Summary: There was only one thing Jazz thought he had to be worried about when Optimus' SIC retired: getting promoted to that position. He realized too late that he should have been more worried about who would get it if he didn't.
Pairing/Characters: Jazz/Prowl, Ironhide, Optimus, Smokescreen
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Author's Note: This fic, and my other updates tonight, have all been up on my writing LJ for awhile, but I finally decided to update them here. This piece gets blamed on my nostalgia for the first TF fics I read, where I first got introduced to Prowl, and to Prowl and Jazz as a duo.
- Intense -
"Ah, Jazz, come in." Optimus said with a smile as the door to his office slid open and a curious silver head poked in. Jazz entered with a grin, and then in an acrobatic display only he could manage so flawlessly in such a confined space, managed to jump up and over the back of the chair opposite Optimus' desk, landing not only in the seat, but rocking it backwards so that it was balanced at a precarious angle, his feet braced against the front of Optimus desk. Jazz's upper body, in the mean time, draped itself over the back of the chair and it's armrests in a sprawl that seemed to take up the entire piece of furniture, never mind the fact that, due to the varied sizes of Optimus' visitors, the chair was actually twice the size of Jazz himself.
"Whassup, boss bot?" Jazz asked with a grin once he'd properly settled himself. Optimus couldn't stop a chuckle at his lieutenants apparent ease in his office.
"I'm sure you've heard about Heron's retirement," Optimus began, and Jazz nodded lazily, though Optimus could see the special ops mech stiffening. "I wanted to reassure you that I am not promoting you to his position." The tension bled out of Jazz's frame instantly.
"Thank Primus!" Jazz said dramatically. "I've had to do enough fillin' in for Heron these past vorns, I think I would go insane if I had ta handle his job on a regular basis!"
"So the majority of the other officers concluded, as well." Optimus said with amusement. "I believe Ratchet cited the odds as being one in two that you'd snap within the first orn. His subsequent suggestion was something along the lines of pointing you in the direction of the Decepticons and praying to Primus that you never looked back."
"Hey!" Jazz said, sounding affronted, then looked thoughtful, "Though, that could be fun."
"Regardless, you won't be taking Heron's position, so your mental stability, and the Decepticons, are safe for now." Optimus rumbled.
"Slag." Jazz said without mock disappointment, grinning faintly, and Optimus chuckled again. "So who is gettin' the honours? Ironhide?"
"No, actually. He didn't even let me offer before refusing. Apparently he isn't fond of the idea of being even in rank with Chromia." Optimus said dryly, and Jazz laughed.
"I think I just learned more than I ever wanted to about those two's interfacin' lives." the silver bot said, and Optimus groaned.
"Thank you very much for that, Jazz. I had successfully avoided thinking about it in that light until now." the Autobot leader said, covering his optics with one hand.
"I aim to please, traumatize, an' kill Decepticons!" Jazz said cheerfully.
"The middle one I could do without." Optimus said dryly. "But to return to the topic, I have gone through my senior, and even not so senior, officers, and all of them would either be an inappropriate choice to fill Heron's position, have refused, or would refuse." Optimus nodded to Jazz at the last one.
"Hey, I'd take it if you asked, but only if you had absolutely no one else in mind, Prime." Jazz said with a shake of his head, and Optimus nodded.
"I know you would, Jazz. Fortunately, there is another option." Optimus said. "Do you recall Smokescreen?" Jazz hummed for a moment, clearly thinking.
"Tactician, specialized in diversions. Didn't he have a bit of a gamblin' problem an' get shipped off to Polyhex under Ultra Magnus?" the special ops head came up with, and Optimus nodded.
"That would be him." he said. "Apparently he has a brother, who was working for the senate...before." even the Autobot leader still shied away from mentioning the brutal and sudden deaths - at the hands of the Decepticons - of the only major leading body of Cybertron, besides Optimus and Megatron themselves. It had been the effective start of the war, and most mechs didn't like mentioning it unless need be.
"An' he's still alive?" Jazz asked in surprise.
"He barely survived." Optimus replied. "He has been in a medical facility in Polyhex, where his brother could watch over him, until several orns ago."
"Oh?" Jazz asked curiously.
"Yes. Smokescreen apparently then recruited him as an aide in his tactical division, presumably to give him something to do, only to be surpassed." Optimus said. "He is the top tactician on Ultra Magnus' staff, and both Magnus and Chromia have applauded his administrative skills and recommended him for Heron's position as my second." Jazz considered this.
"I'm gettin' this funny feelin', Prime, like you're trying ta soften a blow." the silver mech said slowly. "Do I happen ta know this mech, perchance?"
"By designation, if not by sight." Optimus admitted after a moment's hesitation. There was a moment of silence as Jazz looked at Optimus expectantly. With a sigh, the Autobot leader supplied the name. "His designation is Prowl."
"You can let go now." Jazz said pleasantly as he stood beside Optimus, watching the transport come in for a landing.
"I doubt that." Ironhide said cheerfully from Jazz's other side, where his hand rested easily on Jazz's shoulder, matching Optimus' on the other side. Considering their relative heights, to an outside observer, it almost looked like Jazz was a convenient hand rest for the bigger bots. In reality, the weight both Optimus and Ironhide were putting onto their hands were all that was keeping Jazz from bolting. He did not want to be here, did not want to have to stand in front of the entire base and politely greet the slagger he'd come to loathe over the past vorn.
