"The Official Autobot of Summer"

Informer, you no say Daddy me Snow me I'll go blame, A licky Boom Boom Down.

Detective mon said Daddy me Snow me stab someone down the lane, A licky Boom Boom Down.

Informer, you no say Daddy me Snow me I'll go blame, A licky Boom Boom Down.

Detective mon said Daddy me Snow me stab someone down the lane, A licky Boom Boom Down.

The DJ laughed heartily over the airwaves.

"What the hell is that guy saying anyway?" he asked his listening audience. "Hi folks. That was Snow with 'Informer' on Today's Hits, WBQX. This is Rip Tupt broadcasting live from City Square where we are about to kick off summer with a bang. You've heard all of us over at WBQX talking about the big plans we've got in store for Central City as the city gets set to kick off Summerfest 1993. We've asked for all of your help and we've gotten a great response.

"Now let me introduce our special liaison for this event, the Autobot Bumblebee. How's it going, big guy?"

"Great, Rip," Bumblebee said cheerily. "This sure is exciting. Look at all the people here!"

"Well, Bumblebee, not every day they get to see a real life extraterrestrial." Rip paused dramatically. "But that is going to change. With the help of Bumblebee, the mayor, and good folks organizing Summerfest 1993, we've got a treat for everybody in the city. This summer, an Autobot of your choosing will be acting as your emcee and guide to the big Summerfest events. That's right, from Fun Food Feast to the Hot Times Parade, an Autobot will be there. Bumblebee, why don't you tell everybody how this worked?"

"Sure, Rip. For the last month, we've asked the listeners of WBQX to write in and tell them which Autobot they wanted as the special guest for Summerfest. We received over 12,000 letters in all, which is great. Certainly more than we expected. And we've got our winner. Do you want to the honors, Rip?"

"You bet. Here we go. By popular demand, your choice for the WBQX official Autobot of summer… GEARS!"

* * *


Sunstreaker stood up from the table so quickly that he nearly knocked it off its footings. The other two Autobots listening in on the radio program slid back quickly in order to avoid getting attacked by the various inanimate objects that flew off the table and crashed to the floor.

"How," Sunstreaker continued, "in the name of Cybertron did that runt score more votes than me? I should strangle the humans that voted for him."

Blaster crossed his arms, grinning. "Yeah, I have no idea why humans just can't get that lovable personality you show to the world."

"I know–," Sunstreaker started to say before his expression slid into a glare. He pulled his chair back to the table and sat down. "There must have been some mix up in the voting process," he said sulkily.

"Doubt it," Jazz said, his hands laced behind his head. "Bumblebee's been pretty meticulous about it." He watched Sunstreaker open his mouth to say something and quickly added. "And before you start goin' off about someone trying to flood the voting process, our little Bee buddy's got that in hand too. Powerglide already tried doin' something like that. Bumblebee stopped him cold."

Sunstreaker grumbled under his breath.

Blaster shrugged. "Probably's got something to do with that mission into the city a few weeks back. Gears saved the whole building and all the people inside."

"Yeah," Sunstreaker groused, "and then he bitched about that the dust and debris was going to get into his joints and cause them to freeze up."

Jazz smiled impishly. "Maybe they thought that it was charming."

Sunstreaker laughed bitterly. "I don't buy it," he said. "Something's screwy. That's the only way to explain how that sour little exhaust sucker got that many votes."

"I quit sucking exhaust ages ago," a low, miserable-sounding voice called from the nearest hall, sarcasm oozing through every word. "It made me hack up half of my energon processors." Even though it was a bitter joke, Gears punctuated the sentence with a series of circuit-rattling coughs.

"Great," he added miserably, sitting down at the table with the other Autobots. "Now all it takes to actually hack up half of my energon processors is to think about doing it."

Sunstreaker, his arms crossed tightly across his chest, glared at the smaller Autobot. "How'd you do it?" he asked.

"Do what?"

"How did you rig it so that you received so many votes?" the warrior intoned deliberately.

