Pairing/Characters: Prowl/Starscream, Jazz, Ironhide, Bluestreak

Warning: Attempted suicide

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note: The pairing that I've always felt should be written. Bit of a songfic. It was meant to be a LOT more angsty, but somehow ended up being more fluffy romance than I intended. O.o Assumption is that a decent amount of time passes between each part.

- Crash And Burn -

"Well, what have we here, a lone Autobot, in the middle of nowhere. Such a foolish little Autobot." the sneering voice of Megatron's second-in-command startled Prowl from his thoughts, and he whirled around. The Decepticon behind him paused as Prowl made no other move - not even to draw his rifle - and just watched him with an emotionless look. After a moment, Starscream raised his null-rays, a half-sneer in place, but faltered as Prowl remained standing there, passive. "Not going to fight back, Autobot?" Prowl considered for a moment.

"No." he finally replied. Starscream remained in place, weapons trained on Prowl, for a moment more before suddenly seeming to deflate.

"Well doesn't that just defeat the whole purpose." the air commander grumbled irritably, crossing his arms and glaring at Prowl. "I knew Autobots were cowards, but I figured you'd at least give me the satisfaction of a fight if I pointed weapons at you."

"Most other Autobots might." Prowl said, turning his back to Starscream and looking out over the deep canyon he'd perched himself on the edge of. Normally, turning one's back on Starscream would have been a dangerous proposition, but both mechs knew that this chance encounter was by no means normal. Which was why, instead of blasting Prowl for his insolence, or yelling at him, Starscream instead joined the Autobot on the edge of the canyon and peered over it, clearly trying to see whatever Prowl was looking at. After a moment, he glanced over at the mech beside him and smirked lightly.

"If you're thinking of jumping, I could give you a push if you like." he said. Prowl made a non-committal noise, and Starscream frowned, irritated, before reaching out to poke the Autobot in his shoulder. "You're rather depressed, considering how much you Autobots have been winning lately." Prowl remained silent. "Did your lover cheat on you or something?" Prowl gave the air commander a slightly odd look, and Starscream made a thoughtful noise.

"OK, maybe not. Get insulted by someone?" the air commander tried, and Prowl didn't even bother to react this time. "Lose someone in battle? Have a bad day?"

"Would you mute it and either shoot me or go away already?" Prowl asked irritably, glaring at the Decepticon.

"No." Starscream replied with a smirk. "I feel like just staying here and bugging you. Give me some entertainment for the night." Prowl grunted faintly, turning his gaze back to the canyon.

"At least someone has a use for me." he muttered after a moment.

"Aha, feeling useless! Hmm, wouldn't have guessed that one." Starscream pondered, then sneered slightly as he continued, "I know Megatron and Prime don't exactly run things the same, but one would generally assume that a second-in-command is useful in some way."

"One would assume." Prowl replied blandly, and Starscream paused.

"Aren't you the chief tactician or something, too?" he asked, wracking his CPU for what little he knew of the Autobot second-in-command.

"Supposedly." Prowl said. Starscream scowled, irritated with the vague, hinting answers. So he did what any self respecting Decepticon would do when irritated with an Autobot in this situation - he knocked him off the edge of the canyon. Prowl actually let out a startled yelp, only to stare up at Starscream in surprise as the air commander caught him by his foot, keeping him from falling to his death in the canyon.

"Listen up, Autobot. I came out here looking for some stress relief, and you have been entirely unhelpful so far. Therefore, to make it up to me, you are going to tell me just what the slag you mean when you say you're 'useless', so I at least have something decent to laugh at." Starscream snapped, glaring down at Prowl.

"And why would I do that?" Prowl asked after a moment.

"Because. I'm. Holding. You. Over. A canyon!" Starscream said, enunciating carefully.

"So?"

"Primus!" Starscream snarled, and abruptly Prowl found himself pulled up and tossed against the nearest building, which creaked under the sudden impact. Starscream glared at the tactician as he slowly stood, wincing slightly and flexing his door wings. "I'd almost think you're doing this on purpose, to allow reinforcements to arrive of something, but not even Autobots can be this pathetic on short notice." Prowl snorted.

"No, it took a few vorns to get this pathetic." he agreed.

"And there you go again with the vague answers!" Starscream exclaimed, giving Prowl an accusing look. "Stop it!"

"No." Prowl replied, and for the first time that night, a small smirk graced his face.

"I have null rays." Starscream threatened, warming one up and pointing it in Prowl's direction to prove his point.

