The next morning there was no change with Lockdown and Joy took over sitting with him while Sunfire worked on some of the repairs to ship.
Joy had walked over to Lockdown and gently ran her hand over the side of his face, “It’s amazing how quickly you’re healing now, that cute little nose of your’s looks almost the same as it does on your holoform. Actually, in general you look cute and peaceful when you’re asleep. Although I have to admit you’re kind of hot too, you may not be human, but I do like the bare chested look where you’re armor is missing. Can you change your holoform so it’s missing the chest armor? Maybe lose the pointed missiles on your shoulders too, it would make you a lot more cuddly and more comfortable to get close to without all those car parts on your chest digging into me when I try to kiss you. Plus if you’ve got that same almost muscled look to your upper arms like Sunfire has, losing the shoulder armor would make you look even hotter. Well just in case you can’t do that, I think I’ll get my camera and take some pictures so I can always remember how cute and hot you are when you‘re asleep,” she told him, hoping if he could hear her he’d react.
When she got no reaction out of him she sat down, leaning against his arm, “You can’t just hide in there forever. What about the others like you? Are you just going to leave them to live out their lives as slaves? Someone has to save them and you probably have a better chance than anyone at being able to pull it off. And what about the aliens who did this to you? Are you going to let them get away with it, because it’s easier to just hide in there and never wake up?”
A while later Sunfire came in, “You said your dad works for KSI didn’t you?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Joy replied disgustedly.
“What are the chances you could get in there and find out if they have any of the bodies left from the bots that Lockdown helped them catch?”
“I already know they do, I was there the day the Autobots broke in. I saw them bringing in a new body and decapitate it so they could start melting it down piece by piece,” Joy told him shuddering, “I know the body is still there and I don’t think they would have had time to fully melt down the head before the Autobots showed up. Last time I talked to dad, he said it would probably be weeks until they got things up and running again, so the body and head should still be there. Why do you want to know?”
Sunfire grinned, “You want to play Frankenstein with me?”
“What are you planning and how do you know who Frankenstein is?” Joy asked.
“Lots of free time while Lockdown was helping the humans hunt down bots, I kind of developed an addiction to human horror movies. I was going to let Ratchet out, but it would take me weeks to build him a body from spare parts and it wouldn’t be very good. If we could get a hold of normal body even if it’s badly damaged Ratchet said it would still be a hundred times better than anything that could be built, we could repair it to the point of being stable and then put Ratchet’s spark in it. Kind of creepy if you think about it, ethically a little questionable, Ratchet say’s it use to be forbidden to even try anything like that, but after their numbers started dwindling he started doing it on the battle field when he had dead bodies and bots who were so badly damaged they couldn’t survive but their sparks were still undamaged. He said if we can find a body, he can tell me how to put his spark in it,” Sunfire explained.
“So you want me to sneak into KSI and steal the bodies they’ve been collecting?”
“Pretty much,” Sunfire replied.
“If I get caught and sent to jail do you promise to come break me out and take me with you when you leave or at least get me to another country where I won‘t be arrested?” Joy asked.
“Seriously?” Sunfire asked.
“Totally, sneaking in and stealing stuff from a major company like KSI, if I get caught they’ll send me to jail for who knows how long. Plus I’ve always wanted to travel and see the world,” Joy replied.
“Okay, yes if you get caught I promise to break you out and get you somewhere safe,” Sunfire replied.
Joy grinned, “Alright then, lets do it.”
“Let’s go get you ready then,” Sunfire said.
“Ready how?” Joy asked.
“I don’t know if he’s in love with you, but Lockdown definitely developed a protective streak towards you, he would offline me if I sent you in there unarmed,” Sunfire replied.
“So I get alien weapons, something I can use to shoot the place up a bit? Keep them shut down a little longer,” Joy said.
“Sure,” Sunfire replied as they headed into the ship, “You really don’t like KSI do you?”
“Yeah, my dad and most of the people working there think you guys are nothing but machines. The things they do to the bodies they’ve gotten just isn’t right. I even heard they had a smaller live bot they were keeping imprisoned and were forcing him to help them, luckily last I heard he had escaped when the Autobots broke in. My dad wouldn’t show me where he was kept though, thought I’d try to break him out if I knew, because I never believed you guys were just machines,” Joy explained.