"I didn't."

"You didn't?" Sunstreaker exclaimed. "Give me a break. Okay, so maybe I don't come off as the gentlest of souls to the humans." The warrior dutifully ignored the mock surprise displayed by Jazz and Blaster. "Maybe I wasn't going to win. But you cannot tell me that Autobots like these two," he pointed to Jazz and Blaster, "aren't going to win it in landslide. They're always down there kissing their asses and telling them about how cool their music is or going on about new dance moves and crap. Not some whiny blowhard like you. So I ask again: how did you do it?"

Gears sighed and looked up at Sunstreaker.

"You think I would want to win this?" he asked. "Now all slagging summer I'll be sitting out in the blazing sun listening to every diode in my body pop in the heat. All those greasy humans eating their greasy food will be touching me and all of the polymer in my armor will evaporate. Then when I'm a sitting duck for the inevitable Decepticon attack, my armor will crack from nothing more than the fiendish looks they're bound to cast in my direction. Yeah, sounds like something right up my alley."

With that, Gears stood and walked out of the room.

Jazz beamed happily. "Ladies and gentleman, your humble victor. This is going to be a great summer."

* * *

And I'm too sexy for my hat

Too sexy for my hat

what do you think about that

I'm a model you know what I mean

And I do my little turn on the catwalk

Yeah on the catwalk on the catwalk yeah

I shake my little touche on the catwalk

I'm too sexy for my too sexy for my too sexy for my

Cos I'm a model you know what I mean

And I do my little turn on the catwalk

Yeah on the catwalk on the catwalk yeah

I shake my little touche on the catwalk

I'm too sexy for my cat too sexy for my cat

Poor pussy poor pussy cat

I'm too sexy for my love too sexy for my love

Love's going to leave me

And I'm too sexy for this song

"And we're too sexy for this parade, right Gears?" Rip Tupt said happily into the microphone before him.

Gears merely grumbled, which Rip took as a yes. Jazz noticed that he had done that all through the introduction of the Autobot earlier in the morning as well. If Gears grunted, it was a yes. If Gears murmured, it was a yes. If Gears said nothing, it was a yes. Jazz almost felt sorry for Rip. The poor DJ didn't know what he had gotten himself into.

"That's right, folks," Rip continued, "this is Rip Tupt live from the Hot Times Parade kicking off Summerfest 1993. Sitting to my right, as he will be throughout the next two weeks, is the Autobot Gears, winner of WBQX's contest to emcee Summerfest this year."

"Winner?" Gears said sarcastically. "All I'll be winning is a sun-scorched head and a few fried circuits if I stand out here much longer."

"You're a riot, Gears," Rip said. "We'll be ready to go in a couple of minutes here, folks. If you're not here already, you'd better get your tailpipes in gear and haul afterburner to get here." Rip paused and looked up at the Autobot beside him. "How'd you like that Autobot parlance?"

"I'd shoot anybody who talked like that," Gears responded.

Rip laughed and switched off the microphone as another song started playing. "Say Gears, what would think about changing the station ID to WBOT for Summerfest?"

Gears looked glumly at the human. "I'm getting out my gun."

Instead, Gears walked away, moving more swiftly as he saw a group of young humans angling to intercept him. Gears came to a stop beside Jazz, probably in the hopes that the other Autobot would deflect some of the attention from Gears.

"This sucks," Gears groused.

"I don't know, man," Jazz said, looking up at the cloudless sky. "It's a beautiful day. Not a cloud or a Decepticon to be seen. Can't imagine how it'll be all that bad."

Gears grunted in response.

With that, the parade organizer, a man that wanted to be called Buddy walked up to them, weaving his way through the group of young people smiling at the Autobots from across the street.

"All right, how's it going today?" Buddy said. He continued quickly, not expecting or waiting for an answer. "So we're going to get started here in a couple of minutes. Gears, we've got some options here for you because of your unique situation. You can drive yourself, of course. But I would rather have you sitting there," Buddy pointed to a float attached to a pickup truck, "with the mayor and the guy from the radio station. Let the people see you a bit more."

