Transformers Universe MUX
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Characters: Megan Witwicky, Spike, Sparkplug, Buster, Susan Witwicky

Location: Portland

Date: March, 1981/ May 30, 2011

TP: Flashbacks

Summary: The Autobots rescuing Spike and Sparkplug will go down in history as the second-biggest event to forever alter their family. This one's the first.

Summary

The phrase 'It all started out as a regular day...' couldn't be more apt for the Witwickys. Today - Memorial Day - Sparkplug is in Seattle Memorial. Waiting for the arrival of Megan. Moreso than usual, he's been dozing off repeatedly. Now... his slumber takes him back to that horrific day in 1981.

A Few Weeks Ago ...

The Witwicky House

The first floor has a kitchen with some tables, a bathroom, a living room, a den, some hallways, and a dining room. Around the bends, some toys of Spike and Buster are scattered. The upstairs has three bedrooms; a master bedroom for Sparkplug and Susan, Spike and Buster's room, and a small 'catch all' room that can barely fit a bed.

Both Sparkplug and Susan are in bed around 11:30 p.m. Susan gives out a playful laugh. "Oh my GOD, your family must have raised you like a caveman! It's not 'therapy' - Buster just needs a bit of guidance. This therapist will work on his pronunciations. Knowledge breeds confidence. Hopefully that will break him out of his shyness."

Susan grins and rubs her hand up and down Sparkplug's arm, hoping to butter him up. "Need I remind you that our OTHER son had to have a math tutor last year..." While the Witwickys play no favorites with their two sons, it's fairly obvious that Susan is the biggest Buster advocate in the Witwicky household. Susan now decides to put a bookmark in Dostovesky's 'An Honest Thief' and put it on the nightstand.

Sparkplug grumbles, "Yeah, but a tutor is one thing. 'Therapy'? No Witwicky has ever had to have therapy. What if they turn him gay?" Susan can't help but laugh at that remark. "You can't TURN gay." She shakes her head and rests it on Sparkplug's ever-expanding barrel chest, dozing off. "You really are a great father...you know that."

Sparkplug shakes his head, and leans over to the turn off the bedside light. "Well, you are a great mother... so I'll take your advice this time. You've never been wrong before." Although his voice is gruff and cranky, once the light is out he smiles to himself in the dark as he places his hand over his wife's and falls asleep next to her, soon happily snoring away.

1981 - Cleveland, Ohio

The Witwicky House

The first floor has a kitchen with some tables, a bathroom, a living room, a den, some hallways, and a dining room. Around the bends, some toys of Spike and Buster are scattered. The upstairs has three bedrooms; a master bedroom for Sparkplug and Susan, Spike and Buster's room, a small 'catch all' room that can barely fit a bed.

Sparkplug's about Buster's age now. And Sparkplug and Susan are trying to get Spike and Buster out to school...while battling a hellish hangover courtesy of Ron and Judy.

Spike, age 10, looks up at his dad as Sparkplug's trying to shave. Spike flexes his left bicep. "Dad! Dad!...Dad! I've been working out...I *THINK* this bicep grew overnight! Feel it!"

Sparkplug glances over, bleary-eyed, at his son. He manages a weak smile. "That's great, son. I can see the difference."

Spike's eyes widen, "Really?!"

Susan rests a hand on Sparkplug's broad shoulder reaches in the toothbrush and toothpaste and mumbles "I love your brother and siter-in-law...but NEVER AGAIN...will we hang out with them on a weeknight..."

Susan kneels down at Spike and gently rests her palms on her son's cheeks.

"Spike...pleeeeeease...put on your shirt and shoes...you're going to be late!" she pleads.

Spike nods and grins and bolts to his room. Susan slowly gets up to standing position.

"I'm fine...as long as I don't have to bend down." She massages her temples before finding 30 seconds of time to brush her teeth.

The flurry of the day's activities leaves absolutely no room for pleasentries between Susan and Sparkplug. After last night's debauchary, Susan's doing good just to ge dressed and make Buster and Spike's lunch. She looks at Sparkplug, semi-scatterbrained.

"So...tonight...I was thinking...maybe 'I' take Spike to Little League...and maybe 'You' can go to Buster's speech pathologist with him. I just think it'll show the therapist that we BOTH are showing a vested interest in Buster."

