Log Title: The Struggle Is Real
Location: The Home of Sparkplug and Susan Witwicky
TP: Flashback TP
Summary: Spike and Buster watch Sunday morning cartoons.
As logged by Sparkplug - Monday, November 19, 2012, 7:07 PM
Sparkplug's Place, 1980
- An old house still standing from before the Korean War. It looks a little dilapitated, although the attached garage seems well-stocked in terms of tools and repair supplies.
1980. As usual - Sparkplug's upbringing MAY have guilted him into trying to get his family to go to church. But as usual again, Sparkplug's schedule isn't nearly as accommodating. So, on a Sunday morning, around 7:30, the alarm goes off. But it's been after Sparkplug has worked another legendary 70ish hour week. Susan's just as exhausted. She fumbles for the alarm for it to stop ringing.
BUT - downstairs. No such problems exist. Spike and Buster are in their PJs, watching Sunday morning cartoons. After Road Runner, there's Davey and Golaith. Spike frowns, envisioning he's going to have to put on a pair of ironed woolish slacks and a pressed shirt. He leers at the TV. "This is a dumb show..."
Susan turns around and looks at her poor, exhausted husband. He's going to have to start in again very early Monday. This is the only day he can sleep. He NEEDS sleep. Christ, if Jesus can't understand that...
Buster nods in automatic agreement with Spike, whatever his opinion. He was enjoying it a minute ago, but now it's 'dumb'.
Spike looks over at his brother. "Star Wars teaches us the exact same thing - but it's far cooler. You know?"
Buster nods quickly, eyes wide.
Sparkplug struggles to open his eyes, heavy-lidded with exhaustion.
Susan gently jostles Sparkplug's shoulder and says tiredly "Honey.. I'm making an executive decision, we're not going to church today. We'll try next week." ... which she's said probably since Easter :)
Spike grins and looks over at Buster. "The Seahawks are playing the Steelers today too. Dad said we could all watch the game together if church got out early enough!"
Buster grins excitedly. He's not sure what that means, but if Spike's excited, he's excited!
Susan hears the TV going downstairs. She gets up. She's donning a pair of sweats along with one of Sparkplug's cozy flannel shirts.
Sparkplug shakes his head. "No, no," he mutters stubbornly, slowly wresting himself to a sitting-up position.
Susan gently cups Sparkplug's shoulder and tries to gently press him back down to bed. "Honeyhoneyhoney... shhh - you're exhausted. 'I' am exhausted..."
Spike looks on dismissively as Woody Woodpecker comes on. "I wish mom and dad weren't always forcing us to go to church." Spike says, "Every kid in my youth group is like 'I'm getting an Atari for Christmas, what are YOUR parents getting you?!"
Sparkplug rasps, "Y'can stay here, if ya want."
Buster nods in agreement. Church bad. Atari good. Right.
Susan lies back down. "Honey... you've worked 70 hours this week! You're going to be going back at 6 a.m. tomorrow, this is your ONLY time to rest!"
"I'll nap this afternoon during the game. Won't be the first time." Sparkplug chuckles at himself, slowly standing, and looking blearily around for clothes.
Susan pulls herself up. Susan, the college educated member of the family vs. the strict blue collar god-fearing Sparkplug. "Please... I don't want you making a mistake on the worksite!" yeah... maybe that'll do.
Sparkplug looks back at his wife and grins, on to her attempts at gentle manipulation.
Susan looks on at her husband tiredly "Please?"
"Tell ya what. You stay here, and I'll take the kids. When I get back, you watch the kids, and I'll nap 'til dinner. Deal?" Sparkplug starts getting dressed.
Susan says in a resigned tone, "I will do ANYTHING... to keep you in bed, OK?" Susan frowns and gets up out of the cocoon of covers. "No, no... I'm fine. Can't have the churchgoers see Sparkplug going in without his wife."
Sparkplug rasps, "If I was less tired I'd be more inclined to give into that 'anything' promise."
Susan smirks tiredly "Wow... are ARE pious."
Buster chuckles as he buttons up his shirt wrong, realizes his mistake, and re-buttons it.
Susan grins and says teasingly "c'mon - last chance. You and I, sleeping 'til we feel like getting up. Under the sheets. Spike and Buster can fend for themselves for another 2 hours.."
