Neither Transformers nor Harry Potter is mine.

Roll out and read on.


Being stuck in a different dimension had its pros and cons. For one, Harry wasn't pleased he'd never see his friends again. His... outburst... at that revelation (he threw a fit, let's be honest) caused a blackout across all of London when he couldn't recreate the upstart dark lord's ritual to open a rift back home. No more Weasleys or Hermione, no more Luna or Neville or anyone. The upside was no more Dursleys, Ministry of Magic sycophants, fans of questionable loyalty, rogue Death Eaters, or Hallows hunters—but these benefits weren't worth their cost.

Because he destroyed a critical artifact when he killed Darth Magus, the muggleborn with delusions of grandeur and a Star Wars obsession, he didn't have the key necessary for the ritual and never would. Sure, he could still perform it, it just wouldn't go anywhere. It was the equivalent of building a vanishing cabinet without connecting it to anything. Useless.

So, with nothing to his name but enchanted armor, a handful of potions, his invisibility cloak, and his wand, Harry set out. From what he could tell, the only significant difference between this Earth and the one he was born to was the absence of the magical world. Only the magical world, though; wizards and witches, centaurs, dragons, potions, Hogwarts... Magic itself still existed.

Oh, did magic exist.

When the only wizard on the planet connected to magic on the new Earth for the first time, he got its undivided attention.

Harry could now say with authority that being the sole object of attention for a primal, godlike force was utterly terrifying. She—for he called it Gaia—thought this new being that could talk back was fascinating and decided to forge a stronger connection to him so they could contact each other more frequently.

It gave him headaches, and he got a lot of miscellaneous information unasked in response to idle wonderings, but he could ask about anything he wanted, too. Usually he learned something useful; if a place was safe, if a person was telling the truth, directions or historical information, or similar. Gaia was often hard to interpret, however, because she 'talked' in images, impressions, feelings, and raw information. Harry was getting better with practice, but never had he been more confused than the day he asked about the Hallows on a whim.

Death's Cloak, the only Hallow he kept and the only one he used more than once, was strange to Gaia. She examined it through him, possessing him for the second time to use him as her Hand, then withdrew, leaving a bundle of perplexing knowledge behind. Some of it was clear, with images from his own memory but rearranged, like the triangular symbol and the times he'd used each Hallow, and some was more abstract, like the feeling of something broken and of unfathomable distance. Just as he wondered if he needed to be worried—about the wand (and the stone) still being in the other dimension and accessible by power seekers, or about the three objects being separated so absolutely—Gaia told him there was no need to be concerned and sent him relief and calm. That was good.

Whenever he reminisced about his friends, she hugged him. She couldn't tell him anything about how they were doing, but she was there for him. Not alone—here—connected—support—remember... She nudged the memories of good times forward, preserving their clarity and warmth.

Sometimes, she was the one to call on him, and Harry would have to go see or do whatever Gaia wanted. Help the injured dog. Find the lost child. Put out the fire.

Today's request was a little trickier. From away—space—walking metal change—several—like [metal face frozen in ice]—like near [Cube]?

Did she want him to go find something that crashed on Earth? Alien machines from space? Burning trench—THERE—

With Gaia giving Harry a location, he apparated to the trench, but the place was abandoned and the broad footsteps that led away from it went straight to the closest road and disappeared. He couldn't use any guiding or directional magic without knowing better what he was looking for, and Gaia couldn't offer any more help than blurry images of cars and motion. Every lead was a dead end and Harry went to bed exhausted with nothing to show for it.


Learn—see!

Harry jerked awake as his heartbeat skyrocketed and his mind went from zero to a hundred. This was followed by clumsily leaping out of bed, catching his ankle in a twist of bedsheet, and nearly breaking his nose by face-planting into the floor. "Ow." He lay there, waiting until his mind caught up with the rest of him. "Come on, Gaia, really...?"

Small regret—excitement—new, look!

He sighed and pushed himself up off the floor to dress with half a mind while Gaia told the other half all about the aliens.

She didn't know very much about them yet, honestly, but since they came from space and were, therefore, entirely new (she hadn't been part of their lives from beginning to now), she was eager to learn more. It wasn't every day a planet encountered something new, after all. The good thing for Gaia was that the longer the beings ran around on her surface, the more she would learn. Of course, she also wanted her mobile representative to go see them and share in the wonder.

Not jumping around gleefully like a child was difficult with her excitement bleeding across to him, but he limited himself to just chuckling.

Yawning, Harry realized it was still the middle of the night and he'd gotten little more than a nap after looking at the crash sites. Energy. "Thanks, Gaia." Well, he was completely dressed now. "Alright, so where are they?"

[Meeting of five]—[two young humans]—looking for ?—moving—[house of the boy]—changing ones [outside the house]

"Got it." Harry held onto the last two images and apparated to the teenager's yard. He appeared with a pop near the edge of the yard and right next to a large metal foot. The owner of that foot, the humanoid mechanical being with bright yellow paint and red accents, jumped in surprise and tripped over a hedge and into power lines that were unluckily at his eye level. Emergency lights on him flashed as he yelped and fell with a ground-shaking landing. Power flickered and the nearest transformer failed with a burst of sparks. "Shit! Sorry sorry, are you okay?" The power failure cascaded up and down the whole street, plunging them into darkness.

The fallen one groaned. "Wow, that was tingly... You have to try that!"

"Yeah, that looks fun," the large black and silver one watching them said dismissively while the other got back to his feet. Eyes of bright blue light focused on Harry as he bent down toward him, and he activated a light to better see the interloper. "Who are you and where did you come from?"

"I'm Harry, and I just came from Scotland to meet you. Gaia is excited you've come to Earth. What are you looking for? Are the two people inside helping you?" Harry covered his mouth to halt the flow of questions. Gaia's enthusiasm could easily have him rambling on.

"How did you know we came to this planet?"

"Gaia told me when you all landed! Though that one," he pointed to the other yellow mechanical being, "arrived before you, like a few others, and one crashed here a long time ago and has been frozen since then, and—"

"What are you doing out here!?" An irritated male teenager now stood at a second floor window, hissing at the nearest being, the tallest of the five who was distinguishable by his blue and red coloring. "And what's with the light, you gotta stop with the light!"

Black-and-silver turned away from Harry with a brief, dismissive "Ratchet, watch him," to shift back towards the house and whisper intently. "Hurry!"

Anyone with lights on turned them off as the kid kept insisting and Blue-and-red slashed a hand to the side—everyone got as quiet as possible. The teenager left the window to deal with people who were likely his parents and Ratchet gestured for Harry to follow as they hid themselves around the house, out of sight of the upstairs windows. A small silver being nearly got caught when the father leaned out one window and had to quickly duck into the back porch behind a yellow comrade.

His flashlight swept across the ruins of the yard to land on a pile of broken rock that may or may not have been a fountain five minutes ago. "Oh no, look at the yard; the yard is destroyed!" The failed transformer started audibly protesting the restoration of power, and the unhappy man jerked the flashlight up to look at it. "Ah, Judy? Better call the city, we got a blown transformer! Power pole sparkling all over the place..." Complaining, he aimed his flashlight regretfully back at the lawn and fountain. "Oh man, that's a waste. Trashed! Gone!" He left the window.

Black-and-silver's commentary on the situation was less than helpful. "The parents are very irritating," he whispered to Blue-and-red. The parents had been arguing about something with their son the whole time, long enough for the street's brief blackout to end. "Can I take them out?"

"Ironhide! We do not harm humans!" Harry was pretty sure he was just trying to be humorous, but Red-and-blue was too stressed by the situation to pick up on that. "What is with you?"

"Well, I'm just saying we could. It's an option." Harry bit back a snort but Ratchet heard him anyway and sent him what he felt was a disapproving look as they retreated from the immediate vicinity of the house. The family of three plus the girl (a sister? —not a relative—) all went downstairs.

Ironhide rounded on him almost immediately and Harry got to see his left hand shift into a cannon up close. Watching the quickly moving pieces rearrange themselves was so interesting he completely forgot to be concerned about the fact that a large weapon was pointed at him. "The Changing Ones... No wonder! Can you do that again?"

"Yes...? No, wait, who are you?" he turned to Red-and-blue. "Optimus, this strange human just appeared. What do we do with him?" The cannon did not waver from its target.

"He said his name was Harry, and that someone named Gaia told him about us," Ratchet explained, retelling what Harry had said when introducing himself to Ironhide.

All five metal faces looked down at him curiously. "Who is this Gaia?" Optimus asked. "How did you—or she—know where to find us?"

"Gaia is our planet. She is Mother Earth, the giver of life. She told me where you were and to come meet you, so I came. She wants to learn about you because you are the Changing Ones of another Creator." Warning—[black cars] coming—want/seek [the boy holding up a pair of old glasses, grinning]. "He found glasses but people are coming to his house right now. Why are the glasses so important? Who is this kid?" ["Are you Samuel James Witwicky, descendent of Archibald Witwicky?"] "Sam Witwicky? You came to find him in particular..."

"'Hold your horses!' '...Changing Ones of another Creator.' 'Wha'chu talkin' 'bout, son?'" asked Yellow-not-Ratchet via radio clips and a recording.

It took Harry a second to figure out what he was asking. "Well, you can change yourselves," Harry pointed at Ironhide's cannon, which had previously been a hand, "and you weren't created by Gaia. You're from a different planet."

"We are from the planet Cybertron and, no, Gaia is not our Creator. Our race was created by Primus. We are autonomous robotic organisms, and you may call us Autobots," Optimus explained. His patient tone and lack of alarm, signals that Ironhide wouldn't need his cannon, had Ironhide shifting it away to an inactive state.

"Awesome." It took a small effort of will on Harry's part to focus on the situation at hand. "So why are you here? Do you need any help?"

"We are searching for the Allspark. It—"

Silver interrupted. "They're taking the kids!" Yellow whined and the car doors arranged like wings at his back sagged.

"We cannot lose them! Follow those humans and prepare to intercept." Sounds of assent precluded the four Autobots transforming into human vehicles, disguises nearly indistinguishable from genuine originals. "Harry, we are searching for the Allspark to keep it out of the hands of Megatron, one who would destroy us all. Do you wish to help us?"

Speaks truth—go?

"Yes!"

"Thank you, Harry." Optimus transformed into a semi-truck, the largest of the five vehicles, and opened the cabin door for Harry to climb in.

Seconds later they were in pursuit. "What is the Allspark? Why can't Megatron be allowed to get it?"

Optimus' voice came through the radio clearly. "In the beginning, Primus created an object we know only as the Cube. The Cube contains his power, the Allspark, and that is what built our world and gave us life. With it, Megatron could raise an army from man's machines and eradicate all life on Earth."

"What!? No! We can't let that happen!"

"We will not. We need Sam Witwicky's help because his glasses have the Cube's location etched in their lenses."

"They do? How?"

"Sam Witwicky's great-great-grandfather, Archibald Witwicky, found Megatron frozen in ice and accidentally activated his navigation systems. Megatron had pursued the Cube to Earth but crashed before he could reach it and has been dormant since."

Harry remembered Gaia mentioning the one who'd crashed on Earth long ago. That must be Megatron. If that was Megatron, then the Cube she showed him—[Cube]?—must be the Cube! Gaia, where is [Cube]?

This place—[big cavern, people and equipment surrounding the giant Cube]—underground

Where is that place? What's on the surface above the cavern?

[Thick tall dam]—many people visit every day—[crowds]

"The Cube is hidden under a dam?" Harry blurted in surprise.

Optimus almost stalled. "What did you say?"

Apologetically, he explained. "Gaia knows where the Cube is, but I don't recognize the place she showed me. I could go find out, but I can't bring you with me if I do, and Sam is still in trouble."