"Maybe I feel like bugging you. Maybe it entertains me." Prowl said, smirking growing slightly, and Starscream gaped at having his own words turned back at him. Prowl took the opportunity to transform and race away, leaving Starscream grumbling angrily to himself and stomping about. The nearby buildings gained a few more scorch marks before the Decepticon air commander finally took off, heading for home base and hoping, just hoping, some Decepticon was doing something stupid when he got back so he could beat them into scrap for it.

When you feel all alone

And the world has turned its back on you

Give me a moment please to tame your wild wild heart

I know you feel like the walls are closing in on you

It's hard to find relief and people can be so cold

When darkness is upon your door and you feel like you can't take anymore

"I figured it's time for a new approach." Starscream said blandly, roaring up out of the canyon so he came face-to-face with Prowl. The Autobot tactician arched an optic ridge at him.

"Leaving me alone?" he guessed.

"No. Nice try, but no." Starscream said with a smirk, and then pulled two cubes of softly glowing energon from his subspace.

"You really expect me to take energon from you?" Prowl asked dryly. In response, Starscream took a sip from a cube, then held it out to Prowl. "No."

"Pft, fine then. Excuse me while I don't waste two of the finer vintages of Megatron's reserve high grade." the Decepticon said, deactivating one of his thrusters and stepping out onto the edge before deactivating the other. Grumbling inaudibly, Starscream made his way over to the building he'd thrown Prowl against that first night, which had fallen down sometime in the past few orns thanks to Starscream's habitual blasting of it when Prowl once again avoided his questions and sped off into the night. Starscream hadn't been upset at the loss of his favourite target, though, since the rubble had made a nice seat, which he now used quite regularly. Unlike a certain Autobot, he didn't feel like sitting on the edge of a canyon he couldn't see the bottom of, even if he could fly.

"Megatron sharing the wealth after the Decepticon's latest victory?" Prowl asked, resuming his watch over the canyon. Starscream made a negative noise.

"Hardly. I hacked into his private stash when he left me behind and stole it." the Decepticon replied. "He'll notice it's missing, too, since there's not much left."

"There's not much high grade left anywhere on the planet." Prowl murmured.

"Which is why you should come over here and enjoy these with me." Starscream declared, and his statement was followed by the familiar sounding of a null ray warming up. "I can hold you at gun point if you want." Prowl looked back and gave Starscream an amused look. They both knew holding a null ray to his spark wasn't much of an incentive, because Starscream never fired the weapons when they were at the canyon until after Prowl left. "Fine." Starscream said grouchily. "So much for that approach." the Decepticon turned his back on Prowl and nursed his cube silently, assuming Prowl turned back to the canyon, as usual.

This time, however, Prowl apparently was feeling more co-operative, and after a few moments, Starscream looked up in surprise as he heard the tactician's approaching footsteps. Silently, Prowl held out a hand, and Starscream handed him a cube of high grade. The Autobot tactician lifted the cube to optic-level, staring at it thoughtfully for a few moments before taking a long swig. He waited a moment to let it settle, then took a seat opposite Starscream, his gaze this time focusing on the Decepticon and not the canyon.

"Why do you keep coming out here?" Prowl asked.

"Why do you?" Starscream replied.

"To be alone." Prowl replied easily.

"No you don't." Starscream countered, taking another drink of his own high grade.

"I think I know why I come out here, thank you." Prowl said irritably.

"Well if you want to be alone, why do you keep coming out here, when you know I'm going to show up and bother you?" Starscream replied reasonably. "If you haven't figured out by now that I have a sensor set up to tell me when you show up, my opinion of you is going to take quite a dive."

"No, I assumed at much." Prowl said after a pause, then took another long drink of the high grade.

"So why do you keep coming out here?" Starscream said.

"Why do you?" Prowl replied, lips twitching slightly at the habitual reversal of someone's statement during the night.

"Company." Starscream, unexpectedly, actually answered, and Prowl looked at him in shock for a few moments. The Decepticon air commander shrugged. "You think it befits the Second in Command of the Decepticons to hang out and chat with the troops?"

"And it's more fitting to sneak out and chat with the Autobot second in command?" Prowl asked after a beat, seeing Starscream's point.

"No, but it's so unexpected that nobody would even watch for it." Starscream replied logically.

