And after more than a month, I am updating this fic. :) I was quite surprised to see how many people wanted to see more of this in the last chapter's reviews. Thank you, all of you for the support! :D

Previously, in the last chapter of Crossbreed: After an unsuccessful mission to get some raw energon, Ratchet reveals his project, saying that he had been working on a means to bond Cybertronian CNA with Predacon CNA. After some debate the 'Bots agree to go forward with this, Optimus granting Ratchet permission to choice a bot for the gene bonding. Bumblebee is chosen and injected with Predacon CNA. After the apparent success of the procedure, Ratchet expresses his concerns to himself about how the Predacon gene will affect the young scout.

I don't own any of the Transformers, although that would be nice. Starts in Ratchet's POV and goes from there.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can continue on with this journey.

"You did WHAT?!"

I sent a heated glare at the little human standing on the balcony before myself and Optimus after his loud exclamation. Optimus was unfazed by the human's simultaneously shocked and angry tone, and remained silent. I, however, was quick to snap at the human.

"Keep your voice down! Bumblebee is still sleeping!" Thankfully Optimus didn't reprimand me for snapping at the annoyed (and currently annoying) human. He merely stood next to me, coolly regarding the human on the balcony.

"Agent Fowler, there is no need to shout." The human lowered his voice, but continued to glower at Optimus.

It was the morning after the procedure, late into it, in fact, and Bumblebee had yet to emerge from his room. I know the young scout truly is still in recharge because I heard his engine's light hum coming from his room when I walked by the door to come here to have this meeting with Optimus and Agent Fowler.

This base was considerably smaller than the now destroyed Autobot Outpost Omega One, but at least it had a decent number of moderately sized storage rooms. These we used as our quarters. I'm glad that there are enough to accommodate all of us individually, especially now. Bumblebee needs space, in order to make sure that there is as little stress on him as possible.

Coming back to Agent Fowler, Bumblebee needs his rest, and the last thing he needs is for an upset human to wake him.

"You 'Bots went and started a major science experiment without sending a memo to Uncle Sam?" Agent Fowler said in a frustrated tone, dragging his hand down over his face.

"Ratchet felt that it was right your government not know of the procedure we agreed on performing, until it had been completed, due to your leaders' interfering nature in regards to our affairs." I gave our leader a brief glance, surprised. This was the first time in all the years we have been on this planet that Optimus expressed displeasure so openly towards the human government in a human's presence. This was a very subtle expression, but it was there.

His description of the humans' government is understandable, as well as one that I fully agree with, because in the years that we have been here on Earth, their government has made it obvious that they prefer to have us under a microscope. Issues tend to arise when we Autobots alone decide to do something major without 'clearing' it with the human government.

I have started to believe that Optimus allows them to keep near constant surveillance on us solely to make the humans' government feel better about our presence.

"His decision doesn't make it the best one for our government!" Agent Fowler said, angrily gesturing towards me, yet never making eye contact with me. I suppressed a growl as I glared at him.

"Uncle Sam's going to love to hear about this..." Agent Fowler groaned, leaning over, placing a hand on his forehead and resting an elbow on the banister in a frustrated stance.

Our leader didn't say anymore while he and I waited for Agent Fowler to calm down and collect himself. Thankfully that didn't take long.

The human removed his hand and looked back up at both of us, a now concerned expression on his face. "So this Predacon DNA bonding is going to turn Bumblebee into some kind of super soldier?"

I didn't waste energy telling him it was CNA for us Cybertronian beings as I approved his exceedingly basic answer. "Correct."

Agent Fowler's tone changed even more (thank Primus his voice lowered a bit more), matching the disquiet on his face. "Is that even morally okay?"

This is when Optimus spoke up. "Though the decision may be morally questionable, Bumblebee has agreed to the Predacon gene bonding. He understands that such a procedure is very likely to provide us the edge we need against the Decepticons and their Predacon."

"...Well, there's nothing Uncle Sam can do about it now," Agent Fowler said as he shrugged and turned towards the stairs to leave. I believe the gesture was a vain attempt to calm his nerves. "Just keep me updated on the kid's progress. For my sake and Uncle Sam's."

Optimus and I watched the agent leave our government lent base through a human sized door, listening to the agent grumble in a very irritated tone about how he's going to explain our course of action to General Bryce and how he was going to deal with the resulting paperwork in addition to his normal workload.

At least this meeting was not a long one, contrary to what I was expecting

After the agent was out of the human listening range, I spoke, gaining the attention of our leader. "Now that their government has been notified, we can only hope that they don't become too interested in our affairs."

