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AutobotSpike

We've secretly taken Spike's brain and...

Log Title: Adjustments

Characters: Dr. Morin, Spike, Sparkplug, Ron Witwicky, Prowl, Optimus Prime

Location: The Ark, Portland, OR

Date: 1985

TP: Flashbacks

Summary: Shortly after Spike was badly injured from Megatron's direct hit on Bumblebee, Sparkplug begins to question whether he made the right decision bringing his son into the Autobot's intergalactic war with the Decepticons. Only problem - with a house in foreclosure, few options are left for the stressed-out single father.  

1985

Wow, it was just like yesterday. Mere hours after Bumblebee gave Spike a high-5, Spike's rushed back to Seattle Memorial for observation. Before Sparkplug leaves, Optimus Prime catches up to Sparkplug before he heads to the hospital. Most likely, Sparkplug has just had the beejeezus scared out of him. Only a few months in, and he nearly lost one kid. However, leaving isn't that simple as his house has recently been foreclosed.

Optimus Prime stretches out a hand before Sparkplug gets in his pickup. "Sparkplug! A minute, please!"

Sparkplug turns tiredly to look up at the Autobot Commander, lines of stress deeply carved into his face.

Optimus Prime gets down to one knee, looking at Sparkplug in the eyes. "I... again - I cannot express my relief at Spike's repairs. And... I wish to - inform you that Prowl and I are taking steps to... ensure this - tragedy is avoided next time."

Sparkplug's face twists into an angry, exhausted scowl. "And how exactly do you expect to manage that?"

Optimus Prime nods, absorbing Sparkplug's anger. "I... am tasking specific Autobots to watch after Spike - and you." He looks down at Sparkplug, "I... am hopeful that you will continue to stay and help with our cause."

Sparkplug sighs, rubbing his hand over his short-cropped hair. "Yeah, well, we're more than glad to help, but this time.."

Optimus Prime gets up and looks down, "If you could help us as well - maybe we can meet tomorrow. But you have my word - I will do everything in my power to make sure this does not happen again."

Sparkplug rasps, "Well, I'm not sure about tomorrow. Let me see how my son is. He's my top priority right now. Maybe after he recovers we can discuss further our future with the Autobots."

Optimus Prime nods compassionately to Sparkplug. "Very well - but please... consider staying - this... this incident will be a lesson I am taking the utmost care not to repeat."

Sparkplug nods. "Good," he says absently, concern for his son warring with worry about medical bills -- being the Autobots' pet not paying very well, after all.

A few hours later… 

Sparkplug is at possibly the most humiliating place he could be. A state courthouse - before he visits his son. His house gone, a fairly portly, flat-faced caseworker shows Sparkplug a decrepit two-bedroom apartment (much like what comic book Sparkplug inherited after his house was destroyed). She shows him a photo - a living room with a bunk bed for Spike and Buster.

The caseworker drones "The county will pay for your heating and air while you get job placement. Food stamps for a family of 3 will be $120 every other week."

Sparkplug reacts to the words "food stamps" as if a knife was plunged into his gut.

The caseworker continues to chew gum in front of Sparkplug and drones "Any questions?"

Sparkplug is at a loss. He's not going to let his kids starve over an issue of pride, but maybe if Ron and Judy could take them in, just for a little while…

The drab, ugly, army green and worn grey 2-bedroom apartment stares back at Sparkplug. Is this really a better option for his 2 kids?

Sparkplug rasps, "Uh.... how soon would I have to decide?"

The caseworker doesn't change her tone, "Benefits are given out bi-weekly. You have until Friday, otherwise you'll wait another 2 weeks."

Sparkplug nods. "Thank you. I appreciate your help."

To cut Sparkplug a break, he STILL has some money left over from the insurance settlement from the oil rig disaster.

The caseworker closes the file and immediately goes to the next case. "NUMBER 54!"

Sparkplug sighs, and steps aside, his despair increased rather than lessened by the offer.

