A/n: Wrote this for a kiriban, and the reader had asked for a story in which Bluestreak smuggles a cat in the ark.
A/n: Wrote this for a kiriban, and the reader had asked for a story in which Bluestreak smuggles a cat in the ark.
Ever since Prowl found Bluestreak in a pitiable state back at the Neutral Zone on Cybetron, he had made it his personal goal to train the young one and help him become the mech he was meant to be. He had also meant to treat the particular matter in a professional way, but he had soon realised that that was impossible. In time, Bluestreak had earned a soft spot in the tactician's spark, changing their instructor/ trainee dynamic to that of a mentor/protégé… or rather, as Jazz insisted, that of an older brother watching out for his little brother. Indeed, there were times that he felt he couldn't deny Bluestreak anything, just so he could see the young one smile. Primus knew Bluestreak had already suffered enough.
Still, even Prowl had to set limits.
It's not that Bluestreak pulled pranks or got into fights or any other such thing. Bluestreak was gentle and considerate, always getting along with everybody else in the Ark-crew. Indeed, everyone seemed to be fond of him, from the most easy-going mechs (like Bumblebee or Hound) to the most difficult (Sunstreaker being the prime example). No. However strange it sounded, Bluestreak got in trouble because of his kindness. And big trouble at that.
The door to Prowl's office hissed open, but Prowl barely looked up from his datapads. He was revising tomorrow's training drills and he wanted to make sure he hadn't missed anything.
Ah. Of course. That voice was unmistakable. "Yes, Bluestreak?" Prowl asked, never taking his eyes off the datapad.
There was the sound of the gunner shifting his legs, and then a loud meow. Optics widening, Prowl snapped his head up and stared at a pair of tiny green eyes which were attached to a tiny grey body that was currently sitting on Bluestreak's palm. Bluestreak grinned sheepishly, an apologetic look in his optics.
"Alright, Bluestreak," Prowl said, sitting back. "You have exactly two minutes to explain. Go."
Bluestreak did. It had been bucketing down while he had been patrolling, which was to be expected at this time of year, early March, and he had happened to see the poor thing at the side of the road, trembling and absolutely terrified of all the cars that zipped past it, and Bluestreak hadn't wanted to leave it there, it would have been cruel; so could he please keep it? Till the weather got better, at least?
Even after all this time, Prowl was amazed at how Bluestreak managed to say everything he wanted to say under the two-minute limit. He didn't show his amusement as he looked at the cat, though. First and foremost, he was an officer, and that was precisely how he had to deal with this situation as well.
"It has a collar," he noted, his fingers brushing the grey fur as he examined the creature. The cat, on the other hand, arched its back to accept the stroke with a loud purr. It certainly didn't seem to mind being handled by two gigantic metal beings from another planet.
"Yeah, I noticed that. But no one was with it when I found it," Bluestreak said. "Prowl, you don't think it was abandoned, do you? Why would anyone do that anyway? It's such a friendly cat."
"I don't know," Prowl said with a shake of his head. "Nevertheless, it would be best if you called the proper authorities to come and collect it."
Bluestreak's face fell. "Why? I can look after it till the rain stops!"
Prowl sighed. This was going to be more difficult than he had expected. "Bluestreak, I know you mean well. However, you must also understand that this," at that, he nodded at the cat, "isn't a toy. You don't know its feeding habits, it's too small to stay in a place filled with Cybertronians without the risk of being stepped on, and it's too fragile for you to try and take care of it."
"The rain will stop in just a couple of hours! I can watch over it that long, my duties are over for today!" Bluestreak insisted. "Come on, Prowl. It's not fair to send it away now."
Prowl sighed and looked back at the cat. Admittedly, it was raining pretty hard…
"Very well," Prowl said, relenting. "But only till the rain stops, Bluestreak. Then you either take the cat outside or you call the Animal Protection Society. Agreed?"
"Agreed," the young gunner said, his features brightening up. "Thanks, Prowl!" With that, he held the cat close to him and exited the room. Prowl was sure he heard Bluestreak cooing some king of gibberish to the creature and he couldn't help but smile.
Don't thank me yet. Let's see if you'll keep your promise first, he thought.
