Off Duty

Prowl looked over all of his datapads one last time. He had finished the work on each of them, finally. So he could upload and relay the information. It had taken the better part of three days to get his desk clear of datawork. All interrupted of course, between the pranks and Wheeljack, Prowl was sure he would never get to enjoy some time off. He sent the data and checked his messages one last time. Satisfied that there was nothing important waiting, he left his office.

He warily made his way for the Ark entrance, certain that someone would stop him, need him to make a decision, need his assistance, plan for the next battle. Yet no one did. The only others he saw were Optimus and Sunstreaker, of all bots, down a side corridor, talking. And he figured he knew just why no one had stopped him.

Then Jazz spotted him, and inwardly Prowl groaned. He would never get away. Interference, interference. Jazz talking equals never shut up. Worse than Bluestreak. Ah, but Jazz and music equals, relatively, quiet Jazz.

"Prowl, man, where ya headed?"

"Out," the tactician tersely replied.

Jazz grinned. "It looks like a great night for a drive, want some company?"

Prowl quickly pulled an audiotape out of subspace. "Well, I was thinking about looking at some of the outlying terrain to come up with a better emergency plan. Extracting Hound from that rock slide would have been much more efficiently accomplished if we had gone over more negotiable ground. Ratchet complained that it had taken much too long to reach him. If the slide had happened further out, in similar terrain, we may have been too late."

Jazz's smile faded. The Datsun knew the last thing the Porsche wanted was to be anywhere near the tactician while he considered tactics or anything remotely similar. Still Prowl felt bad for Jazz. He held up the colorful case in his fingers. "I was thinking you might be interested in the newest Madonna cassette. Perhaps even Blaster might enjoy it?" He would just have to pick up a replacement.

Jazz held out his hand, wriggling his fingers eagerly. "Nah, Blaster hates her."

Prowl dropped the cassette into Jazz's palm.

The saboteur quirked his mouth to one side and he subspaced the case. "Y'know if you didn't want me to go, y'could've just said so." With that he walked away.

The Datsun sighed and took those last few steps to freedom. As soon as his feet hit the packed dirt, he transformed and drove away from the big orange ship.

"Optimus to Prowl."

Prowl put more distance between him and the base. "Prowl here." He couldn't just ignore Prime.

"What's your status, Prowl?"

No matter how much he wanted to. "I am off duty, sir."

Though the line remained open, Prime said nothing for a long moment. When he did finally speak, he sounded surprised. "Enjoy your time off then. Report to me when you return to duty."

"Affirmative." Prowl sat low on his suspension. Prime wouldn't be saying that if he knew just how the Datsun was planning on spending his time.

The sun sat low behind the trees, casting the sky into flames. In turn those flames danced upon the red finish of a lone figure, sitting on a small hill. Prowl stopped and transformed, pausing to admire the sight. An unbidden image of red armor riddled with holes, smoking and sparking rose before his mind's optics. He squashed that particular thought with some difficulty.

The tactician opened a tight link. "You might as well light a beacon, wave a flag and start shouting 'Here I am!'"

A laugh answered him. "Yeah, well any Seeker'd be able to see you , no problem. Even Cliffjumper wouldn't be able to miss you!"

Prowl made his way through the trees and plopped down next to the Lamborghini. Without another word he wrapped Sideswipe up in a crushing hug. Surprised, the melee warrior returned the embrace, though not as desperately.

"Slag, Prowl! What brought that on?" The red twin cocked a grin at the tactician. "You'd almost think it's been over four million years since we'd last been alone together."

The crew of the Ark had awakened only a year ago. They had been kept busy between Megatron, the humans, and rebuilding their army.

"I don't think a single unit has ever seen so much action in such a short period of time." Prowl's door wings drooped slightly. "I surmise I'm not used to seeing you come in so badly wounded so often.

Sideswipe rested his hands on the Datsun's shoulders. "And you have to order me in, is that it?" The Lamborghini kissed Prowl's lips reassuringly. "I'm not holding it against you. You have your job, I have mine. We both knew what the risks were when we signed up for the gig." The Lamborghini laughed. "Although, you signed up way before I came around."

Prowl sighed, leaning his forehead against Sideswipe's shoulder. You just don't get it. Sometimes I wish I was as sparkless and calculating as the rumors paint me. But he did have feelings. He just wasn't allowed to act on them, or he would risk shorting out his battle computer. And here Sideswipe is telling me what I logically already know.

However last week Sideswipe had almost died. Again. If Ironhide hadn't gotten away and radioed the Ark, the Decepticon triplechangers would have had themselves a handsome trophy. Prowl had been the one to select Sideswipe for that mission. Knowing full well the danger he'd been placing both of the soldiers. Prowl also knew that if the same mission came up again, he would choose no differently.

Why couldn't Vector Sigma have let him be soldier material rather than officer?

These were sentiments Prowl couldn't quite put into words. They got muddled in his battle computer, and when he thought too long and hard on them, it threatened to shut down. So he expressed his feelings with kisses upon Sideswipe's lips and neck, in fingers digging into armor plating. Then the desperate kisses turned passionate and Sideswipe eagerly returned them, dancing his own fingers over Prowl's door wings.

Prime would have both their heads if he caught them together. He'd never trust his second-in-command, again. Officers didn't fraternize with the soldiers. No matter how long the war. Or how lonely.

Later, after night had darkened the sky, they lay side by side, passion sated. Sideswipe sighed, rolling his head to look at Prowl. "We really should do this more often."

A laugh rumbled through Prowl's ventilators. "It is really hard finding free time with certain nameless bots pulling childish pranks every time I turn around."

The Lamborghini snickered. "How else would you know I care?"

A smile tugged at the corner of Prowl's lips. "Humans send flowers."

Sideswipe lifted himself onto one elbow, draping his knee over Prowl's thigh. "You want flowers?"

The Datsun eyed the red twin leaning over him, this was Sideswipe he was talking to. "No. No, that's quite alright."

The Lamborghini chortled.

Prowl stroked Sideswipe's cheek. "Thank Sunstreaker for me. He caught Optimus in the corridor."

Sideswipe ran a teasing finger down Prowl's chest plate. "He did it for me, 'cause I return the favor."

Prowl tilted his head, pulling his mouth to one side. "I see."

Then Sideswipe initiated a lustful, passionate kiss, silencing anything the Datsun was going to say.

One day, perhaps Prowl wouldn't have to hide his feelings for this soldier under his command. After this war, when they could both go to a simple life.

Author's note: This has been tickling me for a while now. After all, how often are these two paired up? (I've only ever seen it once, myself). I hope to add chapters every so often. I have three others planned. They will be in no particular order.