A/N: Here we go! The FIFTH Arc to the Feeling's series. It's been one long and wild ride! We hope you enjoy this.
Rating: T (for now)
Verse: Pre-Earth G1 for this chapter.
Disclaimer: Yeah yeah, we don't own TF's.
And a HUGE thank you to the wonderful, the inspiring, the hilarious, KATEA-NUI! My faithful RP buddy. Couldn't have done this without her.
Feeling Complete – Chapter 1
It was official.
He was bored.
Which is never a good thing on a ship like the Ark. With a crew like the Ark's. And when you were Third in Command, Prankster King, Saboteur Extraordinaire and the like. He was really itching under his plating to go prank up someone's quarters. Or maybe set up a new camera. Ratchet was off limits today, seeing as he was stuck fixing Wheeljack... again... so harassing Red Alert sounded like fun.
No wonder the Security mech was twitching and glancing at him like that. He had read the signs, noted the easily harassable mechs in the room and came to the proper conclusion. Smart mech.
Jazz grinned and nearly laughed at the violent twitch Red Alert gave.
And then Ratchet, Medic of the Pit and somehow psychic fragger that he was, had to spoil his fun.
:- Jazz, I swear if you send Red Alert down here, I'll have your skidplate welded to the rec room ceiling! -:
:- ... How'd ya - -:
:- Because I know you Jazz, and I'm not in the Officer's meeting to play decoy today. -:
:- Way ta break mah spark, Ratch. -:
There was a snort over the private comm. :- Be good. -:
:- Whatevah ya say, Ratch... -: There was a distinct pout in the saboteur's tone.
"I would also like to remind everyone in the room that our new Second in Command will be docking in a decaorn." Optimus Prime's voice broke into Jazz's thoughts and suddenly his attention was completely riveted.
"Ah, that's right, you were away on a mission last meeting." Optimus turned to him, considering. "I have found a replacement for Gearwreck that I believe to be suitable."
A grin curved over Jazz's faceplates. "Ya don't say, Prime."
"He's a survivor of Praxus and is head tactician. I'm sure you've heard of him. His name is Prowl," announced the Autobot leader.
"Yes!" hissed Red Alert in victory.
Jazz looked confused and he asked, "Eh...who?"
Optimus chuckled and said, "He keeps himself low profile, which explains why you haven't heard of him Jazz. Very punctual, organised, intelligent and is very good with sanctioning within the ranks."
"Does that mean he's a tight aft?" asked Ironhide with a guffaw, earning a frown from the Prime.
"Those are cruel rumours you echo, my friend," chided the red and blue mech.
Ironhide had the grace to look chastened... at least a little.
"So he's Praxian..." Jazz echoed slowly. "Well, says a lot about 'is work ethic."
Red Alert, leaning back in his chair and actually looking smug for once, grinned. "Prowl is far above your average Praxian. He was a Chief Enforcer before they were rendered disbanded. Luck is on our side that he was one of the few un-corrupted in the ranks. Primus have mercy on us if he had been swayed to the Decepticons."
"Ya know him, then?" Jazz asked.
"I worked with him once," Red Alert shrugged. "He's iron clad in his work ethic, a brilliant strategist and equipped with one of the most advanced battle computers and logic centres you'll ever bear witness to."
"Interesting..." Jazz mused, leaning forward and contemplating. "Ah can't wait ta meet 'im!"
Prowl looked out the transport window as they came in to dock at Iacon. The city was very grand, one of the last pinnacles of what Cybertron had been like before the war. It was pretty. But nothing like Praxus.
Being transferred onto the Ark, situated in the sky docks, was a great privilege he knew. It meant that he would be working with the top officers for the whole Autobot army. It humbled him that the great and fair Optimus Prime thought him to be worthy of the position of second in command as well as head tactician. Absently, his fingers drifted to his arm panel, tracing the words that were etched into his metal skin.
'To protect and serve.'
"We will be docking within the next to breems sir. Optimus Prime welcomes you in advance," said his diversionary tactician.
Nodding, the red chevroned mech replied, "Thank you Smokescreen. Your help is invaluable."
Smokescreen grinned at him, his doorwings relaxing slightly. "Feels good to be doing something."
Prowl considered Smokescreen's words before he nodded curtly. A small chuckle from the orange and blue mech was what he got before Smokescreen moved back to the front of the ship to monitor their progress.
