Sam had always sort of figured he'd been some kind of disgrace to his great grandfather's good name.
After all, his grandfather had practically been a hero. He'd gone to the far reaches of the earth and he'd explored places that most people could only dream of, and he'd made discoveries that sort of staggered the mind. And Sam... well, aside from having a very old and very odd sounding name, pretty much had nothing to show for it.
And then his first car had turned out to be a giant alien robot.
While maybe not as cool as exploring a polar ice cap and finding an archaeological find that had changed the course of human history, helping a race of giant transforming robots to save the Earth from other giant transforming robots had to make some kind of mark on the planet. He'd saved the world, got the girl, he'd done all the big damn hero stuff that people normally dreamed of, and he'd rocked it. He'd done what other people only came up with in their wildest fantasies. Sam Witwicky was a somebody.
Only no one knew he was a somebody.
Sure, the robots knew, and the guys from Sector Seven knew, and his parents and his girlfriend – girlfriend! - knew, but they were all sworn to super intense threats-of-treason secrecy, so he couldn't even tell anyone. He had to go to high school like any other regular chump and pretend that in the week he'd been gone from class he hadn't become the human liaison for a species of giant robots that could turn into cars. He couldn't swagger into history class and tell them that the reason they were even alive was because he'd shoved the All Spark intro Megatron's chest. Oh, he wished he could tell them. But no, he'd be declared a traitor and locked up forever if he did, so he bit his tongue and went back to being yet another idiot teenager.
Okay, an idiot teenager with a really nice car.
It wasn't like he could just tell people that Bumblebee was mostly there to guard him and everything, so instead he just told him that his father had bought him a brand new Camero. A bit of a stretch, but not entirely inaccurate, all things considered.
Though the whole Autobot-liaison thing had turned out not so badly for him, so far. He was pretty sure strings had been pulled to get him his Princeton scholarship. As sure as he was that he was smart enough to have gotten in on his own, he wasn't sure he was smart-enough-to-get-a-full-ride-scholarship on his own. Sure, he liked to think that it was just because he was brilliant. But he also wasn't an idiot. (Hence the being smart enough to get in on his own thing.)
He sighed. His dad was so eager to get him out of this house he had to suspect that his bedroom was destined to become something else, once his parents came back from their magical whirlwind tour of Europe.
“Be down in a minute, dad!” He hollered, and shoved some of the last of his clothes in his bag.
He was sure he was forgetting something...
His cell phone rang, cheerfully, and he groaned, darting to get it – only to trip over one of the boxes, and howl as he tumbled head first into the closet, tripping over his shoes and pitching into the deep, dark corners of his closet, where the old socks and laundry he hadn't seen in years dwelt. Trying to stop his headlong tumble, he grabbed at hanging clothes, and jerked a hoodie he'd once worn into the heart of battle down with him.
Lying on his back, staring up at hanging clothes like soft stalactites in a dark cave, he assessed his injuries.
Well. Only thing damaged was his pride.
Sighing heavily, he sat up, then hesitated when something clattered out of the cuff of the hoodie. He reached out to snag the sharp little shattered piece of metal, and turned it over in his fingers, frowning.
It wasn't any metal that he'd seen on Earth, which told him several things. It meant that it had come from the whole alien skirmish thing, mostly because they were, you know, made of metal not from this earth. In fact, based on its sort of shattered like form and the fact that it had little scrawling symbols on it - or little trace pieces of them, anyway – he was pretty sure that it was a little trace of the All Spark.
As he turned it over in his fingers, it seemed to catch his eye, somehow, like a – a splinter in his mind, if he had to explain it. Like that metal fragment was embedded in his brain, rather than held in his fingers.
He cried out in pain, light searing through his retinas and into his brain, and dropped the shard.
A moment later, realizing what he'd done, he scrambled to pick it up again. But it was glowing , now, hot, too hot to touch. He scrambled, but it was burning through the floor, then through the ceiling of the kitchen below that, and dropped right through.
“Shit!” Sam gasped, and scrambled to retrieve it, dashing downstairs.
The kitchen was going haywire.
Every appliance his parents owned was coming to life, transforming like the Autobots and the Decepticons did (because not all of them turned into cars, he supposed that saying they all turned into cars was really too sweeping of a statement, after all, he'd once been attacked by a Mountain Dew machine come to life) and generally making his mom's precious kitchen into something of a disaster zone. Even the overpriced coffee machine that his mother complained about but still faithfully made coffee on every morning was moving, and actually seemed intent on beating the toaster into submission.
The Spark shard lay on his kitchen island, still smoking but no longer burning its way through things. Sam snagged a pair of oven mitts, snatched the hot little thing up, and scrambled upstairs.
He sort of had to play hot potato with it, tossing it from hand to hand, but he had to get it somewhere safe.
Knocking half the stuff off of his desk in the process, Sam finally found the metal canister that he'd once used on Boy Scout camping trips, to hold waterproof matches. He dumped the matches out over his desk, and shoved the Spark shard into the little canister, capping it tightly.
“Sam?!” His mother called from downstairs, sounding alarmed. “What the heck is going on?!”
“Be right there!” He called again.
Sam had to get this Shard somewhere safe, somewhere the Decepticons couldn't get their hands on it. Maybe Mikaela -
No, he couldn't drag Mikaela into this. No, she was... she had been through more than enough, the last time that he had accidentally stumbled on alien technology. He wasn't going to do that to her again.
Shoving the little metal container into his pocket, he swallowed, and scooped up the last box.
He'd take care of it himself.
Sam didn't like this roommate situation.
Leo Spitz, his neurotic new website running conspiracy theory roommate, had been explaining how he'd hacked into the school database and arranged this whole dormitory to be full of hot chicks. And sure, that also explained why the two guys that shared their bathroom and apparently worked for Leo had turned their bedroom into a server room, but it didn't actually explain why the hell Sam had been his choice for roommate number four.
As he was shoving his clothes into the dresser that Leo had deemed “his”, Sam grumbled under his breath. This year was supposed to be his big chance, to make a new identity for himself that didn't involve being either “Witty Wicky” like he'd been called since grade school, or as the guy that had helped the Autobots a couple years ago. He was supposed to be making himself a new man. Maybe get a new nickname, or something.
Something tough, like... Spike, or something.
The more he thought about it, though, the more it bothered him. Leo had given him some shit pat answer about test scores and shit, but that didn't really explain motives.
Sam winced, reaching up to press the heels of his hand against his forehead. Every time he'd tried to think, the last couple days, his head had started ringing, flaring like it had when he'd found the All Spark shard. It had been so bad the night before that he'd barely even managed ten minutes of conversation with Mikaela via webcam, and he'd flatly refused Leo's offer of going to a frat party. A few people had tried to call him last night, and he'd felt guilty rejecting every call, especially when he noticed that one of them was from Captain Lennox. Yeah, rejecting calls from the secret services because of a migraine, that probably wasn't his most shining moment in terms of serving his nation...
But searing white light behind his eyes sort of made him reluctant to talk to anyone.
It was the first day of classes, though, and as much as he'd really rather be curled in bed with a pillow over his head, he figured he probably ought to go to class. After all, wasn't that the whole point of this this whole 'going to school' thing?
A few hours later, he was starting to seriously regret that decision.
It didn't bode well for his whole 'new identity' thing to have absolutely tweaked out in the middle of his very first astrophyics class, read the entire textbook in the span of maybe a minute and a half, then go on some insane rambling rant about Einstein being wrong.
And okay, maybe if he'd done his insane scrambled writing in English it totally would have made him seem badass and brilliant, but no, he wrote in funky weird symbols. They sort of looked like the symbols the Autobots used, but he couldn't read them. No one could read them.
Sam scrambled down the front steps of the building he'd been supposed to have been having class in, dropping his textbook, papers skidding everywhere.
A fairly attractive woman walking down the steps past him gave him a sort of sneering “what the hell is wrong with you ?” look, and he wanted to protest and assure her that he was perfectly normal, but he wasn't exactly able to pretend that because, well, he wasn't perfectly normal right now, was he? His phone rang in his pocket, and Sam was not too proud to admit that he yelped, though he was too proud to admit that when he did, he shrieked like a little girl.
Flustered and embarrassed, he scrambled to dig the phone out of his pocket, holding it to his ear with shaking hands.
He could have cried when he realized that it was Captain Lennox on the other end of the line. It wasn't that he was normally the kind of person that got all emotional when he heard from friends, it was just that something was most definitely wrong right now, and it seemed to have something to do with the aliens. If anyone knew anything about what the hell was happening to him, it might be Lennox. Wasn't he the commander of NEST, after all?
“Yeah, yeah, it's me.”
“Are you okay, man?” Lennox sounded concerned. “Is this a bad time?”
“No, no, this is like the perfect time.” Sam scrambled to grab the last of his papers, tucking them under his arm. “Look, is anything nuts going on with the Autobots or something? Because I am starting to think I’m going insane and the only common denominator I got is Autobots and Decepticons and I’m seriously starting to - “
“Lennox, I swear I’m going insane,” he barreled on, not really hearing him, or too wound up to stop, even if he had. “I just tweaked out in my Astrophysics lecture and seriously, I’m not - “
He stopped babbling, and stopped his hurried rush across the campus to pause beside a massive memorial – probably to some former Dean of the school, or something – and just panted, “...what?”
Sam blinked, confused. “...what? From – from the bottom of the ocean?”
“From the bottom of the ocean,” Lennox confirmed, sounding very sober. “The Decepticons got into sensitive information, and found his location. And they've retrieved him.”
He let out a long, shaking breath, stunned. “But he's dead. Why bring him back?”
He could practically hear the hesitation.
“Captain Lennox?” He had hurried forward, but slowed as he hesitated now in the entry of the Cannon Green, frowning. “What are you not telling me?”
“When you, ah, destroyed the All Spark, there was a small piece left over. We have been keeping it in a maximum security facility, and... well. They retrieved that at well.”
Sam laughed, breathlessly, just this side of bursting into tears. Again. Going to school was not turning out to be the amazing great new opportunity he'd been hoping for. It was, so far, fucking terrible . “So that they can bring him back to life. Well, your oh-so-great-military is really batting oh-for-zero on this, aren't they? What the hell good is a super secret military organization if they can't even keep a – a – a Decep – Decepti – Decepticon captive when he's d – d – dead?”
He was doing the twitchy thing again, and Sam closed his eyes tightly, trying to keep himself from seeing the glowing symbols that seemed to be super-imposing themselves on – well, everything.
“Thanks, Sam.” He said, sarcastically.
“Sorry, I’m – I’m having a really bad day.” He took a deep breath. “I don't mean to snap at you.”
“Yeah, well... I know the feeling.” The other man sounded about as tired as he felt.
“Is that why you called last night? To tell me that Megatron's out?”
“Yeah. And... Optimus wants you to come to NEST, Sam. He thinks you should be here with the other Autobots, in case anything happens.”
“The other Autobots?” he scoffed. “I'm human, remember?”
“Yeah... human and squishy.” Lennox said, snickering slightly on the other end of the line, though it wasn't really with much humour. “So yeah, I’d rather you were somewhere safe, instead of out... there. I mean, don't get me wrong, Sam, I know you just want to be normal, but... Megatron hated you. You're not safe.”
“You don't know the half of it,” He muttered. “This isn't my war, Captain.”
“Megatron thinks it is. And he's... well. Probably pretty angry with you for shoving the All Spark into his chest. The shard will wake him up, and then he'll get all the information he was trying to get out of it last time...”
Sam swallowed. “Actually, I don't think he will.”
“What do you mean?”
He finally opened his eyes. The symbols were still there, glowing on the walls and the concrete, seeming to lead him into the Cannon Green, where they shone almost blindingly white over the half-buried cannon. “You didn't have the only shard. I had one, too. Found it in my clothes.”
“Son of a bitch, Sam, do you realize - “
“How big of a military security risk that was? Yeah, thanks, Captain, I noticed.”
“No, dammit, Sam, how dangerous that was! The Decepticons broke into an extremely well protected military instillation and killed dozens of our best men to get a hold of that shard, what the hell do you think they'd do to you if they got a hold of you?!”
He swallowed, feeling slightly sick. “I don't know.”
“Wait. You said they wouldn't get the knowledge from the Shard.” Lennox sounded worried, which was actually sort of nice. Wasn't worried that Sam was about the biggest security risk in the history of the American military, though he sort of was – he was worried that he was actually in trouble. Lennox was really not enough of a douchebag to be in a secret Government military thing. “How do you know that, Sam?”
“I think I’ve got it.”
Sam swallowed, walking finally into the Cannon Green. The glowing symbols seemed to be beckoning him forward, crooking their fingers at him. Metaphorically, naturally, as they didn't actually have fingers, they were symbols. But even so, it only seemed right to listen to them. “I think I have the All Spark's knowledge, Captain. I think when I touched it - “
“You touched it?!”
“When I touched it,” he continued on, as though the other man had never interrupted him. “I think it transferred everything to me. I mean, I can read a textbook in about a minute flat – and not just read it, I mean, like, understand it. I tweaked in class and started rambling about how Einstein was wrong with relativity because he only took into account four dimensions, not all thirteen...”
“Well, you're not an idiot, Sam, I mean, you do got to Princeton...”
“I am not that smart, Lennox!”
There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line, and Sam wasn't sure if that was because Lennox had hung up, or if it was because of the strange whispers of sound at the edges of his mind. They weren't voices, they were... clicks and whirrs and beeps that made him think of R2D2 or something. Machines processing information.
Finally, though, Lennox spoke again. “If you do have the knowledge of the cube in your head, then, Sam, Megatron won't stop until he finds you.”
The symbols, which he couldn't actually read but sort of felt like he could understand, were offering an elegant, if simple, solution.
“So I just need to get somewhere safe.”
“I'll send Bumblebee to come get you.” Lennox said, firmly.
“No.” Sam murmured.
“Sam, with the Autobots is the safest place in the whole damn world, and you know that. We won't let you get hurt.”
“No, Captain.... nowhere is safe enough.”
“What are you going to do, Sam?”
He dropped his textbook first, then the phone itself, moving forward with the same frenzied fervour he'd shown before when he had been rushing forward in the lecture hall, determined to follow the glowing orders of the ancient symbols that only he could see. Digging in his pockets, he jerked out the little tin case he'd kept the shard in, dumping the shard itself into his palm.
“Sam? Sam?! Sam?!”
Lennox's voice was still echoing slightly from the phone, which lay, forgotten, in the grass. If someone had picked it up, they would have heard the Captain barking orders to his men, to get Bumblebee going now , to take a military escort, to send choppers, too, to get their wayward honourary Autobot home. There was some angry shouting, then the roar of a semi-truck's engines, then the line went dead, finally.
Sam didn't notice.
He was straddling the half-buried cannon, eyes slightly glazed but expression intent as he scrawled ancient symbols into the metal, carving them deep into the iron with the shard of the All Spark, copying down symbols that were flicking faster and faster behind his eyes.
Someone shouted at him, a holler of something about what the hell he thought he was doing, but then Sam finished the symbols.
And he was gone.
The symbols were still there, the paint flaking and peeling where he'd dug through it to get at the metal beneath, and his textbook lay open on the grass, pages ruffling in the wind, and his cell lay beside it, flashing missed call after missed call as Lennox tried desperately to call him back.
But Sam Witwicky himself was gone.
He'd gone somewhere safe.
Doctor Indiana Jones was bound and determined that this was going to be his last year, here. Princeton was a good school, it really was, but teaching here meant teaching in his father's shadow, and that was becoming increasingly frustrating. Having people come to his office, then realize that they had found the office of the wrong Doctor Jones, because they had wanted his father rather than him, was going to drive him mad. It was early in the year, and he certainly wouldn't leave his contract and leave them in the lurch, but he would be seeking employment at other schools. Marshall College seemed promising, perhaps...
He hesitated as he was about to pass the Cannon green. Students gathered there was not unheard of, or even unusual, but this many students certainly was.
Heading through the crowd, frowning, he said, “What's going on here?”
A girl he recognized from one of his classes – Sally? Suzy? It was early in the year, there were many of his student's names he didn't know yet – moved towards him, brows furrowed. “Something rather odd has happened.”
“How odd?” He frowned, and stepped forward.
There was a young man lying on the ground beside the Cannon, apparently unconscious. Perhaps asleep, though he rather expected that with the amount of people gathered around that he would have woken, were he actually sleeping. His clothing was somewhat... peculiar. He was dressed in labourer's denims and a short sleeved shirt, with shoes that were quite possibly the strangest he'd ever seen. One of his fists was tightly clenched, holding onto something.
“What happened?” He frowned, crouching beside the young man and checking his pulse. Well, he was alive, at least, that was something of a relief.
“We don't know.” Sally-or-whatever-her-name-actually-was, said.
“Did anyone see what happened to this young man?” Indy demanded, checking his eyes. They were rolled back into his head, but a cursory inspection didn't show any injury. “Was anyone here?”
No one seemed to have actually been there when whatever had happened to this boy had occurred. No one knew who he was , either. Terribly unhelpful.
Indiana took the boy's clenched fist, frowning slightly as he attempted to prise his fingers free of whatever he was clutching. He had a death grip on whatever it was, but eventually Indy worked his fingers open, carefully. There was, of all things, a shard of metal in his hand, a metal that he was sure he had never seen the likes of before, but there was something about it... He picked it up, carefully, twisting it in his fingers. There were symbols on it, ones that seemed oddly familiar.
Abruptly, the boy bolted up, eyes snapping open, looking about wildly. The crowd around them took a couple cautionary steps back, and Indiana quickly tucked the shard of metal into his jacket pocket, buttoning it quickly to secure it.
“Oh my god,” the boy panted, looking around, confused, eyes wide. “What the hell... what is...”
“Son. Look at me, son.” Indiana snapped his fingers in front of him, frowning slightly when the boy jumped and looked directly at him, eyes wide, pupils blown. He looked entirely confused and bewildered, and he suspected that perhaps the boy had not been injured to end up laying there on the floor, but rather that he had been under the influence of something. “Are you drunk, son?”
He blinked at him. “...what? No. No, I’m not drunk... I’m not twenty one...”
“That does not seem to affect the choices of many students,” he pointed out, frowning as he held up his hand. “How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Ah. Three. And a thumb.” He blinked up at him. “I think I’m going to puke.”
“To... puke?” He repeated, then realized what he meant, and quickly moved forward to catch his arms, hauling the boy to his feet. “Let's get you to a restroom, shall we?”
“Thanks,” the boy said, struggling to keep the contents of his stomach inside his stomach, squeezing his lips tightly shut. They staggered together towards the nearest building, and Indiana helped him up the stairs as quickly as possible, and into the nearest restroom. It was a staff room, so technically students such as this boy weren't meant to be here – he assumed he was a student, after all, he looked about the age of a freshman – but he rather thought that aid was more important.
Leaning on the wall outside one of the stalls, Indiana tried to remain calm and polite about the situation as the young man wretched on the other side of the partition, sounding absolutely piteous. “Do you remember what happened, by chance?”
“You mean how I ended up on Cannon Green with a crowd around me?” he groaned from inside, then wretched again.
He cringed. That sounded unpleasant. “Yes.”