“It’s still hard believe you were right about that,” Sunfire said as they entered the treasure room and he started looking through the shelves of weapons, “So what type of weapon would you like, I’ve got weapons in your size that can do everything from stunning to unconsciousness to vaporizing a human.”
“Let’s go with nonfatal, I may hate the place, would love to level it to the ground, but I don’t want to kill anyone,” Joy replied.
“That’s what I thought,” Sunfire said as he worked with something for a moment then handed it to Joy, “Put it on your arm, with the cord around your hand.”
Joy took what looked like a gun mounted on a gauntlet that wrapped around her arm with leather like straps to tighten it and a cord that wrapped around her hand, “It fits, what does it do?” Joy asked.
“Just aim and give your wrist a quick flick down to pull the cord, if it’s right against or within a couple feet of someone it will send out an electrical charge that will knock them out, up to ten feet away it should stun them long enough for you to get closer and knock them out. Takes a couple seconds to recharge between firings, but it’s from- well, it’s from another planet with very advanced electronics, the battery will last for about fifty firings,” Sunfire told her.
“Nice,” Joy said as she looked it over.
“Think you’ll need help retrieving the bodies?” Sunfire asked looking over what appeared to be some type of collar.
“Probably, will you be coming with me?” Joy asked.
“No, we probably shouldn’t leave Lockdown alone that long and I think it’ll be easier for me to break you out of jail than it would be for you to get me out if I were to be captured. I was thinking we could have your brother help you,” Sunfire told her.
“Even if he agreed, I trust him that he won’t say anything, but at the same time, what if I’m wrong and as soon as he’s out he’d try to get away and tell someone that you guys are here?” Joy asked.
“That’s what this is for,” Sunfire said holding up the collar, “It’s sort of a shock collar, he tries to stop you or run off, you push a button and it’ll knock him out, but not cause any permanent damage.”
“He is so going to hate me for this, but I’ll talk to him and see if I can convince him to help,” Joy said, “Now where in this maze of a ship is he?”
“I’ll take you to him and then come back and get you after I finish adjusting the collar to work safely on a human,” Sunfire told her as they left the room.
As soon as Sunfire had left Joy at Tim’s cage Joy said, “Hey Timmy, most wonderful little brother ever-”
“What do you want?” Tim cut in crossing his arms and glaring at her for a moment before smiling and saying, “It must be something big because it’s been years since the last time you started out asking me for something like that.”
“Nothing much, I just want you to help me break into KSI and retrieve any of the bot bodies they haven’t melted down yet,” Joy replied.
Tim stared at her for a moment, “Please tell me you’re kidding.”
“Nope, you see Sunfire has decided to release Ratchet, but he needs a body, so I’m going to go retrieve him one. Technically KSI stole some of the bodies they had from the bots who’s sparks are in the spark vault, we’d just be returning them,” Joy told him.
“And how do you think you’re going to get in?” Tim asked.
“I’ll stop at mom and dad’s on the way to Chicago and take dad’s security card,” Joy replied.
“He’ll notice and what if you get him fired because they think it’s him or you get caught, they have surveillance cameras all over the place.”
“I’ll break the clip on his card, he’s mentioned that happening to other people, they’ll just assume it broke after he left the building and someone found it on the sidewalk. We’ll wear masks when we go in and Sunfire is going to hack into their security feed, he’ll just record some footage and then run it on a loop while we’re there,” Joy explained.
“What about the guards?”
Joy held up her wrist, “Alien stun gun, it’ll knock them out without hurting them.”
“Fine, at least it’ll get me out of this cage.”
That evening Joy went to visit her parent’s, making up an excuse for being in Chicago near where they lived. As she had expected they invited her to stay for dinner and while she was there she managed to sneak away her father’s security badge. Luckily he was high enough up in the research department that he didn’t have to check in with anyone, all he had to do was swipe his card and he could get in at anytime, day or night.
“Got it,” Joy said holding up her father’s security badge after opening the horse trailer where Tim was waiting.
“Great, now can I come sit in the truck with you? Making me wear this collar is bad enough, but leaving me locked in back here with that thing staring at me is just too much,” Tim said pointing to Shadow who had been sent along incase they ran into any trouble.
“Oh if you insist,” Joy replied as Tim climbed out of the trailer and into the truck.
