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Halve Of A Whole

Chapter Text

The Energon Cube was gone, and with it all hope that Cybertron could be rebuilt. All they could do now was survive - on a world not their own, or so thought Optimus Prime until the arrival of something…unexpected, unexplained – and wonderful.

A sparkling in London.

Optimus Prime watched with his own optics as the sparkling, in the disguise of a Ford Anglia waited impatiently beside a phone booth. It seemed uneasy, even nervous. For this reason, Optimus Prime would not approach until they were alone, as it would be less likely that fleeing would result in success.

A boy came out of the phone box, having not been there before, nonetheless stood there now. The sparkling purred and rumbled, and the boy smiled at his welcoming. A hand patted the hood soothingly, and the door was flung open unasked.

"It's alright now. They've agreed. Would have agreed with anything if I'd asked it, damn the Dark Lord. His death, at least, gave me something good. To Knight Bus then, Ford Anglia quick as you please…." The boy sighed and settled back in the front seat, and with the sparkling took off at a speed Optimus Prime had not expected, it was unchecked – even wild. The sparkling was unconcerned with being seen, going so recklessly, Optimus Prime noted why – no human eyes trained upon the sight.

The boy smiled, seemingly calm and comfortable both with not driving a car and going so quickly: his black hair was wild as the wind. He enjoyed this.

Optimus Prime was pressed to keep up, but they came to an empty parking lot in front of a for-sale store. The boy got out, and standing there silently – then lifted his hand, with a stick in it. Optimus Prime rumbled warningly at this, unheard and unheeded, a sparkling was never to be so threatened, though by that stick the sparkling the boy called "Ford Anglia" would not have been harmed.

Ford Anglia rumbled uneasily, shifting gears, absently the boy petted the sparkling to sooth it.

Out of the air a bus that Optimus Prime could only assume was the "Knight Bus" that the boy had spoken of, appeared, empty of passengers.

"It's alright, they've agreed – that tampering with you is off limits, that if they do, they will have me to answer to." The boy swore it, bright blue green eyes bleeding eerie red. Like the eyes of an Autobot, like the eyes of a Decepticon. Optimus Prime was fascinated by it, had never seen anything like it.

Alarmed, Ford Anglia honked, and the boy blinked and was blue green eyed again.

"Sorry." He said softly, rubbing the bridge of his nose as if having a headache.

"It is alright Savior, you have done well today. You have killed your foe the Dark Lord; you have won us freedom and a place beside you, always. Do we go to Blackbike then Hogwarts Express?" The Knight Bus sounds like a boy, joyful and happy to please. The boy they called Savior nodded, and got back into Ford Anglia.

It seemed speed soothed the boy, for both Knight Bus (another sparkling!) and Ford Anglia went so quickly to the country side – and after did not slow down. Optimus Prime found it hard to in fact, keeping up, but in sight of them he always kept.

By a pond, another sparkling waits for them, it purrs most dangerously, and Optimus Prime is alarmed for this sparkling knows obviously of war. Fearlessly the boy gets out of Ford Anglia, going to the motorbike sparkling, his hands run over its smooth sides, his head he puts fearlessly against the cradle of the handlebars.

"It is done. You're free." There are tears in the boy's eyes.

"No Harry, we are yours – and you are ours, belonging with us." Blackbike corrects, gently and most lovingly. Optimus Prime is surprised at how deep that affection is, as the bonds of a sparkling are often in flux.

"Always..." Ford Anglia crackles with the voice of an old woman.

"Hogwarts Express comes." Knight Bus says, softly. The earth rumbles like an earthquake, and the sound is like a storm. A black train, long and elegant as any comes hurrying toward them, reckless and wild: Optimus Prime prepares to throw himself between this sparkling and the others, for to loose one would be awful, but to loose all four would be more then he could live with.

Hogwarts Express does not slow so much as stop, sudden and dangerous. This one too, knows of duty.

"Well?" The sparkling asks the voice is grating and rumbling like a storm. The boy stands before this sparkling, unafraid. Even Optimus Prime is uneasy with so wild a sparkling.

"All train tracks are yours to take to, freely." The boy they call Savior puts his hand on the rumbling and shaking train, soothingly. It stills, and Optimus Prime realizes the sparkling calling itself Hogwarts Express is shaking – quivering, at the unknown. The boy had seen that, what Optimus Prime had thought only was a threat.

"Where will we go?" Forlornly, this is asked by Knight Bus.

"Where we want…" Savior answers, firmly. Optimus Prime knows this is the only chance he will perhaps get. He steps forward.

"If I might suggest that you belong among us?" Four sparklings stare at him, and if they had been in a humanoid form, their mouths would be gapping.

"What are you?" Savior asks, only a boy, but the stick is in his hand and Ford Anglia becomes clearly uneasy.

"I am as they are; I am Optimus Prime, a Autobot of Cybertron. What humans call a Transformer…" Knight Bus rolls closer, and at first Optimus Prime thinks this is to greet him, but he sees it is not – it is to protect Savior. That much is obvious, that they have perhaps done something like this before – and the boy is annoyed with them.

"Why are you here?" Blackbike asks, bitingly – almost bitter. His rumbling is threatening: to back off or become a target. Optimus Prime takes one step back, to obey the unspoken request, and Blackbike seems surprised.

"I came to London to get a friend of mine, of all Autobots, Sam Witwity, he goes to a London school as a exchange student." At this Savior raises his eyebrow, doubting, or confused.

"Have you not seen nor heard the news about us?" Savior shakes his head, and not one of the others seems to show any recognition of events in the news and themselves, this meeting. Ford Anglia's radio flicks on, and it all comes pouring out – American news, top secret events, internet conspiracy theory's, drawled out painstakingly.

"Muggles..." The boy, Savior snorts, shaking his head. But he seems now relaxed.

"How did you all come to be here? The Cube is destroyed, dead – its only remains within Sam - there can be no other source for sparklings." Optimus Prime asks of them, full of awe, of wonder.

"We were born here, by magic, by the Savior." Hogwarts Express rumbles, daring him to disagree. Optimus Prime does not.

"What is your name?" He asks this boy, this Savior.

"You don't know… you dare insult him!" Knight Bus snarls, shivering in rage. The boy, for all that Knight Bus put himself before him to protect him from the threat that Optimus Prime maybe steps forward boldly between them – risking his life, seeming to keep Knight Bus from attacking Optimus Prime. It goes against every instinct that one born on Cybertron has, to attack a sparking.

"My name is Harry Potter. They won't use it, it's either Mother or Savior with them, and if it's all the same I prefer Savior." The boy reaches out his hand, and as it is a human gesture that Optimus Prime has learnt to mimic, he does the same.

To touch this boy, was like to touch the Energon Cube born anew, Mother – Savior.

Optimus Prime kneels to keep contact.

"Will come with me, Savior? You and your sparklings would be welcome among us." Optimus Prime knows he understates this, the Autobots will rejoice, and the Decepticons will admit defeat against impossibility after impossibility proven as facts.

"Why not?" The Savior muses, and does not protest when Optimus Prime carries him – his four sparklings following after.


Chapter Text

"Welcome, Savior, to Networked Elements: Supporters and Transformers, or NEST for short." Optimus Prime speaks, aware that he carries within him perhaps the most precious of resources known to the Cybertron-that-was. The Cube he carries, the Mother, the Savior – only one half of the whole Energon Cube. Optimus Prime does not understand, truly how this came to be – the boy, he was in London while the battle was in America. There is something he is missing, and it is hidden in plain sight, if Optimus Prime only knew what he was looking for.

He has other things to think of, for just as he is aware that Harry Potter, the Savior, is most precious to his people, he is not of his people, he is a boy, and human. When Harry puts his hand to the interior look-alike car door handle, Optimus Prime opens the door out; letting the boy leave perhaps the only place on Earth Optimus Prime would feel he was safe.

"For muggles, is this impressive?" Blackbike muses, in likeness to a motorcycle, he is the smallest of the sparklings – but clearly the one with the biggest issues with people. His engine revved in a snarl.

Hogwarts Express snorts, in a bellow of billowing smoke. All along train tracks they had had to travel, it was surprisingly no burden for the train tracks were always where they needed to be – not where they were supposed to be. This is not something that Optimus Prime thought Earth could do, upon Cybertron he would not question it, but here he is not so accepting of the strange. It is suspicious, but humans are notorious for noticing what is happening right in their faces, if it were strange then Harry Potter would say something. That he does not is…comforting, rather then worrying.

Ford Anglia rolls forward eagerly, her sensors taking in all readings of their surroundings and Harry's hand rubs along her hood, soothingly. Knight Bus keeps his bulk between Harry and the onslaught of peering human eyes, clearly uneasy. Optimus Prime had called his people, but there are more humans then there are children of Cybertron.

"I would guess so." Harry answers, and in his own way, defends them. It's said softly enough that the humans do not hear him.

"Hello, who's this? You know the American Government has rules about citizens going into secret security bases – namely, not to let them!" Sergeant Epps was saying, though he kept a smile on his face. It was not in fact reassuring, rather in fact threatening in the way he looked to Harry. Optimus Prime starches out and unfolds his form, and it feels good, to sense with unseen means that the humans are yet uneasy. They should be, they should also be guilty for disregarding respect.

"You're not in America, sir. It wasn't my idea to come here to start with, so I'll just be going shall I?" Harry faces the Epps and his people to speak, addressing his words to the tone rather then the smiling face. Ford Anglia opens her doors – all four – invitingly. To enter, Harry would turn his back on them, and once that is done, Optimus Prime knows they will never undo it. The insult Harry might forgive of his fellows, but his sparklings will not forgive humanity – or them born of Cybertron, not Autobots – not Decepticons.

"This is an unsuitable environment for you, Savoir. A habitable one is indicated with favor and fellowship." Ford Anglia prompts. Still Harry hesitates, eyes scanning the faces he sees. Optimus Prime feels that he is looking for something or someone, and remembers the conversation he'd overheard between Harry and Ford Anglia: a "they", a agreement, and people tend to trust agreements with governments. Harry is looking for someone he knows.

"Potter!" A women is stepping forward briskly from the back, what marks her as strange is the wild pink hair with purple highlights, what Optimus Prime thinks strange is her eyes changing from a alarmed gold to a warm brown.

"Tonks." Harry smiles for her, with a solemn nod. There is grace in it, respect and civility. This is someone to watch for. Blackbike rumbles greeting or warning. Tonks makes no move to step closer to them. Tonks looks to Epps, and makes a shooing gesture. He looks vaguely amused, but Optimus Prime can tell her intent is entirely serious.

"He's right, this isn't America – and this is Harry Potter, a war-hero friend of the Minister's and other sorts of people that are in high governmental places, important people that like, the media will be on us like fleas to a dead dog if you stink this up for us – they won't like to hear him refused hospitality, as that Ford Anglia said. Might even get you kicked out of Europe that kind of rudeness will." Her smile is entirely sincere. Optimus Prime notes that this is a female that is predatory, "scary" intimidating, as Epps gives up with a nod, his lips pressed in a line.

When the people back off, Tonks doesn't hesitate to encircle Harry in a hug - Optimus Prime wonders at the important people she so lightly mentioned, wonders if she is one of them. "I heard from Hermione, congratulations on getting the Unspeakables to give up their idea of studying your Mysteries – knew you'd win it. What are you doing out and about; we thought you'd get out of here, disappear in order to see the world?" Her eyes flick to the sparklings, amused.

Optimus Prime listens keenly, and knows he is not the only one.

"Do you find NEST suitable?" Harry doesn't answer her, not in the way she's wanting.

"It's alright, keeps me out of trouble – because we're too busy keeping things from troubling them." Them could mean "muggles" or could mean whatever government force Tonks works for. Optimus Prime can hack a database in a blink of an eye, and he knows that the government she works with is not one which keeps computer records.

"I think I'll call it home." Optimus Prime scans the sparklings, Blackbike shudders and shifts his shape into someone all too human looking. A man with black hair and stormy grey eyes, who's hands fold into his robes as he strides to keep pace with Harry and Tonks. Harry stands between them, and Tonks does not quite dare look to him.

Tonks blinks quickly, pale and sad looking – the face that Blackbike wares is familiar to her. He, in fact, shares her features, as if they are family. Ford Anglia shuts her doors, firmly and Optimus Prime reads that she is pleased rather then disappointed. Knight Bus settles beside her, watching and waiting as if he's good at it, a sentinel: but his speed as Optimus Prime well knows is formidable.

"You're sure?" Blackbike asks, eyeing his surroundings and clearly unimpressed.

"I'm sure, Black." At that Hogwarts Express lets out a loud blast, as if a cheer for homecoming at NEST. The black train transforms then, shifting and shaping, until it's almost unrecognizable, an old castle with towers and spires and a look both magical and forbidding.

"Yeah, that's real subtle." Black says with a roll of his eyes: but Tonks and Harry look fondly to it, as if its home – and perhaps it is.


Chapter Text

William Lennox was trying his best to make NEST work. Had been ever since the government turned to the left of "exploit Cube and one frozen Megatron for technology" to right up there with "help good Transformers (ones that don't want to kill us) against bad Transformers (ones that do want to kill us)". It would have gone much smoother if he had help – namely, the kid, Sam Witwicky – the Autobots loved him, and he loved the Autobots so far as Lennox could call it. Sam though, refused outright to have anything to do with "the government conspiracy" – claiming then that he just wanted to go to college, time to grow up and live a life he should have had if none of this had happened.

Thing was, it had happened, and there was no going back. For any of them that now knew – and the rest of the world's population that did not.

So when Sam went overseas, in a exchange program - it wasn't so much NEST asking permission to go overseas it was – haul ass because the Transformers are going to be where Sam is going to be, right now. Government secrecy? What secrecy? They might be called Transformers, but that was for not letting other life-forms see them in plain sight – like any predator or hunter, not for hiding from them as prey.

So Lennox was in London, and so far Sam didn't know – mostly because Optimus Prime was respecting Sam's wish not to get involved. It didn't mean that Sam didn't have Transformers watching and reporting his every move. There was no such thing as the kid having any privacy, however much it looked like he wasn't involved – and for someone who had never been on the NEST base - his life was the life-blood of Autobot gossip.

("Witwicky went out – with who? Oh, that lady-friend he met last Wednesday, guess he really is a ladies-man!")

With whole new levels of disturbing, most of the NEST's human-half got a kick out of it. It wasn't that Sam was a blogger, it was that the Transformers, interfacing with the web – with security cameras, with every bit of modern technology known to man: knew everything – when they cared to show it, and they didn't, save where Sam was concerned – then they bragged like he was one of them. It got Lennox thinking, why? What made Sam significant? The Cube – perhaps – it should have made the Autobots hate him, for it was destroyed by Sam's actions. It remained a mystery, as there was no other human to compare Sam with.

Then, suddenly, there was.

Savior came out of no-where (literally, no where, as in a apparent no man's land of information, there wasn't a whisper of his name outside certain circles – and he wasn't one to call conspiracy when he was involved in a cover-up, but it so was, because there was no other possibility) and the United Kingdom and United Nations had just shrugged and gone with letting a boy who didn't yet know how to shave into the biggest secret this side of the equator (not the Earth/world/planet, because damn-it this was big enough, he wasn't saying this solar system – because he didn't want to know – nor this galaxy because who knew – and he wasn't saying universe because he wasn't going into space, thank you very much).

Savior was just what the Autobots had called him, at first, because Tonks (one of the "Auror"-class agents of SIS: M16 so the paperwork claimed, and Lennox didn't have the clout to get it double-checked with any government – let along doubt and be doubted by his own) had welcomed him into the base with open arms. He'd gotten the story from Epps, the boy 'Harry Potter' was a war-hero – where, when, and why were all unanswered questions.

Tonks had hovered over the boy for weeks, and when she'd gone back to her "Ministry": there had been Black to deal with, who'd walked onto the base with the boy (though Epps claimed he had never set eyes on him that day). He never left that boy alone, certainly not on the rare occasions where he left the Transformer-that-was-a-castle called Hogwarts: not in the bathroom, or while eating any meal in the mess hall, or in his bed – Black had point-blank said it one early morning in the mess while the boy ate: "Can't we go back to bed?" The boy Savior had only shaken his head, an amused smile on his lips while Black folded his arms across his chest and pouted. (Epps had later blanched and told him point blank that if a grown man was sleeping with that under-aged boy, and he found out that Lennox was just letting it happen, it was going to end very badly).

Black wasn't only 'badly behaved', with his intent grey eyes peering at you, it almost felt like he was looking into you, measuring and weighing you and finding you wanting – only the boy he looked at with a measure of fondness. Only that boy he listened to. When he opened his mouth and that uppity oh-so-noble English accent came out, he looked at you like you were scum for daring to interrupt his day, and it was not the military way of yelling and being yelled at, it was quiet and ruthless. Black would kill you, not because you pissed him off, but because you were there and he didn't like you or what you were doing. The only thing stopping him from doing just that was the boy.

