Title: It's Not Funny, chapter 1 of 4
Author: Koi Lungfish
Disclaimer: Based on characters and situations from The Transformers ((c) 1986 Hasbro, Ltd). Used without permission. Text (c) 2008, Koi Lung Fish (Mark of Lung. All Rights Reserved.)
Subject: A domestic abuse charity ask Jazz to help them reach out to Starscream.
Continuity: G1 cartoon, late season 2.

Chapter 1 of 4

WARNING: implicit slash, explicit violence

"Domestic abuse is no laughing matter," said the woman in the grey knit dress, looking at Jazz from beneath her arched eyebrows with a ferocious gaze. Her name was Jeanette, and Jazz understood she'd once been a librarian.

"'m sorry, ma'am," Jazz said, putting a hand to his mouth and trying to stop giggling. He sat cross-legged on the floor of the small space partitioned off in what had been the Ark's main engine room when the Ark still had engines. Now it was spruced up and sectioned off all over to make somewhere Autobots could meet humans. Jazz could hear Prowl, in his little box of space at the other end of the room, murmuring something congratulatory as his human said 'Check, and I do believe mate as well'.

"We're really serious about this," said Clarice, a big woman in a peach tracksuit, shifting so her trainers squeaked against the smooth metal floor. "We saw it on the news! He got thrown right through an office block! Your leader even called it a 'domestic squabble'!"

"Yeah, he did," Jazz admitted, not mentioning that calling Megatron and Starscream's constant struggle for control of the Decepticons a 'domestic squabble' was Optimus Prime's idea of a joke. Guess the Chief's sense of humour's a bit too subtle for some. "But, see, Cybertron ain't like Earth ... "

"Are you saying this sort of behaviour is acceptable on your world?" Jeanette said, narrow eyebrows rising up her wrinkled forehead. Jazz wondered how her forehead could move at all with all her hair scraped back into that tight little knot.

"Wouldn't stand for it 'mongst our own," Jazz said. "But Decepticons gotta live with a savage sorta law."

"Excuse me?" said Jeanette, tweaking the cord by which her thick-lensed glasses hung around her neck.

"What goes down between Megatron an' Starscream ain't beans to them," Jazz said. "To Decepticon eyes what they do to one another's just the way things are. Commander an' lieutenant. The third right 'gainst the fifth duty, to the victor go the spoils and all that jazz. You ain't even seen what they can do when they get worked up." An' pray to Vector Sigma you don't, 'cause there wouldn't be much Earth left afterwards. "They're Decepticons. It's just - what they do."

"When we see someone being abused by their partner, someone who is trapped in a bad relationship they don't know how to get out of, we want to help," said Jeanette, letting go of her glasses and gesturing agitatedly with her thin hands. "Even if that person is a giant robot from another planet. Even if they've been raised to believe it's normal and natural. We have to help, because it seems that nobody else will!"

Jazz shook his head gently. "I don' know, ma'am. This all seems ... kinda out there."

"That's the same attitude so many people take to this sort of situation," Jeanette said. She sounded as if she was starting to get angry with him. "People don't have to - they shouldn't have to live like that!"

"Jeanette," said the third woman, Emma, the quiet one with the fluffy blonde hair, "you're shouting again."

Jeanette went silent immediately, hard mouth shut firmly. She folded her arms over her stick-thin body and sniffed. "I'm sorry," she said, forcing the words out. Jazz wasn't sure who she was apologizing to. It seemed kinda automatic.

"Mr Jazz -" Emma began, brushing her fringe out of her eyes.

"Just Jazz, please," the Autobot said, smiling at her.

"Jazz," and she tried a little smile of her own, then immediately went back to addressing the floor in front of his feet. "Every one of us at the shelter has been in a relationship like this one. We all know, from the inside, how it looks and feels. That's why we see in Starscream someone who's in the same bad place as we've been. He's trapped and afraid and doesn't know how to get out and - " Emma put her hand to her mouth. Jazz thought she might be trying not to cry. "And we've all been disbelieved and - and ignored by the people who were supposed to help us." She looked up at him again, through her long fringe - a quick blink of blue eyes wide with uncertainty. "Aren't you supposed to be helping people?"

"Well, yeah, but ... " Jazz stopped. "Starscream ain't no nice lady."

"There you go again!" said Clarice. "Attacking the victim!"

"Whoa, I mean, I thought you came from a shelter for abusedwomen," Jazz exclaimed, realizing that it would be futile to try to explain that Starscream was about as much of a victim as Ironhide was a ballet dancer and that it would get him yelled at to boot.

"Victims of domestic abuse," Emma said.

"Victims includes men," Clarice said pointedly. Jeanette looked very fiercely at her shoes.

"Well, that's all kinda the same to us and to the 'cons too," said Jazz, "but Starscream's kinda big. You ain't gonna put him up at your place, are you?"

They looked at each other for a moment.

"If it comes to that, yes," Jeanette said. "Although given how close the Decepticon base is to New York we would prefer it if we could find somewhere further away, somewhere safer for him. Given the problems we have with violent abusers coming to the shelter as it is, I doubt we could do much should his ex-partner arrive on our doorstep."

"He needs to be somewhere he can feel safe," said Clarice, stuffing her hands in the pockets of her tracksuit jacket. "He needs to heal."

He is a heel, Jazz thought. "You ain't suggesting we put him up, are you?"

"No," Jeanette said, although Emma had opened her mouth as if to say yes. "What kind of lunacy would that be, to get someone out of a terrible relationship such as this one and then drop him in amongst a group of people who would - I mean - " She stumbled over the impetus of her own words.

"Yeah, yeah," said Jazz, realizing what Jeanette was about to say. "Bring him in here and there'd be one almighty ruckus." And I wouldn't bet he'd be the one to come off worse.

"We're not entirely sure where we'd house him, to be honest," Jeanette said, fiddling with her glasses again. "Things are still at such a theoretical stage. We do hope to arrange some sort of deal with an airfield - perhaps hire a hangar for him, if we can raise the money."

"You got that sorta cash?" Jazz said. Prowl kept a tight rein on the Autobots' access to human money and didn't let what they did have go anywhere without a painfully good reason.

"No," said Jeanette.

Clarice shook her head very emphatically. "But if we can get through to Starscream, it'd be a real sign to people," she said. "It'd make the news. I mean big news! We could ask for donations or something." She looked at Jeanette, perhaps expecting her to join in, but she was polishing her glasses on her sleeve and looking introspective. "It'd be a message of hope to other victims," Clarice continued, a bit lost. "If we can help alien robots, of course we can help normal women! We got to do it."

Man, Jazz thought, sinking his chin into his hand with a tired half-smile, why did I volunteer for Ark PR officer? Oh yeah ... because I thought it would be fun. The spark of a laugh began to tickle him, way down in his fuel tank. Well, I might as well have some fun ... "Ladies, I ain't exactly convinced of this, but if you say you're seein' something I ain't, well, even ol' Jazz can be wrong. I'm willing to help in any way I can."

Jeanette smiled tightly. "Thank you. We brought our outreach leaflet."

"Jus' one leaflet?" Jazz asked.

"It was too expensive to print more than one," Jeanette said. "We had it blown up to Transformer scale."

"Well, that's real nice of you!" Jazz said. "So all I gotta do is give this leaflet to ol' Sta - err - Starscream?"

"If you could get it to him in the least hostile manner possible ... " Emma asked, combing her hair back from her face, sounding as if she felt she was asking for too much.

"Sure I will, honey," Jazz said and the laugh bubbled in his tanks, "sure I can!"

Author's notes & addenda: Feedback always welcomed.