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The Little Things in Life

Chapter Text

A loud crashing echoed through the halls as a very loud Miko shrilled.

"Oops," Bulkhead mumbled, looking down at the now broken guitar crumbled in his servo. He set it down and watched Miko bend down and observe the broken piece of equipment that was beyond repair.

"Sorry," Bulkhead said sheepishly, rubbing a servo behind his neck cables. Miko sighed, but gave a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, Bulk! I have another one I can use," she said jokingly, but it came out forced.

Bulkhead wasn't too sure, but as he watched the little girl pick up the broken pieces of what used to be a guitar and throw it away, he knew he shouldn't pick on the subject anymore.

"If only you did break  the loud shrieking machine," Ratchet mumbled from behind Bulkhead's back.

"Come on, Doc Bot!" Miko grunted, climbing up the stairs to greet Ratchet from his station. "Music is amazing! It doesn't have to be all metal, I just enjoy that particular type of genre!"

"I like peace and quiet," Ratchet bit back, returning his gaze towards the screen.

Miko rolled her eyes and averted them to the two boys that were hanging out with their guardians. It was true that the teenagers had tried to let them do human traditions, like play guitar or play a controller, even trying to fix a bicycle. Unfortunately, only tiny hands were able to be gentle enough to not break a guitar, gaming controller...or a bicycle.

"If only you were the size of us or at least pocket-sized, you'd be able to actually do some human traditions without breaking somethings," Miko sighed.

"They can still do human stuff. Just not smaller ones," Raf interjected. He then held a yellow toy car and flung it at Bumblebee. The yellow car beeped inquisitively and caught it with upmost care. He made whirring noises, using his servo to motion the car as if it was racing. "See, Bumblebee can hold things just fine," he countered.

Jack shrugged and looked at Arcee. "Arcee is good at being light on her feet-or pedes as they would say."

Miko shrugged back and looked at Bulkhead with excitement. "But imagine if the Autobots turned pocket-sized! Then they would really know what it was like to be tiny," she gushed.

Raf went beside her and gave a questioning look. "If they were to shrink, wouldn't they be the same size as us then? Because we're small and they're huge, which could be a chemical balance in which they could-"

"We get it genius," Miko huffed, before returning back to her excitement. "What would guys do if you were teeny, tiny?" She asked the Autobots.

The Autobots thought for a moment.

"I'd love to see a concert!" Bulkhead said with enthusiasm.

Bumblebee whirred and beeped as an answer, getting Raf to be hyped up. "Yeah! Zooming in houses and avoiding objects like a track does sound fun!"

"I heard there's a thing called Karate. I could go for learning that," Arcee mused. Jack snorted and looked up at her. "I think you're skills are way more better than actually doing Karate," he said.

Arcee smirked. "Hey, the more you find ways to fight, the more it'll help you along the way."

"Fair point," Jack murmured. He turned to Ratchet, who didn't bother answering Miko's question. "What about you, Ratchet?"

There was silence and then a loud, exasperated sigh. "Maybe a school or a hospital," he grumbled out.

"To learn about human medicines and earth's civilizations?" Raf asked. Ratchet turned around and gave a firm nod. "I'm stuck with the likes of you. I might as well learn about the human anatomy and medicine, given the fact that you three get injured," he said gruffly and then paused. "Also, I would also like to chat with your teachers about Cybertron. 'Cause apparently my-er- our science projects weren't logical enough."

"Uh-huh," Raf said indignantly, crossing his arms to his chest and raising a brow at the medic. Miko and Jack snickered, watching as Ratchet rolled his optics and turned his pedes at the screen again.

On cue, Optimus came in, walking calmly and slowly to avoid any splats of humans. Jack perked up and smiled at the leader. "Hey, Optimus?"

Optimus braked and looked down at the 3 human allies. "Yes, Jackson?"

"If you were pocket-sized, what would you like to do?" He asked.

All of them watched as the Autobot leader processed the question and think of any opportunities.

"Perhaps a library," Optimus said quietly. "You have earth customs that are intriguing and I wish to learn more about earth."

"Good answer," Raf piqued.

Optimus nodded in return and walked past them and to his station, right next to Ratchet. His optics scanned at the screen quickly, digits typing swiftly and pedes cemented to the ground.

"Oof, maybe we should shrink them so they could have a vacation," Miko said, looking over at the medic and Autobot leader. She returned her gaze towards the 3 younger 'bots and smiled. "Wouldn't that be an adventure?"

The 'bots nodded in affirmation. Wouldn't they give anything to rest and learn about the planet they're calling home.

"Optimus, take a look at this," Ratchet murmured, holding a vertical, thick vial that had some sort of green gas swirling. It was only a few days later and they found a Autobot reading on the screen.

When they discovered it, their was something odd to it. It was cubed, and it glowed erratically. Little did they know that inside was the real treasure.

Optimus looked father into it, humming while doing so. "I am afraid I am not familiar with this...sort of vial containing the gas," Optimus murmured. Ratchet withdrew his servo and looked at it closely. "It's obvious that its holding some type of gas, but I do not know if its deadly or not."

"Do you suppose it is Synthetic Energon?" Optimus asked.

Ratchet shook his head. "Synthetic has a distinct smell, however," he held up the vial. "this has no smell to it. Plus the synthetic energon is more lighter than this."

Optimus hummed. "Perhaps we should tell our comrades and tell them to leave the Humans at home today, just for safety precaution."

"I cannot believe the 'bots abandoned us like that!" Miko huffed, kicking a pebble with her shoes. Jack rolled his eyes, securing his backpack and walking beside her with a small smile. "Miko, its just a safety precaution. The 'bots just don't want us getting hurt," he explained.

Today was the day where Raf, Miko and Jack were walking home today. They weren't that far from the school and considering they had no ride, walking had to be the answer to getting home.

"Ugh! I miss Bulkhead," she pouted.

"You last saw him 6 hours ago," Raf said, deadpanned. "I'm sure he'll be back tomorrow. Besides, Saturday is tomorrow, which means we'll spend more time with the 'bots!" He exclaimed.

"Lets not forget that we have Monday off too. For memorial day." Jack smirked when that dawned on Raf. The youngest let out a hiss of victory, while Miko whooped.

"I almost forgot about that," Raf laughed. Miko nodded at Jack and smiled. "Me neither! Maybe we can all go to a concert or something! I heard Thousand Foot Krutch will be touring here next Tuesday!" She said excitingly.

They almost forgot that Miko found a new band to jam it out.

"What about Slash monkey?" Raf questioned. Miko shrugged and brushed a hand over her shoulder. "Slash monkey is still my fave, but I like finding new stuff, y'know?"

"I think I have work on one of those days, but other than that, I'd love to go as well," Jack piped in.

"Oh my gosh, Miko is rubbing off of you," the boy gasped. The teenager boy chuckled and shook his head. "That's what I get for dating a punk girl," he sighed. A hand was slapped behind his head and he winced in pain.

"And you're very grateful," she grumbled.

"Yes," Jack murmured, trying to soothe his sore head now. "very...lucky."

Miko rolled her eyes, ignoring Jack's comment and crossed her arms to her chest. "What do we do now?" She asked plainly, looking down at her moving feet.

Jack shrugged. "Wanna come to my house and hang out for awhile?" He asked. "I got some juices and snacks. Maybe watch a movie or something," he suggested.

"Ooh! We should watch Avengers!" Miko responded.

"I'm down," Raf said, smiling.

"Awesome! There's a gas station that has Ice cream and candies from around the corner. Lets grab some stuff," Jack said, making a quick turn and crossing the road. Miko and Raf followed behind them and he was right; there was a gas station from around the corner. Literally.

When they entered the gas station, Jack smirked. "Commence treasure finding."

It didn't take that long before finding their favorite candies and some ice cream. Miko and Raf thanked Jack for buying most of the items as they stuffed their snacks into their backpacks.

While the kids were hauling on their backpacks, his, Miko's and Raf's phone rang.

They all jolted before digging out their phones. When they answered, there was panic voices from their guardians. They winced on how loud they were talking, but listened to their antics.

The kids stole a glance at each other, eyebrows raised questioningly. None of them were sure on what to do, or what their guardians were talking about.

"Alright, alright, we're on our way," Jack assured Arcee.

"Bulkhead! Calm down, we'll be there soon," Miko said aloud.

"Bee, I can't understand when you're beeping a thousand miles a minute. I'll be there in a moment," Raf reassured. They all hung up and looked at each other.

"Did anyone else get a panic call?" Jack asked, earning for his friends to raise their hands mutely. "Something is up. Lets go somewhere remote, so we can get groundbridged."

The trio nodded and ran behind the gas station. It was the only place to actually hide. Plus, no one was watching, so it was the closest thing to hide their secret.

"Did they say that they're groundbridging us?" Raf whispered. Jack shrugged. "That's what I always think."

"What if something happened to them?"

Miko waved a hand dismissively and shook her head. "Bulkhead is a strong tough dude. I'm sure they're fine," she said. Raf bit his lip and looked at the oldest teen. Jack grinned reassuringly and placed a hand on the boy's shoulder.

"They're all fine, I'm sure they just need help or something."

It was probably an hour before they started questioning the 'bot's motives. Weren't they supposed to be groundbridged? They sat down, against the gas station building, waiting for a swirling portal to take them to the Autobot post. They even had to eat the ice cream for it not to melt in their backpacks. At least they had their candies with them.

"Um...either they forgot to use a ground bridge, or they pranked us," Miko said, twirling her hair around her finger. It was almost dark outside and the moon was rising at its peak.

"They wouldn't do that," Raf said firmly, before rethinking and averting eyes at Jack. "Right?"

Jack shrugged helplessly. "I honestly have no idea. Should we call them?"

Miko and Raf shrugged before pulling out their phones to contact them. Fortunately, a familiar green swirling sparks opened before them. The trio grinned at each other before grabbing their backpacks and rushing into the portal. It snapped off right behind them.

Using the portal at first made them feel dizzy, but once they used it often now, it felt like just they were dreaming or something. Although, having ice cream in their stomachs definitely would have been better if they didn't eat it beforehand.

When they entered the base, they were met with no one there.

"That's odd," Jack said cautiously, standing in front of his friends and using a hand to keep them backed up, just in case if this was a trapped.

"I don't understand," Raf said, looking around. "Where's Bumblebee and Ratchet?"

"What about Bulkhead?" Miko questioned, brown eyes scanning the whole place.

"Arcee and Optimus too," Jack added. Silence was their answer, until they heard multiple squeaks and whirs. Jack raised a hand. "Wait! Do you hear that?" They were quiet again.

They were surprised when more sounds echoed. Squeaks and then-

"Hey! Over here!" The voice called out. Loud banging noises came from the left of the silo room.

"That sounds like Bulkhead, but...squeakier," Miko mused. Raf nodded. "And I heard chirps at the beginning too. That must've been Bumblebee!"

"Walk with caution," Jack warned. They nodded and followed behind Jack with defensive body language activated. Little by little, they headed toward the course of the squeaks and noise.

Jack cleared his throat. "H-hello?" He called out.

"Over here!" Another voice screamed, but it was more feminine.

"Arcee?!" Jack exclaimed.

"Under the big bucket! Near the switch!" Arcee yelled again. Jack looked over at Miko and Raf, who had confusion written all over their faces. He scanned the place before spotting a small, black bucket. He noted that a string was attached to the Ground bridge switch, followed under the bucket.

"Come on, they're under the bucket," Jack rushed, dropping his backpack on the floor and running to the bucket. Miko and Raf followed suit and went beside him when he stopped in his tracks.

Jack swallowed thickly. "Arcee?"

"Under here," she said aloud.

The trio exchanged looks, before Jack lifted the bucket.

However, they were not expecting this at all.

"Holy scrap!" They screeched.

Chapter Text

"Holy Scrap!" They screeched.

They stared down in confusion as they watched all the Autobots that were under the bucket. All of them tiny. Optimus was standing in front of the Autobots, blasters at the ready. The rest were quivering in the back with optics full of fear.

"Dear God, what happened?" Miko gasped, bending down to their level as best as she could.

Immediately, tiny Bulkhead perked up and ran towards her feet, stumbling a bit before hugging her feet with his now small servos. "Miko!" He squeaked out, small optics peering before her.

"Arcee?" Jack whispered, bending down to the level as Arcee walked over cautiously and placed a servo on his shoe. "Hey, partner..."

"Bumblebee?" Raf squeaked, collapsing on his knees and holding a hand out. Bee ran forward and chirped, a small servo on his index finger.

Jack shook his head in disbelief and looked at Optimus and Ratchet, who were looking at the team. "What happened you guys?" He demanded.

"Gas," Ratchet answered plainly, servos crossed over his chassis. "We found a vial that held green gas. Which was one of the reasons we didn't let you come today...its a good thing you guys weren't here after all," Ratchet mumbled.

"It seems that the gas shrunk us to a small size," Optimus explained, looking down at his pedes and than servos for more examination. Raf looked up at the switch to the ground bridge and quirked his eye brow up. "How did you get us here via groundbridge?" Raf asked.

Optimus pointed at the string attached to it. "We used string and a bucket to haul the switch downward. Unfortunately, the bucket tipped and trapped us under the bucket." He looked at the bucket distastefully.

"Okay," Jack breathed, standing to his full height and rubbing a hand over his face. "How can we bring you guys back to normal?"

The 'bots looked at Ratchet, who was already contemplating a notion. However, he sagged his shoulder struts and shook his head. "I cannot even do research...not when I'm tiny," he sighed.

Everyone slumped, a bit disappointed.

Jack looked at Raf for a moment. "What about you, Raf?"

"M-me?!" Raf squawked, pointing a hand at himself. Jack nodded. "You learned a lot of Cybertronian science in past few months we've been here. Maybe you can figure out a solution."

Raf contemplated and looked at the both of them. "If I can analyze it and find the correct formula, then I could possibly help out," he replied.

"Yeah! We can help!" Miko said determinedly. Her foot moved and the ground shook for the 'bots, making them stumble a bit. She winced and looked down at them with a apologetic smile. "My bad."

"Miko, we need to watch our step!" Jack whispered harshly. Miko glared at him. "I know that! I'm usually the one to watch out for giant feet. Its all new to them and us!"

Jack groaned and placed a hand flat against the cement. "I think it would be best if you guys were off the ground. Just in case we're not gonna step on you," he said. Miko and Raf nodded in agreement, letting their hand go flat against the floor, waiting for their guardians to climb on.

None of them made a move. Jack gave an exasperated sigh and looked over to them sternly. "Unless you guys want to fend for yourselves here, in this big open space where animals and maybe even bugs could be larger than you, then be my guest. But, right now, the only thing you were able to do is get stuck under a bucket while trying to portal us here. Its best if you come home with us until we get this fixed, alright?"

The Autobots looked reluctant, but seeing as they were pretty defenseless without their human charges, they had no choice. Bulkhead was the first to climb onto a hand. Miko grinned and gently pulled her hand close to her chest while Bulkhead latched onto her thumb for support.

"Now I understand what its like to be tiny," Bulkhead said quietly, gulping when he looked down. Miko lowered her head and smiled gently. "Don't worry, Bulk, you're safe with me," she assured.

At least Bulkhead smiled weakly at that.

Bumblee climbed onto Raf's hand with no hesitation, beeping and whirring with worry. "Nothings gonna happen to you, Bumblebee," Raf murmured, bringing his hand up his shoulder. "Here, you can grab onto my collar," he suggested.

Bumblebee jumped onto his shoulder and sat down, gripping the fabric as if it was his lifeline. Raf looked down to see Ratchet grumbling and optics observing warily around his area. Raf held out a hand again, this time in front of the medic.

"You might as well come with me, unless you want to go with Miko or Jack," Raf said calmly. Ratchet looked up at Miko, who was petting Bulkhead's helm, who actually seemed to be enjoying that, but...Miko was a little out of his style. Plus, if she played guitar here, she would definitely play guitar at home. He craned his neck cables at Jack. The Teenager boy was much responsible, though, he does enjoy Raf's company than anyone else.

"Alright," Ratchet growled, frowning as his tiny pedes walked over to Raf's hand. He felt air pass over him as he stepped over to the other shoulder and clutched Raf's collar expectantly.

"Better?" Raf questioned softly, craning his neck to avert his eyes towards the grumpy medic. Ratchet huffed, but he definitely felt more safer than he did on the floor. "Yes," was what he answered with.

"Alright, wanna come with me or them?" Jack asked Optimus and Arcee. The two glanced at each other, before Optimus walked firmly over to Jack's palm of his hand. The teen lifted his finger to let Optimus hold onto. Arcee followed pursuit and watched as Jack grinned slightly and lifted them up to be at eye level.

"You got two options,"Jack sighed and cocked his head, gesturing the pocket shirt. "You can sit in here while we get some, or," he pointed to his shoulder. "this, but I don't have anything like Raf's for you to grip on."

"The Pocket will do us just fine," Optimus said stoically. Despite the Autobot leader being small, his confidence and demeanor never changed. And Jack was pretty thankful for that.

"Alright." He held his hand and tilted slightly, allowing the mech and femme to slide down gracefully in his pocket shirt. Once they settled in, they popped their helms out and gripped the hem of the pocket shirt tightly with their digits.

"Everyone got their buddies?" Jack asked, looking at the ground for any other 'bots.

"I got Bulkhead," Miko said, gesturing her head at Bulkhead.

"Got Ratchet and Bumblebee," Raf quipped.

"Okay and I have Arcee and Optimus." Jack contemplated. "Tomorrow we'll figure how to convert to your old selves but as of right now, we can't stay here."

"What about the Decepticons?" Arcee protested.

Jack scoffed. "Would you rather fight them while you guys are tiny?"

Arcee remained silent after that.

"I agree with Jack," Optimus said solemnly. "Until we are able to convert into our bigger selves, we will have to keep secret. Fortunately, the Decepticons has been at lull for quite sometime. However, I do not know what Megatron has planned if he were to attack at the moment."

"We'll ask Fowler to take control and let us know for any updated. For now, we have to think of ways to actually go home..." Jack murmured, shifting his gaze at the empty hall of the portal.

"I can rendezvous us home with my computer," Raf pointed out.

"Can you close it even when we're now at the base?" Jack asked. Raf nodded and walked over steadily to his backpack, being mindful of the 'bots that are entrusting him to be careful.

He leaned down and unzipped his backpack, hauling out his computer. Once he got that, he walked up to a bunch of cables and started hooking them up to his computer. Bumblebee and Ratchet exchanged confused expression before looking at the screen.

Raf clicked enter on his keyboard and immediately, the portal activated. He looked at Miko with a small grin. "This is your stop," he called. Miko nodded, cupping her hand in a protective manner around Bulkhead and grabbed her backpack, not even bothering to haul it over her shoulders.

"Ready, Bulkhead?" She asked, looking at the small wrecker. Bulkhead nodded. Grinning, she looked at the boys and waved with her other hand. "Meet us at school tomorrow morning, alright?" Miko yelled and before anyone could answer, she was gone.

Raf sighed and turned off the portal and craned his neck at Jack. "Your turn," he said.

Jack nodded and looked down at the 'bots snuggled in his pocket shirt. Optimus looked at him and nodded firmly. Jack nodded in return and grabbed his backpack, hauling his backpack over his shoulder. Arcee grunted while Optimus just steadily tried to balance.

"Alright, like Miko said, meet us at school tomorrow morning. And try not to lose them with your gigantic family," Jack pleaded. Raf smirked and saluted him. "Aye ay, captain."

Jack rolled his eyes fondly and turned to the portal.

With Jack gone, it was only Raf's turn to go through the portal. Coordinating the Ground bridge to bring them home, he let the portal open to his exit. Raf had to settle his computer down, put on his backpack gently (considering that tiny 'bots were residing on his shoulders now) and grabbed his computer once again.

"I can't believe we're doing this," Ratchet grumbled.

"It won't be as bad as you think it would be, just trust me," Raf said, smiling.

Ratchet just sighed in annoyance while Bumblebee gave him a thumbs up.

"At least someone is keeping an enthusiastic character," he sighed.

"Home sweet home!" Miko announced as she entered through her bedroom with a tiny wrecker safely cupped in her hands. She uncovered Bulkhead's form and smiled at him. "This is where I sleep and play guitar," she explained.

Bulkhead looked around. It almost looked like a Berthroom, but...softer. Miko's room consisted of many posters of her favorite band. Guitar stands for her instruments. Dressers and a closet, along with a bathroom.

Her bedroom was mostly purple and black. Bed was a twin sized bed with plain purple bed spreads and a bit of pink on her pillow case. Bedside table was right beside her bed with a lamp and some jewelry hanging from the lamp shade.

"Huh, never expected to see your room, Miko."

Miko hummed and closed her door, dropping her backpack against the wall while doing so. "Where do you want to be settled while I'll get your bed ready?" She asked. Bulkhead looked at her with optic ridge raised. "A what now?"

"Uh, y'know," she gestured her free hand towards the large box that looked soft and comfy. "a bed...where you sleep."

"Oh...oh! You mean a Berth?" Bulkhead queried.

Miko shrugged. "Sure, why not."

"Oh, just settle me on the small table next to your berth," he said. Miko nodded and settled Bulkhead on the bedside table and sat on her own bed.

"Wow, these are weird," Bulkhead murmured, touching the lamp. It wiggled and Miko laughed.

"Its called a lamp. It provides light of some sort," she said.

"Oh...what are these dangly things?" He asked, pointing at the weird designing.

Miko grinned. "Earrings. For my ears."

"Those things go on your ear?!"

The girl nodded and tucked her hair behind her ear, showing a round ball in her ear. "See, earrings."

"How does it stick on?"

"Its pierced," she answered, taking the butt of the earring off and taking it out. She placed it on the bedside table, gesturing for him to look at it. Bulkhead stepped warily to it and observed it.

It was pointy and had a small gem at the front of it. He looked at her. "And it goes in your ear?"

Miko clicked her tongue as a yes, and Bulkhead cringed. "That sounds painful..."

The Japanese girl only shrugged and smiled. "It hurts for a bit, but then it doesn't afterwards. Human stuff." She waved her hand dismissively and sat up unexpectedly. Miko scanned her room for anything that make a small bed for now.

She turned her heel towards her small guardian. "I'll be right back!"

With that, she zoomed out her bedroom, leaving Bulkhead to his own devices. Huffing, he walked further around the bedside table and found more intricate objects. Something he never seen that Miko ever had before.

A few minutes of him wandering aimlessly, Miko came back with a handful of things. The girl grunted as she sat down on the floor, criss-crossed and opened some containers. She then flew her hand in front of him, indicating to climb up.

Bulkhead hopped onto her hand and stepped off when she planted her palm on the floor.

"While I make a bed for you, why don't you play with these blocks I found in the garage?" Miko dumped some cubes and blocks on the floor, scattering across Bulkhead's pedes. She started building a wall for Bulkhead to either smash or build more on.

"See?" Miko said, pointing at the small wall. "Can you lift the blocks on your own?"

Bulkhead shrugged, but tried when he was asked. The blocks were actually pretty light and thanks to Miko, he had everything going smoothly to construct more blocks.

"Its cool, right?"

Bulkhead just nodded and started moving blocks towards the stacked blocks.

Yeah, it was pretty cool.

It was a few minutes later when Bulkhead yelled her name with excitement. "Hey Miko!" The girl shifted her eyes towards the wrecker and saw that Bulkhead made a huge wall.

She grinned and pumped her fists up. "That's awesome!"

"Watch this!"

Bulkhead ran himself into the wall. The blocks made a clattering noise as it fell down to its demise.

"You wrecked that wall," Miko shouted with enthusiasm.

"That's what wreckers do," Bulkhead said proudly.

"I never actually saw your room before," Arcee murmured, optics scanning the room. It was like every other teenager's room to be honest. It wasn't messy, save for a few clothes on the floor and bottles of water hanging around the bedside table.

"I never actually thought an Autobot could see my room," Jack laughed, placing Optimus next to Arcee on his desk. He looked away and pulled out a drawer, grabbing some clothes and a towel.

He whirled to meet the 'bot's gaze. "I need to shower and change into my PJ's. Please don't do anything that will get you injured or stuck?"

"I assure you, Jackson, that we will not harm ourselves," Optimus said, tiny chassis rumbling fondly. Jack nodded and headed out. He stopped and looked around for a book or something to distract them for now.

"Here," he said, taking his history book out his backpack and placing it on the desk and flipping some pages open. "You said you would like to read about Earth's history. Might as well read while you still can," he smiled.

"Thank you, Jackson," Optimus said sincerely.

Jack gave one last smile to them and headed out the door, shutting it gently. They were able to hear small steps echo and then turn silent.

Optimus craned his neck down at the opened History book. His optics read the chapter and he hummed, intrigued. He climbed onto the book and started where the first word started. Arcee followed after him and looked at him.

"You're really going to read this?"

Optimus hummed in response, optics already reading the page intently.

Sighing, Arcee hopped off the book and looked around the desk.

There was a pencil holder that contained pencils, pens, highlighters and erasers. Though, something caught her optics as she passed it. Deciding to get a closer look, she tried pushing the holder away from the object.

It moved every effort Arcee pushed into. She was rewarded when she got the full view of the whole thing. It was a picture frame, layered in dust. She wiped some dust away with her servo and peered closely at it.

Inside the frame, was a picture, 3 people with wide smiles; a human portrait on what humans would call. The ends were ripped and it held stains of dried tears and little splotches of blood and dirt. There was only one person she recognized was June. And she wasn't much different from now.

Though, what confused her the most, was the man holding up a boy no older than 4.

They had wide smiles plastered on their faces, and it looked genuine.

"Optimus?" Arcee called out.

