Author Note: Before you ask, yes, "Fix You" is still being worked on. I work about 60-70 hours a week at 2 jobs, so writing is extremely difficult. For now, this is a little plot bunny that's been rolling around in my head since "Dark of the Moon" came out. It's been sitting in my file box forever. It's the scene when the Autobots are being sent away and I always wondered what Ella would have done during it. I'm not going to write about her reaction when Ratchet it captured because this was hard enough to break the two apart. Again, this is a one off. I have a few other "what if" stories, so if you like this just let me know if you want to see the others. (I have one with Ella going through a few changes that I've been meaning to post.) Anyway, enjoy.
"This is really happening, isn't it?"
It had been the most hellish day of Ella's life. Her friends had been betrayed by their former leader, her favorite bot to hate was now nothing more than a pile of iron and rust, several more of her friends had been murdered, and now her best friend was being sent away. Her fury for Sentinel Prime was only matched by disbelief that her friend was being forced to leave her side.
"I am afraid so." Ratchet replied, passing off the next crate of supplies to one of the Wreakers.
Ella motioned around her. "This isn't the solution. The Decepticons aren't going to just leave if we send you all into space. They're just as pissed at the human race as they are at you guys." She just couldn't wrap her head around this.
The medic knelt down to his young charge. "I cannot go against orders. We are no longer welcome here and we do not wish to cause any more problems than have already happened." He let out a sound much like a sigh. "I do not disagree with you, but there is nothing I can do."
"Sentinel killed your best friend. Ironhide was unharmed and Sentinel gunned him down like it was nothing." Tears began to form in Ella's eyes.
"I know. Indeed, I know."
Behind Ella, Sideswipe and Dino paused to watch the two. A look passed between them before they continued on their way. Ratchet couldn't quite read their look. Sadness? Sympathy? Could have been both.
The two looked up to see Optimus approaching. "Yes, Sir?"
Prime's gaze went from the human girl to his CMO. "We need to be off. Make it short."
"Prime, you have to stop this. This isn't right!" Ella balled her hands into fists, fighting off the urge to sob.
Optimus closed his optics for a second. "I wish there were a way I could help you understand that I am truly sorry for this."
Ella shook her head, tears rolling down her cheeks. "I want there to be a different way. Shooting you guys into space in a homemade rocket just doesn't seem like it's going to solve anything. Are those government people really that stupid?"
Prime knelt in front of her, bringing a comforting hand to her side. "If I could change this, I would. We had an agreement with your people and we cannot go against this. I know Ratchet has already tried to explain this to you."
"Yeah," she sniffled. "It just doesn't make any sense."
"I know." Optimus straightened up, laying a hand on his old friend's shoulder. "Our time is short. Say goodbye."
The two watched Prime go. It looked as if he was going to say the same thing to Bumblebee as well. Poor Bumblebee and Sam were the only ones that could truly understand what Ratchet and Ella were feeling at this moment.
The CMO looked to his human companion. She looked so small compared to their surroundings.
"I don't regret meeting you." Ella's heart felt like it was going to burst as she said this, but she couldn't keep it to herself. "All we've been through, I don't regret a single second. Even the bad stuff really wasn't that bad when it comes down to it. We've survived a lot."
Ratchet lowered his hand, allowing the girl to climb into his palm. He brought her closer to his face. "I am very grateful for our time together." His young charge reached out, touching his face plates. "You are such a brave, spirited young woman. I wish more humans were like you."
"What's going to happen to me now? What if one of my legs shorts out or my eye breaks?" Ella's eyebrows furrowed.
Looking away from her, Ratchet thought for a second. "I honestly have no good answer. There are a few fixes I am confident you can handle on your own, but I do not know what would become of you if something drastic occurred."
Ella closed her eyes. "I might go back to being half blind, my left arm would be messed up, and I wouldn't be able to feel the ground under my feet."
Ratchet didn't want to confirm her suspicions. It seemed cruel to give her such a horrible outlook. "I know I should not make this kind of promise, but it needs to be done. Ella, I promise to will do anything in my power to return to you someday."
She looked up at him with a stunned look on her face. "What if you can't? It took you all long enough to find Earth in the first place."
"I stand by what I said. You will see me again." He reassured her.
Pulling herself closer, Ella wrapped her arms around his head in as much of a hug as she could do. "I don't want to be alone."
