A/N: Written for the July writing challenge at the FP. The challenge was to write a one-shot based on a clichéd trend and make it believable. I chose the Canon Character Changing Gender cliché, but the cliché of bringing a character back from the dead (in this case, Jazz) is also included in this fic. The former was the intended cliché, but the latter plays a major part as well. Please take into consideration that this is my first Transformers central fic, so please forgive any mistakes I may have made. And, uh . . . er . . . well, I guess that's pretty much it!
Enjoy the fic!
Disclaimer: Whoops, almost forgot to add the disclaimer . . . but really, is this thing even necessary? Isn't it already painfully obvious that I do not own Transformers or anything related to it?
I Am Femme, Hear Me Roar.
. . . couldn't save . . . sacrificed himself. . . but wait . . . a chance . . .
The words drifted up from his memories like translucent smoke from a dying fire. They came quickly and fleetingly, fading away into indiscernible whispers.
. . . immediate medical attention . . . work fast enough . . . save him . . . .
Like soft echoes they flitted across his mind; clusters of hollow words, empty of meaning, cluttered and muddled as if from a mumbling crowd. He felt no need to understand them. He let them wander in and fade away, not bothering in the least bit to organize them.
We're losing him . . . his spark is fading . . . .
Unopposed by his indifference and disinterest, the words began to gather together. They collected themselves, joined together, arranged and rearranged until they began to form comprehensible sentences.
We can't lose him . . . not when the war has just ended . . . not when there is finally peace . . . .
I refuse to lose him . . . he's not going anywhere . . . .
The voices brushed his mind with soft fingers, faint tendrils from a hazy mist of memories. They sparked a sudden curiosity within him and he began to wonder: who are these voices? To whom do they belong? What are they trying to say?
Mustn't rest. Can't afford to leave him for even a nanosecond.
They were familiar, those voices. He knew them. He'd heard them before.
Slag it, Jazz, stay with me! Don't you dare give up, you little fragger—not after all the work we've done to save you!
The faces flickered like old holograms. They flashed in his mind, dull at first but then bright and vivid as he began a struggle to remember. They were faces of old friends, fellow warriors, faces he'd known for a millennia.
There's one last thing I can do . . . slag it, Jazz, you're going to kill me when you come to, but you've given me no choice.
Names. There were names with those faces. He couldn't quite recall them, but they were there, those names, all fluttering pieces of memories floating just out of his reach.
You are going to have to work with me, Jazz . . . . Here goes nothing . . . .
And then, for the first time in a long time, he felt something. Something was tugging at him—pulling him through the void that had become his refuge. He felt himself gliding out of his sanctuary, and for a moment regret embraced him—he was going back, back where there was war and pain and suffering, back to a world that had been tainted by hate and fear and death, away from a world in which he had resided with no worries, nothing to ail him, nothing at all but peace and a comforting white noise—and then, just as quickly as it had formed, the regret left him.
Instead, a soothing kind of feeling tinged with apprehension engulfed him, and then there was a flash of white light, and he left the void behind . . . .
The flash of light gave way to a flickering screen—his HUD. It was coming online. He could feel his entire body coming back online. An experimental shift of his body left him feeling slightly stiff, as if he'd just woken up from days of recharge. When his HUD stopped flickering and became stable enough for him to view the world before him, he moaned.
The whole place was like a mad scientist's laboratory. A dark ceiling bearing a single hanging light fixture glared down at him; the light was dim, rendering the world around him like an oil painting with murky colors. On either side of him were tall walls flecked with sharp, hard edged shadows. Cold metal objects, supporting either ominous looking tools or odd items that withheld their dark purposes, jutted out of the walls and ceiling.
Wasn't it just his luck to be greeted by such a sight?
Seriously. He'd just left the most wonderful world behind for a completely unfamiliar room full of scary things? What was that, man? It was messed up, that's what. Messed. Up.
That voice. He'd heard that voice in the void. Who did it belong to, again?
Jazz? No, that was his name. Yes, he remembered now—his designation was Jazz. He was Jazz, Optimus' Prime's second in command, member of the Autobots, enemy to the Decepticons, lover of music and the hippest bot around.
"Jazz, if you don't answer me right now, Primus help me I will—"
And that was Ratchet; Ratchet the cranky medic, the most skilled medical officer ever built and owner of a frighteningly short temper. He remembered.
He remembered everything. His friends, his enemies, the war, the Allspark, traveling for years through the vastness of space, never sure what the next day would bring, always wondering when it would all end and peace would reign once again . . . .
