I finally got an idea for the sequel to Dark Secrets! However, I would like your input. I want to know which Autobots you want to come to Earth and what you'd like to see happen in this story.

Should I make it like Side Effects in what happens to Sam? Or not? I've gotten a suggestion like that for it, so gimme your input. Tell me what you want. Who knows what ideas I'll use. :)

Sam was embarrassed, which wasn't new. School hadn't been out for more than a week and this had to happen to him, of all people. He couldn't think of a worse predicament he could be in. He had dodged Ratchet all day by spending time outside, but that had only worsened his condition. He cursed his luck as he walked slowly to the base, which was his new home, through the pouring rain with dread in the pit of his stomach. Ironhide was outside cleaning one of his weapons and he noticed Sam first. He arched an optic ridge and smiled, but froze and sniffed the air. He frowned deeply and asked a question that furthered his embarrassment.

"Are you ill?"

Sam wanted to crawl into a hole as he lowered his head and felt his cheeks flush, and not from the fever that had wracked his body for the past few hours. Ironhide snorted at the silent admission and moved to scoop the boy up. Ironhide didn't like Sam's shyness. It made the black mech feel as if Sam were hiding himself from them, which was the reason he didn't like the make-up the boy wore as well. Ironhide was, as patiently as he was able, trying to get Sam to open up more. It hadn't worked very well so far, but the weapons specialist was persistent.

"How long have you been ill?"

Sam flinched at the rough tone. "I woke up feeling weird this morning. It got worse after lunch."

"And you decided to hide out in the forest during a rainstorm to try to avoid Ratchet?" Ironhide asked.

"Yes," Sam admitted in a quiet voice, his cheeks hot.

"You're soaked to the bone and you're temperature readings are too high. Ratchet will not be happy. Neither will Optimus."

"I'm sorry," Sam whimpered.

Ironhide's tone softened. "Come now, let's get you inside."

The black mech carried him inside and the warmth inside the building had him shivering as he realized how cold he was. He had no doubt his face had streaks of black on it from the eye liner washing down his face. He felt optics lock on him immediately.

"Sam! There you are," Bumblebee said happily, strolling towards him. "I was looking for…you…"

Sam flinched as the yellow mech sniffed the air and frowned deeply. He knew he was found out and Bumblebee looked back at Ratchet before coming closer.

"Are you ill, Sam?" Bumblebee asked disapprovingly.

"…Yes," Sam answered reluctantly as his shivering got worse.

Ratchet's upset gaze was on him. "So that's why you were out in the rain. You know that probably made it worse."

Sam nodded. "I'm sorry."

"Why are you always so against me helping you out?" Ratchet asked in a hurt tone as he walked up and scooped Sam up to scan him.

"It's not that," Sam muttered.

"Then what is it?" Ratchet asked.

Sam went silent and lowered his head. He was even more embarrassed now because his excuse sounded so…pathetic. He snuggled unconsciously into Ratchet's warm metal chest, trying to stop shivering.

"Sam, answer him please," Optimus said in a 'don't question me' tone.

"It's just so embarrassing," Sam finally said.

"What is?" Ratchet asked.

"Just being human around you guys. We can't hide any of our functions from you and it's horrible. I feel like you're judging me because of stuff I can't control. I'm afraid you think I'm, well, gross…"

Sam sat still in Ratchet's hand and felt the five pairs of optics on him as they took in his answer. The poor boy felt butterflies in his stomach, but he wasn't sure if it was fear of their response or his being sick. Probably a combination of both. He stayed there for a minute or two until Optimus took him from Ratchet and held him gently.

"While it is true that you cannot hide the more unpleasant functions of your body from us, that does not mean that we find you 'gross' as you put it. You're a biological being. You cannot help that. We are biomechanical, and we cannot help that. We are still your friends, nevertheless, and therefore you shouldn't be ashamed of your natural functions."

"If it makes you feel any better, we have unpleasant bodily functions too," Bumblebee chimed in. "Like Ironhide's-"

"Bumblebee!" Ironhide snapped, his optics turning a faint purple. "He doesn't need to know that!"

Sam chuckled softly then promptly had a sneeze attack. When he managed to stop sneezing, he was back in Ratchet's hands. Ratchet scanned him again and hummed.

"You need a hot bath to raise your temperature," he said with a nod. "Then you need to rest."

Sam nodded, too drained to care. He was handed to Bumblebee who was given the instructions to bathe him. He was soon in the bathroom being stripped of his cold, wet clothes and lowered into a nice warm bath. Even though it embarrassed him, he allowed Bumblebee to wash his shivering body. All too soon he was lifted out of the tub and toweled off. He was carried out to the other Autobots, where Ratchet took a hold of him and wrapped him in a blanket.

"Now, medical orders are to rest," Ratchet said sternly.

Sam was happy to comply, as he was exhausted. Several hours later he woke up and knew he had to get to the bathroom. He was grateful that the others were recharging instead of watching him sleep (which in hindsight was kinda creepy, but Sam was used to it). He struggled off the berth and ran to the bathroom, knelt before the toilet and vomited everything he'd had for lunch. When he was just dry heaving, he felt a hand sweep his hair back and hold it.

"You okay, mech?" Jazz's voice asked as he soothingly stroked Sam's bare back, making Sam realize he was naked.

"No," Sam croaked. "It feels like my insides are on fire."