Spike is sitting in a hospital room for ANOTHER day. CAT scans show normal. It's like nothing happened, minus some internal bleeding here and there.

Spike frowns and thumbs through his Spiderman comic again. He's been biting at the bits to get back to the Ark.

Sparkplug collects his paperwork and heads out to his truck to visit his son.

At the hospital, Sparkplug is given the good news. You could call this one of those odd type of 'emergencies' that some docs deal with - a patient comes in, nearly dies, but 36 hours later, walks out as if practically nothing happened.

Sparkplug almost can't believe his ears. "Are you sure?" It must be a miracle of Autobot technology…

Dr. Morin smiles at Sparkplug, "Due to the...uh... well, I might as well say it, 'historic' circumstances of his type of...procedure - we want to keep him another night and do another round of CAT scans, but he can be released as early as noon tomorrow."

Sparkplug rasps, "That's great, Dr. Morin. I can't tell you how happy I am to hear it."

Spike looks at his skinny, bare chest as a few monitors are attached. He reaches for his water, only to get tangled up with a pulse monitor. Spike frowns slightly "This is SUCH a waste..." he mutters.

Sparkplug is near-tears, and his barely making an effort to conceal it.

Sparkplug looks over at Spike. "You hear that, son? You're going to be OK!"

Sparkplug goes over to grab Spike's forearm, maybe a little too hard in his enthusiasm.

Spike looks over at his dad and quickly puts his Spiderman comic in a New Yorker. "Dad!"

Spike looks up and grins, laughing slightly. "Dad... I swear...I'm FINE - let's blow this popsicle stand and head back - Megatron 's gotta be planning something by now."

Sparkplug rasps, "Eh, let's not be too hasty, son. Give the doc another night to make sure you're OK."

Sparkplug's enthusiasm flags almost instantly

Spike rolls his eyes and lays back down. "But it's sooooo boring. I've read the same com..magazine three times."

Spike grins. "The food kinda sucks too - as you probably already know."

Sparkplug chuckles. "Well, I'll see if I can go down to the gift shop and find you another comic magazine and maybe a soda."

The monitors show Spike's telling the truth. Normal heart rate. Normal blood pressure. Even the CAT SCAN shows normal signs. Spike blushes slightly at the comic magazine. "Time magazine's fine."

Sparkplug rasps, "I'll see what I can find."

Sparkplug heads downstairs to look for comics and magazines, almost fleeing before he has to face the "return to the Autobots" issue again.

Spike has no idea how close he came to killing his father. Indeed, he doesn't remember anything except hitting Bumblebee's dashboard.

Sparkplug's focus is on the present happiness of Spike being OK, and the future worry of should-they-return.

Ron is downstairs in the lobby. Ron puts out a cigarette and mutters to another smoker, "Next thing you'll know, they'll want us to smoke OUTSIDE..."

The other smoker snorts. "Good luck enforcing THAT."

Sparkplug brightens a bit to spot his brother, and makes a beeline for him. "Give me one of those."

Ron spots his brother and walks toward him. "Heayh!" He then moves to give his brother a gruff, but slightly hippie hug. "Wow...what a ride the past few days have been!"

Sparkplug rasps, "Yeah, no kidding."

Ron freely offers Sparkplug a smoke. "Gotta tell you, now I KNOW that kid's a Witwicky."

Ron smiles sagely at his older brother. "Guess you learned the hard way, looks like humans n' robots don't mix."

Sparkplug chuckles tiredly. "Whadaya mean?" He takes a drag on the smoke, coughing a bit at its unfamiliarity. Susan made him quit, and he promised to continue, but today's an exception...

It's one thing to have his own doubts, but hearing his brother say it immediately brings up Sparkplug's stubborn side.

Ron says flatly, "Well, you 'n him have nearly gotten stomped a few times. Now 'this' - "

Sparkplug chuckles at Spike's work ethic. Yeah, THAT's a Witwicky trait, for sure.