It had begun innocently enough, with a piece of paperwork being returned to Jazz with a small note attached, indicating that the originating location code was missing. Jazz, who had always found it stupid to fill in such codes when you could just look at the server from which the paperwork was sent, found it more amusing than anything, and had simply sent the piece of paperwork back with a sarcastic note asking where the mech thought it had come from. The next day the paperwork was once again sitting in his inbox, again with a note indicating the originating location code was missing. Not comment was made on Jazz's response, and since that particular piece of paperwork needed to be dealt with sooner rather than later, Jazz had grudgingly looked up said code and resent the paperwork.
It had grown from there. Jazz was the first to admit he'd developed some lazy habits with his paperwork, but he found it tedious, and he included all the important things. Most of the Autobots who had to deal with paperwork he'd filled out had learned to deal with it, if they even noticed it. All of the sudden, though, over half of the paperwork Jazz sent to Polyhex was being returned with polite notes to fill in the appropriate areas correctly and resend them. Jazz tried ignoring the requests, and found that his paperwork wouldn't be accepted unless he did as requested.
As if that wasn't enough, Jazz started noticing familiar-toned comments on the occasional mission plan that was sent to Ultra Magnus for review because it involved a member of Magnus' division. Jazz didn't get truly irritated, however, until a plan returned from Magnus, rejected, but with a suggested alternate plan supplied. The reason given was that Jazz's original plan had a 96.2% chance of complete success, while the new one had an 98.9% chance of complete success. After that, Jazz made it his mission to find out the name of the mech that was causing him such a processor ache. And the name he came up with was Prowl.
How Jazz had come to loathe that name. Mechs, officers and enlisted alike, were not shy in their comments about how they had never heard Jazz curse quite so fluently, or so creatively, as when Prowl was involved. Jazz was not shy in letting them hear, nor in voicing his displeasure with the by now infamous Prowl. So Jazz was feeling understandably enraged by the fact that Optimus was making him stand there, in front of everyone who had heard him rant about what he would like to do to, or say to, the Slagger (aka, Prowl), and be civil. He had planned to skip the whole thing, but Ironhide had caught him before he could sneak out of his quarters that morning, and the weapons specialist had literally kept a firm hold of Jazz throughout the day. The only way Jazz could have escaped would be to use methods that not only would have landed him in the brig, but resulted in him facing Ratchet's ire and probably ruining his friendship with Ironhide.
So. Here he was. Waiting. For the mech that had the dubious honour of being the single largest pain in Jazz's aft ever, including Decepticons.
The transport landed, and Jazz flicked down his visor. He wasn't battle-ready, or even activating any of his battle systems, but somehow he felt better, being able to glare behind his visor without anyone being able to see. Ironhide frowned. Optimus looked disapproving. The visor stayed.
Only once the transport door opened did Ironhide and Optimus remove their hands from Jazz's shoulders, and the silver mech stood his straightest as he watched the new arrivals from Polyhex. Beyond Prowl, there were several regular transfers on the transport, and they reported in quickly, skittering nervously around the visored Jazz, who was practically radiating his distaste for being there. Then, finally, came Prowl, accompanied by his brother Smokescreen, who had apparently taken a short leave of absence to see his brother settled in Iacon. Had anyone other than Prowl been involved, Jazz might have found the familial devotion laudable. Instead he found it irritating and annoying, seeing it as a sign that Prowl needed to be coddled.
Even with all his loathing and dislike, however, Jazz had never actually seen Prowl, or even a holopic of him. And as Prowl stepped off the transport, Jazz realized he probably should have, if only to save himself the shock now. He'd seen Smokescreen, of course, and had assumed some family resemblance, which there actually was a great deal of.
Jazz just hadn't quite anticipated Prowl being able to pull off the family look so much better than Smokescreen. Where Smokescreen constantly slouched, Prowl stood straight. Where Smokescreen's movements seemed lazy and relaxed, Prowl's were precise and graceful. Smokescreen's flamboyant paint job served to draw attention to him, Prowl's black and white was simplistic and elegant. Smokescreen's doorwings moved with him, bouncing about - Prowl's were held at a specific angle, sweeping up over his shoulders, in a way that should have looked stiff, but ended up looking elegant. And, most noticeably and most startlingly - Smokescreen seemed to fit in with the appearance of war-torn Iacon. Prowl looked completely out of place, like he should be walking the halls of the now-destroyed senate instead. Which, with a jolt, Jazz remembered that Prowl once had.
In short, Prowl was quite possibly the most attractive mech Jazz had ever seen.
Jazz found himself snapping his mouth shut as he realized Prowl was approaching, and tearing his eyes off the mech, his new superior officer and Optimus' second in command, firmly reminded himself that Prowl was the bane of his existence, and that he still hadn't forgiven Optimus for this. And he never would, not matter how aesthetically pleasing Prowl happened to be. Yep. Never forgive Optimus for this. No matter how attractive Prowl was.
"Optimus Prime. Autobot Prowl reporting for duty, sir." the smooth, precise tones were not exactly what Jazz had imagined they would be - they were, in fact, much much nicer - and the head of special ops wondered if it was worth the punishment to turn off his audios.
