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Spike was awful glad he’d been wearing his seatbelt.

Normally driving around with the Autobots was fun. Spike got to sit in Bumblebee’s driver’s seat and answer everyone’s questions as relayed through Bumblebee’s radio. Even a town as boring as Albuquerque was a lot more interesting if your buddies were a bunch of easily-excited aliens.

“What does that mean, drive-thru?” asked Bumblebee.

“Oh, it’s a restaurant.” Spike glanced at the little burger joint as they sped past it. “But instead of going inside you can just drive around the building and they’ll hand you the food through a little window.”

“Huh. Why wouldn’t you go inside?”

Spike tried to think, actually think about the question. “It’s more convenient, I guess. Sometimes when we’re on a road trip we’ll pull off the highway and Dad will get a couple burgers to go. So we can keep driving without waiting to eat.”

Bee’s engine turned over a couple times. “You eat inside the car?”

“Yeah?”

“What if you drop something? Like a fries or whatever?”

“I mean, we clean it up.” Spike hesitated, but decided honesty was the best policy. “Eventually.”

Bee shuddered. “I don’t want people eating inside of me.”

“Alright, alright, got it.” Spike looked around for a distraction. “Hey, there’s a gas station. Kind of like a drive-thru for cars!”

“Huh?”

“That’s where people put gas in their vehicles,” clarified Spike. “You know, pull up to the pump, unscrew the gas cap, get the hose down—”

Bee slammed on his brakes, which was when Spike was really, really glad he was wearing his seatbelt.

“They’re feeding their cars? Out in the open like that?” They were surrounded by Autobots, so no one had actually run into them. There was just a lot of honking and grumbling from the radio. Bumblebee turned up the volume. “Guys, they’re feeding their cars!”

Six different Autobots started talking at once. Ironhide pulled around Bumblebee and went up on the shoulder, driving over to the gas station for a closer look. More cars were honking as normal human traffic piled up behind them.

“Autobots!” snapped Prowl, over the radio. “This is inappropriate. Please control yourself around the human adolescent. Ironhide, get back here!”

“I’m just watching,” said Ironhide. “Hey, they got a car wash too.”

“I’m not an adolescent,” said Spike. “What’s so weird about a gas station? How do people fuel back on Cybertron?”

“We drink energon,” said Prowl. “Ironhide, I won’t ask you again.”

“No, I mean when you’re in vehicle mode.” Spike glanced through the windshield at Sideswipe, who was edging over toward the gas station too. Sideswipe definitely had a fuel tank door, just like all of the other cars. “Do you fuel yourselves, or do you get someone else to—”

Prowl whooped his sirens and sped over to the gas station, herding a protesting Ironhide back onto the road. Sideswipe jumped back into his lane and started moving forward again. An intersection’s worth of backed up traffic finally started to trundle forward through the unexpected bottleneck. Bumblebee turned on a rock station at full volume.

All right, message received. Spike sat back in the seat and folded his arms, feeling a little frustrated and left out. Aliens sure were weird.

---

Living in an alien spaceship/volcano was pretty interesting, except for when all of the aliens were standing around whispering at each other and you felt like an ant among giants. Sparkplug Witwicky picked his way between their feet carefully, trying to think large thoughts.

“Mister Witwicky.” Optimus had caught sight of him. “Please, do you have a moment?”

“Call me Sparkplug.” Sparkplug stepped onto Optimus’ offered hand and was deposited on a console at eye level. “What’s up?”

“We would like to know about these… gas stations,” said Optimus.

Sparkplug glanced around. It really was everybody, wasn’t it? Bumblebee was shoving past Jazz, and Ironhide was leaning around Prowl, and Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were trying to block Ratchet’s view. “Uh,” said Sparkplug, eloquently. “You get gas from them?”

“Out in the open,” said Optimus. “It’s strange. I have seen your ‘mechanics’ and they work behind privacy screens.”

“In the garages?” Sparkplug shrugged. “Sure, they’re doing complicated work. Lots of tools.”

“Can you get your oil changed at a gas station?” asked Ironhide.

Sparkplug heard someone gasp. Optimus shot Ironhide a look.

“No, no, only if they have a mechanic’s shop too.” Sparkplug counted off on his fingers. “You just pump your gas, clean your windshields, maybe check your fluids—”

More gasping. Sparkplug looked from face to face, trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

“Anyone can pump gas?” pressed Optimus.

