Setting: Transformers Animated AU
Disclaimer: Transformers belongs to Hasbro!
Prowl didn't know what to do. The bike stood there, stabilizers rooted to the floor, logic drive fritzing.
This was supposed to be an easy mission; an in and out, a grab and go, not… this!
He took a few calming intakes, trying to clear his processor as the static faded from Lockdown's and his severed comm. line.
Had any other bot captured Lockdown, the bike would've had little trouble getting the muscle car out. But it wasn't just any mech that had the muscle car. And if the Prime was here, Prowl waould bet his motherboard that the team would be as well, or worse, the Elite Guard. Probably not Sentinel Prime or Ultra Magnus, but maybe - he dreaded to think - Jazz.
It wasn't that he disliked the other cyber-ninja, indeed far from it. During the sport car's short visit to Earth, Prowl felt a strong attraction to the other mech; and, as he found out soon after, Jazz reciprocated those feelings.
Shortly after returning from Sumdac's (no longer malfunctioning) police-drone manufacturing plant, Prowl found himself in the white ninja's berth, interfacing passionately.
Like with Lockdown, the two-wheeler felt unstoppable when with the sports car, that there was a reliable partner to back him up. Being with Jazz was one of the few time that he was truly at peace with the Autobot cause. Normally he despised the controlling servo of the High Council, knowing it influenced every aspect of their function with no way to escape, but with other cyber-ninja he felt like it was ok, that the High Council wasn't as bad as he had grown up believing.
But then Jazz had to leave and some promises were made but they felt hollow. The white mech had Elite Guard duties to preform and Prowl was stuck on Earth. So his function went back to the way it had been before Jazz had appeared in it, but a little less colorful.
Then Lockdown showed up and it was as if the grey world he had been living in had been replaced by a technicolor light show. The older mech challenged him in ways he hadn't thought of before, made him want to be more than the sum of his parts and see what he could do when given the chance to fly. Offering adventure, passion, risks, freedom... how could the bike say no.
The sound of approaching bots shook the black and gold mech out of his thoughts. Activating his camouflage, he pressed against the wall just as two guards walked around the corner, talking loudly.
"…so that's why I'm gonna be on monitor duty later. I hope I'll gedda watch that Elite Guard mech interrogate the beastly 'Con," gloated one of the two.
"That sounds like the slag. Pit, mech, I'm jealous," said the other, "Any idea where they're gonna be doin' it?"
"What? The interrogation?" clarified the first bot.
"Heard from Grindor they put him in one of the lower holding cells, though I'm not sure which."
As the guards moved away, Prowl slowly followed them, not wanting to miss any other valuable information.
"Too bad, that would've been fun to watch."
"I know, right?"
The two fell silent for a while and continued on their way, completely unaware they were being tailed. Prowl had almost given up on gleaning any further knowledge, when the less informed of the two spoke again.
"You know why those two bots wanted him?" he asked.
"Somethin' about a botnapping is what I heard."
"Where'd ya hear that?"
"I was stationed close to where they caught the 'Con and that Elite Guard bot was ravin' on and on about it," replied the other, then chuckled, "Lemme tell you, he was fragged off."
"Ha, I bet. Hey, any chance that I can stop by later and watch it with you? I would swap my hard-drive to..."
Feeling slightly sick, Prowl stopped and allowed the guard bots to continue on their way. He had heard enough, for if his assumption was correct, the other bot with Optimus must be Jazz. The ninja bot placed a supportive servo on the wall, as a wave of anxiety and nausea washed over him.
How was he supposed to face his leader, his lover… his friends? This was not meant to happen. His team, ex-team he reminded himself, wasn't supposed to care about him enough to try and rescue him… to want to find him. He should have realized however, that Optimus - loyal, caring, naïve Optimus - would, of course, not give him up without a fight. And Jazz… oh, Jazz. Why did he have to be here? It was as if Primus himself was punishing the bike for leaving the Autobots, and in a way, he supposed he deserved it.