"You will not be alone. You have your fellow humans. You have Joseph."
Ella let him go. "But I won't have you."
Ratchet carefully set her down. "For that, I am sorry." He looked up. "Epps?"
Nearby, the older male looked up from his conversation. It looked like he had been trying his best not to listen in. "Yes, Sir?"
"Can you watch over her? Make sure she is safe?"
Epps looked from the robot to the girl. "Yeah, I can do that." He walked over and put an arm around Ella. A friend of the Autobots was a friend of his.
"I need to go, Ella." Ratchet looked toward the rocket. Smoke was billowing from the thrusters as they prepared to launch the group into space. His spark ceased. "Never forget my promise."
Ella let out a choked sob. "Never." She felt like her heart was being ripped out of her chest. She watched Ratchet turn away, walking back to be with his fellow Autobots. He was leaving her behind.
"You have to be strong now. I don't agree with this crap either, but there's nothing we can really do to stop it." Epps said, pulling his arm tighter to give her a half hug.
She began to cry harder. "I can't do this. This is wrong." She moved to start running, to get back to her best friend and prevent him from leaving. She found that Epps had latched onto her arm. He probably knew she was going to try that.
"Don't make this even harder. It's just going to make your heart break faster." He said, pulling her in the opposite direction.
Her eyes clouded over with tears as she followed along with him. There was no point in fighting. She just didn't have the energy.
Looking in the distance, Ella could see the figure of the person that had caused all of this. It was Charlotte Mearing. Anger bubbled up within Ella, pushing away her sorrow. She struggled against the man holding her once again.
"Whoa! Settle down, Kiddo!" Epps reached out and held onto her with his other hand.
Her body may have been held, but her voice was still strong. "You're a monster! You're sending away the other ones that can defeat the Decepticons! You're sending away the only person that's been like a father to me since I was twelve! You're the monster here, not them!" Her screams filled the air, causing those around her to look.
Epps didn't even trying to stop her. Actually, he enjoyed this very much. "Let it out, Kiddo. Tell her what you think."
"I hate you! You're a demon!" Ella stopped to catch her breath. She looked to see all eyes were on her. She turned around to see the other Autobots staring at her. Half of Ratchets face was blocked by some of the scaffolding, but his expression was clear. He was proud of her.
"Get that girl out of here." Charlotte called. Her voice was steady, as if the girl had zero effect on her.
As Epps began to guide her away once more, Ella kept her eyes on Ratchet. "I love you! I know you'll keep your promise!" With that, Epps took her away from there before she was arrested by the federal government.
It had taken a while, but Ella ended up miles away from the site. It was one of the only safe areas she could be in order to watch the takeoff. Sam had stationed himself on top of a tower not too far from there, but Ella's fear of heights had prevented her from doing the same.
In the distance, all of the Autobots had disappeared from the area surrounding the vessel. She didn't know what was happening in the control room, but she guessed that the time was drawing near.
"This is wrong." She whispered to no one. The others had honored her wishes to be alone right then. People just made her feel claustrophobic. There was only one person that could make her feel comfortable, but he couldn't be there.
An announcement came over an intercom in the distance, but Ella couldn't understand it. Her heart skipped a beat as more smoke poured from the thrusters.
"Please malfunction. Please stop working." She prayed. To what god she was praying to was up for debate. Primus? God? Either one would do right now.
"Never forget my promise" These words rang through her head. Was this a promise he could keep? How would he ever get back to Earth without the humans trying to kill him? This could very well be an impossible promise, but, then again, the impossible had happened. She shouldn't have been able to see out of both eyes or feel her legs. She shouldn't have been able to speak to a rogue program in her head.
Jazz. How could she have forgotten about him? He was truly the only Autobot left that wasn't going to be launched into space. Granted, he was just a piece of programming left over from her parts, but he was still real. If Charlotte had known there would be a piece of an Autobot left behind, she probably would have ordered it removed.
Tiny rocks crunched under her soles as she began to pace. Her heart was beating quickly. This day should have never happened. She didn't understand why Sentinel had betrayed them all. He was supposed to be a mentor to Optimus. With Optimus being practically the definition of honor, how could Sentinel be so cold? He had murdered Ironhide so brutally. Sure, Ella and Ironhide had always considered each other enemy, but she never actually wished he were dead. Did their arguments get heated sometimes? Sure, but it was no different than a pair of siblings bickering. In her eyes, Ironhide was a big, thick headed version of the siblings she had lost. Heck, even Skids and Mudflap hadn't gotten on her nerves as much as Ironhide. Come to think of it, she actually liked the twins.