Prowl walked into the control room, his doorwings drooping behind his back, and sat on the spare chair with a tired sigh. Though he closed his optics the moment that he sat down, he knew that Jazz – who was on monitor duty – was regarding him with a look of sympathy.
"Long day?" he asked.
"And it's still not over," Prowl replied glumly. True, Prowl wasn't always this candid when it came to work. As an officer and second-in-command, he was meant to be an example to the other Autobots, after all. Yet Jazz was a fellow officer and, more importantly, his friend. It was easy to put aside the façade of the tireless tactician when the saboteur was there to cheer him up with a playful tease or a gesture of understanding and support.
Jazz's lip components tugged to a smile. "You didn't have to actually come up. What Red doesn't know, won't kill him."
"Jazz, it's Red Alert we're talking about," Prowl pointed out. "Besides, there's no harm done in checking on things anyway."
"Still, routine medical check-ups must be a pain," the saboteur said.
"They are… but you didn't hear that from me."
"Of course not," Jazz said, chuckling. Neither mech was really dismayed or annoyed with Red Alert, though. After the Negavator incident, Ratchet had insisted that the security chief should get his logic circuits checked every month to make sure Red didn't become unstable again. Red Alert himself thought that it was a good idea, although he wasn't comfortable with leaving the surveillance system on its own for twenty-four hours – running a diagnostics' scan on such a sensitive section of the cranial unit was difficult and time-consuming procedure. So, it was up to the three Autobots that Red Alert trusted the most to keep an eye on things for as long as he was in the medbay. Prowl happened to be that Autobot this time, since Inferno was in Chicago and Optimus was in Washington D.C.
"So, Jazz," Prowl said, sitting up once more. "Anything of interest going on?"
"Nah, not really," Jazz said, waving his hand in a dismissive manner. "The Decepticons decided to stay low for a change."
"That is fortunate," Prowl replied with a small nod. However, some kind of motion drew his attention back to the monitors and stared intently at the corridors on the screen. "Did you see that?"
"I think so, and it sure looked like a Cybertronian to me," Jazz said, pressing several buttons to get a clearer view of the intruder. "Now that's just plain weird. This one seems to know how to hide his face from the cameras."
"His face, yes. But not his back," Prowl noted, pointing to a corner of the main monitor. Indeed, both Autobots could clearly see a grey door panel, sticking out almost like a sore thumb.
"Okay, here comes the million-dollar question," Jazz said, frowning underneath his visor. "Why is Bluestreak trying to sneak his way in?"
Prowl rubbed his chin. "I think I have a pretty good idea," he said, and he got on his feet. "I'll let you know as soon as I'm sure," he added with a brief wave at Jazz's direction.
He didn't hear Jazz's 'Okay'; the door had hissed closed in that very moment. Prowl didn't mind that, though. It was time to confront a young gunner and his habit of adopting every organic creature he laid his optics on. Aware of the kind of route Bluestreak would take (he knew his protégé like the back of his hand), Prowl hurried to the dorm the two of them shared, and waited outside the door. Unless his calculations were sorely mistaken, it wouldn't be long before Bluestreak appeared.
Sure enough, Bluestreak appeared a few clicks later, looking carefully in his palm. When he noticed Prowl, though, he straightened up and placed both hands behind his back, acting as natural as possible.
"Oh, hey, Prowl. Didn't see you there," Bluestreak said, smiling broadly. "Um… were you on you way in?"
"No, actually, I was on my way out; I have to monitor the surveillance system," Prowl lied smoothly. "Jazz will probably appreciate the company."
"Yeah, I bet he will," Bluestreak said with a nod, and then yawned quite widely. "Well, I had better head to bed. I'm beat."
"Bluestreak," Prowl said, resting a hand on the young gunner's chest-plate. "It isn't raining anymore."
Bluestreak nodded. "I know."
Prowl raised an optic ridge. "Do you remember our agreement?"
Realisation dawned on Bluestreak – or so he let Prowl think. "Oh, that's right. The cat."
"Yes," the tactician said. "Well?"
"I took it outside," the gunner replied with a nod.
"Really?" Prowl said, keeping his features in check as he observed Bluestreak carefully.
So that's your engine purring? Still, Prowl didn't voice that thought. He smiled instead, nodding in feigned approval.