"Hmm, I suppose." Prowl said. The two mechs fell silent for awhile, drinking their high grade slowly and letting the gentle buzz creep through their systems. When Prowl finally left that night, for once he heard the answering roar of Starscream's turbines as the Decepticon returned to his home base, instead of null rays shooting up their meeting place in frustration.

Let me be the one you call

If you jump I'll break your fall

Lift you up and fly away with you into the night

If you need to fall apart

I can mend a broken heart

If you need to crash then crash and burn

You're not alone

"Primus-forsaken, pit-slagged, fragging glitch-mouse with an over-clocked CPU - " the curses rained down from above, but Prowl only vaguely heard them. He was too busy alternatively glaring at the hand firmly wrapped around his ankle and staring regretfully at the receding ground of the canyon. He'd been mere moments away from impacting on that ground when a certain Decepticon had finally managed to grab hold of him. With the speed Starscream had used to catch up to Prowl, their combined momentum almost made them both impact, but Starscream wasn't the air commander of the Decepticons for nothing, and had managed to pull up just in time. Now he was swearing profusely as he flew them both back up to the top of the canyon.

" - and what the slag were you thinking, depriving me of the most intelligent conversation I've had in vorns, not to mention what your precious Autobots would do without you - " Starscream had gone from cursing to ranting by the time he finally reached the top, setting Prowl down only to land right in front of him and jab a finger into the tactician's chest and repeatedly poke it as he continued to rant in Prowl's face. He either didn't realize or didn't care that Prowl had tuned him out, so Prowl just stood there, listening emotionlessly. Then, suddenly, Starscream was sitting down, air cycling furiously through his vents and glaring at Prowl, but completely silent. Prowl stared back impassively, and tentatively shifted in the direction of the edge of the canyon. A null ray glanced off his chevron, and he grimaced in pain even as he gave Starscream a surprised look.

"Don't even think about it, Prowl. I mean it." the Decepticon air commander said seriously, and Prowl stared. It was the first time either of them had actually used one of their designations, instead of just 'Autobot' or 'Decepticon'.

"Why do you care?" Prowl finally asked. "And don't tell me it's just for the company."

"Isn't that a good enough reason?" Starscream replied, still scowling. "You know as well as I do how lonely it is this close to the top."

"You have your trine." Prowl pointed out, and Starscream snorted.

"Right. That would be the equivalent of, what, you confiding in those glitching twins of yours?" the air commander said.

"I wasn't aware we were confidants." Prowl replied flatly.

"We are. Now sit down and explain to me just why you decided to step off the edge today. Especially today. Megatron is still offline from the beating Prime gave him." Starscream said, pointing to a spot next to him on the rubble in a clear instruction as to where to sit.

"I don't see how you intruding and doing nothing but irritating me every time I come out here makes us confidants." Prowl said, crossing his arms and glaring at Starscream, refusing to sit.

"Haven't we already established that it's not exactly me intruding and bugging you when you come out here knowing that I'm going to show up?" Starscream snapped.

"Or maybe you just can't tell when you're genuinely not wanted." Prowl snarled. "Might be a reason why you have to go to your enemy for company - none of your fellow Decepticons can stand you."

"At least I have the courage to go look for company somewhere, instead of just throwing myself into a canyon!"

"You don't need courage to harass someone you know isn't going to fight back!"

"No, I just need a sense of pity for the poor, depressed Autobot!" Starscream's sarcasm was thick, and somehow that was the final thing that sent Prowl over the edge - but not the edge of the canyon. The first punch caught Starscream solidly in the nose, and he fell backwards with a yelp. He didn't stay down for long, however, launching himself at Prowl and getting in a few solid hits of his own before the tactician started fighting back.

The two of them exchanged a rapid series of blows, and where Starscream would have normally had a clear advantage in flight, the Decepticon was apparently limiting himself to the ground, and thus the two mechs were more evenly matched. Starscream was still bigger, though, and it wasn't long before he started using that to his advantage, eventually overbalancing himself and Prowl as they grappled. The two mechs crashed to the ground, Prowl underneath Starscream, and for a moment, as their gyros recovered, neither of them moved. That one moment was enough, however, and when their optics met again, there was a surprising calm between them.

"If I wasn't such a coward, and didn't have you to bug, I'd probably be the one standing at the edge of that canyon every few nights." Starscream admitted finally, softly.

"If you hadn't shown up that first night, I probably would've jumped then." Prowl replied just as softly, then looked away as he continued. "Knowing you're going to show up eventually has kept me from actually doing it...until tonight." Starscream considered the tactician for a moment.