"Welcome to Iacon, Prowl." Optimus replied, reaching out to shake the other mech's hand, which Prowl took for a brief moment before letting it go, and Optimus turned slightly to his right. "These are my senior officers: Head of Security, Inferno, Head of Communications, Highwire, Chief Medical Officer, Ratchet, Weapons and Combat Specialist, Ironhide, and my third in command and Head of Special Operations, Jazz." Prowl nodded to each of them in turn, and they all, in turn, responded in kind. Save for Jazz, because when Optimus got to him, Prowl actually held out his hand.
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Jazz." the mech said smoothly. Jazz stared at the hand for a moment, wondering just what the 'finally' meant in that greeting, before he felt a subtle pressure on his foot, and grudgingly reached out to shake the proffered hand, letting it go as quickly as possible. The pressure on Jazz's foot increased when he didn't say anything.
"Likewise." Jazz finally said, stiffly, and the pressure disappeared. Under cover of his visor, Jazz glared up at Optimus when the big mech began speaking again, and when Optimus decided to give both Prowl and Smokescreen a tour of the base, Jazz waited for them to turn their backs before subtly attempting to see if the Autobot leader had left a dent in his foot.
"So, what'd I tell ya, bro? Isn't it great here?" Smokescreen said with a grin, lounging on the berth in Prowl's new quarters. The tour of base had finished not long ago, and after a trip to the mess hall to refuel, Prowl had opted to return to his quarters for the night. He wasn't scheduled for duty until tomorrow morning, when Heron would begin his half-an-orn run-down of Prowl's new position and duties.
"It is...busy." Prowl said as he unpacked his belongings - he didn't have a lot, but there was enough to give the room a 'lived in' feel. "I didn't realize quite how large Prime's division is."
"Yeah, Heron's always had a helluva time keeping order around here." Smokescreen said with a smirk.
"Which I'm sure you were no help with when you were stationed here." Prowl commented.
"None at all." Smokescreen said unrepentedly. "Though I don't think I've ever seen him panic quite as fast as when someone tried to transfer a set of twins here. He got their orders changed so fast he probably gave them whiplash." Prowl gave his brother a dubious look.
"I have yet to understand the general panic and terror that emerges when twins are mentioned. I can't recall there being any problems with them prior to the war." the tactician said, and Smokescreen laughed.
"You'll see, bro, you'll see. The war seems to have had an...interesting effect on twins. Just make sure somebody's nearby when you meet a pair for the first time so they can haul you to med bay after your processor locks up." Smokescreen said. Prowl frowned. "Aw, don't worry about it. I'm exaggerating. Besides, the medics said the lock ups were temporary."
"I know, I was there when they explained." Prowl said dryly. Smokescreen just grinned in response. The two brothers were silent for several moments as Smokescreen looked around, occasionally watching Prowl unpack and considering helping him, but ultimately deciding he was more comfortable where he was. Prowl probably wouldn't have appreciated the help, anyways, as the tactician was placing the things he unpacked in what seemed to be very precise spots.
"May I ask you something?" Prowl asked eventually.
"No, you may not." Smokescreen said sarcastically.
"I thought you said that Jazz was the most personable and cheerful mech you'd ever met?" Prowl asked curiously, and Smokescreen frowned, recalling the stand-offish behaviour of the mech that he remembered being such fun.
"He is." Smokescreen said. "Or, was. I dunno, maybe he's having a bad day today. Could be he wanted Heron's position." Prowl frowned.
"I hope not. It will be unpleasant if I've already offended him." he said.
"Well, Jazz isn't known for holding grudges, so if you give it a little while, he should loosen up." Smokescreen said. "After all, Prime offered you the position, not Jazz, and that's not your fault."
"Though I could have refused." Prowl pointed out.
"Yeah, but, in what universe would that make sense?" Smokescreen asked dubiously, and Prowl conceded the point with a nod. "If Jazz holds that against you, then he's not the mech I thought he was after all."
"Well, I shall have to see." Prowl said, and Smokescreen nodded.
As the half-orn of Heron's training passed, however, Prowl came to realize that more mechs than just Jazz seemed to be stand-offish towards him. The other officers were welcoming, but the troops seemed to skitter carefully around Prowl. It only took a few incidents with mechs glancing nervously to Jazz the few times he happened to be in the same room as Prowl - the head of special ops had made it an art form to avoid Prowl - for the tactician to realize that Jazz had something to do with it. Prowl was less than pleased about this. He could understand Jazz disliking him, but it was detrimental to the operations of the division if Jazz was turning the troops against him. Two days after Heron officially handed his position over to Prowl, the tactician decided to confront Jazz on this fact.
"Yeah?" the rude greeting was the only warning he got of Jazz's intrusion into his office, the silver mech standing stiffly, arms crossed and visor still down. Smokescreen had assured him that Jazz normally didn't walk around with the visor down, but Prowl had yet to see it.
"Jazz, please, have a seat." Prowl said, motioning to the seat on the other side of the desk as he remotely closed the door.
"I'd rather stand." Jazz said coldly, seeming to stiffen even more, if such a thing were possible, when the door closed. Prowl frowned.
"Very well." he said. "I wanted to speak with you about the attitude of the troops towards me." Jazz stared back implacably, and when Prowl realized he wasn't going to get a response, he continued, "It has come to my attention that they seem nervous and skittish around me, above and beyond what is ordinary when dealing with a new commanding officer. Their behaviour seems to be in direct relation to your apparent dislike of me." Prowl had contemplated how to brooch the subject to Jazz, and had eventually settled on the direct approach.