"I'll drive myself," Gears responded.

Buddy looked a little disappointed. "Really? Because people will want to actually see you."

"They'll see me as a car."

"But not as a robot," Buddy said, as if that explained what he was trying to get across.


Buddy paused and looked up at Jazz. After a second, a mischievous grin formed on Jazz's face.

"You know, Gears ol' buddy," he said. "It's not like you'll be driving fifty-five down the highway. You'll be idling the whole way at best and will probably have to stop a lot."

Gears frowned up at Jazz.

"Brakes might overheat," Jazz continued. "Tires on the burning pavement."

Gears' frown deepened. "Idling makes me lose my bearings."

"See?" Jazz said, smiling innocently. "All the better to ride on the float and let another vehicle do the work instead."

Gears turned and headed toward the float, but not before whispering to Jazz that he was going to find a way to get him back. Jazz followed behind him.

Optimus had assigned him and a few others the job of making certain the Decepticons did not make trouble at the parade. Jazz agreed to walk with the lead float with Gears and the mayor on it, in large part because nobody else wanted to listen to Gears complain about the many ailments that were bound to be inflicted upon him over the course of the thirty minute march down Main Street.

Jazz took up position on the side of the road and waved to a couple of teenagers you were gawking at him and Gears. After waving back, the kids turned back to the street and high-fived each other with such excitement it was as if they were the ones that made first contact with the Autobots. Jazz chuckled and turned his attention to Gears, who was already complaining about the seat made for him to sit on. Rip continued to laugh good-naturedly at Gears, but the mayor seemed somewhat more leery. Gears did have a reputation among those who knew him.

Movement behind the float caught Jazz's attention. Sixty high school kids dressed in flamboyant green and white uniforms were taking up position behind the float that Gears was on, musical instruments in hand. Jazz nearly laughed in anticipation of what Gears would be saying about that when they started in on their last minute warmups. The drum major was pointing dramatically at a couple of younger band members to get into position. When they were all where they were supposed to be, he blew his whistle three times and the drums started their cadence.

Gears literally leapt from his seat and turned to look at the band in horror. After several seconds of watching them with his mouth hanging open, he slowly turned and sat down with one hand covering his eyes in a dramatic fashion. Jazz smiled at the reaction, thinking that it was vintage Gears. Rip and the mayor were likely getting an earful about what it was physically doing to him to listen to the drum beat. When the band started their part, Jazz frowned too. "Phantom of the Opera?" he thought. That's a marching band song? Finally, the Autobot shrugged. It didn't sound half bad. He had certainly heard worse.

After several minutes, the band stopped playing, but the drum line continued on. Walking up to the float in time with the beat, Jazz took up his position nearby.

"Awesome beat, man," Jazz said.

"Yeah," Rip agreed. "Those kids are known for miles around for that drum line."

"Miles around?" Gears said sourly. "All there is for miles around are trees. You don't have to be very good to be better at playing drums than trees." Gears rubbed the side of his head slowly. "Besides, I think that they're shaking loose my optical sensor. Everything is blurry."

"You'll complain about just about anything, won't you?" Rip said, tapping the Autobot on the arm.

"You don't know the half of it," Jazz answered, receiving a glare and a string of inaudible mumbles from the smaller Autobot in response.

Finally, the pickup pulling the float lurched to a start, throwing the three passengers backward gently into the seats behind them. The humans seemed to think nothing of it. Gears, naturally, clutched his neck and complained about strained connectors. During the first minute of the parade, the pickup was forced to a sudden stop by the men in funny hats riding around in tiny little cars just in front of them. One of them appeared to have had too much energon, as he was weaving a bit more than he had seen from the men in hats in other parades. In fact, he seemed to be the main reason for the halting of the parade. Humans are strange sometimes, Jazz thought idly.

Gears had a different way of putting it. "If they don't stop doing that," he said, "I'm getting off this float and running a few of them down."

