Disclaimer: If I owned them, there is a small probability that I might not slander their reputations as horribly as this. Regardless, I still don't own them.
Author's Note: The last part of a series of four one-shots written for the prowlxjazz Christmas challenge. The stories don't necessarily take place in the same year, though they are set in the same fic-verse. I warn that this story was written while I had a fever, so it's more than a little odd and mushy, and definitely full of fluff. It also has some rather...creative ideas about...certain mechs...pasts. Also, I've come to the conclusion that I need to write a fic where Prowl goes to a party and it isn't eventful for him. Because it seems every party he goes to that I write, is just bad news for him. It's a wonder he even goes to them anymore, hey?
"Uhm, Jazz to Prowl." The unexpected call on the comm line startled Prowl from his duties, and he paused a moment before answering. It was well into Jazz's annual Christmas party, which pretty much every mech in the Ark, save for the few on duty, were attending, so there really should have been no reason Jazz needed to contact Prowl. Except perhaps to tell him 'Merry Christmas' again. Prowl usually got about two dozen communiqués from Jazz to that effect over the course of the Christmas party, each getting more confusing and slurred as Jazz got more and more over-energized. However, Jazz had just delivered the first of those messages about five minutes ago, so that was unlikely to be the case now. Thus, it was with some trepidation that Prowl answered.
"Prowl, you should...heh...you should probably come down to the rec room." Jazz said, sounding as if he was trying very hard not to burst out laughing.
"Jazz, I am on duty." Prowl said with a frown. It was far too early in the evening for Jazz to be over-energized enough to have 'forgotten' that yet.
"Yeah, I know, but...the minis found glitter." Prowl let his silence speak for him, and soon enough, Jazz elaborated. "And some glue." Prowl sighed, and was already leaving the command center when Jazz cheerfully added: "Also, Sunstreaker!"
"Understood. I'm on my way." Prowl said irritably. He'd been expecting something like this to happen for years now, even though the twins and minis usually made an unofficial truce for the holidays. They'd become unexpectedly quiet far earlier than normal this year, however, and Prowl supposed that was why the truce finally broke. He just wished, for Jazz's sake, that they could've waited one more night. For all that Jazz may have been laughing on the comm line, if Prowl knew the saboteur, Jazz was likely upset and anxious over his Christmas party being ruined, and just hiding it with laughter.
Or at least, that was what Prowl thought until he neared the rec room. Instead of the sounds of a fight, as he'd expected, he heard uncontrollable laughter, as well as whistles and cheers. Prowl frowned as he managed to pick out Jazz evidently cheering Sunstreaker on with something, and paused just out of sight of the door to the rec room. The evidence suggested that there wasn't a fight, which meant he really should return to his duties, but Jazz had called him down here. Even on Christmas the saboteur wouldn't do that without a reason, knowing his mate volunteered for Christmas Eve duty so the other mechs could go to the party. Which meant that Prowl should probably go see whatever was happening.
So, steeling himself against whatever he might find, Prowl rounded the corner and headed for the rec room, managing to make it a few steps inside the door before his CPU registered the data his optics were sending him and he stopped, mouth falling open in shock.
As Jazz had mentioned, the twins and the minis were in the thick of it, with Sunstreaker covered in some iridescent gold glitter, which...actually didn't look all that bad on him. Some of the glitter had made it to the floor, and onto other mechs in shapes that looked suspiciously like hand prints (and why was one of those hand prints on Sideswipe's aft?), but the majority of it was on Sunstreaker. The yellow twin looked far from upset, however. In fact, he was grinning maniacally as he and his brother held down Beachcomber, Bumblebee, and Huffer using various parts of their bodies, and...tickled them mercilessly. The three mini-bots were laughing convulsively, Bumblebee so hard that no sound was coming out.
And as if that wasn't enough, as Prowl watched, Cliffjumper rallied the other mini-bots, and they all pounced on the twins, freeing the three captives and turning the tables. Soon it was the twins lying on the floor laughing and struggling to escape as the mini-bots tickled them relentlessly. The larger mechs' thrashing inevitably tossed minis away, but the smaller bots just got right back up and dove into the fray again, until finally everyone in the rec room was treated to a sound they'd likely never hear again - the twins yielding to the mini-bots. The smaller bots cheered, then struck conquering poses while either standing on or around the twins, and Jazz and other snapped pictures. The twins, lying gasping on the floor as their systems furiously cycled cooling air, didn't seem to have the energy to object, or even say much of anything, until the pictures were done and the gathered crowd was beginning to disperse around the room again.
