A/N: This chapter references "The Return of Optimus Prime I & II."
"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."
Chapter 8: Family
Prowl keyed in the access code to his quarters and dragged himself inside. Twenty orns of torment. Twenty. The first seven orns he'd been in ICU, unable to see Jazz at all and only able to see Kimi for a breem once a orn. The second seven he'd been released for active duty but could still only gaze at the unconscious forms of his bondmate and daughter. Even now, Jazz was still in forced stasis lock, but at least Prowl had Kimi.
Pausing as the door hissed shut behind him, Prowl gazed at Bluestreak, who was sitting on the floor with Kimi. He had one arm wrapped around her waist, hugging her, but he was giving her enough room to play with an electro-puzzle on his lap. He glanced up and smiled at Prowl.
"Hi! She's doing really amazing with this puzzle and wow you all really gave her a top notch processor because the databanks said a sparkling needed to be at least a stellar cycle old to do this puzzle but she's figuring it out with little help." Bluestreak paused, a worried frown crossing his face. "Are you okay Prowl because you look extra tired and I can stay if you need because that's the whole reason I asked to be moved to third shift so don't feel like you're imposing on me."
Prowl had to smile. Bluestreak had been hovering over Kimi even before she was released from the gestation chamber, and for the last seven orns he'd been babysitting. "Well, I am imposing on you. You spend more of your time here than with Sunstreaker and Sideswipe." Sometimes Prowl wondered if Bluestreak was secretly bonded to both the twins, not just Sunstreaker. For all he knew, maybe it even had to work that way. So far, he hadn't been able to bring himself to ask Bluestreak, and no one else had ever said anything.
Kimi's attention had been draw away from the puzzle, and she was holding out her arms, clicking and chirping happily. Prowl walked over and lifted her from Bluestreak's lap, hugging her close.
"I don't mind really I don't and Sunny and Sides really do understand." Bluestreak set aside the puzzle and stood as well. "Besides she's always so quiet and frankly spending time around her has a calming effect on me."
Wrapping her arms around his neck, Kimi hugged Prowl back and chirped at him in what sounded like a question.
"I'm fine," Prowl replied, his sparkling interlink program giving him some idea of what Kimi was asking. He rubbed her back with one finger and gently kissed her forehead, right above her visor. "Just tired." He glanced at Bluestreak. "You can spend as much time with Kimi as you like, but if you want to go somewhere with Sunstreaker or need to be elsewhere, feel free to go. I'm already eternally grateful for what you've done thus far."
Bluestreak grinned. "Thanks and I'll remember that. But you need me right now and I won't let you down."
"You never could," Prowl replied quietly. He hugged Kimi tightly, then handed her back to Bluestreak. "Watch her for a few kliks more, then, if you don't mind. I want to check on Jazz again."
Bluestreak nodded, cuddling Kimi against his chassis. She snuggled against him with contented chirps. "No problem."
Prowl returned the nod and headed toward medbay. He had become compulsive about checking his bond with Jazz and his interlink with Silverstreak. Although he realized the behavior was irrational, he found himself pinging the bonds at least once a breem, just to assure himself all was well. Nothing, however, could replace seeing Jazz in person.
When the medbay doors cycled open, Ratchet glanced up from Jazz's berth and gave him a knowing smile. "I figured you'd be here soon."
"Indeed." As he joined the CMO, Prowl gazed at the still form of his bondmate, trying to hide his anxiousness. "Any changes?"
Ratchet set down the scanner he'd been using and smiled. "Actually, Jazz is strong enough now that I've decided to bring him out of stasis lock in the morning. I could leave him in stasis right through the separation surgery, but I'd prefer not to if at all possible. Carriers can sense things that even my most sensitive monitors can't."
Pausing for a moment to ensure he had heard Ratchet correctly, Prowl clenched his fists in excitement. "You'll awaken him tomorrow? Truly?"
"Yes," Ratchet replied. "Barring any overnight complications, of course."
Prowl smiled. "Thank you." He stepped closer to Jazz, touching his cheek lightly. At this point he just wanted to hear his voice, his laugh. Even just see his smile. He missed him, and more than that, he hated that Jazz hadn't been there when Kimi had been released.
"I assume you'll want to be here when I awaken him," Ratchet said, "so meet me here at 0900 hours Earth time."
