Hiya!! New story time! Okay, this is a little thrown together at the last minute so if its kinda crappy I'm sorry. We're leaving for the holidays and I wanted to get it done before we left so...yep there it is. I'll probably go back and edit it later so if you notice anything that needs fixing just let me know (grin)
A/N: For the sake of the conversation below, I made it seem like Epps had no idea about Cybertron or forgot so it could keep the interaction going. Also, I made up his wife's name so no OC intended. Still own nothing!
Epps sighed and tucked the folded sheet of paper back into his jacket pocket after reading it for about the 30th time in under an hour. The words echoed quietly in his head as the image of the letter remained imprinted behind his eyelids.
To be honest, he wasn't entirely surprised to find the letter neatly placed on the kitchen table when he got home from work. He knew immediately what it was before even reading it; he didn't have to. It was something they'd talked about, fought about seemingly continuously for the past few months. While he convinced himself that he'd seen it coming, for some reason he couldn't stop himself from absently grabbing a bottle of Jack Daniels and heading outside. So now here he was, back pressed against the cold bricks of the house with a half-empty whiskey bottle sitting next to him as he stared blankly up at the sky.
The sound of glass scraping against concrete is strangely hypnotic. The tech Sergeant had been swirling the bottle around in a tiny circle for the past five minutes, completely oblivious to the passing of time. The rational side of his mind tried unsuccessfully to convince him to put the liquor away and go to bed but the alcohol-fuzzed side of his mind refused to let him. Not only that but the idea of going back into the empty and realizing that this was how it was going to stay was a little more than he could put up with right now.
He'd long since lost the coherence to be cold and instead sat completely still in the 40 degree weather. Whiskey has the amazing ability to make you feel warm even when your not, and for now that was the only thing he was concerned about. The familiar rumble of an engine turned onto the street up ahead caused Epps to look up.
The silver Solstice glided down the street effortlessly (A/N: I don't know where he was.), the radio vibrating the speakers through closed windows. As it got closer however, the car seemed to notice the man sitting outside and the radio immediately switched off. The car pulled into the driveway slowly, killing the engine as it came to a stop.
Epps smiled tired and looked at the car. "Have fun?"
Metal twisted and unfolded quietly as the Solstice changed into its bipedal shape. Once the transformation was complete, Jazz sat down in the middle of the driveway so that he was facing the smaller man. "Fun enough. Needed to get out of the garage for a while." He answered, watching the man carefully. "What are you doing out here?"
"Needed to get out of the house for a while." Epps replied, trying his hardest to keep his words from running together to create an entirely different language. "It was too…homey."
"Homey, huh?" If Jazz could have raised an eyebrow he would have at his driver's choice of words.
"Yep, too much like a house."
A heavy silence fell between the two as the need for words seemed to be temporarily restricted. A cricket chirped somewhere in the distance but it didn't seem the affect the two sitting in the driveway.
"So Jazz…where do you come from man?" Epps blurted after a minute. "And so help me God, if you say space I'm going to…do something. Not sure what, but it'll probably be painful after a while."
The Autobot looked at his driver for several seconds before answering. "I come from there." He said, pointing off to some obscure location in the galaxy. "You can't see it, hell I can't even see it, but it's up there. Cybertron."
Epps nodded somberly as if he understood exactly what he was talking about. "So why did you come here? I mean, I know the whole cube thing but really? Why earth? We've gotta be like…the redneck capital of the universe. You know, straight up battle of the banjoes and all that shit."
Jazz chuckled softly as the man rambled on and shrugged. "I'm not entirely sure. We found what we came for and decided to stay."
"Why did you stay? I mean you guys are so cool, you're all metal and high tech and everything and we're just…pink."
"Have you been drinking?"
"I won't say I haven't."
"So you have?"
"Are you drunk?"
"Good. Glad we had that agreement."
Epps nodded helpfully and leaned back. "So really, why stay? Why?"