“Well, uh.” Sparkplug scratched his head. “Not kids, I guess. There’s usually a sign, I don’t know if it’s actually against the law or if it’s an insurance thing.”

Optimus nodded solemnly. “It would be inappropriate.”

“But if it’s a self-service station, sure, you can pump your own gas,” said Sparkplug. “If it’s full service you wait in the car and someone else pumps it for you.”

“Someone else pumps it?” Ironhide broke in again. “Someone you’re paying?”

“Ironhide,” said Optimus, warningly.

“I’m just trying to learn, Prime!” Ironhide looked a little wounded. “It’s cultural!”

“I’m pleased to see you taking an interest in cultural exchange,” said Optimus, sounding pretty much the opposite. “If your interest is that strong, perhaps one of our human friends could direct you to a drive-in theater. I hear they are exceedingly cultural.”

Sparkplug did end up taking a few of the Autobots to a drive-in a couple days later. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker had fun, but Ironhide moped around like it wasn’t what he’d wanted at all.

---

“I’m running a little low on energy,” announced Ironhide.

Bumblebee sighed. That’s what Ironhide got for being big, old, and inefficient. They’d been on Earth for months now and usually Bumblebee got to do patrols with Cliffjumper or Huffer while Ironhide went driving around with Blaster or Hound. But today Bumblebee was on Ironhide-sitting duty. He really had to figure out what he’d done to make Prowl mad.

“I’m serious.” Ironhide flipped on his turn signal and took them over a bridge with a great view of the big New York City river, Bumblebee forgot what it was called. “I need to fuel up or I’m not gonna make it back to base.”

Hugson River? Huggies? “I’ve got some extra rations in my subspace,” offered Bumblebee. “Just look for a good place to transform.”

“It’s a city, there’s no space,” said Ironhide. “Somebody would see us. We gotta find a gas station.”

Bumblebee flinched automatically, but he got over himself pretty quick. He wasn’t fresh out of stasis anymore, and he wasn’t really shocked by gas stations. Everyone had used one some time or another, when there was an emergency or when you just didn’t want to take the time to transform. You just took the furthest pump and didn’t let anybody see that you were fuelling yourself with one of your root mode arms. The tricky part was paying, but a lot of places had drive-by windows where you could flash your driver hologram and throw some money at the clerk. They didn’t complain as long as you gave them more money than you actually owed.

“Okay, I think we passed a gas station back—”

“Not here,” said Ironhide. “Gas is way too expensive in the city. Let’s get a little further out, like to New Jersey.”

“It’s just human money,” said Bumblebee, feeling like he was missing something. All the same, he followed Ironhide’s lead out around the bay. It was good to spin his wheels again, wherever he was going. It had been a while since any of them had just had a quiet day to slack off and see the sights, enjoy the sunshine. He’d half forgotten what their objective was by the time Ironhide flicked on his blinker again and turned off the main road.

The station was a busy little place with classy blue accents all around, several matching humans moving from fueling station to fueling station as cars came and went. Bumblebee was scouting the adjacent parking lot for a good place to be both appropriately present and politely out of the way—regulations might be regulations but nobody needed to see their patrol partner pushing a fuel nozzle into himself—when it dawned on him what he was actually seeing.

“Ironhide,” Bumblebee hissed, racing up behind him, “this is one of those full service places! You can’t go in there! Some human is gonna try to feed you!”

“Yeah,” Ironhide said, “that’s how these things work. Grab some shade, I’m gonna be a minute.”

Bumblebee watched in horror as Ironhide slid into the next open station and cut his engines. One of the service humans sauntered up, wet to his arm joints with soap-shiny water, and gave Ironhide’s rear door a light slap.

“Hey, tinted windows,” the human said, “you’re back soon. The usual?”

Ironhide popped his gas cap.

The human unhooked the fueling nozzle, all blunt thickness and oily glitter, chunky worn plastic made for the grip of small hands. A drop of fuel clung to the tip of it, spattered, and evaporated as the human drew closer. Bumblebee couldn’t look away, although that probably would have been the most responsible way of handling this—he couldn’t really believe Ironhide was going through with it, despite all intel thus far indicating that it wasn’t his first or even second time around. Rushing through your business by yourself in the farthest corner of a gas station was one thing, but letting a stranger push a feeding apparatus inside of you? Pump you full of fuel? In broad daylight where your patrol partner could see it?

