Transformers Universe MUX
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Spike.jpg
Log Title: This Isn't Working Out

Characters: Spike, Buster, Sparkplug, Bumblebee, Silverbolt, Skydive, Optimus Prime

Location: Seattle / Autobot City

Date: 1993, 2012

TP: Flashbacks

Summary: After discovering Sparkplug confused and disoriented, Spike and Buster face making a decision about their father's fate. Not too far from Spike's mind is how his father saw him through his own difficult recovery after emerging from a coma at the hands of Frenzy. Finally, Spike welcomes back a long-lost friend to Autobot City.


1993

It's 3 months after Daniel was born. Spike's still in the hospital, but this time transferred to the rehab wing. Spike stares at the simple puzzle. 4 blocks. 4 holes. Which block goes into which hole. But also, he has to read aloud 4 printed sentences as he does. He's in a wheelchair with his dad looking along. It's been a long day for rehab.. for both of 'em.

Spike takes a star-shaped block and tries to fit it into the circle. "The..pre..pres...press..dd..dent..said..he...would..would..." Spike frowns in frustration as he tries to force the star-shaped block into the round-shaped hole.

Sparkplug rasps, "Are you sure that fits there, Spike?"

Spike frowns, a few tears start to well. "Not...stupid!.."He points to his head. "It's there...it's...there...I just can't..."

GAME: Spike PASSES a TECHNICAL roll of Immense difficulty.

Sparkplug pats his son's shoulder encouragingly.

Spike pauses and sees the star-shaped hole. Carefully, he angles the shape into the hole and the he looks at his dad and actually starts to chuckle.

Sparkplug smiles proudly. "Good job, son!"

Spike scratches his head and points to his father, then a flash of seriousness comes to his face, seeming like he is slowly rejoining his old self. "You..You're.." He pauses, searching for words. "Best..friend...my best...friend. Always...has ... always will..." He tilts his head, studying his dad's reaction. "Make sense?"

Sparkplug nods, looking even happier than before. His eyes even look misty. "I'm happy to be here for you, son. I'm proud of you and how fast you're recovering. You can't keep a Witwicky down!"

2012

As Spike tries to get ahold of Daniel, Sparkplug goes through all of the tests again once his second-degree burns begin to heal. The good news - he's fairly lucid now with the right medications and hydration. Bad news - an almost day full of tests. MRIs, EEGs, EKGs, blood tests. They continue while Spike gets Buster.

(Radio) Spike transmits, "*sound of cell phone ringing*" to Buster.

From afar, Buster rings twice and goes to voicemail

Spike sighs and says quickly "Please say you're somewhere where you're going to check your voicemail. Dad's in the hospital. They found him outside in the yard. He was pretty dehydrated, he has some second-degree burns on his back from a sunburn. They're running some tests on him. I don't THINK it's a heart attack...they said he was conscious when they loaded him in the ambulance, but he was really confused...PLEASE pick up!"

Spike nervously calls Ron . He talks with him for about 15 minutes about dad. Then he hears Ron's news. Spike's face pales. "You have a house showing?" He pauses and listens. "Wait... so... where AT in California?" Spike pauses, feeling all the more alone. "Oh...yeah..I... remember you and Aunt Judy talking bout it..." He pauses and says "Look...I should let you go. My phone - I'm going to call Jesse. See if she can reach Buster. Thanks...again - "

Sparkplug's summary medical report reads as follows: "Diagnosis: Dementia attack caused confusion that led him to dangerously expose himself to the sun for hours. With his advanced age he almost died from heat stroke and dyhydration. Doc recommends halfway house, but Spark's insurance is running out, so they might have to just release him..."

As Spike waits for someone... ANYONE to come, a nurse kindly administers a local into Sparkplug's port, rendering him fairly docile. Then, 2 MRI techs take the elder Witwicky who while he's definitely lost some muscle mass over the year, is still strong enough to shove back. But the medicine practically knocks him out as the table slides him into the MRI machine.

Spike receives a call from Jesse's cell.

Spike picks up the phone. "Jesse?!"

On the phone, Jesse's voice says, "Hey, Spike. Did you call Buster?"

Spike adds calmly but rapidly, "Yes... Dad's in the hospital. They found him outside his home. We're not too sure how long, but he was badly dehydrated, and he has some nasty second-degree burns on his back."

Spike says, "Can you get a hold of Buster and get to Seattle Memorial?"

Spike adds "He's ...uh... undergoing tests now."

On the phone, Jesse's voice says, "Sure, Spike. I'll let him know and see if I can get him a ride. Sorry to hear about your dad!"

"Thanks..." Spike then hangs up. A few minutes later, he gets a text from Crosscut. Frowning, he presses 'read' without reading it. "Not now...""

<<Autobot>> Jesse asks, "Are any Autobots available who can take Buster to the Seattle Memorial Hospital to see his dad?"

<<Autobot>> Jetfire says, "This channel is reserved for emergency situations only. Please identify yourself."

Spike is in the lobby, waiting for his brother. He's due to talk to Sparkplug's doctor in a few, but wanted to wait to at least present a united front with his brother and himself.