"I know you won't tell me what changed if I ask, because you never do." he said. "So I think I'll just increase the reasons for you not to jump." Prowl's puzzled gaze snapped back to Starscream, and then the Autobot froze as he suddenly found himself being kissed fiercely. The instinctive reaction to fight back and deny what Starscream was offering was quickly drowned in the glorious sensation of knowing that someone, even if it was his supposed worst enemy, cared enough to go to such lengths to make sure he kept functioning.

When you feel all alone

And a loyal friend is hard to find

You're caught in a one way street

With the monsters in your head

When hopes and dreams are far away and

You feel like you can't face the day

"Morning Prowler!" Jazz greeted with inappropriate cheerfulness as Prowl groaned his way into wakefulness. The tactician didn't even have to ask where they were - the hum of the energon bars on their cell had been audible before he'd onlined his optics.

"How ya feelin', Prowl?" Prowl pushed himself upright in surprise at the unexpected voice, and he stared, for a moment disconcerted, at the unexpectedly occupied cell across the hall.

"How did you two get captured?" he asked with puzzlement, glancing between Bluestreak and Ironhide.

"We were watching your backs, but apparently the Cons were watching our backs - they snuck up on us from behind and took us out, but they did it so fast we couldn't warn you, and I'm really sorry about that, I know this mission was important." Bluestreak said, giving Prowl a weak smile.

"The Decepticons took you from behind?" Prowl asked with a frowned. "How did -" The tactician groaned as, too late, he realized the vital piece of information that he'd forgotten about when making his plans for the mission. The vital piece of information that had lead to not only the failure of the mission, but their capture.

"Prowl?" Jazz asked curiously.

"You don't need to apologise, Bluestreak. You were not at fault." Prowl said with a sigh.

"An' neither were you, Prowl." Jazz said from beside the tactician, and Prowl gave the saboteur a sardonic look. "Don't look at me like that, I know you, you blame yourself for everything that goes wrong. Well, I'm telling you now, it wasn't your fault. Nobody's perfect."

"But he's supposed to be, because his mistakes result in his comrades getting killed." the unexpected sneer interrupted their conversation, and three of the captive Autobots turned to glare at Starscream as he came to stopped between the two cells. Prowl focused his gaze on the deck, refusing to look at the Decepticon air commander.

"Bein' perfect would be nice, sure, but nobody is." Jazz countered, snidely. "It wasn't his fault that you sneaky glitches snuck up on us from behind."

"And who else was supposed to remember that my trine was in the area, which meant Skywarp and his teleporting abilities." Starscream said snidely. "Or are you going to tell me your intelligence didn't even know that much?"

"Of course we knew! The chances of you flyin' right over our heads without us noticin' though were -"

"Actually quite large." Prowl said, cutting off Jazz, still not looking up at Starscream. "I forgot that they were in the area, however, and that mistake got us all captured. Since we were only attempting a more covert assault on this facility because we had deemed a frontal assault improbable, any rescue is unlikely. So we are likely stuck here until the Decepticons get tired of interrogating us and kill us."

"Exactly." Starscream said with satisfaction, then turned on his heel and left. Only once he knew the Decepticon air commander was leaving did Prowl look up again, and when they all clearly heard the doors of the cellblock closing behind Starscream, the three other Autobots were quick to assure Prowl that it wasn't his fault. Prowl made non-committal noises and sat back. He knew it was his fault, he didn't need the false reassurances of his comrades to delude him about how badly he'd messed up. Somewhere in the back of his CPU, he cursed Starscream for catching him that night, otherwise he - and his fellow Autobots - never would have been in this situation.

It took a joor for the others to quiet down, eventually slipping into recharge one by one as it became clear that the Decepticons weren't going to bother them any more today. Prowl wasn't sure if he should be happy about that or not, and had eventually decided he didn't really care and might as well recharge when the lights suddenly went out. The sudden loss of illumination wasn't quite as startling as the abrupt disappearance of the energon bars, however, and Prowl stared at the now-open entrance of the cell in surprise for a few moments. Then he heard the door to the cellblock open, and the sounds of alarms blaring in the distance spilled in, along with a swath of light, interrupted by a familiar shadow. Prowl watched warily as Starscream walked down the hall, pausing outside the cell before entering and crouching before the Autobot tactician.