While on the outside he was calm and almost devoid of emotion, inside Prowl's tanks felt as if they were ready to purge from the ever growing nervousness as the docking station loomed closer in the window. All around him, mechs were whispering, some casting glances his way in disbelief or a little contempt. 'Emotionless Fragger' they called him. 'Sparkless' and an assortment of other names that the mech found to be quite hurtful. Yet, he ignored them, focusing on the fact that the Prime found him worthy enough to help lead the Autobots in their campaign to defeat the Decepticons.
It was a fact that was still being absorbed for him.
"Hey look, that must be Prime," Smokescreen pointed out, interrupting the tacticians thoughts.
Looking out the window once more as they pulled in to the dock, Prowl saw a large mech, blue and red and grey with the Autobot symbols emblazoned brightly on his shoulders. His optics looked welcoming and kind, although his pose spoke of great power held within. Next to him stood a bulky red mech with large cannons on his arms. No doubt this was Ironhide, the famed Weapons Specialist. On his right, where the SIC would usually be, was a black and white mech with a gleaming blue visor, smirking.
They looked like an intriguing group.
Standing without a word, the black and white made his way to the portal, holding himself proud and dignified for his first meeting with his Prime, Smokescreen falling into step behind him. The door opened and a ramp extended.
Venting deeply, Prowl arched his doorwings high and strode confidently down the ramp.
He neared the Prime, saying nothing until he was in front of the great mech, before bowing and introducing himself. "Optimus Prime, sir. I am Prowl, head tactician and former enforcer. Appearing with me is my diversionary tactician Smokescreen. We thank you for this honour you have given us."
"Rise," rumbled Optimus.
Behind his facemask, he was smiling. The Matrix had pulsed to him that this mech was perfect for being the SIC of his army. As the black and white mech rose, he held out a hand. "I am Optimus Prime."
Prowl stared at the hand, his surprise hidden behind his mask. Slowly, he reached out and took it, the strong grasp closing around his servo. "Thank you, sir."
"As I see it, Prowl, we have you to thank for the survival of Hexia's Alpha Base. From what I have been told, you were up against Shockwave."
Jazz and Ironhide both stared in awe at that. Neither had been told.
Prowl simply inclined his head, a short, sharp nod. "Shockwave made mistakes that I was able to exploit."
Prime's smile under his mask grew. "Be that as it may, you saved several mechs and femmes." He turned to gesture at his two companions. "This is Ironhide, my weapons specialist and Combatant Officer." Ironhide stuck out a servo which Prowl took, the exchange of formalities short. "And this is Jazz, Third in Command and Head of Special Operations."
Jazz held out his servo next. "Pleasure, mech. Been hearin' a lot 'bout ya."
Prowl merely inclined his head, offering no comment.
"Jazz has offered to show you and Smokescreen around the base, and then you are to report to Ratchet for a check-up," Optimus Prime said, standing tall.
Jazz grinned. "Alright mechs. Ya heard OP! Let's move out!"
Smokescreen, a large grin on his face, was quick to follow, Prowl a bit hesitant over the mech's obvious lack of formalities.
There was no question in his processor. This would take a lot of getting used to.
Ironhide stood with his Prime and long time friend. "Stick up the aft, that one."
Optimus stared at Ironhide. "He just needs to adjust."
"If ya say so, Prahm. If ya say so."
"...and here are Smokescreen's quarters. Ya will be bunkin' with a mech called Tracks. Hope ya're tolerant, cos he can be a handful with his vanity," Jazz said, tapping on a door and databursting the code for the room to the colourful Praxian.
They had already seen most of the Ark. Now all that was left was the rec-room and the quarters.
Smokescreen smirked. "I've handled worse. I'll see you later."
Jazz waved goodbye and turned to the other Praxian mech and grinned at him. "Time to show ya to your quarters Prowl. It's next to mine, and ya are adjacent to Prime. Ironhide's opposite ya, and our security director, Red Alert, is opposite me."
"I was wondering why he was not here to greet us today," Prowl mused softly.
"Well, technically, that's none o' ya business yet," Jazz replied, but there was an edge of steel in his tone to display his irritation. Did the new SIC honestly expect every mech to be present for his arrival?
Prowl ignored the tone and said, "No. It merely would have been nice to see a semi-familiar face."
