Yes, I'm making another Artists Comment. I don't like Artists Comments on Fanfics. But I suppose you'd need to know this; on Cybertron, a femme getting an Energon Drop is akin to a boy giving a girl he likes a box of chocolates. Now, go ahead and read this; it's really sweet and necessary. I mean, when was the last time you read a romantic fanfic containing one of the Jettwins without including slash or twincest? NEVER that's when!
Also, big thanks to Artisan Brown for thinking this pairing up. Kudos to her!
She saved the guy's life. Big Whoop.
Sure, Flareup knew how 'important' he was. He was supposedly the first flying Autobot. They treated him and his twin brother as if they were some sort of marvel, some sort of precious gem that they never saw before. Treated them like princes that could never be hurt, never be defeated, and never dared to hurt their feelings. Just because they could fly?
Mechs. Judgmental as ever. Just because a flyer had an Autobot insignia on, they saw them as the best thing that ever happened to them. Flareup did not believe the textbooks. She did not believe in the cockamamie "guardians turning on workers" conspiracy theory. She did not believe in the Decepticon "oppressed and driven out of their rightful home" theory either. Bottom line, the war was stupid and meaningless. As far as she could tell, until the Autobots and Decepticons actually let themselves talk to each other about all this, then they'd never have peace.
Just because a faction had a different type of Cybertronian didn't mean they came any closer to 'winning,'
And yet, for some reason, she saved his life. Maybe it was because he was orange. But he was whiter than he was orange. Maybe it was just the fact that that Autobots collectively considered him so slagging important that she saved his life. But for whatever reason, she saved his life. And she didn't' even remember how.
Apparently he was obligated to thank her in some way. Because he had been walking her over to a more private spot to talk. She wouldn't be nearly as angry were it not for two things: one, it was the Solstice Break for the Autobot Academy, so she finally had time to just run around and not worry about exams; two, these heel struts were killing her! She didn't understand why it was so important to have so much privacy just to say 'thanks'. Maybe he was setting her up for something.
"So, are you going to tell me what it is you want to talk about?" He simply stared at her for a bit, before fumbling and remembering what he was doing. What was this guy? He seemed excessively nervous and flustered o be in the Elite Guard. Peh. What those big-shots will do for the 'upper hand' in the 'war'. Posers.
"Well, uh… I has been wondering… You… You is saving my life in the past time, right?"
"Yes." Sheesh, what's up with this guy? Since when did Autobots have accents? As far as she could tell, Decepticons were the only ones that garnered accents, apparently as a means of unique communication (at least, according to the revealed notes from the Ministry of Science). Accents were annoying.
"Well… I is being… Eh… Ever since you is saving me in the past time, I is… Uh…" Okay this was getting irritating. Whatever it is he wanted to say, he had an outright horrible way of expressing it. She never saw a mech act this way. Usually the closest she found was being so flustered and stupid that they threw in as many random big words they could think of into a simple sentence to look 'cool'. But this… this guy acted more like… like…
"Thank you. Thank you very much." Well at least he finally got to the point. Can she go now!? She didn't want to spend the rest of her Solstice Break for the deca-cycle waiting around for mister-important here to mumble at her. She even stopped listening to him mumble and just stared at him, watching him pull his faceplate up, down, left, right, diagonal, pentagonal, octagonal, scrunching it up, widening it out, looking this way and that and doing everything but look her straight in the eyes.
Not even Glyph did that. And she knew Glyph. She was her only friend. The only one that even talked to her after her little… incident. Slaggit. That was probably the stupidest thing she ever did, the only thing that she ever did to deserve being thrown in the stockades for 50 stellar cycles. All those precious days of her youth spent soaking up the oil from the grossest, most disgusting mechs ever to walk the earth.
She hated mechs ever since.
Her attention shot back to the mech in front of her. For a second she wanted to see him as one of the mechs she knew in the Stockades; purple with three prongs on his head, pushing her around and insisting she bow down to "the supreme ruler of unicorns" or something. But then she saw him for what he really was. Orange. Her favorite color. And with coolant leaking from the center of his face, near his optics. His head was overheating.
