Shaman had woken up early as usual to tend to the little femme’s needs. His optics were sore, his body was aching, and his mood was almost as fowl as Ratchet’s when Sunstreaker and Sideswipe would come into med bay after doing something stupid. He sat at the kitchen table feeding the little femme, while waiting for the wreckers to awaken so he could give then the rundown of how things were going to be done while he was there. He breathed a heavy sigh as he looked down to see how the femme was doing. He could tell she was starting to get hungry as she began to make faces. He sighed again as he began to wonder when Springer and the others would get up. One way or another though, if he had to drag them out of bed before 8:30, he would.
It didn’t take long for the wreckers to finally start waking up. It was about 8:10 when each began to make their way from their respective room, and to the kitchen through the dining room. As each made their way in, they were met with an epic, Ratchet grade stare from Shaman. He looked like he hadn’t recharged worth a slag last night, and none of them were willing to speak for fear of enraging the medic. “Sit. Down,” grumbled Shaman, not wanting them to even grab anything to eat. Perceptor and Kup obeyed as he knew that Shaman’s low tone and ominous glare was a bad sign of negative things to come if they didn’t.
“Can’t I get something to eat?” complained Blurr. “It’s not going to take that long for me… to…” Blurr was met with a glare that would truly rival Ratchet’s ‘Do Not Cross Me’ look, and rapidly sat down before all hell broke loose. Drift didn’t even question as he saw what Shaman had done to Blurr with just a nasty glare, and he didn’t want to get the same treatment. Springer finally came in at about 8:20. Tired from a rough nights recharge, he came in, and was too met with the hazardous glare. Seeing his team sitting quietly at the table, waiting for Shaman to say anything and to put his intimidating glare away, Springer quietly sat down, not even making any attempt to go to the fridge for some energon.
Once Springer was seated, Shaman looked to his right… then his left, then straight at Springer. “I hope you understand, that I may be here for a short time, or if Prime allows, longer to ensure that you “morons” will be able to care for this child and not make her into your punching bag like last time,” he stated cold and sharply. Everyone could feel the anger that Shaman had for their mistreatment of the little femme, but none said anything as they didn’t want the medic to go all Ratchet times 10 on them. “Everyone will be changing diapers; everyone will be feeding her; everyone will be bathing her; everyone will be doing as I say. If she needs to be held, played with, cuddled, soothed… whatever SHE needs, will be taken care of, and you guys will be expected to get it done. As the humans here say, “If I tell you to jump, you had better ask, ‘How high’.”
Everyone nodded, including Springer as he knew that he would be the primary focus to ensure that he did take care of his daughter, and performed his duties as such. Not only that, it would all have to be up to Shaman’s expectations to the greatest precision and degree. “Good,” Shaman stated coldly. With that last word, it almost felt like the whole room went at least 10 degrees cooler with how icy that word felt. Shaman then stood up and began making his way to the little femme’s room, but not before taking a look back. “Training will begin once I put her down for a nap. Be. Ready.” He then went upstairs to put the femme down to sleep.
Everyone quickly grabbed some energon to guzzle down before Shaman returned, ready to either kick their tail pipes, or turn them inside out with learning how to change a diaper, prepare bottles, bathing… whatever the medic chose, they would have to perform to his expectation. They began to wonder what Shaman would start them on. Bathing perhaps, or having to change a full diaper. They had seen how bad the femme was due to her deplorable health, and Blurr seemed to have the worst phobia about it. “What if she’s not done yet and I get pooped on?” he asked allowed.
“I think that would only happen if you picked her up,” said Kup.
“I don’t think so,” said Perceptor. “I have seen her force it out to where it’s almost projectile.” Blurr began to shutter as he thought of his paint and wax job being ruined by projectile sparkling excrement. He then sighed, fearing that before the week was done, it would happen, and it would be him that would be on the receiving end.
While the others thought back over the past weeks, and fearing what the future held, Drift only could think of how sickly the child currently was, and wondered how swift her recovery would be. He recalled seeing the coverage of the trial on the networks, portraying her as a monster, when she looked almost dead in the countless pounds of chains, straight jacket, stasis collar, and mask to dehumanize her, when in all… stood a terrified child in a cold courtroom.