"Good." He patted Bluestreak on the shoulder once, and he started walking away, supposedly to the control room. "I'll see you tomorrow, Bluestreak."
"Definitely," the young gunner said cheerily and he pushed the enter button. Unfortunately, it was then that a very characteristic meow echoed in the corridor and Bluestreak made a shushing sound.
Prowl turned on his heel and looked back at his protégé. "What was that?"
Bluestreak all but squeaked at the particular query. "Uh… Must be… the door," he finally said. "Yeah, it's been acting like that for a while now. I guess it needs to be greased or something… But I'll ask Huffer about first thing in the morning, don't worry! Goodnight, Prowl!"
Prowl opened his mouth to speak, but it was too late. Bluestreak had already vanished through the threshold to their dorm. The tactician let out a sigh, then activated the secret frequency.
- Prowl to Jazz. I've just confirmed my suspicions. -
- Don't tell me, - Jazz replied. – He snuck Mr. Kitty back in, didn't he? -
- You knew about that then? – Prowl asked, feeling rather surprised.
- It would be hard not to, Prowl. Bluestreak kept showing him to everybody, - Jazz said with a chuckle. – We should have seen that coming, I guess. –
- I did, actually. I just hoped Bluestreak would see reason. -
- Bluestreak and reason? Nah, the kiddo listens to his spark. So what are you going to do? –
Prowl thought about it for a few moments. – Nothing. –
- Really? – Jazz sounded quite surprised.
- If he wasn't willing to listen to me the first time, I doubt he'll listen a second time, - Prowl reasoned. – Hopefully, he'll realise his mistake soon. -
- Alright, Prowl, you're calling the shots, - Jazz said. – Let's just hope that kind of plan doesn't backfire on us, though. –
- Us? – Prowl asked.
- Yup. Something tells me you'll need help to make sure nothing goes wrong. –
Prowl smiled. – Then your help is accepted, - he replied. – The next few days promise to be interesting, to say the least. –
- You bet, - Jazz said, and Prowl was sure his friend was grinning quite broadly.
The Next Afternoon…
"Prowl, we need to talk right now!" Red Alert declared, stepping inside the tactician's office.
Prowl kept his features in check, already suspecting what was the problem. Bluestreak, who was also in the office at the moment, wasn't so even tempered. He practically jumped.
"What is it, Red Alert?" Prowl asked. "As you can see, I'm in the middle of getting a report."
"Yes, I can see that, and I apologise; but this can't wait," Red Alert said. "There's something strange going on within the Ark."
Prowl looked discreetly in the gunner's direction, noticing how the silver door panels stood rigidly behind the young one's back, and then looked back at Red Alert. "Explain."
"That's just it. I can't!" Red Alert answered. "The surveillance system seems to be operating fine, but I always seem to pick up a sound that doesn't belong to any type of machinery we have. It almost sounds like some kind of engine."
"Really?" Prowl said, raising an optic ridge. He pretended he didn't see Bluestreak biting his lower lip. "Where does the sound come from?"
"All over!" Red Alert said, frustrated. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was circulating within the ventilation systems!"
"Hmm… Now that you mention it, I think I heard the particular sound in our dorms last night," Prowl said in a musing tone. "What about you, Bluestreak?"
Prowl regretted the jab when he saw Bluestreak flinch. Nevertheless, he also knew that he had to go through with his ignorance game to the end if it meant teaching the gunner a lesson.
"Um… No, I don't think so," Bluestreak stammered. "But, then again, I'm a heavy sleeper, so I could be wrong. Do you want me to check the ventilation system for you? Because, really, it's no problem, it won't take more than a minute."
Red Alert looked at Bluestreak, frowning. "No, I don't think so. But why do you want to do it?"
"Well, I…" Bluestreak started, more than just a little flustered now. "I just… want to help."
Red Alert regarded Bluestreak hard. "And your report?"
"It's fine by me. We were almost done anyway," Prowl said, saving his protégé from any further interrogation. "You can go, Bluestreak."
The gunner nodded, visibly relieved. "Okay. Thanks, Prowl." And with that, he turned on his heel and bolted out of the room.
Red Alert watched Bluestreak go and, as soon as the door hissed closed, he faced Prowl again.
"Bluestreak's hiding something," he declared.