A little while later they arrived at the KSI building and went in through the back entrance, pulling up to an area near where Joy had seen bodies being unloaded one of the times she had been there visiting her dad. After contacting Sunfire and making sure he had taken care of the security cameras they snuck inside and found the area where bodies were stored until they could be melted down. There was the decapitated and badly damaged body that joy had seen when she was there before, but that seemed to be the only thing that hadn’t already been taken away to be melted.
“Tim, go get the forklift by where we came in and take the body to the trailer,” Joy told him.
“Where are you going?” Tim asked.
“To the room where they melt the bots down, I saw them take the head from this body into the melting room, right before the Autobots broke in and everything was shut down, they wouldn’t have had time to melt it down completely,” Joy replied.
“What if the guards come? I don’t have any weapons like you do.”
“Remember, that’s why Sunfire had you do those exercises with Shadow before we left, so he knows you’re a friend and if need be he’ll protect you, you’ll be fine,” Joy assured him before heading off.
It didn’t take her long to find the partially melted head, hesitating only briefly to get over the creepiness of carrying around a severed head she picked it up and started to head back to meet up with Tim.
“Hey, freeze right there,” a security guard said coming around a corner behind her.
Joy set the head down then spun around taking aim at the guard then let out a yelp as pain shot through her upper left arm. She recovered quickly and fired at the guard, knocking him out then quickly grabbed the head and continued to the exit.
“Tim you’re driving, lets go,” Joy said setting the head in the trailer, quickly shutting it before getting into the truck.
“What’s wrong? You seem a little shaken up,” Tim asked as he pulled out.
“I ran into a guard, good thing he’s a poor shot and they only use rubber bullets, but I’ll bet it’s still going to leave quite a bruise,” Joy replied rubbing her sore arm.
Once they got back to Joy’s she headed into the barn, “Any change?”
“Nothing yet,” Sunfire replied, “How’d it go?”
“We were able to get one badly damaged body and a partially melted head. They had been melting them down as soon as they got them in, that’s all we were able to find,” Joy told him.
“At least it should get Ratchet on his feet,” Sunfire said as they headed out to where Tim was opening up the trailer, “This is better than I expected,” he said looking into the trailer.
“But it’s totally mangled and missing a leg, how can that be good?” Tim asked.
“This isn’t just any body, this is actually Ratchet’s body, a lot of his medical modifications should still be intact. If we end up releasing and having to build bodies for the other sparks those modifications will make it a lot easier,” Sunfire explained.
The next morning when Joy got out to the barn she found Sunfire and Tim working on reattaching Ratchet’s head, “You’re helping now?” Joy asked.
“It’s better than being stuck sitting in a cage all day, plus I always enjoyed repairing vehicles,” Tim replied.
“Between his mechanical knowledge and your medical knowledge you two are perfect assistants to help me get Ratchet back in his body as quickly as possible,” Sunfire told her.
“Yeah, now if we could just get Lockdown to wake up everything would be going great,” Joy said running a hand over the side of his face before heading over to help Tim and Sunfire.
When Joy and Tim headed into the house for lunch that afternoon Tim said, “I’ve got to admit, after working with Sunfire I can see why you were so sure they’re alive, you’re right, there’s no way they’re not. I guess I could forgive you for having me locked up to protect them.”
“Thank you,” Joy said hugging him.
“Are you doing okay?” Tim asked.
“Of course, why?” Joy asked.
“I think you spent more time watching Lockdown than paying attention to working on repairing Ratchet this morning.”
“I-” Joy faltered, “I’m just so afraid he’ll never wake up, I barely slept last night, I just kept laying awake thinking, what if I had one chance at love and I just ruined it. Maybe I should have tried to tell him what was really going on.”
“From what Sunfire was telling me about him, it sounds like he would have been too stubborn to convince before he left, then you would have lost him for sure. It’ll be alright, I’m sure of it,” Tim told her.
“I hope you’re right, and I really am grateful that you’re seeing things my way, I feel like I can barely hold it together as it is, any more and I think I’d fall apart,” Joy told him.
“Well then, I’ll just have to stick around and help make sure things go smoothly for a while, a couple more days hanging around here and helping won’t hurt,” Tim told her.
They were just about to sit down to eat when they heard a car pulling up the driveway, “Oh come on, no one ever comes out here, who other than you would show up unannounced,” Joy said as they headed towards the front door.