There was a moment of silence, then the toilet flushed away the evidence of his suffering, and the boy staggered out of the stall, face pale. Indiana watched as the boy walked over to the sink and rinsed his mouth out, then finally cupped his hands and sipped at the water he gathered there. He rested his forehead on the mirror for a long few minutes, eyes closed, and murmured, “Sorry about that. But thank you for the help.”
“Of course. You said you didn't know exactly. Please tell me what you do remember?”
He took a deep breath, and leaned back from the mirror, turning to look over at the doctor, leaning on the sink. “...this is going to be a hell of a lot more difficult to explain than... anything, and I really don't want to try while standing in the bathroom. Can we like, sit down somewhere? I’m feeling like I went one on one with Mike Tyson or something.”
Indiana nodded, and lead the way out of the bathroom. “Mike Tyson? Is he a student here?”
“A student?” He blinked at him. “No, he's... a boxer. Famous guy, he's kind of... a big deal. He bit a guys ear off a few years ago...”
“Oh.” He blinked, alarmed by that. “That sounds remarkably... uncivilized.”
“Well... that's boxing for you.” The boy hesitated, and looked up at the doctor. “Not a boxing fan, I guess, huh?”
“Oh no, I have been an avid pugilist myself for many years.”
The boy gaped at him for a few long moments, then abruptly said, “Dude. That was way too much information. I did not need to know that, I really did not need to know that.”
Indiana arched a brow, and shook his head, opening the door to his office. “Come in, please.”
“Doctor H. Jones?” The boy frowned, peering at the writing on the door before he did slip past him into the room, looking around. It wasn't a large office, it was actually quite small, all things considered. What little size it did have Indiana had rather consumed with bookshelves that lined every wall, and books that filled every shelf and every possible surface that the shelves themselves created. Where there was no books, it was simply because there was an artifact of some kind there instead, rocks and trinkets and items that might have some deep intrinsic value but had not been chosen to go in the museums that he passionately tried to supply for. He'd been told by those that knew him that his office was very much an extension of his own mind, and that anyone who chose to explore this place for long enough would get to know him nearly intimately. Perhaps they were right, he admitted, as he hurried to snag a Luger that had been acting as a paperweight for some lecture notes, and tucked the gun into a drawer of his desk, and settled in his seat, quickly. “Please. Have a seat.”
The boy slumped heavily in the chair across from his desk, eyes seeming to be looking everywhere at once. “Thanks.”
Indiana frowned slightly, not impressed with the other's behaviour. It was slightly... off-putting. “So, you were going to tell me what you remembered about how you came to be sleeping in the Cannon Green.”
He cleared his throat, and nodded. “Well... it's complicated.”
“Mm. Do tell.”
“Well, you remember the news, a couple years ago, when the giant robots attacked Los Angeles?” The boy asked, but seemed a little confused by Indiana's facial expression. It wasn't that Indy was trying to look absolutely skeptical and confused, but it was simply true that he was both skeptical and confused. “You... you're a doctor, you're a smart man, how the hell would a smart man miss something that big?”
“I'm terribly afraid that I have no idea what you're referencing,” Indy admitted, brows furrowed, tugging off his glasses and polishing them on his tie.
“The giant robots.” He said, slowly, looking stunned. “How can you have missed that? They destroyed half the downtown core, they made a huge mess of everything, and even though the government did this huge snow job and tried to hide it, there were reports about it everywhere. I mean, I read the newspapers, you can't hide something as big as a whole bunch of giant robots smashing buildings.”
“You are drunk.” Indiana sighed, finally understanding, and stood. “Is there someone I could call, to have them come bring you home?”
“I'm not drunk.” The boy groaned, throwing up his hands. “I swear I didn't hit my head that hard, I just - “
Indy hesitated, watching him.
There was a slightly confused look on the boy's face as he stood, heading towards the map that Indy had pinned to the wall behind where his door normally was, when it was closed. There were notes and type written messages pinned all over the little map, along with a red pin for every dig site that he was hoping to schedule in the future. It was something of a mess, one that he knew had to be cleaned up, but he didn't know why that, of all things in his office, would draw someone's attention.
“Why do you have such an old map?” The boy asked, abruptly.
Indiana stood, moving closer to him. “Well. I know it's slightly outdated, but I’m not sure that I would call it an old map.”
“It has the USSR on it.” He poked at the massive country, frowning.
“Yes, well... that would be the only way to have an accurate map.” Indiana agreed, bemused.
He arched his brows, looking up at him with an odd expression. “...now who's been drinking, then? The USSR has been gone for like... twenty years or something. The Berlin Wall fell two years before I was born.”
“The... Berlin Wall?” He repeated, brows furrowed.
“Yeah. The wall that split Berlin in half?” The boy started talking with his hands, motioning awkwardly. “One side was the Germany side, one side was the Russian side, and it really, really sucked for the people in Berlin, but... the wall went down, and the whole... Communist thing fell apart. The Cold War is over, buddy.”
He was starting to reassess his evaluation of him from before – this boy wasn't drunk, he appeared to be mentally unwell. Perhaps he'd ended up in Cannon Green because he'd escaped from an asylum or some such. “Are you certain there's no one I can call?”
“Yes.” He pointed at Indiana, abruptly, about as frustrated as Indy felt, himself. “Yes, there are people you can call. Can I use your phone?”
He nearly compulsively corrected his grammar. Instead, he let him off with a mild, “Yes. You may,” and led him back towards the desk, tugging his handset forward so that the boy could use it.
He blinked at it for a long moment. “Are you a doctor of history?”
“Yes,” Indiana nodded, slightly confused. “History and archaeology, specifically. Why do you ask?”
“Because only a history professor would have one of these,” he rolled his eyes, and tugged the rotary phone closer to him, cradling the handset with his chin and his shoulder, frowning slightly.
“You know how to use this phone?” Indiana stood just behind his shoulder, perhaps a touch too close for proper personal space, but rather concerned that he had to be close enough to act, should the boy's delusions turn to violence. “It is the new automatic system, it does take a little getting used to.”
“No, I know how to use them.” He shook his head, and started dialing.
And kept dialing.
Indiana had never seen a number requiring more than five numbers at the most, but yet this boy went twice as long as that, dialing ten numbers before he shifted to hold the handset properly, frowning as he waited. And seemed displeased when he discovered that there was no answer. “No one's there.”
“I'm sorry to hear that.” Indiana said. He was truly sorry, because he thought it was rather important that this boy ended up in a safe place.
“How is that even possible? His voice mail isn't even picking up.”
“His... secretary?” He guessed.
“Secretary?” The boy's eyes narrowed, and he set the handset back down in the cradle, frowning up at him, looking equal parts angry and confused. “All right, I have no idea what you're talking about, Doctor H. Jones. But fine, I’ll play your game. The USSR is apparently still a country, and you've never heard of the robots. I’ll play along. So imagine that Los Angeles was massively destroyed by robots, two years ago, and there were a scattering of humans that helped, and I was one of them. I destroyed the big bad guy with the All Spark, and the thing broke, and there were little pieces everywhere, and I touched one of them, last week, and now I have the knowledge of the All Spark of my head, and I’m... going insane. Oh god. Insanity does run in the family.”
Indiana nodded, slowly, not understanding in the slightest. “In the family?”
“Yeah.” He sighed, and closed his eyes for a moment. The boy looked defeated for a moment, confused and bewildered and struggling as though trying to swim in water he was drowning in. “There's a family history. This is going to be the weirdest question in the entire world, I know, but... where am I?”
“Princeton.” Indiana said, after a moment. “Princeton University.”
“Well... yeah.” He took a deep breath, scratching the back of his neck. “I mean, cause I saw the Cannon Green and everything, so I know where I am, but... it doesn't look the same as what it looked like yesterday.”
“I'm not certain I understand...”
“...what year is it?” The boy asked, abruptly.
That wasn't the kind of question he was used to hearing, but it also, strangely, wasn't a new question. He had actually heard others ask that before, oddly enough. There were all sorts of stories of people addled after the War, but this boy nearly wasn't old enough to have fought in the war. Perhaps an immigrant who had seen the actual carnage in Europe? That was possible. He'd seen enough things in his time over there to understand how this could have affected the boy. If that were even the case. It was hard to say.
All the same, he smiled faintly at the boy, and offered, “It is September thirteenth, 1935.”
The boy moaned, and slumped back into the chair that he'd been sitting in a few minutes before, gaping up at him.
“I take it that this was not the response you were anticipating.”
He started laughing.
Indiana arched a brow, and leaned on the front of the desk, crossing his arms as he leaned right beside the boy, ready to act if he needed to. The boy was still laughing, leaning back in the seat, sinking down into it, laughing to an extent that it became very clear very quickly that he was hysterical. He was just laughing and laughing and laughing and he couldn't seem to stop himself. He pushed off of the desk and headed over to the bookcase to the far left, and poured two tumblers with a finger of whiskey each, and moved back to hold one of the two out to the boy. “Drink. It'll help to calm you down.”
He slowly took the glass, clearly trying to stop his hysterical laughter, and sipped at it, warily.
Well, that did manage to effectively stop the laughing, as now he was coughing.
Indiana snagged the glass back out of his fingers, holding it so that he wouldn't drop it. He waited until the boy finally stopped gagging, and finally offered it back.
“Thanks.” He mumbled, sipping at the whiskey again.
Leaning on the desk beside him again, Indiana mulled over his own glass, frowning slightly as he considered him. “Let's start at the beginning, shall we? I am Doctor Indiana Jones.”
The boy hesitated. “The door says H.”
“My birth name is Henry, but my name is Indiana. If you don't wish to call me Doctor Jones, at least be sure to call me Indiana, acceptable?”
He laughed, and nodded. “Yeah, sure, I can call you Indiana. I’m Sam Witwicky.”
“Witwicky.” He hesitated, then smiled broader. “Any relation to Archibald Witwicky?”
Sam looked like he actually had to think about that for a long moment, then finally said, “Yeah, he's my... grandfather. My grandfather is Archibald Witwicky.”
“Ah. So that's what you meant before. I am sincerely sorry for what happened to your grandfather. He was a dear friend of my father's, and I knew him very well when I was a child. It is a tragedy, what happened to him, on that exploration. I hear that it was the snow blindness that did it.”
“Did what? Drove him nuts?” Sam sighed heavily. “Yeah, no, it wasn't the snow.”
“Oh?” He asked, brows furrowed for a moment.
“...have you ever heard his stories?” He shifted forward in his seat, frowning intently. “About the giant encased in ice and everything?”
“Yes, I have heard those.” Indiana admitted.
“He's not insane.” Sam pointed at him, then knocked back the last swallow of his whiskey. “That's what so crazy about all of this. He wasn't nuts. He actually did see a giant thing encased in ice, and the American military went on up there, found the sucker, and dragged him back down here. He's underneath the Hoover Dam.”
“The dam they're building in Nevada? I’ve heard some people suggest that they name it after Hoover, but I’m fairly certain they decided on calling it the Boulder Dam, after all.”
“...building?” Sam repeated, eyes narrowed as he examined the older man for a moment. “It's not finished?”
“No, it's not – I believe, however, that the dedication for it is scheduled for the end of the month, I’ve heard that President Roosevelt is to be there. But I haven't any idea why they would put a giant underneath that dam.”
“Because they're trying to hide it.” Sam looked around the room, then stood up, and poked his finger in the other's chest. “Hey, you're into historical shit, right? Like... old stuff? I mean, look around this office, you have ancient stuff here, everywhere, and you said you were a professor of history and archaeology, so you like old, valuable, interesting stuff, right?”
“Yes.” Indiana agreed, arching a brow as he considered the boy.
“Well, the oldest, most valuable thing in the entire world is underneath that dam. They didn't build that dam as a make work project, they built it to hide the biggest, most interesting, most valuable artifact that you will ever find in your entire academic career. Trust me. I need to get there, and I need to get under that dam, to find it. Come with me, and you'll find the most fascinating things in the entire world.”
“Is that so?” He considered the boy, smirking slightly. “Think I’m nearly that easily manipulated?”
“...it was worth a shot.”
He watched him for a moment, then said, finally, “Why don't you tell me everything.”
“Yes, everything.” Indiana pushed off the desk to round it, and sat in his chair again, folding his hands on his desk. “Start at the beginning, and tell me everything.”
“Everything” had turned out to be considerably more complicated than either of them had expected.
Sam decided not to tell him about the time travel. The time travel was confusing enough for his own mind to figure out, so he decided not to screw it up even more by explaining it. He passed the whole 'robot fight in Los Angeles' fight off as something that the military had managed to hide. He did explain his own part in the fight – okay, he might have exaggerated his part in it a little, but it was true that he had been the one to shove the All Spark in Megatron's chest and end the war. He explained how his “grandfather” - rather than his great-great-grandfather – had found Megatron. Sam sort of fudged the whole Sector Seven bit, claiming that they still existed – he sort of hoped he was right on that, honestly – and that they had the All Spark.
“There are two,” he lied. “The one I destroyed two years ago, and another one that they're building the dam over.”
“I thought you said that it contained the entire knowledge of this Cybertronian species.” Indiana pointed out, draining what had to be his fourth or fifth tumbler of whiskey. Probably an appropriate amount for a man of Indy's age and experience – this guy fought in the First World War! - but not so much for someone like Sam, who hadn't really drunk any much of anything ever. He felt all warm and sort of giggly, and certainly introspective enough to be trying to puzzle out exactly what kind of man chose to name himself after a state.
“It does.” He drained his own glass. He wasn't choking on it anymore, so he sort of saw that as a victory. “They made a copy. Or something.”
“Hm. And you want to go to the Boulder Dam - “
“Hoover Dam,” Sam interrupted.
“The dam that is yet unnamed,” the other man suggested, and Sam mulled that over for a moment before nodding. That seemed like an acceptable compromise between what Sam remembered it being called and what Indiana insisted it was meant to be christened. “To find this All Spark. You have promised, naturally, that it will be an adventure of most epic proportions to find this device that you claim will change my perception of history. But you have not explained what exactly you intend to do with this All Spark once you have found it.”
“Oh. Haven't I?” He blinked.
“No,” he said. The boy may not have been drunk, before, when he'd arrived at the Cannon Green, but he was fairly confident in his assessment that the boy most certainly was drunk now. “You have not.”
“Oh.” Sam said again. “Well, I’m going to destroy it. So Megatron and the Decepticons can't fight the Autobots over it.”
“Mmhmm.” He pressed his lips in a tight line. “You said you already killed Megatron. With the All Spark, correct?”
“Oh, yeah, well... they brought him back. With the shard they stole from the government. He's just a robot, right, not human. So they just have to recharge his Spark.” Sam held up his glass. “Can I get another one of these?”
“I'm fairly sure you've had more than enough,” Indiana was saying, but he was leaning forward to pour him another finger of whiskey as he did. He wasn't the boy's father. He wanted to make a fool of himself, so be it. He did pour himself the same, though. His tolerance was clearly much higher than Sam's. “So why bring him back with the shard, and not the second All Spark?”
Sam blinked. He hadn't thought of that. “Ah... they couldn't get their hands on it. It was too.... secure.”
“And yet they were able to break the shard out and get it.” Indiana leaned back in his chair, smirking slightly as he considered him. “So they could get a piece of a fractured one, but not the whole of another?”
He sipped at his whiskey, holding the glass of the amber liquid in front of him as a shield. “...yes?”
“Mmhmm.” He said again.
“You also knew about an alleged fall of the USSR, claimed that this 'Hoover' dam,” he waved vaguely at that name, “Was built over an apparent secret government stronghold, and you claimed that two years ago Los Angeles was largely damaged. While I know that you claim it was mostly covered up by the government, I consider myself to be something of a worldly man, Mister Witwicky. Perhaps you could retell that story, but without the bullshit this time?”
Sam gaped at him, startled by the bluntness from the man he had so far figured to be some kind of scholarly academic. “Ah...”
“I consider myself to be a part-time academic, Mister Witwicky.” He grimaced slightly. “I am not as naïve as my book-sheltered colleagues.”
“Apparently.” He blinked. “And call me Sam. Mister Witwicky makes me sound like my dad.”
If there was one thing Indiana understood, it was the frustrations of living in your father's shadow. “Of course, Sam. I understand. But in either case, you owe me a retelling.”
Sam groaned, and drained his whiskey. “Okay, there's only one All Spark.”
“I assumed as much.”
“And the USSR did fall. Or does.” He stared into the depths of his empty glass, as though it held all the answers in the universe. His words were slurred, now, and Indy suspected that it was really only a matter of time – a short time – before the boy fell flat on his face. “In, like, 1989. Before I was born, even. The whole Los Angeles thing happened in 2007. Will happen. God, I hope the important things still happen. I don't really know how time travel works, so... maybe my being here has already changed the whole... universe.”
“I would rather suspect it would. Were it true.” Indiana smiled tightly.
“Oh, it's true.” Sam pointed at him. “It's totally true. I’m from the twenty-first century. And the twenty-first century is very much awesome compared to this. I don't think I like 1935 all that much.”
“I'm not sure many do.” He smirked.
The boy snickered, sinking lower in his chair, until he was sort of lying down in the chair rather than sitting in it. He still turned the empty glass over and over in his fingers, smiling slightly.
“Suppose I believe you.” Indiana said, with a slight frown.
“You should, since it's true.” Sam countered, and held the glass up again. “More?”
“No,” Indy said, ignoring the displeased, 'you're no fun' expression that the boy gave him, and continued on. He was sort of expecting that it was going to be his responsibility to mop up the alcohol soaked mess he was in a piece anyway, because if it were true that he were a time traveler, then there wouldn't really be anyone here and now that could aid him. Indiana did suppose that he should be more alarmed by the oddity of a boy claiming to be from the future than he was, but he considered himself an intelligent, rational man. He could suspend disbelief long enough to investigate the reality of this. He was a doctor, after all. He could think rationally. “Are you aware of the fact that you are both suggesting that you will change history by destroying the All Spark, and yet claiming that you don't want to change things?”
“A... good point.” Sam blinked.
“And you plan to deal with that paradox... how?”
“I have no idea.” Sam admitted, finally leaning forward to thump his empty glass down on the desk. He was starting to sway slightly, the alcohol finally gripping control of his body as well as his mind. “But if you ask me, even if it means that I accidentally, like, write myself out of existence, and make it so that the Autobots never come to Earth... if it means that the Decepticons never try to destroy the Earth and the All Spark never falls into the wrong hands, then it's worth it.”
“And you don't think that these Cybertronians would be displeased that the entire knowledge of their race was gone?”
“Naw, see... I have it all.” Sam tapped his forehead. “I have it all up here. All the knowledge of Cybertron is in my noggin. I’d just have to, like, write it down. Type it up.” He hesitated. “On a typewriter. Oh god. I’m in the Great Depression, aren't I?”
“Ah...” he hesitated. “Well, there is something of an economic depression going on, but I’m not sure I’d call it a great depression...”
“Oh, they're gonna call it that. In about fifty – oh my god, Nazis!”
“What?!” Indiana jerked up in his seat.