Optimus fully turned to look down at me, his large frame towering over mine and with a very serious look in his optics. "It is only to be expected that the human government grow more inquisitive in regards to this procedure we have decided to conduct. The sort of bonding that is taking place is currently beyond their grasp, most likely because such a procedure goes against their moral standards. We will do what we can to reassure them, as well as be sure that their predicted intrusions do not affect Bumblebee negatively."

I nodded, agreeing with him. Our priority is Bumblebee right now, and to keep him clear of the prying eyes of the humans' government.

...

The next three days passed without any obvious changes in Bumblebee. Well, without any obvious changes to those other than myself.

The first change went unnoticed by Bumblebee. I noticed it when I had him come for one of the twice daily checkups. I was quite surprised that no one had said anything about it to me. Not even Optimus noticed, and he is quite keen on changes like this.

Bumblebee's voice had gotten ever so slightly deeper.

I wasn't so sure if this was caused by the Predacon gene bonding, or Bumblebee's frame simply growing more mature. Because of this, I didn't say anything to him about it. I don't want to unnecessarily make the young scout nervous.

The next change did not go unnoticed, however.

He is starting to drink more energon than he normally does. It is a significant amount more.

Thankfully the others were lucky enough to locate another energon source that the Decepticons had not found. This way I can allow Bumblebee to acquire as much energon as he evidently now needs.

These changes are a bit strange, but thankfully none of these are negative. His spark rate has remained stable, and the signals in his neural net are nothing beyond normal. His vitals are overall stable.

Perhaps my concerns for this project of mine were for no reason.

...Perhaps.

...Optimus's POV...

It has been five days since Bumblebee agreed to the gene bonding, and it has now become obvious that there are changes occurring within the young scout due to the Predacon CNA.

His voice continues to grow deeper, though the changes in pitch are miniscule. I have doubts that the humans' ears are sensitive enough to detect it, but we Autobots have certainly taken notice.

I did not notice the change in his voice immediately. It was only while I was listening to Bumblebee tell me of a recent dream he had experienced that I noticed that his voice altered slightly in pitch.

This change in his voice may very well be the result of his frame further maturing. But, there is always the possibility that the difference in the young mech's voice was caused by the new gene within him.

I wish to believe that the reason for this is the former, but something within me is telling me otherwise.

...

Bumblebee is consuming more energon, likely a subconscious drive to assist his frame in making adjustments according to the Predacon CNA. It is reasonable to assume that the changes require more energon than Bumblebee normally takes in.

However, there are more blatant changes that I am beginning to identify.

...

More than once, a human scientist sent by their government had come to our base, wishing to collect data on Bumblebee and perform a number of tests. They wanted to see precisely how we had performed the gene bonding, for their purposes.

Before I could respectfully decline their request, Ratchet angrily approached the little human, saying that they would be wise to leave the young scout alone.

The medic's shout each time frightened the human enough to leave, and I later asked Ratchet to refrain from scaring humans so. Ratchet's expression showed that he was not in the least apologetic.

But he proceeded to tell me that he is becoming increasingly concerned for Bumblebee, because of the humans' rather sudden, and expected, interest in him.

It was a concern we both shared.

...

Bumblebee came to me the other night, seven nights after the gene bonding, saying that the dream he told me about was becoming a recurring one.

He had said that he did not think that the dreams were worth any concern when I asked him if these dreams were disturbing him.

I do not believe that he would have brought these dreams to my attention if he truly believed that they were not worth the time he gave them.

I fear that there is meaning behind the now recurring dreams.

...

I wish I had held a meeting with the other Autobots, including the children, to warn them away from vexing Bumblebee, but the only way I could have known to do this is if I suddenly gained the ability to travel through time.

I was just outside the base on a dark, overcast afternoon, ten days after the procedure, assisting Ultra Magnus with maintaining and repairing his ship when I heard what was happening inside.

Miko was teasing Bumblebee about something that I did not quite hear, because of the powerful welder that I was about to turn off in my servos, and I could hear Bulkhead attempting to keep her from doing so.

I was crouched near the ship, my back towards the slightly ajar door of the base, working on a tear in the armor of Ultra Magnus's ship caused by the Predacon's claws on the most recent mission, one day before, when I heard Bulkhead's tone.

I turned off the welder and stood to my full height to look back at the base when I heard the warning edge in the green Wrecker's voice. Ultra Magnus did not notice, as he was on the other side of his ship, attending to one of the ship's damaged fuel tanks.

Miko takes a liking to teasing others, but she knows better than to purposefully offend with her jabs. The fact that Bulkhead was attempting to stop her from teasing Bumblebee concerned me.

