Ok. It had to happen. I swore I'd never do this, but I did. A TF Xmas fic. It's short, just a bit of sop, and written in a couple of hours. (absolutely, positively, utterly and completely unheard of for me)
Anyway, I hope you might enjoy it. Merry Christmas from Down Under!
An Autobot Christmas
"Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa-la la la la la-la la la, 'tis the season to be jolly-"
The saboteur paused his carolling and looked at his second in command.
"Will you hand me that hydrospanner please?"
Jazz did so, realizing it mustn't have been the first time Prowl had tried to catch his attention.
"Sorry man, Christmas is coming," the Porsche grinned.
Prowl's top half disappeared into the gap they were working on.
Or trying to.
The Decepticons had delivered an early Christmas present to the Ark.
A well-placed united bombardment from both sets of Seekers, and some additional firepower from Megatron's fusion cannon
The impact had blasted right through the rocky volcanic walls, leaving a great gaping hole at the front of the control room.
And destroying an internal energy duct, one that had been designed to collect volcanic heat and convert it to industrial-grade Energon.
"Exactly what they were aiming for," Wheeljack commented bitterly after the dust had settled.
Through no small luck no Autobot had been injured.
Trailbreaker had put in place one of his toughest forcefields, maintaining structural integrity, but repair work was proving slow and difficult.
Prowl sighed, long and low, and reappeared, looking slightly dusty.
"I don't know why I thought I could do anything here when Wheeljack couldn't," he commented, getting to his feet.
"Never hurts to try man,"
"I wish it snowed here Sarge. A white Christmas would be fun,"
Their human friends had tried to explain the concept of Christmas.
Autobots like Jazz had already picked up enough of the custom to throw themselves into the festivities.
Prowl, however, was having a little trouble with the whole thing.
"Um, Carly? Why is there a tree inside?" he'd delicately asked several days ago.
The huge evergreen had taken the Datsun by surprise on his return from patrol one evening, smack dab in the center of the Ark common room.
Carly, Spike and Sparkplug were doing the strangest things to it - hanging small shining things from the branches, draping sparkling strings over it.
"I see," Prowl said blankly, trying to see the logic in hiding wrapped gifts under a decorated tree.
Several Autobots had joined in the tree-decorating, having no difficulty reaching the uppermost branches.
The smallness of the baubles was proving a problem for Autobot hands, so they quickly switched to handling the skinny strings of tinsel and lights instead.
"Ironhide, wait a second," Carly said as the red mech began to position a large gold star on the tree's apex, as per Spike's direction.
"What's up?" Ironhide drawled.
Carly showed her pretty smile.
"Nothing. It's my family's tradition to place the star the very last, after everything else has gone up. That way, the star's light shines the longest,"
"That's very sweet," Tracks commented, trying to disentangle the red tinsel Cliffjumper had wound about his wings.
Prowl recalled how, as the youngest Autobot, Bluestreak had been unanimously elected to place the star at the very top.
The gunner seemed to be having the time of his life with this Christmas business, Prowl had noticed.
The tactician understood the togetherness of friends and family, because the second in command considered the rest of the Autobots family, especially his closest friends.
But some of the other Christmas customs and traditions had him racking his CPU.
Hardest of all for the second in command was the concept of Santa Claus.
Prowl just could not understand it.
"Just go with it Prowl man," Jazz advised with his dazzling grin, "It's all part of the fun. But be a good mech, or Santa won't visit you,"
Now Prowl shook himself out of his thoughts, determined to "go with it" as well as he could.
The idea of giving his friends gifts had appealed to the otherwise lost Datsun, and he admitted to himself he'd enjoyed finding presents for them.
Prowl was especially looking forward to Jazz's reaction to the tactician's Christmas present.
He'd remarked that he was a little disappointed about not being able to give everyone a gift.
"Don't worry about it man. None of us could give every Autobot a present," Jazz had pointed out sensibly, "But I bet Prime gets one from everybody!"
Prowl smiled, thinking of his own gift to the commander.
That was one Optimus wouldn't discover until the next time they played TechChess.
Prowl wandered the living quarters hall after visiting the washrack, gazing at the decorations Bluestreak had so enthusiastically put up with Carly's help.
Prowl came to his quarters, and discovered the one the gunner had selected for the second in command.
The black and white mech studied it.
He hadn't yet seen a real reindeer, true, but he somehow doubted they would have the vivid red nose of the one gracing his door.
There was an air of excitement, warmth and closeness among the Autobots on the night before Christmas.
Christmas Eve, Prowl reminded himself as the rest of the residents of this hall began appearing in doorways.