<<Autobot>> Jesse asks, "This is Jesse Macchio, Autobot PR agent, and this is an EMERGENCY dealing with Sparkplug, who has been an Autobot ally for 28 years, so stuff it, Jetfire, unless you're offering Buster a ride."

<<Autobot>> Skydive says, "I can do it."

Buster is blissfully unaware of his girlfriend's argument with Jetfire as he waits for a ride.

<<Autobot>> Jetfire says, "Only if your other duties are tended to, Skydive!"

<<Autobot>> Aerialbot CO Silverbolt says, "I suggest you apologize to Jetfire, because allies do not tell each other to 'stuff it'."

<<Autobot>> Skydive says, "They are...Oh..."

<<Autobot>> Optimus Prime says, "I don't think there was any offense intended on any level../was there/?"

<<Autobot>> Jesse asks, "You can stuff it, too, Silverbolt. We've been working our tuckas off for you Autobots and frankly I'm tried of being treated like hired help. Respect goes both ways."

<<Autobot>> Jetfire says, "I apologize if my comments offended you, Jesse. We are dispatching transportation momentarily. Please relay us coordinates of human Witwicky Buster."

<<Autobot>> Jesse asks, "I'll send him up to Metroplex's landing pad. And thank you."

<<Autobot>> Aerialbot CO Silverbolt says, "Spike seems to know he's more than hired help."

<<Autobot>> The college dropout, Spike says, "It's cool...it's cool, Jesse. Thanks guys for picking up Buster. Sorry for the confusion. The Autobots appreciate EVERYTHING you do. So... yeah. We'll leave the channel open."

<<Autobot>> Jesse asks, "Well, not everyone is Spike, but you are right. I apologize."

As Sparkplug flutters in and out of consciousness, he can hear the loud 'whirrrrrrs' of the massive magnets surrounding his form.

Spike, faced with nothing else to do, goes outside in the smoking area. He looks at an expecting father and gestures "Can I bum one of those?" The expecting dad nods and hands him one. "Sure, pal."

Spike nervously takes a few puffs. Then starts coughing wildly as he actually INHALES the smoke. The dad-to-be grins and pats Spike on the back. "Dude, don't even try. You're too old and smart to start."

Skydive has arrived.

Buster has arrived.

Silverbolt walks confidently into the area.

Silverbolt has arrived.

The Concorde stops and uprights itself, the undercarriage extending and flipping forward to reveal legs. Arms appear from the side. The front half of the Concorde tilts backwards, to reveal the red shoulders and stern optics of Silverbolt, Aerialbot CO.

Sparkplug lays in an MRI machine, holding still as he gets scanned.

Buster arrives in Skydive, after a quick hop from Autobot City.

Skydive comes in for a landing, his canopy flopping open, and the rope ladder comes down. "Sorry for the bumpy flight."

Spike looks up and quickly stamps out the smoke as he hears Skydive approach. He looks around as people almost automatically converge to see the Autobots in the area. Spike finally allows himself a slight smile. "Ah, the Concorde... that's the subtle entrance I was hoping for" he says outside of earshot.

Silverbolt circles around the hospital before transforming and slowly landing near the hospital.

Spike quickly runs inside, and thanks to lax hospital security, easily manages to get to the helipad entrance.


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.


Sparkplug is wheeled out of the MRI machine as the test completes.


Spike walks outside to meet his brother. He can't help but show his concern.

Buster smiles at his brother sheepishly. "Hey, Spike. Sorry for the grand entrance -- Jesse's message sounded important."

"That's cool..." Spike gestures Buster as he walks to Dr. Hibbard's office inside the hospital. "They found dad outside his home. We don't know how long he was outside, but he was shirtless, he had some second-degree burns on his back, and he was conscious - but extremely confused."

"He's...OK now. They're just running tests, getting fluids back in his system.""

Buster follows Spike inside, listening to the update with a frown.

Spike walks into the neat office of Dr. Hibbard. He's due to meet the both of them in 5 minutes. Spike gives a relieved sigh. "You JUST made it..."

Silverbolt quietly waits outside of the hospital with Skydive. They're kinda.....big to fit inside of a hospital.

Buster says, "I'm glad. Apparently Jesse was a little rude to the Aerialbots. I'll have to apologize again to them when I see them. They dropped everything to bring me here. I'm still a little surprised."


Two techs help Sparkplug off the MRI table and into a wheelchair. He pats the barely-conscious Witwicky as he wheels him into lab. "OK, sir. Just ONE more department and it looks like you'll be back in your room for dinner."

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES an ENDURANCE roll of Average difficulty.

Sparkplug nods tiredly. "I understand."


As Spike and Buster talk, Dr. Hibbard closes the door. He's read Sparkplug's tests, minus the new blood tests, but he's read enough. He extends a hand for both. "Spike...Buster..."

Dr. Hibbard motions to the 2 padded, but hard chairs facing his desk. "Have a seat."


Once out of earshot, the tech opens up, sheepishly saying "Uh...sir... if you don't mind me saying - it's an honor. Back in the day when I was growing up, I couldn't wait to hear your stories on the news!"