The warning in Bulkhead's voice grew even more obvious as I stepped towards the slightly opened door, instinctively tensing. There was clearly something wrong, and I was going to find out.

As I had begun to open the door, I looked inside. I could not see Bulkhead and Miko, but I could see Bumblebee from the side. What I saw shocked me.

I have never seen the young scout so choleric before, in the long years that I have known the normally calm young mech.

He was glaring hard at the ground with a very dark expression on his faceplates. His optics were blazing as his doorwings lowered in his fury. I could see a small tremor going through him, as though he were fighting to control himself.

"Is everything alright, sir?" Ultra Magnus said, having come around to my side of the ship and seen me partially in the base.

"It will be," I responded, not looking back at the blue commander as I further opened the base door. I can see that there is something very wrong with Bumblebee, and he appears to be having difficulties controlling his anger. Looking the situation over, I knew that needed to diffuse the situation quickly.

I slid the door out of my path, Ultra Magnus a short distance behind me, and stepped further into the front room of our base. Miko had noticed my presence, and ceased her relatively gentle jabs at Bumblebee. The young human's expression changed from jocular to bewildered when she saw the solemn look in my optics. Contrary to the human, a relieved expression flashed across Bulkhead's faceplates upon seeing me.

The overcast sky darkened as I looked over at the young scout.

Bumblebee did not look up from the floor to acknowledge my presence. He continued to glower, and I could hear a very low buzzing sound coming from the scout. He had an energon cube, that I could see was less than halfway filled, in his servo, and was holding it very tightly.

Bulkhead slowly reached over to the balcony and took Miko, shielding her in his protective servos, sensing that she may very well be in danger. Miko did not protest.

Ultra Magnus moved around me and stood to my right side, feeling the tension that had built quickly in the room.

Silence filled the front room as everyone looked towards Bumblebee, whose optics and doorwings were still down. Thunder boomed in the distance as the young scout fumed.

Before I could warn Bumblebee to regain control of his anger, all of us in the front room heard a very loud cracking sound. White cracks had begun to appear on the energon cube in Bumblebee's servo under the pressure of the scout's grip.

"What was-" Miko did not have time to finish her expected question when the energon cube exploded, sending its contents across Bumblebee's armor and onto the floor. Bulkhead instinctively moved his servo up slightly to shield Miko, and the young human in the Wrecker's hand stared in shock between the green Wrecker's digits as the energon cube fragments clinked upon making contact with the ground.

The cube had shattered in Bumblebee's tight grasp.

The low buzz had grown louder in irritation and the still present anger as he held a few shards of the energon cube. He shook the energon running down his servo off as well as he could, throwing the shards down to the floor below.

Without a word, the young scout sharply turned and left the front room, going in the general direction of his quarters.

"I've never seen the guy so angry before," Bulkhead said nervously after Bumblebee left. Ultra Magnus and Miko agreed with him.

"Nor have I, Bulkhead," I said before turning to look down at Miko. "What was it that you were saying to Bumblebee that aroused his ire?" I doubted that it was what she said, but I needed to know, in case that knowledge becomes valuable.

"I was just teasing him a little about all the energon he's been drinking." Miko said. There was a small trace of fear in her voice. "I've messed with him about it earlier this week and he just laughed with me. I didn't think he'd get that mad."

I already had my suspicions as to why Bumblebee had behaved this way, but for the moment I kept them to myself as I advised Miko and Bulkhead, as well as Ultra Magnus, to be cautious of what they say and do in Bumblebee's presence.

I charged Ultra Magnus with telling the other Autobots, aside from Bumblebee and Ratchet, to be cautious around the scout. After witnessing that level of anger in the normally docile young mech, I fear that it could easily turn to violence.

...

Soon after, I left to notify Ratchet of the situation that had occurred in the front room. He told me that he knew that this was happening to Bumblebee, as the scout had expressed his concerns to him three days ago. Ratchet had said nothing to me about this due to Bumblebee's request to keep me in the shadows.

Seeing that the scout's anger had become a larger problem, Ratchet told me of when Bumblebee brought the issue to his attention.

The young scout told Ratchet that he had snapped at Smokescreen after the blue and gold mech joked about Bumblebee's medical leave. Bumblebee said that he could not identify exactly what Smokescreen said that angered him, and the fury he felt, Ratchet told me, had frightened him to the point of coming to the medic for assistance.

Ratchet told that he was contemplating a number of different theories that could be the cause of this new anger in Bumblebee. There was one that he shared with my own theories.