The Prime looked up from his reading and headed over to the femme. "Yes, Arcee?"

"Come look at this," she said, pointing a digit at the large picture frame. Optimus craned his neck over towards the picture and squinted. "It looks like a family portrait, but...all I can recognize is that June is in the picture."

It took a minute, but it finally came to the conclusion for Optimus. "It is likely that the man is Jack's sire...and the child is Jack from his youth," he said quietly, looking at Arcee.

Arcee optics widened and looked at the picture once again. She slapped a servo over her helm and groaned. "Why didn't I see this before?"

"Jack has never mentioned his sire before...least of all his young years," Optimus reminded.

"Ever wonder what happened to Jack's sire?" Arcee asked curiously.

"There is no doubt that it is a sore subject to Jackson," was what the Prime said, staring sadly at the torn up picture. "but, I have a feeling that there is more than meets the human eyes."

Speaking of human, the door knob jiggled and suddenly the door forced open by a black haired boy. The 'bots quickly went back to the history book, as if nothing happened. A sigh escaped the teen's mouth as he wiped the rest of the water off his hair. The boy was now in a hoodie and long pajama shorts.

He threw the towel in the pamper, along with the rest of the clothes he wore that day.

Once Jack was done, he looked at his desk and saw Optimus and Arcee looking down at the history book.

"Hey guys, I'm back," Jack said, grunting as he sat on the rolling chair and scooted himself to his desk. "What're you reading?" He asked.

"About a human named Adolf Hitler," Optimus replied, grimacing a bit when he looked at Jack. "I did not even think to realize that some man was able to kill more than 6 million of one species."

"You mean the Jews?" Jack asked, cracking a small smile. "The Jews aren't another species, they're humans...but a different nationality."

"Why would a human go against another human?" Optimus asked. Jack grinned and held a palm out to them, to which they climbed on eagerly. Using one free hand, he flipped some pages and pointed at the large, bold letter: Holocaust.

"During the 1940's is when Adolf Hitler and his troops killed almost 6 millions Jews. That was one-third of Jew population. It lasted for about 13 years," Jack said, pointing to that sentence he just read.

"That's horrible..." Arcee whispered.

"Why did this human hate the Jews?" Optimus questioned.

Jack grimaced and looked at them with sad eyes. "As early as August 1920, Hitler compared the Jews to germs. He stated that diseases cannot be controlled unless you destroy their causes. The influence of the Jews would never disappear without removing its cause, the Jew, from our midst, Adolf Hitler had said. These radical ideas paved the way for the mass murder of the Jews in the 1940s."

"I don't understand," Optimus frowned.

"He considered the Jews to be the blame of Germany's weakness, due to their Jewish Influence," Jack explained.

"Like the Depticons and Autobots?" Arcee said.

Jack thought for a moment before shaking his head. "Not both want the same thing for Cybertron...just in a different way. However, this was one man that turned Germany against a nationality just because of their beliefs and differences. This is mass murder that held no mercy for them, just death."

"I never expected a human to turn against their own kind," Arcee murmured, looking shallowly at the book and then her servos. "That must have a dark time for the Jews..."

Jack smiled weakly. "There are many problems in society that are still going on. School shootings...bullying, bombings, suicide and other things like that. It kind of sucks to live in a world where there are always going to be conflict somewhere. Physically or mentally. But, we're lucky to live in a free country, thanks to the military and soldiers who died protecting our land."

He shrugged and sighed. "There was a girl named Anne Frank who recorded the history during the holocaust before she died. I can stop by the library and see if they have it if you guys are still interested in it," Jack suggested.

Optimus gave a slight grin. "That would be lovely, thank you."

Jack smiled and stood up, hand curling just a bit as he opened the door again. "I need to do some chores before I go to bed, but it may take awhile, so you're coming with me. I can set up the TV or something. Maybe the history channel will be interesting," he said to them.

"Optimus may enjoy that, but got anything else?"

"You can walk around if you guys like too. I'm not forcing you to stay still, just be careful, yeah?"

Arcee nodded. "Will do."

/You weren't wrong when you said that you have a large family./ Bumblebee said. Raf chuckled and entered his clean bedroom. "Told you so."

He settled his backpack on the floor and walked in the middle of the room. "Well, this is where I sleep. Computer, bed, stuff like that."

"How comfy," Ratchet mumbled.

Raf rolled his eyes and walked to his computer desk, bending his knees a bit so Bumblebee and Ratchet could jump down. They got the message and hopped off, allowing Raf to stand on his full height.

/Where are you going?/ Bumblebee asked, panic rising.

"Getting something for you to sleep on," Raf responded and smiled. "And maybe something to entertain you guys as well."

"Puh-lease, the only we need to play is to get us bigger!" Ratchet said gruffly.

Raf rolled his eyes. "I'm gonna pretend that you never said anything." And went out his bedroom.

/Raf is only a kid, cut him some slack./ Bumblebee reprimanded, putting his servos on his hips.

"A kid who can hack into systems, yes...of course," Ratchet said sarcastically.

"I'm back!" Raf said, entering with stuff in his arms. "And guess what I brought in?"

"Hopefully a reverse ray..." Ratchet sighed.

"No...but that would be interesting...anywho, I brought in a race track for Bee!" Raf exclaimed, placing some tracks on the floor. He started clicking things into places and before they could ask a question, it was finished.

"Here." Raf held a hand out, allowing Bee to jump swiftly on his charge's hand. Raf moved his hand and settled the 'bot on the floor. Bee wandered carelessly to the race track and beeped curiously.

"This way, you can race against toy cars," the boy explained, placing a electronic car toy next to him. Bee watched as the boy pressed the button. A red light suddenly flashed in front of him, then it turned yellow and once it turned green, the toy car took off.


Raf grinned. "Would you like to race against it?"

Bumblebee fluttered his door wings and turned into his Alt-mode, driving right next to the toy car. His engine revved and rumbled, getting ready to race.

"Ready...Go!" Raf said out loud. No doubt that Bumblebee was a bit faster than the toy car, but it was fun for the young scout to drive against something that wasn't going to get hurt.

"We can also change the tracks as well if you get bored with this one," Raf pointed out, patting the unopened container that had more tracks. Bumblebee chirped excitingly and turned into his bi-pedal mode and ran to the large container.

Raf turned the container upside down, allowing the objects to fall right beside Bumblebee, who was already grabbing stuff and adding to the race tracks. The boy smiled, but suddenly frowned at the lack of medic making comments.

He looked over to his desk, where Ratchet was staring at the screen with a scowl on his face.

"Would you like to watch something, Ratchet?"

"No. I want to be normal again."

Raf gave a sympathetic smile and stood up, stepping carefully over Bee's excited form as he went back and forth with certain tracks.

"What would you like to do then?"

Ratchet just shrugged, arms crossed over his chassis.

"Okay..." Raf murmured, trying to think of anything the medic would like to do. An idea came to mind as he sat in his chair and logged into his desktop. Ratchet watched incredulously as the boy searched something and clicked on a video.

"Here, its about human medicines and the affects," Raf said, grinning when Ratchet's widened optics averted to the screen. Lets just say...he was interested.

Chapter Text

Bulkhead had to admit that Miko was one good constructor on building a Berth for him. Although, it was more cushiony then metal like. But, it did the job of helping him sleep. Though, there was one time when he woke up and was greeted by pitch darkness. When he turned his helm, he saw a light emitting from Miko's bed.

"Miko?" Bulkhead asked groggily, rubbing his optics.

"Hm? Oh Bulkhead! Did I wake you up?" Miko asked as she turned on the lights. Bulkhead yawned, to which Miko never knew robots could, and watched his charge watch him with fascination.

"I didn't know you could yawn!" Miko exclaimed. The girl was dressed differently. Her hair was up in a ponytail and dressed sweatpants and a over-sized T-shirt that had a touring dates of Imagine Dragons. Another favorite band of hers.

"Why are you up?" Bulkhead questioned, before looking at his internal clock. His optics widened and he looked at the girl with a stern expression. "Its almost 3am, Miko! Shouldn't you be asleep."

The Japanese girl shrugged and slumped afterwards, her face melancholy. "Couldn't sleep..." she said quietly, tapping on what looked like a data pad and a pen, but human technology was weird for them sometimes.


"I just couldn't," Miko snapped. She sighed and rubbed a hand over her tired face and grinned at Bulkhead. "I draw when I can't sleep, so here we are," she said, gesturing to the thin screen.

Bulkhead tilted his helm a bit. He knew that Miko was a drawer and loved drawing the 'bots. But he he has never seen her draw on this thing before.

"Can I see?"

Miko nodded and held out her hand, allowing for Bulkhead to hop on. She moved her hand to her shoulders, letting the wrecker to sit there and hold onto her shirt for now. From what he could see, it was just two, skinny and long-necked birds that had beaks and a streak of red on their heads. They were posed dramatically and symmetrically on the opposite sides of each other.

"I thought you draw on those thin sheets of trees?" Bulkhead said, cocking his helm in puzzlement.

Miko giggled. "I have a drawing tablet, but I don't bring it to base, just in case if it breaks."

That would make sense.

"What did you draw?" He asked, still not recognizing the drawing.

"One of the rarest cranes in the world! Also known as the Red-Crowned Crane," she explained, a bright smile gracing her lips. "They're from Japan, my homeland." Then, her eyes dimmed a bit. Bulkhead scrunched his optic ridges together and patted her shoulder. "You okay?"

"Yeah...I guess I'm a little homesick," she admitted

"Miko? Homesick?" He asked incredulously.

The teenager girl rolled her eyes, but quirked a lips up before falling into a frown. "Yeah...just a bit."

"With Ratchet handling the Ground Bridge, I would think he'd bring you there in an instant," he joked. Miko laughed and shook her head. "I just miss watching watching them fly with grace. They can also be a symbol luck and longevity," she sighed and looked down at her lap. "Jasper, Nevada isn't like Japan with its uniqueness, that's for sure."

Bulkhead's optics dimmed. He knew that his charge was an adventurer kind of gal, and to be frank, you're not going to see anything in this small town.

"But!" Miko perked up with a wide grin. "I wouldn't have met you or the other 'bots. So its a win-win."

The wrecker smiled weakly and continued observe Miko add some details to her picture. She was definitely a lover of drawing, and had a talent of it as well. Her eyes suddenly lit up as she lowered her head to the tablet and opened a new page. "I'm gonna draw you now that you're small enough for me to observe!" Miko exclaimed, glancing at Bulkhead and then at the tablet.

The wrecker chuckled and watched as his charge drew enthusiastically.

"Y'know, the Red-crowned crane has a dance for mating purposes-"

Later on, after explaining what Red-Crowned Cranes do and how they live, who would have thought that Bulkhead would fall asleep on her shoulder and Miko tilting her head nearest to Bulkhead.

The drawing of Bulkhead was probably Miko's most prized possession.

Jack's impression of a small bed was just putting Optimus and Arcee in a hoodie, specifically the hood.

But it did the job at least. The 'bots were grateful that Jack was thinking of their recharge, rather than just sleep in their Alt-Modes.

From what Jack could tell (mostly from the rumblings from Optimus' form) they were asleep...well, all except him. He blinked blearily and craned his neck to look at the bedside clock.

What it read was 2am.

Jack stuffed his face in the pillow and muffled a groan. How he hated having insomnia. But, he wasn't the only one to have this 'small' problem either. Jack was quite surprised that Miko had the same difficulty of falling asleep as well. Maybe it was because of the time difference there, or maybe even more personal. Who knows.

He just hoped that Raf didn't have the same problem as himself and Miko did.

"Jackson?" A deep rumble suddenly filled his ears. He threw the pillow off his face and sat up to see a pair of blue dim lit optics staring right at him on the bedside table. "What are you doing up?" He asked. Jack couldn't see, but he could have sworn that Optimus was furrowing his optic ridges at him with concern.

Jack looked at the hoodie, where Arcee was recharging peacefully. He didn't even know how Optimus was able to sneak on his bedside table without making a noise. Jack shook away the thoughts and sighed tiredly. "Just can't sleep, that's all," he mumbled, rubbing a hand over his face.

The Prime rumbled again and made a leap of faith and landed on the bed, making Jack to hug his knees to his chest to make some room. Jack watched as Optimus walked steadily on his pedes (despite walking on a bed) and looked a Jack's form.

He remained standing there until Jack looked at him confusion. "Did you-uh- want to be picked up?" He questioned. The Autobot leader merely nodded and waited for Jack to hold out his hand and switch him to another place to settle in.

Jack placed him on the top of his knees and rested his head on the edge of his knees. "Better?"

Optimus hummed graciously, observing Jack's features.

It was night, but considering that he had optics that glowed at the night, he could see pretty well. Like night vision mode.

The teenager was no doubt tired, and his bloodshot eyes were the evidence, along with the dark bags under his eyes. The leader placed a hand on the boy's arm. Jack made a noise, but he didn't back away from Optimus's touch and just watched the 'bot leader touch his nose.

"You should sleep, Jackson," Optimus said softly, and Jack grinned silently. He was always touched by the way Optimus held concern for each of his comrades, including the children.

"I know...its just hard," Jack admitted.

He and Optimus froze when Arcee yawned in her sleep, but she then shifted away from them and continued to recharge. Jack looked at Optimus, who was still observing the young femme.

Though, he shifted his optics to Jack when he moved to sit up, using his index finger and thumb to pick up Optimus and move him to his shoulder, where it was more safe. The boy tiptoed to his opened door and silently shut it before he blew out a breath of relief.

"You alright, Optimus?" Jack asked as soon as he strolled down the empty halls.

The Autobot leader blinked his optics and nodded. "Yes, Jackson."

"Good, I need to get my medicine and a snack before we head to bed, do you mind?"

Optimus chuckled lightly and shook his head. "Not at all Jackson," he said warmly. Jack smiled and headed towards the kitchen, placing the Prime on the counter and opening the pantry for a snack.

Jack came back with a granola bar and a bottle of water and a orange bottle that held white pills.

While he was opening the wrapper to the granola bar, Optimus peered at the orange bottle, trying to read what it said. Jack's full name, date of birth and the name of the pill were imprinted on the small container.

"How long have you've been having trouble sleeping, Jackson?" Optimus questioned.

The boy shrugged in response. "Since my dad died, I guess." He continued chewing his bar and looked away.

"I see. I saw a picture frame that was a family portrait. Was that you, June Darby and your father?" Optimus noticed how Jack swallowed thickly and settle his granola bar down on the counter.

"Yeah, that was my dad," Jack said, but it was more of a whisper.

Optimus's tiny Chassis rumbled slightly, observing the boy. "You two look very much alike," he said. Jack cracked a smile at that comment. He inherited his mom's skin color and hair color, but the face was mostly his dad's.

"Jackson," Optimus interjected gently. "there is fluids leaking out of your eye."

Jack jolted and placed a finger under his eye, feeling the warm tears leak out. He quickly wiped them and smiled reassuringly. Throwing out his half-eaten granola bar and cleaning up the crumbs, he ignored the 'bot's optics towards him, as if he was concerned.

He then grabbed the water and uncapped it before taking a pill and popping it into his mouth, drowning the pill to go down his throat.

Jack wiped the liquid from his lips and sighed heavily. "I think we should sleep," he murmured, picking up Optimus and placing him gently on his shoulder. He stopped when Optimus rumbled at him again, but it was more louder.

"Do you need anything, Optimus?" Jack asked.

Optimus hummed. "I would like for you to lift me to your eye level, please." The request was odd, but non the less, he was did what he was told to. The Autobot leader patiently waited for Jack to get the memo and hopped on Jack's palm.

The boy lifted him up to be with eye level, watching every move the 'bot leader was going make. He was met with Optimus's helm leaning against his own forehead. Jack didn't make a sound, instead he leaned in, hearing the rare, tiny purring Optimus was emitting from his engine.

The Autobot leader's helm was warm in a way. He could the tiny vibrations of Optimus's whole body.

It was probably a few seconds or so when Optimus backed away. Jack cocked his head slightly, but a small lopsided grin graced upon his lips. "What was that for?" he asked genuinely.

Optimus smiled gently. "Your world describes it as a 'eskimo kiss' and I decided to try it," he responded. "Was that okay for you?"

Jack chuckled quietly and headed into his bedroom. " was kind of nice."

Ratchet was pretty surprised that a loud house Rafael lived in, was dead quiet. He was able to hear the tossing and turning of Raf trying to situate in bed while the yellow scout was beeping and chirping quietly in his sleep.

They were placed in what Rafael called: A tissue box. Along with some small blankets and a mesh pillow (It was actually a cotton ball)

Ratchet was about to fall asleep when a loud wail jolted his systems back up and he sat up with a panicked expression. What in the Allspark?! Bumblebee whirred annoyingly and blinked his optics before rubbing them with his servo.

Raf groaned and sat up, turning his head towards the now awoken 'bots and smiling apologetically. "Sorry, its my turn to watch my baby sister tonight. Its okay, you can sleep now."

"What now?" Ratchet asked.

Raf didn't answer as he stood up and walked out the bedroom, following the wailing sounds. It was suddenly quiet after a few minutes. Bumblebee chirped inquisitively and looked at Ratchet with a curious expression.

Ratchet just shrugged and watched the door open slightly again, revealing Raf and a small form against his chest. The boy walked over to his bed and sat down, smiling tiredly at the 'bot and patted the form's back.

"Rafael," Ratchet whispered. "What is that-"

The form whined quietly.

/A sparkling?!/ Bumblebee squeaked, standing on his pedes and door wings fluttering excitingly.

Raf smiled and shifted the child higher up his shoulder and turned away from them. Ratchet and Bumblebee then saw the squishy face of a sparkling staring right back at them with bleary eyes.

"What in the AllSpark," Ratchet repeated.

"Its called a baby, Bee," Raf pointed out a second later, patting the squirming child.

/Its so cute!/ Bee exclaimed.

Ratchet continued to stare at the lump of flesh. Who knew that something human...could be kind of cute?

"Her name is Izzy," Raf murmured quietly, smiling slightly on how Izzy jerked her head toward the familiar sound and make a cooing noise. Izzy squirmed and whined again. Raf sighed and stood up again, turning his heel and placing Izzy on her stomach on the floor.

Raf then turned on the lights and sat down on the floor with Izzy, giving her some toys of her own.

He glanced back at the two 'bots, who were staring incredulously between the two.

"Would you like to come down?" Raf asked softly.

Bumblebee whirred and jumped slightly. It sounded as a yes, so Raf held his hand out and felt small pedes step on the palm of his hand. He was slightly surprised when more small pedes stepped lightly on his hand.

Raf ignored his shock and maneuvered his hand to the floor, letting the medic and scout jump off his hand. He retracted his hand and grinned slightly when Ratchet walked confidently to Izzy and started scanning her with his servo.

"Anything abnormal, Doc?" Raf asked.

"Its a baby, what else?" Ratchet grumbled.

"You like her," Raf mused, grin turning into a smirk. Bee chirped teasingly and pointed at the flustered medic. Ratchet huffed and crossed his arms to his chassis and looked away at their smirking faces. "I am merely interested in human babies."

"Uh-huh," Raf practically sang out.

Izzy heard the sound of the noise and squirmed slightly, but gotten down to moving around a bit. Her blue eyes landed on the medic, who stumbled back. The baby giggled softly as she watched the medic stutter out words.

"She likes you too," Raf pointed out.

Bee chirped excitingly and turned into his Alt-mode, racing around the child and whirring along. Izzy emitted a loud shriek of laughter, her small lips gracefully quirking up. The medic didn't save himself from chuckling out loud.

Raf smirked. "You're a softy when it comes to children, huh?"

Ratchet shrugged. "I am a medic after all...I had to take care of ill sparklings back on Cybertron. Human babies are no different than our own...babies," he replied. The term was odd, but babies are babies and sparklings are sparklings.

"Hmm, no wonder you allowed us to stay," Raf concluded.

Ratchet glared at him. "Don't you dare start."

The boy held up his hands in surrender and inwardly smiled.

"And you're not allowed to speak about this ever again," Ratchet finished fiercely.

"Aww, come on," Raf pouted.


"Just one picture-"



But Raf was totally gonna get that picture. No matter how patient he had to be.

Chapter Text

The next morning turned out to be harder than usual.

For Jack, he didn't want to wake up, and every time Arcee or even Optimus tried nudging him, he would emit a loud groan and turn his head away from them. Fortunately, Optimus was able to wake him up. Per use of a blowhorn.

Ratchet and Bumblebee were complaining about being in the pocket while Raf was eating cereal because his siblings would just walk into his bedroom and grab stuff of his own with no warning.

So putting them in a pocket while he ate breakfast was no fun for the 'bots, especially for Raf when he felt pedes against his thigh harshly, making him wince inwardly.

Bulkhead was too stubborn and tried to climb down the bed and walk towards Miko with ease. Although, he stumbled and fell, he pushed aside Miko's pleas to help out and continued on.

And it continued during breakfast as well. In which, Bulkhead tried to pour milk in Miko's cereal. Unfortunately, he missed and it splatted on the floor. With an exasperated Miko cleaning up the milk, Bulkhead got into heaves of trouble when he landed in the sink.

Him shrieking was enough for Miko to look up and roll her eyes and pick up Bulkhead before drying him up.

After a tough hour of them getting themselves and the Autobots ready, they were on their way to school.

"Guys!" Raf exasperated, looking down at the 'bots. "You really had to kick my legs during Breakfast?"

Ratchet groaned and stretched. "Why don't you ask Bumblebee's carrier. I'm sure they will have the answer."

Bee chirped sassily and crossed his arms to his chassis, letting an annoying huff. Raf rolled his eyes and continued on walking down the path to school. The medic looked around and then glanced at Rafael. "So this is how you get to school?" He asked.

Raf hummed in response.

"Isn't that a bit too far?"

Raf pursed his lips, but then shrugged, as if it was no big deal.

"What about predators?" Ratchet continued.

Ra sighed and looked at Ratchet, stopping for a mid second. "I'm fine and I know how to call if someone is following me," he snapped. The walk continued in silence until a squeaky feminine voice called after him.

"Raf! Raf!" Miko yelled, waving her arms as in greeting. Raf grinned and walked over to her. "Hey, Miko. How was last night?"

Miko shrugged and gazed at Bulkhead for a moment and turned back to her young friend. "Same as usual. You?"

Raf grinned mischievously. "Well, Ratchet-"

"You said you wouldn't tell them!" Ratchet hissed in Raf's ear.

"Wouldn't tell them what?" Miko asked, getting the attention of Bulkhead.

"Nothing!" Ratchet exclaimed.

Miko, Raf and Bee just rolled their eyes.

"Is Jack on his way?" Raf asked as he sat on the stairs of the school. Miko sat next to him and nodded. "Yeah, he had a tough time last night, so he slept in on accident," she replied.

Miko absentmindedly settled Bulkhead in front of her. Raf did the same and let Bumblebee and Ratchet walk over to Bulkhead with ease.

"Human sleeping is so odd," Ratchet complained. Bulkhead chuckled lightly in response. "Their berths are very comfy though!"

Bumblebee agreed to that as he nodded enthusiastically.

"Meh, I've seen what you guys sleep on and that looks like you're sleeping on a pile of rocks for humans," A voice came from behind them. Miko and Raf jumped, turning their heel to see Jack smirking at them with Optimus and Arcee chilling in his pocket shirt.

"Jack!" They exclaimed together.

"Sorry, it took awhile. I was a little tired this morning and slept in on accident. Thanks to Optimus and Arcee, they woke me up," Jack explained sheepishly.

"How did they wake you up, though?" Raf asked, puzzled.

"They kind of climbed onto my face...and then used a blow horn on my face," Jack replied bluntly, earning a snort from Miko. "Can't believe a robot woke you up."

"You're no better," Jack shot back. Miko rolled her eyes but a smirk crept onto her face. "At least I don't snore in my sleep," she replied just as sharply.

"What!? I do not!" Jack exclaimed. He downcasted his head towards the Prime and blue femme. "Do I snore?!" he asked.

However, Optimus and Arcee remained quiet and looked anywhere else but the teenager. He heard Miko let out a satisfied noise. Jack mumbled something under his breath and his arms over his chest, but being mindful of the 'bots residing in his pocket shirt.

Miko smirked, but didn't continue the discussion. "Besides that," she said, turning to Raf. "you got any ideas on how we're gonna get our 'bot friends to turn gigantic?"

"I think it would be best to go back to the base and find the...gas...that turned you into-" he gestured his hand towards the small 'bots. "-this."

Jack made a noise of uncertainty. "We don't have a groundbridge, remember?"

Raf deflated and facepalmed. "Right...I forgot."

"Perhaps we can use your science tools from your school?" Optimus suggested. Raf, Miko and Jack looked at him awry. Even the other Autobots seemed to be hesitant. Raf shook his head sadly. "School is closed on weekends. We won't be able to go to school until Tuesday," he explained.

"That's 3 days from now!" Ratchet exclaimed, exasperated.

"Sorry, Ratch," Raf said.

Jack sighed in defeat. "I don't think we'll be much help until Tuesday comes around, and even with that, we have school."

"We could always skip school," Miko trailed, grinning mischievously. The boys looked at her with an unimpressed expression. Raf cleared his throat and raised a brow. "Parents, Miko."

Miko rolled her eyes. "Your parents are so lame!"

"I would rather not jeopardize your school scheduling. However, the Decepticons could have an advantage of us a small problem," Optimus said, his optic ridges furrowing.

"Agent Fowler is our only solution then," Jack replied.

"Then he will use humans to use as a fighting technique!" Optimus argued. "I promised that I won't cause human casualties!"

