Sari hated school.
She didn't like all of the squiggly shapes that were supposed to mean something. She didn't like how hard some of the teachers tried to sound 'cool'. Her teacher was kinda cool, and pretty caught up with the times. But he still said Cool or Woah. Not the mix of the two words kids used now. But there was one more thing she hated the most about school.
She couldn't talk about her family.
That day at Sumdac Systems was kinda weird. Everyone there had to promise to keep quiet about it. Now the kids in her class wouldn't stop bugging her about it before and after school started and during recess. They kept asking questions like "where did your family come from?" or "are you a robot too?" and wouldn't even start asking her about stuff that actually mattered.
They never asked to play with her anymore. And they wouldn't talk about her older brothers either. They never asked about Bulkhead's paintings or Bumblebee's racing times or Daddy's 'job' as a firefighter. They would only talk to her about her family being giant robots and bugging her to see them transform. She saw them transform all the time, it wasn't very exciting, not at all.
So she hid.
She didn't care if they went looking for her. She just wanted all the questions to stop. They didn't ask any of the questions she wanted to answer. She asked questions other kids answered about their brothers and sisters and what their parents did and what their voices sounded like. She didn't ask questions about where they came from or if they had brown hair (which was really strange by this year).
She sighed, and turned toward the other side of her hiding place. It was between two of the buildings, the ones between the older kids' building and the first grade building. She saw a girl with pink hair and a kitty cat hat. The girl didn't know that Sari would look at her, so she turned away. Sari was left staring at her back.
Her face scrunched.
"You're here to ask me more questions aren't you?" She crossed her arms. They were the colors of her older brothers, the twins. Her outfit was very colorful and bulkhead had made it all by himself. It showed all of her family's colors in at least one place, and the berets in her hair were her daddy's colors. But this girl wasn't colorful at all; all she had was a brown dress and black shoes with white socks. Her hat was white.
She said nothing.
"Haa… well, go on. Ask me a question." She wasn't too happy about this. But if she wanted to ask questions so badly, she'd answer them. Maybe she'd tell everyone else and they'd stat playing with her again instead of asking her questions. She saw the girl turn back toward her and look down at her hands. She started asking her first question. Sari expected it to be about her family.
"M..My name…" Sari looked at her strangely, waiting for her to finish. It took a while, but she finally started up again. "Toeto… my name…" Eh? What did that mean? When Sari didn't get an answer back, she remembered that Bunny wasn't with her right now. He was in her backpack in the classroom, ready to hear Sari whine to him about the annoying questions.
"Excuse me?" Sari asked. The girl looked back up at her. Sari could see that she had big eyes, the color between pink and orange. She must be Japanese or something. Sari never saw her before, so maybe she was new. She waited for her to answer.
"Eto…" Sari said nothing, and just tilted her head at the girl. She looked like she might cry at any second now. "Watashi no namae wa toeto desu!" Whatty what wha? What did that mean? Sari couldn't ask her, when she heard the really loud bell ring from the main building. She looked back at where the girl was, but she wasn't there anymore. Staring for a bit, she just went back to class.
Hey Bunny? "Yeah?" What does … Witshee nunmah tododsoo mean? "Um… where did you hear that?" Well there was this weird girl I sa—
"Alright class, settle down. We can talk with our friends later, okay? Right now, I want to introduce you to our new student." New student? Maybe that girl Sari saw earlier was the new student. At least she'd know her name.
"Come on out, dear, it's okay." The teacher said. Then, from behind a small box, she saw the girl look at everyone from behind it. She had her head in a funny place, so she looked sideways. It reminded Sari of that one time Jetfire went on a fake adventure to find the Ultimate Super Happy Rainbow Cactus of Magical Destiny, where she was supposed to be the "Happy" part, Bulkhead was the "Super", Jetstorm was the "Rainbow", and Bumblebee was the "Ultimate". It was very funny, so Sari smiled wide at the girl.