But Lockdown was his partner now. It was the muscle car whom he had left willingly with and to whom he was now allied. His chance for freedom. However, that fact didn't makes this situation any less comfortable. Now was his turning point, he supposed, not when he left the Earth. Would he reveal himself to Jazz and Optimus, fabricating a story of how he had been held hostage, only to escape and find them, and return to Earth with them, leaving Lockdown to his fate? Or would he rescue Lockdown, and truly abandon his Autobot brothers? It seemed Prowl had the older bounty hunter's future in his servos.
As Lockdown slowly rebooted, the first sensation he felt was the creator of all processor-aches currently residing in his helm. Groaning in pain, he attempted to raise his servos, but was stopped short upon realizing his arms wouldn't move. Startled, he onlined his optics to find himself in a small, windowless room, whose only features were an observation camera, a door and the chair in which he was currently seated, wrists trapped and unresponsive in stasis cuffs. That was when he first noticed the dull pain coming from his arm. Looking down, the restrained mech noticed that his ship control mod had be been pretty damaged by a straight, shallow slice cut diagonally through it.
With his processor running slowly, it took him a few nanokliks to remember how he got in this position, before it quickly returned to him. Growling in fury, he tried to thrash around, but the high-powered cuffs proved steadfast, allowing for only head movement. Lockdown was about to try something else in an attempt to escape, when a loud beep sounded from the door.
Stilling, he watched as Optimus Prime and a familiar, shorter white mech with a blue visor, entered the room. Seeing who his captors were, Lockdown realized instantly that the whole thing had been a set up to capture him. Scrap. Obviously they captured him in order to learn the whereabouts of Prowl, thinking that he had botnapped the kid. He had to make sure they keep thinking that, he owed the bike that much.
Course of action clear, he smirked tauntingly at his captors.
"Optimus Prime, I wasn't expectin' t' see ya again so soon. How ya doin'?" he asked in fake politeness before his smile widened, "Still protecting that dirtball of a planet? But how's Prowl? Heard he'd gone missin'. Heh, sure hope he hasn't been offline-"
Before Optimus had a chance to stop it, Jazz had rushed the restrained bot and hit him square across his white mug, whipping it to the side. The punch rang off the walls in the small room.
"Mute it!" barked the white cyber-ninja, visor glowing in anger, raising a fist to strike again. Optimus grabbed his arm to stop him, alarmed. The Prime had never seen the other bot so mad before.
Jazz was seething. He could not remember a time when he had ever wanted to hurt another bot so bad. After he had got that spark chilling call from Optimus, about Prowl being taken, he promised himself to hunt down the glitch who did it and make him pay, praying to find the bike safe and sound. Now he had the disgusting scrap heap at his mercy and the glitch had the ballbearings to say things that he knew would send a stab of fear through his spark.
The large bounty hunter chuckled as he spat out a mouthful of energon. He always knew how to push the right buttons with most bots, but this one was making it too easy for him. It was obvious from the mech's attitude, as well as his right hook, that the subject of Prowl was… touchy. Hopefully the muscle car could use that to his advantage to get the frag out of here. But it did make him wonder.
"Wha's Prowl t' ya pretty-bot?"
Jazz's derma plates pressed together in a tight line, "None of yo business, 'Con. And the name's Jazz, ya dig?"
Lockdown's optics narrowed. If he was 95% sure of what he suspected before, now he was 105% crystal clear of what this bot was to his bike. Still, the fact that this mech had laid servos on his hot new partner made him bristle, but he kept his expression neutral, not wanting to give a reaction of any sort.
Jazz smirked down at the bound muscle car, pleased with the lack of response, which spoke volumes, but it quickly vanished when the other chuckled and spoke again, a leer slipping back onto his ghostly faceplate.