"So?" Jazz said flatly.
"It is detrimental to the operations of this division if the troops retain this attitude when dealing with me. I don't know what you have said about me to them, but I would appre-"
"What I've said? What makes ya think I've said anythin'? Maybe they just don't like you." Jazz said coldly.
"The chances of the entire division disliking me to such a degree in less than an orn is infitesimal." Prowl explained patiently. "Beyond that, they are not exhibiting signs of dislike, so much as nervousness. It is always increased should you be nearby."
"I have no idea whatcher talkin' 'bout." Jazz said with a snort. "All I've seen are mechs that are unsure 'bout their new commander." Prowl frowned.
"I have read your file, Jazz, I know you are more in touch with the mental and emotional attitude of the base than the psychologists and morale officers." he said. "Are you saying you have not noticed this unusual behaviour in relation to me?"
"No, I haven't." Jazz said stonily. "Perhaps you're imaginin' things." Prowl's frown deepened into a scowl for the moment.
"I assure you, Jazz, that I am not prone to imagining things." he said. "The troops of the division are nervous around me, and while it hasn't caused problems yet, it will do so if allowed to continue. I cannot, and will not, allow that to happen."
"I fail to see how this is my problem." Jazz said with casual disinterest. Prowl scowled. He wasn't a mech to lose his patience easily, but Jazz was pushing it.
"It is the problem of all officers if there is an issue within a division that is affecting performance or morale." Prowl stated crisply. "Especially if one of those officers is part of the issue."
"Look, Prowl, ya need to stop blamin' the troops' natural dislike of your lack of personality on me." Jazz said patiently. Prowl narrowed his optics at the silver mech.
"I admit that troops tend to take an immediate, if usually temporary, dislike to a new commanding officer, but this has gone above and beyond that, Jazz." the tactician said.
"And you yourself said that I'm more 'in touch' with the mental an' emotional attitude of the base than the psychologists an' morale officers, an' I don't see anything out of the ordinary." Jazz replied flippantly.
"Stop being deliberately obtuse." Prowl snapped, and Jazz actually seemed surprised at the outburst. Prowl focused on his air cycling systems for a few moments, attempting to calm himself, before speaking again. "I do not know what your problem is with me, but I will not allow you to pass it on to the troops and the detriment of this division."
"Oh, you won't allow it, will ya? Just how do ya plan on stoppin' it?" Jazz asked sarcastically.
"If need be, I will speak with Prime about this." Prowl replied flatly.
"So you'll go to Prime an' complain that the other younglings don't like you. I knew you needed Smokescreen ta hold your hand in the strange big city, but I thought you'd grow out of that." Jazz snorted. Prowl couldn't stop the snarl from forming, suddenly finding himself on his feet behind his desk, his doorwings flaring higher on his back in agitation.
"I do not need anyone to 'hold my hand' at anything. I am attempting to resolve this issue in a one-on-one manner, but you are refusing to co-operate." Prowl snapped.
"I'm not gonna encourage your little fantasy that I'm th'one ta blame for the troops 'round here not likin' ya." Jazz replied, and Prowl was strangely satisfied to hear the angered tone in the silver mech's voice.
"Forgive me, I had thought you were intelligent. Apparently, however, you can't even see what's going on right in front of your visor, let alone be behind the nervousness of the troops like I had thought you were!" Prowl retorted. A small part of his CPU was informing him that he and Jazz were arguing quite loudly, and that this was not behaviour fitting of an officer, but he ignored it.
"Perhaps you should stop lookin' for conspiracies 'round every corner then! This isn't the senate, this is an army - we don't plot against our own!" Jazz snapped, then turned and left, his hand cracking the button to open the door when he hit it. Prowl glared after the head of special ops until the door closed, at which point he collapsed back into his chair, covering his optics with a hand. That had been...unexpectedly explosive.
The argument of the two officers, though it had been muffled by Prowl's closed door so that nobody could tell what it was about, had spread throughout the division by nightfall, and everywhere Prowl and Jazz went, murmurs and gossip followed them, especially once Optimus called them both to his office, individually and then at the same time. Neither of the officers, nor Optimus, would say a word about the argument, though it was not lost on the troops when Jazz abruptly decided to join in on an intelligence gathering mission he hadn't been scheduled on. It was taken as a sign that Jazz had been in the wrong, which only alarmed everyone. Cheerful, even-tempered Jazz was usually the peace-maker, not the one at fault in an argument.
The base was unusually tense the day Jazz returned from his mission, waiting to see how further interactions with Prowl would go. Somehow, none of them were surprised when Jazz seemed determined to ignore Prowl. The general consensus as to Prowl's reaction to this was 'annoyed'. But it wasn't long before they heard the two officer's raised voices in Prowl's office again, the argument once again ending in Jazz storming out. Optimus once again spoke to the officers individually and together, but neither officer was noticeably punished in any way.
After that, it became almost a daily occurrence to hear Jazz and Prowl arguing somewhere over something, of varying seriousness. It seemed the two officers could not be in the same room anymore without breaking into an argument, the only thing that held them in check being Optimus' presence. Even then, once or twice, they'd come close to a full-blown argument in front of the Prime.
"I don't get it." Smokescreen mused on the comm. one night, talking to his brother, who was only half paying attention as he continued to work. "No one's ever heard of Jazz taking such a dislike to someone. And you! You normally don't let anyone get under that thick plating of yours."