"Helping us is likely the reason the other humans came for him, so we will get him back before heading towards the Cube. Besides that, I believe Bumblebee has grown attached to the boy."

"Bumblebee is the yellow Autobot's name?"

"Yes. He is Sam and Mikaela's guardian. Now is not the time to introduce you to the others—you will meet them properly when we can stop—but I am Optimus Prime."

Harry tried not to feel awkward about sitting in the cab of a truck that was actually a transformed sentient being who was also talking to him. He mostly succeeded. "Nice to meet you, Optimus Prime. I'm Harry Potter. And, er, sorry about earlier, with the... power lines and..."

"When you surprised my medical officer?" Harry could hear the raised eyebrow in Optimus' tone and wished he knew how to do that. "How did you get into the Witwickys' backyard unnoticed?"

"Honestly, I teleported there. I can do that. It's part of a long story." An unimportant part of a very long story.

"Humans are capable of teleportation?"

"No. Just me."

After a short silence, Optimus changed the subject. "We're almost at the intercept point. You will need to get out so I can stop the car holding Sam. Are you ready, Harry?"

"Yep. Just say when."

Harry was out the door the second it opened and before Optimus even finished giving the signal. On the ground, he had a clear view of the transformation from semi-truck to the Autobot in all his glory. It was like watching a giant metal animagus.

He was about to start studying the animagus transformation when he got stuck here. Gaia noticed his thoughts, he felt it, but didn't say anything, merely let him know she was there. He shook his head to banish the thoughts.

Optimus glanced at Harry once, then took a few long strides down onto a stretch of freeway. The four cars weren't going to notice him until it was too late, so Harry tossed a handful of minute protection charms onto the passengers of the lead car just before it collided with the Autobot leader's leg as Harry ran after him. The other three cars screeched to a halt, scattered around them, and Optimus lifted the lead car by its roof and waited for the main body to break free and fall while the passengers screamed in panic.

Sam Witwicky and Mikaela were sitting in the backseat. Harry, who finally reached Optimus' side, could see the smug looks on both of their faces, though they flickered with confusion when they saw him with Optimus. "You animals are in trouble now. Gentlemen, I want to introduce to you my friend. Optimus Prime." All the men from the other cars scrambled out of them to surround the topless car in a loose guard formation with guns in hand, aimed at Optimus and ready to fire.

"Taking the children was a bad move. Autobots, relieve them of their weapons!"

At his command, the other four Autobots appeared from their hiding places in the support structure of a train overpass a short distance back down the freeway to surround the humans. "Freeze!" Ironhide primed cannons, and Harry hoped he wasn't as trigger-happy as he acted.

"Gimme those!" Silver disarmed all the humans simultaneously by summoning their guns to his hand with some kind of magnetic force.

Effectively declawed, they left their hands up and one of the men decided to speak up and try to salvage the situation. "Hi there."

Optimus crouched down to look at the spokesman closer. "You don't seem afraid. Are you not surprised to see us?"

"Look. There are... S7 protocols. Okay? I'm not authorized to communicate with you except to tell you I can't communicate with you."

"Get out of the car."

"Alright, alright, me, you want me to—"

"Now!"

"Al-alright," he turned around to tell the others in the car, "get out." He turned back to Optimus, hands still up. "Alright, I'm getting out. I'm, I'm getting out, you see?" Everyone carefully climbed out of the ruined car. "Very nifty how you put us down without really killing us." Nervous, he turned to the closest government agent while Mikaela undid Sam's handcuffs off to the side. "How ya doin'? How's it goin' there, man? This is real! Now listen, if I choose to engage with him, mum's the word, alright?" He made eye contact with each of the agents, who gave jerky nods. "Big guys, big guys with big guns."

Sam, short one pair of handcuffs courtesy of Mikaela, immediately walked over with her to the lead agent to interrogate him. "What is Sector 7? Answer me!"

"I'm the one who asks questions around here, not you young man!" Faced with a pair of teenagers, he tried to put his spine back in place.

"How'd you know about the aliens?" Mikaela added. That's what Harry wondered, because the Autobots hadn't gone seeking them and Gaia only spoke to Harry. How would they know the things from space weren't just pieces of stellar debris?

"Where did you take my parents?"

"I am not at liberty to discuss—hey, you touch me, that's a federal offence!"

Sam flipped open the wallet he fished out of the man's pocket. "Do-whatever-you-want-and-get-away-with-it badge, right?"

"Brave now all of a sudden with his big alien friends standing over there..." he griped.

"Where is Sector 7?"

"Wouldn't you like to know?"

Following a hunch, Harry commented airily, "It wouldn't happen to be beneath a certain dam, would it?" The man and most of the others turned tellingly to look at him in surprise. A red rubber object to fly past the leader's head the instant after he moved. However distracting the object was, Harry knew he'd guessed correctly.

Bumblebee, the source of the harmless projectile, started relieving himself on the snarky talker. "Hey, hey! Hey!"

"Bumblebee, stop lubricating the man!" Optimus may have been disapproving, but most of the agents were startled into laughing silently and Mikaela had covered her grinning face. It wasn't every day a guy got to see someone soaked in alien whiz.

Aforementioned soaked agent didn't think it was so funny. "Get that thing to stop, huh? And you!" He twisted back to Harry. "Who the hell are you?"

Connection to others—listening—[agent standing next to the leader]

"Mm, I'm a friend of theirs. You may find out eventually, but for now..." He stalled towards the man Gaia indicated, visually searched him, then shot out a hand to seize the palmed cell phone. The screen was lit and a call was live and set to speakerphone. "...They can just wait in suspense." He sent a wave of thanks to Gaia for the warning and knew that if this group was connected back to their home base, others would be incoming if they weren't already. Harry showed the phone to Optimus before killing it with a surge of magic. Those nearest flinched at the sharp electric squeal. "All of you, line up over there, by the curb." Harry tossed the phone over his shoulder and it clattered to the ground, snapping shut. "How to tie you up..."

"How about handcuffs?" Mikaela lifted Sam's.

"Perfect!" Together, the three of them made short work of retrieving each agent's handcuffs and then chaining each man to his neighbor until they reached their lubricated leader.

Mikaela wasn't content to leave him merely handcuffed. "Alright tough guy, take it off."

"What are you talking about?"

"Your clothes, all of it, off."

"For what?" Harry and Mister Lubricated asked together, in completely different tones. Harry was just curious, but the other man gave him an insulted look.

Mikaela took a breath. "For threatening my dad." Sam moved to her side in a show of support and they both just looked at the guy.

"Little lady, this is the beginning of the end of your life. You're a criminal. M-hm. Face facts, it's in your gene pool." The jacket, button-down, and tie all came off. He was wearing a white undershirt with an S7 Superman-esque decal on the chest.

"Please, do you ever stop talking?" That last comment had reminded Harry of Snape, though it just didn't have the same level of insult Snape's snide remarks always did.

The belt and pants followed the upper garments, which let them see Hawaiian print boxers even cornier than the shirt. They said 'Aloha'. "Those are nice. Now get behind the pole!" And the back of the shirt had 'Simmons' on it like a jersey.

"This is such a felony, what you're doing," the cellphone user said as Mikaela cuffed Simmons to the phone pole and Sam brought the last pair of handcuffs to connect the two, completing the chain of men.

"I will hunt you down. Without any remorse!" Simmons' handcuffs buddy echoed him.

"Oh shut up, your buddies will be here... soon... enough?" Did he hear helicopters?

"Optimus, incoming!" Yes, those were helicopters, and another set of cars. The Autobots remobilized and Ironhide sent a shockwave from one cannon to stall those approaching while Sam, Mikaela, and Harry ran back behind the defensive line.

"Roll out!" All but Optimus transformed immediately to get moving and Optimus lowered his hand to the three of them. "Up ya get." He lifted them to his shoulders after they climbed onto his hand and he started running with the helicopters in pursuit. He fled into the city and ducked around buildings to escape their search lights, then snuck to a nearby canal to hide in the support structure of a bridge. They waited with baited breath as the searchers started checking inside the canal and helicopters passed beneath their bridge. "Easy you three."

Harry held himself in place on Optimus' left while Mikaela, now on the back of his head, and Sam, on his right, shifted to watch the helicopters go under them. "Hold still," Harry tried to warn them, "or you'll—" Mikaela leaned a little too far forward and slipped, catching Sam's arm as she fell and pulling him loose too. "Shit!"

"I'm slipping, I'm slipping!" Mikaela tried to get a grip on Sam's sleeve as she dangled and Harry scrambled over to Optimus' opposite shoulder towards Sam, who hung by only one hand. He added sticking charms to both their hands but their strength was limited (a sticking charm attaching something directly to someone's skin could cause injury if the sticking charm was stronger that the skin it was cast upon and enough force was applied) and they couldn't stop the teens from falling. Sam lost his grip on Optimus just as Harry reached him and Harry jumped after them, launching himself from Optimus to catch them both in his arms and surround all three of them in a shield of magic to protect them from impact. Falling on the ground would feel like falling on pillows, but the shield would burst after the first hit.

Optimus swung his legs down to try and catch them on his foot before they dropped too far, but they careened off it and Harry's shield popped with them halfway to the ground. Before he could make another, Bumblebee arrived, rushing in from the side to catch them. They all tumbled to the ground safely, but now they were in the open with no time to hide. Optimus still hung from the overpass at least, so Harry lifted him back into place before he could be seen and put a human-keyed notice-me-not charm over him that would last as long as Harry was close enough to keep it going.

Spotlights hit them as he was turning back around to look at Bumblebee. Cables shot by the helicopters caught Bumblebee's arms and legs, dragging him off balance, and he toppled.

The helicopters kept him down with taut lines as a fleet of black vehicles closed in on their group of four from both directions. Half the men that poured out of them went to Bumblebee to shoot him with freezing gas while two teenagers and a wizard unwilling to use his magic on relatively innocent people got the other half. These men who moved like soldiers, while irritating and an inconvenience to their mission, were not their true enemies and Harry wasn't keen on revealing his unique abilities by using them on those who did not deserve his wrath.

Forced to wait and see how the situation played out, Harry lifted his hands in the air and went to his knees in compliance with the shouts of the weapon-toting agents surrounding him. The other two did the same, though it was more of an automatic reaction to the show of force and not a conscious decision.

Harry's hands were pulled behind his back roughly and he was pushed all the way to the ground and handcuffed. Once restrained, he was brought stumbling back to his feet and guided away from Bumblebee as Sam shouted about the rough treatment of the Autobot who wasn't acting hostile. "Look, he's not fighting back! Somebody, hey!" No one listened, and he twisted free of the person trying to handcuff him to attack one of the users of the freezing guns. He grappled with the unprepared man, gaining his gun, and another tackled him and pinned him to the ground.

It pained him to witness this, especially the violent treatment of Bumblebee, but if Harry acted now, he would only exacerbate their problems. He didn't want to escalate the situation, especially after it had been escalated once already.

Escorted on either side by soldiers who had a solid grip on each arm, he walked to the supervising Simmons like he wasn't handcuffed or being led against his will.

The Sector 7 operation leader had regained his damp slacks and put on a bulletproof vest in the intervening time. "Ah, our mystery British man. And Sam!" Also in handcuffs, Sam arrived beside him. "Happy to see me again?" Sam looked upset and didn't try to hide it as he looked at Simmons, but Harry put a happy grin on his face for the sake of being irritating. The cocky man's expression flickered. "Put them in the car with their little criminal friend."

Pushed into the back seat of one of the vehicles after Sam, his first comment after the door was shut behind him was, "Is this what being in a police car feels like?"

