Title: Beautiful Day
Disclaimer: Transformers and all related characters therein do not belong to me. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: Bee muses.
Bumblebee liked to listen to Sam talk. Even if it was about nothing in particular.
Especially if it was about nothing in particular. Bee inwardly shook his head. Especially. Only humans could have thought of a word like "especially." Or "really." "Particularly." Only humans could make a thing more than what it already was. A piece of cake tastes either good or bad, an absolute definition that was perfectly acceptable for a machine, but only humans could make it "really good" or "really bad." And now it was rubbing off on him. But anyway. He liked to listen to Sam talk about--
Shoes and ships and sealing wax—of cabbages and kings—and why the sea is boiling hot—and whether pigs have wings.
There were so many big things in the world: the crisis in Darfur, world poverty, global warming, the French elections, crime…all things that could occupy a lifetime of speech and yet Sam would sit on the hood with a bowl of ice cream and spend half an hour railing about the moral stinginess of changing the Trix cereal fruit shapes into puffs. Even if he never ate Trix cereal, rather preferring Count Chocula with chocolate marshmallows because it made his milk chocolate and left a half-inch layer of sugar on the bottom of the bowl that he accidentally left in his room once and was soon host to a super-advanced colony of ants whose civilization he was pretty sure was close to inventing penicillin. Apparently, Sam was still battling ant insurgent forces that were holed up in secret underground cells leftover from the great ant-poison genocide of 2004.
It was all so pointless that it made Bee want to laugh in delight, and he wasn't even sure if he could.
When he first arrived on Earth, the pointlessness of humans puzzled and frustrated him. Though Optimus had given strict orders to value all life with which the Autobots came into contact, and Bee did value them, that did not mean that he could not draw the obvious conclusion that these bipedal organic life-forms were inferior because they took forty-five minute showers when they could be clean within ten. Bee had asked Sam about that, once, why he took long showers when they were not needed. Sam shrugged, said, "I don't know," and moved on to how the ant guerrillas were now calling in fruit fly reinforcements that had settled their base of operations on a banana peel that had fallen underneath his desk.
I don't know. I don't know. And Sam was okay with that. To not know the solution of a question and just leave it like that—for a long time, the thought of that would send Bee's processors into a frenzy and begin running through limit calculations just so that answers would appear neatly and properly and comfortably. When Sam learned of this slightly OCD behavior, he began to ask things like, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" and "How is a raven like a writing desk?"
That was one of the few times that Bee ever calculated how hard he could hit Sam without doing excessive physical damage. He was fairly—fairly! And it used to be that he was or was not—fairly sure that Sam had a sadistic streak, living to torment Bee in subtle, annoying ways. Such as placing a very delicate, very precariously balanced wedding cake onto the backseat and telling Bee to take it his great-aunt's reception halfway across town, involving rush hour traffic with all its sharp stops and people cutting him off without signaling but Bee still had to move! Move! Move! And not be a second late or his parents would buy Sam a most-assuredly not alive, quaint little Ford Tempo. And not to mention that one afternoon when there was a bad thunderstorm, and Bee had calmly explained that Sam should turn off his computer, not take a shower, and have candles ready in case of a power outage—Sam did, of course, do what he was told. And then he promptly ran outside into the yard carrying a roll of aluminum foil and shouting into the sky: "Shock me!" Even though he did not have a heart, medically speaking, Bee finally understood what it meant to "be given a heart attack."
12.7 miles per hour, and the boy would have some bruises and scrapes—not really all that horrible….not at all. If only he could just get Sam to stand in the road while he gathered the speed….
But despite all these small tortures—no. There was no despite, here. Everything was included. Everything about humans, about Sam, made for an absolutely wonderful whole. And still after all this time, Bee could not quite quantify why, or describe it. But he kept trying. In those long, lonely hours while Sam slept, he thought about it.
Perhaps it was their love. Never before had Bee seen a race that could love so easily. They declared their love even for things that could not love them back: songs, movies, books, places, animals.
Let's waste time, chasing cars.
Bumblebee was not naïve. With the entire internet at his hands he very well knew of the sort of people that were out there. Cities were dark and dangerous, there were rapists and murderers and pedophiles and those who were just plain insane. But even through all of that, rare indeed was the person who was so awful that they did not have one other who could have, or at least once loved them.