"Want me to get Ratchet?"

"No," Sam said immediately then paused and whispered, "Yes, please."

Jazz's holo-form stayed put, but he could hear Ratchet being woken. Suddenly another pair of hands were present and pulled a wash cloth out from under the sink, wetting it and washing Sam's flushed face. He heard the toilet flush and he was picked up and carried to the now-awake Bumblebee who was looking concerned, and a bit frazzled from being woken up in the middle of a recharge cycle. Sam whimpered and reached for him.

"Is he alright?" Bumblebee asked, gently taking the shivering boy and wrapping his hands around him.

"He'll be fine. It should only last a day or two. He's going to be miserable, but we can't really do anything about it."

"I can run out and get him some of that aspirin stuff you were talking about," Jazz volunteered.

"Thank you Jazz, that would be helpful," Ratchet said.

In spite of how bad he felt, Sam smiled. They were kind enough to care for him now that he was sick. His parents never had. Just the thought of his mother and father sent a spike of fear into him. He whimpered and pressed closer to Bumblebee.

"There there, Sam," Bumblebee said kindly. "Jazz already left. He'll be back soon."

Sam nodded and began drifting off. He was shaken awake to take the aspirin that Jazz had gotten for him, then he fell asleep again. The next morning he felt better, but he still didn't feel like himself. Ratchet forbade him from getting off the berth where he lay. He didn't disagree, choosing instead to watch the goings on of the base. He watched the bots' interactions and listened to their Cybertronian tongue.

Will, Robert, Glen, and Maggie couldn't stand their language. When Sam asked them why, they replied that its high pitched noises and static hurt their ears, but Sam didn't mind. He loved listening to the language and wished desperately that he could speak it. Optimus noticed Sam's intent gaze and walked over and picked him up, laying the boy on his lap.

"What are you thinking about?" Optimus asked curiously. "You have a very faraway look in your eyes."

"Just wishing I could get your language," Sam said with a sigh, relaxing into Optimus' frame.

"Oh? I thought it was irritating to human ears?" he asked.

"Not to mine. It's…soothing. I like it."

Optimus smiled sadly. "Unfortunately, you are not made to speak our language. Your vocal cords are not anywhere close to being like our vocalizers."

"Yeah, I figured that," Sam said with a yawn. "Hey Optimus?"


"Does it bother you that I'm here? That you have to look after a human all the time now?"

Optimus smiled tenderly. "Not at all. You are considered our close friend, so we don't feel the need to hide how we live from you. Now, around Captain Lennox and the others, that's a different story. They would not understand like you do, I think."

Sam frowned. "Why not?"

The other Autobots stopped what they were doing and looked at Sam, who suddenly felt very uncomfortable and wished he had clothes on under his blanket. They approached him and it was Ironhide who knelt until he was level with Sam. He stared at him seriously.

"Sam, there is something very special about you," he finally said. "We cannot pinpoint it, but you seem to understand us better than other humans."

Sam didn't like the seriousness of the situation. He felt like he was being scrutinized, which was something he still wasn't comfortable about. He felt a wave of shyness hit him and he hid his face behind his hair and turned away from Ironhide, who growled.

"You know I don't like you doing that, right?"

"Yes," Sam said quietly. "I'm sorry, but it's too much."

"Maybe you should sleep," Ratchet suggested.

Sam snickered. "Yeah, that'll help. Not like I haven't got plenty of that today."

Even as he said that, Sam snuggled down into the blanket and closed his eyes. He was tired… The next thing he knew, he woke up to excited chatter from the Autobots. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, wondering what was so exciting. He listened to the conversation as he let the blanket pool around his waist.

"I hope Beachcomber's coming," Jazz said, bouncing on his heels. "He'd love it here. He could help us understand this planet better."

"Personally, I'm hoping for Cliffjumper. I miss him," Bumblebee said happily.

"Sideswipe and Sunstreaker," Ironhide said with a grin.

"Another medic would be nice," Ratchet said thoughtfully.

"What's going on?" Sam asked.

"Sam! I'm sorry, did we wake you?" Bumblebee asked, coming forward and picking him up.

Sam shrugged, wrapping the blanket securely around himself. "It's no big deal. So what's all the excitement about?"

"Autobots," Jazz said with a grin. "We got a transmission that says some Autobots got Optimus' message and are coming to live on Earth with us. Isn't it great?"

Sam wasn't sure how to take the news, so he smiled. "That's great!" he exclaimed. "What kind of Autobots?"

"The good kind," Bumblebee joked, making Sam chuckle. "The thing is we don't know who. That's what we were talking about. We were trying to guess who it would be."

"Sounded like you were saying who you'd like it to be, not guessing," Sam said with a smile.

"True," Bumblebee replied. "I do hope, however, it's not Prowl."

"Who's Prowl?"

"Tactician," Ironhide grunted. "All about rules and regulations. Primus forbid you break a rule in his sight, or in a camera's sight. He'll book ya and make ya do time in the brig."

"I like him," Jazz said quietly. "I just hate what he does to my fun streak. He's not very forgiving."

"Prowl is an essential member of the Autobot team," Optimus said. "If Prowl is among the Autobots that arrive in a couple weeks, you will treat him with respect. Even if he is annoying sometimes."

Sam shrugged. "Whoever it turns out to be can't be too bad. I mean, they're Autobots!"