The saboteur immediately kicked himself for thinking bad of the Praxian. Of course the new mech would be nervous. Being on the Ark was a whole new rocketball game.
"Yeah, I guess so. He's actually in the marketplace today as it's his first day off in the past 20 orns. He's dedicated," Jazz answered.
They finally reached Prowl's new quarters, the visored mech opening the door with a flourish and showing the mech inside.
Prowl froze, stunned at the amount of space they allocated him. A large spacious living room with couches perfect for his frame type, and two doors on the side. One led to a specious washrack, and the other a comfy looking berth room. "This...this must be some mistake," he stammered. "This is too grand...we must be in Prime's quarters by mistake."
Jazz leaned against the doorjamb in amusement. "Nope, mech, s'all yers. Primes are bigger."
Prowl turned to him with a disbelieving look on his face. He didn't need to say anything for Jazz to know he was waiting for some kind of punch line. Too bad. It wasn't coming.
"So these are yer quarters. Need meh to show you to the rec room? Or would ya rather stay and settle in?"
Prowl shook off his surprise, gathering himself quickly to cover up his lapse of personal self. "No, no, I would like to view the rec room, please."
Jazz grinned, "Sure thing. Follow meh!"
In the rec-room
As soon as they entered, Prowl had to fight the urge to flee. His sensitive doorwings, so used to the relative peace of Hexia Alpha, were ravaged by the boisterous noise of off-duty mechs and the music playing from a corner. He froze, waggling his doorwings to dissipate the pressure and muted his sensors, as loathe as he was to do it. The sensors were important to how he moved, to see if there was anyone behind him or not.
"C'mon mech, time to meet ya bots yur gonna command," prompted Jazz, beckoning to him.
Hesitant, not missing the immediate dialling down of noise as he fully stepped into the room, the Praxian followed the TIC, keeping his optics focused on the back of the saboteurs helm. To look anywhere else would be foolish.
When he slid into a both opposite the other black and white, the whispers began.
Prowl knew without a doubt if he had his full range of doorwing sensors, he could have been able to sense a lot more than what he did.
'I hear that's the most brilliant tactician in the entire Autobot army.'
'Heard he was cold-sparked slagger...'
'Doesn't show a shred of emotion-'
'I was told he doesn't have any-'
'A drone with a super computer is what I heard-'
Prowl had learned to ignore all of these. He had received the wrong kind of attention, starting with his genitors as a sparkling. He was used to it and knew how to deal with it.
Jazz on the other hand, listened to everything that was said and considered the mech in front of him. He was standard, maybe just as tall as himself. Elegant, his paint job mirror yet opposite his, the black and white switched around. His large doorwings were held stiffly behind him, not even a quiver, which he found odd. Most Praxians he had encountered in the past often allowed the appendages to twitch and move, broadcasting their emotions freely. He was curious and wanted to ask, but with such a stoic looking mech who merely looked at him expectantly, he didn't know what boundaries to test yet.
Still, the whispers bothered him.
"Y'know, if ya think this is too soon, we can leave," offered the visored mech graciously, with his usual charming smile.
Tilting his helm to the side, Prowl said, "I'm not quite sure what you mean Jazz. Isn't the point of bringing me here to get me into the public optic of those who I will command? No, I think not."
Jazz had to give the mech credit for being stubborn enough to wait it out. His smile turned more genuine, and he said, "Don't worry Prowler. They'll get used to ya eventually."
The Praxian frowned, and then there was a sign Jazz was waiting for. His doorwings twitched.
"I believe Prime introduced me properly to you, so why you would get my designation wrong is unthinkable. My name is Prowl, not Prowler," murmured Prowl, his light blue optics confused and wary.
Jazz grinned. "It's a nickname."
Prowl's optic ridges both rose fractionally, but otherwise his expression remained unchanged. Cold, even. Nobot who wasn't trained to notice minute differences on mechs would not have seen any change, but that was what Jazz excelled at. That and sneaking... And being an annoying little slagger if Ironhide or Ratchet were to be believed.
"I was under the impression that one must know another on a deeper scale before a nickname was applied. You and I have barely known each other a few joors."
"True, Prowler," was all the saboteur said, still grinning like a loon.
The new Second in Command's frown deepened just the tiniest bit. "I was also under the impression that the point of a nickname was to shorten one's own designation. My name is Prowl, and is therefore only one syllable. 'Prowler' contains two, therefore lengthening my designation. How is that logical?"