“Not, like... here.” He groaned, waving vaguely at the air, sinking low into his seat. “...I need to get back to my own time. I really need to get back to my own time. I am not in the mood to live in a world in which there are actual honest-to-god Nazis, even if it does mean I could, like, really – there was conscription in World War Two! I’m old enough to be in the army! I don't want to be in the army!”
“World War Two.” Indiana said, slowly.
“Yeah, 1939 to 19 – oh. Oh. Wait. I can't tell you about it, or I’m going to change things. ….Hitler is around though, right? I mean, he's already... you know about him, and everything?”
“Yeah.” Indiana grunted. “He was named Chancellor earlier this year.”
“...Chancellor? Not... Fuhrer?”
“Not as far as I know.”
“Oh. Well.” Sam grimaced. “Maybe we could fly off to Germany and gank him before I go back in time, too. I have no problem changing the entire path of history if it means no Hitler and no Nazis.”
“Man after my own heart.” Indiana said after a moment, tipping his head towards him.
“...my history teacher told us most people thought Hitler was kinda awesome in the thirties.”
“Then perhaps your history teacher has not read Mien Kampf.” Indiana sighed, and stood, plucking a slightly dog eared book off of one of the bookshelves that lined the room, holding it up so that the boy could see. “And unfortunately, many people around us have not read it, either. All they are seeing are his promises of reuniting the German nation, and the improvements he has made to their war-torn economy already. Had they actually bothered to read the book, however, they'd know what the man is intending.” The professor took a deep breath, and closed his eyes for a moment. Sam thought it was something of a tragic scene, really, like the tortured scholar who knew far too much. And that was, of course, when he realized that he was seriously drunk, if he was waxing poetic like that. Good lord, where had he learned a phrase like waxing poetic? He was wasted, wasn't he? “He outlines in great detail his plans for the world, Sam. If we do not stop him now... there is no knowing how powerful that egomaniac could become.”
“Uh... yeah. There is knowing how powerful.” Sam grimaced, and shifted forward in his seat, looking up at Indiana with a slightly pinched expression. “And it's not going to be good, trust me on this. I never lived it, or nothing, but I’ve studied it in history class for years. It's gonna be bad. You're not gonna like it.”
“Mm. I’m not sure that's comforting.”
“Sorry. Are time travelers supposed to tell people that things are going to get better? Is that what we're supposed to do? Sorry, I have no real experience in... in... traveling. Through time.”
“I'm not certain that anyone is used to it.” Indiana smirked slightly, setting the book back on the shelf, and moved around the edge of his desk to pick up a slightly dusty fedora that had been sitting on the top of a battered filing cabinet, setting it on his head. “I imagine that you don't have anywhere to be going this evening?”
“Ah. No.” Sam frowned slightly. “I don't think my dorm building has even been built yet.”
“There are some rather fine motels in town, I can recommend several.” Indiana nodded, and tugged on his overcoat. It wasn't quite cold yet, not this time of year, but at night, there was a slight bite to the air. “I'm sure you can find a place to stay, until you either find a way home to your own time, or a way to the dam.”
“...you're not going to help me?” He asked, blinking at him.
“Because I rescued you from the Cannon Green and a gathering of students does not obligate me to become your driver.” Indiana smirked, and set his hand on the other's shoulder. “I'll think about it.”
“...well, I guess that's more than I can... ask for, considering. I mean, I sort of just dropped down on you.” Sam groaned, and looked entirely petulant. So downright petulant, in fact, that Indiana very nearly patted him on the head. He was just so adorably childish, which was not exactly something that he usually encountered. Petulant, pouty, drunk teenagers were not exactly his purview. “Maybe I can find a car or something. You know, I have good luck with cars. My first car turned out to be a giant robot from space.”
“So you mentioned.” Indiana smirked slightly, and tapped the back of his chair. “I'll walk you outside.”
Sam stood, and immediately tumbled right back into his chair again. Wide eyed, he looked up at the other man for a moment, then burst into laughter, shaking slightly. “I am so drunk.”
“You weren't kidding, when you said that you don't drink, earlier, were you?” Indiana smirked.
“Nope.” He said, cheerfully, and stood again. This time, he grabbed a hold of the edge of the desk to steady himself for a few moments, then finally nodded, and headed towards the office door, wobbling a little. Indiana shook his head, but followed him, finally just taking his elbow as he guided him along the way out of the building.
“You never mentioned how exactly the time travel happened.”
Sam glanced up at him, and Indiana shook his head faintly at the look of the boy. He was flushed, eyes glazed slightly from the drink, hair and clothes rumpled. He was, to put it mildly, a mess. “Oh, well... that's sort of because I don't know how that works. See, remember I said I have the whole All Spark knowledge thing in my head? Well, I do. I know everything that the Cybertronians know. They know a lot of things that I don't think people on Earth know about, yet. They're damn smart, those robots. They know about time travel and everything. I don't know how it works. But I did see all the things I needed in order to do it.”
“I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean.”
“There are symbols.” He waved his free arm, trying to explain. “They sort of glow, and I see them sometimes. Dunno what they mean. But I sort of get what they want to mean, you know? Like it's a language I’ve never seen before but somehow know... I think it's because of the All Spark itself, really. I mean, I have all their knowledge in my head. Anyway, I used the little shard of the All Spark that I had to... carve them into the cannon on Cannon Green.”
“And that somehow moved you through time?” Indiana asked, dubiously, leading him down the steps of the building they had been in, and out onto the Cannon Green itself. “I didn't notice any symbols on the cannon when we found you.”
“Well... no. I mean, wouldn't they only be back in 2009?”
“Mm. A valid point.”
“Dunno what happened to the Shard, though.” Sam admitted, yelping as he tripped over the edge of a sidewalk flag, and nearly tumbled right back down where he had been when Indiana had first seen him. Either this boy was the biggest clod he'd ever seen, or he was just a terrible drunk. Indy caught him, fortunately, and the boy looked up at him with a grateful sort of sheepish grin. “I didn't have it when I woke up, I sort of figure it must have disappeared when I did the time travel thing, because the All Spark itself is really here, you know?”
Indiana just nodded. The shard felt heavy for a moment in his pocket, but he didn't mention it.
“There is a good motel down the street, about a mile towards the direction of the river. It won't be much of a walk.”
He frowned, looking down at the boy, confused. “Is there something wrong with that suggestion?”
“No...” Sam said slowly.
And then he bent double, and heaved whatever he had managed to accumulate in his stomach since he had wretched the last time – that is to say, a substantial amount of the fairly good whiskey that Indiana was now swiftly regretting having given him – as he threw up in the street.
“Well.” Indiana said, at last. “That was attractive.”
Indiana made himself another drink – he was starting to think that this entire situation needed far more alcohol than he really wanted to admit – and settled down at the desk in his little study. His current apartment wasn't very large, and was anything but neat – he'd only just come back from India a few weeks before, and there were still boxes of books and artifacts and things that he simply hadn't had time to unpack. The couch was still stacked high with boxes, which was why the strange boy wasn't sleeping on it, but was rather sprawled in Indiana's own bed, drooling on his pillows.
He glanced at the other end of the room – it really was a small apartment – and shook his head at the sight. Sam was snoring slightly, laying on his stomach with one arm hanging over the edge of the bed, fingertips brushing the floor. Someone more poetic than Indy might have suggested that the boy looked more peaceful when he slept, but that wasn't entirely true. He sort of looked like a comatose mess when he slept, in all honesty.
Shaking his head, again, he settled back in his seat, and dug in his side pocket, tugging out the little shard of metal.
He'd never seen anything like it before. That could mean anything, of course. The boy claimed it came from space – and from the future. An interesting proposition either way. Indy had never really been a man to spend much attention on the possibility of there being creatures out there in space, not since he was a child, anyway, and used to read pulp fictions just to irritate his historically minded father. But if he were willing to accept that Sam Witwicky was from the future – and he'd taken a look at the wallet he'd lifted from the boy's pocket after he'd passed out on his bed, and he was fairly sure he was actually telling the truth – then perhaps he would have to accept that the boy was also right about what lay beyond the perimeter of the planet's edges. After all, from what Sam had said, aliens were a recent discovery in even his own time, so perhaps it wasn't so hard to believe that it was from space. But it was what was on the shard that was really interesting to him.
Shifting forward, Indiana dug in one of the desk drawers, searching until he finally found a magnifying glass among his pens and some old trinkets.
A closer examination revealed symbols – or rather, fragments of symbols. They looked... familiar.
Indiana scrambled to his feet, and darted to the 'living room', which was really more the little corner of the large room right before the corner that formed his kitchen. He had to search through probably five boxes before he finally found the book he was looking for, and by that point, even the organized chaos that he'd managed before was starting to look like a joke, now. There were books everywhere, and he'd rather forgotten about the fact that there was a boy sleeping in his bed – a statement that perhaps sounded wrong out of context – and had made a rather loud ruckus in doing so. He finally found the book he had been looking for, though, and let out a rather loud shout of success.
Naturally, he probably should have expected Sam to bolt up in bed, spluttering and wide eyed, but he quickly shoved the shard of the All Spark – if that's what it truly was – back into the pocket of his jacket before the boy tumbled out of the bed and staggered over to him.
“Hey, what's all the yelling about?” Sam slurred, rubbing his eyes.
“You mentioned symbols.” Indiana looked up at him, really too excited about this to be quiet and pay attention to the fact that he really shouldn't know what the symbols themselves looked like. That was an issue that could be focused on later. “That you see because of the knowledge that the All Spark has left in your head. Are these what they look like?”
Yawning, he stepped closer, and leaned on Indiana's arm as he peered into the book.
They were pen and ink drawings that had been done by an expert hand, a careful recording of dig sites. They were not dig sites that Indiana himself had been to, but rather sites that had been dug by a former colleague of his, Abner Ravenwood. He'd found many of these symbols on his digs, and naturally he'd cataloged them. Indy had been given a copy of the book when he was still Ravenwood's student, and though he'd read it a long time ago, he'd mostly forgotten about it. But among the drawings were many lovingly recreated drawings of the symbols that Ravenwood had found.
“Huh. Yeah. Those are them.”
“Ha. I thought so. An old friend of mine, he found these symbols scattered in various digs, across the world. He's spent a good deal of his life trying to find the origin of these symbols. He has been trying to find out where the same language has been written in dozens of different cultures and locations. He thought it might be evidence of explorers finding the new world long before modern history tells us they did, but if these are actually symbols of alien origin...”
“Explains a lot, then, huh?” Sam grinned up at him, eyes still bright from just having woken up. “Nice to know I’m not insane, that someone else has seen these things, too.”
“Well, I don't think Abner Ravenwood ever saw them glowing in the air, but he has seen the same symbols.” He conceded.
“I'm pretty sure I only seem them glowing in the air because of the All Spark thing.”
“Do you see them now?”
“Now?” Sam blinked up at him, then shook his head, looking back at the book. “Naw, I don't see them now. I think I’m fine. I dunno, maybe I’m learning how to read them better. Or maybe it's a control thing. I don't know, for sure. Do you have a bathroom?”
Indiana looked startled by the rapid change in topic, but nodded, and nodded towards the door to their left. “That's the washroom.”
He shook his head, and continued flipping through the book as the boy stumbled off to the bathroom. When he came back a few minutes later, Indiana had moved to the bed, and was sitting on it as he examined the pages of the book, trying to find a common thread in the symbols. Sam slumped to sit beside him on the bed, and frowned as he peered at the book. “So what does it mean, that these symbols are everywhere?”
“Perhaps nothing.” Indiana admitted.
“Well. That's no good.” He frowned, and tapped one of the pages. “Well, Decepticons have been on the planet for a long time... a really long time, obviously, or Megatron wouldn't have been buried up in the arctic for Archie to find.”
“Archibald. Witwicky.” He cleared his throat, awkwardly. “My granddad, remember?”
“Mm. I thought perhaps you were changing your story on that, seeing as how you were born in the future.”
“Well, he's still my granddad... just my great-great granddad. I wasn't kidding when I said that insanity ran in my family, remember? On the other hand, the guy wasn't as nuts as everyone seems to think he is. It's just the whole... you know, seeing a giant robot and being struck blind thing. It can drive a man insane, I’m told.”
“I can imagine.” Indiana shook his head.
“I guess if the Decepticons have really been here for a long time, maybe they left these behind. It's possible.” Sam pursed his lips, considering that. “You know, for all we know, these symbols are directions to find something.”
“And what something would that be? Your All Spark?”
“Oh, hell no.” Sam shook his head. “They haven't found that, remember? Humans hid it. Which, really, good on the humans for finding it for so long... I’m impressed. Of course, the government are idiots and they're not going to be aware of what it means, but... that's governments for you, huh?”
He smiled tightly, and clapped the book closed. “Get some sleep, kid.”
“Sam. Not kid. I’m not a kid.”
“You're a child.” He smirked, and stood.
“I'm eighteen.” Sam said, firmly, pointing at Indiana as the other man headed towards the bookshelves, which actually stood open and empty, all his books still kept in the boxes. “I'm a man, by all... technical rules. Hell, I’m old enough to vote, and everything. So no calling me a kid, all right?”
“Kid.” He said, again. “I'm nearly twice your age. When you get to be about my age, we can talk about whether or not you're a kid. And you are. Now get some sleep.”
“You're the one that woke me up.”
“Well, get some sleep now.” He smirked, taking off his glasses, and folding them up neatly before setting them on the desk. “Because if we're going to be breaking into this secret base of yours under that dam, then we had best get some sleep.”
Sam's eyes lit up.
“Ah.” He held up his hand. “Before you start talking about thanking me, I’m just pointing out that I’m doing this because of the discoveries we'll make for the historical record, not because I particularly believe that we should be trying to prevent the attack of the Decepticons.”
“Point taken.” He grinned.
“I am just looking for the facts.” Indiana smirked, and thumped down on the sofa. “Get some sleep, kid.”
“Call me something other than kid, please?” He groaned, all but throwing himself back onto the bed, staring up at the tiled ceiling. “Just... humour me.”
“Sure thing, sweetheart.” He smirked, laying back on the couch, and reached over to flick the lamp off.
The pathetic groan that came from the direction of his own bed was hilarious, as far as Indiana was concerned.
“I look like a freak.”
Indiana glanced up from his coffee to peer at the boy standing in the bathroom door, and arched a brow before picking up his fork again, scooping up some of his eggs. “You do not look anything like one of the inhabitants of the circuses, kid. You look quite... acceptable.”
Sam groaned, and stepped forward finally to slump in one of the seats at the table. Indiana had given him some clothing to wear, but apparently it didn't suit the other's tastes. Personally, he thought the brown slacks and a nice white button down was rather... suitable.
“And these shoes? I thought you were an archaeologist.”
“I am.” Indiana frowned, and nodded at the plate that was sitting vaguely in front of the other. “Eat something.”
“Right, well... aren't archaeologists supposed to be all... I dunno, ready to go through muck and dirt? These are... Sunday going to church shoes.”
“Sunday going to church shoes would be in far better shape than those.” He smirked. “Eat.”
“Well, I’m not going to argue, I like eating, but still.” Sam shook his head, and dug into his food, frowning. “Are you seriously wearing a bow tie?”
He blinked, and looked down at himself as though he could see it. “Yes. And?”
“Bow ties are... kind of old fashioned, don't you think?”
“Kid, it's 1935, remember? You're in my world, now, not yours.”
“Right.” Sam hesitated, clearing his throat. “Honestly, I kind of keep expecting to wake up and be home again. Right. 1935. Bow ties are cool.”
“Well, I’m not sure I’d say that.” He smirked. “As I understand it, to be 'cool' is to be a good jazz singer.”
“Oh.” Sam frowned. “...well then.”
Indiana smirked slightly, and said cheerfully, “If you need to go out for dinner or something in the little time you have before you go back to your own time, then perhaps I will find a way to get you into one, yourself. Now, finish your breakfast, and we'll go to the Boulder Dam.”
“You're going to correct me every time I say that, aren't you?” He arched a brow.
“Likely.” Sam grinned.
“You're lucky you're young.” He smirked. “Once you get to my age, you won't be quite so quick to bolt up in the morning after drinking like you did, last night.”
“You know, most guys your age like to pretend they're more like guys my age, instead of pointing out that they're, you know, older.”
“Yes, well. Some of us have the advantage of age, and are rather bound and determined to use it.” Indiana pointed out, calmly. “I've fought in wars, kid.”
“So have I.” He frowned. “I mean, not the same kind... I didn't fight in a great world war, or anything, I just saved the whole planet from being destroyed by giant alien robots that wanted to blow us all to kingdom come. I mean, not quite the same length, or anything, but kind of similar importance. I figure, anyway.”
“Mm. Perhaps.” Indiana agreed, then stood. “Are you ready?”
“Yeah. Yeah, let's go, quick as possible. I really want to get to that dam, and I want to destroy the All Spark, and I want to get home.”
“How do you destroy it?” He asked, quietly, offering Sam a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows. “That is, if you ever do manage to get into the dam base and find this thing?”
“Shoving it into Megatron's chest is the only way I know how to destroy it.” He admitted. “Which is handy, actually, since I’m pretty sure that's the only way to kill Megatron, too, and they're both supposed to be in the same place. Well, they were in 2007, anyway, so I kind of hope they're there. I mean, that's why the built the dam, to hide them, so... I hope they're there.”
“And if they're not?”
“I haven't got a single clue.” Sam sighed, and reluctantly tugged the jacket on. “This is ugly, by the way.”
“It's serviceable.” Indiana frowned, and tugged on his battered leather jacket.
“No, see, that is a nice jacket!” He waved his hands at him. “That is a stylish, manly look. Tweed makes me look like I’m a university professor, or something.”
“I am a university professor.” Indiana reminded him, setting his fedora on his head. He hesitated for another moment, then snagged the whip that was hanging on the coat rack as well, hooking it on his belt. There was an entire possibility that he wouldn't need it, but if he did, he hated being in the lurch without it, he really did. “So that, kid, is an insult.”
“Consider it a twisted compliment.” He rolled his eyes, and reluctantly buttoned up the front of the jacket. “I look like a freak.”
“I believe we've already had this conversation.” Indiana shook his head, and leaned forward to fix the boy's collar.
“Fine, but I don't want any pictures of this getting out. Anywhere.”
Entering the dam construction site wasn't as difficult as Sam had actually expected. Indiana had said something about it just being a construction site, so he didn't see the concern, but he was so used to his version of America, with paranoid signs and concerns over lawsuits left right and centre. Here, they just walked right onto the site, simple as you please, and no one asked any questions.
“What exactly are we looking for?”
Sam crinkled his nose, frowning slightly. “I don't know, not really. This isn't really the sort of thing I’ve had to find before. Last time, I was sort of taken in by military men, and this time, the thing isn't even finished yet. So I guess we go under the rock itself and hope to all hell that there's a giant All Spark there.”
“All right, then.” He adjusted his hat. “Lead the way.”
Sam smirked at him, and did as ordered, heading up through the scaffolding and the men working. It was a construction site unlike anything he'd ever seen before, really. The scaffolds were actually made of wood, and there were massive ladders and ramps that lead up to the higher levels. Even the construction of the dam itself was completely foreign to him, as it was like thousands of tiny boxes piled on top of each other. Only the boxes weren't actually tiny, they were massive monstrosities that kept moving further and further up, filling up the canyon they stood in.