"Who are you?" Mikaela whispered at him, looking at him like he was crazy. Sam just looked appalled.

"I'm Harry. I came to meet our new friends and decided to join them." His shoulders were also starting to hurt, so he shifted in his seat and vanished the handcuffs.

"But—when did you—how—" Neither of them had seen him appear at the Witwickys' house. Harry made sure none of the guards outside the vehicle were looking in at them before bringing a free hand up and putting a single finger in front of his lips.

Sam went silent and Mikaela's eyes widened. Harry quickly returned his hand behind his back. "Bumblebee will be okay," he murmured, "I'll make sure of it. So will you." He winked at them. "Just be a little patient, okay?"

"Does everyone know how to get out of handcuffs but me?"

Mikaela overrode Sam's petulance. "How did you get out of your handcuffs so quickly?"

"How did you?" Sam shot back at her.

"That took several minutes!" she hissed at him. "And they were barely loose enough last time!"

Their silent staring contest was brief and they both shifted their attention back to him quickly. Harry, realizing exactly what a truthful answer would sound like and how much he would relish saying it for the first time in his life, grinned like it was Christmas Day. "Magic." They rolled their eyes at him and sighed like the teenagers they were.

Harry was still cackling when the Sector 7 people got into their car.

They didn't speak again—and weren't spoken to beyond being given orders and having two pairs of handcuffs removed—until they were transferred to a holding facility to board a helicopter just before dawn, a helicopter with two other civilians among the people who were definitely trained soldiers. Sam broke the conversational silence just after takeoff. "So."

"What've they got you for?" the unknown blond woman sitting in one of the seats across from them asked. Beside her was a dark skinned man wearing a red jersey and glasses.

"Uh, I bought a car... Turned out to be an alien robot. Who knew?"

Harry checked on Bumblebee's position again with Gaia. They may have been separated, but whatever helicopter was carrying the Autobot had travelled in the same direction they were going now and had just landed. Bumblebee was back on the ground and moving slowly, likely not under his own power.

The minute the dam came into view, Harry nearly choked on his own breath. That was the same structure hiding the Cube, and as they approached, Harry began to sense its energy. He'd never felt anything like it, but it couldn't possibly be anything else, not after the basic information Optimus gave him about it. Gaia confirmed it.

"That's the Hoover Dam," Sam said, awed and confused.

Harry tried to estimate how much time they had before landing. He could probably get away with something brief. Gaia. Can you help me get a message to Optimus? [Memory of a patronus message]

Assent—relax—will carry

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes and sank into the seat of the helicopter as he exhaled. Gaia cradled his mind and, in the blink of an eye, he was a floating being of light manifested in front of Optimus and the other three Autobots. "Optimus Prime, it's Harry. Do you hear me?"

"Yes." Blue mechanical eyes shone brightly as they focused on his insubstantial form.

He spoke quickly. "The Cube is beneath the Hoover Dam. Bumblebee is there, and Sam, Mikaela, and I are about to arrive."

"We are on the way, Harry."

"See you soon." He dissolved, and Gaia carried him back to his body in the helicopter. Thank you. He inhaled deeply and looked around himself. Everyone else in the helicopter was paying more attention to their descent than to him, so no one noticed his absence.

The helicopters couldn't land on the Hoover Dam itself, but a short drive in a standard issue black SUV later and they stood at the top of the historical hydroelectric landmark that doubled as the cover for a secret base. The five of them took the part of tourists for only a few minutes before the soldiers escorted them out of the public areas of the dam and towards an access tower on the reservoir side.

Simmons, in official uniform and wearing sunglasses and a military beret-thing that Harry had never known the proper name of, was waiting for them on the bridge across to it. "Hey, kid," he greeted Sam, though his eyes shifted to Mikaela and Harry next. "I think we got off to a bad start, huh? You must be hungry. You want a latte, ho-ho, double venti macchiatto?"

Unwilling to entertain the ass-kissing, Sam demanded, "Where's my car?"

Simmons said nothing, but another man with a suspiciously higher-rank bearing came to speak to Sam. "Son, I need you to listen to me very carefully. People can die, here. We need to know everything you know. We need to know it now."

"Okay. First I'll take my car, my parents... Maybe you should write that down. Oh, and her juvie record! That's gotta be gone... like, forever."

"Come with me. We'll talk about your car." Pleased, Sam and Mikaela turned to follow Simmons' superior.

Moving to follow, Harry caught Simmons parting comment. "Man's an extortionist."

"Well, you did steal his car and kidnap a sentient being at the same time," Harry tossed over his shoulder. "He has a good reason." Mikaela snorted and Harry skipped a step forward. "Sam," he said more quietly so only the pair directly in front could hear him, "Bumblebee is below us. We should see him again very soon."

"How do you know?" Sam asked, just a quietly.

"Can't say here. But Optimus is coming." Sam and Mikaela both sighed lightly in relief. Harry wondered what their theories about his seemingly sourceless knowledge were.

It was a motley group of civilians, soldiers, government agents, and field experts that were led to the base of the Hoover Dam by Simmons. "Alright, here's the situation. You've all had direct contact with the NBEs."

"NBE?"

"Non-biological extraterrestrials, try to keep up with the acronyms." Harry was going to jinx the man of he maintained this abrasive better-than-thou attitude, it was even worse with them all on his home turf. They were led into a tunnel complex while Harry imagined how he might curse Simmons.

The other Sector 7 member, the other who spoke to Sam before they all came down here, took over the running commentary. "What you're about to see is totally classified!" The air temperature dropped markedly as they reached the end of the tunnel and walked into an open subterranean cavern containing a large frozen figure being actively showered in liquid nitrogen.

Harry groaned, "This just got so much worse." He didn't need to be told who the being before them was. It was the same figure Gaia showed him so many hours ago, the one who crash-landed on Earth searching for the Cube.

"What is this?" asked a man whose bearing screamed politician. Honestly, it was the American flag lapel pin that cinched it.

"We think, when he made his approach over the north pole, our gravitational field screwed up his telemetry. He crashed in the ice, probably a few thousand years ago. We shipped him here to this facility in 1934."

"Call him NBE1," said the fan of acronyms when the group reached the frozen hostile's platform.

"Sir, I don't mean to correct you on everything you think you know, but... That's Megatron. He's the leader of the Decepticons." The Decepticons? That would be easy to remember.

Their guide turned to Sam. "He's been in cryostasis since 1935. Your great-great-grandfather made one of the greatest discoveries of mankind."

"The fact is, you're looking at the source of the modern age," Simmons stated theatrically, narrating as they all looked up at Megatron. "Microchip, lasers, space flight, cars; all reverse engineered by studying him. NBE1. That's what we call it."

"What you call him doesn't change the fact that his name is Megatron and you have an extremely hostile alien warlord in your basement." All eyes went to Harry.

They didn't stay on him. "You didn't think the United States military might need to know about this?" Who was this politician? He wasn't the president, but he had to be high on the food chain to talk like this.

"Until these events, we had no credible threat to national security."

"Well you got one now." That just made Harry wonder how much had happened recently beyond Optimus Prime's group landing and what constituted the threat to national (probably more than just the United States') security.

[battles in the desert]—[Decepticons attacking]—[the soldiers standing with their group] from

A soldier, fresh from the field if his appearance (and Gaia's information) was anything to go by, asked, "So why Earth?"

"It's the Allspark."

"Allspark?" The politician turned back around. "What's that?"

"The Allspark is the incomprehensibly powerful giant Cube over that way." Harry was able to point directly toward it, though that meant nothing to the others with walls between them and it. "It's also the very last thing the warlord here," Harry waved at Megatron, "should have been stored next to."

"Megatron is pretty much the harbinger of death and wants to use the Cube to transform all the machines on Earth into his army and take over the universe," Sam elaborated. "That's their plan." Faces paled around them as they put two and two together and got a nuclear bomb. "Are they seriously next door to each other?"

Harry rubbed a hand across his face and tried not to think about how typically Murphy it was or about how he was certain the Law had a special Harry Potter addendum. 'Anything that can go wrong will go wrong as soon as Harry Potter arrives.' Megatron was probably going to escape within the next day or so if he was lucky, and within mere hours if he wasn't.

"Follow me."

They were lead out of Megatron's cavern and—"You're about to see our crown jewel," Simmons said, opening an average-sized door—into an old office. A set of fair-sized windows were set into the opposite wall, so they could all see into the much larger cavern the office overlooked and see the Cube in the center of it. The massive thing was breathtaking, was surrounded by people and equipment, and had scaffolding crawling up the side of it.

Gaia wanted him to go touch it.

Harry would have to wait for his chance to do that. He certainly couldn't apparate down there, not so close to something so powerful even in a dormant state, and he wasn't going to run off like an idiot when surrounded by soldiers.

"Carbon dating puts the Cube here around 10,000BC. The First Seven didn't find it until 1913. They knew it was alien cause of the matching hieroglyphics on the Cube as well as NBE1. President Hoover had the dam built around it. Four football fields thick of concrete: a perfect way to hide its energy from being detected by anyone or any alien species on the outside." Anyone except Harry, but he was the planet-talking wizard.

"Wait, back up. You said the dam hides the Cube's energy. What kind, exactly?"

The Australian woman's question brought them up and out of the secret areas, through the hall of giant water turbines that generated the dam's power and to a room somewhere above the Cube. "Please, step inside." The room was lined in concrete and steel. A glass-walled strongbox stood in the center, connected to the ceiling by more technology. "They have to lock us in." The thick blast door was shut behind them and all outside sound immediately diminished to near silence.

The soldiers noticed the deep claw marks damaging the walls and patches of torn sheet metal. "Oh, wow. Some Freddy Krueger been up in here or somethin?"

"No, man," jersey guy said, "Freddy Krueger have four blades. That's only three, man, that's Wolverine!" He mimed a slash with his own sound effect added and the soldier's unamused look was missed as he turned to the others in the room nervously, looking for agreement. "Right? That's Wolverine!"

"That's very funny," Simmons said with an expression matching the soldier's, an expression that cut off the laughter immediately. "Anybody have any mechanical devices; Blackberry, key alarm, cell phone?"

"I got a phone." The Redskins fan tossed his to Simmons.

He inspected the thing while tinted goggles were passed out to everyone in the room. The phone was opened and placed in the center of the box through a hatch. "Hoo, Nokias are real nasty. You gotta respect the Japanese. They know the way of the samurai." Simmons slammed the hatch closed and locked it.

"Nokia is from Finland," the Australian said quietly to the man beside her as they both peered into the box at the phone.

Harry didn't hear the politician's quiet response from the opposite side of the box. He was distracted by the buildup of energy in the Cube that made all his hair rise on end. "We're able to take the Cube radiation and funnel it into that box." A tiny bolt of visible energy went to the cellphone from the robotic arm channeling it.

Gaia was a strong presence in Harry's mind as they both watched the badly transferred Allspark static create life before their very eyes. The cellphone became a tiny four-limbed creature that immediately tried to escape and then attacked the walls of the box that rebuffed the attempt. "Mean little sucker, huh?"

"That thing is freaky!" Her words made Harry frown. Something is wrong, here... He put a hand gently on the glass, trying to get a better feeling of the new being inside. He was the only one to get closer.

Simmons circled around them. "Kinda like the itty bitty Energizer Bunny from hell, huh?" Skittering around, it formed a miniature rocket launcher and machine gun to attack the walls. The micro-bullets cracked but didn't breach the glass and the rockets left only scorch marks, but the furious assault continued and the damage started adding up. If nothing was done, the creature would escape soon.

Harry pulsed magic in his hand and that got its attention just like a clap or flash of light would have. It froze, zeroed in on him, then lunged at the glass beneath his hand to scratch away at it in a whirlwind of knife-like needle-thin claws.

