Alright peoples, second chapter. I love some of the suggestions, and there is still time to offer Autobot suggestions.

As for the ending, I know I'm mean. :) I is making y'all wait!

Sam looked around at the various clothes and decided that shopping was horrible. The mechs had decided to take Sam shopping, volunteering to pay for whatever clothes the boy bought. He had asked them where the money came from, and he was told not to worry about it. They wanted him to have some new clothes. He had made the mistake of telling them that he had had the same clothes since his last growth spurt, which had been the summer after his last year of middle school.

The Autobots had split up to look around and Sam had made a beeline for the gothic clothes. His favorite color was black, because he could hide in it, so he would be completely happy with that. His friends, on the other hand, wanted to add some color to his wardrobe. He was reminded of this when his guardian's human holo-form came up to him and guided him away from the rows of black and towards the colors.

"I don't know, Bee," he mumbled. "I'd rather stick with black."

"Come now," Bumblebee said with a snort. "Even an Autobot gets a new paintjob every now and then. Now, how about this?" He held up a red t-shirt with black designs on it.

Sam looked it over and shook his head. "Colors just aren't my thing."

"Come on, Sam, just a little bit!" Jazz exclaimed, holding out a grey shirt with several blue stars.

"Fine," Sam sighed. "That one's just fine, now can we go? I don't like this place."

"We're not done, Sam," Ironhide said with a smirk. "You are getting new clothes, though, so you might as well get used to it. Now come try on these blue jeans."

Several hours later, Sam was relieved to finally leave the clothing store. It had been horrible. They had enjoyed dressing him up so much that he felt like a living doll. He did get several pairs of jeans, and half of them were black, much to the dismay of the Autobots. He also got a few shirts, none of which were black, to his dismay. He got the grey one, two blue ones, a dark purple one, and after a lot of prompting from Bumblebee, the red one. He wasn't too upset though. Just the joy on his friends' faces was enough to put him in good spirits.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?" Bumblebee asked with a smile.

"It wasn't fun, but no. It wasn't too bad," Sam replied with a shrug.

"Good," Bumblebee said, placing a hand on the boy's shoulder. "It was interesting to see everything humans can wear. Though you, of course won't wear most of it."

"Like I said, color isn't my thing. It makes me feel…unsafe," Sam muttered, his shoulders hunching.

"There is no reason for that anymore," Ironhide said simply as they reached where they'd parked. "Hey Bee, mind if Sammy rides with me?"

Bumblebee frowned, but he nodded. "If you want him to."

Sam felt his stomach clench as he heaved himself into Topkick and settled back in the passenger's seat. Why did Ironhide want him to ride with him? He always rode with Bumblebee. He had honestly never ridden with anyone else. His heart was pounding as the truck started and the Autobots pulled out. There was silence for the first leg of the journey, finally broken by Ironhide's deep chuckle of amusement.

"You do know I can feel your heartbeat, correct?" Ironhide asked.

"I figured," Sam said, tracing the leather of the seats. "I'm sorry about it. I'm just a little nervous."

He could hear Ironhide's smile in his reply. "You seem to be nervous about everything, but I suppose it's understandable, all things considering."

"So, why did you want me to ride with you?" Sam asked, forcing himself to relax into the seats.

"I don't know. You just never seem to part from Bumblebee. I just wanted to spend some time with you."

Sam snickered. "You know for a tough guy, you're really talkative."

Ironhide laughed softly, his engine revving. "Only around my friends. Around any others I'm silent and stern."

Sam smiled. "You really put an emphasis on friendship. Why?"

There was a sudden shift in Ironhide's mood and his tone turned sad. "Growing up, I was a loner. An awkward outcast, partly because of my fascination with weapons. By the time the war started, I had taught myself pretty much everything there was to know about them. That's how I got noticed by Prime. He took me and made me his weapons' specialist, but I still didn't fit in.

"Optimus' other officers, Prowl and Jazz and Ratchet, didn't understand my passion, and Optimus truly didn't either. It wasn't until Bumblebee joined that I found a friend. The mech was young and lost and needed a friend as much as I did. When Bumblebee was attacked by Megatron and nearly killed, I lost it and slaughtered countless Decepticons. Optimus found me ripping a mech's spark out. I'll never forget what he called me when he was pulling me away from the bodies. He told me that it was enough, that there was no reason for me to continue. Then he called me 'friend.'

"I was angry at him and showed it by spinning around and cursing at him. I told him how much it hurt that he didn't understand me, and how everyone treated me differently, how the mechs that called me 'friend', besides Bumblebee, laughed in my face and hurt me. After spilling my spark out to him, he comforted me and told me that he was my friend, no matter what others thought of me, and that he would never hurt me. I'm almost sure he talked to the rest of the troops about it, because they never talked about me being different again.

"Despite my social awkwardness, Optimus and Bumblebee accepted me and taught me how to act. I'm sorry if I seem a bit strict on wanting you to conform to act Cybertronian when it comes to your friendship, but that's the way I was taught, and it's hard for me to conform to other types of friendship."