“There are guards,” Sam said, quietly.
“Mm. I see them.” Indiana nodded.
There were several men in military uniforms, gathered near the entrance of a large door. Clearly this door lead underneath the dam itself, and Sam murmured, “That is definitely the entrance we need. I recognize it, even if the parts around it aren't built yet.”
“So we need to get in there.” The other man frowned slightly, and nodded. “Right then.”
“How do we do that?” Sam glanced up at him.
“Simple. Distract them.”
“Oh, well, that sounds terribly simple.” Sam arched a brow, and motioned around them. “And how do we do that? I can't call them, they don't have a phone. And cell phones don't exist, even if they did. And I can't throw a grenade or something, because I don't have any of those, either. So how exactly are we supposed to distract them?”
Indiana smirked, and tugged the whip off of his belt – then tugged his glasses off, folding them up and tucking them inside his jacket.
“Did you know that you look like some kind of tomb raider without the glasses?” Sam asked.
“I've been told that, yeah.”
“Just so long as you know.” He grinned, then demanded, “Now, what are you going to do to try and distract them?”
He just grinned back at him, and shifted forward, unfurling the whip, slowly, so that it was looped loosely in his hand. Indiana stood back slightly, squaring his shoulders, then snapped the whip out. With a sharp crack, it whistled through the air, and the weighted end of the bullwhip curled around one of the supports for a nearby scaffold, one with buckets of water and cement and even a large pail of nails, presumably for building more scaffolding. He glanced at Sam with a smirk, then jerked his hand back, and the whole structure leaned drunkily for a moment, then it sagged.
“Oh shit,” Sam gasped, and got ready to bolt. He was going to have to run. Fast.
Sure enough, the entire structure began to let out creaking sounds of protest, then the entire unit began to fall, unit by unit, like a massive set of dominoes. There were shouts of surprise and pain from men that were working on the higher levels, then the crashing started.
“Son of a bitch!” Sam gasped, stunned.
The distraction had done what it was supposed to, though, the soldiers abandoned their post to rush forward to try and figure out what was going on - or, he supposed, to try and get away from the danger – and Indiana rushed towards him, shouting, “ Move , kid!”
The older man caught his arm, and Sam was more than willing to let him pull him into the base under the dam, and they ran until they could no longer hear the crashing of wood and the air grew stale.
And then they burst into the cavern.
“Oh.” Sam breathed, looking up at the massive shape ahead of them, mouth open as he gaped up at it. “Not what we actually came to find, but... holy shit.”
“Jesus Christ.” Indiana breathed.
It was Megatron.
Indiana didn't know this, of course, but he knew that it was a massive shape, several building stories tall, shaped in a vaguely humanoid shape – though clearly actually a machine, rather than an actual creature – and it was encased entirely in ice. There were wires and hoses leading up towards it, trying to keep it frozen, perhaps, and there was a metal plaque on the base of the stand that it was standing on. Indiana brushed his fingers over the raised letters and read, aloud, “N.B.E. One.”
“Non Biological extraterrestrials, I think. I think that's what they said it stood for. Not sure.” Sam bit his hip, and looked up. There was some kind of crane beside the stand, though it wasn't the same equipment he remembered seeing in about seventy years. It was just a regular crane, rather than a fancy hydraulic and robotics device. There were tables around the room with equipment and microscopes and test tubes and little bits of electronics that he was fairly certain came from Megatron's own body scattered across their surfaces. “They told me, or they will tell me, that most of the twenty-first century's technology was reverse engineered from him. That they sort of took him apart, tried to figure out how he ticked, and then used those discoveries to build... everything. Televisions even, they're going to be based on this.”
“Televisions.” Indiana repeated.
“Yeah, it's a... you know what, never mind, it's too complicated to explain, anyway. This is Megatron.”
“This is the Decepticon that you kill.”
He nodded, looking up – and up – at the massive ice bound machine that towered over them. “I kill him. Shove the All Spark right into his chest and kill him. It was certainly better than the alternative.”
“And that was?”
“He offered to let me live as his pet.” Sam smirked at Indiana. “Which considering how much he hates humans and considers us a disease upon this universe that he wants to completely annihilate, I suppose I should be flattered.”
He snorted, unimpressed. “Why call him N.B.E. One if his name is Megatron?”
“I assume because they don't know his name is Megatron.” Sam clambered up onto the large base that he stood on, frowning as he considered the massive machine, reaching out to press his fingers to the ice. He jerked them back a second later, and grinned sheepishly at Indiana. “Freezing. Which... you know, makes sense. It's not like they can just ask him. He's frozen.”
“So is he sleeping, then? Or dead?”
“Well, he's not dead, because I kill him in 2007. He might be sleeping, but...” Sam hesitated.
He hesitated, and glanced at Indiana. “Cybertronians speak... Cybertronian. Whatever their language is called. They don't speak English, not unless they're learning it. It doesn't usually take them long to learn it, but they have to learn it. And Megatron here has been encased in ice for close to ten thousand years. So if he's been in ice for ten thousand years, how the hell did he learn perfect English? Because he speaks it. Perfectly. No hesitation. He didn't have to learn it when they thawed him, he knew it.”
“English certainly did not exist ten thousand years ago.” Indiana frowned.
“Exactly.” He took a deep breath. “So I think he's been awake this whole time. Is awake right now, too. I don't know how much he hears, but I think he hears enough. Enough to know the language, to know our culture... everything.”
“So while they were reverse engineering him, he was reverse engineering us.” The other man frowned slightly.
“You just told him that you kill him, then.”
Sam hesitated, and scratched the back of his neck. “...yeah, I guess I did. Whoops.”
“You also told him that he offered to keep you as a pet.” He smirked, and leaned on the edge of the stand himself, considering the man and the massive machine, both. “You're not terribly good at this, are you?”
“Honestly?” Sam grinned. “No.”
“I didn't think so. Can you kill him now?”
“Not without the All Spark... he's powerful. He's not just a machine, Indy, he's a full... powerful Decepticon. Ruler of a whole faction of evil robot aliens. I need the All Spark if I have any hope of killing him. So I need to find that.”
“Then let's find it.” Indiana said, though his eyes lingered on Megatron for a long moment.
“Starting to believe me, yet?” He smirked, as he hopped off of the platform.
“I've believed you since I saw those symbols.” He said tightly, then said, “Where do we need to go from here?”
“The whole dam was built on top of the All Spark, so it should be down here somewhere... I think I remember. Come on.” Sam glanced at the other, and lead the way towards the left. The dam wasn't finished, and the structure under the dam – that is, the secret tunnels through which they were traveling – clearly weren't finished, either. There were scaffolds here, as well, and tools were scattered about. There were whole portions of walls unfinished, and every now and again he'd point out something that he remembered differently or finished. The compound was massive, though, and Sam finally stopped, and said, “Something's not right.”
“What do you mean?”
“It should be here.” He waved in front of him. “The All Spark. It should be here. I remember there being a room here.”
There was no door, though, no entrance, no way to enter. There was just a massive, rough to the touch stone wall that spread out as far as they could see on either side, meaning that there would be no entering any space that lay beyond – if any space even lay beyond. It was hard to tell. “I swear, there was a door right here ...”
“Maybe they haven't brought it here.”
“It's not here to bring, they built it around the All Spark.” he grunted, frustrated, and threw his hands up. “I don't know, Indiana, it's supposed to be here...”
“There is a theory.” He said, quietly.
Sam glanced at him, brows furrowed. “A theory? Of what, of why Sam Witwicky is cursed by a million different things in this universe?”
“No. Of time travel.”
Sam blinked at him. “All right... theories of time travel... where do these theories come from, just before I ask? I mean, we're not talking Buck Rogers or something, are we?”
“No.” Indiana smiled slightly, and reached over to squeeze the other man's shoulder. “We're talking about scientific theory.”
“Oh. Well. By all means, then.” Sam snickered.
“There is a theory, that were it possible to travel through time, you may not be able to change anything. That the universe itself would interfere to ensure that it would not be altered. If this were the case... then that would explain why a door you expect to lead into the place where you intend to completely alter the course of human history would not be there.”
The boy gaped at him. “...what's the point of time travel, then?”
“Why did you come here?” Indiana asked. “Did you come with the purpose of changing the past?”
“...no.” Sam admitted, slumping against the wall, staring out at the hallway. “No, I came to the past because the symbols told me to, but... no, it wasn't to change things. It was to go somewhere safe.”
“Safe.” The other repeated.
“I have the entire All Spark's knowledge in my head, Indiana.” Sam tapped his own temple. “You know how dangerous that is? And even if it wasn't dangerous, they brought Megatron back. He hates me. I mean, more than other humans. Because I killed him. And I destroyed the All Spark while I was at it, I made a mess of all of his plans, and I refused his oh-so-generous offer to keep me alive as his pet. I am screwed, Indy. Do you not get that? If I were back in my own time, right now, I’d have the military running to try and protect me, and Bumblebee, my car, would be coming to get me, and Captain Lennox would be trying to put me in some kind of protective custody and everything, and... I’d have the biggest target on my back right now, were I in my own time. Lennox said they were going to get me somewhere safe, and I – I said there was no where safe. So I listened to the damn symbols, and I went somewhen safe.”
“Mm. If you were meant to come somewhere safe, then would it not make sense that you should be avoiding places that would lead to the very danger you were trying to avoid?” Indiana arched a brow.
“...shit. I just figured that if I wiped out the thing that was the threat in the first place...”
“And when has that worked, in the past?”
“...never.” He sighed. “You win. Let's get the hell – hell – hell - “
“Kid?” Indy frowned, stepping closer to him.
“It's here.” He said, though Sam seemed to be moving strangely, his left eye twitching so quickly that it looked like he was having some kind of seizure, like his body wasn't actually managing to process the thoughts that were streaming through his mind as fast as they were traveling through him. “It's h-h-h-h-here. Fuck, I can't even ta – talk - talk. It's here. I can f-f-f-feel it.”
“What's here?” he asked, grabbing Sam's shoulders, trying to hold him still. “What are you feeling?”
“Spark,” his eyes flicked up to Indiana's face, though they were glazed, like they didn't quite focus right, and he scrambled forward, pressing his palms against the wall. “There is no door. But it's there.”
“And you can feel it?”
Sam nodded, and gestured, trying to explain it. “I can see them again. They're in my head... they're like... directions. Instructions, maybe. Do you have a knife?”
He nodded, and dug in his jacket pocket, offering him a pocket knife.
Flicking it open, Sam scrambled forward to scratch at the stone wall, which turned out to not be stone, but some kind of flaky cement. And though it wasn't expert by any means, the knife did cut into it well enough to leave a trail behind as Sam began carving quickly, leaving a series of symbols that matched the ones in the book that Ravenwood had recorded.
“What do they mean?” Indiana frowned, leaning over Sam's shoulder when the teenager stopped scrawling at the walls.
“...they want us to go to Egypt.”
“Egypt.” Indiana repeated. “What's in Egypt?”
“A weapon. A weapon that came from Cybertron, and was found by humans. I don't know what kind of weapon, or what it does, but...” He waved at the wall. “That's what it says.”
“Translate it for me,” He shifted forward, touching one of the symbols. “What does this mean?”
“I don't know.” Sam shook his head.
“And this one?” He pointed at another.
“I don't have any idea.” He shrugged, looking slightly awkward and out of place. “I have no idea what that says.”
“But this whole message... it says 'go to Egypt, there's a Cybertron weapon there'.” Indiana frowned, looking entirely skeptical.
“No, it – I don't know.” Sam looked about as helpless as Indy was starting to feel in regards to this whole situation. “I have no idea what that says, I can't read it. It's in... some alien language that makes no sense to me at all. I just know that there's some... thought behind it, and that my brain is telling me that it's about a weapon in Egypt. But I’ve got this whole pile of knowledge in my head, Indy, and for all I know, it's just part of that, but... this is what I see, this is what I write, and I sort of... figure it out.”
“Not terribly helpful,” he grumbled, then his head shot up. “Did you hear that?”
Sam frowned, looking up, then his eyes widened. “Voices. People are coming.”
“And if people are coming, they're going to find these symbols.” Indiana snatched the knife out of Sam's hand, folding it up and shoving it in his pocket. “And if they find those symbols, they are going to know that someone was here.”
“And then they'll catch me and dissect my brain cause I’m from the future. Oh god, I don't want my brain dissected, Indy, they're going to cut my brain open and try to figure out how I have the All Spark in my brain. I don't want to be dissected, I rather like my brain the way it is.”
“I can imagine you might.”
“So what do we do?” Sam looked up at him with wide eyes.
“We get out of here.” He tapped his arm, and smirked. “Follow me, got it?”
“Your every move.” He nodded, rapidly.
As it happened, Sam didn't actually follow Indiana's exact every move, but he didn't complain quite as much as he expected he might, usually.
The kid wasn't any sort of expert fighter, that was absolutely certain. He sort of seemed awkward and sort of clumsy, but when they'd found trouble among the soldiers, and oh yes , they'd run into soldiers and they'd run into trouble, Sam had sort of burst into the trouble itself with very little sense of self-preservation, and a much stronger sense of getting out of the trouble fast as humanly possible. It was the same sort of thing that Indy himself usually did. Of course, it was also sort of funny to see the boy apologize profusely to every man that he or Indiana had to knock out. “Just don't feel right, attacking our own guys, you know what I mean, right?”
But they'd gotten out, all the same, and Indiana was fairly sure that no one there had figured out who they were.
“It so weird, there not being cameras everywhere,” Sam laughed, as he collapsed on Indiana's couch, later that afternoon.
“Why would there be anyone there with cameras?” He looked confused, sitting slightly less dramatically beside him on the couch. “The dam isn't finished, and unless they sent someone to catalogue the building process...”
“No, like... security cameras.”
Indiana gave the boy a blank look. “I'm going to assume that's a phenomenon you are used to from your own time period.”
“...guess so. Huh.” He blinked. “The thirties are weird.”
He shook his head, then said, finally, “Did you find what you thought you were looking for?”
“No. Obviously.” Sam sighed heavily, and sank down in his seat, staring at the wall of Indiana's apartment. “I thought I could destroy the All Spark. And maybe Megatron, too. Before the world goes to shit. I mean, don't get me wrong, I’m sure you like living in 1935 and listening to the radio for fun, and... not having the internet. And maybe if I destroy Megatron, we won't get cell phones and X-Boxes and television, but... I dunno. I sort of think it might be a small price to pay to never have to watch alien robots trying to enslave our race. But no, I get some funky symbols in my brain that tell me about some kind of weapon on Egypt that they want me to find, terribly helpful.”
“Well. You could go to Egypt, then.”
“Oh, yeah, cause that's easy.” He laughed, breathlessly. “You know, back in 2007, I have a passport. But I sure as hell don't have it here, and even if I did, it's a passport from 2005 or something. It's not gonna do me any good. How in the world am I supposed to go to Egypt?”
“Well, I have some friends that might go. Otherwise... I don't know what your plans are.”
“I'm a displaced migrant.” He sighed softly. “Or something. I’m not supposed to be here, I’m supposed to be at home and going to school at Princeton and saving the world. Instead I have the All Spark in my head, and I’m going insane. You saw the twitchy thing! I do this twitchy thing!”
“I did notice that,” Indiana agreed.
“So what do I do? I mean... I can't just go telling people I’m from the future. I have to blend in. Oh god, I have to blend in. I don't know how to blend in. I didn't even blend in in my own time, what am I supposed to do here!?”
“You talk a lot.” Indiana said, at last, and pushed himself up from his seat, heading to the little kitchen to make coffee.
“Yeah, it's a... it's a thing I do. When I get nervous.” Sam swallowed, and twisted in his seat to watch the other work. “I get nervous a lot. I kinda... it's a nerve thing. Doctors say I have ADD or something... you know, hyper.”
“Mmhmm.” The other nodded, having no idea what he was talking about.
Sam was silent for a while, which was actually something of a nice change. Indiana set about boiling the water, silently, relieved that for a moment, things were still and silent, then finally Sam spoke up again, sounded sort of subdued for once. “What do I do?”
“You could try and find a way back to your own time?” He suggested, finally leaving the kitchen with a pair of coffee mugs, offering one of them to Sam.
“I don't know if that's even possible.” He murmured, taking the mug, gratefully. “I don't know where the shard is, anymore, so I can't do the same... time travel cannon thing, this time. And even if I can get home, Megatron's still there, the All Spark shards are still there, Megatron will still destroy us... if I go back to my own time, I’m screwed.”
“Maybe that's why those All Spark symbols are telling you to find a weapon in Egypt.”
Sam blinked. “Huh. To like... find something to save me?”
“It's possible.” Indiana settled beside him, again, drinking a swallow of his coffee, relieved. “After all, this All Spark knowledge, these symbols... even though you don't actually understand them, they seem to be focused on self preservation. And you, Sam, are their housing, now. So they're preserving you. They took you to the past, to keep you safe, and now they're giving you leads to a weapon. I’d say that the All Spark intends to keep you safe.”
“Great, but... why 1935? I mean, this is the year they built the dam around the Cube, and Megatron, and you'd think it would be smarter to take me somewhere that had no connection to this whole war, right? I mean, why now? Why the 1930s? Why Princeton again? I mean, Optimus told me once that they can like... travel through space sometimes, not like we do, like... they used some kind of teleportation thing. And if the Spark could send me seventy some years into the past, why the hell couldn't it also send me seventy some million miles away? I don't get it.”
“The All Spark... does it keep learning?”
“I don't know.” He admitted, frowning. “I mean... Megatron kept listening, so yeah, I’d guess that it probably could have kept learning.”
“Your All Spark is from 2009, correct?”
Sam nodded, sipping at his coffee, watching the other man over the edge of his mug.
“Then presumably, it has the knowledge of everything that has happened. If it was aiming for self defense and self preservation...” Indiana frowned, thinking seriously about that. “Then it sent you here for a reason. It would have known that you would need to be here, in 1935, now. Why would it do that?”
“Maybe it thought there was something here that could help.” He frowned. “Like that weapon, maybe.”
“Or maybe you were supposed to be here.” Indiana stood, heading for his boxes of books again, digging through them. “I don't have a good deal of resources on the theories of time travel, but I have a few books that could be helpful, if we were to look into this.”
“But you said maybe the universe was changing things so that I couldn't change anything. Why then would I need to be here?”
“Perhaps because you've already been here?”
“That... doesn't make any sense.”
Indiana shifted to lean on his desk, holding a book against his hip for a moment as he considered that. “Think of time as a line, all right?”
“You are here.” He twisted to knock the contents of his desk off, sweeping his arm across the surface to clear it completely. Books and papers and his lamp tumbled to the floor, but he ignored it. Scooping up his coffee mug, he held it up. “This is you. And this is you here, in 2009, where you came from.”
He set the mug on the end of the desk, nodding at him.
“Okay... I’m a coffee mug. In my own time.” Sam nodded, frowning.
