AN: Thanks to my boyfriend for editing. This is for my grandfather and all of those who want a cannon human story.
Carly was still attending college when it happened. Her legs, propped on the glass table in the living room, held up the advanced chemistry book while her notebook sat next to her on the couch. She sighed and chewed the end of her pen nervously. Her final exam was still two weeks away, but she had already begun to study. She had to get at least a ninety percent in order to keep her A in the course. Without it she could kiss Grad school good bye. Spike was in the kitchen, trying to turn out an edible dinner.
They had lived together for five months, and dated since they graduated high school. Their relationship had only recently become serious enough to warrant living in the same apartment. Her mother, of course, didn't approve, but she hadn't approved of any man since she had given up on dating seven years after her husband left her and a five year old Carly. Not that Carly would have let that stop her from doing as she pleased. She was independent enough to pay for everything on her own, but not without sacrificing an enormous chunk of sleep each week. So when Spike had moved in with his own source of income, bills had ceased to bite like they used to. Besides enjoying his ability to pay for half of the one bedroom apartment, she also relied on the support he offered her.
The phone jingled in the kitchen. Her pen dropped out of her mouth as she shook with unexpected fright. She sighed to regain normal breathing. She semi-shouted to the Spike, "Did you get the phone?"
"Yeah," he responded before returning his attention to the phone. She stretched and reached for the cup of coffee she had made. Spike still hadn't figured the process out to make it without burning coffee, pot and setting off the fire alarm. She sipped and set it down on a faded coaster.
Snatches conversation drifted to the living room. A change went thru Spike's voice, words caught in his throat. The receiver clicked into its cradle and sobs sputtered from the kitchen. Books fell in a pile around her as she leapt over the coffee table. Her socked feet slid on the tiled floor as she dashed into the room which held Spike.
He sat on the floor and wept into a dish towel while leaning on a table leg. The soup he had been watching was nearly boiling over. Carly calmly turned it to simmer and knelt beside him, taking his head to her chest.
"What's wrong?" she cooed, her only reaction to crying. She had never seen Spike cry without reason, though some were sillier than others. Like when he had found a dead cat in his father's garage. He had no connection to it, yet still pitied it.
"Dad," the word erupted from her bosom. His tears soaked through the shirt to her skin.
"What about him?" she questioned, a rock suddenly appearing in her stomach.
"He's dead," he answered with a statement blatant enough to remove her stomach, rock and all. Her face, heart, and mind froze for a half a minute before her entire being melted. Sparkplug was the closest thing she had to a father.
Twin tears slipped down her cheeks. More followed, soaking her skin and dripping into Spike's hair. He wept openly, shaking and twisting in despair. A raw scream filled with anguish exploded from him, followed by a series of others. She stroked his back as she sobbed. Paper towels sat on the table above the two, Carly reached for them, knocking the tube to the floor. She offered a handful of sheets automatically before realizing he already had absorbent material. He wiped his eyes with the dish towel's rough fabric, and then blew his nose into it.
"Come on," she whispered gently, "Let's get up." She led him to the bedroom, took off his boots and laid him down. She returned to the kitchen, unplugged the phone and ladled soup into a bowl. At the paper cluttered table she sat and slurped her soup numbly. When finished she staggered back to the bedroom to offer him some. He merely rolled over and muttered 'why.'
He remained secluded for in the apartment for the next five days, leaving only to attend the funeral, where he sobbed tiredly through out the ceremony. Carly made arrangements and consulted his opinion as he moodily stalked through their tiny home, purposely knocking things over. On the second day he pushed her favorite lamp over, a pottery piece she had chosen with her mother on their last vacation together, without apologizing. She stared at the deep blue pieces of ceramic on the floor. Her shock had been enough for anyone to see she was upset, but he ignored it.
Afterwards she continued offered her sympathy, while Spike found it lacking. At night she held him as he moaned about injustice. During the day she attended to business with half a heart, knowing that while she performed meaningless tasks, Spike was huddled on the couch thinking about only his misery.
By the sixth day her nerves were beginning to frazzle. Then Bumblebee visited. He and the other Autobots had attended the funeral, but avoided contact with Spike with exception to the obligatory condolences. The Volkswagen Beetle ducked into the apartment after Carly invited him in, drying her hands on her pant legs. He rubbed his hands nervously and requested to see Spike. She nodded knowingly, having expected the conversation to happen sooner rather than later. After a few minutes the unwashed young man walked into the living room. He glared at his once best companion.
"Hey Spike," Bumblebee said, offering a weak smile of apology. His normally well groomed appearance was suffering. Since the funeral, when all the Autobots appeared at their best, his fenders had became dented, his chest had a large gouge running down it, and the dirt and grim had been given time to fester. When the other didn't answer, Bumblebee felt compelled to continue, "Feeling any better?"
"No," he said angrily, balling his fists and grinding his teeth, "Why should I?"