Sparkplug manages a smile. "Thanks!"

Sparkplug rasps, "It is an honor working with the Autobots. I appreciate you helping me get back into shipshape so I can get back into the field as soon as possible!"

Sparkplug rasps, "I'm going to request a transfer back to the Ark. Even with a skeleton crew, I still feel more comfortable there than at Autobot City, as nice as it is to work with my sons again."

The tech smiles sheepishly. "I'm just pushing you, sir." He grins. "Is it REALLY true, did you see Cybertron?!"

Sparkplug rasps, "Have you met my sons?"

Sparkplug rasps, "Oh, yeah!"

The tech grins ear-to-ear, can't believing a celebrity is THIS friendly. "No...no I haven't. I mean... Spike, right? Your son?"


Sparkplug rasps, "Yes. I have two sons, Spike and Buster. Spike and I have been to Cybertron."

Sparkplug rasps, "Buster is more of a scholar than an adventurer, but he's been helping us with flood relief."

Sparkplug beams with pride for both his grown children.

Sparkplug rasps, "It's great to be working with the both. It's like old times, but better!"


Back in Dr. Hibbard's office...

Buster sits down nervously, glancing at his brother Spike.

Spike shoots a glance at his brother.

Buster forces an anxious grin at Spike.

Dr. Hibbard takes a seat. He folds his hands and looks at the two vastly inexperienced in the field of elder care brothers. "Well... I've reviewed all the tests. Just as I believed, your father suffered what we call a moderate to severe anxiety attack...which is related to his dementia." He adds "From his loss of fluid...and it was substantial - we think he was outside for at least 4 hours. And judging by the burns he sustained."

Spike breathes out his nose, feeling relief, but a hot rush of shame.

Buster makes a face, glancing again at his brother.

Buster says, "That's terrible!"

Dr. Hibbard continues, "Because of his age... he's not going to be able to heal from his wounds nearly as quickly, therefore, I'm recommending him be here for at least 2 more days."

Buster looks a lot less relieved than Spike.

Dr. Hibbard gives a 'shush' gesture to Buster. "What 'I' want to know is... what happens when he's released?

Spike looks at Buster and his mouth gapes open slightly. Then he looks at Dr. Hibbard.

Spike stammers "Well... I... I mean...we..." He looks at Buster, trying to come up with a care plan on the spot. "Uh... well, we were...maybe going to ...let him stay with us for a few days..."

Dr. Hibbard studies the two. "Look...I've seen this happen on an almost weekly basis." He points to Buster, then Spike. "Whatever you...two" he points to the both of them again. "Have going for your father... it's not working!"

Buster eeps at being called out by his dad's doctor.

Dr. Hibbard opens Sparkplug's file. "Ever since he's been discharged...let's see... " He looks "Uh..here - May 2011. Sparkplug is picked up by a LAW ENFORCEMENT officer, after wandering the neighborhood for HOURS! Subject was 'despondent' and 'confused'."

Buster says, "Uh..."

Buster hushes again as the doctor speaks.


Dr. Hibbard continues "If Sparkplug's neighbor hadn't had spotted him, and called an ambulance, he could have died! It was 92 degrees outside!"

Dr. Hibbard spells it out in plain English "I know both of you... you probably still want your dad to be the head of your household, but that time is gone! Your father needs...round...the...clock care!"


Spike scratches his head and leans back in his seat, feeling more and more ashamed. Thinking of all the times dad saved his hyde, and he can't even save his dad from a normal day inside.

Buster looks chagrinned.





The doctor leans back in his chair. "So...what is it?" He shakes his head. "I'm NOT releasing him back to his house if neither of you are going to be there!"

Buster says, "What do you recommend? We're a little out of our league here."




Elsewhere in the Hospital...

The tech finally brings him to lab. He then stands in front of Sparkplug. He then quickly offers a hand. "Thank you...thank you so much!" The lab tech then barks "Jay! What did I tell you about botherin' patients?!"

Sparkplug holds out his hand to Jay, telling the lab tech, "It's OK -- he's not botherin' me."

Sparkplug grins up from his wheelchair. "What's next? I haven't been probed and prodded this much since I joined the Army!" he jokes in good spirits.

Sparkplug seems his old self again, even though just 15 minutes ago he was barely conscious. He's been flipping back and forth like this since he started to recover.

The lab tech grins. She takes Sparkplug's meaty arm and examines the marks already. "Wow! They've already done a number to you!" She applies a tourniquet and tries to find a place where the docs haven't stuck Sparkplug - and gently places a needle in his arm.

Sparkplug rasps, "You have good hands, nurse. I barely felt that!"

The nurse collects a few more vials. She grins, rubbing Sparkplug's forearm. "Wow! For an old...I mean... ..for someone...older...these forearms could crush rocks!"

Sparkplug flexes his other arm. "I like to keep myself fit! Never know when I'll need to give a Decepticon the old knuckle sandwhich!" he laughs.

The young 20-something grins, expertly knowing how to flirt with patients without being creepy or condescending. "That's right! You're... the Autobot man!"

