A/N I LOVE YOU TANYA! More than this world!
A really wandering, perhaps-too-long study of the TFA Jet Twins, as imagined by Miss Enolianslave and myself (and confirmed by Kaekokat XD). SO YAH. Just Jettwin-Babble. Just, yannoe, scan it for adorable Twins-Jazz moments.
Characters: Jetfire, Jetstorm, Jazz, Sentinel, Ultra Magnus, brief Wheeljack, Perceptor
Pairings: none… besidesthehorribleambiguityofbeingshota-tastic.
Warnings: a few canon-swap-arounds, mostly concerning the twins' accents. I always wanted to see how the rest of Cybertron reacted to the (completely adorable) Freaks that Fly. Judging how flying is a Con trait, it wouldn't be a pretty picture, but it's never addressed in the series. Man, how I love writing Jazz!
Two 'bots, protoformed once and born twice.
They lay in pods after the first jolt of jump-start coding was pumped into their hot-wired systems, each in a respective fever. RL-39488-1 jolted and jerked as though each movement crunched ice at his joints; RL-39489-1 strained in the hard confines of the adjoining pod, servos clenching, audio units projecting crackling hot, flickering static.
Never before had something so drastic as a complete reformatting, overhaul and code-flush been attempted, so the two scientists watched with no small amount of ignorant trepidation as the twin's stats declined, tubes and live monitors hooked into every dark joint, painstakingly fed down into their mauled insides.
They had no idea how close they came to complete failure. If Wheeljack hadn't seen RL89's servo strain for his brother's--or hadn't possessed the courage and the ardent idiocy to ignore Perceptor's impeccably balanced arguments, hoist the shivering blue youngling up out of his pod and settle his limp, tube-tied form beside his orange twin—they never would have brought the two beyond sick, trembling husks. Once beside each other, the transformation was like nothing either, in all their stellar-cycles of serious, startling and often insane science, had ever seen.
Perceptor, thankfully, was there to turn to the clusters of glowing monitors and stabilizing equipment and interpret the rising cacophony of beeps. Most were rousing and positive, reflective of the burgeoning energy signatures of the mechs whose fields had, until that moment, been operating at a dead-zone buzz around their lackluster plating. Wheeljack, optics nearly pulsing above his faceguard, watched in something close to wonder as RL88 curled around his twin with a shuddering movement that was mechanical only in the basest of senses.
They ceased to writhe and shudder in pain: aspirating in time, pulsing in time, two sets of slender limbs twined in hot and cold knots and brought a breath of sizzling relief to tiny bodies consumed by their own high-running power. The technology, ice and fire, was too new and they lay broken, held together only by their plating and the glow of their shared Spark; they ached from the span of their wings, a burden that would not soon be lifted.
They rebooted stable. Stable, and insulting one another, each sporting a merry grin as though they could not remember having their fledgling insides ripped out after a world-ending smash and a fragmenting of their optics, glass tinkling down their slackening facial plating. They stood and stood tall, grateful simply to be alive—or simply grateful, as they were wired to be.
No one wondered which, until Jazz.
Open Perceptor Communication 2293-R3; RE: 'Jet-twins'.
Topic: Difficulties after stabilizing.
Project completed. All recorded. The subjects are in no danger at the moment, but there have been some difficulties that cannot be ignored.
Though all systems proved stable, megacycles passed before they could vocalize. They remained silent and vibrating with binary-level chaos as my programs violently re-coded their faculties. Even when the process was completed, the Decepticon schematics, as attentively as Wheeljack and I had screened them while scrambling for the youngling's chilling shells and ripping open their helms with pliers, was radically different from our own and included a language sub-section I hadn't anticipated. While the two had always operated in the lower rungs of sonar functions (such things like meticulous connotation programs are rarely awarded to physical laborers, as you are aware), what spawned from the marriage of clans was heavily-accented pidgin: broken, oddly-arranged Autobotian, burred with extra sonar functions and guttural like that of Decepticons.