"Well that didn't go as planned." Sunstreaker's voice, surprisingly, carried throughout the room.
"That's because there's more of them than us, moron." Sideswipe retorted as the two started to draw the attention of the other bots again.
"Really? I thought you were a really small gestalt." Sunstreaker replied with a smirk.
"Ha, no, that would be Menasor. He's made up of the STUNTicons, remember?" Sideswipe said with his own smirk.
"Bad, Sideswipe. Bad." Sunstreaker said. "And we need a new plan."
"I know!" Sideswipe declared, raising a hand into the air, and then pointing at Bumblebee. "You! Your father was a hamster!" The red twin had obviously been expecting Sunstreaker to finish the line, but as soon as the words left his mouth, Sunstreaker collapsed into laughter, causing many amused looks. He ignored them as Sideswipe gave his brother an irritated look, and then to the amazement of everyone, Sunstreaker quieted, sat up, and pulled a sketch pad and charcoal out of his subspace. He hunched over the paper, preventing anyone from seeing, as he worked furiously on it. As people gradually drifted away again, Prowl shook his head, clearing the last remnants of shock, and went to find Jazz.
"I take it that was why you called me down." he asked the saboteur with amusement.
"Yeah, figured you'd want to see the twins an' minis gettin' in a fight that didn't land any of 'em in the infirmary." Jazz said with a grin.
"It was a most enjoyable sight." Prowl agreed.
"'Most enjoyable'?" Jazz asked.
"Quiet, you. My CPU is still recovering from the sight." Prowl said dryly. Jazz chuckled. "But I had best return to my duties..."
"Nah, Prime's gotcha covered." Jazz said with a smirk, and Prowl arched an optic ridge. "He said he had a feelin' that this was a party you needed t'be at, for once. I think he was gettin' tired of mechs tryin' t'convince him t'dress up like Santa Claus for his PR visit t'the children's hospital tomorrow."
"I think a 'Santa Claus' that large would scare the children more than anything else." Prowl said with amusement.
"Heh, probably." Jazz said, chuckling, then turned his attention to Sunstreaker as the yellow warrior finally finished whatever he was doing, batted away his brother, and made straight for Bumblebee. The larger mech tapped Bumblebee on the shoulder, and when the mini-bot turned around, Sunstreaker all but shoved the pad of paper in his face. Bumblebee took a few minutes to register what he was seeing, then started laughing. Sunstreaker smirked and brought the pad of paper back to himself, scribbling something before tearing off the top sheet and handing it to Bumblebee.
"Come on." Jazz said, grabbing Prowl's arm and dragging him towards the laughing mechs clustering around Bumblebee, who was showing off the drawing. Jazz easily elbowed his way into the circle, dragging Prowl with him - it was at this point several of the mechs seemed to notice Prowl was there for the first time, and began greeting him cheerily. Finally, the two of them got to the center, and Bumblebee smirked as he showed them the drawing. It was, unsurprisingly, of Bumblebee, however Sunstreaker seemed to have drawn inspiration from his twin's comment, and had made the yellow mini-bot into a half-hamster. Underneath was the end of the 'insult', scrawled in Sunstreaker's handwriting - 'and your mother smelled of elderberries!'
Sideswipe managed to work his way into the circle shortly after Jazz and Prowl, and stared at the picture for several minutes before turning to his twin with an odd, happy smile. Several mechs started questioning him at that point about Sunstreaker's sudden artistic abilities, but to everyone's surprise, it was Mirage who answered.
"Did anyone ever tell you lot that you're all uncultured barbarians?" the spy asked dryly, interrupting everyone, and a few mechs looked irritated at the comment. Mirage just smirked. "Sunstreaker's artwork was all over the Towers. His pieces sold for...well...probably more than any of you ever had." At that, Sunstreaker looked up from what he was drawing with a frown, and glanced towards Sideswipe.
"Hey, you said you didn't want to know the specifics, as long as I made sure whoever bought them would appreciate them!" Sideswipe said with a shrug. Sunstreaker grunted slightly, looking thoughtful.