"Well, I dunno, Prowler. You tell meh." Jazz's grin widened. He was enjoying himself immensely.
"Please stop that," the doorwinger intoned flatly.
Under his visor, Jazz's optic ridges shot up in glee. Oh ho! This mech easily became annoyed. New fodder. He could see many an orn finding the ins and outs of this mysterious mech's processor.
"Tell ya what. Ah'll only stop the orn ya actually get along with more than half the crew. Sound good Prowler?" Jazz teased.
"Stop," demanded the chevroned mech, and it gave a strange thrill to Jazz to hear an growling undertone in that smooth tenor.
"Nope. Not gonna," replied the saboteur. "Ya know why? Because ya deserve more than coming to a base filled with rumours after ya've been hand-picked by the Prime himself. It's pretty big. So...Ah'm offering my nicknames and a friendship."
Prowl's gaze turned wary again. Other, lesser mechs than Jazz had tried the same trick on him. Asking to be friends only to want something from him. What, he didn't know, because his 'friends' never told him. He was new, and therefore vulnerable. The mech before him was head of special ops and his tactical computer told him that there was a 98% chance that Jazz knew how to play mechs.
But was he going to? Would he take another chance this time? Would he be hurt once more?
The grinning saboteur held out his hand.
With great trepidation, Prowl took it.
Several Vorns Later
"Jazz, please remove yourself from my chair," Prowl said calmly, having gotten up to file something only to turn back around to see a grinning saboteur in his seat, pedes on his desk.
"Nah, don't think I will, Prowler," the TIC grinned. " 'Sides, Ah ain't got anywhere else to hang before Ah 'officially' return from recon."
"There are your quarters."
"S'too borin' in there!" Jazz sighed in mock distress. "Ah need something to keep meh entertained!"
Prowl scowled at him. "Please refrain from using my person as your source of entertainment."
The saboteur snickered, mock-leering at his friend. "Careful what ya say, Prowler. Some mechs might think yer offerin' something."
A confused expression crossed Prowl's face. "Offering? I do not believe my words implied more than what I said Jazz. Just what would I be offering other than my irritation?"
"Why, ya body of course," Jazz joked with a grin, winking his visor at his friend.
Prowl frowned. "What, using my body for parts? Why would any mech find that entertainment? That is extremely...extremely illogical." His processor was whirring now, finding 'body' and 'used for parts' to be an antonym to 'entertainment,' and thus illogical. He fought the tactical computer with all his strength. He had been doing so well against it lately, and that was saying something considering he was friends with Jazz.
The Praxian twitched his wings in annoyance as the visored mech chuckled. "Yeah, some parts they would use," replied Jazz.
"I don't know what you mean. You are confounding me. What parts? What is entertaining about this?" asked Prowl, crossing his arms.
There was a new look in the saboteur's visor, and the humour subsided and became thoughtful. "Prowl...tell me ya're jokin'. Can you seriously not know?"
"Not know about what!" hissed the doorwinger, clearly at the end of his tether.
Jazz shook his helm with a sigh. "Prowl…ya ever heard about interfacing?"
The chevroned helm shook from side to side. "I've heard it mentioned, but the only term for interface I know of is for data programs. I don't understand why this is so prevalent in mech conversations. They always laugh and smile about it too," he mused thoughtfully, missing the gobsmacked expression on the other black and white's face.
'Oh dear Primus,' Jazz thought, 'Ah have to give 'the talk' to my best friend.'
"Ya mean ya never asked yer carrier or creator where little bitty bots come from?"
Prowl's face immediately hardened into a mask that Jazz knew to be his emotional block. "My genitors and I hardly ever spoke, let alone for me to ask any sort of questions. And mechs come from Vector Sigma, Jazz. That is common knowledge."
Jazz groaned, his helm smacking Prowl's desk with enough force to clang loudly and make Prowl's doorwing twitch with the feedback. "PLEASE tell me yer jokin' and only tryin' to make me make a fool o' mahself!"
"Jazz, I am quite sure I do not know what you are talking about, but please remove yourself from my desk so that I may continue to work."
