For some reason, people seem to think I just…jumped into Strike's adulthood? That wasn't what I did. That was a Special for the milestone in reviews. And while it may be somewhat cannon, I wasn't planning on skipping Strike's entire childhood. We are back to out regularly scheduled fic. If you check the top, I will try to warn you all when Special's come up.


Strike stares at the door, a low hum escaping.

He likes the small mech, he decides, humming happily. Strike can tell he's dark- that he's seen the shadows of the world and had chosen to submerge himself in them for the sake of others- that he is happy, and friendly despite this. He appreciates a mech that can look at the dark and rather than be afraid chose to blend in with it.

Blaise had been that way, before the war had taken his friend.

Jazz wasn't Blaise, but Shadowstrike thought he could grow to enjoy the silver mech's company all the same. His optics drifted up to the twins who were staring at him intently.

Provided of course, that Sunstreaker and Sideswipe let him.

Despite what he had said, he could feel that the fact Jazz had been the one to trigger his memories of before made the twins…twitchy. He tilted his helm, chirping demandingly.

He wanted to know who he would be meeting next. It was obvious he was being introduced to the twins nearest and dearest, and he wanted to meet them all, even if he only got to spend a short amount of time with each due to Ratchet and the twins not wanting to stress him.

He knew from the twitching of derma the twins had picked up on his intense curiosity.

"Alright little one." Sideswipe shook his helm, his armor rippling over his frame for a moment before he turned to Ratchet, nodding once. Sunstreaker's armor rippled over himself before his servo curled slightly around Shadowstrike's form in a shielding gesture before he stilled, a behemoth gargoyle that stared down the door.

Ratchet turned his helm towards the door, summoning the next bot to be introduced to the little miracle.


Ironhide was not a very patient mech. He knew how to wait of course, how to stalk prey like a cyber-wolf, knew sometimes you would need to time a counterstrike perfectly.

He was not a patient mech by nature, but he had been forced to learn patience over the course of the war.

He was not very happy to see Protocol 9-8-3 go into effect. He'd seen it before, and the last time that had happened they had to send the Allspark off planet. The fact that the Twins were the ones to put it into effect worried him.

He had mentored the Twins for mega-vorns. He knew them. He had taught them, had tempered that survivalist mindset from the Gladiator Pits into a sharp blade wielded for the Autobots, had helped teach them trust and teamwork with others.

He knew, whatever they had found, it had to be big to cause his students to put the Protocol into effect. And for it to still be going on?

For them to pull in Optimus, and then Jazz?

Ironhide's instincts were screaming at him. He wondered what great battle was coming their way, what information Sunstreaker and Sideswipe had found, what actions he would soon have to take.

~Ratchet to Ironhide.~

~Go ahead.~

~Report to medbay~

Ironhide pulled himself to attention, easily changing his course towards Ratchet's Domain.

It seemed his questions would soon be answered. He tried not to wonder what would call first their Prime in, then the Special Ops Commander followed by the Weapons Specialist.

After visiting their Medical Officer.

His armor rattled slightly, instinctively. It was a warning, much like the Earth Rattlesnake. Ironhide would take on whatever- whoever- he needed to, to protect his own.

~On my way~