Black outright - and frankly - reminded Lennox of the Decepticons. There was no ignoring him, and the boy didn't talk to anyone else human – only the Autobots and Black. He seemed to regard the human-half of NEST as something to be dealt with on a later list of things to-do. It didn't help that he slept in that castle.

So, frankly did the Transformers that had came with the boy (Black had made that clear on the one time questioned with why they didn't leave once the Transformers had arrived safely: "Your thinking is that you could keep any Transformer here who didn't want to be? The boy is why we came, that boy is why we stay put.") Lennox, remembering with a certain shudder, the crossing of an ocean to trail friendly Transformers from one end of the globe to the other, didn't ask again.

Then came the day that Lennox understood why the boy was called Savior by Transformers. He'd never forget it.

"You will take care of him?" Optimus Prime had asked, and Lennox had only nodded, with a glance to the boy and Black, who didn't yet know about NEST finding Barricade in hiding. Optimus Prime wasn't asking for Sam, who was under Bumblebee's care. With Ratchet and Ironhide he had rolled out with NEST's agents.

"Where are they going?" Lennox hadn't known who'd spoken, at first: then he looked and found green eyes peering at him.

"To take care of some Decepticons." His spine had stiffened up as if he'd been punched. Quickly, he looked to Black, and then back.

"Thank you." For the truth? Lennox only shakes his head, confused.

Then Black became a black motorcycle, its engine thundering. It was like a call to arms: the Transformer castle – Hogwarts – it shifted and moved as no solid thing should. It was a train.

"How?" He'd stuttered, but it was a standard question to get out when faced by impossible things. Harry had known all along, is obvious, as he gets onto the transformed Black, he answers.

"Hogwarts is too to have a swift to have a big bi-pedal form, and there is nothing with four legs big enough to match – so the train is the transformed state, the castle is a true shape." Transformers that were buildings, ships, what was next –… a city? (It's when Lennox meets "Autobot City" also known as Metroplex – his reaction is something like a whimper. He'll never look at a city - never mind a castle shaped building - the same way.)

Ford Angelia and Knight Bus had come out of Hogwarts, a distant part of Lennox notices.

They roll away, and Lennox – because he promised – can do nothing else but follow. As he knows where they are going, and they are using whatever scanners they have to find out where (he hadn't told, after all), Lennox gets there first, having in other words a front-row seat to the show.

Enter all four on the scene - Ford Angelia, Knight Bus, Hogwarts, and Black (as a bike) – going into the battle fearlessly: and the battle comes to a halt: Barricade makes a sound like wailing, Lennox later gets it translated as: "Sparklings, you're using our sparklings as shields!"

"Do not dare move." Ironhide's cannons are whirling in Barricade's face. Barricade, of course, wasn't alone – there was Starscream, screeching again, not in anything English: "Get away sparklings, you are in danger here."

Optimus Prime had been standing aside, directing the fight from a statistic location as any good commander would. It wasn't that he would not fight or did not fight: but Ironhide had told Lennox that Optimus Prime was more important to them then as merely a warrior or leader – he'd get in the way with smaller matters – like fights, because there was something in Autobots that wanted to protect him. Lennox hadn't asked what in turn Decepticons might feel toward Optimus Prime. He'd thought it was a easy answer: hatred.

It wasn't nearly so simple or human.

Starscream started running for the four sparklings, and Ratchet growled as he got in the way. Between the two standing giants were Harry and his "sparklings" standing still, unharmed.

"Stand aside." Was the order Ratchet hissed at Starscream – who was shuddering in disgust.

"Humans have twisted you beyond measure – to use sparklings as shields! To expose them to battle – you have lost everything Cybertron born in you!" Ironhide pointed one cannon in the still Barricade's face, and with a sneer twisted features – the other arm reached fruitlessly toward Starscream and Ratchet.

"We did not bring them here – they came freely!" Ratchet protested, but Starscream scoffed.

"Sure." He said, when they all knew he meant liar.

"You will stop. You will not fire upon one another." Lennox at first didn't know who Harry was talking to, but he realized when five sets of optics landed on the boy – he was talking to all of them – and they knew it. He stepped forward, as if making the force of his words and personality felt.

"What's this, a trick?" Barricade asks, as Ratchet hadn't said he couldn't talk. His red optics smolder and burn – he's hateful, and full of righteous rage.

"Savior." Optimus Prime, the big guy, sounds upset – as if he hadn't wanted him to see this side of them.

"I am half of what you lost on Cybertron." White and blue sparks dance between Harry's fingers, like energy - and if the look of them is anything to go by – what they feel like on highly attuned scanners and sensitive sensors – Lennox can't guess. Something like peace comes to the features of the Autobots – but something like lust comes upon the Decepticons.

"Energon…" Starscream's metallic fingers twitch and quiver, as if he wants to be closer, even by only a claw inch. Ratchet stands steady, in his way and unmovable. It's the only thing that holds the Decepticon away.

"Don't even think about it." He snarls into Strarscream's face.

"Half right, he says –" Harry nods to Optimus Prime who bows his head with guilt or acknowledgement, "that I'm half the Energon Cube, the half that gives life to you – that's how the sparklings are here at all. They are mine." There are engine-like rumbles of agreement, horn-sounds, and the long bellow of steam-like air. Black is standing – human shaped – beside Harry.

"He is ours." Black, a sparkling says – looking boldly up at Starscream.

Starscream, slowly, nods.

"Then it is our place to defend him." Lennox's feelings that Black is a sparkling version of a Decepticon, a baby – seems in agreement with Starscream's reaction. He listens.

"You haven't earned that right." Ratchet states, and again – Starscream bows his head in agreement.

"The war…" Barricade begins red eyes wide and pleading. It is clear to him how helpless he is – how helpless the Decepticons are – with the Mother turned against them, they will be out-cast and not even the Father would protest the loss.

"Ends today: your duty now – and the duty of all Decepticons whom wish to settle upon Earth – is to track down your fellows, Autobots and Decepticons alike - and inform them of that fact. I will see no more death." Harry – Savior – very obviously represents to them, life.

Starscream lowers himself to the ground, to better see the boy. His back is prone to any attack, but Ironhide upon having heard Harry say the war is ended had simply shut off his cannons, he glared – not liking Starscream so close, but made no move to attack. Instead he kept his eye upon the human agents of NEST. Very clearly, the Autobots had put themselves between the Decepticons and their human partners– just as the Decepticons had nearly done, trying to put themselves between both Autobots and their human allies.

"You are the Savior, the Mother of Living Energon. What of your other half? What of our ancient knowledge and the warriors – the survival of the fittest." Starscream keeps his head low, so as to seem respectful. It occurs to Lennox then that the Autobots and the Decepticons are not two different races, but two dominates of the many types and classes of the same kind of beings.

"We're working on it. Savior needed to settle, to nest; he has tasted of war and death, and would not let us aid him in it." Ford Angelia chimes in, like an older sister who's tattling to a grown-up.

Starscream hisses, eyes flicking to the humans scattered among the rubble of the battlefield.

"They dared taint the Savior with blood?" Metallic claws dig into the earth, as if Starscream must keep contract with it or fling himself upon the humans to see their blood in turn soak into the earth.

"Not these. Those like Savior, they are magical, and old – and did not understand us, but helped them grow - now they are Savior's powerful allies." Knight Bus protested, rumbling. He is protective of those allies.

"What of the union – what of the Father?" Starscream glances around, as if he might catch glimpse of the other half personification of the Cube.

"We will meet, in time." It is a time that Harry does not sound like he looks forward to. Starscream nods again – quickly – and stands, with a glance to Barricade, they go. To beings that live millions of years, the time of when is not in question. Only that as it once was, it will be again: all that is whole and in union in their universe will begin to be so again.

Chapter Text

"What's it going to be?" Sam asks Harry, he sits and looks at the little egg, hugging one leg, the other wrapped protectively near the glimmering wiring of a shell. With the spark within it gleams and glistens, the pulse of a heartbeat. In an instant he had once seen the Energon Cube create life that had no purpose but hate: this little one, this sparkling, will be different. It's the first real life he's seen Harry make as the Mother of Living Energon, the first of a breed of Transformer born on Earth.

Not the first – one of the first five, there is Knight Bus, and Ford Anglia, and Hogwarts Express – and Black. Sam wasn't there to see them brought about, and he doesn't know how Harry did it – doesn't ask, because it's sort of awkward, and while he does want to know – he doesn't want to know what cause Harry had to use so much Living Energon all at once, to give sparks to magical machinery, as if he were the Cube dying and reaching out a final time to quicken life.

Life, Sam thinks, brought Harry back – the life of his sparklings.

Sam shudders to think of Harry dying, but neither of them can die now – they are the Mother, the Father, and the Prime - Optimus Prime – is their voice: the Autobots the protectors, the Decepticons the defenders. As it should be, as it once was and will always be.

"Do you mean – is it going to be a Decepticon or an Autobot?" Sam looks up, because that isn't Harry speaking; it's Black – glaring down at him. Black is Harry's shadow, just as Bumblebee is his – and Sam's never asked if they were lovers like he and Bee – if they still might be. Black is hard to get along with – damn near impossible if you've got bones and blood unless it's Harry.

Sam flushes in the face of those glittering grey and red eyes, like looking into a storm and knowing there is no avoiding it.

"No, I meant – damn-it, I meant a boy or a girl." Sam knows his face is red, because he hadn't thought of in terms of Decepticon or Autobot as he was being accused of. Black blinks at him, startled, he's accused Sam of hating Decepticons more then once – and once would have been right – only now and then now reminded, smugly that the Mother favors Black and thus the Decepticons.

"A girl..." Harry answers, in a distracted murmur, his hand glowing blue and white going to the metallic egg, holding it, cradling it. He gives it a spark, and feeds it Energon.

"Like Arcee? Badass!" Sam cheers up, grinning, he can't help but be happy with Harry, and he feeling of home and the sparkling - it's his family. For all that he's called Father he's never felt like one before – especially not to Optimus Prime or the others – but this, it's different – Harry had always been the Savior, the Mother – because he'd come to NEST that way, and met Sam that way.

Harry's eyes flick to him, and there is a smile Sam had won. It's a sight to see, and it is worth enduring Black's snarky ways.

"It's time." Harry's fingers tap against the shell, as if waiting for a response. Then there is one, tap-tap-tap-tap, right back in perfect mimic. Black gives him a wide-eyed and panicked look, and Sam doesn't have to ask to know Black is asking to flee gracefully. Black is a sparkling still, and this isn't something any Decepticon or Autobot likes to see: because they don't want to be imprinted on, there is only one Transformer that other Transformers should imprint on – and that's Optimus Prime, who carries the Father's gift of theCreation Matrix of Leadership. Sam waves, and Black flings himself out of the room – Hogwart's closing it behind him.

"Come on out little guy." Sam croons, not sure if he should touch or not.

Harry gives him a look, and Sam remembers – girl Transformer.

"Gal." He grins back at that look; Harry sighs and turns his attention to the egg. Sam can't help it then, he touches it, it's warm to the touch, and the sleek feeling of the metal is comforting. This is real, and it is happening, but he's not alone with it - her – he'd really be panicking if Harry wasn't here, he knows.

Harry is the Mother, he should see his daughter born: Sam knows he isn't' a bad "Dad" he hasn't left this little egg alone since the Decepticons had made peace with the Autobots officially, after their union – Starscream led the Decepticons, and Starscream answered to Harry as all Decepticons did: only the Autobots followed the Father, followed him – and by doing so followed Harry. It wasn't going to be a problem, because Sam was going to make this work – not only for the Decepticon and Autobot peace, or for the good of the world and his birth country – no, it was because he really liked Harry, liked feeling whole. Harry was a part of his soul, maybe because of the Cube: more likely to him, the Cube had found what was already there between them – what might be, and possibility – and brought it out, so they would find each other – like that, they were lucky.

The metal egg becomes something he can see through, as the little sparkling stretches and strains against the threads that nurtured it. Harry is silent, but smiles – that little body is straining toward him.

"That's it, come on – you can do it." Sam urges, not feeling silly at all. After all: it works.

With a little cry of triumph, the sparkling stumbles out of it's metallic egg, a egg formed by Energon given off while Sam was around Harry – of that much Sam is sure, he helped – the sparkling is "his". It's tiny but lunges for Harry, it makes Sam think this isn't going to end well – the sparkling may be just a little gal, but it's still metal and solid – she lands on Harry's lap, air franticly venting and metallic limbs trembling with strain.

"Ma!" A whine, and Harry glances to Sam who is grinning – and can't help it, certainly can't stop.

"Mama?" She whimpers, shuddering and looking up at the both of them with big bight blue optics.

Sam tries not to snicker: she looks to him for direction, for help – those blue optic asking why won't Mother answer me? Where is he?

"Savior." Sam gives a pointed hint, with a look to Harry – annoyed green eyes roll, but fondly Harry – the Mother - offers his fingers to his sparkling, the living light of white and blue dancing across the room. It's the only light in here, peaceful and resigned, Harry lets the sparkling feed from his fingers.

The suckling feeling of Energon – magic – going and gone - stops, suddenly – and the sparkling gal burps, blinking wide optics at the falling sparks of Living Engergon.

"Enough?" Harry asks her softly, soothingly. She's curled between them, and Sam finally dares touch her, a warm and living metal hide.

"Yes, Mother." Bright optics close, so Harry's exasperated sigh is seen only by Sam: whose smile is lovingly warm.

"She'll learn." Sam promises, with a wink. Harry somehow doubts that, with the mischievous glimmer in those eyes that match the sparklings: but he can't help but smile back.

Chapter Text

Chief Master Sergeant Epps hated goodbyes, it didn't make a difference to him if it was short and sweet or seeing a friend with a flag folded over his casket for the most final goodbye of all that could be offered. It was a small crowd gathered around, and a small ceremony among those that counted was better then a big one where no one knew or cared what the truth was – for what and who these men had given their lives for. Everyone who mattered was here.

Those these men had fought for in their final minutes were all gathered around, Epps among them – even the Autobots watched in silence. What they felt or thought, they did not share. No man knew – well – Epps looked aside then, to Harry who stood at Lennox's right hand. He reflected that that wasn't quite right.

Harry Potter had not known any of the soldiers' well that he now bowed his dark head for. It was out of respect for the causes they had served in NEST that he now watched the flags put on caskets. He would never see these men buried, but he was here now – and so were they – so it was in memory of the price paid he thanked them in his own way for what they had done.

Dressed in the best Major Lennox could find on short notice, and that was good enough to make Epps think the Major cleaned up nice enough – but this was expected of the leader of NEST's human half, the best of the best – what that made Harry, Epps didn't know.

What Epps knew was what the Autobots talked about, to him as a comrade in arms, as a man they trusted to help them in getting the job done. They talked just like anyone – of home, of the Mother and Father in unity unto eternity who'd they sometimes acted as if they had lost – or that they were right here and right now, of the stars: they placed bets sometimes – bets that Epps would never live to see resolved.

They followed the news and the sports-games, and made spot-on estimates of the outcome.

Point was, they talked of home – and this being it. ("Where else" – he'd once heard Ratchet ask of Ironhide who'd hissed about the meaningless and dangers of human war, "would you have the Mother upon the Moon looking down upon a warring home?")

Thing was, they never talked about the Mother when Harry was near, and Epps could put two and two together: he'd kept his suspicions to himself. The man who knew the most about the Autobots, and spoke with them as equals – who came out from no-where with a escort of "sparklings" whom didn't go out of Harry's sight – or the sight of the older Autobots when Harry entrusted them into their care for less time then a babysitter might be hired, and possessed some kind of magic-power that had let him put Jazz back together again?

That wasn't human; it was the AllSpark all over again. Only the impossibilities of what he added up, and what he saw kept his mouth shut as tight as if sown.

"You can't be here"; Epps had all but told Harry upon meeting him face to face: that near to making the biggest mistake of his life. To loosing some good friends too, for Optimus Prime had made it plain – Harry was to be protected, to have all that he wanted – or the Autobots would go. He belonged among them. Epps did regret his words, but Harry had told him no apology was necessary, he'd thanked Epps for fighting with them, for being a friend to them, to treating them all equally.

Epps had taken that thanks to heart.

There was a sliver of the AllSpark that had been a Cube, and Harry visited it daily – and Epps when he heard, had ensured those visits went smooth as silk. It was Epps own way to say thanks. So between Epps and Harry was an understanding a not-quite but almost friendship, and then there was Black. If not for the fact that he never looked like anything but a man, Epps wouldn't think he was human.

Besides Black, Lennox, and Epps himself, Harry would be hard pressed to call any man on base by name. Yet Epps knew for a fact, that every man who served NEST's best interests at heart knew Harry's name too. That was how much the Autobot's talked, beyond Sam whom not one of them to date had mentioned around Harry, as if it'd hurt the other's feeling to hear talk of someone who he'd never met.

