I have two chihuahuas. Naturally I'm a bit biased. Naturally it would follow that I am a Mojo fan. Other than that I have no explanation for the ficlet that follows. Little dogs rock. That is all.
A spray of cool water pattered gently over Bumblebee's sun-warmed hood, slowly moving in a line back towards his windshield, then across his roof. It was one of his few guilty pleasures-- stealthily moving just close enough to the lawn whenever Mr. Witwicky set the sprinkler out. Actual rain was better, but this was still nice.
Bumblebee sank low on his tires, half-powered down, processor speed at the lowest setting it could go without actually going into recharge. Ages of living in a war had taught him that this pleasant lull could end at any moment; he was going to make it last.
He noted and initially ignored the rattle of the dog door flapping open. Mojo was a tiny warm blip on Bumblebee's sensors, likely coming outside to deposit some waste in the bushes in the back corner of the yard as the little creature often did. Bumblebee let his thoughts wander a bit, idly watching Mojo patrol the fence with great sense of purpose before finally deciding that this spot, this bit of grass, was definitely the place to pee, but first the location had to be vetted through a painstaking process of sniffing, pacing, pawing at the ground and looking around.
When Bumblebee had first observed dogs, years ago after his arrival on Earth, they were at first only curiosities to be examined when times weren't so desperate. His first clue to the animals' significance came when he'd accidentally struck one, late one winter night in Michigan a few months after his landing.
Rain was nice, but snow was only good if it was already on the ground-- something about the way the falling ice crystals reflected and broke up scanner readings-- Bumblebee quickly figured out he didn't much care for blizzards, especially since the clue he'd been chasing up there had been nothing. And then--
Whump. A shrill yip of pain. Bumblebee skidded to a halt on the icy road, horrified that he might have hurt a human... but as he transformed, hidden by the darkness and driving snow, he saw the dark, four-legged figure lying unmoving on the pavement. Relieved that he hadn't harmed a sentient, Bumblebee was nonetheless regretful to have hurt the poor beast at all. It hadn't attacked him, wasn't an enemy.
As Bumblebee reached down to move the body off the road, the creature stirred, lifted its head and looked right at him. Its tail thumped weakly, and then the dog went limp.
The little metal tag on its collar read SUZIE, and there had been a microchip implanted just underneath its skin. Bumblebee had used the code within to carry the unfortunate animal back to its owners' home, noting with dismay the abundance of dog toys on the porch and a specially-made small door near the humans' entrance. He already knew most humans formed close-knit units called family. "Suzie" seemed well-fed; not abandoned or exiled, merely lost. In this weather, its chances of survival had been already slim. The thought did little to allay Bumblebee's guilt. This dog had been... cared for, was part of this family.
Over time, he'd gleaned bits and pieces of information on this mystifyingly intimate interrelationship between dog and human. Cybertron had had what might be loosely termed "wildlife": glitch-mice, turbofoxes, nano-gnats... products of stray energies leached from the Allspark. Sparkless, non-sapient, but nonetheless autonomous. Their involvement with the sparked Cybertronians ranged from scientific curiosity to annoyance, and as far as Bumblebee knew, nobody ever tried to make a pet out of a cybercat.
From wolf long ago, humans had shaped myriad variations of dog (a little frightening considering their limited understanding of genetics for the bulk of that time), and, watching Mojo take his constitutional about the Witwicky yard, Bumblebee had to wonder if the dogs hadn't done a little shaping of their own in return.
Mojo had the run of the entire house. He had numerous plush beds in various locations piled with warm fleece blankets. A premium dog food and clean water was in reach at all times, and the Witwickys made great show of occasionally "accidentally" dropping bits of cheese, popcorn, meat, anything really, on the kitchen floor to be eagerly snapped up by the lucky chihuahua. Mojo was not only allowed but encouraged to cozy up on any piece of furniture he could reach, especially if it was already occupied by a warm human lap. A seven-pound canine had the household figuratively wrapped around his dainty paw.
Sam would hold entire conversations with the dog, assuring Bumblebee that he knew full well Mojo wouldn't talk back. Even given that Mojo could recognize a surprising number of words and phrases, there was little point in discussing calculus homework with him. Ron was less chatty, but still would often exchange a line or two with the animal. Judy often dispensed with intelligible speech entirely, her voice climbing into near-ultrasonic squeaks of "Oooosa Mojobug! Issa baby Mojobug! Oooooooosa baby boy issa sweet iddle puppy!"
The first time Bumblebee heard her do that, he had the illogical thought that she was de-evolving somehow.
Mojo would soak these interactions up like a little furry sponge, engaging in antics and actions that were unmistakably calculated attempts to garner attention and interaction from his human family members. Undeniably, the creature's favorite form of attention was physical touch. Ear-scratching, belly-rubbing, long strokes of a human hand along his back. Living things on Earth were all so extensively tactile that this was nothing surprising.
What piqued Bumblebee's interest was the effect such affectionate contact had on the human giving it.
Mojo would wriggle up to Sam, flop on his side half-in Sam's lap, and Sam would obligingly lavish the dog with "scritches", and a curious thing would happen: Sam's heart rate and blood pressure would drop. Respiration would slow and deepen marginally. Any tension the boy had (and Sam could carry around quite a bit) would leave his muscles. Even the simple act of resting a hand on the animal had a noticeable effect, to Bumblebee's sensors. And according to some research on the phenomenon, it was not an isolated thing.
