For the Promise of Love
Once their farewells were said, Prowl had taken the lead with Jazz following docilely. Jazz didn't know where they were going and it didn't seem important. He was so far beyond exhausted that he had to try hard to care about anything. He'd come online in Prowl's arms that morning and been terrified that it wasn't real, but once that shock had worn off he had been left feeling numb.
He hadn't protested when Prowl had brought up his idea of going away for a while. He'd glanced at Bluestreak, found encouragement in the younger mech's optics and agreed with Prowl, but he couldn't say he was happy with the decision.
Prowl had noticed his lover's lack of enthusiasm, but he hadn't said anything at that point. He knew that there would be plenty of time for talk, and that he had to be gentle with Jazz and not push him too hard. He had felt Jazz's misery the last time their sparks had been in contact - when Jazz had almost joined him in the Matrix - and he wanted more than anything to take that pain away, but it had been a long time since Prowl had been naive enough to believe that such agony could be taken away quickly and easily.
As dusk drew close Prowl pulled up at the edge of a thick line of trees. "Scanners off," Prowl requested. "I want this to be a surprise."
Jazz did as he was asked and tried to look like he wanted to be there. It wasn't easy, but he knew that he had to show trust in his lover. Slowly they moved forward, it wasn't easy terrain but Prowl led him well and didn't let him stumble.
"Where are we?" Jazz asked as they walked.
"Almost at a research station Wheeljack built a few years ago. Optimus ordered it kept quiet; he didn't want it abused. You were on Titan rescuing Cosmos," Prowl explained.
"Prime sent me off-world so that I wouldn't hear about a research station?" Jazz asked, he wasn't sure if he should feel amused or mildly insulted.
"Optimus wanted to go himself, remember?" Prowl prompted with a chuckle.
"And you were the one who suggested that I go instead," Jazz realised. "You set me up!"
Prowl smiled at his lover's indignant reaction, it had been one of the reasons why he had chosen the location. "I did," Prowl admitted, "And if you bring your scanners back online you'll understand why."
"It's a beach," Jazz realised. "Wheeljack built himself a beach-hut and never told me."
"It was mostly Seaspray's idea, he roped Wheeljack in to give his request more weight," Prowl explained. "It wasn't a plot."
Jazz seemed mollified and he followed Prowl across the soft, warm sand. Apart from it's size there was nothing remarkable about the hut, nothing to identify it's purpose but as he crossed the floor his footsteps gave a tell-tale echo that told him the research facilities were below ground.
"Why here?" Jazz asked.
"Because I never liked keeping things from you, and now it's no longer in use I thought it would make a pleasant hide-away," Prowl explained.
"Sounds appropriate, " Jazz muttered in a barely audible whisper. "Last few months all I've done is hide."
"We'll work on that," Prowl assured him. "And I'm here to help, all you have to do is let me." If anything Jazz became tenser, but Prowl wasn't giving up. "Renew the bond with me Jazz."
"I don't think I'm strong enough," Jazz murmured. He hadn't wanted to admit that, but his emotional exhaustion combined with the security that he had always found in his lover's presence seemed to drag the words out of him. "What if the damage is done? If it can't be fixed then bonding could destroy us both."
"I'd rather have a moment with you in my spark than a lifetime alone. You are, and will always be, the most important mech in my life," Prowl responded without hesitation, and the sincerity in his voice soothed Jazz's troubled processor. "You know that you can trust me, don't you?"
The question caught Jazz off-guard; Prowl shouldn't have needed to ask it, but Jazz would never have denied him the answer. "I do."
Prowl rewarded his answer with a gentle kiss. "What else do you know?" he asked seriously.
"That I love you, and you love me," Jazz responded after a momentary look of confusion.
Prowl kissed him harder pressing against him and causing their core temperatures to rise slightly, "Say that again," he purred as they parted slightly.
"I love you, and you love me," Jazz repeated, more sure of himself.
The third kiss was searing and Jazz felt his spark race. "Again," Prowl demanded, his lips so close to his lover's that they brushed his as they moved.
"I love you..." the rest of his reply was lost as his engine revved at the sight of pure desire in Prowl's optics.
It wasn't so long ago that I would have done anything to be right here, Jazz realised, and he felt something inside him snap. He all but threw himself at his lover, Prowl staggered but kept his feet and hauled them both onto the berth.
"I love you too," Prowl murmured, clearly delighted that Jazz had regained some of his old determination and energy. "I'll always love you," his hands roamed his lover's frame desperately and their sparks called out to each other, needing to be together.
Their chest cavities opened, and Prowl felt as if he was being dragged. Jazz's spark was pulling his own in, binding them together. The experience was as glorious as ever, possibly more so after their long separation, but it was also painful. Torrents of emotion and thought blazed through the connection and Prowl fought the urge to scream as Jazz's despair ripped through him.