"Optimus, I don't think you've seen yourself, but your tinier than my forearm. How are you going to fight?" Jack asked, exasperated. "You said it yourself as well. The Decepticons have been at lull. If anything happens, then we'll have to call Agent Fowler."

Optimus looked away. Jack felt deep remorse for the leader. The Prime never wanted any human casualty and he knows that Optimus promised that. "Hey," Jack said softly. "If we don't call Agent Fowler when the Decepticons come, more humans will die. The military signed up for this. For our country."

Optimus averted his optics up at the teenager boy and nodded mutely.

Jack sighed and looked at his two friends. "My mom is at work. Maybe we can borrow her car and go to the Autobot Post." He then sighed in realization, shaking his head and swiping a hand over his tired face. " works late shifts again..."

His friends, though, were absolutely confused about what Jack was saying. Not about his mom getting night shifts, but Jack able to drive his mom's car.

Miko and Raf exchanged glances towards each other.

"You have your drivers licence?" Miko asked. Jack nodded nonchalantly and dug through his pocket to get his wallet out. He then flipped it open for Miko and Raf to lean closer. Heck, even the Autobots were intrigued.

"You look...odd," Miko mused. Jack rolled his eyes and snapped the wallet closed before shoving it in his pocket. "That's because they don't allow us to smile during out photo shoot. More like a precautionary when identifying ID's."

"Well...I was talking about your hair," Miko murmured. "Seriously...what's up with your hair?"

Jack ignored her comment and looked at Raf. "Did you grab your library card?" He asked. Raf nodded and dug out his library card, earning a small grin from Jack. "Perfect." Miko, however, looked bemused.

"Why would we need that?" She questioned. Jack shrugged. "Optimus wanted to go to the library about some History stuff. And since he is tiny, he might as well take advantage," he replied, lips tugging up as Optimus nodded firmly.

"Ugh!" Miko complained. "The library is so boring! Why don't we go skateboarding or something. Show the 'bots what Americans do!"

"We are," Jack said, smiling. "We're showing the 'bots the history of America."

Miko started grumbling under her breath as she crossed her arms to her chest and kicked the floor that flung some dirt in the air.

"Actually," Rafael's voice popped in. "I'd love to show Bumblebee skateboarding and other human activities. Like you said, The bot's have an advantage to learn human lore. Why don't we show them as much as we can?"

Jack hummed and looked down at Optimus. Miko looked at Bulkhead who was head-on-nervous while Arcee, Ratchet and Bumblebee tilted their helms in a questionable manner.

"What do you think, Optimus?" Jack queried. "Show you guys the routine of everyday human children lives." He emphasized the last part with a sardonic jazz hands. The Prime looked at the human teenager with gentle optics as he thought for a moment.

Optimus was quite intrigued by the children's everyday lives and they had a chance to finally experience it. He knew that Ratchet was just going to grumble and complaine. Arcee, Bulkhead and Bumblebee pretty much would go along with the flow. Either way, it would end up in the same scenerio.

"We would be delighted to learn human customs," Optimus responded with a slight smile. Ratchet-as per usual- groaned and crossed his arms to his chassis. "Are you actually serious we try human small robots?!"

"You guys aren't made of squishy guts and fragile bones," Miko huffed, pinching her arm in gesture. Fair point.

Bulkhead still looked nervous, but he decided to defend his charge. "Com'on Ratchet, we're tiny enough to do the small things human can do. It'll be fun!" He said enthusiastically, but a tinge of worry laced through his vocals.

"Bulkhead is right," Arcee said quietly, clutching the hem of his pocket shirt with her small servos. She looked at Ratchet who was residing on Raf's left shoulder, still being as stubborn as ever. "We might as well as best we can before we become to huge for this world."

Bumblebee whirred excitingly, his doorwings fluttering. Raf smiled widely and craned his neck towards the small yellow scout on his right shoulder. "Good idea 'Bee!"

"What did he say?" Jack asked, eyebrow quirking up.

"When we go skateboarding we can race against them!"

Jack hummed. "That...that's actually a cool idea. See who's faster," he tease, looking down at Arcee with a chaffing grin. The blue femme scoffed and rolled her optics. "Please," she huffed. "I'm so much faster than those wooden boards that has 4 wheels."

The raven-haired teenager smirked. "You wish."

Arcee shot him a look. "Is that a challenge?" She asked, a warning tone in her voice.

"Bring it."

And that's how they decided to hold a bet. Autobots versus the human children with the thin board and some slagged wheels. Or Arcee's choice of words. They walked to each of their houses, grabbing their own objects, all while making jokes to the Autobots on how they were going to win. It was kind of endearing when the 'bots fought back playfully. Raf took a scooter, Miko had a skateboard and Jack took his old bicycle.

When they were about to just find a large hill to commence the contest, Miko thought of a better idea. They weren't expecting this.

"How did you find this?!" Jack exclaimed, looking around the abandoned skate park as he rolled in his bicycle. It was only a few miles away from the school, deep inside the woods. He wouldn't be surprised if the abandoned Skate park was half the size of a football field. It was large.

This was the place where vert skaters would hang out. Ramps that were all in different sizes and shapes were placed. Stairs, flat rails and sloped rails were connected together to make a small area to practice grinding.

The one that Jack was interested in, was the large Roll-In ramp with a smaller versions of them connected together. The perfect way to gain speed, and finding their speed comforts. Miko grinned and looked at Jack. "Pretty cool, eh?"

"No kidding," Jack breathed, absentmindedly propping his bicycle up and walking forward into the middle of the Abandoned Skate Park.

Optimus and Arcee looked around in awe. The place was definitely abandoned with no trace of anyone returning. Weeds sprouted between the ramps and and other angled objects that even the 'bots couldn't identify.

Miko cleared her throat, getting the attention of the Teenagers and the 'bots. She was on a lengthy Spine Skate Ramp that was about 4 feet with a small Bulkhead sitting on top of her head, fidgeting slightly every time Miko moved. "Mechs, Femme...boys." She smirked when Jack and Raf rolled their eyes. The Japanese girl smiled widely and threw her arms in the air. "Welcome to the insane world of skateboarding!"

"As much as I am fascinated about this, shouldn't we have a permit to walk across this?" Optimus asked from Jack's shirt pocket. Miko rolled her eyes and placed her hands on her hips. "Its abandoned, duh!" she responded. "Besides, no one knows where it is. I was the only one to discover it."

"How come you didn't tell me this?" Bulkhead asked, bending over her head to see Miko's hazelnut eyes. The black-haired girl grinned, eyes crinkling at the end. "I kind of forgot about it when I met you. Considering that I spent almost every day with you afterwards," she answered.

"What is that?" Arcee asked, cringing at it. Raf and Miko looked at the object Arcee was referring too. Jack looked as well, before shrugging and looking at Miko. He cocked his head to the sloped object when she noticed him looking at her. Miko grinned mischievously. "That's called a Launcher! Or a kicker." Miko waved her hand at it. "It supposed to launch the skater in the air."

"Why would someone do that?!" Ratchet exclaimed, mortified.

Miko laughed and shook her head. "Its not for someone to get purposely get hurt. Its used for tricks!"

Ratchet's optic ridge rose. "Tricks?"

"I'll show ya!" Miko said, gently plucking the green mech from his place and placing him on the floor, next to Jack's feet.

"Miko..." Bulkhead warned, feeling deep worry. Not for himself, but for his charge.

"Don't worry, Bulky," She reassured, putting on her black helmet and tightening the strap around her chin. She looked at Bulkhead and patted her helmet. "I know what I'm doing...and if I get hurt...well, Ratchet can patch me up."

She snickered when Ratchet made a high-pitched, "What?!"

Miko turned her heel and grabbed her skateboard. She ran up to the Launcher as fast as she could before setting her skateboard down as it gained its tempo. She hopped on and allowed her feet to push and glide on the board, gaining more speed.

When she was close to the ramp, Bulkhead started fretting.

"Miko!" he yelled out, optics widened with fear. He wasn't the only one who had bugged out optics. Optimus, Ratchet and Arcee had the exact same expression. Miko ignored them as the board brought her to the slope and in the air. She twisted her body and the skateboard, landing and sliding down the slope. She grinned and tilted her feet before it swerved towards the direction of the boys.

Jack and Raf whooped, watching as the girl made her skateboard halt in front of them.

"How was I?" She asked.

The boys gave them thumbs up while the Autobot's facial expression was a mixture between shock and fear.

"How interesting," Optimus breathed.

"At least she didn't get injured," Bulkhead murmured to himself.

"Looks deadly," Ratchet whispered. Miko rolled her eyes and picked up Bulkhead, placing him on her shoulder for more leverage.

Bumblebee, however, beeped and hopped up and down on Raf's shoulder. The small boy grinned and let the yellow scout hop on his outstretched hand in front of him. "You wanna try?"

Bumblebee chirped and nodded. He pointed at the scooter and then at Raf.

The boy blinked. "You want me to come with you?"

Bumblebee nodded happily.

"Ho-no! Take me down this instant!" Ratchet exclaimed. Raf's lips curled up and allowed Ratchet to climb down his shirt and drop onto the floor.

When Ratchet got off, Raf walked over to his scooter before putting on his orange helmet. The boy placed the yellow 'bot on his shoulder again and grasped the scooter handle before putting one foot firmly on the ground and the other on the deck.

"Go get 'em tiger!" Miko shouted while Jack gave him a thumbs up with a broad smile. Raf waved and scooted himself from a distance of a smaller version of the Launcher. He averted his eyes towards Bumblebee. "Just so you know, I'm not as good as Miko," he said sheepishly. Bumblebee whirred and chirped happily, patting his charge's shoulder lightly.

Rafael grinned and started thrusting his foot down to gain speed. It wasn't as fast Miko's, but man, who knew that Raf had strong legs. Bumblebee held tighter onto Raf's collar shirt and made a noise of excitement.

As soon as Raf was in mid air, the boy hunched his shoulders a bit and went straight for the landing. It was a rocky landing, but was soon smoother afterwards. His scooter continued to roll as Raf twisted the T-bar to their friends.

"How was that?" Raf questioned to Bumblebee.

The yellow scout screeched some type of noise, but it sounded exciting and high with delight. The boy smiled. "I'm glad you enjoyed it."

"Dude!" Miko exclaimed, balancing her feet on her heels. "That was awesome! You should try to spin your scooter!"

Raf laughed nervously and shook his head. "No thanks!"

"Aww, come on!" Miko pouted. Raf smiled sheepishly. "I don't know how to do it," he said.

Miko thought for a moment before shrugging. "Fair point." She then turned to Jack and grinned like a Cheshire cat. "Your turn, boy!"

Jack huffed. "I don't know a lot of tricks, but I'm good with the Roll-In ramps," he said, pointing to the U-shaped ramp. Miko grinned and nodded. "Let's head up then!" She said, grabbing her skateboard and walking over there.

Raf and Jack exchanged glances before looking at their guardians.

"Are you sure...this is safe?" Optimus asked, optic ridges furrowing together. Jack smiled reassuringly and nodded. "Promise it's safe."

With that, Jack hopped onto his bike and pedaled there while Raf rolled to the Roll-In ramp.

When they arrived, Jack looked at Arcee and Optimus. "Do you want to remain in here while I ride?" he asked.

Arcee shrugged. "I trust you that you won't kill us, so I'll try," she replied quietly, earning a snort from Miko.

Optimus thought for a moment before a sly grin graced his lipplates. "I would prefer to ride with you," he replied. Jack blinked, his facial expression incredulous. The boy cocked his head to the side. "You're serious?"

Optimus didn't express it, but he was a bit offended by that simple question. He was fun! He was adventurous!


"I am positive..." Optimus said firmly, hiding his offense in the back of his processor.

Jack shrugged nonchalantly, oblivious to the Autobot comrades snickering. Jack pedaled to the U-shaped ramp and watched as Miko and Raf throw their wheeled vehicles on the deck and then climb up with ease.

"How are you to climb up when you have a large vehicular?" Optimus questioned, cocking his helm to the side.

"I have to gain momentum by using a down-hill slope of some sort," Jack explained, eyes scanning the abandoned park. He pointed to a small sloping ramp and smiled. "We'll use that to get to the deck. Then, we'll try some tricks."

"Make sure to wear your helmet!" Ratchet huffed.

Jack rolled his eyes and nodded. "Yessir, doc."

Despite being small, Ratchet still looked intimidating. "What did you just call me?!"

Jack quickly pedaled away from Ratchet's ranting, shouting, "Nothing!"

It was probably him, but he could've sworn that Optimus was making a strange noise, akin to holding in a chuckle. When he pedaled on top of the mini ramp, Jack looked down towards the two 'bots in his pocket shirt. "Now's your time to back away," he said quietly.

Arcee scoffed. "We're fine, Jack. I'm only worried for you," she said with an optic roll.

"We are safely tucked away in your pocket shirt," Optimus assured. "However, I cannot deny my worries for you like Arcee is."

A warm feeling spread throughout Jack's body. He felt a bit touched to see Optimus's and Arcee's concern for him.

"I'll be fine," Jack said with a smile. He put on his helmet and steadied his bar to pedal directly to the bigger version of the ramp. As soon as Jack took off, the 'bots gripped the hem of the pocket shirt as tightly as their servos could grasp on.

The wind blew past them as Jack's striking blue eyes focused intently. Loud cheers came from above and with that, he tilted his bicycle up and made it jump to the deck. There was barely any room to hold the bike, but he was there, and quite honestly, the teenager was pretty proud of himself.

"Whoop Whoop!" Miko hollered.

"That was awesome, Jack!" Raf exclaimed, his eyes glistening excitingly. Jack chuckled and peer down to look at Optimus and Arcee's reaction. If robots had human skin, they probably would have been pale.

"You okay guys?" Jack questioned, frowning at their expressions. Optimus's facial expression was grim and Arcee's whole frame was trembling slightly.

"Now I understand what it feels to be...small," Arcee whispered. Jack cocked his head, his helmet sliding slightly to the side. "What?"

Arcee shook her helm and and grimaced. "Nevermind. I think I prefer to stay out of the tricks. Sorry Jack."

Jack gave a reassuring wave and gingerly picked her up between his thumb and pointer finger. "Don't worry, 'Cee. A lot of people can't handle the twisting and turnings," he said softly.

He plopped her softly onto Miko's palm and grinned. "Besides, I trust you to know about what is your limit and what is not."

Arcee smirked. "Probably retching in your pocket shirt."

Jack clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "Good to know." He then looked at Optimus with a questionable expression. "You still want to-uh...?" He gestured his head towards the bicycle.

"As much as I enjoyed it," Optimus said, a bit sarcastically, "I would rather stay out of this for now."

Jack laughed out loud and shook his head. "Sure, we'll go from there." He plucked the Autobot Leader from his pocket shirt and placed the red and blue mech on Raf's cupped hand.

Optimus grinned at Jack and then to Raf.

"Good luck!" Raf chirped.

"Show 'em what you got!" Miko said enthusiastically.

Jack nodded and slowly pedaled to the edge of the deck and silently sent a prayer. As soon as he hopped off, he yelled, "Don't fail me bike!" And was off. His tired skidded on the under slope until the bike was flung into the air.

"Holy-" Jack didn't get to finish as he grunted and landed on the side before his bicycle tires glided towards the middle again.

"Go Jack!" Miko yelled, one fist in the air while the other was holding Arcee.

Raf rocked on his heels, showing his enthusiasm as much as possible. Determination settled in Jack's veins and he was ready to try the Bike swing. Or, when the person twists its bike around before they hit the ground.

Jack pedaled as hard as he could, eyes focusing in the front as his wheels carried him to the very curve. As soon as the front wheels flung itself in the air, the back chain suddenly jammed.

The teenager yelped when his bicycle lost its balance and his body fell back, along with his bike.


Chapter Text


They all shouted as they watched their friend lose balance on his bike and fall down, his body sliding down until he stopped. They could a sickening crunch when the boy hit the ground harshly.

Miko and Raf hastily slid down and ran towards the motionless body. The Autobots were just as concerned as they were.

"Jack! Jack!" Miko yelled as she dropped to her knees and placing Arcee and Bulkhead down on the ground before placing her hand against Jack's cheek. "Jack!"

The boy's elbows and upper arms were covered in blood and bruises. No doubt that his back was bruised as well.

"I brought a mini kit, I'll be right back," Raf exclaimed, putting down Ratchet, Bumblebee and Optimus who were already running towards the still body next to Arcee and Bulkhead.

Ratchet immediately scanned him despite his tininess and looked at the scan with furrowed ridges. "He sustained injuries on his upper arm area on both sides. Unconscious and he might have a small concussion," Ratchet said grimly.

"What the frag?!" Arcee exclaimed, not noticing that her leader was giving her the stern glare. "I thought helmets were supposed to protect their squishy heads!"

Raf came back and dropped his mini kit on the ground before settling himself on his knees and looking at Jack's injuries. "Helmets don't protect your head on the inside," he noted, opening his kit up and taking out ointment. "Your brain can still hit your skull resulting in a concussion."

Arcee huffed and brought her arms over her chassis.

Optimus was leaning over Jack's still hand, fretting over the child.

"Will he be okay?" He asked.

Raf nodded. "He's waking up right now, actually."

They watched as the teenager boy stir and make a grimacing expression before opening his eyes, squinting slightly. He blinked slowly, blurriness going away and revealing a Japanese girl and kid that had spiky hair.

"M'ko?" he slurred.

A sigh of relief escaped from the girl's mouth. "Thank God!" she exclaimed.

Jack turned his head slightly and watched the boy focus on his arms. "Raf?" His words sounded more enunciated now that he was aware of his surroundings. "What happened?"

"What happened," A voice from below him, "is that you almost gotten into a serious injury!"

Jack winced and tried to avert his eyes down to his guardian. "Sorry Arcee," he mumbled.

"You almost gave us a spark attack!" Ratchet scolded. Jack winced once more and nodded. " bad?"

"Not bad," Raf said nonchalantly, checking his bandaged arms now. At least the older teenager didn't wear his long-sleeves like usual. "You might get a little headache, though. Does your head hurt?"

"Mmm...its going away," Jack replied.

Raf nodded and Miko helped Jack up before she picked up Bulkhead and placed him on her shoulder. "I guess Skate hour is over," she murmured.

"Definitely," Ratchet grumbled.

"What happened though?" Miko asked. "One moment you were twisting your bike, the next your sliding down the ramp!"

"My chain jammed." Jack sighed, taking off his helmet and ruffling up his hair. "I knew I should have fixed it up before we left," he muttered.

He wasn't expecting for anyone to hear him, but Ratchet heard. "What?!" the medic exclaimed, his optics blazing with what looked akin to exasperation. "You knew?!"

Jack laughed nervously. "Uh...yes?"


With surprise, Jack turned towards that deep voice that was addressing him. Even the other Autobots were staring at their leader with astonishment. Optimus, quite surprised himself, was giving a stern glare at Jack, his striking blue optics glaring into the boy's sapphire eyes.

As Jack observed Optimus' posture and facial expression, he could practically see the worry. Guilt sunk into his stomach and he bowed his head. "Sorry, guys," he said sincerely. "I didn't mean for all of you to be worried."

He felt an arm wrap around his neck, a body leaning into him as he steadied his feet. Miko, not caring about Jack's personal space, side-hugged the boy and grinned. "Nah, you're good. I've seen more worse conditions when it comes to bicycling."

Jack smiled in reply and looked at the short boy. Raf merely shrugged. "You didn't die, so that's good."

Jack and Miko couldn't help but laugh out loud, though the 'bots were beyond confused.

"You're okay with all of this?" Arcee asked, an optic ridge raising in skepticism. She then gestured to her servo towards the bicycle along with the scooter and skateboard. "I mean...isn't it dangerous and all that stuff, for humans at least?"

The trio glanced at each other before snorting, which even puzzled the femme even more. Sensing the confusion, Jack retorted back. "I wouldn't say that doing this kind of stuff is dangerous...its no dangerous than Miko running into the Groundbridge though," he said dryly.


Jack smirked and continued. "Any who, not all stuff for humans are meant to be dangerous, its a learning experience. The more you fail...the more you'll be able to succeed."

"Kind of like when Miko plays her guitar," Raf concluded.

"Its not really dangerous..."

Miko scoffed. "Your hands hurt afterwards sometimes, but that's the worst of it."

The black-haired boy rolled his eyes.

"Right," he muttered. Shaking his head, he gave a weak smile and looked down at his bandaged upper arms. Blood was already seeping into the white wraps and it was only it was only time before he would have to change it.

"Well, do you guys still wanna head out for the library?" Jack asked, looking between his two friends and then the Autobots.

"Don't you wanna...y'" Raf asked, but Jack shook his head and shrugged. "Its just a scratch. I'm not gonna die."

Miko smirked. "Yeah, you're too stubborn to die."

Jack crouched down and plucked Arcee and Optimus off the ground unexpectedly, and placed them in his pocket shirt. Optimus and Arcee exchanged glances at each other, but didn't protest.

Raf did the same, but gave Ratchet and 'Bee hint to climb onto the palm of his hand. Silently, the two 'bots climbed up onto Raf's hand and let him lift them higher off the ground and depositing on his shoulders.

Bulkhead was still on Miko's head, holding onto one of her pom-pom looking hair.

"Its unfortunate that you and Arcee didn't have a chance to race each other," Raf said. Arcee winced. "I wouldn't want too...not after all this..."

Jack nodded. "Yeah...wouldn't want you to be too injured," he responded with a weak smile.

It was silent for a few moments. No doubt that the 'bots were worried for their black-haired friend. Optimus looked up and watched at Jack hauled his bicycle over, noticing how the young teenager winced but didn't complain.

The Autobot leader furrowed his optic ridges together in concern. He shouldn't be doing strenuous work if his arms were trying to heal. He wanted to say something, but he couldn't help but be silent and glance at Arcee, and Ratchet who were both casting worried glances.

If this is what being helpless felt like. Optimus no longer wanted to be tiny anymore.

"Finally!" Miko exasperated as she dropped her skateboard on the pavement ground. She threw her arms up. "The library!" She exclaimed.

Jack found a bike rack and rolled it over there before putting a lock on. Unfortunately, Raf and Miko had to hide theirs beside the building, considering that no outdoor transportation was allowed in there.

"Miko, are you sure no one will steal your skateboard?" Bulkhead asked reluctantly as he saw Miko place her skateboard face down in the dirt. He heard Bumblebee give a similar question to Raf.

Miko and Raf nodded all at once.

"They'll be fine," Miko said, waving her hand towards the two unused rollers. "Besides, they're cameras all around us, so they'll catch the people who will steal it."

"Miko's right," Raf chirped. "Its practically uncanny for someone to steal something in Jasper, Nevada."

Jack snorted. "A small town. Everyone knows each other."

"You're telling me," Arcee grumbled, tensing when the boy started to move. Jack gave a comforting smile, alleviating some of her tension and worry away.

As soon as they headed into the door, Raf stopped abruptly, making the two older kids slam into in him. Miko grunted and stepped back in confusion. "What up with that?"

"I don't know...won't it be weird that we'll be holding...a small robot in our hands as if this was normal?" Raf questioned, uncertainty leaking down his voice. Jack's and Miko's face changed and they exchanged glances.

"You're right, but its more on the line for you two," Jack replied. "Optimus and Arcee can simply duck into my pocket shirt..." He cocked his head to the sky and started thinking. He then stared at Raf. "Your backpack perhaps?"

Raf blushed. "Oh right..."

"And since I don't have anything to conceal you it looks like you'll have to spend a few minutes in his backpack, bud," Miko sighed.

"Its better than my pocket," Raf said dryly, shooting indignant glares at Ratchet and Bumblebee.

Kneeling down, he plucked the two 'bots into his fingers and plopped them into his backpack, followed by Miko who placed Bulkhead inside. Ratchet grunted at the force of impact and shot them a glare. "Be careful! You'll squish us!"

Raf rolled his eyes. "Why? Cause you're older than the universe itself? Do you need a wheelchair?" The dry question made Jack and Miko burst out laughing. Despite the timidness and quietness Raf showed when they met the 'bots, he really gotten comfortable on showing his fun side.

Ratchet all but spluttered while Bumblebee whirred in enthusiasm and Bulkhead patting the medic's shoulder plate in sympathy. Raf didn't give Ratchet to counter back as he zipped his backpack up and hauled it gently over his shoulders.

"Ready now," Raf said, nodding towards them.

Jack returned the gesture and looked down at Arcee and the Autobot leader, who were both wearing amused expressions on their faceplates, obviously enjoying the scene with Ratchet and Raf's interaction.

"Duck inside my pocket shirt for now until we're safe from other people, alright?" Jack's instruction couldn't have been more clearer, so they nodded and then ducked their helms under.

"Alright, we're ready."

"That wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," Ratchet mumbled as he climbed out the backpack along with Bumblebee and Bulkhead.

"Its quite comfy in there," Bulkhead pointed out. Bumblebee crossed his yellow arms to his chassis and huffed stubbornly, making beeping noises towards Raf and the rest of them.

Raf rolled his eyes. "It's better than the pocket, 'Bee."

Bumblebee couldn't deny that. He shuddered slightly at the memory of that.

They were fortunate enough that not many people were at the library and found a corner to stay and let their 'bot friends wander a bit. Jack had also pointed out that the librarian had really bad eye vision and could barely see anything without her glasses.

Jack placed Optimus and Arcee on the table with their other comrades and walked aimlessly around the round table. They all looked around, noticing tall shelves that had books of many shapes and sizes. Old and new. The shelves were almost to the ceiling and a area where computers were placed, with only few people on there.

"Woah," Arcee whispered.

"This isn't like the Iacon halls." Optimus looked at Jack. "Do they hold records here as well?"