“Yes. And this is me.” Indiana picked up his magnifying glass that he hadn't managed to put away the night before. “In my time. Here.” He set it on the other end of the desk. “These two things probably don't cross, right? I mean, if I were alive in 2009, I would have had to have been over a hundred years old. A hundred and ten, to be exact, and I doubt that. So these two lines do not cross. But then...” He darted forward to snag the coffee mug out of Sam's hand, and set it beside the magnifying glass. “You're here. Now. With me. But you're still in your time, 2009, perhaps ten minutes before you came here.”
“Oh.” Sam blinked at him. “I'm in two places at once. This is making my head hurt.”
“Yes, well... that's science for you.” Indiana sneered slightly, looking down at the little display. “I prefer history. Facts, things that have happened. Provable facts. In either case. You are both here, and now. And in your time... this has already passed, it is already over.” He tapped the magnifying glass. “Correct?”
“Oh yeah, I think I’m starting to get this.” Sam stood up, moving closer. “In my time, I’ve already been here. In order for everything to be... 2009... 1935 is in the past. So I’m in two places at once, but I’ve already been here, this has already happened.”
“Right.” Indiana nodded, looking down at the strange little diorama. “Perhaps you are here because you were required to be here, for history to progress as it was meant to.”
“So I had to time travel because I technically already had time traveled.” Sam said, slowly.
“Exactly.” He nodded, grinning at him.
“I take it back. I thought my head hurt before. Now it's pounding.” He groaned, and rubbed at his forehead for a few moments before finally looking up at Indiana. “Okay, I don't know 1935 very well. But suppose I wanted to talk to someone really smart. Someone who understood time travel and math and everything. Someone like... Einstein smart. Who would I talk to?”
Indiana mulled that over for a moment. “Einstein.”
“Yeah, someone Einstein smart.”
“No, kid.” Indy held up his hands. “If I wanted to talk to someone Einstein smart, I’d talk to Einstein.”
“I've met him a few times. He's not what I’d call a friend, but I would consider him something of an academic counterpart, and I do believe I have his phone number, if you wished to speak to someone that was, so to speak, Einstein smart.”
Sam blinked at him, then his eyes lit up. “Make the call.”
Einstein wasn't available right away. There was, apparently, a delay to meet him because of his academic commitments. So Sam would have to wait about a week to meet with someone “Einstein Smart”.
What Sam discovered in the week that he had to wait was that the 1930s weren't so bad.
Well, unless you liked watching television, going on the internet, playing video games, or anything else that Sam had pretty much consumed his life with. Which meant that he actually greatly disliked this week, and all of the things that happened during it.
He still wore Indiana's clothes, which unfortunately meant that he still looked like a freak in his opinion, but the longer he wore them, the more he got used to them, he supposed. The shoes were actually pretty damn comfortable – the man certainly hadn't been lying that these would be a good pair of shoes to go exploring a tomb in. and while there was no television or internet, he found that the radio programs were actually kind of fun – he really liked the Buck Rogers radio show, actually, though it was only on for fifteen minutes in the afternoon. Still, while he puttered around Indiana's apartment while the other man was at school doing his teaching thing, he cranked the radio up and before long found himself singing along with songs that would have made him cringe back in his own time. Funny, how this time travel thing worked.
“I'm going stir crazy.”
Indiana frowned slightly, closing the door behind himself, setting his briefcase down on his desk. His very neat desk, that had a pile of term papers on the blotter, ready to be marked. Scratch that, already marked. Badly. Thank god the boy wrote the marking in pencil.
Books were on the shelves, artifacts were carefully stacked by type – not by genre or nation, they would need to be resorted, but at least the boy had actually tried. The bed was made – again, badly – and there was something of a dinner on the table, although the toast looked burnt and he was fairly sure the pasta that he'd cooked was a little too al dente. But at least he'd tried to do something constructive, Indy supposed, instead of just loafing around and making the place smell bad. The radio was a touch too loud, though.
He reached over to flick the radio off, and took off his hat, then his jacket. “You're turning into a proper little housewife, kid.”
“Very funny.” Sam crinkled his nose, and nodded at the table. “Dinner's ready.”
“So I see.” He settled down at the table, and nodded at the other seat. “Do sit. I think we need to find you something to do other than cleaning house.”
“I'd be all for that, but there's no tv to watch, no internet to surf, no video games to play... you don't even have like... pretty girls to watch, okay? This is going to drive me insane. This past world thing may be all well and good for you, but for me, I’m losing my mind.”
“Maybe you need something to distract you,” he smirked, eating the spaghetti – which wasn't bad spaghetti, really – and considering that. “We do meet with Einstein tomorrow.”
“Yeah, where do we have to go for that, anyway?”
“He teaches at this school, kid.”
Sam blinked at him. “...he teaches here ? At Princeton?”
“I thought you attended Princeton, in your own time,” Indiana arched a brow, considering him for a moment. “Were you completely unaware of the calibre of professors that had taught at this school before you actually attended it?”
He sighed again, shaking his head. “In any case, we're simply going to his house tomorrow.”
“Well, if he just works at this school, why did we have to wait a week for him to be able to meet with us?” Sam frowned, digging into his own food. “I mean, why not just show up at his office hours?”
“Because I rather believed that you would need considerably more time to talk to him than his office hours.”
“In any case,” Indiana smirked slightly, taking a bite of the toast and confirming that it was very much burnt, “Should Einstein by unable to provide you a way home tomorrow, then you're going to need to find something to occupy yourself with. What do you want to do?”
“You were in school before, correct?” Indiana considered that. “Go to school again.”
“And how am I supposed to get in?” Sam twirled spaghetti around his fork, and pointed at him with the saucy noodles. “I don't have any grades in 1935, I don't have a birth certificate, I don't have ID, and I really don't have any money. Completely broke.”
“There are ways around that.”
“Yeah? Well, how does a kid with no grades and no money get into university classes?” He demanded.
“Faculty are able to take courses for free, as part of their arrangement with the university.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not faculty.” He rolled his eyes, and dug into his spaghetti, slightly grumpily. “So I can't do that. How the hell am I supposed to get free classes when I’m not faculty, genius? I know you are, but what, you're going to pretend I’m your son of something, so that I can get in?”
“If you were my son, I would have been sixteen when you were born.” Indiana dead-panned.
“...you're not that much older than me, then. Shit. I thought you said you were twice my age.” Sam shook his head. “Okay, so you don't pretend I’m your son. Then what? Boyfriend?”
The other man's eyebrows shot up towards his hairline.
“Oh wait, this is the thirties... that was kinda frowned on, wasn't it?” He cleared his throat. “Forget I said that. So what are you going to do with me, then?”
Indiana considered the other man for a very long moment, then finally said, “You haven't done a half-bad job with this place.”
He frowned. “...thanks.”
“What was your major, here at Princeton, in your own time?”
“...I have never heard of that.”
“You're the university professor here,” Sam snorted, amused by that.
“And that is a bullshit major. You're history, now. Archaeology, specifically. You're also my teaching aid. That makes you faculty. I’ll drop by the human resources office tomorrow, make it official. Welcome to Princeton, again, and welcome to the wonderful world of being dragged the world over for my jobs. If you're lucky, we'll go to Egypt one of these days. We might even find your weapon.”
“How do I look?”
Indiana glanced over at him, and smirked slightly. “Like a man that is about to shit his pants.”
“Thanks.” He swallowed, looking down at himself. He was dressed in that ridiculous brown tweed suit again, but this time, he had, in fact, gotten him into a bowtie. The suit was a clean sort of look, technically, but Sam looked like an idiot. It wasn't the clothes, it was the look of the man wearing it. Maybe if he relaxed a little, he'd look less like he was a panicked boy wearing his father's clothing and trying to look like an adult.
“He's just a man, kid. Relax.” He shook his head, and opened the door to the office, leaning inside. “Doctor?”
The man at the desk looked up, and smiled brightly. “Ah! Doctor Jones! Come in, do come in.”
Sam swallowed hard, and followed Indy in.
Einstein was something of a legend in the 2000s. Sam had heard of him since he was a kid, since he was old enough to know that math was hard and that someone who was really good at math was an amazing thing. He was an almost mythical figure, white haired and crazy looking – and, apparently, slightly crazy. He was sitting behind his desk exactly like Sam might have imagined that he would, dressed in a sweater vest and with greying – not white, just grey – hair sort of chaotically sticking in many directions, like he had ran his hand through it recently and stuck it all on end. He was smiling at them, brightly. “Ah. Doctor Jones, and you must be the one that wanted to talk about time travel.”
“Sam – Sam Witwicky sir, it's a great honour...” Sam scrambled forward, offering his hand.
The other just sort of looked amused, but shook his hand, cheerfully.
“Albert, please.” Einstein smiled brightly at them, and settled back in his seat. “We are both doctors, Herr Doctor Jones, and I imagine that it would become confusing.”
“Indiana.” He grinned, and settled down in one of the two seats in front of the desk.
Sam scrambled to sit beside him.
“So. You were interested in time travel.” Einstein considered them both. “You are aware, of course, that the theory of relativity is hardly one of my more recent works. I am often asked about it, and I find it, frankly, somewhat frustrating. I have yet to find anyone who actually understands it, when they approach me on the street to ask me whether or not ee equals em cee squared.”
The kid laughed, breathlessly, and Einstein arched a brow at him. “...sorry.”
“We do understand your theory, Albert.” Indiana hesitated. “Or rather, we're working on it. But we have an investment in it. We know your theory suggests that a person can go forward in time if they can travel fast enough. What we want to know is about going back in time.”
“It's impossible.” He said, quietly. “Simply cannot be done.”
Sam took a deep breath, and glanced over at his companion, swallowing. “Okay, this is going to sound insane. But I’m from 2009. I’m a time traveler. And accidental time traveler to make it even worse. I just sort of did what the symbols said. Which... sounds insane. I know. But anyway, there are thirteen dimensions, sir, not four. You were wrong. There are thirteen, and it's possible to go backwards... we just... don't know how I did. Just that... I did. The big deal is how to get back now that I’m here. How do I hit that speed of light to get home?”
Einstein laughed, and looked over at Indiana. “Your companion is quite an interesting character, Indiana.”
“He is that.” He grinned. “But he happens to be telling the truth.”
“It is impossible.” He shook his head, smirking faintly. “I have had it suggested to me many times before, but it is not possible.”
“Look, sir... you're a legend in my time.” Sam shifted forward, swallowing hard. “People all think you're amazing, that you're some kind of genius. You are like scary smart, I know that. I can tell you all sorts of things about my world, about the things that have changed because of the things you've done. I just need to know how to travel faster than light to get home.”
“...well, I would imagine that you could do it if you had a ship that could travel fast enough... that is, of course, what my theory suggests.” Einstein frowned slightly, folding his fingers. “But there is no such thing.”
“He did it using this, last time.” Indiana shifted forward, and offered the man a shard of metal.
“Hey! You had it?!”
Both of the older men ignored him, as Einstein turned the little metal shard over in his fingers. “What is this?” He asked, finally. “It is unlike anything I have ever seen before... I am not a geologist, but this seems... alien to me.”
“It is.” Indy confirmed. “Not the way you think, though. It's truly alien. As in, it came from space. It was part of a construct created by an alien race from a planet called Cybertron, so my friend tells it. And this species has mastered the ability to travel through time. Sam here managed to use their ability to do so... though he doesn't know how to actually control it, and now he can't get back to his own time.”
“Fascinating.” Einstein breathed.
“Can I have my shard back, now?” Sam grumbled, holding out his hand.
“Young man... I need to hear everything.” The mathematician looked up, eyes wide and excited. “Everything about how you did it. I must know.”
“You know, I think I should write some memoirs.”
“That doesn't sound like grading grammar,” Indiana said, without looking up from the book he was reading, jotting another note in the margins.
Sam sighed heavily from his own desk, and said, grumpily, “I am grading grammar. And might I point out that your students have terrible grammar. Look, I’m trying to be a good little student, but we're sitting in an office, grading by candlelight . Candlelight! There's no lamp, no, we're using glass lamps with candles. It's like we're living in the dark ages.”
“If we were truly living in dark ages, then I doubt that we would have a candle.” Indy said, calmly.
“Technically true, but seriously. I mean, I could write a great story if I wrote my memoirs or something. Tell them all how Einstein is secretly the biggest science fiction nerd ever, explain how there were totally some awesome radio shows back in the day, and that time travel sucks monkey balls.”
Indiana huffed, smirking slightly as he finally looked up. How the administration had managed to fit another desk into his tiny office he'd never know, but they had, and the boy was sitting at his desk now, a pile of papers spread out in front of him, pencil in hand. He was supposed to be marking them, but he was doing a fairly bad job of that, all things considered. The boy's grammar was worse than most of the students, but at least he was learning – and learning fast, too. The boy was a quick student, at least. “I doubt anyone would read it. The only person that might be interested is likely myself.”
“Yeah, well... I know that.” Sam smirked. “I know I’m nothing interesting.”
“Well, I wouldn't say that.” He smirked.
Sam snickered, and stretched, cracking his back. He was really starting to fit in, now – he had a tie hanging loose and undone around his neck, and there was a suit jacket hanging on the back of the chair he was sitting in. If you asked Indy, it was a good look for the kid. He fit in.
Better than he'd expected, certainly.
There was a knock on the small office door, and Sam looked up, sharply, before sliding out of the seat. “I know, I know, I’m the assistant, it's my job to answer the – oh. Hello.” He looked up at the pair of men in dark suits standing on the other side of the door, and said, “Can I help you?”
“Doctor Jones?” The man asked.
“Naw, Sam Witwicky. He's Doctor Jones.” He stepped back to the side, so that the men could see inside to Indy.
“Witwicky.” The man said, smirking slightly. “Any relation to Archibald Witwicky, perhaps, the explorer?”
“Grandfather.” He said, smirking right back.
“Fascinating. Doctor Jones, may we speak to you? It is about a matter of the utmost importance. National security.”
“If you need to talk to me, then you need to talk to my assistant.” Indy smirked. “Sam, do let them in.”
Sam didn't like Marion Ravenwood.
Sure, he'd thought at first that she was pretty awesome, because they found her in a bar, drinking some giant mountain man under the table, but then she got incredibly whiny and shriek-y. He'd had a hard enough time convincing Indiana in the last few months that he was worth a damn, and this woman walked in, smiled at the professor like it was no big deal, and he snarked at her in a sarcastic but sort of sickening way that Indy had never bantered with him .
He didn't like it.
Even now, they were sitting around the terrace in Sullah's house, and it was sickening. Sam had met Sullah, so he'd thought at first that he'd somehow have an advantage over the bitch once they got here, but no, apparently Marion had met Sullah before, too, and she was acting like a total entitled brat here, too. Playing around with that fucking monkey and telling Indy that it was their child ... ooh. He did not like that woman.
“One would think, my young friend, that you were jealous.”
Sam looked up from his coffee, smiling faintly at Sullah, who was leaning on the back of the chair beside him, smiling down at him, brightly. “Jealous of who, exactly, Sullah?”
“Of Marion.” He smirked, and pulled out his chair, sitting down.
“Oh come on, jealous of her? She has bad hair, she shrieks like a banshee, and she's about as useless in a fight as a wet noodle. Seriously, she is nothing to be jealous of.”
“Mmm. So you say.”
“So I say.” Sam grumbled, hunching his shoulders as he crunched back in his seat, glaring into his coffee. “There is nothing to be jealous of, and therefore I am not jealous. If I were jealous I would have like... handed her over to the Nazis or something. I didn't hand her over to the Nazis. I was a good little boy and I did my job and I got Indy his gun when he asked for it, and I grabbed his hat when he dropped it, and I even carried his fucking books halfway across the planet for Indy, and... and why is he over there, flirting with her, when she's already fucking broke his heart once before and I’m sitting right fucking here for far more intelligent conversation. Hey, I could bring him on great new exciting adventures just because I have a whole... whole list of places to go, and he's talking to her.”
“I would imagine that it is because she is a pretty lady.” Sullah said, cheerfully.
“Oh please, her? She's not that pretty, believe me. I had a much prettier girlfriend back... back home.”
“Oh, did you now?” Sullah grinned. “So you say, but now you are sitting on my terrace, in my home, lying to me about being jealous, instead of being with her.”
“Yeah, well... Indy's my life these days, okay?” He grumbled.
He was, too. He was the only man who really knew the truth of why he was here, about the Decepticons and the Autobots. Indiana was his link to the world, and Indy was the one who tried very hard to help him blend into this damn time zone. There were barely any cars, and those that were around were smelly and funny looking, and... Sam sort of wanted to go back to classic Cameros that turned into robots.
“Now, I do not presume to understand the... ah... friendship that you have with Indiana. But I have known him since he was a boy, and you I have known nearly a year, now.” Sullah hesitated, then said, “Indiana is a good man, Samuel.”
“I know that,” he grumbled, picking at the invisible lint on his suit. Of course there wasn't really lint. Sullah's wife kept too neat of a house for him to have been walking around looking like he usually did. He sometimes thought he was subconsciously trying to muck up every attempt he made at trying his tie – because it always made Indy huff impatiently and step up to tie it for him with those nimble fingers of his when he saw it untied. But this morning, when he'd stepped out of his room and hollered for “Indy, can you help me with my tie?” it had been Marion frigging Ravenwood that had stepped forward, all smiles, to offer her help.
He was seriously considering not wearing a tie, tomorrow.
“And as much as you may now wish to be the Hephaestion to his Alexander, our friend Indiana may not feel the same. You must expect that, Samuel. I do not mean to disappoint you, I just do not wish to foster false hope.”
“There is nothing I am hoping for,” he said, quickly, embarrassed.
Honestly, he had no idea what Sullah was talking about, Alexander and Hephaestion, but it sounded very much like the sort of conversation he did not want to be having with Sullah.
“I simply want you to know, Samuel, that I am here, should you need someone you can speak to that will keep your confidence...”
“Yes, thank you, Sullah.” Sam said, quickly, flushed bright red as he stood. “I'm – ah – I’m going to ask Indy what we're going to do next, all right?”
“Of course, Samuel,” he nodded, sagely.
Face red, Sam darted over to where Marion and Indy were talking, bound and determined to interrupt their stupid little conversation, and, if at all possible, remind Indy who wasn't the hussy that had ruined his life and abandoned him for years.
That was him, of course.
Later, when they were walking through the marketplace, moments before everything went all to hell, Sam darted up to Indiana's side, and bumped against his arm, slightly, as he asked, “Who are Alexander and Hephaestion?”
Indiana blinked, frowning down at him for a moment. “Well, Alexander the Great, of course, and his best friend. Hephaestion.”
Sam frowned, sort of half jogging beside the man, to keep up with him. That didn't really make sense. “So he was just his best friend?”
He glanced up at him, brows furrowed.
“He was his best friend.” Indiana adjusted his hat on his head slightly, and Sam idly curled his fingers around the glasses case in his jacket pocket – Indy rarely wore his glasses while out on the field, so it was Sam's job, as his assistant, to keep a hold of them. He could never decide if he liked Indy better with them or without. “Though as was often the custom in those days, they were more than that, as well. Plato writes that the only thing that had ever conquered Alexander was Hephaestion's thighs. When he died, Alexander mourned for weeks, staying in the bed with his body until he was forced away from him. Many were shocked when Alexander married, because he loved Hephaestion more than life itself.”
And as much as you may now wish to be the Hephaestion to his Alexander, our friend Indiana may not feel the same.
