Memoirs of the rubber chicken
The groan from somewhere behind him was just loud enough to prod Jazz over that final step from recharge to full wakefulness. Smothering a groan of his own the Special Ops propped himself up on his elbows, intending to get his equilibrium settled before he made another move. Unfortunately his left arm had a different idea as it gave way under him and Jazz rolled off the couch with a startled yelp and a crash.
He lay there on his back for a moment, staring up at the ceiling. Across the room there was a stumble and another crash as someone else tried to get up, this one followed by a few muttered curses as somebody else got tripped over.
Slowly, Jazz inched his way from prone to sitting, and then carefully up to a shaky standing position, leaning heavily on the armrest of the couch as he surveyed the wreckage of the lounge and the dozen odd mechs still passed out on couches, the floor, and a tabletop. "Now that," he grinned, "was a party!"
A red and black forearm rose from behind the couch, it's owner clinging to the backrest with a near death-grip as he clawed his way to his feet. "I think," Sideswipe croaked, one optic screwed shut and the other a washed out blue, "I'd have to agree." He reached down to haul his brother up, both mechs looking absolutely and totally thrashed.
Across the room Ratchet had scraped up enough presence of mind to slide off the tabletop he had been occupying, only to end up sprawled on the floor with an absolutely dumbfounded expression on his face. Jazz would have burst out laughing if it wasn't for the very steadily building throbbing behind his temples and visor. No matter what species you were, hangovers were the pits.
"Somebody kill me…" Blades moaned, sitting up and numbly checking to make sure that everything he was supposed to have was still attached. No way was there going to be a repeat of the rubber chicken incident.
"Me too." Slingshot chimed in, the heels of his hands pressed over his optics in an attempt to manually stem the pain.
Airraid waved one limp arm from behind a toppled couch. "Me three."
Jazz stepped over a well and truly cratered Brawn to help Ironhide to his feet, the older mech muttering a string of curses and pinching the bridge of his nose. "You still all there man?" Jazz grinned, a little less brilliantly than usual, but grinning anyway.
"I'll take that as a yes." Jazz beamed, his joviality rewarded by an utterly black death glare from Ironhide.
As 'bots were either picked up or picked themselves up, Jazz sidled his way over to the main entrance. Someone from the officer's cadre was bound to turn up soon and he wanted to be in an optimal viewing position to view the reaction.
He wasn't disappointed.
The door slid open to admit the Prime himself, who immediately took a reactive step back in response to the stink inside as it wafted out into the hallway. "Quite a party I take it?" He commented rather mildly, optics slightly widened as he took in the state of the place.
"Yup." Jazz grinned. "Things –really- livened up after Prowl left."
One optic ridge quirked slightly. "I can imagine." He took a second look at the lounge, his glance flitting over the very, very, very hung-over mechs. "Estimated recovery time?"
"Um…" Jazz turned and gave the mechs a once-over himself. "How does next month sound to you?"
Prime surprised him by uttering a short laugh. "I think you're being optimistic there Jazz."
"Heh, me too." The Special-Op's grin faltered for a moment, then came back full strength. "We ought to be outta here in a half-hour or so, cleanup crew shouldn't have it too bad this time."
"Indeed." Prime rumbled, canting a glance and a hidden smile to the Porsche. "No rubber chickens this time."
Jazz caught the smile in his voice and grinned back. "Ayup."
Everyone was awake by now, if not in the process of making it to the door and stumbling past the two officers with some attempt at least at a greeting. Not surprisingly most, if not all, were headed in the general direction of the Repair Bay.
"So," Prime looked from the ragged line of Autobots to his 3IC, "as unofficial morale officer, what is your summary of this mission?"
"Suh, complete success, SUH!" Jazz snapped off a Marine-style salute, still grinning. Prime muffled a chuckle. Rare was the day when Jazz couldn't tease a laugh out of him, something that every day he thanked Primus for. Without the mech's contagious good humour acting as a buffer he was quite sure that they would have all killed each other by now.
