~When the Heavens Unfold~
Chapter V: Thin Air
Summary: "If... If anything were to happen to us, I want you to take care of our Logyn Rose," Sam finished. He felt a light touch on his arm as he noticed Carly's nod. He smiled and looked into his rear view mirror at the lovely sight of his first born sleeping the day away as if there wasn't a worry in the world...
Author's Note: For those who actually read my chapters, I presented a lot of history and background events in this chapter. I just wanted to go ahead and tell you so you're not confused when you read it. With that being said, please enjoy!
"And who is the appointed guardian of the family pertaining to Samuel and Carly Witwicky?" the judge freely asked. Bumblebee stood up from his chair with a quick wave of his hand.
"I am," he said, loud and clear. The judge looked him over from above her reading glasses, pursed her lips, and returned her keen eyes to a packet of papers flipped out in her hands.
Bumblebee surrendered to her short glare. He shuffled his sweaty hands back into his pockets and resumed his place - his butt firmly planted in the uncomfortable wooden chair. He slouched, not caring in the least bit about looking proper in any fashion. His holoform probably detected the lack of recharge his body got the night before at the hospital because he didn't get any sleep, so there were probably large, gray circles under his eyes. His holoformic hair was probably ruffled and his clothes were probably crinkled. There was only one thing keeping him motivated today and that was Logyn. He'd fight for her. He'd fight with everything he had to care for her. Just like he'd promised her father and mother.
The judge addressed Sam's parents next. Judy stood even before the judge called out her and her husband's name.
"And you are Sam's parents?" the judge asked, clearly alarmed by Judy's odd sense of exotic style in fashion and the shabby looks of her husband, Ronald.
"Yes we are, your honor," Judy confirmed out of breath. Ron placed his hand on her shoulder and gave her a look that clearly told her to calm down.
"It says here that before Sam and Carly's unfortunate passing the appointed guardian of the child is legally the one they have chosen, being Christian," the large woman said, taking her pen and pointing at the young man sitting on the opposite side of the courtroom.
"But we're family," Judy protested. The judge nodded on understanding.
"Yes, Mrs. Witwicky, I know, but it was in Samuel's will," the judge defended. Silently, Bumblebee was snickering.
"So you're just going to hand over the baby? ...Just like that?" Judy blurted out again, chomping on a barbecue chip she'd brought along in her purse. The judge was losing her patience. She rolled her eyes and sighed, sliding off her glasses and rubbing her aching temples.
"Mrs. Witwicky, we will have to observe the living style of Mr. Dale, confirming that he lives in a safe environment, before we allow the child to live with him as an appointed guardian," the judge said, cutting her eyes across the room to where Bumblebee sat without a word.
Bumblebee sat up straight when he heard this semi-alarming news. He wasn't familiar with this human custom and was now struck with fear as to whether he would be able to prove that she would be living in a a safe environment. He quickly rose one finger into the air to gain the judge's attention. She nodded, giving him a speaking right.
"Excuse me, what are the requirements?" Bumblebee asked.
"You must have documented proof of the state in which you permanently reside in. You must have documented proof of your residency for one year. You must sustain a home. You must have a legal plan for the up-bringing of the child, educational and such. You must be regularly employed to support the child. You must not be involved in drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or physical abuse in any way. That will not be tolerated," she read off the list, "Do you object?"
Bumblebee's face was radiated fear and anxiety as the pale tint in his expression spoke for him. His hands had a death grip on the edge of the desk in front of him and his knees were stiff in an ache. He wasn't sure how he was going to get all of these things in only three human days. He was a massive alien robot for crying out loud; he didn't exactly come prepared for any of this.
"No, I don't," Bumblebee stated proudly, drawing up what confidence he had left.
"Good. You have three days, after that given time, I will send someone to the address you send me and they will inform me of how you come to the requirements," the judge said.