“Why do you ask, Sam?” Indy glanced at him, brows furrowed. “That's an odd question.”
“Oh, it was just something Sullah said,” he tried to sound casual, swallowing as he tried to force the flush off of his face. “Nothing really.”
And then Marion began screaming like a banshee again, and everything went to hell in a hand basket.
“Indy... while I am usually all for this drinking until we can't see straight thing....” Sam cleared his throat. “Maybe this isn't the right time for this...”
Indiana didn't really react, just took another swig from his glass, draining it. He thumped the glass down on the short table that sat between them – low to the ground, as they sat on cushions on the floor – and nudged the glass closer to Sam, the intent clear.
Sam sighed, and reluctantly poured the other man another glass.
He didn't like this situation in the slightest. On one hand, he had wanted to get rid of Marion Ravenwood, because she was a pissy little bitch, but on the other hand, he hadn't exactly wanted her to get captured by Nazis. He sort of figured that they should maybe be going out there and trying to find her, instead of sitting here in a bar and drinking until they couldn't see straight, but it was true that they literally had no idea of where to find her.
“You know it's hard to find alcohol in Egypt, right?” Sam asked, capping the bottle again, watching as Indy lifted his glass, sipping at it again. “This is a Muslim nation. They don't believe in alcohol. It's against their religious beliefs.”
“I'm aware of that,” Indy said, finally.
“Lo, the academic drunkard speaks.” Sam threw up his arms, rolling his eyes.
“I'm the one who told you that.” He reminded the younger man, rolling his eyes as he leaned back into the wall he was leaning on, tired. “We shouldn't have brought Marion into this situation. Dammit, we never should have dragged her into this.”
“You realize that I’m right now?” He groaned, leaning back against the wall beside Indiana, his shoulder pressed to the other man's. “I've been saying this since we met her in the bar.”
“She saved our lives,” he grumbled.
“If I recall correctly, she got us in the danger she had to save us from in the first place.” Sam rolled his eyes, glancing up at Indy.
“...well. That may actually be true.” Indiana frowned slightly, sipping at his whiskey.
“Hey. You're a good man, Indy, and I know that you were trying hard to be good and everything, figuring this all out and searching for the answers, and going on this huge academic quest to find something as wonderful and perfect as the Ark of the Covenant. But this really doesn't seem to be working out very well, does it?”
He crinkled his nose, and sighed. “I should have gone on your tour of All Spark sites, like you suggested.”
Sam smacked the other man in the upper arm. “I told you.”
Indiana laughed softly, and leaned forward to pour himself another glass of whiskey, this time, but instead of drinking it himself, he leaned back and offered it to Sam. “Drink.”
“You don't think at least one of us should be sober?” He arched a brow, frowning slightly.
“Not really. Drink.”
Sam sighed dramatically, but did pluck the glass from the other's fingers, sipping at it, curiously. It was good whiskey. “So why are you trying to get me drunk, anyway? You're usually so... collected .”
“Misery,” he said, grumbling slightly, “Loves company.”
“Well, I’m impressed that I’m your company for once.” He snickered, squirming down a little, leaning more on Indy's shoulder, sipping at his whiskey, quietly. “I mean, I know we seem to spend pretty much all of our time together, but we're usually researching, or marking, or... I dunno, running about in the jungles of India. That was insane, by the way, that whole running around in the jungle thing. Next time we decide to run around in the jungle, I think I should get a gun, too. Just, you know... in case it's ever needed. If I’d had a gun too, I could have shot that French bastard. You know Sullah says he's here, right? That Belloq is helping the Nazis. I could have shot him back in India!”
“You actually know how to use a gun?” Indy drawled, smirking at him.
Sam hesitated, sipping at his whiskey. “...no.”
“I didn't think so.”
“You could have taught me to use a gun.” Sam pointed out, cheerfully. This was sort of nice – as much as Indiana was grumpy and glowering at the rest of the bar as he wallowed in his miserable drunkenness and guilt over Marion, at least they were here, together. “I've seen you use them, you're really pretty good at shooting, you could have taught me how to use one before we'd left, and then I could have shot Belloq.”
“If we make it out of Egypt, I’ll teach you to shoot.” Indiana said, at last.
“Awesome.” Sam grinned, pleased.
They sat in silence for a long few minutes, until Sam drained the glass of whiskey, and shifted forward to set the empty glass on the table. He hesitated a moment, then filled it, and shifted to offer it to Indiana. Indy took the glass from his fingers, sipping at it for a moment, then handed it back to Sam.
He blinked at him, then sipped at the whiskey again, quietly.
It was warm, where Indy's lips had been on the rim of the cup a moment before, and when he sipped at it, he swore that he could taste something more than just the whiskey, that he could taste the lingering taste of Indiana's mouth. He swallowed, flushed, and licked his lips, catching the taste again. Maybe Sullah was right. He was starting to feel very.... muddled about this whole thing. Indy was a good man, and if Sam was smart, he'd just focus on Indiana being a good friend that was helping him try and find a way to get out of the nineteen thirties. Not that they'd really found any ways to get out of the thirties, he seemed to be stuck, but... he needed to focus on Mikaela and getting home to his girlfriend .
Shit, was this a kind of Stockholm Syndrome or something? No, wait, Indiana was his friend, not his kidnapper... was there a term for someone that found themselves falling in love with someone just because they were around them all the time and they were kind to them and took care of them and laughed at their lame jokes and...
Oh. Yeah. That was just normal falling in love.
But there was a difference between love and lust, right? Sam could focus on that and feel less flustered and panicky. After all, just because he felt strong feelings of affection and devotion to someone didn't mean that he wanted to, like, pin them to the wall and make out with them or something. After all, he was straight, dammit.
Sam sipped at his whiskey, watching Indy out of the corner of his eyes.
Except that Indiana had a gorgeous sharp jaw, scruffy and rough and he sort of wanted to run his fingers down that jaw, and his eyes were sharp and intelligent, and his hands powerful and strong, even now, where they rested quiet on his lap. And he'd been living with Indiana now for close to a year, he'd gotten to see him in various states of undress in this time, and he definitely had to say that if he was attracted to any man, it probably would be one that was built like Indiana was...
“Oh god.” Sam gagged on his whiskey, bolting up.
Indy shifted to pat Sam's back, trying to help him clear the whiskey out of his lungs so that he could breathe, and said, casually, “You all right?”
“Yeah,” he gasped, nodding quickly, swallowing hard. “Sorry.”
He wanted Indiana.
This was a terrifying realization for a teenaged boy to make, as far as he was concerned.
“Maybe the whiskey was a bit much for you,” Indiana smirked, taking the class from his hand, and setting it on the table in front of him, smirking as he leaned back against the wall, relaxed. “Are you all right?”
He nodded, relaxing into Indiana's shoulder, quietly.
This was probably wrong. He did have a hot girlfriend back home... about seventy some years in the future, if he ever got back to her. And okay, sure, he'd been curious about guys before, hell, everybody gets curious sometimes! And okay, Indiana Jones sort of reminded him of a much younger and actually totally hotter Harrison Ford, and he wasn't sure any red-blooded human could resist being attracted to a man like that . Okay, so his attraction made perfect sense. It was okay .
Well, it was okay so long as Indy never figured it out. Because Indiana was from the early twentieth century, and they were seriously uptight about things like men wanting other men. If Indy knew, Sam would be out on his ass .
“So why was Sullah talking about Alexander and Hephaestion?”
Sam choked on air , this time. Oh, he was a real winner , lately, son of a bitch. “Uh... it... came up in conversation.”
“Mmhmm.” Indiana mulled that over.
“...really.” He said, flustered, trying to sound less like an idiot, and not really succeeding. “I mean, he's a smart man, right? He's totally brilliant and he knows all about those historical people and stuff, and in the middle of a conversation about something else entirely, he just said, you know... Alexander and Hephaestion.”
“He just randomly said their names?” He arched a brow.
“...yes?” Sam tried, clearing his throat.
“Excuse me, sirrah?”
Both sort of jumped and looked up at the man that was standing in front of their table, bowed low as he held out a bottle of whiskey – very good whiskey. “The gentleman in the corner has sent this for you, he asks that you come and drink with him...”
“Not interested.” Indiana said, immediately, the smirk he'd gotten when talking to Sam – and deliberately making him squirm – dropping immediately off his face.
“But sirrah,” the man tried again, then hesitated.
Sam drew in a slow breath, and said, “Indy? I think there are guns against the back of our heads. Or my head, anyway, if you haven't gotten the same, yet...”
“I noticed.” Indiana said, at last.
“Come with us, gentlemen,” one of the men standing behind them said in a deep, German accented voice. “You are needed.”
“Both of us?” Sam asked, surprised, twisting to look up at the men – thick, meaty goons in dark trenchcoats. “Usually the bad guys don't want to talk to the assistant.”
“Both of you.” The man said, firmly.
He glanced at Indiana, then said, lightly, “I think we should go. I don't really wanna get shot. But... but ... you know that if you had let me have a gun, maybe we could have fought our way out of this situation, or something.”
“I know.” Indiana grumbled slightly, and stood, smoother than Sam ever would have been with the amount of alcohol he had in him, and offered Sam his hand.
He took the other man's hand, relieved, and stood.
As they were hustled out of the bar and down the street, Sam leaned closer to Indiana and muttered, “So where do you think they're taking us? Are they gonna shoot us?”
“It's a possibility.” Indiana grumbled slightly.
“...oh. You know, ever since I’ve met you, my life has become simultaneously more boring and more interesting. Do you usually do this... days of excitement surrounded by months of boring?”
“Yes.” He said, calmly.
“Oh. Well. Good to know.” He snorted, and let out a huffing sigh. “You know, if I had a gun...”
“You're like a dog on a bone with that, aren't you?” Indiana rolled his eyes.
“Hey, I’ve been in danger a ton of times before – I think that if there's something that can make me not be in so much danger, maybe I should actually focus on that.” Sam pointed out, rolling his eyes.
“Silence!” One of the men behind them barked.
Sam rolled his eyes, and smirked at Indiana, saying quietly, “Talking is verbotten .”
“Silence!” One of the men barked again, jabbing the gun he held harder into Sam's back.
He winced, but he did fall silent.
It was a strange little coffee shop that they were brought to, filled with men in dark robes, and in the centre of it, there was a man in a grey little suit and a hat, smirking at them as he sipped at his coffee and they were thumped down in chairs on the other side of the table.
Sam didn't like this man.
“Belloq.” Indiana growled, displeased.
“Indiana Jones.” Belloq said with a smirk, bowling his head. “And Samuel Witwicky. It is a pleasure to meet you men again. It had been too long.”
“I ought to kill you right now.” Indiana growled, fists clenched on the arms of the chair.
Sam, as it was, was all for that idea. He just wasn't sure, with all these men around them, that it would be a very good idea.
“It is not I who brought the girl into this dirty business.” Belloq reminded him, smirking. “Now please, let us talk as civilized men, Dr. Jones. It may be our last chance to do so.”
“Not a very private place for a murder,” Indiana grumbled.
“These Arabs will not interfere in the white man's business. They do not care if we kill each other off. You two caused great trouble for the Nazis in Shanghai. However, they have taken the precaution of making several copies of the piece.”
“...awesome.” Sam grumbled.
Belloq laughed softly, smirking at them both. “How odd that it should end this way for us, after so many... stimulating encounters. I almost regret it. Where shall I find a new adversary so close to my own level?”
“I hear there might be some great prospects in the sewers.” Sam said, sharply.
The Frenchman waved a hand, expansively, at Indiana. “I know he hates me. I know you both despise me. We always hate in others that which we most fear in ourselves. And you and I are very much alike.”
“Now you're getting nasty.” Indiana grumbled.
“We have always done the same kind of work. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am a shadowy reflection of you. But it would have taken only a nudge to make you the same as me, to push you out of the light. Perhaps if I shot your boy here, in front of you, you would become as dark as I.”
Sam flushed, squirming in his seat, and Indiana looked sharply at Sam, as though considering it.
“You know it to be true!” Belloq laughed. “How now. And how ironic the timing.”
Embarrassed, Sam sank a little lower in his seat, not caring that Indiana would complain, later, about his poor posture. They were still snarking at each other, complaining about the Ark and what could be done with it, but Sam was examining the room, frowning slightly as he tried to figure out what their next move should be. There were a lot of men with weapons, he was a little alarmed by the suggestion that they were possibly going to be dragged away by Nazis. He didn't like Nazis.
Indiana said something sharp, and Sam bolted up again, brows furrowed.
Just as he was fairly sure that things were going to get violent, the doors of the little coffeeshop suddenly bolted open, and children – Sullah's children – darted into the place, and clambered up and around him and Indiana, one of the young boys clambering up in Indiana's lap, looping his arms around the man's neck. The littlest child, one of Sullah's daughters, held her hands up to Sam, desperately wanting to be picked up, and he hooked his hands under her arms, lifting her up and setting her on his lap.
“Uncle Indy!” One of the children cried. “We have been looking for you, Uncle Indy!”
“Uncle Sam!” The girl in Sam's lap bounced. “Let us go home!”
“Sounds great.” Indiana said, standing up, setting the little boy on his hip, and held a hand out to Sam. “Come on, then. Let's go.”
He hesitated a moment, then took the other man's hand and let him pull him up to his feet, settling the little girl on his own hip as he followed Indiana out of the coffee shop, hand still curled tightly in the other man's hand.
“Next time, it will take more than children to save you, Indiana Jones!” Belloq called, after them.
“My heart is pounding way too fast.” Sam said, swallowing.
“You're far too nervous of a man, sometimes.” Indiana smirked at him, bouncing the little boy slightly as they headed down the road, and towards Sullah, who was waiting for them with a wide grin.
“Well, least you're not calling me kid anymore...” Sam muttered, flushed.
“Of course not. With all these other ones around, I figured you'd end up finding yourself lost in the crowd.” Indiana grinned, slightly devious, and just laughed when Sam squawked and spluttered.
Marion Ravenwood was alive.
On one hand, this was great news.
On the other hand, it wasn't very good news when he discovered such a thing by waking up in a desert tent, tired to her.
“What the hell...?” He slurred, confused.
“Sam?!” Marion squawked. “Are you awake? Are you all right?”
“Yeah. I’m okay.” He winced. Her voice was slightly piercing. “Where are we? What's going on?”
“We're in Belloq's tent.” She said, and she shifted, trying to work her hands free. They were sitting back to back, he realized, with their wrists tied together, a thick wooden pole between their hands. “They're digging for the Ark, out there. They have a copy of the amulet that my father had. They're going to find it.”
“...awesome.” He breathed, cracking his shoulders. “Well, if it's any consolation, they've got it wrong. Indy's got the right amulet, he's already figured out where it is. Clearly I should have been not the person on watch.”
“Indiana's coming?” She whispered, eagerly.
“I doubt it.” Sam sighed, leaning back on the wooden pole, closing his eyes. Of course they had spent hours digging last night, and he was sore and grumpy, and just when they'd been about to break into the roof of the chamber where the Ark was apparently kept, someone in the group had spotted a guard that they thought might have seen them digging. And Sam, feeling confident and bold, had grinned and headed off to track down that guard – Indy had finally gotten him his gun, and he had felt confident as all hell.
And then a guard had cracked him over the head, and now here he was, tied to Marion.
“What do you mean?!” She squawked, and he winced again.
“I mean that Indiana thinks that you're dead, and probably thinks I’m dead, too. So no, I don't think he's going to come help us.”
“I thought he'd come rescue me.” She wailed.
“Please stop yelling.” He groaned. “You're going to drag every guard in the camp down on us. Where is this tent? I mean... in the camp, do you know?”
“No, no, I don't know.” Marion grumbled, displeased with him, now.
“I'm trying to figure out if this is the one we almost hid in, earlier.” He sighed, and cracked his neck again, wincing. If he was back in his own time, he'd have been bellowing for Bumblebee by now, and Optimus would have squashed the Nazis flat. He was starting to think that he should have been trying to get home harder, now. “I really am starting to regret getting caught up with - “
The door of the tent flipped open, and several men stepped in, grabbing at himself and Marion.
“Woah, woah, woah!” Sam yelped. “What is going on?!”
“The woman is supposed to be mine!” Belloq howled, displeased.
“The woman is yours.” One of the men, with a black suit and black hat, and little round glasses, stepped forward, and Sam sucked in a sharp breath. He'd never been much of a fan of Nazis to begin with, but this man was a frightening example of a perfect SS officer, and the man made his skin crawl. “We do not want the woman. We want the Witwicky. He can be used against his friend.”
“Oh shit.” Sam gaped at them, then howled, “Indiana! It's a trap, they know you're - “
One of the soldiers shoved a cloth in his mouth, and Sam gagged on it.
Their arms tight on his shoulders, they hauled him along out of the tent, into bright sunlight as Sam winced, hiding from the startling brightness. Tumbling along behind them, he tried to keep his feet under him, trying to shove the cloth out of his mouth so that he could talk – or even breathe properly – again. He supposed that Nazis didn't really have a reputation for being terribly nice to their captives, and he was beginning to see that they were very right. The men squeezing his arms were definitely going to leave bruises.
And then he heard someone say, “We have company for you, Doctor Jones,” and the soldiers released his arms a moment before someone shoved him.
Sam tumbled forward, arms still tied behind his back as he stumbled and realized that there was a massive yawning black hole in front of him. He tried to yelp, but the gag in his mouth was still preventing any noise, and he pitched forward and into the hole, falling.
His heart jumped in his chest, and he was sure he was going to die.
Out of all of the times that Sam had almost died, this was one of the least impressive way to almost die. Robots hitting him with lasers was far more impressive than falling in a hole because apparently some Nazi assholes wanted to get rid of him.
And then he made solid impact with someone, and arms wrapped tightly around him, and Sam didn't actually die, because he was caught .
Confused, he blinked up, eyes lighting up when he realized that it was Indiana.
“Sam?” Indiana frowned, tugging the cloth out of his mouth. “...are you all right?”
“Much better now, actually.” He struggled to stand, then yelped when he realized that he almost stood on a snake. “Holy crap, snakes!”
“Asps,” Indiana agreed, frowning. “Poisonous. Be careful.”
“I apologize, Indiana,” Belloq called, from the top of the hole. “That we have not given you some female companionship for your last remaining moments on earth, but at least you have a friend. The world will never know what you choose to do in your last time remaining.” He laughed, cheerfully, then held his hand up, a folded pocket knife in his hands, glinting in the sunlight. “It's a shame for you to have to spend your time with him tied, however. Have a knife.”
The Frenchman tossed it down, and Indiana caught it, almost instinctively.
“It is a shame that it ends this way,” Belloq straightened, smiling. “Adieu, old friend. Au revoir, Sam.”
And then the block over the opening Sam had fallen through began to slide shut.
“No!” Sam howled, eyes wide.
Indiana flicked the knife open, and sliced the knot on the ropes around Sam's wrists, then quickly tugged up the rope pieces, in case they could use it, later, and flicked the knife shut again before shoving it in his pocket. “Grab a torch.”
He scrambled to grab one of the torches off the sandy floor, then looked up when, with a final click, the stone fell into place, and the sunlight disappeared. “...well then. I just want to say, Indy, that if I have to die, I’m glad I’m dying with you.”
