Prowl walked briskly through the dimly lit corridors of the Autobot Base, the last stronghold for the Autobots on Cybertron pushed back by the Decepticons until they were clinging to Iacon with last of their forces. Prowl wasn't thinking about that at the moment, though, because they'd actually won their last skirmish, delivering an upset to the 'Cons and improving morale among his troops, at least for the day.
There'd been a celebration then, lasting into the late hours of the cycle and now everyone had returned to his berth to recharge, except for a few who chose to linger. Prowl was one. He was searching for another.
"He's not in his quarters." Prowl turned to face the mech who'd come up behind him.
"I know, Jazz." He kept the exasperation out of his voice. "That was the first place I checked."
"Maybe he ran," Jazz answered, not bothering to keep the accusation out of his voice.
"I checked the security cameras. Nobody has left the building. He's here somewhere." He turned away from the third in command of the Autobot Army so he wouldn't betray how those words had stung him. "If worse comes to worst we can get Hound to look for him."
"Hound is busy. I don't think he'll be too thrilled to be called out of his berth for this."
Prowl gave Jazz an odd look. "He's not in his berth. I told you I checked Bluestreak's room."
Jazz smirked. "Hound doesn't recharge in his own berth all the time, Prowl. He's with that new guy. The big, black, heavy duty fellow that just joined."
Prowl frowned. "Trailbreaker? What does Hound see in my new defensive strategist?"
"You'd be surprised."
"Apparently." He continued on down the corridor, Hound and Trailbreaker forgotten.
Jazz followed. "I think you put him out there too soon," the black and white mech said casually.
"I don't agree. He performed brilliantly. He was ready."
Jazz shook his head slowly. "Prowl, the mech isn't recharging properly. Hound told me Bluestreak hasn't recharged through the night since he came back. And you and I both know that he hadn't recharged at all when he tried to live on his own. That's why he came back."
Prowl halted and turned to look at Jazz. "I thought it was better. He's been back a while. Plus he didn't say anything when I put him on the roster."
Jazz huffed in exasperation. "Of course he didn't say anything. He idolizes you. Pleasing you is what drives him. Didn't Ratchet say anything to you?"
"He mentioned that he didn't think Bluestreak should be on active duty, but he didn't ground him."
"No, because physically, he's fit. Mentally? That's a bit harder to determine. I shouldn't have to be telling you this, you know. You saw what he was like when he got here and you saw what he was like when he came back. All of his progress went into the smelter…"
"He's been doing better…"
Prowl's door wings drooped as he gave in and accepted the Saboteur's argument. "All right, it was my fault. I believed him because I needed him. We're so shorthanded and he's a gifted marksman. He proved it out there, saved the Twins afts."
Jazz slung an arm around Prowl's shoulder. Prowl tensed and then relaxed. They were alone and their relationship wasn't really a secret. It just made him uncomfortable. He was still new at the whole relationship thing. "I know. C'mon, let's find him and you can apologize to him personally."
Everybody had been gathered in the lounge for the party. Prowl had made a token appearance but hadn't spent any time at the gathering and hadn't seen the missing Bluestreak there. It seemed a long shot but they checked there first.
The large room was darker than the corridor but still dimly lit. The party had sort of fallen apart; everyone drifting away as they grew tired or found someone to spend the night with. Nobody had bothered to clean up.
Prowl and Jazz picked their way around the scattered energon cubes and puddles of spilled energon. It had been quite a party. Victories for the Autobots were so few and far between that they made the most of them. The room appeared empty, though. Prowl was ready to leave but Jazz held up a hand to stop him and pointed towards the far corner.
Prowl followed the pointing finger and could just make out a pair of very dimly glowing optics. They exchange a look and made their way to the small couch stuck in an out of the way corner of the lounge.
The mech they'd been looking for sat in a huddle of misery in a corner of the couch. Bluestreak didn't even seem to notice they were there as he stared out into the dim room.
"Bluestreak?" Prowl squatted down so he was optic level with the sharpshooter. It was very nearly like looking into a mirror. Small differences in construction made them distinctive but anybody looking at them standing together knew that they'd come from the same province and probably the same city. It had been a common enough product line before the war but now they were two of the remaining survivors. Bluestreak had survived the destruction of Praxus while Prowl had already gone to Iacon and had not been there when the Decepticons had attacked.
Bluestreak didn't appear to hear him or notice when Jazz sat down next to him. It was like he was somewhere else.
Prowl touched him gently. "Bluestreak? It's going to be all right…"
Bluestreak's optics blinked off and on and he seemed to focus on Prowl finally. "I killed him." His voice was just a whisper.
"You saved Sunstreaker and Sideswipe," Jazz answered.
The sharpshooter turned his head to stare at Jazz. "I shot him through the spark. Then he turned gray. Everybody was gray. I was standing next to a mech and he was shot the same way. He looked so surprised. Then he turned gray and he fell." He looked back at Prowl. "I was aiming for his head, at least he might've survived. I didn't want to kill him. Then Sideswipe screamed and I lowered my aim. I did it on purpose. I didn't have to kill him but I did anyway."
Prowl and Jazz exchanged looks and Prowl squeezed himself onto the couch between Bluestreak and the arm so that the young mech was between him and Jazz. "You did the right thing, Blue," Jazz murmured in his audio.
"I've never killed anyone." Bluestreak swiped at his optics with the back of his hand smearing optic fluid across his face.
Prowl suddenly felt horrible. He'd not even considered the fact that Bluestreak had never shot or killed another mech before and he'd sent him out there to cover the warriors' backs. He'd never thought about providing emotional support for him. Bluestreak wasn't a youngster he'd rationalized. He knew what he was getting into. But he was wrong. Bluestreak had no clue.
"I'm so sorry," Prowl said softly and wrapped his arms around the devastated mech.
Bluestreak buried his face in Prowl's chest and sobbed, unable to hold it in any longer.
Jazz wrapped his arms around both mechs comforting them the best he could.
Finally, Bluestreak fell offline, optic fluid streaking his face. Jazz and Prowl watched him recharge in the quiet lounge.
"This is my fault," Prowl sighed.
Jazz nodded. "Yep, it is, but you'll make it better. You always do."