A/N: First of all, huge sorry for such a long pause between chapters. A lot has been happening in my life. You could actually say I started my life anew, from scratch. For all this time, I haven't written a single line of text (even in my LJ), I just had no inner motivation, despite your reviews being absolutely wonderful and supportive. I'm sorry. I just couldn't do it. Now I'm okay, there's no reason to worry, and I'm back :) And, man, I'm sensing this strange chapter is gonna crack your minds, so brace yourselves :D
Morning Tea Chapter 6
Maggie hadn't had a good sleep that night. When the morning came Kitty watched her with confused eyes the entire time she'd been dressing for work after shower and having a cup of coffee. The clever feline even tried to spike up Maggie's mood by comforting her mistress in her own way – poking the girl's leg with her furry paw now and then, wrapping her warm body around it, all the while asking mute questions with her two huge yellow orbs with vertical irises.
Maggie sighed, giving her cat an affectionate stroke and a tired smile. "Mommy's okay, kid. Be back in a few hours, you won't even have time to miss me. Food's in your bowl, help yourself."
The girl felt this morning wouldn't be a particularly good one. The only positive thing about it was the new stage of her long work at the Autobot base. The month she'd spent there deciphering Cybertronian codes and messages finally resulted in Maggie's cutting-edge invention. It was a program that (in theory) would become a Cybertronian-English translator, be that text or speech. Text was easy enough, but speech was tricky. The piece of code she'd written so far wouldn't be enough to quickly convert the data, she still needed another module that would upgrade the search engine and exclude the unneeded parts of the built-in dictionary from it, based on the type of the sound. Now she needed a good audio-sample, preferably with two or more different sources of speech – in short, she needed to record a conversation of two or more Cybertronians to see if the program could actually tell one mech from another without problems. For that purpose, she grabbed a mini tape recorder and dropped it into her purse.
She made her exit and was immediately welcomed by a familiar joyful honking of the yellow Camaro. A smile tugged at Maggie's lips. "Hey, 'Bee, how are you doing?"
"I am good, thank you, Maggie," the Autobot replied happily. "Did you sleep well?"
She barely suppressed the desire to roll her eyes. Why is it that every time people want to act polite and friendly in the morning they ask you if you'd slept well? In this particular case, it felt very much like prying into her personal life. Even though she knew that Bumblebee didn't mean anything bad she still couldn't help but be slightly annoyed. She was either forced to lie to him, or risk being asked unwanted questions…
"Yep, like a baby," she forced a smile to stretch further, and judging by the energetic roar of Bumblebee's engine, he accepted her answer and was more than ready to race her to the base through the hot desert.
The moment she got inside and was safely buckled up the yellow 'bot floored it, eliciting a surprised yelp from the girl. She gave an amused laugh, "What's going on, 'Bee? Why are you so excited? I mean, more-than-usual kind of excited."
"It shows, doesn't it?" the Camaro laughed in answer. "A new Autobot arrived to the base early this morning. He landed in the desert, not far away from our location, and the human military forces were quick to intercept and escort him to Optimus."
Wow… That was really good news. More Autobots meant a greater chance to preserve peace on Earth in case the Decepticons decided to regroup and strike again for whatever reason.
"What's his name?" Maggie found herself asking.
"Sideswipe. A very interesting individual. You just wait for his twin to arrive, and there'll be real trouble," Bumblebee chuckled.
"Twin?" She had no idea the Autobots had twins.
"It's the closest term I found in your language that could explain the nature of those two. For humans, the term 'twins' suggests two people with identical DNA structure, born together. We Cybertronians don't have parents who give birth to us. We have Constructors and the Allspark… Well, we used to have the Allspark… Anyways, when Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were created, the Allspark produced one spark for the two of them, and it divided itself in two, making them 'twins' in the process."
Maggie shook her head in disbelief with a smile. "The more I know about your kind, the more I realize there's still a lot to learn."
"You have no idea, Maggie," Bumblebee laughed again.