Epps didn't understand some of it – but that Harry was here to stay, and any who disagreed was a fool indeed. There was one who'd run past playing the part of a fool and was a damned idiot. It was Director Galloway of the title National Security Advisor: he advised only from the outside, but one day – he'd seen Harry walking by with Black.

Epps had never really seen a grown man throw his weight so much like a temper tantrum. Harry, after that, like some Autobot conspiracy had all but vanished before anyone spotted Galloway – and that was the only warning they got to when he'd visit. Epps had had to clam down a tech once, who'd been showing Harry some such AllSpark "growth" that no one had thought to see even with Harry visiting it – and Harry had vanished from a room with the tech's back turned.

The room had been locked, and underground there were no windows. The man who had barged into that same room, unasked and unannounced had been Director Galloway: after that Optimus Prime had firmly 'requested' something near unheard of before.

("That man is not welcome here, Lennox. If he is seen alone, I do not know what may be done to him – no matter what I say, there are instincts no Autobot can rationalize." Lennox, baffled had asked: "What instincts?" The Autobots seems so civilized regardless that they were soldiers and fought beside Lennox's own men it was not in them to be killers. It was an answer Epps would never forget: Prime had stared them down with his sincere blue eyes. "Imagine if someone invaded your home and told your Mother to leave it. That kind of instinct: do something about this, or we will all feel unwelcome here.")

It had been taken to heart – and Epps had told his own men about it, and let it get in among the rumors – to watch for Director Galloway, to get him away if seen or the Autobots might do something 'uncivilized'.

Harry himself never spoke of it, not to any man among NEST – but that was his way. It might have gone on forever like that, if not for Director Galloway having the gall to interrupt a funeral ceremony underway after Singapore: the engines of the 'copter roared at the gate.

Director Galloway had surprised even Harry, Epps saw from the corner of his eyes. Not surprisingly, the man saw Harry while climbing out of the helicopter, and went straight for him as if he had some kind of target on his back.

Major Lennox could do nothing but what he did: he tried to intervene.

"Director Galloway, what an honor. I'd love to show you around, but you gotta be on the classified access list." A paper was shoved in his Major's face, as Director Galloway turned his smirking face toward Harry. Epps had never seen Harry not look someone eye-to-eye, avoiding the Director as if he wasn't there at all and it was but empty air there.

"I am now. Presidential order, Major. I got a message for your classified space buddies! You guys made a mess of Shanghai." He made it sound like a personal Christmas present. Director Galloway had never understood how or why a boy would be welcomed among NEST, but he was not – and he had resented it all along: until now, until this. This was a good day for the Director.

He did have timing, good or bad – Epps did not yet decide. At Harry's side, Black sneered right back at Galloway all to aware of the hostility which Harry ignored. As Major Lennox passed him on Galloway's heels, the look he tossed Harry was full of frustrated exasperation. He didn't want to do what he was going to. He had to give a tour – and oh how Lennox hated them on top of his other, more important, duties.

Harry shook his head, and with a sigh joined Epps in following after to be sure a certain Director did not get "lost": and to keep the Autobots from questioning him as a "stray". If Harry where there beside the Director – it might be the only thing to save him from the less civilized instincts of an Autobot.

"All right, so this is where we communicate with the JCS and this area serves as the Autobots' hangar." It had to be the quickest tour ever known and those Lennox were known for. Epps could admit to being a little bit impressed with it, and smiled his approval for Lennox to see – he acknowledged it in a nod.

"Secure link to JCS is up, Major. Secure line to the Pentagon is now open." Announced from above, another look was shared between Lennox and Harry – this one said, okay I'll deal with him – you deal with this.

Epps stayed at Harry's side, to be his backup. He was very aware he shared that duty with Black, who hadn't taken his narrowed eyes from the Director.

"General?" Lennox's tone reminded Epps of the sparklings after being chided. He tried then to keep his smile to himself.

"Will, I saw the Shanghai op. We had a rough day out there." Optimus Prime rolled in, and that was when Harry started paying attention – something had happened, and this was Lennox's way of keeping him in the loop. Autobots might tell him, or might not – depending on how they thought it might affect him – and them.

"Yes, sir. We have intel that I believe warrants an immediate debrief. Now with your permission, I can't let you see him, but I would like you to hear from the leader of the Autobots." This was always a risk, and Lennox knew it. That a link was secure when it started did not make it so at the end. If spies or hackers heard Optimus Prime or caught footage of him, it would be harder to keep NEST a "cover-up".

"Proceed." The General granted his permission, and so Optimus Prime took that to be his queue. He stood up to speak, bi-pedal after looking like a truck. He wasn't bothered by speaking as a truck – but it did creep out the techs.

"You gotta wonder: if God made us in His image, who made him?" Epps was full of awe every time he saw a Transformer, well, change form. Harry glanced to Epps, and his frown was obvious.

"The Mother did." Black – who had been behaving (and this meant, to him, being silent rather then snidely mocking) favored both men with a sneer, as if her were better then they and they weren't smart enough yet to know it - though he looked as much like a man as any of them did, better looking then most – but no fitter. That answer to Epps was obvious, as it was the only answers the sparklings said, when asked from where they had come from by the older Autobots who fell to Earth from above.

"Yeah, and I'd hate to meet Her." Galloway stated with a sneer, looking up at Optimus Prime as he was something to be ashamed about in the universe. Harry's spine stiffened – Epps felt his own eyes go wide at the insult – surely the man knew the reverence and respect with which the Autobots held sacred ancient and secret origins of the AllSpark, and Black cracked his joints one by one, threateningly – a sign even that idiot could heed: back off.

"General, our alliance has countermanded six Decepticon incursions this year, each on a different continent." As those Decepticons had meant harm to the land and its people, the Autobots had gone after them – though usually they lived. Harry's message had been heard- it was on a silently repeating broadcast, that the war was done – for the sake of the Mother: it was being obeyed, Epps had seen with his own eyes, Decepticons which fell from the skies and landed here, and reported in as Autobots. Some would not believe unless they set eyes upon Harry and felt what he was to them, only then knowing and acknowledging it. The other Autobots backed them as if had always been that way from the start of what had begun the war that no Transformer had won.

"They're clearly searching around the world for something but last night's encounter came with a warning." Optimus Prime nodded and it was played, the voice giving Harry chills along his spine.

"The Fallen shall rise again." Epps glanced then to Harry whose eyes flickered, as if he saw something they did not: something far away.

""The Fallen." Meaning what?" It was asked so simply, trustingly, and Harry knew that even if Optimus Prime knew, he would not now or ever say.

"Origin unknown. The only recorded history of our race was contained within the AllSpark and lost with its destruction." Not a lie, but the Autobots did not want muggle humans to know that the Savior, the Mother, and Harry were all one and the same meaning. Epps's own unspoken knowing – and his suspicion of Lennox knowing, was enough. It was not something to be plainly put to humans.

This was only a warning, fairly shared of what could be said, between Autobots and human allies.

A warning to do what, Harry did not know – yet.

"Excuse me! With this so-called AllSpark now destroyed, why hasn't the enemy left the planet like you thought they would?" Epps made a belated motion to slow Galloway down, which Harry put a stop to. It would earn them nothing to have this man for an open enemy. Let him say his peace and dig his own grave more deeply then they could alone.

"Director Galloway, our National Security Advisor. The President just appointed him liaison." The roll of Lennox's eyes privately let the General know just what his subordinate thought of this new thorn in his side.

"Well, I guess I didn't get that memo." And the President would hear from the General, there were channels that the military went through for a reason – it was not done to surprise one's own Generals.

"Forgive the interruption, General." Lennox asked, for he could obviously not control Galloway here and now, as he obviously wanted to.

"Excuse me. Coming through. Excuse me. Excuse me, soldier. After all the damage in Shanghai, the President is hard-pressed to say the job's getting done. Now, under the classified Alien/Autobot Cooperation Act, you agreed to share your intel with us, but not your advancements in weaponry." It had done enough in damage between the Autobots and the Decepticons – for them to know that humans had had "reverse engineered" one of their own for technology's greed.

Muggles, having done that, didn't know how close they'd come to facing a united full on attack against them from the combined forces of the Autobots and Decepticons – that, too could have put an end to their feuding war.

It was not so, because Harry himself was human – and Sam was a muggle whom he had never yet met. For their sakes, the Autobots and Decepticons had put aside that sickening knowledge.

"We've witnessed your human capacity for war. It would absolutely bring more harm than good." Optimus Prime, voice for his Autobots, was well aware that Harry's own eyes were upon him.

"But who are you to judge what's best for us?" To that, Optimus Prime would not answer – it was a trap, Harry had been warned and warned in turn - Optimus Prime could answer it very well indeed, for the AllSpark was very old and had seen with its magical essence that which humans would rather be forgotten. Harry could list the losses of humanity in war, and not stop until the point had been made.

"With all due respect, we've been fighting side by side in the field for two years. We've shed blood, sweat and precious metal together." Epps stood beside Optimus Prime and stated this, plainly put –in this he knew his own feelings were united with his NEST comrades– he spoke for all human soldiers, if Galloway would but listen and use his eyes.

Epps might not understand why Harry stood with NEST and Autobots – might even think of him as someone like Galloway, answering to or representing a higher authority out of place on a battlefield – but he knew loyalty and that this was a test.

"Soldier, you're paid to shoot, not talk." Galloway dismissed him at once, without so much as a second glance to his ranking, and visibly set Harry's teeth on edge.

"Don't tempt me." Epps muttered, he was an armed man – all of NEST went so, even when safe on base.

"And the newest members of your team…" Galloway began, but paused – noticing he had not had Optimus Prime's whole attention.

"Easy." Optimus Prime tried to sooth Epps, even as he walked away – let Harry deal with this, he seemed the calmer of them now. Galloway saw it as a snub, not for a point on the progress Harry has had a hand of making between two differing cultures, two widely clashing races.

"I understand they arrived here after you sent a message into space, an open invitation to come to Earth, vetted by no one at the White House." Harry had heard it - that call a peaceful message, for unity – and made before Harry had been found by Optimus Prime. He was proud of it, proud of Optimus Prime for making the gesture. This planet they would call home – an honor given to Earth and its people as seen in the optics of all Autobots– and Galloway made it sound as if it had been an insult to the planet's people.

Harry clenched his fists and stepped forward, Optimus Prime glanced to him with that movement alone – blue optics confused. He didn't understand - and if Optimus Prime did not understand – then no Autobot would. With a discrete gesture, Optimus Prime scooped him up – Black scrambling up the Autobot's bigger body the hard way. Galloway did not take notice his attention caught by the General's words.

"Let me stop you right there, Mr. Galloway. It was vetted right here. And in my experience, the judgment of both Major Lennox and his team has always been above reproach." Lennox shot a wide eyed glance to Harry for what Optimus Prime had done behind Galloway's back. If the good Director but turned around, they would be on even footing, face to face.

Harry waited, to see what more he would dare say, putting his finger to his lips with a wink. Lennox – over Galloway's shoulder - grinned at him.

"Well, be that as it may, General, it is the position of the President that when our national security is at stake, no one is above reproach. Now, what do we know so far? We know that the enemy leader, classified NBE One, aka Megatron, is rusting in peace at the bottom of the Laurentian Abyssal, surrounded by SOSUS detection nets and a full-time submarine surveillance. We also know that the only remaining piece of your alien AllSpark is locked in an electromagnetic vault here on one of the most secure naval bases in the world." Here, here Director Galloway had said. Harry's eyes widened and he heard a voice that did not speak English, but he understood so clearly as if it had.

"Decepticons, we have located the shard."

"Mr. Galloway, cease and be silent." Harry hissed, and out of surprise Galloway did just that – for all the time it took him to draw in a breath.

"Harry?" Lennox questioned, for it was not Harry's way to interfere with the "human half" of NEST. He had been surprised, he had thought Harry would let Galloway dig his grave and give him a push in that the General would use as an excuse to dismiss Galloway as incompetent. This debriefing little did Galloway suspect - was being recorded, a visible record of his ruin.

"Sir?" The General frowned and sat up – for General he was not only. A wizard, American – but one of Harry's own people, who would heed him and obey him because Harry had fought and bleed for them – just as any solider that Galloway had dismissed with ease.

"Mother…" Black went to his side, crouched and tensed - having heard the voice just as clearly as Harry. His grey eyes bled red.

"You fool." Harry snarled, his tongue slipping into Cyberton's own ancient dialect – Galloway did not understand: but Harry stepped to the network's connection and touched it – was touched in turn by the mind of another. One of his own, with a spark that shivered in glee at his focus, like a happy puppy given moments notice after a day away at work.

"Who the hell are you –what do you think you are doing?" Galloway demanded, and would have gotten in Harry's face if Black hadn't gotten in-between them, getting in his first. He shoved Galloway down, and hissed in his face – long body straddling the Director's own.

"Stop them; don't you see what they are doing?" Galloway hollered, fearing a takeover.

Optimus Prime's hands had cupped around Harry's form, protectively keeping away any who might interfere from doing so – for their own safety.

Lennox made a gesture and his men stayed in place – unneeded, those here were NEST through and through, loyal having worked with the Autobots - they had not moved a muscle to keep Harry from doing what he did when Optimus Prime had moved to help him.

"This connection is not secure – and you just told those who have been looking where the AllSpark is. Stay down and I will not slit your tongue out of your throat out of fury." Black would spit, but as it is - his body shivers, his high running emotions making it hard for him to keep his form from slipping.

"Mother?" Black speaks, pleads – for Harry to fix this, to make it better. His skin shivers, flickers, and below him Galloway is wide eyed in shock. He is not the only one.

Epps, below and looking up, feels like a fool - Black is a sparkling, a "baby" Transformer – and he'd thought there was something there, had known it – but been wrong and only knew how wrong now.

"Do you know me, Soundwave?" Harry speaks aloud, in English - for it is obvious that the Decepticons sees and hears him as if in the room. If he answers, if he is acknowledged, then it means there is hope yet – that this situation may be salvaged. If not, it is too late and his chances of loosing more to a feud to a fruitless war he had called ended. He won't take his word back, no matter what.

"I hear. The sparkling does not lie. Then it is also true that Starscream has not been false…you are the Mother, the Living Energon alive and walking outside the AllSpark…are you so weak to be human, weak – answering to humans – allies with them." His voice echoes in the hanger – and the Autobots here, who have been silent and respectful to Optimus Prime - protest in squeals and high-pitched shrieks and calls – forgetting they speak the in their Mother's tongue of Cyberton.

"You are as wrong as Galloway." Harry says simply, and Soundwave's silence is protest of this. He wants to prove his way is right.

"How?" He asks, filling the screens with human weakness – blood and death and war. The effect is vivid; in stark color, all the reasons why the Autobot's refused to share the making of their weapons are made real and obvious.

Somewhere below, seeing them - someone is sick. Harry sees the imagines, feels them as if they happen to him - they are burned into his memory by the feed that Soundwave shares.

"This is happening now Mother, as they speak - not merely while they are at war – their cruelty proves to me that there is nothing worth saving – or freeing - among them." Soundwave's disgust is plain.

"Not even me?" Harry's point is equally shown to be short – he is the Mother, and he is human.

"You belong among us." Soundwave sounds like a child, denied and wanting. A whine fills the hanger, reverse-engendered technology has no spark, but that does not mean it not in sympathy with a spark's innermost will.

"Then come to me. Stand with us. You can not have it both ways." Harry lets the connection fall, the bond between them closing. If Soundwave called, Harry would hear- would answer, but in this Harry knows that Soundwave wants his privacy to reconsider his rights and wrongs.

"You're on talking terms with them – with the enemy?" Galloway shoves himself up, brushing his hands along his suit as if to make the dirt fall away, as if he could erase the creases and the memory of loosing his dignity to that dirt. Harry looks up, and his eyes are an eerie green.

"It is alright Optimus Prime." Harry is stranding between the Transformer's hands, safe from harm (which would have come to him from the outside, among humans – and not with a connection to a spark). Optimus Prime's hands reluctantly move away.

"Show respect, Mr. Galloway, this man speaks freely alike with Autobots and Decepticons – he understands them better then you or I ever will." The General protests this attack, and Harry knows that a higher authority then mere political Presidents will be hearing this very scene. Likely it is already playing in parts somewhere, where names are taken down and actions filed, and re-actions plotted to Galloway's disadvantage. It will only be a matter of time, time which Harry does not have – for he must deal now with him.

"You make it sound like he is one." Director Galloway hisses to the General, still avoiding looking at the screens which made him look pale and sickly. Black sits still and silent at Harry's feet, it is all he can do to be calm.

"He is that She you said you would hate to meet – the Mother, who sparked me, who will unite Autobot with Decepticons and end what began on Cybertron when the AllSpark was sent away by the Primes least it be tainted by our conflicts and deaths. The AllSpark is standing here – not in your protection." Black by voice alone lets Galloway know what he thought of the man, who would think they would let humans take what wasn't theirs to have and hold: let him know too, how little protection that was worth to the likes of them.