The question seemed strange not in context but in the way that it was said. It almost sounded like Epps was begging for an answer, not simply asking for one. Jazz shrugged again and looked up at the sky. "I found something I wanted to stay for. I mean, Sam has Bumblebee and Mikaela has Ratchet and now I have you."
Epps was quiet for a few second as the words sank in. "So you stayed because of me?"
"Yeah, I guess."
Just then, the tech sergeant burst into a fit of uncontrollable giggles. He covered his mouth as he continued to laugh helplessly, tears forming in the corners of his eyes.
Jazz on the other hand, stared at the man as if he'd lost his mind. He knew something was off but this was a little more than he could take. He watched as Epps hiccupped a few times before the laughter finally subsided. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah." The other man answered, giggling a little behind his words. He looked like he wanted to say something else but instead stared up at the sky, the smile slowly fading from his face.
"So, are you going to tell me what's wrong?" Jazz offered after another minute of silence had passed.
"Not if I can help it."
Epps said nothing, his hand brushing over his pocket where the letter was hidden as if he were afraid it was sticking out. Taking a slow breath, he closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the bricks. "Michelle left me."
The Autobot's eyes widened as the statement sunk in. "Why?" he asked gently.
Epps shrugged a little and opened his eyes slowly. "She said we had ireconible…. irisensible…?" he growled and gave up. "We couldn't get our shit together." Satisfied with the way it had been announced, he continued quietly. "Our marriage was never great. I mean, we got married at 16 when she found out she was pregnant with our first daughter. We never intended it…it just sorta happened. And then BAM! Before long, daughter number two comes along and we just decided to keep it going even though it was crap to begin with." He sighed and crossed his legs. "We were married for…hmm…15 years I think."
Jazz listened quietly, not entirely sure how to react to the news. Epps didn't seem devastated by the idea but he certainly wasn't happy either. It bothered him to see his driver upset but he'd never had any experience in the art of comfort either.
Epps laughed humorlessly and stared up at the sky again. "Like I said, redneck capital of the universe. I mean our species is so entirely fucked up that…God! We suck." The statement seemed to have an edge of finality to it that made Jazz feel like it was alright to express and opinion.
"I don't think so."
"I think your species is fascinating."
"Yeah, for bugs."
Ignoring whatever attempt at logic that answer was supposed to be, Jazz continued. "No, honestly. You and the other humans are amazingly strong, brave, intelligent, and completely different from most of the other life forms we've seen along the galactic highway."
"There's a galactic highway?!"
Jazz smirked a little and stared at his driver. "Every life form has faults. But so far yours has been the most interesting."
Epps smiled faintly and looked down. "So what now?"
"I mean, now that you're here, now what? Just hang around and wait for something to happen or…what?"
"Just hang around and be with you, I guess."
"Aww, that's sweet. You'll forget me when I'm dead."
Jazz felt a slight twinge of pain in his chest upon hearing the words. "No I won't."
The Autobot nodded slowly and stared at Epps honestly. "I'll remember you."
Epps grinned stupidly and laughed a little. "Aww. So do we kiss now?" he shook his head, laughing softly. "I'm kidding. Thanks man, really."
"Yeah, whatever." Jazz mumbled, looking away embarrassed. "I think it's time you go in. It's getting colder out here."
Epps stood and swayed a little, almost falling if it hadn't been for Jazz's hand shooting out and catching him. "Aww, are you worried about me?"
"No, I just don't want to listen to you bitch when you get sick."
"GET THE HELL INSIDE!"
"Ahh, touché." Epps smiled and patted Jazz's leg gently. "Thanks man, really." He said honestly, nodding appreciatively before turning and going into the house for the first time in 4 hours.
Jazz watched him go inside and waited until he was sure Epps was in bed asleep before going into the garage. Offering words of support may not be his strong point but it seemed to have worked tonight and that was what mattered. Even if it might take some time, he was determined to help Epps in any way he could. After all, he was the reason he decided to stay.
Yay! Hope you guys liked it!! Let me know!!