Jack shook his head. "No, those go into the Great Hall. A building where they hold all the records of Jasper, Nevada."

"Like where the mayor does the boring stuff," Miko exclaimed, being somewhat helpful. Jack snorted and nodded his head. "Yeah...that too."

Miko smirked and sat in her chair, propping her feet on the round table, earning a warning glare from Jack.

"Seriously," Jack exasperated, "just because Mrs. Snale can't see you does not mean that you should put your dirty shoes up there."

The Japanese girl scoffed and waved her hand in his general direction. "Its not like you do the same at the base."

"Yeah, 'cause that's home!" He suddenly froze at the words that spewed out of his mouth. Did he really call the base home? He shook his head, contemplating. At one thought, he really did think that the base was home. The Autobots considered them family and they were always there.

They had the choice to stay or leave, but even at the very beginning Jack knew that he was going to stay and at least try to make a difference. Although, there were days that he felt like he wasn't needed at the base. And it still lingers on.

Miko's voice suddenly entered his ears and he looked at the girl, who was giving him the most obvious look she could manage. "Of course the base is our home!" It was as if she was reading his facial expression and reading his mind.

He peered down at the Autobots, who were merely watching their conversation. They didn't seem fazed by how they called the base family.

Jack heard Miko groan quietly, and with no warning, she grabbed Jack's head between her hands. Her face was a few inches from his own and for a moment, he looked into those beautiful hazelnut eyes.

"There is a difference between house and a home. House is where there is a roof under your head. Home is where family is. Where someone cares for you." She averted her head towards the 'bots and grinned. "Where they allow you to be yourself." Miko shook her head. "And we all know that neither of us could have been ourselves without having a home with them. Right, Raf?"

She let go and allowed his and her heads to turn towards Raf. The small boy grinned and gave them two thumbs up. "Miko's right."

"Woah, woah, hold on," Bulkhead said, interrupting the whole debacle. "You-you said that you were homesick last night!"

Miko shrugged. "Home is where the heart it. My heart belongs to my homeland, true...and its where my heritage is from. The atmosphere is where I missed...not my house," she said quietly, her eyes narrowed down a bit.

Optimus decided to intervene. "What do you mean, "Neither of us could be ourselves without us"?"

Miko huffed and crossed her arms to her chest, finding herself more vulnerable and exposed than she thought she would be. "Do you really think this is what I really look like all my life?"

Optimus glanced at his comrades, who shared their confusion with their leader. Just when he was about to ask again, a loud hissing noise came from behind the trio.

"Shhh! This is a library! Not a rodeo," the old woman chastise.

Mrs. Snale looked pointedly at the frozen 'bots and sneered. "And do put your toys away. This is no toy store." With that, she left.

"Toys?!" Ratchet exclaimed, feeling offended. "We do not look like plastic toys!"

Jack raised a brow at the medic. "You sure about that?"

Ratchet looked helplessly around, optics spotting Raf, who gave a sympathetic shrug. "Sorry Ratchet, but I would have probably mistaken you guys as really descriptive toys that were for rich children."

"I second that," Miko said.

Bumblebee whirred and chirped at Raf, his helm cocking to the side. The two older teenagers, as well as the rest of the 'bots watched Raf think. The boy then shook his head and made a face. "Why would we price you? We wouldn't think of you as a stupid plastic toy!"

Bumblebee once again whirred inquisitively.

Raf was silent and sighed. "Fine. You're priceless. There is your answer." His voice was flat, as if it was the most obvious answer.

Suddenly, the area was dense with unspoken secrets. It was heavy and it must've weight a lot because Jack cleared his throat and gestured his hand towards the book of shelves. "Uhh...should we get books?"

"That's why we're here, aren't we?" Ratchet asked, rolling his optics.

"Right, lets get some books, chill for a bit, and then we'll head to the hospital," Jack said, picking Arcee and Optimus up and dropping them into his pocket shirt.

"Why the hospital?" Miko asked as she turned her body and held out her hand for Bulkhead, who ran up to her and sat down in the palm of her hand.

Ratchet and Bumblebee followed pursuit with Raf as well, clinging onto his collared shirt.

"Get my bandaids changed, and also tell mom about it." A sigh escaped the jet-black haired teenager. "The sooner the better."

"Hey look!" Raf exclaimed, standing on his tippy-toes and retracting a medical book. It was a book of Anatomy. He grinned and showed the small medic. Ratchet piqued interest in it and stared intently at it.

"Looks interesting..." he mumbled.

"I can check it out for you," Raf said.

Ratchet mumbled something under his breath, a bit irritably. The boy just rolled his eyes and put the book under one of his arms. "I'll take that as a yes," he said quietly. Moving onto the next passageway, he was in the genre for race cars. Knowing that Bumblebee would enjoy these types of book, he looked around and picked out a specific one.

It showed a strikingly yellow camaro on the cover. He smiled at Bumblebee who was emitting out excited beeps and chirps. "You want?"

Bumblebee nodded happily and that was enough for for Raf to carry on.

Arriving at the computer genre, he smirked inwardly and took out several books about the programming of computers and large book about computer science. Books were piled up almost to his nose and nodded in satisfaction, walking carefully out and to the check out.

"That's a lot," Ratchet said, optics warily watching the books sway a bit. "Are you sure you'll finish all of this?"

Raf shrugged. "I could always check it out again."

"And how come we never see you reading books at the base. You're usually glued to your computer," Ratchet asked.

"I've already read most of the computer science books and guides, but they added new books. I just haven't been here since you guys came." He grunted. "Besides, the internet can help out as well."

"Right," the medic said skeptically. "What about spending time with family? I hope you do not spend all your time on just doing computer, books and school."

Raf stopped in his tracks and dropped the books on the table to rest his arms before giving a pointed look at the medic. "Why not? Its what my parents want me to do. To succeed and whatnot," he replied tersely.

Ratchet was quiet for a second.

"My parents have 5 kids including me," Raf suddenly said, picking up the books again. "They have jobs to sustain for their children and barely have time."

Ratchet looked taken back, but by the look on the kid's face, he realized that Raf said this all the time. His tone was flat and expected. Something stirred in the medic's spark an he couldn't help but feel remorse for the small child.

Then anger poked him.

How dare they. How they dare they!

"They shouldn't neglect you like that," Ratchet hissed.

Raf rolled his eyes. "They are not neglecting me," he spat, eyes pointing at Ratchet like daggers. "They just have stuff to do...and so do I."

Bumblebee whirred sadly and patted his charge's shoulder.

Raf sighed. "Thanks for the sentiments, but if its any consolation, they try their best to give us the necessities we need. School, sports and a computer."

Ratchet blinked and sighed quietly in defeat.

What about being emotionally there? Ratchet wanted to say so badly.

But that went unsaid.

Once Raf had checked out the books, he went to their corner and spotted Miko and Jack sitting on their chairs with their guardians sitting on the table in front of the opened books.

Miko looked up and smiled enthusiastically, her hand waving in the air.

"Hey! We were wondering when you'd here," she exclaimed. Raf laughed and dropped the books on the table, rattling the whole table by the weight of his piled books. The young boy grinned sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head with his hand. "Oops.."

He allowed Ratchet and Bumblebee to climb down and join their comrades and leader.

When Raf sat down, Miko threw a bunch of questions.

"What kind of books did you get? How many did get? Woah they're so huge! I wonder how many pages are in there...!"

"I got some computer science books and others for Ratchet and Bumblebee," Raf laughed. He cocked his head towards the books. "It'll last me for awhile."

"No kidding," Jack said sardonically, who only had 3 books that he checked out.

"So, what'd you get?" Raf questioned, sitting in the unoccupied chair and opening his, 'Bee's and Ratchet's. Jack smirked in reply. "I got Optimus the Diary of Anne Frank and another of the Holocaust." He looked at Arcee, who was staring at a page about motorcycles. "And one about motorcycles."

"How fascinating," Optimus murmured to himself, earning the attention of the children. Jack couldn't help but chuckle quietly.

"He's been like this since I opened the book," Jack said teasingly.

"Once Optimus finds an interesting datapad, you can't get him to stop," Ratchet sighed.

Jack shook his head in amusement and looked at Miko. "What did you get?"

Miko grinned. "Harry Potter."

"Why do I need to ask?"


"I don't."

"I know."

"Harry...Potter?" Ratchet's voice was filled with curiosity.

"A story about a boy who turns out to be a wizard and goes on magical stories along with a noseless man trying to kill him," Miko said plainly, looking down at her book, eyes skimming the page now. Bulkhead, from her shoulder, looked at Ratchet with piqued interest.

"Its actually really interesting once you get past the Dursleys," Bulkhead replied. "Like seriously! They locked their own nephew in a cupboard his whole life!"

"Sounds like a ride," Jack said sarcastically.

"Have you already read the whole series?" Raf asked. Jack nodded. "Yeah, it helped me get a few points for A.R."

"Ditto," the boy sighed.

"Quiet! I'm getting to where Hagrid arrives," Miko said seriously. Although she was trying to be serious, Jack and Raf couldn't help but laugh out loud and shake their heads, both getting the attention of the people around them and the 'bots themselves.

Once they calmed themselves, Miko rolled her eyes.

"Bunch of boys," she muttered.

"Sorry, sorry," Jack hiccuped, wiping a tear from his eyelash. "Its just that...I've never seen you so focused on something other than running to impending doom."

Raf, and the Autobots looked expectantly at Miko, who simply blinked her eyes slowly.


Raf started wheezing while Jack rubbed the back of his head, trying to soothe his targeted head. The Autobots stood in place, astonished on the young Japanese child actions. Miko was standing near Jack's chair, the Harry Potter book clutched in her hands as her eye brow rose.

"Okay," Jack winced. "I kind of deserved that..."

"Damn right."

Though, there was no malice in her voice, just amusement.

Jack grimaced as he felt some blood brush off his shirt. He desperately needed the bandage re-cleaned. Putting down his book quietly, he rolled up his short sleeves and peered over, only to see the formal, white wrapping was soaked in dry and new blood. Leaning over to Raf who was immersed in a book, he tapped his young friend's shoulder.

"Hey Raf, do you have any wrapping bandage?"

Rafael looked up and shook his head sadly. "Sorry, I used all of it while at the abandoned you need to visit your mom?"

The older boy sighed and looked back at his upper arms. "I think its a good time," he said, sounding a bit apologetic. It was well over 2 hours that they have been in the library, all of them engaged in their interesting books.

He would notice that Optimus would murmur something unintelligible and continue on reading. It was kind of comical to see the Autobot leader so engrossed in something that he rarely recognized the world outside of him.

Jack looked over to Miko...who fell asleep. Her head was laying on her crossed arms on the open book. Bulkhead, however, wasn't having any trouble, seeing as he just turned the page over on Miko.

Jack nudged Raf lightly and when he got the boy's attention, he cocked his head towards the girl with a cheeky grin.

There was Miko. Sleeping soundly and paper fluttering every time she breathed while a round, green mech was diving more into the book. Raf bit his lip to contain his laughter and quietly took out his phone.

"We're totally gonna blackmail her," Jack whispered.

There was snap from the device and Raf nodded in agreement. "Mission accomplished."

"I almost feel bad if I wake her up," Jack said, getting up from his chair and his opened book. Creeping behind Miko, he slammed his book closed close to her ear. The sound erupted in the silent library and Miko shot up, her eyes wide. The Autobots jolted in response as they looked up at Jack, their faceplates mixed with confusion and perhaps a bit of annoyance.

"I'm sorry, Professor Snape!" She exclaimed before blinking in realization. She turned to Jack, who was smirking outwardly at her. Cheeks brightening red, she huffed and crossed her arms to her chest.

"You could have poked me," she mumbled, embarrassed.

"Yeah, but it wouldn't have been funny," Raf said.

"Raf's right."

"I hate you both," was her simple answer, earning for Jack to snort in reply.

"We love you too," Raf teased. He got up and propped his backpack on the table and grabbed his book. Looking over to Ratchet and Bumblebee, he saw that their optics were skimming word for word keenly.

The boy didn't even have to bother with looking over at Jack's side, because he knew that Optimus and Arcee were engrossed in their reading.

Shaking out his thoughts, Raf caught a glimpse of Jack gently poking Optimus's side. The tiny leader looked up from the opened book and cocked his helm to the side. When Jack showed his bloodied upper arms, Optimus nodded and strolled over to Arcee.

Raf smirked when Arcee huffed but didn't reply as she closed the book...with a bit of struggling and help from the leader.

Then, something peculiar happened between the older teenager and Optimus. With curiosity rising, Raf watched the leader of the Autobots place a small servo on the black-haired boy's hand and pat it gently with a graceful quirk of his lipplates.

Raf blinked. Did he just see Optimus smile?

His eyes gazed over to Jack, who was smiling in return.

He felt someone nudge his stomach and his brown eyes caught Miko coming beside him. When he looked up, he saw the Japanese girl smirking. With a graceful sweep, she took out her pink flip-phone and with a click, she got the picture.

"Totally blackmail," she snickered, but there was a genuine smile on the girl's face. She leaned down to Raf's ear. "I always knew that Optimus would take Jack under his wing."

Raf could only nod.

Chapter Text

The smell of sanitary chemicals whiffed through Jack's nose and the lights on the ceiling reflected against the white and pristine tiles. They passed complex hallways that had some posters of anatomy on the mint colored walls.

"Its seems you know the way," Miko inquired, walking close by Jack. She clenched her books close to her chest as Bulkhead was peeking from behind the books.

Jack shrugged. "I usually tend to visit after school, but that was before the 'bots came," he replied nonchalantly. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Optimus and Arcee poking their helms out of his pocket shirt and observe the area.

Jack then turned around, now walking backwards while he looked at Raf's shoulder that held the mini medic. "Is this like your hospital back on Cybtertron?"

Ratchet thought for a moment and shrugged. "Yes and no."

"No squishy berths?" Miko teased. Ratchet rolled his optics and blew out a vent. "Yes and many other human tools we do not have as well."

"To be expected," Jack said, smiling and turning his back again.

"What department does Nurse Darby work in?" Ratchet questioned.

"Maternity ward," he answered smoothly. They stopped at a dead end of a hallway with lifts on the side of the wall with some buttons that had arrows. Pressing the button, they waited for the lift to open up.

While they waited, Raf perked up and smiled ruefully. "That's right! Your mom helped with Izzy's delivery!"

Jack made a noise and nodded. "Right, I forgot about that," he replied.

"Small world," Miko sighed.

"I can't disagree on that," Ratchet mumbled from Raf's shoulder, ducking a bit when a woman dressed in scrubs walked past them with a welcoming smile.

"Jack?" The black-haired teen barely turned his head before someone embraced him gently. He made a noise of recognition and gave her a quick hug before letting go, being mindful of Arcee and Optimus in his pocket shirt.

"Hey mom," Jack greeted, looking at his mom's appearance. Her scrubs were wrinkled and and dry blood was stained on the hem of her shirt. Dark bags contributed under her eyes. Small hairs stood out from her disheveled pony tail. Nothing like a nurses job.

Though, the gleam of love and awareness was dead aware in her striking blue eyes. Much like Jack's.

"Miko, Raf," June addressed warmly. Miko and Raf waved happily.

June brought them into an empty ward. She closed the door and looked at the three with a tender smile. "I haven't seen you visit the hospital in quite some time," she stated as she leaned over Jack's head and place a small kiss.

Jack laughed nervously and June immediately looked alert as she straightened.

"What did you do now?" June questioned, eye brow raising to her hairline.

"Nothing!" Jack exclaimed. June inclined her head suspiciously before looking over to the young Japanese girl and boy. "Raf?" Her tone was stern, soft but held no room to deny the question.

And it worked for Raf.

"Jack fell off his bike while we were doing tricks!" He squeaked.

June merely turned her head towards her son. "Jack..."

"My bike just jammed! I'm fine!" Jack exclaimed, trying to reassure his worried mother.

June hummed and gestured her outstretched hand to the made hospital bed. "Sit down, I will get the bandage."

Jack smiled sheepishly and walked over to the bed and sat down. He didn't realize until he sat down, but he felt absolutely drained and lethargic. His body ached from falling off his bike.

There wasn't really awareness as he leaned back into the bad and sighed contently.

He felt 2 more people sit on on the bed and lie down, all their heads almost touching each other's.

"Tired?" His mom asked.

"Yeah." For some reason, he knew that his mom was smiling inwardly at the trio. Drowsiness overwhelmed his body for just a second before a scream jolted his tired mind. Sitting straight up, he saw his mother frozen, her face startled and maybe confusion.

Wonder what she was freaked about...oh right.

Jerking his head down to his pocket shirt, he noticed that Optimus had his arms up in reassurance to the older woman. Then, the deep baritone voice entered their ears.

"We mean no harm, Nurse Darby!" Optimus reassured.

The boy looked over to his friends, who's faces were marred with guilt. Maybe they should have warned her before...

"My bad..." Jack said, rubbing the back of his head with a hand. "I forgot to tell you about...this."

"Jackson Darby!"

Oh no. That was her non-debatable voice.

"Er, yes?"

Jack watched his mom cross her arms to her chest, giving off a stern glare. "What. Is. Happening?"

Facing defeat, he sighed and took out Optimus and Arcee out of his pocket shirt and settling them onto the palm of his hand. "Long story short, The Autobots are turned tiny and we have yet to find a way to reverse the effects on them. So for now, we're taking care of them," he answered shortly.

June blinked and looked down at Jack's hand where it held a tiny Autobot leader and the young blue femme. She pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed tiredly. "And how did this happen?"

"Ratchet opened a vial that had some sort of gas," Raf answered for Jack.

"Its true Nurse Darby," A grave and toned voice said, earning the attention of the three humans. June averted her eyes towards Raf's shoulder, where Ratchet nodded in exasperation. "I did not realize it would come to this." Then, the small medic went into deep explanation about where they had gotten the gas and when it opened, it turned them into itty bitty Autobots.

June, trying to understand the old medic's crazy explanation, had her her hand cupped under her chin as she listened intently on Ratchet, though most of it was pretty confusing for humans.

When Ratchet finished, she blinked and thought for a moment.

"Okay," she breathed. June looked at Jack. "How do we fix this?"

The trio exchanged bewildered expressions. Jack, getting the courage, spoke up. "You''re not...mad?"

June sighed and shook her head. "No...I'm not mad...just...worried. Aren't they supposed to be defending the earth from...uh..." She snapped her fingers together continuously, trying to remember the names of the Autobots enemies.

"The Decepticons?" Raf finished helpfully.

June nodded weakly, giving the boy a thanking smile. "Yes, them..."

Optimus, always the person to soothe others, stepped up. "Since the accident, the Decepticons have been at lull. Although, I am a bit worried it will rise up soon enough, hence why we need to get to the base and configure this situation," the leader said grimly.

June let the words sink in. It was more worrying that the 'evil robots' or Decepticons were at a lull and not destroying something, but how could the world control them without the Autobots? They were the only ones that can actually fight them...

June bit her lip and nodded.

"I see..."

"What about Agent Fowler?" Jack asked, looking over to his mother with hopeful eyes.

She shook her head. "No...this month was a retreat for newcoming military and he's in charge of it all..."

"And we can't go to school until Tuesday," Raf said quietly.

June cocked her head to the side as she looked at the younger boy inquisitively. "Why would you need to go to school to figure out the gas that turned them small?" she questioned. Raf shrugged, a bit helplessly. "If you hadn't noticed, school has labs inside them. If I could get in with the formula of the gas, perhaps I could have figured it out, but that was plan B if we couldn't get to the base," Raf responded.

He sighed and deflated in defeat, suddenly realizing a big problem in that plan. "But I don't think it'll work very well, considering that we know nothing of the Autobots biology or least of all, their science. We would need the Autobots' help for that and the school is also filled with nosy people. So, we'll have to scratch that plan out."

"Then that leads to our last option," Jack murmured.

"Jack," June started, looking at her son worriedly. She placed her hands on Jack's shoulders, her eyes gleaming with concern. "Are you sure you're up to this? Having all could be dangerous and I'm worried-"

"Mom." Jack's voice was soothing and comforting to June's ears. Despite her son growing into a young man, she couldn't help but worry. Jack was taller than her now, and his body was showing that he had muscles rather being just a skinny and lanky kid, but he was still hers...

"We'll be fine. If anything happens, the worse is that we lose the Autobots." It had meant to be a small joke, but June merely bit her lip and looked away.

"We'll be fine," Jack said. "We'll figure this whole thing and everything will be okay."

It wasn't like that she didn't trust Jack. Not at all! He had shown his loyalty and trust by getting a job at a young age and getting good grades in between the hectic life. And the loyalty towards the Autobots was astounding.

Though she was skeptical, she knew that Jack had his heart set on helping the Autobots. God, it reminded her of her husband.

"If we don't help them, a line of other innocent people will be caught in the fire with the Decepticons. If we lose..." Jack trailed off and gave his mother a shaky smile. June didn't even need to know what Jack was going to finished...cause she knew what Jack was going to finish.

We're not the only ones to be in trouble.

Thankfully, it went unsaid.

June looked away from Jack and down at the small Autobot leader, who was standing firmly on his pedes. His optics looked between the mother and son, watching as they spoke to each other and a loving and determined way.

It was almost sentimental to witness this, although this was about them. It was 3 children that were risking their lives to save them. The tiny helpless Autobots that have no clue how to reverse themselves.

And if the Decepticons attack...

There may not be a world to save anymore...

"Nurse Durby, it stresses me greatly that we are not our original size to protect your world, but rest assured, Jackson, Miko and Rafael are all that is left to help us revert. With Rafael's intelligence, Miko's enthusiasm and Jackson's leadership skills, we will be back to defend our home," Optimus said firmly.

June thought for a second and for a moment, Optimus thought she was gonna argue back, to which he couldn't blame her-but she didn't. Instead, she knelt down to be at eye level with the tiny Autobot leader and looked at him seriously.

"Promise me, whether small or big, you'll protect them, help them and comfort them when they do not have someone to come too." Her tone was soft but it held firmness. It wasn't a demand, but more of a plea.

The Prime met the woman's tired eyes. His spark bloomed at this new request, and suddenly, a new type of protectiveness surged forward. Sure, it had been his job to make sure that no human casualties happen, especially children (regardless of species).

Optimus looked at the 3 kids, who were looking at him, expecting him to answer. Then he looked at his comrades. Their still state meant that they were anticipating their leader's response. All them had motivated expressions, whether to protect their charges or to make sure that their home was to be defended.

He looked at June and nodded. "We promise."

"So much mushy stuff," Miko complained as she kicked off her shoes and jumped on her bed. She pulled her hairpiece out and let her hair down to her shoulder. Miko ruffled up her hair and sighed contently before running to her closet and sliding it open.

Bulkhead, who was content on sitting on the edge of her bedside table while letting his legs dangle in the air, watched as his charge looked through her clothes, mumbling something under her breath before going onto the next pair of T-shirts.

He had expected to just see purple, and the usual punk outfits in there, along with night shirts out there, but what he caught a glimpse was what looked like an black, elegant, long T-shirt with flowery embroidery designed on it.

"Hey! What's that?" Bulkhead asked, pointing one of his digits towards the long -looking -Shirt. Miko made a noise and looked over to where her guardian was pointing out. When she noticed what he was pointing at, she made a noise of recognition.

"Oh! Its a dress...well, a chenogsam," she answered, plucking it out from its place.

She walked over to the bed and lain it over her bed gently.

Bulkhead sat up and jumped over to the bed and walked around the black Kimono. It looked shiny and glossy, as if it had a waxing. The collar almost wrapped around the nape and slowly descended from the chest area, but where it wasn't too revealing. It looked like it could fit a very petite person, but not much of a heavy one,

The whole dress outlined with gold and from bottom to the top, strands of red wrapped around the dress into what looked like beautiful vines and small blooming flowers.

"Woah..." Bulkhead breathed. "What...its so..."

"Beautiful?" Miko said, nodding. "Yeah, definitely is."

"Is this some type of human custom?" Bulkhead questioned, gently patting it. It was beyond soft and light.

He saw Miko shrug. "I graduated Middle school and moved onto High school," she said. "This dress was used for special formal occasions, such as graduation."

"How come you don't wear this?"

Miko made a face. "Its super tight around the waist and your neck. Its like wearing a corset!" she exclaimed.

"But its so pretty!"

She shook her head. "Yes, for formal occasions though! Silk don't stretch very well, y'know," she pointed out, even though her guardian did not know a single thing about fabrics.

"Hmm," Bulkhead hummed.

The whole bed shifted when Miko sat down on the bed. When he looked up with a smile. "I bet you looked amazing on your graduation day," he said sincerely. Much to his confusion, he saw his charge's face heat up a bit.

"Miko! Are you okay? Your face is red! Oh! Are you hot? Dehydrated?!"

Miko couldn't help but giggle and look at Bulkhead with sincere eyes. "No, I'm fine, big guy..." She sat up and walked over to her bathroom before braking and turning her heel around.

The green mech was still looking at the feminine dress, as if it was the most beautiful thing he has ever seen on earth. What Bulkhead had said almost made her lose her balance. Of course, her parents had told her that she looked beautiful in it, but it wasn't her. Bulkhead has never seen her before Jasper Nevada, and to be quite honest, the mech would probably have a spark attack if she dressed what she looked like before she became an exchanged student.

The thought of Bulkhead complimenting her in a dress that he has never seen her wear made her wonder if he was joking...but when he saw those sincere, striking blue optics staring back at her brown ones, it finally made her realize that he was staring at the real Miko, despite her punk.

Imagining her in a dress while looking the way she did almost made her laugh, but maybe that's how Bulkhead saw her...and she was okay with it.

Shaking her head, Miko smiled. "Thank you..."