All the memories flooded his mind. The good, the bad, the weird . . . it felt good to remember.
"—and then I'll—Jazz, can you even hear me? Why are you smiling like that?"
"Just glad to hear your voice, Ratch," Jazz croaked. His voice sounded strange; he didn't remember it ever sounding like that. Why did it . . . ? Eh, he'd get to the bottom of that later. There were more important things at hand.
The grinning face of Ratchet appeared in Jazz's view. "Welcome back to the world of the living, my friend."
The return grin came easily. "Good to be back."
And he wasn't lying, either. It was good to be back. What little desire to be back in his void that he'd felt had dispersed once he saw the face of his old friend. In fact, he found himself wondering why he'd ever wanted to stay dead; how could he let himself die when he had life to enjoy?
"Aw, man, feels good to move again!" He rolled his shoulders –the back of his shoulder plates hit cold metal, and he guessed he was lying on some sort of examination table—and began to rise onto his elbows. "Just floating around like a ghost was getting kinda boring—"
Ratchet pushed him back down. Jazz grunted when he hit the table and stared at the medic questioningly.
"Stay down," Ratchet ordered harshly, pinning Jazz to the table with his hands. "You're just out of surgery. I had to piece you back together, and you could damage yourself by moving around—don't ruin my handiwork!"
"Aw, c'mon, Ratch! I just came back from the dead—don't I deserve a little victory dance?"
"No. How do you feel?"
Jazz frowned. "I feel fine. Better than ever."
Ratchet turned his head slightly as if unsure of his patient's sincerity. "Are you sure?"
"What do you mean, am I sure? O'course I'm sure—I feel like brand new!"
"No pain, no weakness, no stiffness in your joints?"
"No, no, and no—if you want proof, let me move around to make sure—"
"No," Ratchet added pressure to Jazz's shoulders and easily kept him down. "You need to stay still."
"Why? And don't you go givin' me that 'you need to rest' crap. There's something you're not telling me, Ratch, and I wanna know what it is."
Ratchet hesitated. Jazz's optics flickered with shock and he sputtered, "Primus, we didn't lose, did we? Megatron didn't get his stinkin' claws on the Allspark, did he?"
"No. Megatron is dead, and the Allspark is in safe hands, if a little damaged. The universe is safe-- for now."
"And the guys? How're they? Bumblebee, Optimus, Ironhide . . . ?"
"Optimus and Ironhide are well. Bumblebee is still damaged from the battle, but I should be able to repair him easily."
"How're the kids? Sam and Mikaela?"
"They are fine. Bruised and scratched, but otherwise fine." He paused. "Sam saved us all, Jazz. He destroyed Megatron with the Allspark."
Jazz's optic ridges rose in surprise. "Yeah? Cool. I knew there was more to that little guy than meets the eye. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm just gonna go and congratulate him—"
"Jazz, if you try to get up one more time, I will weld your aft to this table!"
"Alright, alright." Jazz shrugged out of Ratchet's grip and folded his arms across his chest with a huff. He frowned. There was something . . . different, about his chest. He wasn't exactly sure what it was, but it just didn't feel right. "Where are we? This sure don't look like the Ark."
"It's not." Ratchet glanced around the room with distaste. "It's an examination room provided by Sector Seven. They were . . . kind enough to allow me the usage of this room, as well as a number of tools, to repair you. The tools were insufficient, and I had to resort to using the damaged Allspark to save you." He ran his optics over Jazz's body; an odd glint arose in them. "And it . . . changed you."
"Changed me?" Jazz didn't like the look in Ratchet's optics; he felt a sudden jolt of fear. And like an ember nestled in dry wood, the fear grew and swelled into a crackling inferno. "How did it change me, Ratchet? What did it do to me?"
"Jazz, calm down. Let me explain."
"Did it make me shorter? Am I shorter, Ratchet? Because if I am, I swear, I'll—"
"Be quiet!" Ratchet snapped. Jazz quieted and glowered under his gaze. "How am I supposed to explain with you yapping? Now be still and keep quietuntil I am finished."
Jazz muttered darkly but let his friend continue.
"As I said before, the equipment provided to me by Sector Seven was insufficient and can only do so much. So, with your body beyond repair and your spark quickly fading, I used the Allspark in hopes that it would give enough energy to your spark to sustain it for a while longer, at least until I could get the proper equipment . . . ."
"But?" Jazz asked suspiciously, not at all liking the medic's hesitation.