Nevertheless, the tip disappeared down Ironhide’s intake, and, well, Bumblebee was too far away to hear the soft click and thrum of the fuel machine, but he could see the way Ironhide slumped on his axels just fine, thanks. This really was so much more than he ever wanted to know about the old soldier. If he’d been any closer he would have seen the inside of Ironhide’s intake.

After several excruciating kliks, Bumblebee finally worked up the bearings to look back again, just as the whole ordeal seemed to be wrapping up. The human was rehooking the nozzle onto its holster, and Ironhide was idling at a satisfied purr.

And then he said, “Get the windshield while I got you here, would you?”

The human fished down into some kind of container and came up with a device Bumblebee unfortunately recognized as a spray bottle. “Sure thing, sir,” he said, and aimed a spray of it all over Ironhide’s windshield.

Some kind of blueish fluid spritzed over the glass. Ironhide’s engine gave a mortifying rev as the human attendant leant over his hood to slide a cleaning apparatus all the way across the slick windshield. Bumblebee wanted to offline on the spot.

By the time Ironhide came trundling back across the parking lot, shiny and sleek and full, Bumblebee had decided that he was simply not cut out to handle this kind of thing, and had firmly decided to make it someone else’s problem.

---

“I’m not seeing the problem here,” said Ironhide back at the base, even though Optimus had explained the problem to him three times already.

“You took advantage of the humans,” said Optimus, as slowly and as patiently as he could manage. “You used their innocent cultural practices for your own perverse satisfaction. And you did so in front of Bumblebee.”

“It’s just fueling.” Ironhide shrugged. “It’s natural. Like drinking energon.”

“Would it be appropriate for you to sit in the mess room and allow someone to pour energon down your intake?” asked Optimus.

Ironhide’s engine revved, and his optics took on a dreamy cast. Optimus despaired.

“Regardless,” he said, “the humans are not consenting to being part of your—”

“-Right, right, perverse satisfaction.” Ironhide thumped his chest, knocking his engine back into a lower gear. “Are you trying to say something’s wrong with me? Just because I like fuelling a little more than the average bot?”

“I would never judge you,” said Optimus. “However—”

“I mean, I’m not the only one. Jazz likes his fuel too, doesn’t he?”

“There’s no need to drag other mechs into this,” said Optimus, but it was too late. Jazz was already sauntering over.

Optimus regretted beginning this discussion in the command station, rather than asking Ironhide to accompany him to his office. He’d just been so frustrated with Ironhide’s blatant disrespect for their tiny hosts.

“You rang?” chirped Jazz.

“Prime was calling fuel kink a ‘perversion,’” said Ironhide.

“Prime!” Jazz put his hand to his chest, falling back in mock pain. “You’re shaming us?”

“I am not—”

“Just because I like a little consensual feeding doesn’t mean I’m a bad person,” said Jazz. “Do we need to do the sensitivity training again? I can get the booklets, I think Smokey left them in Storage Closet C.”

“Ironhide,” said Optimus, through gritted teeth, “is paying unwitting humans to fuel him. In alt mode.”

“Oh.” Jazz looked up at Ironhide. “Like at one of those full service places?”

“Yeah.” Ironhide grinned. “There’s hundreds of them in that New Jersey place. It’s actually against the law to pump your own fuel, they train the human workers on the best way to feed you.”

Jazz’s engine revved. Optimus was surrounded by deviants.

“They aren’t trained to feed you.” Optimus tried again. “They are trained to fuel cars, and they have no idea that an advanced alien life form is taking advantage of their customs.”

“Hundreds of them?” asked Jazz, ignoring Optimus’ carefully-reasoned argument. “Seriously? Sometimes Prowler has to drive for miles to find one. Hey, Prowl! Have you heard of this New Jersey place?”

Prowl joined the widening circle. “Yes. However, it is too geographically distant to be convenient for fueling.”

“It’s worth the drive.” Ironhide’s voice took on a low, purring quality. “The humans will even wash your windshield, if you ask real nice.”

“Hmm.” Prowl’s optics flickered. “Thank you. I’ve updated the value function associated with New Jersey.”

“Excuse me.” Optimus needed to regain control of this conversation. “Prowl, have you been using these full service stations?”

“It’s the most efficient way to fuel without compromising our disguises while operating undercover.” Prowl hesitated. “I am aware of the connotations of such an act, but I—”

“He tries not to enjoy it,” said Jazz.