As wondrous as this near-symbiosis was, so far it seemed limited to organic beings. Mojo had yet to indicate much interest in the metal giants beyond the incident with Ironhide's foot. Bumblebee was, as far as the scout could tell, just a car and occasionally a huge moving hunk of metal to the dog. He surmised this was because he had no recognizable organic scent, or was too inhuman-seeming to the animal to make much of a connection. This disconnect didn't keep Mojo from attempting to destroy Bumblebee a few times before the little beast became accustomed to having a great mobile metal thing around every once in a while.
Mojo, it seemed, had no idea he was only ten inches tall. Bumblebee's toecap was properly terrified. The rest of Bumblebee was highly amused. After his feet were determined to be neither threat nor food, however, Bumblebee was back to being ignored.
A tug at his back right tire brought him out of his half-doze. Sam had come out to move the sprinkler, and Bumblebee had inadvertently wedged the hose underneath the tire. He scanned for Mojo's whereabouts, then on second thought a broader scan of the immediate area, and transformed.
"Oh, geez, sorry, Bee," Sam said, in the process of kinking the hose to breifly stem the flow of water. "Didn't mean to wake you up."
Bumblebee made a dismissive gesture. "It's all right. I wasn't in recharge." He looked down as Mojo approached his feet, tail up but not wagging. The dog gave one of his heel stabilizers a cursory sniff and trotted over to Sam almost without pause, evidently deciding Bumblebee's foot did not warrant attack and/or territory-marking.
Shielded from prying eyes by the trees and fencing lining the Witwicky property, Bumblebee sat down and idly picked a few pebbles out of his tire treads as he watched Mojo feint playfully at Sam's bare feet. Sam, busy trying to wrestle hose and sprinkler to the other side of the lawn merely sidestepped the dog until Mojo began nipping. An attention-getting tactic of last resort, one the Witwickys had tried to discourage, Mojo nevertheless didn't actually bite; it was a light touch of teeth with no pressure often accompanied by an impish lick.
"Mojo--!" Sam danced awkwardly to one side, balanced on one foot and used the other to gently bop the little dog on the head. Bumblebee watched, fascinated as always. It seemed Operation: Get Sam To Play With Me was underway.
Sam set the sprinkler down, aiming it so that when he let go of the hose, the water sprayed right at Mojo. This of course set Mojo off like a little furry firecracker-- off the dog went, little legs a blur, ricocheting around the yard with mouth wide open, tongue lolling out, tail helicoptering. Sam cackled with glee, tilting the sprinkler again as Mojo quite deliberately veered back into range only to turn neatly on a paw to avoid the spray. Mojo then stopped precisely out of reach, turned, and lowered his forequarters to the ground, hind end still raised with tail wagging.
The play-bow; of all canine behaviors this one somehow delighted Bumblebee the most. It was, he determined, the clearest indication that dogs as a whole had been domesticated not simply because they were interesting or useful creatures to have around, not merely as pets, but as true companions. This invitation to play, to interact, to bond, a result of millennia of interspecies alliance.
Bumblebee filed it in the category of things that gave him hope for humans, for the Autobots' own alliance with them. Of all the sentient races known to Cybertronians, none but the people of Earth made friends of their wildlife. On other worlds, animals fell into classes of beast-of-burden, food, or threat. A Tyroxian might value a strong ngrix'kkl as a tool with which to pull heavy loads, but as a cherished member of its clan? The idea would have gotten you laughed off the planet.
Humans forged such bonds with the other creatures of this world so easily, and so deeply, that Bumblebee was unshakable about staying here. That his friendship with Sam would not be the exception, that the last remnants of the broken Cybertronian people would indeed find solace here, and they would not have to be alone.
Humming contented harmonies to himself, Bumblebee watched Sam and Mojo take turns chasing each other around the yard. Sam eventually tumbled to the grass and Mojo pounced, victorious, attacking Sam's face with exuberant licking.
"Ack--" Sam batted at the dog, trying unsuccessfully to shield his face from seven pounds of happy chihuahua. "Bee, help! Mad dog!"
Mojo was, of course, nothing of the sort; Sam could just sit up any time he wanted. Bumblebee made a show of shrugging. "You provoked him, Sam. Sorry, you're on your own."
"Some guardian! Mojo-- sic!" Sam did sit up, scooping the dog into his hands and aiming Mojo at Bumblebee like a weapon. "Get 'im! Deadly attack chihuahua, away!"
Bumblebee laughed. He shifted, putting a hand down on the ground to lean to one side just as Sam unleashed the deadly attack chihuahua. The movement must have caught the little dog's attention, for Mojo immediately trotted over to where the immense metal hand met the grass.
A sniff. That much was expected.
Mojo licked his thumb. And then the dog craned his neck back and looked right at Bumblebee, tiny black eyes locking onto his face. One front paw cocked up in curiosity. Bumblebee froze; the dog had never acknowledged him so directly. Perhaps this was just a prelude to another barking fit at the strange, unfathomable metal thing.
Tail a-wag, Mojo bowed.