"Cap?"

"Check."

"Gown?"

"Check."

"Tassel?"

"Check."

"Recommended program diploma cord? Top ten percentile cord?

"Check, check."

"National Honor Society collar?"

"Check. And you can just shorten that to NHS, you know."

"Noted. Proper attire? White collared shirt, black slacks, dress shoes?"

"Check, check, and check."

"Camera?"

"Ha! C'mon Bee we gotta go. 'Sides I don't exactly plan on taking picture-" Sam was cut off as some form of digital camera was almost thrown at him.

"Just in case." The yellow guardian insisted. Sam gave a defeated sigh.

"Alright, alright. But you know we have to turn these in to the people at the front table-desk thing, right?" The boy quizzed, tucking the camera into his pocket anyway. "Cell phones too. No distractions during the world's most boring ceremony." Sam rolled his eyes and folded the garishly blue gown, sliding the mentioned adornments and decorations between the folds.

"You should be proud of yourself. There are six younglings-sss in your grade not graduating this year, Sam. I, for one, am very proud that you are not only not one of those studentssss, but in the top percentile of your class as well." The Camaro gently scolded as he scooted shoes and a tie towards the boy. Sam began to pull on and lace the shoes, but made a face at the tie.

"A tie? Bee, it's under my gown anyway; no one's going to see if I wear it or not." He scoffed, eyeing the piece of cloth as if it were poison.

"Your mother insists." The alien defended.

"What did she threaten you with?"

"Nothing-ggg."

"Liar."

"Regardless of whether your female creator threatened me or not, you will be wearing this accessory." Sam groaned anew.

"God Bee, now you've gone and made it sound like I'm a friggin' girl. 'Accessory?' Really Bee?" Sam admonished with a betraying smile. The bot clicked and warbled reproachfully at the boy, responding in his own language since his use of the English language was clearly not appreciated. Sam snorted out a laugh. "Stop that, you know I'm kidding." Bumblebee merely waved the tie in front of his face.

"Fine fine. I don't like it, though." Sam finally surrendered with an over-dramatic sigh, snagging the cloth from the metal hand and lacing it around his neck. The scout watched carefully, making sure the boy tied the knot correctly (though more so ensuring Sam did not instantly remove the seemingly offensive material). Once finished, Sam placed his hands firmly on his hips and glared defiantly up at the Autotbot. Bee let out a raspy chuckle.

"See, that's not s-s-so bad now is it, Sam." He teased, mussing the boy's hair. Sam merely rolled his eyes once again. Swiveling his own optics, the scout turned to retrieve something from the back of the garage. Upon facing Sam once again, he found the human yanking the tie skyward, lulling his head to the side and tongue hanging out of his mouth (not to mention the awkward-yet-hilarious way his face was skewed) in a poor imitation of a hanged man. The bot merely stared for a moment, debating whether or not to take picture.

"Stop that." He reprimanded finally, flicking the raised hand. Sam dropped it obediently (but not without one of his loud, sarcastic sighs), slumping down on his cardboard-box-turned-chair.

"We ready to go?" the boy (and really, it was time to stop calling him 'the boy' now, the bot mused. But somehow, it had become an endearing term the scout could not quite let go) asked, a tinge of impatience in his voice. I'm just ready to get this over with, the bot imagined he was actually saying.

"Not quite, I have something-ing for you." The yellow alien held his servo out to the boy, who sat up and curiously peered over the metal fingers in response. Bee lifted the object from his hand and pressed it to the boy's palm. Blue optics gleamed as the boy turned the cool, metal object over in his hands, studying the texture, the curves with fascination.

"…What is it?" Sam finally asked softly, still wrapped up in looking at it. He held it up, squeezing one eye shut, as if to better observe the way the dim light of the garage bounced off the reflective material. It was a single Cybertronian glyph cut from an unearthly luminescent metal; about half an inch thick, and only slightly bigger than Sam's palm.

"It's closest translation is 'knowledge'. I suppose," the Autobot began, "it is something-ing similar to…perhaps a combination of a diploma and a class ring. Cybertronians receive it upon completing their education." Sam's eyes snapped to the scout.

"You guys have highschool?" Surprise littered his voice.