"So where did all the credits go, then?" he asked.
"Sitting in a bank account. Or they would be, if the banks still existed. I figured you'd ask for them if you wanted them." Sideswipe said with amusement.
"Wait, you two never spent any of it?" Mirage asked incredulously, and Sideswipe shrugged.
"They were his credits." the red twin said, pointing to his brother.
"He never told me they were there, or how many there were." Sunstreaker replied with an irritated frown for his twin. Mirage just stared at the two of them for a moment, obviously doing some quick calculations.
"So you're telling me, that before all the banks were destroyed, you two - excuse me, Sunstreaker - had enough credits stashed away to practically buy Iacon?!" the spy finally managed to choke out.
"Dunno, did I?" Sunstreaker asked Sideswipe cluelessly.
"Eh-heh...uh...twice over." Sideswipe said in a small voice.
"Why didn't you fragging tell me!" Sunstreaker exclaimed, whacking his twin on the back of his helm.
"You said you didn't want to know!" Sideswipe said defensively.
"I said I didn't want to know the exact prices for each work! I never said anything about a general over-all figure or some such thing!" Sunstreaker retorted. Sideswipe opened his mouth to defend himself more, but Sunstreaker held up a hand. "No, don't, I'm not talking to you anymore right now. Huffer, get over here!" The mini-bot beeped in surprise at the sudden attention, and found himself shoved forward before Sunstreaker handed him whatever he'd been drawing, newly removed from his pad of paper. Other mini-bots began peering over Huffer's shoulder, and soon they were all chuckling. Even Huffer looked amused. Sunstreaker, meanwhile, had returned to his pad of paper.
"Alright, share with the rest of us, Huffer!" Jazz called out as the mini-bots continued giggling over the drawing, Bumblebee even wandering over and declaring it better than his. Obligingly, Huffer turned the drawing around for everyone to see...and revealing a Huffer with fairy-like wings and a wand, liberally dusting the bottom of the page with 'glitter' - underneath it was the caption 'The Glitter Fairy'. Laughter abounded, and there were several compliments or jokes made about the picture before the mechs began breaking away again, though most sent curious looks in Sunstreaker's direction, obviously wondering what he was drawing now, especially considering how he was smirking.
"Y'alright, Sides?" Jazz asked, wandering over to the red twin. Prowl, with a lack of anywhere else to go, followed his mate. Sideswipe gave Jazz an amused smile.
"Yeah, I'm good. Sunny's not really mad, just irritated. He'll get his revenge with whatever he's drawing, I'm sure." Sideswipe said.
"Oh?" Jazz asked curiously.
"Yeah. It's been...a long time since he's done this but, well, he always had that same smirk whenever he was drawing me." Sideswipe replied with amusement, motioning towards his brother.
"He's done this before?" Prowl couldn't help but ask curiously. He'd known what Sunstreaker and Sideswipe did before the war, of course, but he hadn't actually met them until they'd joined the Autobots, and by that time, Sunstreaker had stopped creating art, and Sideswipe's business had crashed thanks to the Decepticons.
"Oh yeah, used to be that as soon as he got a little high-grade in him at a party, he'd start drawing stuff like this. Mostly because he was too shy to approach the femmes." Sideswipe said with a snigger.
"Sunstreaker? Shy?" Prowl asked, arching an optic ridge.
"Yeah. Seems hard to believe, I know, but the war...the war has changed him a lot." Sideswipe said with a sigh.
"It's changed all of us." Prowl said reassuringly, and Sideswipe nodded. Then, suddenly, Sunstreaker was in front of them, holding up his pad of paper. As predicted, Sideswipe was drawn on it, sitting on a pile of coins, laughing gleefully with the caption 'mine, all mine...my preciousessss!'
"Told you." Sideswipe said dryly, taking the piece of paper from his twin, who grinned maniacally before putting his pad of paper away and wandering off to chat with some other mechs, obviously done drawing for now. Prowl and Jazz then found Sideswipe's attention pulled away as other mechs wanted to know what his twin's latest doodle was.
"So, think you'll stay?" Jazz asked Prowl as they stepped back and watched with amusement.
"So long as my shift is covered." Prowl agreed with a smile.