“We're not going to die.” Indiana grumbled, pulling his whip off his belt, holding another torch up to consider the chamber they were in.
“Sure we aren't. There are about a million snakes around us. Poisonous snakes. You don't like snakes, and I don't like poisoning, so between the two of us, we're pretty much screwed in this situation, okay? I know that we're doomed. We're going to die.” Sam flicked the torch he held around their feet, trying to chase the snakes away, swallowing. “So, um... before we die... Sullah didn't just randomly bring up Alexander and Hephaestion.”
“I figured.” Indiana frowned, and nudged his shoulder. “Follow me closely, keep the snakes away from our feet.”
“Sure, I can do that.” He swallowed, and did as ordered as they slowly moved across the sandy floor. “So anyway, he didn't just randomly bring it up. He said that I was trying to be the Hephaestion to your Alexander.”
“Hn.” Indiana stepped up onto a platform, and knocked at the wall behind them. “And are you?”
Sam swallowed again, jabbing the torch at one of the snakes that was getting a little too damn bold, smiling grimly when it retreated, quickly. “Honestly?”
“I practically insist on it.” Indiana unfurled his whip.
“Well, then I can't say exactly that I want you to be the Alexander to my Hephaestion, because I’m pretty sure I’d never defeat you. But if Sullah was really referring to the whole... man love thing, and them being so close that people thought they'd never marry a woman, then... yes. That's sort of true. And I probably shouldn't say a thing like that, but we're both going to die, so I don't think it actually... matters. Long run. So... sorry.”
Indy considered that for a moment, then flicked the whip out, wrapping it around the head of the massive statue of Anubis that stood off to the side, testing the sturdiness of the statue.
“...so what do we do now?” Sam asked, honestly referring to the statue, not the awkward little conversation that they'd had.
Indiana, however, was focusing on something else.
Because the man abruptly shifted the whip into his hand with the torch, and wrapped his free hand around the back of Sam's neck. Tugging him forward, Indiana kissed Sam, a firm sharp press of lips to lips, and Sam stiffened for just a moment, eyes wide, then slumped against him, groaning softly. For a long moment, they just pressed firmly into each other, a passionate sort of desperation, then Indiana jerked down on his whip, and the statue sagged for a moment before toppling completely, crashing against the wall just to the side of them. The false wall collapsed, and snakes spilled out of the newly exposed space.
That made them bolt apart from each other. Sam yelped and tried to beat the snakes back with his torch, which was possibly a poor method, but it seemed to work. It worked well enough, anyway, for Indiana to dart up into the opening, and call for Sam.
Looking up, panting, he caught the other man's hand, and let Indiana haul him up into the space.
“I don't think this is our day.”
Indiana glanced over from where he was driving, brows furrowed. “What?”
“You know... every dog has it's day? This isn't our day.”
He snorted, and said, “We're both alive, still, aren't we? I’m fairly sure that even if that doesn't make it our day, it at least makes it better.”
“Good point.” Sam sighed, shoving his hands in his jacket pockets, then hesitated, and offered the other man his glasses case. “Want these? It might help keep the dust out of your eyes, if nothing else... what with not having a windshield anymore...”
“You're complaining that we don't have a windshield?” Indiana smirked, taking the glasses case, and a moment later, hooked the arms over his ears. “I put a Nazi through it. I’m not complaining.”
“Oh, I’m not complaining about that,” he laughed, smirking at him.
“Good.” He laughed, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. “We need to get this Ark somewhere safe. The British museum is probably our best bet.”
“So how do we get it there?” Sam asked, sliding down in his seat, relaxed.
“By boat, likely.” He reached up, swiping at his forehead, quietly, making sure that the blood didn't end up in his eyes.
“Oh, let me...” He shifted, and tugged the handkerchief out of his front jacket pocket, reaching up to carefully clean Indiana's forehead off, making sure the blood didn't get in his eyes. “Sorry you had to put yourself through this. And sorry I wasn't more helpful.”
“Sam, you beat the stuffing out of three Nazi soldiers. You were plenty helpful.”
He grinned at him, flushed, and said, “You're still not calling me kid, and there aren't any children around, right now, are there?”
“I don't kiss kids.” He smirked.
“Oh.” Sam grinned, eyes bright. “Well then. Okay, well... okay. Wow. I’m not making any sense, am I?”
“Not really,” he confirmed, smirking.
“...well, you kissed the sense out of me,” he smirked at him, shifting a little closer to Indiana, curling against his shoulder, closing his eyes as he leaned on him, sighing softly as he relaxed. “You don't mind, do you?”
“No. We got the Ark. It's good.” Indiana smiled, and patted the dashboard of the German military truck. “This is a good truck. Most wouldn't make it through the beating we gave it.”
Sam snorted, and said, “There are a few that I know that could do it.”
“A few you know?” He laughed. “Ah, you mean the Autobots. Are you aware that you sometimes call for Bumblebee in your sleep?”
He groaned. “I do?”
“Sometimes,” he agreed, nodding as he casually slid his arm around Sam, holding him against the side. Sam sighed, happily, and squirmed a little closer to him. “I enjoy your stories about the Autobots. Ironhide sounds fascinating.”
“Wish I could introduce you to them,” he agreed, eyes closed. “Go Autobots. Death to Decepticons.”
The truck lurched around them.
“Woah!” Sam yelped, eyes flying open. “What was that?!”
“I don't know.” Indiana frowned, fingers tight on the steering wheel.
“Are we being shot at?” He asked, looking around, desperately, shifting up onto his knees to let him peer out through the back, out over the box the Ark was in, itself, not seeing anything behind them, and out both doors. “I don't see anything, maybe it's something in the – oh.”
“Oh?” Indiana looked at him, sharply. “Oh?!”
Sam stared, wide eyed, at the steering wheel that Indiana was holding. “...remember I said that the Decepticons had been on Earth for a really, really long time?”
“Yes...” He nodded.
He cleared his throat, and pointed at the steering wheel – and at the symbol in the centre of the steering wheel, where there was a symbol that looked remarkably like a face. “That's the Decepticon symbol. We're not in a truck, we're in a Decepticon .”
“...oh.” He said, at last, and lifted his hands off the wheel, testing it.
The truck continued driving, as though everything was still normal, and Indiana was still in control of it. He swallowed, then said, “Should we be trying to get out?”
The engine roared louder, and the truck began to race faster along the road.
“I don't think the truck is planning on letting us out.” Sam said, and swallowed. Shifting forward, nervously, he tapped the German radio that was strapped to the front of the car – not a music radio, but a short wave type for communication between the trucks – and said, “Hello, Decepticon truck. I’m sorry, I didn't... I didn't mean it like that. I just... you know how it is... the Decepticons don't really like me, so there's been some awkwardness and stuff...”
“Sam.” Indiana said, seriously. “I wouldn't tell them that they don't like you.”
“....oh right.” He cleared his throat. “I'm trying to figure out who the truck is, though, you know? Is it – oh shit, knowing my luck, it's probably Starscream...”
The radio crackled, oddly, and a woman's voice interrupted their conversation. She sounded British, voice crisp and clear. “I think I am insulted by the implication that you think that I could be Starscream.”
Sam let out a yelp that was decidedly unmanly, and jumped.
“...is that the truck?” Indiana demanded.
“I am not simply a truck.” The woman's voice said, sounding entirely unimpressed. “I am a Cybertronian. I am a Decepticon. And I am most certainly not that bumbling fool Starscream!”
“Sorry!” Sam yowled, frantically. “I'm sorry! I didn't mean to insult you!”
“We don't want to cause trouble,” Indiana agreed, quickly. “We just need to get the box to safety... we can go our separate ways...”
“You are not like the other humans I have encountered, recently.” The woman's voice said, sounding contemplative. “You know what Decepticons are, for one. That, and you seem far more interesting. I helped you, in your struggle against the Nazis, as they are boorish brutes. I am far more intrigued by why your young companion knows what a Decepticon is.”
Sam swallowed, and said, quietly, “I've met a few. And some Autobots, too.”
“Ah, you know about the Autobots, as well. Then you must know why I am here on Earth.”
“Yeah, of course.” He cleared his throat, and nodded. “To find the All Spark.”
“The All Spark?” The truck said, sounding surprised. “No, I am not here to find the All Spark, Megatron went after the All Spark many years before. I am here to find the Matrix of Leadership. It is somewhere on this planet, I believe, but I have not been able to find it.”
“The Matrix of – of – of – of - ?” Sam started, twitching, eyelid flickering.
“Sam,” Indiana said firmly, reaching out to cup his jaw, firmly, trying to keep him still. “This is not the time to start doing this...”
His eyelids were flickering now, eyes almost rolling back into his head, like he was having a seizure.
“There is an increase in energy within the cab,” the radio-voice was saying, firmly. “This is the type of energy I would expect to see on a Cybertronian vessel. What is your friend doing, exactly?”
“Nothing,” Indiana said firmly, pressing his brow against Sam's, trying to calm him. “Breathe, Sam...”
“I'm b-b-b-breathing.” He gasped, trying to resist the urge to open his eyes. Symbols were screaming through his mind, flicking through and over and under and through any other thoughts he might have been able to manage, normally, squirming through his thoughts of Indiana and the Decepticons and trying to save the Ark and a million other things.
“The readings are increasing, humans,” the truck said, sharply. “What is the youngling doing?”
“Matrix of Leadership,” Sam gasped, eyes snapping open again. “Created by the Primes, believed to hold the power of Primus, the creator god of the Cybertronians. Locked away on Earth by the Primes to prevent the use of it to start the Star Harvester on Earth.”
“Yes,” the truck agreed, sounding genuinely surprised, then remarked, “The energy levels are fading.”
Sam groaned, and slumped back into Indiana again. “...ow. My head hurts now.”
“Are you all right?” He demanded, cupping Sam's jaw.
“Mmhmm, it was just the, ah... whole... you know what, thing. I think the Matrix of Leadership is actually the weapon I was told to find, back at the Hoover Dam.”
“Wonderful.” Indiana sighed, closing his eyes for a moment.
“Are you aware,” the truck said, via the radio, “That your energy signals register on the same spectrum that the energy readings of the All Spark do?”
Sam cleared his throat. “...go figure.”
“You possess the All Spark.” The truck said, firmly, then there was a moment of silence, and just the soft crackle of the radio, then she said, “But you do not physically possess the Spark. How strange. A biological becoming merged with the power of the Spark itself. I did not know such a thing was possible. You humans are becoming considerably more intriguing, now.”
“Does that mean you're going to let us drop off the Ark?” Indiana asked, hopefully.
“No.” The truck said.
Sam bolted up, alarmed. “...what? Why not?”
“Because you possess, clearly, the knowledge of the All Spark. That means that you know where the Matrix of Leadership is, do you not? I will hide the Ark for you. And I will assist you with it. However, I will not do so unless you aid me in finding the Matrix of Leadership. Do we have an agreement?”
“...are you going to use it to activate the Star Harvester?” Sam asked, warily.
“What is a Star Harvester?” Indiana said, quietly.
“I think it harvests the sun.” Sam whispered back. “Like... destroying the sun so that they can make energon out of it. You know, the stuff that powers the Autobots and Decepticons.”
“...Jesus Christ.” He murmured.
“I have no interest in the Star Harvester.” The truck said. “But I have spent millenia trying to find it. I simply want to find the device.”
“...promise not to use it?”
“I am actually unaware of where the Star Harvester is, young man. And you need my help to hide this Ark, or I can promise you, that they will find you. I can hear their radio chatter, the Nazis. They know that you are going to the port. They're sending another ship after yours. They will find you, and they will take the Ark back. You need my help. You need to trust me.”
“...I'm kinda morally opposed to trusting Decepticons...” Sam admitted.
“Would you prefer that I contact the Nazis and inform them of your location?” The truck said, with a slightly bitter tinge to her voice.
“No,” Indiana said, quickly. “No, we wouldn't. We definitely wouldn't. Maybe we should go with this whole... situation.” He held up a hand, quickly. “For now. All right?”
Sam hesitated, then nodded, slumping back against Indiana's shoulder.
Indiana took a deep breath, and sighed. “All right, then. What do we call you, then?”
The truck's engine thrummed. “You want to know what to call me ?”
“Well, we can't call you not-Starscream.” Sam rolled his eyes.
She huffed. “You certainly had best not .”
“So what do we call you?” Indiana frowned, running his fingers over the symbol on the steering wheel, curiously. “If we knew your name, we could call you that. Otherwise, we'd just be charging into battle with a stranger.”
There was a moment of silence, then abruptly, she said, “Call me Charger.”
“Charger. Good.” Indiana nodded.
“There's going to be a car called a Charger,” Sam blurted out, without really thinking, flushing bright red when he realized that he'd just spilled the beans on the whole time travel issue. “...I think Dodge makes it...” he finished, embarrassed.
“Perhaps, when the time comes, I will choose that form.” Charger said, sounding rather pleased. “Now. Shall we go find the Matrix of Leadership?”
“We are meant to connect with Sullah again...”
“Your friend will be safer without your presence there,” Charger said, confidently. “Now, humans... what shall I call you, or shall it simply be 'Indiana' and 'Sam'?”
“...it's Indiana and Sam.” Sam said, flushed.
“Acceptable. Sam.” Charger's engine roared slightly, and the truck sped even faster down the dusty road. He hadn't thought the truck could actually go any faster. That, he supposed, was the difference between a regular military truck and a Decepticon posing as one. “Now, you are the one with the knowledge of the All Spark. Where do we go to find the Matrix of Leadership?”
He sighed, and looked up at Indiana, who was waiting, quietly. “...don't suppose there's any chance you can read Cybertronian, is there?”
Sam sort of figured that if Indiana's plan had gone through the way it was supposed to, they would have been on a boat right now, and Sam sort of imagined that this might have been a romantic sort of thing. Okay, not that he was likely to get romance from Indy – he wasn't sure if what they sort of had going on right now was as a result of all the adrenaline and the almost getting killed thing, or if it was going to keep going – but still, he sort of figured it might have been a nice thing, to pretend that it was a cruise, or something, not just dashing from the Nazis.
Instead, though, they were sitting in a little cave, with a fire burning between them, and a Nazi armoured truck that was apparently actually a Decepticon named Charger was sitting in the mouth of the cave.
“Okay,” Sam said, swallowing nervously. “She's gonna shift soon, and it's really weird, okay?”
“I assure you, Sam, that I am not going to scream and run away.” Indiana said, dryly, meeting his eyes. He was wearing his glasses, still, as though he had forgotten he was wearing them, and they looked completely out of place with the leather jacket and fedora. “I did see Megatron. I know what a Decepticon is.”
“I know,” he held up his hands. “But watching them transform the first time... well...”
“Alarming?” He ventured.
“Terrifying.” Sam cleared his throat, embarrassed. “I sorta freaked out and tried to record my last will and testament, because I thought that I was going to die, it was terrifying. Like it was a giant terrifying... robot, my car just moved and shifted, and...” He waved vaguely with his hands, trying to explain what he was referring to. “Like it got big and small and moving and... he stood up and this is what Charger is gonna do, okay? And she's a Decepticon, and even if she's saying that she's gonna help us and be good now and everything... I mean... technically she's evil, okay? So she could be dangerous, too.”
“Thank you, Sam, I think I understand.” He smirked, and set his hands on the other's shoulders, squeezing his shoulders. “All right? Trust me.”
He swallowed, and nodded. “I trust you.”
“Are you coming, humans? I can feel my joints rusting out here.” Charger called, lazily.
“We're coming!” Sam called, rolling his eyes.
“So you trust me, yes?” Indiana said, firmly, sliding his hands up from Sam's shoulders to the side of his neck, then slowly up to cup his jaw, his fingertips pressing gently into the hollows behind Sam's jaw. “We're going to figure this out, we're going to find this Matrix of Leadership, and we're...” He hesitated.
“We're gonna get me home?” Sam suggested, quietly.
“...if we must.” He agreed, frowning slightly.
“We're walking into dangerous territory right now, aren't we?” Sam swallowed.
“You, I would imagine.” Indiana said, and pressed his lips to Sam's, firmly. Sam groaned, slumping slightly against him, then he finally pulled back, and said, “Let's go see what Charger knows about the symbols, then.”
“...right.” He groaned, softly.
A few moments later, they were standing outside the cave, the flickering firelight from the fire inside the cave casting an eerie sort of shadowy light against Charger as she stood on the ground in front of them. The air seemed heavy and electric as they waited, almost breathlessly, for something, anything , to happen.
“Are you prepared, then?” Charger asked, finally.
“We are,” Indiana agreed, crossing his arms.
“I simply thought I would check, as the youngling seems to be distressed by the idea of you seeing this.” She paused for a moment, then said, “Correction, he is not a youngling, he appears to be your mate. My mistake.”
Sam squawked. “Why does everyone keep saying my hormone levels make me seem like I’m wanting to mate !?”
“I imagine it's because there's something you're hiding.” Indiana smirked, arching a brow as he looked down at Sam. “Mating, hm?”
“...shut up,” he flushed, embarrassed.
“Humans make things difficult,” Charger said, and there was a whirring sound as she began to transform.
Indiana watched with rapt attention, and even Sam, who had seen Autobots and Decepticons transform many times before, watched, intently. The massive side panels popped outwards, then shifted upwards as Charger began to rise, until finally a massive humanoid shape stood before them, sleek and smooth, red eyes glowing dully as she looked down at them.
“Amazing.” Indiana breathed.
“Thank you,” Charger bowed, pleased, and finally settled to sit on the ground in front of them. Sam wasn't sure that he'd ever seen a Cybertronian sit before, to be honest, it was such a strange thing. He'd seen them stand, a lot, but he'd never seen one sit like they were actually a person, lazily and confident, quiet and calm. She settled, confidently, and rested her hands on her lap, considering them both. “Now, you were saying something about Cybertronian symbols?”
“Yeah... anyone got a knife?”
“I have Belloq's.” Indiana nodded, tugging the knife out of his pocket, and offering it to Sam.
“Thanks.” He smiled at him, and flicked the blade out before dropping down to his knees on the ground, and began cutting symbols into the dirt with the blade, carving out the symbols that liked to flicker behind his eyes. There were many symbols, so instead of trying to show her every single one he could possibly remember, he just tried to get the most common ones, the ones that had shown up at the Hoover Dam, the ones that had flickered behind his eyes when they were in the front seat of Charger as they drove. Finally, he slumped back to sit on his ass, looking up at Charger. “These mean anything to you?”
Her eyes began to glow, lowly, rather much like the headlights they usually posed as. The beam passed over the symbols, one by one, then finally, she said, “Yes.”
“Well?” Indiana frowned, looking up at her, arms crossed. “What do they mean?”
Charger's glowing eyes flicked towards him for a moment, then finally said, slightly sarcastically, “They say that there is a weapon that will save the life of Samuel Witwicky. It does not give me a location. It does, however, say that the Primes want him to find it. Congratulations, mate-of-Indiana, the powers that be want you to find the Matrix of Leadership. Dread dread, they may want a fleshling to rule. I can't imagine that this is exactly the case, but if it were, well. Perhaps you'd do a better job than some of our own leaders have done, in the past. Regardless... this is not location information.”
