There are some things in this universe that are utterly predictable. Not a whole lot of them, no, but there are a few here and there. One thing would be, say, the rotational rate of a pulsar. The other would be that, every Friday afternoon, there will be a staff meeting at Autobot Headquarters, one that will last, on average, two hours, seventeen minutes, and forty-two seconds.
I have trouble keeping my mouth shut – much less sitting still – for that long. So, usually, I'll weasel my way out of the things, using the flimsiest of excuses if I have to. But sometimes I find myself caught without even a flimsy excuse to offer. So, I find myself stuck attending the weekly staff meeting. And when that happens, without fail, I get bored.
It had been…one hour, twenty-seven minutes, and eleven seconds since this latest torture session had started. I had already sat through Optimus Prime's opening remarks, suffered through Red Alert's interminable weekly paranoid lecture, and was now halfway through listening to Ratchet's weekly rant. And I knew that Perceptor was on the agenda for this particular soiree, too…which meant that this Friday afternoon meeting could very well stretch all the way into, say, Tuesday. I had to fight to keep from whimpering aloud at the thought.
Instead, I decided that it was time to take matters into my own evil hands, yes. After all, Prowl was up next to give his weekly report, once Ratchet finished yelling at all of us about being reckless yahoos with no concern for our safety and/or for his sanity; it was hard to tell which he was more worried about, actually. And Prowl… Oh, I had ways of dealing with Prowl, yes…
At the thought, I chuckled evilly. I thought I did so only in my head, except that Trailbreaker, sitting next to me, shifted his considerable bulk in his seat and shot me an inquiring and slightly desperate glance.
"Bored, Trailbreaker?" I whispered at him before he could say anything, as Ratchet finished up his rant and Prowl rose to his feet.
"The word 'bored,' Jazz," Trailbreaker fervently whispered back, "can't even hope to describe it. Plus, I've got a hot date with Dead Man's Gorge."
Ahhhh, Dead Man's Gorge. It was the favorite hangout of the recreational off-roading crowd that resided at Autobot Headquarters. All two of them. It was also, outside of the Decepticons, the bane of poor Ratchet's existence. He'd threatened to "single-handedly fill in the damned thing" on more than one occasion. But Trailbreaker, of course, practically lived there. Obviously, he'd want to ditch the meeting ASAP in order to go commune with nature. Or tear it up. One of the two. So I gave him a smug grin.
"Trailbreaker, m'man," I said as I watched Prowl move to the front of the room, "I guarantee you that we'll be outta here in…twelve minutes. Tops."
Trailbreaker gave me a long and skeptical look, and then I watched as his gaze slid toward Prowl before returning to me. He suddenly looked rather dangerously amused.
"You're bad," he declared under his breath, apparently surmising my plan. Not surprising, really; Trailbreaker was a smart guy. Besides, I imagine that the way I was looking at Prowl probably clearly communicated my intentions, anyway.
"Nope, not bad," I said cheerfully, watching and admiring the way Prowl moved. "Just bored. And I'm dangerous when bored."
Trailbreaker snickered and then leaned back in his seat, getting comfortable for the forthcoming "show," A wide, anticipatory grin adorned his ever-cheerful face.
"Prowl, my friend," he said quietly to no one in particular, "I pity you on so many levels."
"Ingrate," I muttered without heat as Prowl settled at the front of the room, at ease even with all eyes on him, and launched with little preamble into his presentation.
He'd spent quite a while preparing that presentation, too. His job at these meetings was generally to analyze and report on anything having to do with new Decepticon tactics and innovations and stuff and to present possible countermeasures that might be effective against those things. Given that last week the Decepticons had gained a combiner team in the form of the Combaticons… Well, there was quite a lot for Prowl to report, of course.
He'd even been good about ignoring my attempts at…distraction while he'd put together his presentation for this meeting, so much so that I had eventually given up and left him to drown in paperwork, computer simulations, and rhetoric. Hell, even convincing him last night that he'd needed a recharge had been a Herculean effort on my part, so caught up Prowl was in his analysis and his report preparations. I'd had to threaten to whack him over the head with an I-beam until he was unconscious before he'd reluctantly agreed that it would probably be better to be conscious while giving his presentation and had finally trudged off to bed with me as if he was heading for a gallows.