Optimus patted the shorter mech's shoulder in a silent gesture of comradeship and gratitude. "Go get yourself some painkillers Jazz." He advised. "I'll make sure the rest of them find their way down there."
"Thanks boss." Jazz grinned tiredly, a sliver of his actual weariness slipping through his mask. He could risk relaxing slightly around Prime; he was 'safe' as far as his knife-keen survival instincts were concerned. He tossed off a salute that was more of a wave and headed down to the Repair Bay, where he was quite sure there was a nice cool berth waiting there with his name on it.
First Aid hated this. Yes, he could understand the morale-boosting aspect of throwing a party, especially after a particularly fruitless series of running battles, but it never seemed to enter the party-organiser's processors that someone would have to pick up what was left of the partygoers.
In this case, it was himself and Perceptor.
"Take heart First Aid." The scientist grunted as both he and the apprentice struggled to manoeuvre Inferno's dead weight onto a berth. "At least this time there were no rubber chickens involved."
The younger 'bot grimaced behind his mask. He would have quite happily lived the rest of his days without being reminded of –that- particular incident. The stink of burnt rubber had lingered in the Repair Bay for weeks afterwards.
They somehow got the big 'bot up on the berth without too much embarrassment (he was still mumbling something about a red windmill in French) and quickly started administering the usual post-party treatment- painkillers, dimmed lights and a mild sedative.
"Oh no." First Aid froze and then resolutely turned away as his audios picked up the sound of someone's fuel tank emptying out it's contents the way they came in. Medic he may be, there were some things that he couldn't handle just yet, most prominent of which was a tank purge.
Or as Spike rather colourfully put it- bazooka barfing.
He risked a glance in the unfortunate mech's direction and groaned again. Ratchet. At least, he consoled himself, the CMO had had the presence of mind to use a bucket.
"We missed ya at the party 'Aid."
First Aid jumped as someone dropped a hand on his shoulder, looking over to see Jazz smiling at him. "Parties…aren't my thing." He answered briskly.
"Oh? How come? Most of us figured you'd've been dragged down there for an hour or two at least, what with ol' Hatchet's reputation." He waved one hand in the senior medic's general direction.
"This," First Aid grumped, making a wide gesture at the miserable mechs and their chorus of groans that surrounded them, "is why I wasn't there."
Jazz looked around, then back at the apprentice. "Ah. I see ya point."
"I'm glad someone does." 'Aid nearly growled. "I want hazard pay for this."
That got a laugh out of the mech, who then proceeded to drape an arm around the junior medic's shoulders. "At least," Jazz affected a pronounced slur, "y' can be grateful this ain't no rubber chicken party 'gain. 'Cause that woulda been all kinds a fun an' games for ya."
First Aid rolled his optics skywards in a silent plea for deliverance. "Thanks for reminding me." He answered flatly.
Morning had long since burned away into a pleasantly warm afternoon when Prime managed to escape his office long enough for a brief walk in the sunshine. Once again he was glad of the battlemask covering his face as he saw a number of last night's party animals attempting to recover by spending some time out in the sun. Though he hadn't been in a position to need to try it, he knew that some mechs, Ironhide in particular, swore by the somewhat unorthodox treatment.
He caught a glimpse of Streetwise hobbling inside and made a note to talk to Prowl about getting a couple of days off for First Aid and Perceptor. Dealing with the stench alone almost had him in a full retreat, he couldn't imagine what the two of them were going through.
A smile tugged at his lips as he recalled the last big party that Jazz had organised. He didn't know, nor did he dare ask where the rubber chickens had come from, and as far as he knew the pictures were still circulating back on Cybertron. He knew they'd gotten there; he had forwarded a good half a dozen to Ultra Magnus himself.
Prime paused and looked back the way he'd come, his broad footprints overlaying the tracks and treads of previous travellers. The party had been good last night, a perfect change of pace from the disheartening series of draws, losses and not really wins that they'd suffered recently.
Though in all honesty, Prime severely doubted that anything could ever top the night the rubber chickens came to town.