Prowl joined his neighbours and listened to the animated chatter as they all headed for the heavily "Christmas-ised" (as Jazz put it) common room.
Sparkplug cleared his throat and raised his glass.
"To friends," he said simply.
"To friends," most of the Autobots echoed, copying the human's glass-raising gesture.
"Make sure you're all in bed soon, or Santa won't visit you," Spike teased.
"What about you?" Prime asked, just as teasingly.
Spike shrugged as Carly giggled, and Chip laughed behind his hand.
"Santa Claus stopped coming to me when I was ten," he explained with false innocence.
"Don't worry about it man," Jazz muttered with a grin, seeing the puzzled look on Prowl's face at this exchange.
Later, after the gathered had begun drifting to bed, Prowl slipped into Optimus Prime's office and arranged a brand-new TechChess holo-display on the commander's desk.
Prowl had spent many, many astrohours playing Teletran to find a game strategy that would allow him to lose, and make it look unintentional.
He knew one of Prime's pet goals -for many years now- had been to beat the Datsun fair and square.
Even without effort and handicapped, Prowl was impossible to beat simply because of his faultless logic, and ability to calculate moves.
Whether they be on the battlefield or a TechChess display.
Prowl gave the display a satisfied glance, and reminded himself to issue the game invitation as soon as possible.
"Merry Christmas man!"
The Porsche landed on the foot of the Datsun's bunk with his trademark dazzling grin, effectively jerking Prowl from a sound recharge.
"Morning Jazz," he mumbled from within the headrest.
"Come on Sarge! It's Christmas!" Jazz exclaimed, trying to slip his present under the Datsun's chin, "Open this!"
Prowl smiled into his headrest, just as excited about giving Jazz his Christmas gift, but keeping it well under wraps.
He sat up, and the Porsche thrust it at him.
"Open it man!"
Prowl studied it.
Jazz had managed to wrap -this- in a layer of paper-thin flex-metal, imitating the human custom.
The Datsun picked at it very carefully, trying not to shred the shining wrap, knowing full well how that would add to Jazz's impatience.
"Just rip it Sarge!"
Prowl relented, revealing a shiny, brand new datapadd.
Absolutely brimming with bookfiles the second in command hadn't even heard of, let alone read yet.
"Jazz!" Prowl exclaimed, delighted, "Jazz! You-"
"Don't say it man," the Porsche grinned, "Maybe I shouldn't have but I wanted to. There are three hundred and sixty-five books there man. One for each day of the coming year,"
"You mean I can't start reading them yet?" Prowl questioned, studying his virtual library with sparkling optics.
Jazz shook his head, still grinning.
"Torture," Prowl commented, and the saboteur hugged him with a laugh.
The Datsun slid off his bunk and stretched.
"Have you had your Energon yet Jazz?" he asked.
"No man. I wanted to give you that as soon as I onlined,"
"Well, if you want to join me, there's an extra receptacle in my locker,"
"Sure man," Jazz grinned.
He bounced off Prowl's bunk and tugged open his immaculate locker.
And an electric blue, Autobot-sized imitation of a Fender electric guitar fell forward to meet him.
The Autobot second in command knew he'd never forget the priceless look on his friend's face at that moment.
"Merry Christmas Jazz," Prowl finally ventured.
The Porsche was on one knee, holding the neck of the guitar like a sacred gem.
"Prowl man! How on Cybertron did you do this?!" Jazz gasped, finding his vocalizer.
Prowl shrugged, not about to reveal that.
"Do you like it Jazz?"
"Do I -?! You - I - it's, it's unreal man!" Jazz babbled, "Thanks so much Sarge!"
Jazz lunged at the tactician and almost squeezed dents in his casing.
Prowl smiled and returned the hug.
That had been extroardinarily satisfying.
"What have you got there Bluestreak?" Prowl smiled at the excited young mech.
Jazz had finally let go of the guitar long enough to lay it reverently on his bunk, and they'd joined the excitedly raucous crowd in the common room.
Some Autobots had chosen to slip their friend's gifts under the tree, and were now scrambling to hand them out.
"Prowl! Jazz! Merry Christmas!" the gunner exclaimed, "Look at this!"
He brandished a datapadd programmed with several popular Earth computer games.
Prowl recalled Bluestreak's envy at Bumblebee being able to enter gaming arcades with Spike, and smiled at his excitement.
"And who gave you that man?" Jazz grinned.
"Sideswipe!" Bluestreak announced happily.
