Transformers Universe MUX
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Summary

While visiting his father, Buster relives his not-so-spectacular high school graduation party, thrown three months too late. During the graduation, Spike and Sparkplug futilely try to convince Buster the military isn't for him.


2010

Seattle Memorial Hospital

Spacious and modern, yet clean and functional -- that's the entire idea behind the broad hallways and shining corridors of Seattle Memorial Hospital. A healthy, antiseptic aroma pervades every nook and cranny of this facility, and it's professionally quiet. The only sounds are from distantly dinging elevators, and the occasional clicking footsteps against the tiles...doctors and nurses, making their rounds from room to room.

Teen-Buster

Buster, maybe feeling like dad owes a visit, decides to visit. Unfortunately, it's not one of Sparkplug's better days. He's still in his PJs, looking around in utter confusion.

Buster frowns at his dad's state.


Sparkplug looks at Buster. "Buster...thank God.." He walks toward Buster. "Buster...we gotta talk about your graduation plans - " right now - it may seem like he's talking about Buster's post-grad plans.


Buster's blue eyes narrow.


Sparkplug scratches his unkempt hair and gestures Buster to sit down. "Buster...you're a brilliant, bright young man...and - as much as it would make me proud...son, the military is NOT the place for someone of your intellect! You...you belong in college. An IVY league...that's how smart you are, son!"

Sparkplug shakes his head "Spike...I love him...but he just isn't cut out for college...but you...YOU - you could go ..." he stammers slightly.


Buster frowns. "Dad..." He pauses. "I'm not going into the military."


Sparkplug puts his hands in his face..."Thank god!"


Buster sighs. "You're right, Dad. More college for me."


Sparkplug shakes his head "I mean...you JUST got outta high school - "

Sparkplug smirks at his son, having a fairly lost look in his eyes. "That was some graduation party, wasn't it?"


Buster says, "Um... I don't remember, really."

Sparkplug frowns, "Well 'I' remember it perfectly...you better not be have been drinkin' since it only happened two days ago!"

Sparkplug goes into... wait for it...

1993

The Witwickys, O, Jesse are outside in Ron and Judy's backyard. 'CONGRATULATIONS BUSTER!' - the banner reads. The graduation party is three months too late - in August - as Sparkplug begged to hold off having the ceramony until Spike emerged from his coma and was able to leave the hospital after his near-death experience at the hands of Frenzy. And then Carly went into labor. Now... Judy is walking around like a concert prompter, looking at Buster's friends. "You got enough to drink?! Great!" Spike looks almost frail as he's been in a hospital for almost six months. At his insistence, he brought Bumblebee - and he is almost on the other side of the yard from Buster.


Ron looks around, a bemused smile on his face. New father. Buster graduating. It doesn't get better than this. Spike, looking about 30 pounds thinner, is carrying his cousin.


Buster looks around at the scant turnout. He wears a T-shirt from his school's official graduation lock-in, which actually featured his friends. The three-month later party thrown by his aunt and uncle? Not really as much of a draw, and Buster looks acutely embarrassed as his aunt targets his few friends that showed up to ensure they're having a good time.


Spike continues to talk to Bumblebee. Not remembering a thing of Buster and Spike's fallout in the ICU. He tries to hold Sam, but the infant almost violently pushes back on Spike, letting out an ear-piercing shriek - he wants either Judy or Buster.

Judy continues to pace, bussing tables, making sure the CDs Buster wants played get rotation. "O! ONE PIECE OF CAKE PER PERSON - WE ONLY GOT THREE EXTRAS!"


Buster glances over at the shrieking baby, looking even more acutely embarrassed.

Spike continues to talk to Bumblebee about what a coma feels like, he fills in some details about Buster, and he talks about babies. The kid continues to jerk wildly at Spike. "Shhhhh! Shhhh!" Spike futilely sooths.


Buster sighs. He tries to get his friends away from his aunt to he can talk about the next issue of his zine and when they're next going to play D&D.


Sam closes his eyes *tight* - and then yells out an ear-piercing squeal as he tries to shudder away from Spike. Bumblebee looks on in concern.


Buster glances over as Sam continues to wail, finally getting irritated enough that he breaks off his conversation and strides across the lawn towards his estranged brother.

Spike looks on helplessly. Carly's there as well...showing some tummy as she's in her eighth month of pregnancy.

Spike shhh shhhs. "C'm..easy..."

Buster glances from Bumblebee to Carly to Spike. "Jesus, Spike! Here... give Sam to me!"

Buster mutters to himself, "... can't... to..." He holds out his arms impatiently to take his cousin from Spike.

Spike flinches and hands Sam over. The poor infant - head hot with sweat, somehow seems to fall naturally into Buster's arms. Spike looks on in amazement. "Wow... you're.. good!" Spike's speech is still a bit slow - good thing he won't have another injury related to his brain ever again.