With one final whack of her wooden dispute she uses to quiet the courthouse, she made her statement final. Standing up and gliding down the small set of steps from her desk, she offered her audience a swift smile before slipping out the back door. Bumblebee rubbed his eyes as they stung with dryness. He too slipped out from behind the desk and made his way to the pathway between the long row of empty benches. He was approached by Ron with a warm, lofty grin. His cheeks had become chubby with age in the past few years, but Bumblebee noticed, like he himself, that Ron had light circles under his eyes with a tint of redness glazed over his blue eyes. Sam had a place in his heart, next to where Sam's lay, for Ron and Judy; no matter how much he was freaked out by Judy's spastic, yet refreshing ways.
"I promised your son-" Bumblebee began to explain - he felt that he needed to explain why he wanted their granddaughter so much.
"I know," Ron said nodding his head, slipping his cold, wrinkly hands into his jacket pockets, "Samuel told me just before we left the hospital, yesterday."
Bumblebee couldn't help but feel a large gap of pain and guilt. Logyn was the only part of Sam that they could possibly hold onto and he felt as if he were steeling that away from them.
"Ron, your son, he was something else. The Autobots will never be able to show you just how much he meant to us," Bumblebee tried to comfort Ronald's thoughts. He wanted to make sure they knew that Sam wasn't just another human to them, because he wasn't. "He wasn't just our messenger." Ron glowered, trying to keep his face from revealing his true feelings of pain and loss; those feelings that make you want to cry until you can't anymore; those feelings that make you want to cry until it hurts too much to do any further.
"Thank you," Ron said, slipping his hand out and thumping his hand on the Bumblebee's back, rubbing it with some force, but not enough to make Bumblebee feel threatened. He knew it was a man's way of keeping his real feelings in contact; feelings that the public couldn't see; feelings that he was afraid of feeling.
"You're alright, you know that? I'm not sure I would have wanted anyone else to look after my son," Ron quickly added, escorting Bumblebee out of the courthouse and into the fresh air of downtown Los Angeles.
Los Angeles. Four years after it's destruction, the city stands as a brand new city, lively and bustling with people, just as it had before. It only took three years to rebuild, luckily, with the Autobot's help. They had worked frivolously to achieve their goal. Los Angeles stands, across the globe, as a highlight of the world. A place that was introduced to Armageddon by Decepticons. The city stands isolated, however, with a large sixty foot marble wall scaling around the entire structure of the city. Engraved on it is every single name of every person that was lost during the battle. A year later after it was reopen for entities to live among its streets once again, Sam and Carly moved into a small apartment and began their lives. Judy and Ron still live in New Jersey, in their small hometown where Sam was born and raised. And the Autobot base is still in Massachusetts where they share residence with the NEST team - their long-time friends and loyal allies.
"Despite yesterday's events," Ronald added after a long while of silence had come between them, "You did your job and I couldn't have asked more of you."
That same feeling of pain and guilt returned, but Bumblebee would never let them know why.
"Thank you, sir," Bumblebee smiled warmly, "Do you need me to take you home?"
"Nah," Ron shook his head, "Judy and I will be just fine."
"Are you sure? It's a long trip all the way back to New Jersey," Bumblebee said, feeling it necessary to provide whatever help he could to the family that just lost their only child, their daughter-in-law, and their only grandchild.
"Yeah. It'd be a good trip for the both of us. Don't you think, Judy?" Ron said wrapping one arm around his wife. She crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, snubbing her nose at Bumblebee.
"I don't know what you two are talking about, but I do know one thing," she paused for a dramatic effect, "You are never going to pass those requirements. We'll have custody of our granddaughter, not a crazy alien robot," she said waving her arms in a crazy-like manner. Ironic.
"Oh, Judy!" Ron whined, waving off her comment and pulling her down the stone steps towards their car parked at the curb. He waved one last time at Bumblebee, "Take care, now."