The yellow Camaro let her out at the entrance to the base and raced to attend to some Autobot business of his. Maggie followed a long path of the main corridor that led to her small office-like room, her heart speeding up in her chest at the prospect of seeing Jazz again. There was no doubt he would show up at her doorstep, and the question was what shape exactly their conversation would take.
As Maggie was passing one of the rooms she noticed that the door wasn't closed, and a stream of clicking and buzzing sounds was coming from the inside which she immediately recognized as a Cybertronian speech. Peeking into the opened door she saw the familiar silver form that could only belong to Jazz, and… He was talking to another silver mech, and Maggie made the logical conclusion that it was Sideswipe.
Well… he was stylish. Shiny. Cool looking. She was 90% sure that if he transformed it would be into a kick-ass sport car, something very impressive.
But, back to business. Since the door was opened, she couldn't be accused of eavesdropping on the two, so she rummaged her purse for the mini tape recorder and pushed the record button to have a good audio-sample to work on later.
In the meantime, the two Autobots continued with their talk, giving no indication that they had noticed her presence. They exchanged a series of clicks, chirps and beeps. Then Sideswipe held up his hands in a gesture of peace, chirping quietly several times. While doing so, he pointed at Jazz's chest plate, and Maggie's cheeks turned hot that very instant. She hadn't even come up with a decent, plausible explanation of how her stray mouth could have landed right on Jazz's spark zone – how could you explain something like that? And it seemed like she had just witnessed exactly this kind of conversation.
She waited for Jazz's reaction, holding her breath unconsciously. Then the saboteur let out several repetitive and descending mechanical sounds, and there could be no mistake – it was his laughter that echoed from the walls of the corridor, and that absolutely wasn't something she'd honestly expected. Maggie didn't have a clue what he said next meant in Cybertronian, but an uneasy feeling settled itself somewhere in her chest. Of course, she could have misinterpreted that laughter, and…
Anyways, she had no right to feel offended. She screwed up big time, and here come the consequences – people asking questions…
There was no way in hell she would willingly go to introduce herself to Sideswipe now. Not a chance! She turned the recorder off and headed to her room, trying to get her mind on track of work. Let the terabytes of code be her sweet oblivion.
So, Maggie was working. Maggie was writing her program. Maggie was drinking her tea and restarting her computer for the fifth time that morning, because it's what the Universe seems to be doing on your bad days - 'processor failure'-ing you in more than one way…
Then Jazz came, shining her a smile from the doorway that she tightly returned.
Her gaze involuntarily dropped to his chest, where that offending mouth-print shone like a fluorescent brown-orange inkblot. Of course, it wasn't that noticeable, it was only her imagination…
In the meantime, Jazz got comfortable on the floor near her table and started with telling her the news on Optimus Prime's latest armor upgrade. He was saying something about Ironhide getting beside himself over the issue, since the weapons specialist had been the one to design that new defense system – but Maggie wasn't listening. It seemed like wherever she was intending to look – Jazz's visor, his hands, his antennas – her eyes inevitably got glued to that spot, her brain losing the train of thought and spacing out of the conversation.
She was staring at Jazz's silver chest again, cursing the stupidity she'd shown the previous evening. Way to go, Mag, she thought, angry with herself. It was her fault that she'd made a fool of herself. This was the price for attempting to tease him, even if it was intended as a good-natured friendly 'poke' in the figurative 'ribs.' This was the trophy he now had all rights to keep, because he'd so unexpectedly won that round… Jeez, why did it even feel like they were on the opposite sides of barricades in some kind of a psychological war? And why was this goddamn lipstick print bothering her so much?
She suddenly realized that Jazz had actually stopped talking some time ago, and was now looking at her with watchful optics. Although they were hidden behind his ever-present visor, she knew that the Autobot's attention was fixed solely on her.
Under that attentive analyzing gaze Maggie felt exposed like an amoeba under the microscope of a keen scientist. Or like she got caught in the act of doing something silly, or foolish, which was ultimately true. Struggling to chase away the uneasiness, she cleared her throat quietly and ran a hand through her hair, squirming a little in her chair and trying to come up with something to say that would break the silence. Where the hell had all her intelligent thoughts gone when they were needed the most?