Sparkplug rumbles a laugh as he peers in the mirror and smooths down his short hair. "Very tempting... maybe next weekend."
Spike grins and looks at Buster. "I'd love to get an Atari though, we could play doubles even!'
Buster grins broadly, and happily shakes his head.
Seattle Hospital, 1993
Flash forward to 1993. In a coma for 2 months, Spike finally awakes. He's in a hospital bed, tubes are still attached to his neck and arm. His injured eye still has some gauze over it and his right leg is secured with an external fixator. With a loss of motor skills and speech, he's just been trying to focus and do some gestures to his father. He still doesn't 'get' the fact the a. he's a father and b. his son was born 3 weeks ago. The doctor hovers over Spike, but basically ignores him, focusing on Sparkplug. "Well, he made it 2 days with regular 'sleep' patterns, so I think it's safe to say he's out of the danger area of going back into a coma."
Spike tries to focus on his father with his one bleary eye. A fresh wave of morphine has also pretty much made this entire memory nonexistent for at least one of the present Witwickys. Spike squints, trying to pick up what the doctor's saying.
Relief and stress battle across Sparkplug's face. "He - he's going to be OK?" Spike's father stammers hopefully.
A young Dr. Morin smiles. "Well... that's... a relative term." Though Spike's here, he may as well be in Cleveland the way Dr. Morin is talking. "We're out of the 'danger' area. Now - comes the rehabitational part. Speech, motor skills." He adds "I BELIEVE Carly and him had a second-story apartment. She will have to get rid of that and get something more...wheelchair accessible."
Sparkplug nods, ignoring the brusque manner and focusing on the phrase, 'he's out of the danger area of going back into a coma.' Sparkplug rasps, "Sure, doc... whatever he needs."
Spike 's eye widens in alarm. He stammers "Lou...lou...lou...lou...lou..." Spike thinks "...that's all I got... I can't say anything else..."
Dr. Morin smiles at Sparkplug politely. "Obviously... he'll be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. But I'm sure you know that a disabled son is better than a dead one."
Sparkplug's expression goes from elation, to ecstatic surprise at Spike's speech vocalization, to crushed shock at Morin's words. "What - what?" he stammers. Sparkplug rasps, "A wheelchair?"
Dr. Morin shrugs and says "I'm sorry...those are just the facts. His pelvis fracture - his...leg. His back? Remember, when he first came in, we didn't know if he was even going to pull through surgery!"
Sparkplug rasps, "I thought... but you..."
Dr. Morin rubs this back of his neck. "Ok...let's see...how to describe this...how to describe this...Oh, I know!" Dr. Morin turns to Sparkplug and says slowly,"You...have...a...son...again!"
Dr. Morin says, "His rubs were crushed when that Decepticon almost squeezed the life out of him, then he was dropped ONTO a wooden scaffolding 2 stories below. Trust me..." He looks at Spike "...'lou?' is doing good for what he's been through."
Sparkplug nods, trying to keep it together. "You're right, doc. I'm sorry. It's just... it's just a little much to deal with at once. You're right." Sparkplug rubs the back of his own neck, turning away to keep the doctor from seeing the tears in his eyes.
Dr. Morin nods. Wishing he could comfort Sparkplug...but...well... he can't. He cups his hand and pats Sparkplug on the shoulder. "It'll be fine." He then leaves the room to go onto another patient, leaving father in son in the room. Spike gives a confused stare at his dad.
Spike gives a confused, slightly panicked look at his dad.
Sparkplug pulls himself together, and moves to his son's bedside, taking his hand.
Spike manages to reach out and squeeze his dad's hand. His eyes dart around, occasionally looking at the wheelchair. Spike opens his mouth and tries to form a word.
Sparkplug rasps, "It's me, son. You're going to be OK."
Spikeseems to be forming an 'm' but blurts out "B..."
Sparkplug listens and waits with the infinite patience of a father who has just learned his son is going to live!... even if he winds up in a wheelchair like that pencilneck Chip.
Spike says, "B...B...Bee...Beeee...Bee....Bee...""
Spike rolls his one good eye, trying to form the word. "Bee..."