Bumblebee smirked and watched Sam's parents walk off, hand in hand. They were different, very different, than they were when Bumblebee had first become Sam's guardian. Back then, they were lively with color in their cheeks and a glint in their eyes. Judy's hair was ravishing with vibrant youthful color and volume. Ron on the other hand, for what hair he had back then, still possessed some color to it. Their strides and movements were more swift and sharp. When they spoke, their voices were crisp and clear. But now... they had seemed to age tremendously just within a few days. Maybe it was because of the untimely death of their son, Bumblebee wasn't sure. But he was sure, they he missed the old Judy and Ron.
Now, the faces that resumed color in their cheeks and glints in their eyes were all but gray and weathered. Their eyes always seemed to droop with tiredness and surround them were small laugh wrinkles. Their voices were weak and raspy. Judy was a little skinnier than she had been in the early days and Ronald was a little more plump around the gut. They swayed while they walked slowly to the car. However, Bumblebee observed, somethings never changed it seemed. Ron opened the passenger door for Judy and she got in with a quick smile as her thanks. After Ron started the car, put his blinker on, and joined the busy traffic of Los Angeles, he was gone, disappearing into a mesh of cars that seemed to blend together in their mass of color.
It was Bumblebee's turn to leave and rejoin with his friends; his family.
He began to walk, secretly curving his way into the crowded sidewalks, where people bustled about to work, talked on their phones, and talked with one another of pointless things that people tended to wrap their lives around. Their short lives. With hands in his jean pockets, Bumblebee slid past one person at a time until he was all the way next to the each passing building. He kept his head low and unrecognizable. He mentally fascinated himself with the fact that these people were walking along side a transformer without even knowing it. He felt a sense of dread: usually when a human saw a transformer, fully transformed and guns ablaze it meant trouble and they were right in the middle of it.
Darting to the left, Bumblebee fled down a clean alleyway. He'd never thought he'd see the day when there was a clean alley, but today was the day. Since the city was only a year old, new people were able to start over. He walked down the crossing and took another turn around a sharp corner until he saw the comforting sight of his own body in vehicle mode. He smiled, flipped his holoform off, and revved his engines. It felt good to be himself again. But, he felt...empty. He was so used to that compression in the driver or passenger seat that it had become a custom to his systems. He was used to feeling a pair of hands groping the steering wheel and, every once in awhile, gripping the mirror to check a reflection. Sighing, Bumblebee drove out into the traffic as well, heading home to Washington D.C. where the Autobots were waiting for him and the news he carried.
The Autobots were standing, side by side, around a large display that was being projected in a brilliantly clear blue color, from tiny port holes decorated the edges of a large, spherical table made of thick steel to hold the power generators inside. It was an old piece of Cybertronian technology that Sentinel Prime had handed over to Optimus before his betrayal. the projectors displayed a large structure twenty thousand feet below earth. It's location and temperature were displayed on the left hands side, just below the hologram picture, in English and Cybertronian language.
"Optimus, what are we looking at?" Ratchet asked, making his way over to the leader that hovered over to the hologram console: a series of elaborate buttons.
"This was part of the diagram that Lennox gave me after the battle in Egypt," Optimus began.
"...And?" Ratchet pried further.
"A heat bloom suddenly sparked through the structure. I've showed it to the Secretary of Defense and he had never seen it before," Optimus explained, watching the expression of his comrades.
"It's probably just a pyramid 'cause, you know, it's in Egypt..." Jolt said with a 'duh' expression.
"Why should we care anyways, Optimus? It's not our problem that their pyramids were buried by sand," Sideswipe whined while flicking bits of dirt off his shoulder, not caring a lick.
"It could be a threat to humanity," Optimus stated, like a true leader.
"We haven't seen one trace of the Decepticons for almost three years, Optimus. Our time here is over," Sideswipe scoffed.
"Cybertron is inhabitable. We can't go back," Ratchet explained.
"I've only been here a few months and I'm already hooked with this place. We can't leave. Earth is our home," Chromia added her two cents.
"All we've done is more harm since we've gotten here," Sideswipe slammed his fist on the hologram project, annoyed and frustrated.
"Perhaps, but we protect the humans, Sideswipe. We owe it to them," Optimus defended.
"What could we possibly owe them? They've done nothing for us," Sideswipe rose his voice.
