Noblesse Oblige
Chapter Fourteen

Tonight had been a success, Mirage decided. Though it was now no longer technically 'tonight', it was 'early tomorrow morning', the party was still going. It was definitely past the frantic first stages of such an event, when the race was on to get the first drink, have the first dance, to catch facetime with the most important mechs in attendance. But the pressure to see and be seen had ebbed, and now people were mostly spending time in the company of those they enjoyed instead of those whom it was important that they make connections with.

Mirage had missed most of the chaotic throes of the early party, fulfilling his duty as host to stand next to Oblique and repeat the same gracious ritual greetings over and over until he began to think he had been replaced by a drone whose only purpose in life was etiquette and protocol. It was one of the tiresome aspects of being a host, and Mirage wondered if that was why his father avoided holding events at his home.

He was out on one of the long balconies now, enjoying the night. The Tower brats had taken over this particular space, and they were lounging on chairs or against the railing and walls, nursing their drinks and unwinding. They were in varying states of inebriation; Torchlight, sprawled in a chair next to where Mirage leaned against the railing, wore a pleasantly boozy stare. Mirage was not one for getting too overenergized, but he had reached a nicely detached floaty feeling.

It was just about the time of evening to start picking who to take back to his quarters. Mirage considered his many, many options with relish. There was Torchlight, of course. Interfacing with Torchlight was always good. But there was his bet with Jazz to think of, and he was pretty sure Jazz's guess was that he'd choose Torchlight. It was a wise bet; Torchlight was the fan favorite.

Who else? Torchlight's younger brother, Limelight, was talking brightly with two mechs from the Dunes. Limelight, despite his bright name and color scheme, was a bit on the dim side, but he was always friendly and enthusiastic, and during interfacing he was playful and responsive. There was Sterling, who took pride in his study of ancient Cybertronian erotica, and always wanted to utilize obscure positions and techniques. Mirage privately found him a little tiresome. He supposed he should be giving more consideration to the mechs from The Valley and The Dunes. There was a pair of pale twins from The Valley, but while the idea of the rare and exotic was intriguing, Mirage was really more in the mood for the comfortable and familiar tonight. He mentally admitted that he would probably choose Torchlight in the end, and Jazz would win the bet. But Torchlight was such a good lay, there really wasn't a losing side.

"Where's The Glitch tonight? I haven't seen him around." Torchlight leaned his head back lazily and swirled the energon in his cube. On hearing his friends' derogatory nickname for Jazz, Mirage frowned a little. Initially, he had gleefully joined the rest of the Tower brats in making fun of his attendant, but over time it had become less and less amusing. Of course, as his friends sensed his growing discomfort, that just made it funnier to them, and they needled him about his unusual choice in servants at every opportunity.

"Yes, Mirage, we've all missed his presence. It's a shame, really, those optics of his would have gone nicely with the rest of the décor." Shade chimed in.

"He's – been around." Mirage answered stiffly and lamely. "He had duties to attend to."

"Duties. I'll bet." Torchlight smirked and took a sip. "I notice that his duties didn't include standing on display for Sentinel Prime." There was a chorus of snickers from all the surrounding 'bots.

"He had important duties," Mirage reiterated stupidly. "And we had an attendant on hand. There was no need for two."

"Oh, we're not blaming you." Shade held up his hand. "I wouldn't let The Glitch out in public at all, let alone in front of Sentinel Prime. Especially since it's a miracle Prime came at all, really."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Mirage was no longer feeling detached or floaty.

Shade shrugged. "Oh, nothing much. It's just…with your father's recent and rather…spectacular financial troubles, it's surprising that Sentinel Prime is willing to associate with him."

"Especially considering all those deals with Decepticons." Torchlight chimed in. "Nightlight says Oblique's going to get himself slagged if he keeps up like he has."

"Nightlight says what? That doesn't make any sense. He's a businessmech, just like Oblique. All our sires are. And we're all neutrals. Autobot, Decepticon, or neutral, business is business." Mirage was defensive, and trying not to show how irate he was. Was Oblique's closest friend really talking about him like that?

"Sure, business is business, but you've got to be smart about it. The way the government is these days, the climate… A mech's got to be careful who he associates with. Or who he is seen to be associating with." Shade explained.