"Jazz seems to have acquired the knack of it." Prowl said with mild irritation.
"And you've apparently discovered just how to make the most easy-going Bot I've ever met go into a rage." Smokescreen said with a laugh. "Two of a kind, you are." Prowl looked up from the report he was reading to give Smokescreen a withering look. "What're you still doing in your office, anyways? It's the middle of the night there."
"I have work to do." Prowl said with a shrug.
"And it can't wait til morning?" Smokescreen asked.
"No. Tomorrow there will be more work to do." Prowl replied, returning to his datapad. Smokescreen sighed.
"Prowl, brother, you're turning into a workaholic. Seriously. Go get some recharge." the diversionary tactician said earnestly.
"When I'm done." Prowl said. "Which will happen faster if I'm not distracted talking to you."
"Alright, fine! I'll let you work." Smokescreen said with a roll of his optics. "You know, I think you've gotten grumpier, and it's not just thanks to Jazz." With that, Smokescreen cut the connection, and Prowl only took a moment to turn off the screen before returning to his datapads.
Jazz had determined he was slowly losing his mind. He wasn't sure how, or when, it had happened, but somewhere along the line he'd discovered that he enjoyed arguing with Prowl. And it wasn't because the other mech challenged his ideas or his way of doing things, making him think about things - though he did, in some cases. More often than not, they got into their worst arguments about things that were utterly unimportant, such as Jazz brushing past Prowl in the hallway, or Prowl reading one of Jazz's reports in what the silver mech considered to be too short a space of time to give it proper attention, never mind the fact that he knew Prowl was the fastest reader in the division. No, the reason Jazz had come to enjoy arguing with Prowl was not because of what they argued about.
It was because of how slagging sexy Prowl looked while they were arguing. Jazz hadn't really noticed it at first, but now it was to the point where he couldn't not notice, and he did his best to come up with the stupidest, most convoluted things he could think of to argue about just so he could get Prowl madder faster, and keep him that way longer. And then he had to do his best to keep his attention focused on the argument, because there was just something about Prowl with optics blazing, cables straining as the tactician fought against his own combat protocols, his doorwings flaring up behind his head like a halo, that made Jazz's circuits sing. It was embarrassing, really, and Jazz could only thank Primus that mechs around the base apparently could not tell the difference between a turned on Jazz and an angry Jazz. Doubly more so that Prowl couldn't tell the difference.
But, despite the risk of someone eventually figuring it out, and despite the risk to his mental stability, Jazz couldn't stop arguing with the tactician. He still found the slagger annoying, after all - Prowl was far too logical, too ordered, for Jazz's taste, and he still insisted Jazz put in the originating location code on all his paperwork, even if it was just going somewhere else on the base. Which was probably part of the reason why he felt so much like he was losing his mind - Jazz still absolutely loathed Prowl, and yet he walked out of arguments with the slagger fantasizing about interfacing his CPU out.
As the vorn passed, Jazz knew that sometime soon he was just going to have to jump the slagger's circuits and be done with it. If he could get it out of his system, he could go back to just plain loathing the slagger. Of course, the problem with that was getting Prowl to agree to it without utterly discrediting himself in the other mech's optics. Outright asking wouldn't work, and he wouldn't just force himself on the other bot. High grade might have been an acceptable method to get it done, except that the stuff was near impossible to come by these days, and Prowl didn't seem the type to drink it, anyways. It was a problem that Jazz just couldn't seem to solve, and it began seeping into his interactions with others, making him grouchier and quicker to anger.
Of course, unbeknownst to him, Prowl had been aware for some time of a building tension between them, beyond what was usual for their arguments. The more frustrated Jazz became, the more Prowl noticed the tension, causing their arguments to happen even more frequently, and be even more explosive. The tactician himself was getting snappier at those around him, much to his own annoyance.
Nor was Prowl the only one to have noticed. Ratchet, in a fit of dark humour, was taking bets on how long before the two of them tried to kill each other. Highwire had gone to the other extreme, reminding everybody of just why Jazz had been originally mad at Prowl, and suggesting that such a silly reason was being stretched to its limit and would eventually collapse, and they would become friends. Ironhide and Optimus had a different opinion.
"I'm almost tempted to make a few pointed remarks about how the regulations regarding personal relations between officers were repealed vorns ago and see if they get the hint." Optimus said with a shake of his head as he and Ironhide sat in his office, supposedly discussing weapon deployment, but having gotten off-topic at the unmistakable sound of Jazz and Prowl arguing, quite loudly, next door in Prowl's office.
"I was thinking of locking them in a closet and refusing to let them out until either one of them was deactivated or they interfaced." Ironhide said with a shrug.
"I thought about that, but I think they'd do neither just to spite us if we tried it." Optimus said thoughtfully.
"At least they'd be out of audio range for a little while." Ironhide commented, glancing towards the wall, where Prowl and Jazz's argument had just gone up another few decibels in volume. They could almost make out the words, now.
"Hmm, true. Or I could get Hoist to soundproof both their offices." Optimus mused.
"Primus, that would just encourage them." Ironhide groaned.
"It might save the troops - and ourselves - from some traumatisation when they finally get it over with an interface, though." Optimus pointed out.