Buster frowns. "Must be because I remember how to deal with other humans."

He tries to quiet his cousin.

GAME: Buster PASSES a LEADERSHIP roll of Average difficulty.


Buster calms Sam with practiced ease, and looks around for Judy.

Spike frowns and grabs Buster's shirt. "Heay.. wait - " He looks at Buster and shakes his head, "Look... what the hell are you trying to prove? The MILITARY?" He shakes his head. "Buster... you can't even do a pull-up. What about college? You know...a lit major - your specialty - I gotta be honest, you're scaring the shit out of dad!"

Spike blinks in disbelief, "I don't mean to be a jerk...but there's no way you're gonna do this - you're just not cut out for the military." ...which may have provided the last bit of motivation Buster needs.



Buster frowns. "Fuck you, Spike. What do you even know about me?"

Spike says flatly "I know you're not cut out for the military."

Sam begins to cry again.

But before Spike can continue, Sparkplug moves to the middle of the activities.

Buster says, "I'll have you know I've already passed all of the physical requirements."

... with help...

Buster says, "And my test scores were through the roof. Military intelligence needs people that are good with language... at least, those militaries that don't have robot translators."

Buster quiets as Sparkplug approaches.

Sparkplug beams. "Uh... I hate to stop this party...but I think now's about as great of a time as any to give you this announcement. See...in addition to a high school graduate, we're also celebrating a Witwicky earning a STATE Associated PRESS Award!" (that should get Buster's attention, as he sent in one of his stories for consideration).

Buster tries to quiet Sam again.

Sparkplug beams, shaking his head. "We just got the confirmation today..." Did Ron and Judy tell Sparkplug about Buster entering an AP contest? Otherwise, how the hell would he know?

Buster says, "Wait - what?"

Buster's attention is completely distracted. "I won?" Buster gapes, drifting over towards his dad. He's not sure he's ever heard Sparkplug so proud of him, since Sparkplug seldom really groks any of Buster's accomplishments.

Sparkplug nods, sadly oblivious. "For...*he starts to read* 'For injecting humor, hard facts and concise storytelling about a family of Haitian refugees living in Portland, Oregon...Spike...son? Congratulations!"

Buster frowns. *Spike*? WTF? He glowers over at his brother in disbelief. "What, --- you?"

Spike rolls his eyes and smirks, obviously unaware of Buster's submission. The award shows The Oregonian, the paper that awarded him a position of occasional freelance reporter. The few attendees clap politely. Embarrassed, Spike takes the award and nods. "T..thanks." and quickly moves toward Bumblebee, hoping to get the spotlight on Buster again.


Buster continues to gape, as if it was suddenly opposite day and no one told him.

Sparkplug, noticing Buster alone, has a box for Buster. Sparkplug clears his throat. "Uh...son?"

Sam begins to cry as Buster holds him awkwardly, nearly forgotten

Buster looks over at his dad. "What?" he demands, sounding unreasonably furious.

Buster's pale face reddens in barely suppressed rage.

Sparkplug sighs "Son...I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of you today. And...I know...you did it all - on your own." Sparkplug shakes his head "I...I can't mend what I did...but I do want to apologize for not being a better father to you." He looks on at Buster - three days before an aneurysm would cut him down to half-duty. "You... can do anything, son. ANYTHING - so... why join the military? If you don't like college, why not take a year off, but at least put that brain to good use... you're Ivy league material... you know that?"

Buster frowns. "No, I'm not, dad. My test scores are good, but my grades are crap."

Sparkplug looks on. "Buster...I KNOW you'll do well in an environment that will challenge you."

Sparkplug sighs and gives Buster a box to open. "Son... I... am so sorry for the pain I caused you these past few years. This... isn't much, but I thought it couldn't be a more perfect gift for your graduation."

Buster says, "Yeah. But they're not going to accept me unless I show them I have discipline. The Marines can give me that, Dad. You know that. Plus, then they'll pay for it, since I blew my chances for a full ride." Buster takes the box curiously, shifting his weight to try to hold it and Sam at the same time without dropping either of them

Sparkplug shakes his head. "Buster...if it's money...we'll find a way!"

Buster says, "I don't want you to have to borrow money, Dad, and you told me yourself not to get myself in debt while I'm young. This way I can save up the next four years and go to college with a nest egg. Why are the Marines good enough for you, but I'm not good enough for them?"

The gift turns out to be Buster's baby book, a journal written by Susan Witwicky - detailing Buster's first five years. Sparkplug gently offers to take Sam.

Buster hands Sam absently to Sparkplug, drawing the book from the box almost reverently, anger dissipated instantly.