"Yeah. Your father may be powerful, but if he's not careful, he's going to get himself labeled as a Decepticon sympathizer, and that's going to make things hard for him." Sterling added.

Mirage openly glared at all of them now. "I trust Oblique implicitly. He knows how to handle himself."

"Mirage…" Torchlight's tone was kindly condescending. "It's great that you trust your father and all, but maybe you should get a little more involved in things. After all, that's the legacy that you're going to inherit. I'd hate for you to come into something…tarnished."

Mirage couldn't believe his audio receptors. "I can't believe you, of all mechs, are lecturing me on getting more involved." Torchlight was the poster mech for the idle rich playbot.

Torchlight may have been overenergized, but his gaze was surprisingly serious. "Well, it's not my father whose business flops have been planetwide headlines recently," he pointed out. He leaned forward a little unsteadily. "Look, Mirage. I've got a two-point plan for you to secure your reputation. Point one: talk some sense into that sire of yours. Point two: ditch The Glitch."

Torchlight's mean streak was admittedly one of the reasons Mirage was attracted to him, at least usually. Somehow tonight it didn't strike Mirage as cute or charming or sexy. He pushed himself off the railing. "Excuse me for a moment," he said. "I'm going to refresh my drink." He held up his empty cube in explanation and left the balcony. The buzz in his head was no longer pleasant, and had nothing to do with high-grade energon.

Same night, different balcony. Mirage leaned over the railing, reveling in the safety and solitude of his own quarters. The ball was still winding down elsewhere, he was sure, but he wasn't in a party mood anymore. He wasn't sure why he was so bothered – to Tower brats, casual cruelty was a game, one he often participated in. Probably everybody else had forgotten about the whole thing by now. They were probably laughing at some humorous faux pas that Limelight had committed. The incident lingered for Mirage, though, and he found himself turning it over and over in his mind as he waited.

He heard the soft ring of the door chime behind him. "Sir? It's Jazz. How can I help you?" his attendant called out into the darkened rooms, his voice at its most professional.

"I'm out on the balcony, Jazz," Mirage called over his shoulder.

The black-and-white 'bot made his way carefully to the doorway to the balcony. "What can I do for you, sir?" he asked, still using his attendant's voice. He was looking around cautiously. He thinks I've got company, Mirage realized.

"I'm alone, Jazz. It's just me," Mirage told him and Jazz visibly relaxed, stepping out onto the balcony to join his master.

"Well, that certainly was quick. You out to set a record?" Jazz quipped, raising an optic ridge.

"Not exactly."

"Oh, are you between 'faces? Do you need me to clean things up before bachelor number two gets here?" Jazz guessed.

"No- just – come here." Jazz complied. "Here. I saved you some of this." He thrust a cube of energon into Jazz's hands.

"I'm supposed to be working, Mirage. –hey. Wait, this is warm." A look of surprise and pleasure crossed Jazz's face. "Is this…?"

"Yes. Have a drink, I'm sure you've earned it." Mirage had been secretly teaching Jazz to appreciate fine energon. One of their mutual favorites was the mellow, deep magenta vintage that was spiced with a special combination of additives known only to the mech in charge of the energon cellars. It was served heated, and Mirage found that drinking it felt comforting, like being completely submerged in a warm oil bath.

Jazz complied, taking a sip, offlining his optics briefly in pleasure. "Primus, that's nice," he said. "What did I do to deserve this?" he asked.

"Nothing in particular. I just thought you'd enjoy it." Mirage told him.

"And I do." Jazz sipped appreciatively. "So…how was he? Sentinel Prime?"

"Big. Orange. Impressive."

"That's it? I ask you for details, and that's all you can come up with?" Jazz gave him a disparaging look.

"Pretty much. I mean, we didn't share a cube or anything. He's obviously used to people falling all over themselves in awe of him." Mirage shrugged.

"Heh, that sounds familiar. Maybe you should have shared a cube – you've got something in common." Jazz grinned.

"Hush, you." Mirage growled, not really annoyed. "You know what's funny?" he said after a pause.

"What's that?"

"His- The 'bot with him? He looked EXACTLY like Pacer."

"Really?" Jazz looked interested. "Was he his attendant?"

"I honestly couldn't tell," Mirage confessed. "I thought maybe bodyguard, but he didn't walk in front of the Prime. Sometimes he stood behind him, like an attendant, but sometimes he stood next to him. And Sentinel Prime introduced him, so I guess maybe he wasn't a servant, but I really don't know for sure."

