Disclaimer: do not own Transformers.
Summary: Ron was obsessive about his lawn. Judy was obsessive about her flowers. Somethingof their strange behaviour had to have passed down to their offspring. Bumblebee attempts to figure out what.
Nature and Nurture
It was a particularly humid day. Tranquility was experiencing the worst heat wave in forty years, and while most sane people took refuge inside their homes for shade and air conditioning, Ron and Judy Witwicky were outside, toiling in their garden.
Bumblebee had expressed concern over the Witwickies labouring in such weather, though they had laughed it off and had told them that they'd be fine. Bumblebee disagreed, but knew better than to come between the Witwicky parents and their garden. Still, he had emergency services within reach, just in case they suffered from a heat stroke. Humans were so irrational sometimes.
Ron was obsessive about the lawn, making sure that it was nice and even and that the grass and soil were fully aerated. Judy was equally obsessive though more vocal about her flowers, attacking the weeds viciously while talking soothingly to her begonias and petunias and all her other little children.
Sam, at the moment, was making space for Bumblebee inside the family's garage, since he seemed convinced that Autobots would simply die in the heat. Bumblebee disagreed—they were made of sterner stuff, and had even visited suns and stars!—but he did welcome the relief of the shade.
Sam was carefully taking out the bikes and the scooters and various electronics that had found their way in there over the years and was putting them in the backyard shed. Though the things were often beyond repair, Sam handled them carefully, as if they were delicate pieces of machinery rather than piles of scrap metal. Sometimes he would pause, appraise an object, and Bumblebee knew that he'd come for it later to see if he could rewire it into something that could possibly be useful.
Bumblebee gave an internal sigh. Well, at least he hadn't blown up anything…yet, though he had expressed disturbing interest in visiting Wheeljack while the engineer was working on a project. Bumblebee made a mental note to limit the boy's time with Wheeljack.
Then a thought entered Bumblebee's processor: if Ron and Judy Witwicky, the procreators and genetic contributors to Sam Witwicky, were so obsessive about their garden, then what about their offspring?
Bumblebee decided, right then and there, to figure out what.
"Sam," Bumblebee said to his charge as Sam approached him with a hose, buckets, and sponges, having finished cleaning the garage. Sam gave him a worried thwack and looked hurriedly around. "No one's around, Sam," Bumblebee said patiently.
"Okay, but if people call my mom telling her that I'm talking to myself and giving her numbers to psychiatrists again, I'm not talking to you for a week, got it?"
"Very well," Bumblebee said cheerfully, fully knowing that Sam would never pull through with the threat. Sam bent down to test his tires, and Bumblebee gave an internal sigh of resignation. Then he continued. "Just now, I did some research on your background—"
"Wait, let me check your tire pressure…Wait a sec, you did a background check on me?"
"Yes. Was that wrong?"
"Never mind." Sam bent to retrieve a sponge, and started on Bumblebee's windows. Bumblebee obligingly lifted his windshield wipers as Sam got to that spot. "Go on."
"Well, research shows that all your ancestors on both sides of your family experienced mild forms of obsessive compulsive disorder, and the chances of you not experiencing—"
"Hang on for a sec, let me get this spot," Sam said as he patiently rubbed at a particularly stubborn stain. "Okay, I got it. Go on."
"Well, the chance of you not experiencing such a phenomenon is about one to a number approaching infinity."
"Oh, come on, 'Bee," Sam said, laughing as he slung the drying towel over his shoulder. "I am not as kooky as my parents." He got out another sponge—he had a different sponge for each different section—and started to work on Bumblebee's doors. The scout lowered himself on his tires a little so that Sam could more easily reach his highest portions, or else he'd be at this all day.
"Well, I'm just saying is that humans put a lot of faith into nature and nurture, and you have both steering you in the direction of obsession."
"Well I'm just saying that you guys read too much on the Internet." Sam came at him with a hand vacuum, and Bumblebee obligingly opened his door. "Crumbs?! Dammit 'Bee!"
"Not my fault," Bumblebee whined. "Mojo got in with his dog biscuits."
As Sam cursed and vacuumed, Bumblebee asked, "What do you feel about flora? Do you have the same attachment to them as your parents do?"
"Huh? Gardening? No way. My parents are…exceptional, if you know what I mean," Sam said, his voice muffled in his battle against the crumbs and dust mites currently making their abode just underneath Bumblebee's seats. Next to the boy and his car, Ron and Judy Witwicky were stabbing their trowels against the dandelion invaders. Bumblebee shrugged, shifting his entire car form.
"If you say so," Bumblebee said. Sam went inside the garage to put back the vacuum, and his parents went around to the garden shed to get some fertilizer. Bumblebee used this time to delve deeper into the conditions of his ancestors.
As Sam came back with a can of wax, Bumblebee said, "How about cute, furry animals? Your great-uncle had a habit of collecting rabbits."
"No, 'Bee," Sam said, laughing as he applied the wax. "Mojo's enough for me, and if you dare imply that I'm obsessive about my dog, I'll scratch your paint."
"Sure, you will," Bumblebee said, chuckling. Sam gave him a mockingly offended thwack before continuing with the wax.
"How about stamps? Your great-great grandmother—"
"Not interested in stamps," Sam said, reaching up to wax Bumblebee's top.
"Numbers? Your aunt, the accountant—"
"We don't talk about her."
"I like dessert as much as the next person."
"Filming unidentified flying objects? Your cousin in Roswell—"
Sam just laughed. "My cousin in Roswell would die if he were here right now."
Bumblebee continued to ask Sam if he had any other obsession that made his family members interesting, but the boy continued to reply in the negative. After Sam finished waxing Bumblebee, he cleaned out the garage, and only then was Bumblebee allowed inside. Bumblebee revved his engine thoughtfully, wondering what of Ron and Judy's behaviour had been inherited by Sam, and then settled down for the night.
Bumblebee proceeded to observe Sam for a week—in the course of the week, the boy had managed to talk Ratchet into a car wash by claiming sanitary health practices, had chased Ironhide with a soapy sponge and hose, had ambushed Jazz with a can of wax, had hosed down a soot-covered Wheeljack, and had even repainted Optimus while the mech slept, going over his "retro" flames—and the scout came up with nothing. A full week of observation had turned up nothing and nada. Though the 'bots were ranging from surprisingly happy (Jazz and Wheeljack) to shocked (Optimus and Ratchet) to just plain annoyed (Ironhide), they all agreed that Sam didn't seem to exhibit signs of obsessive compulsive behaviour over anything.
Maybe Sam was right.