“Oh.” Sam toed at the symbols, frowning. “I have more symbols in my head, I think...”
“Well, as you seem to have the entirety of the All Spark contained in your squishy little mortal head...” Charger sighed, heavily. “I would imagine that you do, in fact, have the location. Try and focus, will you? I imagine you can do it.”
“...you are really passive aggressive.” Sam grumbled, glowering up at Charger.
“This coming from a youngling that proudly proclaims 'Death to Decepticons'.” Charger huffed, literally letting out a puff of steam. “I would think that you should be careful, when making such ridiculous statements. You never know who you're riding about in, and not all Decepticons would be quite as forgiving as I.”
“Megatron tried to make me his pet,” he blurted out.
Indiana threw up his hands. “Would you stop saying that in front of Decepticons?!”
There was a strange sort of sound, a wheezy sort of sound that sounded sort of like an engine almost turning over but not quite, and they realized that it was Charger, laughing – laughing, in fact, so hard, that she actually toppled back against the mountain side, her massive mechanical hands resting on her sides as she laughed, and laughed, and laughed.
“...nice to know Decepticons have an actual sense of humour,” Sam said, at last.
“Humans! Humans are a wonderful invention!” Charger laughed, and pointed at him, humour evidence in her voice. “I shall never tire of you.”
Sam grinned up at her, and patted her giant, mechanical hand. “You ever tried not being a Decepticon?”
The Ark of the Covenant was current tucked deep within a mountain side in Egypt, now, sealed away from any accidental discovery by a trap cleverly laid by a slightly maniacal Decepticon. It was, in all actuality, probably safer there than it would be anywhere else on the planet. At least for now.
Sam had finally managed to produce symbols that Charger said did give her a location, and she'd insisted on heading out as soon as she had a guide.
That was why Sam and Indiana were in the back of Charger's truck form - “ Are we like... riding in your stomach, now ? Sam had asked – as she drove across the Egyptian desert, sand plumes rising behind her. They'd tossed some of the remaining Nazi jackets across the floor of the back, along with a heavy, solid tarp, and pulled another over themselves as a rough sort of blanket. It wasn't much of a bed, but Sam was pretty sure they could have been laying on a bed of nails and being lit on fire, and he still would have been floating on cloud nine, because he was laying there beside Indiana, and the other man's hand was resting on his stomach, lightly. It was about as close to cuddling as Sam had ever gotten in his life – well, except for that moment when he and Mikaela had been curled in the front seat of Bumblebee shortly after they'd discovered he was alive – and he was quite pleased .
“So... I thought you weren't really into this sort of thing.” Sam said, awkwardly.
Indiana looked up, shifting his fedora back on his forehead as he considered Sam. “Are you complaining?”
“No!” He said quickly, flushed. “Just.... times are really different though, right? I mean, this is the thirties! I thought they called this the love that dared on speak its name back then, and everything!”
“That was Oscar Wilde, actually.” Indiana smirked slightly, considering him.
“Didn't they kill him for being into men?”
“They charged him, but they did not kill him for it.” He shook his head, and shifted to bunch up one of the Nazi jackets they'd made into pillows a little more, so that he could lean on it properly. “I will tell you, however, that this is generally not accepted.”
“I didn't think so.” He sighed, wistfully.
“In fact, I believe sodomy is illegal. Very much illegal, actually. So I imagine that if anyone were likely to become aware of this happening, the results would not be pleasant for us.” Indiana frowned slightly, and nudged Sam's shoulder. “You mentioned a coming war. Be sure not to let anything slip during that.”
“God no, doesn't the military have Don't Ask Don't Tell and stuff?”
“No, the military has court marshalls for that sort of activity.” Indiana frowned, his fingers still curled on Sam's stomach, lightly brushing his fingers down the buttons on Sam's dress shirt. “Have things changed so very much, by your time?”
“Well, the military doesn't really like it, still, but... everyone else is sorta getting better.” He hesitated. “Things are... sometimes better.”
“You do not sound terribly impressed.”
“It's hard to explain.” Sam reached up to trail his fingers down Indiana's sharp jaw, frowning slightly, considering him. “But I should be trying to get back there, right?”
“Perhaps.” He agreed, frowning. “I'm not certain we have any plane fast enough, though.”
“So use a space ship.”
Indiana arched a brow. “Yes, I’ll call up Buck Rogers and ask him if I can borrow his space ship, Sam. That sounds terribly logical.”
He held up his hand, then hesitated, dropping it again. “...yeah. Well, what about fast planes?”
“There is no plane on Earth that would be fast enough to get you to the future, Sam.” He sighed, and shifted onto his side, to face him properly, smiling. “Einstein's working on it, he's trying to see if there is any way to transport you forward into the future, but maybe your best bet is to ask Charger, if you insist that you need to find a way home. But you've been here nearly a year, Sam. Don't you like it here?”
“I miss the internet.” He pouted.
“I do not know what that is,” he laughed lightly, squeezing Sam's hip, lightly. “But I imagine that it must be something terribly wonderful if you would rather have it, than all this adventure.”
“Oh come on, you're the biggest commitment-phobe on the planet.” He snickered, playing with the collar of Indiana's shirt.
“Perhaps that is because they were women.”
He hesitated, blinking, and looked up at him. “...huh. Never thought of that. I was a complete failure with the ladies back in the day... think that was because I was actually into men all along? Like I’m secretly not that attractive to women because I am devastatingly attractive to men?”
Indiana smirked. “Sure.”
He snickered, and boldly pressed his lips to Indiana's, again.
Charger's wheels hit a particularly rough patch in the path that they were taking, and as she didn't really seem to have much in the way of shocks, the whole truck sort of bounced, and Sam yelped as he bounced up into the air and thumped back down to the metal base of the truck. “Holy crap ! Did they not make trucks with shocks back in the thirties?! Charger! Are you doing that on purpose ?!”
“Yes.” Charger said, calmly, her voice slightly muffled by the fact that there was the back of the cab between them and her.
“Well, stop that!”
Immediately, the truck started jumping even more around them, until they were both sort of bouncing about like pin balls. “Stop antagonizing her!” Indiana said, grabbing at the edge of the box, trying to keep himself steady. “I know you don't do well with the Decepticons, but you don't need to make her angry! Shit, get some self preservation!”
“I'm pretty sure that if I did, I wouldn't be here!” He yelped.
“Are you done complaining yet?” Charger called, over the sound of metal creaking and the whole vehicle bouncing around them. “Because we're almost there.”
“Just let us out!” Sam yowled, grabbing Indiana's coat as he tried to steady himself.
And then there was a whirring of gears and hydraulics and metal, and the top of the truck suddenly was torn away as they were tossed up in the air like toys. Still desperately clinging to Indiana's jacket, Sam yowled as he twisted to see that, below them, Charger was shifting and transforming and moments before they smashed into the rocks below them, her massive metal hands closed around them, and their rapid descent was abruptly halted. Panting, Sam shook in her metal palm, eyes wide and alarmed, trembling slightly. “Holy shit . Holy shit , Charger, that was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever – ever – holy shit that was – whoo !”
Beside him, Indiana groaned, and slumped over Charger's wrist, rubbing at his forehead. “I take it back. I’m fairly sure I’m not prepared for a glorious future full of robots.”
“Fleshlings.” She muttered, and Sam was pretty sure that if a robot could roll its eyes, she would have.
Charger shifted them up, and set them carefully on her shoulders, then said, “Hold on tight. I need to carry you up the rest of the way, it's not far ahead, but there are no roads where we're going.”
“Where we're going, we don't need roads,” Sam snickered.
“No, technically we don't.” She didn't sound like she got the joke, which of course she wouldn't, because Sam was the only time traveler here. Damn. “Hold on.”
Shifting slightly on her shoulder, which he was fairly sure was normally the left front door of the truck that she was often shaped into, and held on tight to her neck, which he was pretty sure was made out of what little shocks that she did have. Holding on tightly, he watched as she began to walk up the mountain, reaching up to hold onto little crevasses and handholds. He could only imagine that if he had been trying to climb this cliff by himself, it would have taken him hours to cross ground that Charger was climbing up in minutes. Indiana could probably do it about half the speed that Charger could, but he'd still have been a lot faster than Sam would have been.
Charger abruptly swung up onto a cliff, and reached up to them, holding out her hands, flat. “Climb on.”
Sam shifted onto her palm, and clutched at her fingers as she lowered her hand quickly to the ground, and he slid off of it. Straightening up, he took a deep breath, then glanced at Indy. “Changed your mind about this whole robots thing?”
“Well, they do make effective climbing apparatus.” He smirked, patting Charger's thigh.
“I'm pleased I’m so useful to you for climbing.” She said, dryly, and her eyes lit up, flaring in the early dawn light, making it bright enough that they could see a massive doorway in front of them.
“Look, the symbols!” Sam cried, and darted forward to touch the symbols etched into the edges.
“This is exactly the sort of thing that Abner Ravenwood used to catalogue,” Indiana said, standing close to his side, reaching out to touch the symbols, his hand curling over Sam's for a moment. “So this is Cybertronian. You see these everywhere?”
He flushed, and nodded. “Whenever the Spark flares up.”
“We're not here for the symbols, humans, we're here for the Matrix.” Charger crouched, peering into the chamber that lay beyond the door. “I don't see it. I don't sense it, either.”
“But this is definitely where the symbols said to go?” Sam asked, looking up at her.
She tapped the massive arch itself, dust and gravel falling from her touch when she did. “These here say that this is the chamber of the Matrix of Leadership. So yes, I would say that the directions were accurate. But I do not see it. And I am too large to enter. I suppose it is times like this that I should be grateful for my fleshy companions.”
Indiana shook his head, and tugged his whip off his belt. “Then let's go find it, Sam.”
The two men stepped into the dark chamber, and Charger lowered her head, so that she could both watch them and target her headlights into the chamber so that they could see. It was better than any flashlight, actually. There were massive paintings and statues everywhere, reminding Sam a lot of the tomb that he and Indy had been trapped in before. And yeah, he watched for snakes, anxiously. He did not want to get bitten. “I don't see any... Cybertronian things.”
“Hn.” Indiana nodded, investigating.
“So... interesting enough places to merit coming with me around the world?” Sam grinned at him.
He snorted, and patted Sam's shoulder. “Sure, Sam. Now. Do you see anything that would give us a location? You know more about the Cybertronians than I.”
Sighing softly, he shook his head. “No, actually. I don't see anything.”
“Hn. I wonder...” He tapped Sam's shoulder, and nodded up towards the roof of the chamber. “Charger! Put the lights upwards?”
She did, immediately, and he pointed. “See the cobwebs? They're moving.”
“...wind?” Sam suggested.
“And not with the correct pattern for wind... this wall may be false, like it was in the tomb.”
“Ha!” He grinned at him, and darted forward, knocking on the wall with his knuckles. “Does that sound hollow to you?”
“It does,” Indiana agreed, and glanced back at the entrance of the cavern, and called, “Charger! Do you think you could knock this wall down?”
She lifted her hands, and there was a deep, powerful whirring sound, then suddenly a missile burst from her left palm, and it smashed into the back wall, exploding, and destroying the wall. Of course, she probably should have warned them to move , first, because they were nearly crunched by the falling pieces of the wall, and Sam yowled, throwing his arms over his head. “Holy crap , Charger!”
“The wall was, in fact, a facade.” She said, calmly.
“A little warning next time?!” He demanded, flushed and embarrassed.
“Of course.” She sighed.
Indiana clambered over the remains of the wall, and down into the cave that was revealed. “Sam! Come here!”
He scrambled after him, and drew in a sharp breath.
“Is that your Matrix of Leadership?”
The thing that was resting on the little stone altar was very different and completely alien from everything else in the cave. It was made from the same metal as the All Spark, and was shaped like a sweeping, slightly spiraled spike, a delicately formed metal cage that was formed around a glowing blue point of light, as though someone had captured a star.
“It's beautiful,” Sam breathed.
He reached towards it, and Indiana gasped, “Don't touch it, it could be trapped!”
But Sam's fingers had already curled around the metal form, and the blue light in the centre flared once, like a warning, before it flared outwards, slamming into them both.
He drew in a sharp breath, and Sam's eyes snapped open, gaping up at a familiar face that was hovering over his, and groaned softly. “...Indy?”
“Oh thank god, Sam.” Indiana crushed his lips against his, bruisingly hard, and Sam groaned. Breaking the kiss, finally, he pressed kisses against his forehead, his cheeks, his jaw, panting, “I thought you were dead. I thought I’d lost you...”
“I think I was dead.” He groaned softly, trying to reach up to touch Indiana, but his arms seemed to be like wet noodles. “What happened...?”
“You triggered the Matrix of Leadership.” Charger said, and he blinked, looking up and realized that she was crouching over them, creating a sort of shield over them. That was a relief, because he could see that the sun, around them, was getting bakingly hot, now. “Although I was somewhat disappointed. I thought that it would transfer the rule of Cybertron to you, because I dearly think that it would be wonderfully ironic if a fleshling was made the ruler of Cybertron. It would make Megatron angry enough to spit sparks, I think that would be quite amusing to see. However, such a thing didn't happen. It is active, however, and I believe that you could use it to create Sparks, if you so wished. I know an attractive Messerschmidt that you are welcome to test it on, if you're looking for a test subject...”
Sam laughed, breathlessly, and closed his eyes. There was a heavy, warm weight sitting on his chest, and he realized that it was the Matrix, thrumming as though it was alive. “Sure, Charger, let's make you a boyfriend.”
“Why do you say you thought you were dead?” Indiana frowned, slightly.
“Because I spoke to the Primes.” He said, finally, and blinked. “And I’m pretty sure they're dead. They told me that they had sealed the Matrix of Leadership in with their own bodies... but that this would be needed. They said they were going to transfer the All Spark into the Matrix.”
“They didn't.” Charger said, calmly.
Sam blinked up at her.
“They linked you and the Matrix. The All Spark is still contained in your... fleshy shell.” Charger considered them for a long moment, then suddenly she shifted, sitting back on her metaphorical robot ass again, setting her hands on her ankles. “I would recommend keeping the Matrix close, until you can find a Prime to pass it off to.”
“I'll give it to Optimus,” he nodded, sitting up, slowly, twisting the Matrix in his fingers.
“Oh, yes, I remember him.” Charger considered that, then stood, slowly, hydraulics humming and hissing. “This does make my mission somewhat more difficult, however. You assisted me, and I assisted you. I was going to take the Matrix of Leadership from you. But, frankly, I suspect that separating you from it now would result in disaster for both, and as I find you amusing, I would prefer you to stay intact. Perhaps I will continue to travel with you. To keep you intact, of course.”
“Of course.” Indiana smirked slightly.
“Can you time travel?” Sam asked, Charger, curiously.
“No. Though I can drive.” She sounded amused. “And if we're going to awaken my Messerschmidt, we need to drive to Germany.”
“...there are Nazis in Germany.” Sam pouted slightly.
“I hate Nazis,” Indiana grumbled.
“The feeling is mutual.” Charger said, calmly. “Provided that I understand human feelings. Which I do not claim to do. However, I dislike Nazis. I am sure we could cause some trouble for the Nazis while we are there.”
“I like her.” Indiana grinned at Sam.
“Yeah, yeah,” he laughed, and held up a hand, hoping for a hand up. “Just don't leave me for her, all right?”
“I'll think about it.” He smirked.
“Wait, so what are we gonna do about the Ark?” Sam frowned.
“Hn. It'll be safe enough where it is,” Charger waved that concern off. “They think it's on a boat, heading to England. With Marion.”
“With Marion?!” Indiana jerked his head up.
“...you weren't supposed to tell him she was alive,” Sam pouted at Charger.
“You knew?!” He yelped.
Sam cleared his throat. “...surprise?”
Sam pulled the front of his shockingly bright Hawaiian shirt down, slightly flushed as he straightened, grinning. “You know, wrinkles are so much easier to hide on these things than they were on your old suits.”
Indiana smoothed his tie down, and smirked, “What you are wearing is not a suit .”
“Oh come on, you think I’m gorgeous in this thing.”
He considered him for a long moment, brow arched, then tugged his glasses out of his shirt front pocket, and slid them on. “Of course.”
Sam snickered, and kissed Indiana, quickly, a light press of lips, then said, “You leaving first, or am I?”
Indiana checked his watch, then frowned slightly. “Well. We're set to land in about twenty minutes, so we'd best hurry... I’ll go first. Come out in five minutes.”
Sam picked his leather bag up from the floor, where he'd left it, and slung the strap across his chest. Lifting the flap of the messenger bag, he peered inside for a moment, to check on the Matrix of Leadership, which was still sitting in his bag, to his relief, the little blue light within it glowing. “That sounds like an awesome idea, Indy, except I don't have a watch, I have no idea when five minutes is.”
The other man sighed dramatically, and unhooked his watch off his watch, offering it to Sam. “One would think that the All Spark in your head would make you able to tell time.”
“Sure,” he snickered, amused.
Indiana shifted slightly, awkwardly slipping past Sam in the very tight little airplane bathroom, then hesitated to check his reflection in the mirror, fixing his hair. “You left marks on my neck this time, Sam.”
“Turnabout is fair play,” he snickered, and smacked Indiana's ass. “Besides, every flight attendant in the world knows that people go into the bathrooms to join the mile high club.”
“It's not often two men,” Indiana smirked.
“Eh, it's the eighties. Cocaine and casual sex are all the rave these days.” Sam smirked, and though it was fifty years after he'd first shown up in Indiana's life, he didn't look more than perhaps ten years older than he had when he'd arrived. He'd love to say that it was the effects of the All Spark, or the Matrix of Leadership, or something, but for once, the Autobots and the Decepticons hadn't had a thing to do with it. Knights and wooden chalices... yes. “The flight attendants are probably so high they won't even notice.”
“I sincerely hope that you're wrong.” Indiana shook his head, and kissed his brow. “See you in five minutes.”
Sam laughed, and watched him leave the little bathroom. He tried to wait five minutes, but finally he gave up on that, and slipped out of the little bathroom, and headed down the aisle slowly before sliding into the seat beside Indiana, and offered him his watch back.
“That was three minutes,” Indiana said, idly, fastening the watch back on his wrist.
“I know. I missed you.” He grinned.
He snorted, and relaxed back in his seat.
It was about a half hour later that they were moving through the Christmas Eve crush of the Washington airport, Sam holding tight to the cuff of Indiana's jacket as they tried to stick together, weaving through the crowds. Finally, it was Indiana who turned, and called, “Sam! That him?”
Sam stood on his tiptoes, looking over the crowd, trying to look where Indiana was pointing, then grinned, and nodded.
A few minutes later, they had pushed their way through the crowd to the man, who was waiting in line for the payphones on one of the back walls. Indiana tapped the man on the shoulder, smiling slightly. “Hello. John McClane?”
The man looked up, brows furrowed for a moment. “Who's asking?”
“Doctor Indiana Jones, and Doctor Sam Witwicky. You were the man that took down the terrorists in LA, correct?”
John frowned for a moment, then nodded.
Sam grinned, and said, “How would you like to kick some alien ass, this time?”