Spike looks at Sparkplug, face growing with frustration. "Bee...Bu..Bu..Bee.."
Sparkplug rasps, "I'm here, son. What is it?"
Spike closes his eyes again, dammit. What the hell happened? He can't even summon his own vehicular best friend. He gestures with his head toward a yellow tag near his IV bag. "Bee..Bu..Bee...Bee..." Spike grits his teeth in frustration and looks at his dad again.
Sparkplug's red-rimmed eyes widen. "Oh! 'Bee'! Of course! I'll get 'im. I'm not sure if the doc will let him in the hospital, but we'll work out somethin'."
Spike grins and nods. Spike looks at an IV-ladened hand to his fixated leg. He then looks at his dad, shaking his head, "No...No...again?"
Sparkplug seems elated as Spike grins, and moves immediately to his Autobot communicator, to let Bumblebee and the Autobots know that Spike will be OK! And maybe get the Autobots primo parking when he rides along...
Sparkplug turns back to Spike. "Well, we'll just see about that. A week ago we didn't know if you'd be awake or talking. It's too soon to say anything else. "
Spike makes a face at his dad, "may...may..bee?"
Sparkplug rasps, "I'd say we have a definite chance. We Witwickys are hard to keep down!"
Spike nods slowly. He gives his dad a worried expression, like he's afraid his pops is going to flee the hospital and come back in a few months. "St..sta..stay...a bit..?"
Sparkplug rasps, "Of course. I'm not going anywhere, son!" Sparkplug pulls up a chair and sits next to Spike's bed.
Spike looks around, still unaware that he's a new dad. He looks at his dad again and gives a nod. "Tha..tha..thank..you."
Sparkplug stays by Spike's bedside every moment he can until Spike is better, even if Buster and most of the other Autobots can't make it.
Repair Bay - Medical Wing - Autobot City, 2012
- This medlab is carefully maintained by Blizzard, and is therefore usually spotlessly white and clean. Well-stocked medical cabinets line the walls, and tools and spare parts are hung in strategic places. The room is large, even by Autobot City standards, allowing people the size of Skyfire to move around easily. Various tools are available so medics of all shapes and sizes can work on any patient, no matter the differences in scale. Medtables are carefully arranged around the room to handle as many patients as possible; more are in storage in case there is a rush. Usually, there is at least one medic on hand, even if it is only a lowly intern, or the grumpy Lugnut, who seems to always get stuck with the longest shifts.
Spike is working on Tracks, who has had about as much ability staying functional as the vehicle model he chose. Sparkplug's nearby. A few times, Spike looks for Sparkplug's...assistant. Spike says, "So... how are you adjusting to Autobot City dad?"
Sparkplug looks up from where he's working. "Great, son! It's go good to be back home amongst the Autobots."
Spike nods and grins. He looks around, noticing dad's without his...assistant. "Your...uh...assistant. Is he working out OK?"
Sparkplug smiles at Spike. "Yeah! He's great. I've been sending him around the city for parts -- it's a real help having a robot gofer."
Spike nods. Not that he doesn't trust his father. He pulls out a communicator beacon and tries to summon Sparkplug's assistant. Spike looks at Tracks. "I swear, he's just like an I-ROC Z - great to look at, but a nightmare and a half to maintain."
Sparkplug rasps, "That had always been my experience, too."
Spike frowns slightly, "Dang it... where IS that guy? Sure, he has AI, but we didn't program him to be a slacker."
Sparkplug rasps, "Well, I did send him up to the Comm tower.. maybe he's waiting on the lift."
Spike frowns "I suppose." He looks at Sparkplug. "I've specifically told a certain Autobot here NOT to run off with our turkey this year."
Sparkplug rasps, "What, the little dinotape?"
Spike nods in affirmation. "That's the one!"
Sparkplug is working on downed Autobot Striker, who's been offline since 2002. Sparkplug rasps, "I dunno... I thought she was kind of cute."
The door to the repair bay opens, and Sparkplug's helperbot wheels in, wearing what looks like a Santa hat on its sensor pod.
Snoop follows the little bot into the room and skids to a stop when she sees it's occupied.
Spike frowns and looks at Snoop. "Uh...heyah. We were just talking about you."