That contact was all Harry needed. With Gaia's help augmenting his senses, the wizard could tell that this little being was acting so hostile for one big reason: the Allspark energy that brought it to life was handled poorly.

It's young soul was unstable and poorly seated in its body, and it woke up in pain. It was terrified immediately upon reaching consciousness and, trapped in a box surrounded by strange beings that were a logical cause of its feelings, it acted with hostility. If Harry could calm it down, then maybe—

"Augh, it's breaking the box." A heavy electrical charge killed the being instantly.

Harry flinched back in horror, looking at the charred and smoking corpse. Within a minute, a living being had just been brought to life and destroyed right in front of him. "I never want to see that happen again," he said with disgust, tearing the goggles off his head and tossing them away.

"That was..." Mikaela couldn't find words for what she'd just witnessed, but she didn't have the understanding Harry did.

"That was murder." Before anyone could say anything about that, the lights flickered, signaling Murphy's Law coming into effect. Harry sighed. What happened?

Attack on the surface—enemies—[the Autobots en route, close]

"And that was the Decepticons," he added.

"Gentlemen, they know the Cube is here," said the politician, looking up like the rest of them, in the direction of the attack far above.

The Sector 7 leader went to a communications speaker on a desk pushed against the wall. "Banacheck, what's going on?"

"The NB1 hanger has lost power, and—"

"What!?"

"—the backup generator—it's just not gonna cut it," reported a voice that was holding back panic.

"Do you have an arms room?" demanded the soldier that rushed forward.

Everyone fled the room, following the S7 leader. "Get everyone to the NB1 chamber, now!" he yelled, ordering all personnel within earshot as their group ran back down into areas thick with soldiers arming themselves. Power fluctuated again and the lights flickered ominously. "They're popping our generators!"

It didn't take long to reach an armory, and Sam stalked over to Simmons impatiently after taking in the disciplined, rapid activity. "You gotta take me to my car." Simmons, loading a rifle, didn't look at him, so Sam insisted. "You have to take me to my car, he's gonna know what to do with the Cube."

"Your car? He's confiscated."

"Then unconfiscate it."

"We do not know what'll happen if we let any of this—"

"You don't know—"

"Nobody knows, maybe you know, but I don't know!"

"You just wanna sit here and wait and see what happens?"

"I have people's lives at stake here, young man!"

Sick and tired of the stupid argument, the same questions-asking soldier shoved Simmons against the nearest vehicle. "Take him to the car!"

Everyone pulled guns on each other and the uniformed soldiers started taking out the agents, so Harry whistled, sharp and loud, and a wave of paralyzing magic stopped all the fighting cold. "Stop!" The magic released and everyone kind of stumbled to look at him as he approached Simmons and the soldier. "Simmons, either you take us to him the easy way or I go find him by force, and I swear you will not enjoy the second option," Harry warned the man so determined to butt heads with Sam.

"Under S7 executive jurisdiction, I order—"

"S7 don't exist," another soldier interrupted, the man who made the Freddy Krueger comment earlier.

"Right, and we don't take orders from people who don't exist."

"I'm gonna count to five," Simmons threatened.

"I'm gonna count to three," the soldier threatened back. He placed his handgun barrel against Simmons' chest and clicked the safety off.

"Simmons?" The politician watching their whole kerfuffle calmly took their attention.

"Yes sir?" Simmons responded delicately.

"I'd do what they say. Losing's really not an option for these guys."

Simmons' eyes shifted quickly among the three of them and he nodded. "Alright. Okay. Hey, you wanna lay the fate of the world on the kid's Camaro? That's cool."

"You know he isn't really a Camaro, you arse, so take us to him." The soldier eyed Harry as he released Simmons, but Harry's steely gaze didn't leave Simmons' face.

Simmons took them to Bumblebee.

The Autobot, obviously not a Camaro, was restrained on a smaller version of Megatron's cryostasis platform and moaning in pain. Several of them, including Sam (who they wouldn't take orders from) and the S7 leader (who they would take orders from), ran into the area shouting for people to stop.

"Let him go, let him go!" Sam watched Bumblebee as his restraints were released. "Are you okay?" The Autobot turned to look at Sam and made a relieved noise. "They didn't hurt you, right?" His angry response wasn't a surprise considering what they'd run in on. He jerked his head with a snarl to slide a mask into place over his face and twisted on the platform. His right arm transformed into a cannon that moved around the room, pointing at anyone and everyone he didn't recognize.

"Bumblebee," Harry asked, "are you injured anywhere?" Bumblebee vocalized in the negative but didn't stand down, and nobody moved. "That's good, but right now I need you to listen. The Cube is here. Optimus is on his way but isn't here yet. The Decepticons are attacking and Megatron is also here and will be walking up soon from being frozen. Got all that?"

Bumblebee made a positive noise and shifted to sit upright but didn't lower his gun. "Don't worry about them, they're okay," Sam tried to calm him, "right? They're not gonna hurt you." He got to his feet, still suspicious. "Just back up a little bit," Sam got everyone else to move back, giving Bumblebee space. "He's friendly, he's fine."

Harry stayed standing where he was, maintaining a relaxed and patient bearing. "They're not going to hurt you, Bumblebee. We made them stop, see? Please put your guns away so we can go to the Allspark. We have to get it away from Megatron and the Decepticons."

Bumblebee shifted his gun away after one last sweep and nodded to Harry and Sam.

"This way to the Cube! Let's go!"

Bumblebee followed at the back of the group as they all ran through the wandering tunnels to the Cube's cavern. Sam, Harry, and Mikaela stayed beside him as he went to the most accessible corner of the huge thing, the corner that, while above his head because of the angle at which it rested, was within his reach.

Energy shot between the Cube and Bumblebee when he touched it and the wave of feedback made Harry feel heavier as it pressed against everyone nearby. They all watched in awe as it collapsed into itself, folding away until it fit easily into Bumblebee's hand. "'Message from Starfleet, Captain,' 'Let's get to it.'"

"He's right. If we stay here, were screwed with Megatron in the other hanger. Mission City is twenty-two miles away. We're gonna sneak that Cube outta here and we're gonna hide it somewhere in the city." With the Cube so close and so accessible to him now, it was hard for Harry to concentrate on the soldier's plan but he begged for Gaia's patience and listened. "But we cannot make a stand without the Air Force."

"This place must have some kind of radio link," said the man who got Simmons to comply earlier about going to Bumblebee. "Short waves, CV!"

"Sir, you gotta figure out some way to get word out to them." Turning away, he waved at all the soldiers gathered behind him at at the group of civilians with Bumblebee. "Let's move!"

"In the alien archives, sir!" Simmons piped up, speaking to the politician. "There's an old army radio console."

"Will it work?"

"I-I mean, it's possible—did you see that?!"

They left the pair behind as the soldiers rushed them to an exit where Bumblebee handed the Cube down to Sam and transformed so he could drive out carrying the three of them. "Sam, in the car! Mister Secretary, get our birds in the air. When we get to city—" The three of them piled into the Bumblebee Camaro while other orders were given out, with Sam in the passenger seat and Mikaela and Harry both in the back. Bumblebee fastened all their seatbelts as he drove out and a guard formed up around them. Sam passed the Cube back to better see ahead and, just like that, the Cube was in Harry's lap.

Harry grabbed it automatically so it wouldn't slide around and his link to Gaia flared wide open. The instant he made skin contact with the Cube, the Hand of Gaia touched the Allspark. Harry went completely stiff, the Cube lit up with activity, and Harry was overwhelmed by the meeting between Gaia and ######...

The wizard wasn't aware of time passing as two Powers had a conversation through him, but eventually Gaia was waking him up and helping him sync his brain back up with the rest of him. His hands were what he noticed first. His skin was crawling with sparks of energy, sparks that faded as he watched. They also ached a bit with the strength he'd apparently been pressing them against the Cube's hard surface, and were very warm.

All of him tingled, and Harry stretched his arms experimentally, careful to flex the tremble out of his fingers. "Sam, he's awake! Harry, are you okay?"

"I'm fine. I think. What'd I miss?"

"You mean besides the Cube turning on when you touched it, your eyes going all weird, and you not responding to anything?" Mikaela snarked.

"What happened to my eyes?"

"They turned black with these green lights in the center—what did the Cube do to you?"

"It said hello. Really, though, what'd I miss? Are we still on the way to the city? How long was I out?" He looked back and forth at them both expectantly.

"Sam, I take it back, you aren't the strangest boy I've ever met."

Sam laughed. "You were only like that for a few minutes, Harry. Seriously, are you fine?"

"Yeah, I'm—Optimus!" Harry pointed through the windshield and Sam spun back around to face the front. Mikaela's head snapped up to look too, and all three of them turned to watch as the distinct semi-truck passed them going the opposite direction, followed by an ambulance, large black truck, and smaller silver car: the other Autobots. Brakes screeched in protest as the four vehicles turned to join the caravan. "Bumblebee, can you talk to Optimus?"

"'Message to Starfleet, Captain'."

"He really likes that recording..." Sam said offhandedly.

"Great, that's brilliant. Let him know we're with you and have the Cube."

"'Rodger that'," the radio said.

The Decepticons in pursuit caught up before they reached the city. Optimus fell behind to defend them so the rest could reach it in one piece.

Sam, Mikaela, and Harry all jumped out of Camaro Bumblebee when the soldiers called them to stop in the middle of a wide multi-lane street, near an intersection, and lit green smoke flares to mark their position for cover and extraction.

Their plan didn't survive contact with the Decepticons. The first F22 to reach the city, one they'd hoped was part of the air strike team sent to support them, was revealed by Ironhide as Starscream when he shot by overhead. When he got clear of the buildings, he entered a wide turn, intending to come back around and strafe them all again.

Bumblebee and Ironhide moved down the street to prop up a semi-truck with trailer as a barricade. All the soldiers, realizing what was happening, took cover. Harry shoved the Cube into Sam's hands and pushed him and Mikaela out of the middle of the street. He needed both hands free to lift a barrier between them and Starscream, and he did it just in time.

Of the three missiles launched, one hit the ground ahead of Ironhide and Bumblebee and one flew past it and impacted a building two blocks behind them. The third hit the truck dead center and exploded, sending the two Autobots flying. The shockwave sent several soldiers to the ground and broke Harry's shield over himself and the teenagers, but the shield did its job and bleed away most of the force beforehand. Anyone behind it got shoved to the ground but weren't hit hard enough to suffer getting stunned, and got back up immediately.

Bumblebee, who'd been so close to the blast and landed only a few meters away from them when thrown, wasn't so lucky. A box van had fallen partially on top of him and had shared off his lower legs. Sam saw him and dropped the Cube. "Oh my god, Bumblebee! Your legs!"

"Ratchet can help him! Ratchet can help him, but he can't stay in the main street. He'd be a sitting duck!"

"What do we do?" Harry scanned the destroyed street, trying to figure out their options—

"A tow truck!" Mikaela took off in a sprint across the street to a truck she saw parked on the far side of the intersection on the cross street..

"Sam, get the Cube! Come on, Bumblebee, you're gonna be okay." He levitated the Autobot carefully, barely an inch off the ground, and started pulling him out of their little pocket of debris to a spot Mikaela could more easily bring the tow truck. Bumblebee whined in confusion but helped pull himself along.

More explosions shook the street and Ironhide went running past them to reach the approaching Decepticon tank shooting at them from far down the street. Joined by Ratchet and Silver, the trio ganged up on the tank with the soldiers to remove it from the fight.

Then Megatron appeared. The massive Decepticon waded into the street and blasted Silver away as everyone else retreated. He was an intimidating sight and Harry's magic went shimmering across his skin in response, increasing its strength and making him generally more durable on reflex.