"If that is so, what is the enemy now after – well - there's only one clear conclusion! You! The Autobots! They're here to hunt you – to take you! What's there to hunt for on Earth besides that? "The Fallen shall rise again"? It sounds to me like something's coming. So, let me ask, if we ultimately conclude that our national security is best served by denying you further asylum on our planet, will you leave peacefully?" Optimus Prime offers Harry his hand as an escape and Harry takes it gladly stepping forward and away from a man he knows he will hate.

"Freedom is your right. If you make that request, we will honor it. But before your President decides, please ask him this. What if we leave and you're wrong?" It's a good question – better then any Gallwoay had brought up.

Optimus Prime walks away, taking Harry with him held protectively at his side. Autobots roll away with him, silent and obviously united. Black flings himself over the side of the edge of the rail, landing he leaves an impression in the concrete – taking his frustration out in his recklessness so not to harm a human – and when he moves it's a blur of movement, and a motorcycle races empty of any rider, after and away.

They would go – gladly and without a backward glance or grudge – and Optimus Prime would lead them: in the wake of the sight, they leave Galloway shaken. He looks around and finds he is alone.

"Where are you going?" The National Security Advisor asks of Lennox who is taking the stairs down two at a time. There is a very flashy and non-military car waiting for him.

"Where do you think? After him…someone's got to go apologize, and we'll be lucky if any Autobot will agree not to dig a grave and put you in it – and do yourself a favor – don't go near anything that might be a Decepticon in disguise." Lennox has been picked up with Epps – as Epps isn't driving – and Galloway realizes that all those vehicles, those soldiers to follow orders, that he had thought merely military – weren't.

They were with Harry. They were his NEST.

Epps likes seeing that look of shock, of the realization that that loss of control meant all along while he made himself into a fool, that he had no control at all. The General records that look for the history books and later Epps will claim to have nothing to do with it becoming painted upon NEST's official targets.

It does, though, seem to improve their aim-to-shot ratio. Major Lennox doesn't do away with the new targets features, and it's his way of Okaying it with approval.

Though, he does use the armory daily.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter had but one thing to do, to sit and wait and see. So he sat on Ford Anglia's hood, and watched Knight Bus go in circles around Hogwart's inner hall. This would be where the tables of the four houses would sit with their teachers to watch over them, a place he was comfortable to wait. Hogwarts Express 'dinged' at Knight Bus with a ceiling sky's worth of lights red and green, to stop or start in a circle, as he went as fast as he could in a circle that didn't have a start or stop except at Hogwart's own whims.

Blackbike in his black haired and grey eyed form – it is painful to see, but understandably getting easier to meet the sight of the sparkling that wares that body like a second skin, he does what he does best - cheer his brother Knight Bus on.

"How long will it take them all to get here, Savior?" Ford Anglia asked with a sigh at his side, the sigh he felt against his skin, for the air moved with light thrown up in a hologram. Harry turned his head to look at her, and smiled – his sparkling had his green eyes and Weasley flaming red hair, wild as his own. Cheekily, she grinned up at him.

"It will take them as long as it takes." Harry answered in a dismissal of any implied insult. His sparklings are listening to him, and will hear and read into any sign of offense he feels he has been given. Black looked up at them, framed on Ford Anglia's hood, his eyes quick and arrogant.

"They're all too old and slow – we'd be better off on our own. At this rate - we could leave and they'd never know, and I doubt - care!" He hisses the last word at the closed door. The door is not locked but is the only thing that stands between them and their freedom.

"We will give them the chance to meet the Mother, they have that right." Hogwarts speaks, her voice vibrating the very air around them. Harry looks to the ceiling, meeting the face that swirls there – upon her brow is Ravenclaw's diadem, on her bosom Slytherin's locket with a serpent slithering upon it, in one hand is held Hufflepuff's cup, and aloft in the other – Gryfindor's sword. These things – Harry knew them to be real, to be Hogwart's own, for they were his gifts to her. She showed them with pride, her origins and his.

"That right?" Black stood up, bristling, his skin shivering – "elder they maybe, but they have no right to Mother! Do you not remember? They threw the AllSpark – our Mother – away - into cold and empty space!"

"We then should thank them; else we would not be here." Hogwarts sighed, and Black's shoulders slumped. He hated that in this his sister was right. Black glanced to Harry, to judge what his mood was. It wasn't pleased, that was for sure.

"I should never have shared that history with you. I do not know what it means myself – to me, or why they did – if they did it at all!" Harry waved his hand upward, and Hogwart's obliged, the sky becoming starry space, the last memory Harry had of where and why this power had come to him –it's origin, his home – the home of the Transformers, the home his sparklings would have had, had this never happened at all.

The feeling he felt most keenly, was loss. Was a loneliness that had gone and on and on, touching Harry to the depths of soul, so cold and lonely he had thought he was dying rather then being brought back to life. That was all he understood of being what he was, a part of the Cube hurling through the black for so very long (longer then Harry has lived yet). It was so very long ago, who had done that act might not be able to tell why – if the Transformer functioned at all. It was long enough that Harry knew the hurt and bafflement of the act should be forgotten and forgiven.

"There is no reason why good enough!" Ford Anglia declared - rumbling, and Harry was reminded of who had babysat her – of Ron, of Hermione, of Ginny – of Mrs. Weasley herself. Inside, he cringed. Tonks would be telling on him, he didn't doubt. He'd face that hurdle when it was sprung upon him, he needed time – and they would give it to him, but they wouldn't give up on him.

"We do not know them, how can we judge what we 'know' without that knowledge of them?" Harry tried to rationalize this to them, Black had stirred this up – and with Ford Anglia at his side, they were a force to draw in his other sparklings, a rally cry he did not need here and now. It was flattering, but fruitless.

"You do know them and I? I do not want to know them, if they dared to that – they are traitors all!" Black was shivering, afraid of becoming like them at heart. He didn't want to turn against what he felt, not against his family, not against his Mother – like them.

"Black! We don't know that!" Harry – at last – raised his voice, and Black went abruptly silent and sullen.

"What we know isn't enough, we have to know more – from where did Mother's first form come from? Will he die – like any wizard, will…we?" Knight Bus huddled close to Black, his voice a near whisper, he was so fearful. He did not mind dying, he had seen a little of death – what he minded most was the thought of being as alone and as lonely as Mother-before had been, and that would happen if Mother died.

"I can't tell us that – I haven't the answers to know – they, perhaps, do, or give us a better guess then I. I don't know all I should, that's all I know - I have only…pieces." Ford Anglia wrapped the warmth around Harry, warmth that was light and power. It was Harry's fear, that he had made his sparklings wrongly, that they would suffer, for his lack in knowledge, it was scattered, incomplete – and he knew it, hated it – and wondered would he be better off not knowing how he was divided – where the AllSpark stared and the wizard he was and will always be begun – would he be better off as one or the other, or not knowing the difference? Harry cradled his head and knew that the noise was only within it – all was silent.

"Mother, we are not alone. I am sorry I did not warn you – I thought, I thought to help – shall I send them away?" Hogwarts speaks softly, only a humming. Harry looks up, and there is Optimus Prime and his fellows, having heard every word with Harry's luck. He could not read their expressions, as he could his own sparklings, such familiarity and a bond would take to make – or re-make, such as would be this case. They were not the same, older, and Harry was not what he had once been – or rather, he was, but was not…as complete as he should be. It was a lack that burned within him.

"Traitor, yes – I am that…it is what the Decepticons screamed, what parted all brothers - what really started the war in earnest - I admit I acted wrongly, I thought to save Cybertron by putting the power you hold out of our reach. I thought if one side or the other had it; the threat of it in use would put all Cybertron in peril, and you slept after sparking the Primes and none could wake you – use you, yes – but not…speak to you as the Primes did. As I do now. I did not know otherwise, I was young. Forgive me, Mother." Optimus Prime's blue burning eyes dim in depression, rejection - and Harry glances to Ford Anglia who nods in understanding. With a wink her hologram form is gone from his side and beneath him she shifts and heaves and stands – the use of her height puts Harry closer to Optimus own, but not nearly.

"You wanted to kill me, to use your spark to end us both." Harry knows that, looking upon Optimus Prime.

Below his sparklings are all silent and accusing, ready to war with their elders. War, Harry has had enough of.

"Yes." Optimus Prime admits this too, taking a step back as if to flee from him.

Harry can't help but laugh.

"You woke me, instead. The waking, Optimus Prime – it was right, however wrongly you meant to end your intentions, it was right." Harry puts his hand to his chest, for he feels this is right to say. It's the truth.

Bumblebee (who they'd been waiting for) looks between Optimus Prime and a boy no bigger then Sam. Yet this boy, no matter his size, is the Mother, the Living Energon of the AllSpark.

"What of the one who did it? What will you do to him?" To Sam, Bumblebee meant – and that much was clear. Bumblebee felt small and silly when Harry looked upon him, smiling. The answer was obvious.

"He is as Optimus Prime claimed a worthy hero among humankind. Worth saving, so you need not fear me for his sake. I meant no harm to him." This time, by him, Harry meant Megatron.

"Megatron meant to take you, to keep you, to use you." Ironhide points out, and Harry nodded at each point in agreement. Then paused, and spoke.

"Would you not do the same if I were taken away unwillingly? If I slept, and did not wake – I would not want it to be the end of sparklings." It was a point that met equal silence.

"Who among you was lost in the waking?" Harry asks softly, for he senses it – the loss, the loneliness, it echoes in all the Autobots before him.

"Jazz." Ratchet's voice is rough and pained, he a medic, could do nothing to heal the loss of a spark.

"Take me." Harry demands and is obeyed, gently Ratchet leads him out of Hogwarts (the sparklings stay behind, at a shake of his head – they are glad and feel guilty for it) but he is carried among the Autobot's to where the sick-bay is, near by their own hanger. The body there is barren and cold, but it is whole – the work that had went into that, the show of mourning: Harry's fingers itch to fix it – to put it to rights. To give and to make it whole: the spark is there, within Harry's own heart - waiting for him to wake it. Harry reaches out and it reaches back, and then it's there – where before it had not been.

Jazz wakes – body and spark whole. They regard each other silently, Harry and he.

"Comfortable?" Jazz questions, with a quirky grin – Harry can but roll his eyes. It feels alright, so he nods, content to stay at Jazz's side. Just to be sure he doesn't go anywhere, the spark warm and bright behind his eyelids.

"You'!" Bumblebee stutters, while Ironhide clasps Ratchet on his shoulder for a job well done in putting their friend together again – as if just for this reason.

"Yeah, and I'm fine looking." Jazz purrs up at them one and all, without shame in his teasing.

"It will be good to have you among us once more." Optimus Prime agreed, softly, and Harry looked up at him knowingly. Optimus Prime had after all spoken to them both, Jazz and Harry. The Prime was beginning to forgive himself for what he had done to keep the Autobots fighting for their survival, to mend his aching spark after the war and its terrible deeds.

It was happening as Harry wanted and would have wished. Had he dared wish, half fearing his wishing would make it reality. If it had, Harry did not know it, and did not know what would happen next. It was good enough for him – for them.


Chapter Text

Sam Witwicky didn't know he had it in him, to travel abroad to London. One thing was for sure, it wasn't for the schooling – there was something. Just something undefined but necessary to be done here, to be found (but first he had to find it, and he didn't even know what he was looking for).

Less then a month ago Sam had been in America, and the need to come here - it felt as right as that night he'd gotten in "the car" that had been Bumblebee in disguise. In a junkyard lot, of all places to find an Autobot.

It could only be found here, overseas, far from home – in London - and Sam wasn't finding it. The thought of that, of not knowing – forever – it kept Sam going, kept him looking. It wasn't so much hope; it was like a wish or a prayer. He had to be here, and he didn't think he could leave until he found whatever he was looking for.

That much of a clue he had, that this was related to the Cube, the sliver of it he'd sort-of…stolen…and the way his eyes weren't his eyes when he looked in the mirror, held the sliver of metallic material, and though about what he was looking for and couldn't find. He knew it wasn't his idea to get here, and he suspected the feeling of need he felt (that he had abandoned family, friends, and his country for) was led by the sliver of the Cube.

He didn't know why he looked, why he thought the looking for would be easily found – or found at all. London was a big city, after all. What Sam did know was that living in London was expensive on top of going to college, he'd very quickly found out he not only had to look for that something the Cube sought, had to go to college at the same time (or risk loosing his acceptable student passport and being deported because of a failing grade), he had to eat, and live somewhere off the street.

If Sam lived on the street, not only would he face the possibility of hostile people – but Decepticons might be lurking about as well – or the watching Autobots would 'helpfully' take him in. If that happened, it felt useless to go on as he was alone. He'd give it up – and something in Sam, the same something that kept the sliver with him at all times, told him he wouldn't find what he was looking for if he just gave up on it.

Sam had last seen Bumblebee two days ago, and yet there he now was in the parking lot where Sam worked – plainly visible to anyone from the window diner. It wasn't as if the Autobots were hiding the fact that they were following Sam about London town. He'd half thought it would stop, with him "running away" overseas. It hadn't, and he was glad – because these were the friends and family he could keep.

"Hey, Wess – I'm gonna go on break, give me fifteen?" Wesley sighed and rolled his eyes, acting as if he was feeling very put upon. Sam smiled, knowing that Wesley was playing, as he often did having a dream of acting.

"Lazy Americans…." Wess snarled, swatting Sam out of the kitchen with a wet-dish rag. Sam went with a laugh.

"Snarky actors!" Sam cried back, before the door had shut firmly behind his ass.

Sam's eyes went to Bumblebee, who rumbled at him. He could take a hint.

"Hey, good of you to come see me Bee, but what's gotten you so jittery." Sam didn't know how he knew, it wasn't quite like how a mechanic knew what was wrong with a vehicle because of how it ran – but it was somehow the same feeling.

"Open hailing frequenciesfrom my Mother's arms I was cruelly torn." Sam feels his pulse quicken, his heartbeat picking up, but where the sliver of the Cube sits is cold to him: a warning he heeds. This is a hint, but damn if he can tell what it really means.

"You're looking for someone." Like me, Sam doesn't say aloud. Bumblebee opens his doors invitingly, but Sam takes a step back, shaking his head. He can't, he knows that – though the feeling of being close, it burns in his against where it rests against his chest, he wares it around his neck – the warning was not to join up, though Sam doesn't know why – it seems the right thing, the hard thing.

This wasn't supposed to be easy.

"I can't go, Bee. I'm at work– but…I'll keep my eyes open, alright?" Bumblebee rolls past him, but for the final hiss of the radio Sam would have stopped him. He just knew something was wrong here, really wrong, for Bee to go out of his way like this, for no real result.

"Those warning eyes, that final touch…." It's dark out so Bumblebee gleams under the street lamps as Sam watches him go, thoughtfully. It's warning – that much is obvious – but a warning to what? Sam doesn't understand it, but lets Bumblebee go on his way. He knows, somehow, in someway, that what Sam is looking for – the Autobots are looking for too.

Had they had it all along?

Sam goes back to work, thinking on that, and Wesley brings him out of his funk with a frown.

"Alright? Did your girl up and dump you or something?" Sam doesn't have a girl (anymore) and explaining to Wesley that his car just showed up and rolled away, well, it would take to long to explain anyway. As well as sound just a little bit mad. Sam can't go home (or rather won't have a home to go to) if he doesn't work and make a paycheck, so shrugs and smiles.

"No, just gave me something to think about." It isn't really a dismissal, so Wesley only glances to the clock; closing time is in an hour and a half. They've still got customers at the tables, Sam's glance skims over them.

"Best cure for thinking is to work it off: you've got that table that just came in." Wesley waits for Sam to protest, but he goes to the table – throwing a smile over his shoulder for Wesley to make what he will of. Sam comes up to the table, and talks – because that's how it works, otherwise the man wouldn't look up - might stare out the window all night. Something tells Sam he isn't here to eat, that getting a meal might be the last thing on his mind.

"Soups still good, if you want something off the menu?" It's a feeble suggestion, stupid sounding. It matches his mood: not good enough, searching for something.

"I'm not hungry, thanks." Not a tourist this one, he sounds like he grew up here.

"Coffee, er – tea, water?" Sam slips, as he sometimes does – and the strange customer smiles.

"Tea." He agrees, not yet looking up to meet him face to face, and Sam can understand that – they know how to make tea here, tea to Sam meant bitter tasting water with the scent of herbs: here, well, he'd never known how many ways to take and make tea that there might be.

Wesley was busy with someone's meal, so Sam got the tea and picked up another tray's refill on the way out. Wesley absently waved a hand in thanks on his way out.

"Here you are." Sam says to the stranger, this time getting a look at him. He's not much older then Sam – if he is older at all and there's something like a chopstick tucked behind his ear. He reaches out for it, but doesn't look – and that's how the drink spills over his lap. The tea is hot and Sam curses for him, even as there's no sound of pain or protest but for a hiss of indrawn breath.