"You is not listening to me."
"Oh, please. Is this seriously the first time you've ever been ignored? Is this the very first time in your entire life you've been flat-out disrespected by someone smaller than you? Is this the first time anyone's talked to you like this?" A cycle of staring at each other later and Flareup found herself expressing the very reason she was named Flareup.
"DON'T YOU DARE JUST GAWK AT ME LIKE THAT! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, YOU LITTLE BRAT!? YEAH, YOU FLY. BIG WHOOP. FIFTY PERCENT OF COLLECTIVE TRANSFORMERS FLY. YOU THINK JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE ON THE AUTOBOTS SIDE MEANS THAT YOU GET A GET-OUT-OF-THE-REAL-WORLD FREE CARD AND JUST LET YOURSELF THINK YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!?" He was backed into a corner now, staring straight at her optics, wide as circles and so big they almost touched the goggle-things on the top of his helmet. She wouldn't even know she backed him into the wall were it not for those slagging heel struts.
"WELL!? WHAT DID YOU WANT ME FOR!? MISTER I'M SO IMPORTANT THAT I CAN BUT INTO A RANDOM FEMME'S ONLY FREE TIME FOR THE REST OF THE STELLAR CYCLE AND SHE'S SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO ME BECAUSE I'M BETTER THAN HER!! WHAT DO YOU WANT!?!" His white 'irises' of his optics were so small you could barely see them, shaking uncontrollably while the rest of his body cringed towards the wall, apparently seeking some sort of protection.
PSH! What a weakling! He was supposed to be some sort of "secret weapon" and he couldn't even hold his own in front of a strong femme? Weren't femmes supposed to be lower on the totem pole to every mech that ever stood on treads and stabilizing servos!? It was the same for mechs that could take to the skies, which she knew all too well from her time in the Decepticon-heavy stockade. She bet he couldn't even survive walking on heel struts!
"I'M SORRY!" He screamed right into her face before flying out of there as fast as he could. What a wimp! He has the gall to call her out of her spare time and then runs away as soon as she starts yelling. Whoever he was, he just plain wasn't strong enough to be in the Elite Guard. Good thing Flareup didn't want to be in the Elite Guard. If anything, she wanted to be a Police Officer. If anyone could set those gangbusters straight, it was her. She was one of them herself, so she knew how to talk to them. She knew how to pound the law into their heads.
Wait… what's that on the ground? Must've been something that fell out of his servo or something. Come to think of it, he was holding something behind him for the whole 'conversation', for lack of a better term. From this distance it was a box. A small box. Wait… there was a tag on it… She leaned down as far as she could on those blasted heel struts(seriously, who designs a robot with high heels!?) and picked it up. It was a box of Energon Drops.
A box of Energon Drops.
Flareup never got Energon Drops. Never. The only time she ever got Energon Drops was when someone wanted to play a prank on her. They'd always blow up in her face with the pink simulate they used for combat training, or be completely empty even though a completely handsome mech gave it to her. Or be rotten when she opened it. Or be given to her by Glyph or Grandus (who always crushed them before she could even pry them out of his servos), which never felt like it was supposed to feel when a femme got Energon Drops from a mech.
Flareup didn't know what to think. Was this full of paperwork saying he was oh so thankful for her saving his life and he just didn't know where else to put it? Was it full of simulated explosives? Was it empty? Or what if it was… no, no it couldn't be. All she did was save the guy's life. That's it. He couldn't have… no it just couldn't be… this box…
It just couldn't be full.
"Flare! I'm home!"
Flareup didn't respond. She was just sitting on the couch, minding her own business. No, wait, she wasn't minding her own business, because if she was she would have responded, because Glyph took notice of her and invited her into a conversation by calling her name. This was her business. And yet she still didn't respond. All she did was staring at a box in her servo.