Sparkplug says, "Well, Ron, this is war. I almost died in Korea, too. Doesn't mean it wasn't worth going."

Ron still seems oblivious. "Yeahyeah - I know - we gotta help 'em, we gotta help 'em." He adds "Still... Buster will be glad to be back with you guys." Ron may be lying a bit on this as Buster has taken to him and Judy almost too easily.

Sparkplug rasps, "Ah..."

Sparkplug stops, and frowns. As always, the Buster issue complicates things.

Ron tilts his head, puffing some smoke the other way.

Ron shrugs, "Heyah, you two gave it a 'go' - now I guess it's up to the army, or the diplomats or whoever the hell wants to risk their necks."

Sparkplug rasps, "Well.... I'm also a Witwicky, Ron, and I'm not ready to give up on the Autobots just yet."

Ron nods, STILL not getting it. "Well...NO, Jesus, I support 'em too."

Sparkplug scowls. "Yeah, Ron, just like you've always supported the war efforts... from the comfort of home."

Ron frowns and points a finger at Sparkplug. "Don't even START with that. You know as well as I do that war was a farce!"

Sparkplug rasps, "Yeah, well, either way, this one ISN'T, and I'm not sure I can go back to living a carefree life and leave the fighting to others. This is war, Ron, and our entire world is in danger!"

Ron frowns at Sparkplug, "Face it... you were WRONG. You're in way over your head. Your pride's hurting right now, but it's time to get back to doing what you do best, fixing stuff - and raising 2 kids."

Ron rolls his eyes, "Oh god..."

Sparkplug rasps, "Don't 'Oh God' me, Ron. You haven't seen these Decepticons."

Ron laughs slightly "Well, I've seen it pretty damn near close! Remember what the docs said, Spike's brain was swelling so hard it nearly caused a..." 

Sparkplug rasps, "I know what the docs said, Ron! Spike is my son, not yours!"

Ron scowls back, "Fine - you can room with us. We... it's getting a bit crowded, but Judy and I can buy a bunk bed for Spike n' Buster - you can take the couch"

Sparkplug rasps, "I'm... I'm not sure what I'm asking here, Ron."

Ron shrugs. "As usual - look, stop being so goddamn stubborn and just ask! I know you lost your house, you two can...stay with us 'til you get on your feet and get an apartment."

Sparkplug sighs, and looks for a place to sit down, the fight going out of him.

A fellow smoker gives a funny look at Sparkplug with the mention of losing his house. Poor guy - he's probably an alcoholic. The smoker puts out his butt and goes to the cafeteria.

Ron sits down and pats his brother on the back. "Look...as you know - being a single parent sucks. I know you thought this was a way out...but face it - it just wasn't meant to be."

Sparkplug stubs out his mostly-ignored cigarette, and goes to sit down.

Sparkplug rasps, "I'm... I'm not sure, Ron. It's tough. I feel like I'm doing some good -- something important."

Ron says without a hint of animosity, "I know... "

Sparkplug rasps, "You might be right about not bringing Spike back into it, but I don't want you stuck raising both my kids..."

...and thanks to Sparkplug's actions, he has seen a mysterious $1,000 deposit in the college fund of both Spike and Buster Witwicky with a mysterious signature of 'GBB'. If he just hangs on for a bit longer, there're SURE to be more donations coming.

Sparkplug leans forward, holding his head in his hands.

Ron leans forward, trying to catch Sparkplug's eyes. "So...what, Susan's folks look after them?"

Sparkplug looks up. "Oh, geez, I dunno, Ron. Those people..."

Ron finishes Sparkplug's sentence, "Those people are loving grandparents... and Spike n' Buster should be lucky to have them..." He pats Sparkplug's knee, "But they are not their father."

Sparkplug rasps, "Yeah, I know... and neither are you. It's a lot to ask."