They both froze when Ron marched through the front door without even knocking, “Comfort Joy McFerran, what on earth do you think you’re doing!” he demanded.
“He knows,” Tim whispered.
“How could he? Just stay calm,” Joy whispered back before stepping out of the kitchen, “Well we were just sitting down to have lunch, do you want to join us?”
“Don’t play dumb with me,” Ron said eyeing her suspiciously.
“Dad, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Joy replied calmly.
“Last night someone stole my security card, broke into KSI and stole one of the robot bodies we were melting down,” Ron told her.
“Anyone could have stolen your card or you could have lost it, why blame me?” Joy asked.
“Because you’ve made it quite clear that you hate what we do there, I know I had my security card at home, I dropped it in a puddle in the driveway after I got home last night and had to clean the mud off of it, you were the only one in the house other than your mother and I. Oh and the guard who saw the thief said it was a woman and he shot her in the left arm,” Ron said grabbing Joy’s arm and pulling up her sleeve, revealing the bruise on her arm before she could pull away.
“Dad you didn’t tell anyone you thought it was Joy, did you?” Tim asked.
Ron sighed, “Of course not, I told them the clasp on the card had broken and someone must have found it and used it. That doesn’t mean that body won’t be returned and I expect an explanation and if I don‘t get that I‘ll do what I have to. I don’t care how much you dislike what we do there, that gives you no right to steal company property that is vital to the research we‘re doing there.”
Tim took one look at Joy‘s face and started to say, “Dad, now’s really not-”
“You stupid, blind, heartless monster! How dare you talk to me about stealing when it’s the people who you work for that are having innocent people murdered just so they can melt down their bodies for your precious research,” Joy exclaimed angrily, Ron took a couple steps back out the front door as she advanced towards him and continued, her voice rising along with her anger, “Either you’re too stupid to see the obvious truth or you just don’t care and convince yourself it‘s not true, as long as it advances your career you don’t care, do you? I didn’t steal anything, I just retrieved what KSI stole and returned it to the person it really belongs to. I’m sick of dealing with your blind stupidity and trying to make you see the truth, so go ahead, tell them it was me, I already have a way out and you will never hear from me again, if that’s how much you want to hold on to your delusions about the bots, go for it.”
“What has gotten into you?” Ron demanded.
“Dad, drop the angry tone right now,” Tim said as all four steeljaws started to growl, having come out of the barn at the sound of Joy’s distressed voice.
Ron turned, got one look at them then jumped back trying to push Tim and Joy behind him into the house, which only made them growl and advance closer to the porch.
Joy shoved his arm away, walking forward to sit on the edge of the porch, the dogs coming forward, seeming to check to make sure she was alright before Shadow walked up onto the porch and sat down against Joy’s back, keeping a watchful eye on Ron while the other three sat down in front of Joy, Star resting her head in Joy’s lap as she pet her.
“What the heck is going on around here?” Ron asked.
Tim rested his hand on Ron’s arm, “It’s a long story, I’ll explain it to you,” he said trying to lead him into the house.
“What about her? We can’t leave her out here with those things,” Ron said.
“Look, you know how every once in a while when dealing with a lot of stress she’d just force herself to keep going until it had built up so much that she totally blew up? That’s what just happened, she’s been dealing with a lot lately and you were just the little thing that pushed her over the edge. The giant terrifying alien dogs won’t hurt her, as you just saw they’re very protective of her, she’ll be fine. We’re going to go inside and talk while she stays out here and calms down,” Tim told him before guiding him into the house.
After a few minutes Joy headed to the barn, “How long will it take to get everything on the ship and be ready to leave?” she asked Sunfire.
“Maybe ten minutes to move Ratchet’s body and Lockdown onto the ship and another five minutes to get the ship moving. Although if who ever you were yelling at might cause trouble we do have plenty of empty cages,” Sunfire told her.
“It was my dad and if we lock him up, my mom would notice he’s missing and we can’t just lockup my whole family. Dad knows I broke into KSI last night and he’s just as stubbornly sure, if not more so than Lockdown was that you guys are just machines. If we can’t convince him of the truth then we may have to leave in a hurry,” Joy told him.
“We‘, will have to leave?” Sunfire asked.