One heartbeat. Two. Three…
Then Jazz's hand moved slowly towards the table they were "sharing." One of his big fingers carefully pushed a plastic napkin holder that was sitting in the middle of it towards Maggie. The 'bot then withdrew his arm and resumed his pose with elbows resting on his knees, looking at her, as if waiting for her next move.
She dumbly stared at the holder for a moment in confusion, before the wordless message he had just sent to her by this little act finally sunk into her brain…
'If you want it off, go ahead and erase it.'
Maggie's blue eyes snapped up to the black mirror of Jazz's visor. He looked right back, waiting patiently. He wasn't smiling, wasn't mocking her. He was giving her the right to decide whether the mark should stay on his armor or not – the way to control the situation that was making her uncomfortable. With crystal clarity, she remembered his words from their yesterday's not-exactly-first-date, "I can take a 'no' for an answer," and the emotion behind those words. He wouldn't question her choice, wouldn't press. He'd accept and understand, no matter what…
Maggie briefly glanced at Jazz's chest, and then reached her hand out towards the holder. After only a moment of hesitation she slowly, but firmly pushed it away an inch and looked back up to the saboteur's face timidly. Maybe she would regret not using such a good opportunity to relieve herself of embarrassment, but she'd regret not giving it a chance way more…
Jazz's metallic lips slowly stretched into a soft smile, and she found herself returning it. The tension was finally eased, and Maggie felt the need to change the subject.
"So, uh…" she cleared her throat. "Tell me more about Optimus' new shield."
"Welcome to the conversation," Jazz chuckled softly, and that made the girl smile again. Apparently, the Autobot had noticed her absent-mindedness this morning. It should have made her uncomfortable, but strangely, it didn't. Jazz had that way of being a friendly kind of straightforward, and yet polite, and yet flirtatious like all hell.
So she just relaxed, and listened to the short list of tech details he gave her, impressed as usual by the genius of Cybertronians in whole and Ironhide in particular. It was normal, it was science, something she was familiar with, something that had always fascinated her.
"Oh!" Jazz exclaimed suddenly, bringing Maggie to sharp attention. "Almost forgot." The Autobot opened a small compartment somewhere on his chest and pulled out a small paper bag. "These are for you," he carefully set the bag on the table and started to rise from his spot on the floor. Maggie, too surprised to comment on the gift, just gave a nod of thanks. "Okay, I'll get goin', before Sideswipe gets himself into trouble. Though, he will anyways – arrived early this morning, an' almost blew up half of Captain Lennox's boys, crazy mech. Shoots first, asks questions later," he laughed heartily. "It was a pleasure," the right half of his visor "winked" at her, and the saboteur headed for the exit. "An' Maggie…" He stopped at the door and made a pause, before finishing the thought in a gentle murmur, "Yer one of the bravest humans I've ever known, girl."
She smiled shyly, he smiled back. And then he was gone.
Maggie stared at the paper bag for a second or two before carefully opening it and peeking inside.
She chuckled quietly in disbelief. Was he trying to bribe her with food? It was unexpectedly nice, though.
The girl looked at the napkin holder on the table and sighed, burying her hand in her wild hair thoughtfully.
Yeah, well, that had been a good opportunity.
She'd come to Ratchet with all sorts of strange requests in the past, but this one just had to take the cherry on top of the ridiculously tall cake of her curiosity.
"Maggie?" The scientist paused in… whatever he was doing with a large piece of metal the size of a bus and smiled down at his human friend, his hand chainsaw producing a soft buzz in the background. "How can I help you?"
"Um…" She raked her hand through her hair, suddenly feeling a lot more nervous than she'd been a minute ago. The idea of coming here and verbally harassing Ratchet had looked much better in her head than in real life. "If I may ask… could you tell me about… Cybertronian interfacing, and about what could be called… 'companionship' among your people?"
Ratchet's chainsaw came to an abrupt stop with a soft whining sound, his optics looking down at her with a carefully masked confusion. Maggie was seriously experiencing a déjà vu of huge proportions. Only a week ago Jazz had come to her with exactly the same question. All she was left to do now to recreate that morning completely was ask Ratchet to sleep with her. Duh.