"I know. And it wouldn't stay still in the room, apparently," Prowl replied in a dry tone.
Red Alert stared at the tactician, confused, but Prowl waved his hand in a dismissive manner.
"It's a long story. Just rest assured that everything's under control, Red."
Red pursed his lip components momentarily, contemplating matters, only to nod in the end. "Very well. I'll trust you on this."
"Thank you. That's all I ask," Prowl said.
They didn't say anything else. Red Alert bowed his head in a courteous goodbye and exited, while Prowl picked up his stylus once more and resumed with his work. Hopefully, Bluestreak would find the cat soon and then decide to actually give the animal to the Animal Protection Society.
A Few Days Later…
"You know, Prowl… For an animal his size, Mr. Kitty can cause really big chaos."
Prowl sighed, understanding only too well what Jazz meant. They were both sitting in the privacy of the saboteur's office (Jazz himself hardly used it, so no one would think of looking for them there), discussing the several… unnatural phenomena that have been occurring in the Ark lately.
"It actually started bringing dead mice and lizards in our dorm," Prowl said. He refused to refer to the animal as a 'he' – it would mean he had accepted its presence within the Ark.
"Saw them," Jazz answered with a wince. "Bluestreak should feel flattered. According to Hound, it's their way of pleasing their master."
"You asked him about it?" Prowl said, optics widening slightly.
The saboteur shrugged. "What can I say? I got curious. Of course, he thought it was strange that I would want to know something like that, but I told him that Sparkplug had a cat that did that."
"And he believed you?" the tactician said, regarding Jazz sceptically.
"I don't think so, but it was worth the shot."
"Well, at least he didn't question your authority over the matter like a certain someone I know," the tactician said darkly, sipping some of his energon.
"Are you still mad at Sunstreaker? It's been two days, man!"
"And I'll keep being mad at him till he realises that he was wrong."
"You have to admit that Mr. Kitty did some pretty nasty scratches on his drawings, though," Jazz pointed out. "Of course he'd snap."
"That doesn't give him the right to blame his brother, or anybody else for that matter."
"You don't expect him to know about the cat, I hope," Jazz said, calming the tactician down. He sipped some of his energon, his visor darkening slightly as his optics dimmed in thought. "By the way, I have the feeling Ratchet is suspecting something. Swoop came to him with an interesting story about a scary hissing animal attacking in the dark, its eyes like fire."
Prowl was stunned to say the least. The idea of a Dinobot getting frightened by an animal that was so tiny compared to them was highly illogical. Why would Swoop…?
"Uh oh. I know that look," Jazz declared, snapping his fingers to distract Prowl. "Don't think about it, buddy; you'll just get your processor fried."
"Agreed," Prowl said, swallowing hard. "Thanks, Jazz."
"Anytime," the saboteur said with a grin, but he sobered in the next moment. "Joke aside, maybe it's high time you talked to Bluestreak. Mr. Kitty isn't exactly subtle, and most of the Autobots are on edge."
"I'm aware of that," Prowl replied. "And so is Bluestreak. With any luck, he should understand by tomorrow that having a pet within the Ark is highly impractical."
"And so he'll fess up," Jazz said, understanding Prowl's train of thought. "You're pretty scary at times, Prowl."
Prowl downed the rest of his drink with a rare, mischievous smile. "I try."
"Still, something good came out of this mess."
"Really? What's that?" Prowl asked curiously.
Jazz grinned. "I'd never thought I'd see the day that you'd actually defend Sideswipe. That showdown with Sunstreaker was a treat to watch."
Prowl pinched the bridge of his nose in a tired manner. "Let's just hope it doesn't turn into a habit."
The next day, Prowl didn't hear about any strange happenings that could have been caused by the Ark's guest, something that put a smile on his face. It looked like Bluestreak had accepted the futility of the situation and so did what he should have done all along.
However, as time passed, Prowl noticed that the gunner wasn't sad or disappointed as the tactician had expected. In fact, Bluestreak was quite tense, looking every which way at every opportunity with a worried expression on his features. When Prowl asked Bluestreak about it, though, the gunner simply shook his head and assured his mentor that there was nothing wrong. Prowl knew that that wasn't true in the least, but he decided he should leave the matter be. If Bluestreak wished to confide in him, he would do so, sooner or later.