"Heh heh, so you got to 'face ol' Prowler did ja? Tell me, 'ow was it?" he asked tauntingly. As much as he disliked playing along, he had to do it; Autobots could be worse then 'Cons when it came to traitors. "Was he a wild thing in the berth under all that cold plating? Did he scream and writhe? I bet he…"
There was another resounding clang followed by a grunt as Jazz delivered a powerful jab to the muscle car's grill, causing him to double over in pain and cough out another mouthful of bright blue energon.
"Jazz, that's enough!" ordered Optimus, stepping forward incase he had to stop the Elite Guard bot again. As much as he wanted to let Jazz pummel the spiked mech into a pulp, they needed him functional for interrogation.
The bound bot raised his helm, glaring daggers at the sports car, "Ya know, that punch seemed kinda familiar," Lockdown began as he sat up, wincing slightly at the strain put on his dent grill, giving Jazz an energon stained half-grin, "You wouldn't happened to have know a bot with a harmonic destabilizer, would'ja?"
"Yeah, I did," replied Jazz, heating up with rage and sorrow, "Would still know him if it weren't for you."
When it came to his job, Lockdown made a habit of not asking too many questions, only who and sometimes where, depending on how quickly they wanted the bounty found. Even when a call came from an Autobot, offering a small fortune to capture one of his fellows, he still didn't ask. Getting into the affairs of other mechs just wasn't his thing. And so with a name, the hunt began.
"Come on, Jazz, bet you can't beat me to that boulder!" laughed a red mech with yellow highlights, flashing his lover a cheeky smile. Blaster then transformed and took off, tires kicking pebbles off into space.
"In yo dreams!" retorted a young, visor-free Jazz, chasing after his friend.
The two were inexperienced soldiers, fresh out of Boot Camp. They had been put on guard duty in a remote sector of Autobot territory, away from potential danger. Blaster had a unique harmonic destabilizer, while Jazz had a few thousand stellar cycles of Metallikato training under his plates. During Boot Camp the two became close friends and eventually lovers; they were inseparable.
Blaster and Jazz were so immersed in their race, the roar of their engines filling their audios, that they failed to notice the sound of another engine quickly approaching.
The two were almost to the large boulder when a volley of laserfire rained down upon them. Jazz yelped in pain as one nicked his bumper while Blaster cried out when a shot hit him square on the hood.
Though both were in pain, they kept driving until sheltered by the boulder. Quickly transforming, Jazz hurried over to his friend who was having a hard time leaving vehicle mode.
"Yo, you ok?" he asked worriedly once the red bot was finally in full bipedal mode.
Blaster sunk down against the boulder, intakes labored, hand clutching his scorched chassis.
"I'm fine," he replied with false bravado before attempting to stand up. However, with a pained cry he crumpled back to the ground.
Without further prompting, Jazz activated his comm. link, "This is Jazz. Jazz to base, come in! We are under fire. I repeat we are under fi-AH!" His sentence was cut off as more laserfire hit the boulder they were sheltered behind, rubble spraying around them.
"Send backup immediately!"
Then with a steadying intake, the white and black bot jumped out from behind the boulder, Blaster calling after him, to face their assailant. He froze. A large, terrifying black and green mech with sharp spikes, a ghostly face and optics that glowed like pitfire stood waiting for him.
"Decepticon," breathed Jazz.
The monster gave him an evil grin, leering at the shorter mech, "Hey there pretty-bot, where'd yer friend go?"
Startled out of his stupor, the sports car grabbed his nunchuks, taking a defensive stance and glowering at the Decepticon.
"Watcha want with him?"
"Aw, don't be like that. Jus' wanna talk with 'im, thas all," replied the spiked bot, optics sparkling with malicious delight. Frag, he loved easy jobs.
"Yeah? Ya can talk ta me first, aight?" snapped the young ninjabot before lunging at his opponent, nunchucks flying.
Lockdown sidestepped the first assault with ease, "I see you've got some Metallikato trainin' under yur plates, cutie," he commented casually, still ducking and swerving, not even bothering to fight back, before making an attempted swipe at the Autobot.
Jazz back-flipped out of the other bot's reach, growling in fury, "Fight back!" he yelled.
