Transformers © Hasbro. Not mine, although I do wish.

I talked myself through this as I took the trash down today. Please don't judge me.


"Heya, Prowler." Jazz poked his head into Prowl's office, grinning as the tactical officer gave him a dry look. Jazz ignored the datapads that still covered Prowl's desk in favor of sitting in a chair across from his friend. "I got a question fer ya."

Prowl sighed and leaned back, a small smile quirking his lipplates. "Ask away, Jazz." he said grandly. "You aren't going to go anywhere until I let you, anyway."

Jazz smirked. "Dang straight. Well, it's kinda a strange question, so bear with me, 'kay?" Prowl nodded. Jazz took a deep breath, then continued. "I was wonderin' if ya'd tell me where ya been goin' recently." Prowl didn't respond, his small smile never fading, and Jazz decided to forge ahead. "I mean, ya usually never leave the base, an' now ya are, and that's fine an' all, but Primus, Prowler, somethin' strange is goin' on, an' I don' want ya caught in it." His mouth snapped shut as he suddenly realized he was babbling enough to make Bluestreak proud. Apparently the nervous habit was contagious. He watched hesitantly as Prowl set aside his datapad and fixed Jazz with an odd stare.

"Optimus has me running special missions for him." he said finally.

Jazz's optics narrowed, although Prowl couldn't really see it through the visor. "That's a good non-answer." he pointed out.

Prowl shook his head, his smile fading. "That's all I can tell you, Jazz. My orders were very clear, but I can assure you, I'm in no danger."

Jazz heaved a sigh of relief. "Good. Cuz with all those 'Cons just droppin' dead – well, I don' like it. Not at all." He shook his head. "Reminds me too much of when Barricade was runnin' around, 'cept this time it's 'Cons droppin' instead of us. It don't make sense, ya know?"

"I can understand that." Prowl said calmly. "I remember the stories I heard about Barricade. That was before I joined the Autobots, though."

"Yeah. I was supposed ta be the one ta catch the slagger." Jazz said ruefully. "Never did though. Eh, what do I know? I'm gettin' paranoid. Catch ya later, Prowler. Just promise me ya'll be careful."

Prowl nodded, his serious gaze never leaving Jazz's face. "I will. Promise."

Jazz smiled at him. "Thanks." With that he left Prowl's office, his smile fading as soon as he was out of Prowl's line of sight. Something wasn't right. Prowl had gone tense the moment Jazz had mentioned Barricade, the near-mythical Decepticon assassin. Jazz had assumed Barricade had died, since his murderous spree had stopped over a century ago.

He froze.

When Red Alert came to the Autobot base, half out of his mind from what the Decepticons had done to him.

When Prowl had joined the ranks.

He shook his head. No. Prowl probably hadn't encountered the assassin. He wasn't a fighter. If he had, he would have been dead.


The next day found Jazz in the rec room, casually sipping at his energon as he watched the Twins have their usual mock-fights that usually became real ones. Jazz actually felt sorry for whoever had to break that one up (he was off-duty – not him). He was not expecting Bluestreak to come racing up to him, practically bouncing on his pedes as he babbled on to Jazz. "Hey, have you seen Prowl today? I went up to his office but he's not there and I really really want to show him something it's so cool how it's worked out and –"

"Breathe, Blue." Jazz laughed. "Naw, I ain't seen Prowl since yesterday. I imagine he's with Prime though. Whaddya want to show him?" It wasn't every day Blue got this excited. Blue frowned a moment before perking right back up again.

"I wanted to show him my new test scores I just got done at the range and Ironhide gave me a perfect score for the sniper's range!" Blue was grinning like a fool, and Jazz couldn't exactly blame him.

"A perfect score? That ain't bad." he praised the younger mech. "But what's Prowler gotta do with it?"

Blue hesitated. "Prowl taught me how to shoot." he said. "Didn't you know that?"

Jazz felt his vents hitch. "Prowl taught ya?" he demanded. "But Prowl never leaves the base – what does he need with warrior trainin'?"

Blue shrugged. "I never asked and he never told, but he's good, you know? He's better than I am on the sniper post and I thought I was pretty good, if I do say so myself – should I say that? I don't want to sound vain or anything –"

Jazz tuned Blue out. Prowl was a sniper? He was good at being a sniper? That wasn't something he was aware of, to be sure. With a distracted good-bye to Blue, Jazz stood up and left the rec room, abandoning his energon at the table. He needed to find Prowl – or someone who knew more about the mech than he did.

Which was going to be impossible, he realized suddenly. He had gone out of his way to learn everything he could about Prowl since the tactician had joined the Autobots. He really couldn't help it – Prowl was attractive, smart, and had a wicked sense of humor when he actually let someone else see it. Jazz had been smitten from day one.

So how had he missed Prowl's skills? Surely he had seen Prowl practicing at the range; after all, Bluestreak hadn't been with them that long, and Prowl hadn't been a warrior that long, either. So Jazz had to have seen him practicing!

Except that he hadn't. Jazz hadn't seen any of it. Prowl had never gone out into the training rooms or the shooting range, and yet he always had the confidence that was usually only seen on a mech like Ironhide. Someone with scars to prove their worth. The discrepancies were making Jazz's head spin. Something wasn't right, and it was driving Jazz crazy!

He found Prowl walking out of Prime's office, just like he had suspected. Prowl glanced up from his datapad and smiled at him, opening his mouth to greet him like usual, but Jazz cut him off.

"Ya taught Blue to shoot?" he demanded.

Prowl blinked in surprise. "Hello to you, too. Yes, I am having a wonderful day. How about you?"

Judging from the smirk of amusement on Prowl's face, Jazz's jaw was somewhere on the floor. Since when was Prowl sarcastic? Even with Jazz, who Prowl was always more natural around than anyone else, Prowl was never sarcastic. That, added to the list of everything else that was going strange in his world (worrying about Prowl constantly since he started these missions, Blue's startling revelation, this odd change in Prowl's character) made Jazz suffer from his first ever processor lock.

Prowl caught him before he could hit the ground. He shook his head in exasperation. "Guess I shouldn't have opened my mouth, huh?" he murmured. "Come on, let's get you to Ratchet." He hoisted Jazz up onto his shoulder and walked the other way down the hall.


AN: Supposed to be a one-shot, but you saw how far that went. Oh, well. Read and review, and I'll try to get the next chappie up tomorrow.