An: Since so many people have been asking about it, yes, I do plan on giving a bit more information about Red Alert. Actually, there's going to be a prequel story of sorts to this one detailing what happened to Red and why Barricade defected and became Prowl. Look for Shattered Minds under the Barricade / Red Alert characters, probably within the next month. I have an oral report to prepare for, otherwise it would be sooner. (makes a face)

pt 4

It was later, much much later, before Jazz finally got up the nerve to approach Prowl again. A few weeks had passed since his outburst in the gulley. He still remembered how reluctant he was to pull away from Prowl, how he had instinctively recoiled from the idea of even hurting Prowl, much less killing him, yet he had immediately reached out and latched on.

Jazz wasn't stupid. He knew what he felt towards Prowl. Apparently those emotions had survived Prowl's disturbing revelations. At first, Jazz hadn't known what to make of that. Now he had given up trying to fight it. There really was no point.

Prowl, true to Prowl form, had completely avoided Jazz the entire two weeks. Prowl had always seemed to know Jazz far better than he should have (and small wonder – he'd been gathering information on Jazz for longer than he'd been Prowl!) and now he seemed to know instinctively that Jazz needed space and time to figure out his own messed-up thoughts. Now he was ready. Now he needed to know what Prowl thought of everything.

He pushed open the doors to the training room. According to the schedule, Prowl was in there with Ratchet. While not many suspected that Ratchet could fight, Jazz knew different. He had seen Ratchet take down an irate Ironhide, and he was the only one who could control the Twins. It made sense that Prowl would train with someone who already knew his secret.

Prowl spun around in the dark room, still on high alert, and gasped. "Jazz."

Ratchet stared hard at Jazz. "You got a reason for being here?" he demanded.

Jazz scowled at him. "I ain't gonna kill 'im, if that's what yer worried about." he bit out. "Just need ta talk ta him, that's all."

Ratchet studied him a moment longer before nodding sharply and walking out of the training room. The door slid shut and sealed behind him.

Prowl looked different in the dim light. His optics had reverted back to red, and there were sharp angles and hard lines to his armor as opposed to the smooth plates Jazz was used to seeing. He took a step closer. "So this is Barricade." he murmured. "'m guessin' Ratch made ya a camouflage so ya could still revert back if ya wanted."

"In case I was ever needed behind enemy lines." Prowl explained quietly, his voice pitched a bit lower and rougher than Jazz was familiar with, taking a small step backwards. "Megatron believes Barricade to be dead."

Jazz nodded. Prowl shifted uncomfortably, and Jazz could feel his energy shift as he made to activate his camouflage once again. "Don't." he said harshly. He reached out and grabbed Prowl's wrist. "Don' hide from me now, Prowler. I wanna see ya." He looked down at the hand he held, turning Prowl's wrist so it was palm-up and tracing his fingers across the armor. He could hear Prowl's tight swallow, and a small smirk flitted across his face. He worked his way up Prowl's palm to his wrist, gently tracing the new, sharp edges, memorizing the unfamiliar plates. Prowl trembled.

"W-what are you doing, Jazz?" he whispered.

"What I shoulda done a long time ago." Jazz responded quietly, never stopping his exploration. Without looking up at Prowl, he continued, "Ya know, it shoulda changed everythin'. Learnin' who ya were, it shoulda done somethin', ya know? I thought it would. But it didn't." Slowly, he raised his helm to meet Prowl's gaze. Crimson optics blazed with so many different emotions Jazz had a hard time following them all, everything from confusion to hope to the slow build of desire Jazz had been hoping to see. Slowly, Prowl reached up to touch Jazz's cheekplate, and it shocked him to feel Prowl's fingers shaking.

"Jazz . . ."

Jazz's visor was dim as he continued to simply stare at Prowl. "It shoulda changed somethin'." he murmured again. "I should hate ya, but I don'. Barricade, Prowler, whoever ya chose ta be – I love ya. I always have."

Prowl shuttered his optics. "I'm still a killer, Jazzy."

A slight smile quirked Jazz's lip plates at the nickname. "I don' care. I still love ya."

The tactician leaned down, his face a breath away from Jazz's. "Then – you wouldn't mind –"

Jazz stretched up the last inch and molded their lips together. Prowl sighed and relaxed into him, wrapping his arms around Jazz's shoulders and holding him close. Jazz slid his own arms around Prowl's waist, reaching behind him to gently stroke Prowl's doorwings. Prowl's resounding moan was absolutely perfect.

Prowl pulled back slightly, earning himself a small mewl of protest from Jazz. He reached up and gently cupped Jazz's chin in his claws.

"I love you, too." he murmured quietly. "From day one." Prowl smiled at him, and Jazz couldn't help but grin back.

It was still Prowl's smile.

The End

AN: Okay, ending it there before the fluff takes me away! (grins) Now, you guys can put your weapons down – it is a happy ending.

As I said earlier, there will be a prequel piece to this focusing on Barricade and Red Alert. I'm also considering writing a sequel, since this particular plot bunny has once again proved to be rabid. (sighs) If you'd like a sequel, drop me a line, and then look for Honest Mistakesaround the same time as Shattered Minds.

Until then, I remain faithfully yours,

Shadowblade-tara.