"I strongly believe that this was caused by the Predacon gene bonding," Ratchet said as we stood in the medic's quarters, near his small workbench. This was not a conversation for the other Autobots and the human children to hear.

I nodded slowly, listening to the older mech support his statement.

"Predacons are known for being very fierce, aggressive creatures. The evidence of that was present on the fossils found back on Cybertron. This aspect may very well be surfacing in him now."

"I fear that this is only the start of what Predacon traits may surface in Bumblebee," I said, letting the concern I was experiencing leak into my voice. "For the time being, we will make accommodations for these characteristics."

Ratchet looked me in the optics. "Let's just hope that these don't negatively affect him while he's out on the field. He's been asking me frequently if he is able to fight alongside the rest of the team."

"Bumblebee is not to be allowed onto the field unless absolutely necessary."

"That is exactly what I told him. But the young mech is quite persistent."

I nodded once. "He will not be pleased that he must remain here for longer. But the decision is for his own well being."

The older mech standing before me smiled a bit as he gazed up at me. "Indeed. It's good we both have his best interest in mind."

...Bumblebee's POV: Two Days Later – 2am...

These stomachaches are really starting to bother me.

One of them has me curled up, clutching my abdominal plating on my berth right now. I think it was just a cube of bad energon. I can't remember which one could be bad; I've been drinking so much energon now. Maybe the stuff wasn't refined enough for my systems to handle. That's happened to me before, and it didn't feel too good.

I don't want to bother Ratchet at this time of night, over something silly like this. Ratchet's up late enough as it is. He doesn't need me waking him up.

I'll wait till morning to ask Ratchet for a small dose of pain killer.

...The only thing that's bothering me about these stomachaches besides the pain is that they don't feel like any stomachaches I've ever felt before.

...Ratchet's POV: Front Room–Next Morning...

It has now been thirteen days after the procedure, a Friday, Miko happily informed me, and Bumblebee is getting more agitated by the minute.

The others had just gone off on a mission, to investigate a seemingly abandoned mine, and seemed to have walked right into a trap. The energon was placed there precisely to draw us out of the safety of our base, Optimus said. And we had fallen for it.

Well, I suppose 'fallen for it' is an inaccurate term. Since we are once again on the verge of being in low supply of energon, we could not afford to not investigate an energon signal. The Decepticons are well aware of this, and used it against us.

I am standing in front of the upsettingly primitive monitor in the front room, listening to the battle wage through the others' comm. links. I could hear the Predacon roaring and stamping around in the background, along with quite a bit of blaster fire, the kind specific to Vehicons, making me all the more nervous.

I offered whatever guidance I could, but from the cries of pain I'm hearing directly following a loud round of blaster fire, I doubt that what I'm doing here is of any help.

"I hope the Dragon doesn't get them," I heard Rafael say fearfully from near his Ground Bridge control station. Though the human is mature for his age, it was moments like these that brought out the almost child-like fear within him.

They'll be okay, Raf," Jack reassured him from across the room.

Jack was on the other side of the room, along with Miko, near the couch and television a pair of soldiers stationed at this base were kind enough to provide for the children. Miko shouted encouragement whenever she could to her Wrecker guardian, hoping he would hear her through the monitor I was currently standing at.

Jack said little, only pacing back and forth between the couch and the television. He was worried about his own guardian, as well as the others.

Bumblebee, however, was a different story.

I have my back turned to him at the moment and I can hear him pacing around, buzzing lowly. He seemed to react every time he heard the Predacon roar or snarl. If you were listening closely, you could hear his already deepening voice grow deeper for a moment, coming close to what you might call a growl.

"Ratchet, you have to let me out! They need help!" Bumblebee said, moving to stand next to me. I could hear his weapons system whirring in anticipation.

Frustrated, I looked away from the primitive monitor and sharply turned to the young mech. I was mildly shocked to see that his doorwings were down in anger, rather than up and stiffened with anxiety.

I snapped, "Bumblebee, transporting you there would only unnecessarily jeopardize your life!"

"That's a risk I'm willing to take if it means saving the others!" Bumblebee snapped back, staring me right in the optics.

Before I could angrily respond, the monitor in front of me hissed white noise for a half a nanoklik before Arcee's voice came through. You could hear the Predacon roar again loudly, as if it were near her as she shouted into the comm. link.

"Ratchet, we really need back up here!" Then Bulkhead's voice came through.

"Optimus is getting hit pretty hard, Ratch'. I don't think he can take much more of this." Bulkhead said in a slightly calmer tone, most likely behind some form of cover. "We need back up."