Seeing an opportunity to avoid an awkward discussion, Jazz jumped on it. Besides, he could always mention it to Ratchet later and let the 'Good Doctor' take care of it. After he was done laughing his aft off. "Sorry, no can do Prowler. Ah know that yer supposed to be off duty right now and Ah ain't watching you work yerself into stasis... again."
"You do not need to watch, Jazz," Prowl replied pensively. "You have your own quarters."
"Actually, not today. For some reason Wheeljack managed to blow up my quarters, but not yurs or Prime's. Sooo...it's here or nothin'," replied the visored mech.
Sighing, the chevroned mech asked, "So you're going to watch me work?"
"How did Wheeljack even manage to blow himself up this time?"
Grinning again, Jazz replied, "Oh, he wanted to see if his damage was lessened if he was working on something in his lab and it managed to blow up. So he was doing a handstand while he was working. Turned out he got damaged a heck of a lot worse."
Prowl stared. "He was...doing a handstand."
"Yup!" crowed Jazz, hoping his friend would find this funny.
He was proved wrong when suddenly Prowl's optics went blank, his body went limp, and he crashed to the floor.
For a moment, Jazz just stood there, staring at the 'offline' form of his friend before bursting into hysterics.
See, Prowl had a funny rod in him.
The hysterics petered off, and then he glanced at the still pretending Prowl. "Alright, Prowler, you can get up now. Ah admit the mental image wants to make meh faint too."
Prowl didn't move.
"Aw, c'mon, mech, yer not foolin' anybot."
The room remained silent, Prowl still crumpled on the floor.
Silence. Not even a twitch of a doorwing.
"Prowl?" A note of unease crept into the saboteur's tone as he stood and went to the mech... who was really offline with overheating systems if his scan indicated anything. His tank dropped out of his abdomen.
:- RATCHET! -:
:-What?-: replied the medic.
:-Ah think I broke Prowler! Ah thought he was jokin', but he's still and overheatin' and Ah don't know what to do!-: yelled Jazz, freaking out. He'd never seen anything like this before.
Ratchet merely sighed over the comm. line. :-Calm down. I think I know what this is. Bring Prowl here and I'll set him to rights.-:
Jazz nodded, completely forgetting that the medic couldn't see him, before cutting the comm. line and kneeling on the floor. Hooking an arm under the legs and his other around the shoulder, making sure to be careful of those sensitive doorwings, the saboteur lifted the Praxian up, finding that Prowl was quite light for his frame size. It gave him little ease. What had he done to make Prowl to react in such a way?
He hurried down the halls, ignoring the odd looks from passerby that he was carrying the SIC in his arms.
Looking down at the blank face, Jazz felt guilt. The poor mech, offline and overheating. Right now the doorwinger was acting like a warm blanket, warming his plating where they touched.
"Alright, he should be good to go as soon as wakes up although he'll probably have a splitting processor ache," Ratchet sighed, unplugging the diagnostic machine from the link up on Prowl's neck. "That and he needs some serious recharge... Fragger's almost as bad as Red Alert."
Jazz wilted in relief where he stood to the side. Whatever he had done hadn't left any serious damage then. And then Ratchet wheeled on him.
"Alright you. What the frag did you say to him?"
Jazz blinked at him, a quick flicker of his visor. "Ah'm sorry, what?"
"What did you say? In clear words. You blew a few relays in his Logic Centre." The calm belayed the storm as the saying went.
"Er...well, Ah was tryin' to get him to laugh, and Ah joked about a statement he made to me and how it could be construed as 'wrong,' like interfacing wrong, and it turns out the Prowler has no idea what interfacin' even IS-"
"He doesn't?" Ratchet broke in, highly surprised. He made a note to inform the Praxian about it.
"Yup. Ah didn't wanna explain it, tellin' myself Ah'd tell ya, which Ah have...uh...and yeah, after that, Ah started talkin' about why Ah was in his office and Ah told him that Wheeljack..." Jazz's voice trailed off into a mumble, which prompted the red and white mech to whack him over the head with his wrench in frustration.
"Ah! Okay, okay. Jeez mech. Ah told Prowl that the reason why my quarters are unliveable for the next orn is because Wheeljack made something blow up while doing a handstand to see if he could lessen the damage!" blurted the saboteur, clutching his aching helm.
For such an intelligent mech, Jazz could be so stupid and dense.
He could pardon it by saying Jazz didn't know of the glitch, but it stands to reason that the visored mech should have known.
