A/N: Well, here's my contribution to the holiday spirit. I decided to split it into two parts; the first one today and the second one up next week on the 27th. I've been doing a lot of rewriting of things lately and the holidays right around the bend, I feel like I have a lot to do. Doing it like this only feels like less work on my part. It's still the same amount of rewriting in the end.
This little story here is set between the first and second arcs of TAAO. I originally wrote it to actually be a part of TAAO, but then changes to the plot forced me to leave it out. But now it has been resurrected as its own little story! Whee!
If you'll stick with me a moment longer, I can explain exactly what the hold-up is on the next chapter. These next chapters of TAAO with the OCs are important because the events that take place in them directly -- and I mean DIRECTLY effect events that take place in the third arc. So I have to get these chapters right before I can post them or else there's going to be a lot of bad retconning to make the thirf arc look pretty and I don't want to do that.
The definitions below came from dictionary dot com.
Disclaimer: Transformers is property of HasTak and some other companies whose names elude me.
Transforming the Holidays
Part the First
Christ-mas [kris-muhs]- the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus: celebrated on December 25 and now generally observed as a legal holiday and an occasion for exchanging gifts.
1. the festival season from Christmas to after New Year's Day.
2. the period from Christmas Eve to Epiphany, esp. in England.
This whole Christmas thing was confusing.
Very, very confusing.
San·ta Claus [san-tuh klawz]
1. a benevolent figure of legend, associated with Saint Nicholas, supposed to bring gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
2. The personification of the spirit of Christmas, usually represented as a jolly fat old man with a white beard and a red suit, who brings gifts to good children on Christmas Eve.
This whole Santa Claus thing was also very confusing.
A fat jolly man who delivered presents to every good child in the world? In a single night? That was impossible. And he broke into peoples' houses via their chimneys? That didn't sound safe at all. And he stole milk and cookies too. He was an evil man. How come the authorities hadn't caught him yet?
"It's a good thing you don't have chimney Sam. That evil Santa man won't be able to break into your house."
"No-- Bee, Santa isn't evil. He's a good guy."
"But he breaks into peoples' houses and steals their milk and cookies. Breaking and entering and stealing is bad."
"No, no, you're missing the point completely. Santa doesn't actually exist. He's part of the magic of the holidays."
"Mikaela said that the magic of the holidays is in the shopping. Doesn't that mean Santa is the ringleader behind the corporate giants like Wal-Mart whose sole aim in the commercial consumer business is to absorb as many human souls as possible during this time of year?"
Sam slammed his forehead into the steering wheel.
"Bee? Please. For the love of all that is holy, stop reading those paranoid blogs you keep finding."
"But they're very informative."
"And they not always right." Sam pointed out. He wasn't sure why Bumblebee seemed to be incapable of grasping the idea of Santa Claus when the Autobots believed in a higher power similar to a god. "Listen, Santa Claus isn't a real person. He exists in stories that are told to little kids because they love believing in that kind of stuff and it just makes Christmas seem that much more magical."
"And just because Mikaela goes shopping on Black Friday like 95 percent of the nation doesn't mean the other five percent of us do."
"Sam, I'm still confused. What does a jolly fat man who breaks into peoples' homes have to do with some sparkling who was born on the same day?
"Bee!" Sam cried in exasperation. "For the last time! Santa doesn't go breaking into peoples' homes! And I have no idea! All I know is that Christmas is a time for peace on Earth and goodwill towards men! And mechs. It's the time of year where friends and family get together to be with each other and have fun and throw parties and drink eggnog and exchange gifts and grumpy uncles are generally a lot more amiable!"
Sam glared at the dash and huffed.
"No really. What's the point of drinking nogged eggs? Isn't that dangerous? Because don't raw eggs contain salmonella? And how do they become 'nogged' in the first place?"
"Bee! Shut up!"
It was the second full week of December and the Christmas spirit was in the air. A light snowfall had dusted Tranquility just enough to make it look festive. Christmas lights had been wound around the lamp poles twinkled brightly as Sam and Bumblebee drove through the main part of the city. Storefronts advertised their Christmas sales and steep discounts, urging shoppers to come inside and lighten their checkbooks. Decorations and tinsel and even more lights could be seen all over the place and the Autobots were fairly bursting with questions about the upcoming holiday.
Optimus particularly liked the fact that one important aspect of the holiday was peace and goodwill, Prowl got confused over the metaphysical aspects of it, the rest wondered if they could use it as an excuse to get hammered on high-grade and they all got lost on the whole Santa Claus concept.
On one level, Sam supposed he couldn't really blame them. The Autobots had proved time and again that they thought it straight lines; direct cause and effect and all that. Bumblebee tended to grasp the stranger of the human-created concepts faster than his comrades because he was younger and more capable of thinking in circles, but there were some things that just completely escaped him.
