Title: Arranged by the Stars
Chapter 12: Budding Trouble
Fandom: G1 AU
Author: femme4jack
Chapter Pairing: Jazz/Prowl
Chapter Rating: R
Chapter Warnings:smut (mech/mech spark), robot procreation (non mechpreg), supernatural
Series Warnings: arranged sparkbonds, lots of conversation about robot procreation (non mechpreg), AU G1 canon history
Chapter Summary: Under careful medical supervision, Prowl and Jazz attempt to bud the first newspark since the fall of the towers and the loss of the Key to Vector Sigma
Notes: Written for the April 2011 challenge at the prowlxjazz community on livejournal. Yes, I know it is now August :)
klik = 1.2 minutes; breem = 8.3 minutes; joor = 6.92 hours; orn = Cybertronian day/32 joor/9.22 earth days; metacycle = Cybertronian month (230 orns)/5.81 earth years, vorn = Cybertronian year/83 earth-years
I know that "budding" normally refers to asexual reproduction. In the case of this reproduction method, since the combined sparks are, quite literally, one being when they form the new one, I still feel it is an appropriate term :)

Arranged by the Stars 12: Budding Trouble

Jazz gave a grimace as he took his first sip of the nanite-infused energon Ratchet had instructed them to consume before their first attempt at kindling. The normal pink glow had taken on a sickly green caste as a result of the drugs that had been added to the mix, designed to both increase their charge and suppress overload. Jazz gave his bondmate a challenging look, then downed the rest in three large swallows, before finding his stabilizers suddenly out of kilter, his gyro-sensors and optics giving the impression of a spinning room. He felt Ratchet assisting him onto the berth before his knee joints could buckle. It as not a pleasant high, and he halfway wondered how he was going to convince his chestplates to part considering how much he suddenly felt the need to purge.

"Easy," Ratchet said, "it will pass in a moment. Wouldn't be nearly as bad if you had taken your time with it like Prowl is." Jazz managed to glance to his bondmate who was methodically sipping the contents of his cube, managing to look completely nonplussed by the drugged mixture.

He couldn't bring himself to respond verbally. He was certain that if he opened his mouth he would, indeed, purge. Instead, he offlined his optics to stop the room from spinning and activated a subroutine he used on missions in order to artificially suppress the anxiety that was dominating his emotional protocols. He knew that the feelings were still present, still swirling through his spark, but at least, for the moment, they weren't controlling his processors. Shortly, when they merged, he would have no choice but to feel again, and could only hope that Prowl's continued calm and certainty would still the frenetic storm that was his spark.

It wasn't long before Prowl was sitting on the berth next to his prone form, his hand splayed across Jazz's chest and thumb gently stroking the seam in his chestplates above his bondmate's spark in an unconscious gesture of affection that would have been unimaginable coming from the SIC a few decaorns ago. Jazz relaxed into the touch, feeling the purge reflex and disequilibrium pass. He felt Prowl urging his spark to calm through their bond, and could not bring himself to resent the intrusion. Not when the feeling was something akin to a chilled solvent sluicing away muck from an overheated, dirty frame. He cautiously deactivated his emotional suppression subroutine and found that he had, indeed, calmed.

"Alright, you two. The effects of the nanites will last approximately 4 breems, so there isn't much time for preliminaries," Ratchet instructed, not for the first time. "Once you are fully merged, you will remain so, building the charge, for approximately two breems. I don't need to warn you how intense a merge of that length of time will be. You won't overload, you won't go offline, and it will hurt like the pit. It is imperative that you focus your intention on budding the new spark, no matter what else is happening. Your systems are going to be giving you every warning imaginable, so just deactivate you HUDs now and let me do the monitoring. I will stop the process if either one of your sparks are in danger as long as it is safe to do so, but once the new spark begins to form its core, stopping the process can actually be more dangerous than seeing it through. Once the core of the new spark is stabilized, I will cut it away from your sparks with the energon scalpel, put it in the transport pod, and Wheeljack will take it to the incubation vat. We need to get it out of the proximity of your fields until it begins to build the crystalline matrix for its sparkchamber. If the newspark feels your fields before then, it can, quite literally, extinguish itself attempting to get back to its source."