"In a sense, yes. And yes, before you ask-k-k, it is as comparable to your sentiments towards 'high school'. Very boring, very tiring… the like." Sam made a face.

"So you got this when you graduated?" The human's gaze flitted back down to the Cybertronian diploma/class ring.

"…sort of." Sam once again focused on him. Bee chuckled. "As you know, I was not able to complete my formal education, due to the war and ah…events." Sam nodded slowly. He'd learned why Bee was one of their youngest- if not the youngest. He had been born –sparked? Created?- during the beginning of the war, along with several other bots, like any other generation. The difference with his generation and generations past lie in that Jazz had pulled the youngling Bumblebee from the aftermath of the single most extensive slaughter in Cybertronian history. The only thing that saved him was being rendered unconscious by the first blast set off at the Youth Sectors. The Decepticons hadn't bothered to check whether he was actually offline or not. (When asked what he remembered, Bumblebee had contemplated for a moment. "A loud explosion. Confused shouts. Something hitting me. After that, nothing of the battle. Actually, the most frightening memory I have of it is awakening on the Ark, with Ratchet hovering over me." Ratchet hadn't appreciated the comment, and a wrench had quickly flown in the scout's direction.)Supposedly, Bee was the only survivor that still lived today. He'd spent the rest of his life (until he was finally allowed to formally enlist as a soldier) with the Autobots, simply because there had been not other safe place to go. Ironhide ended up as his guardian, and Jazz had later been thrilled that the youngling he pulled from the wreckage happened to become his finest scout.

"In any case, I was sort of 'home schooled' for the remainder of my education. There wasn't much left for me to learn; graduation hadn't been more than the equivalent of one of your months away. It-ttt passed fairly quickly. Normally there's a graduation ceremony, somewhat like yours, but clear-ly that wasn't an option. However, Ironhide actually went back to the Youth Sectors-sss to dig that up for me." The scout chuckled, and Sam watched the metal plates of his face shift into his version of a smile. "He told me that I had better appreciate it, or he was going to 'hit me so hard my optics would quit working.'"

Sam eyed the alien carefully (or was that wondrously?), turning the diploma-ring-thing over in his hands once again.

"That's really cool." The human admitted, smiling, and moved to hand it back to the scout. The scout's "grin" became more obvious.

"You had better appreciate that, or I will hit you so hard you'll go blind." Sam's eyes widened in response.

"What?" He squeaked. Bumblebee laughed and pushed the teen's outstretched hand back toward his chest.

"A gift. A graduation present, if you will." Silence followed his explanation.

The human began to resemble a beached fish, for a minute.

"You're, you're just…just giving your diploma-ring-thing-dohicky? Don't you like, I don't know, need that to prove you graduated or some shit like that? Isn't it like, important to you?" Sam blurted, shooting one of those hard-to-read bewildered looks at the Camaro. Said Camaro snorted.

"Sam, please; don't be ridic-c-culous. That 'diploma-ring-thing-dohicky' is over a millennia old, and I am not an extremely (only slightly) sentimental mech. I'm rather surprised I still have it. And it does not 'prove' anything of my education. It's simply a token. A keepsake. Like the tassel of your cap." The alien calmly explained, taking some level of delight in Sam's reaction. Humans were entertaining, if nothing else. "Now, ssssstop your whining and get to your graduation." Autobot fluidly shifted to automobile, and the yellow door popped open, inviting the teen in. Sam huffed, but gathered his belongings and climbed in anyway, yelling out the door to his parents (climbing into the family sedan at that moment) that he'd see them afterwards.

The drive was quiet for a few minutes (save for music, of course. Because Bumblebee honestly had a hard time not turning on the radio. He really did enjoy it.) before Sam piped up again.

"You're a lousy, underhanded, cheat; you know that?" He accused, glaring at the dashboard.

"Whatever do you mean?" a sweet girl's voiced chirruped innocently from the radio. Sam could almost hear the sarcastic, knowing tone underneath.

"Don't play dumb with me, Bee. I know exactly what you just did there."

"Do tell! Do tell!"