With that, she turned around and headed into the bathroom, leaving a confused Bulkhead to ponder at what made her thank him.

Jack collapsed on his bed with a contented sigh. He didn't even bother about Optimus and Arcee in his pocket shirt, already knowing that they are far from being squished under his chest. He felt shifting in his pocket shirt, as if they were climbing out.

He confirmed it as he saw Optimus and Arcee at the side of his head where he was staring at. His upper arms were wrapped in white and clean cloths and disinfected thoroughly, thanks to June Darby's medical experience.

He was lucky enough to get some supplies as well.

"Sorry guys," Jack said, turning his head to stuff his face into the pillow. "I'm just really tired."

The last words were muffled into the pillow, but they understood and they nodded in understanding.

"Understandable, Jackson, you've had a tiring day," Optimus said softly. Arcee grinned and patted his hand soothingly, earning for Jack to shift his head to stare at the tiny 'bots. "Its all that riding you've been doing," she said.

The corners of the Jack's lips quirked up before opening into a big yawn. His head turned and he closed his eyes, but his mouth opened again.

"You have no idea," he mumbled. And just like that, he was fast asleep.

Arcee just watched the boy slumber quietly, jolting suddenly when the Autobot leader tried pulling the corner of the blanket over Jack's body. When Arcee decided to help, it was more easier and they were able to cover the boy's lanky body.

Optimus then tucked the hem of the blanket under the teenager's chin and smiled warmly at the sight.

Though the customs between humans and Cybertronians were different, sparklings and human children were no difference when it came to needing comfort and love. There was a pang of hurt in his spark.

He remembered vividly how he would tuck in small orphaned sparklings during the Great War. How the sparklings looked up to the great Optimus Prime, but not even realizing in their processor that Optimus was struggling to become the great leader everyone needed him to be.

So unsure of himself, and yet full of determination to rid of this war.

"I know..." Arcee said quietly as she walked beside the Autobot leader. She placed a servo over his shouderplates. "Its not fair."

Optimus sighed and looked down at his pedes. "We have already brought in innocent sparklings from our homeland in this war and now we're dragging in 3 innocent children into our mess," he said bitterly.

"Its not like we or them had a choice," Arcee said, looking at her leader.

"Yes, but we could have prevented it," Optimus said irritably.

Arcee shook her helm. "No we couldn't. Without Jackson, Raf or Miko, we would doom this world just like Cybertron..." She looked at Jack's sleeping form and sighed tiredly. "In complete honesty, we wouldn't have come close to defeating Megatron without their help."

Optimus sagged and nodded. "You are indeed correct," he said quietly.

"But," The blue femme perked up, smiling widely now. "Without them, our lives would be nothing but war topics without them. We actually know some human customs, we can finally understand what human lives are like."

There was no denying that. Optimus and his comrades had realized that. Their human charges lives are interesting. How they function, what they do and whatnot. Though, there was no doubt that each human life has their problems.

It was a slow realization for Optimus and his comrades... that it wasn't just them that had problems.

From his gatherings, Optimus slowly put pieces together like a puzzle.

Jack was too mature for his age from a past that was supposedly scarring.

Miko's words and love to adventure recklessly with no warning showed that she was completely different, maybe even having a vulnerable side beneath her spunky personality.

Raf gained his intelligence. Not by his parents genes, but from loneliness.

"We are just starting to realize what our human charges are really like," Optimus rumbled solemnly. He shook his helm sadly and continued to watch Jack sleep contently. "And we have been merely been thinking of ourselves. Perhaps it is time to let them unfold.

Arcee bit her lipplate and settled her servos on her hips. "And how are we to do that?"

Optimus walked steadily over to Jack's face and with a gentle, small servo, he placed it on the boy's forehead and sighed heavily. "There is more than meets the eye. And in order to figure them out, we must learn their past."

Arcee thought for a moment, and nodded slowly. Her lipplates tugged up gently. "Its not like we have a choice, considering that Jack is our guardian," she teased and that made Optimus chuckle lightly.

"Come on, Izzy, just one more spoon," Raf coaxed as he tried to put the mini spoon filled with green mush into the baby's mouth. The baby simply turned her head and whined loudly.

It was around 2am and Raf was on baby duty once again. The beginning of the night was peaceful. Ratchet and Bumblebee were able to fall asleep more comfortably and his parents and siblings were far too busy to notice him.

Raf was exhausted and went to bed immediately, sleeping soundly until Izzy cried.

The boy sagged tiredly in his chair while Izzy coo'd in her highchair, while also trying to pull out her bib. He tried giving her the spoon and let Izzy feed herself, but made a poor choice.

Izzy gurgled and with one flick of her tiny wrist, the green mush flung into Raf's face and spiky hair. Rafael groaned and wiped some of the mush off his cheek before standing up and picking Izzy up from the confinements of her highchair.

He didn't even bother cleaning up the mess as he hauled the child onto his hips and turned off the kitchen lights before walking into the dark halls and into his bedroom quietly.

Unfortunately, Raf forgot that apparently, Autobots have better senses than humans. He saw 4 bleary, but bright blue glowing orbs staring right at him. Sighing, he flicked on the switch to the bedroom lamp and walked over to his bed.

He plopped Izzy on the floor, letting her crawl around on the floor to tire her out while Raf merely fell back and groan.

"Sorry guys," he mumbled, covering his eyes with his forearm.

/Is this what all human sparklings are like?/ Bumblebee asked, annoyance clear in his sassy beeping.

Raf chuckled tiredly and looked over to where the two 'bots were sleeping. "All babies are like this, 'Bee. And I have a sneaking suspicion that you were like this one too," he teased.

Bumblebee whirred, sounding like a scoff. /As if!/

"Oh no, no, no," Ratchet's voice butted in, sounding deadpanned. "You were definitely an energetic one, Bumblebee."

Bumblebee whined and crossed his arms to his chassis before huffing in defeat.

Ratchet rolled his optics before looking at Raf's tired form. "Shouldn't you be asking your sibling to watch over your sparkling-I mean- baby sister?" He asked.

Rafael snorted and rolled over, his back facing the 'bots. "If I had a choice, I think I would have asked them."

"You're tired!" Ratchet reprimanded. "Your parents should be taking care of her."

Raf rolled his eyes again, rubbing his knuckles against them. "My parents are just as tired as I am taking care of us, I might as well help in."

"Wasn't it their choice to have children?" Ratchet asked, earning for Raf to glare at him.

Eventually, Raf sighed and slightly deflated. "Don't worry, last night and tonight are my last days to watch Izzy."

He heard Ratchet snort and shift a bit in the tissue box. Before Raf could look at what the medic was doing, a single tissue floated onto his face. Sitting up, Raf grabbed the tissue and looked at the old medic who was standing on the edge of the bedside table with his servos settled on his hips.

"You still have green...substance on your face," Ratchet pointed out, his tone a bit softer than usual.

"Thanks," Raf said tiredly, running the tissue over his face. Bumblebee somehow jumped onto the bed and beeped soothingly to Raf and patted his thigh. Raf smiled reassuringly. "I'm okay, 'Bee. This is just everyday human lives."

"Even for human children?" Ratchet asked incredulously.

"Yes, Ratchet," Raf sighed. "Not every human lives are easy."

And there wasn't much to argue about it when it was true.

Rafael threw the tissue away and sat up, stretching his limbs and looking down to see Izzy looking at Ratchet with interest.

"Looks like she's looking for you," Raf said, laughing when Izzy held her arms up, as if the weird looking robot would come into her chubby hands. Raf smirked when Ratchet's facial expression softened ever so slightly.

"Would you like to see her?" Raf asked, hand coming towards and flattening out his palm.

Ratchet shrugged, but pedes started making trek to the flat palm. Raf grinned and gently brought his hand to the floor, letting Ratchet hop off and walk warily towards the small child.

/Hey! Wait for me!/ Bumblebee exclaimed, sliding down the blankets and onto the floor.

Bumblebee converted into a yellow camero and drove around Izzy enthusiastically. The little child shrieked with laughter, her pink gums showing and lips tugging up. Her head averted to the amber and white colored Autobot, her eyes piquing with interest.

Ratchet didn't budge but leaned his helm closer to look at the child closely. He huffed, but a small smile wormed up his lipplates.

"You're sort of acceptable in the optics," he said quietly, watching as Izzy smiled widely again, as if approving the medic.


Ratchet jerked his helm towards the ruffled-hair boy who had his phone in one hand with a knowing smirk, all while the medic looked flustered...and was he turning red? "Told you I would get that picture," Raf practically sang out.

Bumblebee jumped in and started making high chirping noises, as if laughing.

And that was enough for Ratchet to walk over to Raf with a murderous look.

"Rafael Esquivel, I am going to-"

Despite trying to look intimidating, Rafael couldn't help but think that it was a perfect opportunity to take more pictures of a small, angry Robot coming at him.

Chapter Text

It was near 8:35am when Jack woke up with a shout.

Optimus and Arcee, who was nestled in the hoodie Jack has provided, had their systems jolted by a startling shout and panicked yelp. Optimus, being ever so concerned of his and Arcee's charge, sat up instantly and looked directly at Jack with worry.


Optimus nor Arcee have heard of human curses before, but the Autobot leader have taken the time to look them up to ensure that the human children or any Autobot (Ratchet) will use such vulgar language. But he never expected for Jackson Darby to spew out multiple cuss words in one sentence.

Even Arcee was quite surprised and impressed by how the teenager was expressing himself so easily.

Jack cursed one more time before flying out of bed and running out the door with a panicked expression.

"I'm gonna be late!" His alarmed voice echoed through the halls and the boy's quickening of his footsteps almost rattled the floor. Optimus couldn't even reprimand the teenager about the crude language he yelled out because Jack was already in the bathroom and turning on the water.

Arcee scratched the back of her helm and looked at her dumbfounded leader with confusion.

"I never expected for Jack to curse more than I did in one sitting," she said quietly. Optimus nodded and sat back down, still very astonished on how Jack could cuss so much and rush out with no explanation.

Arcee hummed as she realized something.

"Jack has work on Sundays," she said.

There was a click in Optimus' processor, suddenly understanding Jack's sudden shout. "I see..."

"He's never done this before," Arcee mumbled, looking directly at the wide-opened door, hoping to see Jack.

"I hope he is not late," Optimus murmured. Arcee turned her helm to look at Optimus and grinned. "Don't worry, Jack wouldn't dare to be late. He's usually good at getting up a specific time, but even so, he gets there on time."

"I can agree," a feminine voice called out, almost shaking the tiny Autobots from thinking. Optimus whirled his frame to see Nurse Darby leaning against the doorway.

"June Darby," Optimus greeted formally. June smiled tiredly and walked over to where Optimus and Arcee slept. "I see that the hoodie became your bed," she said, a knowing smile on her lips.

It took a few searches to know what 'beds' were, but as soon as Optimus found out, he nodded. "Yes, it was very comfortable," he said smoothly.

June merely smiled. "Jack is still in the shower and I need to make breakfast, would you two like to accompany me?"

"Of course," Optimus smiled, while Arcee nodded and got up.

June reached out her hand and flattened the palm so Optimus and Arcee could climb on easily. Being the gentleman Optimus was, he helped Arcee by taking out his servo and helping comrade onto the flattened hand, and got on himself with ease.

"I must say, you're quite the gentleman," June mused as she straightened and walked out of Jack's bedroom. They could hear the water from the bathroom as steam flown under the door.

"Sometimes I think he's too polite," Arcee muttered.

"Never wrong with that," June grinned, noticing how Optimus' chassis rumbled slightly with pride. It was odd, but she was able to feel their tiny engines rumbling soothingly on her hand.

It almost felt like a massage.

Shaking the thoughts out of her head, she arrived in the kitchen and gently settled them onto the counter. When the Autobots were secure, she crouched down and took out a round pan.

Optimus and Arcee just watched with interest as she took out multiple food substances and started on the burner.

After adding the dry and wet ingredients, she looked over to Optimus and Arcee, who were watching curiously at what she was doing. Probably never heard of cooking before, she thought with quirk of her lips.

"Would you two like to help?" she asked eventually when Optimus and Arcee leaned closer to watch was she was doing.

Arcee thought for a moment before shrugging. "I guess it wouldn't hurt what humans make," she said.

Jack had jumped in and out of shower, tugging on his pants and pulling on his shirt, his hair still dripping wet from the shower and one sock on one of his foot. As soon as his pants were buckled and on, he slammed the door open and grabbed his only sock before running out of the hall and into the kitchen room, which was adjacent to the family room.

He suddenly stopped in confusion when he saw Optimus standing on a block, holding a wooden spoon while stirring something inside a medium-sized bowl. June was right in front of the bowl, over-seeing the whole cooking show while she held Arcee in the palm of her hand, to which, the femme was holding an egg, trying to crack it gently on the rim of the bowl.

June looked up and smiled eagerly at her son, but Jack was beyond confused.

"The fu-"

"Swear jar," June reprimanded sternly.

Eventually, Jack sighed and ran his fingers through his wet hair and smiled sheepishly. "I already have to put $15 in the swear jar," he said. June raised an eyebrow and Jack held up his hands in surrender. "I swear I don't cuss often!"

June shook her head, but a smile spread throughout her face. "I know, Jack. You woke up late, didn't you?"

Jack laughed nervously and scratched the back of his head. "Yeah..."

June smirked. "Well I hope you have enough time to eat some pancakes," she said. Jack chuckled and walked over to the table and sat, deciding to put on his remaining sock. "Wouldn't miss it for the world. I see that Optimus and Arcee are helping out?" he questioned.

Optimus looked up and smiled warmly at Jack.

"Yes, we are helping how to make-er...pan-cakes?" He looked at June for confirmation. He grinned once again when June nodded. Arcee grunted and soon enough the egg cracked and something gooey came out.

Arcee made a face. "Who knew that this is considered food."

Jack made a noise. "I wouldn't consider raw eggs as food," he said, absentmindedly grabbing a pair of his shoes and putting them on.

"More like salmonella," June laughed.

Optimus and Arcee exchanged bemused glances, their helms tilting to the side to express their confusion.

"Its an infection, mostly when someone or an animal is infected by contamination of water or food," Jack explained when he noticed their muddled posture and facial expression. He gestured his head towards the raw egg in the bowl."For example, raw eggs, or meat or uncleaned vegetables and fruit," he trailed off with many other possibilities of this specific illness.

If Jack would have turned his head just a bit, he could have seen his mother smiling at the knowledge of sicknesses.

"Is that the most common illness in humans?" Optimus asked, seemingly interested in the subject.

Jack snorted while June shook her head in amusement.

"Nope." Jack paused and thought for a moment. "Well...there are 4 main types of diseases. Infectious, deficiency, hereditary, and physiological diseases, all of them containing a disease to which is under those 4 specific umbrellas for obvious reasons. Salmonella is in the infectious group.

Arcee shook her head in disbelief. "The worse I have gotten was rust infection..."

"Is that a term for a sickness?" June asked.

Jack made a noise, gaining the attention of the three. "Like the Cybonic plague?"

Optimus nodded shortly. "Yes. Though, the Cybonic plague was a virus as well that was made in the Decepticon welfare. The virus contaminated many of our great soldiers back in the great war," he said grimly.

"Wiped out millions," Arcee said in a quiet voice.

"Yeah... we have viruses too," Jack sighed.

"Is there anything you humans don't have?" Arcee asked, deadpanned.

Jack smirked and shrugged. "Not that I know of."

The clock that was hung on the doorway chimed, making Jack looked panicked.

"Crap! I gotta get going!" Jack exclaimed, tying his laces and getting up abruptly. June, perplexed, straightened. "You have another half-an-hour before you can go," she retorted.

"That was before Arcee took me!" Jack exclaimed, calling from halfway through the garage door.

Oh, right.

June grabbed an apple from the fruit bowl and threw it at her son. "At least eat an apple!" she called back. Jack caught it and nodded before turning around and disappearing into the garage.

"Love you!"

"Love you too, hon!"

June sighed as her shoulders sagged visibly.

"The only day I'm off is when Jack is working," she mumbled, grabbing the oil spray and coating the pan with it.

"You are upset with that?" Optimus asked, furrowing his optic ridges in concern.

June smiled weakly. "I'm beyond grateful that he helps out, but sometimes he forgets to think about himself. He works hard to help out with bills and food. I just wish he knew how blessed he is to me."

Optimus looked down at his servos in contemplation. If he didn't notice it before, he now realized it now. Jack has always been at their base everyday. Even the boy came on his workdays. There were days where Jack came later than usual and sometimes immediately after school.

The kids would work on their homework before helping the Autobots.

Have they really been taking out their time for them?

"When was the last time he has taken a break?" Optimus questioned.

June was silent, not even sure she had the answer.

"I...don't remember," she admitted.

That even made it more worse.

"I see..."

Optimus felt guilt in his spark. The kids were really going out to help them out...

"But...Jack absolutely loves going to the base," June said. "He planned out his day to make sure that he will be able to come visit you guys every. If he had work, he would try to find another employee to switch his schedule. Sometimes it wouldn't work, and sometimes he'd come home exhausted and tired, but he would always have a smile on his face and explain his day on the phone with me," she explained, eyes gleaming with adoration.

She shook her head and looked at the two. "You Autobots really made a difference in the kids' life. I think life was too mundane for them, that's probably why they decided to join," June joked.

"Even when Jack had work?" Arcee asked, feeling touched and admiration for her charge.

June grinned. "Of course! He wouldn't trade it for the world. He does all the work and school just to see you, despite having being tired. It always brightens up his day when he sees you guys. You guys are like family to us," she exclaimed. "That including Miko and Raf."

Optimus couldn't help but smile. "I feel deeply honored to be called a family," he said truthfully. Arcee nodded, feeling somewhat in awe and emotional.

June smiled. "You shouldn't feel honored, you should feel love. That's what family is all about. Protecting like a family;Loving like family...and accepting like a family. All these things applies regardless of species." She winked at them.

Maybe it was just him, but he could've sworn that he felt tears pricking at the corner of his optics. Arcee, confessedly, already had optic fluid threatening to fall.

It wasn't like Optimus didn't have feelings. In fact, he probably felt more deeper than any Autobot ever have, but thousands of stellar cycles made him learn how to retain his emotions and how to control them.

He was stoic and stern, but also very understanding. Gentle with others and soft on sparklings or whatever species that was young and innocent. Kind of like Jack, Miko and Raf. While Jack and Miko were on the verge of adulthood, he still had the need to watch over them.

Raf, still young, but not in any ways simple-minded. Intelligent and kind, but scarred over the accident with dark energon.

It almost hurt to see their charges suffering, whether from the Decepticons or from past experiences. Mentally or physically.

"Nurse Darby?"

June averted her eyes towards the small Autobot leader. "Yes?"

"Will-" Optimus hesitated. "-Will you tell us about his father?"

In all her years, June has never, ever seen Optimus hesitate a question. He's always been straight-forward without being rude, lest be actually ask a personal question. Even Arcee looked incredulous as she whipped her helm towards her Autobot leader.

June blinked, suddenly feeling tears pooling in her eyes.

Her husband.

Jack's father.

It had been almost years since someone has taken interest of her husband. But nonetheless, it was a sore subject for both the Darbys.

"I-" June swallowed thickly. "I'm really sorry...I don't think its right for me to talk about Jack's father...not without Jack's consent," she responded in a broken voice. Optimus, disappointed, but understanding, nodded. "I understand, I apologize for bringing back unwanted memories..."

"No, no," June assured. She sighed and wiped a finger under her eyes. "Its alright...its just a touchy subject for us...mostly Jack. My husband and Jack has always been conjoined at the hip since birth..."

"Need not to explain, Nurse Darby. I understand the loss of a loved one," Optimus said.

June smiled weakly. "Yes...wars are a tragedy."

"Indeed," Optimus replied grimly. He looked at Arcee, who remained un-moving and melancholy.

There was a moment of silence, all of them remembering the past memories. Then, June perked up with a small grin. "Well...we still have to make Pancakes. Why don't we finish and I'll show you some baby pictures of Jack," she said in a smug voice.

Almost immediately, Arcee straightened up with a simpering grin. "Oh, I would definitely enjoy that," Arcee said.

June smirked. "Wouldn't we all?"

"Okay," June said to herself as she settled onto the couch with a ragged old looking Album resting in her lap. The old Album was covered in dust and stains from years ago, not to mention that it was stowed away in a dirty old box in the garage.

Arcee and Optimus stood on June's shoulders as she settled herself onto the couch and blew off the layer of dust on the Album.

"There's a book about Jack?" Arcee asked incredulously. June smiled and shook her head. "No, but this is where all the pictures I've taken of him through the years, that including today."

"Oh, like memory banks holograms!" Arcee exclaimed, earning a questionable look from the human mother.

"Its like...a...holoform of an important moment?" Her tone emphasized that she did not know if it made sense.

June nodded slowly, trying to be polite and understanding at the same to time, but to no avail-

"Er...nevermind, I could say that we have similar ways of capturing moments," Arcee assured. June smiled sheepishly at the two mini Autobots and bent her head to the cover of the large book.

She thumbed the cover and then opened the first thick page. Arcee and Optimus' optics widened as they were greeted with two pages, each containing 4 medium sized pictures tucked in a thin layer of plastic.

Their optics made its way to the first picture. They recognized was June in a hospital-looking berth-er-human bed, hair in a disheveled ponytail and looking tired but gleeful as she held a bundle, cradled lovingly in her arms.

Then, a man about the same age as June, with black-raven hair, chestnut colored eyes crinkling at the ends. He was half sitting on the bed with June, a hand resting on one of woman's hand that held the bundle.

"That was when I had Jack," June informed them, a fond tone clear in her voice. "On October 10th 1996, 3:42am, he was born."

"You remembered all that?" Arcee questioned.

June eyed her with amusement. "How could I not? I was the one going through painful contractions and practically pushing him out of my body," she answered lightly. June laughed out loud when Arcce gave her a look of unease.

"Despite being older than me, I can tell that you're still in your younger years."

Arcee gave Jack's mother a half smile. "I suppose you are correct about that," she admitted.

"So you guys have kids there as well?" June inquired as she absentmindedly turned the next page. There was a picture of Jack, full of messy hair and bright colored substance around his little mouth.

"Yes, but we call them Sparklings or Bitlets, however Bitlets are referred as newborns," Optimus explained, his optics scanning the picture, his lipplates quirking up a bit before resuming back to its stoic straight-lined mouth.

He furrowed his optic ridges when he saw the male human next to baby Jack, a gleeful smile on his face while the other side was June, her face surprised but loving. "When was this?" The Prime questioned.

"Jack's first birthday. He was so excited for cake that he basically rammed the cake into his mouth and made a whole mess of it," she gushed, reliving the memories of her baby boy.

"Wow," Arcee breathed. "he looks so different."

The corners of June's lips tugged up as she nodded. "Yes, he was only exactly 6 pounds when he was born and now he is as tall as a beanstalk." She leaned over slightly, a teasing grin gracing her mouth. "He always loved cake but as he grew, he no longer wanted cake because he thought cakes were for younger children."

"So what does he have for his birthday now?"

"Blueberry Muffins is his favorite," June responded.

"Those blue round balls?" Arcee implored, her helm tilting to the side. She remembered where she let Jack come and roam with her while they looked for Energon. All while Jack stopped and rounded on a bush with tiny round balls. Arcee didn't think anything of it until her charge starting picking some and popping it into his mouth.

June arched her eyebrow towards the blue femme.

"Me and Jack went to search for an Energon mine, but he stopped at a bush and started popping the-the blueberries in his mouth," Arcee explained. The woman nodded and a fond but exasperated sigh escaped her lips. "Yep, that's my son. Blueberries are his weak spot. Jack absolutely adores them. Its not wonder he stopped to eat them," she implied.

"Maybe I'll have to gift him with some Blueberries," Arcee simpered, her arms crossing to her chassis.

June smirked. "He would finish a basket of blueberries in under 10 minutes."

Arcee returned the leering facial expression. "That could easily be arranged."

June nodded firmly, before gazing back at the photos. She turned the page and visibly brightened. "Oh! This is when Jack became obsessed with motorcycles-"

For the rest of the day, June showed the Prime and blue femme some pictures of childhood Jack. Sometimes, June or the human man would be in the pictures and other times it was just Jack.

The young Jack looked so free and cheerful. His striking blue eyes were playful with so child-like energy. The more Optimus looked at the pictures, the more he pondered about everything about his comrades charges.

The more he started questioning everything.

Who are they really? What secrets are they hiding? And when will it unfold?

Raf groaned when sunlight entered through his window, shining brightly in his eyes. He opened them blearily and groaned once more before forcing himself to sit up and stretch his limbs and yawn.

His neck suddenly spasmed and he winced audibly, hand reaching to tend to his neck. Raf grimaced as it came to this little problem he's been experiencing for quite some time. Although he never got it checked it, he was afraid that the reason for his neck problem was from...the incident.

He had tried is best to keep it from the Autobots and his friends, though Jack and Miko knew from the moment Raf had a crook in his neck. It was actually surprising that they were very observant when it came to their little group.

But, they all decided not to worry their Autobot friends and went to doing it on their own.

Luckily, Miko had a knack for relaxing tense muscles. Jack...well, he was hesitant, so he opted to get some Ibuprofen lotion on days that were worse.

/Raf?/ Bumblebee yawned, rubbing his servo against his dim optics. Ratchet was still snoring soundly, content in staying asleep for another minute or so. Raf whipped his head towards the noise and instantly regretted it as he made a pained yelp.

Bumblebee looked alert and his optic ridges furrowed together. /Are you okay?/

Raf took a breath and nodded, trying to send his guardian a reassuring smile, but it turned into a grimace. "I'm fine, Bumblebee, I-I think I slept wrong, but I'm good."