"Good. Dance with me!" Jazz demanded.
"What? No!" Prowl protested. It took the tactician a good half an hour to convince Jazz he wasn't going to dance, regardless of how many other mechs Jazz pulled into the 'discussion', and finally the saboteur left him alone with a cube of high grade and Sunstreaker, who had pulled out his pad of paper and was drawing again.
The yellow mech had already sent his twin off to get Ratchet, who, upon arriving in the rec room, had been presented with a picture of himself relaxing happily on a beach in a lawn chair, margarita in hand, while the other half of the paper showed Sunstreaker and Sideswipe welded to the ceiling of the med bay by their afts. The medic had actually chuckled at it, given Sunstreaker a pat on the shoulder, and then told him that if he came to the med bay wanting something to remove the glitter, it might actually happen. There was laughter all around as Ratchet grinned at Sunstreaker's indignant spluttering and left (after unhelpfully agreeing with Jazz that yes, Prowl should dance with him), taking the picture with him. Now, Sunstreaker was back to drawing, on the other end of the couch from Prowl.
"So what'd you do before the war?" Sunstreaker unexpectedly asked, not looking up from his drawing.
"Hm?" Prowl asked in surprise, not having thought the yellow twin was paying attention to him.
"You, your profession, what was it, before you signed up with the Autobots?" Sunstreaker asked, glancing up briefly from his sketch pad.
"Oh, ah - I was an administrative assistant. To Sentinel Prime." Prowl replied.
"Administrative...so you were Sentinel's secretary?" Sunstreaker asked with amusement.
"My job was a little more complicated than that, but basically, yes." Prowl agreed.
"Huh. Sounds boring." Sunstreaker said.
"It was, at first. I came to enjoy it, however." Prowl said. "I certainly preferred it over the war."
"Yeah, who wouldn't?" Sunstreaker said with a snort.
"All of the Decepticons." Prowl replied flatly.
"...point." Sunstreaker conceded, then uncurled from around his sketchpad. "Oi, Jazz!"
"My turn now?" the saboteur called from the dance floor, already making his way over, and Sunstreaker grinned faintly, then showed him the paper. Jazz started chuckling almost immediately, and then grabbed Sunstreaker's hand and turned it around so Prowl could see. The picture was of Jazz, tangled into a confused ball that looked vaguely car-shaped, with Ratchet standing over him with a hand over his optics. The caption underneath read: 'Jazz, I told you that you weren't that flexible!'
"You're far too bendy." Sunstreaker concluded, eyeing Jazz suspiciously, then tore off the piece of paper and handed it to the saboteur, who immediately began showing it around. Sunstreaker watched him for a time, seeming entertained by the looks on the other mechs faces, then turned back to his drawing. Prowl, out of curiosity, scooted closer and peered at the drawing-in-progress. Sunstreaker glanced up after a moment.
"That's distracting, you know." he said.
"What? Watching you draw?" Prowl asked curiously, and Sunstreaker nodded.
"Never known why it is, but when someone's watching me when I'm drawing, it bothers me more than when they watch me at any other time." Sunstreaker said, waving a hand vaguely.
"Hm. Jazz complains about the same thing while he's writing." Prowl mused. "I can't help it, though. My creativity ends with creating battle plans, and I get curious about how others can just...come up with these things."
"Simple. The image pops into my processor, and I draw it. Unless I'm just making it up as I go, in which case I just draw whatever." Sunstreaker said, and Prowl gave him a blank look. "I think we need more high grade before continuing this. Bar wench! More ale!"
"I am NOT a bar wench!" Sideswipe shot back from across the rec room, but he was obligingly getting more high grade - in fact, he seemed to have realized Sunstreaker wanted some for Prowl, too, and came over with two cubes.
"Thank you. Now shoo!" Sunstreaker said, taking the high grade from his brother, and Sideswipe shook his head, but left as ordered, giving Prowl an amused look. Sunstreaker handed one of the cubes to Prowl, who sipped at it thoughtfully while looking back at Sunstreaker's drawing. He couldn't make out what it was, yet - there were lines on the page, but no form jumped out at him. Sunstreaker seemed to realize this, and grinned. "Don't worry, it needs colour, so it's not supposed to make sense yet." the yellow warrior said, then flipped the page over. "OK. Let's start fresh."