Sparkplug chuckles. "Well, my son and I have helped the Autobots over the years. I guess you could say I'm an Autobot man, yes."

The tech expertly removes the needle, applies a cotton swab to the area and then puts a band-aid on the mark. "Well... I think you are AWESOME! You're a hero."Sparkplug rasps, "Thanks, miss. I just do what I can. The Autobots are the real heroes!"Sparkplug starts to try to get up from the wheelchair.

The tech quickly walks over to Sparkplug and gently rests a hand on his shoulder. "No! No - you get to go back to your room!"

Sparkplug rasps, "I can walk it. I'm not dead, you know!"


Sparkplug's mood suddenly turns combative

The nurse comes up and gently rubs Sparkplug's shoulder. She's met these types of combative people before. She lowers her voice. "*I* know you can walk! And everyone knows you can walk - but the stupid 'rules' here says EVERYONE has to be in a wheelchair for liability - you know... everyone's scared for insurance companies."

Sparkplug rolls his watery eyes, successful cajoled.

Sparkplug settles back in his chair. "Damn insurance vultures."


The nurse, relaxed Sparkplug didn't hulk out, pushes Sparkplug to his room. "Tell me about it! There was one time I swear... I sliced my finger cutting a tomato. It was my FINGER! They wheeled me into the ER!" <false story, but she tells it in such a convincing way, it's damn near believable>

Back in Dr. Hibbard's Office...

Buster looks at Spike to take the lead and deflect some of the criticism.

Dr. Hibbard looks at the two. "Well... you could go to New Haven - it's an assisted nursing facility. NOT like the nursing home he was in. He'd still have his independence, but they have nurses there 24-7."

Spike 's eyes widen in curiosity. "Ok..."

Buster frowns. "Uh, how much is that going to cost? Jesse was looking over his insurance and said he's reaching some sort of limit of care..."

Spike blinks, looking over at Buster. "Seriously?" Showing he hasn't been paying attention.

Dr. Hibbard nods. "With his plan, you'd have 3 months tops of coverage." Dr. Hibbard leans in to the two. "This is a TEMOPRARY solution to a PERMANENT problem!"

Spike rests his head on his hand. "OK...so...other options?"

Dr. Hibbard says plainly "Return him to the nursing home where he recovered before. He knows the place..."

Spike shakes his head adamantly "Wait..."

Buster opens his mouth, moving to the edge of his seat in a joint expression of rejection of the doctor's suggestion that they return Sparkplug to the nursing home.

Dr. Hibbard gestures another 'shush' to Buster. "He...now listen - his insurance covers it. He'd be in a SAFE environment!"

Dr. Hibbard points to his pad device. "Need I remind you - THREE months ago, you took him to the ER because he was in the shower, and couldn't turn off the hot water and wound up suffering ANOTHER round of burns on his back and shoulder!"

Buster looks at Spike guiltily. He didn't even KNOW about that incident.

Dr. Hibbard barks to Spike and Buster. "He can no longer live on his own!"

Spike looks at Buster and nods. "It was during the flood. You were in Australia."

Buster nods to Spike and then looks back at the doctor. "Well, no, not on his own, but maybe the Autobots can do something? I mean, they have advanced alien technology..."

Dr. Hibbard then looks at Buster and nods, grinning sarcastically. "Oh! A war zone! Yes! Yes! Tell me more about this!"

Spike gives Dr. Hibbard a 'shush' movement. "Ok...enough - I get it...we get it."

Buster makes a face. "I'm not recommending he remain a field mechanic," he says sourly.

Dr. Hibbard frowns as his cell goes off. "Shit...hold on..." He then gets up and leaves the two. Spike looks at Buster and shakes his head. "Fuck, dude. What are we going to do now?"

Buster frowns. "I don't know. Dad's not going to want to go back to the nursing home. CAN the Autobots do anything?"

Buster says, "I know that's not really their forte, but if they can teleport to Cybertron, surely they can come up with a way to help protect a man who's been an ally for almost three decades."

Spike nods and says logically "Ok... so... let's say dad doesn't get a choice. Say we FORCE him to go to a nursing home?" He looks at Buster's expression.

"I...have power of attorney. I can do this."

Buster makes a face.

Spike nods. "Hear me out. We put him in a home. What happens? He turns into the dad we knew a few years ago - when we visited the war memorial. He was... well...you know. The nursing home took a LOT out of him. It was like he didn't want to do anything but sleep all day."

Buster says, "CAN, yes. But SHOULD? Surely their can be some sort of compromise."

Spike nods. "You're right. Buster - I'm just...laying EVERYTHING out."

Buster says, "Can we get some sort of financial assistance? What about the VA? Jesse said something about asking them for help since Dad's a vet and all. I'm not sure how all that works."

Spike nods. "Ok."

Spike adds "SECOND option..."

Buster nods, shutting up again to listen.

"You and I... move in with him. And with the help of an assisted living nurse... he keeps his house."

GAME: Buster PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.

Buster says, "His house? Is it even livable? Jesse's apartment was wrecked."

Spike adds "BUT - I have 2 kids, and this new ambassador job has been kicking my ass."

