If Bumblebee didn't have his radio and Internet access, he was sure that he would have gone insane with boredom. There hadn't been Decepticon activity for months and although he hated the war, he had to admit that the fighting was at least exciting. He was tempted to open a communication channel with Optimus and beg the Autobot leader to give him some sort of assignment, no matter how trivial. And he came close several times until he remembered Sam. How could he leave his charge and best friend? So Bee sat tight and joined Sam and Mikaela in counting down the days until summer made its triumphant arrival. Besides, Sam was only locked up for eight hours of the day and it really wasn't that long considering Bee had been on-line for thousands of years. But still, Bee was sitting alone in the school parking lot waiting…and waiting…and waiting.
The Camaro barely contained himself at the sound of the tone relinquishing his friends from their prison. The double doors that led out to the parking lot and lunch lawns burst open, students flooding out. Bee quickly caught sight of two brunettes weaving through the crowd toward him. The front doors popped open for Sam and Mikaela who wearily climbed inside, lightly dumping their backpacks into Bee's backseat. The doors slammed shut and the radio promptly began blaring a local rock station. Sam placed his hands on Bee's steering wheel as the Camaro began backing up. Suddenly they were all jarred when there was the sound of metal slamming into metal. Sam looked over his shoulder to see an infamous black Hummer. The jock driver was grinning maniacally and flipping Sam off. Bee revved his engine in anger, not because he had purposefully been run into, but mainly because this Trent jerk was relentless in giving Sam and Mikaela a hard time. Sam went to open the door but Bee refused to let him out.
"Come on Bee, I've gotta see the damage. Insurance and crap like that" Sam muttered. His brain was fried after having to take so many tests and this really was the last thing he wanted to deal with. With another rev of his engine, albeit much quieter, Bee let his driver's door be opened. Mikaela wisely decided to stay in the car, not wanting to remind Trent with her presence the reason that Sam was so hated.
"Now, if I remember correctly" Trent said as he climbed down from his Hummer. "It's your fault since you backed into me. Hope Mommy and Daddy won't get mad at their baby boy and take away his little car" Trent sneered. His football cronies were circling around, ready to begin jeering at how much damage Trent's gas guzzler had caused Sam's much smaller Camaro. To everyone's surprise though, the Camaro was in perfect condition. Not a single scratch or dent or paint mark. All of those damages were reserved for Trent's Hummer. A large dent was in the side of the bumper with long lines of yellow paint. Trent's face went blank as his brainless head snapped back and forth between the Camaro and his Hummer.
"You'll pay for this" Trent growled as he advanced toward Sam looking as if he was about to lay him out. Sam placed a hand on Bee's trunk to make sure that the Autobot didn't do anything. He could feel the warm metal humming with anger.
"Is there a problem here?" an adult voice rang out. To Sam's relief Ms. Marshall was walking up to see what exactly had happened.
"Yeah, there is" Trent piped up. "Witwicky here decided not to look where he was going and rammed his stupid Camaro into me" Sam rolled his eyes when he knew that the teacher wasn't looking. Now Trent gets his name right.
"Well, that's very strange" Ms. Marshall said, her blue eyes staring pointedly at Trent through her glasses. "Because I'm pretty sure that when you were disrupting my class earlier by talking, you were bragging to your friends about how you planned on ramming your car into Sam's Camaro"
"That's not true-" Trent stammered, trying to cover himself.
"Are you calling me a liar?" Ms. Marshall's blonde eyebrows rose. Bee gave a happy rev of his engine which earned him a kick in the tire from Sam. "Now Trent, you will give insurance information to Sam so he can take care of his car. Then you will be expecting a call from myself later tonight explaining the situation to your parents and to make sure that Sam is not found liable for the damages that you inflicted on your car" Sam gave a cheerful smile and waited for Trent to get the information. Ms. Marshall waited around until the information was exchanged and then for Trent to back up his car to allow Bee to finish backing out. Sam eagerly climbed back into Bee and as they pulled away, the teenager leaned out the window.
"Have a great day Trent!" he called out before Mikaela pulled him back in.
"What, do you want a beat down tomorrow?!" she asked, exasperated. Sam just gave her one of his winning smiles.
"Hey, gotta take what the good Lord gives you" Mikaela rolled her eyes but couldn't stop herself from smiling. Then she looked over at the dashboard and placed a concerned hand on the dashboard.
"Are you okay, Bee?" she asked.
"Man you shoulda seen it! There wasn't even a scratch on Bee but Trent's going to have to have his whole front side redone" Sam excitedly answered for his Guardian. Mikaela rolled her eyes.