"For?" Prowl asked blankly.
"You. I am explaining to you how to draw, and if at all possible, teaching you how to do so yourself." Sunstreaker declared. Prowl gave him an amused look.
"I never said I wanted to learn how to draw." he said.
"Shut up, you're going to anyways. Either that or you can leave me alone and not stare at me while I'm drawing." Sunstreaker said sternly, then suddenly winced. "Primus, I sound like you." Prowl smiled faintly.
"Evidently you have learned something." he couldn't help but tease the yellow warrior, who snickered, but then brought Prowl's attention back to the matter at hand, and Prowl, unwilling to move and finding himself strangely fascinated, was soon being taught how to draw by Sunstreaker. Neither of the two mechs on the couch realized it, but over the course of the next three hours, as Sideswipe and Jazz kept providing them with high grade, they were the source of amusement for the entire party. Pictures were, naturally, taken by almost everyone. There were even a couple of comm calls from Optimus and Red Alert, asking what Sunstreaker and Prowl were doing, which resulted in a promise for a tape of the 'drawing lesson', with enhanced audio.
Of course, the lesson in how to draw inevitably came to an end as the party began to wind down and those that were too tired or over-energized to stay upright much longer staggered off to their rooms. Ironhide hauled most of the Aerialbots out with him, having promised Silverbolt - who was in the med bay, hence Ratchet's absence - to keep an eye on them and make sure they left before they got themselves in trouble. Most of the mini-bots were gone. Those with patrol the next day were long gone, as was Optimus' replacement for the command center. Inferno had gone off to drag Red Alert away from his cameras, Hound and Mirage had disappeared, literally, at some point, and nobody wanted to know if they were still in the room or not. Bluestreak was actually passed out in a chair, the only one so far to actually fall into recharge in the rec room. Brawn and Wheeljack had stumbled out debating the explosive properties of various chemicals within their own bodies and, consequently, how much of 'BOOM' they'd make if all those chemicals were to spontaneously hit their flash points at the same time. Wheeljack, last heard, had been arguing that since he was bigger, and therefore had more of the chemicals, he would make a bigger BOOM than Brawn.
Other mechs left, until only a fraction of the original attendees were there, and all congregated around the couch, and the chair where Bluestreak was recharging soundly, talking softly. Jazz had taken the other end of the couch, next to Prowl, while Sideswipe was sitting at his twin's feet. Sunstreaker had begun doodling randomly - having just spent the last three hours learning about Sunstreaker's drawing style, Prowl could tell what he was doing now (and, come to think of it, it was the same thing Sunstreaker did at most meetings...). The yellow bot wasn't really paying attention to it, but it was still a surprise when he spoke.
"So Jazz, what did you do before the war?" he asked, as out of the blue as when he'd asked Prowl.
"Me?" Jazz asked with amusement.
"I said your name, didn't I?" Sunstreaker replied, looking up from his pad of paper with amusement.
"Yeah, just don't know why you'd want to know what I did." Jazz said with amusement.
"Curious. Apparently the fact that I was an artist is a shocker to everybody, so I'm wondering if everyone else's previous professions are pretty much obvious or what." Sunstreaker said with a snort.
"Prowl's ain't." Jazz said dryly, and Sunstreaker gave him an odd look.
"I would have said it was." Sunstreaker said.
"His is - Prowl, what did you tell him?" Jazz asked his mate sternly.
"That I was an administrative assistant to Sentinel Prime. Which I was." Prowl stated, not moving from where he was leaning on Jazz, who was subsequently leaning on the couch to stay upright.
"Well, yeah, after he bailed ya out." Jazz said with a snort, and Prowl promptly glared at him.
"Which is the only part he needs to know, Jazz." Prowl said pointedly.
"But that was only for th'last thousand or so years before th'start of th'war!" Jazz objected.
"He still does not need to know anymore." Prowl stated flatly.
"Oh come on, Prowl!" Jazz said with a frown.
"No, Jazz." Prowl said with a glare.
"Yes, Prowl." Jazz replied mockingly.
"Yes!" Jazz concluded the argument by suddenly moving, trapping the tactician's arms and legs beneath his own body, and clapping a hand over his mouth. Prowl glared at Jazz, and began bombarding his comm system with white noise, which Jazz cheerfully turned off. By now, of course, the three mechs on the couch had the attention of all the others sitting around.
