Well After Two
Title: Well After Two
Part: The Fourth (Well After Three PM)
Fandom: Transformers (2007 Movie)
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Sam, Bee, Arcee, Melissa, Cast.
Summary: It was well after three in the afternoon when they rolled into the vacant lot beside a vacant building in the middle of nowhere somewhere outside of Pittsburgh.
Notes: This unofficially takes place in the 'Target Exclusive' alter-continuity of the movie-verse (where Jazz lives and is sporting a sexy G1 redeco, the Decepticons have ties to corporate America, and scouts are everywhere).
Something about Melissa bothered Sam - not necessarily in the sense that he didn't want her along on the journey but more that she was far too comfortable and far too knowledgable.
And she'd managed to sweet talk the entire caravan's way onto (and off of) the Pennsylvania Turnpike with a couple hundred dollars and a smile, making the booth attendant happily ignore how Sideswipe was gunning his engine and Clocker following closely behind Optimus in a way no normal beautiful sportscar would follow a semi.
That was another thing that tended to make its way through Sam's mind and stick - Clocker. In the rather-correct body of an electric car, he seemed to need a little more help than the occcassional gas station pit stops that the other Autobots did. Apparently Optimus kept some interesting power reserves that he allowed Clocker to access, but the actual process was still a bit of a mystery - the couple of times Sam thought he might catch a glimpse, Bumblebee quickly diverted him. All he knew was that the green Tesla seemed to enjoy it.
But that wasn't on his mind as they wound their way into the countryside...
"You think she's cute?" Sam asked, tilting his seat back. He'd feigned driving for the last few hours, finally trading with Bee at the last rest stop.
"Do I think who is cute?" 'Bee asked.
"Melissa," Sam replied. "Who else?"
There was a pause as Bumblebee tried to have his hologram driver look thoughtful, though thoughtful looked quite a bit like hungry.
"By human standards, she's attractive," 'Bee said after a moment. "On the world wide web, she would qualify as 'I'd hit it'."
Sam laughed. "Okay, that might have been too much info. Besides, I really just wanted to know what you thought of her in general."
"You asked if she was cute," Bumblebee replied. "Not what I thought of her."
"Okay, you got me," Sam said. "I want your opinon of her, then. All of her."
"Despite her outward appearance making her look like a MySpace drone, she seems well-informed and comfortable," 'Bee said. "She is acceptable to me."
"There's something odd about her," Sam stated. "Sector Seven or not."
"She has likely known of Megatron for her entire life," Bumblebee responded. "We don't scare her."
"I still don't think I like her, even if she is cute." Sam wasn't sure the conversation was worth continuing. In a way, he was a little jealous.
"Liking someone and working with them are two different things," Bumblebee noted. And that was the end of the conversation.
It was well after three in the afternoon when they rolled into the vacant lot beside a vacant building in the middle of nowhere somewhere outside of Pittsburgh.
There was no one around.
Melissa jumped down from Optimus Prime's cab, smiling as she dug keys from her bag.
"May not look like much, but this'll be home sweet home for a few days," she said as Sam crawled out of Bee, a little unsure if his legs would keep working. "There's power, water, wifi... And beds for those of us who'd like them."
"A safehouse?" Sam asked. A real bed sounded wonderful, no offense to Bumblebee.
"Something like that," Melissa replied. Most of the windows on the lower level of the building had been boarded over, making it look like no one had been there in ages. "It's a good rendezvous point and we're free to use it."
One by one the Autobots began to transform, stretching in the afternoon sun for the first time in days. Normally they'd get a few minutes at night, like when Melissa had arrived the night before, but that was it.
"We're well secluded," Optimus said as he surveyed the area. "Take some time to relax."
"There's a hose!" Sunstreaker exclaimed as he pointed at the green coil near the building. "I need to get some dirt out of..."
"Want a bath?" Melissa interrupted cheerfully. "Let me change and I'll see if there's a bucket and some soap inside."
"I'm in," Jazz said as he stretched and then looked over to Prowl.
"So am I," Prowl noted. One by one the rest of the Autobots agreed that being clean would certainly be nice.
"And you'll be helping," Melissa said as she began unlocking the building.
"Well yeah, it's a nice day and you probably need a bath too... Besides, would you want to be stuck covered in bug guts and dust? I didn't think so."
Sam shook his head - it was going to be a long afternoon (though he really couldn't argue a need for a bath himself).
Luckily Sam had a pair of shorts with him that lacked metal adornment, perfect for getting close to sensitive metal and prized paint jobs.
Sure enough, on the inside, the building was much more comfortable. It was a two-story flat-roofed structure that might have been a meeting hall or branch office at some point, though Sam couldn't fathom what it was doing in the middle of nowhere. A computer with a blinking wireless adapter sat against one wall in the half-divided downstairs, beside a couple of sofas. He dumped his bag on a chair in the makeshift kitchen while Melissa began to dig under the sink.