"Sentinel Prime introduced him? What was his name?" Jazz asked.

"I…uh…" Honestly, the 'bot hadn't struck Mirage as important enough to remember his name. It was something short, he remembered…

"You don't remember," Jazz accused. "Oh, you are such a snob."

"I don't. I am." Mirage admitted. "Anyway, it was funny – seeing him and Pacer. I mean, they didn't look exactly alike, but it was close enough. And they both had the same expression…you would have found it funny, trust me."

"Oh, I do. Wish I'd seen it for myself." Jazz took another sip, smiling in pleasure. "So, what about the bet?"

"What about it?"

"Well, we need to figure out who won. So who was the lucky mech?" Jazz asked.


"Uh-uh. No way." Jazz told him. "You'd just lie about it if I guessed correctly."

"You don't trust me at all." Mirage was only partially pretending to be hurt.

"Usually? Yes. Right now? No. So, who was it?" Jazz sounded a bit impatient.

"I can't believe you haven't figured it out yet." Mirage moved closer and when Jazz looked up, he bent and kissed the attendant softly. His mouth was warm and tasted of spiced energon. Mirage pulled out of the kiss and cupped one side of the silver face with a hand. "Now do you know who I chose?"

"Really. Every well-bred mech on Cybertron is lined up to sleep with you, and you're going to bang the help? Oblique would not be pleased. I don't know who your father's 'facing with tonight, but I'll bet my skidplate it's not Pacer." Jazz said dryly.

"You know what I don't want to talk about? My father. Or yours." Mirage said firmly.

"Got it. Father talk equals mood-killer. Still, my point stands. You've got your pick out there, and you can have me any day." Jazz pointed out.

"And I want you today. Now. If that's all right with you?" Mirage didn't bother to keep the need out of his voice.

Jazz laughed. "Oh, it's very all right with me. Just making sure it was all right with you too." He set his cube on the rail and stretched up for a kiss.

Mirage only gave him a peck. "Don't forget your drink." He dipped a finger in the liquid and offered it to Jazz. The silver mouth closed on it and Jazz offlined his optics as he suckled on the finger. Mirage moaned softly; his fingers were always sensitive. Jazz eventually let go with a little parting nip and turned his optics back on.

"Are you trying to get me drunk?" he asked, coy.

"I'm just trying to even the playing field a little." Mirage pressed the edge of the cube to Jazz's lips. "Here. Finish it off." He tilted the cube and Jazz complied, only a little dripping down his chin. "I've got that." Mirage bent and kissed it away, lingering after the spilled energon was gone, nibbling and nipping along his companion's jawline. By the time he pulled up, Jazz's fans were humming and his vents were panting air raggedly.

"You know," Jazz said, "you don't have to seduce me. I'm going to 'face with you anyway. I'm your servant. I have to," he teased gently.

"I know that," Mirage told him, stroking a silver cheek with his thumb. "But I want you to want to."

Jazz laughed weakly, his optics fritzing. "Oh, you don't have to worry about that." He reached up to touch Mirage's face, hesitating a little. "May I?" he asked.

"Go ahead." Mirage held still as Jazz's hands explored his features. The black hands often stroked his head crests while they interfaced, but Jazz didn't often allow himself to touch Mirage's face. Perhaps he sensed (correctly), that it was an act that was a little too personal to be appropriate. Mirage could tell he had been tempted, though, and when he felt the delicate caresses and saw the joy on Jazz's face, he wondered why it had taken him so long to give in. "Do you like what you see?" he asked quietly.

"Yes. Very much." Jazz laughed softly. "Egomaniac." He traced Mirage's mouth with a thumb and Mirage bit him gently.

"Impertinent scraplet," Mirage rumbled playfully. He placed his hands on Jazz's front bumper and shoved gently, intending to push him backwards into the side railing. Instead, Jazz slid one of his feet back to brace himself.

"Oh, no, I don't think so." Jazz grinned and, with his hands still on Mirage's face, took a step forward. "Not tonight."

"No? What do you think, then?" Mirage allowed Jazz to back him into the railing on the opposite side. The smaller mech butted his chassis against Mirage's, then dropped his head and nuzzled his dark helmet against his master's white chest.

