HOWDY-DO to all my new TF readers (this being my first real foray into TF writing)
This here is the main story from which my other 'reprogramming' one-shot extract comes.
This first chapter is not particularly exciting, but is nonetheless a necessary scene setter for the TORTURE AND SLASH AND ANGST that i assure you is to come.
Now then, i won't keep you long, because doing so will assure that most of you will certainly not bother to read this authors note, if you were even going to at all.
To potential reviewers, i welcome opinions of my story, though it would be rather premature given this chapter comes nowhere near the story's true intent, but if you feel the need to make comment, feel free, i will certainly not object :)
This chapter is rated K, but the story will escalate to M.
"C'mon Bulkhead! It's gonna be awesome!"
"I dunno Bumblebee, remember what I was like last time I tried this ninja stuff?"
"Pfff yea but this time we're both doing it, and Prowl is a lousy teacher. I'll figure out the moves, and then I can practice them on you so you get the idea, you're too big for me to do any major damage to anyway. It's a win/win situation!"
Bulkhead let air out through his intakes in a sigh.
"Why can't I ever remember why I should say no when you ask me to do this kinda stuff?" Bulkhead replied, lumbering over to the big screen TV where Bumblebee stood, beaming at him with eager optics.
"You'll thank me later when you start kicking Decepticreep skid plate with super effective ninja moves and shock the electrodes outta Prowl."
Bumblebee had paused the recording he had been playing on the TV, and Bulkhead took a moment to study the freeze-frame. Jazz stood to the right of the screen, halfway through a turn to face the black and gold blur that was frozen in motion just behind the white 'bot, having snuck up to execute a neck cable off lining blow.
"Ok Bulkhead, you just stand right there and listen out for me. If I do this right, you shouldn't have a clue that I'm even there until it's too late" Bumblebee said with confident anticipation.
"Uuuuh, but you're not actually gonna do the hit right? You're just gonna sneak up on me…" Bulkhead stated, as though making it sound like a fact rather than a question would deter the little yellow mech.
Bumblebee heaved a sigh, "If I don't practice the actual move Bulkhead, then what's the point in practicing this at all?"
Bulkhead gave him a disparaging look but the smaller 'bot grinned back widely, "Don't worry, I'll go easy on ya big guy, I probably wont hit the right spot the first time. And besides, if you even hear a squeak from my treads, you spin around anyway. This is gonna be way more fun than if Prowl were trying to teach us, don't sweat it buddy."
Bulkhead tried to take comfort in Bumblebee's entirely confident demeanour, but knowing the knack his small friend had for getting them into massive trouble even with the most convincing of foolhardy plans, he knew deep in his processor he was going to regret this for some reason or other.
Bulkhead stood stock still, straining his audio receptors for the slightest indication that Bumblebee was sneaking up behind him ninja style like Prowl had done to Jazz in the recording.
On the one hand, Bulkhead knew Bumblebee was one of the least stealthy bots in the crew, so him being able to sneak up on him was usually not a great concern of Bulkhead's. But on the other hand, he had somehow managed to record Prowl's training session with Jazz without getting caught by either of the skilled Ninja-bots. This either meant neither of them had cared, or Bumblebee had somehow gotten much better at playing the spy.
Bulkhead was so distracted by his nervous musings that he didn't even turn when a sound finally reached his processors, and by then it was too late because the sound was of the leaping hydraulics of a 'bot jumping on him from behind.
Bulkhead heard a 'Heeeyah!' and felt something tap his left neck cables, and then a voice cried 'OOOwowowowo slaggit!' loudly in his audio.
Bulkhead turned around as Bumblebee fell to his aft on the floor with a clank, cradling his servo and screwing up his faceplate.
Bulkhead very nearly laughed, but held back so as not to damage his small friend's ego any further.
"Amateur. You aimed far too high." Came a cool, obviously amused voice as Prowl walked in like he'd been sitting watching the whole time. Bumblebee yelped and looked up at the ninja-bot sheepishly.
Prowl paused and looked him over imperiously, glancing at the TV with the slightest hint of amusement and annoyance on his face. "You know you could just ask if you wanted to sit in on our sparring matches." He said icily, looking back down at Bumblebee with his unreadable visor.
Bumblebee scowled "Gee, thanks Prowl. But I kinda prefer this way, I get less lecturing and more actual experience." Bumblebee replied acidly.