"Suit yourself." grinned the muscle car, before running at Jazz with surprising speed, chainsaw arms suddenly screaming to life.
As he charged, the young bot tensed for the assault, standing his ground. But as the Decepticon raised his whirling hand, preparing to deliver a finishing blow, the white mech ducked and sidestepped, landing a brutal punch to the larger mech's grill. An intense pain filled Lockdown as the punch forced it's way between sections of the plating, forcing him to his knees.
"Where's all ya big talk now, glitch?" taunted Jazz, sneering at the other.
The mismatched bot's optics snapped up to Jazz's, a deadly glow in them. Without warning, the Decepticon had launched himself forwards, jamming his spiked shoulder into Jazz's chassis, sending the white Autobot flying backwards. But as soon as Jazz hit the ground, the new holes in his chassis leaking energon, the muscle car was immediately on him, delivering a powerful kick to his side.
"How's… this… Auto… bot!" asked the other fiercely, accenting every word with a sharp kick.
Jazz curled up into a ball, attempting to shield the parts of his frame that hadn't been pierced by large spikes on the mech's pedes. When it finally stopped, everything hurt too much to move.
The Decepticon chuckled, admire his handy work, before bending down and rolling Jazz onto his back. The semi-conscious bot's optics onlined unevenly as he gazed up at the mech grinning smugly down at him. The grin widened when their optics met.
"Please, don't get up," taunted the bounty hunter, patting Jazz's faceplate roughly, before standing up and cracking his neck, "I'm gonna go check on yer friend."
The sports car laid there, helpless to aid his lover. His spark clenched and fluttered sporadically, as the Decepticon's pedesteps faded away, hoping somehow Blaster had managed to get away. But a piercing scream shot straight through Jazz's core, making him go cold with fear and sorrow. Craning his head towards the boulder he watched as the Decepticon carried a gagged and stasis cuffed Blaster over his shoulder, back to where beaten, white bot lay. Tapping a few buttons on his arm, the 'Con glanced upward with a grin as a ship turned visible and began to descend towards the asteroid.
"See ya 'round, pretty-bot," said the spiked mech casually over his shoulder as he strolled towards his ship, humming a tune as he left.
Blaster's terror filled optics found Jazz's, lubricant tears sliding down his faceplates. The injured Autobot could only watch helpless as the large mech boarded his ship, red bot carefully balanced on his spiked shoulder, and take off.
The white bot could feel his own tears drip down his face. Half were for his hatred for the muscle car while the other were the anguish for his lost lover as his frame began to shut down, begging for a chance to heal. The sound of quickly approaching vehicles was last thing Jazz heard as he went offline.
The Elite ninja bot tried to push down the surge of emotion that welled up within him at remembering that horrible incident, but it was no use. With an anguished cry, he once again lunged at the bound muscle car, the cause of so much grief in his function, slamming his fist into his faceplate. He delivered another blow, then another, metal crunching satisfactorily under his fists, before Optimus could restrain him.
Jazz struggled furiously, desperately trying to break free of the blue and red mech's strong hold on him. Lockdown glared at the ninja bot, spitting out another mouthful of energon, murder in his optics.
"If i' weren't fer ya, Blaster'd still be online!" yelled Jazz, emotion cracking his vocals.
"Jazz you need to calm down," said Optimus firmly to the smaller mech. But the sports car ignored him and continued to struggle.
"Ya destroy every spark ya touch! Where is 'e? Where's Prowl?!"
The Prime decided that this "interrogation" was getting nowhere and that Jazz needed to clam down, even if he would like to let the other Autobot beat the slag out of Lockdown.
The bound bounty hunter watched as the two bots left the room, the door slamming shut behind them, wondering how the frag he was gonna get out of there.
Prowl stole a glance through the security door window. As expected a guard was in the room, his gaze focused on the monitors before him, helm resting on a servo.