He didn't get time to be properly terrified of Megatron because Mikaela finally returned with the tow truck. It slid to a stop, kicking up a cloud of dust, with the tow crane pointed at Bumblebee. "Got it! We need to get him on the truck, quick!" She jumped out of the cab and came around to them, only to stop in surprise and gape at Harry with Sam as the wizard lifted Bumblebee higher and started turning him in midair to sit on the truck. "How are you...?"

"Does it really matter!? Quit staring at me and help with this!"

The both jumped into motion. Sam set the Cube down again and to pull on Bumblebee's arm and help turn and guide him into place. Mikaela climbed onto the truck to extend the small crane's cable and hook around Bumblebee like an industrial seatbelt. When Bumblebee was fully seated on the truck, Harry left Sam and Mikaela to finish securing the tow line around him and checked the streets again, only to swear. The tank Decepticon was getting back up and, down the street in the opposite direction, a helicopter Decepticon landed on the top of the building.

Megatron was no longer at ground level, definitely a bad thing because now Harry didn't know where he'd gone, but the soldiers approaching at a run took his attention. "Sam! Where's the Cube?"

"Right there!" It was on the ground beside the truck, within easy reach.

The man kept running, going ahead to the intersection to check their immediate area, then ran back as Ironhide and Ratchet joined them to guard their position. "Okay. I can't leave my guys back there, so here, take this flare." He pressed the flare into Sam's hand as Harry came closer. "There's a tall white building with statues on top, go to the roof." He waved an arm, indicating the direction.

"No—"

"Signal the chopper, and—"

"—I can't do it—"

"Listen to me, you're a soldier now!" He seized a fistful of Sam's shirt, shutting him up, and dragged him down closer. "Alright? Now I need you to take this Cube, get it into military hands while we hold them off. Or a lot of people are going to die."

"Give me this." Harry tugged the flare out of Sam's hand while he got a grip on the Cube. "Come on, Sam, I'll help you. We'll both go, you just hold the Cube."

"What, why don't you hold it—"

"I need my hands free to protect you," Harry said as he shoved the flare through two belt loops, "so come on!"

Mikaela hopped down off the truck bed and came around to their side just as the soldier checked back down the street. "You gotta go, you gotta go!" he told Sam and Harry, then Mikaela as he turned towards her, trying to shoo her into motion.

"No, I'm not leaving until I get Bumblebee out of here!" the girl protested as Sam jumped down with the Cube under one arm.

"Sam, Harry, we will protect you!" Ironhide promised, and Ratchet nodded behind him. Ironhide had both cannons primed and Ratchet's arms were a gun and saw blade, equipping him for combat at any range.

"Okay." Sam looked up at Ironhide, trust written across his face. Harry filled each hand with a magic-made shield, ready to be thrown over either of them in a blink.

The faint yellow spheres of twisting light drew a curious look from him. "I said I'd protect you," Harry said, not explaining the pre-shields at all. "All you have to do is hold the Cube and run. We'll do the rest."

"Sam!" About to run, Sam turned to Mikaela, who took a few quick steps towards him. "No matter what happens," she twisted her fingers into his shirt, "I'm really glad I got in that car with you." Their faces were so close together Harry wondered if they were about to kiss, but she released his shirt instead.

Sam didn't question the moment, just kept his eyes on her face a little longer before glancing at him and Ironhide one last time and sprinting away at Ironhide's prompting. "Hurry! Get to the building!" Harry, hot on Sam's heels, kept the boy in front of him as they headed for their goal around the corner and a few blocks down.

Before they even made the turn, rockets came roaring down the street from the tank that wouldn't stay down. Ironhide and Ratchet intercepted as many as they could and sent back rockets and bullets of their own, retreating slowly to cover the pair of humans.

Humans running straight towards another Decepticon. "Sam, go right!" He moved to the side immediately and Ironhide barreled past. Harry flicked a shield at Sam, which expanded to cover the front of him and almost fell apart when the Cube went through it.

Helicopter Decepticon aimed at the charging Ironhide and fired two bolts of blue energy, missing with the first and knocking him down with the second. They both ducked when he transformed and flew overhead but didn't slow down. Behind them, Ironhide rolled back to his feet little worse off after the hit.

Together they hit the intersection and turned down the other street. The statue-topped building came into view, but now they had to navigate cars and panicking pedestrians. Ironhide had the most difficulty, being the largest, but everyone also fled at the sight of him and, coincidentally, got out of Sam's way. "Keep moving, you two!"

Ratchet shouted, "Don't stop!" as he caught up nearly a block later and they ran through the next intersection.

Starscream, flying in from out of nowhere, landed right in front of them. "No no no, this way!" Shouting, Harry tugged at Sam's shirt and they abruptly dove behind the nearest car. Ironhide and Ratchet attacked him together but they barely stalled the Decepticon. Seconds later he shifted into a jet and disappeared into the city just as fast as he appeared, leaving the two Autobots' defeated frames behind.

"Sam, Harry," Ironhide struggled to get up, "get to the building!"

"Come on, we're almost there—fuck!" Another jet, one Harry almost thought was Starscream again coming for another pass as they crossed the next intersection, unfolded into Megatron himself as he landed in the street to their right. Their only blessing was that he wasn't in their path.

It didn't count for much when he roared, "Give my the Cube, boy!"

Megatron passed out of sight as they both sped up, but they could hear his heavy stomping footsteps as he chased them around the corner building. Weaving around cars nearly got them run over but Harry caught Sam's arm when he tripped and none of the drivers hit them.

The reached the statue building unharmed and ran right in. "He's not gonna get us... Not gonna get us!" Sam wheezed, stumbling and losing speed. Harry slapped a hand on his back and gave him a jolt of fresh energy, magically revitalizing him.

"Stairs, that way!" He pointed among the columns that stood in a row across the back of the lobby area.

A whole bank of windows shattered when Megatron walked through it. He was inside and after them far sooner than Harry would have liked. Already across the open entrance hall and into enclosed areas where they should be able to quickly find a staircase, at least Megatron couldn't see their exact location. "I smell you, humans!"

"Way —to be —creepy —Megatron!" Harry remarked snidely between gaps for air, garnering a broken laugh from Sam.

They flew up the first staircase they found to the next floor, but it went no higher. Megatron tried to catch them from below by digging up through the floor, sending wood and plaster everywhere, but came up too far behind them and they reached the next staircase, a staircase that went all the way to the roof, unscathed. "Maggots!" he rumbled, obviously peeved that the humans had run out of reach.

Him pulling away was more concerning than him destroying that hallway to snatch them, because now they didn't know what he was doing. Harry couldn't spare the attention to ask Gaia as his world narrowed down to Sam and the seemingly unending staircase and how they had to just keep moving.

The thin staircase shaft was hot. His feet hurt. His legs burned. He lost his grip on the second shield spell. They couldn't trip, couldn't even slow down.

Somehow they reached the roof, emerging outside among rooftop storage and maintenance rooms. Harry pulled the flare out of his belt loops and struck it against a wall to ignite it. They both heard the helicopters and started searching the skies when they reached open rooftop.

Sam sprinted to the edge of the roof as rotor blades rose into visibility above the lip of the building, lifting a military helicopter.

Movement at the top of a nearby tower caught Harry's eye. Starscream. He dropped the flare, screaming in warning. "Starscream!" With one hand, he summoned Sam back towards him. With the other, just as Starscream fired a missile, he banished the helicopter away. The moment Sam collided with him, he called up the strongest barrier he could.

Starscream's shot went straight through the helicopter's tail rotor and exploded, sending the machine spinning away out of control. Fire and shrapnel were rebuffed by the shield, though the wave of heat still washed across their skin, and their ears rang from the proximity to the bang. "Holy crap, Harry!"

"Yeah, you can thank me later—"

Sounds of the building being torn apart heralded Megatron's arrival on the roof as he made his own doorway from inside by force. "Oh god, what do we do?"

"Go to the corner of the roof!" They retreated to the furthest point from Megatron as the Decepticon lifted himself fully out of the building. "Whatever you do, stay behind me!" Sam climbed up to stand on the base of the statue in their corner and shifted to the outward facing side, clinging to it and the Cube with a white-knuckled grip. Harry raised a shield at his back between himself and Sam and faced Megatron. Because of the Cube, he couldn't apparate to a safer location, so he had to stall for time and hope an opportunity better than jumping off the roof in an impact bubble and hoping for the best presented itself.

At least Megatron was feeling chatty. "Is it fear or courage that compels you, fleshlings?"

"Both and neither, I guess, though you are rather terrifying." Sword and shield magic gathered at his fingertips; Harry's personal term for holding magic in each hand that only had vague intentions of attack and defense. He could react relatively quickly with it, to block or counter an attack, though not as quickly as if he had something specific ready like the shields from when they started running. It was the best he could do without a wand.

Megatron laughed derisively at him. "Yet you still stand and face me? Foolish insect! At least the other one shows some intelligence in trying to hide. Not that either of you will escape me."

Harry laughed in his face, dismissing the threatening words and being generally insulting about it. Not a creative insult, but laughing at megalomaniacs usually had the bonus result of infuriating them.

It certainly pissed Megatron off, which was one of Harry's main goals when dealing with anyone of the dark lord persuasion. Megatron growled loudly. "Give me the Allspark and you may live to be my pets."

"Gee, that's a real winner of a proposal!" Harry said with as much sarcasm as possible. "Pet. Ha!"

"We'll never give you the Allspark!" Sam added bravely.

"So unwise." Done playing with words, Megatron drew his arm back and then swung it, sending the spiked flail hanging from the end of his arm on a long chain arcing towards them.

Harry seized a few links with magic, freezing them in place and cutting the weapon's reach short. In the middle of its swing, momentum carried it right around back to Megatron instead of the full distance to them and it crashed into his face.

A startled laugh escaped Harry's lips. He only thought the thing would stop and go limp, not do that. "Woops."

If there was any question of Megatron being angry at them before, there wasn't now. The volcanic glare he shot at Harry as the flail dropped away made his blood run cold. "Uh oh." The Decepticon leader rumbled in fury and transformed his arm, shifting it from the flail to a gun.

"Harry, what did you—"

"DUCK!"

He only had that split second to call on Gaia's strength and create the strongest shield he possibly could before the world turned blue. He didn't see Sam flinch and slip. He didn't see Optimus reach up to catch Sam and carry him down beneath Megatron's shot. He didn't see the building he was blasted through or the next one that he collided with.

His vision did clear in time to see the ground right before he hit it. For a second he didn't move, merely admired the amazing level of pain he was in that Gaia mostly protected him from. If he had been anyone else, anything else, other than the Hand of Gaia, he would not have survived that.

Foolish—Gaia admonished him as she repaired him enough to get up.

"Yeah, I know, bad idea. Owww. Is Sam okay? He didn't get hit too, did he?" Harry ran fingers through his hair to brush out little bits of brick and plaster.

[Optimus Prime and Megatron both sprawled in the street]—[Optimus Prime holding Sam carefully in his hand, protecting the boy and the Cube from the fall]—that way

"I gotta get back over there." Gingerly, he stood, and started picking his way out to the street around debris, abandoned cars, and potholes. The pain faded a little more with each step, and he was walking strong again by the time he emerged from the two-lane side-street he'd fallen into. He could see Optimus and Megatron brawling in the middle of an intersection, but not Sam. Hopefully the kid found a good hiding spot.

As he approached the fight, he brought a hand to his neck and magnified his voice. "Hey Megatron!" Megatron's head lifted and he caught sight of the bloody but intact Harry. "Did ya miss me?"

"You!" Optimus punched Megatron in the face, staggering him, but Megatron hit back harder and knocked his opponent down. He was looking at Harry the whole time. "I killed you!"