Sparkplug says "Son... no organization will be 'too good' for you." He sighs "I... I thought the Autobots would give you... us - opportunities that I could never provide...but I should have listened when you said you didn't want to be a part of their war. I can't...I can't undo what I've done, but I'd like us to maybe start - " He looks down at the journal. "I just want you to fulfill your potential, son."

Spike is too far away with Bumblebee, showing him the AP award to hear Sparkplug and Buster's talk.

Buster carefully pages through the 18-year-old book like a religious man would a family Bible.

Buster says, "Wow. You've kept this all this time?"

Sparkplug grins at his son. "Of course...I...I didn't know when to give it to you...I thought now was as good of a time as any."

Buster's eyes fill with tears. Jesse breaks off from her group of friends and she moves to Buster's side.

The book shows everything - Susan's elation of Buster's first steps, her worry of the colds and fevers Buster contracted, the exasperation of Spike and Buster getting into trouble.

Spike looks on to see Buster tearing up, he thinks twice before coming over.

Sparkplug grins "She would have been so proud of you on this day son...and in some way, I know she's watching right now. And both of us will support you in wherever you want to go..." He pats Buster's shoulder "Just...never settle when it comes to what you want to accomplish - no matter how long it takes you."


Buster closes the book carefully. "I won't, Dad."



Judy moves in to swap Sam up. With one arm around Sam and the other pointing, she goes into full command. "OK - everyone had their slice of cake? Great...OK O, NOW you can have another slice!"



Ron walks up to Buster and pats his shoulder. "I'm proud of you...you made the right decision." He gives a deadpan grin. "But...heck, if you were to tell us you enrolled in acting school, I'd say you made the right decision as well."

'O' scampers quickly to grab another piece, embarrassed to be called out like that, but happy to get away from the awkward family scene.

Spike cracks open a beer. Sparkplug looks over at Spike and scolds "Remember, the doctor said you could have ONE - that's it!"

Buster looks around, seeming a little overwhelmed. "Uh, thanks, everyone."



Spike does his best to give a polite smile. With Bumblebee next to him, a well out of his league wife with an expecting child on his side, and clutching an AP award, the image may not be the best start to mend their relationship - even if Buster can take comfort in knowing Spike still has months of painful physical therapy left.

Spike raises a beer to Buster, determined to be on good behavior. "Speech!"

Buster says, "Oh, fuck you with the speech."



Aaaaaand...the party comes to a halt.


Ron calls out calmly "Buster..."

Buster says, "Look, this party is lame, OK? Thanks for the efforts, but I need some time alone to think."

Ron and Judy close their eyes in crushed disappointment. Ron quickly walks over to Buster and gives him the keys to his car. "Look, so..I mean, Buster - I know hanging out with us squares is probably the last thing you want...so here...just take your friends out and have a good time, and if you need to PLEASE call for a ride."

Buster feels a flash of guilt, but quickly shoves it aside. "Thanks Ron... Judy." He hugs them both, and then looks to Alan, Jesse, and 'O'. "Let's go, guys."

Unmindful of his family's feelings, past-Buster takes off, ditching the other Witwickys.

Spike looks on in disappointment, shaking his head.

Fade into 2010.

2010

Sparkplug looks at Buster and almost seems to snap out of it. "Wait...you...you're not a high school graduate, you're a college grad!"

In the present, 2010 Buster is reminded of his graduation party through Sparkplug's words, and feels even more uncomfortable.

Sparkplug shakes his head and apologizes, "Oh son...I'm sorry..."

Buster blinks.

Sparkplug shakes his head "I can't believe...why can I remember the flavor of cake that day but I totally forgot that you're..." He shakes his head "Sorry son...it stinks getting old!"

Buster frowns, patting his dad on his arm. "It's OK, Dad. You're fine."

Sparkplug tries to get into bed. "Comparative lit, right? Getting a second master's?"

Buster says, "It's just... good to see you."

Buster says, "Yes, yes, and it's going well. You should rest. Doc said your heart isn't doing to well, and we have to watch your blood pressure."

Older, Buster is far more patient, but his eyes tear up just the same, this time at seeing his tough-as-nails dad sick and weak.

Sparkplug nods. He lays back closing his eyes. "Just feel...like you blew your Saturday just to hear your old man spout nonsense!"

Buster smirks. "It's Monday, Dad, and it's fine. I don't have class today. In fact, I have all week off to prepare for a test. I can stay with you, if you like.

Buster places his hand on his dad's forearm.

Sparkplug looks up weakly at Buster. "Maybe...grab a few burgers later? Watch one of those sci-fi shows you like?"

Sparkplug smirks "My..treat..." as he fades out of consciousness...at around 2:30 in the afternoon on a Monday.

Buster says, "I don't think you're allowed to have burgers right now, Dad, but otherwise that sounds good."

Buster pats his dad on the arm, and then goes to sit in a nearby chair, planning to read until Sparkplug wakes back up for dinner.

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