Prowl knew he would have to be quick if he wanted to knock the guard out without causing a commotion. Taking a calming intake, he opened the door as quickly and quietly as he could and sprang over to the bot, preparing to strike when something caught his attention; the guard was a offline. The black and gold mech vented a quiet sigh of relief before focusing his attention on the vid screens.
He found what he was looking for almost immediately and felt his core go cold; Optimus and Jazz were interrogating Lockdown. He didn't know which of the bots on the screen brought about a more powerful reaction: seeing his partner bound and helpless, his old leader so far from earth in order to find him, or his former lover trying to "save" him.
Even though there was no sound coming from the monitor, he could easily tell what was happening. He watched as Lockdown grinned smugly and say something to his captors. Jazz, much to his surprise, attacked the muscle car, forcing Optimus to drag the cyber-ninja off of him.
The black bot tore his gaze away from the figures and glanced up at the corner of the screen to check the camera number. Recalling the schematics of the prison, courtesy of Lockdown, he quickly found which room was connected to this camera. He double-checked the guard, making sure he was still offline, before backing away from the monitors and quietly slipping from the room.
Prowl hurried through the corridors, dodging cameras and guards as needed. After running down a final flight of stairs and peaking his head cautiously around the corner, he saw the room that contained Lockdown, Jazz and Optimus. The black and gold cyber-ninja wracked his processor, trying to think of a way to rescue the muscle car, hopefully without the other Autobots seeing him. Unfortunately nothing brilliant came to mind.
However, just as he was about to wing it, the door slammed open, causing the ninjabot to jump and duck behind the corner. Out the door came Optimus, dragging a struggling, screaming Jazz.
"Where is he you glitch! Where is he?! Frag you! Curse you to the Pit!" yelled the white bot back through the closing door. He continued to shout and writhe until he was forced into a neighboring room by Optimus who slammed the door shut behind them.
Prowl was shaking; if he had thought seeing Jazz like that was bad on a vid screen, it was infinitely worse in person. He hadn't truly realized what leaving would do to his teammates. He never realized that they cared so much for him; a moody, solitary ninjabot. Had he really been that blind to how they saw him? Prowl had thought it over before he left and honestly thought they wouldn't cared much at all. Nor had he expected Jazz to be so upset. He had enjoyed his time thoroughly with the other cyber-ninja, but knew it would be a passing thing. Jazz had his duties to fulfill on Cybertron and he on Earth. Besides he did not want to return to Cybertron. Maybe Jazz thought they could be more than Prowl knew they could ever be. However, he had decided to travel with Lockdown, for his own sanity, no matter the setbacks.
So pushing his doubts and fears to the back of his processor, he steeled himself and made a dash to the door.
The bounty hunter gaped in disbelief at the bot who had just burst into the room. The bike was just as shocked upon seeing his partner, for one look made him cringe. From up close the damage done to the muscle car was much more noticeable. His nasal bridge was slightly deformed, one cheek dented with a long, bleeding gash in it while other smaller dents and cuts littered the rest of his facial plate. It was clear that the limit of Jazz's control had been tested, more than once, by the large mech.
Hurrying forward, Prowl unsheathed his laser katana and sliced through the stasis cuffs. A shudder passed through Lockdown as the paralysis effect wore off before standing up.
He rubbed his wrists, staring at his partner. When he was being interrogated, Lockdown was sure that Prowl would return to his teammates once he discovered that they were here to find him. The ninja bot would be able to go back to his friends, escape this new life, avoid any penalties, pass it off as a botnapping and put all of the blame on him. Instead he had come to save Lockdown's sorry aft from spending the rest of his function in the stockades, or worse.
"Kid… you…" the large mech said, grasping for words, trying to make sense of the situation.
"Come on!" urged Prowl, grabbing the seemingly dazed bot by the wrist and pulling him out of the room, "If you must go sentimental on me, at least wait until we get out of here."
