Log Title: Choices
Summary: It's 1991 - After years of being apart, Buster is finally of age when his father thinks he's ready to join the Autobots. He's rehearsed for this day for months. However, he couldn't prepare for the answer gave for this "moment of a lifetime" chance for his youngest son. Meanwhile, in the present, Buster stresses over an honor bestowed upon him by his classmates.
A lot has changed since Buster had his concussion. Buster's now fully entrenched with school. The general population most likely shuns him, but he's found a group of geeks that he identifies with. Judy is making dinner. A noticeable protrusion shows from her belly - as Buster moves closer to graduation, Ron and Judy finally are on their way to starting their own family. Spike just proposed to Carly and unbenownst to dad, he's dangerously close to dropping out of college. He's tried to keep it a secret. Buster's resentment has changed most likely - he's still resentful toward Sparkplug and Spike, but a tad more refined in his argument as five years of maturity and some social interaction has helped.
Spike and Sparkplug are on the couch. Judy just called Buster down from his room for dinner. Spike and Sparkplug are most likely really into a Sweet 16 game. Spike looks on in panic. "Nonono! Georgetown, c'mon! Why are you double-teaming a defender that's scored only 2 points in the second half!"
Buster is upstairs in his attic room, jamming to Motley Crue.
Ron knocks on Buster's door, HARD.
Buster doesn't respond to the summons as yet, headbanging his long blonde hair as he cuts up collage images for his zine.
Ron knocks again, HARD - this time enough to maybe shake a mirror. Still, Ron has vehemently respected Buster's privacy.
Buster's boombox blasts Wild Side as Buster arranges his cut-outs on a photocopy of the Declaration of Independence.
Buster says, "WHAT?"
Ron says without raising a voice. "Buster - c'mon down for dinner."
Sparkplug smirks. The past two years, he's seen a definite slowdown, mainly a double-bypass operation. But today, he's looking forward to a day he's been dreaming about for almost six years - the day when - albeit briefly - his two boys will hopefully be united under one roof for about a year or two before Spike inevitably sets off on his own.
Buster says, "OK, RON!"
Ron looks downstairs and then clears his throat. "Buster, may I come in?"
Buster stands, and turns off the cassette player. He makes sure his glue is capped, and puts some of his extraneous cutouts in envelopes and folders to make sure they aren't lost.
Buster says, "Sure!"
Ron quietly opens the door. He gives Buster a slightly perterved look. He was hoping Buster would go get a haircut, but he picks his battles. He says quietly, "Champ...I'm not going to try to say 'I know how you feel' - because I don't. But...when you go down there...just - try to keep things civil." He nods sympathetically. "You may not like what they've done to you...and I imagine there's something in you that actually hates them...and to tell you the truth, that's OK."
Buster looks surprised at his surrogate father's words. "Uh... thanks, Ron. I'll be civil." He brushes his hair back, although that doesn't stop it from immediately falling back over his eyes.
Ron calmly says "I'm not done...see hatred - it has a way of eating you on the inside and turning you into someone I know you aren't. And I know that you're too smart to give in to smart mouth remarks. Your dad and brother...they mean well...and honestly...they're your family. And as you get older, you're going to know that families...they're complicated. And sometimes, you have to live with their flaws."
Ron nods and gets up, leaving Buster his space.
Sparkplug takes a drink of water and shakes his head, looking at Spike. "Why aren't they calling a time out?!"
Buster follows Ron back downstairs.
Ron quickly goes in the room to help Judy.
Sparkplug looks up and beams at his son. "'bout time! C'mon down here!"
Spike looks up and gives a nod to Buster "Heyah.." and goes back to watching the game.
Buster shuffles into the living room. "Hey." He leans against the entrance to the room.
Sparkplug gets up and gives Buster an embarassing bear hug, pulling him from the entrance. "God, it's good to see you!" He lets go of his son, wanting to comment on his hair, but opting not. He gestures Buster to the couch. "Uh...have a seat, we've got an important couple of announcements..."