AI stops before Sparkplug and Spike. "I was detained before collecting your requested parts, Sparkplug. I apologize." Its digitized voice sounds strangely apologetic.
Sparkplug rasps, "Oh, hey! Speak of the devil, and she appears!"
AI spins in place, looking between Snoop, Sparkplug, and Spike, the pom on its Santa hat bopping with each turn.
Spike blinks and looks at the assistobot. It SOUNDS like regret. Is this bot learning this quickly? "Don't worry about it...we were just curious as to where you were." Spike looks at Snoop. "You've been hanging out with this...bot?"
Snoop says, "I... uh... um. Yeah. He had come to sick place. He may be sick."
Spike smiles slightly. "Funny, he was fine a few hours ago, right dad?"
Snoop looks down. "I no break him. We just play."
Spike looks up at Snoop. "No... but it's nice to know WHERE he's at." He looks at the Santa Clause cap. "What's with the...holiday getup?"
Snoop says, "I give him present! It fun! You make poof dance!"
Sparkplug sits back, watching the exchange with a smile.
AI says, "I am unharmed."
Spike grins. "Sorry, "Poof dance?"
Snoop nods. "The poof dances!" She looks at AI. "Show 'em lil 'bot?"
Spike shakes his head quickly (maybe futilely?). "No, that won't be necessary!"
AI nonetheless demonstrates by rolling forward and back while flipping its sensor pod to the right and left, making the hat poof dance.
Sparkplug rasps, "Oh, my. Did Blaster program that?"
Snoop grins and hops from one foot to the other with glee.
AI seems to respond to the attention with renewed attempts at frivolity.
Spike smiles slightly. "That's...nice." trying not to laugh, he says "But... personally, I'd like to keep him as 'serviceable' to Sparkplug as possible.
Sparkplug rasps, "Maybe we can teach it some carols."
AI says, "I remain fully serviceable."
Sparkplug seems amused.
AI continues its awkward but earnest dance.
Sparkplug rasps, "Do ya know 'Jingle Bells'?"
Spike sets his wrench down and covers his face.
AI beeps out 'Jingle Bells' as it dances and shakes, not at all to the rhythm.
Snoop me dances around in with AI. "Fun! Fun! Fun! We have fun! We have fun all daaaaay!"
AI seems to pick up on the dance in its own limited way. It seems it has been slightly snoopified in the short time it was gone.
Sparkplug chuckles. "Maybe we should decorate it like a tree."
Spike says flatly "Dad..." Spike fishes in his book bag for an Ibuprofin. "What about dad's supplies?" he says, hoping to get the bot back onto the more 'serious' issues of the day.
AI switches to a chipcore version of 'O Christmas Tree.' AI straightens up. "AH, yes. Presents. I shall return." It turns in place, hat-poof bopping, and rolls out.
Sparkplug looks over at his son and grins. "What?" he asks, in an oh-lighten-up tone.
Snoop stops dancing and looks around.
Spike adds "Sorry, guess I've been hanging around Crosscut too much." He tries not to grin. "It's just that Blaster and I spent like... weeks programming that guy."
Snoop starts backing toward the door.
AI goes to Central Corridor - Ground Level - Autobot City. AI has left.
Sparkplug rasps, "Apparently its learning program is pretty easy to influence. Let it hang out too long around Prowl and Ultra Magnus and it'll start giving us lectures with PowerPoint presentations."
Sparkplug chuckles, putting down his own wrench to wipe his brow.
Spike grins, getting more at ease. "Or Red Alert... Primus forbid."
Sparkplug rolls his eyes. "Oh, Jeez... not two of him! Please!" Sparkplug laughs at the thought of a tiny security nazi... it'd be worse than Scamper.
AI comes in from Central Corridor - Ground Level - Autobot City. AI has arrived.
Sparkplug is still on a platform over Striker, although he's taken a break from his repairs.
Spike grins. "Yeah, I..." he falls silent as the AI returns.
AI rolls back in, still wearing a Santa hat but now carrying an armload of communications supplies.
Spike looks at the AI. "Thanks!"
Snoop sees that everyone is starting to work again, so slips out of the door. Snoop goes to Main Entrance - Autobot City. Snoop has left.