Wheeljack's frustrated tone came through. "There's no fraggin' way outta here! That Dragon caused a cave in like last time and now I'm trapped here in this place with the others. Smokey's hurt and Magnus can't even do anything about that slaggin' wall!"

As if to emphasize his point, Ultra Magnus's serious tone came over the comm. link as Wheeljack was completing his statement. "Our comrades are lost if we don't get out of this cave."

I saw Bumblebee sharply gesture towards the monitor to prove his point when he was cut off by a serious voice near the human railing in front of me.

"Ratchet, I think you should let him out." I looked over to see Jack standing close to the railing, alongside Miko and Rafael. The two older children must have come up to Rafael's Ground Bridge station while Bumblebee and I were debating whether or not to let him out.

I looked into Jack's serious eyes, and begrudgingly looked back towards Bumblebee. The serious expression in the human's face had become harder to resist. A vague voice in the back of my processor commented that it may have come from being here with our leader for extended periods of time.

There was logic in sending him out; after all, the others clearly needed backup. But at the same time, I had no idea how the Predacon gene was going to affect him in battle. As medic, I simply cannot let him onto the battle field! It would be far too risky!

...However, the gleaming confidence in this young scout's optics is beginning to convince me otherwise...

At last, I relented, after wracking my processor for another reason to keep Bumblebee inside of the base, finding none and remembering Optimus's words from days ago.

Bumblebee is not to be allowed onto the field unless absolutely necessary.

I suppose this dire situation counts as 'absolutely necessary'.

"Alright, I'm going to Bridge you out to their coordinates," I said, pausing as I saw a smile flash through Bumblebee's suddenly blazing optics. Moving towards my Ground Bridge controls and placing a servo on the lever, an uneasy sensation washed over me as I looked back at Bumblebee.

Shaking off the feeling, I gave the young scout a hard look. "Once you have done what you could to aid them, comm. the base and I will have a Ground Bridge up for you immediately after. If you take too long, I'm bringing you back here myself." I said, adding a mildly threatening and stern tone to the end of my stated instructions.

The young scout clenched his hands into fists in anticipation and nodded once, his optics burning bright. Frowning, I pulled the lever for the Ground Bridge and the portal appeared, glowing in the expected bright blue-green.

I watched the younger mech race through the vortex on foot, no longer bothering to hide the concern on my faceplates. As I closed the portal behind him, I heard Jack and Miko reassuring Raf that his yellow guardian was going to come out uninjured.

Whether or not he would come out uninjured did not worry me, as I knew that he would not be harmed life-threateningly.

My only concern would be the Predacon gene within him.

...Bulkhead's POV...

I crouched behind a boulder, holding my blaster up, ready to fire. I tried to peak around to try and pick off one of those 'Cons, but every time I tried, those Vehicons try to blow my helm off. I had to stay behind this thing if I got any chance.

I was caught between a rock and a hard place... uh, literally.

Ahead of the boulder that I'm hiding behind, Arcee and Optimus were doing everything they could to keep from being swarmed by Vehicons and keep the Predacon from causing another cave in. Behind me there's a huge cave entrance. The whole thing is blocked off by rocks that Predacon knocked off the side of this mountain. Jackie, Smokey and Ultra Magnus were all trapped behind those rocks, and we can't do anything right now to help them out.

We walked right into a trap, and now we're being pinned down by these 'Cons. Doesn't make it any better that Starscream is past that Dragon and the Vehicons looking at us get beat down like he's watching his favorite comedy movie.

I felt the Preadcon stomp around past my boulder, doing Primus knows what to Optimus. Growling in frustration, I glared and quickly looked around the boulder.

For once those slagging Vehicons didn't try to blow my CPU out. In the split second that I looked over, I saw the entire battlefield.

About eighty feet in front of me, that Predacon was busy beating down Optimus while he was trying to get up in the air. Optimus fired off his jetpack again, trying to get some distance, only to be smacked back down by that Dragon's huge claws. As our leader was coming back down to the ground, the Dragon whipped his tail around and slammed into him, sending Optimus flying through a number of huge trees off to the left.

It's nighttime on this side of the planet, and I could still see the damage on Optimus's body as clear as day. Boss Bot is pretty beat up, with all those dents and tears and scorch marks on his plating.

Further away from the Predacon, Arcee was trying her hardest to keep from getting swarmed by Vehicons. Right now, she was jumping away from three of them who tried to bum rush her at the same time from different directions. While she was up in the air, she swung her arm hard and decapitated a Vehicon with one of her blades, only to be shot in the leg by another 'Con, throwing her way off balance. She flailed a bit before slamming into the ground on her side. The Vehicons started moving in on her while she was down, and I couldn't see her after that.

