+1. In Which There is Explicitness (not that kind you perverts)
Jazz had spent the better part of the cycle avoiding Prowl. He'd managed to get out of Prowl's quarters without waking him earlier, and had reported to Ratchet directly after that so that Ratchet wouldn't have the excuse to ask Prowl to track him down. Ratchet had given him a clean bill of health, announcing that the virus had completely run its course and that there were no remnants remaining.
"Any side effects that you noticed?" Ratchet had asked.
"Uh," Jazz had said. I'm in love with you, he remembered. "Nope, just real talkative."
Ratchet had favored him with a sardonic smile. "I bet Prowl loved that," he had offered, and Jazz had nearly choked on his intakes, before smoothly (except not really, and he'd have to deal with that later given Ratchet's speculative look) offering his excuses of a shift starting and getting the pit out of dodge.
He had gone on to start his shift; early, but with the mess from earlier, there was extra work to be done anyways so there was no point on letting it slide (Mirage had come by to report and nearly did a double take when he saw Jazz working on his report already. The only thing that had saved Jazz from questioning was the fact that Mirage's own polite reserve kept him from asking the questions he clearly wanted to ask).
Once his shift had ended, Jazz had forgone his usual hanging around the rec room activities. Prowl had always, barring major and spark-threatening events, worked precisely 10% overtime after his own shift, and then would make his way to the rec room to consume 1 cube of mid-grade while participating in limited social contact "to ensure the Autobots that I am still within the realm of the functioning," as he had once told Jazz with one of his rare wry smiles, barely a twist of his lip plates.
So now, heading straight for his quarters confident that Prowl would be just finishing up his overtime in a few more klicks, Jazz was expecting the coast to be clear. He definitely wasn't expecting to open his own door and find Prowl sitting sedately on his berth, working away at a data pad.
"Uh," Jazz said.
"Jazz," Prowl greeted. "I see you've been busy today."
"My door was locked," Jazz blurted.
"I have the codes to override any lock I choose," Prowl said serenely. Jazz gaped at him.
"So you just decided to break in?" He groped behind himself and engaged the switch to close and lock the door. No use in giving everyone a free show, after all. The door hissed closed with a finality that did nothing to ease his frazzled circuits.
"I extrapolated based on previous behavior that you would likely attempt to avoid my presence for the next 2.3 orns, after which point we would likely be forced into close quarters due to our ongoing efforts in the war," Prowl explained. "Relations would likely be awkward and stilted, and any attempt at 'normalcy' would have a 76.3% chance of backfiring, with that percentage degrading as time went on." He looked at Jazz squarely. "I find that situation to be suboptimal; thus, I took steps to ensure we would have that conversation now so as to avoid it."
"Yeah, that's uh…likely. Wait, 2.3 orns? Ain't that a bit long?"
"I took care not to underestimate your avoidance capabilities when you don't want to do something."
Heh. He has me there. Jazz rubbed the back of his helm self consciously. "So, I guess we oughta talk so as not t' put a damper on our work relationship."
"Jazz," Prowl said, his tone somewhat exasperated, "while our working relationship is important, it is our friendship I'm more concerned with."
Well, 'least there's that. "Look, I'm sorry you had to hear all that," Jazz started, but Prowl held up his hand.
"Ratchet informed that the virus you were infected with encouraged truthfulness as well as speech," Prowl said. "I am aware that I should not have heard such things under such a circumstance, but…"
"It was all true," Jazz told him heavily. "Look, can't we just forget last cycle never happened?"
"As I said, I should never have heard such things to begin with. As I was appointed to ensure that none of your secrets were exposed, I took advantage of that."
"Prowler, you didn't try to get me to talk about all that stuff," Jazz protested. "It wasn't your fault!"
"Nevertheless, I heard things you clearly had no intention of wanting me to know. For that, I am sorry. And if you truly wish it, we can go forward pretending the previous cycle never happened."
"Yeah," Jazz said with a sick sort of relief, "yeah, that sounds great, Prowl, I—"
"But I wanted you to know," Prowl went on inexorably, "that I reciprocate your feelings."
"—really appreci—wait, what?"
"I reciprocate," Prowl said calmly. He raised an optic ridge, giving Jazz one of his almost smiles. "Really, Jazz, I had thought it had been obvious and you were simply trying to spare my feelings."
"Obvious," Jazz repeated faintly. "That, uh…I wasn't…I mean, I didn't…"
"At least half the Ark is aware," Prowl continued. "And I suppose, in hindsight, half the Ark is likely aware of your reciprocation as well." He paused. "It does make certain exchanges a little clearer."
"If Smokey knows, there's prob'ly a betting pool going on," Jazz said automatically. Then he thought about that. "Huh. I wonder who won?"
"The pool is likely regarding when we are most likely to couple," Prowl pointed out. "Which will be a moot point should we decide to forget the prior incident and continue on as we were before."
"What, no," Jazz said, as he focused, something warm bubbling up in his spark. "I said that 'cause I thought you didn't want me back, and I wanted to still be friends, at least."
"I do value your friendship, Jazz," Prowl said earnestly, "but I would not be adverse to something…more."
"Yeah, I can do 'more'," Jazz said, grinning, and he threw himself down on the berth beside Prowl. Prowl bounced a little at the force, but did not object when Jazz threw his arms around his waist, tugging him close. "Though the location is a change," he noted, his visor flashing with good nature. "You in my berth. It's normally the other way 'round."
"Well," Prowl said, and the almost-smile turned in to a rare, fully formed one, his optics bright, "I had thought that turn-about was fair play, after all."
A/N: 'Explicit' as in 'precisely and clearly expressed'. I am a G (or possibly PG to 13) writer, dear friends. If you want sexytimes, there are lots of writers who can write such things much hotter than I.
Yaaaay it's done! And it only took me 14 months past the original deadline. Ahaha. Ha. Um.
As always, comments and criticism are very welcome!