"I will." Prowl nodded his thanks and left, heading back to his daughter and 'adopted' son. He was so tired he felt as though he could go into recharge standing up, but his exhaustion wouldn't cause a problem. Even though Kimi had her own miniature recharge berth in the corner of his quarters, she could easily and safely recharge beside him, where he could react instantly to any need she had. He didn't need Bluestreak to remain.
However, when Prowl entered his quarters, he found Bluestreak recharging on his berth, Kimi tucked in his arms. As Prowl neared Kimi onlined long enough to coo at him, and he brushed one fingertip down her grey face. She chirped happily, then fell back into recharge. Touched to a degree he'd never admit, Prowl gazed at the endearing scene a moment longer, then joined them on the berth. He'd considered Bluestreak his youngling for too long to be disturbed at sharing a berth with him for a few joors.
Relaxing with a smile, Prowl committed himself to recharge, knowing that when morning arrived, he'd be reunited with Jazz, and Kimi would be in the care of both her genitors again.
Awakening even before his chronometer sent him his morning alert, Prowl was startled to find Bluestreak still recharging beside him, Kimi curled in his arms. "You missed your shift!" The words were out of his vocal processor before he realized it was illogical to talk to someone recharging. The sound, however, startled Bluestreak awake.
"Hm?" Bluestreak's optics focused on Prowl. "Oh I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to fall into recharge here but I was suddenly so tired — not that I mind taking care of Kimi because I love to — so I decided to rest until you returned and why didn't you wake me up?"
"Apparently I should have." Prowl checked for messages on his internal comm. link, but none were recorded. "You missed your shift."
"Oh!" A look of horror passed across Bluestreak's face, then he grew still in the manner of someone accessing his bond. "Ohhh, Sunny and Sides took care of it for me. Apparently they kept each other awake through my shift by — " He grimaced. "Try not to be too hard on them, okay? They did it to help me out."
Prowl groaned and shook his head. Whatever it was, it could wait. Or perhaps someone else had already handled the problem for him, too. "I understand." He sighed. "Well, as long as you're here, would you like to accompany me to medbay? They're bringing Jazz out of stasis lock this morning."
"Really? That's great! Sure I'll go!" Bluestreak slowly sat up, holding Kimi close, but she awakened and gazed at them with bright blue optics, which shone through her visor. She chirped at them, smiling, then paused, frowned, and squealed.
"Feeding time," Prowl said, climbing off the berth and heading toward the stash of super-condensed sparkling energon in the corner. Bluestreak followed him, handing over Kimi once Prowl had picked up a miniature cube and settled on the couch.
"I'll go get us some energon," Bluestreak said, obviously peppy with happiness, and nearly dashed from the cabin.
Prowl smiled to himself, amused, then watched Kimi as he fed her. She met his gaze as she drank, and if her soft expression wasn't enough to tell him, then the faint buzz of the Sparkling Interlink subroutine let him feel her love. He felt humbled by the magnitude of it. The tiny femme in his arms, with her miniature hands clasped over his fingers, had granted him instant trust and love. The bond between them was of a completely different type and class than the one he shared with Jazz, but the net effect was the same: they traded their mutual adoration without words.
When she finished her cube, he set it aside and rubbed his fingertip over her little black helm and sensory horns, her visor, and her cheeks. She giggled, then cooed at him, patting his finger.
The door comm. buzzed, and Bluestreak entered without being invited. "Here's our energon." He sounded uncomfortable, and as he crossed the room and handed Prowl his cube, he frowned. "It was weird because other than Sunny and Sides, no one was in the rec room and I didn't pass anyone in the corridors and I swear the whole place seems empty. Sunny and Sides didn't know what to think either but my shift was supposed to be in the munitions bunker, rechecking stock, cataloging weapons — you know all that boring stuff that Sunny and Sides would normally avoid at all costs — so they wouldn't have seen anyone anyway, and we can't figure out where anyone is because when we radioed the comm. center, no one answered."
Prowl nearly choked on his mouthful of energon. "What?" He immediately buzzed the comm. center, but he also got no response. Worried, he contacted Ratchet next.
A pause, then a leery-sounded Ratchet answered. ::Who is it?::
::Prowl.:: He found Ratchet's response particularly odd. ::Bluestreak reports . . . Well, never mind. What is going on?::
::It's insane. Wheeljack and I have locked ourselves in the medbay. Get your afts here ASAP, and I mean use your top speed. Don't stop to look at or talk to anyone! Ratchet out.::
Prowl sat for a moment, utterly bewildered, then shared the conversation with Bluestreak.