All that work on poor Prowl's part… Too bad it would all be for nothing, if I had my way…
I leaned back in my seat, trying to get comfortable. Cradling the back of my head with both hands, fingers interlaced, I stared at Prowl and concentrated on the bond between us. What I was going to attempt to do… Well, despite my assurances to Trailbreaker, I wasn't sure that I could do it, actually. The bond between Prowl and me was still very new in the grand scheme of things. It was only a couple months old, which hardly registered as an eyeblink on a Cybertronian time scale. What I was planning was something that could be easily accomplished by someone who'd been with his bondmate for maybe a couple million years, but just a few months…? The odds of success were slim at best, yeah. Still, I was determined to try. After all, I had nothing to lose but another hour or so of complete boredom. If I could replace an hour or so of boredom with something infinitely more pleasant… Well, Prowl had been ignoring me most of the week and all… I would consider this something of a payback for that…
But for a minute or so, I just listened to Prowl talk, letting his mellifluous voice wash over me as I concentrated on him, stared at him. He noticed me staring, too…and took pains to avoid my gaze, knowing, of course, that it would distract him. Primus forbid! So, bringing all of my concentration to bear, I focused on the bond between him and me, concentrated on sending my thoughts across the tenuous connection between our sparks. I leaned forward as I did so, resting both elbows on my knees, and stared even more intensely at my mate, He, meanwhile, continued to look anywhere else but at me.
Nice try, I "said" to him. You think it's that easy to ignore me, love?
He "heard" me, too. I knew right away that he heard me. And I could tell that it surprised him. Hell, it surprised me, too! Like I said, I wasn't at all sure that my evil plan would work, wasn't at all sure that our bond was yet strong enough for this sort of communication across a fairly large room, much less that my "voice" in his head would be enough to distract him. But obviously it was.
Prowl's eyes widened a tiny bit. His hand clenched momentarily on the datapad he held. He paused ever so slightly in the middle of a word, a pause so brief that probably no one else noticed it. But I noticed it…and I was encouraged. But, regaining his composure after a quick "What the hell do you think you're doing?" glance at me, Prowl continued with his presentation. I let him continue, let him think that he was off the hook…for about thirty seconds. Then:
You look so damn hot up there, baby, I sent mischievously. You know that?
This time, the thought was enough to make Prowl stop speaking altogether for more than a few seconds in mid-phrase, enough to make him level a wide-eyed look of utter shock at me. I just regarded him in return with an expression that was carefully schooled to complete innocence. Prowl blinked at me a few times…and then Trailbreaker next to me was suddenly plagued with a coughing fit that sounded suspiciously like it was covering up a fit of hysterical laughter. Now, this time the break in Prowl's composure was obvious enough that some of the others had noticed it…but Trailbreaker's distraction was enough that Prowl was able to regroup and, after a brief but significant glare in my direction – to which I responded with the sweetest and most innocent of grins – he returned to his presentation as if nothing had happened. The others went back to listening to him. Only one or two of them glanced curiously in my direction.
I, meanwhile, leveled a glare at Trailbreaker.
"You are so not helping here," I hissed indignantly at him.
"Sorry, sorry," he murmured apologetically, though he sure didn't look very sorry. He looked vastly amused, in fact. Then again, all things being equal, just about everything vastly amused Trailbreaker. He could look at a boulder sitting in the desert and find something amusing about it...
Sighing resignedly, I went back to the task at hand. But I found that I had completely lost my focus…and my twelve minutes were steadily ticking down, of course. Prowl was, once again, happily lecturing about the finer points of dealing with a combiner while I settled down determinedly to regain my concentration. He wasn't getting away from me that easily, oh no… It took me a minute or two to get a clear "connection" again, but when I did…
Do you have any idea, I whispered silkily in his mind, exactly what I'd like to be doing to you right this very second?
That one got him, indeed. His voice went up an octave as he was speaking, and he dropped his datapad. He glared at me as he bent to pick it up while I just grinned lecherously at him, letting every iota of my desire for him show on my face. And then I heard his voice in my head…which somehow only managed to ramp my desire for him up another two or three notches.
Stop…it… he demanded desperately of me. I don't know why you're doing this, but stop it.
As if he thought I would heed his request, Prowl determinedly straightened his shoulders and went back to his presentation, even though he was obviously flustered now. Several of the Autobots in the audience were now openly shooting me amused and, in some cases, thankful glances. I smiled softly and let Prowl get on with his report for a couple of minutes. I watched the tension leave his body as he began to think that he was now off the hook, as he continued to speak, his occasional demonstrative gestures becoming once again smooth, graceful, confident.
Yep, I decided, now was the time to deliver the coup de grace.
Hmmm… Stop what? I asked innocently of Prowl.
Without missing a beat in his presentation – because my fast-learning love was rapidly adjusting to the idea of communicating in this manner – Prowl primly answered, Stop talking in my head. It's distracting.
I chuckled victoriously aloud for a moment before I silently answered, Oh. OK. Sure, I'll stop talking in your head, love. No problem.
