"Let Me Help You"
Juana la Cliker-Rooster
Hey everyone! Back again with a new quick fic. I've been...oh, you know the drill. I've been busy as usual. I'm stilling looking for a second job, and still trying to get the new apartment in order. My room is a mess. I've had a terrible bout of writer's block, making it really tough to write about anything; I was harrassed by a man in parking lot, got yelled at by my mom via phone, and attacked by giant ugly flies in my room. God. Anyway, I have a new place to post my fics on LiveJournal, so if you want to add me as an amiga, go for it. it's cliker-rooster. So yah. That's about it. Nothing to exciting going on. Please read and review!
It had been rough for the next several days after their encounter with Megatron and his Decepticons. It hadn't helped that StarScream and his little band of clones decided to make trouble as well. Each of the Autobots had their own method for dealing with the losses they had suffered: Optimus occupied his time by reading constantly, Bumblebee and Sari didn't want to be in the base and spent much of their time in the park or just driving around, Ratchet began to write, deciding it was time to share his life with the younger generation, Prowl continued to meditate obsessively. But Bulkhead was by far the most depressed of them all. He began to consume more oil, scrap metal and anything else he could find than ever before.
Prowl was the first to notice the change, and wasn't exactly sure why Bulkhead was consuming so much. It wasn't safe or healthy for him to be neglecting his body in such a way, and the ninja decided it was time to get to the root of the problem. He decided to wait for the perfect moment, while Ratchet and Optimus were on patrol, and Bumblebee and Sari were off to see a movie in the park. He wanted to sit down and discuss the problem with his friend mech-to-mech, to avoid humiliating him.
He found Bulkhead in his room, trying to paint a still life he had set up in the corner. His paints and other materials sat next to him, but behind him Prowl could see a supply of oil, scraps and even a few cubes of energon. Bulkhead reached for the oil every few minutes, stared at his painting, then chugged down a portion of the substance before trying to work again.
"Bulkhead." The giant was silent, ignoring Prowl as best he could. He had no desire to talk to anyone right now. But the ninja pressed on.
"Bulkhead, I want to talk to you. Please."
He watched Bulkhead place his brush down and gulp down the rest of a can of oil. He did not turn around to face his friend.
"What's wrong?" Bulkhead asked quietly, as though he felt he was about to be yelled at. It hurt Prowl's spark to hear his friend sound so sad and worried, and it immediately was a warning sign that something was truly wrong. He walked over to Bulkhead, placed a hand on his arm and said,
"Is everything all right, Bulkhead? You seem rather upset lately. I'm worried." Bulkhead did not answer. Instead he gently pushed Prowl away and reached for another unopened can of oil. Prowl lunged forward and knocked it to the floor, where it clattered and rolled away towards the door. Bulkhead grumbled something inaudible and began to lumber over to pick it up. Prowl followed and kicked it out of his reach.
He was interfering with Bulkhead's way of coping with depression, and it was starting to piss Bulkhead off. He shoved Prowl away easily and growled,
"You have five seconds to get outta my room before I throw you out myself. It'll be easy." The threat was shocking, and both of them were surprised to hear it, but Bulkhead was serious about it. Prowl was about to protest, but the giant took a heavy step toward him, hands ready to grab the little ninja and chuck him out. Prowl lifted both hands in front of him to show his surrender and walked out backwards.
"Bulkhead, don't do this," he said as he walked through the door, "I'm not mad at you for anything…I'm just worried. You've been too quiet lately—Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. Leave me alone." Bulkhead closed the door in Prowl's face, leaving the ninja alone and even more worried than before. Prowl refused to give up so easily, and he began to pound on the door, knowing the consequences of this obnoxious behavior could leave him horribly damaged. Bulkhead did not answer for the first breem, but pretty soon, Prowl's constant knocking drove him to the edge.
The door opened swiftly, and Bulkhead, with a brush in hand, managed to grab Prowl's little body, holding his friend up and close to his face.
"WHAT. DO. YOU. WANT." He growled slowly and in a way that sent shivers through Prowl's body. Despite his fear, the ninja took advantage of the question.
"Bulkhead," he started slowly, "I'm worried for you. You've been quiet and distant lately. You're consuming far more oil than usual—it's not healthy for you. Did something happen?" Bulkhead snorted, then placed Prowl back on the floor.
"Just leave me alone. I don't want to talk about anything, okay? Just leave m—"
"NO! Bulkhead, you're making yourself sick, and it could send you offline."
"Oh, for cryin' out loud," Bulkhead groaned, "You're so full of crap, Prowl. I'm not going to kill myself because I drank a few extra barrels of oil. Primus almighty, you're condescending. I hate it." Prowl was stunned at Bulkhead's sudden outburst, and just a bit hurt, but he bit back a retort and said,
"Bulkhead, I'm sorry you feel that way. But please, tell me what's wrong. You're scaring us." Bulkhead responded by throwing his brush across the hall and yelling,
"GARBAGE! No one gives a slag about me and you fraggin' know it! Everyone thinks I'm stupid, and you do too! I can hear it in your vocalizer!"