"Obviously not! Maybe you're losing your edge!" He took a single step towards Harry before Optimus tackled him from the side.

"Filthy human!" Megatron fought free of Optimus' grapple and adjusted his arm into a gun to shoot Harry. The shot went wide, again thanks to Optimus, and he was forced to pay attention to his fight.

On the losing side, Optimus still struggled with Megatron, determined to best him. "Harry! What are you doing?" A heavy hit to the chest felled the Autobot again and Megatron kicked him while he was down.

"Helping!" Harry let his hand fall and then used it to blast Megatron. His attack did little damage but still robbed the Decepticon of his balance.

Megatron fell with a loud crash, but rolled back to his feet immediately and aimed at Harry again, screaming "I will destroy you!"

He didn't see the F22s' missiles coming, which was great for Harry because he couldn't handle another direct hit from Megatron. Half a dozen missiles sent him stumbling forward, towards Optimus and the more distant Harry.

Sam darted out of cover from a fissure in the street. He still had the Cube, which Harry and Megatron both saw immediately. Harry forced himself into a run but Megatron, far bigger and closer, reached Sam first. Brought to his knees by the air strike and heavily damaged, he loomed above Sam, still determined to get the Cube. "The Allspark—" Sam tripped and fell as Megatron clawed at the ground on either side of him, "—is mine!"

Trying to protect the kid, Harry threw a hasty shield at him but missed and hit the Cube. His magic dissolved against it, the shield never coalescing.

"Sam! Put the Cube in my chest, now!" Optimus yelled, trying to push himself up to reach him. That sounded suspiciously self-sacrificing to Harry, but the wizard honestly had no idea what the result would be.

He found out when Sam—trapped by Megatron and with Optimus and Harry both close but not close enough—choose not to run and lifted the Cube above his head and at Megatron's chest instead.

Harry and Optimus watched, shocked, as the Cube broke apart, annihilating itself while flooding Megatron with power. It was too much, far too much, and the sheer force of the Allspark's molten energy started burning through his chest, melting it's way to the center. Megatron tried to escape it but jumped back too late. He scratched pointlessly at the wound before collapsing into seizure. Spasms shook his frame for a few long moments until he went limp, all life leaving him.

Everything seemed to stop in that moment, everyone looking at the threat to the world that suddenly lay dead with a red-hot glowing hole in his chest.

And the Allspark was gone. The reason for the conflict, the source of power and life for the Autobots' species, was gone.

No—small piece remaining—look

They all approached Megatron. Optimus looked down at him and said with regret, "You left me no choice, brother." A moment thick with silence passed before Optimus knelt to speak. "Sam, Harry, I owe you my life. We are in your debt."

Bumblebee, still secured on the back of the appropriated tow truck and looking neither better nor worse than when Harry had last seen him, was parked beside them by Mikaela. Ratchet and Ironhide completed their group as they approached somberly.

The burden in Ironhide's arms was given over to Optimus. "Prime, we couldn't save him."

"Jazz..." he sighed. The handover of the small silver Autobot made his cause of death very clear. The poor bot was in two separate pieces—

[Megatron pinned the small, feisty Autobot beneath his feet as he landed atop one of the city's taller buildings, then seized him by one leg to lift him into the air. "Come here you little cretin."

Jazz shot Megatron twice as he dangled in his grip, but the bolts of energy did nothing to the Decepticon that was several times bigger than him beyond making him flinch. "You wanna piece of me? You wanna piece?!"

"No!" Megatron swung his captive over one knee and grabbed his upper body with his other hand. "I want two!" He pulled hard, tearing Jazz's body in half at the waist. Sparks flashed from both sides of the fatal damage, and there was a brief glimmer of green in the Autobot's chest before all the energy left him.]

"We lost a great comrade... but gained new ones. Thank you, all of you. You honor us with your bravery." Harry caught most of Optimus' words as he came out of the vision from Gaia, head spinning from the unpleasant death he'd witnessed.

"Gaia—" he tried to question quietly, but a magic spring appeared flowing up through the earth beneath his feet, faintly visible as tendrils of green light. Her power thickened beneath his skin, cutting his question short and making him feel not entirely unlike a balloon.

"Harry, your eyes are doing that thing again..." Sam whispered, and he and Bumblebee shared a look before Bumblebee turned to chatter at Optimus, who leaned down to better see the phenomenon at his feet.

"Yeah, that's not a surprise—" A consolidated bubble of energy with something contained inside it came through the link, and Harry nearly groaned under the strain. "Just give me a minute!"

Gaia, what are you doing? Fear tinted his question.

[Jazz in Ironhide's arms]—[Jazz torn in half]—spirit/spark/life—holding, safe, protect—want to help, want to heal—can't alone, need [My Hand]—being of ######—need ######, need [the Cube]—[a shard of the Cube was still intact, sitting in Megatron's chest]

"Gaia... wants to... help Jazz..." Harry struggled for words as he sifted through the mass of information she'd given him all at once. "She... protected his spirit? She protected his spirit when Megatron attacked him. He isn't lost. But she can't help him without the last piece of the Cube... because... Gaia didn't create him... and the Allspark—" It wasn't difficult to figure out exactly who Gaia referred to even though the name she used was so vast that he couldn't even hear it in its entirety, let alone understand or repeat it. Her real name was similar, so Harry had to use 'Gaia' as a kind of nickname. Luckily, he already knew the other's nickname, too. "—is a link to Primus."

He looked up at Optimus' face, then around at the other Autobots. They—and Sam—had all been listening curiously. "Jazz isn't lost. Not yet."

His gaze landed on Megatron. The warlord radiated menace despite being dead, almost making Harry question his deceased state, but Megatron wasn't Voldemort and wouldn't be getting back up. Their battle was over. It was time to collect the fallen, gather any injured for medical attention, and begin clearing the damaged areas of the city for repairs and reconstruction.

Understanding reached, Gaia's presence started to retreat and the green light faded. Wait, why are you leaving now? I thought you wanted to—and what's this? It became clear that she was leaving the knot of energy she gave him behind, the ball with the star at its center, when it was the only aspect of her power that stayed strong and fixed within him.

She echoed his thoughts back at him, emphasizing them with images of the dead and injured and of broken buildings and rubble strewn streets. Other duties—soon—keep him safe—touch [the Cube shard, sitting innocuously at the center of a hole made of glowing, yellow-orange metal] when ready—speak to ######

'Keep him safe,' she sent. 'Keep him safe.' You gave me his—!?

You will protect him

A last caress wrapped around the foreign spirit and his own magic-lit soul as she left him alone. Harry stared blankly ahead, attention inward.

"Harry?" Optimus had knelt down again and called his name in concern.

"Yes! I—ah, yes. Sorry."

"Could you really help Jazz?" It was hard to believe for anyone looking at the Autobot in Ironhide's arms.

Harry nodded. "Yeah, just..." He looked at the decimated buildings surrounding them, at the soldiers and few civilians still in sight, at Megatron. The action explained his hesitation completely.

"Ratchet, see what you can do for Bumblebee. Ironhide, with me. We will find a safe location for Jazz before helping in the city where we can." He shifted Jazz to free a hand, then picked the Cube shard from the slag it had made of Megatron's chest and handed it to Harry. "Megatron may be dead, but that does not mean there aren't others waiting to exploit the Cube's power, however little remains. Guard this, for Jazz." Harry nodded and took the hand-sized shard hesitantly, surprised to discover it was only warm to the touch. Optimus looked at each of them in turn, and Harry, Sam, and Mikaela all listened attentively. "Much has happened to you over the last day, and you did much to help us. Use this time to rest and recover."

Optimus and Ironhide departed, leaving the three of them with the two yellow Autobots. The soldiers regrouped at a distance to begin disaster relief, leaving the five relatively alone.

Harry didn't try to connect with the Cube and shoved it in a pocket instead, where it would be safe enough for the time being. Ratchet started working on Bumblebee immediately. "Hey Ratchet?"

The medic didn't look away from his charge. "Yes, Harry?"

"I can go get Bumblebee's legs, if that would help."

"It would, thank you." Bumblebee have him a thumbs-up. "Do you need assistance?"

"No, I can handle it." After a moment's recall, Harry jogged back to the place he and Sam started their Megatron escape attempt. It wasn't far, since all the activity of the battle had been fairly localized, and he returned several minutes later with the ends of Bumblebee's legs, fairly mangled by the box-truck that severed them when Starscream's missiles hit.

Bumblebee was talking by the time the levitated legs were set down beside the tow truck, talking in his own voice instead of the radio. "Thank you, Harry."

"No problem." The wizard sat down heavily on what had been part of a building an hour ago. With the crisis over, all the recent activity and being awake for over twenty-four hours was finally catching up to him. All he wanted to do next was shower and sleep, and he fell into an absent-minded gaze watching Ratchet work.

"Uh, Harry?" Mikaela snapped him out of it. "Do you need a medic?"

"No," he answered automatically before looking down at himself. He was filthy, coated in patches of blood and dirt, and his clothing was ripped in several places. He was also still in pain; everything hurt to some degree, even after Gaia healed him. "Er..."

"I am detecting evidence of several recently broken bones and internal damage," Ratchet informed them, "though you appear somehow intact in spite of this."

"How did you not die?" Sam burst, before realizing how that sounded. "I mean, I'm happy you didn't, but..."

The long ago titled Boy Who Lived laughed long enough for Sam to frown with confusion. "For all the times I've heard that!" Nearly everyone who tried to kill him said some version of that phrase, usually in an enraged scream.

"You can't have heard it that often..."

"You'd be surprised. It's all this one guy's fault, really. Tried to kill me as a baby and failed, I went into hiding for a few years... Then my eleventh birthday rolls around, I go to a new school, and he starts trying to kill me again, pretty regularly. It was an annual thing. I defeat him for the last time at seventeen and then others start coming out of the woodwork to take their crack at doing what he couldn't." The teenagers looked at him like he was insane. He wasn't insane, mostly, but he was tired and rambling. "He was a bit like Megatron, except human-sized and less terrifying to look at." Even Bumblebee and Ratchet were sending him looks now, uncertainty about what to think of him written all over their robotic faces. "To make a long story short, I'm not very good at dying." Which included the one time he did it on purpose where it didn't stick and backfired on his would-be murderer instead, giving him immunity to the Killing Curse in the process.

"Who are you?"

Harry couldn't help it; he started laughing and didn't stop for several minutes.

Hours later—in which Harry was seen by an army medic against his will, allowed to shower, and given a spare Sector 7 uniform (that he removed any and all S7 insignias from)—everyone was gathered in the Hoover Dam's secret base. The Autobots had unofficially taken it over at the S7 leader's suggestion, much to Simmons' dismay.

Operating under the theory that whatever connection he could form to the Cube would be stronger in the place it had been sitting for millennia, Harry had instructed Optimus to bring Jazz's body to the hollow in the cavern floor left by the Cube when Bumblebee removed it. The wizard sat in a meditative pose next to his chest, facing him. Around the two stood the other four Autobots, acting as guard and partially shielding the pair from view of curious S7 personnel, soldiers, and certain teenage civilians.

"Are you ready, Harry?"

He didn't look at Optimus, but stopped fidgeting with the Allspark to press it squarely between his palms. "Yeah. I don't know how long this will take."

"We will ensure that you are not disturbed."

"Thank you." The stone-metal shard began to shine as he threaded his magic into it to create a sturdy connection. His vision tunneled, centered on it, making it the last thing he saw before getting dragged into his mind. He wordlessly called for Gaia and she came into being behind him and ruffled his hair.