"Fortunately, we don't have to be perfect when we have friends to help make up for our mistakes." the seeker said softly, and held out a hand to Prowl. It took the tactician a moment to realize there was a standard-issue blaster in it, and hesitantly, he took it, carefully activating it. His surprise that it was fully charged was interrupted when he heard receding footsteps, and he looked up to see Starscream walking away. He opened his mouth, wanting to say something - thank you, maybe - but didn't know quite what, and then Starscream was gone.

Prowl stared at the hallway the Decepticon air commander had disappeared down, then down at the blaster in his hands. After a few more moments of staring at the weapon, Prowl pushed himself to his feet, shaking Jazz and the others into wakefulness so they could make their escape.

Let me be the one you call

If you jump I'll break your fall

Lift you up and fly away with you into the night

If you need to fall apart

I can mend a broken heart

If you need to crash then crash and burn

You're not alone

"I'm starting to think you should see those Autobot shrinks of yours. This obsession with heights you have just isn't healthy." Starscream murmured, poking his head over Prowl's shoulder and joining the tactician in peering down into the canyon. Prowl just smiled faintly as arms snaked around his waist, tugging him back from the edge.

"This coming from the seeker. Doesn't your model typically get jittery if you have to stay solely on the ground for more than a cycle at a time?" the tactician asked, allowing himself to be pulled away from the edge.

"Well, yes, but I have thrusters. You don't." Starscream said patiently as he led Prowl over to their usual seat. "Therefore, your obsession with heights is unhealthy."

"A lot of my obsession are unhealthy." Prowl said with an ironic twist of his lips, giving Starscream a meaningful look as the seeker sat and pulled Prowl down beside him.

"Hey. I saved your aft from imprisonment, interrogation, and eventual gruesome death. That was hardly unhealthy." the air commander said, looking insulted.

"You and I have both known this was an unhealthy obsession well before we even started it." Prowl said dryly.

"Once again, I beg to differ with the unhealthy part, and I'm now also adding an objection to the 'obsession' part." Starscream said with a sniff.

"Indeed? And what else would you call this?" Prowl asked, motioning to the two of them, sitting so close that their legs were touching, Prowl's doorwings carefully positioned to make room for Starscream's wings, and both of them leaning into each other slightly.

"I believe the common term is 'relationship'." Starscream said, enunciating the last word carefully, and Prowl gave him a curious look.

"I...that term tends to imply a bit of permanency and...deeper emotion." the tactician said, almost uncertainly. Starscream remained silent for a moment, looking out at the landscape for a moment. Then, suddenly, he stood, and held his hands out to Prowl.

"Come on." he said.

"Come where?" Prowl asked warily.

"You have an obsession with heights, well, I just happen to have thrusters and the ability to fly into the stratosphere." Starscream said patiently. Prowl still hesitated, sensing that somehow, there was more meaning behind this offer than just the obvious. Especially since Starscream didn't say a word to prod Prowl to take his hands, instead standing there patiently, waiting for Prowl to make up his mind. Making up his mind without having all the facts wasn't something Prowl was used to, however, and he struggled for several moments with the possibilities. Then, somewhere in the back of his CPU, a little voice that sounded suspiciously like a certain air commander told him to stop being pathetic. All that really mattered here was whether or not he trusted Starscream - and after the Decepticon's most recent actions, the only answer Prowl could come up with was that yes, he did.

Resolutely, Prowl put his hands in Starscream's. The Decepticon tugged him forwards with a smirk, bringing Prowl's hands up to rest on his shoulders. "Might want to hang on." That, and the sound of Starscream's thrusters engaging, was all the warning Prowl got before they were rising into the air, and then he was scrambling for a tighter grip, his feet flailing slightly in mid-air until he managed to brace them against the seeker's.

And then, once Prowl was secure, Starscream really started flying.

They climbed rapidly, and then suddenly Starscream rolled and turned, so that he was flying horizontally and upside down, with Prowl lying on his front, clinging to him and slightly terrified. The Decepticon snickered as he saw that Prowl had turned his optics off, his lips set in a thin line.

"I thought you liked heights." Starscream teased.

"I do. When my feet are on solid ground." Prowl said firmly, still not turning his optics back on (not that they really mattered with his sensors screaming at him about how far below them the ground was).

"Come on, the view is amazing. And hey, if you think I saved your aft - twice - just to bring you up here and drop you, you need your CPU examined." Starscream said, then after a beat added, "More than you already do." Prowl onlined his optics to glare at the Decepticon, but didn't shut them off again, slowly working up the nerve to peek over Starscream's shoulder and look down at the ground. He drew back again almost immediately, causing Starscream to snicker again.