"Bulkhead, is this what's been bothering you? Because I can tell you now that no one thinks—" Bulkhead smashed his fist angrily into the floor and roared at the little 'bot. Prowl was knocked to his aft from the seismic-like vibration. The giant glared into his face with a hatred and anger that Prowl had never seen before, and he decided it would be best to keep his mouth shut for once.
"I don't want to hear any of the garbage you or anyone else wants to say to me!" Bulkhead bellowed as he stomped closer to the little 'bot, "I'm sick and tired of taking your crap! I'm tired of everyone thinking I'm stupid, I'm sick of everyone treating me like I'm good for nothing, and I hate feeling like the odd one out!" Prowl kept his mouth shut and just listened (while scooting back from the stomping feet, of course). He was frightened, but he was also extremely concerned.
"Every one of you is a Primus-fraggin' aft!" Bulkhead continued, "Condescending, arrogant, holier-than-thou BASTARDS! I'm sick of being the designated moron of the Autobots! I'm tired of you and the humans being terrified of every step I take! I deserve just as much respect as the rest of you little runts!" Bulkhead glared angrily down at Prowl, who stared back up, staying as still as he could while his body begged to tremble before this angry giant.
Bulkhead snorted, then went back into his room and slammed the door, rocking the entire base. Prowl remained on the floor, finally allowing himself to shiver just a bit before getting up shakily and knocking on the door again.
"DO YOU HAVE A DEATH WISH?" Bulkhead roared through the closed door. Prowl did not answer. There was a sleicne that lingerd in the area for a moment, then the heavy stomps of Bulkhead's normal, more 'gentle' footsteps made their way to the door. He opened the door slowly and stared at the little 'bot, disbelief etched on his face.
"How many times do I have to tell you, I don—"
"Bulkhead, you're right. We do treat you wrongly. It's true that we worry about your size and your strength, and we do sometimes underestimate your abilities. But we shouldn't. You've proven yourself many times to be the complete opposite of what we've thought of you. You've helped keep Bumblebee and Sari in place and out of trouble, you've been a wonderful friend to me, and to all of us. I'm…I'm sorry."
The apology was unexpected. Bulkhead wasn't sure if he wanted to accept it, or reject it angrily. After all, it was born out of his own angry outburst, was it not? But the look on Prowl's face was genuinely upset and sad, so Bulkhead, telling himself he was stupid for doing this, sighed and said,
"All right. I believe you. What do you want?"
"I just want to talk, that's all," Prowl answered softly, afraid he might offend the larger 'bot. Bulkhead eyed him suspiciously, then gave in.
"Fine. Come on." He walked back into his room, Prowl following and closing the door behind him, just in case the others came home soon. Bulkhead sat down the floor, and Prowl followed suit. There came a brief period fo awkward silence. Bulkhead fiddled nervously with a brush, and Prowl stared at the floor stupidly before he finally said,
"Promise me you will not become violently upset."
"I promise. I don't wanna hurt anyone." Bulkhead placed his brush down quietly, just to get it away from him. It was a known fact that he could break any of his fellow Autobots in mere seconds if he wanted to, and merely throwing an object like a brush could seriously injure the little 'bot sitting across from him. Prowl watched him carefully for a moment, then began.
"Bulkhead, after the incident—" he refused to call it a disaster— "on the island, we all became quiet and preferred our alone time. But you've made me very nervous—your…um…consuming habits have gotten out of hand. I know how much you love to 'eat', as the humans call it, but I'm an expert when it comes to oil and energon consumption, and you've been taking in too much. You're going to consume yourself into deactivation."
Bulkhead listened to his friend, and cringed as the 'bot said the thing he had feared to hear. The last thing Bulkhead ever wanted to talk about was his size and weight. He had been assembled that way, yes, but all 'bots were responsible for ensuring they didn't consume more than they needed, otherwise it would truly deactivate them. Bulkhead, unfortunately, was on that road.
"I don't want to talk about this," he mumbled, looking at his large feet to avoid Prowl's optics, "This isn't something I feel comf—"
"You're going to kill yourself," Prowl interrupted, a hint of urgency in his voice. "Bulkhead, listen to me. There are safer ways to cope with this."