Santa Claus for one.
Nonetheless, the Autobots were making a valiant effort to get into the spirit of the season. Already, the Ark was seeing decorations being strung up along its corridors and Jazz had taken to blasting all sorts of Christmas songs through his speakers, mostly to annoy Prowl: Classics, old favorites, and some of the weirder ones he dug up from the obscure corners of the Internet. Most of them had gotten it into their processors to throw a Christmas party; like they had done on Halloween. That had been the most interesting Halloween party Sam had ever attended.
He couldn't wait to see what was going to happen during Christmas.
But Sam hadn't finished his Christmas shopping yet. Yes, he was lazy. His parents had been easy to shop for and Miles had been hinting that he wanted a new stereo since Thanksgiving, but he was still floundering when it came to Mikaela. She had been completely tight-lipped on what she wanted, meaning Sam was going to have to brave the crowds in the mall to see what was left and take a guess.
Not exactly the way he wanted to spend his first day of winter break.
He also wanted to get presents for the Autobots.
What exactly did one get giant transforming robots from outer space for Christmas anyways?
He had been threatening Bee with a pair of fuzzy yellow dice for the last few months and he had a feeling that was what he would be springing for. The only thing Sunstreaker wanted to see for Christmas was his brother, but Sideswipe was as AWOL as a lot of the other Autobots. Sam figured the yellow twin would be appreciative of the ten-pound tubs of turtle wax he had seen for sale in an auto-body supply store.
He was considering getting Wheeljack something practical, like a fire-extinguisher or something, given his penchant for blowing himself up regularly. Though he would probably just set himself on fire trying to figure what chemicals were in the flame-retardant foam. Wheeljack's explosions were about all the action Ratchet's medbay saw these days. It had happened so often that they had a system worked out. Whenever there was an explosion, Wheeljack would call out a number. If it was anywhere between one and five, that meant he was singed and smoking but otherwise alright and could drag his own aft to the medbay. If it was six or higher, that meant there was loss of limb and possibly fire involved and that Ratchet had to retrieve the inventor himself.
Books on human anatomy would serve Ratchet perfectly well as a Christmas gift -- so he would stop asking embarrassing questions -- although Sam sincerely doubted that they made books in giant-robot editions. Well... Maybe they had a way of getting around that.
He didn't know what he could possibly get Optimus; largely as a thank-you for saving his life back in Mission City at least twice. Or Ironhide for that matter.
Bee had told him that the only things that would be really, really good for Optimus and Ironhide would be Elita and Chromia, respectively; their sparkmates. Yes, getting the one you love home for Christmas was the best present in the world. Honestly, if Sam could pull that off somehow, he would.
But Optimus had remarked that he did enjoy the scent of pine. Maybe some of those pine-scented air fresheners for his office.
And maybe a gift subscription to a gun-and-knife catalogue for Ironhide.
Or would that too much?
But he didn't want to make everyone else feel left out either. He was still a little leery of the reformed Seekers. What on earth could you get jets anyways? Sam wanted to get something big that they could all enjoy. Like-- Like a plasma screen TV. Like one of the super big ones the rich people had.
Oh, but Sam would break his meager bank account several times over trying to pay for something like that.
Inside the mall, Sam viewed his options for Mikaela. He had never shopped for a girl before -- his mom didn't exactly count -- so he had no clue what he was supposed to be looking for.
No clothes. Sam knew that much. Clothes for Christmas was a Bad Idea. Clothes for Christmas led to the dreaded "So you think I'm FAT?!" tantrum.
Maybe a nice snuggly blanket.
That was good and neutral, right?
Sam lingered over the jewelry counter for a while, examining the merchandise with no idea what was good.
"Hi! Can I help you?" asked a sales-lady infested with Christmas cheer.
"I hope so." Sam said. He was starting to get a little desperate.
"Looking for the perfect gift for that special someone?" the sales-lady asked with a little giggle.
"My girlfriend." Sam replied, wondering how someone could be so chock-full of Christmas cheer that they weren't spewing it across the floor.
"Aww, that's sweet. Have you considered a ring? We have a wonderful selection of promise rings." the sales-lady said.
"No!" Sam quickly turned it down. For some reason, the whole concept of promise rings scared the crap out of him. Maybe it had something to do with that one episode of That 70s Show. "I mean, we haven't been together that long."
"But a promise ring is a wonderful way to cement your relationship." the sales-lady urged with a wide smile. It seemed she was looking desperately to make a sale. Or perhaps she was hoping that Sam and Mikaela's relationship would explode because of the promise ring and then she could go steal Sam for herself.