Though she could take advantage of his mental plane to create a body for herself, all Harry would see if he turned around to look would be an invisible, large humanoid being silhouetted in the green energies of life.

Time—connected—###### far away—calling

A pulse of power rippled away from her as she called to Primus through the Allspark. A breath, a blink—and he was there, fading into view. He looked different from Gaia, a shadow with barely seen flashes of shifting metal, but the shadow darkened as the presence grew steadily.

Harry couldn't hear their conversation, but he knew the instant they turned their attention from each other to him.

###### willing—request

Will help you restore one of mine—request to borrow you as §§§§ does—but must change you to guide your hand—{∆}

Primus' voice was... heavy, Harry decided, with more gravity than Gaia's. His greater age may have weighed his voice down, but he was also easier to understand because of it. More coherent. For the most part. He could convey more complex thoughts, but whatever idea he sent last was too intrinsically foreign a concept for Harry to comprehend.

"You have to change me to help Jazz?"

Primus may not have noticed his turmoil, but Gaia was unshakably linked to him and couldn't possibly not notice. The two spoke again briefly.

Are too different as you are—need to be closer in nature to one of mine to connect—will change only a lesser aspect—simple for a human that can already shift as mine do

Will still be human—still mine—still you—not worry—helping

Reassurances aside, Harry wasn't sure what he meant because Harry couldn't transform himself like the beings created by Primus. Maybe if he were an animagus, that would make sense, but he never learned the advanced transfiguration skill.

Approval—all is well

If the price to help Jazz was to allow a foreign being of creation to alter him slightly in a way that didn't affect who he was or his being human—Gaia had assured him he would still be human—then he would accept it. The Autobot had died to protect Earth and its humans from Megatron, Gaia wanted to help her new visitors, and Harry said he would do what he could. "Okay. I agree! I want to help, so please do what you need to."

Come

Gaia nudged his back lightly. Pushed into motion, Harry walked forward without hesitation. Primus was both larger and further away than he first assumed, and Gaia's aura faded the further away he got, but he didn't stop until he stood before the awe-inflicting silhouette.

One great hand reached towards him—

—reached towards Jazz as the other clenched around the reduced Allspark. Mentally he blinked, then did it again when his eyes didn't. His arm was still moving, familiar-foreign power flowing through his systems. Primus was using him and the Allspark as the bridge between himself and Jazz, first repairing the horrific damage to the mech's midsection. Harry, merely an observer in the passenger seat of his own body, watched the process as massive streams of information moved through his mind in synchronization.

He also watched his thoughts stall and error messages flare when he realized what he was looking at.

The hand—his hand?—wasn't the skin-covered, flesh-and-bone appendage he was accustomed to. It was metal, sturdy sheets and rods combined with flexible cables and joints that mimicked the size and shape of his human hand perfectly. It felt like his hand, but wasn't his hand, except—

Remember—{∆}

Primus smoothed out the errors and sent an information packet that he was actually able to interpret this time, one that accessed his own memory banks to use their information and fixed the error caused by the realization that he had memory banks.

Deeper memories were actually still undergoing defragmentation, but the preceding events in his mind were immediately available and accompanied by extra information from the creator. Primus had taken a piece of Harry, a specific section of his magic, and removed it to remake it in the image of his own creations before putting it back and carefully encouraging it to weave itself seamlessly back into place.

That piece was his ability of self-transformation, his unused animagus potential. Once it was melded to the rest of him, he triggered the first change. It began in the heart of his magic, his Gaia-given spark as Primus called it, and first made his entire physical being fluid before reforming it as a robotic organism from the spark chamber out. He helped translate all his abilities and mental faculties into programming, the most delicate part of the process and much more critical than in a regular animagus, and added everything he needed that he didn't naturally have as a human. All of this imprinted on his magic, setting it up as his new and complete animagus transformation.

Primus then left Harry's mind to recompile itself and took over control of the wizard's newly transformed physical shell and his connection to the Allspark to start the task that made their compatibility necessary, the task his unique energy-manipulating nature made possible.

Harry woke up in the middle of it.

Episode of panic completed, he let himself become transfixed by... well... himself, as torn metal flowed back into a whole and complete body beneath his fingers. A better option than thinking about how he was basically Primus' puppet at the moment in a way more total than all of his extremely negative previous experience.

It helped that Primus' presence didn't pain him. Just like Gaia's didn't, though Gaia—a different dimension's version, admittedly, but still Gaia—was his creator and had never done this to him.

Thinking of Gaia, where was she?

Here...

Watching from afar. There was no room for her and her voice was muted, but she wasn't completely gone. Dimly he picked up a trace of curiosity.

His vision jumped when Primus moved them to kneel on the repaired Jazz's chest. Parts shifted apart at his touch and the spark chamber, cold and empty, opened. Harry felt his own spark chamber open up a second later and couldn't hide his apprehension, but Primus kept his hand steady as long metal fingers, gloved in a mix of his magic and the Allspark's energy, reached in. Gaia's bubble unraveled, no longer necessary, and Jazz's spark was coaxed out from beside Harry's.

Everything closed back up as the fingers were withdrawn holding the bright little star. Harry's arm reached down to deposit it in its rightful home, and a jolt from the Allspark made it flare fully into life. Ensconced and bringing the Autobot back online, the spark was concealed safely in his chest by a wave of his arm.

Harry was moved back to the ground to watch with Primus. Humming, whirs, and clicks filled the air and Jazz started moving. Satisfied he was in good condition, Primus began to withdraw, activating Harry's animagus transformation as he went.

He didn't realize how drained of energy he was until Primus stopped supporting him. Lacking the power to sustain themselves, his ties to the Cube thinned and vanished. It slipped from his fingers with a clatter as he staggered, legs suddenly weak.

Consciousness was lost before Harry could hit the ground.


Infirmaries always smelled the same no matter where they were, so Harry was understandably confused when he caught the additional scents of motor oil and dust upon waking up. They were so out of place that it pulled his eyes open.

The medic looking down at him wasn't human. That explained one thing. "Ratchet." And the large room appeared to be a storage room, partially cleared out to become a temporary, easily accessible infirmary. Why Harry wasn't in an actual infirmary wasn't clear, though he was fairly certain one had to be somewhere.

"Good, you're awake. It's been two days. We were getting concerned."

"Just two? Huh." Considering how exhausted he'd been, it wouldn't have surprised him if he slept for at least three. No matter how long it was, Harry was now awake and wanting to leave. A temporary infirmary was still an infirmary, and he liked being stuck in them just as little as he liked being stuck in the Hogwarts hospital wing. He pushed himself up and flipped his blanket off his legs. "So how's Jazz?"

"He is fully repaired and functioning strongly. Ever since we informed him of your actions, he has been anxious to speak to you." Ratchet's voice rumbled over him while Harry took survey of himself.

Clad in nothing but boxers, Harry could see spectacular swathes of bruising beneath numerous bandages. It was clear evidence of all his non-critical injuries, everything Gaia hadn't felt necessary to heal after Harry's taunting got him shot by an angry Megatron. He knew his back looked worse, he could feel it.

A perk of being well-rested was having the energy to heal himself, so he promptly encouraged his magic to accelerate his healing. Hopefully the soreness and muscle ache would fade in a few hours, and maybe he would get the chance to sneak away and retrieve his wand to do a better job.

Ratchet's disapproval was palpable as Harry got up from his bed to search for clothing. "Is he here somewhere? We're still in the Sector 7 base, right?"

"Yes, but you should stay here and rest. I notified him when you woke and he is coming." The clothing, his modified S7 uniform, was found in a bag beneath his bed. He quickly pulled it on with a grateful cry. "You shouldn't be moving around this much in your condition, Harry Potter."

But Ratchet wasn't Madam Pomfrey and couldn't keep him in a bed like she could. Not that any human doctor would have better luck. "Hey, how come you're the one taking care of me? Shouldn't I have been left with the other injured humans?"

"All humans injured in the battle have been transferred to military medical facilities. Because you are not a soldier, you would have been moved to a regular hospital, but your lasting injuries were not severe. The humans have been checking on you regularly, but after I repaired the others, I chose to monitor you myself."

"Thank you." Harry felt surprised, but perhaps shouldn't have. If it weren't for him, Jazz wouldn't be alive, so it made sense that people who barely knew him might do this. He had saved their friend and comrade in arms.

Jazz, looking far livelier than when he'd last seen him, appeared in the broad, vehicle-accessible entrance to the storage room in a rush. "Harry Potter!"

Happiness bubbled up in his chest from Gaia. Harry, already smiling, grinned wider. "Hi Jazz! It's nice to finally meet you. How d'you feel?"

"Feelin' great, my friend! I wanna thank you, man, you really saved my hide." Much arm waving and energetic gestures were involved as Jazz squatted down closer to Harry's level to talk.

"Thanks, but I didn't do that much. Gaia saved your spark, and Primus fixed you up. I just... helped." Harry rubbed the back of his neck and glanced to the side, away from Jazz. He mostly just acted as an intermediary for Gaia and Primus, and a host.

"Ol' Prime showed me what you did. I'd be gone to Primus without you." His optics brightened earnestly. "And him makin' you one o' us, even for just a few minutes—!" Too amazed for further words, he cut himself off. "Well, we're all hopin' to talk to you now that you're awake. You okay to move out?"

"Yeah, let's go."

"Harry," Ratchet stopped him midstep, "allow me to carry you. You shouldn't exhaust yourself so soon after waking up."

He eyed the medic and considered his chances of escaping on his own two feet before logic won out over his nature. "Alright, if you insist."

"I do." Harry climbed onto the palm of Ratchet's lowered hand. He sat there holding onto Ratchet's thumb for balance while he and Jazz navigated through the lower halls of Hoover Dam, avoiding the damage of Megatron's escape.

The Autobots had set themselves up in the Cube's cavernous hangar and started repurposing disburdened equipment. Sector 7 agents working around them looked up at Jazz's return and Harry and Ratchet's arrival as they joined the waiting alien trio in an out of the way corner. As they got close, he could see Sam and Mikaela with Bumblebee. The two humans exclaimed upon seeing him let down to the ground. "Hey you two," Harry waved. Jazz and Ratchet closed their circle.

"Sam Witwicky, Mikaela Banes, Harry Potter. We all would like to thank you again for everything you did for us. None of you are soldiers, two of you still adolescents, yet you aided us. You protected the Cube and saved my life." Sam straightened his back standing tall. "You fought beside Bumblebee and ensured his safety through the battle." Mikaela smiled with pride. "And you aided Sam and I both, challenged Megatron, and brought our friend back to us when we thought him gone forever." Harry nodded and shifted on his feet. "Thank you." The other Autobots echoed Optimus' last words. "If you ever have need of us, you may call."

"It was an honor, Optimus Prime. Thank you."

"Harry, I realize it's late, but with everything that's happened, there hasn't been any chance for introductions. Do you mind if we do them now?"

"Oh! No problem. My name's Harry Potter, but everyone please call me Harry."

"Harry, this is Jazz, my first lieutenant and the one you brought back to us."

"Yo," the silver Autobot said, lifting his hand.

"Ratchet, our medical officer."

"Thanks for taking care of me," Harry said to the one who could disguise himself as an ambulance.

"It was no trouble, though I wish to speak with you later."

"Right."

Optimus moved to the next person in the circle. "Ironhide. He is our weapons specialist." Ironhide demonstrated his specialization by showing off his cannons.

"And this is Bumblebee, Sam's guardian. He'll be staying with Sam in the future." Sam whooped and Bumblebee gave him a thumbs up.

"Alright, my turn! Sam Witwicky, hi, nice to meet you. I'm a high school student and my great-great-grandfather found Megatron frozen in ice and stuff." He nudged Mikaela with his elbow.