"I know that," Bulkhead growled, his anger starting to rise again, "I'm not stupid." Prowl smacked his forehead in frustration, then said,
"Bulkhead, what hurt the most that day?" The giant shifted uncomfortably and asked nonchalantly,
"What hurt the most? Was it a loss?" Bulkhead sighed, knowing damn well why he was upset. He wasn't ready to discuss it yet, so he said,
"You go first. You tell me, I'll tell you." Prowl nodded and said,
"Yes, I suppose it would be fair. All right. It's Sari. Her arm—it was just…exposed and robotic. I'm shocked that she's a techno-organic. We never detected any Cybertronian energy signals, she eats human food, she needs to sleep every day, unlike us. She's squishy, for Primus' sake! She breathes air! Bulkhead, what if her father built her from components taken from Megatron? How did he do it? Why don't his other inventions work as well as she does? Why didn't he just fornicate with a human female for a child? I don't get it!" Prowl was nearly yelling now, his fear and anger controlling him just a bit. Bulkhead watched and listened, then said,
"Hey, calm down. I don't know what's going on with Sari or her dad. He talked to her about it, and she seems fine right now. She's out with Bumblebee, right? She's being social and okay. Maybe she was born really sick, and he needed to do something to make her better. Or maybe—sometimes humans can't have their own sparklings. I saw a story about that on the news. The parents were 'infertile' or something, so they had another human female be a 'surrogate'. I think that means another person carried their baby for them. Humans do weird stuff like that all the time."
"But there were no records of her existence," Prowl added, "So maybe she was a secret experiment."
"Or maybe she was adopted, and that Porter guy was just makin' it up that she had no record. Maybe he destroyed them himself." Prowl did not answer this. Instead, he clenched his fists and nodded in agreement, as though he too had thought that was a possibility. Bulkhead fell silent, then said,
"They were they only ones that I had anything in common with." Prowl looked up at his friend and asked,
"Mixmaster and Scrapper. They were builders, they were big…they were perfect."
"Well, I wouldn't say tha—I mean, Bulkhead, I'm sorry. I know how important those two were to you. You have a hard time finding others like you."
"yeah. I just wish they hadn't become Decepticons. It was my fault, I went crazy on them. If I hadn't, we could have started over, and they wouldn't be gone."
"Bulkhead, if they had joined us, they would have still been with us during the fight. And they still could have been thrown through that space bridge." The giant was silent, pondering the possibility, while Prowl watched him thoughtfully. It was sad, really—the only 'bots that seemed to be really connected to Bulkhead had been taken away from him far too fast; the giant was being left alone with small, easily injured 'bots as his companions. He had to be careful constantly, and it was clear it was wearing on him emotionally.
"And," he added, "everyone that day kept hinting they thought I was stupid. 'The only thing you're good at—' I mean, Ratchet said that! Like he truly believed I was fraggin' stupid! I—I—WHY? WHY DOES EVERYONE THINK I'M STUPID?" Bulkhead slammed a fist into the floor, creating a huge crater-like dent in the cement, and the vibration knocked Prowl on his back.
"Bulkhead," he said calmly as he sat back up, "We don't think you're stupid. Please, listen to me. You're a wonderful mech; compassionate, caring, empathetic…"
"PROWL," Bulkhead growled, "DON'T. I can understand vocalizer tones. I know what I heard. And you know what? I'll do to my body what I want to. I'll consume as much as I want, I'll stay in my room for as long as I want, and I will deal with this on my own." Prowl jumped to his feet and replied,
"So, what? You want to consume yourself to death?"
"Don't start, your fraggin' little aft. I don't want to hear your garbage."
The next three seconds were a total shock, and it left Bulkhead speechless: Prowl strode up to his friend, and quicker than a flash, had smacked the giant across the face with a sharp crack. Bulkhead was so surprised that he didn't even react, but Prowl kept his distance: he knew he could be killed for this.
"I—I—Prowl, did you just--?"
"I'm sorry, Bulkhead. You're scaring me. I don't want to lose you." The tone in his voice was sincere and truly frightened for his friend. "Bulkhead, you're important. To this team, as an individual, and to me. You're the best friend a 'bot can have, and I mean it."
Bulkhead remained silent, listening to his friend's words, although a bit reluctantly. It didn't make sense to him to think of himself as smart, or a good friend, or worth anything in any way. He was used to the insults and condescending attitudes.
"Prowl," he started slowly, "are you lying to me?"
"No," the ninja answered softly, "I'm not. You really are an wonderful mech. Please don't do this to yourself. We need you, Sari needs you. She loves you."
"Does she really?" Bulkhead asked, still a little shocked. Prowl nodded, then said,
"Please, just promise me you'll ask for help when you feel the need to reach for another can of oil." Bulkhead stared at his little friend for a moment, then got to his feet. He walked over to his stock of oil, then grabbed a half-drunk can and considered it for a moment. His optics scanned the surface of it, then he sighed knowingly.
"I will," he said, "I don't understand why you think I'm important, but you're my friend, so I'll trust your judgment. Thanks buddy." He walked over to Prowl and handed him the can. Prowl took it as best he could (the can was huge in comparison to him) and smiled.
"Anytime, Bulkhead, anytime."
Not the best fic, I know. I didnt really know how to end it. But I'm tired of working on a shortie for so long.