Pathetic. Utterly pathetic. So stupid it might just kill you. So pointless it makes my head hurt. So ridiculous...you get the picture, right? Teeny bit of angst, lots of stupid. You could squeeze the stupid out of this thing and make eight glasses of stupid-juice. Probably takes place some time in between 'Past 2' and 'Sacrifice', so no Starscream in this one. Wanted to do something with poor, neglected Jets on his own. Also wanted to explore some of the more...er, unfortunate aspects of being Jet Convoy. Apologies to the universe. I just...couldn't...HELP IT...
Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers in any way.
Jetfire: Thank Primus for small miracles...
There were few things in the universe Jetfire despised more than he despised desk work. One was taking a hit to his wings, which he had always been rather vainly proud of. Another was almost certainly losing, a rare occurrence which he nonetheless hated with a passion. But possibly there was nothing, nothing at all, which he despised quite as much as he despised his alternate mode.
More than desk work. More than losing. More than anything.
Not his shuttle mode, mind you. His shuttle mode he positively adored, all curvy white edges and shiny bits. No, most definitely not the shuttle mode.
The other one. His link-up mode.
Few, if any, could possibly understand how fully and completely he hated linking up to Optimus Prime. There were many reasons for this, one being the stifling claustrophobia that seemed to plague half of his waking moments, but became especially pronounced whenever he became the lower half of Jet Convoy. All his manoeuvrability, all his carefully learnt aviation tricks went to naught when the two large transformers linked up, becoming one body. Oh, his skill was there; it just wasn't at his disposal. His technical knowledge and experience was read from his mind like a book by Optimus Prime, who proceeded to use it as best he could.
It wasn't that he was helpless. He could, at any time, break the link, sending them both flying apart. Often in battle, the need to do just that had been almost overpowering. Not that Optimus knew anything about it, of course. The link permitted them to share thoughts, instincts, reactions, experience. Not emotion. Not fear. And, for that, at least, Jetfire was thankful.
And, sometimes, it wasn't all that bad. Provided he could immerse himself in the battle and forget that he wasn't in control of his own movements. When he wasn't thinking about it, it was usually as fine as wine, thank you so very.
Of course, there were other reasons as to why he hated his link-up mode. This was one of them.
"The first man to laugh is going to spend the next five months in the brig", he growled.
With supreme effort, Hot Shot managed to choke back a snigger, as Smokescreen gave a rather suspiciously merry cough.
There had been a battle. Not a very bad one, as battles went. With one small exception.
Another Minicon panel had activated. Under the sea. Jetfire had nothing against the sea. He could clearly understand its importance and, as long as it was a safe distance from him, it was rather pretty. Going into it, however, was sheer hell.
He hadn't spoken a great deal, earning a few questioning glances from the others, who were unaware of how hard the Air Commander was trying not to scream. There had been a bad moment with a shark but, for the large part, he'd kept it together, even going so far as to assist Smokescreen in unearthing the Minicon when they'd found where it was buried. Specifically, under twenty metres of muddy, filthy oceanic sludge and seaweed.
And, of course, the Decepticons had arrived.
They'd linked up, upon Prime's request. They'd kicked 'Con keister, which was alright by Jetfire. He'd actually begun to have fun, ducking and diving amongst incoming fire, bubbles dancing around like little demons. It hadn't been all that bad, really, right up until the point where a shot from Cyclonus had somehow managed to sandwich them against a large mound of rock. Seeing Convoy's predicament, Smokescreen had had the bright idea of sending up a blast to ward Cyclonus away from the linked-up Autobots. Which would have worked really well, had not the shot gone a little bit wide, taking Cyclonus out of commission, but also succeeding in frying Jetfire's anti-gravity mechanisms and bringing half the rock wall itself down on Jet Convoy's head.
Optimus had been fine. Of course Optimus had been fine. When was Optimus not fine? Once the rubble had been cleared away and they'd been taken back to the surface (blessed relief!), both Jetfire and Optimus had detached themselves from one another and the whole embarrassment had begun right there. Because Jetfire had been on the receiving end of most of the rubble, one third of his bodywork had been effectively battered into something not unlike a large, metallic sweet-wrapper. He'd tried to transform and had only then realized just how bad the damage was.
Which was why Jetfire, Autobot Second-In-Command, Leader of the Autobot Air Forces and the Best Damn Flyer In The Army, was now lying on the floor in the middle of the med-bay, smelling faintly of seaweed and stuck in a state he had once heard Carlos jokingly refer to as 'Optimus Prime's pants'.
"I hate you all", he muttered, as his threat went completely ignored and half the Autobots in the room cracked up laughing for the ninth time.
Red Alert had managed to staunch most of the cuts, so he was no longer in danger of deactivation through a lack of fuel. Deactivation through sheer, unholy humiliation was a different matter. The rest of his teammates, never mechs to let one of their own suffer alone, had gathered to watch the repair process. Also, to call out charming little slogans from time to time.
Technically, Jetfire didn't have optics in this mode, rendering him effectively blind, a fact which spared him the smirks that he just knew Scavenger and Hot Shot would be throwing him. He could, however, sense footsteps approaching him and, judging by the noise they made, had a reasonably good guess as to whom these ones belonged to.