"You'll figure it out eventually." Jazz's voice was smug and sultry. He dropped his hands from his master's face and spread them on Mirage's chest in a move he knew from experience was guaranteed to make the blue 'bot weak in the knees.

It worked. Mirage didn't know why, but something about the way the black hands looked so small on his chest always made him feel powerful and protective and absolutely turned on. When Jazz turned his face up with a carefully cultivated look of innocence, Mirage was lost. He moaned as his knees buckled and he slid down with his back against the railing and Jazz on top of him. The innocent expression on the attendant's face was in direct contrast to the very un-innocent revving of his engine.

Jazz began detailing Mirage's shield emblem with one finger in a replay of the pre-party bathtime. Mirage squirmed a little under the delicate touch that was almost a tickle. The other hand reached for the crests on the side of his head and Mirage gasped as he felt fingers in the sensitive ridges.

Jazz knelt between the blue legs and slid one knee forward into contact with Mirage's groin. Mirage moaned in surprise and thrust his hips forward, grinding himself against the knee desperately. Everything in his body felt as though it was on fire, in the best possible way. Jazz grinned, having discarded the pretense of innocence. "Do you get it yet?" he said, low in Mirage's audio sensors. There was more than a hint of a threat in his voice.

"Y...yes," Mirage groaned. Secretly, he enjoyed it when Jazz took control. The absolute impropriety of the situation was a giant turn-on, in an everything-wrong-is-right sort of way.

"Oh, good." Jazz turned and nipped the edge of Mirage's crest. Mirage yelped and twisted. Jazz grabbed his shoulders and held him firm, pushing his knee into Mirage's groin again. "Stay still," he snarled, and Mirage did so with great difficulty as Jazz's dental plates nibbled along, doing the work that his fingers usually did. Somehow the substitution of mouth for fingers heightened the sensation, each nerve lighting up like a chandelier.

With his mouth still at work, Jazz let go of Mirage's shoulders and smoothed his hands down the white chest. Mirage shuddered in response and jerked his hips against Jazz's knee. The black-and-white 'bot laughed with his mouth still on Mirage's crest, and the vibration triggered a cascade reaction of feeling, a tingling that spread from his head to the rest of his body in a rush.

Jazz laughed again and kissed him, on the mouth this time, and then let his kisses wander across Mirage's cheeks, down his jawline, back to his mouth… As was usually the case during interfacing, Jazz's optics were surging and sparking so much they were painful to look at up close, so Mirage shut his off. He felt Jazz's mouth, kept trying to capture it with his own before it would wander off. He felt the heat, and the frustratingly pleasant almost-satisfying sensations of Jazz's knee between his legs.

Fingers ran along the seams of his armor under his chest, to his sides…and then slid into cracks, finding and tweaking sensitive wires… Mirage forgot entirely that he was too dignified to whimper. One hand dug around in his side, exposing wiring, performing a search it already knew the result of. The other hand joined the knee between his thighs, stroking with satisfying accuracy. Jazz was laughing into his mouth, but that barely registered because Jazz's fingers had found a dataport.

The sound Mirage made was something between a gasp and a moan. Jazz fingered the entrance, and jolts of electricity pierced through the warmth that had overtaken Mirage's systems. Mirage arched his back with a cry, forgetting that they were on the balcony where Primus and everyone could hear. He was light-years beyond caring, tasting static in his systems, not fighting as some systems crashed or rerouted frantically.

Then Jazz's laugh rose and his fingers left the dataport. Mirage turned on his optics, intending to protest, and the sight that greeted him caused his already taxed fans and air intakes to shift into overdrive. Jazz reared back, a wild look in his sparking optics. The expression on his face was triumphant and his laugh was an exultant crow. With one hand still stroking between Mirage's legs, he used the other to yank his own data cable out. He leaned forward, laughter changing to an unmistakably possessive grin. For a few titillating moments, he teased the edges of the port with his fingers and the tip of the jack. The he lunged forward with a feral roar and plunged his jack into Mirage.

Mirage's vision flashed white, then went black. He felt Jazz rush into him through the connection, feeding him data, feelings, music, emotion, electricity… It all slammed into him, filling him, overriding even the physical touches Jazz was making. Overload hit him like a physical impact – he struggled to hang on as his systems shorted, but the sensations were too strong, and he gave himself to them and let it feel good, better than good and then… nothing.