When combined with their origins and physical model, I realize this may be unnerving for the public image of the experiment. I have attempted to reverse the process on more than one occasion, but there was no success—and we have more urgent matters to attend to. 'Safeguard' schematics attached.
Jazz couldn't forget their first training session. He'd been told to hold nothing back, but he couldn't help seeing them as wet-wheeled (wet-winged?) younglings, even after witnessing a beating he'd never expected: his own. He had to admit, they flipped his lid—blew his processor, with all those moves programmed right in. They jived like a pair of regular cylinders: one up, one down and always in time. Whatever they worked in the lab, there, they'd conjured up something smooth. Stoked as he was, though, the rest of the base wasn't so hot on the two new arrivals.
The twins, Jetfire and Jetstorm, were pretty difficult to compute, word-wise, and immediately identified as outsiders, despite their clean, very Autobot enthusiasm. The combination of reverence and suspicion would drive anyone to malfunction, much less directionless younglings with more faith than processing capability. When they were dwarfed by Ultra Magnus up on the dias, the aged mech's booming statements washed any possibility of failure out of the surrounding Autobots and the crowd cheered and the twins? They took it to Spark.
What they just didn't get—and what no one would tell them—was that they were seen only as war weapons. Misbegotten, super-powered tools that Autobot-kind was only comfortable with when Magnus had a hard servo on either ones' shoulder plating, giving reason and direction to their alien wings. When alone and grinning their cockeyed mirror-image grins, dearly wanting nothing more than kindness from the passerby… nervousness and suspicion from everyone, lackeys to generals, was the best they could hope for.
They began as Autobots and became something different to fight for the Autobots. Why did the world dislike them so, even as they trained so hard for it? There were a lot of questions, and it didn't get any easier. No one quite had the answers, and those who did, didn't want to tell.
It was sad for the twins to be stuck with Sentinel: their world was closeted enough as it was, and life with a mech like their Prime was no way for them to learn consistency. Sentinel was a terror, at first impatient with them and more than resentful of his demotion to their trainer and master. He was, perhaps, the most suspicious of what they were: the first few weeks, he could be seen stomping through the hallways, muttering about the enemy coding like it was a noose; a snake coiled within their trim, polished frames that would leap free and strangle them, strangle him.
Too soon, however, he realized his position: how it was to have two creatures dedicated, fresh Spark and fresher body, to pleasing him. Their simple want of love; their yearning propensity to be obedient and do the right thing while having no idea what 'right' meant. The power trip was the last thing SP needed and to this solar-cycle, Jazz wished he'd had the bolts to talk to Magnus about it. Maybe recommend a 'bot with tighter screws, like Roddy or even Krup. Once the Prime realized the twins were in his servos and his servos alone, processing his every word as law, he began to take them for granted, throwing them scraps of attention and basking in their hero-worship when he fancied it.
They never ran out of their thick, fragmented words. He never ran out of ego. It would have been a good match if the twins weren't sentient beings, in need of a little more than patchy acknowledgement and affection that only lasted as long as the spotlight did.
Other solar-cycles, darker solar-cycles, Sentinel took his anger out on them, driving them far harder than he should have. He denied them breaks until they were fairly dipping in flight with exhaustion, both bodies uncomfortably warm from coolant long evaporated from dry tubing. Those times, Jazz distracted Sentinel and slipped the two energon behind his back, smiling faintly at the adoration beaming from the jets' round faces before they threw it back simultaneously with rushed young gulps. They knew, with an acceptance so ready and bright and brave it was almost sad, that they would have to down it quickly and not act too refreshed. Sentinel would know.
Still, they loved him the best they could.
With Jazz, it was a different deal entirely. He was a cool mech—he'd stayed in touch with function as the regular 'bots processed it, down-to-metal, as it were--and he couldn't see the kids as a science project like rest of them did, or the whipping posts or glory hounds (in turns, depending on the solar-cycle) that Sentinel claimed when it was convenient. He tried to do small things for the twins, immediately sensing their need for approval. He liked them and they felt it: it meant the world to them.