"A box…" Flare's voice sounded shaky and metallic, and not in the way it usually was. It sounded… wavy… almost as if in disbelief. She didn't move anything. She didn't even blink. But then again, Cybertronians didn't need to blink. Only organics did. Glyph had been so enthralled in the Organic cultures of humans after visiting Bulkhead's Art Studio the other day. Next week (seven solar cycles) would be their first date, which was the reason she kept yelling at the clock to go faster for the past three days out of the deca-cycle.
Oh wait… what was she doing again? What is Flare holding in her servo anyway? Oh yeah; a box. Okay. What kind of box?
"What kind of box?" Flare didn't respond. She just stared at the box for a second later, before sighing and closing her eyes. She held out the box in her servo towards Glyph. Glyph took it, and Flareup slouched farther into her legs. Worried, Glyph looked at the box in her servos. It was a box of Energon Drops.
"FLARE! You finally found a sparkmate!? Oh! This is so exciting! We could have a double-date with me and Bulkhead in the next seven solar-cycles!" She stopped for a second, imagining how it would be like with Flareup and her mysterious new sparkmate going on the date with her and Bulkhead. Throwing her a snide look, she leaned over to Flareup's half-a-sliced-orange of a helmet.
"So~, who's the lucky me-ech?" Glyph asked, putting emphasis on the 'mech'. You would not believe how many non-Cybertronians assumed that they were what was commonly referred to as being 'homosexual'. You'd think they were even enforcing it—
"GLYPH! WILL YOU GET OUT OF MY FACE!?" Glyph contracted a bit into the other side of the couch, Flareup exploding on top of her. What was she getting all angry about? She felt her scrape the Energon Drops out of her servo and returned to her staring at it.
"It has to be empty."
"How do you know?"
"It just has to be. I've never gotten a full box of Energon Drops before. Why would a random mech just give me a full box of Energon Drops now?" She seemed to be half-talking to herself. Her voice sounded pained and shaky. Analyzing it a bit, she noticed there was also a pang of hope hidden underneath sadness and disbelief, and on top of all of that anger. Whatever happened earlier, it was nothing Flareup wanted to joke about.
"Why not? How else are you going to figure out if it's empty or not?"
"It is. I just know it."
"Have you already opened it?"
"Have you even shaken it?"
"Then how can you tell?"
This was hard. For Flareup. Throughout the whole conversation, Flareup's voice was dripping with the complicated emotion granted by a spark; innocent confusion to rebellious defiance to the same anger-topped soup of emotions she heard earlier in her voice. Glyph frowned. Then she decided to figure out why Flareup was acting this way. Not like she'd mind.
First thing that popped to mind was her distasteful past. It was no secret within the Autobot Academy that Flareup had spend 50 stellar-cycles in the stockade for drawing red eyes on a promotional image featuring Sentinel Prime. It was a small act of rebellion against the renowned jerk-head he was, and no one disagreed with her little proclamation. No one except Sentinel Prime.
He had flipped out. Big time. He had exaggerated the small act of harmless vandalism into a masochistic act of unspeakable vandalistic felony towards Ultra Magnus, and insisted she spend 5,000 stellar-cycles in the stockade. The number of stellar-cycles was reduced to 50 after much coaxing, but she still had to spend time in the stockades, in a section full of the most ruthless, masochistic, and degrading Decepticons ever spat out from the universe's backside.
Ever since then, Flareup had done something completely contradictory to what someone might expect. Instead of setting out for revenge against Sentinel Prime, she had instead decided to become the opposite of what she was considered. She wanted to be a Police Officer. Glyph still never coaxed it out of Flareup exactly why, but she could hypothesize. And so far, her best guess was that she wanted to make sure the law was held fairly against everyone, no matter what they were. Even if they were Organic, Female, Insane, or even Decepticons.
But that time in the Stockade taught her how to be hard. It took Glyph ten deca-cycles just to get a response from Flareup the first time she met her for her time in Rehab. It was a good chance to take in the psychological aspect of her future career as a code-cracker. What she expected to get out of it was some experience for her job. What she really got was a broken girl trying her best to be hard and emotionless and fair, even though it went against the generally softer idea of a femme in general. Even though it was impossible to do that without deleting your emotions and personality in general. And Flareup didn't want that.