That didn't comfort Bumblebee, so he stood up and jumped on Raf's messy bed, carefully walking over the rumpled up blankets and onto Raf's thigh.

/Are you sure?/ Bumblebee asked.

It took every ounce of Raf's power to not cry, so he bit his lip and nodded in strain. "Of course I am," he gritted, clenching his eyes closed and focusing on his breathing.

In and out. In and out.

He stood up abruptly when he felt another wave of pain in his neck, accidentally knocking Bumblebee and crying out in pain.

/Raf!/ Bumblebee cried out.

There was a groan from the tissue box. The amber looking mech sat up and stretched his old limbs. "Good morning," he said gruffly, unaware of Raf's condition and Bumblebee's worry.

When he looked up, he expected to see Bumblebee still recharging next to him and Raf sleeping as well, but surprisingly, they were up and Raf had his head hung low with a hand on the back of his neck.

Ratchet cocked his helm in confusion and when he leaned just a bit forward, he saw Bumblebee on the floor, beeping worriedly at the boy.

"Rafael?" Ratchet's voice was akin to worry and hesitation. If Bumblebee was worried, then he should worry as well.

"I'm fine," Rafael croaked out, sitting down and grunting again. There was a deep throb in his head electrifying through his brain and then transferring the pain into his neck and back towards the back of his head.

Ratchet straightened and was quickly by Raf's thigh immediately.

"Are you hurt?" Ratchet asked urgently, using a scanner to check Rafael's diagnostic.

"I'm fine," Raf grounded out. "This always happens."

Ratchet spluttered. "Always?"

"Yes." There was a vexed tone that Raf has never used before. Not even in dire times in the base or with Bumblebee. The young mech was bewildered at Raf's odd reaction, but Ratchet remained clueless and continued to pry Rafael.

"Obviously, you are not fine. This could be a problem in later times! You need to consult to your parents!" Ratchet argued.

Raf, on his last patience, jerked his head at the medic, ignoring the searing pain in his neck and back of his head. "I'm fine."

Ratchet sighed in defeat and let the subject go...for now. "Fine," he growled.

"I'll just get some painkillers and we'll be good," Raf assured, his voice a little more softer than what tone he used before.

But Ratchet couldn't help but feel worried.

Bumblebee chirped worriedly, but didn't push it. With no warning, 'Bee started climbing up Raf's legs, earning a questionable look from the boy. When 'Bee arrived at the thigh, he crawled up Raf's arms until he was on his shoulder.

Then, he lowered his servos onto the nape of Raf's neck and started applying pressure. The boy made a noise, but he didn't protest and leaned against the hard and gentle servo.

"Wow," Raf murmured, closing his eyes. "That actually feels...nice."

Bumblebee chirped enthusiastically and applied more pressure in the nape. Immediately, Raf visibly relaxed, his shoulders sagging contently and eyes starting to droop. "Wow," Raf murmured. "Who knew robots were good at massages."

He could hear Bumblebee huff with pride.

It a minute later when Bumblebee looked at Ratchet and motioned Ratchet to climb on board. /Come on! I need more help!/ 'Bee exclaimed. Ratchet spluttered and crossed his arms to his chassis.

"I will not! I'm an Autobot medic, I don't know anything about human reflexology," Ratchet said indignantly. Bumblebee whirred questionably, cocking his helm to the side at the odd term the medic said.

/...Reflexology?/ Bumblebee questioned.

Ratchet nodded. "Yes, yes! Its a system of massage used to relieve tension and treat illness, but its based on the theory that there are reflex points on the feet, hands, and head linked to every part of the body," he explained.

/I see that you enjoyed watching human documentaries and their ways of being doctory/ Bumblebee smirked. Ratchet rolled his optics. "Honestly Bumblebee, I highly doubt that 'Doctory' is a word," he grumbled.

Bumblebee shrugged. /Me either, but still. Get up on here and help me...please, for Raf/ Bumblebee pleaded.

Ratchet softened and looked at the boy who was still relaxed by the tender, small digits of Bumblebee's massaging through the neck line. He eventually gave and mumbled something under his breath before climbing on Raf's shoulder.

Bumblebee chirped excitingly and motioned his servos. /Just do what I'm doing!/

The medic was hesitant, but soon enough, he found himself in rhythm with the yellow 'bot.

"You guys are amazing," Raf said, a lop-sided smile on his face.

"Surely, an actual human doctor is better," Ratchet accused with a huff.

Raf chucked tiredly, jolting the 'bots behind his neck as the deep vibration from the chuckle he emitted. "What can you say, I'm stubborn."

"I can agree on that," Ratchet muttered.

"If it makes you feel better, Miko has been helping with me with the soreness and massaging it. Jack has been getting Ibuprofen lotion to put on my neck as well."

"Someone who has a doctorate," Ratchet emphasized.

Raf hummed nonchalantly.

A type of anger flared through the medic's spark. "If you're not going to take yourself seriously, I will personally drive you to a doctor's office and leave you there until you get diagnosed," he growled.

Raf opened his eyes, but they looked too relaxed...and challenging. "I'd like to see you try."

Oh, the boy was challenging him? Hmph, he might be old, but he can be daring.

Ratchet narrowed his optics. "Fine."

Soon, Ratchet chanted. Soon, I'll be big. And I'll finally drag Rafael to the doctors.

"Hey, Miko?"

Miko popped her head out from the bathroom, toothbrush in her mouth and some foam around her lips. "Yes?" she asked, looking at Bulkhead, who was standing a thick book. She didn't look as nearly as tired as yesterday. Still, there was a fade of dark bags under her eyes, but her eyes were bushier and bright as ever.

"What is this?" Bulkhead questioned, optics narrowing down to his pedes and to the book that had a gold engraving of his charge's name and date of what year it was from.

Miko rose a brow and walked over to where Bulkhead was and looked down, ignoring the tingling feeling in her tongue. Suddenly, it clicked and she smiled despite the toothbrush being in the way.

"Oh! It's my yearbook," she responded, quickly running to her bathroom and emptying her mouth.

"Oh," Bulkhead murmured. "What is that?"

He heard Miko gargle and spit out water before wiping her mouth on a towel. Miko walked out of the bathroom, freshened up and ready for the day. Bulkhead hopped off the book when Miko leaned down to pick up the book and sit on her bed, soon accompanied by Bulkhead to trotted over hastily.

When he made it to her thigh, he climbed up and looked at Miko expectantly. "So, what is a yearbook?"

Miko grinned. "It a book where the school puts their school records or highlights that year. Usually to commemorate the grade we were in," she explained, laying the book next to her and opening it to the first page.

Bulkhead jumped down and looked in yearbook, seemingly astounded by the profile Miko had.

"You don't have pink hair," Bulkhead observed. It was indeed true. The girl in the picture on the first page was a young girl around 13 to 14 years old. And though Miko was about 16, she hasn't really changed in body appearance.

Her hair was longer, side bangs framing her face. And she wore classical makeup with a white collared shirt with a Tie. She had a smile that almost looked forced.

Miko smirked. "What can I say? I was really boring that year." She outwardly made a disgusted noise, which made Bulkhead snort in reply. Miko turned the page and this time, a whole bunch of children stood in a row, in front of a large school.

"Wow," Bulkhead breathed. Children that looked just like Miko! All of them having the same clothes-it was almost indistinguishable to find any difference. Their faces and hairstyles were all similar but different in a way.

"That was my entire school," Miko said. She pointed her finger at the top row, right in the middle. "That's me!"

Bulkhead's optics averted to his charge's pointed finger and peered over. She was right. The tallest one was always the one on top, no matter what. It was odd to see Miko as the tallest one there, considering that she was at Jack's chin.

Now that he thought of it, in the last year, Rafael has grown since then too. The little boy was up to Miko's shoulder now and everyone knew that the smallest kid would end up the tallest.

"Asian people are generally short, but I was gifted with a height in Japan," Miko teased, but a frown made its way onto her lips. "But I don't think I'll be able to grow at your height."

Bulkhead chuckled enthusiastically. "Technically, you surpassed my shrinking form."

Miko laughed and nodded. "Now I can say that I was taller than a robot!"

The girl turned the page, being greeted by by bold letters. Band Club.

Bulkhead looked over and smiled widely. There was his Miko stringing the guitar with her lips curling and posture only Miko would use when she played her favorite instrument.

"I was in that Band club since Middle school," she murmured, fingertips tracing along the outlines of the picture. The green mech looked at his charge with melancholy optics. "It was your favorite?" he asked softly.

Miko nodded. "I'd go there 3 days a week and play the guitar...or any instrument that was available for me to use."

"Like that weird looking one that has a lot of white and black pieces you mentioned to Jack? Pino?"

Miko couldn't help but chuckle at her guardian's lack of knowledge. "Its called a Piano and yes, that too. But I also played many other instruments," she explained. "Like flute, drums, violin- Oh!- even a Sanshin!"

Bulkhead cocked his helm. "A what now?"

"A Sanshin! A Japanese instrument. Kind of like a Banjo," she suggested.

Still looking like a lost sparkling, he furrowed his optic ridges together.

Miko raised a brow and gestured her hand towards the guitar stand that had an electric guitar in a exasperated motion. "Its like a guitar, but small base and longer strings," she exclaimed.

Bulkhead smiled sheepishly. "I guess that's the closest thing to explaining it."

A few pages were turned, Miko explaining almost everything in good detail. It was almost amusing to see old pictures of Miko in a very pristine outfit with a hairstyle that Bulkhead would've never imagined, but here he was, looking at the impossible.

Although, by the look of Miko, she was nostalgic but also sad. And not the one where they were happy kind of sad. This looked like a genuine, sad Miko in these pictures. Of course, there were smiles and laughs in pictures where Miko looked happy, but looking forced at the same time.

Now, he didn't even know if Miko was truly happy when it came to the Autobots and her friends.

There was page that Miko gasped out excitingly. Bulkhead jolted and looked at Miko with a questionable gaze.

"The art program! I totally forgot about that!" She exclaimed.

Bulkhead looked down and saw Miko in a ragged shirt with paint stains on it while her paints were liberated with paint stains as well. Her hair was in a ponytail, all except for her side bangs hanging loosely around her beautiful face.

She was standing in front of a medium-sized canvas that was held on a podium, the painting containing what looked like a bountiful of colored blue shades. Dark, light, bold and small. There were white circles splattered in different directions and a bright, golden hue ring on the right of the canvas.

There was a ribbon attached to the left that was colored red.

"Its an America painting I think. I got inspired and decided to paint the Starry Night," Miko said, lowering her head a bit. "I won for the most inspiring piece of art at my school."

"Wow, it looks so awesome!" Bulkhead exclaimed.

Miko smiled weakly. "That was when I decided to do the foreign exchanged program and come to America."

Bulkhead whipped his helm towards the girl. "Really?!"

Miko nodded. "Yep," she responded casually, leaning back against the headboard. "I learned about the art of American cultures and though, Vincent Van Gogh was Dutch, his paintings were popular in America. We learned it in school and sooner than later, I decided to recreate it with a twist of my own. That's when I decided to move and see what America was like."

Her lips quirked up. "And it was the best decision I ever made."

"But you said that you were homesick?"

The girl shrugged nonchalantly. "Yeah, but it fades after awhile. Besides, its better here," she said.

"What about your parents, don't you miss them?" Bulkhead questioned. His processor whirred with possibilities of why his charge was so nonchalant about going to America alone. Nonetheless, shouldn't a child be missing their parents after being gone for so long?

"I see them almost every Holiday," Miko assured with a grin. "And that's the best month to visit, mostly because they're not at all busy."

She looked away and bit her lip. Then, she looked at Bulkhead with a smallest of smiles. "My parents are usually busy with business and the only time they can give me is during Holidays and sometimes Summer break."

Bulkhead's spark broke at the mention of that.

No kid ever wanted to be...alone.

"So they neglected you?" There was a dangerous tone in his vocal. Miko's eyes flashed and she narrowed down to Bulkhead's small form. "Hey! I never said that! I just said they were busy!" she exclaimed. She deflated and sighed. "My life was pretty boring there. All I did is an average day like school. Some said I had a perfect life and others thought it was too boring for their taste."

Miko laughed bitterly. "I guess they were right, but my parents had nothing to do with my crazy personality. That was my own choice to move to America...y'know, to explore and see what's out there."

"Sorry, Miko," Bulkhead murmured.

Miko smiled in reply. "Hey, you're good, Bulky! Besides, they let me got o America to experience the whole United States thing and now that I'm here, I'm having a blast!"

Bulkhead grinned weakly, but the worry in his processor was still there.

"Its gonna be so weird," Miko's tiny voice interrupted his thought. "Next year will be my last grade I need to finish before I'm officially going to college...and this year is when Jack is leaving to join the Military and Raf will be going places nobody could go."

Bulkhead felt deep remorse. Right. He almost forgot that his charge wasn't going to stay forever.

"Yeah," Bulkhead said quietly, rubbing the back of his helm in a soothing manner. He then froze, jerking his helm up at the Japanese girl with shock. "Wait, Jack is going to join the Military?!"

Miko winced, her cheeks turning red while she smiled guiltily. "Oops...I wasn't supposed to tell anyone."

"Miko!" Bulkhead cried. "Why didn't you tell us anything about that!"

"Shh! Its a secret and you cannot tell anyone." Bulkhead opened his mouth. "Not even Optimus," she declared firmly, leaving her guardian aghast.


"Please, Bulky," she pleaded. "If anyone finds out, especially Arcee or Optimus, they're going to literally keep Jack in their subspaces!"

Well, she wasn't wrong about that, Bulkhead thought with a sigh. Even he knew that Ratchet, Bumblebee and himself would do the same thing to protect their charges from harm. He nodded in defeat. "Fine, but if Optimus asks, I'm telling!"

Miko thought for a bit before nodding in agreement. "Deal."

Bulkhead paused and looked examined his charges's facial expression. Her cheeks were still heated from accidentally spilling 'the beans' and there was no doubt that Miko was embarrass, which was even more weirder because his charge is a confident kid.

It took a few minutes to make possibilities to why Miko was so flustered. So he rose an optic ridge and looked at the Japanese girl expectantly. "Do you like Jack?"

Miko started spluttering, cheeks now burning bright red. "No! I just-er- I want him to trust me and stuff," she exclaimed, a bit exasperated.

"Right," Bulkhead murmured, a teasing grin marring his face now, which only led to Miko narrowing her eyes down to the little mech.

"Careful, you might end up in the sink on accident."

Bulkhead didn't know whether to feel nervous or feel proud to see Miko finding interest in love.

Chapter Text

Sundays weren't always an Ideal day to work. One, because his mom was off on that day and two, the Autobots were stuck with his mom and now he's worried that his mom will embarrass him with his baby pictures.

No. Jack knew.

And he couldn't help but feel the heat creep up his neck during the rest of his work. It wasn't until he opened the garage that his body nearly collapsed from the exhaustion and the minor injury he sustained yesterday, already forgetting why he was so flustered at work today.

Not to mention that school was getting more expectant now that he was a senior. It was odd to say that he would be graduating this year and hopefully be joining the Military. Just like his dad.

Jack threw off his hat and sighed loudly, opening the door with a jiggle and entering the doorway with ruffled up hair. He dropped a key in a bowl and stumbled into the kitchen. It was after 3:00pm when his shift ended.

It was even longer when he had to pedal all the way to his work and back.

Now, he was beyond exhausted.

"Hey, I'm home," he announced, looking around for his mother and the Autobots.

"We're in here," his mother called, accompanied by a small laugh.

Oh no.

Jack rushed into the living room, only to be met with his mother with an old, ragged book in her lap while the Autobots were on top of the opened-paged book, their smiles wide with amusement.

"Oh no," he whispered.

"Oh yes," June practically sang out, earning for Arcee to smirk outwardly. "Jack, you didn't tell me you were this cute when you were just a sparkling."

Jack groaned out loud, hands covering his red beet face, all while his mother was laughing out loud. "Why me," he said out loud.

June smirked. "Because a mother's love is love."

"This is cruelty," Jack murmured.

"Hey, what are mothers for if they can't embarrass their children?" June asked with a knowing smile on her face.

"The one where they don't embarrass their children," Jack mumbled, sluggishly walking over to the couch and collapsing onto the soft fabric. He hid his face into the soft duvet of pillows and made another resenting noise.

His head was near June's thighs and his legs hung limply in the air while his height didn't exactly fit the couch. June, ran a hand through her son's black hair and grinned sadly.

"Rough day?" June questioned softly, earning a small noise of affirmation from her son.

Jack turned his head and sighed. "Is there a day where it isn't?"

"A few more months, sweetheart," she soothed, running a thumb over the boy's brow.

"I know," Jack said quietly, gazing his eyes towards the Autobot leader and the blue femme who were watching him intently.

"Was there anything in the mail?" June asked. Jack shook his head. "No...I don't think I'll get in."

June scoffed. "As if. Just be patient."

Jack nodded solemnly and stretched his arms outwards, making a small noise in the process. He could feel his bones cracking for sitting to long. June looked at the Autobots with a reassuring smile before her phone practically shouted from across the room.

June furrowed her brow and put the book gently on the coffee table, letting Optimus and Arcee to hop off and head off to where Jack was. She then stood up and decided to press a kiss against the boy's temple before hurrying to the call.

Jack grinned and leaned into her lips before sitting down once again and picking up the Album book. He turned a few pages, not minding that Arcee and Optimus were climbing on his shoulders to his shoulders to get a better view.

Although his upper arms were a bit sore, he kept his wince to himself and patiently waited for them to stop climbing.

Once they were done, Jack turned to another page and grinned. "Here's a picture of me and my dad," he explained fondly, his fingertips tracing his father's face. Optimus and Arcee looked down and to their surprise, it was an older version of Jack and his father.

The boy didn't look older than 9 years old.

Jack had a wide smile on his face while his Father was giving him a proud look. There was a bright red motorcycle next to Jack. Motor oil was splattered all over them, Jack having the most oil, along with a smudge on his left side of the cheek.

"That's when we finished a motorcycle," Jack said with a smile. "We've been working on it since I was five."

Optimus scanned the picture. It was a memorable picture, no doubt for Jack. He turned his helm to see Jack smiling, but his eyes were filled with sadness. "I assume your father was an engineer of some sorts?"

Jack shrugged. "You could say," he responded vaguely. Optimus frowned slightly. He stared at the boy accusingly, trying to attempt to figure out the teenager. When Jack didn't budge, he rose an optic ridge at him.

He saw the mini Autobot leader open his lipplates, but was thankful that his mother walked in with an ashen look on her face.

"Mom?" Jack asked, his face turning confused and worried. He closed the Album and stood up, giving Optimus and Arcee some time to hop off and onto the coffee table. June gave her son a weak smile. "I really thought I would spend time with you for a little but, but I'm afraid the Hospital needs more workers to come in."

Jack's face fell and his shoulder sagged. "Oh...okay."

June tried a smile. "Hey, you can drop me off at the hospital and you can head to the base. I'm working night shift and I believe a co-worker of mine can take me home once I'm done."

The boy averted his gaze towards the mini Autobots, who looked sad for them.

Jack returned his eyes towards his tired mother and nodded. "Alright...I'll go text Raf and Miko. We might spend the night if its too late."

June nodded. "Alright. Just text me when you arrive there, okay?"

"Of course, mom." He went to hug his mother. "We'll be good. I have some money and I know how to get there."

June smiled and held him tighter. "I know, I just worry," she murmured. Jack smirked from behind her head. "That's mothers do, am I right?"

The mother leaned back and grinned tearfully at him. "Yes, they do."

Jack was exceptionally well at driving. He was calm, keen on the road and very much respectful of the laws. His mother would talk to him while he drove and he would answer with small answers, all while his eyes were on the road.

Optimus and Arcee were in the Cup holder, jolting around a bit, but keeping a steady pede on the ground. The boy would apologize and they would respond with a wave or a reassuring smile.

It was strange to see one of their human children ally driving around. It wasn't bad or anything like that...but it really did feel like the world is changing drastically for these three children.

Jack dropped his mom at the front of the Hospital entrance and rolled down the windows when his mom knocked on the side window.

"Be careful, Jack. I heard three cars were flipped upside down. 2 people died of severe injury and the others are in the ICU," she explained, sadness washing all over her face. Jack inclined his head in acknowledgement. "How did it happen?" he asked.

June shook her head. "I don't know. Apparently, my co-workers heard that the footage was taken and only spotted a very snazzy, sports car. I think he said it looked like an Aston Martin-"

"-One-77," Jack finished, gritting his teeth. He gripped the steering wheel tightly and blew out a breath. June looked at her son with confusion before tilting her head to get a full view of her son's facial expression. "Is something wrong?"

Jack glanced at Optimus and Arcee who -despite being robots and not being able to show their emotions to the extent of crying- looked pale. He shook his head and smiled reassuringly, looking forced. "Nothing, mom. I'll see you tomorrow. Love you."

June furrowed her brows together but decided not to pry, seeing as his son bit his lip and looked at the time. Ah, he was supposed to pick up Raf 5 minutes ago and she knew that her son hated being late when it came to time.

"Love you too, be safe," she said softly.

"Always will be," Jack smirked.

He pulled out and started driving, glancing at his rear mirror to see his mother still out and waving at him. He gave a small grin, despite not her seeing him. As soon as he was out of sight, he sagged visibly and sighed.

"I cannot believe it," he murmured.

"Knockout," Arcee whispered, optics wide and saddened. Optimus remained silent.

"For all could know, it was probably a person driving at lightning speed," Jack said quietly. Arcee shook her helm. "A car couldn't do that!" she exclaimed angrily, groaning out loud and covering her optics with her servos.

"Arcee, human cars can cause as much damage as Decepticons can," Jack responded.

The blue femme gave him an incredulous glare. "2 human people were killed, Jack! How can you be so calm?!"

"I'm not on the inside," Jack bit out, quickly giving his guardian a stern glare. "I'm literally driving. If I get into an accident, everyone else around will be endangered as well!"

Arcee sighed in defeat. "I'm sorry," she mumbled.

Jack sighed and shook his head, hands loosening on the wheel. "I know...just don't worry about it until we get to the base, we'll do whatever we can to get you to normal size," he assured.

Though, he didn't know whether he was saying it to them...or himself.

Miko had met Raf at his house, considering that they were streets down from each other. Miko called shot-gun, so Raf had to sit in the back. They all had their backpacks packed with all the necessities for a one night trip.

Although, Raf did have a medium sized box sitting on his lap when they entered into the car.

On their way, the Autobots were quite puzzled on the sentence Miko had shouted before she even got into the car. With Bulkhead, Bumblebee, Ratchet and the rest of them in the cup holder, they soon relaxed on the car ride and came to ask general questions.

"Pray tell," Optimus asked. "What is a 'shot-gun'?"

"Is it like a blaster?" Bulkhead asked from the cup holder.

Miko laughed and shook her head, lifting her feet to rest on the headboard. "Nah, just a human saying that allows to sit up front," she explained. Raf rolled his eyes, brushing his fingers to his glasses to perch them up. "If you call first," he finished.

Jack smirked. "What's better is when you drive, you have control over the radio station," he said, though he didn't turn on the radio station.

"Drivers always do," Miko agreed, grinning.

Jack smirked, but raised an eyebrow, looking at the rear mirrors in the front. "Besides explaining shot-gun, what's in the box, Raf?"

Rafael grinned enthusiastically. "I managed to get a microscope from my old tutor," he answered.

"Really?!" Miko exclaimed, her eyes widening a fraction.

Raf nodded in reply. "Yeah! I remembered that we didn't have a microscope at the base and we needed it to research some stuff, so I called her and asked if I could borrow it until tomorrow." He peered over to see Ratchet and Bumblebee's quizzical expression. "That's why I kept looking at the window and left so suddenly."

He gestured to the box excitedly. "And this is why!"

Miko leaned over a bit to Jack's side. "I've never seen Raf so excited since he was able to witness Ratchet transfer synthetic energy into a bottle," she murmured. But Raf could hear everything and he gawked at her.

"It was robot science, how could I pass it off?!"

Jack and Miko laughed out loud. They almost jolted to hear chirping noises from the cup holder, seemingly that all of them were chuckling with their charges. Miko looked down to see sly smiles on the Autobots' faceplates.

She quirked her lips up at them and then resumed her head towards the scenery of the road.

It was silent for a few moments before Jack spoke quietly to them. "Did you hear about the accident?"

Miko and Raf deflated in their seats and nodded solemnly.

"Yeah..." Raf mumbled.

"That's so mean!" Miko exclaimed.

Raf leaned forward. "It couldn't have been...Knockout?"

"I don't really know...the Autobots think so...but even earth cars can flip a car if you get the right angle and speed," Jack responded heavily. Miko grunted as she straightened. "Its highly rare for 2 people to get killed in a car crash."

"But this was a flipped car, Miko. That's not common," Jack argued.

"It wasn't like they were careful," Miko said with a sardonic drawl.

"Easy for you to say," Arcee huffed. "No offense, Jack, but you don't really need to look out for small organics so carefully like we do."

Jack shot her an amused glare. "Watch it, Arcee, we humans have feelings just like you do."

Optimus cleared his vocalizer and shook his helm out of his thoughts and looked at Jack with furrowed ridges. "I suppose you won't explain what you just said?" he questioned, a bit accusingly.

"It means that we have feelings too, Optimus," Jack said, absentmindedly turning on the right blinkers and turning the wheel. It was almost impressive to see that the older boy did not bat an eyelid. "Y'know...guilt, anger, sadness, all the things you experience-we do too. Just in a different way, I suppose."