But Bee did not think that that was it. No, there was something else that made Earth the place where Optimus wanted everyone to stay. Why everyone kept being pulled towards it, held by it, affected by it. Even Ironhide and Ratchet, easily the least influenceable of all of them, were picking up human habits: sighing, joking…doing things just for the sake of it being pleasant, rather than it being necessary. In other words, pointless things. Like helping Will Lennox roll out huge tarps of bubble wrap and seeing which Autobot/human team could crunch every bubble without leaving the plastic's edge, or seeing who can get through the deepest, muddiest puddle before having to transform so that they can get unstuck. Optimus or Ironhide usually won that game.
What was happening to them? Was it, after so long, the chance to play after countless years spent fighting? Perhaps, but none of them would have sought play like this. They would have rested, done nothing—wouldn't they? Or would have Optimus pushed them on, actively searching out the remaining Decepticons in an endless chase through the stars? Yes, that was what would have happened. Earth made them stop and instead devote their energies to creating and participating in such high-octane games as Off-Road Follow the Leader and Extreme Red Light-Green Light. Somehow Ratchet always managed to win that one.
I never knew me a better time, and I guess I never will!
Maybe it was in their eyes. Countless literary sources quoted the human eyes to be the window to the soul. If that were true, then the window was frosted over, and Bee could not see through it. But there was something there, something all of the calculations and scientific reasoning could not accurately define. It comes closest to the surface when Sam was feeling down—for no real reason other than it is just "one of those days"—or thinking about something far away. There's a secret there, one that Bee has noticed in Will, his wife, Mikaela, and even in the passing students as Bee waits for Sam to get out of school. "Haunted" is not quite the right word, nor "melancholy." It might be "wizened," or "jaded," but those do not seem to work either. Many times, Bee has come close to asking Sam just what it is that he knows, what the secret is that is being passed down through the generations, coded in their blood and bones, but he always backs out at the last second, feeling inexplicably like a coward.
He never asks, because he's quite sure that if he does, he might receive an answer. And that answer could easily destroy him. Overwhelm him, in the least. Change him for certain.
But no, it's not that, either. That part of humanity is terrifying, and despite his advanced weaponry and technology, Bumblebee does not consider himself strong enough to face that side to humanity yet. Unlike the dumb college kids in horror movies, he will not open that door.
So it's something else. Maybe it's everything. Laughter, hating Mondays, the millions of different kinds of coffees but everyone chooses the same one, the books, poetry, badly written music, the fanatics, poor spelling, planting trees and crossword puzzles on a porch on a hot summer evening with a glass of lemonade on the glass-top table. Maybe it's their heartbeat, everyone on the planet with a pulse of their own, breathing with their planet who swells and moves and holds them close.
The planet. Earth. A small, scarred, beautiful planet with water and mountains and grass. Sometimes, Bumblebee almost thinks he can feel it breathing, the way he can feel Sam breathing even when he's a hundred yards away, tucked in his bed asleep. Earth is alive. It tilts and twirls and changes and shifts beneath his wheels, adjusting, always moving. He knows there are perfectly logical explanations. Tectonic plates, the Moon's gravitational pull…the Coriolis Effect, the rotation of the Earth causing each object in motion on its surface to be pushed to the right—left, in the Southern Hemisphere—is the reason why the tread on his right tires always wear a little bit more quickly than his left. Perfectly logical. But like everything else, there's something more to that. Earth pushes Bumblebee, pulling him along and moving him so that he is entirely insignificant. He must experience the seasons and storms and earthquakes just as everyone else does. Earth is much smaller than Cybertron, but far bossier. Far more…dare he say it? Motherly.
See the world in green and blue….after the flood all the colors came out.
And the oceans. By Primus, the oceans. Bumblebee had never seen such a collection of water and life and such brilliant types of blue—it seemed that Earth was full of "never before seen"s for Bee. And the humans just walked by those vast blue waters everyday, glancing at it, admiring it on occasion, and Bee could not understand how they could not be overwhelmed, so overcome with awe and smallness that it hurt to breathe.
Earth was indeed special, and a great deal of why Optimus decided to stay. A few times Bumblebee had seen his commanding officer stop and look at the sea, the far off mountains, rivers. What he saw in them, Bee was not sure, but each time there was the barest shade in his expression what humans had. So whatever it was that held them there, it gave them a new filter through which to see the world, and for the first time be caught by a sparkling stone with a unique coloration.
What you don't know you can feel it somehow.
Something held them all here, made them want to sacrifice their freedom to remain hidden protectors of humanity. Made Ironhide, the intimidating weapons specialist who could make the citizens of 358 other planets run for cover, consent to having a bright pink baby seat strapped to him and patiently—patiently!—tolerate having its occupant beat on his leather seat with an equally pink, slobber-covered rattle.
As each day passed, Bee was beginning to suspect that what was holding them here to Earth was different for each of them. Sure, there was a desire to protect such a unique, lovable, infuriating species, but despite a common thread they were each becoming attached in their own way.