So now that she re-analyzed Flareup's character, what did this have to do with a mech giving her a box of Energon Drops?
Wait… a mech!?
Of course! Flareup hated Mechs. She thought that they were some of the worst kinds of Cybertronians, and that if it weren't for them the Great Wars would've never happened in the first place. It took forever for her to even talk to Grandus, let alone become his friend. She thought they were incapable of thinking with their spar for even five seconds. And then she got a box of Energon Drops from one?
Oh, duh. How could Glyph be such an idiot!? Well nothing left to do but get her to open the box. Either it will be empty and she'll go back to normal, or…
Or it would be full. And Glyph didn't know what would happen to her after that.
"No means yes!"
"It means no!"
"No, that's what yes means!"
"Yes means no?"
"No means yes!"
"So open it!"
"You said yes; open it!"
"Ugh, fine!" Glyph watched as Flareup opened the small box of Energon Drops, sliding out the top and turning it over, shaking it a little as though it was nothing special at all. After a partial nano-klik, nothing happened. Flareup took it as proof that it was empty. She starting spouting out something about being right and how mechs were evil or something like that. Glyph wasn't paying attention to her voice.
She was paying attention to the lone Energon drop in Flareup's servo.
Flareup started looking at it too. Glyph and Flareup both studied it thoroughly. Every glistening crack of its over-energized, rounded-square shape. Every angle of its corners. Every little detail they could of the single, pure, innocent little Energon Drop.
Then Flareup threw it in her mouth and chewed it as hard as she could, treated it as though she were trying to eat a ball of metal. Again and again and again, scraping it so hard Glyph could hear it all too clearly. Flareup's head began to overheat, because coolant started dripping down her faceplate and helmet. All too soon the Energon Drop was sent to her fuel tanks, but instead of providing sustenance, it caused grief and suffering for Flareup. She couldn't be faking all this. She couldn't be faking the coolant covering her face and dripping in and out of her optics, resembling what the techno-organic femme Sari would describe as ' sobbing '.
Glyph couldn't do anything to help.
"Where is he!?"
"Madam, I don't- "
"WHO CARES!? I just want to see him!"
The secretary-bot just stared at her with a fearful expression plastered on his face. Whoever this guy was, he obviously never handled an angry femme before. No surprise there. These mechs thought they were so disproportionately dominant that they never bothered to learn how to even speak to a femme, let alone handle an angry one. No-good discriminating glitch-heads.
There was an Autotrooper charging straight for her. Apparently the secretary had tripped a silent alarm. She didn't have time for this. Crouching down, she reached out on either side, before shifting her weight towards her hands and kicking the Guard straight in the gear shaft. Regaining her posture, she twisted her body around and threw the guard to the side, knocking him over and left cringing at the shock of being hit in the gear shaft. With heel struts. And Flareup knew just how painful those pointy tips could get. Apparently the other Autotroopers didn't want to mess with her, staying still and staring straight through her.
She turned back to the secretary.
"I'm going to ask you one more time, so you'd better listen carefully." Flareup stared the secretary down. He nodded shakily, and Flareup let go of some oxygen she trapped in her systems without knowing. Once she asked the 'bot, there would be no turning back. She'd finally figure out why that mech had given her those Energon Drops. And this time she knew his name.
"Where is Jetfire?"
"Why'd you do it?"
He didn't reply. At the request of the secretary, they were in a secluded spot inside the building, where they wouldn't bother anybot. But that didn't stop him from staring at the ground like a sad beast machine. She couldn't believe him! The least he could do was muster up some of the gall he had back when he was dragging her into that little alley back at the Autobot Academy!
She decided the best way to get this off her chestplate was to voice her thoughts.
"I don't believe you." Jetfire, the ever-so-pathetic secret weapon of the Elite Guard, looked up at her with the same big eyes he showed her after she yelled at him. She peeled at her face, and let her chassis move in every which way to help express herself better, while she poured out her soul to him.