Sparkplug says, "Uh, sure, Susan. No problem."

Spike comes out of his bedroom, wearing his Flash Gordon 'spark' t-shirt. "Flash....oooooooooof! King of the Impossible!"

... at this age, unfortunately neither Buster or Spike know about hangovers.

Susan looks over at Spike and hands him a brown lunch bag, and Buster as well.

"OK...Spike...dad has to go to work, I have to pick up your medicine, so you'll have to walk Buster to school..."

Spike shoots a mischevious grin and looks over at Buster. At this age, the two are almost polar opposites. The only thing the two seem to share is an insatiable appetite for books. He points his thumb to his chest. "That's right...that means you'll have to do EVERYTHING I tell you to!"

Sparkplug rinces off his razor and rubs the rest of the shaving cream off his face. His stubble is still patchy, but he gives up and drags himself into the bedroom to get dressed.

Susan looks over at Spike, "I said NO such thing! You be nice to your brother!"

Susan hands the quieter, far more behaved Buster his lunch. Then Susan goes into the master bedroom. "Wait! Dinner...if I'm going to be at Spike's game...who's going to take care of dinner?!"

... around this time, Ron and Judy's life sounds absolutely awesome.

Sparkplug rasps, "We'll order pizza or something."

Susan pinches the bridge of her nose with her fingers. "Yeah...I guess..." She gets her keys and heads out the door. Before she does, Spike gives her a hug. "Love you mom!" he then looks over at his beloved dad. "See yah, dad!"

Spike smirks and takes/yanks Buster's arm out the door. "c'mon, slowpoke!"

Sparkplug half-waves through his bleary hang-over, concentrating more on finding his pants.

And mercifully, five minutes later, the room is quiet as Susan, Spike and Buster are gone.

But as dreams do...things have a way of being disorienting. Sparkplug's suddenly at his work site. One of his coworkers grins and pats Sparkplug on the back, pointing to an approaching police officer. "Man....you two DID tear up the town last night!" He points to the oncoming police officer. Sparkplug's boss just pointed Sparkplug out.

Sparkplug smiles ruefully. "Oh, crap. What did Ron and me do now?" He chuckles in anticipation of the stern talking-to he's likely in for, from first the cops and later, Susan.

Sparkplug mutters to his co-worker, "Susan's soo gonna kill me tonight!" he laughs.

And suddenly/violently, Sparkplug's at the police station. One officer looks down at Sparkplug. "Uh...look...we CAN'T press charges...all we can do is write her a ticket...but ...if you were to see her...she's totally inconsolable...she's in shock right now. She said she never saw the red light..."

Sparkplug says, "See her? Why would I fucking see her? That's my wife!"

Sparkplug gets a brief glimpse of a 17-year-old, sobbing uncontrollably at the officer.

"I'm sorry! I'm SO sorry!" the shaken up teen bawls to the officer.

Sparkplug is incoherent with grief and rage. "You should be! You shouldn't have been behind the wheel in the first place!" This from someone who prolly shouldn't have driven home last night.

Tears roll down Sparkplug's face as he channels overwhelming sorrow into anger.

Right now, time's the absolute worst enemy for Sparkplug...the clock reads 1:40 p.m. In three short hours, both Spike and Buster will be coming home. And right now his world has just been ripped into a pre-Susan and post-Susan world. The post-Susan world - is almost uniminagiable. Not only for her loss...but in a far more mundane way...the responsibilities. Being the progressive guy Sparkplug is, the household duties were shared...but more as a matter of convenience. Whoever's home first - ususally does the cooking. And 9.9 times out of ten, that was Susan. And just in general - Sparkplug did the ever-required home maintenance while Susan did the laundry and homework maintenance.

The 17-year-old screams/sobs at Sparkplug. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" A grief counselor leads Sparkplug outside. "Sir...if you could just answer a few more questions..."

Away from the others, Sparkplug lets the grief flow, his head in this hands. "Not now," he chokes out through a sob. "Not now..."

2:30 p.m.

As time keeps creeping closer to school letting out, Ron comes into one of the quiet rooms where Sparkplug's sequestered. Sparkplug doesn't see Ron yet. A counselor cautiously asks "I know this is ...soon...but, what for your family's sake...we need to start making some preliminary funeral arrangements..."