"Like loosing a planet?" Arcee grumbled.

"Yeah," Jack affirmed quietly. "I guess so."

He shrugged helplessly. Of course the children couldn't compare with the Autobots when their 'bot friends lost so much...

Jack almost felt selfish. And if Miko and Raf could read Jack's mind, then they would have been on the same boat.

"We didn't really have a good plan on actually getting in the base," Jack said, pressing the brake pedal to stop where the last stop sign would be. He looked down into the cup holder, where the Autobots were unnaturally quiet. "Do you know how to get in here?"

Ratchet shook his head defeatedly. "No...perhaps it would have been useful in desperate times like these though."

"I could, actually," Raf interjected. Miko and Jack turned their whole body to face the boy in the back with surprise. Bumblebee jumped with jubilee, as if a proud brother would when they did their first prank or something.

"Really?" Jack asked hopefully.

Raf nodded and took out his computer from his backpack, quickly typing into his device and opening a secret file. "My computer has been hooked up to the bigger screen, as well as the commands. So if I just type this in...there!"

Raf grinned expectedly at his friends. "Look, the base is opening."

Miko and Jack averted their heads towards the front and just as Raf have said, the fake plateau that was connected to the abandoned silo opened quickly. If the Autobots could see it, they would've given the youngest one praise...and reprimanding for not telling them this.

"Good job, Raf!" Jack applauded with a sly smile. He pressed the gas pedal once more and drove off of the road before getting into the sandy dirt.

"Dude! Totally wicked! You gotta tell us how to do it!" she exclaimed, but added under her breath, "So we can prank them."

Unfortunately, Bulkhead had heard and jerked his helm up towards his charge with a stern glare. "Miko..."

"Fine, fine!" Miko grumbled. She then dug into her pocket and brought out her phone, typing swiftly on the small keypads before sending them to God knows who.

Raf felt a buzz in his pocket and he slipped his phone out, reading the message he just got.

You hafta teach me -From Miko

Raf smirked and rolled his eyes, slowly typing.

If I do, you can't cheat me out -Raf

Wouldn't dream of it -Miko

Miko sent a smile at the boy with a wink and Raf nodded with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

"We're here," Jack said, turning the car ignition off and unlocking the passenger doors. Jack picked up Optimus and Arcee, plopping them into his shirt pocket. Miko had picked Bulkhead up and placed him on top of her head with her pom pom hair style as support.

Raf merely put Ratchet and Bumblebee on his collared shirt.

They all took out their backpacks and the box and settled them onto the floor before scouring for the light switch.

"Damn," Miko whispered. "Its really dark in here."

"Language, Miko," Optimus' deep voice echoed. Although it was dark, Miko could see the slightly narrowed optics that glowed brightly staring at her direction.

"Yes, dad," she drawled sarcastically.

Miko couldn't deny that she heard snickers from Jack and Raf, as well as the narrowed optics turning into surprise. The boys found themselves climbing the stairs to either their hang out place or the larger station in front of the large screen.

Whatever it was, they were hoping to find a switch or something to turn on the lights.

Every time the children walked, they could hear their footsteps echo in the silo. It was creepy but a bit useful when it came to finding out if the person was near them.

Miko grunted when she hit the cold, hard wall. "Ugh-found the wall," she groaned, rubbing her head. "You alright, Bulk?" she asked her passenger.

"Yeah, didn't hit me," he replied in a breathless relief.

"Maybe the lights are near you then," Jack said. "Mm, I can't find the stai- Woah!"

Loud, panicked shouts emitted from both boys, along with distressed robotic noises. Thumping noises came from afar and Miko wondered if they fell down the stairs or bumped into each other.

Then, a final oomf came from the boys, followed by small moaning.

"You guys alright?" Miko asked, hands still trailing over the metal wall.

"Er-yeah, I think so," Raf said in a sluggish voice.

"Hey, Miko, just move you serv-hand to the right and you'll find the switch," Bulkhead pointed out.

"And why didn't you tell us beforehand that you could see in the dark?" Miko asked in a huff as she flicked the switch on. Bulkhead made a sheepish noise. "I forgot that humans can't see well at night."

Miko rolled her eyes and turned her head, confirming that Jack and Raf indeed fell down the stairs. They were sprawled on the floor beside the first steps of the stairs while the rest of the Autobot were fretting over them on the first stair step stair.

"What did you guys do? Ram each other over?" There was exasperation in the Japanese girl's voice.

Jack's arm rose straight in the air, pointer finger pointing at himself. "First of all," he started dramatically in a defensive tone. "It was dark and we were looking for the switch. Second, I didn't know if Raf was near me or not."

"I stopped walking when I didn't know where I was," Raf explained. "Just in case if I was near the stairs and I wouldn't fall down."

Miko rose a brow. 'It didn't work very well," she replied unhelpfully.

"Gee, I couldn't tell," Jack said sarcastically. Miko rolled her eyes and looked at the Autobots. "You guys good?" She asked.

"Jack and Raf fell!" Arcee exclaimed. "Of course we're not okay!"

Bumblebee's worried beeps were loud and clear as his doorwings flapped worriedly. Ratchet and Optimus were peering as much as possible to indicate any serious injuries.

"We're fine, 'Bee," Raf reassured. "We're just gonna...lie here for a few minutes."

"I second that," Jack agreed.

Miko smirked and stalked up the stairs, stopping at the step where Optimus, Arcee, Ratchet and Bumblebee were, still fretting over their charges. She sat down and put Bulkhead on the step where his comrades were.

"They'll be fine," Miko said with a fond quirk of her lips.

"How would you know?" Ratchet accused, irritated.

"They managed survive Cybertron and the Dark energon. I highly doubt they would die from falling down the stairs," she replied nonchalantly.

"True that," Raf and Jack chorused together. Miko smirked and looked down at the Autobots. "See? We're stronger than you think."

And that left the Autobots pondering.

"Alright," Raf said, sitting in a chair before scooting across to grab his computer from his backpack and then scooting all the way back to the table. Ratchet arched his optic ridge. "Couldn't you just...walk over there and grab your computer?"

Raf smirked. "Wouldn't be fun like that," he replied, opening his computer up and then typing in something.

Jack leaned against the table on the left side of Raf while Miko sat on the table, her legs swinging underneath her. The Autobots stood on the table near Raf's computer, waiting for them to start.

"We first need to analyze the whole tiny problem, great detail, what happened?"

Ratchet was the one to start. "I found a vial the size of my digit, the supposedly liquid turned into a green-looking gas-" he sighed abruptly and ran a servo over his faceplate. "-And then we opened it with no cognitive thought."

The youngest teenager thought for a moment. "Could it have been synthetic energy?" He questioned.

Ratchet shook his head. "Synthetic energon provides in solid form. Otherwise, if it was, it probably wouldn't have been in a vial. Plus, it looked like liquid, therefore, has to be liquid...right?"

"No," Raf confirmed. He blinked and shrugged sheepishly. "Or not that I know of yet."

He shook his head and pushed his glasses to perch up to the bridge of his nose. "Besides that, has there been any research on it before?"

"I'm a medic, not a scientist!" Ratchet exclaimed. The ill-tempered robot was already getting angry and frustrated, and that wasn't always a good thing.

"Okay..." Raf trailed, gazing his cognac eyes towards the rest of the Autobots. "What about you guys?"

"No," they chorused together.

Raf exchanged looks between Jack and Miko before sighing. He ran a hand over his face.

" going to take some time."

Jack snorted. "You wouldn't think that researchers take 5 minutes to discover a new element, do you Raf?"

Raf swiveled in his chair and grinned tiredly. "Wouldn't dream of it." He turned to Miko. "Mind helping me get the microscope and then we can do some real research?"

Miko smiled and hopped off the table with a graceful thud. "Yessir."

And the Autobots couldn't have agreed more.

"Okay, new problem," Raf piqued quietly, exchanging looks at Jack and Miko. "How are we going to get energon from them at this size?"

Miko rolled her eyes. "A needle and a napkin," she answered plainly. Raf arched his brow towards the Japanese teenager, unimpressed. "Miko," he started, gesturing to the confused Autobots. "They're robots for starters and secondly, we have no necessary tools to actually get their energon!"

Miko glanced at Jack, who shrugged helplessly in return.

"Well, I have a scalpel," Miko suggested offhandedly, hopping off the table and pointing to her backpack that was downstairs.

"Uh-huh," Jack murmured, an accusation tone clear in his voice. "And why do you have a scalpel laying around in your backpack?"

Miko grinned sheepishly. "I like playing with clay."

Raf bit his lips. "I don't think I would want to hurt them if possible," he replied. Raf rested his gaze towards Ratchet. "Do you have anything that could extract your energon for your size?" he asked hopefully.

Ratchet glared at him, a scowl on his face. "If I was running a human hospital, I probably would have something that could extract blood or energon in our size, but in this"

The three teenagers looked away in either fear of this tiny and grouchy medic coming after them in their sleep or they just didn't want to get on Ratchet's bad side tonight. Either one of them isn't a good choice.

Then, a sheepish noise came from the raven-haired teenager, earning the attention of the Autobots and Miko and Raf. They focused their eyes on Jack, who looked quite red from the cheeks and neck.

"Something going on?" Miko questioned, eye brow raising.

"Well, erm-" Jack coughed and rubbed the back of his head with his hand-a nervous habit if no one could tell."I may have something we could use..."

"Great! Where is it?" Raf asked eagerly.

" my backpack."

"Okay, what are we waiting for then?" Miko swayed her hips to the side, arm stretching outwards, as if gesturing Jack to go get the thing. Jack huffed and crossed his arms to his chest, mumbling something under his breath.

He went downstairs towards his backpack and unzipped the first pocket, swallowing hard. Digging into the pocket, he felt the thing he was looking for and pulled it out, praying internally that no one would ask why he has this.

As soon as he took it out, he zipped back his backpack pocket and headed upstairs.

He then handed it to Raf, looking away as soon as possible.

However, Raf stared at it, examining and soon enough, a bemused facial expression went across the boy's face. Even Miko looked confused as she tilted her head to the side and squinted closely.

"Jack, this looks like a pencil," Raf said softly. Ratchet regarded this thin, metal looking pencil suspiciously while the rest of the Autobots had nothing to say about this.

"Its-its not!" Jack exclaimed. He sighed defeat and hung his head. "Its" he lowered his voice. "A lancet...for acne?"

"Uhh..." Raf said, clearly confused.

Jack grabbed back at the lancet and pulled off the cap, revealing a long and point end needle. Raf and Miko gaped at the thing with widened eyes. The Autobots slowly backed away.

"It helps with blackheads-I swear! It does not hurt. All you need to do is just poke slightly and one drop of blood is all you need. You can use the ball-point end to collect it," Jack explained hurriedly.

"Oh my God, this is the weirdest thing I have ever seen coming from you," Miko breathed. Jack shot her a glare, cheeks reddening a bit. "Says the girl who listens to a band call Slash Monkey!"

Miko shrugged and nodded in understanding. "Yeah okay, I can see that."

"Seriously though," Raf exclaimed, examining the lancet intently. "Who would do this for blackheads?"

"People who have really, really bad blackheads," Jack answered. Optimus stepped forward and looked steadily at the needle looking pencil. "I shall undergo the penetrating object to donate some of my energon," he said solemnly.

He quickly glanced at his comrades, who were hiding behind him.

Yeah, he knew the first moment that Jack took out the needle that he would be the one to get pricked. Oh well, a leader's job supposedly.

Raf smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry, If Jack says it doesn't hurt then it doesn't." He gave Jack the needle and patted his shoulder.. "You're on it, Doc," he said cheerfully, leaving Jack to splutter.

"What, why me?!" Jack cried.

"Cause you obviously know how to use it," Raf exasperated, swiveling his chair around while he twirled a pencil between his fingers. "Besides, I never used it before and you're our best handler."

"Yeah, with my skin! This is a live person-Cybertronian robot!" Jack exclaimed. He whipped his head towards Miko, who whistled noncommittally, using one of her feet to drag along the concrete and smooth floor. "Miko?" He asked hopefully.

She looked up and shook her head, hands up as if she was surrendering. "Listen dude, all I know how to do is slather on face masks for my blackheads," she replied. Jack eyed Miko again. "You're a drawer, though! And drawers have good and steady hands, plus you use scalpels before for clay," he pointed it out, almost sounding desperate.

Miko gaped at him, then straightened before she blew a mocked ringtone of a phonecall. She gasped and took out her phone before looking at Jack with innocence. "Its my...distant cousin from Japan. I gotta take this."

Before Jack could answer, Miko swiftly went downstairs, speaking in Japanese. Jack looked unimpressed and sighed in defeat.

"Alright! I'll do it!" Jack declared.

"Here, take the petri dish," Raf said, handing him a round plastic and flat container. Jack grumbled and grasped it from Rafael's hand. He walked over to where Optimus was patiently standing and knelt down to level up with Optimus.

Jack grimaced as he caught a glimpse of Arcee and Bumblebee cringing while Ratchet had a scanner at the ready. Bulkhead covered his optics with his servos, not wanting to see what was about to unfold.

"Jackson," A soft and deep rumble interrupted his fearing thoughts. His eyes glazed over to the small Prime, who in return, looked at him with kind optics. "Have you no confidence in yourself?"

Jack gulped and chuckled nervously. "I just don't want to hurt you," he admitted.

"I have full faith of you, Jack," Optimus said firmly, holding out his arm. Jack gave him an unsure look, but as he saw those warm and self-assured the Prime gave him, a boost of confidence ran through his bones.

"Okay, deep breaths," he told himself quietly, uncapping the lancet and gently working its way to the Autobot's forearm. He examined the small arm and found a spot of mesh -or in human cases, skin- to gently poke.

He peered at Optimus, who nodded firmly.

Jack took a steady breath and with scrutinizing eyes, he pricked the Prime quickly and almost instantly, a rush of bright blue energon bubbled up at the surface and Jack quickly turned around the lancet and used the small ball to collect the energon swiftly.

With one swoop, he smeared the energon across the petri dish and sealed it with a firm grip. Then, he threw it at Raf and grabbed a napkin before dabbing it on Optimus' forearm gently, apologizing profusely.

Optimus just smiled warmly at Jack. "You were right, I did not feel anything. You did well, Jack."

Jack blew out a breath of relief. "Oh thank God."

Raf grinned. "At least you didn't give Ratchet a heart attack," he joked.

Ratchet 'humphed' and shook his helm. "Whatever," he mumbled.

Echoes of steps were heard and before they tell Miko the good news, she smirked as her eyes wandered to Jack who was still tending to Optimus despite the small protests The Prime was giving.

"So," she said out loud. "What'd I miss?"

It was well over 4 hours later when they settled in and started researching on how to reverse their guardians' size. 2 hours had passed and no one was having luck, not even Ratchet, who was irritable at every little movement and sound.

Optimus had tried to coax the medic to relax and let the rest try to figure this one out. Eventually, he had to force the medic to stop by asking Raf to hold Ratchet. And much to the medic's useless threats towards his comrades and humans, they didn't budge.

"I can't calm down!" Ratchet exclaimed angrily, pacing back and forth on Raf's flattened palm.

"Well, you need to, which is why you're up here," Raf said indignantly.

"You don't understand! I'm the only one who can figure this out!" he stressed.

"What about Optimus, or Arcee, or Bulkhead and Bumblebee?" Raf challenged with a frown.

"They may know how to fight, but they know less about science than I do," Ratchet growled, waving a servo to brush the fact that he might've called his comrades idiots. Who knows. No one dared to ask the tiny medic.

"I know most your technology," Raf said, shrugging. "What makes you think that they can't figure it out either?"

"Because you were just lucky," Ratchet seethed with out thinking.

Raf's jaw locked and he looked away. He knew that Ratchet was frustrated, and honestly, he would've felt the same way if the situation was on him. Though, in a way he and his friends were in a similar predicament . They were always surrounded by the Autobots that were much bigger than them. Therefore they were tiny.

And to human standards, Raf was pretty short for his age.

The boy didn't say a word to Ratchet, merely shifting every so often and talking to Jack and Miko on how to operate the keys and screen.

2 more hours had passed and they ended up with one minor detail.

"Small cells," Ratchet whispered. He threw up his servos in the air and he growled. "Small cells?! That's it?!"

Everyone looked helpless as the tiny medic ranted on.

"That's all we know! That's all we know?! There has to be more!" Ratchet yelled in frustration.

"Ratchet, we've only been researching for only 4 hours," Optimus reasoned, his deep voice rumbled soothingly. "Have some patience."

"We can't be patient! We have to know! We have to-" Ratchet stopped abruptly and sighed, pinching the bridge of his olfactory sensors. "We just have to do this quickly..." he said a bit more calmly.

"We already know that," Jack said softly.

"That's why we're trying to help," Miko finished, her eyes gleaming meaningfully. Raf thought for a moment, brain thinking of the small possibilities of the newly discovered detail.

"What if it was like...a virus," Raf said slowly. All of them averted helms and heads towards the shorter child.

"Like the Cybonic plague?" Arcee questioned.

Raf shrugged and nodded. "Viruses invade your DNA or RNA for humans. When a virus happens it latches onto a host cell and multiply. While I know you guys are from different worlds-" A snort came from the small medic. "-and have different anatomy, but we're all living cells. Any virus can happen."

"So that means the virus is basically attacking their DNA and changing it the host cells?" Jack asked.

Raf nodded. "The gas they opened could've been like a virus and spread throughout their frame, and if they inhaled to much-"

"Then it means that there are more infected cells than there are regular ones!" Miko exclaimed.

The children turned their heads to look at Ratchet expectantly. While they knew their own anatomy, it didn't mean they understood Cybertronians anatomy. They watched as the tiny 'bot thought for a moment, anticipating the answer.

"If it were to be a virus...wouldn't we have to wait it out?" Optimus suddenly asked. Raf tilted his head up, as if thinking. He then looked at the Autobot leader and used his hand to slant it up and down. "Most viruses take its course, but usually we have to have medication to fight off the virus. When you had the Cybonic plague, you needed medication because the virus was so strong."

"But we're not sick," Bulkhead said in confusion.

"It affected your frame, though," Raf countered.

"Rafael has a point," Ratchet said tiredly, getting the attention of everyone. "If it is a virus, then we have to have some sort of antidote or...medication. And if our CNA is not operating correctly, then there are too many 'invaders' in our frames."

The Autobots deflated visibly. The doorwings on Bumblebee's back looked like they were going to fall off at any minute. They all looked so defeated.

/So that means we'll be stuck like this forever?/ Bumblebee asked, his beeps and chirps becoming melancholy.

Jack, Miko and Raf all shrugged helplessly.

"We don't know..." Raf admitted.

There was a moment of thick silence. It was uncomfortable and tense, as if no one knew what to say to each other. Which was pretty much true, but it was still awkward and helpless.

If there was nothing to save the shrunken Autobots, what else...?

"Wait...what about the synthetic energon?" Miko prompted eagerly. Raf and Rarchet exchanged glances, their expressions surprised, but...hopeful.

"That-" Ratchet took a shaky in-vent. "That could work...the only thing is that we're not big enough to make it, and you three don't have the necessary tools to do it."

Bulkhead jerked his helm up, his optics widening at the realization. "Wheeljack!" he exclaimed. "Wheeljack can help!"

Ratchet broke into a huge smile. "You're right, Bulkhead!"

"So how can we contact him?" Jack urged. They were so close to hopefully figuring out this whole debacle. So, so close.

"The comms!" They all exclaimed. Jack blinked and smiled sheepishly. "Ah..right."

"What are we waiting for?!" Miko burst out with an animated grin.

"Autobot base to Wheeljack, do you hear me?" Optimus said with a loud and clear voice. They managed to figure out how to contact the engineer 'bot, with the help of Raf and Ratchet.

"I hear ya, boss," the relaxed and nonchalant voice came in. Everyone blew out breaths of relief.

"We seem to have a-" Optimus blinked slowly. "-a...small problem. Is there any chance you could come and assist us?"

It was silent for a moment before Wheeljack replied. "Yeah, I can come by. But I won't for at least another 5 hours. I've been zooming around this tiny marble, but it takes a long time to drive with all these 'laws'. Also, its hard to travel when you don't have a flying vesicle," he said with amusement.

Optimus and the rest of the gang couldn't help but feel relieved anyways. "That is quite alright, Wheeljack. We will see you soon."

"Can you at least tell me what I'm working with?"

Optimus glanced at Jack and then his comrades before looking at the screen. "We happened to find a gas that shrunk us. We were hoping to get some insight of it from you. Rafael and Ratchet have discussed of using synthetic energon to revert us back to normal. Seeing as it could be a viral gas."

"Huh, what an odd gas, but it almost sounds familiar,"Wheeljack murmured.

"We're not familiar with this type of gas either," Ratchet interjected with a small tone of defeat. "Do you know anything about this?"

The comm was deadly quiet, as if the mech was contemplating it. "I think I remember researching something about it back when were in the Wreckers base, but all I know is that it came from the side of Decepticons in order to make them more prone to taking over and killing the Autobots easily," he replied.

Miko swayed her hips to the side as she crossed her arms to her chest. "Well, buckethead does know about science, huh?"

"Do you think Megatron is that smart to actually make a gas-virus-or sickness that could shrink Autobots?" Raf questioned incredulously.

Jack shrugged. "Well, why not? He made the Cybonic Plague and that wiped out millions on Cybertron," he gestured, leaving Raf to think more.

"Do you think he could have a formula then?" Raf asked, turning his gaze towards the screen.

Wheeljack was silent for a moment. They could practically feel the mech's processor whirling with ideas. "I don't know," Wheeljack responded with an exasperated sigh. "But if the solution to this mess is the Synthetic energon, then either way, we need to get more energon and get the formula. Luckily, I think doc bot has it in the base."

"Wheeljack is right, but the formula hasn't been perfected yet," Ratchet said.

"It could work, but we would have to inject it very slowly, considering that doc bot injected all entirely and he was up and going the moment it was injected into his systems," the wrecker joked.

Ratchet blanched. "Well I never-!"

"Your notion is appreciating," Optimus said, interjecting quickly. "We will see you soon."

"Will do, sir," Wheeljack replied.

They said their goodbyes and the comms were turned off. Jack sighed tiredly and pressed his hand to his face, rubbing it slightly to soothe an incoming headache. He checked his phone and his pupils expanded.

"Its almost 11pm. We've been figuring it out since 5!" He exclaimed. Miko and Raf looked at each other in shock. They didn't even have dinner yet. As if on cue, their stomach growled at them, reminding them of their missed dinner.

"Oh..." Miko mumbled, placing her hands on her empty tummy. "I think I'm hungry."

"No kidding," Jack answered quietly.

"6 hours of not eating is almost equivalent to sleeping," Raf exclaimed.

"6 hours?" Ratchet questioned. "I thought it 7-9 hours?"

Raf snorted. "That's the recommended time, but we don't really live in luxury, now do we?"

Ratchet huffed and crossed his arms to his chassis, remaining silent.

"Don't worry, I brought some food," Jack assured as he stepped downstairs and walked over to the car. He unlocked it and brought out two full bags of food. "I got some subs?"

"Whatever to make my stomach like me again," Miko said with a lopsided smile. Raf made a noise of agreement and followed after the girl who was hopping down the stairs enthusiastically.

They left the Autobots on the black, extended monitor table, near Raf's computer. The Autobots didn't object to the children leaving them, seeing as humans needed to eat every so often.

So they just watched quietly as their charges grabbed some food and a some sort of bottle before they headed upstairs to where they were residing. Luckily, there were 3 ergonomic chairs aligned with the monitor tables.

One by one, they all sat down on the chairs and started eating.

The silo was silent, with only the crumbling of their wrapping paper being bundled up and thrown away. When they finished their subs and fizzy looking drinks, they took the Autobots and headed to their corner.

"I'm ready to fall asleep," Raf murmured, collapsing on one side of the couch.

"We have until 4am to go to sleep before Wheeljack comes," Jack suggested as he sat down next to Raf and letting his sore bones relax. After falling down the stairs with the younger boy and having a bicycle accident, he was more than ready to fall in a deep sleep.

"Mm, I think I want to go to the roof and see the constellation," Miko said, still standing up. "There's a meteor shower at midnight and its a clear view."

Jack and Raf looked at each other.

"That's actually really cool," Jack said.

"I wanna come!" Raf quipped, standing to his feet, tiredness washing away from his face. Miko smirked and looked over to Jack, who looked like he was thinking hard. "Is isn't a hard question, don't blow your brains," she said, watching when Jack snapped up and blushed slightly.

"I know that," Jack murmured.

"Then come on, it won't take long to look at the constellations and go to sleep."

Jack grumbled but nonetheless stood up and proceeded to pick up Arcee and Optimus.

The trio then used the lift to get to the roof, their expressions tired but happy nonetheless. The Autobots, however, had something on their processors. And it was the perfect timing to talk about it.

Chapter Text

Arcane Souls

The stars were beautiful tonight. The little orbs would twinkle ever so brightly. Sometimes, if they observed closely at one of the stars, you could see it move as the world shifted around the galaxy.

The trio sat on the edge, their legs dangling in the air as they swung them back and forth with awe in their expressions. The Autobots sat on a rock high enough to be at waists height, and just enough to fit all of them and sit down to view the starry sky, their blue optics glowing in the dark as the lantern next to Jack glowed a bright yellow to illuminate some light.

"Its so beautiful," Jack whispered, his blue eyes flickering with every glimmer in the glowing orbs.

"I gotta admit, Japan doesn't have these kinds of starry nights," Miko confessed, but a smile spread across her face. "Maybe there is more to just sand and robots in Jasper Nevada."