Thank you, Prowl replied…just before I started sending him all sorts of precise, graphic images of what I'd like to be doing to him at that very moment. Prowl flinched under my onslaught, closed his eyes as if that would somehow deflect away from him the images I was sending directly into his mind. Valiantly, he tried to continue his presentation. It was a wonderful effort…but it failed. Especially once I began slowly, lightly tracing my own Autobot symbol with one finger, making sure that I sent the tactile sensations along to Prowl, on top of the…uh, intense images that I was already sending him.
Finally – perhaps mercifully – it was too much for poor Prowl. In the middle of an otherwise unrelated sentence he yelled, "Meeting adjourned!"
A confused babble of voices subsequently broke out in the meeting room, particularly from an outraged Perceptor. Optimus Prime began to say something to Prowl that I couldn't quite catch above the murmurings and shoutings of my fellow Autobots, but I clearly heard Prowl reiterate his adjournment of the meeting. There was an un-Prowl-like pleading desperation on his face as he spoke to Optimus Prime, and he cast a quick glance at me, as if to say "It's his fault!" And I think that more than anything else made a light bulb go off over Prime's head.
Raising his voice to be heard above the crowd, Optimus Prime announced, "You heard Prowl. Go in peace."
From around the room, there were various noises of relief, and none were louder than Trailbreaker's.
"Woo!" he whooped, clapping me on the back before he sprang happily to his feet. "Nine minutes and nineteen seconds! You are the man, Jazz. I owe you a big one."
"Eh," I said, shrugging, "I'll just put it on your tab, TB."
Trailbreaker just grinned at me and practically skipped toward the door. I, meanwhile, looked across the sea of mingling, yammering Autobots at Prowl and met his gaze unflinchingly. He was glowering at me, his arms folded tightly below his protruding chest, his posture stiff with embarrassment, no doubt, but even more so with profound annoyance. He was one unhappy camper, indeed. But there was also, I noticed, a distinct glimmer of amusement – not to mention a simmering desire – in his eyes, and a traitorous smile kept trying to tug insistently at one corner of his otherwise scowling mouth.
Once everyone left the room…Oh, then I intended to make that smile of his a lot wider, too…
You, Prowl was fervently promising me meanwhile, are going to pay for that, Jazz.
Heh, I look forward to paying off that particular debt, Prowl, I crooned back to him, leering at him. Very slowly and in full, I added lecherously…and I had the singular satisfaction of seeing Prowl suddenly feel a need to find a chair and sit down. Just to be extra cruel, as he settled himself in the chair, I airily added, And maybe I'll even pay you some interest while I'm at it…
Prowl just stared at me after I thought that at him, speechless, his mouth hanging open and his gaze burning with an intensity that I had rarely seen in private and had never seen in public. And suddenly I realized that I was just as much a victim of my evilness as Prowl was.
Because I wanted him.
Maddeningly, though, it seemed to take forever for everyone to leave the meeting room. I'd thought that they'd flee right away, overjoyed at the unexpected reprieve. Some had done just that, sure. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker had galloped away, hooting joyfully as they went, off to do who knew what, although if I knew them – and I did – it was likely to be something that we'd hear about from the police the next day. And Trailbreaker had offered me a final, grateful salute before he'd slipped out the door, Hound drifting silently in his wake. But many others seemed quite determined to stand around in the meeting room and chat with each other instead of going off to enjoy their afternoon of liberation.
Meanwhile, I was squirming under Prowl's intense, almost feral gaze. I wanted nothing so much as to scream at the others to leave right that very second, but it seemed like hours before they finally began to drift toward the door and wander away. Optimus Prime, in fact, after exchanging a few words with Prowl, was the last to leave. As he approached me, he paused and looked down at me with an unreadable expression on his face. Then he glanced meaningfully back at Prowl, who was staring at me with single-minded fixation and who was so tense now that even his door panels were trembling, before settling his gaze back on me.
"You," he announced, "are evil."
I grinned lazily at him and answered, "Well, it's a damned good thing I work for you, then, huh?"
Prime snorted, shook his head ruefully, and left…but not before he murmured quietly to me as he passed by, "Try not to destroy the place, all right?"
Our fearless leader didn't wait for my reply, though, so I just snickered at him as he left, made a show of locking the door behind him…and then turned and settled my attention on Prowl, whose full, feverish attention was already all over me…
"Ahhhh, alone at last," I cooed at him.
"Shut up and get over here, you bastard," Prowl growled.
And you know… Maybe these meeting things aren't such a bad idea after all. As I chuckled deep in my throat and sauntered toward my mate, I made a mental note to attend them more often, in fact…