Ratchet continued cautiously. "In order to defeat Megatron, Sam had to push the Allspark into Megatron's spark chamber. Megatron's spark was overloaded with energy and was destroyed, but the Allspark was damaged extensively as a result. I feared the Allspark would do to you the same it had done to Megatron. It was and still is acting erratically and is very dangerous—who knew what it would do to you? So I tried a different tactic. I broke your body down further—"
Jazz gawked. "You did what!?"
"—broke your body down further until you were nothing but a pile of metal. Your spark was continuing to fade, so as quickly as I could, I brought the Allspark near to your damaged body and let it do the rest."
Jazz grabbed Ratchet's shoulder threateningly. "Which would be what?"
"The Allspark saw a pile of brand new material to work with. In its damaged state it was unable to sense your failing spark, so it decided that it the lifeless metal before it deserved one—its energy surged into your body, completed your spark with fresh energy, and arranged your metal into a new protoform."
Jazz caught sight of the hand gripping Ratchet's shoulder and for a moment he was confused—what was the hand of a femme doing on Ratchet's shoulder? Hadn't he just grabbed it? Where was his hand? Oh Primus, he didn't have hands—!
And then it hit him. That hand was his hand. His hand was a femme's hand. His hand was no longer a mech's hand—it was a femme's hand. His hand was a hers hand. A femme's hand!
He tilted his head forward and saw that his hand wasn't the only part of his body that had changed.
"What the frag!" He yelled. He flapped his hands in the air, aghast. No doubt about it—that slender, delicate hand was his. "Ratchet! I'm a femme!"
Ratchet winced at Jazz's high pitched voice. "Yes. You are."
"A fraggin' femme!"
"Jazz, calm down—"
Jazz shrieked and shoved Ratchet away. Ratchet stumbled backwards, surprised at the femme's sudden burst of strength, and couldn't help but admire the curvy figure as it scrambled off the examination table and onto the floor.
"Oh, mother fu--!" Jazz cursed, making use of her-- his newfound English language as she-- he gazed down at himself.
His chest, which was normally flat (and very masculine, thank you very much) was now sporting a significant, smooth bulge across it (well, at least the Allspark hadn't given him two little lumps like the human females had, 'cause that would be just weird-- . . . weirder.) His entire body had more curves than was necessary, his waist was smaller and his hips wider, his limbs long and slender and his hands and feet were very dainty looking and—
With a feeling of dread, he raised a trembling hand to his face. His visor was still there. Oh, thank Primus. The Allspark hadn't been cruel enough to take that beloved part of him away. He flipped it down over his optics and let his shoulders sag with relief.
"Ratchet," he muttered, wiggling his dainty little fingers in front of his glowing visor, "How did this . . .? What did you do to me!"
"Saved your life, that's what!" Ratchet snapped. He struggled to keep his optics on Jazz's face. With appalled realization at what he wanted to do, he held back a shudder and tried to ignore the growing desire to let his optics glide over Jazz's new body.
"You turned me into a femme!"
"Would you rather I'd left you to die?"
"Oh, shut the frag up. You're being an idiot. The important thing is you're alive and well. And much better looking, if I may say."
"You may not," Jazz huffed. She-- he crossed his arms with a scowl and turned away from Ratchet.
He's right, though, Jazz thought with a frown, I'm alive. That's all that matters. I wouldn't be able to see Bee and Prime and 'Hide if I was dead, would I? I wouldn't be able to be having this argument with ol' Ratch if I was dead, would I? Nope.
Fingers splayed, his hands slowly rotated before his optics. They were so odd, so much unlike his original sharp, claw like digits. Everything about his body was different (excluding his sleek visor and overwhelming sexiness, of course,) but he was still the same. Jazz was still Jazz, suave and hip and jolly Jazz, calm and collected Jazz, "do it with style or don't bother doing it" Jazz.
He was still Jazz, and no slagging Allspark could change that. It may have taken his body, but it couldn't take his Jazzness away!
"The Allspark only did what it was created to do," Ratchet explained in a strained tone. "It gave life to seemingly lifeless material. It didn't know you were already a mech, Jazz. It simply did its job."
"But why?" He turned back to Ratchet with a confused look, "Why did the Allspark turn me into a femme? Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against 'em or anything—I love femmes, but . . . why?"
Ratchet tapped his chin thoughtfully. "I am not an expert on the Allspark, but I have always thought of it as a sentient being—it must be aware of the world around it in some way. It should have known that many femmes were killed in the war as a result of Megatron's desire to be the sole possessor of the power to create sparks. It recognized the need for more femmes. Mechs cannot create new sparks alone; we require the aid of a femme to do so. The femmes share the Allspark's unique ability to create a spark, though they cannot do it alone, either. We help them along by providing extra energy during interfacing—"
"I know the story, Ratch," Jazz said with a hint of amusement. "The Birds an' the Bees is what the humans call it, I think."