Prowl frowned. "Bumblebee, how many times do I have to explain, if you don't understand the theory then the moves won't work, and you'll just keep hurting yourself trying. Amusing as that is-"
"Why don't you just teach us the USEFUL stuff Prowl, I mean come on! Meditation? Stillness? How does any of that help to kick Decepticon skid plate? I never see you knock out Blitzwing by meditating at him! Although he might fritz from the boredom…" Bumblebee snickered, and this time Bulkhead couldn't help but join him. It wasn't that he wanted to annoy Prowl or felt the same need Bumblebee did to frag him off, but he had to agree Prowl's teaching and methods always went over his cranial unit.
Prowl snarled softly. "I cannot teach someone who refuses to learn. Until you realise the importance of self control and how it effects your fighting, I cannot hope to teach you anything."
"Aaaaaw come ooooon, just ONE circuit-su servo slice! Pleeease, you don't want me going up against 'Cons without being able to do some damage do ya?" Bumblebee pleaded in what he thought was an endearing tone. Prowl apparently thought he was being sarcastic, and turned on his heel, throwing back a resounding 'NO' as he left.
Bumblebee got back on his feet and crossed his arms, scowling at the retreating form of the black and gold mech, scowling. "Tch, fine, don't need you to teach us anyway. Can't be THAT fraggin' hard!"
Bumblebee turned back to his large green friend. "Ok, well it's your go. Try to sneak up on me, and don't go easy on me now will you?"
Bulkhead shifted uneasily on his stabilisers. "Aw but I don't wanna hurt ya lil' buddy… maybe if I just sneak up and tap you on the neck?"
"Buuuulkheeeead! You'll never learn anything if you don't do it properly during the practice! Trust me, I'll be fine, you know I can take it! That is, if YOU can sneak up on me!"
With another intake and a vented sigh, Bulkhead moved to the other side of the room and Bumblebee's grin widened. "Ok, when I turn around, go for it!"
A few cycles later, they quit and went for recharge. Bulkhead never had managed to sneak up on Bumblebee far enough to actually try his hand at the off lining neck hit. And he knew Bumblebee was playing fair, but he just couldn't keep his motors silent, he wasn't built for stealth and it was painfully obvious to him. However, no matter how many times Bumblebee successfully got the drop on Bulkhead, he could never hit whatever part of Bulkhead's neck he was supposed to. Although Bulkhead thought he was starting to feel more ticklish in his neck cables, he had never felt even close to off lining, much to his friend's frustration. But Bulkhead knew Bee's irritation was with his inability to succeed at this move rather than at him personally. He was still glad to get away from his fragged off little friend by the end of their 'sparring match'.
By the next day, Bumblebee seemed less irate and once again confidently enthusiastic. Bulkhead was glad he didn't ask him to go another round of 'teach yourself ninja moves even when the real ninja disapproves', however, he had taken it upon himself to continue with his self-training antics.
"What in the name of the Allspark are you doing, kid?" Ratchet stated gruffly as he turned his head a little to catch Bee sneaking up behind him in his peripheral. Bee froze mid creep and sighed, shoulders slumping. He walked away muttering something like 'nothing… just practice…"
"Practice fer what, the annoying Olympics?" Ratchet grumbled with a self appreciative chuckle at his own joke. He had turned back to the part he'd been scanning for defects on the rec room table, but he knew Bumblebee was glaring at him as he stalked away. "Young bots…" Ratchet muttered with a small smile and squeaky shake of his head.
Ratchet was not the only one to notice and absently dismiss Bumblebee's strange antics as the day wore on. Whenever Bumblebee wasn't on duty, the others had caught him trying to creep up silently behind them.
"Was there something you wanted, Bumblebee?" Asked Optimus Prime as he turned to face the small yellow mech, who to his slight surprise had been much closer to his back than he had thought. Bumblebee immediately stood to attention and tried to look innocent…. Tried and didn't all together fail. Optimus gave him an enquiring look. Bumblebee gave a nervous smile back. "Nope, nothing Boss bot."
Optimus' optics narrowed slightly. "You do know if you're thinking of pulling some kind of prank that you'll end up with a double shift cleaning Ratchets medbay while Ratchet over-sees, don't you." It was a statement rather than a question, but the slightly shocked and quite a lot more nervous look that came into Bumblebee's optics reassured Prime that the small scout would seriously reconsider any devious plans he may have had.