Buster endures the hug, frowning when he thinks Sparkplug can't see his face.
Buster sighs heavily, plopping himself down on the couch.
Sparkplug waits for Buster to sit down. He nods and looks at Spike, beaming. "Well...first off..." He looks at Spike and shakes his head in disbelief. "Spike...popped the question to Carly...and she said 'Yes'!" He adds "Only after she finishes grad school and Spike finishes his undergrad. But...she's going to be part of our family!"
Spike looks back at the TV when he hears 'finishes undergrad'
Buster says, "Oh. Cool."
Sparkplug laughs. "Cool...cool's not the word!" He looks at Spike. "Oh...who are you going to pick for your groomsmen?"
Buster seems as interested as if he was told celebrity gossip. He falls silent.
Buster looks from his brother to his father.
Spike gulps and thinks - his picks begin to show how isolated Spike really has become. "Uh..Chip - for my best man." He adds "Bumblebee..." He gestures dismissively to Buster. "you..." He then starts to think for a few seconds. "uhm...Ron..." He then looks at his dad and shrugs "Uh..maybe Optimus Prime if he isn't too busy?"
Sparkplug beams. "That's a winning choice if I've ever heard.." He looks at Buster "and Chip's great...but - c'mon...why not your own flesh and blood for a best man?"
Spike gives a blank, polite smile at Buster.
Buster blinks as well. "Uh, that's OK."
Sparkplug then looks on to Buster with gleaming eyes. "The second bit of news...it involves you." He starts in, with tone that shows he's been rehearsing this for awhile. "As you know...Spike and I joined the Autobot cause when he was 14. I wanted you in Ron and Judy's care during that time because I thought you were too young." He gulps, his throat getting fuller. "But now...you're 15 - you're mature far beyond your age. And because of that..." Sparkplug nods confidently. "I think you're ready to move in with us...in the Ark!" With that, Sparkplug smiles kindly and waits for Buster's response.
Ron can't help but overhear, but goes back to helping Judy, occasionally resting his hand her belly to feel the baby kicking.
Buster looks surprised. "The Ark?" He glances at Spike.
Spike nods, trying to muster enthusiasm. Though part of him is paranoid that Buster will quickly eclipse Spike as the favorite Autobot mascot and center of attention. "Yeah!" Spike manages to say.
Buster frowns. "Why would I want to live there?"
Sparkplug gives a fatherly grin. "Well...son - we - we have a unique opportunity. We are literally living with an alien race! This...this is supposed to happen to scientists...or the daughter of a president...not to some greasemonkey like me! This...this is literally the chance of a lifetime, son." He looks on at Buster. "And...it gives us a chance to be a family living under one roof again - first and foremost."
Spike 's eyes scan Buster, looking for any type of weakness that would make him foolishly not want to take a chance like this."
Sparkplug lightly claps Buster's shoulder. "C'mon...you love space...and science! This is a moment of a lifetime. And I swear, you're going to learn more than you can possibly imagine from these beings!"
Buster frowns beneath this long hair.
Sparkplug smiles and says "It could be as early as next week - we'd just have to fill out some paperwork at school. And...you could even stay at the same school! It's 90 minutes away, but one of the Autobots could take you!"
Buster says, "Do... Ron and Judy not want me around anymore?"
Buster looks crestfallen.
Sparkplug shakes his head. "No...not at all."
Buster says, "I mean, my life is here, Dad. It's a little late to just show up and say, 'Pack up!'"
Sparkplug frowns a bit in frustration. "But...Buster, your family...is with Spike and me!"
Buster frowns more deeply, getting a little hot. "Dad, Judy and Ron are my family -- they've been there for me while Spike and you have been off galavanting around with alien robots!"
Ron quickly comes out. "Buster...now wait...I think you're being unfair."
Buster turns, looking a little embarrassed that Ron overheard his outburst.
Buster says, "But, Uncle Ron, I don't want to leave! I like it here!"