"And allow them to keep interfacing whenever they want, for anybot to walk in on, afterwards." Ironhide retorted. Optimus thought for a moment as the argument next door reached its end, Jazz, as usual, storming out on the other mech.
"Good point. No soundproofing." Ironhide grunted in agreement, and then the two mechs returned to weapon deployment, trying to get it sorted out so Prime could take the resulting plans to Polyhex on his once-per-vorn orn-long review of the division and its operations.
As it ended up, Ironhide found himself wishing he'd agreed with Optimus and encouraged Hoist to soundproof Prowl's office. Everyone had instinctively left the area when they'd seen Jazz storming towards the tactician's office, but Prowl's office, like Prime and Jazz's, was just off the command center, and those on duty couldn't escape as the argument began, Jazz not even waiting for the door to close.
"What the slag is this?" Jazz slammed the datapad down on Prowl's desk so hard the screen cracked.
"That was a copy of the mission plan for Kaon." Prowl said calmly.
"Yes, emphasis on th' was, because there is no way you can honestly be slaggin' considerin' goin' through with it!" Jazz snapped. "Your own analysis says it has a 26.8% chance of success. Twenty-six point eight! That's well below your acceptable risk limit for anyone, an' you want to go on it yourself?"
"Without me, the mission's success rate falls below twenty percent." Prowl replied evenly.
"You shouldn't even be entertainin' the thought of a mission with that low a rate of success in the first place!" Jazz hissed. At this point, Prowl apparently just noticed that Jazz hadn't closed the door, and the tactician frowned at the suspicious-looking Ironhide, who wasn't liking what he was hearing, apparently realizing that for once Prowl and Jazz were arguing over something quite legitimate. Prowl remotely palmed the door shut, locking it with his command code.
"If you've read the description of the intended goal of the mission, you know that the risk is worth it." Prowl said, turning back to Jazz.
"The slag it is." Jazz snarled. "Your life, an' those of your team, are not worth Megatron's tactical database! Slag, there's not even any failsafes - if you, an' you alone, get caught or knocked into stasis, the whole mission is for nothing! How d'ya even have the bearings to call that a plan? It's more like a thought or a half-formed idea!"
"The risks -"
"Are not fraggin' worth it! Your processor must be glitchin' if you honestly think they are!" Jazz said with a snort, then crossed his arms and glared at Prowl. "So unless you come up with some helpin' tidbits that aren't in the report that raise its success rate to a more acceptable level, I'm not lettin' you go."
"Not letting me go?" Prowl asked, anger rising in his voice. "Last I checked, I was your superior officer."
"An' I'm head of special ops, which this mission falls under. You need my approval t'go ahead with it, especially since you'll be using my bots, an' I'm not going to give it." Jazz retorted. "An' you can forget gettin' slaggin' Prime's approval."
"You'll note the date of the mission is before Prime's return from Polyhex." Prowl pointed out coolly.
"Oh, so what, you figured you'd sneak yourself inta the Decepticon's most heavily guarded base on a suicide mission before he came back? Welcome home Prime, your second in command is dead, you need to find a new one!" Jazz replied, voice thick with sarcasm. "No. You're not goin', an' neither is anyone else, unless th'odds of the mission succeedin' are improved."
"It is not a suicide mission. It is the retrieval of all of Megatron's -"
"It is a suicide mission, an' stop trying ta fool yourself." Jazz snapped. "Some things would be worth the risk, but frankly this isn't one of them."
"Fine then, tell me, just what would be worth the risk?" Prowl challenged.
"You, Prime, Elita, Ultra Magnus, the Allpsark, and Megatron's sanity." Jazz retorted. "Which means that if you go through with this glitched mission, I'm going to have to come up with another similarly glitched mission an' push it past Prime just to get you back." Jazz replied crankily.
"I will not get caught." Prowl snapped.
"A 27% success rate says otherwise." Jazz retorted.
"So nice to know you have faith in my skills, Jazz!" Prowl snapped, pushing himself up from his chair.
"Skills? You're a senator's aide turned desk tactician who's a fairly good shot with a rifle!" Jazz accused, and Prowl twitched, a growl rumbling through his vocal processor. Stepping around his desk with obvious care, Prowl stalk over to Jazz. The first attack came so fast Jazz barely had time to dodge it, and then before he could recover, Prowl was moving again, executing a series of attacks that Jazz could barely keep up with. None of them were deadly or particularly damaging, but they were aimed at sensor nodes - it would hurt like slag if Prowl hit. So Jazz did his best to not get hit, until suddenly he found his back against the wall of Prowl's office, and then the tactician's arm was pressing against his neck, effectively holding him in place.
"If you had bothered to do your research, or read my file, you would know that I am hardly a simple desk tactician or senator's aide. I have advanced combat training and am a master of Diffusion. I was originally hired by the senator solely as his bodyguard, before he discovered my administrative talents. The only reason that I have been using my rifle in combat is that Optimus requested that I stay off the front lines to help direct the battles." Prowl said coolly. Jazz, furious more at being beaten than at being informed he was wrong - he had actually read Prowl's file, he just hadn't believed it, thinking the slagger had padded it a bit with Smokescreen's help when he'd signed up with Ultra Magnus' division - retaliated, using Prowl's hold on him as leverage to turn the tables.