Spike adds "Well... he managed to live in it until he was found outside yesterday."

Spike points to Buster. "And you have Jesse, and your job...AND you may be going back to school." he adds "So... it's safe to say THAT option is ruled out, right?"


Spike looks at Buster and folds his arms, waiting for his take.

Buster says, "Uh, I'd say yeah. Jesse likes dad and all, but living with us is a bit much."

Spike nods. "OK. Option 3 - he comes to Autobot City and lives in a War Zone."

Buster grins. "Well, that's a little like Option 2, since that's where Jesse and I are staying right now, but that seems to be the best option to me if we can't afford assisted living."

Spike adds "We'll use up as MUCH of that insurance money we can for that halfway place - keep him there for 2 months while we iron out a plan with Ratchet and First Aid. If they can build an Autobot nurse, they sure as hell can build an Autobot caretaker."

Spike finally says "Option 4 - we sell his house. And try like hell to get the VA to chip in - and see if we can extend that 3 months to..." He shrugs.


Buster says, "That might be best. Dad might not like that, but the doc's right... I don't see him living on his own any time soon."

Spike sighs and looks at Buster. "Either way... dad's house goes." He then says "And... as hard as it is for me to say this - his house is probably the last house he'll ever own."

"So... option 3 or 4?"


As Spike and Buster deliberate, Dr. Hibbard returns.

Buster says, "Well, I saw halfway house for now, while we talk to the Autobots about more permanent solutions."

Buster doesn't seem to want to think about that 'last house he'll ever own' idea.

Dr. Hibbard catches the conversation. "Oh! War zone! Brillaint. I"m glad you two are.." Spike holds up a finger (index). "Wait... tell us one thing. You had his MRI from when he was in the nursing home. And you have his MRI now. You can gauge his... decline. Since he's left... has that decline...subsided?"


Buster mutters to you, "It's not a warzone. Autobot City doesn't get attacked any more often than anywhere else. It's more dangerous to live in Chicago than Autobot City..."

Dr. Hibbard looks at the MRI from when Sparkplug was in the nursing home and compares it to the one that was taken a few weeks after he was actively with the Autobots.


Spike nod nods to Buster and says in a low tone "I know I know."

Buster leans forward with anxious curiosity.

Dr. Hibbard frowns slightly. "Well... yes. And ... actually...in some...SOME areas... there was actually improvement."


Dr. Hibbart blurts out "BUT that also includes getting picked up by cops, getting burned in a shower and passing out and nearly DYING from heat exhaustion!"

Buster lets out his held breath. "Well, see? Doesn't that mean that the outside stimulation is helping, even if there are... occasional... hiccups due to improper supervision?"

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

Spike is about to say something, but Buster seemed to inspire him.

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

Spike nods defiantly. "Uh...look, doc. Thanks for your help. And I think we HAVE made a decision." He looks at Buster. "But Dad will have to be the one that makes it." He looks at Dr. Hibbard. "Either way, he will be monitored...OK?"

Dr. Hibbard steels his jaw and looks at Buster, then Spike, then Buster. "You two are in way over your head... but since you're power of attorney, Mr. Witwicky - all I can do is just advise."

Spike says "We're going to sell his house. And for 2 months, we'll put him in that assisted living center. But in the meantime, it'll be HIS decision whether to remain there or live with the Autobots...where we WILL provide adequate care. I give my word."

Spike says flatly "After all, it probably wasn't the best idea for ME to be raised in a similar place when I was a kid, but I'm still walking."

Buster says, "Thanks for your advice, Doctor. We really appreciate it."

Dr. Hibbard nods and finally, gives a begrudgingly "Good luck" to the brothers.


Back in Sparkplug's room...

The nurse finally rolls Sparkplug to his bed. "Here yah GO Mr. Witwicky." She turns down the bed and says "I THINK they have chicken breast and mashed potatoes for dinner for you tonight."

Before the nurse puts Sparkplug in his bed, she gives him 4 pills of various sizes. Some are needed to keep him his senses/bearings. "Here's your medicine, too."

Sparkplug frowns. "I hate having to take all these pills." However, he grumblingly accepts them.

Sparkplug rasps, "Could you put the game on?"

The nurse gives Sparkplug a kind smile. "Sure..." she then turns on the football game (preseason) and takes his ham-like fist and presses ANOTHER needle in to create a port for a saline bag.

Sparkplug rasps, "Ow! Jesus! What was that - a McDonald's straw!"

The nurse gives a compassionate sigh. Not as good as the flirty tech. "Sorry... this is a pretty big port."

Sparkplug rasps, "Can't I get a heplock or something so you don't have to keep sticking me?"

Sparkplug has spent far too much time in hospitals these last few years.

The nurse nods. "We'll try after dinner, Mr. Witwicky. Does that sound good?"

Sparkplug rasps, "Sure."

Sparkplug lays back, suddenly looking drowsy, exhausted, and fatigued, as if even just enduring tests took almost everything out of him.

Spike walks outside with Buster to Sparkplug's room. "So... who wants to break this to dad? Or do we sort of do a tag-team approach?"

Buster says, "Oh, how about you, and I'll back you up?"