He was steady. Kind. Taught them how to fight and new tricks atop that. They had fun—something both he and the two wingsters were severely short on, in this solar-cycle and orn, and it was sweet to let go with two 'bots who never seemed to run out of juice.
Only compounding Sentinel's army of shortcomings, the bulky blue mech didn't take kindly to Jazz's 'interventions'. He was instantly jealous of the rapport between the trio and didn't like seeing his vicious soldiers hopping at the white ninjabot's knee-joints and begging for one more go at the plasma-ball simulator.
Ruckus like that was unbefitting of the benevolence of Ultra Magnus. They weren't acting like soldiers, he said time and again, always with a glare towards his inferior, who stood by with a deep frown. Tiny optics narrowed, Sentinel took both jets by the back of their necks with his mammoth servos and steered them off, so peevishly but still entitled to undeniable power.
Immaturity and too much privilege. Sentinel incarnate. One wondered how he got so high in the order, but then, function was funky like that. In tandem, the willowy younglings looked back at him over their shoulder-plates and Jazz tried not to smile at them as he walked away, like he… knew was probably better.
He knew how Sentinel was. Everybot did, spending more than a cycle around him, and most anybot from any section of the military would shake Jazz's servo good and hard for putting up with the mech as much and long as he did. It was hard shifting, with him calling the shots, and Jazz couldn't resist treating the twins to a bit of a good time when he was around—which wasn't much, he had duties as well other than guarding Magnus—but he always came out of it feeling a little guilty. He knew he shouldn't… get them used to it. Humanize them.
They had too much to do. They were soldiers.
Ultra Magnus, colder and quicker these solar-cycles than he'd ever been as Jazz knew him, actually supported the over-driving of the kids. Said anything an Autobot could deal out for training would only be a fraction of what they could encounter on the field and Sentinel was right to test the boundaries of 'the new models'. The simple coolness and impartiality in his vocals put more distance between him and his creations than could ever be managed with another airborne battle simulation. Sentinel only jacked it up three more notches whenever Magnus watched, and though he never laid a servo on the twins, it was like watching a beating some solar-cycles.
Jazz couldn't do it—watch, that is. Nothing to do with being a softy. Just knowing what they were in for made his insides lock up, his vents narrow. Watching them walk into it with thoughtless smiles on their faces hit him harder than that.
What were they, if they led kids into gunfire just because they had a shiny alt-mode and a few toys?
At least Jetfire and Jetstorm would be together on the field: they weren't always afforded the same kindness on the Ark. Somewhere along the way, Sentinel discovered that the only way to truly punish the two jets was to separate them. When pricked—say, if they had done something wrong and he had seen them rough-housing with Jazz earlier that solar-cycle--he would set them to physical tasks with leagues of metal partitions between them, each impermeable gunmetal inch cleaving the warm eddies of the Spark-warmth they shared so constantly.
That connection lit them up, animated them in perfect tandem: they ran on the same frequency. Twins always did, formed from one split star. When punished together, they chatted back and forth in their adoring pidgin, basking in one another and joking about every task they were set to. To separate the two was to cut that stream between them and suck the life from them; to remove them from the opposite source of hot-cold comfort, so vital since their ability to combine and form Safeguard, which placed their chambers directly next to one another and only intensified their already precious bond.
Whenever Jazz walked by to see Jetfire scrubbing the floor in one corner of the Ark, his optics glowed a rusty orange and he scrubbed slowly, like a machine—reduced to his base components by the simple removal of his twin. They were tired, truly sad, and they looked up at him and did not smile and their punishments lasted for megacycles. Afterwards, Sentinel would drive them immediately into more training, not even allowing them the relief of physically reconnecting after their Spark exhaustion.