A Vehicon saw me and shot at my boulder as I ducked back behind it. I angrily slammed a fist down on the hard ground, making damp dirt fly up.

'Cee and I could easily take care of all those 'Cons. The only problem was that fragging Dragon! It was between me getting to Arcee.

I thought that if I help Arcee, both of us would be able to help Optimus out of this, but there's no way I'm going out there now. I'll be killed by that Dragon if I do that. The only thing I can do is...

Then it hit me. Why didn't I do this earlier?!

My finger shot up to my audio receptor and I commed the base, basically saying that we needed help out here. I didn't get a response, but I could hear the others trying to contact the base at the same time.

I just hope that we can get some help or at least a distraction to give us time to get the heck out of here.

"Do you Autobots really think you can win?" I heard Starscream laugh loudly from past the Dragon, Arcee and up on a high, sort of flat rock. I had to resist the urge to try to shoot that coward off his perch.

"You may as well give up. There's a slightly greater chance of you all surviving if you do." Starscream's voice echoed through the woods, and the sarcasm I heard made me really want to shoot him in the face. Right after he said that, the Predacon roared again, hurting my audio receptors.

I worked up the nerve to look back around my boulder, up at Starscream to see something I've been waiting for.

I smiled as the Ground Bridge opened right behind Screamer and watched Bumblebee come flying out of the portal.

"Here comes the cavalry!" I said excitedly over the comm. link to the others. Hopefully the signal can reach the inside of that-

"Really? Who, the Doc?" I heard Jackie say over the comm. Well, it got inside the cave.

"No, not Ratchet. Bumblebee!" I said, still looking around my boulder.

"The kid? Thought he wasn't supposed to be out."

"Me too. He must've convinced Ratch' to let him out." I said as I kept my blaster up, looking over the edge of my rock. I don't really think I needed the blaster at the moment, though.

Everybody, even the Predacon, dropped whatever they were doing and looked up at the flat rock that Starscream was standing on. Screamer barely had any time to figure out what was going on before Bee charged.

Bee crouched slightly and angled his shoulder towards Starscream's back and plowed through him like a linebacker! I had never seen Bee do anything like that!

Screamer lived up to his name as he shot off the rock, flailing wildly. He tried to transform and fly away, but he was too low to the ground for that. His left wing hit the ground and threw him off, making him almost spin out and land hard on his back, and go back to bipedal mode. He dug a small trench along the way, sending dirt and bits of grass all over the place. He slid to a stop near a Vehicon. The guy nearly jumped away from the Seeker when he got close.

I blinked in surprise when I saw that Starscream didn't jump back up, like he normally does. I mean, I know he's not dead (it takes a heck of a lot more than that to kill the guy), but just the fact that he's out cold. I just didn't think Bee had enough brute strength to pull something like that off in one go.

Optimus was lying on his back off to the far left, still in those broken trees the Dragon sent him through, and I could see the shock on his face from all the way over here. I still can't see Arcee, but I know she's surprised.

Before I could think anything else, Bee braced himself and bolted off the rock, faster than I had ever seen him move (which is really fast), towards the closest group Vehicons.

After what happened next, I never thought I'd feel so sorry for a Vehicon in my life.

...Optimus's POV...

I had to look away from the death that was taking place, yet I could not.

I do not understand why the destruction commencing disturbed me to this level. It is a sad fact now that, over the long vorns of war, seeing the terrible things that come with conflict no longer tear at my spark and do not last in my memory. The death and violence has, unfortunately, become normal to witness. Though I do not think that is what is unnerving me.

It is the source of the devastation before my optics.

The normally kind, gentle, and, at times, shy young mech was easily tearing down the Decepticons that had attempted to capture Arcee.

I listened to the pained shrieks of a Vehicon as I watched Bumblebee grab both of his arms and twist them behind the Decepticon's back in a way that they were never meant to move. Even from this distance, I can hear the Decepticon's gears resisting against Bumblebee, and the resulting snapping sound caused my fuel tank to turn.

Bumblebee glowered as he planted one pede firmly in the center of the Vehicon's back and pushed with great force. Energon sprayed from where the Vehicon's arms once were, as well as a shower of bright sparks. Terrified at the sight of this, the Vehicons backed away from the young scout, moving closer to one another.

There was a strange glint in Bumblebee's optics as he proceeded to tear the unfortunate, and still alive, Vehicon apart.