"We are extremely well versed on the process, Ratchet, and are wasting the precious time the nanites can act to suppress our overloads," Prowl said firmly, arranging himself so that he was lying on his side, facing Jazz, his sensor wings hanging off of the side of the extra wide berth.

"You'll be surprised at how difficult it is to pull up a data file in the midst of all of this," Ratchet said, in a far more patient and gentle tone than was his norm. "Having the information in your temporary short-term files could mean the difference between success and a critical mistake during this. The most important thing to remember is to disregard your own warning systems. Disengage them and focus solely on forming the newspark, no matter what you are feeling."

Jazz was beginning to wonder who was the more nervous, Ratchet or himself. Neither Ratchet nor Wheeljack, nor anyone on base for that matter, had performed the procedure they were about to try. The sheer improbability and danger of it all was enough to settle Jazz further and put him into his mission mindset where his sole focus was on achieving the impossible.

"Don't worry 'bout a thing, Ratchet. Prowler an' I have our part covered," Jazz said turning so that he, too, was on his side, facing Prowl, feeling a tingling thrill travel up his chassis at the intimacy of their position as he wrapped an arm firmly around his bondmate's waist.

Ratchet gave a quick nod and began connecting them to the room's plethora of monitors. Jazz felt Prowl draw in a cooling vent of air, and he did the same, leaning his helm against his bondmate's chevron. He could feel the charge build in response to the drugged energon as surely as though Prowl's fingers were stroking his sensors-rich plating.

~Ready t' be one?~ Jazz asked through their bond, his plates unlocking just enough to bathe the room in his spark's silver light.

~Hopefully just for a couple breems, and not for good,~ Prowl responded dryly, unlocking his own plates and locking his arm joints around Jazz to keep them both on the berth. Their sparks were already lunging for one another as the charge continued to build from proximity along. They both hardly noticed Ratchet strapping them to the berth with magnetized bonds to keep them in position and prevent one from accidentally pulling back when the merge went critical.

Their sparks took over even as their chestplates parted the rest of the way. Laser cores moved aside and their chambers moved up and forward, the egg-shaped crystals spiraling open to spin prismatic patterns of silver and amber light on every surface of the room. The tendrils of their coronas intertwined urging them together toward a brilliant wholeness, followed by their outer layers and then their cores flowing into one another with a flash of blinding light as they merged. Intense pleasure, physical, emotional and something more, pulsed through the merged cores into their frames, but swiftly swelled into blinding pain as the overload did not come. Had their HUDs not been disabled per Ratchet's order, dire warnings of potential spark failure would have been flashing.

Their cores and consciousness briefly separated as their sparks attempted to end to agonizing merge, primal fear overcoming them both, but locked limbs and magnetic bonds would not allow them to fully part. ~No~ they both cried out in one voice, realizing the mistake they were making. Their cores reengaged even as Ratchet yelled words they could not comprehend over the roar of their own surging charges, agony and ecstasy raging from their merged sparks through their frames in equal measure, never bringing them to completion. Their chronometers were among the many systems that had already failed due to the raw energy flowing through them, so the growing agony seemed to last an eternity. Then time seemed to stand still as the bondmates frantically attempted to focus their wills on a needle point of searing heat at the center of their combined core. They felt the point begin to spin, coalescing spark energy around itself. ~Yes!~ they both cried together as the core of the new sentience began to form in the midst of their own. Vocalizers shorted out with their screams when the forming spark tore away from their own, ripping through their outer layers until it spun amid their combined coronas, pulling energy to itself in an agonizing vortex. They were both keenly aware that it was not yet whole, not yet strong enough, and willed it to take what it needed as it spun faster and faster, pulling energy from their combined core until they felt certain their own sparks would gutter and extinguish from the loss. Neither could hear Ratchet's frantic cry to Wheeljack that he was losing them. Their only focus was on the new spark, willing it to stabilize, to be whole, to be able to separate from the spinning tornado of light that still connected it to their merged core.