"I just thought maybe…Listen. I need to apologize," Bumblebee stuttered, his voice wavering uncertainly. His face twisted in discomfort, "I'm sorry, Spike. It was an accid-"
"That doesn't make what you did any better!" he shouted, finally releasing his frustration, "You killed my dad!"
"I tripped, it was in the middle of a battle, I didn't know he was there…," he stopped, reliving the pain of his actions. Autobots didn't react to death the same way as humans. Autobots accepted death, mourned it, but moved on. Humans held onto the sorrow like it was the only thing keeping them from following their dead loved one. He took a step back, lowered his head and let down all his defenses. Anything Spike said or did, he deserved.
"I bet you're not sorry at all. I bet you came to gloat that you finally got rid of those pesky humans that were always clinging to you. We were always on your side, even when the entire world was against you, and this is how you repay us? You don't even understand how I feel. How can you? You're just a callous robot," he screamed, pausing to take a breath.
"That's not true, Spike," Carly took him by the arm, "He felt bad enough to apologize and ask for your forgiveness. At least listen to what he has to say."
He stopped, admonishing her with his eyes, betrayed by the one true friend he had left in the world. She only stared back, her expression empty of any emotion or rebukes. All sound dropped out of the world until the doorbell rang. No one moved. A few moments later there was loud knock. Carly moved to answer it, a mumbled conversation followed, punctuated by an unsure laugh. She returned with a small smile on her face. Spike narrowed his eyes, poising himself to snap at any news she had. She began slowly, shuffling the stack of papers in her hands.
"Sparkplug owned the house, with no payments due. He named you as the sole heir. We could move in or sell depending on how you feel about it," she said as her eye twitched and waited for Spike's inevitable reply.
"How can you think about that now!" he reproached. His face flushed to a crimson hue, "My father died and you want to talk about selling his house!"
"This is something you'll have to deal with eventually and by yourself, if you don't stop acting like a jerk to everyone that's trying to help," she replied coldly, turning and left, not willing to deal with the situation anymore. Her Mazda came to life on the street, her tires snarled as she pulled on the street and out of the neighborhood. She would go to her mother's, undoubtedly. She was the only steady thing in her life since Spike had fallen apart in her arms; the pillar that told her to come home if things got too bad with her boyfriend.
"Spike," the Autobot whispered, "I'm sorry, for everything, but that's all I can offer. If you want to talk later, you know where I'll be."
The Autobot stared at him for a few moments before leaving Spike alone and more empty that he had ever felt. Realization finally hit, there would be no more pity. If he didn't want to spend his life isolated and forlorn, he would have to ask for forgiveness and forgive for accidents of the past. To Carly, for expecting her to arrange things, go through his father's house, not remembering that she was suffering as well. That it was just as painful to have his father die and then watch his son disintegrate next to her. To Bumblebee, his best friend, what had he endured with his silence? What were his thoughts when they gave him the news that Sparkplug was dead because of him?
For along while he stood, staring at the blank walls and bare tables where he had knocked off everything and left it for Carly to clean. Keys to his beat-up station wagon sat on the kitchen table, his Nevada keychain glinting lightly in the morning sun. There was nothing left to do but leave as well. Across the street sat the blue vehicle he and his father had created from spare parts and a donated body. Its right back door didn't open from the outside, the back fender had fallen off twice and the roof was nearly covered in rust, but the memories of building it with Sparkplug were enough to ensure he would never sell the beast.
It seemed a relatively short drive of sixteen miles before he pulled into the driveway he once called his own. The front lawn grew in unruly patches and the garage door that had remained open since he was a child was closed and locked. He glanced up at the darkened windows of his childhood, steeled himself, and walked to the front door, half expecting his father to open it and invite him in for breakfast. It never happened. It would never happen again. He turned his copied key in the lock and jiggled the handle to force the lock's rusty mechanisms open. Cool air crept through the crack as he opened the house for the first time in at least eleven days.
The mudroom looked as though it was still waiting for Sparkplug to return, though a light layer of dust slowly spread from the corners. Spike noticed a swelling in his throat. His father would never walk in this room again, never pat his shoulder and tell him what a great girl Carly was, or what amazing things the Autobots had thought up and his inept attempt to explain it as it was explained to him.
He stumbled into the kitchen. Dishes sat in the drying rack, their clean shine dimmed by days in the closed house. Why hadn't he come sooner to take these things? Because he was scared, afraid that he would discover this wasn't home anymore. That it had ceased to be home when he moved in with Carly. Now that his father was gone it was just an unfriendly house filled with hostile memories that would always be there until he sold the house. Yes, he'd sell the house and everything in it that he didn't need.
Carly would help sort things as soon as he begged for forgiveness. Bumblebee was a different matter and would take some convincing to show there was no animosity between the two. A shaky sigh slipped past his lips. He needed them, but first he had to prove stable and repentant enough to warrant them returning to his side.
He pulled an Autobot communicator from his jacket pocket and took a deep breath. He spoke into the top of the device as he depressed the button on the side, "This is Spike to Autobot Headquarters. I need to talk to Bumblebee."