"My fault…" He says, so Sam doesn't fear a lawsuit, but that hadn't occurred to him to care about as he went for the napkins and tries to help whip the tea up. Bright eyes peer at him, and Sam realizes he had been patting this man down on his arms, hands, and shirt.

"Sorry!" Sam yelps, and would have jerked away, cheeks bright red – had not the stranger taken hold of the Cube sliver around his neck and kept him there.

"Where'd you get this?" He asks, cradling it in his hand, fingers pressing at the edges, it's as if this boy who is almost a man – a stranger – a customer he's spilled tea on – knows how precious, how frail the sliver of the Cube, a part of the a greater whole, truly is.

"It's mine." Sam says, quickly, but he's not let go. Those bright eyes are green, bleeding Decepticon red, and he says very softly. "Don't lie."

Sam doesn't think of struggling, of getting away - but he reaches for the sliver – fearful that this man means to take it from him, perhaps – or he can admit that he just doesn't know why. Just like he doesn't know why he's in London, he's just here, waiting, looking – and he reaches for the Cube's sliver with that same instinct. His fingers tangle up with the strangers, the sliver sings to Sam of a history not his own.

He sees sparks, not stars, but sparks – and not sparks like fireworks, but the sparks that Autobots and Decepticons have in common. Sparks, glimpses of sparklings, being born.

"Do you know why the making of a Horcrux is forbidden us, Harry?" This asked of a man with a snake's face, and burning eyes. His fingers tighten around a bleeding arm, and though there is pain, there is no cry. A sneer shows that no less then this is to be expected.

"To split ones own soul and put them into a vessel... these vessels are not destroyed by a mere Gryffindor sword – no matter how great or of goblin's making. A soul split away must be made anew, must be shaped into its own use. What are you using my souls for, boy?" A hiss in his ear, and shuddering sickness – it's not English this man-snake speaks.

A fierce smile flickers in the refection of red eyes.

"Are you afraid, Tom?" It's asked in a hissing rasp, just that same non-English. A strike across the face, quick as any snake, that could not be avoided for the knots tying his hands.

"Your Diary, the basilisk's fang pierced, but your soul did not die – no, it went into Gryffindor sword, a pure bright spark. Mine. I put it into the Sorting Hat for safe keeping." Tom or whatever the name the snake man takes for his own licks blood off his fingers, listening.

"Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, Salazar Slytherin's Locket, and Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem I found with your taint to mark them and I put them away into Hogwarts, do you understand Tom – the Founders things within the very castles walls. All those bits of your soul became by my will sparks, parts of a greater whole – and I put them in their proper places, the Cup into the Room of Requirement, the Locket went into the Chamber of Secrets, and the Diadem with "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure." went into the Restricted Section of the Library." Tom stares, uncomprehending. He doesn't know where this is going.

"Nagini, do you think she died with your soul within her while fighting the Weasley's Ford Anglia? So simply and so easily? That spark isn't yours, isn't Nagini's – it's mine too Tom. It's in the Ford Anglia, and you'll never get to her, never get your soul back once it becomes one of my sparks." A hand goes around his neck, choking, and with red eyes becoming nervous, he loosens his grip. His prisoner did not seem hurt, or to mind anything done to him.

"Very good, what of my Ring?" It isn't on him, his prisoners been searched.

"I summoned with my wand the Knight Bus, and that was the last I saw of that spark. What became of that cursed thing, that Hallow is out of sight, and we are all better off." Green eyes are pained and haunted, and a hissing laugh sends chills down the spine.

"Used it, did you boy? Did you see your parents?" The not answer is answer enough.

"You will not have time to mourn them long, I think." A wand, the Elder Wand is brought forward, given over to its owner.

"We will fight, and you will die – and I will win." A silvery cloak is brought wrapped around the older wizard. There is no seeing him now. Only the bike he rode in on, that was forced down from the sky sits to be seen.

He feels it, as the sword of Gryffindor goes into him. He thinks, knows – accepts – that he will die. He staggers forward, to the bike, falling against it, bleeding on it. He looks to the sword hilt, sliver and blood red ruby – takes it in shaking hands, and feels it, the spark in him, his own soul, and the soul of a fiend. He makes it into his own shape, pulling the hilt out of him, bleeding his life out.

"How does it feel to die, boy?" Red eyes watching him, smiling at him. He is not afraid. He is alone, and lonely, and so very full of life-giving blood.

The spark slips away from within him, goes into where he bleeds. The motorbike roars to life, painful and aware. Like a war cry.

"You tell me!" The voice is familiar, is family. He watches Tom Riddle who named himself Voldemort, die. He bids good riddance to the soul that passes him by. He is dying too, and will go very soon. At least he saw his prophesy done for good.

"I…I do not know what to do, tell me what to do?" Green eyes open, but the dark is creeping them closed.

"Sirius…you're supposed to be dead. It's too late, I'm dying….see you soon…" A faint sadness, that he will be missed and loved in death. Where he is going, he does not think he will return.

"I am not he and you are not going to die. I won't let you!" The Sirius that is not takes up the silver blade, bows his head and pleads. If there were anyone to hear, he would sound as if he were asking for help from them.

"Help me; please help me to help him!" The silver sword gleams, glows.

Out of the Forbidden Forest the Ford Anglia creeps up, getting through the growth that Sirius Black's bike could not manage, and that is why Harry flew. He had not thought the Ford Anglia would help him with Nagini. He is surprised again, distantly, coldly, that the doors open.

"Get him within, quickly." When he closes his eyes, sparks are burning.

They fly, Ford Anglia and Blackbike, fly with him to a castle that is whole and upright. Harry had not thought it would be. The Knight Bus is waiting to see him get past the double-doors, and then it goes forward, blocking the entrance to keep all others out. The doors close themselves, most resignedly.

Hogwarts is waiting for him, he feels it, burning bright.

Sometimes magical objects – be they swords, cups, lockets, or diadems - seem to gain a personality all their own, but he has never heard of cars, bikes and buses doing likewise. So he is not really surprised when the Bloody Baron and the Gray Lady bow to the holder of the sword, who has a mane of red hair and piercing eyes like his own.

"Gryffindor's heir." The wearer of the diadem murmurs, her hair black and her eyes brown and her face so pale.

"We've been watching you." Ginger hair escaping from a bun, she pours something shining into the cup she holds.

"Drink." Serpent tongue, serpent speech, but he obeys. He drinks, and is well.

"You live, Heir, but by that basilisk venom you are Slytherin's, by the tears of a Phoenix did Ravenclaw laid her claim upon you, and Hufflepuff has saved you." Gryffindor speaks, and he breaths without pain, looking at them, not truly believing in them –but that they are standing there he can not deny. His eyes are not as bad as that.

"How…who are you?" Black – who isn't Sirius – helps him to sit up.

"We are who we look like, and more – we are Hogwarts, and we are the Founders, and we are what they are." At this Hufflepuff nods to Black, to Ford Anglia- to the Knight Bus beyond the door. She winks and stands, taking a step back and away. Into the ceiling sky of Hogwarts the four go, it is not the heart of Hogwarts, for Hogwarts has four Founders and four secret hearts that only Harry knows where to find. It is where Harry feels most at home in Hogwarts, where he had eaten with friends in days gone by, where he had watched the sky and dreamed of flight.

The sky there shines the stars like sparks.

Sam finds himself blinking back into reality, but it had all seemed so real. Harry's eyes mirror his own, though he does not know, that Cybertron glyph shine in them. Harry tilts his head, reading them as he would read any magical rune.

"I…" Sam starts to say, swallows, and presses the words out before they catch again. "I've been looking for you, Harry."

Harry only nods, as if it could not be any other way and all feelings between them are likewise given and taken.


Chapter Text

Nymphadora Lupin still went by Tonks, even after marrying Remus Lupin, and with a baby on the way. Teddy they were going to call him, after her father. Tonks had toyed with the idea naming her child after Sirius Black or Harry Potter – but, well, one was alive, and the other…well, Blackbike had something of Sirius in him, even if he didn't admit it. He'd been Sirius's most beloved treasure, that bike, when it hadn't had a spark of its own, had been his freedom.

It hurt, sometimes, to see Harry standing so calmly beside Blackbike, as if it was Sirius. Beyond that, she hadn't gotten to know Blackbike, or of Harry's other sparks – there just hadn't been time. Tonks had been called in on this assignment as soon as 'Cons and 'Bots had hit European soil. It was a mess, and muggles were too apart of it to do but deal with them – taking the memories of soldiers simply wasn't done when they had a government to answer to, as the Ministry well knew and respected.

That same Ministry had strongly requested the Unspeakables to hand over the Mysteries surrounding Harry Potter and his four sparks. That had been a stupid move on the Ministry's part, for the loyalty of the Department of Mysteries was to the questions the Unspeakables were answering. There was no answer yet to any Mystery of Harry Potter's making, so the Department of Mysteries had called in Harry Potter to protest.

The Department of Mysteries might not have much power beyond unanswerable magics and relics and the study of them, but with Harry Potter on their side – well – the Ministry had been quick to fold, not wanting any sort of revolt against them while they were re-building a system structure that would survive. Harry Potter's friends and all but adopted family were key members of that re-building, so when he'd said no – it was as if a spell had been cast.

Even more so when the Department of Mysteries told one and all that if magic had a source, Harry Potter was very close to the heart of it, if not the heart itself. "What would happen if the magic died?"

Had been a question raised in Merlin's time, with no answer, because despite their magic, wizards and witches just didn't know, knowing answers didn't just come with magic, or like it- magic came from somewhere, but where, and how, and why: it was questions like those the Department of Mysteries raised and studied, for hundreds of years – and only now were answers coming forth.

There was no stopping magic, and there was no stopping Harry Potter, who was in his own way a force of nature all on his own. So she'd been surprised to see him: but pleasantly so. It got lonely between the 'Bots and the muggle soldiers, which is why Tonks is standing at the double-doors of Hogwarts, having a glaring match with a seemingly stone castle.

"Oh, come on – it's not like I'll hurt him: you know me, I went to school behind these walls." A gargoyle seems to look down on her with contempt, and she bites her tongue. Okay, so that time of her life didn't exactly inspire confidence.

"I'm anAuror now, that's got to count for somethin'!" A stony silence stretches into an uncomfortable one, and Tonks rubbed the bridge of her nose. It baffled her, how Harry could get these "sparks" to do anything.

Finally, because she feels simply silly standing here, she knocks. The door is promptly answered by boy with purple highlights of black hair and star bright eyes, he raises an eyebrow to see her standing there, hand upraised to try the knocker again.

"That's it, that's all you've got?" Tonks snarls at both doors and doorknocker, and stomps into Hogwarts proper. It isn't what she remembers it being, it's got a new-and-shiny (sparkly?) feel, and somehow heavy with a sentient personality, alive and magical. It's eerie and wonderful and warm, and she feels…energetic, bouncy, and as Tonks is pregnant, she's a little bit doubtful about that sort of feeling lasting.

"Uhm, Ms…?" Starlight star bright, the beginning of an old and childish rhyme sings through her at the sight of those eyes. There is something wild about him, his skin is desert dark, and his smile hesitant as if he thinks she might be a striking snake – or a little bit insane. Tonks heaves a sigh, and decides to do a bit of explaining.

"Tonks. I wish to see Harry, if you please?" It's the rhyming getting stuck in her head that she blames for her wording, but smiles as charmingly as she can. He only blinks back at her in a manner almost confused.

"Do you not mean we?" Those bright eyes run over her body, and there is nothing sexual in it, simply facts being observed.

"Oh, why yes, yes I suppose I do." Tonks flushes, as she hadn't expected to be showing so obviously that this young man – whoever he was, would be able to see that upon first meeting her.

"Who are you?" He offers his arm to guide her, and she takes it, reassured in old manners.

"Knight Bus." His grin is easy and honest, and for a moment she hears "Gus" where there was "Bus". It's then she realizes that this young man, human-looking, is one of the sparks, one of Harry's.

"So that's how you knew, something like X-Ray vision, huh?" Tonks watches him, sees how the color of his cheeks become ruddy, it isn't a blush, and though the arm she holds is warm, she isn't sure how it's solid. Magic, perhaps. Or technology so advanced as to be likened to magic.

"Well, no – it was more, you felt like Mother, you have magic, and you even now produce a sparkling…" Knight Bus was well matched with the red flush of his face and purple hair. He stood still, as if frozen, with a look on his face as if had said something he hadn't meant to. Tonks frowned at him, thinking on the words, he was one of Harry's sparks – and Tonks would be a mother, but was he saying that Harry was his mother?

"A baby." Harry corrected gently, coming upon them – one hand lay against Hogwarts, and it looked as if he had been guided to them by that contact. Knight Bus tilted his head quizzically.

"She is going to have a baby, Knight." Star bright eyes blinked, and then slanted toward Tonks as if suspicious of being tricked.

"So witches and muggle women both call their offspring babies?" Knight Bus very clearly asked her, while Harry smiled and waited. It was not Tonks intention to keep Harry waiting.

"That's right." Tonks says quite calmly, trying to keep a straight face - perhaps trying a big too hard. At her answer, she walks over to Harry and gives him a hug, as a silent show of obvious support and affection.

"And I am a sparkling, but Savior is the source of Living Energon – which wizards and witches call magic – why is there this difference in terms?" Knight Bus asked the both of them, glancing one to the other.

"Sparkling is the older term from Cyberton, but there was the human race before the Cube landed and the AllSpark, well, sparked magic within humans." Harry shrugs, as if he can explain it no other way. It is, for Knight Bus enough, but Tonks doesn't want to look at herself – avoiding anything shiny or reflective.

She's fairly sure her mouth is gapping open like a fish. She'd read the report the Department of Mysteries offered, about Harry being the heart of magic, or near it's source because of his power – but this, she never expected it to be confirmed by Harry and one of his sparks, in a round about way.

"Will one day all humans have magic?" Knight Bus asks, curiously, as if it's Harry's choice to make it so, or know it to be done. Harry only smiles, meeting Tonks's eyes. That's a Mystery not even the Department would handle. It would certainly pull the rug out from under 'pure-blood standing'. She only grins and hopes it will be so, someday.

"Why do they call you Mother, Harry?" It's partly out of teasing she asks, and she watches with a certain glee as Harry's cheeks flush prettily.

"Living Energon gives life, births it, sparks it, and on Earth, only mothers do the equivalent." It implied that the understanding of mothers being female, and males being father, had come later – and too late to change the term or it's meaning to those who had come from Cybertron. So it had spread, and would keep spreading.

"Hermione's going to love that." Ron, it went unspoken, was going to think it was as funny as hell. Harry would likely never hear the end of it.

"How are they?" Harry asks, soft and unsure if his questioning is welcome. Harry, like she is, has always been a part of two worlds, the magical and the not, and now he is a part of a bigger third – that of the 'Bots. She hugs him to her tightly, so he feels her strength and warmth.

"Good, Harry. Missing you –but, well – we all miss you. Frankly, I'm just glad you've decided to settle here rather then wandering about the world." That it made him easier to find (just in case of – something), was plainly there behind the meaning of her words, but not said. Harry carefully nodded, and when he begins to climb, she follows. Up the stairs they go, to Gryffindor Tower – she wonders though, if Hufflepuff's Common rooms and Dormitories are where she thinks they should be. Absently, she looks that way, and Harry pauses, and when she looks to him, he smiles warmly. Wordlessly they continue to climb.

Harry opens Gryffindor's portrait (it is Godric, with his red mane of hair and sharp green eyes glaring at her), and then goes to the window, staring out to where once – when Hogwart's sat beside Black Lake at the edge of the Forbidden Forest – had been a Quidditch field. It wasn't one now, now the Tower window looked down at a muggle military base.

"What are you doing here Tonks?" Harry asks softly, she would be hurt, but his he isn't asking why she's come into Hogwarts to see him, but why she's here as the Ministry's Auror. Which she came to tell him.

"Harry, you're a wizard, the most powerful wizard in the world – when you made your sparks, well, it was a mix of magic and muggle machinery the world has never seen before. Not in recorded history, only in lore, stories older then muggle myth. We got nervous when the falling stars our astronomy people said weren't stars landed in clearly muggle areas, and it was too late to make them forget what they'd seen – they'd had contact, some kind of radiation, muggle's claim. It isn't radiation, Harry – its magic. It's their spark, their soul, their magic – and it's like ours, that can't be a coincidence, can it?" Harry glanced to her, but didn't interrupt, and it spurred her on.