Without seeing it, he could well imagine Hot Shot's grin as he knelt over the fallen Air Commander, and said innocently, "So. Jetfire. Been pantsed?"
"Go scrap yourself."
"Alright, everyone, out", ordered Optimus's voice, sounding as though he was suppressing a childish urge to giggle. "Let's leave Red Alert to work in peace."
Grumblings and snickers were heard as the Autobots filed out, leaving Jetfire and Red Alert alone in the room. As they were left in peace at last, Jetfire could have sworn he heard a sort of splashing noise as Optimus walked out, accompanied by Sideswipe's soft giggling.
Commettor sat perched on the med-table, peering at the proceedings with disinterest. Despite Red Alert's best efforts, moving the set of damaged legs that was Jetfire around so that he remained on the table was impossible, so now the winged Autobot lay on the floor, in a small puddle of self-pity and despond.
"You know", said Red Alert suddenly, picking up a tool he had learned to think of as 'The Spiky Green One That Makes The Weird Ringing Noise', "it's funny."
Jetfire struggled but, for once, could not see anything even remotely humorous about this situation. "What?", he said at last.
"Nothing", replied the medic after a pause. Jetfire sighed.
"Why me?", he asked sourly after a while, feeling the burning need to take his mind off the fact that he was blind, paralyzed and bored stiff. "Why doesn't this sort of stuff ever happen to Optimus? Or Blurr? Why does this sort of slag always happen to me?"
Red Alert gave a non-committal response, activating a tool Jetfire thought sounded a lot like 'The Odd-Shaped Blue One With The Sort Of Hook On The End'.
It was cruel to resent Optimus for being intact, he knew. And he also was well aware of why this sort of slag always happened to him. The reckless one, the trigger-happy one, the loud-mouthed, easily-bored flyer who had somehow become Second-In-Command. Heck, he might as well paint a bull's-eye on his skidplate and be done with it.
It wasn't so bad. Back in his earlier days, this sort of slag had happened to him a lot more. Practically every day, he remembered, he would walk into the repair bay on Cybertron with a missing arm or a ripped wing.
Of course, more often than not back then, such injuries hadn't been due to battle or surprise attacks. Back then, Jetfire had been quite capable of damaging himself quite extensively with only his own free time and a few cubes of that magic, icy liquid by his side. Ah, yes. The rat of memory scurried, nibbling at a few choice images.
Surge. That was what they'd called it. Good ol' Surge. Tasted like Heaven, sent you to Hell and when you came out of it you'd be lying in the middle of some alleyway, coughing up fuel with a headache that would last you the week. Many times, Jetfire remembered-...
He stopped abruptly, pulling his mind back from that particular dark pit. Instead, he turned his attention to a much-hated but usefully diverting topic; his deskwork. Mentally, he began running through the lists of forms to be filled out, counting the number of energon crates that needed to be sent off from one planet to another. As his mind set to work, Red Alert continued welding out the dents on his link-up mode.
...-and then, of course, good ol' Op had come along. And just like that, he'd been boosted up the ladder of promotion and now? Now, he was a desk-pounding, report-filing...clerk. Yes, that was right. A clerk. A bloody clerk. Still, it was better than it had been. Better than the Old Days. That was one thing Jetfire could say he was certain of.
"What's funny", said Red Alert after a while, in a quiet voice that startled Jetfire from his musing, "is how some people don't mind laughing at other people. And how some people would sooner die than laugh at some other people."
Jetfire tried to work this one out, failed, and said, "Red, what the heck are you talking about?"
Again, there was a moment of silence, before the medic replied, "You can't see anything like this, can you, Jetfire?"
"No." Sulk, sulk, sulk.
"Hmm. Did you hear anything, when we were taking you back to the surface?"
"No." In truth, he'd barely been conscious by the time they'd reached dry land again. He had heard Scavenger and Hot Shot muttering about something...odd, but he had hardly been in any condition to make sense of whatever it was they were giggling about. He'd assumed it was him.
"Hmm. Thought not. You see", continued Red Alert, getting to work on the final piece of ruptured circuitry, "after I'm done with you, I've got some work to do on Optimus Prime."
Something about the way he said it made Jetfire pause.
"...What kind of work?", he asked, barely daring to hope.
Blithely, Red Alert replied, "Oh, the kind of work that involves removing the ink that giant squid left all over him."
"...You're kidding", said Jetfire, quietly.
"Hmm. The damned thing won't come off, either. Keeps clinging to his head, for some reason. I may have to ask the kids for help."
"Fascinating creature, actually. Sort of lilac. We've had to keep dumping water on his head so the poor thing won't dry out."
Jetfire lay on the ground, waiting patiently for Red Alert to finish up, and pictured the sight of his proud, aloof commander standing before his troops with an aquatic Earth creature clinging to his head. His vocalizer had been damaged, making it difficult to talk, but he managed a weak, heartfelt chuckle. Poor ol' Op. Heh. Heh. A giant squid. Heh. Hehehehehe.
Suddenly feeling inexplicably better than he had in a while, Jetfire reflected that it wasn't a bad day, all things considered.