Sparkplug says, "I mean, they're nice an' all, but they're not Witwickys. If something ever happened to me, I'd feel a lot better knowin' Judy an' you were lookin' after my boys."

Ron's face turns pale at that statement, "Dude...don't even JOKE about that."

Ron finally shakes his head, "Dude...I...I can't - I mean... Buster - he's so independent...almost makes me want to have a kid. But Spike! He... face it, he practically worships you!"

Sparkplug rasps, "Yeah."

Ron grits his teeth, "I'm sorry... I CAN'T ... WE can't take on another kid!"

Ron's face seems to fall slightly, realizing what Sparkplug may be deciding. "My god, William..."

Sparkplug nods quickly. "I know, Ron, I know. And, I'm not asking. I'm just not sure what to do. Your offer for us to live with you -- it's really great. It is. I'm just not sure...

Ron says meekly "Well...you're not going BACK, are you?"

Sparkplug raises his eyebrows, knowing Ron's serious if he's calling him William.

Sparkplug rasps, "I... I think I am, Ron. I just need to figure out what to do about Buster and Spike."

Ron's voice almost squeaks, "Jesus... "

Ron finally manages to speak after a few moments of awkward silence. "William...they already lost one parent, and you know how they took it. They can't lose another."

Sparkplug frowns. "I know, Ron. But... I can't just turn my back on the Autobots. It may sound like ego to you, but they need me."

Ron gets up and frowns at Sparkplug. "Well, Buster's not going - I don't care if you ARE his father."

Ron shakes his head and starts to head away to the cafeteria to meet Buster and Judy.

Sparkplug sighs, remaining where he is to try to decide what's best for himself, his family, and his planet.

Spike continues to lounge in his bed. Bored, he takes out his journal and starts writing about how he and Bumblebee got blasted, and Spike's brain was transferred to this Autobot while his body was being operated on. And this robot just stayed in the medical bay - not moving at all while the procedure happened.

Spike scribbles "I know it's a cliche, but it was like everything was in slow motion - and sped up at the same time. I hit Bumblebee's dashboard... I remember riding in Ratchet...I mean, I THINK I remember… but I guess it was 2 days and I woke up. Stitches look pretty gnarly..."

Sparkplug sighs, and heads back upstairs to discuss the situation with Spike.

Spike grins and writes, "I was in a robot. An ACTUAL robot! I was a Transformer! Too bad I can't remember a lick of it."

Sparkplug entires the room, looking even more tired and rundown than before.

Spike grins, happy to see his dad, but surprised he didn't come back with a soda or comic. He opens his mouth, almost ready to ask where the heck is his reading material, but one look at his dad makes him change his mind. "Heyah - "

Sparkplug rasps, "Hey, how ya feeling?"

Sparkplug half-closes the door, and pulls a chair over next to the bed so he and his son can sit and talk.

"Good!" Spike grins. "So... did I transform into anything? Did I get a chance to blast some Decepticons?""

Spike turns serious as he sees his dad pull up a chair. "Look...I'm sorry - I SWEAR I'll be more careful next time!"

Sparkplug's frown deepens. "You didn't transform, but you did blast some Decepticons..."

Spike blinks "No shi..seriously?!"

Sparkplug rasps, "Look - it's not about being careful."

Spike nods, shutting up.

Sparkplug rasps, "Hanging out with the Autobots is dangerous."

"I may have made a mistake letting you stay at the Ark."

Spike looks on desperately and shakes his head, "Dad...no, please!" He remembers how his argument won out against Buster's by a thread.

"Dad, I promise, I won't even go out of the Ark - only for school - I PROMISE!""

GAME: Spike FAILS an INTELLIGENCE roll of Immense difficulty.

Spike frowns slightly, realizing that his dad probably knows that type of promise will be next to impossible to keep.

Sparkplug rasps, "Son, even if you did stay in the Ark, the security isn't exactly air tight. I can't keep you safe there, and I can't bear to lose you."