"I hear ya, man," the driver mumbled quietly as he moved forward again.

"All part of the fun, Gears," Jazz said. "Just relax."

"Easy for you to say. You're not the one getting tossed around like a tin can here. By the time I get done with this parade, I'll have so many components loose and rattling around inside me that any Decepticons around will hear me from miles away."

"The only thing that sounds loose to me is the joint hinging your jaw together," Jazz responded.

The mayor smiled at this and Rip openly laughed. Gears simply growled and then winced as the pickup came to another quick stop. Behind them, the band started playing their song. Gears cringed and rolled his optics, putting his hand wearily again to the side of his head.

Jazz looked ahead and saw a series of bleachers with several judges lined up patiently waiting for the various floats and bands to make their way past them. Over the band's last few notes, he could hear the two college radio hosts well-known to Jazz and Blaster, as well as anyone walking by their quarters, commenting on who was coming up on the parade.

"Here we go," a woman's voice said. "You can hear the Center City High School Marching Rockets and their award winning drum line right now and the first float is coming up just ahead of them. Rick, as you know, you've got a couple of special guests riding on the float right now."

"Yes we do, Liz," Rick said. "The esteemed mayor of Center City is riding in the lead float with the two marshals for this year's Hot Times Parade. Everybody already knows the host of WBQX's morning show, the Morning Zoo, Rip Tupt."

This was followed by tepid applause from the largely older crowd at the parade and complete silence from the children, who seemed to be eagerly looking past the lead float and the marching band for the fire truck and the people riding on it throwing candy into the crowd.

"And sitting between him and mayor," Rick continued, "is our special guest emcee for Summerfest 1993, the Autobot Gears!"

This time the applause was far more exuberant. In fact, Jazz was almost surprised at how raucous the crowd was at the announcement of the Autobot. The people lining the street were on their feet, clapping and whistling. Even the children had stopped looking for the candy and were jumping up and down in delight. Jazz couldn't help but smile broadly at the reaction. Gears, on the other hand, merely sat still with his arms crossed staring straight ahead.

"He's so cute," Liz said quietly into her microphone.

"Sorry, Liz, I didn't catch that," a distracted Rick responded.

"Nothing, Rick. Here comes the Center City marching band playing excerpts from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. Let's listen in."

The band began their song again. Irritated, Gears turned around quickly and glared at the band.

"They're playing that song, again," Gears said loudly.

"You'll probably hear it about four more times, man," Jazz said with a smile. "They ain't bad at all though. Consider yourself lucky."

"Lucky would be not being here at all," Gears intoned.

Jazz shrugged and gave Gears a meaningful look. "Back servos doing better, I see?"

Gears stared evenly at the other Autobot, almost daring him to keep going. Jazz simply looked straight ahead again, whistling innocently. As the parade reached the bridge over Tyson Creek, he halted when the pickup again lurched to a stop. It was the sixth time in the first ten minutes and it was obviously frustrating the man driving the truck almost as much as Gears. The driver of the truck was muttering angrily at the men in the funny hats, several of whom were getting off their small cars to say something to the driver.

Jazz moved forward to stave off a confrontation and was surprised to see Gears to the same, hopping off the float with surprising agility for someone who had suffered so much at the hands of physics already this morning. Jazz stepped in front of the truck and blinked as Gears continued walking past them and the men. Jazz watched Gears step up to one of the little cars and pick it up easily.

"Gears, wait!" Jazz said, but too late.

With an air of effortlessness, Gears heaved the little car into the creek. He paused to relish the splash as the car hit the water before turning and making his way to a second car. By now, the men in the hats were running toward Gears pleading not to grab another one.

Acting as if he hadn't heard anything, Gears reached down and grabbed a second car. He took several steps toward the side of the bridge again. Then he stopped and turned around again, car still held over his head.

"We're at the front of the parade," the Autobot said. "Right?"

One of the men paused, probably thinking that it was a trick question.

"Yes," he finally responded.

"Right. There's no one in front of you. At all. Now I see no reason that we should have to be stopping all the time, do you?"