"Y'wanna know what Prowl did before the war? An' I mean really did?" Jazz asked with a wicked grin.
"Oh, most definitely." Sunstreaker said with a grin of his own. Then he and the others had to wince as Prowl blasted all their comms with white noise, making it impossible to hear anything. There were numerous swears as everyone shut off their comm lines, and Bluestreak woke up with a startled yelp and glare for his mentor once he was informed who was responsible.
"I think that's th'first time I've ever seen him glare at ya, Prowl." Jazz mused.
"What he deserves." Bluestreak muttered uncharitably.
"OK, so, Sunny and Blue switched personalities for the evening..." Trailbreaker commented dryly. Amusingly, both Sunstreaker and Bluestreak, having been influenced this much by earth culture, showed Trailbreaker their middle fingers. Sideswipe cackled, then batted away his twin's hand when Sunstreaker tried to swat him.
"It's funny and you know it." the red twin retorted. Sunstreaker must have agreed, as he stopped trying to whack Sideswipe.
"So anyways, Prowl's occupation before the war?" Sunstreaker asked, turning to Jazz. Prowl was now struggling to escape the saboteur's grasp, so the yellow twin leant over to help hold him down, which Jazz flashed him a grateful smile for. Suddenly, Jazz looked at Prowl sharply.
"Swear to Primus Prowl, if you do more'n think about bitin' my hand..." the saboteur trailed off threateningly, and Prowl glared at him. Jazz ignored the glare, and turned back to the other mechs. "I better get this out before he escapes, I think. Ironhide tells all new officers 'bout this, by th'way, just so they don't freak out at Prowl." Prowl stilled at that, looking at Jazz quizzically, and Jazz nodded. The tactician's expression, if anything, got more sour, and he settled into what could only be considered a sulk. "Th'reason he uses this particular story is 'cause, well, Prowl wasn't always as...cool an' collected as he is now. It's thanks to Sentinel Prime that he's like this, really. Which, as much as you may be wantin' to curse Sentinel right 'bout now, is better than the alternative - cuz y'see, before Sentinel found him, Prowl here...was in the Iacon brigs, scheduled for a personality assessment."
"What?! What was Prowl doing in the brigs, let alone..." Sideswipe trailed off, startled. A personality assessment, while it didn't do anything to the bot involved, meant that somewhere down the line, something had gone so wrong with you that the creation bots wanted to investigate what made you act the way you did and make sure that particular personality quirk never happened again. Once the war started, it was usually followed by the removal of one's personality matrix to be put into cold storage. Before, it had various end results, from deactivation to exile to rehabilitation, depending on the seriousness of the problem.
"Well, y'ever wonder where Prowl got his name?" Jazz answered Sideswipe dryly. "Yeah. This mech you're lookin' at? Is the best thief Cybertron's ever known." Silence. Complete and utter silence - until Prowl leaned forward and began banging his forehead against Jazz's shoulder. "Hey, none'a that!" Jazz protested with a frown, pushing Prowl's head back. The tactician looked resigned, now.
"Prowl...a thief?" Trailbreaker was the next to break the silence, sounding disbelieving.
"The best thief. Look in any Cybertronian archives, an' you'll find reference to Cybertron's most infamous thief. His name was erased or changed by Sentinel, but it was Prowl." Jazz said dryly.
"I don't believe it." Sideswipe declared. Prowl gave Jazz a look, and the saboteur released him. Sunstreaker, obligingly, let go as well.
"Believe it, Sideswipe. It's true." Prowl admitted grouchily.
"But...but..." Sideswipe spluttered, his CPU not able to process it all yet. Many of the others seemed to be having troubles, as well, save for Bluestreak, who looked thoughtful.
"Why would that be a cause for a personality assessment, though? I mean, stealing is against the law and everything, but I know there have been other thieves and I never remember hearing about them getting personality assessments after they were caught and how were you caught, anyways?" Bluestreak wondered.
"I was up for a personality assessment because I was, and I quote, 'an incorrigible rogue unable to tell the truth and afflicted by a severe case of kleptomania'." Prowl rattled off grouchily. "As for how I got caught - in direct contrast to that diagnosis, I actually told the truth for once to a femme. Who turned me in."