"That's enough, Sides," Chromia tried to calm him down by putting her hand firmly on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off.
"Sideswipe. It was our war but their planet. We were selfish to even allow it to come this far. They've offered us a home and in return we can only thank then by protecting them from any more unwanted alien wars," Optimus stomped his foot on the marble-tiled floor. Everyone was instantly silenced. "Besides, you as well as I know that we cannot return to Cybertron."
There was a solemn since of hurt and longing in the atmosphere now, radiating in all directions from every bot in the room. Sideswipe shook his head slowly, his eyes turning a shade grayer than the bright blue they once were. He walked towards the mechanical doors and they slid open with a violent his. He placed his hand on the doorpost, keeping the door open. With a long and loud sigh, he looked back at them over his shoulder.
"I know. I just...wish things could go back to normal. I wish I could go home," he whispered before leaving the vicinity. Just as he did, Bumblebee in his original mode walked into the room.
"What's going on?" Bumblebee transmitted through his radio. His voice processor was still a work-in-progress after all of these years.
"We'll discuss that later. It is good to have you back, Bumblebee. Do you have any news on the child's well being?"
"She's doing just great! The court and the jury were in an uproar and I was in the back watching the whole thing!" Bumblebee quoted what movie references he thought would relate to his response to Optimus. He then went on to tell them what all he needed in three days. They seemed unmoved by these things and were quite excited to have some part in the baby girl's life.
"I could contact Lennox and see what he can do about the housing arrangements and I'm sure he could send a request in about your permanent residence forms," Ratchet's scratchy voice chimed in. Their discussion went on further with some disputes on who each bot would represent in the child's life. In just a few minutes, they had their duties of what part they were going to help Bumblebee with. They gave Bumblebee good greetings as they left one after another out of the room. Optimus was about to leave Bumblebee to himself, but a smaller hand than his grabbed his wrist and pulled him back into the room.
"Optimus-ssttss-I need to speak with you," Bumblebee spoke with his own voice, though it was still clouded with static.
"Yes, Bumblebee, what is it?" Optimus asked, his tone deep and serious. Bumblebee rubbed the back of his neck before placing one hand on his hip and the other out to expression his body language in a very problematic way. He wanted to make his explanation quick and simple.
"Father, I just can't do it! I just can't do it anymore!" Bumblebee's radio transmitter said in a raised voice. "Optimus-ssttss-I think it would be best if-ssttss-" Bumblebee coughed away his static, "-if the child didn't know that we were...you know...transformers." Optimus was taken back by this, leaning back on his left foot, as if he were offended; however, he wasn't, just confused. Bumblebee braced for the bashing and lectures he might receive.
"Why? Do you think that would help with her up-bringing? She's going to find out, one way or another. We're not exactly a secret anymore," Optimus tried to reason. He truly planned on being part of her life. He wanted to see her grow, start to finish. He wanted to be there, at that moment, when she mimicked something Sam did when he was also a child. He wanted to observe the resemblance. He wanted to be her mentor or protector if she needed it. He wanted to have a human running around and getting into trouble with them...
Like they used to.
"Yes, I know," Bumblebee said, "But have you ever wondered-ssttss-how safer Sam's life could have been? It was my last promise to Sam and I intend to keep it. I think it would be for the best if she didn't know for now."
Optimus let out a deep and low sigh, "If that is what you wish, Bumblebee, we will honor it."
Bumblebee sensed the disappointment in his voice.
Was it too much to ask?
Was he asking something he'd regret later on?
Bumblebee could only nod. Optimus would never know, but that was one of the hardest things he's ever had to ask a family member. He didn't want this, but he knew he needed it. Logyn was all he had left. She was all he had left of Sam and Carly. Bumblebee remembered how much Sam was a danger magnet. He remembered how he'd wake up in the early mornings just to make sure Sam was still sleeping in his bed. He had to make sure he wasn't gone, not like before; not like back home when everyone he loved instantly vanished from thin air.
He wouldn't let this happen; not to her; not like on Cybertron.