Even the Predacon before me seemed shocked by the young mech's ferocity, having turned away for a brief moment. His thick tail swayed slowly from side to side as he crouched low to the ground, a low rumbling coming from the great beast. His optics narrowed to thin yellow slits as he stared at Bumblebee, who had begun to tear apart and stamp another Vehicon into the ground, digging his claws into the ground.

Upon closer observation, I saw that 'shocked' is not a sufficient description for the Predacon's reaction to Bumblebee. The beast seemed to be intrigued by the sight, as though he recognized someone from long ago. I can only imagine exactly what this beast finds interesting about Bumblebee, as none of his actions suggest that he views the young mech as a threat, despite the ensuing massacre.

Because the Predacon is temporarily distracted, I saw that this moment may be my only opportunity to gain the upper hand.

Still lying on my back amongst broken and splintered trees, I glanced at the Predacon before moving a servo to plant it firmly against the ground. My gears protested as I leaned forward, attempting to push myself off the ground.

Even if I were able to stand to my feet quickly, I would not have remained in that position for long.

The Predacon heard the snapping of wood I caused attempting to stand and whirled on me. The great beast snarled as it reared its head back. My optics widened as I saw that Predacon's chest begin to glow a heated yellow.

All I could do was watch the glow rise up the beast's throat and to its head, and brace myself, knowing what was going to occur next. The beast opened its jaws and I could only stare as time seemed to slow...

Just as the flame had begun to leave the Predacon's jaws, a yellow blur flashed by the beast's face, and I saw the beast's head snap sharply to the left, causing the beast to stumble from the impact. Fire poured from the creature's open mouth, bathing the nearby trees and underbrush in the yellow flames left of my prone frame. The dry plants were instantly engulfed, lighting the dark of the forest. The few remaining animals in the area skittered and flew away in panic from the sudden heat around them.

The beast attempted to recover, shaking its head back and forth and quickly shutting its jaws, and I saw the yellow blur land to my left. It was Bumblebee, glowering and crouched very low, one servo pressed firmly against the ground.

He never looked at me, merely glaring at the recovering and infuriated Predacon, an ominous shadow cast over his optics. I know for a fact that Bumblebee is not foolish enough to attempt to apprehend such a powerful creature on his own, so I do not see why he would put himself in danger.

Bumblebee would only take such a risk if he knew that he would have some measure of success.

As I thought this I realized that the young scout had struck that direct blow on the Predacon. I had never seen that level of strength in Bumblebee, nor have I seen anyone capable of stunning the beast to that extent.

Before I could contemplate these strange circumstances further, I heard a low, perhaps guttural sound just as Bumblebee launched himself off the ground through the air, towards the Predacon, who was shaking his head, still attempting to recover from the blow the young mech struck. The leap was as strong and nimble as a wild cat's.

I was shocked to realize that the guttural sound had come from the young scout. The sound was comparable to that of a feral growl.

The fire was spreading quickly through the plant life around me, and the night was now a bright orange, though that was not my first concern. What concerned me was the battle ensuing before me. The light of the flames reflected briefly off the glass in Bumblebee's doorwings as he leaped towards the beast.

There was a predatory glint in Bumblebee's optics as he flew towards the beast's head, landing a hard punch in the side of the Predacon's helm. The sound of the impact was deafening as the beast was knocked back, forcing it to rise slightly off its front legs. The roar from the beast was a mixture of pain and rage.

Before the beast could regain its footing, Bumblebee landed and swiftly leaped again, sailing over the Predacon's shoulder plating. Just as he was directly above the beast, he swung his leg down hard, his heel connecting with the back of the beast's head. The blow was precise, as the young mech easily avoided the beast's horns.

My optics widened in shock as I lay prone once again. The blow had brought the beast down to the ground.

Having underestimated the immense power behind the blow, the beast's front legs collapsed underneath it, and its great head crashed down, shaking the ground around it and sending soil up into the air.

I looked up to see Bumblebee come down to ground near the Predacon's head, his back to me. He was crouched low, with one servo pressed against the soil below before rising to his full height. There was something slightly different how he carried himself, though I could not quite identify it. Something perhaps animalistic.

The light of the flames had begun to die down as the fire had started to put itself out in the trees and underbrush, and I silently watched Bumblebee stand over the Predacon's unmoving form. His doorwings flared out as he made sure that the Predacon will remain in its current prone state. The impact with the ground could very well have caused the beast to lose consciousness, seeing that its optics are shut and its struts have slackened.

After standing over the beast's head for a moment longer, Bumblebee lifted a fist as if he wished to strike the beast again. Then he lowered it, turned and walked towards me.

