, you can try some of the dough. The cookies won't be done for a bit more, and they're even better."
Motorhead looked at the dough warily before accepting the bowl from the organic. Miles knew that holoforms could taste, though outside of a simple tasting he'd never seen any mech actually eat or drink anything, simply because they didn't really have any place to put it. Wheeljack was currently working on a way to train the nanites into developing a sort of human-esque way of getting rid of any waste, but that had been put on the side in favor of trying to contact Perceptor or figure out the cure himself for Cosmic Rust.
That and it was unanimous on the human side that it would be a bit weird to run into a one of the mech's holoforms in the bathroom. It was truly the only mech free place considering that they had absolutely no reason to go there, and some of the newer NEST members tended to see it as a kind of refuge after a while.
"I suppose it's satisfactory." Motorhead commented, drawing Miles out of his mental image of a holoform only bathroom and what the symbol for the door could be.
"I'm sorry, I don't speak snark." Miles retorted dryly as he took the bowl back, setting it on the counter. "Does that mean you like it or that you don't?"
"I like it."
The teen nodded, glancing at the cookies in the oven and fiddling with the temperature just to give himself something to do. He glanced back at Motorhead only to realize that the mech was staring at him, so he looked away again, grabbing at the chocolate chip bag that rested next to the mixing bowl and eating a few of them. Had he known he'd be cornered by his mech's teammate for Primus knew what he probably would have gone with Sam and them, Barricade's worrying be damned.
"So…" Miles didn't like awkward silences, but he wasn't entirely sure what to say either. Normally he'd fish for a topic that he knew to be a common interest, or ask something pertaining to something going on in that person's, or mech's, life, but what he did know about Motorhead he'd either heard from listening in or secondhand, and the only common interest he knew of was Barricade. Barricade it was, then. "Did you find out about what Ratchet did to Barry yet?"
"No, what?" Motorhead asked, stare losing its scrutinizing look and perking up in interest.
"Well, around Christmas…."
Barricade would probably flip if he found out somemech else knew about the tickle programming Ratchet had set up, but it was worth it if it got Motorhead to relax a bit towards him.
"I believe you might be doomed, boss." Groundhog commented as he took a seat beside his former Commander in the rec-room, speaking lowly so the organic femmes wouldn't glare at him for disrupting Titanic.
"Oh?" Barricade asked, not bothering to point out that he was no longer Groundhog's boss. If anything the Prime was his new one, but he doubted any of them would refer to Optimus as such, let alone Optimus expecting it. "Why's that?"
"Miles and Motorhead are chatting like old housewives in the kitchen about their favorite pool boy."
Groundhog smirked at Barricade while his former Commander glared at him. Barricade thought about pointing out that the Medbot had been spending entirely too much time with Maggie and Glen and watching those reality TV shows, but it wasn't like he dragged Barricade into it so he didn't really care. He knew about Motorhead's crush, of course, it had been nearly impossible to not notice the mech's mooning over him, but that had been long ago
Barricade raised an optic ridge, and Groundhog elaborated. "You. You're their favorite pool boy."
"How bad could it be?" Barricade dismissed the notion of his human and old teammate getting along as bad. He'd not been getting anything too bad from the other side of the bond, but then again Miles seemed to have a better handle on how much he let through when he wasn't paying active attention to it.
"Well, when I briefly checked in on them-to make sure that Motorhead didn't kill your organic, of course-he was being told about the incident in Vos with those young mechlings…"
Barricade's holoform dissolved before Groundhog could even finish what he was going to say, and the Medbot smirked to himself. The mech was doomed if Miles wormed his way into Motorhead's and Rollerforce's good graces as well. It wasn't long before Barricade's holoform reappeared, walking through the door frame with a huffy organic teen in his arms and Motorhead's pouty holoform following after the two. Groundhog would have snickered at the trio if the Titanic hadn't started to just go down; he knew better than to laugh at this crucial moment.