"Uh, yea… yea I know. Well, I'll just be going…" And with that the little yellow mech scarpered.
Bulkhead, Ratchet and Optimus noted no more sneakings up behind them of a certain yellow sub-compact for the rest of the week. However, Bumblebee seemed more conspicuous by his absence than was normal for the loudest little crew member.
The others had assumed, when they didn't catch Bumblebee sneaking around them, that he had stopped.
But Prowl knew better.
He silently watched from a high rafter of the rec-room where he had been meditating to assist his balance, as a small yellow mech entered the room in complete silence.
At first Prowl had been concerned. Bumblebee was NEVER that quiet unless something was very wrong… but just as Prowl was about to jump down from his high perch to confront his little team mate and gauge what exactly could be wrong with him, the smaller mech stopped, standing stock still, as his eyes fell on the medic who sat on the couch, still fixing various parts strewn out before him on the small low table in front of the TV, which was off.
The only sound in the room came from Ratchet. The soft clink of metal on metal and all the little singing noises of his tools working away at the surface of the damaged circuits.
Prowl watched, somewhat fascinated, as Bumblebee assumed a crouching position and began moving slowly but silently toward the couch where Ratchet sat with his back facing him.
Prowl's intakes halted without him even noticing. He tensed as the small yellow bot got closer and closer to the oblivious medic still absorbed in his work. Prowl tensed as Bumblebee got so close to Ratchet that he could reach out a servo and touch him…
But all Bumblebee did was stop, crouching stock still behind the red and white medic. He moved a around a little, as though testing to see how long he could go unnoticed peering around the other mech's shoulders… and then he started to retreat, as silently as he had advanced.
When he was finally out of the room, Prowl let his systems take in a long hard cycle of air, not having realised his intakes had stalled.
What in the name of Primus had all that been about? Surely… surely Bumblebee wasn't actually getting GOOD at muting his vocaliser? When and how had he managed this (for him) momentous feat of self-control?
Prowl scowled and dropped from his place in the rafters before making to follow the direction Bumblebee had left in.
A few moments after he left, the red and white mech on the couch lifted his head and looked over his shoulder. "Someone there?" he grumbled out-loud. Upon hearing and seeing no one else, he shrugged, muttering, and returned to mending the part in his servos.
Prowl followed Bumblebee whenever he saw the small mech sneak around during his off time. He witnessed the same sneaking game he'd seen Bumblebee use on Ratchet repeated on both Bulkhead and Optimus… and they had been as oblivious of Bumblebee's presence as Ratchet had.
Prowl's processor could take no more. Practically bugging with nagging curiosity, Prowl followed Bumblebee silently to his room. He waited until the small yellow bot had gone in and gave him a minute before he slunk down the corridor and beeped open Bumblebee's door without knocking.
"-heheh- uh, Prowl! Uh… hey… what… brings… you, here?" Bumblebee stuttered out of his giggling fit as the swooshing of his door alerted him to his un-announced visitor. After getting over the initial surprise, he frowned a little. "By the way, its kinda rude not to knock."
Prowl levelled a cool but slightly irritated gaze. "I figured you wouldn't mind seeing as you don't make a habit of it yourself."
"Oh come on, that was one time!" Bumblebee shrugged him off, his air confident as he re-composed himself. Bumblebee hopped up onto the side of his berth and looked at Prowl curiously. "So, what brings YOU to my humble abode?"
Prowl leant against the wall beside the now closed door. "You remember that bet we made, back when meltdown was broken out of jail?" he said calmly.
"Yea. 'Course I do… what, don't tell me you're still sore about losing that axle grease. You can't have it back now, it's long gone." Bumblebee scoffed in amusement.
"No, I'm not asking about the axle grease… I was just wondering if you'd been practicing the whole keeping quite thing." Prowl said innocently, his tone cool and calm.
Bumblebee's optics shuttered at him a few times, faceplate blank before he forced a fake nonchalant smile back onto it. "Oh, right. What, is my recent loudness disturbing your meditation? If you're wondering, I'm not trying to be quiet on purpose, it's just a coincidence that I haven't been hanging around being as loud as usual wherever you are." He replied with a slight smirk.
Prowl narrowed his optics a little. "Oh, I don't know about that." Prowl said casually.
Bumblebee's faceplate slackened into confusion again, before it turned into a frown. "And what's that supposed to mean?"