"Are you okay, Bee" the teenaged girl looked pointedly at the dashboard with the last word.
"I'm fine Mikaela" the mech responded in a somewhat scratchy voice. His vocal processors were still on the mend and since they would be heading out to see Ratchet, he wanted to make sure that there wasn't any reason for the CMO to give him more attention than the yellow Autobot wanted.
The Camaro sped with ease down the road and then the turn-off that led up to the look out. The others were already there waiting, all of them in their natural mode. Sam and Mikaela hauled their fifty pound backpacks from Bee's backseat and made their way over to a large flat rock where they could start on their homework. Well, for Mikaela to start on her homework at least. Sam had a habit of being easily distracted and that was extremely easy for him to do with giant alien robots hanging out with them. Bee transformed and Ratchet instantly began examining him. A laser shot out from the CMO, focusing on Bee's vocal processors. The younger Autobot flinched and tried to squirm away from the laser as he gave an annoyed chirp.
"Quit it Bee," Ratchet said in his 'listen to me or else' tone. Reluctantly Bee settled down but still managed to play music with a mournful tone until Ratchet swatted him on the arm.
The other mechs were slightly off to the side, not wanting to get anywhere near Ratchet when he was working. Jazz caught sight of Mikaela and Sam and decided to head on over to check out what they were doing. It had been only a few weeks since he had been miraculously brought back on-line thanks to Ratchet and the fragment of the Allspark. The silver lieutenant had missed out on several months of valuable time that he could have used to learn more about Earth culture and he was determined to make up for the lost time.
"What's up with you two?" he asked as he peered over Mikaela to see what she was working on. He didn't even bother with Sam since the teenaged boy hadn't even unzipped his backpack.
"An assignment from my Sociology class. Ms. Marshall wants us to write a journal entry about how people stereotype each other with nothing more than a glance" Mikaela responded without even looking up. This peeked Jazz's interest. From what he knew about high school, which wasn't much, was that students were taught the fundamentals of math, language, and science. He hadn't even heard of sociology.
"What's sociology?" the small silver mech asked as he crouched next to Mikaela to get a better look. He could have easily looked it up on the Internet but he wanted to hear it first hand from Mikaela.
"It's the study of how people interact with each other. Social interactions and such. This class is mainly about prejudice and intolerance"
"I didn't know that they taught those things" Finally Mikaela looked up at Jazz and slightly jumped when she realized how close he really was. She quickly regained her composure.
"It's not a main class. I took it as an elective and is only during the spring semester" The last part earned a snort from Sam.
"It's only an elective so it was supposed to be easy. The semester's barely began and we're already buried in homework"
"Hey, you are the one who decided to switch into it with me"
"I just figured that it was going to be an easy 'A' class which meant that we could have…" Sam quickly peered around at the Autobots, hastily changing his mind about the words he was going to use. "hung out more than if I had been in some stupid class staring at paintings for forty-five minutes" Mikaela gave him one of those 'yeah right' looks.
"I've heard that it's a pretty cool class and Ms. Marshall is everyone's favorite teacher" she said as she wrote down the heading in her notebook
"She's my favorite teacher after she dealt with Trent and the only way I can ever think a class is ever cool is if it doesn't involve homework, classwork, or any other word that has 'work' in it" Mikaela couldn't help but to laugh at his slacker tone. The boy was only a Junior in high school and he already had a serious case of senioritis.
"Well, I'm just excited for tomorrow. Ms. Marshall said that we were going to play a game outside on the lunch lawn" Mikaela commented as she decided to somewhat change the subject. Sam sighed and stretched out beside her, his backpack acting like a pillow. He rested his hand on Mikaela's leg which was bare since she was wearing jean shorts with the warm weather. Mikaela smiled at his gentle touch. He could be annoying at times but when it came down to it, Sam treated her with respect and care. That was something she would never have gotten from the boys she was normally involved with.
"Did you say that the game will be on the lawn?" Bee asked once he extracted himself from Ratchet. Mikaela nodded as she began the assignment.
"If I get my normal spot, you'll have a front row seat" Sam said as he tried to make himself more comfortable with the lumpy backpack and hard rock. He shifted around until he was resting against Mikaela.
"Would you mind if I came to watch this?" Jazz asked, wanting to satisfy his curiosity. This would give him an incredible chance to really observe teenagers and not to mention he knew how bored Bee could get while waiting for school to let out. Mikaela and Sam exchanged wary looks.