"No," the man said, "none at all."

"Okay, so how about we make a deal? How about for every time that you make us and everybody else behind us stop moving forward, I throw another car into the creek? Even if I have to walk back a mile to get here. Do we have a deal?"

The man nodded. The string on his hat flicked through the air. "Deal. No problem. Gary shouldn't have been driving anyway."

"Damn straight," drunk Gary said.

For the rest of the parade, Gears sat smugly on the float. The men in the funny hats in the little cars continued to do their driving tricks, but the parade moved forward without pause until the end. Drunk Gary rode the float with Gears, Rip, and the mayor, waving excitedly at the crowd and calling Gears his pal.

Jazz knew that they were going to answer some questions about the little car and probably catch hell from the mayor's office when it was all said and done. However, there was no denying one thing. The Hot Times Parade was all anybody talked about for two days. Jazz heard the organizer of the festival telling Buddy the parade guy that attendance was up since Gears tossed the car into the creek. Apparently, people thought it was a stunt.

Jazz knew better. It was just Gears being Gears. Still, Jazz felt like people of Center City in one respect. He couldn't wait for the next event either.

* * *

A whole new world

Don't you dare close your eyes

A hundred thousand things to see

Hold your breath - it gets better

I'm like a shooting star

I've come so far

I can't go back to where I used to be

A whole new world

Every turn a surprise

With new horizons to pursue

Every moment red-letter

I'll chase them anywhere

There's time to spare

Let me share this whole new world with you

A whole new world

That's where we'll be

A thrilling chase

A wondrous place

For you and me

"God, that song sucks," Rip Tupt said quietly to his producer. "How many times do we have to play crap like that before the nimrods in this town realize that songs from Disney movies belong in the trash bin behind the McDonald's? 'Today's Hits,' my ass."

Jazz chuckled at Gears' almost stoic attempt not to close his optics in annoyance before turning to scan the skies again. Summerfest was drawing to a close and so far there had not been a single sign of the Decepticons. Jazz always stayed alert as he stood guard at the various venues, but he had decided early in with the two week festival that this was likely below the Decepticons' contempt.

Unless they think that the overpriced swill these dudes are eating is some untapped source of energy, Jazz thought, noticing a teenage boy stuff several cheese curds into his mouth. Unfortunately, the Decepticons probably had grander schemes in the hatching, ones that Jazz and the others wouldn't find out about until it was too late.

"You know what I'm saying, Gears," Rip continued, oblivious of both Gears ignoring him the best he can and of being on the air. "We need some good old-fashioned rock and roll. Not these whiny ballads about flying carpets."

"Either way," Gears said, "a season's worth of it will probably cause irreparable damage to my core functions."

"You're a real cheerful guy, you know that?" Rip said elbowing in a playful manner Gears and then clutching his arm as he bit down on a cry of pain. Jazz grinned broadly. He had watched Rip haplessly try to get Gears to enjoy himself through the entire festival.

Summerfest always started with a bang, or so said the pun-challenged Rip Tupt after the already infamous parade. The night of the parade was the Summerfest Showstopper, which was a fireworks display sponsored by the unfortunately-named fireworks shop, "Blow This." Gears, naturally, had a problem with the dazzling display that lasted all of twenty minutes. He even walked around with his arms outstretched running into bleachers and food stands as he complained of the sudden blindness that resulted from the big kickoff to Summerfest.

Next was the Great River Race. Humans raced small motorized boats of their own design down the "mighty" Tyson Creek. Gears and Rip emceed the event. Jazz decided that it would forever live in infamy. For years, people would be talking about it. Gears, when asked what he thought about the race so far, said something about the humans having a long way to go in the boat-building realm, though perhaps in a less than delicate manner.

Rip, thinking Gears was joking, responded, "Maybe we should toss you in and see how well you float."