"Too fast,"Prowl wasn't even sure whose thought it was, but he knew it was true and necessary; Jazz simply wasn't emotionally stable enough to hold back the flow of pure energy that created the bond.
Jazz was faltering, Prowl realised, his lover's strength was giving out even as he pushed harder. The bond needed to be remade and nothing else mattered anymore, but it was getting harder for Jazz to focus on what he needed to do.
Prowl took control, pushed through the layers of emotion and connected the very centres of their sparks, the very cores of their beings, finding the love Jazz had always felt for him and returning it.
They were complete, they were one, but even as they revelled in the knowledge that they would share everything for the rest of their lives Jazz's consciousness began to fade.
Prowl shifted his body slightly, separated their sparks and closed the panels that protected them. "Rest now," he said softly. "I love you and I'll always be with you."
"Love you too," Jazz murmured as he slipped into recharge.
"That's my Jazz," Prowl thought as he watched his lover. He settled himself down, pulled Jazz close to him and began his own recharge cycle.
Prowl came back online to the sensation of a cool breeze swirling around his feet, automatically he reached for the berth controls to block it out and pulled Jazz closer with his other arm.
Feeling almost impossibly content Prowl settled back down, he was nearly recharging again when he realised that something wasn't right; Jazz should have been disturbed first. Jazz was closer to the hut door, usually became alert at the slightest thing, and had never liked the cold; he would tolerate it, or simply ignore it, but Jazz was a creature of warmth in every respect.
His consciousness nudged at his bond-mate's, and he became aware of the strangest of sensations; Jazz wasn't recharging, or online, he was trapped somewhere in between, caught in his own misery and fear, so much fear, Prowl realised, he's scared that this isn't real.
"I'm here Jazz," he sent through the bond. "You're safe."
Jazz seemed to recoil from the reassurances. "So many dreams, how can I know what to believe?" Prowl only just managed to catch the thought from the garble of Jazz's processor.
"You can believe in me," Prowl told him firmly. "Believe in us."
Jazz wavered, unable to take control of his emotions, grief and despair flowed through the bond in waves, and it was all Prowl could do to withstand them.
Prowl gathered himself, if Jazz couldn't help himself then he would have to fight for him. I need to break the pattern of the dreams, he realised.
"The question is; what wouldn't I do in your dreams?" Prowl mused. He thought for a moment, remembered a brief conversation with Spike about human dreams; it had been an interesting, if confusing talk, another reminder of the similarities and differences between their races; Cybertronian dreams where grounded by reality, based on memories, or at least hopes and fears. Human dreams had no such constraints, they could be influenced by anything, everything or be completely random.
Spike had also mentioned something which humans often did to convince themselves they were awake. He reached out and pinched one of the more sensitive cables that joined Jazz's shoulder to his neck.
As he had hoped Jazz's thoughts sharpened immediately, focused on the unexpected pressure, and a frown crossed Jazz's handsome visage.
"You're not dreaming Jazz," Prowl said softly. "Please trust me."
Jazz's scanners hummed faintly, sweeping the hut and Prowl's frame, then tentatively his visor flickered. "I'm sorry," Jazz whispered, his vocalizer crackling with static caused by his emotional turmoil.
Prowl nuzzled him affectionately. "I never expected everything you've suffered to fade away in one night, that'll take time and we have that now."
With a slightly unconvinced look Jazz pressed himself closer to his lover, his need for reassurance practically screaming across the bond.
For the first time in hundreds of years Prowl got the sense that Jazz actually wanted to be protected, which hadn't happened since Jazz had joined the war effort, and only rarely before then.
"This is my fault," Prowl whispered. "I asked too much of you, I used your courage against you because I knew that the last thing you would do was let me down. I shouldn't have done that."
"I was the one who put you in an impossible position," Jazz protested. "I made you chose between being my lover or my commander."
"Not any more," Prowl said simply, "but I do have to ask you to forgive me."
Jazz stared at him and looked about to argue, but then realisation blazed across the bond. "This goes deeper than words,"he ventured and Prowl nodded gravely.
They opened their chest-cavities again, but this time there was no desperation, no passion – although the love they shared was still communicated, and Prowl was pleased to note that Jazz's spark seemed stronger than it had the day before.
Together they moved through each others memories; arguments, times when Jazz had disobeyed orders, when Prowl had been forced to put his bond-mate in dangerous situations, and each in turn was forgiven.
The seriousness of their task was occasionally punctuated by amusement; one of the few times Prowl had truly lost his temper with Jazz, after a botched mission had landed the saboteur in the med-bay, Prowl had thrown a data-pad at him when he'd been unable to find words to say how furious he was, Jazz had ducked the projectile and hit back with the contents of the energon cube he had been halfway through drinking.