AI beep beeps at Snoop as she leaves, and then wheels over to bring the parts to Sparkplug so he can repair Striker's communications systems, should he ever wake up.
Spike looks over at the AI. He clears his throat. "So... what is the temperature outside?" Spike is a tad afraid of the 'beep' - he liked a talking AI - just not a carol-signing one. After all, what would happen if the AI stumbled across Paul McCartney's "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time"?
Sparkplug is on a platform over the downed Autobot Striker, repairing Striker's communications systems with parts brought by his helper, AI.
AI beeps. "It is currently 41 degrees. The sky is clear with no chance of rain, and wind is coming from the north-northeast at 4 MPH. Humidity is at 72 percent. "
Spike smiles, "thanks... "
Sparkplug smirks. "Well, I'll be damned. Rollin' Weather Channel we got here."
AI beeps, sounding pleased with the praise.
Spike looks over to the AI. "Do you have any questions for us, since you've been activated?" Spike looks at Track's personality component and thinks aloud. "Wonder if I could make him humbler..."
AI says, "What is 'Christmas'?"
Spike breathes out, thinking of an 'ambassador' answer. "Well, it's a religious holiday for Christians - one of the major religions on this planet." Spike looks at his dad and shrugs, it's accurate, right?
Spike looks at his dad to see if he's pissed about giving maybe a too general account of Christmas. He adds "...the holiday celebrates the birth of the person who most Christians believe is the son of God, our creator."
AI says, "AH, yes. Jesus. Thank you."
Sparkplug does seem to be a little disappovingly bemused by Spike's secular summary, but seems a little more surprised by the AI's knowledge of Jesus.
Spike looks over at his dad, "Dad, I KNOW - but I want to make sure the Autobots get a FULL spectrum of religious beliefs!"
AI says, "I am aware of Earth's major religions, but not all customs and holidays. I will reference 'Christmas' with what I know of Christianity."
Sparkplug shakes his head. "It's fine. Just a little weird."
Spike says, "They don't impose Primus on us... we should follow in kind."
Spike says, "Buster may be a good resource to talk to about religions." He adds "I'm SURE he took a class in college about theology of some sort."
Sparkplug chuckles. "Of course. He'd have to -- what possible job could it lead to?"
Spike tries not to smile. "I...I didn't say that...dad."
AI stares from one Witwicky to the other, not getting the joke.
Spike grins. "It's just - I'm sure he took the class because I'm almost positive he took almost every class on campus." He adds "God love him..."
Sparkplug rasps, "That would explain why he's been in school longer than Skyfire has been alive..."
AI listens in silence, analysing each barb for meaning.
Spike looks at the AI. "By the way, please do not relay what we just said to Buster under ANY circumstance." Spike says, "Sometimes - human siblings occasionally tease one another - as an odd show of affection."
AI says, "Understood. Blaster programmed me with security protocols."
Sparkplug sobers up as he realized AI has been listening and no-doubt recording. He DOES transform into a micro-cassette tape, after all.
Spike looks at his dad. "The last thing I need is to have almost five years of goodwill between Buster and me go down the tubes. Besides, he stayed in college. I barely made it 2 semesters."
Sparkplug rasps, "I'm sure he'd understand." Sparkplug turns to the helperbot. "Still... just in case.. don't repeat any of that."
Spike looks at his watch. "Suppose I should head out. I still need to look at Daniel's homework." He shakes his head, "The scary thing - it's getting to the point where essays and English are the only thing I can look at. THe rest - math, biology - he's soaring past me."
Sparkplug grins. "That's my grandson!" he says proudly.
Spike says, "Yeah - thank Pri..I mean God Carly's here to check his math.""
Sparkplug chuckles and shakes his head at Spike's near-use of Primus. If HIS dad could see them now...
AI says, "I have extensive knowledge of mathematics and Earth biology. If you like, I would happily lend a hand."
Spike nods and walks over to the AI and pats its shoulder. "Thanks again - "
Spike finishes up some repairs and closes Tracks' hood and walks over to his dad. "You're turning in soon, right?"
AI beeps that Spike is welcome, and retreats out of the Witwickys' way.
"As soon as I'm done here, yes." Sparkplug bids Spike good night, and gets back to work.