"First, you take me out of my spare time to talk to me. Then, you stumble over your words and waste all the time I could have been spending with my friends during the Solstice Break. Then you give me Energon Drops…" Her voice started to fade away. She felt something lodge itself in her throat, and stopped moving.
"I… I is only dropping them… the Energon Drops…"
"Were for you?"
"N…no. They were… for… They were being…"
The orange mech looked back up at her, his servo cradling his long neck, as though it were aching from battle wounds. Then, after a moment of staring, he nodded abruptly. Flareup wanted to scream at him, but all the came through was a squeak.
"Why…?" Jetfire didn't respond. That GLITCH!
"WHY DID YOU DO IT!?" She couldn't hear her voice, couldn't hear the pure sorrow and buried hope dripping from her words. She couldn't hear her desperation. She didn't know why she was desperate. Or what she was desperate for.
"WHY DID YOU GIVE ME AN ENERGON DROP!?" She had backed him into the wall again. Why wasn't he fighting back. Why wasn't he stepping up and defending himself. Why was he looking at her like he was scared to death instead of like a lesser? Why was he letting her yell at him?
"I… I is not knowing how to be explaining. It is… complicated… I is having a complicated feeling… towards you."
"It's called respect, you feel it towards every other mech in this slagged building!" He shook his head fervently, making it absolutely clear that he disagreed.
"No… it is… different. But I does not know… how to be telling you…" His voice trailed off. She heard nothing in his voice.
"Then show me." At that, Jetfire looked straight at her. They were both looking at each other, optic-to-optic. Spark-to-spark. For a nano-klik, Flareup didn't want this to end. Just staring at each other. It seemed… nice. And yet, awfully disconcerting. He didn't look like he wanted to do it. And at the same time, something told her he did. Whatever it was supposed to be.
"You is not going to be liking it."
"I don't care."
"Okay. Please not to be being mad." He finally said. Looking down at his servo, he looked back up at her again. Flareup just stared. What could have possibly possessed him to want to give her an Energon Drop? She didn't give him a face, didn't give him any cue that told him to hurry up. Just looked at him.
He finally reached up at her head, about level with his, with his servos. What the heck was he doing? She felt him hold on to her side-antennae she used as audio receptors, gentle but firm. His grip was abnormally warm, but very comforting. It was almost enough to make her think that… no, no, it couldn't be. He was a mech. Mechs couldn't think with their sparks if their lives depended on it. No. No. It couldn't be.
And there was Jetfire. Pressing his olfactory sensor on hers. His optics were shut tight, not opening for anything. Flareup just stared. Olfactory sensors were the most sensitive part of any Cybertronian, be they femme or mech, small or big, Autobot or Decepticon. Putting them together meant they were sharing every vibration that passed through their body, sensing everything their body ever endured, feeling every crack and crevice of their design… it was the ultimate definition of being someone else.
She let herself feel like Jetfire. She let herself heel the goggles on top of his head. She let herself feel the racing pulse of his spark, nervous to no end. She felt his hip guards press into his flat hips, feeling as though they could fall off at any moment if she or he weren't careful. But then she felt his stabilizing servos. Great spark! She had forgotten what it felt like not to have heel struts. Feeling her heel reach to ground after spark knows how long, it was almost too good to be true.
But it was true. And then it stopped.
Flareup zoned out for a bit, getting her own bearing again. She felt those maddening heel struts pop her heel right back up, and left herself staring straight at Jetfire. She knew he was saying something. She couldn't tell. It was so unusual. She just couldn't believe it. Glyph would have related it to the Organic practice called 'kissing', she thought. Now why did she think that? Oh wait, Jetfire. He was gave the floor a stare-down, never taking his eyes off of it for even a few seconds.
She pressed against his chin, and pulled his face back up to look at her.
"Next time someone saves your life, don't fall in love with them." He stared at her, sorrow visible in his optics. She smiled at him regardless, giving her a somewhat bereft, assuring look. Jetfire just looked intently at her, dejectedly.
"I might get jealous."