SERIES: Imperfection, part 7
DISCLAIMER: None of the characters belong to me, sadly. They are owned by people with a lot more money
Author's Voice of Warning (aka Author's Note):
English is not my first language; it's German. This is the best I can do. Any mistakes you find in here, collect them and you might win a prize The spell-checker said everything's okay, but you know how trustworthy those thingies are...
Result of the prompt: Barricade / Frenzy / trustworthy
He sometimes missed the little hacker. When he sat alone in the middle of the lively human city, watching them walk all around him, oblivious to who and what he was, Barricade thought back to his arrival on this world. Frenzy had been sent to Earth with him, as a partner, and he had occupied a small space inside the much larger Decepticon. It hadn't been a dependency, more like a mutual agreement to work together for the Decepticon cause. Over the years they had been among humans, Barricade had learned to trust the other to a degree. Frenzy was good at what he did, fast and reliable, though also someone Barricade had had to get used to.
Aboard the Nemesis he had once or twice seen the hacker in action, but he had never lingered much around him. They had different tasks to fulfill and Barricade was a warrior first. Frenzy was a hacker and he worked well with other systems, had even slipped past Autobot defences and watchdogs, and either inserted tracking devices or viruses, or had stolen data.
Their partnership had been rocky at first, then it had become a lot more balanced. Barricade had learned to regard Frenzy as an equal and Frenzy had discovered the intellect and sharp mind behind the mask of indifference and lack of social communication.
Whenever the smaller Decepticon had gone into recharge, Barricade had let him feed off his own systems and he had let maintenance create tiny uplinks to peripheral systems that fed Frenzy information even while he was in a powered down mode.
The partnership would have ended with Megatron's return, with finding the Allspark. That had been the deal.
Frenzy had been terminated before that.
Barricade hadn't known he could miss the spastic little thing, but sometimes he wondered about fate. He had survived, one of the few, and the others had been terminated either by the Autobots or the humans. According to Jazz, Frenzy had been shot to pieces by humans.
The small Decepticon had been fascinated by their culture. Right down to acquiring human electronic devices, toys, even their food, and whatever he could get his hands on, studying it in detail while curled up in the back of Barricade's vehicle mode.
Barricade watched several young humans walk past him, shooting his disguise nervous looks. He derived some pleasure from inspiring fear in those who had reason to be afraid. He let the hologram turn its head, dark eyes following the movement of the teenagers, who quickly crossed the road and walked away from an electronics store.
He smiled to himself.
The disguise gave him a measure of privacy. Humans didn't want contact with the police, except when in need of aide. Those of an unsavory character avoided him like the plague. No one disrupted his thinking when the hologram was dissolved and the car appeared to be empty.
He was used to working alone. Decepticons didn't have partners for long. But now and then he found himself turning to the empty maintenance space, wondering.
It was in the evening that he drove to the hill that had become his and Jazz's meeting point. They hadn't seen each other in a week because the Autobots' second-in-command had accompanied Optimus Prime to a meeting with the human commanders.
The Solstice was already there and transformed into the familiar figure of Jazz upon Barricade's arrival.
"Had fun?" Jazz asked, smiling, as the Saleen transformed as well.
It felt good to be in his bipedal mode once more. It felt even better to be in contact with one of his own, though Barricade would never confess he had truly missed Jazz.
"Define fun," he rumbled.
"I heard you got yourself some bonus points. You helped Sam."
Barricade shifted uneasily. "It was a necessity."
The blue optics glittered knowingly. "You were bored?" he chuckled.
"I was around."
Jazz was smiling. "Sure."
Barricade stared hard at him, optics flaring briefly, then he growled softly to himself.
"Ratchet offered to give you a check-up," the silver Autobot changed topics. "You know, go over systems, repair what needs to be fixed, maybe fine-tune a few things…"
"I don't need it," the former Decepticon snarled.
"You've been on this planet for years now. Don't tell me one of the others helped out. And after the last battle you were damaged. I know Bumblebee took you out and…"
"I am fine," Barricade hissed. "My damage has been repaired and everything else has healed."
"I just want to make sure…"
Barricade clenched his claws into fists. "I had my way of keeping my systems functional, Jazz. And I'm not trusting your medic."
Jazz tilted his head, thoughtful. "Ratchet wouldn't harm you."
He refused to comment on that.
"Who did your system-checks?" the other inquired.
Barricade kept his silence. It had been a compromise he had made with Frenzy. The little bot would maintain his systems and he would supply him with what he needed otherwise. Frenzy had never gone as deep as the core programming, but he had done a perfect job on the rest.
Blue optics widened a little as Jazz put two and two together. "Oh. Frenzy. I forgot. I still can't wrap my mind around you trusting that little spazz."
"I didn't trust him. He was trustworthy, though."
"You let him into your system."
"Enough to survive. It was a mutually beneficial, temporary partnership."
Jazz was silent. "I understand," he finally said. "Ratchet is trustworthy, too. He won't abuse your trust. You don't have to come into the base, 'Cade. You could meet him outside."
Barricade regarded the Autobot with narrowed optics. "This is important to you."
"Because it's you."
"'Cade, please. You trusted a Decepticon not to hurt you. Trust Ratchet?"
"Frenzy had too much to lose to harm me."
Jazz sighed. "Ratchet has no reason either. You left the Decepticons. You might never be an Autobot, but you're not the enemy either. And if you were still a Decepticon, he would help you."
"I doubt that."
The black mechanoid regarded his silver counterpart, felt the thrum of the resonating spark that was Jazz. He was astounded how well-attuned he already was to him again, how he had missed the feeling of knowing he was there.
"'Cade?" came the prompt.
Barricade shifted uneasily. "On my terms," he finally said.
"Only on yours. Thank you."
"And he comes alone."
Another nod. Jazz walked up to him, smiling again. "May I be there, too?"
The soft question startled the former Decepticon. Barricade hadn't even considered Jazz not being there.
"Yes," he said ground out.
Because Jazz was more than trustworthy. He was trusted implicitly. He knew the other spark as well as his own, felt closer to him than anyone else. Jazz had been and always would be his greatest weakness.
Frenzy had known.
He had seen it in his programming throughout a recharge cycle. He had never made anything of it, had just chattered quietly to himself, amazed.
Maybe he didn't miss the hacker, Barricade mused. Maybe he didn't really want him back. But he had, for the first time in ages, been able to extend a wary acceptance and a basic trust in another Decepticon. Frenzy had known a lot about him in the end, as he had about Frenzy, and they had shared something that in human terms might be trust. Among Decepticons it was an honored promise to keep the secret till death.
Frenzy had kept that honor.