Spike shakes his head, tears begin forming, but Spike doesn't care, he doesn't want to see his dream evaporate. "Dad...no...please!"

Sparkplug tries to push aside troubling thoughts, brought earlier up by Ron, of how Buster and Spike would handle losing HIM.

"I swear...this will only happen once - and now I know what to do to avoid it happening again!""

Spike sniffs and gulps, "Dad, I CAN'T go back to the way things were!"

Sparkplug rasps, "And what happens the next time Soundwave sends one of his goons to kidnap you?"

Sparkplug rasps, "You're too young to be in the line of fire. Maybe when you turn 18..."

Spike stammers "Prime...he'll...think of something."

Sparkplug looks away, knowing HE didn't wait 'til he was 18...

Spike shakes his head, tears really flowing now. "No! Please!"

"Dad... I have like NO friends in school. Bumblebee...Jazz ...Hound ...they're my friends!"

Sparkplug rasps, "Prime wants us to return, but I'm not sure that's a good idea."

Sparkplug rasps, "You can make new friends. One not in the line of fire of an endless war!"

Spike 's eyes widen with hope as he hears that Prime wants them to return. "But Optimus Prime NEEDS us! He said so, and both you and I know how wise he is!"

Sparkplug sounds disproportionately frustrated with Spike's lack of understanding.

Spike raises his index finger. "One..more..chance - please!"

Sparkplug rasps, "He needs me. You're too young."

Spike shakes his head and wipes more tears from his eyes. "NO!"

Sparkplug rasps, "We'll... we'll find a home for you. Maybe military school."

<OOC> Spike says, "woah - hardcore!"

<OOC> Sparkplug grins.

Spike frowns and spits angrily "I wasn't too old for that goddamn oil rig!, what the hell's the difference?!"

Sparkplug rasps, "No one was shooting at us on the old rig, and when they were, that's when I should have sent you to Ron and Judy's!"

Spike buries his face in his hands. "No! Dad - you and I...we've ALWAYS been a team!"

Sparkplug rasps, "I know, son. And I don't want to lose you. That's why I think you shouldn't return to the Ark."

GAME: Spike FAILS an INTELLIGENCE roll of Very High difficulty.

"They...need me too. I know it!""

GAME: Spike FAILS an INTELLIGENCE roll of Very High difficulty.

Sparkplug frowns, thinking of all the times his son's skill has saved the Autobots.

Spike looks at his dad with reddened eyes. "I'm fine - see..." He shows his arms, his chest, the stitches are from a few nasty gashes to his side.

Sparkplug rasps, "THIS time, yes, by some miracle!"

GAME: Spike FAILS an INTELLIGENCE roll of Very High difficulty.

Sparkplug rasps, "But what happens next time? We certainly can't try the brainswap again."

Spike doesn't say anything.

GAME: Spike PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of High difficulty.

Sparkplug rasps, "No... we'll need to find something else. Not Ron and Judy's... they have their hands full enough with Buster..."

Sparkplug sounds like he's talking more to himself now than Spike.

Spike looks up, realizing he's going to have to come up with appeal to end all appeals. "Dad...you and I are a team. We've always been a team. We'll learn..." He looks at his dad and says "I can't lose you... so, maybe the best approach is if we help one another." He sniffs, wiping some snot on his gown. "You send me away, and I'm just going to be fixin' cars the rest of my life. A few years ago, that was fine...but now?" He shakes his head, "Dad...I can't do it..."

Sparkplug sighs. "Spike, you're not going to end up just fixing cars. Our lives are already changed. You're not going to just end up some... construction hand, struggling through life tryin' ta make ends meet.

Spike looks at his dad with those reddened eyes again. "One more chance, dad...please."

"The Autobots...they're like our family. We don't turn our back on family!"

Sparkplug flinches as Spike's words cut deep into Sparkplug's guilt about Buster.

Spike gulps "Dad, I don't want to do anything else with my life but help the Autobots - you yourself said this is a once in a lifetime chance."