"Well, I don't know if this will measure up, but you'd better open it anyway," Prowl said off-hand, handing the silver Datsun his gift.
"Thank you Prowl!" the silver Datsun exclaimed as Jazz took temporary custody of the gamepadd.
Prowl had known about the gamepadd from the word go, and decided to figure out something to go with it.
With Bumblebee's descriptions, the Datsun had reproduced a typical arcade game control panel, right down to the red plastic 'ball' on the up-down-left-right joystick, the raised white buttons, and the recessed clear plastic light-up "bonus" square.
Now he waited eagerly as Bluestreak carefully opened the storage case Prowl had tucked it into.
"Oh Primus," the gunner gasped as his present came into view.
"Look at the shine in those optics man," Jazz teased.
"Just like someone else I saw this morning," Prowl couldn't resist saying.
Bluestreak wore an audio-to-audio grin as he stared at the controls.
"Prowl, thank you so much!" Bluestreak threw his arms around the unprepared tactician.
Never one to miss an opportunity for a hug, Jazz joined in, wrapping an arm around each of the Datsuns.
Prowl was never far from his second-in-command responsibilities however, and soon slipped away to check on the control room's forcefield integrity.
The Ark's nerve center was empty, and quiet apart from pre-set scans.
Prime had given every Autobot a half-day off for Christmas, which meant Teletran was working at full automated capacity.
Prowl walked in, and actually gasped.
The gaping hole had been seamlessly repaired, and the energy collector was up and running.
Wheeljack must have been up most of the night, Prowl thought, silently commending the engineer on his efforts.
"I thought Prime would be here by now," Ironhide remarked above the racket of the Autobots' first Christmas morning.
"Where is the big guy?" Powerglide asked, Energon in hand.
"I haven't seen him yet," Mirage spoke up, a plex-glass encased image of Cybertron from orbit tucked carefully under one arm.
Tracks' gift to the Ligier, Prowl guessed as his commlink chirped.
"Merry Christmas Prowl. Can you come out here for an astrotick? I'm near the pine thicket,"
"Yes Optimus. Uh, merry Christmas,"
"What was all that?" Tracks asked, joining the small group.
"I'm about to find out," Prowl answered.
Word flashed through the crowd, and the entire Ark followed the second in command to Prime.
The Autobot commander kneeled on the ground at the edge of the pine grove, and glanced up as they gathered.
"Merry Christmas," Optimus Prime said warmly to his troops, without getting up.
"Is there anything wrong Prime?" Prowl asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
"No Prowl, not at all. I just wanted you all to see something,"
The Autobots formed a semi-circle at Prime's gesture, and saw what he saw.
Two compressed, parallel tracks in the grass, and what looked like dust, but it was rainbow and shimmered of its own accord.
"Wheeljack, you're sure you didn't attempt to repair the control room wall?" the commander asked quietly.
"Positive Prime," the Lancia flashed with conviction, "I can't do anything with it until we get zeon glass from Cybertron for the conductors. Why?"
"It's been fixed," Prowl spoke up, "It looks like nothing happened,"
"That's impossible," the engineer said in disbelief, "No one's been near it Prowl!"
"Nevertheless, it's been done," Optimus said steadily.
A collective murmur went through the crowd as the Autobots all looked at each other, puzzled.
Prowl slowly scooped up a little of the dust and examined it closely.
"I think we had a very special visit last night," Optimus Prime finally spoke softly.
Prowl looked hit for six.
"Prime," he finally said, finding his vocalizer and closing his fist, "You couldn't possibly be suggesting-"
"I've already run every test I could think of Prowl," Prime said quietly, "they all come up inconclusive, or simply show no reading at all,"
A murmur went through the crowd.
Prowl glanced round the circle of Autobots, and saw an almost child-like sparkle of sudden belief in just about every pair of optics.
And felt again the warmth and closeness emanating from and between his comrades and friends.
Jazz gestured him closer.
"Forget logic just this once man," the saboteur whispered in his audio, "And go with the magic."
Prowl gazed at the shimmering dust in his hand, determined to explain it away, then looked into the shining optics of the young mech beside him.
Jazz slipped an arm over the tactician's shoulders.
Prowl turned Bluestreak's palm up, and carefully poured the glittering substance into the gunner's hand.
"Merry Christmas Bluestreak," he smiled.
"Some things are too special to be explained Prowl man," Jazz whispered, "Like friendship,"
"Yes," the second in command agreed softly, "and the magic of Christmas."
I have no idea if it snows in Oregon at Christmas. Forgive my ignorance as an Australian who has only seen snow once, up to my ankles :)