Spike grirs and laughs slightly and pats Buster's shoulder. "Fine..."

Spike peers in at his father's room. A few signs 'DIETARY RESTRICTION' 'FALL RISK' are at the door. He clears his throat, approaching his father - someone who can still make him stand at attention. "Heyah...dad."

"How they treat in' yah?" He moves to chairs close so he and Buster can take a seat."

Spike winces as he sees a few nasty spots where Sparkplug suffered some 2nd degree sunburns. Again, it feels like if it were his own kid and he accidentally dropped him.

A nurse brings in a small jug of ice water for the rockstar patient.

Buster follows Spike in and sheepishly grabs the other chair.

GAME: Sparkplug FAILS an ENDURANCE roll of Average difficulty.

Sparkplug is passed out with the TV on, and doesn't immediately respond to his sons' arrivals and questions.

Spike blinks and looks at Sparkplug. "How you feeling?"

Buster shakes his father's arm slightly. "Dad?"

GAME: Sparkplug FAILS an ENDURANCE roll of Average difficulty.

Spike rests his hand on a non-burned area of Sparkplug's arm. "Dad?"

GAME: Sparkplug FAILS an ENDURANCE roll of Average difficulty.

"Dad?"

Sparkplug remains passed out, in what is possibly a drug-induced stupor... or something worse.

Buster looks at his brother in alarm. "Is he OK?"

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES an ENDURANCE roll of Average difficulty.

Sparkplug mutters to itself, "... on the..."

Buster whews as Sparkplug mutters in his sleep.

Spike quickly looks at Sparkplug's heart monitor and then gently rocks Sparkplug's arm. "Dad?"

GAME: Sparkplug FAILS an ENDURANCE roll of Average difficulty.

Sparkplug moves his head, and mutters, but doesn't quite climb back to consciousness.

Spike looks up at the heart monitor and then says louder "DAD!"

Buster says, "Should we wait 'til morning and come back?"

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES an ENDURANCE roll of Below Average difficulty.

Spike looks at Buster, thinking maybe it's a good idea to wait...until -

Sparkplug's eyes flick open. "Geez, son, what? No need to shout!"

Spike laughs and says 'Sorry...But you were out like a light. How are you feeling?"

Buster breathes a sigh of relief, letting go of Sparkplug's forearm.

Sparkplug rasps, "Ugh. I feel terrible, but what do you expect? How are you two? How are Carly and Jesse? And Daniel and..."

Sparkplug frowns, continuing, "... uh, my beautiful little granddaughter?"

Sparkplug looks a bit confused and embarrassed he couldn't remember his granddaughter's name.

Spike grins "Megan...we're fine." He looks at his dad quizzically. "Did they ... debrief you? They said you were dehydrated and suffered some nasty second degree burns?"

Sparkplug waves a thin, veiny hand.

Spike breathes out and says "...and you had... an 'episode' that left you disoriented?"

Spike looks at Buster, then at Sparkplug. "Dad... this... this isn't working out."

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

Sparkplug rasps, "What? I'm fine."

Buster looks a little lost on how to help.

Spike 's voice starts to break as he seems to almost shy away "This is like the third time this sort of thing has happened in a year."

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

Sparkplug rasps, "Lots of people get sunburned in the summer. I don't see how it's all that big of a deal. So I stayed in the sun too long. I was sick of being cooped up inside for months during the flood! Weren't you?"

Spike leans back against the wall.

"It's more than that... and you know it."

Sparkplug rasps, "Well, this hospital sure isn't working out -- when can I get out of here and back to the Ark? These people are worse than First Aid and Hoist combined!"

"You didn't 'STAY' in the sun too long. You almost died!" Spike admonishes.

"The doctors said you were incoherent and agitated..." He adds "Dad... remember how I was when I woke up from that coma - and I couldn't get my bearings?""

Buster frowns, glancing between his brother and his dad.

Sparkplug rasps, "Of course I do!"

Spike frowns and says "Dad...listen! We're going to talk about this - now - and YOU are going to make the decision - understood - and we are going to honor it. But as hard as it is to admit... you're GOING to need some help - just like I needed help."

Spike sighs and says "Your house... it's not working. And to ensure you're in the best possible place and have the best security ... finically - we're going to have to sell it. You can't keep it up anymore."

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

Spike brings up a fairly airtight argument. "The flood...it just... there was too much damage done to it."

Sparkplug frowns. "Are you sure? You can rebuilt it - make it better. I've seen your work."

Spike shakes his head. "I can't...I'm sorry." He sighs. "...and Dr. Hibbard is recommending that you be returned to the nursing home where you were at before. They have a good staff...you know the area..."

Spike gives Buster a 'help a brother out' look.

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

Sparkplug shakes his head angrily. "No. I'm not going back there."

Buster says, "Uh..."

Spike nods. "... and we totally support you - 100 percent."

Sparkplug frowns, looking a tad confused.

Spike adds "So... that leaves us with 2 places. ONE place, you're going to HAVE to go. Just as I spent those 4 months in that therapy place... it's the SAME place. You remember - you had your own apartment, nursing available 24/7?"