“You promised to keep me out of jail, even if he doesn’t tell anyone it was me who broke in, I’m not leaving Lockdown’s side until he wakes up,” Joy told him.
“Alright, I’ll go prepare the medbay and move Ratchet’s body there just in case we do have to leave in a hurry,” Sunfire said before heading to the ship.
After he left Joy climbed up onto Lockdown’s chest and curled up, “Come on Lockdown, you have to snap out of it, things are falling apart and I need you. Can you even hear me? Are you even aware that I’m here?” she asked then glanced down through one of the gaps between the sections she had welded to hold his chest together. There were still a few small opening in his spark casing, “Well Ratchet did say it’s an acceptable way to check on the mental status of someone who’s in stasis lock, so tell you what, you snap out of it now or I’m getting into your head, or spark as the case may be and finding out what’s going on in there,” she said.
She waited a few minutes, hoping he’d show some sign of waking up, but she finally gave up, “Alright, I gave you a chance and fair warning,” she said hesitating just a moment before reaching down into his chest, her hand just barely fitting through the hole in his spark chamber.
She gasped as she was hit with a wave of guilt so strong it made her own heart ache and it took a moment before she was able to detect any other emotions. Realization and horror connected to the guilt, deep sadness and failure resulting in more guilt. Buried deeper determination, a desire for revenge and much to Joy’s relief, love and hope.
Joy laid her head against his chest, her hand still on his spark, “Lockdown you can’t blame yourself for what you did when you were brainwashed, you believed you were doing the right thing and had no way of knowing otherwise, it’s not your fault,” Joy said then smiled when the feeling of love seemed to become stronger, although still buried under the guilt, “You can hear me, everything’s going to be alright, just come back to me, I need you, we-”
“Joy are you out here and will you not attack dad if he comes in?” Tim called from the barn door.
Joy jumped so badly she rolled off Lockdown’s chest and landed hard on the ground, knocking the air out of her.
“Dad, wait out there a minute,” Tim said before running over to help Joy up, “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine, just lost my balance,” Joy replied not able to look him in the eye.
“Why are you blushing? What exactly were you doing up there? Making out with him?” Tim asked jokingly which only made her blush worse. Tim raised an eye brow, “Okay, seriously what were you doing?”
“Cybertronian equivalent,” Joy replied quietly.
“What?” Tim asked.
“Yes, okay? Basically the Cybertronian equivalent to making out,” she told him.
“You’re making out with an unconscious robot? How do you even,” Tim asked.
“He may be physically unresponsive, but he can hear us.”
“How can you possibly know that for sure?” Tim asked.
“Because what equates to making out for them involves being able to sense each others emotions, emotionally he was responding when I talked to him. Ratchet said it’s a medically acceptable way to check on someone’s mental status when they’re in stasis lock and I couldn‘t stand not knowing what was going on with him any more.”
“Wow, okay, my sister is doing some type of Vulcan mind meld with a giant alien robot, I don‘t know whether to be fascinated or disturbed,” Tim said.
“It only works for emotions, not thoughts or memories, that level of connection is more reserved for marriage,” Joy replied.
“Okay, I’m going with disturbed, how do you even know that about them?” Tim asked.
“If you really want to know, ask me later, we probably shouldn’t leave dad waiting too long. How much did you tell him?”
“Most of what you told me, minus you locking me up and the part about you having a thing for Lockdown of course,” Tim replied.
“Was he receptive at all to the idea that they’re sentient?” Joy asked as they headed towards the barn door.
“Well he sat and listened instead of cutting in and arguing, although that may have just been because he was still in shock from you blowing up at him,” Tim told her.
“I did over react a little, didn’t I?” Joy said.
“No, it would only seem like that to someone who doesn’t know what you’ve been dealing with,” Tim said, then took a step back as Ron ran into the barn.
“One of those robots just came walking out of the sky,” Ron said glancing out the barn door.
“That’s because that huge ship that was over Chicago is parked up there, it’s just shielded so you can’t see it,” Joy explained.
“And the robot coming out of it?” Ron asked a hint of fear in his voice.