Then came a blinding flash, and the merged bondmates felt a third spark, far larger and more powerful than their own join their merge, adding its own strength to the newly forming spark until with a blinding flash it stabilized, but with two cores rather than one. They felt the third, massive spark give another pulse, preventing them from guttering. Their last impression was of vast affection and amusement, along with several gentle admonitions before the larger presence left and they knew no more.

Every line of code in Ratchet's medic programming was screaming at him to end the merge, but he couldn't, not without risking that combined spark of Prime's two top lieutenants would explode. The new core forming inside their own was unstable, pulling dangerous levels of spark energy from its creators until it finally had strength enough to rip through their sparks to the surface. But even then, desperately fighting to coalesce and stabilize, the madly spinning new core looked as though it were trying to pull itself apart into two even as it pulled spark energy into itself at a dizzying rate. Insight hit the CMO even as Wheeljack shouted. The new spark needed to split. It was too large, and too unstable.

"You have to split it, Ratchet, or it will explode and take them with it," Wheeljack both commed and cried aloud over the raw energy coursing through the room. Ratchet activated his energon scalpel with a curse, and prepared to sever the new core in two, either stabilizing it or extinguishing it before it could destroy the much larger merged sparks that were visibly dimming. But before his hand reached frantically spinning light, Prowl and Jazz's combined core gave a blinding pulse, and the new spark split on its own into two tiny, bright gold orbs, instantly stabilizing as they began to orbit around one another, sharing one corona like a atom with two nuclei. No longer pulling energy from its creators' merged cores, the dual-cored spark instead seemed to dance around the silver and amber tendrils that wove about it caressingly.

Wheeljack was standing right next to him, the containment pod activated and ready as Ratchet used the scalpel to cut the twin-cored spark away from Prowl and Jazz's intermingled coronas. As tiny as they were, the two cores burned hot and bright, never ceasing to orbit one another. As soon as the last tendril was cut the new spark tumbled into the pod, which Wheeljack sealed and whisked out of the room even as Jazz and Prowl's coronas leapt after, reaching impossible lengths to try to reclaim what had been taken away. Finally their merged sparks settled and their cores slowly began to disengage. Ratchet unbound them, allowing their frames to separate. Both mechs were offline, their systems depleted to near-stasis levels, but their sparks, at least, were still aware of each other, coronas continuing to mingle and caress one another in comfort that their offline processors were not even aware of.

It had been close. Far too close. Ratchet had nearly lost both officers, and the resulting twin-cored spark had a very low probability of survival. Ratchet cursed Megatron, Vector Sigma, and Optimus alike for the string of events that had led them to were they were now, unable to create new life without risking the sparks of bondmates who would never have chosen one another without the Matrix's intervention. Muttering to himself, he set both mechs up with an energon drip, and continued to monitor their weakened sparks and begin to catalog the damaged systems that would need repair. They, at least, would survive. He ached for the fact that when they onlined, in all probability, he would have to inform them that the twin-cored spark they had nearly died to create had, itself, extinguished.

::I've got it...them...settled into a vat. Nothin' more to do other than to see if they can fully separate and begin to form chambers. We can wait and see if that happens on its own, or try to separate the cores with a scalpel,:: Wheeljack commed, his normally ebullient tone subdued. They both knew that the most likely result would be first one, and then the other tiny new spark guttering and extinguishing within an orn, regardless of their course of action.

Something stirred behind Ratchet and he turned, shocked to see Jazz already online, visor glowing dimly and a few wisps of smoke rising from relays that had been slagged during the merge.

"I need t' go see it...t' see them," Jazz said softly.