"That's creepy." Bluestreak pulled his rifle from subspace. "I'll pass the message to Sunny and Sides. Let's go."
Prowl nodded, and Kimi squealed again, apparently sensing their unease. Without further hesitation, they ran to medbay, where Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were awaiting them. The medbay doors didn't open for them, however.
"What in the Pit?" Sunstreaker asked, clearly unamused.
"I don't know," Prowl replied, holding Kimi protectively close. The oddness only added to his alarm; something apparently had gone wrong and with devastating results. He opened his comm. link. ::Ratchet? We're here.::
::We see you.:: The doors hissed open then, and the mechs dashed inside, the doors nearly clipping their heels as they slid shut again and locked. Ratchet and Wheeljack were crouching behind the farthest berth, both aiming blasters at their visitors.
"Report," Prowl said, disturbed on multiple levels, not the least of which was that guns were aimed at Kimi.
Ratchet visibly relaxed and lowered his weapon. "Thank Primus none of you are infected. Sorry about the blasters, but we had to be extra careful."
"Infected?" Prowl felt increasingly bemused. Just what happened while I was in recharge? He glanced at Jazz's unconscious form just to assure himself that his bondmate was still safe.
"Infected with what?" Sunstreaker asked.
Wheeljack stood and turned to the computer, bringing up a live feed of the nearest city. "We're calling it the Hate Plague. It was caused by some spores two human scientists brought back from space."
Prowl stepped closer to the display, Kimi whimpering in his arms. To his horror, the screen showed chaos and violence: burnt-out cars, smashed buildings, and smoke plumes. Autobots, Decepticons, and humans all fought against each other, and strangely, their bodies glowed an almost radioactive crimson. "The Hate Plague?"
Ratchet stepped up beside him. "The spores contain a highly contagious viral agent, and the plague is transferred by touch. The last we heard from Rodimus, he'd sent Sky Lynx after a Quintesson for help."
"A Quintesson?" Prowl frowned at the mere concept. "But based on what we've learned — "
Ratchet gripped his shoulder. "Don't freeze up on me, Prowl, but the humans brought back more than the spores. They brought back the body of Optimus Prime. I don't know the details. All I know is that Rodimus wants the Quint to revive Optimus in the hopes that he'll know what to do about the plague."
Feeling his processor glitch, Prowl fought hard not to fall into immediate stasis lock. "Primus!"
After a moment of collective stunned silence, Sideswipe spoke. "What do we do?"
"Stay put, if we can," Wheeljack answered, his vocal indicators flashing red as he spoke. "If we leave the medbay, we run the risk of being infected." He put his hand over his chest. "And I don't need to tell you what would happen to my sparkling if that occurred."
Prowl shuddered. The thought of losing any sparkling made him ill, but in Wheeljack's case, the cruelty would be beyond compare. "All right. We'll hole up here, then." He turned his gaze to his bondmate. "What about Jazz? Are you leaving him in stasis lock?"
"No, we have to bring him around, just in case we have to flee." Ratchet grimaced. "Even if he were left in forced stasis lock, if he got infected, Silverstreak would extinguish."
Every piece of metal in Prowl's chassis seemed suddenly infused with liquid nitrogen. "No," he whispered, terrified. In his arms, Kimi screamed as though she sensed her brother's peril.
Wheeljack immediately turned pure business. "Blue, Sunny, Sides: guard the doors. If we're attacked, you'll be our last line of defense. Prowl, you focus on keeping Kimi calm while Ratchet and I bring Jazz around."
Prowl nodded, and the young warriors took position without question. Ratchet gave his bondmate an odd look, likely surprised by his abrupt take-charge attitude, but he said nothing as they walked to Jazz's berth.
"Here we go," Ratchet said, accessing the appropriate panel in Jazz's chest.
The whirl of systems rebooting filled the air, and Prowl rushed to Jazz's side as he came online. "Hello, there," he said, keeping his tone quiet.
Jazz slowly turned his head, and Prowl could feel him focusing through their bond. "Prowler? What happened?" His gaze fell on their daughter. "Kimi!"
"There was too much stress on your systems, so you went into stasis lock," Ratchet explained as Prowl carefully lowered Kimi onto Jazz's chest. "We kept you that way for your sparkling's sake."
Jazz hugged Kimi and kissed her helm. Prowl couldn't help smiling, despite their dire situation. Seeing his bondmate and their daughter together warmed him. He could also feel echoes of Jazz's happiness as he held her, and he basked in the feeling, letting it wash through him and ease some of his tension.
"I can feel Silverstreak," Jazz said after inspecting Kimi, as though he wanted to memorize every inch of her. "He seems fine. Is he fine?"
"For now," Wheeljack said. "In fact, Silverstreak's energy levels are perfectly stable, but we have a completely different problem at the moment." He outlined the situation.
"Ah, slag no!" At hearing this news, Jazz struggled into a sitting position. "I've made it this far. There's no way I'm losin' my sparklin' right at the end!"
"Careful!" Wheeljack put one hand on his back, supporting him.
Kimi hugged Jazz's neck and squeaked faintly. "She's afraid," Jazz said, and his sadness over that realization burnt through their bond to Prowl.
Prowl grimaced. "Yes, but we'll keep her safe. We'll keep all of us — "
A thud jarred the medbay doors, and everyone jumped. Angry voices pierced the metal:
"We know you're in there! You can't escape us."
"We'll smash ya ta pieces, ya know!"
"Cowards! Come out and fight us!"
Jazz gasped, a sickly, wheezing intake of air.
Wheeljack turned toward the monitors. "Slaggit! There're five of them, all armed. I'd hoped they wouldn't return inside, but no such luck. This is not good."
Jazz shoved Kimi at Prowl. "R-r-ratch!"
Prowl grabbed Kimi, pulling her close as Jazz's fear bloomed through their bond, and he became afraid as well, unsure of what was happening to his bondmate. Ratchet picked up a scanner, but Jazz was already clutching his chest, right over his spark chamber.
"Lie down," Ratchet ordered, and Jazz slumped back onto the berth, pressing both hands against his chassis. Ratchet scanned his spark chamber.
"Hurts," Jazz bit out.
"Too much stress!" Ratchet tossed the scanner aside. "Your sparkling is separating now."
"What?" Prowl again felt the glitch try to freeze his processor. "You're going to have to separate the sparkling in the middle of a fight?"
Wheeljack ran across the room to the storage cabinets, opening the one that contained Silverstreak's protoform. "We don't have a choice," he called over his shoulder.
"He's right." Ratchet frowned, utterly grim. "If I don't get that sparkling out, they'll both die."
Prowl sank to the floor, unable to process any further information but refusing to fall into stasis lock when Kimi needed his protection. "Please," he whispered. "Don't let them die."
"Don't intend to," Ratchet replied as Wheeljack returned with Silverstreak's protoform.
Prowl found himself staring blankly at the berth's side, unable to look away. I will stay online. I will stay online. The grey metal blurred faintly as his gaze intensified, but still he couldn't reengage with the activity around him. For countless kliks, nothing seemed real, not even Kimi, who cried against his chest. He could only hear the cacophony of voices around him.
"Blue, get back!" Sunstreaker. "We're seriously going to need a sharpshooter, and you need to keep your distance."
"You can't let them touch you, either!" Sideswipe.
"Jazz, I need you to open your spark chamber for me." Ratchet, calm but authoritative. "The separation is proceeding abnormally quickly. We need to get in there now."
Jazz groaned in pain, then came the sounds of transforming metal.
"It's all right." Wheeljack, soothing. "What you're feeling is normal. It's the squeezing off the energy tendril that keeps your sparkling attached to your spark. It's causing spikes and surges, but neither of you are being hurt by it, okay?"
"'kay." Jazz's voice was wheezy.
"Take in deep droughts of air through your intakes." A distracted-sounding Ratchet. "It'll help your systems stay balanced and disperse those surges." A pause. "'Jack, hand me the padded energy forceps."
Prowl forced his gaze upward at last, seeing Wheeljack hand over an odd instrument with circular ends. He was holding Silverstreak's body in his other arm.
"You're almost done," Wheeljack told Jazz, his vocal indicators flashing a soft blue. "The separation is nearly complete."
Glancing to Ratchet, Prowl realized the CMO was holding the forceps over Jazz's chest, as though ready to pluck out the sparkling at a moment's notice. ::Jazz, hold on . . .::
The banging on the doors grew louder, and Prowl jumped as the screech of bending metal ripped through the room. His processor strained further, causing his doorwings to twitch with tension.
"They're going to give in!" Bluestreak fell back, putting himself between Jazz's berth and the door and raising his rifle.
"Slag it all!" Sunstreaker growled, aiming his weapon at the dent in the doors. "It doesn't matter who they are, we're gonna have to offline them."
"Almost there," Wheeljack whispered, leaning closer to Jazz. "Just stay clam."
Voices punctured the weak doors. "Breach it! Kick it in or blast it, just breach it!"
With a start, Prowl managed to reboot his battle computer and slowly stand. Hugging Kimi against him with his left arm, he used his right hand to pull his rifle from subspace. As his battle computer took over all his cerebral systems, he felt numb, almost as though all his actions were occurring by rote.
"Almost there," Wheeljack repeated.
The metal doors screamed and burst inward under the pressure of the insane mechs beyond. The twins and Bluestreak fired immediately, knocking out the two minibots who rushed through the opening. Wreck-Gar was trying to force his way in behind them.
"Now!" Ratchet yelled, and in his peripheral vision, Prowl saw him snap the forceps into Jazz's spark chamber. An astrosecond later, he pulled out a small, blue ball, and Wheeljack held out Silverstreak's protoform. Worry pierced his numbness, and Prowl dared to look as Ratchet shoved the sparkling into its spark chamber and held it there. A few nanokliks passed, and the sparkling brightened.
"Got it!" Wheeljack pulled Silverstreak back to his chest as soon as Ratchet removed the forceps.
Before Prowl could feel relieved, however, Sideswipe screamed.
"Frag!" Sideswipe tried to dodge Wreck-Gar, but he tackled him to the ground. Upon contact, Sideswipe's body began glowing red.
"'Where's the beef?'" Wreck-Gar asked, sneering, and Sideswipe laughed maniacally.
"Slaggit!" Ratchet pointed to his office. "Prowl! Wheeljack! Barricade yourselves in with Kimi and Silverstreak."
Without argument, Wheeljack ran to the back, but Prowl stared at Jazz, who was clearly exhausted. "But Jazz is — "
"Go! I'll get Jazz."
Sideswipe attacked Sunstreaker, who howled like a turbowolf as his body illuminated. Realizing he had little time, Prowl ran toward the office, but not before seeing Wreck-Gar wrestle Bluestreak to the floor. Although Ratchet was right behind him, half-carrying and half-dragging Jazz, Prowl knew the situation was hopeless. They were outnumbered and fighting something they couldn't control or understand.
"Light our darkest hour." Optimus Prime's voice seemed to echo in Prowl's mind, and he halted abruptly, fearing he'd somehow become infected and gone insane like the rest. He whirled around instinctively. Wreck-Gar had grabbed Ratchet, and Bluestreak had Jazz. Eight howling mechs pressed in upon him, their crimson glow casting half the room into flickering shadows. Prowl clutched Kimi tightly, horrified to know her screams would be the last thing he'd hear as a sane mech.
Then a blue light pierced the room, electrifying the air as wound its way around Prowl's attackers, making their bodies shimmer. The madness visibly drained from their optics, the aggression and red glow from their bodies, and they stood staring at him, as though confused as to what had happened.
Stasis lock imminent, Prowl's processor announced. Ten astroseconds. "Jazz," he said, holding out Kimi.
Jazz accepted her, cuddling her against his chest. "Prowler? What's . . .? Wait, I got infected, didn't I?"
. . . six, five, four . . .
"Yes," Prowl replied. "But you're fine now." He tried to smile and promptly keeled over, unconscious.
In the quiet of their quarters, Prowl settled on the berth next to Jazz, who held both Kimi and Silverstreak to his chest, close to his spark. Once his doorwings were comfortable, Prowl picked up Silverstreak, smiling as the sparkling chirped happily and waved his tiny limbs, and tucked him against his chassis. He had never felt so glad to be conscious and out of medbay.
"We've got beautiful sparklings," Jazz whispered, leaning against Prowl's shoulder. Kimi cooed and chirped, as though sensing the compliment.
Prowl kissed his bondmate's helm. "Yes, we do." He gazed at Silverstreak, awestruck by his tiny black doorwings and red chevron. So small, yet so alive.
"No one should ever have ta go through a separation during a battle," Jazz said. He slumped, exhaling air through his vents in obvious exhaustion. "I was scared outta my mind and convinced we weren't gonna make it."
Thinking over the orn's outstanding events, Prowl sighed. "Yes, given the madness that had overtaken the planet, I would have never imagined we could have ended the orn with such tranquility and joy. But we finally have both our sparklings, and we even have Optimus Prime back with us." He shook his head, still mystified at the Quintesson's begrudging help. "Blaster said earlier that even the Decepticons are quiet for now."
Nodding faintly, Jazz scooted closer to Prowl. With some shifting, they managed to embrace each other with one arm while using their free arms to cuddle their sparklings. "It's all so strange," Jazz finally replied. "I ain't complainin', of course. After all the scares we went through, we deserve a break."
"Indeed." Prowl smiled softly, watching Silverstreak slowly relax and drift toward recharge. "I knew all along it was a great risk, but I'm glad we took it."
Their door comm. buzzed, and knowing Bluestreak would stop to check on them, Prowl didn't hesitate. "Come in!" The door hissed open, but to Prowl's surprise, Bluestreak was not alone. Optimus Prime stood by him, his strong red and blue frame dwarfing the doorway.
"Prime," Jazz said quietly, still obviously awed by the return of their previous leader.
"I've come to see the new family." Optimus's joy was evident in his intense cerulean optics. "Bluestreak's been filling me in on the details, but nothing can compare to a visit."
Prowl found himself inordinately glad that Optimus was able to meet his and Jazz's sparklings after all. "We're happy to have you, of course."
Optimus entered the cabin, followed closely by a grinning Bluestreak, and knelt by their berth, gazing at Kimi and Silverstreak. "You did wonderfully. I can tell with a single scan just how special they both are."
"Thank ya!" Jazz grinned with blatant pride.
Bluestreak looked ready to burst. "I told you they were perfect and they're so easy to look after and they're so smart and we're all so happy you're actually here to see them!"
Chuckling, Optimus glanced up at the gunner. "The excited older brother, I see."
Bluestreak just smiled.
"His help has been priceless," Prowl said, giving his adopted youngling a grateful look.
"I have no doubt." Optimus reached out, gently caressing the tiny faces of each sparkling. Kimi, still being awake, cooed at him and patted his finger. Optimus laughed. "I see what you mean about their intelligence. She's obviously highly self-aware already."
Jazz snorted good-naturedly. "Hey, with us as genitors, what did ya expect? We wouldn't settle for anythin' less than the best, plus we made sure pieces of our own programmin' were in each of 'em."
"But of course." Optimus sounded amused. "Well, I shall leave you alone now. I need to check on Ratchet and Wheeljack." He stood and shook his head. "It's hard to imagine that we'll have three sparklings running around the base at the same time, but I must say I couldn't be happier."
"I hope you're that pleased when they all three hit the 'No' phase at the same time," Prowl said wryly.
Optimus laughed. "We'll survive somehow. We managed to survive Sunstreaker and Sideswipe, after all. Plus the Dinobots!" He patted Jazz on the shoulder and nodded to Prowl, then headed out the door. Bluestreak waved goodbye and followed him.
Silence descended upon the room once their visitors left, then Jazz stirred. "Being genitors . . . it changes everythin'." His voice was quiet. "What I notice, what priorities I have, what I care about. Everythin'."
"Yes, it does." Prowl leaned his head against his bondmate's, watching Kimi fall into recharge and experiencing a level of peace he'd never imagined possible.
"Well, it changes everythin' except one." Jazz turned his head and kissed Prowl's cheek before settling against him again. "Yer still the universe to me."
Prowl returned the kiss. "And I'll be with you always, till all are one."
"Till all are one," Jazz agreed, echoing a small part of their bonding vows.
Prowl waited until Jazz and both sparklings were comfortably recharging before allowing his systems to power down. Morning would come, bringing peace or war, new lives or deaths, but Prowl knew his spark would never waver. What mattered most existed between him, his bondmate, and their sparklings: a small but living example of what Prowl and Jazz fought for and hoped for, what the Autobots encapsulated in their own quirky way.
Postscript: Thank you for following me on this unexpected ride! I appreciate your support and feedback. My attention will now turn to "A Second Destiny," "Magic and Loss," and the sequel to "Sound and Fury." It's all a matter of time, which I don't have a lot of at the moment. "Magic and Loss" will be the easiest to update because I have almost 8 chapters of it finished already. [Don't worry, Independent C.! I'm not a story-dropper. I was just squished for time and posted what was edited, which turned out to be a new story. As a reader, I find nothing more frustrating than an abandoned story!]
Thanks to Lady Prime for the beta. I appreciate your input!