Spike adds "You HAVE to go there... for recovery. Like it or not, you were seriously injured."

Spike looks at Buster.

Spike adds "No curfews, no 'checking in' - but there will be a nurse to check in every day." He adds quickly "Just as they did me - "

Spike finishes. "For 2 months. After that..."

Sparkplug frowns deeply.

Buster looks at Spike, admiring the way he's handling this so far. Must be Crosscut's tutilage.

Spike adds calmly "It's RECOVERY dad... plain and simple."

Buster says, "Yeah. Just until you're better."

Spike sighs. "After that... you can either choose to stay there... or move into Autobot City. Where I'd get in touch with Lifeline. I'm sure there're a few ex-Navy Seals who now need nursing care."

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.

Spike shrugs. "Either way... we'll need to tap into whatever we can get from your house AND from the VA."

Spike adds "...sir."

Spike adds "BUT if you choose to stay in Autobot City... we're going to have to get a system set up. Perceptor , First Aid , Buster, myself ... we're all going to have to work together." He adds 'That is... if you want to go down that route."

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

Buster watches anxiously for Sparkplug's response.

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.

Spike blinks and says "I wish I could say I know how you feel, but I don't. I can't imagine what you're feeling right now. But... our choices are limited, pops."

Spike remains quiet and waits for the Godfather - err - Sparkplug to render his decision.

Sparkplug frowns. "Well, I guess I see where this is going."

GAME: Sparkplug PASSES an INTELLIGENCE roll of Average difficulty.

Buster looks at Spike, not knowing if this is good or bad.

Spike nods and mutters "I'm sorry."

Sparkplug rasps, "I can understand about the house, and the TEMPORARY nursing assistance while I get back on my feet."

Spike nods. "Yes..."

Buster nods as well.

Spike adds "Get the right meds, exercises..."

Sparkplug rasps, "As for after... I'd like to be back on the Ark, although Autobot City would be fine. I like working with my family."

Buster says, "We like having you around, Dad."

Spike looks at Buster and gives a cautious smile.

"OK... it's settled then..."

Sparkplug rasps, "I still think you're over-reacting, but if it will make you happy and worry less about me, I'll play along."

Spike grins and says "After losing MY home to Starscream, you can see why I'm cautious."

Buster looks from brother to father, hoping this means that they'll be far less arguing than he'd feared.

Sparkplug smiles. "Starscream knows better than to mess with me," he grins.

Spike still feels like hell saying this now, but far better to get this out now. "So... tomorrow, I'll call a realtor?"

Spike grins at his father "I need whatever you have then, 'cause that punk doesn't listen to me."

Sparkplug sighs, looking crestfallen but resigned.

Buster blanches as the subject of the house comes back up.

Spike adds "I know..."

Spike sighs, "We have to do this, dad."

Sparkplug says, "I"

Sparkplug says, "I'd hoped... well, it's not important now."

Spike bites his lower lip and waits.

Spike shakes his head and says calmly "No...what?"

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

"You're cc..calling the shots." he barely gets that out before a tear inexplicably falls from his eye.

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

Spike recovers fairly quickly - not turning into a blubbering mess and hopefully deflecting any 'pussy' allegations from his dad.

Buster tries to smile reassuringly, still completely out of his depth, and wishing he was in a library somewhere with a good book and no family drama.

Sparkplug sighs. "It's nothing. I'd hoped you two would take over my garage someday, but I realize now that's never going to happen."

Spike nods and sighs "I know... I wish that wasn't the case."

Spike adds "For what it's worth - Carly, Danno and I will be living in Autobot City until either Starscream dies or Megan's old enough for college."

Sparkplug sighs again. "It's OK. You've done better than I could have ever dreamed, and Buster... follows his own path."

Buster isn't sure if that's a compliment or an insult, but lets it drop.

Sparkplug rasps, "Well, then... being around my family is all I need to make me happy."

Spike grins and squeezes his dad's hand. "OK, enough sentimental ... crap." He then nods. "I think you're doing the right thing... for what it's worth."

Spike adds "After all, 'I' tried to escape the 'bots - and you were the one who pretty much said the moment I got out of rehab, I'd have to move STRAIGHT into Autobot City."

Buster smiles in relief as Spike seems to handle everything OK.

Spike stands up and looks down at his father - (only physically). "You should probably get some rest. How are you doing pain-wise? I know burns are a bitch."

Spike grins, hoping to trigger Sparkplug's nostalgia sensors. "'specially steam-burns, huh?"

Buster stands as well, following Spike's lead.

Sparkplug rasps, "Yeah, yeah. You've said your piece. I'll rest. I think I missed the game now, anyway."

Spike adds "Don't be an ass about pain management - if you're feeling any pain, say it now 'cause it's going to take 30 minutes for the meds to kick in."

Buster frowns at how well his brother and father are familiar with injuries and pain medication... their life has been a lot different and harder than his, even when he was in the Marines.

Spike leans in and gives his dad a hug. "We'll stop by tomorrow morning."

Buster moves around the other side of the bed to give his dad an awkward hug as well.