"The look on your face-plates was an absolute picture," Jazz couldn't hide the fact that he still thought it was funny, and although he hadn't been amused at the time Prowl had to agree.
The last memory they came to was one of the last conversations they'd had before Prowl had spoken to Optimus about the slim chances of the shuttle mission to Earth. Jazz hadn't wanted to think about the probable outcome, he had even stalked out of their quarters at one point only to return a few minutes later looking grimmer than Prowl had ever seen him.
"There was no other way," Jazz pushed through the bond. "It wasn't your fault."
"We could have run," Prowl suggested. "Stolen a shuttle and headed for the stars."
"You could have mentioned that at the time," his lover chided him, he wasn't angry, they both knew without question that they couldn't have left their loved ones or their duties behind. It was a positive sign of how far they had come since entering the hut, only one day earlier neither of them would have felt comfortable with making such comments.
With the serious reason for their bonding taken care of, Jazz began the far more pleasurable task of mapping out Prowl's sensory net. He started slowly, gently caressing his lover's frame and easing armour panels aside to access the more sensitive wiring beneath, but after so long apart it soon became difficult to keep control of his actions, and the fact that Prowl was begging him for more through the bond only served to drive him on.
Their desire burned white-hot in their sparks, their vents heaved, their thoughts of each other passed so quickly through the bond that it became difficult to know which were whose, but it didn't matter, nothing mattered except the two sparks that were so deeply entangled in each other that they were one, complete, whole, glorious and then the overload hit them.
Slowly the haze of pleasure began to clear and Jazz recognised the familiar sounds of overworked vents and the gentle tick of cooling metal, he realised that Prowl had been right to take him away from the rest of the world, without the constant distractions he could truly focus on the most important thing in his life; the smiling, content mech who lay in his arms.
"I love you," he sent through the bond. He had said those words to his lover thousands of times in their long life together but he had never meant them more.
Days passed quickly and Prowl was pleased to see that Jazz's was as adaptable as ever. Jazz soon learned to trust the bond again, to use it to comfort himself when he felt vulnerable, and to keep his moods comparatively stable.
Prowl knew that Jazz would always be more emotional than he was, he considered it one of his lover's greatest strengths, but it wasn't without drawbacks.
They had spent a relaxing morning on the beach, walking, swimming and talking before Jazz had settled himself down to build a sandcastle and Prowl had slipped back inside the hut to get their afternoon energon. This in itself was an achievement as Jazz was still a little wary of letting Prowl out of his sight, but just before Prowl picked up the small drinking cubes he realised that he had tried too much too soon.
Through the bond Prowl felt Jazz's thoughts sharpen, they seemed to go from a haze of emotions and musings to a knife-edge of awareness in a spark-pulse, and the knife cut Prowl to the core. The explanation was simple, Jazz sensed a threat and was ready for a fight.
A moment later the sound of jet engines reached Prowl's audios, and he dashed back outside to find Jazz on his feet and scanning the skies. Three planes were barely visible on the horizon, but they were human machines, probably on a training mission, Prowl surmised.
"You don't have to do that anymore," Prowl said softly as he stepped up behind Jazz. "Nothing here will hurt you."
"I've been told that before," Jazz muttered, he didn't sound scared, or angry, he was simply ready.
"The war's over Jazz," Prowl said softly.
"I know that," the Porsche retorted, possibly a little more harshly then he meant to. "I was there, remember?" the question sounded like an accusation but he couldn't help it.
"But you're still ready for a fight," Prowl said mildly. "Your guards are still up and you're still waiting for an attack."
"I put my guns away," Jazz said as he realised that he was suddenly on the defensive. Slagging tacticians, he thought with a familiarity that amused him. Centuries of war, destruction and death, and the only thing that hasn't changed is that I still can't win an argument with him. "What else am I supposed to do?"
"Surrender," Prowl whispered, he knew that the word went against everything that Jazz had come to believe, but it had to be said. "It's time for the warrior in you to lay down his arms. He was never the mech you were supposed to be."
"I don't think there's much left of the mech I was when we first met," Jazz admitted. "He's seen too much, done too much." It seemed almost impossible for him to believe that he had once been such a carefree mech who knew nothing of war.
"We did some terrible things, didn't we?" Prowl murmured as he wrapped his lover in a protective embrace. "We destroyed, we killed, we hurt each other just to keep ourselves alive. At least I had some training, some idea of how to cope, but you, you fought just as you had lived; by instinct and reaction. I spent vorns trying to protect you because I wanted you safe, but that only made things worse didn't it? How could I ask a mech who loved so fiercely, and had so much energy, to just wait for me?"
Jazz stiffened slightly, the change was barely perceptible, but Prowl was probably the only mech that could spot it and recognise it's meaning. He alone knew how hard Jazz had fought to maintain his happy-go-lucky demeanour during a war which had brought out the worst in so many Cybertronians.