"There might be some canned food around," Melissa said as she bent over at the waist, showing more of her bottom than Sam thought he wanted to see and still think of her as a federal agent. "If not, there's a pizza place about ten miles away. I was here for my first mission... watching for an NBE that had been reported."
"You've always done this?" Sam asked. When Melissa held up a large, blue sponge in his general direction, he took it.
"Yeah," Melissa replied. There was a slight crash but Sam didn't look down. It just wasn't decent. "I suppose it's weird to you but I grew up doing this, so none of it bothers me."
"It's actually really... great to talk to Optimus," she continued. "I've been so curious. We've talked the entire time - well except when he was letting me touch him."
She produced a mostly-full bottle of green dish soap. Close enough. Sam almost dropped it.
"Touch him?" Sam was glad he was only trying to juggle dish soap, not anything he could have broken.
"Well, I wanted to know about how he processes sensation while in his adopted truck body," Melissa explained. "Like if he can feel where I'm sitting or if I accidentally kick a door panel when I'm stretching. I wanted to make sure I wasn't doing anything that would hurt him because I don't know if he'd tell me."
"So you..." She needed to find a bucket quickly, because Sam wasn't sure that he wanted to get to the end of the conversation.
"Bucket!" Melissa announced as she produced a red bucket from beneath the sink. "Kinda had to dump everything under the sun out of it, though."
She stood up and set the bucket on the table.
"I'm going to change. You should probably do the same," she said. "There are two bedrooms upstairs. Well, two rooms with beds. About as home-like as the rest of the place."
"Right..." Sam grabbed his bag and headed for the stairs at the other end of the main room. He hadn't noticed the television at first, but it looked modern and there was a game controller dangling from a box beside it. Obviously the government allowed a few... indulgences when it came to Sector Seven - even if they didn't really know about it.
"I've read your entire file, by the way," Melissa said as she followed him, high boots clunking on the wooden steps. "You're absolutely otherwise normal and unspectacular."
Sam frowned and stopped when he got to the top of the stairs. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Means that you're an excellent choice to be involved in all of this," Melissa replied as she walked past him and into one of the rooms. "Bathroom is at the end of the hall - let the water run for a minute after you turn it on."
Shaking his head, Sam turned and went into the other bedroom, closing the door a second after Melissa closed hers. He still didn't really like her, though most of it could be attributed to her Sector Seven upbringing.
As he stripped off his clothing, he began to hope the place had a washing machine - he only had a couple of clean shirts left in his bag along with the track shorts he was going to be using as swim trunks. He shook his head. Obviously he hadn't planned very well at all. Not that there was exactly a planning manual for cross-country trips with giant robots.
He made his way downstairs before Melissa had emerged from her room, even after a trip through the bathroom and discovering that her warning had been more than fair. For the first few seconds the tap had run a sludgy, rusty brown.
Doing the same with the kitchen sink, he began to fill the bucket with lukewarm water. Hopefully the twins wouldn't mind dishsoap. Ironhide or Ratchet likely wouldn't care, but some of the others... Sam wondered how they even handled automatic car-washes.
"I found some towels!"
Sam hadn't even heard Melissa come into the kitchen, but without her boots she was likely quite a bit more light-footed. He turned around to see her clutching an armload of multi-colored towels.
"I know these didn't use to be here," she continued. "Someone must have brought them and forgotten. Bad for them, good for us. I'm a bad traveller since I totally forgot to bring one of my own."
Sam nodded. He hadn't grabbed one either despite knowing there weren't going to be many motels in his future.
"Hey, I didn't mean to upset you," Melissa said once Sam turned the tap off. The bucket seemed to be mostly suds until he picked it up. Then it was just a bit over-filled and heavy. "I mean, about being ordinary. It sounds kinda nice, actually."
"It's okay," Sam said quickly even though it really wasn't. He wanted to get the car wash over with and see if the bed in his temporary bedroom was as comfortable as it looked.
There was no point in kidding himself - it could be as hard as a rock and it would probably feel like feathers.
When they stepped outside, Sam wasn't entirely surprised to see that a game of garbage-can-lid frisbee had broken out between the twins, Jazz, Camshaft and Clocker.
Melissa started laughing as she set the towels down on a second, still-whole can. For the first time, Sam got a good look at her swimsuit - two piece and white, not at all what he was expecting. Still, little skulls decorated the sides, making it a little closer to the rest of her wardrobe.
"Okay!" Melissa yelled as she grabbed the end of the hose and turned it on. "Who's first?"
"Sunny's first," Sideswipe said as he narrowly ducked being hit by an errantly tossed lid. "He thought of it."