Sparkplug is quiet now, and stares hollowly in front of him, barely responsive.

Ron has a cruddy cup of styrofoam coffee for his brother. He nods to the counselor. "Give us a sec..." He slides the coffee over to his brother. "Sparkplug...I'm so sorry..."

Sparkplug glances blearily over at Ron. It's a while before he can even speak. At last all he can rasp is, "Yeah."

Sparkplug says, "I don't know what I'm going to do, Ron."

Ron sits down across at Sparkplug. "Judy...is going to take the kids for awhile. I don't know how she's going to do it...she's pretty broken up, but she's just going to take them to the arcade and then get some pizza." He nods to Sparkplug. "I know...but you gotta go home soon."

Sparkplug looks around, like he's not sure where he is. "Home. Yeah. Got things to do... like they said, 'arrangements'..."

Sparkplug looks uncharacteristically vulnerable and weak. His usual fire and purpose is gone.

Ron looks at the clock, then at Sparkplug. "Right...but that can wait...you have about four more hours...but you're going to have to tell them."

Sparkplug rasps, "Tell them?"

Sparkplug takes a moment to realize what Ron means. Then realitization dawns on him.

Sparkplug says, "Oh, my God."

Ron nods somberly. "I didn't want Judy...she's going to have to put on a helluva performance, but as far as Spike and Buster know...she's surprising them by taking them out for pizza and video games."

Sparkplug says, "Yeah."

Ron nods once. "I know..."

Sparkplug nods slowly.

Sparkplug says, "My responsibility."

Sparkplug takes a shuddering breath, and tries to pull himself together.

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES a COURAGE roll of Average difficulty.

Sparkplug's lantern jaw sets.

Ron seems to choke up at the silence, but gains composure. "We're going to help out...you KNOW you're not alone in this."

Sparkplug nods. He reaches out a hand to his brother. "I know, Ron."

Ron extends a hand. "We can do this two ways...some psychologists say it's easier to do a transition immediately...meaning to remove the things that the kids most assocaite with her from the household...others...disagree. I don't know what you want to do, but it's your call...if you need help moving some of her stuff, I can help out. But whatever decision you make, it has to be done soon."

Sparkplug frowns. "We're not getting rid of her stuff!" he explodes with sudden anger, half-rising.

Ron backs up and holds his hands up. "Ok! Ok! Ok! Absolutely..."

Sparkplug says, "Not fucking shrink is going to tell me what to do with Susan's stuff! Her books can go to Buster when he's older!"

Ron slowly sits back down. "Ok! OK! I'm sorry..."

Sparkplug slumps, and sits back down. "I'm sorry, Ron... It's just..." he trails off.

Ron looks at Sparkplug. "Ok...now...Spike...he's ten...but he's strong...he idolizes you, and he tries to lead his brother." He tilts his head. "Buster...he and Susan were almost inseperable...and he's a lot more sensitive than Spike. How are you going to break it to him?"

Sparkplug looks around, trying to get a handle on the situation. "Uh... that's a good question."

Sparkplug frowns. "I usually turn to Susan for this kind of thing. She was always better with kids than me."

Sparkplug's voice hitches, but he tries to keep down his pain.

Ron nods and gets up. "First...let's get out of here for a bit." He looks at Sparkplug.

"We're going down to Max's...for one very strong drink...but JUST one..." He pats Sparkplug's shoulder. "I can't even say 'it's a tribute drink because..." he shakes his head. "Fuck it...I need a drink...you need one...hopefully we'll be able to work through what you're going to tell Buster."

Sparkplug nods, standing and setting his jaw and shoulders. His face is red and blotchy, but he looks ready to face the world again.

9:15 p.m.

A few hours later. The best option Ron and Judy came up with was to tire Buster out incessantly. And sure enough, he had to be carried in and put to sleep. Fortunately, the terrible news can wait until morning. Spike hugs Judy, grinning "Thanks SO much! That beat Little League any day!" He tiptoes into the house, which already seems horribly larger than it was 12 hours ago.

Spike tiptopes into him and Buster's room to get his copy of '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' and then goes to the fridge to get some water.