"I'm not sure. I mean, you're not the typical car that a high school student would be taking to school" Sam said hesitantly as he propped himself up on his elbow. Mikaela agreed with Sam but Jazz's disappointed look made her change her mind.
"I'll take you Jazz. I can come up with an excuse like some distant rich relative let me borrow their car for the day or something like that" Jazz and Bee immediately perked up. Sam looked carefully at all of them but decided not to say whatever was running through his mind.
"You have no idea the boredom that you two are throwing yourselves into" he muttered as he laid back down.
Jazz didn't say anything about all of the attention he received when Mikaela drove him into the school parking lot following Sam and Bee. It seemed like all of the teenaged boys' cool-car radars switched on the moment that the Solstice was in the area. The two Autobots pulled into two parking spaces shaded by an enormous oak tree. The lush grass of the lunch lawn stretched out in front of them with large trees and picnic tables. Before the two teens stepped out of the cars, Sam's friend Miles was staring in awe at Jazz. Mikaela stayed in Jazz, knowing that Miles wasn't exactly her biggest fan. She did some last minute touch ups on her make-up as Sam joined his friend in front of the Solstice.
"Bro, I wouldn't think that she was an evil jock concubine if she gave me a ride in that monster" he muttered in awe. Sam smiled and threw an arm around his friend's shoulders.
"Maybe if you stop calling her Ms. Priss, she'll consider it…and then I might even consider not running you over with my car each time you insult my girlfriend" Miles didn't even respond as he tentatively reached out to stroke the hood.
"Man, I don't know what the hell is going on, but you are comin' up with some pretty kick ass rides" Miles muttered.
"No, I just have a really rich uncle who suddenly decided to spoil me and Sam just happened to have his old car totaled by the government and then have his parents feel so bad that they bought him a brand new Camaro" Mikaela said as she stepped out of Jazz, her backpack slung over one shoulder. Miles didn't even look away from the Solstice but still managed to have enough brain activity to mutter a "Hey Mikaela".
Before a very big crowd could gather around the two cars, the warning bell went off. With a world weary sigh from both boys, Sam, Miles, and Mikaela began walking toward the school building. Sam and Mikaela sneaked glances over their shoulders, to the ignorance of Miles, wondering if it really was a good idea to be leaving the two Autobots alone. They both made sure that their cell phones were turned on and in vibrate mode just in case they needed to be contacted. There was no doubt that it would be an interesting day in school.
The first three periods passed slowly for Sam and Mikaela. They constantly checked their cell phones and snuck glances outside at the parking lot. While the two teenagers were slightly anxious, the Autobots were completely content. They rested on their axles beneath the tree, reveling in the peace and quiet.
So you do this every day Bee? Jazz asked.
No, just the days that Sam goes to school. Sometimes I get lucky and he decides to ditch.
Get lucky? If you hate waiting around for him, why don't you just drop them off and pick them up when their training is over?
Decepticons was the only thing that Bee had to say. Jazz instantly understood. The two mechs chatted amiably about random topics, mainly about things they found on the Internet. It was about noon, the school grounds eerily quiet, when one of the building's doors opened. About thirty students streamed out with Ms. Marshall in the very center. She carried a coil of long rope with her and single piece of paper. The students just looked happy to be out of the classroom and were chatting with each other in hushed tones that gradually grew louder the further they went from the building. Finally, when the group was in the middle of the lawn and almost directly in front of the two Autobots did everyone stop and gather together. All of the attention was focused on Ms. Marshall as she laid the rope out in a line on the grass that was perpendicular to the parking lot. She motioned for her students to form a curved line facing the rope but several yards back. Sam and Mikaela situated themselves so they somewhat faced the mechs.
"Alright. This game is called Crossing the Line. If any of you have watched Freedom Writers then you know what I'm talking about" Ms. Marshall announced in a clear and concise voice. "I'm going to say something and if that statement pertains to you, then I want you to walk across that rope and turn around. Now I want you to be serious and there's no talking allowed. And yes, I will be playing this game with you"
"Aw, come on Ms. Marshall" some boy whined. "I thought we were gonna play a real game. Do we really have to do this?"
"No, Donavan, we don't. But then you can be the one to explain to everyone why all of you got zero participation points for today" That, and the combined glares from his classmates, instantly shut the boy up. Ms. Marshall went and took her place in the center of the line.
"Okay, first one. If you are the oldest child in your family, cross the line" A large group of students, including Mikaela, walked across the line and then turned around to face the students who had remained where they stood. After a few moments Ms. Marshall called them back.