"Here, maybe this'll help." the seeker said, then rolled, and suddenly Prowl was clinging underneath him. Prowl swore, vehemently, and shut off his optics again, his grip on Starscream threatening to leave dents. The seeker laughed before rolling again, this time bringing them both vertical and lowering the thrust so that they essentially hovered in mid-air, well above the surface of their home planet. "Look down." Starscream said softly.

"I'm fine not seeing that again, thank you." Prowl said firmly, then stiffened slightly as he felt Starscream's lips on his own, kissing him gently. It was unlike any other kiss they'd shared so far, and when the Decepticon drew back, Prowl onlined his optics to give him a surprised look.

"Look down, lover." Starscream said softly. Prowl was torn between questioning the endearment and doing as told, but inevitably, the latter won out, and he looked down.

Spread out below them was Cybertron, sparkling in the starlight, the deep glow of the planetary core - and the supposed home of Primus - shining up from the depths, making it seem like the planet itself was glowing with life. Their altitude hid the wreckage and destruction of war, save for the large crevices, and from this angle, even those looked beautiful.

"It's...beautiful." Prowl murmured.

"It's the reason I fly." Starscream replied, then gave Prowl a silly grin. "And you're the reason I land." Prowl snorted.

"That was horrible." he said.

"I know." Starscream said with a snicker, then sobered as he looked down at Prowl. "You really think I would have let you, and your friends, out of those cells if I didn't have some sort of deeper feeling for you?" Prowl remained silent, still looking down at the ground.

"I suppose not." Prowl murmured.

"'I suppose not'?" Starscream replied, sounding amused. "The big bad Decepticon is admitting to squishy romantic feelings and all the good little Autobot can say is 'I suppose not'?" Prowl turned a mild glare on the seeker, and Starscream looked back innocently, but it wasn't hard to see the uncertainty behind his optics. He was as much as leaving his spark open to Prowl, and wanted to know what the tactician would do with it.

Prowl, unfortunately, didn't have an answer for him.

'Cause there has always been heartache and pain

And when it's over you'll breathe again

You'll breath again

The sound of their engines roaring over head was all the warning the Autobots had before Decepticons arrived, and Prowl swore as he realized the battle that had been tentatively leaning in their favour was just about to go the other way. Shouting hurried orders to take the Decepticon's air support down, it took Prowl several minutes to realize just what trine was playing back-up in this battle, and froze as he watched Starscream, Thundercracker and Skywarp strafing the Autobots.

Prowl had been in battle against Starscream since they'd started meeting on the edge of the canyon, of course, and since they'd started having more...intimate relations. This was the first time, however, since the Decepticon had helped Prowl and the other escape. The first time since Starscream had taken him flying, and had told Prowl how much he meant to him, and Prowl had been unable to give him an answer about how he felt. It was...unexpectedly unsettling, especially as Prowl found himself consciously trying to find targets other than the seekers to shoot at.

Prowl wasn't the only Autobot with a distance weapon, though, and inevitably one of his comrades got lucky. The tactician's head snapped up as he heard the sudden interruption in a tetrajet's engine, and found Skywarp struggling to stay aloft, his two wing mates bracing him as they slowly guided him down to land safely.

Only once all three seekers were on the ground, safely, did Prowl realize he'd stopped shooting to watch the seekers. And realize that his first thought, when he'd heard the faltering engine, had been 'please don't let it be Starscream'.

When you feel all alone

And the world has turned its back on you

Give me a moment please

To tame your wild wild heart

"Well well well. A little lone Autobot, out all by himself." Starscream sneered as he landed on the familiar edge of the canyon. The mech standing near the edge, cautiously peering over, looked back at the seeker and grinned.

"An' a little lone Con, out all by 'imself. We're almost like a matchin' pair." Jazz replied easily. "You got a subspace transmitter on that sensor or somethin'? Even breakin' the sound barrier I didn't think you'd get here for another breem."

"I have no idea what you're talking about, Autobot." Starscream sneered.

"No? Then why aren't ya at least tryin' t'shoot me?" Jazz mused, and belatedly, Starscream raised his null rays.

"Don't think I won't." the air commander threatened.

"Sure, course not." Jazz said dismissively, and Starscream scowled.

"What do you want, Autobot?" the Decepticon snapped.