As the DJ tried to get the crowd riled up about the idea of a 150 pound human tossing a twelve foot tall robot into a six foot deep creek, Gears grabbed Rip by the back of the shirt and tossed him casually into the water. Ignoring the raucous applause from those that witnessed the event, Gears then lifted off into the air and disappeared over the horizon. With the parade and now the boat race, there had already been rumblings of changing the name of the creek to Gears Creek.

After those two displays of pure Gears-ness, Jazz requested a permanent position guarding the venues of Summerfest. Nothing back at the base would be able to go head to head with so much entertainment value. For the next ten days, Jazz never regretted his decision.

The food fight Gears inadvertently started at the Fun Food Feast. The diatribe against all things human at the talent contest. Which somehow Gears won, as the judges thought that the impassioned speech against people who can't sing and what they did to his harmonic oscillators was a stand-up routine. In fact, it seemed that the only person who was tired of Gears and his constant moaning was Gears, who was reduced to sighing and sulking through the most of the Fair Day. Even there Gears was a hit. Pictures of Gears, frowning with his arms crossed in front him surrounding by smiling, happy children on the merry-go-round had become the official image of Summerfest '93.

Whether the humans in Center City believed Gears was faking it or if they thought the whole routine was the real thing, they seemed to genuinely enjoy the Autobot being there. Jazz had even heard rumblings that the organizers on Summerfest wanted to make Gears a permanent emcee. Jazz could only hope that he was in the room when Gears was told about this.

"And you're on the air," Gears responded sarcastically to Rip. "You know that?"

Rip looked dumbly down at the equipment in front on him and back up at the people generally ignoring him anyway.

"Yeah there, this is Rip Tupt with WBQX, Today's Hits. We're live from the Hank's Ho-Down, sponsored by Hank's All-Time Burgers, a local legend since 1988."

"Local legend for five whole years," Gears mumbled. "From the people running to the bathrooms after eating there, I'll be surprised if they make it ten."

Rip grimaced has he watched Hank Blaylock glare angrily at the Autobot. "Hey there, big guy," he said, trying to dissolve the situation. "How about leaving the jokes to me?"

"Who's joking?" Gears said. "I'm covered in the grease that refused to get dissolved into the human's own systems. And it isn't enough that you humans are always pawing at me with your disgusting, grease burger hands. No, it's like that swill is getting pumped right into the atmosphere. It's like I'm swimming through sewage, for Cybertron's sake. Do you have any idea of what that will do to my servos?"

"Actually," Rip said, dutifully ignoring Hank now, "I might after the last three times you mentioned it." The DJ turned his attention to the people waiting for the ho-down to begin. "And will you look at this great crowd waiting to get this party started."

Jazz grinned as three people clapped and hooted in response and the rest of the "crowd," all ten of them, milled around talking to each other. Even Gears' presence wasn't enough to get people to a dance with bad music and worse food.

"Yep," Rip said, barely containing his sarcasm. "Another great turnout at Hank's Ho-Down. Well, here we go, folks!"

Rip motioned for the producer to start playing the first segment of songs picked for the dance and rose from his seat. As Rip stretched, a young woman walked up to the make-shift studio. Jazz recognized her instantly as Liz, the college studio DJ at the parade. Here though, decked out in jeans and sweater and after ditching the glasses, she looked like a different girl. For a couple of minutes, she and the DJ talked. While they did, Gears stood up as well, moaning loudly and clutching his lower back. He mumbled and hobbled his way over to Jazz.

"That chair–," Gears started to say before Jazz cut him off.

"Don't wanna hear, man," Jazz said, unable to hide a smirk.

"Oh yeah," Gears said, "this is all so very funny. I'd love to be able to switch places with you. Have you sit on some chair that cuts off energon flow to your legs and pokes into your back pistons. Have you listen to that insipid human drone on and on about music that seems to exist only to disable all of the audio receptors in your head. Please. Please just go ahead and switch."

"Dude, even if we did, you'd be standing over here talking about how all the guarding is, like, whacking out your finger gears or something," Jazz said. "'Sides, looks like you've got company." He motioned down at Rip and Liz. Jazz could not help but noticed that the DJ looked more than a little irked about something.