Ron, picking up that Buster may have his feelings hurt, looks at Sparkplug and says "I am not his father...but - as you said he's mature now - I think you should leave the decision up to him - and not make it for him."
Sparkplug gives Ron a hard glance, partly for sticking his nose into family business, but moreso that he's ashamed for not thinking of that approach first.
Buster says, "If I'm not pulling my weight, I can get a job!"
Ron grins "Your only job is to keep getting those grades."
Sparkplug looks at his son, pleading. "Son...soon Ron and Judy are going to have a baby! You can still see them, but - you have a great chance to experience something few people will ever experience. The Autobots are letting us live with them - no one else - no ambassadors, no celebrities, no presidents. It's us! And it would give us a chance to be together again...like it used to be!"
Buster says, "Like it used to be? Dad, I can't even remember that. 'Used to be' was me here, while you were off in Burma or on an oil rig for six months at a time."
Sparkplug looks at Buster with saddened eyes. "I had to do what I had to do to keep a roof over our heads."
Sparkplug looks at Buster and sighs. "If you need time, I understand."
Buster says, "Well, that's fine, but you can't just show up and rearrange my life without any notice."
Sparkplug gets up and gives a pained expression to Ron, slowly realizing the closeness Buster feels with Ron and Judy.
Buster looks at Ron. "Can I please stay, Ron? I'll keep my music down, and help with the baby."
Sparkplug nods. "Well...I better get the car warmed up..." With that, he gets up and slowly walks outside to warm the car up. Ron goes back into the kitchen to help Judy, leaving Spike alone with Buster. Before he goes in, Ron looks at Buster and nods. "If that is your wish..."
Buster says, "Thanks." He turns to Spike. "I'm sorry, Spike. I wouldn't mind visiting, but... my home is here.""
Spike looks at his brother and folds his arms. He scoffs slightly and waits for Ron to be fully in the kitchen. He sits closer to Buster. "You are SO effin' selfish, you realize that? You know how long dad's been waiting for this moment? And then you piss it away right in front of him!"
Buster says, "I'm selfish? You two have been blowing me off for years, and now you just show up out of the blue and I'm supposed to drop everything and jump for joy?"
Spike tilts his head. "Oh? And how often do I hear dad saying 'I can't wait for Buster to get here!' - Almost every day!"
Spike seeths, "Dad made one of the hardest decisions he'll ever make, and you're being a prick about it! He wants us to be a family!""
Buster returns the scoff now. "Oh, sure. That's why my phone is just ringing off the hook with news from the two of you."
Spike gets up, irate as hell. "You..you know wh.." He raises his arms up. "Honestly...I better get outta here now before I say something I regret."
Buster says, "Fine. Take off again. I'm used to living without you. I won't even miss you when you're gone."
Spike gets his jacket and points to Buster. "Don't...you don't know how close you've came to fulfilling that prophecy."
Buster says, "I doubt I'll lose any sleep over it."
Spike calls out "I'll see you later, Ron, Judy" With that, he leaves.
Buster stands, and heads into the kitchen to eat, not even wishing his brother a good-bye.
Ron comes out and sees a bent outta shape Buster. Ron doesn't make any attempt to hug Buster. "That couldn't have been easy..." Ron urges "I know you're upset, but Judy has been on her feet all day, I could really use your help cutting up the spinich."
Buster glances over. "Oh. Sure, Ron. Sorry. And... thanks. For everything."
Ron adds "You know...you could always give it a go. And if you find out it's not to your liking...you're always welcome back. We won't even touch your room while you're gone."
Buster frowns, moving to help Judy with the spinach. "I'll think about it," he concedes, and lets the subject drop. Fade out and into...
Buster's stressing out on the couch. Spike walks down from 'O's room, putting some drill bits in his tool belt. He goes to grab some water out of the fridge and looks at Buster. "His light's working - was just a short."
Spike only stayed at Buster's house for a day. He's back to work now, though his arm is still a tad immobile from the gunshot.