"Want? Who said I wanted anythin'? I was just standin' here, an' you decide t'drop outta the sky an' bother me." Jazz said with a faint smirk. "If anythin', I should be the one askin' you what you want." Starscream snarled wordlessly, and actually charged up his null rays. "Alright, alright, calm down. Eesh. Touchy as ever."

"And you're as annoying as you always are. Get to the point, Autobot." Starscream snapped.

"I actually have a favour t'ask ya." Jazz said with amusement.

"A favour? What makes you think I'd do you - or any Autobot - a favour?" Starscream replied, actually looking amused at the prospect.

"Cuz this favour involves Prowl." Jazz replied seriously.

"And why would that make a difference?" Starscream asked after a beat, though the amusement was gone from him, as well.

"Let's not play games, Screamer." Jazz said. "I know what's goin' on, I ain't head of special ops for nothin'."

"And now you're here to tell me to stay away?" Starscream sneered.

"Th'opposite, actually." Jazz replied, and Starscream stared, letting his null rays drop.

"What?" he asked in slight shock.

"You've prob'ly done more good for Prowl in the last few orns than I've managed over the past several vorns. An' I've been tryin'." Jazz said with faint amusement. "Since I consider him a friend, I ain't about to tell you to stay away an' undo all that. Doubt you'd listen, anyways."

"Hardly." Starscream murmured in agreement.

"But I am askin' you t'do yourself an' Prowl a favour, for my sake." Jazz said more seriously.

"What's that?" Starscream asked, curious but wary.

"Don't let 'im defect." Jazz stated. Silence fell, and then Starscream let out a slightly uncomfortable laugh.

"Defect? Why in Primus' name would he do that?" the Decepticon said.

"Dunno, but I've had vorns of experience watchin' out for possible security leaks an' defector, an' right now, Prowl is soundin' all my alarms." Jazz said seriously. "I know it ain't the two of you together. It's much more recent than that, but I'll be slagged if I know what. I doubt I could get it outta him either - you're th'only one that can, really." Starscream frowned, and Jazz continued, "You're also th'only one that can stop him if he's plannin' what I think he is. An' you need to stop him, if he tries. I don't think I need t'tell you that Prowl would just hurt himself more if he defected."

"No," Starscream agreed after a moment's hesitation. "You don't."

"Good." Jazz said with a broad grin. "Glad we had this little chat. Now, as prob'ly th'closest thing Prowl's got to a best friend, it is my duty t'inform you that if y'break his spark, I will rip you limb from limb an' scatter the pieces to the far corners of the universe."

"I'd like to see you try." Starscream sneered. Jazz smiled dangerously.

"An' I'll be more than happy t'show you if it comes t'that." he said. "There ain't nowhere you can hide that'll be safe from me, Screamer." Starscream snorted in disbelief, but eyed the Autobot saboteur slightly warily. It was well known even among Decepticons that Jazz had...connections. Everywhere. "Now, I'd best be goin'." Jazz said in another abrupt change of mood, looking almost friendly as he glanced back in the direction of the Autobot base. "Prowl'll be here shortly, wouldn't want him t'see me leavin'. You two have a good night, an' don't do anythin' I wouldn't do."

"A little too late for that." Starscream said with mild sarcasm. Jazz just gave him a secretive grin and transformed, peeling off into the night.

Starscream glowered after the saboteur, but quickly schooled his expression as the sound of Jazz's engine faded out, only to be replaced with a more familiar one approaching. Starscream shifted slightly, wondering if he should stay, or take off and pretend to arrive later, but Prowl was already close enough to hear his thrusters when he took off. Instead, Starscream took his usual seat on the rubble, watching curiously as Prowl approached. It was easy to tell when the tactician spotted the Decepticon, as he slowed rapidly, approaching at a more cautious pace. Finally he reached Starscream and transformed, looking down in surprise.

"Starscream?" Prowl asked in puzzlement.

"I figured you'd be out here tonight." Starscream brushed the tactician's confusion off airily, and Prowl just gave him an odd look before coming to sit next to him, almost immediately leaning into the Decepticon. Starscream frowned faintly as he looked over at the tactician - as much as he hated to admit it, Jazz was right. There was something different. "No feeding your obsession with heights tonight?"

"No." Prowl murmured. Starscream waited for the tactician to continue, but when he didn't, the Decepticon began to fidget, wondering how one went about bringing up the topic of defecting without just blurting it out. Fortunately, Prowl was actually quite an observant mech. "Something wrong, Starscream?" the tactician asked curiously.