"'Kay," Melissa said, waving the hose in the air and thoroughly soaking Sam with cool water. "Get over here and we'll get to work!"
He was still really trying not to like her. Because he just didn't want to be wrong.
Sunstreaker transformed and drove over to an area that wasn't as likely to involve flying garbage can lids (mainly because Prowl had shooed everyone off across the sprawling field behind the building) between the building and where the other Autobots sat in relative silence.
"This might be a little cold," Sam said, quite sure that it was going to be a little cold. Melissa had sprayed him again in the interim and the water was getting almost too icy despite it being a warm summer day.
"Hmm. Do you guys notice cold?" Melissa asked absently as she started hosing off Sunstreaker. "What about rainy days?"
Sam thought he saw the yellow Lamborghini shiver. That answered that.
The sun was dipping below the horizon when the two humans decided to call it a night. They'd managed to get through half of the group and Sam thought Melissa looked just as tired as he felt. Neither had really expected the 'bots to be as demanding as they were about exactly where to clean and touch and where they'd missed spots.
"Tomorrow," Melissa promised as she turned the hose off. It was getting a little cool and the combination of that and being soaking wet made Sam want to offer her the shirt he wasn't wearing. "Especially you, Optimus. I want you to tell me every little thing about how it feels."
She giggled and then headed into the building, Sam close behind her. "I'll call for pizza and get someone to drive me into town."
He hadn't even realized that he was hungry but suddenly food sounded like an amazingly genius idea.
"Then I'm going to bed," Sam commented. "I'll never look the same way at one of those fundraising cheerleader car wash things again."
"I don't even want to know how you looked at them to begin with," Melissa said as she bounded towards the stairs. They'd used all of the dry towels on the Autobots, leaving nothing for themselves.
"You know what I mean," Sam said. He momentarily wanted to stick out his tongue.
"I'm going to change and see about that pizza," Melissa announced. "You take a nice shower and get comfortable. Maybe find us some plates."
Sam nodded and headed for the bathroom. And he remembered to let the water run for a minute before indulging.
He was fully-dressed (thanks in part to an extra hand-towel which worked fairly well for drying) and downstairs before Melissa returned. He'd even managed to locate a pair of plates and some dusty paper napkins. The table wasn't even really worth setting, but he did it anyway. He hoped she'd stop and get soda as well, since the fridge seemed to only contain a jar of mustard and something in a plastic container that he didn't dare open.
Stepping out into the lot, Sam couldn't figure out why it was empty. And then he saw them, gleefully racing out on the road and through the field. Well, except for Prowl and Ratchet.. And Optimus, who was at least watching. He had told them to relax, after all.
Ironhide was the one missing - apparently he'd been the volunteer for the run into town. Unless Melissa's idea of 'volunteer' was akin to 'closest to the door when she stepped out of it'.
Sam almost missed the vehicle coming up the road - he would have entirely if he hadn't been looking for Ironhide's distinctive frame because he was starting to get really hungry. But it wasn't Ironhide approaching.
He'd settled down to sit on one of the upended garbage cans (he hadn't done it, but he would bet $20 that Sideswipe had) but got to his feet the second he realized that it was her.
Pulling into the lot in a skid, holographic driver jumping from physical body as she more unrolled than transformed, Arcee looked up to see Optimus curiously approaching. She yelled something in the harsh Cybertronian language as she straightened up and stopped broadcasting the hologram who had slumped like a forgotten doll for the few seconds between.
Sam winced, partly wishing he could understand and partly wishing he had ear plugs.
Optimus simply nodded and gestured for everyone else to go back to what they were doing (as if that did any good - they simply kept slowly circling closer, especially Bumblebee).
"English?" Sam asked as he looked up at Arcee.
"Sam," Optimus said, "I'd like you and Bumblebee to go with Arcee to check on something."
"After dinner?" Sam asked.
"Tomorrow," Arcee said. "We all need rest."
"So what are we checking on?" Sam didn't like agreeing to anything he didn't know the details of. He could think of quite a few times he'd ended up with extra chores that way.
"Another scout, Skyblast, found one of the points where the Decepticons have been regularly accessing the world wide web," Arcee explained. "He'll meet us there. So far he's only seen one possible Decepticon make the transmissions and he has no idea who it is."
"So it's... safe?"
"Nothing will happen to you, Sam," Bumblebee said from where he'd snuck into the conversation. "This should be quite simple."
"Where at?" Sam questioned. "Nearby?"
"About six hours away," Arcee answered. "A port town in Michigan situated directly beside large chemical factories."
Optimus nodded. Sam wasn't sure whether to be excited or not, but he took a bit of comfort from flipping the other garbage can (empty, probably had a nice yearly service) and offering it to both versions of Arcee before ending up with her hologram sitting beside him, legs dangling and bumping soundlessly against the metal until Melissa and Ironhide returned.
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!