Sparkplug is waiting in the kitchen, in the dark. Spike turns on the light and jumps slightly at his dad. Does he idolize his dad? Absolutely. Still, when you're ten, a guy like Sparkplug can be an imposing figure. "Woa..heayh dad!"Sparkplug's solumn and still, and looks rough. His hangover this morning is nothing compared to how he looks now.Sparkplug says, "Son... sit down."Sparkplug indicates a chair across from him at the kitchen table.

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

Sparkplug rumbles slowly to his feet.Spike frowns slightly and sits down. "Oh man..." He looks at Sparkplug regretfully. "Look...when I told Buster it was baby powder, I didn't know he was going to put it in his shoes! I just thought he knew what itching powder looked like." A ghost of a smile briefly flits across Sparkplug's dour features.Sparkplug says, "This isn't about this. Do you want some water?"Sparkplug moves slowly to the cabinet to get a glass, and then to the sink, stalling.Spike tenses his neck as he sees his dad shadow over him. To his knowledge Sparkplug has never spanked him...but the threat *seems* to always be there.Spike nods. "Sure..."

GAME: Spike PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Above Average difficulty.

Spike thinks...trying to impress his dad. "Did...you..uh..have a good day at work today?"Sparkplug fills the glass with water, and plots slowly to the table, setting the water down in front of his son.Sparkplug says, "I had to go home early today, son." Sparkplug says, "Something happened. Something bad."The usually-direct Sparkplug continues to ominously talk around the subject.

GAME: Spike PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Immense difficulty

.Spike feels the pit of his stomach drop. "You didn't lose your job, did you?"Spike scrunches his nose up a bit. "If it's money...I can get a paper route..." Sparkplug sighs. "It's not that. It's worse. And I need you to be strong... for your brother."

Spike nods.GAME: Spike PASSES a COURAGE roll of Very High difficulty.

"Yes sir..." Spike says.

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

Sparkplug decides to finally go for the direct approach. "Son... your mom was hit by a car. She's dead." There -- that's direct. Sparkplug's face is now stony still as he watches Spike, believing the best approach is to keep his grief inside. Spike had a brief flicker of realization of the news...the unthinkable...confirmed by his dad. He nods..and nods. He looks at his hands, not wanting to look at his dad. "Did she...was it painfu...how long did she..."Sparkplug says, "No. It was quick. She didn't feel any pain."

GAME: Spike FAILS a COURAGE roll of Immense difficulty.

Spike nods, he starts breathing quickly, trying desperately to keep his emotions in check. "She...she usually fixed our lunch...and breakfast...I can...I can help with that..t..om.."Spike tries to hold his tears in...as his dad said 'you have to be strong for your brother.' Sparkplug nods. "Son, that would be very helpful." He reaches over to place a reassuring hand on his son's arm... the best he can do right now as the two Witwickys try to man their way through the shocking news.

GAME: Spike PASSES a COURAGE roll of Very High difficulty.

Spike nods and feels like a needle has pierced chest. He looks up at Sparkplug.

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

Sparkplug says, "I know it's rough right now, and it's going to be rough for a long time. But you, Buster and me are a family." Sparkplug rasps, "We'll get through this."Spike thinks for a second, then blurts out desperately, "She's not like...in a coma, right? 'cause I saw this movie where people who LOOKED dead were actually in a coma!""Sparkplug's face falls, his son's false hopes somehow almost more than he can bear. "No, son. I hoped, myself, that maybe.... but no. She's gone." He takes a deep, sharp breath, and holds it until the moment passes. He is NOT going to break down in front of his son.

GAME: Spike FAILS a COURAGE roll of Immense difficulty.

Spike nods and coughs. The tears come freely and quickly. He wipes his eyes. "I'm sorry...Just...gimmie a sec..."Sparkplug says, "It's OK, son."Spike reluctantly gets up to hug his dad, but he stops, thinking Sparkplug would see this as a weakness...so he stands there weeping.Sparkplug stands, and walks behind Spike to awkwardly grip his shoulders in an almost painful attempt at reassurance.

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES a COURAGE roll of Average difficulty.

Sparkplug overcomes his upbringing, and suddenly sweeps his son into a massive bearhug, choking out a sob. Spike starts to lose it...literally. But he tries to keep it inside and out of Buster's ear. He hugs his dad with a constrictor-like grip that only a ten-year-old can muster. He sobs in his father's shirt. Sparkplug can barely hear a few muffled moans of "mom..." Sparkplug holds his son now, manliness be damned. He lets the quiet tears roll a bit, himself. Spike looks at his dad and wipes some tears from his eyes. He mutters "I can't go to school tomorrow..."Sparkplug nods quickly. "Of course. I'll have you mom --" He winces, voice cracking.