"You slagging fool," said Ratchet, gathering up his famous temper.
"What's so wrong with a joke!" Jazz demanded, covering his helm with his arms in case a wrench homed in on it... especially his sensitive audio horns.
"Do you read ANY of your fragging reports!" Ratchet's voice had risen again. "Don't answer. That was rhetorical question!"
Jazz snapped his mouth shut again.
"If you did bother to read any of them, you would know that our workaholic, bar-up-his-aft SIC has a processor glitch because of his fragging logic center and battle computer!"
Jazz glanced at Prowl in alarm. "He has a glitch?"
"His logic centre is extremely advanced and it was installed into him at a young age untested. It's left conflicting signals in his relays and logic functions. Anything that seems extremely illogical will fry circuits. That Wheeljack stunt you pulled just now sent his already overworked, undercharged processor into a lock-up."
The saboteur stared down at his offline friend. Glitches in their society were common enough that everyone knew about them, but rare enough that only the higher functioning cases were allowed to be in jobs of any precedent.
All the things the mech had to go through...
"Don't you dare turn on him because of this. You're the first real friend he's ever had you know," Ratchet threatened, waving his wrench in front of Jazz's nasal ridge.
Frowning at the medic, Jazz replied, "Ah thought ya knew me better than that. Ya know Ah have nothin' against glitches. Ah just...ah just don't understand why he wouldn't tell me himself. Ah mean, we've been pretty good friends for a little while now. Once ya crack his shell a bit, he is a really nice mech." Seeing Ratchet back down, the visored mech looked back down to Prowl. He reached out and gently stroked along the side of the faceplate, smiling, and turning to Ratchet. "Comm. me when he wakes up. A friends gotta be there for his mech, doesn't he?"
Smiling warmly - a contrast to his earlier temper - Ratchet said, "Of course."
Later on, Prowl awoke, fully expecting to see Ratchet there with a datapad to detail his systems. It was discombobulating, therefore, to have the grinning face of a certain saboteur above him, saying brightly, "Rise and shine sleepin' beauty!"
The berth actually prevented Prowl from flinching back in his surprise, but he still flinched.
Not many actually enjoyed coming out of a forced shut down to see grinning faceplates only a foot or so from their own.
"Jazz," Prowl said, tone measured and aware of exactly what had happened. "Would you mind moving your face so that I may see Ratchet? Unlike Mirage, you can't turn your face invisible."
Jazz stared down at him, the grin morphing into a gape. Then he swung himself away and dramatically clutched at his spark. "Ratchet! Mah poor spark! It's goin' into an attack! Prowler made a funny!"
Feeling his helm throb at his friend's exuberance, Prowl muttered in confusion, "I was only stating a fact."
"Hush you," Ratchet berated Jazz, coming into the tactician's view at last and frowning down at him. "Prowl, I know you've been doing fairly well as far as your crashes are concerned, but I must do some checks."
As soon as they were done, Prowl left, saying he had some paperwork he needed to catch up on. He didn't look once at either Jazz or Ratchet as he did so, his doorwings held high and almost too stiff as he left.
The black and white looked worriedly at the medic. "Ah thought he cleared it for today. He can't have that much to do already! Ya think...ya think he's really uncomfortable after glitchin' out in front of me Ratch?"
"Bingo," said the medic, leaning back on a berth and crossing his arms as he stared at the medbay doors in his musings. "If I know Prowl, and I know him fairly well, he's going to try and avoid you. He's feeling insecure, worried, and fearful that you will reject him as a friend. When he really sets his mind to it, Prowl can be one of the most difficult mechs on the Ark to locate if he doesn't want to be found."
"It took me a decacycle to track him down for a tank flush once," answered Ratchet with a grin.
Jazz stared at him. 'Frag.'
It was several metacycles later, almost a full month, before Jazz had finally managed to corner the Praxian. Ratchet hadn't been kidding when he had said that the SIC could be a slippery slagger when he wanted. He had used all manner of excuses, resources and the occasional 'necessary' visits to outposts.
If it hadn't been for the large contingent of Decepticons attacking Iacon, Jazz might still be playing this dance with his friend. He had never been so grateful for a fight before.
"You are one hard mech to pin down," Jazz said levelly, the undercurrent indicating his irritation well.