Sam sat in the lingering silence, thinking about the story. That explained Ironhide's insistence on his being a committed friend alright. He settled back, suddenly quite calm and feeling safe with this mech.

"So that's why you're so sympathetic with me," Sam murmured.

"The word you're looking for is 'empathetic', and yes. I understand being an outcast, Sam, so if there's ever anything you need to talk about that you don't think the others will understand, just tell me."

Sam smiled and felt a strange warmth spreading through his chest. "Thanks 'Hide. I'll keep that in mind. So…when will the other Autobots get here? Aren't they supposed to arrive soon?"

"Yes. Late tonight actually," Ironhide said happily as he slowed to a stop.

Sam hoped out and was scooped up by Bumblebee. "Tonight?" he asked Ironhide.

"They should be here around midnight," Ironhide replied as the Autobots started walking.


The Autobots began talking in Cybertronian suddenly and Sam listened with joy. He didn't think there was anything that sounded better than it, and he was sure nothing would make him stop liking it. He was abruptly dragged out of his reverie when Optimus spoke.

"Sam, there's something we need to talk about."

"What?" Sam asked, a sinking feeling in his stomach at the tone in the mech's voice.

"We don't believe it is wise for them to see you right away. You're so different from anything we Cybertronians have ever encountered that it might…What I mean to say is you're biological so naturally…"

Sam felt his face freeze up and he looked away angrily. "You mean they might think I'm disgusting, right?"

"Not disgusting, Sam. More like…"

Optimus, who was usually so good with words, couldn't seem to find any at the moment. Sam felt tears sting his eyes. After they'd promised they weren't bothered by his being organic, they were basically telling him now that he was disturbing. Bumblebee gave a distressed whine when he noticed the tears.

"Sam, please try to understand," the yellow mech begged. "We're biomechanical. You're completely organic. They'll not understand that at first and then they'll, well, need to get used to it, just like we did."

"You lied to me!" Sam burst out, turning to face his guardian. "You told me I didn't disgust you!"

"You don't! I mean, not anymore…" Ratchet said, trying to soothe everything.

Sam's anger and hurt burned inside of him and he couldn't stand to be in the Autobots' presence anymore. He twisted suddenly and fell to the ground, landing with a grunt. He dodged Bumblebee's hands, which had shot out to catch him, ignored the mechs' pleas to stop, and ducked through the trees. The Autobots were too big to do so, so he quickly lost them. He passed the base and dove into the thick trees on the other side. He hurried to a small clearing beside a small pool of water made in a deep part of the river, a peaceful place he had been going to long before he'd met the Autobots.

He sat down and sighed, reclining back against a tree and allowing the tears of anger to slide out of his eyes. When they were spent he just stared into the water running through the pool. He was mesmerized by the slow flowing water. Suddenly the water began to swirl and the water in the pool became a gaping whirlpool. Sam was rooted to the spot.

As he watched, the whirlpool turned inside out and exploded upward. Sam pressed back against the tree, his eyes widening and his breathing becoming shallow. The rushing white water suddenly formed the shape of what looked like a Cybertronian with glowing blue optics. He tilted his head as he looked at Sam and stepped forward out of the pool, which began filling back up with water as the river continued its flow. The water-mech knelt down in front of the frightened boy, staring at him. Then suddenly, it began to speak in a deep, slow, gentle voice that was even more comforting than Optimus'.

"So much pain in one so young," it, no, he said sadly. "It was not meant to happen like this."

"It?" Sam asked, his voice cracking with his fear.

"Do not be afraid, young one," the mech said softly. "You shall learn in time. Now, rest."

A hand made up of swirling water reached towards and gently touched his forehead. He saw those blue optics and fell into them. There was a flash of blue, and…

He awoke panting. The sun had gone down and a full moon reigned in the sky. Sam hurried to the side of the pool and looked in it, breathing heavily. When all he saw was his shadowy reflection, he sat back on his heels and took a shaky breath.

"A dream," he whispered. "It was all just a dream."

It had seemed so real that Sam just sat there for a while catching up to reality. When he finally stirred he sighed and stood up. The anger at the Autobots had drained away, and now all he wanted was to go and snuggle up to his guardian and apologize to them all. He started back to the base, his thoughts on the strange dream.

A bunch of strange voices tore his mind back to the present and he began to walk slower to cut down on noise, fear building in his gut. Had other humans discovered the Autobot base? Were they compromised? He got to the edge of the forest where the base was in his sight and peeked around the tree trunk. An unbidden gasp left his lips at what he saw. Optimus and his team were beside a strange looking, very large (as in much larger than the Autobots) object, which Sam assumed to be a ship. He assumed that because, as he watched, mechs began walking out wearing strange armor with what Sam knew to be Cybertronian symbols on them. The new Autobots had arrived.