No longer caught off-guard, Jazz could actually push Prowl back - the tactician had fallen back on his Diffusion now that he was defending instead of attacking, but Diffusion generally required more room than was available in Prowl's office, and it wasn't long before the back of Prowl's legs hit his desk. Jazz took the opportunity to execute a few well-timed manoeuvres that ended with Prowl flat on his back on his desk, datapads either pushed out of the way or being crushed beneath him, Jazz straddling his waist, one hand holding both of Prowl's immobile, the other pressing against the tactician's neck, helping to hold him down. Jazz smirked down at his captive, opening his mouth to continue the argument - only to stop as he suddenly realized exactly what position they were in.
Jazz's systems, already on high alert from the 'combat', only revved higher as they realized he now had an incredibly sexy Prowl pinned beneath him, snarling and trying to escape the silver mech's hold. In Jazz's defence, he really did try to push that to the back of his mind, but Prowl was wriggling so delightfully that Jazz's willpower pretty much evaporated on sight. Instead, Jazz leaned in close to the tactician, Prowl stilling at the unexpected closeness.
"Careful there. You're givin' me ideas." Jazz purred. Prowl stared up at Jazz incredulously, and Jazz found the expression absolutely adorable, unable to resist leaning in just a little farther to steal a quick, crackling kiss. Or rather, he had intended it to be quick, but he found himself drawing it out sensuously, while Prowl at first struggled harder against Jazz's grip, and then slowly seemed to lose his fire. By the time Jazz pulled back, the tactician's struggles had stopped, Jazz's systems now no longer the only ones revving.
"That was...highly inappropriate." Prowl managed to say after a few moments, his voice surprisingly shaky.
"It's prim an' proper compared t'what I have going through my processor right now." Jazz said with a smirk, and Prowl looked up at him in surprise. "What say we throw 'appropriate' out the proverbial window for a l'il bit, hmm?" Jazz suggested, ignoring the little voice inside of him that was demanding to know what the slag he was doing - he'd accepted that he was attracted to Prowl, yes, but he wasn't supposed to act on it - he loathed the other mech's circuits, after all. Jazz ignored that little voice, far too caught up in the moment.
"Perhaps we could discuss doing so at a later date?" Prowl didn't even sound like he was trying as Jazz wiggled a bit, getting into a more comfortable position atop the tactician.
"But we're here now, why waste the opportunity?" Jazz replied pleasantly, then leaned in for another kiss. His circuits sang as this time, Prowl responded, actually lifting his head and trying to follow Jazz to extend the kiss when the silver mech pulled away. Prowl growled as Jazz laughed lightly, once again try to get his hands free, but Jazz wasn't going to let him get the upper hand now. Shifting his grip, Jazz managed to hold both Prowl's wrists in one hand, above the tactician's head, and proceeded to use the other hand to its fullest advantage.
Engaging Prowl in another kiss, he let his hand slide along the planes of Prowl's armour, teasingly dipping beneath it at some points, but only ghosting over the cables and sensor nodes beneath. Prowl arched into his touch, and Jazz smirked as he pulled away from the kiss.
"Tease." Prowl accused now that his mouth was free again, and Jazz's smirk turned into a full-fledged grin.
"Tease? No, that was playin'. This is teasin'." Jazz said, then activated the magnetics in his hand, running it lightly from Prowl's hip to his upper chest, stopping just short of the armour protecting Prowl's spark chamber. Prowl actually groaned at the non-contact, and when he looked at Jazz again, his optics were blazing. Jazz, still grinning, casually ran his fingers along the opposite of the path he'd just traced, this time dipping in under armour plates to caress. Whenever a particular spot seemed to make Prowl squirm especially well, Jazz also added a little pulse of magnetics, earning him the most delightful moans as Prowl writhed at his touch.
Jazz was so occupied with his exploration, however, that he failed to notice Prowl's arms shifting, and so he was momentarily surprised when the tactician simply flexed, and his arms were free, wrapping around Jazz and pulling him down. Jazz found himself engaged in a kiss again, while one of Prowl's hands found its way under Jazz's armour plates, seeming to know just where to touch, the tactician's longer, more slender fingers allowing him better access. Jazz's circuits blazed at the touches, and he ended up bracing himself with both his hands to avoid collapsing entirely on top of Prowl.
"Primus..." Jazz said shakily when Prowl finally let him have a moment's break.
"Actually, my designation is Prowl, but that will do." the tactician said smugly, and Jazz only managed a look of incredulity before being startled by a sudden clattering. Looking over in surprise, he saw Prowl's arm just returning from sweeping the datapads off his desk before the tactician was moving, and then Jazz was the one on his back, laying lengthwise on Prowl's desk. Above him, Prowl was smirking, and Jazz had a moment to wonder where the slag this had come from before Prowl was kissing him again, and Primus, the mech's hands were everywhere. It was all Jazz could do to hang on, sending intermittent magnetic pulses through his hands in an attempt at retaliation as Prowl continued his assault.
Jazz could feel his overload building, and he fought against the happy haze that Prowl was inducing, focusing on putting his magnetic emitters to good use. He found every sensitive spot he could, caressing and pulsing magnetics over them until Prowl's vents were working just as furiously as his. Their kiss had long since ended, the two mechs more focused on finding each other's sweet spots, and Prowl found better things to do with his mouth, anyways, nipping along the cords in Jazz's neck and up to the fins on the side of his helm. Jazz shuddered as electricity sparked over the sensitive appendage, sending a particularly strong pulse of magnetics at a sensitive spot in Prowl's hip. The tactician twitched, and then he was pressed down against Jazz heavily, not quite crushing the silver mech, as he brought their lip components together in a sizzling kiss.