Prowl, to his credit, didn't flinch, but his doorwings did lower a fraction and the saboteur had to remind himself to be less irritated... Which he was, but he guessed that Prowl had been feeling like the lowest mech on Cybertron for the entire time.
"Jazz. What do you need, I am busy." His voice was controlled, cold. Considering that the Spy Master had him backed into a corner (literally), he didn't blame him.
"Ah need ya to talk to me," stated the saboteur plainly, smirking when the other mech scowled.
"We are," retorted the tactician.
"No. This is a confrontation after me tryin' to talk to ya ever since ya glitched," replied Jazz, seeing Prowl visibly blanch at the mention of his processor crash.
"If this is about you not wanting to be friends with a mech such as myself, I bid you good day and I need your reports by the next orn," said Prowl, his emotionless mask easily slipping into place as he tried to hide his hurt.
Sighing, Jazz grabbed the other mechs shoulders and pressed him back to the wall to make sure he stayed there. He had quite a few things to say, and he wanted Prowl to hear them truthfully. "First of all, ya ain't goin' anywhere. Second, Ah didn't say anythin' about not bein' friends with ya. So if ya could stop bein' so stubborn, hear what Ah have to say," the visored mech said lowly, noticing the surprise in the Praxian's wide blue optics...they were kinda pretty like that. Satisfied Prowl wasn't going to interrupt, Jazz went on. "Ah know ya haven't got a fantastic track record so far as friends are concerned. But believe me, Ah wanna be yur friend. Like, forever. Ya're funny when ya don't mean to be, ya're always there to talk to me, even when ya're busy, and ya let me be there for ya. We get along great, and we're a great team too. So Ah don't wanna throw that away. Now, about this little glitch of yurs, that's all it is. A little glitch. It doesn't make ya a lesser mech because look at ya! Yur the SIC and lead tactician! It doesn't impede yur job performance one bit. Sure, it's inconvenient, but ya know what? There are mechs who're glitchier than ya, and everyone likes 'em all the same. So don't ya dare think Ah'd cast ya aside just for one flaw."
"But... I have a glitch - " Prowl began uncertainly.
"Mech, yah have trouble listening!" Jazz groaned. He fixed Prowl with an intense stare. "Red Alert has a paranoia glitch."
Prowl frowned. "Yes Jazz, I know. I have read every report on all under my command and I have worked with him several times."
"And Ah still call 'im friend."
Prowl regarded the mech pinning him to the wall, his optics swirling with all the emotions just under the surface of his mask. One only had to look. "You mean it."
Jazz grinned, hearing the finality and disbelief in the Praxian's voice. "Ya better believe it, mech. Ain't nobot more serious than meh." He stepped away, allowing Prowl his space. "We're not all complete afts."
The SIC's optics dimmed a little. "I see." Hesitantly, almost shyly, he held out his servo.
The smile on the saboteur's face could have lit up a small star. "Friends," he said grasping the servo before pulling the stunned tactician into a hug.
One Vorn Later
Jazz nursed the dimly glowing cube of energon in his hands as he watched Prowl on the other side of the rec-room.
Something was bothering him about Prowl.
Not that there was anything wrong with Prowl. No, not at all, he was his normal rule abiding, workaholic, shy self. He had, however, managed to open up more to Jazz over the past vorn, where their friendship had grown in leaps and bounds. So much so that once, after a particularly bad mission into Darkmount, Jazz had felt safe enough in recharging with his friend - both for him not to hurt the Praxian and vice versa. It had kept his memory purges at bay.
So no, the mech himself or their friendship was not it.
But Jazz, the head of Spec. Ops., one of the best pranksters, morale booster, and Master Spy and Saboteur, couldn't put his finger on it.
For example, the one of the few times he had managed to drag the doorwinger to a party, a very drunk Bumblebee had tried to hit on him, much to Prowl's embarrassment. Jazz, however, nearly tore one of his best operatives apart for that – and for no reason! Other than, of course, Prowl being the innocent mech he was, had to be protected.
And he noticed the little things. Like how those high, proud wing panels would flutter ever so slightly when he came near. It was a sign that pleased him, made him smug to know that he was one of the select few who Prowl moved his doorwings for. And the way the Praxian walked, so full of grace, his hips swinging lightly from side to side.
What was it about Prowl that intrigued him so? It was driving his processor mad trying to figure out what it was.
The saboteur glanced up at the approaching mech. "Hey Bee..." And then the mech behind him, "'Raj."
