The exact nature of their relationship has been left purposefully ambiguous. Read it however you like, though I will submit that not all close relationships have to be romantic. Written for a challenge back in April.
Setting: G1, sometime in season 1
Prompt: "Loving someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved deeply by someone gives you courage."
Prowl was lying on his back in the dirt and sparse grass, head propped up against a rock, when Jazz approached from the direction of the Ark. The saboteur flopped down to the ground beside him, staring up at the clear night sky. He didn't say a word, and no music drifted from his speakers.
Jazz never broke the silence on these nights. Never asked what had tipped Prowl over this time, or spoke until Prowl himself initiated the conversation. Sometimes Prowl never did speak up, and when they finally went back to base—or to the Ark, now—not a word passed between them.
Sometimes Prowl welcomed these times, when he and Jazz could lay together and simply be. Sometimes he cursed them, times like now, when emotion swelled up in his processor, a contentedness so deep and full it ached. To dwell on it too long made his systems choke. Prowl shuddered. Jazz's fingers brushed over his armor briefly, lightly, before settling in the dust beside his.
Prowl knew the word most would ascribe to this feeling. He'd never said it, not in relation to them. To use such a word felt trite, at once insufficient and too much. It was not the true meaning of what he wanted to say, and so he said nothing. Jazz had never used the word either, for reasons Prowl had not asked and did not feel he needed to know.
Prowl brought his optics sharply to focus, attempting to wrestle his thoughts back to safer territory. He didn't break down like this often. Hadn't, actually, since they'd awoken on this planet. Perhaps that was why this time it seemed to come out of nowhere; he was simply four million years overdue.
"Jazz—" he couldn't finish the sentence. He wasn't entirely sure what he'd been planning to say in the first place, only that he wanted speech as well as company tonight.
Jazz laughed softly. Gears in his neck whirred as he turned his head. Prowl obligingly turned his own, coming optic to visor with the saboteur. He'd scaled up his optics to magnify a certain portion of the earth sky; Jazz's visor filled his vision despite the fact that they were lying far enough apart for there to be comfortable space between Jazz's shoulders and the tips of Prowl's door wings. Prowl scaled his vision back until he could see his companion's entire face.
"Just thinking." Jazz grinned to himself. Prowl waited, more or less patiently. Instead of continuing his thought, though, Jazz turned back to the sky, smiling a smile so wistful, so nostalgic, that Prowl didn't need to be told where his companion's thoughts had turned.
They all thought about home, after all.
"We'll get there," Jazz murmured.
"You do not need to tell me this. "
"Sure I do."
The words stirred up a faint tinge of irritation. Prowl did not like feeling as though he were being condescended to. "I do not require empty platitudes. The crew benefits from such forms of encouragement far more than I."
Systems grumbled from somewhere in Jazz's chassis. "That's something else I've been meaning to talk to you about. The crew hears it from me all the time; hearing it from you would mean more."
The loud, disbelieving grind of Prowl's gears was both purely instinctual and highly undignified.
"I realize that. It's what worries me." He turned his optics back up towards the sky.
Jazz shifted, one of his feet brushing against some scrubby brush with a dry scraping sound. "When I say something to the crew, they take it as truth. When it comes from you, it's hard fact."
"Truth and fact are very similar."
"They aren't the same."
Prowl fell silent. Word games with Jazz were tricky at the best of times; he used logic only when it suited him, twisting fact to create his own truth in ways that defied accurate counter-argument. It was even harder to argue against him when he was, technically, correct.
Jazz rolled inward slightly, coming up on one elbow. Prowl turned his head obligingly, meeting the earnest gaze with one cool but attentive. "Most of the crew might think they go out there on nothing but courage, and it's true they've got a lot of it, but they need strength just as much. Truth can give them courage, but strength? Strength comes from fact."
"You're waxing philosophical. Are you certain you're feeling well?"
"I'm trying to tell you something here, Prowl."
"I do not require coddling, Jazz." The words were more forceful, this time.
Jazz frowned but didn't press, instead rolling so he was lying flat out on his back again. The silence was weightier than it had been before. Jazz broke it after a bare few minutes, not turning his visor away from the stars even though his hand sought out Prowl's arm again. "We'll get there."
The hand on his armor squeezed, mild pressure sending a warning ping through his processor. Prowl shifted until he could return the gesture. "So you've said."
"I need you to say it."
Prowl lay in silence, staring up at alien stars, listening to breeze through alien vegetation… aware of a hand on his armor that had not once let go in all the millions of years since it first grabbed hold. The ache swept through his systems again, but this time it seemed to free his vocalizer rather than choke it. "We'll get there."
"There, y'see? Now it's fact. We'll get there. Don't know when or how, but we'll get there."
Prowl tilted his head until he could see his companion once again. Jazz was smiling up at the sky, face serene. Content.
If Prowl's words were Jazz's source of strength, then Prowl had his own as well; having Jazz at his side, his very presence renewing emotions that did not require naming but caused courage to swell in the space between them.