She was getting off track. She stopped her pacing.
"I'm not getting anywhere." She said to herself. Going around in circles wasn't going to make things better. It was best that she didn't wallow in her confusion.
A sound caused her attention to be turned back onto the rocket. Flames were now shooting from the thrusters, causing the ground to shake a bit.
"Oh god." She whispered as she bit down on one of her fingernails. This was it.
Her entire body felt as though it was going to fall apart by how hard the ground was shaking. She didn't know how Sam was able to stay at his perch. She didn't dare look. Before her very eyes, the rocket began to lift off. Moving slowly at first, it gained speed as it launched upward toward the clear sky. Ella's heart jumped into her throat. It was taking her best friend with it.
"I can do this. I can do this." She repeated as tears flowed from her eyes. Up, up, up, the rocket went. She wondered where they would go from here. Their own planet was dead, so they would have to find another one. What other planets could possibly support them? Maybe there were colonies of Autobots out there that would call to them.
That's when she saw it.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something moving quickly through the air. Focusing on it, her heart dropped to her feet.
"No. Get out of there!" She yelled. It was Starscream. Where had he come from? Why hadn't they thought of his before? He wasn't among the dead in Egypt, so they knew he was out there somewhere.
Her voice could never have carried that far. To her horror, the Decepticon flyer fired on the rocket. There was an explosion. Pieces branched out everywhere.
Ella couldn't breathe. She couldn't move. There was only one thought in her mind. One thought that she couldn't erase. She had just watched her best friend die. The ship carrying them all was in pieces scattered all through the atmosphere. The promise between the two friends was with the debris.
Someone was screaming. It was bloodcurdling, painful, and piercing. Her eyes shifted around to see where it was coming from, but found no one. It was her.
Spots began to dance before her eyes. Ratchet was truly gone. Gone forever. She was going to be alone for good. She would never have this piece of her family back. She really was an orphan.
The black spots collected in corners of her eyes. They were closing in. She just couldn't stop screaming. Her lungs wanted air, but she couldn't let any in.
She would never remember hitting the ground.
In the hours since the tragedy, much had happened. The group of Autobot supporters knew they had to get out of there. They needed to get away from the scene of such a tragedy. Sam had chosen to ride with Epps. Ella wasn't offered that luxury. She was still unconscious from her ordeal. A doctor on site had given her the okay to leave, saying she would wake soon. Sam had placed her in the backseat to rest.
Then the news came about the attack on Chicago. The reports were a bit vague, but everyone in the group knew what was happening. The Decepticons knew they had won. Optimus Prime was dead and they were launching a full scaled attack. Sam had talked Epps into going back to Chicago. Carly was still trapped here and needed help.
This was the plan for now. At the moment, they were stopped at a gas station. Where, Ella didn't really know. Outside the car, Sam was watching the gas price go up as he filled the car and Epps was looking at a map.
The exhausted Ella had waited for this moment. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out her cellphone. Biting her lip, she quickly flipped through her contacts until she came on a name that made her tense up. She still had Ratchet's communication line programmed in her phone. She stared at the name for another second because hitting it.
She knew what to expect. She heard a beep, but nothing came through on the other side. Dead air. She raised the phone to her ear.
"Ratchet." Her voiced sounded strangled, but she couldn't let that stop her. "Ratchet, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry we couldn't protect you. I'm so sorry we let this happen. I…I let you down.
She glanced outside. None of the men appeared to be paying attention to her.
"I know you're okay now. You always told me about the Well of All Sparks. I know you would end up there if something bad were to happen." She ran her fingers through her hair, trying to keep it together. "I'm hoping you can hear me from there. I would give anything just to hear your voice right now. Heck, I'd even take being scolded for smuggling a bag of Oreos into the house."
She couldn't hold back a laugh. She thought about all of the times she had been lectured about the need for good nutrition.
"Do you think Primus will allow me to see you again? I know we go to different places when we die, but I couldn't imagine an afterlife without you there. You're my family. We have to stay together no matter what." She paused, taking a breath. "I know you never liked it when I thought of you as a father. I already have a dad. Yet, you were the closest thing I was going to get after Daddy was gone. Celine tried to be a replacement mother, but she never really wanted to be that. You just fell into the role as a parent. You knew what to do. You didn't leave me. Face it, you were my dad."