She walked over to the teacher, looking straight at Sari, who had taken to sitting all the way at the back since that day at Sumdac Systems. Her hand was over her mouth, and her body was to the side. Out of that dusty old place between the two buildings—"Alley, I believe?" Shut up Bunny.
"Kids, this is Toeto Maguro Meguri. She came here all the way from Japan, and her name means 'Shy River of Tuna.'" The teacher said. He smiled and some of the kids laughed at the silly name. The girl looked kinda sad, almost like she was about to cry. She was still looking at Sari, who smiled wide and gave her a wink. She seemed a bit better after that.
"So, Toeto, how long have you been in Detroit?" The teacher said. Toeto looked back up at him, and at the other kids.
"Ano… ichi gatsu." Toeto said. The teacher looked at her, and said to the rest of the class what she had said. Only in English.
"She said she's been here for a month now. Toeto, why don't you go take your seat now. We have plenty of space." Toeto stared at the rest of the class. Slowly, she climbed up the stairs of the slanted room, and reached the top of the class, all the way in the back. She sat right next to Sari, never taking her eyes off of her. It was kinda creepy.
"So, class, since we know what Toeto's name means, why don't we all come up and tell everyone what our names mean?" The teacher said.
"Okay!" The rest of the class said.
"Me first! Me first!" Gabriel, the little boy in blue headphones and sunglasses waved his arm high in the air.
"Alright, Gabriel, come on up." Gabriel jumped out of his seat and rand up to the front of the room. He took in a big breath and smiled.
"My name means 'strong man of God'! My mom says that God this big guy in the sky that makes good things happen."Gabriel said, smiling. Sari wasn't sure who 'God' was. Maybe he was the AllSpark for people. He must be a nice man.
"Alright Gabriel. Who's next?" The teacher asked. Then, one by one, everyone came up and told everyone what their name meant. Ishmael's meant 'all will hear' and Mitch didn't know what his name meant. The teacher said that his name meant 'loyal child' or something like that. Then it was Sari's turn.
She stood up at the front, giving a death stare at the class. She didn't like this. No doubt everyone would start asking her questions about why giant robots from space would name her Sari. But she had to, so she took in a breath and told the class what her name meant.
"My name is from this weird Indian cloth thing that you wrap around yourself. It's supposed to be very beautiful." Sari said. She took out her breath and didn't even start walking off the stage when Daniel blurted out a question.
"What to your brothers' names mean?" Sari looked up at Daniel, right in the middle of the room, with his hand in the air stupidly. Sari heard the teacher start to say something, but stopped him. She just answered his question.
"Bumblebee's means that he's a bumbler, Bulkhead's name means he's really strong, Jetfire and Jetstorm are jets and they have fire and wind powers, BlackArachnia, my mom, means "dark spider", my dad Optimus' name means "greatest," Prowl means "to hide", Jazz means "to follow", Ratchet means "to go forward", and Arcee is short for "Remote Controlled."
"That shut him up." Why don't you, Bunny?
Sari was hiding in a new place now, the place behind the bathroom that no one went into because it was broken. She brought Bunny this time.
Daniel was annoying, huh? "Actually he only asked one question this time." It must be a new record for him. "what about that Toeto girl? She wouldn't stop staring at you ever since you saw her in that alley earlier." And exactly how do you know that? "You told me." Oh.
"Eto… Sari?" looking where the sound came from, she saw little Toeto staring right through her. Her hand was up at her mouth, really sad looking. Sari just looked at her.
"Did you… want to say something?" Sari looked at Toeto and waited for an answer.
"Ka… Kan.. Ai… Shiito… Uiso yu?" She said it pretty slowly, so Sari didn't understand what she was saying. "Maybe if you stopped thinking like you were writing a story you would think a bit more clearly." Oh quit it. Just tell me what she said!
"She asked to sit with you."
Sari looked at Toeto. She looked back. Sari smiled.