Once he neared me, I saw that the predatory glint had faded, but it was very much still there in his optics. He held out a servo for me to grasp, an offer to assist me to my pedes.

I eyed him warily, well aware of the size difference between the two of us. Despite the decidedly impressive show of strength, I was not confident that the young mech could handle my weight. "Bumblebee, I do not think that you possess the strength to assist me."

A smile formed in his optics as he looked down at me. "I think I'll be fine."

Hearing the confidence in his tone, I reluctantly and carefully grasped his smaller servo and pulled myself to my pedes. Bumblebee did not strain during the process, and I could feel the power in his hand.

I gazed down at young scout and he smiled back at me through his optics. He seems proud of the single-handed victory over the Decepticons.

"It would be best if I see to the rescue of our trapped comrades, and you attend to Arcee while the Decepticons are temporarily down."

He nodded once. "I'll get right to it, Optimus."

As I watched him turn and run around the beast, over to the pile of Vehicon dismembered remains, were Arcee was, I commed the base, advising Ratchet to have a Ground Bridge portal ready.

I proceeded to tear down the wall of boulders blocking the entrance of the cave, moving enough of them to allow two of the others to comfortably exit. Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus emerged relatively unharmed, being trapped in the cave, away from the heat of battle. Smokecscreen was not so fortunate. A particularly large stone fell during the initial cave-in and landed on his right leg, crushing his armor and underlying sensory nodes. It certainly was not a fatal wound, as it could be easily repaired. However, it did not make the wound any less painful for the blue and gold mech.

I carried Smokescreen through the Ground Bridge, much to his embarrassment.

While Ratchet was repairing Smokescreen's damaged leg and muttering about how prone the blue and gold mech is to injury, I listened to Bulkhead excitedly relay Bumblebee's exploits out in the field, and Arcee, who sported minor damage, confirm them for the children. All of the others commended Bumblebee for his bravery in facing the beast, and praised him for his success. Even Rafael seemed at ease, now that his guardian returned safely.

Bumblebee absorbed the attention, doorwings high with pride.

I, however, was not glad to see his actions, and Ratchet could sense this.

Later I will speak with Ratchet regarding the Predacon gene bonding. The foreign traits are surfacing faster than neither I nor the medic could have anticipated.

And, I fear... it will have drastic consequences for our young scout.

...Predaking's POV: Aboard the Nemesis – Thirty Minutes Later...

I lay in my dark room with my head on my clawed servos, tail swinging in irritation as an elderly, vision impaired Vehicon repaired the tear that Autobot put into my armor. He said something along the lines of welding a recovery patch on the split in my armor.

All I could think about was the feeling I received from being near that Autobot, the yellow one.

That Autobot...

There was something different about that Autobot. It seemed almost familiar in some strange way.

I bared my teeth slightly and narrowed my yellow optics, thinking of the next time I will be able to encounter this strange Autobot. I had only just returned to the warship and yet I can hardly wait to fight him again. He even inflicted damage! No one does that without feeling the heat of my wrath!

I snarled under my breath. The next time we meet, I will not make the same mistake of underestimating him.

...What I found strange was that I felt more curious about the strange yellow Autobot than angry. I couldn't help but wonder why, since the only emotion I normally feel towards any Autobot is well-deserved, burning hatred.

Suddenly I felt a gentle pat on the side of my head and lifted it to gaze at the elderly Vehicon gather his tools that were laid out neatly on the floor. I normally would have bitten off the Vehicon's arm for touching me, but I have made it an exception for this Vehicon. He's one of the few who have made an effort to express kindness to me, and we are perhaps on a similar level as friends.

I blinked at him as he looked me in the optics, sensing his usual friendly demeanor. "You may need to be patient with the healing, especially with the recovery patch. I wouldn't want you reopening the tear."

I released a low rumble in response and watched the old mech turn with his tools in his servos and walk steadily towards the door. Once he was gone, I put my head back down, mind wandering.

My next encounter with that yellow Autobot is one that I look forward to. But similarly it what the old Vehicon said, I'll, unfortunately, have to be patient.

There was certainly something different about that Autobot. Something that I want to see again.

Can anyone guess who the elderly Vehicon is? He has multiple appearances in my other fic 'Tiny'.

In the next chapter we will hear how Bee feels about all of this going on inside him.

Update: After a reviewer expressed concerns to me, I need to say that the changes in Bee as seen here in this chapter are not permanent. The changes are the result a a lack of control, caused by the Predacon CNA in the young scout.

If you have any questions, comments or ideas for me, just let me know in a review.

Till next time! :)