"Ah. Yes. I remember explaining it to you when you were just a youngling—the look of disgust and horror on your face was priceless." After a deadpan look from Jazz, Ratchet continued hastily, "It must know it is damaged so much that we cannot repair it. It must repair itself, which will take many years. And the energy it used . . . that was the last of its energy, Jazz. It cannot spare any more, else it will burn out."
"And so it created a femme to continue the job of makin' baby sparks," Jazz finished slowly. " . . . frag that, there ain't no way I'm interfacing with any of you."
Ratchet laughed. Jazz detected a hint of regret in that laugh, which was really quite disturbing. "Do not expect me to ask it of you, Jazz. You're still Jazz, my friend, the most annoying Autobot to ever come into existence, no matter your appearance."
"Damn straight!" Jazz agreed with a stubborn ferocity. "The Jazzman is still here, and he ain't goin' nowhere!"
She ain't going nowhere, she thought soon after. Referring to herself as a 'he' just didn't feel right anymore.
And it scared the shit out of her.
No no no no! He thought frantically. Him. I am a "he." I may look like a femme, but I'm a mech through and through!
You sure about that? A second voice asked teasingly. The Allspark recreated you. You're not a mech anymore . . . you are a femme.
Like Pit I am.
"Do the others know?" Jazz was almost scared to hear the answer. When Ratchet shook his head, Jazz wasn't sure whether to be relieved or frightened.
"They are all outside the door, waiting to get in and see you." Ratchet paused and touched Jazz's shoulder. It was a touch meant for comfort and reassurance, but sensation it sent throughout both bots was anything but comfort and reassurance.
A pleasant shudder radiated from Ratchet's hand and traveled down Jazz's body. Ratchet's body stiffened and with that odd glint in his optics again, Jazz could tell the medic was struggling to keep himself from pouncing.
Apparently, the simplest form of physical contact between himself and a femme was too much for the CMO. He hadn't seen, much less touched, a femme in a very, very long time. The effects were tremendous.
It was just wrong.
"I, uh, sorry," Ratchet apologized hastily. He retracted his hand and Jazz took a quick step back. Both Autobots averted their optics from each other's. "I can hold them off a little longer, if you'd like. You can come to terms with your new . . . structure before I let them in. Take as long as you like."
"Nah," Jazz looked up and found two large doors off to the side. Shadows leaking in under the closed doors indicated the waiting bots. "Let 'em in. Guess it'll be better if we get this over with quickly."
"Perhaps their presence will help," Ratchet suggested helpfully as he made his way over to the doors.
"Maybe. But it won't really matter, right? 'cause this body is only temporary, right?"
Ratchet didn't answer immediately. He took his time unlocking the doors, giving unnecessary attention to the electronic locks and their number pads.
"Ratchet. This isn't permanent . . . is it? Ratch?" Jazz grew increasingly miffed with Ratchet's feigned distraction. "Primus! Ratchet, this had better be reversible--!"
Ratchet made a vexed noise. "Of course it is!"
Jazz gaped. "I know that tone—you have no clue, do you?"
"Of course I do!" Ratchet glared at Jazz over his shoulder, optics ablaze with a mix of anger and guilt. "I see no reason why we can't transfer your spark to another body. Transferring sparks from a femme body to a mech's has never been heard of, but there are no reasons for us not to believe it can be done." The edginess in his voice faded away at the worried look on Jazz's face. "As soon as we can get the material to build you another body we will, and then we will work on making the transfer. I promise."
"Thanks, man, 'cause there's no way I'm staying like this forever."
With a beep the doors unlocked. Ratchet could hear the others outside. He looked at Jazz one last time. "Ready?"
"Wait—Ratch, did you make any adjustments to my new bod after the Allspark changed it?"
"Yes," Ratchet replied slowly, yet again averting his optics from Jazz's, "They were necessary. I couldn't just let you go walking around in your bare protoform, could I?"
"What did you do, you sneaky little medic?"
Ratchet put his hands on the door handle and answered with a small, satisfied smile before opening them. "I was courteous enough to enter a new vehicle mode in your CPU for you, and gave you a top quality paintjob. Do you like it?"
"Yes, but why in the world did you make it pink?"
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the fic. I sure enjoyed writing it!