His CPU came back online before his optics, and he hung in blackness for a while as his systems rebooted one by one, some of them requiring a couple of tries. Even after he felt his vision return to functionality, he waited for a bit to turn on his optics.

When he did, everything was sideways. It seemed his vision had returned before his motor functions, and his head lolled to the side on his shoulder. He was sitting in the same place, slumped against the railing on his balcony. Jazz knelt in front of him, gazing at his master with a self-satisfied smirk that had no place on a servant. Mirage didn't feel angry at all, though he suspected he should. Jazz had dominated him so completely, and yet…it was okay. He trusted Jazz not to abuse the control, and to give it back when it was time.

Jazz noticed his reactivated optics and laughed, low and smug, in greeting. Mirage simply watched him for a moment, then slowly pulled his head back upright. Jazz's posture was relaxed, his data cable still connecting the two of them. Mirage could feel the tingle of its presence at the edge of his consciousness, but it was passive, Jazz wasn't sending anything through it. It slowly dawned on Mirage: above the hum of both of their cooling systems, he could hear Jazz's engine involuntarily revving. He hasn't

"You haven't overloaded," Mirage said slowly. The wicked smile spread wide across Jazz's face. He chuckled louder and shook his head.

"Nope. It's all you, buddy," Jazz drawled. Mirage realized that his hands were in the same place they'd been the whole time: pressed against the cool metal of the balcony floor. He hadn't touched Jazz once. Mirage was confused for a moment about how to feel about being on the receiving end of an act that was at the same time so controlling and so unselfish. Then he understood that he felt good about it, and let that be enough.

"Would…you like to?" Mirage asked, his vocalizer still working a bit slowly.

Jazz's smirk melted into a fond smile. "You're tired," he said, with a small wave of dismissal.

"No…no. I mean, yes. I'm tired. But I can still…" Mirage struggled to get his cables and tendons and struts and ligaments to function. He finally managed to sit forward and reach for Jazz. He caught the waving hand, felt the hum of Jazz's systems. "You're close," he said.

"Yes," Jazz confessed, softening. The dominant streak seemed to ebb away.

"Come here," Mirage ordered quietly and Jazz allowed himself to be pulled into an embrace. Mirage was too exhausted for a seeking, demanding kiss, but the leisurely one they engaged in did just as well.

With one arm for support, Mirage pulled them both down sideways. He felt Jazz tense as the balance shifted, but then he relaxed and sent a little pulse of something Mirage identified as trust through their almost-forgotten connection. They lay on their sides, facing each other. Mirage petted Jazz, stroking his face, then the sides of his helmet, then the ridge in the center, and then his antennae, making his companion's optics blink blissfully.

Jazz reached out, and Mirage allowed his attendant to touch his face. The black hands didn't touch the crests, they just smoothed down his forehead, over his optics, across his cheeks and nose down to his chin and over again. It wasn't an erotic touch, but Mirage liked the feeling he was pretty sure Jazz didn't realize he was sharing over their datalink. Comforting. Like warm spiced energon. Like an oil bath. Like lying under the stars in the company of someone who… Mirage couldn't finish that thought, so he turned his attention to other matters.

He ran his hands over his attendant's body, not making any sudden grabs or gropes, just tracing his form. He heard Jazz's singular purring hum in response, a satisfied sound he hadn't heard anyone else make while interfacing. He kept it up as Mirage's hands moved over his frame, though the sound caught a little when the blue hands traced his wheel wells or ghosted over his thighs.

They leaned together for a kiss, and it was long, slow, and gentle. Jazz kept humming, and Mirage could feel the minute vibrations it caused. Still enjoying the silver mouth, he eased his leg over and caught one of Jazz's, shifting until they were intertwined. Finally, the kiss ended, but they kept their faces together. Jazz's optics were dim and flickering. Mirage wondered if his companion was dimming his optics in consideration for him, or if that was just what they happened to be doing.

Mirage felt for his own data cable and pulled it out. Favoring Jazz with a series of brief kisses, he felt for the other's data port. When his fingers found it, he felt his companion writhe a little, and he hesitated, not being able to resist the chance for a little payback. His fingers dipped into the port and Jazz squirmed again, purring. He teased the entrance for another few moments and then gently plugged himself in, completing the loop.