“That is besides the point!” Optimus couldn’t believe his audials. “You shouldn’t be using human fueling stations at all. It’s disgusting.”

“Hear, hear.” Ratchet shoved past Prowl’s doorwing. “It’s just unsanitary. You don’t know where that nozzle’s been! Let alone the human.”

“Ratchet’s absolutely right,” said Optimus, pleased to have found an ally at last.

“I’ll get you a sanitizing kit,” said Ratchet. “Make sure you wipe everything down first, and anyone who interacts with your fueling system should be wearing gloves. How many pairs do you need?”

“Ratchet,” said Optimus, feeling abruptly less confident in their alliance.

“I can’t ask a pump worker to wear gloves,” said Ironhide. “That’d be weird.”

“Do you want a rust infection?” Ratchet rummaged in his subspace. “Here, I’ll get you a fuel tester too. Those humans use corn for everything. Sugar, fuel, they even eat it straight, and it’s terrible for your tanks. Make sure to get the special fuel they use for classic cars, what’s it called—”

“That’s more expensive,” protested Ironhide.

“Avoiding tank rot is worth the cost,” said Ratchet. “Do you want surgery? Do you want me having to peel open your outer armor, rummage around in your internals, disconnect your tank and slowly draw it out? Do you want to lie on a medical berth for a whole week, taking in energon through a wiring drip?”

Ironhide looked queasy at that, but Jazz’s engine revved again and his optics sharpened with intent. Optimus cleared his voicebox.

“I think we all get the picture, Ratchet. Thank you. You see Ironhide, it’s entirely unsafe for you to continue to use these human gas stations.”

“It’s not unsafe,” corrected Ratchet. “All he has to do is take some simple precautions and he’ll be fine.”

“I guess I could probably get Mike to wear gloves,” mused Ironhide. “I mean, I do tip him pretty big. He’s got the best hustle, you know, not afraid to get down and dirty. There’s this spot on my windshield that’s kind of hard to reach, you know, and he just leans over my hood and gets that soapy water all over his shirt.”

Everyone was quiet for a moment. Optimus was very aware of the growing audience of mechs in the control room. How many of them had gone to a full service fueling station? How many were making plans to do so now? Optimus was spreading the perversion rather than curtailing it.

“Fine,” said Optimus. “The way you choose to fuel is your own business, as long as the humans consider it legal and Ratchet deems it safe. But I still cannot believe you indulged yourself in front of Bumblebee.”

Ironhide looked a little ashamed at that. “Yeah, yeah. That’s fair. I really did need the fuel.”

Bumblebee,” repeated Optimus. At last, he’d found the entry to Ironhide’s conscience. “Sweet, innocent Bumblebee, who never asked to learn about the vagaries of Cybertronian desire from—”

Excuse me?” said Bumblebee, shoving his way to the front of the crowd. “What are you talking about?”

“We were just discussing your report,” said Optimus. “I believe Ironhide has some apologies to make.”

“Yeah, for not warning me ahead of time!” snapped Bumblebee. “But not for defiling my innocence or whatever. I’m an adult! You can’t treat me like a sparkling just because I’m short.”

“I didn’t intend,” began Optimus, but Cliffjumper and Brawn were already wading into the debate, yelling about ‘height discrimination.’ Jazz was asking Bumblebee if he was open to co-fueling if he was warned. Ratchet was handing out gloves and sanitizing kits. Prowl had pulled up a map of New Jersey on Teletraan I. Ironhide was looking Optimus right in the optic, triumphant.

Then he spoke. “How do you fuel, Prime?”

“I’m sorry?”

“Fuel,” said Ironhide. “When you’re out on a mission, and you can’t transform and drink a cube. How do you fuel up when you’re low?”

Ironhide undoubtedly intended to catch Optimus in an act of hypocrisy, but Optimus seized the opportunity to model good behavior for what appeared to be most of the Autobot army.

“In order to avoid deceptive and inappropriate contact with the local humans, I merely find an unattended vehicle and siphon its fuel supply,” he said.

The control room fell silent. Except for Bumblebee’s indignant shriek.

“You’re eating the cars?”

“No.” Optimus kept his voice calm. “I am extracting fuel and leaving the vehicles intact.”

“Vehicles?” Prowl cocked his helm. “How many cars are you victimizing?”