"Perhaps, you should talk to Jazz about this, I think he would be glad to answer your questions," Ratchet mused aloud, his big head inclined to one side, as if in deep thought.
The girl furrowed her eyebrows, not exactly following the medic's logic. "Jazz? Why him?"
"Because, he had been a… 'companion' before the war," came Ratchet's reply. "If I'm guessing the meaning of that English word right," he added.
All thoughts left Maggie's brain for a second as she stared at him, absolutely stupefied, feeling as if someone had just poured a bucket of icy cold water on her head.
"W- what?" she asked quietly.
"He used to be a companion, and a very good one. If somebody knows everything about interfacing, it's him."
Maggie fell completely silent, staring into space. When her brain assumed an ability to process information again, she almost wished it hadn't.
So basically, a Cybertronian "male prostitute" was after her, trying to get some? As harsh as the thought sounded, it was technically true… A horrible idea crossed her mind. She had to know.
"Uh… Did Jazz- with any of you…?"
"What? Oh, you mean if he interfaced with any of us?" Ratchet's tone was casual, but the words sounded so strange to her ears, alien even. "That's a negative, Maggie. Optimus is too preoccupied with his leadership duties, Bumblebee spends all of his free time guarding his human friends, and…" He paused for a second, as if deciding if he should say the next part. "Ironhide and I are bonded."
That one was a shot to the head. Maggie's reaction was universal and profound, like it always was when she heard something that stunned her mind. "Oh…" She was simply incapable of embracing such a flow of information that threatened to put her into a coma, no less.
Ratchet smiled. "I assume you would need more data on the issue?" he asked, but it sounded like a statement of fact…
…Maggie left Ratchet's med bay with a dumbstruck expression on her face and an X-rated Cybertronian CD in her purse for "further exploration."
She was so going to rot in hell for that.
Kitty met her with a questioning mewl, distracted from washing herself for only a second and a half – just enough for Maggie to smile reassuringly.
She wasn't particularly hungry, despite the full day of work. The girl grabbed an apple while setting her laptop to decode the record she'd made of Jazz and Sideswipe, and now stood in the middle of the room, realizing there was no walking around the next activity…
She considered making popcorn and getting a can of soda, but then decided it would be kind of disrespectful, even if nobody saw it. After all, one shouldn't consume food and drinks while observing something that "could be considered a form of art," right…?
Maggie sighed, twiddling with the CD in her hands. Truthfully, even taking her natural curiosity and thirst for new knowledge into consideration, she wasn't sure she wanted to see what was on that CD. Of course, she'd seen human porn, so it wasn't like she was shy or anything… Well, if she was honest with herself, she hadn't been impressed those several times she'd watched such kind of videos. She didn't see any meaningful content there; it was only an animalistic act of in-out, with some breast-groping and ass-slapping in between, with unnaturally sounding groans and high-pitched shouts of 'Ah! More! Yes!'…
Without doubt, the contents of this CD were going to be absolutely different, what with Jazz's explanations on the purpose and the meaning of the act of intimacy in the Cybertronian society. But she still hadn't formed her opinion on this "companionship," especially now that she knew that it had been Jazz's occupation…
Whether it was the pensive look on Maggie's face, or the natural cat curiosity, Kitty jumped to her mistress' lap the minute the girl took a seat in her computer chair and put the CD into the CD-ROM. Maggie would never admit it afterwards, but she held on to her cat for dear life, huge blue eyes fixed on the screen, afraid of what she might see and unable to look away.
Upon the start of the playback, Cybertronian symbols decorated the pitch-black video frame, and a strange tune resounded through the apartment – too loud for Maggie's liking, and she cringed, turning the volume down. The tune actually sounded like a tasteless, plastic soundtrack for an ancient game console, which immediately put some dirty innuendos into Maggie's mind, like "plug'n'play," or "joy stick"… No, she decided, better not go there.