An unexpected pulse of energy came from Prowl himself, making Jazz arch upwards into him, and to his surprise, Jazz felt an answering pulse from himself - and then his circuits suddenly felt like they were melting as his overload hit. He was aware of Prowl also overloading above him, but could do nothing more than hold onto the other mech as his systems released the pent-up energy, allowing it to wash through him, super-charging every part of him. His armour crackled against Prowl's, only heightening the sensation, and Jazz cried out as his vision turned to static.
The world was staticy and pixelated, Jazz discovered when he reactivated his optics later. He hadn't been knocked offline, but it was close - it had taken him almost a breem just to be able to focus again, and judging from the sluggish movement from the mech on top of him, Prowl was having similar troubles.
"I'm beginning to think everything about you is unexpectedly intense, Jazz." the low mumble wouldn't have been audible if Prowl's mouth hadn't been right next to Jazz's audio.
"What can I say, I'm an intense mech." Jazz managed to get out. "Though you certainly don't seem ta be lost about what you're doing."
"I had an unfair advantage thanks to Smokescreen." Prowl replied, slowly pushing himself up to meet Jazz's optics - or rather, his visor. Jazz still hadn't raised the thing since Prowl had arrived. "He had a frame much like yours for a long while, and like any good brother, I discovered the ticklish and sensitive spots for use in tussles."
"Remind me ta let him know it was all for a good cause the next time I see him." Jazz said, breaking the gaze and staring up past Prowl to the ceiling. Silence fell, fast growing awkward, despite both mech's apparent reluctance to move.
"I find myself, for the first time since I was a youngling, at a loss for words." Prowl eventually admitted, still watching Jazz's face.
"Yeah, um, I was kinda graspin' at nothin' myself." Jazz agreed, for some reason avoiding the other mech's gaze.
"Hm. This could be problematic." Prowl mused.
"Could be, yeah. But totally worth it." Jazz said, unable to stop the stupid grin from spreading across his face.
"Indeed. May I ask what brought it on?" Prowl asked, seeming both curious and amused.
"Um, you, being all angry and sexy?" Jazz's tone indicated that his answer should have been obvious. Prowl considered that for a moment.
"So is that why you continue to argue with me?" he inquired.
"Well, partially. You're also a slagger that's been fraggin' with my paperwork pretty much since you joined Ultra Magnus' division." Jazz replied, finally looking down at Prowl.
"I have?" Prowl asked, clearly confused. Jazz sighed.
"And you don't even know it. Don't I feel petty." he said, then after a beat added, "Y'remember all that paperwork ya sent back ta Iacon requestin' origination codes?"
"That was you?" Prowl asked in surprise.
"Yep. Pretty much everythin' you tossed back ta Iacon came from me, in fact." Jazz replied. "So I had a bit of a grudge against ya before you even arrived. Then you walked off that transport looking so sexy, and..." Prowl shook his head, seeming both amused and amazed, and Jazz shifted uncomfortably for a moment before changing the topic, "What 'bout you? Make a habit of just goin' along with it when your subordinates jump you?"
"No, though to be fair, you have the unique honour of being the only mech or femme to actually literally jump me. Generally they try flirting first." Prowl said dryly.
"What can I say, I'm intense that way." Jazz said with his best smile, bringing the conversation back to its beginning.
"Evidently." Prowl said, finally pushing himself up and off Jazz, rolling off his desk so he could stand. Jazz tried not to let his disappointment at the sudden lack of contact show as he too sat up, only he didn't get off the desk, sitting on the edge and watching as Prowl eyed the datapads all over the floor dubiously, looking like he expected them to jump up and bite him.
"Whatsa matter?" Jazz asked curiously. Prowl shook his head, turning back to Jazz.
"Well?" he asked, and though he didn't elaborate, the real question was clear - 'what do we do now?'
"I ain't gonna hold ya to anything after I jumped ya like that." Jazz said with a shrug. Though he'd dearly love to, after an overload like that.
"So this was just, what, getting it out of your - our - systems?" Prowl asked curiously.
"If y'wanna put it that way, ya." Jazz said with a shrug, then grinned lecherously at the other mech. "Course, if you wanna continue, I certainly wouldn't be adverse. Best overload I've had in awhile."
"I think, perhaps, that it would be better if we didn't." Prowl said with a shake of his head, then suddenly gave Jazz a humorous look. "Besides, my office isn't very sound-proofed, and I'm sure we've traumatized everyone enough today."
"We weren't that loud." Jazz said, giving the tactician a look.
"I wasn't." Prowl said with a smirk as he bent and began picking up datapads.
"Are you callin' me loud?" Jazz asked defensively.
"I was merely stating a fact based on observation." Prowl replied calmly. "Besides, it's advantageous. If those outside have to hear it, it would be less detrimental to our appearances for them to hear you calling my name than the other way around."
"I didn't - " Jazz cut himself off as he vaguely recalled calling out Prowl's name as his overload hit. "Slag."
"As I said, it is to our advantage, enforcing the chain of command already in place." Prowl said with a smirk.
"You're such a slagger." Jazz said with a glare. Prowl busied himself with the datapads, looking smug and unrepetenant.
- End -