He didn't flood the link with data suddenly, as Jazz had done. Instead, he gradually worked the connection into life, feeling the one Jazz had with him stir as well. Jazz sent him the feeling that Mirage was currently causing by stroking a sensitive joint in the smaller mech's armor. Mirage smiled. He didn't have anything overly erotic to send Jazz at the moment, so he looped his attendant into the comforting feeling of his own hands on Mirage's face.

He was surprised at the strength of Jazz's response. Jazz continued to stroke his master's face, his humming deepened, and he sent a little rush of happiness to Mirage through their link. He butted his face up against Mirage's, clamoring for a kiss, and Mirage complied, sending his pleasure at the sensation back along the link to Jazz. He could feel the smaller 'bot's body heat increase under his fingers, but the whole experience was so slow and gentle and gradual that he found himself surprised when Jazz's body tensed and he began sending rushes of feeling through the link. He was going into overload.

Mirage could feel the electricity, the energy of it, even if it wasn't the usual frantic, grasping experience. He continued to kiss Jazz's mouth, the humming now broken by gasps. He fed Jazz as much pleasure as he could, and then, to his surprise, felt his own systems start to slip away. Am I overloading? Again? Already? He was, but if his last overload had been a sudden impact, this was a slow slide and he was able to savor the pleasure, compounded by the feedback from Jazz, as he slid off into nothingness.

When Mirage's optics came online again, it took his processors awhile to catch up. What…? This isn't my recharge berth. Jazz? What is he doing here? Wait, are we outside? How did we get…oh, right. I remember. He recognized the fuzziness at the edges of his consciousness as the aftereffects of a little too much energon. Mirage propped himself up on one arm and shook his head. The hangover wasn't too bad – he hadn't had that much to drink.

The stars were gone, and the sunrise cast a violet light over everything. The grounds, the railings, the floor, Jazz… His attendant lay sprawled on his side, curled toward Mirage. His optics were dark and his mouth was open just a little. They were still connected, Mirage realized, his optics falling on the data cables that still linked them.

As if in response, he felt a small flicker from the other end of the link. Jazz was waking up slowly, shifting and muttering inaudible nonsense. One optic flickered to life and he sat up suddenly, looking around wildly.

"Jazz! Jazz. It's Mirage. You're on my balcony. It's morning. We must have fallen asleep." Jazz turned to him, his appearance even more unnerving than usual with one optic sparking brightly and the other dark.

"Oh…right…I guess so. Huh." He smiled a little sheepishly.

"Jazz…um…your optic…it's not…" Mirage couldn't figure out how to put 'One of your optics is out and it looks slagging creepy' delicately.

Jazz grimaced self-consciously. "Yeah. It does that sometimes. It just needs a little…finesse." He tapped the temple next to the dark optic with a finger. When that failed to produce results, he rapped it sharply with the heel of his hand several times. The optic flickered to life dimly, and slowly brightened. "See?" he said lightly, with a grin and a slight wince.

"That looked like it hurt," Mirage told him flatly.

Jazz laughed easily. "It's not so bad. Give a little, get a little." He grinned.

"If you say so." Mirage was dubious, but grateful that Jazz wasn't looking so lopsided anymore. He sat up all the way and reached for his data jack, unplugging it from Jazz. Jazz glanced down, surprised.

"Oh! We were still…" He gave an embarrassed little chuckle. Mirage unplugged Jazz's data jack and he retracted the cable. The black-and-white mech sat up and turned his face to the morning sky. When he didn't turn back, Mirage realized that for once, Jazz wasn't sure what to say.

Mirage didn't know, either. Improprieties had certainly been committed, but Mirage didn't want to think about them hard enough to put names to them. And while he couldn't condone them, there was no way he could condemn them either. The night had been…good. Mirage settled on a way to resolve the tension.

"It seems that I've won our wager." Mirage colored his tone with arrogance and smug self satisfaction. Jazz turned back to him and the unease dissolved with the sound of his laugh, bright as the new sunlight.

"Yeah, I guess you did."

Thanks to everybody who's been reading and reviewing, as always. Updates may get a bit slower from here on out, as this is the last complete chapter I have. It's not the end of the fic, by any stretch of the imagination, but I need to get moving and write the rest. I need discipline.