Sure enough, the following afternoon, Bluestreak came up to Prowl, wringing his hands in quite the nervous manner.
"Prowl? Have you got a minute?"
The tactician pursed his lips momentarily and checked his timetable on the datapad he was holding.
"Actually, I do," he said, facing the gunner. "Is something wrong?"
"To be honest, I was hoping we could talk somewhere in private," Bluestreak said.
Only then did it click on Prowl. Nodding his understanding, he beckoned Bluestreak to follow him back to his office. The young one complied without much fuss, keeping his optics lowered on the floor.
The door hissed closed behind the two Datsuns, and Prowl faced his protégé with a raised optic ridge.
Bluestreak shifted on his legs, refusing to look Prowl in the optics. "I'm sorry, Prowl. I didn't give the cat away."
The tactician sighed. "I know."
"I didn't even take him outside. I kept him in our room."
"And he always leaves through the ventilation system."
"I know that, too."
Bluestreak's door panels drooped behind his back. "You don't happen to know where he has run off?" he asked softly.
"No, I don't, actually," Prowl admitted with a frown. "How long has it been gone?"
"Two days," the gunner answered. "I gave him some food and then I called it a night. It was the last time I saw him."
"I see." Prowl crossed his arms, thinking about matters carefully. "Bluestreak, there's a chance that it has left."
Bluestreak's optics widened at that kind of realisation. "But why?" he asked, more than just confused. "I thought he was happy. He always rubbed himself against my fingers and purred."
"I know. I heard it."
Bluestreak looked at Prowl in surprise. Prowl, however, smiled in a kind manner.
"I may have pretended ignorance, but I wasn't deaf."
"Oh." Bluestreak almost cowered. "Are you angry with me?"
"No. Saddened, more like it," Prowl replied truthfully. "I thought you trusted me."
"I do! It's just that…" Bluestreak rubbed the back of his neck, trying his best to find the right words. "I owe you my life, Prowl. You took me in when I had no home or anyone to look after me. And when I saw the cat on the side of the road, so scared… I kinda remembered how I felt. So I wanted him to feel loved and protected; the same way you made me feel."
The tactician stared at Bluestreak incredulously. Prowl was always accused of being cold and unemotional - which was true, to some extent. He never let emotions rule his life, since they weren't the key to win the war against the Decepticons. Yet here he was now, listening to that simple, heartfelt confession, and a feeling of warmth surged through his spark.
"Bluestreak…" Before he even realised what he was doing, he took Bluestreak's hand in his, tracing soothing circles on it with his thumb. "I'm not an expert but… I think you made him feel both things. So strongly, in fact, that he probably wasn't afraid to continue on his way, using his own strengths."
"Really?" Bluestreak asked. "You think so?"
Prowl hummed his affirmation. "I know so." Because you will do the same thing one day.
Yet Bluestreak wasn't aware of Prowl's thoughts. He just smiled, feeling cheered up again once more.
"Uh… Tracks to Prowl. Do you read me?"
The two Datsuns exchanged a look of confusion. "What is it, Tracks?" Prowl asked, answering the transmission.
"Well…" Tracks paused for a few moments. "I… think you had better come to my room and have a look for yourself."
"And bring Bluestreak with you!" Jazz's voice sounded in the very moment, sounding very happy for some reason.
Bluestreak blinked in puzzlement, but Prowl simply held up his hand in a gesture that the gunner should remain silent for the moment.
"We'll be right there."
Prowl and Bluestreak were in for several surprises when they walked into Tracks' room. For one thing, the place was occupied by several Autobots, who were gathered around a particular place and looking at something; something that had some of them quite puzzled and others grin quite broadly. As the two Datsuns came closer, Bluestreak was also surprised to see that Mr. Kitty was sitting comfortably in the place where Tracks kept his waxing gear, taking up one of the wax cloths and using it as a makeshift blanket.
"Prowl? Where did the four smaller cats come from?"
Jazz chuckled and patted Bluestreak on the shoulder. "That, kiddo, is a story for another time."
Prowl agreed and opened his communication frequencies to call the Animal Protection Society. With any luck, the humans would arrive before Bluestreak decided to keep the whole family.