She honestly wouldn't have been able to tell who of the two mechs was the girl and who was the boy if her life depended on it… Though, taking into consideration Ratchet's earlier statement about him and Ironhide being an issue, there was quite a chance that both of them were boys… or both girls… Better not go there as well.
The azure mech reached its hand and stroked the chest surface of its golden partner.
Maggie's palms became wet.
What did the Autobots think exactly when they discovered internet and the gigapiles of human porn there? Did they get their analogue of wet palms?
God, what was happening to her brain? Maggie felt the first sensations of an upcoming headache, and was distantly surprised that it hadn't come sooner, what with the astonishing way the day went.
She could hear soft mechanical sighs and gentle chirps coming from the couple on the screen. They were taking their time, having slow and sensual sex, hands caressing, mouths touching, bodies moving, electricity crackling... She kept imagining Jazz doing all those things with another Cybertronian, and frankly, the thought was definitely getting some kind of response from her. It was hot, and intriguing, and she was curious about what worked for him, what turned him on, what sounds he made, with whom he did it, under what circumstances, and… she decided that the idea of Jazz being intimate with someone was slightly… irritating. She wasn't jealous of course, it's just that she was monogamous, and wouldn't tolerate her male having affairs on the side.
Gosh, he wasn't even her male, by any stretch of imagination!
She was becoming angry, unable to understand herself.
And she now had another question: what did this mean to him? If it was such a normal (an 'easy' kind of normal) activity for the people of Cybertron, especially for those with such occupation, what did Jazz want with her? Did he even consider her special at all, or was he just trying to quench his curiosity and have some fun?
And then it dawned on her, while the robots on her monitor were selflessly going at it, engaged in the Cybertronian equivalent of sex, that she was actually sitting on her couch with a cat in her lap and a strange feeling of semi-arousal deep down in her stomach.
Was she ready to go so far for whatever reason as lending robotic porn from Ratchet and watching it in her lazy hours? Was the entire issue with the silver Autobot influencing her this much, or was she interested this much?
She didn't know whether to be surprised, or amused, or freaked out.
She was suddenly caught between dreading the Sunday car wash and anticipating it…
…Maggie went to bed, exhausted from emotions and new information that had nearly toppled her small world. Despite her being tired, she just lay in her bed, trying to clean enough space in her head for a nice little dream of something positive and sweet, which proved to be a hard task. Her eyes were finally closing when her laptop gave a short, quiet signal, demanding her attention.
Maggie groaned. Oh, great. She forgot about that record of Jazz and Sideswipe she'd set on decoding. Now a dream would be a pointless chase for another hour… Well, at least she would see if this thing could possibly be useful to humans, or if she should stop wasting time on it and throw the schematics out the window.
The girl rolled in her bed, stretched her hand and lifted the lid of the laptop that was sitting on the nightstand, her sleepy gaze focusing on a too bright screen.
Those were only several lines of translated text – all she managed to catch on record, but it would be just enough for a field test. Later, she would work on connecting the decoder to a synthetically generated speech module, turning symbols into an audio stream. But that would be later.
Maggie's blue eyes ran over the familiar Latin letters. As soon as she started reading she forgot the scientific purpose of the record. She was reliving the scene she'd run into that morning, biting her lower lip…
'Hey, watch your mouth, Sideswipe. Don't make me teach you some manners.'
'It's just a question, Jazz, whatever crawled up your tailpipe?'
'So long as you don't make a fuzz of it yourself, I'm cool. Now, aren't you needed someplace else?'
'Alright, alright, hold the recoil. I just want myself one, too, you know…'
Was he referring to a kiss? Or a – Maggie cringed – a personal human to have fun with?
There was the last part left, and this was where she remembered Jazz had laughed before saying it. Her heart jerked slightly in her chest as she prepared herself for whatever he'd had to say.
'This isn't some cheap stuff you can buy at a space market, man. It's special. You have to earn it.'
End of Chapter 6
A/N: Your reviews are welcomed and held close to my heart :) If you don't want to register on this website, but still would like to ask me a question, then just type your e-mail into the specified field while leaving a review - nobody will see it but me, and I'll be able to give you a reply... Okay, be safe, and see you in the next chapter ;)