Of course, later, when the old woman playing Rose tossed the Heart of the Sea into the deep he did openly laugh when Motorhead started to attack Barricade's holoform's sides. The ex-con cursed Miles out the entire time, though, because not even Groundhog had known about that up until that point. Groundhog was kind enough to cover for Miles while the organic made a run for it, though, and Motorhead kept Barricade distracted enough to forget about him for a little bit.
"Barricade!" Bumblebee growled as he let the door to Barricade's hangar slam open. "Why in the pit is your comm turned off? My charge and yours are-"
Whatever the Scout had been planning on saying died off in a static blip as he took in the unexpected sight before him. Barricade and Miles were there in the ex-con's hangar, sleeping. Barricade and Miles. The Scout had been certain that Barricade's charge-turned-lover had been with his own charge, but apparently not. And now, even despite what a bad mood he was in, he felt slightly bad. The pair had been sleeping peacefully until he'd stomped his way in there. It was too late to turn tail, though. Barricade was already glaring at him, and Miles seemed to be waking up from his spot on the ex-con's servo just as quick.
Despite himself, he made a mental note that outside of the blanket Miles was using, the teen was only in his boxers. Not exactly something that he'd wear to go traipsing around in the middle of the night on some half-cocked idea of Skywarp's—or to cover for those who were going to do said traipsing. This meant that although Miles might have some knowledge of what they'd gone off to do, which was likely considering the Scout couldn't see him not being asked to go as well, he'd stayed behind or refused outright.
"What about me?" Miles asked when neither Bumblebee nor Barricade made a move to do any of the talking. He sat up in Barricade's hand, wrapping the blanket around his waist a bit more securely.
"Well, we just assumed that you were with Sam and them…" The Autobot Scout trailed off weakly, because who 'we' was should be rather obvious, and why exactly they'd assume that was obvious as well. Barricade didn't seem to care one way or another why the Scout had visited them; just that he wanted him gone.
"Why, what happened?" Miles decided that he shouldn't be grinning just yet, even though he knew it was bound to be good.
Barricade snorted, recognizing Miles tone as well as the Autobot's why-the-hell-are-these-humans-so-stupid tone, and decided to just lie back down. He turned his audials down a few settings as an extra measure, set on ignoring both of them.
"As far as we can tell?" Bumblebee asked sourly, starting to wonder how he could get Sam to stay out of these situations if Barricade could get Miles to stay with him. Sometimes he wondered if his Charge even used half of his brain. "Sam and Mikaela are in the Amazon somewhere with an unknown mech, and Skywarp's holoform is in jail."
Miles stared at the Scout in shock for a moment before bursting out laughing, reiterating what he'd said word for word in between fits of giggles.
Bumblebee narrowed his optics at the laughing teen, "Optimus has forbidden Skywarp from just dissolving his holoform as that would freak out the police, and now Will has to go bail him out. Skyfire is being readied to take us to go get Sam and them."
"So you assumed I was with them and came to get Barry because of that?" At Bumblebee's nod Miles grinned, "Well, I was invited, but boy am I happy I missed that particular party. Can I come with?"
"No." And with that, Bumblebee turned around, shutting the hangar door behind him.
Miles gaped for a moment, "Not fair!"
The teen would have given chase after the Autobot, which was what Bumblebee was fully expecting, except Barricade pretended to stretch out more comfortably, conveniently closing the servo the teen was perched on just enough to trap him there. But Miles was good at retaliation, and quickly slid a hand between a gap in the armor and pulled at some of the wires. Barricade couldn't pretend to be asleep after the way he jerked in response. One set of optics slid open to glace down at the teen.
"Why didn't you go with them?" It was a question Miles had expected the ex-con to ask, and he opened up the bond enough to send through exaggerated exasperation.
"Seekers never end well for me." Miles pointed out dryly, before grinning. "Besides, with our track record, I figured it'd be something either really cool or really sucky and after coming back to life we're due with some sucky."
"Your intelligent speaking pattern has always amazed me." The optics slid closed again, the servo holding the teen barely moving.