"Ah - just thinking." Starscream replied, and when Prowl gave him a doubtful look, the Decepticon wracked his CPU to find something to say. "About how surreal this is, sometimes." Prowl looked amused, and Starscream continued, "I mean, who would have guessed you and I, out of all mechs? It's not like we had a lot of contact until I dropped in to bug you that first night. I was usually too busy plotting against Megatron to notice you, and you...well, you were all concerned about your fellow Autobots. I assume."

"Yes." Prowl agreed, looking thoughtful. "I suppose that's why 'we' could happen at all. Without the built-up aggression like Optimus and Megatron, there was nothing for us to really work past, except our different factions."

"I think those actually helped bring us together more than anything." Starscream said slowly, seeing his opportunity to lead into the topic Jazz had brought up.

"Oh?" Prowl asked curiously.

"Well, think about it. If you were a Decepticon tactician, I would have to consider you essentially an obstacle in my path, or a suitable subordinate, depending on how loyal you were to Megatron or myself. Either way, if I'd flown by and seen you standing on that edge looking like you were going to jump, I wouldn't have stopped to talk to you. Thus, we never would have gotten to know each other, and no 'we'." Starscream explained patiently. "And if I was an Autobot, it would be similar for you. I'd be an underling, for you to send out into battle and not get overly attached to. Certainly not one to interface with, let alone have casual chats with about how useless you feel - and someday I will get the reasoning for that out of you."

"I...suppose." Prowl said with a frown.

"I mean, half the reason we're so drawn together - at least from how I see it - is that our lives are so similar, because of our positions. We're both second-in-commands, we both have to separate ourselves somewhat from the rest of our faction. If were weren't, if we didn't separate ourselves from the others, than we wouldn't have kept coming back, if we'd even met that first night." Starscream went on. Prowl gave the Decepticon an odd look.

"I get the feeling you're trying to tell me something." the tactician said, and Starscream shrugged.

"I'm just sharing my reasoning, is all." the Decepticon replied.

"Reasoning for what?" Prowl asked warily.

"Why I'll never defect to the Autobots." Starscream said with a slight grin, figuring it was better to make it seem like he'd been thinking of it than to try and get Prowl to admit to it.

"Defect...why would you defect to the Autobots?" Prowl seemed confused.

"Hello, my designation is Starscream, I believe I just finished baring my spark to you less than an orn ago?" Starscream said sarcastically. "Why do you think, you silly Autobot!" this was punctuated by a mild whack on the back of Prowl's helm. The Autobot tactician frowned slightly, rubbing the back of his helm, as he looked up Starscream.

"So even after admitting that...and considering defecting..." Prowl trailed off.

"I chose not to because I know defecting would destroy half the dynamics between us." Starscream said with a sniff. "Plus I don't really want to be a good little Autobot anymore than you'd want to be a big bad Decepticon." Prowl looked vaguely confused, and Starscream let out a small noise of amusement before deciding that Prowl needed distraction. If Jazz had been correct and Prowl had honestly been thinking of defecting, Starscream had just given him a lot to think about, and he'd need some time to think it over.

In the mean time, the tactician looked rather cute while confused, and Starscream was slightly horny. It was, after all, why he'd been circling around the area hoping that Prowl would set his sensor off tonight.

Let me be the one you call

If you jump I'll break your fall

Lift you up and fly away with you into the night

If you need to fall apart

I can mend a broken heart

If you need to crash then crash and burn

You're not alone

Starscream cursed, trying to struggle free of the rubble that he was half-buried in, only to freeze as he looked up to find Jazz poking his head around the corner of the one still-standing wall. It didn't take much for the Decepticon to realize who, exactly had shot him down.

"Pit-slagged Autobot coward -" Starscream's curses were cut short as Jazz trotted around the corner and actually began pulling the rubble off him. "What are you doing?"

"Helpin' you out. Didn' think you'd actually crash from that little shot." Jazz said with amusement.

"Then why did you shoot at me in the first place?" Starscream asked with irritation.

"Wanted to get your attention." Jazz replied.

"Well you have it now." Starscream replied crankily, helping Jazz push a particularly large piece of metal off his leg.

"So I do." Jazz said.

"Well?" Starscream asked expectantly.

"Thanks." Jazz said with a wide grin, then pulled the last piece of metal off, gave Starscream an amiable nod, and turned and walked away, soft music trailing after him. Starscream once again found himself staring after the retreating saboteur before growling and blasting back into the air.

- END -

Lyrics: "Crash and Burn" by Savage Garden