"You're making the assumption that you haven't been hanging out around me. You seem to forget that I can hang around whoever I want without them even knowing I'm there." Prowl let his own small smirk creep onto his faceplate.
"Yea, so?" Bumblebee retorted with obvious irritation, "Your point exactly?"
"Well, from my observations it seems I'm not the only one."
Prowl's smirk widened as the sub-compacts optics widened and then narrowed into a mutinous glare.
"Are you stalking me or something?" Bumblebee said shrewdly.
"I'm hardly the one who could be accused of stalking here." Prowl countered, trying to keep the amusement from his voice.
"Oh. Sure. Sounds to me like a certain ninja-bot is just jealous cause someone can do what you can do without your help." Bumblebee piped at him, confident smirk springing back into place.
"Without my help hmm? Are you sure about that?" Prowl's cool demeanour did not falter.
"Yea without your help! You wont teach me until I agree to do a bunch of boring stuff that I didn't need to do to learn it myself!" Bumblebee said incredulously, hoping down off his berth and crossing his arms over his chassis.
"Would you have been able to teach yourself if you had not watched and studied my movements and techniques?" Prowl said quietly, smirk turning into a small… proud, smile.
Bumblebee was temporarily lost for words as he gaped at prowl with his mouth hanging open. After a few astroseconds he shut it and let his servos fall to his sides. He looked away, unsure how to counter the Ninja-bot's logic.
Prowl's smile widened and he pushed off from the wall, walking forward to look down earnestly into Bumblebee's face. "You know I'm actually quite impressed. How long has it taken you until they stopped noticing?"
Bumblebee rubbed the back of his helm sheepishly, relieved if not a little surprised by Prowl's praise.
"Well, I kinda made sure to be extra quiet after Optimus caught me last week and mentioned something about cleaning Ratchet's medbay."
Bumblebee looked up, startled, as Prowl actually laughed. "And here I thought you said that stillness and quiet were useless…"
"Hey! I never said that! I was talking about the meditation and the sitting in stupid positions and studying nature stuff and things that aren't useful when you're trying to sneak up on your team-mates without them noticing. Unlike all that stuff, this was kinda fun…" Bumblebee suddenly stifled a giggle. "I got behind Bulkhead and watched him paint some pile of Sari's old shoes for a whole two breems yesterday and he didn't even notice! How's THAT for quiet huh? I could probably make a bet with Jazz that I could sneak up on Sentinel like that and win some awesome cyber tunes off him."
"What if Sentinel actually caught you?" Prowl questioned with a shrewd grin, startled when Bumblebee laughed again. "Hey, I'm not in boot camp anymore, what's he gonna do, make me do more transform-ups because he caught me standing behind him for no real reason?" Bumblebee snickered.
Prowl had to admit, Bumblebee had a good point there, although he had the feeling Sentinel might yell at Optimus with the tiniest provocation, even if it was only because one of his team startled him by sneaking into his presence without him knowing.
"You are painfully slow though, you know." Prowl commented smoothly. Bumblebee glared at him. "So? What does that matter as long as no one hears or sees me?"
"If you're hoping to use your newfound skills against Decepticons, I don't know that you'll want to be taking so long about sneaking up on them. The consequences of being caught in such a situation would be rather more serious than just surprised confusion on their part." Prowl said sagely.
Bumblebee, rather than get huffy and shrug him off like he may once have done, merely frowned and seemed to seriously consider this revelation. But quite as suddenly as he had become silently pensive, his faceplate broke into it's familiar wide, impish smirk. "Hey, its not like they could catch me. I'm not the speed demon of the team for nothing ya know."
Prowl let his smile broaden warmly at the return of the familiar side of Bumblebee. "Be that as it may, I still think you should endeavour to refine your stealth. If anything, at least the silence is a welcome break for me to meditate peacefully." Prowl teased in his lofty way, getting a lazy swipe in his direction from Bumblebee, which he easily and fluidly dodged.
"Don't count on it nature-bot, I might just have to seriously test my skills and start practicing on you." he threatened with a mischievous grin that spoke only of trouble.
Prowl's visor narrowed but the corner of his mouth curled at the challenge as he turned to walk out "I'd like to see you try!" he shot back. He didn't need to turn around to know what Bumblebee's face looked like… he could almost feel the determined blue optics accepting his challenge with anticipation.
This, Prowl decided, was going to be an interesting few solar cycles.