She glanced out the window again. Epps and Sam were talking to the men from the other car. She hadn't learned any of their names.
"You have no idea how badly I want to hear you voice again and see your face. I don't know what I would do or say, but I just want to. I love you so much."
She didn't know what to say after that. It was far more difficult speaking to someone that couldn't answer back.
The door slammed. Looking up, she watched Sam turn to her and hand over a packet of beef jerky. "Hope you aren't a vegetarian, but I thought you might need to eat."
She took the packet, but only looked at it. "I'm not very hungry." Her eyes fell to the floor of the vehicle.
"You haven't eaten in a while. If you are going to be a part of the rescue mission, you need all of the strength you can get." He said sternly, turning back to the front.
A moment of silence passed between the two before Ella tore the top off the packet. Gnawing on a small piece, she didn't find the flavor too unpleasant for gas station cuisine.
"I miss them too." Sam said, breaking the silence.
Ella swallowed with a bit of difficulty. "Bumblebee wouldn't like it that you're running into a warzone again."
Sam gave a dry laugh. "Funny, I was going to say the same thing about Ratchet." He reached back, taking a piece of jerky from the bag Ella held.
"How are we going to do this, Sam? How are we supposed to get Carly back without the help of all of the Autobots? Humans can only do so much against that much firepower. Heck, they could step in the right place and wipe out a whole army." She felt stupid for being so honest, but her mouth just wouldn't quit.
"Anyway possible, I guess. We have to make do with what we have." Sam took a bite of his snack.
Another moment passed between them. "What about if we win? What happens then?"
"I don't know. We all go home, maybe forget that this ever happened." His voice broke a bit, but he maintained his composure.
Ella looked down at her phone. "I can't forget. He was such a big part of my life, how can I possibly erase all of this?" She took another bite of jerky. "You know I lived at the base, right?"
Sam turned to face her. "Really? I thought civilians weren't supposed to be there unless we had a reason."
"After Celine walked out, I was granted special permission. They didn't think it was safe to leave me alone with all of my 'modifications.' The 'Cons consider me an abomination so they weren't going to stop coming after me. They thought you were more than capable of handling things on your own, but didn't think I could. That's when they gave me the letter of approval and they brought me to the base. I've lived there with Ratchet ever since." Ella hadn't told anyone this information before. She had always let the others believe she was just going to school close by.
"I saved the world twice and they made me live in a tiny apartment with two former Decepticons." Sam smirked at her.
"I guess having pieces of you blown off and metal ones glued back on make you more of a national security issue." She didn't know where that joke came from. She let out a sigh. "We're really doing this, aren't we?"
Sam nodded. "Yep, no turning back now."
Ella flipped her phone around in her hand. "I wish there was a sign that I'm doing the right thing. I went to him for advice so much, I kind of feel a bit lost."
The older man put a hand over the one holding the cellphone. "It's whatever your heart is telling you. Mine is saying I need to press on, even without my best friend. If he could be that brave, so can I."
The younger woman moved to speak again, but was interrupted by the sudden opening of the driver side door. Epps climbed in, looking at his two passengers before closing the door once more.
"You kids ready?" He said, nodding to each of them.
"As I'll ever be." Sam answered.
"Yes, Sir." Ella answered.
"Alright then, let's go." He turned to Ella for another second. "You know your phone is still connected?"
Looking down at her phone, she realized she had never ended the call. She hoped Epps hadn't seen who she was trying to call, but she was never that lucky. Tapping the screen, the call was ended.
"Thank you." She said, sitting back to put on her seat belts.
Epps turned the key and the car roared to life. It took a second before the radio followed suit.
You're not alone, together we stand
I'll be by your side; you know I'll take your hand.
Ella lurched forward at the sound of the song. She could see that Epps was moving to change the station. "No, leave it here."
With a finger held in mid-air, he looked at the young woman. "You like this one?"
She sat back again. "My mom used to sing it to me."
With a shrug, Epps backed away from the radio. "You got it, Kiddo."
Ella closed her eyes, allowing the lyrics to take here away. It was such an old song by radio standards. Why would it suddenly start playing now? She hadn't even heard it in years.