Miles huffed, "Oh, come on, this at least deserves a little positive reinforcement!
"I'm not rewarding you for an intelligent conclusion," Barricade responded, fully set to ignore the whining organic.
"Hmph, and here I thought that I wouldn't have to go to Prowl to tell me what a good job I did." Miles knew better than to smirk when he said this because Barricade opened his optics to glare at him almost immediately. Sometimes he knew just how to get what he wanted, and that pissed the ex-con off to no end because it always worked.
"Go on then," the ex-con growled, "Get dressed. I'll comm the Insect and let him know we'll be there in a minute."
Miles grinned and hopped off Barricade immediately, running to put on his clothes as quickly as he could. By the time they made it outside of the hangar, however, an angry Trent was storming their way with a Rollerforce following behind him. The teen's anger certainly wasn't helped by Miles bursting out laughing, and Barricade said nothing as the jock grabbed up the smaller blonde and dragged him away for a 'talk'.
"Humans are weird," Rollerforce said after Trent and Miles were no longer in earshot. Barricade just sent him a look, wondering if he'd really just figured that out. "Trent was doing something strange inside my cab and his vitals were going everywhere, so I thought I should speak up. I seemed to have offended him."
"What was he doing?" Barricade didn't really care all that much, but Rollerforce would most likely ask for an explanation so it was better to get it over with.
In reply, Rollerforce sent Barricade a short recording of the matter. The ex-con wondered if he should actually be surprised that this was what had happened. Slag it, he'd already had to give Groundhog the talk, Miles could take Rollerforce!
"Text Miles and ask him to explain what the phrase 'spank the monkey' means to you."
"I swear to fucking God if that metallic bastard comes anywhere around me or my truck again I'm stealing Will's gun and shooting him!"
Miles looked amused, "It was an innocent prank, DeMarco. Well, not really a prank, but come on. He's the pretentious nineteenth century white man and you're the black guy who just spat in his drink and said serve your own shit. He's gotta get it together somehow."
"That doesn't mean he fucking invades my privacy, Lancaster!" Trent growled, whirling on the smaller blond. "I know you haven't ever had a car of your own before but I do…. things in mine!"
"Things?" Miles parroted, blinking at the jock. Sure, he'd expected Trent to be mad. But not this mad.
"Things, just things okay! Shut the fuck up before I beat your face in!"
"Right…" Miles decided not to push him, and just waited as he started ranting about that 'fucking robot' again.
Just as Trent went on to wonder whether or not he could use sandpaper to scrape his 'precious paint' off, Miles got a text. It annoyed him slightly to see that his phone had magically been programmed to include Rollerforce. It seemed that happened a lot without him or any organic knowing about it, a 'con or 'bot just putting themselves in without bothering to ask, but Miles had no idea when Rollerforce had even been around his phone to do so, which meant it had probably been Barricade. He couldn't be annoyed for much longer than that, though, because he was fairly certain his eyes had never gone so wide when reading What does 'Spank the Monkey' mean?
Well. The teen certainly thought he had a good idea of what things meant now. He contemplated answering, but decided that Barricade could deal with it.
"Did I ever tell you about what Ratchet did to Barry?" In for a penny, in for a pound, right? And he was pretty sure Trent might appreciate a little Medic-given retribution.
All they had to do was bribe the Medic, and as long as Optimus wasn't there to call out his common decency towards other mechs, it was generally an easy task. Especially if it was promised Wheeljack babysitting duty. The Scientist tended to be worlds safer with everything he did when he had an organic to consider, and the fact that said organic probably had a mech ready to kill should anything happen. With the need for a solution towards Optimus' problem, Wheeljack had been going crazy in the lab with Skyfire, and it had ended in several accidents already.
Sam and Mikaela could wait. Miles was a bit afraid, should he go, he might be strangled to death on sight because he'd never stop laughing. He'd tell Trent about it after, though, when the jock wasn't looking so hopeful at retaliation.