"I'll write you a note," he gasps from a constricted chest.

Spike winces at Sparkplug's slip. He looks up at Sparkplug. "Can I go to bed now?" Spike is down to the last strand of helplessness...the only thing that's left to hope for is this is a nightmare...though it feels too painfully real to be a nightmare. Sparkplug nods. "Uh, sure, son. If you need anything... I'm here." He says the last few words with strong, emphathetic feeling. Spike nods and wipes a new sting of tears with his arm. "Actually...can I hang with you for awhile?"Sparkplug says, "Sure, son. Uh, you want to play cards?"

Spike shakes his head. "Can we watch Jonny Carson?"

Sparkplug says, "Sure, son! I'll make us some warm milk."

Sparkplug goes to find a pot, pausing to light the stove.

Spike looks up at gulps, right now, the best way he can think of to cope is to help others. "Are...you going to be OK? Is there anything I can do?"

Sparkplug looks over and smiles warmly at his son, pride in his eyes. "I'll need your help tomorrow with your brother. For tonight, let's just relax and watch some TV. We've had a rough day. You can stay up as late as you want."


Tragedy has a way of sapping energy out of anyone. For Spike, after he drank some warm milk - he made it to the first guest when he turned his back to Sparkplug and within about 15 minutes - cried himself to sleep. Hoping tomorrow will be the dream he hoped...but for his dad's sake...ready to be the big brother he needs to be for Buster.

Sparkplug smiles, figuring the milk and the TV would do the trick. Carefully and quietly, he carries his son up to bed, like he hasn't done in years. Spike also breaks with tradition, pretending to be more asleep than he was so he rest his arms around his dad's neck to give him another reassuring hug. But as soon as he hits the bed, he seems to try extra hard to sleep this horrible night away.

After putting him to bed, he takes a moment to marvel at both of his sons, and to be thankful of what he has even with what he's lost.

Sparkplug rumbles downstairs, to break open a bottle and deal with his grief in his own way.

The Next Day... 6:30 a.m.

Spike winces and wakes. The playful, rambunctious Spike of yesterday morning has been replaced by a scared urgency. Buster is almost waking up. He quickly gets up and tiptoes to where his dad is. He spots his dad. He doesn't remember getting into bed. He looks at his dad, looking like he saw a ghost.

"Dad...I...think I had..a nightmare last night."
Spike takes a few short breaths and then finally sputters out, "Where's mom?" almost as if he's stating a demand.
Sparkplug struggles awake, looking groggily at his son.
GAME: Spike PASSES a COURAGE roll of Above Average difficulty.
Sparkplug says, "Wha --?"

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.

Spike gulps and steps closer "I had a nightmare...I think...mom. Where is she? I...had this dream..."Sparkplug blinks towards wakefulness, and slowly the answer to that questions dawns on him again.

Sparkplug's face falls as he realizes Spike's nightmare is his own as well.
Spike shakes his head. "Dad?"

Sorry shadows Sparkplug's lined face, making him look older than his years. "Son... it wasn't a dream."

Spike pauses and it looks like the blood has left Spike's face and aged about five years in front of his dad's eyes. He nods somberly. He looks down at his feet. "Can I go for a walk? I'll be back to make Buster's breakfast..."

Sparkplug says, "Uh, where are you going?"
Sparkplug's gruff voice cracks with concern.
Spike looks at Sparkplug, "Just around the block..."
Sparkplug frowns at first, but then relents. "Alright," he sighs. "Just don't be gone long."
Spike says flatly, almost robotically "Yes sir..."
Sparkplug struggles to his feet, and makes his way into the kitchen to get some water. Spike quietly leaves the Witwicky household and slowly walks the neighborhood, waiting until out of sight to utterly break down at the news.
Sparkplug probably doesn't even realize it's a school day as Buster is probably going through the motions of a typical Wednesday.

Sparkplug looks around the kitchen and feels the impossible gravity take hold... what once was a partnership of shared duties...now all falls on the shoulders of Sparkplug.
He spent most of last night looking through old photos and letters. Now, in a few hours, he'll have to get a sitter for both Spike and Buster while he does the unthinkable task of going through funeral arrangements.