Spike tilts his head and looks at his stressed out brother. "Everything cool?"
Buster looks up, obviously distracted. "Oh! Hey. Yeah."
GAME: Buster FAILS an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.
Buster says, "Uh... what'd you say?"
Buster says, "Sorry. My mind was elsewhere."
Spike smirks slightly. "I noticed. The ceiling light - in O's room - it's fixed."
Buster says, "Oh! Cool! Thanks!"
Spike says slowly "Are..you..all..right?"
Buster frowns. "Oh! Yeah. Sorry. Just... wondering how I manage to get myself into these situations."
Spike raises a brow and flops down on a nearby couch. "What situations?" He starts to rattle off a summary. "You lost a house - but so did tens of thousands of other people. You're on your way to getting another Master's." He shrugs and looks up. maybe it's time to think about living solo without two other roommates, but it seems like your roommates keep different schedules."
Spike shrugs "Seems like you're on a fairly level path if you ask me."
Buster says, "Oh. heh."
Buster looks embarrassed.
Spike avoids saying 'you think you have problems, try being targeted by a Constructicon!' or something to that nature.
Buster says, "It's nothing like that. Just something at school."
Spike blinks. "Sorry...you did lose a lot of stuff in the house, and you were forced to live in a dorm." He gestures at Buster "c'mon...out with it."
Buster says, "Oh, it's just, uh..."
Spike gives Buster a slightly more perterved look.
"Just what?!" Spike says impatiently.
Buster continues, "Uh, my class voted me in as the best speaker to represent them."
Buster says, "So, uh, I get an automatic A+ on my next speech without actually having to give one."
Buster's pale face flushes.
Spike looks at Buster and laughs. He stops laughing in mid-laugh. "Sorry...didn't mean to imply - " He shakes his head "...and that's a problem?"
Spike says plainly, "So you're a natural speaker -"
Buster says, "I don't know about that. I'm a good writer, maybe. The problem is that I'll have to give a policy speech in the UO Speech competition semi-finals."\
Buster frowns. "If I do well there, then I will be speaking in front of an audience of over two-thousand people. In less than a month."
Spike blinks and says "Buster...that's awesome!" He adds "...so, you're nervous?"
Buster somehow looks flushed and a little green at the same time.
Buster says, "Yeah. You could say that."
Spike shrugs. "Maybe I could give you some speeches Optimus Prime gave.." He shakes his head. "Sorry...reflexive thought."
Buster frowns. "Uh, thanks, but no thanks."
Spike blinks and says "I know...I know...sorry."
Buster says, "I don't have his bariton, or gravitas."
Buster grins diplomatically.
Spike rolls his eyes. "ANYWAY - I know you're going to shrug off any 'you'll do fine' speech from me."
Spike adds "My advice?"
Buster frowns. "Let's hear it."
Spike gets up and starts to gather his things. "When I write - I try to make every sentence sound totally authentic - as if I'm saying it to you - or Chip. If I start to BS - I know I'm in trouble." He adds, but as he's talking, he pretty much can see Buster is already a few miles ahead of Spike in thinking and he's just humoring Spike. He shakes his head. "nevermind - I'm not the one who graduated from college."
Buster smirks. "Your input is important, Spike. You're the one in the public eye."
Spike says in an encouraging tone, "They voted you there for a reason.""
Buster shrugs. "Politics, I'm sure," he jokes.
Spike gets his tools and shakes his head. "Nope...knowing the geeks in your class - it's all talent." He looks around. "OK...you're set - just" He points to the appliances. "You can operate the coffee pot and the video game system AND the stereo at the same time, but NOT the coffee pot and the microwave, got it?"
Buster says, "I'll try to remember. Mind listening to my speech when I get it written?"
Spike heads for the door. "Look...if you need any help with your speech..." He can only imagine Buster's expression with that, he grins "Let me know...and I'm sure I can find a qualified person to give you advice."