Title: Arranged by the Stars
Author: Femme4jack on livejournal
Rating: PG for now, may change in future chapters.
Continuity: G1 (AU-ish)
Pairing: Jazz/Prowl (mentioned in this chapter, explicit in future)
Chapter Warnings: Cussing, culture fail (I have no idea if descendents of Incan royalty have arranged marriages), likely some canon-fail as well.

Notes: Written for the April 2011 challenge at the ProwlxJazz livejournal community. This silly bunny (among many others) bit me hard. References to G1 Season 1 Episode 9: Fire on the Mountain. Luisa, the Peruvian princess, isn't named in the episode, but she IS in the infamous sticker book!

Arranged by the Stars Chapter 1: A Wrinkled Letter

The Ark, Mount Saint Hillary, 1986

"Hey, what's the matter, little guy? Let the Jazz-man help?" the Porsche flopped down next to Spike whom he'd 'found' sitting in a back hall, curled up with his legs in his arms, fingering a piece of paper. In truth, Red Alert had gone into hysterics that Spike was near a restricted zone and Jazz had intervened before the security mech could traumatize the obviously upset human even more.

"Oh…hey Jazz," Spike said softly. "I got a letter from Luisa today," he explained, holding up the wrinkled paper that had clearly been read many times. The traces of minerals on it indicated that the boy had cried. The saboteur discretely scanned the contents, and knew immediately the source of the little organic's distress, though he waited for the human to explain it to him.

"Well, that's great, Spike. I know how special she is t' ya, and it's been a fair bit since you two talked, right?"

"Yeah … we were writing once a week last year after I met her in Peru, but things sort of tapered off. Both got busy, I guess. It was just … fun … you know? She knew about you guys and we just found one another's lives really interesting."

"Imagin' ya did. So spill it, little guy, what has your processors all in a twist? You can tell the ole Jazz-meister."

"She's inviting me to come back to Peru … for her wedding," Spike said softly.

"And ya thought maybe the two of ya had somethin' goin'?" Jazz asked gently.

"Well … not really … I mean we didn't ever really talk about it. I like her and all. But … damn Jazz, she says she's been promised to this guy since she was born. I guess Incan princesses, even ones whose families are miners, have their marriages arranged. It sucks! How can they do this to her?"

Jazz hummed thoughtfully. "Well, Spike, are ya sure she's upset 'bout it? It might be pretty normal t' her."

"How can it be normal to marry a guy from another village you've never even met just because some shaman said you were supposed to 'cause of how the stars lined up when you were born? What if he is a prick? What if he's, like, fifty years older than her or something? How can anyone get married to someone they've never even met, much less love?" Spike ranted, unconsciously wrinkling the letter in his hand.

Jazz took the letter and flattened the fragile paper gently with a finger, looking at Spike for 'permission' to read and getting a shrug.

"I know its hard t' understand, Spike, but it don't seem like she's upset," Jazz leaned down so his visor was level with the boy's eyes. "She's really proud - wants ya there so she can share part of her culture with ya. Fallin' in love's wonderful – feels great, no matter if yer metal or carbon. But that stuff doesn't last. Comes an' goes, and on your planet, cultures that arrange marriages with lots of family support usually have happier couples an' kid anyhow. Long as folks aren't forced or pressured to it, and Luisa agreed t'this, right?"

Spike was quiet, his biochemicals and vitals still showing he was quite upset, though his breathing had slowed down and he was clearly considering Jazz's words.

"Yeah … she did," Spike finally admitted. "Said she was proud that their families could trace back to this Incan king or god, Wiraqocha, or something like that. I just … I can't imagine agreeing to something like this."

"Hmm. 'm sure ya can't imagine eatin' grubs either," Jazz said with a chuckle, "but some folks do an' it's a delicacy. That's the thing with culture, Spike-mah-man. People … even my people … sometimes think it's a universal, that just 'cause somethin' is right for them makes it right for everyone."

"But what if she's not happy?" Spike asked, sounding much younger than his sixteen years.

"She's got a big family that cares for her, who'll look out for her. In most places where marriages are arranged like this, they understand that people need more than just one person in life to keep 'em happy. They need their village, their friends, their family. Their spouse is just one part of a bigger circle that keeps 'em whole. You Americans, from what I see, put way too much pressure on just one person for that."

Spike shrugged again, grimacing at the truth of the last statement, about how miserable and alone his dad was when his mom had died. They didn't have any sort of family or village around them until they'd come to live with the Autobots.

Jazz reached down and put a finger under his chin. "Look – from what I've read about her people, she's not even gonna have ta leave home. He'll come live with her family – parents, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the whole bit. Ya better believe they're gonna be watchin' out an' makin' sure he's good ta her."

Spike gave Jazz a doubtful look.

"Tell ya what, Spike," the saboteur offered. "I'll keep a sensor on her, kay? Autobot honor," he raised a hand in a 'scout salute'. "But I want ya to hear me out 'bout somethin' first."

"What's that?" the boy asked with a mixture of reluctance and relief.

"Well…I know your dad an' Bee explained t' ya 'bout ole Prowler an' me."

"Yeah…it is still strange for me to think about, you guys being robots and stuff, but I get it," Spike said in a rush, blushing. "When I don't think about it too hard and have all that cultural stuff you talked about get in the way, I think it's really cool, even though you're guys." Spike admitted, looking down again and refusing to meet Jazz's visor.

Jazz gave a snort and decided to let that final statement drop for the moment. There were things more important than clearing up human misconceptions about gender. "What if I told ya that Prowler and I were in one of those arranged marriages that is twistin' ya up so bad? 'Cept we did more than just get married without knowin' each other. We bonded our sparks, gave each other part of our physical souls."

Spike's eyes widened and he blushed even more furiously. "I … um … I had no idea you guys did that. I mean … I know about bonding and stuff, but, I sort of … didn't think... how did it happen? Who arranged your marriage … I mean … your bonding?"

"That, my little friend, is a good story that'll be even better out on a drive with some music while I patrol. Ya game?"

"Sure … I mean … yeah. It makes the whole thing even weirder, but yeah, I want to know."

Jazz gave his Cheshire grin, stood back and transformed, and the Porsche opening his passenger door.