They were about two flights of stairs away from the room Lockdown had been in, moving at a quick but quiet pace, when an enraged cry echoed up from below them. Prowl felt his energon go cold at the sound, imagining clearly who and why the bot had screamed with such rage and pain. But more importantly they knew Lockdown had escaped… and then the sirens began to wail.
Without casting a glance to the large mech behind him, Prowl took off, Lockdown close on his pedes. As they ran, uncaring about the noise they made now, he could hear another set of pedes in the stairwell, in hot pursuit of the two fleeing bots.
As the bounty hunters neared the maintenance room, the door not feet from them, two guards ran across their path. Taking acting before the guards had time to react, Lockdown was bearing down upon them, chainsaw whirring. The felled Autobots' energon splashed grotesquely onto Prowl's form as he ran past and followed the muscle car into the sewers.
The tunnel seemed to stretch on forever and as they approached what Prowl hoped was the surface access, he could hear the following pedesteps pick up speed. Suddenly light flooded the small section of tunnel they were in as the surface access cover was thrown aside, temporarily blinding the black and gold mech. Lockdown hoisted himself out of the tunnel before reaching down and grabbing the extended servo of his small partner.
The early morning sun cast a pink glow across the desert, long shadows trailing behind them as the two of them ran to their ship. The muscle car shot aboard heading straight to the controls to get Death's Head up and running while the bike stopped on the loading ramp, hearing someone behind him call his name. Against his better judgment, Prowl turned.
Right outside of the access hole stood Jazz, somewhat distant but distinguishable. The sight of his former lover froze the bike where he stood. If he had thought that seeing the white bot back in the base had been heart-wrenching, it was nothing compared to locking optics with him and see the realization dawn on the sports car's handsome face; Prowl's spark broke at the sight.
The bike's spark was not the only one that was breaking. After seeing the black ninjabot and realize what was going on, was enough to make Jazz break down and cry. But before he allowed himself to do that, he had try one last thing. The Elite Guard member started forward cautiously, as though Prowl would bolt at any second.
"Yo Prowler! Whatcha doin'?" Jazz shouted, attempting to force some of his old cheeriness and bravado into his words. He tried to give a chuckle, wanting to pass off as cavalier, but it died in his throat, coming out as more of a chocked sob. He could feel the coolant pricking at the corners of his optics, threatening to fall, "Please! Get off that ship and come home!"
Prowl felt his spark give another wrench upon hearing the restrained anguish in his friend's voice. The plead almost made him run off the ship; away from Lockdown, bounty hunting, adventure and freedom, back into the safe and comforting arms of Jazz.
It seemed for a moment, that Prowl could see a life flashing before his optics, the one he would have if he turned away from Lockdown. Everything looked so light, a wonderful loving future with Jazz, surrounded by friends and family, but his every movement controlled and restricted, always being watched. His pedes seemed as if fused in the ramp, preventing him from moving in either direction. And what of his future with Lockdown? The attraction between them was undeniably present and his spark lept at the idea of moving unhindered amongst the stars, exploring new worlds and interacting with other cultures and species, Lockdown by his side. However, the darkness and uncertainty of this path sent a shiver down his backstrut.
The Death's Head vibrated beneath him and slowly started to lift away from the ground. Seeing the ship beginning to rise, Jazz sprinted towards the craft. Prowl's processor barely registered Lockdown yelling at him through their comm. link.
"Don't do this, PLEASE!" cried the white bot, his servo reaching for the a bot that he could have loved, probably more than Blaster, as coolant leaking from his covered optics.
Prowl noticed that tears of his own were staining his faceplate as he watched, still rooted to the spot, as Jazz made a last ditch effort leap for the ramp. At first the black and gold bot thought he would make it but the ship pulled away just before his servo could grasp the ledge.
"I'm sorry," murmured Prowl as the white mech fell back towards the ground, a look of shock and pain etched into his faceplate.
Turning, Prowl walked numbly back into the ship.
In a dazed heap, Jazz looked up at the shrinking ship as it rapidly gained speed and altitude, letting the tears fall unchecked and the grief overwhelm him.