Prowl changed tactics, trying to sooth Jazz just wasn't working so he stepped away and mirrored Jazz's stance.
"What are you doing?" Jazz asked, his head tilted slightly as it often did when he was confused.
"Giving you what you want," Prowl answered. "You're ready for a fight, I'm ready to give you one."
"Don't be ridiculous," Jazz snapped. "I ain't gonna fight you."
"Worried you might lose," Prowl teased him.
"Haven't yet," Jazz retorted, and this much was true. Despite Prowl's battle computer and superior strength Jazz had never lost a match when they had sparred together; they had drawn, been interrupted or ordered to stop many times, but Prowl had never won outright.
He didn't mind, he put it down to Jazz being faster, less predictable, in some cases just plain luckier, and the fact that Jazz disinclined to fight fair made him a formidable opponent.
All these factors, and many more, made Jazz into Prowl's perfect opposite and Prowl had always appreciated their differences because it made their life together far more interesting, and with the advantage of the bond they had become far stronger than they could ever be apart.
"Maybe today," Prowl pushed.
Jazz didn't give any warning before he accepted the challenge. He struck so fast that for a moment Prowl's battle computer was pushed to it's limits, and the added distraction of his lover's graceful, agile form certainly wasn't helping any, but Prowl was determined to win this bout, it wasn't about pride; a life-time of war had left Jazz with a stubborn streak a mile wide, and while that trait was a strong survival skill, Prowl needed to show Jazz that the world wouldn't end if he surrendered.
The friendly fight gave Jazz another advantage, he didn't have to put any real power behind the shots, just make contact so his speed was more use than Prowl's strength, but Prowl was no slouch, and after several minutes of trading and deflecting blows Prowl finally got the opportunity he was hoping for and kicked Jazz's legs out from underneath him.
Sand flew everywhere as the pair of black and white's wrestled on the beach. "We're both going to need a good wash when we're done," Jazz muttered as they rolled again and he came up on top. The chatter was another diversion tactic that he often employed but this time Prowl wasn't going to fall for it.
"Why wait?" he asked playfully, and he flipped them over again so that Jazz landed on his back in the shallows. As he'd hoped the shock of suddenly being in several inches of mercifully quite warm water was enough to break Jazz's concentration for a few seconds and that was all he needed.
"You're pinned," Prowl said softly. "Give it up Jazz."
Despite his visor Jazz managed to shoot an indignant glare his partner. "You cheated," he muttered as he continued to struggle.
"Are you saying that you wouldn't have done the same to me if I'd given you the chance?" Prowl asked.
"Well, no but..."
"Then don't sulk just because neither of us are playing by the rules," Prowl smiled sweetly. "Now, are you going to call it, or shall we wait until the tide comes in?"
Jazz tried hard to remember which way the water was currently flowing, and wished he had paid attention to it earlier, but the plain truth was that he had no idea, and no desire to call Prowl's bluff. "Okay," he said reluctantly, "I'm done."
Prowl smiled and rewarded his lover with a deep kiss. "Well done Jazz," he said softly. "I know that wasn't easy for you, but everything's fine, not an end of the world in sight."
Jazz chuckled at Prowl's playful tone, tried to sit up and found that he was still trapped. "Are you going to let me up now?" he asked with an edge of impatience in his voice.
"You know," Prowl mused as he gently stroked his lover's hand, "now that I've got you I think I quite like you this way. All pinned down and helpless, it's quite arousing."
"Water!" Jazz reminded his lover.
"We'll be high and dry in a few minutes," Prowl chuckled.
"You shit," Jazz swore, he didn't often use the rather vulgar human curses he had learnt in his time on Earth, but in that moment all other words escaped him.
"But you love me anyway," Prowl reminded him.
"I do," Jazz agreed. "Primus help me but I do."
They shared a kiss that was full of desire. "Maybe we should take this inside?" Prowl suggested.
He started to stand up, but as soon as his weight shifted Jazz seized his chance and rolled them both. "It's not like there's anyone within a mile of us," he pointed out. "Helpless?"
Prowl tried to move only to discover that he was now trapped as well as Jazz had been a moment earlier. "I appear to be," he admitted.
Jazz flashed his lover a smile that was nothing short of wicked. "It's been far too long since I had you all to myself," he said softly.
"You'll have plenty of that now my love," Prowl assured him. "I promise."
a/n: I seem to remember mentioning in my last post that I'd leave Prowl and Jazz to their own devices, well, this is what happens when I do. The first two parts of this update are the pieces that I wanted to write, the third is really just playing and it's been so much fun.
As far as I know this will be the last part of Treasured Times, I have no plans for anymore and the whole series is now just a few chapters off being completely finished and for future reference it fits in after Chapter 10 of For the Promise of Peace. Hope you liked it.
THanks for reading. FB.