Joy had to fight the urge to smile, he may have spent plenty of time dissecting and studying the bots, but he’d probably never seen a live one other than the small one she’d heard KSI had, “That’s Sunfire, he’s the one I found when you talked me into helping you in Chicago last week,” she explained, “Really this is all your fault, if you hadn’t talked me into helping you they wouldn’t be here. So here’s the deal, you’re going to stay here and help us repair the body I retrieved last night, get to know Sunfire and hopefully by the end of the day you’ll have accepted that I’m right about them and won’t tell anyone they’re here. If you’re not convinced then, if you really love me, you’re still not going to tell anyone they’re here because I wasn’t kidding, if you do anything that forces them to leave I’m going with them and you’ll never see me again.”
“Nice to see Lockdown’s not the only one you try to push around and manipulate,” Sunfire said from the barn door.
“I’m not manipulating him, I’m just making sure he understands the consequences if he does anything stupid,” Joy replied, “Sunfire this is my dad, Ron. Dad this is Sunfire, you two try to get along and get Ratchet’s body repaired,” Joy said before heading towards the barn door.
“Wait, where are you going? You can’t just leave me out here with this thing,” Ron said.
Joy spun around and glared at Ron, as she stalked over to him, rested her hands on his shoulders then smiled sweetly at him, “Daddy, I barely slept last night, I’ve been awake and haven’t eaten since six a.m. I’m going to go eat lunch and you are going to help Sunfire and you will treat him with all the respect that you would treat another human. Understood?”
Ron just nodded and Joy turned to head out of the barn again, behind her she heard Ron say, “What on earth happened to my sweet little girl? I mean she’d argue with me once in a while, but that was just-”
“Well when we were living at home she wouldn’t have talked to you like that, I’d see that side of her once in a while when we were growing up and I did something really stupid or with kids at school who picked on me. But yeah, she seems to have developed a protectiveness of the bots that really brings out that side of her,” Tim said, then patted Ron on the back, “You two get to work, I haven’t had lunch yet either,” Tim said ducking out of the barn before Ron could stop him.
“Do you think it’s a good idea leaving dad out there?” Tim asked as he caught up with Joy.
“What was it that convinced you Sunfire was sentient?” Joy asked.
“Okay, good point, it was being forced to talk to and interact with him, dad is lot more stubborn than I am though,” Tim pointed out.
“I know, but it’s the only idea I’ve got at this point,” Joy told him.
Joy and Tim ate lunch and hung out in the house for a couple of hours before heading back out to the barn. When they got there they were pleasantly surprised to find Ron and Sunfire talking and from the sounds of it getting along well.
“How are things going?” Joy asked.
“Your father is quite stubborn, but I think we’ll get him to come around and accept the truth eventually,” Ratchet said from the spark machine that was now sitting within sight of where Sunfire and Ron were working on his body.
“Well that’s better than I was expecting,” Joy said.
“I have to admit some of what they say makes sense, especially what Ratchet says,” Ron said, “Like the way the KSI robots transformed, we never really figured out why they transformed differently from the Autobots and Decepticons. Ratchet says it’s probably because they weren’t alive, just metal being manipulated, while something living would have to maintain constant connections for circulatory systems and internal organs. I still don’t know though, living sentient robots, just seems too farfetched to me.”
“Just because it’s the stuff of science fiction on earth doesn’t mean it can’t exist somewhere in this massive universe. Some of the living things Lockdown has seen in his travels are far more amazing and unbelievable than living beings made of metal,” Joy told him.
Ron looked at her for a moment then said, “You really weren’t exaggerating when you said you’d leave with them if I told anyone, were you?”
“Not one bit. You know I’ve always wanted to see the world, well after spending a few days listening to Lockdown’s adventures, it makes exploring earth seem like I was thinking way too small,” Joy replied.
“Alright, I’m not convinced yet that they’re really alive, but I’ll admit there’s a chance and won’t tell anyone they’re here, if it’ll keep you from running away with them,” Ron told her.
Joy hugged him, “Thank you. I promise I won’t run away with them and never come back then. Although if I had a chance to go on a little vacation in space, I couldn’t turn that down.”
“Fair enough,” Ron said then quietly enough only Joy could hear him, “I’m going to be calling to make sure you’re alright every morning and evening until they leave though.”
“Just don’t panic if I don’t answer and it takes several hours for me to call back, I’ve practically been living out here while I help with the repairs,” Joy warned him.
“Okay, but if I don’t get an answer at least call me once a day,” Ron said.
“I can do that,” Joy agreed, “Do you need to get back to work?” she asked, somehow managing to hide how much she wanted him to leave.