Bee knew what it was for him.
Sam. His human who at first was a mission but became so much more. A friend in the sense that had long since been overshadowed by overuse. The boy who was so stupidly brave and amusing and loving and young. Sam had a gravity all his own that Bee had found only too late was impossible to escape, not that he would want to anyway. Sam, who Bee wanted to keep happy and angry and silly and protected forever. Sam, who sat with him on lazy afternoons just basking in the sun, gave him baths and played jokes on him.
Supposedly, according to nearly every source he had checked, it was love. But as he already knew, humans loved easily, and there were different forms of it. Bee would never dare admit out loud which version he wanted it to be, but that secret in Sam's eyes told him that the human already knew. Already knew, without computers and wires and calculators. Sam, who knew and had not flinched away. Bee could have loved him for that alone. But there was something, wasn't there? What caused love? There had to be a source of it, an initial attachment. Humans loved things for a reason, however small. Loved songs for a good beat, one chord. Loved animals because they were pretty or soft. Loved a movie because it was funny or deep. They loved things because it touched something within them.
What had Sam touched in him? There was something….something all of the others felt too, but—
Birds came flying from the underground, if you could see it then you'd understand.
The sun broke over the horizon, flooding the false dawn with orange and yellow light and pulling Bee from his thoughts. Dawn was his favorite time of day on Earth. Everything was so quiet, breathing and sleeping in the sun and not yet ready to wake up. Sam would be up quite soon, despite it being entirely out of character for such a morning-hater, but they had planned a driving outing for the day.
Sam, Sam, Sam. How everything kept coming back to Sam. A human named Gertrude Stein had said: "America is my country, and Paris is my hometown." When he first read it, the statement had made no sense to Bee. A person could not call two places home. But with Sam, he knew. Cybertron had been his birthplace, but he could never stray from Sam's side. Sam made this place home. Bee could only hope that Ironhide would never hear him being that sappy.
Could he ever leave this place? Leave Earth?
A hollow, metallic sound of the front screen door opening and slamming, and Bee immediately focused all of his sensors on the approaching Sam, who had a chocolate s'more Pop-Tart in his mouth and was pulling on a light jacket to protect against the early morning chill. He seemed lined in golden light from the dawn, and he grinned at Bee, taking his breakfast out from between his teeth to talk.
No, he didn't think he could.
"It's a beautiful day!" Bee's radio blared as he revved his engine.
"Well, you're sure happy today. Just let me finish my Pop-Tart real quick and then we'll be off. You know, mom bought some of those Go-Tart things, but I won't eat them. The whole idea of them is weird. I mean, I thought the purpose of a Pop-Tart is to give you breakfast on the go! I don't see how making them tubular makes them anymore 'to go.' People are so dumb."
Yes, Bee liked it when Sam talked about nothing.
Sam stuffed the last chunk of his breakfast in and rested his hand against Bee's hood. "So, any place specific place that you want to go?"
"Come ride with me to the distant shore. We won't hesitate to break down the garden gate, there's not much time left today!"
"All right, all right!" Sam laughed. "So impatient. I suppose we can head to the beach and decide from there where we want to go."
Bee flung the driver's side door open and Sam climbed in, settling down into the seat. His hand against the leather made Bee freeze, all processors stopping for the smallest of instants before he finally understood. He could feel the imprint of Sam's hand, the long reach of the fingers and pointed weight of the palm, and the rest of his body—
Like an epiphany, the answer that had eluded him for so long slid into place and was so obvious that he wondered that he had not considered it before. But it was so simple, so inconsequential…
Isn't that how love's supposed to be?
It was warmth. Even in winter, even on the coldest parts of Earth, there was heat everywhere. It burned at the core of the planet, the sun bathed both sea and land, the liquid heat from the human heart, the internal warmth stirred by a smile from Sam, a kind and praising word from him.
It was so warm here. That was it. And it was so content and soft that Bee would have smiled in deep satisfaction if he could have.
"Bee? Are you all right?"
"Yes, Sam. I'm fine."
If Sam was startled by Bee's use of his own voice he did not show it. Merely heard the truth behind the statement and gave an extra, soft, warm caress to the steering wheel before he shifted Bee into drive.
"Well, then, let's go!"
Perhaps a little too eagerly, but it did not really matter since it made Sam laugh—laugh warmly—Bee tore out of the driveway and onto the road, for once not immediately computating a destination and ideal route to take. After all, it did not matter. It was just a pointless Saturday drive to nowhere in particular.
A beautiful day, indeed.