“The size of my alt mode requires a larger fuel supply than most human vehicles.” Optimus would have thought this was obvious. “I generally siphon from ten to fifteen cars, depending on their capacity and my immediate energy needs. They’re not victims, Prowl, they’re merely resources.”

“You just drive down the street and suck all the fuel out of the parked cars?” Bumblebee waved his arms over his head, demanding everyone’s attention. “Optimus Prime is stealing fuel from poor, recharging, innocent cars?”

“They’re not recharging,” said Optimus. “They’re not sentient, even in the most rudimentary sense. They’re turned off, Bumblebee.”

“I mean, sure,” said Jazz. “We all know they’re not sentient—”

“I dunno,” muttered Brawn. “I saw a little Audi wink at me with his lights once, while he was driving the other way. And when I got a bit further down the road there was a human enforcer there, waiting to catch me. You gotta be sentient to warn someone about cops, don’t you?”

“It was the human inside, Brawn.” Optimus’ processor was beginning to ache. “The human was trying to warn you.”

“The human didn’t do anything,” insisted Brawn. “Didn’t wave or nothing. It was the Audi, I’m telling you.”

“—Most of us know they’re not sentient,” continued Jazz. “But they’re getting there, aren’t they? They’ve already got little processors—automatic brakes, alarm systems. Sparkplug figures they’ll be driving themselves in a couple decades.”

“They’re not people yet,” said Blaster, thoughtfully. Optimus hadn’t even realized Blaster was in the control room. “More like pets.”

“Pets that Optimus Prime is draining of their fuel,” said Bumblebee, because he apparently couldn’t let it go.

“I leave them enough fuel to reach a station,” said Optimus, feeling uncomfortably like he was becoming the villain. “And I put some of the human credits under the windshield wipers.”

That didn’t seem to help his case. “Dollars are a valuable commodity,” said Prowl, slowly. “Your payments are almost undoubtedly being intercepted by thieves before the rightful owners return to their vehicles.”

“This has been the worst day,” said Bumblebee. “I used to look up to you.”

“I mean,” began Ironhide.

Bumblebee glared. “Don’t say it.”

“I just,” tried Ironhide.

“Ironhide, I swear to Primus.”

“You still have to look up to basically everyone,” said Ironhide. “Because you’re short.”

Bumblebee launched himself at Ironhide’s legs, sending Ironhide sprawling into Prowl. Jazz sidestepped the toppling trio, but Cliffjumper and Brawn were wading in, shouting about sizeism again. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker had appeared as soon as there was an opportunity to scuffle and were cheerfully swinging at anyone they could reach. Smokescreen was taking bets on who would emerge victorious and/or with the most pieces of intact plating.

Optimus took a few judicious steps back.

“Not so fast.” Ratchet seized Optimus’ arm. “I want you in my medbay. Now.”

“I don’t think—”

“You’re right, you don’t think.” Ratchet began towing Optimus out of the control room. “Do you have any idea what kinds of contaminants you could be getting from any old car on the street? There could be water in their tanks! Rust! Unprocessed bits of corn!”

“I’ve never found any unprocessed corn.” Optimus glanced over his shoulder. Prowl had managed to extract himself from the pile and was trying to pull Bumblebee off Ironhide without much success.

Yet.” Ratchet shook his head. “You know, I think Ironhide has the right idea. At least these human pumpers are professionals.”

---

Optimus was patrolling in New York City when it happened. He had Bumblebee with him, because Prowl always seemed to schedule him with a partner for patrols these days. Optimus understood the buddy system was safer, but he didn’t like the way Prowl stared at him when Prowl said mandatory patrol partners helped prevent criminal behavior.

If Optimus had been alone, he knew exactly what he’d do. As it was, he listened glumly to the pinging of his fuel gauge. If only they hadn’t gotten stuck on that toll bridge.

The gauge pinged again. “Bumblebee,” said Optimus reluctantly. “I’m afraid I’m running a little low on fuel.”

“Hm?” Bumblebee was driving slow at Optimus’ tail, clearly watching the boats out on the Hudson and trusting Optimus to keep them headed in the right direction. “Okay, I think I’ve got some spare cubes.”

“Excellent,” said Optimus. “I’m glad I won’t have to fuel in alt mode after that argument last week.”

There was silence for a moment. Then Bumblebee piped up again, his voice oddly cheerful. “Wait, sorry. Forgot where we were. There’s nowhere we can transform without causing a panic out here! We’ll have to fuel in alt mode after all.”