Buster is very self-sufficient in the morning. Like a good kid, he gets up and pads down to the bathroom, brushing his teeth carefully and washing his face, using his wet hands to try to pat down his ruffled blonde hair.

Sparkplug winces, hearing Buster get up. He gulps and walks in the bathroom. Sparkplug's redden eyes, stubble and unkempt appearance may even startle the well-behaved Buster. He gently knocks on the bathroom door. "S...son? Can I talk with you for a second...both you and Spike aren't going to school today."

Buster looks up, tired and wide-eyed in his rumpled pajamas. Sparkplug gestures to the kitchen. "Why don't you come here and sit down...Something happened yesterday...something bad..."

Buster frowns, following his dad's instructions. "What is it, Dad?"
Sparkplug right now feels a flood of regret. Yes, Susan and he shared duties, but in reality, a lot of the duties for Buster were handled by Susan, and a lot of the parental duties of Spike where handled by Sparkplug.

Buster's young face becomes more serious at the gravity of his father's tone. Sparkplug looks up and sighs, looking down at Buster. The family is a strict churchgoing family. The strict part meaning they usually go on Christmas and Easter. Beyond that...still, the teachings are there. He sighs and looks down at Buster. "Your mom...had to go to heaven yesterday..."

Buster's young brow furrows. "What?" Sparkplug kneels down to get on a more eye-to-eye level with his youngest son. "Buster...I'm so sorry..." Sparkplug gulps and tries to say the news as level-headed as possible. "She...was in an accident yesterday." He shakes his head "She didn't feel any pain...it was very quick...but...she's gone."

Buster says, "What? That's not true! That's impossible. Mom! MOM!"
Buster tries to push past his dad and out of the bathroom.

Sparkplug takes a few breaths, trying his damnest not to break down. He then moves out of Buster's way. "Buster...Buster..." Buster's yells seem to echo in a decidedly empty house right now. "Buster...I'm so sorry..." Buster pushes past his dad and makes his way through the house, yelling for his mom as he looks in each room. The anxiety and the enormity of the event/plus Sparkplug's relative inexperience with some of Buster's young issues isn't helping. "SHE'S GONE!"

Sparkplug pauses, wiping some tears from his eyes, "Wait...I'm sorry - But first...you have to know how much she loved you....honestly, Buster. She adored you..." Buster whirls back around and screams at Sparkplug. "No! It's not fair! It can't be true! You're lying!"

Unfortunately, at this age, a death certificate is probably not the burden of proof to fall upon a five or six year old. Sparkplug stands in the living room as Buster runs through the house.

Sparkplug shakes his head and kneels down and hugs Buster, which is probably the last thing he should do. "Buster...I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry!" Sparkplug feverishly tries to calm down a hysterical Buster. "Look...you're going to have to be strong for your brother...both of you are going to have to lean on one another!"

Buster tries to push his dad away. "Let GO of me!" he yells, not listening at all.

Sparkplug's grip tightens, almost in a suffocating way. Tears stream from his eyes. "Buster...I'm sorry...I'm so sorry! But we have to be strong right now...we're still a family!"

Buster struggles to get away.

GAME: Buster FAILS a STRENGTH roll of Extreme difficulty.

Buster beats his tiny fists on his dad's arm. "NO No no no no..." he sobs. Buster says, "I'm sorry! If I'm really good, she'll come back, right? I'm sorry I was bad!"

And right now, Sparkplug's woeful inexperience with handling Buster is costing him dearly as Buster's getting some serious mental scarring right now. He hugs Buster tightly "It had NOTHING to do with you, son! You...she couldn't have asked for a better son...it's just...it was just an accident..."

Sparkplug gulps "We never know...what time or when...we get called to go to heaven..." Though their lack of churchgoing probably makes this talk all the more trivial. Buster breaks down into choking, incoherent sobs, burying his head in his dad's shirt as snot and tears run freely down his face.

Sparkplug rocks his son. "shhh...shh..."

Sparkplug puts his large hand on top of Buster's mussed up hair. "She couldn't have asked for a better son..."
Buster's sobs finally die down, and he stares red-eyed up at his father.