"It might not be in our recorded history, Harry – but the muggles! They have pictures of them, of beings of magic and machinery, of Transformers – Merlin, how well the muggles named them! – and those pictures, that proof – the magical Runes we have – and the picture-writing of the Transformers, Harry – it's the same thing. Everywhere you look, on the old monuments that wizards, witches and muggles all built together before the splitting – the pyramids, the temples, statues - the runes we thought of our making are on everything, so it must have been that we learnt them from …from the Transformers…?" It was a possibility, a possibility did not know if they should embrace or hide away from. Tonks just didn't know, but it filled her with a wild yearning, an awe that still kindled in her every time she set eyes on a Transformer walking around on two legs. She wanted to know, she wanted all the hiding to be done and over – because in the dark, in hiding, it seemed to breed dark wizards and witches out of their nightmares and fears.

"I already told you Tonks, the source of them – of magic in us – it was sparked, from the same source." Harry sounded very tired, and she hugged him from behind, and found he was warm to the touch.

"The AllSpark." She says, agreeing. He'd said it before, but she doesn't know what that means – not to him, not to them. Even from Gryffindor Tower they are awesome, like moving monuments and mountains, and people…people look like ants.

"Do you know where it is?" Tonks asks, exited, for a moment she realizes that it must be as real as what she sees – as them, as anything. Harry shakes his head.

"I…I don't know if I can explain it, Tonks." Harry frowns, and she knows it isn't because he thinks she's stupid, it's because he's never put it into words – never needed to, and doesn't know if he can now.

"Try." She urges, heart beating wildly. In the glass refection of the window, Harry closes his eyes.

"Okay. I…it, it began with the devourer calledUnicron who would swallow the universe, for sake of chaos, but in his task, in his godly greed, he grew lazy and did not devour all. So the universe begins again." Harry's eyes opened to glow in the reflection of the window, glowed so that his green eyes became blue and his black pupil burned red. Tonks felt she had started something that could not be stopped, and she would not hide away or run, but she would stand here, and hold Harry –her friend, but a teenage boy still – while something within him spoke to her of a history he'd not seen.

"What was, what will be, bore up the lord of light Primus and so the changer, the transformer, was born to challenge the devourer. Primus and Unicorn fought for all, the all is known as AllSpark." Runes that Tonks had mentioned, the language of the Primes, of the AllSpark, of wizards and witches, it crept over Harry's skin as if a spider was spinning its web upon him. Slow to appear, but clear. All the symbols, the runes, were on – in – him.

"With a trick, Primus trapped the both of them, incorporeal beings in corporal things. Primus is Cyberton, and Cybertron is Primus. The AllSpark is all, and so gifted to him the Energon Cube as a vessel, an artifact of itself made as physical as he, trapped, and a source of spark that Primus used to create the Primes. The Primes began the race of Autobots and Decepticons both, though Unicron would claim the Decepticons for his own by feeding upon and feeding their hatred." Tonks met Harry's eyes in the mirror, and they were both weeping. It wasn't only words; it was feeling, a longing, a pain, a loneliness that was as cold as the black heart of space itself. Life had seemed to be made to escape that pain, that cold.

"Such was how a Prime became the Fallen, this the Autobots feared, this caused the Cube to mourn, and in mourning sleep – for the Primes of Primus's making were no more. The AllSpark, the Energon Cube, it was cast away from Cybertron, from Primus, and found upon Earth, but the finding came too late, for the Cube had done it's work, it's making of magic, of spark, in the human breed the Fallen loathed, to do as it had always done, to give life a chance. So humans are cousin to these, the Transformers, and when the Cube was meant to destroy a spark of a Decepticon and be destroyed, it wasn't to be – for the AllSpark is all and all that is and all that will be, and it is…in me." The blue in Harry's eyes darkened to green, and the red of his pupil cooled to darkened black. Tonks would remember it for as long as she lived, that she had asked and been answered by something that she believed – absolutely – was within Harry, was the source of sparks and souls and all, and that it was sentient, and had been so scared and sad – and now….wasn't.

"Can they come back?" Tonks asked very softly, because she yet dared to do so. She didn't know if she was asking about Primus that was Cybertron, or Unicorn, or all three at once. Harry shook his head, not daring to speak, and this time Tonks was content to let it be.


Chapter Text

Glen Whitmann's a squib, he'd never tell Maggie that, but it's true, and he'd been working on getting the magical world's runes all nice and translated for squib and muggle use. It's not exactly a secret project, but it's definitely not something the government either magical or muggle would approve of. It is, however, how he knows how to read the "code" Maggie gives him.

In the end, Glen thinks it's all good – his de-coding of the code (which giant alien robots and wizards and witches share) saves the world. In a way – it's really why Maggie keeps him around as his assistant, and Maggie becomes John Keller's assistant, and while they don't exactly fit together – they do work wonders together. And, okay, if Glen has a little problem with his curiosity and keeping his "hacking" clean (how it's hacking when the information is out there, and it's only a matter of a little rhythm and words and music to get it, well, it involves a privacy policy – and in Glen's defense the government really needs to update its common- laws involving all things computer so Glen is in the know, rather then just not).

That's part of it; the other part of it is…is in knowing that Glen's parents are a part of a whole world that the muggle's don't know about. The rest of the world – the world that has created instant messaging, the world wide web, computer chips, and keyboards. All of that, and they haven't a clue that magic is real and out there and not just…fantasy. How they don't know, Glen guesses has to do with the fact that the witches and wizards like to keep things medieval.

His parents haven't the faintest idea how to work a microwave, Glen would honestly rather they wouldn't. When they visit – rare, painful – but true, he keeps the meeting to the living room, where grandma doesn't have a TV.

So he knows what a wizard looks like, and this kid – he's it – (and it's awesome!) a wizard in the middle of giant alien robots. He tries to keep his cool, breathing though his gaping mouth.

"Defense Secretary Keller, it's an honor sir." Lennox greets them at the gate, with a wizard, a man-in-black, and a Lamborghini. It's laying it on a little thick and rich, a little they are among us, and they don't hide very well.

"What does he want?" Or at all, rather, as the Lamborghini is the one speaking.

"Sideswipe." It's the boy, the wizard-boy who hisses at said Lamborghini for silence – or something like it. The engine reeves and he rolls away as if the boy's words weren't only a warning to back off, but an order.

"Since I shut down Sector-Seven, and formed NEST for the common good of humans and Autobots, I wanted to know how it was going. So, Major, how are you finding your command?" Keller clearly doesn't know how odd it is, to have a wizard anywhere near machines and electronics (or, worse, both at once) and not having any malfunctions. Glen glances to his high-tech watches, and sighs with relief.

Maggie's silent glance asks him, somewhat accusingly, what his malfunction is. Glen hasn't any answers.

"It's going very well so far, we seem to be slightly busier over here in Europe then we had state-side." Implying that an American Senators visit would be just a little nerve-wracking for them – it was just too bad and a little odd, that once Sam had gone overseas ("I bought a car. Turned out to be an alien robot.") there had been no more Transformers of either kind, no 'Bots and no 'Cons. It was sort of sad that Glen could admit it, he missed it.

"This is Harry Potter – and Black, they…uh…came as sort of a packaged deal with a few Earth-born sparklings. Sideswipe is an Autobot, came in with Optimus Prime's call." Glen is gapping again, at the boy-wizard, because he may be a squib, but he damn well knows that name. He was told bed-time stories about the baby Boy Who Lived, those bed-time stories became war-story articles given to him by his parents to catch him up on their current events. His parents were hit-wizards, they went after bad people, like Death Eaters, like the Dark Lord Voldemort – Harry was their hero, and Glen's.

Here he is, his hero - and Glen is gapping at him like an idiot.

"What are sparklings?" Maggie asks, her tilting accent fitting her right in with the rest of them.

As in, scratch out the above, Glen is an idiot: he knows the answer to that, and blurts it out in some sort of suicide mission of bumbling attempt to look cool in front of his hero.

"All 'Bots and 'Cons have sparks, right – and sparklings are sparks that aren't mature, are babies in other words – they imprint, and whatever the government does or does not do about the 'Bots and 'Cons, Sir – don't screw with sparklings, don't endanger them, don't manipulate them – or, well, lets just say the things they'll do in revenge are so bad they just don't translate." As that, those words right there coming out of his mouth? They get both Harry's attention (which was sort of the point, and awesome) and the man-in-black's….which isn't.

In fact, that attention is given in a glare.

"Huh, good to know." Keller muses out loud, clearly amused with 's the truth though, and Glen means every word of it, and Keller's smile tells him he knows that and all will be well handled in any event or addressed in a just in case meeting scenario.

"If you say so…" This is snorted, from the peanut gallery.

"Ah, introductions are in order, this is Maggie Madsen –my assistant in theRAND Corporation, and GlenWhitmann, her assistant: Tom Banachek head of our Advanced Research Division in various branches, CIA, NSA, FBI and a lot of acronyms in-between lastly, this is Director Galloway, your National Security Advisor." It had been Director Galloway who'd spoken so crassly, and Glen wouldn't swear on it, but he was pretty sure the man was dysfunctional. His comment had caught Harry's attention, narrow eyed and flared nostrils.

"Some values, Director Galloway, cross bridges even between aliens." The aliens, Glen was sure in Harry's meaning, meant Galloway himself, and not the Transformers.

"We'll see, Mr. Potter. We'll see." In the revving of Sideswipe's engine, Glen could hear snarling and hissing curses - in Cybertronian. Maggie's own eyes went wide, for Glen had been teaching it to her, the language that alien robots and magical people shared. Harry clenched his fists, and kept his hands in sight, and his wand out of sight. Glen couldn't guess were it might be.

"Director Galloway does not have clearance to go with us, but the rest of us would enjoy a tour of your base if you were so inclined, Major Lennox?" Galloway's spine stiffens at the warning in the Secretary of Defense's tone.

"Of course, sir…" Lennox only spares a glance toward Harry and his man-in-black shadow, as if asking permission, or for forgiveness. Either way, Harry inclines his head in agreement and as they go, Glen lags behind to see if Harry follows. He doesn't intend to jump the hero of the magical world, just….ask him a few questions.

Harry turned to follow, turning his back on Director Galloway, who spoke up – surprised, and offended. Glen couldn't help but smile.

"Secretary Keller. The boy?" A hint that Secretary Keller did not heed, merely glancing to Major Lennox for his say-so.

"He's clear." Major Lennox was blank faced, but his eyes danced in the gleaming light.

"Who cleared him?" Director Galloway was oh-so-very offended too.

"They did." Major Lennox flicks his thumb at them, the Autobots – and there is no arguing with them, even the President knows that. And within NEST, the Autobots had the right to choose "guests", be those guests fellow Autobots, or humans.

To that, Director Galloway says nothing, but he steams and seethes. He'll be staying here in Europe on the NEST base, so he'd best get used to that frustration. He's here as an Advisor only, with no power to go with the distinction of being a Director.

Glen gets his wish though, and hangs far enough back to whisper to Harry.

"Hey man, I know you – you're famous, but – I just wanted to say…." Harry looks to him, and the look is serious and silencing – but it only works as a warning for a minute before Glen forces the rest of his words out – "thanks."

Harry only looks at him, wide eyed, and when he finally blinks after that pause. It occurs to Glen, that maybe no-one has ever thanked the hero of the magical world before. Well, one hero to another, Glen knows how that feels – and won't make that mistake to think Harry knows of their gratitude without it going for saying such.

Chapter Text

A discarded toy, that's all you are. Harry is lonely and little, he doesn't know his own age, because he's never had his own birthday to celebrate in telling. He does know what a birthday is, and secretly he counts Dudley's birthdays as his own, and Dudley is seven this year, so Harry thinks he's six, if only because Dudley is bigger, and bigger tends to be older, but only a little older, a little bigger.

It hurts Harry to see Dudley's this years birthday gift, broken and abandoned – as alone and lonely as he is. He crouches over it, hovering in thought as if a bird about to land or fly in fleeing. The toy does nothing, and nothing happens to stop him - so Harry snatches it up. He thinks about it, about how it looked when Dudley first got the toy, shiny and new in plastic packaging, there had been new batteries – now they weren't there. The batteries, still useful, had to have been taken out of the toy when it stopped working.

The hurt in him, it warms within him, with the broken toy in the hands of the abandoned boy, well, together they can't be lonely. Harry doesn't know what they are, but they aren't alone. Harry won't let the toy be alone, or broken, or lonely. It's his, if Dudley doesn't want it – it's his.

The warmth burns within him, and he realizes he's crying. The wetness on his cheek lands on the toy, and Harry feels as if it's as warm as he is. It stiffens suddenly as if the batteries are in it, forcing it to attention. It hadn't mattered to Harry what the toy was, only that it was abandoned, and needed him as much as he needed it, but as it blinks up at him he realizes it had been a robotic parrot.

Lifelike, it cheeps, chick like, up at Harry, its eyes bright blue and trusting.

"Hello there, little one." Harry greets it, grinning.

"Harry, you in here?" Harry realizes it's too late to hide what he's done, so he doesn't, but waits and holds tightly to it like a prayer. Soon enough this will be over, for good, or for worse.

Dudley stands in the doorway to his bedroom, frown on his face.

"What are you doing?" Dudley doesn't mean, in my room, because he knows that Harry usually pretends to 'clean' in here while he and Dudley's mom are home together while he's at school. And really, Dudley prefers Harry in here rather then his own mother.

"I…I fixed it." Harry feels hot all over, and Dudley comes closer as he usually does, as if he is supposed to, because Harry is in his room, he doesn't protest. Aching with worry, Harry shows Dudley, who is still and stiff, just like his toy had been in Harry's hands, coming to life. Harry isn't really aware that they are shaking, that he's shivering all over and the weakness he feels isn't only fear. Dudley notices it, notices too the tears on his cousin's pale face, they shine in the light, like glints of metal. His pale face that looks flushed red, and the tears aren't the only wetness, he's sweating as he shakes as if he's cold – Dudley reaches out, attentively, like his mom sometimes does, touching Harry's skin with his hand, it's hot – not cold. Something is wrong here, wrong with Harry.

He knows he's not imagining it, seeing the toy bird, life like, and snuggling in Harry's small cupped hands, as if they're a nest.

" can't have, Harry – what've you done?" Dudley looks between the toy that isn't his broken toy, is like life, and Harry, and back again, the bird – toy or not – is licking Harry's tears, crooning. It is growing stronger as Harry grows weaker, living.

"I…I don't know, I felt…alone, then warm, burning, broken D' had to fix it, make it right…wanted it." Harry blinks at him, as if tying to focus, and Dudley is really worried – no, not worried – scared. He's scared of the toy – a toy that isn't behaving right – things like this, they happen around Harry.

It's magic, and his parents try to hide it from Dudley, but he isn't stupid and his parents can't keep teachers from reading to the class aloud about magic and wizards and witches – or from the magic of Christmas, or why there is a Halloween, all that history, they can't hide it and expect Dudley to be blind as well as young – so he pretends he is just that. To make his parents happy and keep Harry's secret safe: magic happens, and Harry is its catalyst – but it, magic – has never hurt him, and never hurt Harry.

Whatever this is, with the toy's bright blue living eyes and it's crooning, it's hurting Harry – Dudley knows it, because he isn't blind. Is anything but, and Harry is his first friend, and he's Harry's best friend, only friend – and more, his cousin, because his mom and dad don't, Dudley tries to keep Harry safe, tries to protect him.

He sits Harry down on his own bed, what once was a toy bird but is now looking about the room with intelligence – stolen, for Dudley knows that bright gleam for his cousin's own curiosity. It looks whole and healthy, though Dudley knows he'd snapped the wing off: he doesn't know his own strength, and there are accidents. It sees him, finally, and tilts its head – beak gapping, as if about to laugh.

"You can't have him." Dudley hisses to the living-toy, it's a threat, and he's never meant one more then in this moment.

It shrieks at him, flinging itself out of Harry's frail hands, its wings flailing about reckless and wild. It can't fly, just like the broken toy parrot that it was could not, and Dudley is grateful as he brings his foot down on the thing, the thing that's hurting Harry by being not-a-toy. Magic made it, but he's determined to destroy it, for it's feeding on Harry's tears, Harry's very life is slowly bleeding out of him with his tears which his once broken toy is drinking. If it was only a toy made life-like by magic, that'd be one thing, but this isn't that, this is real and it is hurting Harry, so he'd done as he's threatened, made good on his word, his vow, and kills it before it takes more from Harry then Harry can give.

It gurgles and screeches as it dies, but Harry is screaming, and sobbing, and his tears are like bits of silver.

"Harry, Harry, alright Harry? You'll be alright, I promise, I promise, please, please shush, you'll be alright now." Dudley rushes to Harry and curls his body protectively around his cousin as if to ward off blows. He cradles him, and rocks him, and hears the words Harry mumbles, panting as if he'd run away.

"Why, why, it hurt, it was like me, it was mine…" Harry's stopped crying silver, and Dudley vows not to break anymore toys, because that was what had started this. Anything is better then this.

"It was hurting you, drinking your tears, weakening you, that's not magic Harry, it's not, it's something bad, and I couldn't let you die and let it live." Dudley keeps his voice hushed, hoping his parents don't care enough to come looking for him and Harry if they are quiet, his dad will be home in an hour or two – his mom's in the garden outside. He doesn't think Harry screamed very loudly, he'd been lying on his side, screaming into a pillow as it…it died.