So far away, I wish you were here Before it's too late this could all disappear Before the door's closed and it comes to an end With you by my side I will fight and defend.
There was a clinch in her heart. This was it. This was her sign. Somewhere, her best friend was telling her to keep going. She bit her lip, holding back tears.
"Thank you." She whispered. As the car pulled out of the gas station onto roads she had never met before.
Nothing could have prepared Ella for the destruction that lay in Chicago. If she could have fathomed it, she would have stayed back at the last checkpoint. Of course, Epps and his buddies had to be the ones to get them through with their military connections. Now, gazing out the window, Ella didn't know what to think.
Whole buildings lay fallen in the street, big pieces of concrete setting up like giant headstones. People were running every which way, covered from head to toe in dirt and, sometimes, blood. Some had to be held up by the uninjured. Ella had to look away we she saw the ones that hadn't gotten away. It made her sick to her stomach.
"It's a warzone out there." Sam whispered, not able to turn his gaze away as easily as the girl.
In the distance, she could hear odd whooshing sounds. Could those be the ships flying around? She didn't really want to find out.
Stopping the car, Epps turned off the ignition. For a second, Ella almost didn't want to get out. Yet, she couldn't stay in there forever. Climbing out of the car, the devastation was even clearer.
"I warned them. I told them the Decepticons wouldn't just leave." Ella said to no one in particular. Not listening to anything going on behind her, she walked towards the nearest building. She could tell it used to be an apartment. Her eyes traveled up to a bed hanging from the third floor. A robot bedspread dangled from one of the bedposts.
"Poor kid." She shook her head. She continued forward until she heard a crunch under her foot. She looked down and nearly screamed when she saw a burned bone beneath her sneaker.
There was a loud boom and an even louder whoosh noise.
"What the?" Turning, her reaction turned to horror when she saw the Decepticon warship descending on them.
"Run!" One of the men screamed to her.
She was way ahead of them. She ran back towards the fallen apartment, hoping to find a good place to hide. She hadn't been armed yet, so fighting wasn't even an option. Turning back, she gasped as she realized that one of the guns was trained on her.
"Help!" She managed to choke out. In an instant, she felt pressure on her shoulders, pushing her behind a giant slab of concrete. She tried to turn and look, but whatever it was knocked her to her knees and covered her against the barricade.
"Stay down." A voice whispered in her ear.
Her breath caught in her throat. Above her, a blast came from off in the distance, hitting the war breath caught in her throat. Above her, a blast came from off in the distance, hitting the warrship out of the air. Instead of watching the trying to see the action, Ella managed to twist in the other persons grip. Her jaw fell.
Pinning her to the slab, Ratchets holoform took a second to look her straight in the eyes. In blink, he was gone.
"No!" She cried, reaching out. Stepping out from behind the concrete, Ella could see the others looking off into a dust cloud. She could see spots of blue and red coming through. It was the Wreckers.
"It can't be." With one quick motion, she reached up to pull the contacted out of her eye. Instantly, she was able to see a trail. Thank god for old programs being left over from Jazz.
"Ella?" Sam called to her, but she refused to listen. Following the trail that started behind the slab of concrete, she ran through the street. Tears streamed down her face as a familiar color came into her line of sight.
"Ratchet!" She quickened her pace. Her footsteps pounded the ground as his face came into view. Tears flowed more freely from her eyes. Before she could reach his foot, his hand was down to the ground, scooping her up as she jumped onto it.
"You came back. You came back." Ella repeated over and over as she pressed her forehead against his. Sobs shook her body as she hugged him the best she could.
"I promised I would." He said softly. "I just never imagined I would find you in such a terrible place."
She kissed him on the nose before backing away a bit. "You taught me to defend myself. I'm here to defend."
"Then I shall do the same for you." He brought his other hand up to her face, gently brushing aside a piece of hair that had fallen in her face.
"Wait that means you heard that call. You heard everything I said. Did you send me that song?"
"Yes." He answered.
The two stayed this way for as long as they could. Both knew the fight ahead of them wasn't going to be easy. This was going to be the last moment of piece they were going to see for a long while.
They were together once more. They were fighters in a war, but at least they had each other to watch their backs. No one, not the enemies, not the allies were ever going to break them apart again. Ella and Ratchet were a family. This bond was never going to be broken. Never.