Sparkplug finally lets go of Buster. "I'm...going to get some water...how 'bout some water?"

Buster nods silently

Sparkplug hands Buster some water in a 'Great Muppet Caper' cup. Buster sips it, snorting loudly as snot continues to run freely down his face. Sparkplug's voice cracks. "You're going to have to help me out...you and your mom did so many things together. I...I should have been there more. And I will..." he tries to sound reassuring.

Buster nods quietly. "It's OK, Dad. We'll be OK," he says quietly and seriously. Sparkplug sighs "Aunt Judy and Uncle Ron will have to look after you later on this afternoon. I need to go...and make the funeral plans." He looks at Buster "Do you know what a funeral is?"

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

Buster shakes his head slowly.
<OOC> Spike says, "dumbass" <OOC> Buster LOL
<OOC> Spike says, "sorry...wrong Sparkplug :)"

Sparkplug says "It's when...people gather...to celebrate the life of someone who's now in heaven." He nods to Buster. "And Susan...there was a lot to celebrate with her, wasn't there?"

Buster nods silently.

Sparkplug kneels down to Buster again. "I need to clean myself up...look...I know how much you loved mom...and I will never be able to replace her...but I promise, I'm going to be a better dad to you...I'm never going to leave you...understood?"

Buster nods again, dumbly.

<OOC> Buster says, "Thus the era of quiet, studious Buster begins..."

Spike walks in as Sparkplug goes in the shower and tries desperately to clean himself up, leaving the two brothers to make eye contact. "Heyah..." Spike says. He gulps, "Did dad tell you?" Buster nods quietly, his red eyes and snot-covered face saying it all.

Spike nods and reaches for his Capn' Crunch. He looks over at Buster, "You want your usual?"

Buster nods again, speechless.
Buster moves to the table and sits down, still in his now-soggy pajamas.

Spike makes the 'usual' for Buster, which is a fairly quick effort. He takes Buster's favorite cup and fills it with orange juice and sits it in front of him. Spike takes a few bites of his cereal. "We...we gotta be strong for dad..."

Buster nods silently, looking at Spike as he mechanically shovels cereal into his mouth.
Spike looks at Buster. "I mean...mom...mom was mom. But like for dad...they like...LOVED each other. they like FELL in love and got married! I bet it hurts a lot harder for him than us."

Buster nods, not really comprehending but not wanting to argue, or even speak. After two bites, Spike's stuffed. He takes a swig of milk. "I miss her..."
Tears well up in Buster's large eyes, and he sniffs honkingly.

Spike sniffs too and looks over at Buster. "Why did God have to take her?" the question directed at Buster, but not expecting an answer of any sort.

"She didn't do anything bad...If anything, 'I' did...teasing you...not doing my chores..." Buster nods dumbly, simply absorbing for now.... Spike looks at Buster, "You're not going to say nothin'?"

Buster shakes his head no. In fact, it will be a long, long time before he says much of anything again. Spike nods and gets up. He clears his place, along with Buster's. He then goes over and gives Buster an awkward hug. "I'm gonna be a better bigger brother to you...but you gotta help out too. You gotta start toughening up for dad's sake."

Buster nods silently and obediently.

2011 - Seattle Memorial Hospital

Spike walks in with a baby a bit larger than the size of his palm. He sees a visibly upset Sparkplug and kneels down. Born two months premature, some of Megan's hands have medical tape on them from labwork. He clears his throat and rests it on his dad's shoulder. "Dad?" he whispers.

Sparkplug stirs, still half asleep. "Susan," he moans. "Susan..." It's not the first time Sparkplug has woken up this way, but it is the first time Spike has seen it in years.

Spike flinches and says quietly, "No...sorry...Just wanted to let you hold your grandaughter for a few minutes before they put her back in the ICU...Spark...dad...meet Megan Susan Witwicky..."

Spike hands Sparkplug his new grandaughter.

Sparkplug opens his eyes, and for a moment the horror of the past is mirrored there, fresh as ever. As he sees his granddaughter, however, the pain is replaced with wonder and love. A smile cracks his wizened face, and he grins at the baby girl. "Megan Susan. I like that." He holds up the baby, gazing happily at his son's offspring. "Megan, you have your grandmother's eyes." Tears in his own eyes, he carefully hands his granddaughter back to his son.

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