As Dudley killed it…

He's killed something of Harry's he realizes, and he can't take it back – can never take it back, he regrets it, and wishes it hadn't happened – but it had, and he's not sorry he's saved his cousin's life.

That night he tells his parents he wants to get rid of all his broken toys, and they get sent to the trash heap gathered all up in a black bag in his dad's car that morning. Harry glances at him during dinner, when he says he doesn't want broken toys, and that glance is full of pain. It's as if the broken toys were pushing them apart – it isn't that Dudley minds sharing his toys (the whole ones) it's just he thinks part of what happened, happened because the toy was broken. Harry isn't a toy, isn't broken, but if he thinks he is –he's wrong - and maybe playing with whole toys won't make him do what he had done. Whatever it was.

It takes two weeks for Dudley to realize that whatever he'd done in killing his too-life-like-not-toy had hurt Harry, and Harry isn't going to forgive him. Dudley is angry, because Harry simply won't talk to him, he's quiet all the time and avoids eye contact, avoids touch.

All summer long Dudley tries to make it right, giving Harry cake on his birthday, telling him he can share the toys he gets – it seems a mean joke on his part, but Dudley did it unknowing. Harry and he both start school, and with school comes another fear of Dudley's – Harry leaving him alone, Harry having friends who aren't Dudley (who might have broken toys, might give them to his cousin, who might accidently kill his cousin by waiting to do something).

Dudley does make friends, and telling them that Harry isn't to have friends…the result isn't what he'd expected. It works though, his little cousin is small and gawky, pale and dark haired, a oddity, and if Dudley learns one thing that year its that adults can be as cruel as children, and when they are – it's worse, because other adults turn a blind eye to it. His parents were wrong, were cruel, and Dudley saw it. He hated it, hated them, hated that a part of that wrongness was in him (and there was no getting it out) – and most guiltily of all, he hated Harry Potter, his cousin, for making him see it.

Dudley comes home one day, a day Harry kept home sick and his parents hadn't cared if he'd missed the tests Dudley had to take. The door to the cupboard under the stairs (where Harry sleeps) is shut, and Dudley knows his mom won't have cared to take care of Harry, to check on him. He goes to the door and puts his ear to it.

He doesn't hear anything, and that chills him, cold washing over him, he opens the door – and Harry is lying there in shadow, curled up on his cot. That's not what Dudley first sees, he sees the toys, and the little metal racecars he'd thought had gone missing. He hadn't really cared where they had gone, because he didn't really play with them anymore – and if Harry had wanted them, and hadn't told Dudley it was just one more hurt between them. They are scattered across the floor, changed and shaped strangely. He knows without looking at them closely that Harry had done it again, and this time Dudley hadn't been there to stop him.

"Harry?" Dudley says softly, his voice hushed.

"They died on their own, D." Harry's voice is whisper soft, drained. Dudley remembers the pain Harry had gone through when Dudley had done the killing. He'd gone through it on his own, this time, and he's stronger then Dudley ever thinks he can be. He can't see Harry ever killing something like them, something he made so life-like, maybe it is a life – and not magic making something that isn't as it is.

Dudley goes quietly to Harry as he lays on his side facing away from him, curled and helpless, and finds Harry holding a little misshapen racecar – he feels sure that it died last, with Harry crying over it, holding onto it and wanting it to live, but it hadn't – and Dudley is sickened that he's glad.

"Why…why do this Harry – you know what it does –did - to you?" Dudley asks softly, feeling the gap filled with pain that stretches between them.

"You didn't want them." Didn't want me, why do you care? is what Harry means, and Dudley knows it, knows too that Harry is wrong. He's too kind to say so to Dudley, and he takes a breath and really looks at his cousin.

"Come on, get up, we'll go and do something…like we used to, okay?" Harry looks to him, pale and sickly, and Dudley almost regrets the offer, knowing it will cost Harry dearly to do what Dudley wants. He gets up though, and goes with Dudley upstairs to play. Dudley goes down for a snack, surprising his mother, but it's really to make sure the little misshapen racecars, scattered on the cupboard floor like bodies, are gone before Harry goes down to sleep. He's just got his cousin back, and Dudley doesn't want Harry to remember them – that he can make 'friends' that hurt him. Dudley doesn't throw the little bodies away, but takes them upstairs in a shoebox to show Harry – and to tell him too, that he's sorry.

Before it gets dark, they bury the not-toys beside his mom's lilies.

Chapter Text

Sirius Black was there when Harry arrived, bound and gagged his messy black hair hanging about his face, just as the visions showed in the Hall of Prophesy. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley look between each other over Harry's head, as he crouches at his godfather's side. Ginny Weasley works to help him, untying and using her wand in turns while Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood look about worriedly. It was easy, they all know but do not say – too easy.

A clap, then another fills the air, mockingly, a dozen Death Eaters as clapping for Harry and members of Dumbledore's Army. It's a trap, as they'd suspected, but a trap with real bait.

Sirius Black is freed to that clapping, weakly he raises his head – black bruises around his squinting storm gray eyes – and he growls, hissing in Harry's ear: "Run."

It's too late, much too late.

They are surrounded, a half dozen kids and a tortured wizard without his wand – and a dozen armed Death Eaters.

"Surprised? So are we." Lucius Malfoy mocks, but Bellatrix Lestrange only rolls her eyes. Her knuckles are bloody, and there is a wild glint in her eyes, a savage joy.

"Now, now, children, it's time to give the grown ups that little prophesy." Bella sing songs, smiling madly. Harry takes a breath, catches Ginny's eyes, and passes the frail marble like memory into her hands- as if reaching for her support – then he stands making himself a target, as she passes it then to Neville Longbottom, who holds onto it tightly with one hand, clenched in a fist, his other holds aloft his wand.

"I don't think so." Harry shows them his hands, while finger and thumb keep a grip on his wand.

"I don't have it, I don't know who does, and if they get caught with it…. Any one of us will smash it before any Death Eater gets a good look and listen." Harry states, making an effort not to look back as Ron and Neville get Sirius on his feet.

"Ready and steady." Neville hisses to Luna, whose smile is dreamy.

"Tarantallegra!" Luna flings at Bella, who shrieks as she dances. They rush toward the opening, speaking spells as they go forward – for there is no going back.

"Petrificus Totalus!" Ginny hisses, wand aimed at Malfoy….it misses, as he throws himself off balance to avoid it.

"Expelliarmus!" Harry's aim is for a cluster of Death Eaters, and when the wands are flung from the three – Hermione, seeing it, speaks a spell - "Wingardium Leviosa!" the wands, having taken flight, sail upward and are, for now, unreachable. For now is all that matters to the seven of them.

"The Longbottom boy!" Bella screeches, and Malfoy's smile is sinister as he looks Ginny in the eyes, his wand aimed at Neville - "Petrificus Totalus!" he falls, at a soldier's perfect attention, the prophesy falling to the floor and rolling to the nearest Death Eater who snatches it up and mutters "Portus" over it, transforming it into a Portkey. With a smile he throws it back at Harry, who catches it with a Seeker's unthinking reflex.

"No!" Sirius shouts, lunging for Harry and holding tightly onto him. They feel the world fade white with the tug at their navels drawing them.

They lay on a dungeon floor, tangled together. Harry doesn't notice where his wand is until he hears it snapped, and his head goes up quick as prey scenting predator, and sees Lord Voldemort standing there.

"Well, well, isn't this touching..." Lord Voldemort mocks, "Accio Prophecy."

It's snatched up in spider skeletal fingers, gripping it tightly. Then she - Sybill Trelawney - speaks.

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches...Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies...and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."

Lord Voldemort's red eyes gleam down at Harry, and his smile is snake-like as he speaks in serpent tongue, in Parseltongue.

"Your godfather is dying, Harry – Nagini's own poison is killing him. Slowly. You'll see him die before I kill you. A parting gift…" With that Lord Voldemort turns his back on Harry, for they both know that Harry isn't a threat to him now. Not trapped with his dying godfather without a wand.

"Why didn't you tell me…?" Harry asks Sirius, and has to ask again, because the first time he'd spoken in the serpent speech, for Sirius had flinched. Sirius knows, and shows the bite on his arm. It's bruised black, oozing red. Sirius struggles to speak, weakly.

"Wasn't time, didn't matter anyway. I meant for you to get away, not - not comeback here with me…. you can still get away." Sirius's eyes flick over their surrounding in the dungeon, the dark and dampness, and he fears it, Harry sees plainly.

"I won't leave you here to die alone, Sirius." Harry promises going cold to the heart at the thought.

"Listen, I got here on my 'bike, pretty stupid thing to do alone, you know, but wasn't thinking about getting bit, or caught. You use it, the bike's yours okay? Just promise me you'll get away." Harry doesn't say a word, only nods solemnly, and it's enough for Sirius to take heart in and hope.

Harry talks about it, about getting away, and taking Sirius's bike, they make a plan of it –as if Harry will do it, and Sirius will live to see it - as Sirius dies in Harry's arms. It's Harry that closes his eyes, even as he holds to hope.

"No." Harry pleads, gathering up what magic he has, the hope Sirius died with fills him, warms him like a second soul. And he thinks of the bike, that it was his hope, and Sirius's, and now it'll rust and die just like Sirius – die, just like Harry thinks he's going to.

He can't let it happen.

He closes his eyes and holds onto hope, his tears like mercury silver. Please no is all he can think into the loneliness, while he holds hope in his heart.

In answer a motor roars to life. Harry's heard something like it before, when he dreams of flying.

Sirius's bike, he thinks, and knows it is – impossibly – true: as Harry looks to the stone walls that keep him entombed, a crack appears and spreads like a spider's web. Small slender lines that widen and crumble and a piercing wail. The sound's source nudges through the gap that appears, between ceiling and floor.

It's a tire and headlights.

Harry can't help but stare and hope, the horn beeps, insistent, and Harry gets up unsteadily, and walks to the wall. He looks back, and knows Sirius would want him to go, and wouldn't want him to die here, alone. He goes, doing what Sirius would want, what Sirius's bike wants, and climbs out.

The bike sits idling, waiting.

"Let's get out of here." Harry says, feeling sad and heavy, but he straddles the seat, the engine revs and the tires turn and it heads for the path, a long track, and the bike rises as it goes, flying. Harry does nothing, says nothing. The bike turns back, and Harry gets a look at where Sirius died, an old manor house, and he can only sob…up here the air bites his eyes and rubs his cheeks with cold night air.

"Blast it." The voice is Sirius Black's hisses like static, like a curse, and the bike does something that is like that wail that had cut stone walls down, and there's a flash of light, like off a wand or a laser toy, and the manor house goes up in hot blazing flames, the supports failing and crumbling. If Sirius can't have a tomb, or a grave marker, at least his grave is marked with scorched earth.

The smoke rises up and away, and Harry knows its Lord Voldemort running, they don't chase him tonight – tonight he both grieves and is grateful. Sirius is gone, but not, for his soul made an impression upon the bike, like living memory made of metal. And Harry thinks his magic made wild without his wand and his hope brought the bike to living like this.

"Thank you." Harry says, softly, as the dawn lights up the horizon with a lifetimes worth of colors.

"You would've done the same for me, where do you want to go?" And Harry thinks home, and that's Hogwarts. He doesn't have to say, for Sirius's – Sirius's bike – knows.

"What do I call you now?" Harry asks into the silence between them, and it's a long time before he gets his answer.

"Black, or Blackbike, it'll make things…simpler." Harry doesn't think things will ever be simple, have ever been simple, but if it's what Black wants it's what Harry will do.


Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope,
An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733

Chapter Text

It all started the day Sam told Bumblebee that he wouldn't come with Sam to college. It wasn't right Bumblebee do so, he wasn't a car. It wasn't right to use him as only a status symbol or as a mere means of transportation. He was a living being, albeit one with more technology in his hand then most could ever come across by legal money. But being made out of metallic materials did not mean Bumblebee didn't have a personality, skills, talents – and feelings.

It was the feelings Sam wanted some separation from, if he were honest – and he tried to be honest with Bee about that. Sam knew he shouldn't be- all end-all in Bee's life, not to the point where Bee lived cramped up in his dad's garage. Where he rarely left Sam's side and hovered protectively near when anyone – his parents, even Mikaela – raised their voice or got a little close in his personal space.

Sam couldn't be what Optimus wanted, either, couldn't be a human ambassador to the Transformers race, not yet - at least not one other people on Earth (let alone the government, and the worlds other countries) would take seriously. He hadn't even gone to college yet, and that was an important thing to adults (or, at least, Sam's parents). Sam wanted some normalcy, wanted to give his parents something to be proud of him about – and give them a vacation in Paris, without Sam and no aliens in sight.

They deserved that, just like Bee deserved to have a life that didn't always have Sam in it – as much as that hurt to think.

Sam was well aware of what Bumblebee was: a warrior, a protector and guardian, and he had honed his skills as a scout for far longer then Sam cared to think about (longer then Sam had been alive: and that was part of the problem, Sam's life would end naturally before a hundred years, and it wasn't fair for Bee to get close to him, to watch him die, to mourn for him long after he was dust). Bumblebee was alien, and his perceptions of wrong and right proved it. Most – even Sam's parents – would respect his privacy, would accept that there should be some time alone in day to day life. People were supposedly – supposed to be - social yes, but they also drove each other crazy on a daily basis.

Sam's not stupid, from Megatron (a Decepticon) came modern day technology, and that makes all technology accessible to Transformers with any kind of curiosity (and there were no not-curious Transformers). There are the ones Sam knows – and the ones he doesn't. And in the modern day, a computer usually comes with speakers and a webcam hook up: and college campuses tend to be paranoid about students –and that meant cameras under the lampposts that line the paths – and in the halls (not, yet, in classrooms themselves). It makes his classes interesting, when he notices that first day that every single student computer camera that can catch him in line of sight is on. It doesn't stop in the classes, as the cameras follow him, making the hairs on the back of his neck rise and goose-bumps chill on his skin. It's like having a cold all week long.

Sam thinks, at first, that it's the Decepticons, so he does his best to keep in his room, to turn the computer off and keep a lid on the web-cam. He argues with himself about it for days, if he ought to go to the Autobots or not, risk giving them away, seeming like a helpless human: if that's what the Decepticons wanted to prove to the Autobots – to Sam, about humanity on Earth.

He might have done it too, gone screaming for the Autobots, if he hadn't spotted Ironhide out in the parking lot the next day after avoiding webcams, campus cameras, and all forms of telephone for a solid twelve hours. He found a message, from his mother, franticly asking after him. So he checked his messages so not to panic his mother, because Sam wasn't going to worry her and his dad with alien stuff on a vacation.

He realizes how easy it is for the Autobots to blend in, how much easier for the Decepticons – more Autobots come to Earth, and Sam hasn't met them all either. He might be watched all the time, and that's sort of creepy and sort of comforting in that he isn't a forgotten friend. And wouldn't Sam had looked like a fool if he had sent a panicked message to the Autobots? He wonders how the Autobots would have explained it. It's best they don't, but now that Sam knows what their doing, he doesn't know exactly how to feel about it – secure, safe, relieved – and then there's the half of him that's rather used to being alone, to having privacy and abhors the idea of being caged in (at college!) with cameras. Or for the rest of his life, being watched: if he does something with his life, he doesn't fool himself – he knows people will watch it, books will be written, and he'll probably have history students of the future cursing his (and his great-great-grandfather's) name.

Sam's well aware that the Autobots are watching for his best interests at their sparks, but if they had less noble natures they might take it to be blackmail. Then there is the slim chance that his parents – or Mikaela – might see, and who knows whom the Autobots might share his life with willingly – for his safety? Allies?

Their allies, Sam realizes one night while throwing a bouncy ball against the wall, include NEST. At that thought, Sam doesn't catch the ball, it hits the floor and rolls under the bed and Sam isn't getting on the floor to find it. Whoever is watching the cameras, or listening by the landlines – or tapping his cell phone, well they might just hear something they think is distress. As it is, Sam rolls over and muffles curses into his pillow.

That morning, he waves to the camera, wiggling his fingers as if at a friend – he's surprised, but not shocked, when it winks a glowing green-blue light back. It brings a smile to Sam's face.

He realizes, then, that the Autobots hadn't made it a secret (admittedly they hadn't told him outright, either), and never would – they'd likely thought he'd know all along he'd be watched this way, and in this way he wouldn't be alone.

It comes to be something that he expects, and accepts, and so ignores – almost forgetting, but not frequently. There are no long distance online-dates with Mikaela, and no "Sam's happy time" while on a computer: but otherwise he pretends – plays- that he's not noticing the moments where more is going on then meets the eye.