"You guilt tripped me. Hardcore. You gave me that because-" "-it was a gift-" "NOT just as a gift, but as a bargaining chip. You gave me that, told me the whole story and all so that I would stop complaining and enjoy graduation. Because now," Sam threw up his hands with exasperation," now you've gone a made it so that I'm graduating and doing the whole ceremony shin-dig for both of us."

"BINGOOOOOO!"

"You deceitful bastard."

"-you know that I love you, boy-kzzzt."

"'Not a sentimental mech' my ass."

"D'aw, now ain't that the truth."

Sam snorted and crossed his arms, huffily looking out the window. Another few moments of silence followed.

"…you're tearing up, aren't-ttt you?"

"No, I am not."

[ part ii. ]

"- and don't forget to look for us we should be right…right… Ron, where are we?"

"I told you Judy, we didn't reserve seats; we'll have to find a spot."

"Well then how is Sam supposed to know where we are?"

"It's alright, mom, chill. I'll look for you guys, promise." Sam consoled. His mother turned to him teary eyed again, taking in the image of her son all dressed up in his gown, cap, cords, collar, and tassel. She burst into yet another sobbing fit.

"Oh, my baby boy!" She clutched Sam to her, pressing his head firmly against her shoulder despite the boy's protests.

"Mom, please, I haven't even walked in yet-"

"My grown up baby boy graduating and being a senior!"

"Oh God. Da- It's okay mom. Mom- Mom! Dad, please?"

"Judy, honey, let him go. He can't breathe."

"He can too breathe!" Judy snapped out shrilly, swiping at her husband, who wisely recoiled, and clinging to Sam again. Eventually the boy did manage to pry himself from his mother's grip, and the husband did manage to pull his wife away and into the stadium. Sam, meanwhile, trudged up to the sign-in desk and begrudgingly turned over his camera and phone. (He checked his messages before turning it in. One from Mikela: "See you afterward!"and one, of course, from Bee. "Don't trip! : ) " Yeah. Don't trip. Jerk. ) From then onward, it was as boring as feared.

Stand around. Find Mikela. Find Miles. Talk to his physics teacher. Ask how much longer this was going to be. Be told to line up in alphabetical order.

Oh right. Alphabetical order. Now he remembered why he was so mortified of graduation. He looked forward. An average height girl with reddish hair stood in front of him; he didn't know her first name, but her last was Wells. She was weird. In front of her was Derek Wallace. He was pretty weird too. Sam looked to his back.

Thin air.

Damn you, Archibald Witwicky. Damn you.

There had been a 'Z' kid once upon a time, when all was right in Sam's world. But then he transferred to another school sometime last year, leaving a dismayed Sam as the caboose of the grad-train. It really didn't help that kids got weirder the farther down the alphabet you got. Sam was thankful he looked fairly decent and decidedly un-weird. After a gruesome number of minutes, the line began to inch forward, pairing with the second line (the first half of the alphabet). Thank God. They would have walking partners.

Except for Sam, it turned out.

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Achingly slow, the lines gradually began to make their way into the stadium, towards the set up of chairs. He watched Mikela disappear behind the curtain; remembered meeting her in grade school and not giving up on her since. Miles passed through, and various amounts of good and bad memories returned to him. He could faintly hear the school band playing Pomp and Circumstance on repeat and remembered the brief time he'd been in middle school band. (He had played the trumpet.) He caught a glimpse of his track coach and remembered plenty of grueling hours slogging through dust and mud alike. And just like that, it hit him. He was graduating. A smile broke out across his face just in time for him to step beyond the curtain and be ushered to follow the rest of the students to his seat. The band tied up the tune, and the graduates sat.

The Salutatorian's speech was good; better than the Valedictorians. The principle's and other official's speeches were boring. Sam dutifully stood when the top ten percent of the class was addressed (he'd just barely made it. A tenth of a point less and he wouldn't have.) The teen cheered for his friends as they walked across the stage. And then finally, his turn.

Gulp.

He shakily began walking as the Wells girl climbed the steps. Waited for her to go, then went to greet…whoever he was. A member of the school board, probably. Walk - slower, don't run, "don't trip!" He shook the man's hand, took his diploma, smiled for the camera, made his way to the opposite steps, and saw them.