Note to self: Lay off the damn eggnog until Christmas Eve. Sam told himself. He'd been drinking that stuff like there was no tomorrow.
"Wouldn't it seem a bit pretentious though?" Sam asked warily. "We've only been going out a couple months... And she's popular! I'm a weenie kid who's just got a cool car! She could dump me at any second for my car!"
Ah, the insecure fears of the adolescents.
"Ah... How about a necklace?" the sales-lady suggested, moving down the counter to something a little more neutral. "Or maybe a bracelet?"
Sam peered at the selections and wondered if he had enough money for any of that. He probably didn't. He surged back from the counter.
"Uh... Y'know what? I'm gonna walk around a bit and clear my head." he said, already stepping for the door. "Get back to you on it."
And the he fled back into the mall proper, promptly bouncing off holiday shoppers who didn't pay him one iota of attention. He was starting to feel less holiday cheer. Maybe Bee had been right about the whole soul-sucking thing. Christmas shopping seemed to exist to make desperate men suffer.
A nice snuggly blanket was sounding like a better idea by the second.
"It's starting to snow." Sam noticed, peering over the dashboard to watch the flurry of snow coming down. "Have you ever seen snow before, Bee?"
"Only once." the Camaro responded. "I was pretty young back then and Ironhide didn't want me out in it too long, but I liked it. We aren't exactly built to withstand cold temperatures for a long time y'know. Our internals tend seize up, everything metal contracts, our optics just might frost over and--"
"Okay, okay. I'll put the space heater out in the garage for you."
With the weather growing colder and colder, Bumblebee was often reluctant to trek back to the Ark for the night, meaning he had been holing up in the Witwickys' garage. But the garage wasn't the warmest place and like any car, Bee had been slow to wake up in the mornings recently.
Sam had managed to finish his Christmas shopping, albeit with a lot of pushing and shoving from irate mothers of five. Bee had laughed hysterically when Sam had emerged from a car supply store with six, ten-pound tubs of turtle wax in tow because he knew exactly who those were for, but had been a little less pleased when Sam had made him turn on his holoform and give him a hand loading them into the trunk and back seat. Bee had been speechless regarding the yellow fuzzy dice, but had flung them over the rearview mirror anyways and had told Sam that he was going to get him back for that one.
"Fuzzy yellow dice." he had said, shaking his head while grinning. "Cruel. Just cruel."
"So has Prowl okayed the Christmas party idea yet?" Sam asked curiously as they continued home.
"He's still pretty certain the Decepticons are going to strike over the holidays, but the Seekers are saying that they've been monitoring the Decepticons' comm frequencies and they haven't heard squat." Bumblebee said.
One advantage to having three former Decepticons who were now Autobots was that they knew the comm frequencies of many Decepticons and could keep an eye on them that way.
"I think Jazz will be able to talk him into it, though."
"Ooh, big flakes."
"Sam, stop staring at the sky and at least pretend to be looking at the road."
"But they're big."
"I don't care. You can watch them as they hit my windshield."
"But they'll melt on your windshield."
"Sam..." The engine threatened to stall out.
Sam turned his eyes back to the road ahead. Sometimes it was best to not argue with your mode of transportation. He knew that Bee was only watching out for his safety, but sometimes the Autobot just played dirty.
Prowl wondered why he had even tried to block out the Christmas songs Jazz had insisted on pumping out over the Ark's comm system. Prowl had switched off his audial sensors, but then Jazz, upon finding out his good buddy was not soaking in the Christmas spirit like he should be, had obligingly jammed Prowl's comlink with Christmas music.
The SIC was currently listening to a full orchestral rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus. That wasn't too bad. It had been the songs by some human calling himself "Weird Al" that had driven him on the fritz.
Where had Jazz found that music anyways?
He looked up as his office door opened and saw Optimus standing there, looking sort of annoyed and saying something. Prowl tapped the side of his head twice. Optimus nodded in understanding and switched on the private comlink.
And was slapped full in the face by high clarinet pitches. Like, the really high ones.
"Before you say anything else, Jazz has jammed my comlink." Prowl informed the commander, probably speaking a little louder than was necessary but he could barely hear his own voice over the high-pitched woodwinds. "Does this have anything to do with that Christmas party the others want to throw?"
Optimus started to reply -- Prowl had read enough lips in the past to know that the commander was saying something along the lines of how it would be good for them -- but then he just stopped and nodded.
"If Jazz will stop jamming my comlink, then they can have it."
A few minutes later, blissful, glorious silence fell and Prowl let his head fall onto his desk in relief.
"Can ya hear me now?"
Then silence fell again.
Prowl was certain of one thing.
This Christmas thing was a bad idea.