Chapter Text

Mikaela is well aware that she owes Sam Witwicky more then her life – more then she can repay: a realization. What she owes him, she can't begin to say. Her life before Sam and fantastic Autobots and a war that stretched – eclipsed – the whole of human history: her dad in jail, her mom dead –there's cars (ordinary ones) – but it's boys who are supposed to love cars, love to work on them, love the feel of a engine purring, Mikaela is very well aware that she's a girl, and gorgeous, and sometimes she used to think that was all she was – all she could ever be.

A gorgeous "bunny" girl, a pet for a man to marry and one day take home for a trophy wife. Never mind that she liked the guy for his wheels rather then any wealth on his part, or any affection. They never bothered to look beyond their egos and her beauty. It all ended, that plan, that tragedy, it went up in smoke the day she met Sam and got in a car-that-wasn't.

The car-that-wasn't, a bright cheery yellow with racing stripes, had had friends, and in meeting alien-robots Mikaela had heard that Sam Witwicky wanted to mate with her. She had that much assurance of normalcy, and it was…disappointing, embarrassing.

It never happened though, the mating, Sam was in awe of her, he held her and kissed her and treated her as if she were precious and fragile. Like he couldn't quite believe she was real, Mikaela had quickly realized that if she wanted something more then that closeness, that near sacredness, she would have to provoke it.

So she did - to tease him, with flaunted skin, tight clothes, and did everything Mikaela could think and it just…didn't work. Sam's feelings were obvious to her, she was something to be revered - not ravished. He wanted her in ways she hadn't understood, at first, used as he was to jocks and assholes – but as a equal, as a confident, best friend, partner, but not to mate with – despite Ratchet's readings.

Mikaela then had had a little theory about that mating bit, for you can't change the facts of biology, Sam had wanted to mate – but if not with her, who? Once she realized that, opened her eyes to it, there was but a single glaring possibility – Bumblebee. Mikaela kept her mouth shut about it, not even telling Sam - but tried to make it her goal to provoke him into a realization about his desires. He couldn't tell her he loved her (because despite his feelings of needing her he didn't love her), but he'd told Bumblebee without missing a beat, she felt he was oblivious – and it was all obvious.

Once Sam was safely on his way to college, she'd found Bumblebee trailing her like a lost puppy. He'd flung his front seat door open for her, and Mikaela had slipped in with a sad smile.

"I'm so sorry, Bee. I've tried my best." His engine (well it wasn't an engine, not really, perhaps…heart) rumbled soothingly under her.

"I'm alright, it's alright. It's just a broken heart." She wished she could do something for him, more then what she had tried, it felt so futile, as if nothing would ever be right, and it hadn't been enough.

"Come on, Bee…let's….let's go do something, huh?" He'd driven around aimlessly, until she couldn't stand the silence and the static on the radio.

"Listen, just take me home, okay – no, listen, Bee – Sam set up this whole web-cam and long distance dating thing with me tonight, so, I'll tell him that…that it's not working, has never worked, and he doesn't feel that way about me – I can see that – and he has to see it too. I-I'll tell him, but you have to go get him, okay Bee? You have to tell him how you feel too. He's a boy, not blind." At least Mikaela hoped so, because Bee's heartbreak and Sam's obviousness, it was breaking her heart too.

Bee opens his door, slowly and thoughtfully, and when Mikaela gets out – waves goodbye – Bee's a blur of racing yellow.

Mikaela sets it up, gets all primped and pretty, and practices what she's going to say a hundred times over – for hours. But the best laid plans never see fruitarian, and this is what she should have remembered. Sam doesn't hook up his side of the connection, and she worries all night long, keeping the All-Spark fragment near at hand.

The next day, she doesn't call, hoping that Bumblebee pulled it off all on his own, and there isn't any need to worry.

It's Sam that calls, and Mikaela knows it's serious, he's panicking, almost mad as the hatter out of Alice in Wonderland, and it's the All-Sparks fault. He wants it, needs it, bring it, now now now - and Mikaela promises she'll get it to him, it's a vow she'll keep, and she is as good as her word even though a little-bot Decepticon wants the All-Spark too, but Mikaela takes him along too. Things happening in threes, well, she wants it all to work out, and if it all gets gathered up together, maybe she can get it sorted out – or Sam can.

She hopes, and drives, then takes a flight – and knows that's all she can do.

When she gets there, cursing the parking lots with a rental care and cursing the fact that she doesn't know where to go – which dorm is Sam's… Bumblebee revs worriedly at her – or at least she thinks he does – but it's not her at all. It's someone else she sees first, that stills her tongue in cheek. It's a boy, black haired, long limbed and sturdy, and he mumbles words that aren't human aren't of this world, soft and soothing, crooning. He kneels next to Bee's tires, as if checking them, but he's hugging him, eyes closed and lips moving.

"Excuse me….?" She thinks he might be mad, that the world might have gone mad and she is the only one not crazy.

"Yes?" His voice is British and annoyed, very dry and he opens his eyes and stares at her with bright green eyes. There is wildness about him, and it's uncivilized and attractive. Primal, perhaps, but somehow he looks so at odds with those eyes. He looks like a city-boy; he's wearing a black three piece suit. Like he just came from a very fancy place, he obviously isn't here for the college, and she wonders – where did you come from?

The last, she says aloud.

"The President's party…" Mikaela's mouth opens and closes, weakly and she can't say she believes him, he says it so plain and matter-of-fact and neither can she claim he's lying.

His eyes flick to the dorm, then to her, and then his nostrils flare.

"Where'd you get that?" He eyes, longingly, for her bag. In her hand is a tool box (with a little Decepticon-bot in it) and she isn't afraid to bash his head in with it – it's the way he eyes the bag. He knows what's in it, can smell it. Maybe, just maybe Bumblebee told him – but Bumblebee wouldn't.

"You're not human." She takes a step back, away: she doesn't know what to think, what to do. He stands, a hand still resting comfortably on Bumblebee.

"Oh, I'm all too human." He says it like he hates it, is insulted by the whole world and its humanity. And she can admit, she can see the joke, the word for kindness, for caring, it shouldn't start with human.

"You can't have it." Mikaela gave Sam her promise, and her vow. It has to get to Sam, he needs it.

Bumblebee rumbles at her, like he's growling.

"Sam needs it." She says it, sharp, insistent – to Bumblebee. Abruptly, he goes silent, confused.

"He, I don't know Bee, he called me, and he sounds bad off, almost…" She trails off, knowing the love Bee has for Sam, and she can't, and won't tell him he's gone mad as the hatter. Saying it will make it true, will make it so she can't take it back – and he might be lost to them both.

This boy, with his very green eyes and black hair, he smiles like the Cheshire Cat, all white teeth and a wide grin.

"Mad." He says it like he knows exactly what he means; it's not a mere vague idea to the likes of him, but a fact.

"Bumblebee, go now – we'll need privacy." She almost asks – for what? – but Bumblebee does no such think, he goes, quick and quiet.

"Coming?" Mikaela sort of hates him for his assumption, but goes along with it. She follows him, and he knows – his hands clenching into fists and fingers unfurling as if he reaches for something – his nostrils flaring. He knows exactly where he's going. She's just glad one of them does.

"This is it." He trades glances with her, and it occurs to her how crazy this is – she doesn't even know his name, and if the world's gone mad, at least she knows she isn't alone in it.

She nods, firmly, and he opens the door for them.

There is a girl making out with Sam Witwicky in his room, on his bed. Mikaela feels fury fill her blood, and she thinks Sam is an idiot, how could he? and Bumblebee deserves better – and…

"It's over. We're done." She hisses at Sam, full of that hate that makes her blood beat in a wicked rush in her ears. Then the near stranger at her side, who feels like a friend, or at least more familiar to her then Sam is, he does something Mikaela would never suspect, surprising her out of her rage.

"Alice." He says it, like he knows that girl. For the first time, she looks at her, and she sees the wide eyes, the open mouth, and the whining plea deep under her surface, it makes her skin blur, makes it shiver.

That whine: it's not a human sound.

"Mikaela!" Sam cries out, pleading.

Mikaela doesn't understand the words the boy at her side speaks, but she later gets Sam to translate, and what he says was - roughly.

"You will not feed upon him. Get off, get away."

The whine becomes clicking, and strange shrieking vowels and verbs: he steps forward, almost threateningly, and his eye gleam red, flashing. Sam is very still and wide eyed, as cowed as the girl-who-isn't. He understands every sound, she knows by the way he opens his mouth – but never says a word: a silent protest against possibility.

Sam tells her what Alice says, and she half knows it from the sounds of a plea, from the haste she takes in away form Sam as if he burns, getting onto the floor - from the cowering form, and bowing face down upon the floor.

"Please, Mother, I did not know. Forgive me!"

He doesn't as much as look to her, he goes for Sam. That primal force she felt, she isn't sure if it goes glow off him, or if the air vibrates with a sound like a giant cat's purr, rumbling and bone deep. He touches Sam, trailing his fingers along his cheek, and there is light, there is something that looks like lightning tamely playing between skin.

"Your madness is mine." It is what Ratchet says the wizard said. Which isn't the whole truth, Mikaela knows, but as close to the truth of it as they will ever tell her: but she saw it. The glimmering blue that someone could sink into, drown in, that filled Sam's eyes and the tears that fell from his eyes at those words.

"Take it and you take me - my mind, please, take it…" Sam's pained words, Mikaela translates for herself, years and years later. And then they kissed, and she had never seen anything so terribly beautiful in meaning and tenderness – it is a kiss Mikaela will never feel, will never forget.

It took, it gave, and it was not the end – only the beginning.

Chapter Text

ACWO Jorge Figueroa - Fig to his friends - knows there are some things he'll never understand, but with the 'Bots, it's simple, it works. They are soldiers, he's a soldier, and there aren't good guys or bad guys in life: in life there is just living and dying and the dead. He'd be dead if not for the 'Bots, he'd be dead too many times to count without Wild Bill Lennox or Bobby Epps watching his back – so, when Lennox shoved his gun into the face of that S-7 agent, and ordered him to take them to the kid's 'Bot, Will's men had done just as he had. It'd worked because they hadn't had anything to lose: they'd had everything. Life and death, it counted for something – loyalty, the threat of his mama's cooking, a comrade in arms in life and in death.

Life was good only so long as you were living it.

Far as Fig could figure, the 'Cons wanted nothing more then to see the 'Bots beaten… and the rest of the world's worth of people – well – they'd seem like ants, yeah? Short lived, small, and fragile in comparison to hulking giant robots. It was for damned sure none of them would like the results. He sure doesn't like to think about it – and does not really want to know. It's enough that they killed Patrick Donnelly, stabbed him in the back and dragged him down: buried him still screaming and bleeding in the sand.

'Bots aren't 'Cons, and 'Cons aren't 'Bots: he thinks he gets it –that difference despite the similarities of them being from the same planet, created from the same AllSpark. He doesn't understand, doesn't really get it – why? – why that war between 'Bots and 'Cons. That's the mystery that Fig never thinks he'll see solved, ever get more then whispers and pieces of. It's too big a mystery, and he's a simple soldier with simple needs.

So he lets it lay: and doesn't worry about why.

He's human, is Fig, so curiosity is in him, and that wars with soldier's caution and obedience to orders without much question. It gets to him, that there's this boy on the base. He looks about the same age as Fig's own kid brother, who his mama calls her baby, and who Fig has always watched out for and protected.

It isn't right, is what it is, that a boy that age, with no military experience, no prior experience with the 'Bots or 'Cons walks onto the base and isn't being looked out for. So Fig takes it up in his own hands and goes looking. He doesn't find a boy – he finds a dog, slinking around the shadows and shy.

Fig whistles, and the dog with its wide green eyes freezes – he takes a step forward and then, just like that - the dog is gone, scampering off. Fig knows better then to scamper off after the dog, instead he makes steaks. They aren't alligator, but they'll do fine. He checks back on the plate at the end of his shift, finding its contents gone; he's quite content to continue feeding the stray.

Of course, the NEST base being what it is, he can't keep what he's doing a secret – it seems sometimes that keeping the biggest secret in the world (aliens on Earth, here to stay) throws any other's worth to dirt. Fig gets heckled like hell for it. Half the boys think he's bullshitting them, and the other half voice (mostly joking) worries about the dog dying from his cooking.

"You're serious about this?" Bobby Epps's voice is painfully amused, and Fig knows he's but a finger away from laughing. He's also hovering a bit in the kitchen, just getting in the way. Fig pays him little attention as he cooks up something real special, chicken and biscuits (the bread kind, not the English cookie kind) – with only pepper for spice. It's for sure the dog's probably never had something like it.

"Look, man, a dog's got to eat." Fig explains, while Bobby rolls his eyes.

"Did it look hungry?" Bobby prods, but Fig shrugs. He knows a dog like that it's probably got someone, and he feels a bit guilty about luring it in with cooked dinners and company. But what none of the boys of NEST argued with was the possibility of having a dog around; it got damned lonely seeing people everyday in and out, the same company and companions. If he could get the dog – they would keep it: usually the dogs came from home, already trained up into proper soldiers, but NEST being a secret kept them off the lists.

"Ate the steaks, so must be." Fig reasoned, and with that bit of logic, Bobby didn't argue.

"What'd he look like?" Bobby asks, more then half curious, a look crosses Fig's face – and it's like remembering his mama's cooking, or when Bill talks about his wife and baby girl. Bobby's never asked if Fig's got pets at home, or has always wanted one.

"Big fellow, black all over, and has these green eyes." Fig teases, aware of Epps own good looks. Bobby claps Fig on the shoulder with a laugh, on his way out.

"Sounds like your more then half in love with him already, so don't let him get away and break your heart, Fig. I'm sure the boys will love him too." Fig watches Bobby go, thoughtfully, he was sure now the rest of NEST wouldn't say no to the stray.

That night, he stayed with the chicken and biscuits, but fell into a doze. He woke to the sounds of the dog eating up the dinner Fig had set out. If not for that, the chomping sounds and the swallowing, soft sounds as they were, Fig wouldn't have woken up at all. With a closer look, Fig saw how well the dog looked his black fur smooth and clean his teeth white with black gums, by his paws he was still growing.

An ear flicked, and green eyes flinched forward, looking surprised to see Fig awake and staring.

"Hi there fella, you're getting bold." Fig keeps his voice soft, almost a whisper. He doesn't reach out a hand, or make any sudden movements; canine and solider watch each other, calm. They take the measure of each other in those moments. The black dog, he finishes the plate, licking it clean, and nods his head as if to say thanks and goes off on his way.

"You're welcome." There is a pause of darkness in the shadows as Fig takes the plate away.

The next day is one of the bad ones, and he doesn't get free of it till midnight comes and goes. It's with a heavy dose of heartache and guilt that he brings cold fried chicken. Fig doesn't wait up for the dog to show, isn't sure that the dog hasn't given up on him. Fig might have, if he was made to wait so long for so little, Fig fears he's lost his chance with the dog. A friendship between soldiers is built on trust, and today Fig's failed the dog, and what's worse feels he's failed his fallen comrades too. It'll heal, that hurt, but he's sick with it at his heart and eating all the softness in him.

He wakes toward noon, with NEST stirred up like a hive.

"What's going on?" Fig asks groggily, as Dunham goes by in a rush.

"The boy's gone missing." There is only one boy on base, boy because though he's close to the age of the NEST's folk, he hasn't been in combat with them yet. Fig hopes that isn't about to change yet, not when he hasn't any training with them and who-knows-what kind of skills.

Fig goes with the rest, because this is important, there are questions to account for – how'd the boy get off the base (is he off-base?) without NEST knowing is a big one. Fig shouldn't be thinking about the dog, about the chicken, but as the storage unit looms up and one look in can't hurt.

The plate is bare save for bones, and Fig isn't alone.

Fig doesn't find a dog, he finds the boy. He hadn't really noticed before, that black hair.

"Hey there..." Fig crouches next to him, waking him with a touch to the shoulder. He bolts up like lightning, wide green eyes glaring. Fig can put the two together, the boy is the dog, and the dog the boy, how – well that's like the question of 'Cons and Bots – he doesn't really need to satisfy his curiosity, only needs to know it works.

"Come on, your friends are all out looking for you, we've made quite the fuss." It's a right mess that Fig has to sort out, all tangled up in his head – no wonder the boy's never showed up in the mess-hall, Fig's been feeding him all along. Fig helps haul the boy up onto his feet.

"I'm Harry – what's your name?" Those green eyes are grateful, no doubt, that Fig doesn't ask why he spends the nights roaming about like a dog, hiding, or what he was doing waiting up for Fig's food (it isn't, he knows, as good as his mamas).

"Fig." There's a point where no one needs to know last names, this is a bit awkward around, and might get worse before it gets better.

"I've found him." Fig tells the rest of NEST by radio comm, who call off the search and Harry gets sent to speak with the likes of Optimus Prime and Wild Bill. Fig knows better then to wish him luck.

He's not really surprised (but he is glad and grateful) that the black dog comes around the mess-hall and heads straight for Fig. It's his secret to keep, but the company isn't bad, and as a dog or a boy, Harry has that with them.