Spike says in a defeated tone "You yourself said when I'd get back from the oil rigs, I'd be a man while the rest of the kids my class would still be...well - kids."

Sparkplug rasps, "It is, son. Maybe we can find another way for you to help - out of harm's way."

Slowly a grin forms on Spike. "You mean it?"

Sparkplug rasps, "Of course. I still want your help -- just maybe not on the field of battle."

Spike slowly gets up and gives his dad a hug. He doesn't let go as he manages to say "Thank you SO much..."

Sparkplug rasps, "Well... I'm still not sure about you returning to the Ark, but I'll think about it."

Spike sniffs, "This won't happen again!"

Spike looks at his dad and frowns. "Dad...one more chance. I'm not leaving you!"

GAME: Spike PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of High difficulty.

"One more chance, if it doesn't work out, we BOTH bail...and we start up that godforsaken garage of yours... Sparkplug and Sons...""

Sparkplug chuckles. "OK, OK. I'll think about it. Jeez."

Spike grins and shakes his head, "No...now... "

Spike smirks, a bit of the Susan stubborn streak showing.

Sparkplug frowns. "Don't push me, son. I'll send you back to Ron and Judy's right now, and start looking up military schools in the morning."

"I gotta get some sleep, and I can't get some sleep unless you put my mind at ease!"

Spike folds his arms and gives his dad a hard stare.

Sparkplug rasps, "Rest your mind with the knowledge that your dad will decide what's best for both of us, and that will be the final word."

Sparkplug has a stubborn streak of his own

Spike rolls his eyes and lays back in bed, "Fine..." he mutters.

Sparkplug rasps, "Good. Now rest. I'll be back in the morning."

"Get some rest yourself, you look like Rumble gave you a massage."

Sparkplug rasps, "Actually, right now, I could probably use it."

Sparkplug pats his son's shoulder affectionately, and heads downstairs to sleep in the lounge.

The next day, checkout. Then, the two are back at the Ark. Prime sits silently as his trusted advisor Prowl relays the new security precautions. Prowl mainly looks at Sparkplug, occasionally glancing to Spike. "So, in addition to both of you being issued these communicators, for the foreseeable future, EACH of you shall be assigned one Autobot escort at all times. That means school, food run, going to your relatives." He looks at Sparkplug "These protocols are based on our allies the Salarians - they are in similar size and... mortality as you are. We were able to reduce fatalities to virtually zero with these protocols. And that was with a craft that didn't have NEAR the capabilities as the Ark."

A slow grin comes across Spike's face as Prowl lays out a security detail that would make the President envious.

Sparkplug frowns. "I don't see how this'll be enough, Prime. I mean, I'm sorry, but Soundwave's troops just sail in here like they own the place, and what good is one Autobot going to be if Megatron sends his goons to attack us while we're home for the holidays?

Optimus Prime nods. "Laserbeak, Ravage, Soundwave - we have implemented new security measures. Keep in mind, the Ark was inactive for 4 million years. We are taking every precaution to update our defenses." Prime says evenly "As important as you both are to us - Megatron's troops are weakened by our latest assault. His arrogant view of humans is your best asset right now. As cruel as this may sound - he will not waste resources traveling to your loved ones' houses for these 'holidays'." He adds "And you will be required to report in every hour, minus when you are in rest cycle."

Spike nods slowly, taking everything in. It sounds good to him.

Sparkplug doesn't seem as impressed as Spike is. "This seems like a lot of extra work with little added benefit."

Prowl says evenly "If need be, you may celebrate in your makeshift quarters. Maybe a few of us can even 'witness' how you mark certain festivities?"

Optimus Prime looks down at Sparkplug. His azure optics flash, "On the Matrix, Sparkplug, I assure you - the safety of you and your son are at the forefront of our priorities."

Spike nudges Sparkplug's elbow. "See? They can learn just by seeing how we'd celebrate like the 4th of July or Christmas!"