Spike is careful not to hug TOO tightly - namely since his back is still covered with blisters and welts.

Sparkplug rasps, "I'll keep that in mind."'

Buster steps back, looking a little uncomfortable.

Spike stands up and says "Call me if you need anything... you know... magazine, newspaper... a beer."

Sparkplug rasps, "I'm a tough old bastard... you really don't have to worry so much about me."

Sparkplug rasps, "I'll take that beer, tho."

Sparkplug winks.


Spike grins and shuts the light out. Leaving Sparkplug alone. He then walks down the corridor. Not knowing really WHAT to think. His dad actually cooperated... but the idea of having to sell a permanent living area is not sitting well with him. Even though he knows there's no way around it. He waits for Buster to catch up

Buster hurries to catch up with his brother, feeling a little guilty to be so relieved to be out of his ill dad's presence.

Spike looks at his brother and sighs "I need a drink if you don't mind."

Spike adds "I'll buy." '

Buster says, "You're ON!"

Sparkplug settles back in his bed, and drifts off to sleep once more, to dream happy dreams of Susan.

Spike sighs and looks at Buster. His eyes are DEFINITELY reddened. "So... we cool? I mean... with the arrangement?"

Spike says flatly "Every dime from his house will go into his care. You can even handle the sale if you want. I just... I feel like some vulture conning their ill parent to sell their house... even though there's like... NO way around this. He NEEDS the cash. And we're NOT going to put him back in a home."

Spike frowns as his pocket buzzes. He looks at the phone. Crosscut . He mutters "Goddamnit, not now!" and hits the 'Ignore' button.

Buster says, "Yeah, Spike. I trust you, of course. Maybe we can set up an account or something just for Dad's upkeep? That way it's not just you having to handle everything?"

Spike nods. "Cool."

Spike heads for the exit. He finally gives a look at Buster. "So... you all right?"

Buster says, "Maybe Jesse and I can help with his other bills. Make sure his utilities are paid off and such."

Buster says, "Uh, yeah. I appreciate you taking care of so much, Spike. I just... I'm not sure how to handle all this. I feel bad leaving you to handle everything for so long."

Spike nods and says "Yeah.. I'll work on fixing up the house." He rubs his eyes and frowns. "Jesus man... give me TEN Devestators rather than what we just went through."

Buster says, "No kidding... though I was thinking more of some professors with whom I've dealt. But same spirit, yeah. Shall we get that drink?"

Spike shakes his head. "It's... trust me. I NEED to do this. I know I drove a wedge between you and him when I was younger. If anyone needs to shoulder a bit more responsibility in the care taking end, it's me." He adds "You weren't the one who had his brain transplanted in another robot on one occasion and spent nearly six months in a coma on another. And yeah... definitely drinks."

Buster nods, barely able to comprehend everything Spike's been through, but more than ready for that drink.


Later that night - after Spike and Buster have their respective drinks…

Repair Bay - Medical Wing - Autobot City
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 walks in, looking fairly harried after making a tough decision for his father. Suddenly though, his expression brightens as he sees an old friend he hasn't seen in months. "Bumblebee!"

Bumblebee was louging around, reading some reports, when he hears a human voice. "Spike!" he says coming over to crouch next to his friend. "What's up?"

Spike runs to Bumblebee and gives him a relatively strong bro-hug. "Dude! When did you get here?!"

Spike grins and nods. "It's been... you know... " He adds "Prime's got me doing diplomatic stuff now on top of being in the med bay." He adds "OH! Next year, Ratchet said he's going to teach me to do a FULL reconstruction on an energy core!"

Spike looks at Bumblebee up and down. "Enough about me though, how have YOU been?!"

Bumblebee returns the hug, gingerly, so that he doesn't harm his human friend. "I had an assignment on Cybertron. But I'm glad to be back Spike." he chuckles at Spike's rapid fire talking. "Rachet's going to teach you full reconstruction? That's fantastic!" He smiles, sitting down fully to be comfortable. "Nothing exciting with me though, just the usual." he says modestly.

Spike shakes his head, hoping to get some more details from Bee. "No... recon? No dangerous forays into enemy territory?!" He gestures "C'mon, out with it! You went dark for like... months!"

Bumblebee can't help the grin that widens on his face. "Fine, I'll tell." he laughs. "Yes I was reconing up on Cybertron; the Decepticons have been acting odd recently. Plus, Megatron 's been absent of a long time; Starscream's been in command here on Earth."

Spike nods and he sits down eagerly. Even though he's in his upper '30s, he can still be enamored by this type of stuff. "And Starscream's been like a total dick since he's been commander. I mean, you heard about the attack on the stadium in Chicago, right?" "Anyway..." He gestures "the 'cons were acting suspicious..."

Bumblebee laughs. "Yeah, when is Starscream NOT a jerk?" he adds, shaking his head. "Personally I think he's less dangerous than Megatron." He tilts his head. :Speaking of Megs, couldn't really get a fix on him. He's on Cybertron, and I assume he's in Polyhex - That's the Decepticon's home city I guess you could say - but he's not making much noise." The yellow bug frowns a bit. "And I couldn't catch if they're planning anything."

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