“Oh.” Optimus’ tank was starting to gurgle now. “Then if we could find a parking lot—”

No.” Bumblebee sped up for a second, until Optimus could almost feel his bumper up against Optimus’ rear. “No. We have to follow Ratchet’s new procedure, remember?”

“I don’t think—”

Bumblebee abruptly swerved into the passing lane, racing past Optimus before cutting back into his lane with just a foot to spare between them. “Follow me!” he said in that awful chipper tone. “I know just the place.”

Bumblebee took them out of New York City, across a state line, and into a busy little gas station with a separate set of pumps for big rigs in the back. Bumblebee led Optimus to those pumps, herding Optimus onto one side before zipping around to take the opposite side of the same pump.

There were humans everywhere. In matching uniforms with their sleeves rolled up to display wet, grease-stained skin.

“Bumblebee,” said Optimus, with mounting horror.

“Shh,” said Bumblebee. “I’ll handle it, I’ve been to this place before.”

One of the humans was approaching. “Hey buddy, cars go over to the smaller pumps.”

“I’m with the big guy, Mike,” said Bumblebee. “Paying for both of us.”

“How do you—” Mike squinted at Bumblebee, like he was trying to see through the windshield. “Oh, part of the tinted windows gang, huh. Do I have to use gloves for you guys too?”

“Please.” Bumblebee rolled down one window just enough to toss out a sanitizing kit. There was a flicker of light as holomatter came to life and Bumblebee guided its little face into a smile. “And if you don’t mind cleaning off the nozzle, that’d be great.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Mike took the gloves out of the kit and pulled them on, the neoprene straining to fit over his large hands. “We run a clean place here, you know.”

“It’s the maintenance guys back at the company,” said Bumblebee apologetically. “One of the cars in the fleet got a rusty tank, and after that—”

“Uhuh.” Mike unhooked the hose on Bumblebee’s side. “Hey, Vince! Come put these gloves on, big blue here needs diesel.”

A few seconds later Optimus could feel Vince fumbling with his gas cap. He wondered if Vince was new or if the gloves made him clumsy—they were supposed to be professionals, weren’t they?

Vince poked the nozzle into Optimus, and Optimus’ intake contracted sharply.

“Weird,” said Vince. He was a smaller human, his arms skinny and freckled where Mike’s were thick and dark with hair. “It’s like it’s stuck on something.”

Bumblebee commed Optimus over his radio. “Relax,” he said. “It’s not a big deal, just don’t make it weird.”

Optimus forced himself to relax, and the nozzle slid home. Don’t make it weird. It was easier said than done, when the fuel pump started humming and fuel began pouring into Optimus’ hungry tank. It felt good hitting the bottom, splashing inside of him, and Optimus shifted uncomfortably on his tires as he realized he was leaning into the nozzle, trying to push it a little deeper as Vince held it steady. Bumblebee was right there beside him, inadequately screened by the pump. He could see Optimus trying not to enjoy this and failing.

“This guy’s got a huge tank,” said Vince. “What is it, two hundred gallons?”

“Three hundred,” said Optimus despairingly.

The other side of the pump clicked off. “Well, you’ll be waiting a bit,” Mike told Bumblebee. “Wash your windshield for you?”

“You’re the best, Mike.” Bumblebee’s suspension jolted a little as Mike leaned over his hood to get at the middle of the windshield. Sudsy blue water cascaded down Bumblebee’s glass, and Mike grunted, the front of his shirt already damp and getting drenched now as he scrubbed hard at a particularly stubborn bug splatter—

Optimus jerked his sensors away, but he could already tell it was too late. Bumblebee was practically radiating smugness through his electromagnetic field. Optimus was never going to live this down. Everyone on base would know about this within the hour, if they weren’t already receiving a live commentary.

Optimus really shouldn’t have called Bumblebee an innocent.

“Almost done, buddy.” Vince patted Optimus’ side as he filled Optimus nearly to bursting. Optimus could feel the fuel tanks under his cabin getting full and heavy, and Vince’s hand was warm and soothing against his metal. Optimus fought against a shiver of pleasure that would have made him roll forward on his axles if he hadn’t clamped his emergency brake.

Bumblebee snickered.

“What’s so funny?” asked Mike as he worked on Bumblebee’s back window.

“Nothing,” said Bumblebee. “Just, you know, I think my friend with the van was right. Nothing beats full service.”

Optimus wished desperately that he didn’t have to agree.