"A femme turned you in?" Trailbreaker asked with amusement.
"Yes." Prowl said shortly.
"I still don't believe it." Sideswipe said. "I mean, I've seen mechs and femmes personalities change thanks to the war. Sunny alone is proof that it happens. But you once being, well, worse than Sunny and I combined? And none of us even catching a hint of it before now? I mean, it's not possible to change that much - everybody has remnants of their old selves left over. And it's not like your old skills wouldn't have been useful - sneaking about is surprisingly handy in war - but half the mechs on this base, myself included, are sneakier than you, as we've proved in battle situations, where I know you wouldn't fudge your skills."
"One does not necessarily need to be sneaky so long as they plan correctly." Prowl said. "Besides, I'm out of practice."
"Sure. Right." Sideswipe said disbelievingly.
"Ask Prime then. He's quite aware of my abilities." Prowl stated.
"Ironhide?" Jazz asked curiously, always having wondered how their commanding officer knew.
"No, actually. I thought he should know, so I let him know." Prowl paused a beat. "By stealing his face mask. Off his face." Silence.
"He was in recharge, wasn't he?" Trailbreaker asked.
"No, actually. I knew how it was attached, however, and with some careful maneuvering and a timed collision, I knocked it off. A little sleight of hand and it was gone. He's since changed the way it attaches." Prowl said with a smirk.
"OK, that's it. You are completely lying now." Sideswipe stated.
"I'm not. Ask Prime." Prowl insisted.
"Right. I'm sure that'd go over well with him." Sideswipe replied with a snort. "'Hey, excuse me Prime, but did your current second-in-command tell you that he was once Cybertron's best thief by stealing your face mask while you were awake and wearing it?' Uh-huh. Sure. You should know better than anyone that I can get into enough trouble on my own without mechs setting me up." Prowl shook his head.
"Fine, don't believe me. I'd rather you didn't, anyways. It's all in the past for me." he said.
"It's just a little difficult to accept such a big change - you're talking about an almost completely different personality, Prowl." Smokescreen piped up. "Changes like that don't normally happen without some type of physical or mental trauma."
"Blame Sentinel Prime." Prowl said with a shrug. "He, for lack of a better word, beat some sense into me. I was already good at planning, and could talk my way out of virtually anything, which all good diplomats need to know how to do. Sentinel just gave me the chance to use those abilities in a better manner. He gave me a place to stay - where everything I might think of stealing was bolted down - and a legitimate job as his assistant, literally making me show up for it and frequently checking on me to make sure I did the work. For the entire first vorn I was working for him, I never walked through the door, because he literally had to carry me to get me to go. I think he had a tracker on me somewhere, too, because the slagging bot knew the instant I tried to get out.
"And then one day some security plans for something or the other came across my desk. I took one look at them and laughed myself silly. Then I spent two hours vibrantly and rudely drawing in all the flaws with it before I sent it on. Sentinel and his advisors saw it, and they realized that every point I made was valid. So they made me re-work it so it was flawless, which I'd pretty much already done in my head during the day, since I was bored. And from then on, I became Sentinel's 'security consultant'. Only time one of my plans failed was when the Decepticons got him." Prowl winced at that.
"Yeah, th'Decepticons tend to love fraggin' up your plans, as they've shown." Jazz reminded Prowl, who just grunted.
"Yes, they do." Prowl said. "Now, can we drop the topic?"
"I still don't believe it." Sideswipe insisted, and there were groans all around, while Sunstreaker whacked his twin.
"Shut UP!" the yellow twin complained irritably, then turned to Jazz. "He's beginning to irritate me, so as interesting as I find this topic, I do believe it's time to change it. Jazz, you never answered my question."
"Question?" Jazz asked blankly.
"What you did before the war?" Prowl prompted the saboteur.
"Oh, right." Jazz mused. "Nothing."
"You had to have done something." Sunstreaker said with a frown.
"Well, I went to school." Jazz said with a shrug.
"For what?" Bluestreak asked curiously.
"School-type things." Jazz replied with a slight chuckle.
"That's not an answer." Sunstreaker grumbled.
"Actually, it is." Jazz said with amusement, then glanced towards Prowl. "Y'gonna help out here? This involves you, here."