As the group sat at the table, they over heard on the television that there were still reports of sightings of Arcee. They then thought back to the intense coverage to the little femme’s trial, which all began to have a bad feeling that the village most likely already knew she was there. Perceptor then stood up without a warning. “I’m going to go for a short walk,” he announced. “Let Shaman know that I’ll be back in half and hour for any training he has for us. I need to check something out.” He then left without even another sound. Everyone sighed and wondered what he was up to, but then again, after Perceptor was almost killed during the war, he had changed to where he was more geared toward fighting, versus science.
As Perceptor made his way to the small village, he stopped and found a spot he could look through his scope to see what was going on. Placing his gun on silence, he shot some microphones around the place and listened to what was going on. He heard some talk about current events, gossip about other things, primarily about the war that was still going on, but he then heard what he was most concerned about. The mechs knew the little femme was there. He heard them talk about storming the safe house to kill her, others were suggesting a more professional hit, and some threatening to kill her on sight. Perceptor, although he didn’t really care much for the little femme, he couldn’t help but now worry for her safety. With Springer still wanting to distance himself from her, and the others, including himself who felt they were too at a loss, knew that trouble was already brewing. And even deeper still, he knew, that Shaman was right to worry as he too probably knew the situation.
As he sighed to himself, he took a look at the time, and saw that almost 30 min passed. “I’d best get back,” he said quietly to himself. “If Shaman sees that I’ve been gone for too long, he will go Ratchet on me.” Slinging his rifle onto his shoulder, he looked back down at the village, and decided to keep the microphones going in case something was said that would place the little femme in danger, and keep it to himself. Last he wanted to hear was someone blabbing out the locations and then getting rid of them. The femme was their responsibility, and he was going to try to be proactive in maintaining her safety, whether Springer liked it or not.
Once he arrived home, he heard Shaman giving instructions on something. Sighing to himself, he entered and made his way into the dining room, where he found Shaman and the others. “Glad you are still as punctual as you normally are,” spoke Shaman. “Take a spot on the end. You have some catching up to do.” Perceptor took a spot next to Drift and saw that they were slowly being taught how to change diapers. He sighed as he was handed a doll approximately the size and weight of the little femme. “Let’s begin again, and I will expect everyone to asked questions if they are unsure of anything.”
Throughout the day to early evening, the Wreckers were trained heavily on bathing, diaper changing, making bottles, learning lullabies, swaddling, and feedings. Blurr had the honor of changing the little femme the first 3 times, 2 of them with horrid diarrhea that dripped down the femme’s legs, and everyone else being confronted with the same thing. Drift being the first to have projectile poop, but Springer getting the worst of it as he had nothing but diarrhea. Even when he had to bathe her under Shaman’s watchful optics, she had another bout while in the tub. Once Springer placed her in a clean diaper, she used it shortly after, only to have it overflow and ruined the pajamas he had just zipped her up in. Everyone saw Springer pretty much state with immense rage, that he was giving up on “the sorry slagger”. He then stormed out the door without another word as Shaman ran after him. Kup sighed and began to tend to the little femme, cleaning her up and getting her dressed into another pair of pajamas.
Shaman finally caught up with Springer, who sat at the edge of a small river. “Springer!” he called. Springer sighed, wanting to be alone to clear his mind and figure out what he was to do.
“Can’t I be left alone for just a moment?” he grumbled.
“Not this time,” said Shaman. “Why are you running away from your daughter again? What has she done now that has made you so enraged that you’re ready to abandon her again?” Springer sighed, trying to find the right words. Shaman remained silent as he saw Springer have trouble finding the right thing to say.
“Shaman… I don’t think this was a good idea to have me try and take care of her,” he finally stated. “You know as well as I that my temper is almost non-existent since I recovered from having my face ripped off by Overlord.” Shaman only sighed.
“Are you going to use that as an excuse to walk away from your daughter again?” asked Shaman. “You know that there was no excuse for the first time, and there will be no excuse this time around. You know as well as the others and myself, that if you mess up this time, that will be it. You will never have another chance to do harm to her.”