Jazz often saw them stumbling back to their tiny quarters with their arms around each other. One time, he heard a clank and, concerned (knowing Sentinel had been in a temper that solar-cycle, being refused for something he'd requested), he stopped and backtracked around the corner, concern on his long, handsome face. He saw that perhaps Jetfire had fallen first, but they both lay against the wall, Jetstorm's body covering his brother's as the other youngling shook. It was not desperate in the slightest, but calm and sad.
They rode out the storm—and the fire—pressed together, then slowly, in perfect tandem, rose from the wall and continued walking, optics dimmed to grey and brown.
They kept their sadness to themselves, if they had any. Rather, they had no troubles—Jetfire and Jetstorm on their own, however, shared a sadness. Even when apart, they shared the same sorrow. All they needed was to be together and Sentinel denied them; Jazz couldn't even approach Magnus about it, for simple fear that he would be denied as well.
Still, they amazed him, time and time again.
They were relentless, welded at the hip-joint, endearing even in their awkward syntax and unflappable mistakes. The more time they got away from Sentinel, the more they came into their own plating. Jazz had a clean view of them as obedience-addicted, but when they showed their first knack for pranks, he was almost pleased. It was comforting to see them expanding outside orders and the things that would guarantee them praise… but that was also an opinion established before he was dripping in old grease and laid out flat on the floor of the hallway, processor practically voided from the fall.
Of course, he was the victim: the only 'bot they knew well enough to weather an affront of that caliber. It didn't help that they rushed out immediately afterward and wailed, pleaded for Mister Jazz to be forgiving them as they scrambled to wipe the old grease off of his fresh-waxed canopy, only smearing it hopelessly over themselves in the process, which made the filthy cyberninja throw his head back and laugh until his vocals got spotty. Still, megacycle of clean-up aside, he liked it.
Primus, but he liked it, grabbing Jetstorm and rough-housing him into a head-lock until his orange brother squawked with joy and dived into what was becoming a messy fit of grease-wrestling almost fit for broadcasting. Best thing he'd done in orns.
It was always a mixture of sadness and happiness with those two: laughing at their punky Spark but simultaneously shaking his helm at the respectful trepidation with which they eyed him, waiting for their punishment. When Jazz gave them nothing more than a swat on the (very dirty) olfactory sensor, their duplicate confusion was tangible; if he hadn't walked off right then, late to a meeting and definitely looking forward to a grease-slick chair and a few stares, they might have asked him to punish them. They became braver later, encouraged by Jazz's mellow acceptance of all their little pranks—they even managed to rope him in for a few, but that was only because Ironhide seriously needed to stop chomping rust sticks or else his tubing was going to back up. Lacing the cowbot's stash with aluminum shavings was just another way of telling him that.
In a way, the little wingsters saved him just as much as he did them.
No doubt, they were out of touch with the world and what was expected of them. Naïve. No wonder they inspired fear, with all that power in two willing bodies.
They were the paradox of the Ark: the 'favorites' of Ultra Magnus, yet shown only the coldest, most damaging of preference as they were used as tools, despite the warm Sparks that Perceptor and Wheeljack had fought so hard to save. Regardless--past Sentinel, past the whispering crowds and skittish military personnel--they pushed through side by side. It was as though they had never made contact with the ground, not a mutation but a new breed of Autobot with which physics had been struck from the deal through that burst of dark, cackling coding.
Jazz knew their Sparks were in the right place. He felt it from the beginning, but the problem with wanting to do the right thing was that they had no inside compass, no moral code: just a simple ability to believe the 'bots who told them what they needed to know—then, what they needed to do. They were obedient to a fault, faithful to the last wire, unaware of ramifications or details or shades of grey. It was the tragedy of ultimate trust, and one that Jazz could only hope would never rip the two fierce Sparks from the second function forced upon them in the dark before the Well.
With them, the Autobots could win the war. With them, victory was in sight. They were the keys, the very symbol of what could be achieved through hope, ingenuity and cruelty, as shaped by the servos of suspicious soldiers and impartial scientists and the one 'bot who gave a damn.
In a way, in the end, they only flew because someone told them they could.