“I might as well stay, I already said I was taking the day off and all that’s being done at the lab is clean up and repair work. All the research has been put on hold until Mr. Joyce gets back, last I heard he’s taking care of something in Texas and no one knows how soon he’ll be back,” Ron explained.
“Okay, well I have a beef roast, I’ll go start that for us to have for dinner,” Joy said before heading into the house.
After getting dinner started Joy decided she couldn’t stand being away from Lockdown and worrying about him anymore, so she slipped in a side door of the barn near where Lockdown was. The steeljaws were all laying around Lockdown. Joy slipped in between his arm and his side, leaning her head against the side of his chest where she could hear the steady pulsing of his spark. As soon as she had sat down Star came over to lay next to Joy, curling around her almost protectively.
Joy woke up to the sound of Ron yelling for her from outside then heard him come into the barn, “I can’t find Joy anywhere,” he said.
Joy opened her eyes and found herself again, encased in flesh and metal.
“My guess would be she’s over with Lockdown,” Sunfire said.
“I already looked over there,” Tim told him.
“You see how the steeljaws are all curled up in a pile against Lockdown’s side?” Sunfire asked.
“Yes,” Ron replied.
“She’s probably under there,” Sunfire told him.
“What?! She could be crushed,” Ron exclaimed.
“She’s in no danger, if they have young or one of them is sick or injured they’ll do that to protect them, lacking any of those, they’ll sleep around the alpha like that. Either they’ve decided Joy is weak and needs protecting or more likely because of her taking care of their injuries just like Lockdown did and because of her taking care of Lockdown who they’d normaly view as their alpha, now they’ve come to view her as a member of their pack, second only to Lockdown,” Sunfire explained.
“Great, my daughter is leader to a pack of alien monster dogs,” Ron said, “Can we get her out of there?”
“Let’s leave her for now, she’s probably asleep and needs it more than food, she’s exhausted. We’ll eat and if she’s not awake by the time you need to leave I’ll stay here until she wakes up,” Tim told him as it sounded like they walked away.
Joy considered trying to get out, but Tim was right, she was exhausted and at the moment all she wanted to do was go back to sleep.
Joy woke up in the middle of the night and slipped out from under the dogs, when she saw no sign of Sunfire or Ratchet’s body she headed into the house. Tim was asleep on the couch and she found a note on the front of the fridge saying that Sunfire had moved Ratchet’s body into the ship, just in case Ron did tell anyone and they’d have to leave in a hurry. After reheating and eating her dinner she headed back out to the barn.
“Come on Lockdown, it’s been almost three days, do you have any idea what you’re doing to me? Do you even care?” she asked climbing up onto his chest then let out a frustrated sigh when she realized the holes in his chest over his spark had healed to the point that they were too small for her hand to fit through them, “Great, you’ve healed so much I can’t even find out what you’re feeling now. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? Why won’t you wake up, I need you,” she said climbing back down to stand next to him with the dogs, leaning her head against his side she decided to change tactics, “Is that why you won’t wake up? Have you realized you really don’t love me, or even care about me? Are you just hiding in there, hoping that Sunfire will take you and leave, so that you don’t have to face me and tell me that you were wrong and I was right? That there is something wrong with me and no man in the universe will ever be able to love me?”
All of a sudden Joy was spun around, her mind only having a split second to register piercing green eyes before he pulled her into his arms and his lips came crashing down on hers with such force and passion that it left her mind reeling with a single realization. Despite being blown away by the passion behind it the first time he had kissed her, it had been reserved and controlled compared to this.
When the kiss finally ended it took Joy a second to catch her breath, while Lockdown just held her to him and she smiled when she realized what was different, “You changed your holoform,” she said.
“Unless it was a dream I believe I heard you say something about this being more comfortable,” Lockdown replied.
“That I did, you’re definitely more cuddly like this,” Joy said wrapping her arms around him. He didn’t respond, just looked at her as he brushed one hand over the side of her face, before he released her and sat down, leaning back against the side of his real body, “Are you okay?” she asked.
Lockdown looked up at her for a moment before taking her hand and pulling down into his lap, wrapping his arms around her and pressing his face into her hair, “No,” he said softly, “Just stay with me,” .
“I’m not going anywhere,” Joy assured him, wrapping her arms around him.