A.N. – Oh no... I'm telling you, I'm not cut out for fanfic-writing. That's it. I'm going to get my tablet out and get to work on more pics. Enjoy the mess.

This takes place after the events of "Endgame: Part II". Team Prime has managed to retrieve Prowl's Spark from the Well with help from Vector Sigma (I won't go into details), and Prowl is back on Earth, learning how to make the most of his second chance. This means he will actually-probably-hopefully start thinking that playing Twister is fun- but for now, here's some Bumblebee/Prowl buddy time. I hope I've kept these two in-character. :(

Oh, and as for birthdays, Sari chose birthdays for all of her robotic friends.

Warning: none. No pairings here. (But you'll probably find some, you stubborn people.)

Small Steps


Sweet whispering wind

Dragonfly wings cut the sky-

New wheat heads flutter


Prowl's tan-fingered hands hovered over a strip of billboard sheeting, holding an industrial paintbrush in what he desperately hoped was the proper position for calligraphy. In the end, the poses his servos took up had no impact on the quality of his work, for no matter how careful he was with the paintbrush and thinned black liquid, the sweeping tails of his human English letters had much to be improved on.

"Hmmph," Prowl grunted to himself at the sight. His "f"s looked stupid. So did his "w"s. The billboard sheet was promptly moved to the side as the robot moved onto a new sheet with new hope of improving his penmanship.

A thundercracking slam threw Prowl into an extreme crouch as he tried to save the sheet from the paintbrush's sudden movement. A drop fell, and his floor was no longer pristine. Prowl glared at the offending noise from the other side of his up-and-over door.


"Bumblebee," he growled, using a damp towel to soak up the paint. No sooner had he said the name that the young bot called again.

"Hey, Prowl! You up for a little game of hockey in the back?" Bumblebee shouted from the other side of the door.

"No, thank you," Prowl responded firmly, checking on the inkspot. It refused to be removed.

"Why, what's up?"

"I'm working on something right now," Prowl sighed. "Ask Sari and Bulkhead."

"They're already playing with me! The Big Guy is my goalie, and Sari needs a teammate. Prime's kinda sticking around the console and you know Old Coot Ratchet's not gonna get up and move his butt anytime soon."

The ninjabot actually let a slight smile sneak into his mouthplates as he sent a wireless signal to the lock on his door's retraction area. A chunky yellow bot looked nervously into the room, and Prowl beckoned for him to come forward. "Come in, Bumblebee."

Bumblebee made a face of intense disgust as he held back. "No way, you're probably gonna make me meditate again."

"I'll be out in a few minutes, I promise," Prowl told him, gesturing at his papers. "I'm just... Practicing."

"With what?" Bee asked, forgetting everything about his fears of being forced to sit down and clear his mind for once. He trotted into the room briskly to check out what the ninja had been doing. Prowl quickly tried to cover up his attempts at neat handwriting, but Bee was altogether too fast for him- he grabbed one of the sheets and raced around the gigantic tree growing in the middle of Prowl's room. Prowl actually leapt up and stalked towards Bumblebee with a servo outheld without considering for a moment that Bumblebee, the Bumblebee, the Detroit Speed Demon, was phenomenally fast at close quarters. He barely advanced four steps when suddenly, Bumblebee was at the other end of the room with the sheet (and attempting to read it). "Whoa, what is this?"

"It-it's calligraphy," Prowl huffed. "Bumblebee! Please, give it ba-"

"What's it for?" Bee asked from another corner of the room.

"It was supposed to be a birthday present for Bulkhead," Prowl admitted with a heavy sigh. He adjusted his visor, embarrassed. "I... I saw all of you working on presents for him, and... I didn't want to sit out any birthdays, not since I got back."

Bumblebee's optics gazed over the admittedly sloppy brushstrokes that the ninja had painstakingly applied to the paper. "Your handwriting's kinda... Like mine." He looked up at Prowl, a new expression flitting across his face that seemed to border on something like... Understanding. "You never showed me your handwriting before. You always typed."

"Because I was embarrassed," Prowl stressed, taking the paper back and checking his work. "I've never had any use for handwriting; data pads are all I have used since I joined the team, and I didn't have a use for writing for the first part of my life. I will continue practicing so that I can fix it up before Thursday."

Bumblebee walked with him to his work station and immediately set to picking up the implements and fingering them curiously. "Woo... And you're planning to write that on- that?" He picked up a large wooden board from its hiding place behind Prowl's immaculate desk, lifting it to his chest. "Whoa Nelly, this thing's fracking heavy! What's the big guy gonna use it for, a bench?"

"No, it's going to be a plaque," the ninjabot groused as he sat in front of a clean sheet of billboard paper , loaded paintbrush in servo. "Put it back, please."

"A plaque. Really?" Bumblebee asked with a deadpan expression cemented to his faceplate. "Seriously, Prowl? A plaque. About wheat. Bulkhead's not a wheat person, if you haven't figured it out."

"I know." Suddenly Prowl was hunched over with his helm in his palms. He sighed heavily. "Ever since Vector Sigma granted me life again, I... I've found it harder to hold onto my solitary faculties and maintain focus on impersonal endeavors, and... It's easier for me to feel stressed or helpless, and uncreative. I just don't know what else to do. And it's tomorrow."

Bumblebee watched the stoic ninjabot struggle onto a few threads of sane dignity as he fell down the rabbit hole into real life, and it was only when Prowl's visor shut off that Bumblebee put the wooden board on the floor and gingerly eased himself onto his belly next to Prowl with a truly concerned look on his face. He stuck his face near Prowl's. "Hey, Prowl? Maybe I can help."

"How can you help?" Prowl muttered into his palms. "I can barely help myself."

"No, no, seriously!" Bee said eagerly. "Listen, Bulky says he likes samurai stuff, like the bushido-whatever thingy and that silk art stuff from Japan. Maybe... You can write something about that."

"Bulkhead likes ancient Japan," Prowl half-asked incredulously, finally onlining his visor and staring at Bumblebee. "He's a contemporary-"

"He likes it," Bee repeated firmly. "Unless you wanna go ahead and give him this slag-" One look from Prowl made the sentence die on Bumblebee's vocalizer plates. A nervous laugh took its place. "Hey, man, whatever you want. I'm sure Bulkster would like it."

"Bumble-BEEEE!" Sari's resonating whine bounced off the walls in the hallway, reminding Bumblebee of his hockey match. "Aren't you coming? PRIMUS!"

Bumblebee jumped up and bounded to the door. "Coming, Sari!" He whipped around. "So... You're gonna be busy, huh?"

Prowl looked up quickly. "...Not for too long. I... I think I know what I'm going to do. I'll be outside in a bit. Start without me."

"Okaaay, I don't know how we're gonna play a three-person hockey game, but... Don't rush the plaque," Bumblebee said with a wink. "See ya!"

As soon as the sound of screaming tires was out of audioshot, Prowl smiled and returned to his calligraphy with new ink in his brush and a fresh idea in his processor. Of course, it was only after a few minutes of thought about the green behemoth that Prowl could feel what words to say, the words he could use to keep up Bulkhead's strong sense of will and passion. It would be a while until Prowl could show some kind of competence in non-combat tasks, but as long as Bulkhead could meditate and Bumblebee could be respectful (and Prime could be bold, and Ratchet could be considerate), then Prowl too could be a bit more comfortable with others. His handwriting was no more smoother than before, but the meaning came out stronger:

Snow-touched metal skin

Sacred sunrise, heart aflame-

The Warrior's way.