Sparkplug gives his son a look. "You're not helping, Spike."

Spike breathes out and doesn't say anything.

Prowl seems to be taking this a bit personally. "Sparkplug, I graduated at the top of my recruiting class - with an emphasis in security."

Optimus Prime looks down at Sparkplug and gets an idea. "Ok...Sparkplug, as obvious experts of the terrain here - what are we missing?"

Optimus Prime looks at Prowl, then at Sparkplug, "After all, this is supposed to be a collaborative."

Optimus Prime looks at Sparkplug, and then Spike. "We want you BOTH to stay. Please allow us to find a way to make this happen."

Sparkplug rasps, "Look, tightening security around here is definitely a necessity, whether we stay or go. But no amount of security, no matter how advanced, is gonna change the fact that the Ark acts as a military base in an ongoing war, and by staying here I'm putting my son in danger."

Spike looks at Sparkplug, "Dad, I can make my own decisions!"

Optimus Prime doesn't mince words. He looks at Sparkplug. "You are correct, Sparkplug."

Sparkplug looks at his son and sighs. "Normally I would agree, but you're too young to be making the decision to put your life in danger."

Prowl says flatly "And at the same time... there's nowhere on Earth that's safer for your son than right here." He points to the table where they all are sitting."

Sparkplug looks at Prowl. "How do you figure?"

Sparkplug sounds if anything like he wants to be convinced.

Prowl shrugs. "You send Spike away... say you stay here. Who has the better chance of surviving if the Decepticons make a move on one of you?"

Sparkplug sighs, having to agree Prowl does have a point there.

Optimus looks at Prowl, then Sparkplug, "Now that we are established, we will be bringing in new Autobots - securing our presence here - and enhancing your protection." He adds "But they will need to be educated in your culture, something that you and your son will be able to provide - and at the same time, will be protected."

Sparkplug nods, realizing that while Prime is right, it will also mean that Sparkplug and Spike, already known to the Decepticons, will have to distance themselves even more from Buster, Judy, and Ron, lest they fall under the Cons radar and become an unprotected target.

Prowl - who in human form would have fit in perfectly in Sparkplug's Korean War regimen, says "If the Decepticons got wind that your son was anywhere but here - AND they realized it was because of their actions - that would only enhance their chances of another attack."

GAME: Spike PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of High difficulty.

Spike looks at his dad and sees a glimmer of... is that hope that he sees?

Sparkplug sighs again, defeated. "Alright. You're right. I see your point. We'll stay."

Spike 's eyes widen. "Really?!"

Sparkplug gives his son a crooked smile. "Yeah. Unpack your toothbrush. We'll stay."

Spike grins and gives his dad a huge hug. "Awesome! You won't regret this, I promise!" He adds "That' s the LAST time you'll see me in a hospital!"

Sparkplug chuckles and returns his son's hug, hoping against reason that his son is right.

Optimus Prime can't help but grin. He looks down at Spike and Sparkplug, "I'm glad you are staying - as are all of the Autobots."

Prowl is the only one that remains emotionless, perhaps putting Sparkplug's mind more at ease. "You're making the right decision, Sparkplug."

Sparkplug rasps, "Eh, ya got me... I'm glad we're stayin', too."

A few hours later - chances are the food stamp program is kaput. Ditto the shitty apartment. Spike changes into his sleeping gear. His sleeping quarters are fairly close to his dad's - with a few walls put up by Sparkplug for privacy. He gives his dad a cautious grin. "Seriously... thank you..for today."

Sparkplug rasps, "Don't make me regret it. Judy'n Ron'll never let me hear the end of it if something bad happens to you now."

Sparkplug grins, as if that's the only reason he'd be upset.

Spike 's face turns serious and he nods. "Yes sir..."

Sparkplug's smile just widens all the more. "Now go to bed. I'll see you bright an' early in the lab in the morning."  

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