"You need to recharge and heal. You only barely made it through that," Ratchet said bluntly. "Your field will confuse them anyhow. Not until the crystal matrix of their chambers has begun to form."

"Not in this case," Prowl murmured, his optics, too, coming online long before they should. "Feeling our fields may help them to separate into distinct sparks."

"And when did you get medic training?" Ratchet asked archly, his patience thin.

"Aint 'bout medic trainin'" Jazz said in a tone that would suffer no argument. "Primus told us, while we were merged. We need t' get in there, or bring the vat here if we can't move."

Ratchet waited for Prowl to contradict Jazz, or reprimand his bondmate for an inappropriate joke about the deity he normally only invoked as a curse, but the tactician did neither, simply nodding his agreement. Ratchet realized that arguing was futile, anyhow. If their fields caused the split-cored spark to attempt to rejoin its creator and extinguish in the process, it would only speed up what would inevitably happen.

::Wheeljack, bring the vat in here. I can't move these two, and they are insisting on seeing the sparks.::

There was a brief hesitation before Wheeljack answered, ::Whatever ya say, Ratchet.:: A few kliks later, he floated the incubation vat through the door on a hover pad, settling it next to the berth where Prowl was lying against Jazz's back, spooning him and caressing his now closed chestplates. Both mechs reached out and touched the vat, their fields pulsing with pure awe as they looked at the tiny spark with two bright gold cores. Communicating silently over their bond, each flared their fields as they felt their sparks reaching for the sentience that had so recently been a part of their own united cores. The new spark flared in response, parts of it pulling toward each of their hands which were placed on opposite ends of the transparent, liquified mineral and nanite filled vat, finally completing the split of outer layers and coronas as well as cores, leaving two distinct sparks that reached for one another, orbited one another, even caressed the other, but were their own entities. Already the liquefied minerals were crystallizing around them in the beginnings of spark chambers.

"Primus," Wheeljack whispered, watching the process with awe as his fins flashed a myriad of colors of mixed joy and alarm.

"Indeed," Prowl whispered as his partially upright frame collapsed back onto the berth.

When Optimus later was permitted to enter, he found his closest advisers fully repaired, recharging with Prowl spooning Jazz, legs intertwined and hands still reaching out out to the vat where two distinct crystal chambers, still only a single layer thin, reflected the light of two gold sparks. The micro-thin chambers rested against one another, settled against the wall of the vat as close to the fields of the recharging mechs as possible. While earlier, the proximity might have been dangerous, now, feeling their creators' fields was a needed comfort for the developing sparks. Later, other mechs whose code the new sparks might integrate would take their turns at the vat, welcoming the sparklings, letting them know through the comfort of their fields that they were part of a cohort, that though they had been violently separated from their source and then again from one another, they were not alone, they were still one with something larger than themselves in all the ways that mattered.

"You know I am not one to claim miracle, but these two sparks should not be alive," Ratchet said softly, peering into the vat and running yet another scan.

"Indeed," Optimus said, his own broad hands coming to rest on the helms of his recharging officers in affection. "With such a beginning, it will be fascinating to see who they become."

Ratchet shifted uncomfortably for a moment, then gestured awkwardly toward Prowl and Jazz. "They both claim they felt Primus join the merge. I sensed no evidence of it through my sensors or the monitors. If it were anyone but Prowl making the claim..."

"No matter how advanced our science becomes, we will never fully understand the mysteries of our own sparks," Optimus answered softly, kneeling down to peer into the liquid of the incubation vat. "The oldest glyph for a kindling merge is to become one with Primus. The same glyph we use for becoming one with the Matrix when we extinguish. Who is to say what really happens when bonded sparks kindles a new life, or in this case, two."

"Or they were in so much pain that they shared a hallucination," Ratchet offered, though he, too, knelt beside Prime to peer into the chamber.

"A plausible explanation, and likely the one both of them will adopt once they settle from the experience," Optimus said in a tone the made clear he did not buy the logical explanation for a klik.