“You don’t think I know that?” grumbled Springer, frustrated over what was going on. “I just… I just don’t know if I have it in me.”
“Why didn’t you say that in the first place?” asked Shaman. “Everyone would have understood if you let us know. I know that you still have issues from that battle with Overlord, but you have to push through it or she will continue to suffer and pay for the pain that you still suffer with.” He then sighed and thought carefully. “If you need me to, I will find someone, or I will personally be the one to help you. But you have to ask for it. I can’t do anything until you give the word.” Springer sat still at the edge of the water, trying to figure out what to do. He then finally stood up and turned toward Shaman.
“I will think about it,” he stated solemnly.
“You’d better think long and hard about it,” said Shaman. “Because if she gets hurt again under your watch, you will really have to prove to everyone that you are worthy for another chance. Do I make myself clear?” Springer only nodded, knowing that this would be the only warning he would ever hear. “Good. Let’s head back, and tomorrow, I will continue working with you guys so you can take care of her when I am not there.” Again, Springer only nodded as the two headed back to the safe house. The rest of the evening, the Wreckers were given a break, while Shaman took care of the little femme.
Shaman was making notes on the progress that everyone had made for the day, was preparing to call Optimus to make his report, and make a recommendation for Springer to get therapy to ensure the safety and wellbeing of his daughter. He then looked over to the little femme that laid in a bassinet next to where he was sitting. He saw her tremble every now and again, making nervous faces, and trying to cry out… it was most likely that she was having a nightmare from the trauma she had experienced back on Cybertron. He then looked over at the others, as saw them finishing up their energon rations. He could tell they were all contemplating something. What exactly… he could not place his finger on.
Finishing up his notes, he gently took the little femme upstairs to her room, laying her in the crib to hopefully get some sleep. He sighed as he knew it would be another long night of helping her through the terrors while the others would be sleeping peacefully. Taking one more deep breath, he made it way into his room, right next door to the little femme’s, closed the door, and prepared to make his report to Ratchet, and Optimus.
“Shaman calling Ratchet and Optimus from planet Earth,” he began as he tried to reach Cybertron.
“Ratchet here with Optimus Prime,” he stated. “We read you, but we don’t have a clear picture.” Without even thinking, Shaman was able to stabilize the transmission and clear the picture.
“My apologies, sirs,” said Shaman. “I thought I had everything calibrated.”
“No need to apologize,” stated Optimus. “I would have expected some issues regardless.”
“Thank you Optimus, sir,” stated Shaman.
“Other than that, how did the first day go?” asked Ratchet. “Did the Wreckers do alright with learning the basics in sparkling care?” Shaman went quiet for a moment.
“Well… it started alright… but…,” he began.
“Shaman, you know that I don’t like it when you say ‘but’ with anything,” stated Ratchet. “It means that there is a very large problem.”
“That’s the thing though,” said Shaman. “I don’t know how big exactly this will be in your book, but… Springer voiced a concern that he isn’t sure if he can be a good father to the little femme.”
“Is it because of his fight with Overlord?” asked Ratchet. Shaman only nodded as Ratchet only sighed shortly after. “Did you remind him that it’s no excuse this time?” Shaman again nodded. “What did he say?”
“Nothing much, but I made the suggestion of him getting therapy,” said Shaman.
“What did he say to that suggestion?” asked Optimus.
“He only stated that he would think about it,” said Shaman. “Because of that… I would like to remain inside the safe house to keep an optic on the little femme until I feel comfortable with him taking over the role as father to her.”
“You know as well as Ratchet and myself that we have to get Springer to take that role as soon as possible,” stated Optimus.
“Trust me sir, I understand very well the issue of her not understanding that Springer is her real father as she gets older, but…,”
“But what?” asked Ratchet. “Spit it out.”
“Springer walked away during training when things were getting to rough,” stated Shaman. “My fear is… what if he does that when things get too hard for him with taking care of the little femme? Or what if… what if he starts to become abusive? No one will be there to protect her.”
“The other Wreckers will be there to help lighten the burden as needed,” said Optimus.