"I reminded you about the question remember? I hardly would have done that if I thought there was any piece of my reputation left to salvage." Prowl said with a shrug. "Anyways, you hacked your personal record. I had no way of knowing."
"No way of knowing what?" Sideswipe asked curiously.
"Jazz was technically still a youngling when he signed up with the Autobots. By several years." Prowl said dryly. "He literally walked home from school one day, hacked into his personal record, changed his creation date, and walked out the next morning to sign up. He even got a repaint and changed his designation. His creators didn't find him for five years."
"So why is...wait. Isn't Ironhide always saying that you two were together practically from the moment you met?" Sideswipe asked curiously, tilting his head to the side.
"Which was a year and a half after Jazz signed up with the Autobots." Prowl said. Silence as the mechs contemplated what that meant, and then Sunstreaker pulled out his sketchpad again and quickly sketched something. The drawing was predictable, with Prowl 'sneaking' along, holding a sparkling-sized Jazz in his arms and wearing classic human 'thief' clothing. The caption was 'Prowl, Cradle Robber'. "Thanks Sunstreaker." Prowl said dryly as he took the drawing from the yellow twin, who shrugged.
"For what it's worth, y'turned out okay." the yellow twin said, grinning faintly. "Despite some rather interesting history."
"Oh Primus." Prowl said with a groan, dropping his head into his hands. Sunstreaker snickered.
"Hey, you adapted better to the war than I did." he said. "I mean slag, if you can shape up during a war, maybe there's hope for me to revert back to my usual sunny self once it's over."
"You were never sunny, Sunny." Sideswipe quipped.
"Really? Because it seems that according to you, that's my name." Sunstreaker retorted.
"That's because 'Sunstreaker' is such a mouthful."
"And 'Sideswipe' isn't?"
"By two letters! In english! In Cybertronian they're the same length!"
"It's got more syllables!"
"ONE more syllable! ONE!"
"All in favor of leaving the twins to clean up...run now." Trailbreaker suddenly butted in. The twins looked up in surprise as everyone suddenly bolted from their chairs and dashed to the door. Prowl and Jazz were the only ones to stay besides the two melee warriors. Even Bluestreak stumbled out at a fairly fast pace.
"Clean up or duty tomorrow?" Prowl uncharacteristically offered them, and they eyed him suspiciously. He shrugged. "My reputation just got shot to the Pits, I'm more than a little over-charged, and yet I'm strangely in a good mood. I suggest you take advantage of it."
"We'll clean." the twins decided.
"I expect it done by tomorrow night." Prowl said with a nod. "Feel free to rope in anyone who was here tonight to help. Including Jazz."
"What about you?" Sideswipe asked.
"You will find yourself having trouble locating random belongings if you try." Prowl stated, standing, then help a hand out to Jazz. "Coming, oh ruiner of my reputation?"
"Of course, oh robber of my cradle." Jazz said dryly, grabbing Prowl's hand and letting himself be pulled up.
"Hey, does Optimus know about that part?" Sunstreaker asked curiously.
"Oh, everybody who was in the camp at the time Jazz's creators found him knows about it." Prowl said dryly. "My name was mud for several vorns. Optimus had to hide me and Jazz both away until it was mostly forgotten. Now, if you'll excuse us, we'll leave you to your cleaning."
"Night guys! Merry Christmas!" Jazz said, waving, and the twins waved back, replying with their own 'Merry Christmas's, and watching as the two officers left.
"So why tickling?" Sideswipe finally asked the question that had been bugging him all night.
"Merry Christmas." Sunstreaker replied vaguely, but it was enough for his twin, who gave him a grateful smile before pushing himself upright and starting to pick up empty energon cubes and fallen decorations. Sunstreaker followed after a moment.
"I think I already have my Christmas wishlist for all the Christmas' until the war is over planned."
"Funny, I think I figured out what I'm getting you for every Christmas from now until then."
"I know what's weirder."
"I'm pretty sure your wishlist and my present are going to match up perfectly."
"Huh, that is weird."
"Yeah. Kinda makes ya wonder if we're twins, thinking the same thing."
"Primus, I'd forgotten how horrible your jokes are when you really let loose..."
The only response Sideswipe got was snickering.
-- "Memory awakens hope. It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope." - Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger --