Rating: T

Warnings: None

Setting: Transformers Animated AU

Disclaimer: I own nothing!

A/N: I'm constantly fine tuning this but there are always more chapters in the works.

Over three Earth months had passed and Prowl still couldn't get the brief partnership he had with the bounty hunter, Lockdown, out of his processor. While attempting to capture Starscream, Prowl experienced the thrill of the hunt and upgrades. But why couldn't he stop thinking about it?! What had Lockdown done to him? Teaming up had been an incredible experience. Although he did not trust the muscle car, the freedom he had felt with the other was surprising.

Until he met Jazz, Prowl had always been a bot that preferred to work alone. Although he and the other cyber-ninja only had a few chances to team up, the feeling of having a capable bot to rely on felt… nice. He no longer felt alone. Optimus and the others were usually competent enough to do a good job, but he never felt that they understood him. Optimus tried, and Prowl appreciated his efforts, but they were just so different. After the Elite Guard ninja left, Prowl's confidence in his ability to function alone was rattled, though he would never admit that to anyone. Rushing off after Starscream's signal seemed to be a great way to restore his confidence. He wanted to prove that he could handle anything by himself.

Then Lockdown showed up, attempting to capture Starscream too. During their initial fight on the moon, Prowl amazed how synchronized their battle was. Their attacks and counters flowed smoothly one into another, neither able to land a hit on the other. It was like they were dancing.

Intrigued, he offer his assistance to the muscle car and was surprised when Lockdown agreed. Had he felt something too? Though their partnership was brief, the black bike discovered that he and the bounty hunter worked amazingly well together. And although he hardly acknowledged it even to himself, there was something strangely enticing about the other bot. Maybe it was how he confidently handled any situation with a dry sense of humor or the cocky grin that hid his intelligent CPU.

Prowl's obsession with the bounty hunter was starting to take a toll on his focus and peace of processor, not to mention how he behaved towards his teammates. He found the spiked mech on his processor far too often; even in recharge… especially while in recharge. This made Prowl quick to anger and even more aloof, spending even longer periods of time in his room or simply leaving the base for hours without a word. Prowl found himself wondering what it would be like to leave Earth and take Lockdown up on his offer. Normally, meditating would help clear his mind of such thoughts, but now it took the opportunity to stray to the neutral bot.

With Prowl's brooding, antisocial behavior frying everyone's circuits, Optimus decided to ask Ratchet what he thought was wrong with the the bike.

"Nothin's wrong with him," he reassured the Prime gruffly, "Just had a nasty amount of temptations thrown at him. He'll calm down on his own."

Though he trusted the medic's opinion on the matter, the young Autobot leader thought it was time he confront the cyber-ninja. Stopping outside the black and gold bot's door, he hesitated before knocking. Maybe he should just leave Prowl alone and let the bot sort himself out at his own pace; he had always been a very independent bot, he would probably work himself out of... whatever it was he was going through. However, he had been impossible to work with lately, so with an ex-vent, Optimus knocked gently on the bike's door.

No one answered.

"Prowl? May I come in?" he asked, but still received no answer, "Prowl I know you're in there. I can sense your energy signature." Nothing. With another ex-vent the young Autobot leader keyed open the door and stepped in.

Unlike the rest of the base where the lights turned on if someone entered a room, Prowl had specifically asked that his not be wired like that. Optimus remembered him saying something about the "natural ambiance of the room," whatever that is. With the only source of light coming from the setting sun rays making their way through the hole in the roof caused by the tree, provided plenty of shadows for the stealthy ninjabot to conceal himself in. Though Optimus could not see the smaller Autobot sitting in the tree, quietly observing him and hoping that he would leave, he knew Prowl well enough to guess where he was. He knowingly looked up at the dark tree, trying to spot the other.

"Prowl, I know you're up there. Please come down, we need to talk."

Silently, Prowl dropped from the tree before his leader, seeming to materialize from nothing, startling the Prime.

"Jeez! Prowl, I've told you not to do that to your teammates. You nearly made me short circuit," scolded the truck.

Unfazed, the cyber-ninja looked cooly up at the larger bot, "What is it you want, Prime?"

Optimus' expression turned to one of worry as he ex-vented again, "To talk Prowl, to help you. I know you're a mech that likes to do things on his own, but… you have us all really worried."

"I'm fine." replied the shorter curtly, visor not revealing a thing.

"Even a protoform could see that you're not."

Prowl looked away, remaining silent.

"Tell me what's wrong. I want to be able to help you. All of us do. But we can't if all you do is push us away," the fire truck said, trying to place a consoling servo on the other's rotator cup, but finding only air as the ninja put more space between them.

"I assure you, I'm fine," said Prowl, voice terse. His servos clenched.

"No you're not! You've been acting strange ever since you teamed up with Lockdown."

At mention of the other's name, the Prime noticed Prowl tensed and instantly became suspicious, "You've been distant and hostile for no good reason."

Optimus eyed the smaller mech, frowning, "Prowl, did something happen between you and Lockdown that you're not telling us?"

"No." retorted the bike.

Optimus narrowed his optics, "Something did happen didn't it? I knew it!"

"I'm telling you, nothing happened." swore the ninjabot, vocals rising slightly.

"There's no reason to lie to me, Prowl; and as your commander and friend I insist that you tell me."

"I'm not lying!"

Optimus' optics widened in surprise. Prowl hardly ever raised his vocals, except at Bumblebee, and certainly never at him. "Alright, fine. If you need to work some things out on your own, that's fine. But that's no excuse to take your anger out on me or the rest of the team. Because that's what we are Prowl, a team. It's how we function best."

Prowl bristled, "Maybe that's how you work best, but not me. I work alone!" And without another word, Prowl disappeared back into the tree and out the hole before transforming and driving off, leaving an even more worried and confused Optimus.