A/N I know, I know. ME writing Prowl/Jazz. Yeah. It's...not pretty. Nor is it happy. Seriously dark fic, angst, and trauma. Written for a hurt/comfort prompt 'stroke'. Thanks to OptimusBob for help and encouragement.
NB: This is the prompt that makes me the most uncomfortable of any of them on my Bingo card. I don't honestly think there is a way to comfort someone who had a stroke. So I won't even pretend. This is based, more or less, off my own experience when my grandmother had a stroke. And I'm going with the fanon thing that Bluestreak is much younger and has been taken in/mentored by Prowl and Jazz.
Bluestreak hunched in the chair, elbows on his knees, sobbing uncontrollably. That…was an understatement, really. His doorwings shuddered, wobbling along with sobs he tried to bury in his hands. His feet bounced on the floor, restless, as if trying to channel his grief into motion. Futile.
Jazz sat down next to him. "Hey," he said, quietly. He rested a hand between the doorwings.
Bluestreak stiffened at the touch, as if caught out at something. "Sorry," he said, wetly. "Sorry. I'm sorry. I just…I can't…."
Jazz tried a smile. "At a loss for words, huh? Never thought I'd see the day."
Bluestreak's mouth moved as if to start a smile, but collapsed upon itself, tears streaking his cheeks. His optics flickered. "I hate this! Why can't they fix him?"
Jazz shook his head. His own optics behind his visor struggled with tears. "Give it time, little mech," he said. He knew the words for the false hope that they were even as he said them. And part of him felt filthy for the lie. Prowl wasn't getting better. Would never get better. The logic processors in Prowl's cortex had glitched. Not just its usual reboot-stall. But a full-on terminal glitch that had ground Prowl's voice down to a grating whine mid-word, the last expression on his face one of shock and horror. Prowl had known what was happening to him. Prowl had felt the cortex crash. And in those last kliks, even he had broken from his stoic mode.
They had unfrozen his face: that was some small mercy. Jazz could look at him without his laser core mis-pulsing. Which had felt like a betrayal. When you love someone, you shouldn't ever feel fear, horror, and a vague repulsion he couldn't even bring himself to admit. You shouldn't ever have to steel yourself to look at them.
Jazz shifted on the chair. How could he even think to offer comfort to Bluestreak? How could he even pretend he had his act together when he felt like…everything that had been the core of him was crumbling apart? He'd built so much on Prowl—relied so much on Prowl's steadiness and logic to balance his own emotions. How many times had thinking of Prowl, getting back to Prowl, wondering what the SIC would be doing, gotten him through a tough mission? How many times had he felt Prowl's calm support through their bond?
And now? The bond was…weak. Clogged with static. Jazz could still feel him there, but the signal was mixed. And he couldn't understand what Prowl was sending over the line. Even worse: he feared that his own fear and worry washed through the bond. Prowl did not need that extra burden.
"What's time going to do?" Bluestreak said, querulously. "Time? Wait? He could be suffering in there! Don't you see? Don't you think he hates this?" Bluestreak cut himself off, abruptly, as Jazz jerked back. Yes, everything Bluestreak said was true. Every klik that passed while Prowl hung in that…state…was a nightmare of imagination for Jazz. Trapped in a body once so capable; in a mind once so clear and precise and articulate. What had come over the bond, what few words had leaked from the vocalizer, had been garbled, disorganized. He had sensed Prowl's frustration, and the thin black stream underneath that threatened to curdle into despair.
Jazz's fists balled up. He wished this were an enemy. If Prowl had been hit by enemy fire, Jazz would have something to do: he'd hunt that filthy 'con down and make him pay. He'd have had something to do with this awful energy, some way to channel his mental and physical energy. There were risks in war. There was death in life. But this…was neither. It was some horrible suspended half-life, a maiming of the intellect, of the personality. Injury to the body was one thing, and bad enough. This…? This cut Prowl off from everyone. Some sort of horrifying death-in-life.
And Prowl had…sent him away. He'd sat there for ages, it seemed, as the day turned to night and the night got thick and heavy around them, to the time that was normally Jazz's favorite time. That wonderful silent stillness of night where he would pull himself awake solely to feel the presence of Prowl's body next to him.
This night had been still, but not silent—filled with the awful mechanical hums and clicks of the machinery that took over for stabilizing Prowl's vital functions, that ran periodic systems checks on the cortex. And Prowl had looked at him, optics meeting his, as if he recognized the time of night and its significance, and rolled them to the door. Sending him away. Refusing him.
Jazz sagged in failure. He had failed Prowl. And now he was failing to comfort Bluestreak. "We have to give it time," he said, lamely. "We have to trust the docs."
Bluestreak trembled. "I don't. He's just a machine to them. He's not real. They don't care."
Jazz's laser core ached. "Ratchet's doing his best. Ratchet cares."
"Not enough!" Bluestreak cried out. "Not enough! If he cared, he'd be here now working on him! He'd be doing something to help!"
There's nothing that can help, Jazz thought bleakly. There's nothing they can do but hold Prowl stabilized until his systems rerouted around the bad circuits, dumped the bad code. IF they could do that.
"We're here," he said. "We're here, and we care."
"It's not enough," Bluestreak said, simply, childishly. He clung so tightly onto what little he had. He feared losing it all again, the way he had lost his…entire life in Praxus. Jazz could feel Bluestreak at the brink, the dread horror of losing it all again. "If it were enough, he'd be better."
"It's not enough," Jazz said, miserably, feeling his own show of strength collapse. "But it's something."