Jack chuckled lightly and looked at Miko with amusement in his striking blue eyes. "For someone who enjoys running in Groundbridges often, this activity is pretty mundane. Care to explain how you find this so fascinating?" He asked, nodding his head to the dark and milky welkin.

Miko rolled her eyes. "Its called being bored," she exclaimed. Raf, Jack and the Autobots had risen their optic ridges and brows at the punk girl. Miko paused and sighed in exasperation. "When I first came here, I couldn't sleep," she admitted quietly, looking down at her lap and fiddling with the hem of her purple shirt. "I wasn't really sleeping great...and well, I always found solace in looking out into the sky."

Raf smiled softly at the Japanese teenager. "A pretty good reason," he replied. The boy craned his neck up to the sky once again, his red glasses reflecting the night heavens. Although he desperately needed new glasses, the atmosphere was clearer than ever for even a colorblind person to see.

"Y'know, I wouldn't have imagined doing this kind of makes you wonder how small we're really are," Jack said.

Miko smirked. "Have you met the Autobots?" she asked, gesturing her hand towards the Autobots.

Jack laughed and shook his head. "I take your point."

"While your world is merely a marble to our standards, I do have to acknowledge your somewhat bright galaxy," Ratchet said with a huff. Raf's lips quirked up and nodded. "I can only imagine what the night looks like on Cybertron."

Bumblebee chirped excitingly. His doorwings were perked up to the extent without breaking the hinges. Raf grinned ear to ear, listening to the young 'bots eager chirps and whirs.

"I'm just gonna go off the limb and say that Bumblebee is explaining his observation on the stars and moon?" Jack asked with a incline of his head, lips quirking up with a knowing look.

"Two moons actually," Raf countered.

Miko gasped and looked closely at the yellow 'bot. "How did you not become blind?!" She asked eagerly. "A human eye couldn't even look at the sun without becoming blind!" the girl exclaimed.

"Miko, Cybertronian optics are more efficient than human opti-er-eyes," Ratchet explained, his chassis puffing with pride. Although Humans had many things they did not, Cybertronians have anatomy that humans cannot do or have.

"Woah!" Miko blew out a breath. "So you can see the sun without getting hurt?"

Ratchet thought for a moment before shrugging soon after. "I suppose...though our optics do strain when looking at bright lighting."

Jack smiled thoughtfully. "Well hey, that's another thing to add to similarity between humans and Autobots," he said. The trio and Autobots made some type of noises, whether it was a chuckle, a noise of recognition or even a grunt. Either one of them were fine, mostly because they couldn't argue there (Ratchet).

There was a comfortable silence that filled the fresh night. Each of them content with not talking nor doing anything but look at the stars and let their eyes wander with astonishment. However, there's this type of soothing encouragement during these times of nights, to go deeper inside the soul and let it all out for the stars to hear. Or maybe someone else to listen.

Because everyone needs a friend or a pouring out of a soul to be balanced during troubling times.

"Its weird to say that I wished I knew about stargazing when I was little. Dad would've loved it," Jack wasn't particularly saying it to anyone but perhaps himself, but the Autobots and the other two children whipped their heads and helms towards the dark-haired teenager with piqued interest.

However, the boy did not return the gaze.

"Y'know," Miko started as she propped her elbows on her thighs and held her head in her cupped hands as she braved her question. "you never mention your dad before, what was he like?" It was such a simple question, but to Jack, it was deeper than any scar he had sustained from past accidents.

Jack swallowed thickly and looked at his dangling feet for a moment for two. They were patient. Heck, no one even made a word as they patiently waited for Jack to tell them about his deceased parent.

Not even Miko was stepping over the line. Raf was just contently watching Jack with an unreadable expression but deep inside, there was attentiveness in the boy's cognac eyes.

The Autobots shared the same expression, eagerly waiting for their young friend's response.

The teenager sighed in defeat, but didn't bat an eye towards them as he looked up and stared straight into the sky.

"He was amazing," he admitted ever so quietly. Miko and Raf had leaned a bit closer while the Autobots did the same.

A smile wormed up Jack's lips. "Every since I was born, my mom says that he and I were conjoined at the hip. We did everything together. Sometimes when I had a hard time sleeping, he would bring me to his workshop and we would work on that red, dirty motorcycle...the one I showed to you guys." His hand gestured to Arcee and Optimus.

"I guess that explains your love of motorcycles, huh?" Arcee asked, a teasing grin on her faceplates. Jack emitted a watery laugh, his throat constricting a bit. "Was is that obvious?"

Arcee smiled gently. "Yeah, kind of."

Jack smirked. "He was a Military engineer," he pointed out, shrugging. "So he liked fixing things and building."

"Oh yeah, your're definitely like your father," Arcee said wittily, earning an easing grin from the raven-haired boy.

"So wait!" Miko exclaimed. "We know he was a engineer, but what about his name?! We can't just keep calling him dad!"

Jack chuckled. "His name was Justin Jeremiah Darby."

"Woah, double J's!"

"My mom used to call him Justin the 'Justice'," Jack explained with a fond quirk of his lips. "And she was quite true. He was pretty responsible when it came to managing and constructing new military equipment."

In hindsight, it almost reminded him of Optimus. He didn't know why, but Optimus was fairly justice when it came to the beings of Earth and Autobots.

Ratchet huffed. "I can see why your name is Jackson Darby," he mumbled. The boy smirked. "I was wondering when someone was going to catch that," he mused.

"What do they mean? The names?" Bulkhead asked.

Jack perked. "Oh! Well Justin has several types of meanings but I remember vaguely that it means Uprighteous in Bibical terms. Same as his middle name. I think Jeremiah means, Exhalt of the Lord." He shrugged. "His family was religious, but I can't argue about it cause we have that the same religious backround as well."

"I have forgotten that Earth has different views on what we believe," Optimus said thoughtfully. Jack merely shrugged and waved it off. "We may have different beliefs but that doesn't mean we can't be friends still."

"What about your name meaning?" Raf questioned.

Jackson thought for a moment. "I think its Gracious Gift from Jehovah...or it just means Son of Jack...which is ironic," he said dryly.

Raf hummed. "That's cool, my mom and dad named me after a traveler from the book Tobit. I think it means God's heals? I don't know, all I remembered is that he disguised himself and traveled to help someone out."

"Close enough," Jack grinned. He turned to Miko. "What about you?"

"What about me?" Miko asked defensively. Jack held his hands up in reassurance. "Your name, Miko. Does it have a meaning?"

Miko huffed and crossed her arms to her chest, feeling oddly embarrassed and somewhat uncomfortable. "My name means Beautiful child," she responded with a whisper. Jack and Raf exchanged glances towards each other before averting them to her again.

"I can't argue with that," Jack said quietly, his ears reddening. Miko's cheeks burned bright red and looked further away. "But it also means annoying," Miko finished with a mumble.

"I mean-" Bulkhead snapped his helm towards the blunt medic and punched Ratchet's shoulder strut, giving him a warning glare to prevent him from saying anything negative to his vulnerable charge.

It honestly came to realization that his charge was...well...vulnerable. She needed that reassurance that she wasn't that annoying kid at the base. Not to mention that none of them has ever seen her without her spunk.

In spite of that, his charge was beautiful not matter what.

Jack decided to let that subject go and he turned his head towards to the small group of Autobots that were watching them with scrutiny. "Do your names have a meaning?"

Bumblebee made a noise of recognition, a high pitched wheeze emitting from him afterwards. Seeing as Jack or Miko would be able to understand the yellow mech, so they opted to look at Raf expectantly.

Then, the yellow mech pointed at Optimus.

Raf narrowed his head a bit. "Hm, that explains most of it I guess."

"What?" Miko and Jack asked together.

"Optimus name means 'best' and Prime means 'first'.

Miko made a noise. "I think Optimus also means Optimistic too!"

Arcee blanched. "They have Optimus' name in the dictionary?!"

"Your name is in the dictionary too," Miko concluded. "It means Skilled fighter. The origin unknown but still!"

Arcee leaned back and let her processor whirl a bit. "Who knew our names would be in the human dictionary." She paused and waved the rest of them off. "Except for Bulkhead and Ratchet," she said plainly.

"Hey, there a lot of meanings behind odd words, just like mine, Miko's and Raf's," Jack replied, shrugging nonchalantly.

"And your father's," Arcee added in.

Jack froze, but didn't make any words as he made a small noise of agreement, though his insides were filling with sorrow and deep grief he had yet to relinquish. His eyes felt like they were burning and his hands turned into clenched fists.

It hurt. So badly.

"It states the facts that our world is connected between a thick line of history," Optimus rumbled, his optics averting to the children, but mostly on the older teenager. "There is more than meets the eye than we realize."

Optimus expected for Jack to look right back him, but the boy did nothing but purse his lips and bob up his head once before focusing on the twinkling lights above the atmosphere.

The Autobot leader could practically feel the tension emitting from the raven-haired teenager.

"Jackson?" A deep, baritone voiced called him and he craned his neck towards Optimus. "Yes?"

Despite being in dim blackness, he could tell that the boy's eyes were red rimmed from trying hard not to cry. It ached his spark to see that, any child that was going through turmoil. It wasn't fair.

It's not fair.

"What happened to him?"

Those dreadful words hit Jack like a truck. It seemed like his lungs were sucked out of air because he could not breath. What happened to him? What happened to him-those words repeated in Jack's mind like a mantra.

"I-" his throat constricted and twisted bitterly. Then, a sour laugh escaped the boy's mouth and he shook his head in dismay as he looked away to the other side. "My father died in a motorcycle accident," Jack revealed in a chocked whisper.

The tiny optics that had watched Jack widened with disbelief.

"I was only 10 years old," Jack finished with a mumble.

"I-" Arcee stood there in dumbfounded position. "Is that why you were so...skeptical about this whole ordeal?" she asked in a small voice. Jack chuckled mirthlessly and jerked his head as a nodding. "Yeah." It was a plain answer, but that one single word explained everything in the Autobots' peripheral view.

"Jackson," Optimus rumbled sadly, his tiny servo held out to the exposed boy.

"Look, it doesn't matter, okay?" Jack snapped, his head sharply turning to the small group of the Autobots.

"But it does," Ratchet said with an even voice.

Jack huffed and crossed his arms to his chest defensively. "You didn't seem concerned when we had actually met you. Took you long enough," he grumbled, feeling a sudden emotion of vexation.

Ratchet's optic ridges narrowed. "You weren't the only ones having problems, Jackson," he countered angrily, ignoring how the Prime was sending him warning glares and Bumblebee scooting away from the medic slowly. Even Arcee and Bulkhead were a bit uncomfortable with how this played out.

There was an eerie silence that overtook the fresh breeze.

"So you think that your problems are just as problematic than ours?" Jack's lips were pursed and a frown made its way up.

When Ratchet didn't answer, he looked at the other Autobots, who said nothing and shuffled their pedes against the ground, even Optimus didn't have the answer and he was the leader. He then turned his gaze towards his friends. Their eyes were widened, whether by Jack's outburst or the hurting words Ratchet spoke.

Jack stood up abruptly, his hands turning into tight fists that held anger and hurt. His knuckle joints turned white by the tightening of the grip and he looked at Ratchet-all of them- with disbelief.

"Seriously?" Was what Jack said in the most incredulous tone. "Is that how you think so lowly of me? Of them?" He gestured towards the two other teenagers.

"No!" Arcee exclaimed, somewhat shooting dagger glares towards Ratchet now that things seemed to go downhill. When she averted her optics towards her charge, all she saw was hurt and confusion.

"We didn't mean it like that," Arcee sighed.

Jack glowered. "Then what did you mean?" He asked in a wounded voice. "What makes you think-all of you-that we don't have problems just like you?"

"Jackson," A deep and baritone voice intercepted softly. Jack snapped his head towards the Prime leader, eyes landing harshly on the small Autobot. Optimus cleared his vocalizer and stepped forward, looking as apologetic and sincere as he could be.

"After millions of years of thinking about ourselves and the war, I have failed to realize as a leader that we are indeed, not the only ones to have problems," he said softly, looking down in shame. "We were stubborn enough to think that our three human allies did not have problems just like we did."

One by one, Ratchet, Arcee, Bulkhead and Bumblebee hung their helms in guilt.

Jack looked closely at the Prime's form, his mind internally fighting over each other. When the anger didn't lash out like he wanted too, Jack merely sighed in defeat and sat down on the ledge once again, feeling his sparks of fury settle down.

Miko and Raf sat in unease, never really having dealt with irritated Jack or talking about personal problems. This was all new to them.

"Look," Jacks sighed and ran a hand over his face, feeling tiredness overwhelm his body. "I know that you guys have bigger world problems, and I think we realize that since we met you. Its your not fault, though-" The raven-haired teenager bowed his head and chuckled bitterly. "But I guess I've ignored my problems that should have been buried years ago," admitted in a shallow voice.

"You're telling me," a sarcastic drawl came from the Japanese girl. Everyone looked to see Miko hugging her knees to her chest as she looked out at the twinkling sky, a small frown creasing her eyebrows.

"I always tried to ignore my problems, as if they would magically disappear," she revealed loudly. Miko sighed and laid her head on the tip of her kneecaps. "Ever since I was little kid, I had a perfect life, perfect scores on my grades, loving parents. Heck, I even learned English in a short amount of time, but..." she sighed and turned her head away from them. "I wasn't happy with it..."

Bulkhead gazed at his charge with sad optics.

"I always felt different-out of place," she admitted quietly. "I enjoyed listening to metal bands, looking at hair dye and punk outfits, but I never told anyone about it because I was afraid no one would approve of me. So I tried everything in my power to make sure I wouldn't disappoint my parents or my prestigious friends. Acing tests, winning awards and music recitals. Just everyone else did in my school."

She whipped her head up and unraveled herself before hanging her head into her hands. "I hated it though. I was self-conscious of my appearance...I was tired all the time, my parents eventually pushed me into learning further education...and that was life for me in Japan."

Miko muffled a sniff. " It felt like I was stuck in a timeloop, endlessly feeling like a different person." Her hands left her face, but her head remained low. "When I turned 14, I had my chance to leave. So I left: changed my entire appearance the way I liked it, moved to a dinky place called Jasper Nevada and I enjoyed being the odd kid."

Jack grimaced and placed a hand on her hunched shoulder, squeezing in comfort.

Miko laughed through choked tears. "My parents love me, but I don't know if they'll love the person I want to be, rather be the person I'm faking to be. I-I just don't know." The Japanese girl's shoulder shook when a small sob escaped her lips.

Bulkhead could feel optic fluid welling up in his optics, feeling deep remorse and ache for his charge. The girl was internally fighting for who she wants to be. Whether it is to gain approval of her parents and love her endlessly or be herself and let her parents evaluate their love for her if she changed.

"Miko," Bulkhead whispered, a servo held out to the sobbing girl. He could feel his spark cracking with every small and sniff she made.

"I was afraid...and I couldn't face it." She shook her head and clenched her eyes shut.

Jack voluntarily wrapped his arms around the vulnerable teenager and hugged her, his hand rubbing her back. Miko didn't budge and let Jack hold her while she whole-heartedly whimpered out small cries.

Raf was by their side in a flash, placing a hand over her back and just let it rest there, his eyes shimmering with tears.

With every second that had passed, the Autobots looked profoundly lost and unsure on what to do. They watched as their charges comforted each other and merely speak no words to them.

It was as if they had vanished.

Minutes passed and Miko stopped crying, only shuddering breaths came from the Japanese girl. Jack remained by her side, holding her hand and sitting close by her while Raf sat beside her, a comforting hand clasped on her shoulder.

"Sorry," she croaked out.

Bulkhead was the first one to speak. "Don't be, Miko," he said softly, yearning to go over there and hug his charge tightly and never let her go.

She turned her head and looked at Bulkhead. Through his optics, he could see his charge have puffy, red skin around her eyes, her body posture hunched and fragile. She was sniffling as if she had a bad cold.

Miko's lips tugged up into a small smile before she leaned forward enough to hold out her hand. Bulkhead immediately scrambled up and held onto her finger for support before she retracted it and brought her tiny guardian in an embrace.

And Bulkhead accepted it whole-spark.

"I'm sorry," Bulkhead said in a very small voice. "I should have known."

"It wasn't your fault, Bulky," Miko replied earnestly. She could practically feel the tiny rumbling Bulkhead was emitting. It was sort of soothing and comforting to feel.

"But I'm responsible for you..." Bulkhead muffled as he buried his helm into his charge's shirt.

Miko shook her head. "No...this problem wasn't for you to Jack said, all our problems should have been buried underneath the ground by now..."

Deep inside, the Autobots knew that they should have been there for charge's and let them talk about their feelings...just like they did to them.

"What about you?" A gruff, but gentle voice asked. They snapped their necks towards the voice;the voice was none other than Ratchet himself, though his optics were averted to Rafael with a nervous but genuine interest. "You have not spoken about your neck problems yet, has this been recurring since you were little...or was it during our time here?"

Bumblebee optics re-sized and his doorwings flapped in interest.

Raf hesitated.


The medic's voice was stern and it held no arguments.

The teenager slumped his shoulders, as if a weight landed on him, his heart heavy with unexpected guilt. He bowed his head.

"The dark energon," he confessed softly, not bothering to look at the Autobots' bemused facial expressions. His confession was so quiet, not even Jack or Miko could hear very much.

"I'm sorry?" Ratchet asked, leaning over.

"The dark energon," he said aloud. He hunched over as he tried to control his trembling. "I got it from the dark energon."

Gasps from Arcee and Bulkhead was heard while Ratchet and Optimus' optics had widened. Bumblebee's tiny squeaks turned into frantic hysteria of beeping noises that Rafael or either of the 2 teenagers have never heard of before.

Without any warning, Bumblebee hopped off the rock, running as fast as his tiny pedes could go to see Raf was okay. But, when he got there, Raf flinched and stiffened like a statue.

Bumblebee stopped in his tracks, back away in hurt, his doorwings drooping at fast rate.

"Rafael," Ratchet started slowly, his pedes forcing him to get closer to the child. No one could see, but his glasses were fogging because of the hot tears that were forming in Raf's cognac eyes.

The old medic took a shaky in-vent and looked at Raf with agony gleaming in his optics. "Why didn't you tell me-us?" He questioned. His tone was so much softer than other conversations that they had it almost gut-wrenched the youngest teen.

"I couldn't," Raf replied, his voice raspy and hoarse. He sniffed and rubbed his sleeves against his running voice. "Not when Optimus was the main focus," he whispered.

Ratchet stumbled backwards as he realized how stupid he was feeling right now. How could have he been so blind?

/No!/ Bumblebee shouted indignantly, earning for Raf to whip his head in surprise, his eyes still watering with un-shed tears. /Optimus wouldn't have wanted you to worry about him when someone young and innocent like you is suffering because of our mistake! You shouldn't have kept this-/

Bumblebee beeped and whirred in agitation, his servos holding his helm as he paced back and forth, trying to find the right words for this. He was the kid's guardian for Primus sake's!

Shouldn't he have watched his tiny charge? Like what real guardians do?

/It was my fault/ Bumblebee whirred in sadness, his frame looking down to the ground. /I should have been watching over you rather than trying to find Optimus...Even I knew that Optimus could take care of himself when he had amnesia./

Raf blinked, his eyes still glimmering but his head tilted to side to express confusion.

"Bumblebee is right, though," Ratchet said grimly, shaking his helm in guilt. "We were too focused on looking for Optimus...we failed to seek out your problems."

"But-" Raf sniffed once more. "But It wasn't your fault...I didn't tell you-"

"And you shouldn't have too!" Ratchet yelled passionately. "Because as adults and guardians we are responsible for your well-being and to notice the problems that is causing you torment! Curse my fragging stubbornness."

He held it under his breath, but Optimus gave him a stern glare anyways.

Optimus returned his gaze towards the three broken children sitting before him, his optics full of rage but sadness at the realization on how much they had not seen so much going on in their young lives.

Their sparks ached and they felt like they were collapsing under heavy boulders. But then again, it was the children that had the large boulders sitting heavily on their shoulders too.

"Why didn't you tell us-all of you...that you were going through so much pain and anguish?" The Prime asked ever so softly, the deep rumbled emitting from his chassis. The three children hung their heads, contemplating their words, as if they were trying to sugarcoat it.

"Please do not just 'sugarcoat' your answer," Optimus almost pleaded. "It is our responsibility to seek and help your troubles. As your ally"

Bulkhead nodded heavily, his large servo resting on Miko's thumb. Bumblebee whirred gloomily, his pedes forcing him to walk over to Raf's thigh and hug it as much as he could. Arcee swallowed thickly and crossed her arms to her chassis. "Optimus is right," Arcee replied gently. "We're your family, therefore if you need help...we're here for you."

It was silent for a minute, and they eventually thought that they weren't going to speak...but, then Jack started, his tone almost tired and weary. "I knew I had problems," he admitted quietly. "But I knew everyone else had bigger problems than my own. So I just continued on with life with no gesture that I had problematic things, or I going through tough times." He snorted and hung his head like he reprimanded. "I didn't need anyone to worry about me when it obvious that someone else was going through turmoil."

"But it does matter," Arcee urged desperately, her optics full of fluids. "You're a human who has just as many rights to share your problems and asking for help."

"Its hard, though," Jack whispered harshly.

Arcee cocked her helm to the side. "What do you mean Jack?"

"He means that its hard to talk about your problems when all you've ever done was help someone else's problems," Raf said, eyes drooping to his feet. "I should know, cause I have 6 siblings. And being the middle child, and basically the oldest out of your 3 younger siblings, its hard to think about yourself and problems because there are others that you need to think about too. That you need to set aside your problems and deal with theirs before yours..."

"That's not true," Ratchet replied indignantly, his optic ridges narrowing dangerously. "Its your parents responsibility to overseer their large family."

"No Ratchet," Raf snapped. "Its called not being selfish!"

Ratchet's frame jolted violently, astonished at the young teenager's snappy voice. The boy sighed wearily and ran a hand through his spiky hair. "At a young age, I was told not to be selfish...and that was all I could do...not be selfish," he confessed in a hushed and raspy tone. Bumblebee beeped in a melancholy tone, patting Raf's thighs. Because that's what he could do for now.

"No." Ratchet shook his helm in denial, feeling hot, wet fluids burn his optics. "You're parents are right about being not being selfish, but you? Never you! You deserve to have nice things; you deserve their love and attention. You deserve care. Don't ever think that you don't need to take care of yourself either! Its mandatory, Rafael! You need it."

"And I do," Raf retorted quietly. "I self-care when I'm with you..."

"Oh Raf," Ratchet whispered.

"Its no big deal!" Raf smiled brokenly. "I love being allies with you;I love being part of a large group with friends who respect me and are concerned. I'm happy."

Those words never felt so heavy, but it did now. Raf didn't know whether he was lying for the Autobots' sake's or himself.

"They shouldn't expect so much from you," Ratchet replied just as quietly.

Raf laughed loudly, a sour staccato escaping from the boy's throat. It had jolted the Autobots and Miko and Jack a bit, almost a bit surprised and...worried for their youngest member.

"Believe me," Raf said after he was done laughing, hanging his head low as he twiddled his thumbs together. "They don't expect much from me."

Those words stung badly for the Autobots, mostly Ratchet and Bumblebee. Their optics as wide as sauce pans and their vents so quiet it was as if they weren't even functioning.

"Trying to please?" Miko asked quietly, her eyes trailing to the boy.

Raf snorted, shrugging. "Just wanted them to feel proud," he whispered.

Miko didn't answer and placed a hand on the boy's shoulder, a small grimace on her face. There was no real answer for this. She's been there and done that...but never dealt with it...instead, just running away from her problems was what she thought was best.

But Raf did everyday.

Watching as his parents gave more attention to the older or the youngest while he was stuck in the middle.

Ratchet swallowed thickly, his servo resting on his chassis, feeling his old spark bloom with sorrow. Optimus bowed his head in shame, his expression emotionless but optics full of despair and forlorn. Arcee had her chassis crossed to her petite chassis, a servo positioning to to mouth, as if trying not to make a noise. Bumblebee and Bulkhead stayed by their charge's side, hugging and comforting as much as they could.

It was odd. They finally were able to find out the history of their charges' lives, and now that they felt like it was too late. They were nearly drowning in the depths of their fear and depression.

How are they supposed to help when it was obvious that they had never experienced it?

Destroyed home? Sure, they can understand. Losing a close friend or family member? Yes, that too. But from a human child? They didn't what to do. How to help them. They had no knowledge of human griefs; no grasping of understanding differences to humans. To them and Cybertron, all of them were made the same. Just different by spark, and frame.

But in no way shape or form could they comprehend this.

Their thoughts were stolen away, a shaky breath interrupting their thoughts.

Jack stood up and took the dim lantern in his hand before using the other to help Miko up. Raf followed suit, looking everywhere but where the Autobots were standing. The raven-haired teenager grimaced. "I think its time to go in..." he said softly.

Optimus looked at the boy, wanting to protest, but the more he stared at Jack, the more he noticed how mentally exhausted he was-all of them looked like it. Having red-rimmed and puffy eyes for an appearance, disheveled hair framing their young faces.

Their posture was sluggish and vulnerable. All more to just scoop them up in his servos and protect them from what was hurting them.

Jack held his hand out to Optimus and Arcee while Raf did the same with Ratchet and Bumblebee.

They were quiet, but they didn't protest.

They climbed onto the palm of their hands, wrapping their servos around the human's fingers.

The lift took them down and one by one, Jack, Miko and Raf collapsed on the large couch and promptly fell asleep, their hands still holding the Autobots in their hands, or in Miko's case, her arms.

While the teenagers were asleep, each Autobot knew that no recharge would claim them that night.