“And what if they aren’t?” questioned Shaman. “There is no guarantee that they will be there for him when he needs a break at any time he needs one.”
“Then what would you suggest?” asked Ratchet. Shaman paused for a moment to find his words and chose them carefully.
“I would like to be able to come when ever I wished, for surprise inspections to ensure that the little femme is safe and it being taken care of appropriately,” he stated, hoping that both Ratchet and Optimus would be alright with. “I am scared to leave the little femme alone with him as he is almost as damaged as her. And I’m being lenient about him being almost as damaged as her.” He could see Optimus and Ratchet were mulling around his words.
“I will condone you making surprise visits and seeing the femme as often as needed for her safety,” stated Optimus.
“Optimus, we need to get Springer to become a father to her and not have a crutch to lean on,” stated Ratchet. “Magnus and Alpha Trion even agreed that Springer needs to be expected to start picking up the pace.”
“But Shaman has made a very good reason why it would be foolish to just give the femme to him without ensuring that she will be safe, and that Springer gets the help he still requires,” said Optimus calmly. “The truth is, we still don’t know how stable he is, with the trauma with fighting Overlord all that time ago and with the events that happened recently, in order to take care of his daughter. And even if he slowly becomes stable after months of therapy, will he still be able to cope with having to raise her.”
“I’m more concerned of if he will use any coping skills that the therapist gives him,” said Shaman. “He was given coping skills the first time around when he woke up from his coma, but he still lets his anger get the best of him and continues to have outbursts. Not to mention the fact that he still tries to get high grade energon to cope with his frustration. I mean… just on the trip here, he tried to get high grade from the steward after having 5 small cubes of the stuff.”
“Did he react in anger at any time during the trip?” asked Ratchet. Shaman nodded.
“Anytime I brought up his daughter… he almost lost it,” he stated sadly. “Any time I would tell him to think of his daughter, he would only get angry. I fear something is going on, and unless he is ordered to get help, I fear he will harm her again.” Optimus nodded as Shaman explained his concerns.
“I hear you, and I agree with you,” stated Optimus. “If help is arranged, and Springer is expected to get therapy, would you feel comfortable allowing to give him some leeway to allow him to take the reigns to become the father he needs to be?” Shaman sighed heavily.
“I still would want to make surprise visits when ever I chose, and if he screws up, I can pull the plug on this if it’s in the best interest of the child,” he stated as he still feared that Springer would screw up again… even with mandatory help. This time, both Ratchet and Optimus nodded, agreeing with him.
“You have my blessing to do so, but only if it’s in the best interest of the child,” stated Ratchet.
“Then we agree to the terms,” said Optimus. “And if you could Shaman, I would like you to type up the terms and present them to not only Springer, but the others and have them sign. I then want a copy of the contract.”
“I can do that, sir,” stated Shaman. “And if you don’t mind, I will also be asking for proof that Springer is attending all counseling. If I have a feeling he is not, I will be requesting surveillance tapes from the facility to ensure that he is taking this seriously.” Optimus again nodded.
“Do what you need to do, to ensure that the child is safe and it being properly taken care of,” stated Optimus.
“Thank you sir,” said Shaman, feeling somewhat confident that he can now ensure the child’s safety, versus just leave her with him. The call soon ended with him feeling a little more at ease knowing he would have some power to make sure things would go smooth. He looked at his notes to see what he would need to put in the contract. He knew that Springer would contest the terms and bark at him for who knows how long about how unfair the rules would be. But with this being Springer’s last chance, Shaman knew that he would have to shut up about it, and deal with it. This was no longer about him. It was about making sure the little femme, stayed alive and could finally be a happy and healthy sparkling.
Leaning back in his chair and staring at the ceiling, he hoped that things would turn out better than what he was fearing. His stomach turned as he grew worried that things would play out like back on Cybertron. Closing his optics and sighing once more to himself, he slowly began to type up the contract, outlining everything that was to be expected, what would happen, and that he would be allowed to make visits as he saw fit to ensure the safety and health of the little femme.
He hoped… that it would be enough to protect the little femme, and ensure she would not be exploited again for another mech’s profit.