She rolled her eyes at him. "I'm Mikaela and I go to school with Sam. I met a boy who bought a car that turned out to be an alien robot and we became friends."

Amused by the girl's deadpan tone, Harry let his grin tilt into a smirk for a moment, then turned in a full circle to look at the humans and aliens standing around him. "It's brilliant to officially meet everyone." Imperceptibly everyone relaxed and the feeling of the gathering turned casual. "So! What's going to happen now?"

"We are negotiating with your people's government to build a place for us. Because of the Decepticon presence here, we will also send out a call to the Autobots still scattered across the stars. Megatron may have been defeated but his second in command, Starscream, escaped and will be gathering his strength to seek revenge."

"What happened to the Cube shard? If he learns a piece of it still exists, he'll come after it."

"I have it," Optimus confirmed.

Sam blurted, "How'd you do it?" Harry looked at him. "With the Cube, and the shields and, and Megatron?"

"I knew you were curious. I did too much for you not to be! But before I tell you, you must swear not to tell anyone. I'm not—" Harry shook his head. "Please promise, both of you." He held out his hand to Sam first.

Sam didn't hesitate to take it. "I promise I won't tell anyone about you." They shook to seal his promise and a small spark of magic crossed over to help him keep his word before they let go.

"I promise too," Mikaela said. "I won't repeat what you tell us." She got the same spark of reinforcement.

"We will keep whatever information we learn about you in confidence." The other four Autobots nodded to show they concurred with their leader's words.

"Well then." Harry looked beyond their circle. The gathering had attracted a number of curious onlookers, but none were close enough to eavesdrop. He imbued a shield with sound-blocking properties just to be safe and cast it around them to form a thin, invisible bubble.

More sensitive to the manipulation of energy, the mechanical beings sensed what the teenagers did not. "You did something just now," Ratchet commented. "It appears to be a barrier."

"Just a precaution." The wizard flexed his fingers, drawing attention to them as he created a ball of light in his hand. "The things I can do may seem like magic to you." The sphere gained color and shape until it had the form of a little owl, which launched into flight. Hedwig, Pigwidgeon-sized, glided around their heads before landing on Mikaela's shoulder and bursting into motes of light.

Manipulating light was fairly easy, but the conjuration of a stone model of the Cube pushed at the edges of his fine control. Many of the details were blurred and faint, and the copy was recognizable but poor. He would need his wand to do better.

He gave the hand-sized object to Sam. "It seems like magic because it is magic. I was born with the ability to use it." Harry paused and took a breath. "I'm a wizard."

"So that's why you could use the Cube? Because you can use magic?" Mikaela sounded very surprised, but open to believing him.

"Yes, though saying I used it is a little inaccurate. I only connected to the Allspark."

"But you healed Jazz?"

"It may have appeared that way, but Primus was the one who really healed him. I was just the bridge between them." With the Allspark, he'd temporarily been the Hand of Primus instead of the Hand of Gaia, the device for their creator's action. He was glad it was only temporary, because, Primus-touched or not, he was still of Gaia.

Jazz nudged him gently. "Thank Primus you were. I wouldn't be alive without him or you."

"Is that why you became an Autobot then? Because of Primus?" Sam's question pulled everyone in, showing they'd all been curious about it.

"Pretty much, yeah. It was necessary." Harry didn't elaborate further. He didn't want to go into a long explanation of all the reasons behind it, not with the memory still so fresh in his mind it was overwhelming. The feeling of transforming, of Primus' power coursing through him, was still so clear—

"Holy shit!"

Sam, further away than he was just a second ago, stared at him with undiluted shock. Mikaela's mouth had dropped open, and she was also mysteriously further away.

How long was he lost in thought? "What? What happened?" Mikaela tried to form words and failed.

Ratchet was the one to answer. "Were you unaware of transforming?"

"Woah! You really look like—" Jazz's bright blue optics looked him up and down.

Harry looked down at himself with a frown. He blinked. Then he shrieked in surprised for a fraction of a second and muffled himself. No clothing obstructed his view because it always got pulled in with the rest of an animagus' body when he or she transformed.

Because that's what he'd done without even noticing.

He hadn't been remembering the feeling of transforming, he'd been feeling it anew. "Uh..."

"How did you do that without the Allspark?"

"There's no hint on my scanners that you were human—"

"You look like a sparkling."

"He's a rather adorable little mech, isn't he?"

It was the 'adorable' that unstupefied him. "Hey!"

Sam didn't let him get started. "What's a sparkling?" He looked up at Ironhide, the source of that particular content.

"A sparkling is a child of our race," Ratchet answered for the weapons specialist. "They are often small, smaller than he is now, with few offensive or defensive capabilities." He turned from the humans to the human-sized magical transformer. "If you can use this ability freely, I will need to perform a checkup of your systems. You will also likely need to be taught a significant amount of information."

Harry would have gulped if he were human, but he wasn't, so the reflex caused his minimal armor to shift into tighter position instead. Jazz and Ironhide chuckled.

Ratchet huffed. "Oh, stop acting like it's a bad thing..."

When Sam and Mikaela started chuckling, he rounded on them. "Not helping!" He jabbed a metal finger in their direction.

"Harry." The authority Optimus put in his voice caught his attention immediately. "We understand that you have your own life. Are you willing to stay with us for a while? Do you have the opportunity?"

Right, they didn't actually know anything about his background. Ever since his arrival in this dimension, he was practically a ghost with his total lack of documented history. Legally, he did not exist. (Yet here he stood, in a secret base built by the US government, beneath an American landmark. It seemed ironically appropriate somehow, especially since, to repeat a soldier's words, 'S7 don't exist.')

He was a wizard with a house hidden in the Scottish Highlands that he often left to wander the world, do Gaia's bidding, and to confound people into letting him work and earn money for food. "Yeah, I can stay, though the Americans might have a few problems with my presence..."

"We will deal with whatever comes," Optimus said, not sounding all that surprised, and that was that.

"An Autobot kid, huh?" Sam shifted his eyes visibly from Harry to the much larger alien beings around them. Teasingly, he added, "Yeah, I can see that."

"Can you change back?" At least Mikaela sounded concerned.

The robotic animagus had to concentrate, but he did trigger the transformation back after several seconds. Something he would need to work on, because the few animagi he'd seen in his life could complete their transformations in a heartbeat.

Harry poked himself in a few places until he was satisfied with the level of squishiness. Gaia's laugh tickled at the back of his mind.

"That's so cool. What's it like?" Sam asked.

"It—that's really hard to describe."

"I thought Optimus had the Cube?" Mikaela questioned.

"He does. But Primus... One of my abilities, as a wizard, is to transform into an animal. When he changed me, he didn't actually change me physically, he changed what I could turn into." Because that ability was, by its very nature, incredibly malleable and Primus was too distant, the Allspark too diminished, for him to be able to do anything else.

"Oh... What could you turn into before?"

Harry looked away. "I hadn't learned how to do it yet. I only knew it was possible." He wondered what he would have been able to become. When Hermione explained the basics of the learning process, Harry had hoped his magic would show an affinity for birds so he could fly.

Now, foreign influence had him turning into an alien. At least Primus had done all the hard work for him, completely skipping over the lengthly learning process of setting the alternate form and teaching his magic to transfigure himself into that form.

"So, if you can turn into an Autobot, can you do what they can? Turn into a car and make your own guns and stuff?"

"We will see," Ratchet replied when Harry couldn't answer Sam's question.

"Yo, Optimus, can I kick it with Sparky? I'll teach him how to do stuff," Jazz promised. "I owe him my spark, it's the least I can do."

"No teaching him anything until I've seen him!" Ratchet denied sternly.

Optimus looked at them both. "Jazz, you may stay with Harry if he agrees, but you cannot begin teaching him until Ratchet allows it.."

"Thank you, Optimus."

"Woo! You and me," Jazz gestured to them both, "how 'bout it?"

"Sure," Harry agreed amicably, "sounds fun!" Then he yawned.

His yawn called an end to that meeting (and got him dragged back to bed for more rest), but it would be far from the last.

In the days following the Autobots' trip to Sam and Mikaela's home town, Harry had several conversations with the Autobots that led to him getting to know them better and vice versa.

Ratchet spoke to him the most in the beginning, focusing on a series of checkups (because one just wasn't good enough) of Harry in both forms. Ratchet was surprised at the unprecedented speed of his recovery in human form and interested to note that his general physical condition carried over. His mental condition was the same, and his mind was just as accessible to Autobots when he was in Autobot form as it was to legilimency-capable magic users when he was human. This meant that the condition of Harry's firewalls nearly gave Ratchet a heart attack and he made Harry sit still for hours while he repaired and reinforced them.

Ratchet's changes gave Harry a horrific headache when he transformed back to human, but the pain was blessedly brief, and the minor adjustments that came later hardly gave him pause.

During his first individual conversation with Optimus, Harry confessed his origins in a different dimension and they tossed around several ideas for getting Harry a documented and legal presence in the world. Being plainly truthful with a few key people was their best option, though it also involved telling the chosen audience about his abilities.

Of the other three Autobots, Ironhide spoke the least, but he could be most easily engaged by conversation about weapons (especially his own) and previous battle experience.

Bumblebee liked talking about weird things he'd found on Earth, though he spent a lot more time with Sam than with Harry. He also frequently used his radio to make comments instead of his own repaired voice.

Harry's new buddy Jazz was the most talkative and he behaved more casually around Harry than any of the others did. He loved music and made it his personal mission to fix Harry's appalling (according to him) lack of experience as a listener with anything he could find on the internet whenever he wasn't teaching Harry about being an Autobot.

Sadly, in spite of all his efforts, Harry couldn't figure out how to transform further, neither creating weapons nor disguising himself as any kind of vehicle. Ratchet was almost certain it was possible and Jazz demonstrated dozens of times, but every time he tried, he either ended up human instead or accomplished nothing at all. Until he could learn these things, his animagus form would be of limited use.

Unlike any other animagus, however, Harry was less limited in that he could still do magic in his animagus form. Admittedly not much magic, only minor feats, but he believed the connection to Gaia—weak when he was in his Primus-given form—was what created the possibility.

The most superficial aspect of being an animagus—and a Marauder custom—was also retained by Harry. He didn't do it voluntarily, no; it was all Jazz's fault. Jazz called him Sparky and the nickname for his alternate form stuck.

Sparky the magical Autobot.

Sigh.


"Before we leave, I have something for the both of you." Sam and Mikaela—now officially boyfriend and girlfriend—looked towards Harry as he approached them. They were standing beside Bumblebee and watching the Autobots prepare for departure. The other four couldn't stick around with Sam forever, after all; they had a lot to do.

"Yeah, what's that?"

Harry pulled two small objects from his pocket, flat metal pendants the size of a thumbnail. They were shaped into the Autobots' symbol and had a triangle bisected by a lightning bolt engraved on the back. Each pendant hung on a thin silver necklace from a little loop at the top. "You remember that I can teleport?" Harry's apparation demonstration had ended with two nauseous teenagers, so he was quite certain they did. "You can use them to call me if there's an emergency."

"And you'll just... teleport to us?" Mikaela sounded skeptical, but she and Sam took the necklaces.

"When you activate one, it'll send a signal that alerts me and tells me your location so I can come." Harry looked up at Bumblebee, who was also posting attention. "Bumblebee will probably be able to handle anything since he's staying with you, so this is just a precaution, but you can use them if anything weird happens or you can't call for help otherwise."

"Okay... And how do we use them?"

"Just hold it and ask for help. I recommend you keep them with you just in case, so try not to lose them."

Sam and Mikaela were both wearing the enchanted pendants when Harry left. Megatron was being buried at sea in two days and the Autobots had to prepare.


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