"If you are the youngest child, cross the line" A small amount of students, this time including Sam, walked across the line. Bee was surprised by this because he was not aware of Sam having any siblings at all. With a quick background check, the mech realized that the Witwicky family unit had an additional child, a daughter who was attending a university on the other side of the country.
Sam never mentioned that he had a sister Bee said over the private communication line he had with Jazz.
Can't know everything about the kid Bee Jazz commented as Sam and his fellow students went to rejoin the line. But I think we're about to find out a lot about Sam and Mikaela he added as an afterthought The mechs' communication channel was silent as they watched with fascination as the game progressed. Ms. Marshall asked several more questions such as the students' lineage and family living. Then things took a drastic turn.
"Cross the line if you or someone you know has ever taken drugs" Everyone exchanged glances before a vast majority of the students went to cross the line, including Ms. Marshall. They turned around but refused to look at each other. Sam and Mikaela, both of whom had crossed the line, refused to look at the mechs.
"Stay on this side of the line if you have ever taken drugs. If you haven't, you may return to where you were standing" Mikaela and three other students crossed back over the line. To Bee's utter shock, Sam stayed where he was. The teenaged boy nervously rubbed the back of his neck and cast a sidelong glance over at Bee. This was something he didn't exactly want the Autobots to know about him. The seconds seemed to drag on before Ms. Marshall said that everyone could return back to their spots.
"Cross the line if you know an alcoholic" This time ten students and Mikaela crossed the line. They waited a moment and then were called back.
"Cross the line if you have an eating disorder" There was absolutely no movement from the line before a girl hesitantly stepped forward. She was one of those 'uncool' girls in drama. Her clothes were slightly baggy and it was obvious that she was underweight and malnourished. She shifted nervously on her feet as she stood alone on one side of the rope, facing her classmates. Right when Ms. Marshall was about to call her back, another girl stepped forward. This time the girl was from the popular crowd. She had been friends with Mikaela when Mikaela and Trent had been together. The girl tried to walk with confidence but she was still nervous about revealing her secret. The two teenagers stood close together. Jazz and Bee were the only ones to see the popular girl reach out and give the drama girl's hand a comforting squeeze.
I thought participants of different cliques didn't associate with one another Jazz pondered over the private channel.
I guess they're more alike than they thought or would like to admit. The girls returned to their classmates but instead of mockery like they had expected, there was concern and respect.
"Cross the line if you have a close family member or friend who has committed suicide" Ms. Marshall crossed the line alone, waited a few moments and then returned to her students. They looked at her with a new found respect.
"Cross the line if you have a close family member or friend who has attempted to commit suicide" This time, no one joined the solitary student who crossed the line. Sam stood staring at his feet, feeling the stares of his classmates and the Autobots. He fought off the memory of his mother's face when she found out that her precious daughter was in the emergency room after cutting her wrists and then the passing months that his sister had been on suicide watch.
As Bee watched Sam standing there alone, uncomfortably shifting on his feet, he wanted to do nothing more than to comfort him. But he knew he couldn't and by Sam's expression he also knew that the topic could never be brought up. Bee had no idea that his human had gone through something that traumatic. Neither he nor Jazz realized that there was far more to the humans than any of the Autobots had originally thought. They're lives were trying and far from easy and yet they found a way to make it through. With what Bee and Jazz had found out that afternoon watching the game, they would have thought that Sam and Mikaela would be depressed. Yet they weren't. They kept on living no matter the hardships. Jazz put it into words perfectly.
Those little guys are pretty tough
The next question was only harder but five students crossed the line when Ms. Marshall asked for all of those who had been abused to cross the line. Mikaela kept her eyes locked on Sam from the other side of the line as she stood with the four of other students.
They're real tough Bee sullenly added.
Sam and Mikaela were oddly silent as they walked up to the two disguised Autobots. Mikaela started up a casual conversation asking if Jazz survived the boredom once she was inside of him. He casually responded that he did and he learned a lot. As Jazz followed Bee out of the parking lot, Jazz opened up their private communication channel so that it played over his speakers. Bee did the same. The two mechs had talked about it while they waited for the school day to end. Sam and Mikaela had no idea that they'd be sharing such personal information not only with their classmates but also the Autobots. And yet they were still forthright and honest. They didn't have to cross the line but they still did. Now it was time for Jazz and Bee to return the favor.
"Did I ever tell you guys how I lost my vocals in the Battle of Tyger Pax?"
Author's Note: I had this idea after I played this game in my sociology class. It really makes you think. I don't own Freedom Writers, which is an awesome movie, and they do play this game in the movie.