His mother, in the left of the middle seating tier, was wildly cheering and crying and waving and laughing. His father sat beside her more calmly, but the widest smile Sam had ever seen was plastered on his face, and a video camera held in his hand (were those tears in his eyes?). But those were expected. What Sam hadn't seen coming were the six soldiers at the railing of the topmost row of the stadium.

More appropriately: two soldiers, and four semi-solid holograms of soldiers.

Sam was going to kill every last one of them.

Lennox and Epps hollered and clapped loudly like any soldier with an ounce of pride would. The hologram he recognized as Optimus (a gentle-yet-powerful man in his fifties; neatly combed short brown hair, graying at his temples) smiled and clapped, occasionally cupping his false hands to his false mouth to shout something. Ratchet (another brown haired man Sam was sure he recognized from somewhere other than knowing it was the medic) clapped only politely, but grinned enthusiastically.

Bumblebee, however, was making a complete idiot of himself. The short-cut blonde (Mikela had once accused the scout of scanning Chris Pine as his alternate holoform; the other being a blonde supermodel. The Scout admitted to it. When asked why, he mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like a rushed "I like Star Trek". Weird.) waved almost more wildly than Sam's mother, hooting and hollering at the top of his holographic lungs (come to think of it, there were microphones stuck to the railing…), yelling for anybody who would listen that that boy right there, the one right there, was his little brother. He leaned over the railing, doing his best to shake people and holler that the Sam boy was the "Best slagging kid on the planet!" He was downright obnoxious, and the other bots were apparently enjoying it too much to stop him. The Bee-holo literally jumped up and down when he saw Sam smiling at him, and above the obligatory clapping of the audience he could hear the distinct, raspy, glitchy, slightly British voice yell "GO SAM!" (And Bee must've truly yelled it, because Ratchet quickly leaned over to chastise him about straining his vocalizer.) The display was highly embarrassing, to say the least, and Sam enjoyed every minute of it. Bumblebee was his best friend, his guardian; he had every right to flip out.

Ironhide, on the other hand, had absolutely no excuse.

With some level of horror Sam's gaze finally fell on the weapons specialist. The big, burly, bald, downright scary looking man was roaring, clapping his hands so hard he could probably break someone's skull between them. Sam wondered just what he had done to garner the reaction from big ol' 'Hide when he realized whom the holo was standing above. Football dads. Oh man. No doubt they had cheered for all the football players; cheerleaders, baseball, and basketball too (not soccer, because American football dads do not like soccer). Of course, none of them knew Sam, so none of them cheered for Sam. And not only had this probably bothered the weapons specialist, but Ironhide was simply not to be outdone noise-wise. Judging by the frightened looks on the football dad's collective faces, Ironhide had won.

Sam was thankful to realized he'd been walking to his seat when he finally tore his gaze away. As he sat the principle again stood up and made the closing speech. Girls began taking the bobby pins attaching their caps to their hair out. Guys began tapping their feet excitedly.

"Students, if you would stand please, and move to the center isle."

Sam all but ran, finding Mikela and Miles in the crowd. Mikela bounced on her heels, grabbed his hands and squealed excitedly; the girliest Sam had ever seen her. Miles glanced at her oddly, but waved his arms about just the same, grinning at the two of them.

"Now, you may move your tassel to the left of your cap."

Between shrieks and tears and laughs and groans (Really? Really? How could they not be excited at the point! Shame on them!) the graduates did so, then grabbing the rims of their caps in preparation.

"Congratulations, senior class of 2009."

And Sam drew off his hat, grinned up at Bumblebee, and tossed.

[ fin. ]


I wish my graduation was this fun. C: Haha, belated congratulations to the class of 2010.

And yes, Bee ends up stealing Sam's tassel and hanging it on his rearview mirror. I guess it's an even trade.

Yes, I do imagine Bee's self-holo as '09 Kirk. Can you blame me? He's adorable. And my Bee is totally a '09 Trekkie. Totally.

Yes. You did see that Lady Gaga's Alejandro quote. Your eyes do not deceive you.

Anybody who can guess who I envision Ratchet's holo as gets an e-cookie and hug. There's a hint of it in Bee's description. I really shouldn't have given you that hint. Think similarities. Damnit! I need to stop giving you hints.