"Gears, this is Liz," Rip mumbled. "Liz, Gears."

Gears looked warily down at Liz, who was looking up at the Autobot with wide eyes. Jazz had seen a look like that before. On Astoria Carlton-Ritz when she looked at Powerglide. Jazz nearly snickered in delight. Best guard duty ever, he thought happily.

"Hi Gears," Liz said. "Do you want to dance?"

"No," was the curt reply.

Liz looked a little taken aback. "But why not?"

Gears looked down at the human female. "Because I'd probably step on you."

"Maybe on purpose," Rip grumbled under his breath. It carried to Jazz's audio sensors, though the Autobot knew that it was not meant to be heard at all.

Liz smiled brightly again. "Oh, I'll be careful. Wouldn't want you to have to scrape me off your feet. It might cause your armor to crack." Liz winked.

Jazz smiled. She picked up his game pretty quick, he thought. Must have seen his greatest hits over the last two weeks.

Jazz forced the smile from his face as Gears turned his head and looked up at him, probably trying to figure out if Jazz had something to her.

"Did you–?" Gears started to ask before Liz walked back into his field of vision.

"He didn't say anything," she said. "Nobody did. I've been watching you since Summerfest started. You're so crabby." Liz giggled. "It's cute."

Rip, looking like his was ready to bring back up one of Hank's burgers, stalked away. Gears glanced imploringly back up at Jazz.

"You're supposed to be here to protect me," he groused.

Jazz shrugged. "Hey man, nothin' I can do about someone wanting to dance."

Gears' optics shifted back to Liz, who arched her eyebrows playfully. Gears then stared off into the distance then, making as if he was just going to ignore the entire situation. For several minutes, he stood perfectly still gazing at nothing in particular. After a couple more seconds, Liz sat down on the grass and leaned against him.

"You're such a baby," she said. "I'll just wait here until you're done pouting." She craned her head up to look at Gears' face. "And just so you know, just because the song ends doesn't mean that I'm not going to want that dance." She then settled in against him and waited.

Gears cringed, but did not look down at the lounging human. He appeared to be decidedly uncomfortable about the whole situation. In fact, to Jazz, he had the look of someone who was about to dismantle his leg in order to try to make his escape. Jazz chuckled at the mental image of Gears hopping down the road without a leg with a human woman chasing after him and was rewarded with a sharp glare from the smaller Autobot.

"Slag it all, Jazz," Gears hissed. "Quit having so much fun."

"You first."

Jazz said this almost without thinking. The idea of Gears liking this kind of scene was absurd. That belief made Gears ever-so-brief reaction that much more surprising. For a split second, so short a time that Jazz wondered still if he had imagined it, Gears had a look of complete and utter surprise, as if he realized in that moment that it was completely true, that he was enjoying himself. Before Jazz could really get a good look at the expression, it was gone, replaced by the more commonplace scowl.

And then the long-suffering sigh. "Fine," Gears said to Liz, "but only because you leaning on my leg like that will twist several components and I don't want to have any more permanent damage."

Liz sprang to her feet and smiled. "You're so cute," she said and grabbed his hand, making to drag him out into the parking lot serving as the dance floor.

Once out there, a ballad began to play from the speakers. Jazz laughed as Gears stood in front of the young woman with his arms crossed defiantly across his chest. He watched Gears point to his back after Liz asked him something. From where Jazz stood, Gears almost looked smug, as if he had just bested an enemy in battle.

But Liz was not to be underestimated. She turned sharply on her heel and walked over to a picnic table. After climbing up onto it, she motioned for Gears to follow her. Shoulders slumped in defeat, he walked over to the human and started slow dancing with her. Or so Jazz supposed. Essentially all Gears was doing was shuffling his feet from side to side and looking utterly miserable. Liz, however, kept on talking. Jazz wondered if he continued to watch the odd scene that he might see that foreign expression from Gears again.

Instead Jazz looked up at the stars and enjoyed the music.