"Commander," the blue and white towers mech grinned. He and Bumblebee exchanged a quick glance full of knowing when Jazz's attention returned to Prowl.
"He's overworkin' 'imself again," the TIC mumbled, bringing the rest of his energon to his lips and downing it. "Ratch told 'im to take it easy on the work... Not hide out in the rec room wit' it."
"You're thinking aloud again, Jazz," Bumblebee giggled.
"Yes. You have been...slightly distracted lately," murmured Mirage quietly, noting where the saboteurs gaze had returned.
"It's just the missions Ah'm thinkin' about." Jazz brushed the concern off easily, not noticing the second exchanged look his two best operatives did. Before either Mirage or Bumblebee could prod him further, another spec ops mech, Steamgust, came up to their table.
"Hello Commander, mechs," greeted the smaller mech.
The three murmured their own greetings, although Steamgust noticed that the black and white mech wasn't really paying attention. Like all Ops mechs were wont to do, such as their curiosity and sneaking abilities were, Steamgust looked in the direction that his Commander was and his own gaze fell on Prowl. At that moment, the Praxian dropped his datapad. Saying something to the mech he was talking to, the doorwinger stepped back, his doorwings facing the quartet of Ops mechs, and bent from the waist to retrieve it.
Steam gust whistled lowly. "Hot damn does that tactician have a nice aft! So shiny. Lotta things a mech could do with that, eh?"
Jazz's gaze snapped to the Ops minibot, lasering in on the wanting expression and feeling an indescribable wave of ... anger, wash through him.
"What?" His voice was quiet and all three mechs glanced at their commander, Steamgust looking extremely uncomfortable.
"I said he has a nice aft?"
"That is inappropriate talk, 'specially about yer commandin' officer. And Ah do not think that Prowl would appreciate you talkin' 'bout him like this."
"You have duties, Steamgust," Jazz continued coldly. "See to them."
The little green 'bot held his hands up in surrender and hurried off, glancing nervously over his shoulder before disappearing out of the rec room door.
Bumblebee whistled lowly while Mirage smirked. "Whoa Jazz. Never seen you be that cold to any mech apart from the Decepticons. I think...you're a little jealous."
Jazz's helm jerked up, his visor searching the spy's optics intently, mouth set in a straight line. "Didja just drink a few cubes of high-grade? Ah ain't jealous of Steamgust. He's an operative. And as for his comment, it was really inappropriate. Prowler's SIC. He deserves more respect than some lower mech usin' him as some sort of playthin'. Mechs better than that."
"As in, you."
The saboteur was very tempted to slap that little smirk off the noble's faceplates.
"Ah'm his friend," he argued.
"Friends commonly become something more," Bumblebee chimed in.
"Not to mention there's that bet that's been going on for the past half a vorn that you two would get together. So if a few other mechs have seen it..." Mirage trailed off at seeing his commander's expression, in complete denial. But there, hidden behind that visor, was a glimmer of satisfaction.
"Yeah? Well tell any mech who's on that bet they're gonna be very disappointed. Prowler and Ah are just friends, and that's all."
"Whatever you say Jazz," Mirage grinned. It was amusing how a mech so in tune with the others around him could be so blind to the same signs in himself.
Jazz just shook his helm, firm in his belief that he and Prowl were merely good friends.
Still, the saboteur found himself wondering just what would it be like. To come back to his quarters after a long, hard mission to an understanding hug and cuddle? Or to soothe the pain of the doorwinger whenever lives were lost in battle? To wrap his arms around that thin, lithe waist and see their contrasting patterns of black and white pressed together, white to black and black to white...
He shook his helm again. No. He and Prowl were friends! He had never had a single romantic thought about the admittedly well framed Autobot SIC.
Well...maybe that one he had just then would count. So one! And only because he was prompted to. So what? He thought that other mechs were handsome. Like Mirage. Some would say he was handsome. Or Sunstreaker. His vanity was there for a reason.
His optics, without his consent, drifted back to the other black and white. For some reason, he couldn't help but let his optics rove over that form, taking it in...
To make sure Prowl was all right of course. What sort of friend could he be if he wasn't looking out for his Prowler?
A bad one.
So, he was being a good friend by checking the Praxian over, lingering on those stiff doorwings to see if there were any flaws or dents, over that aft to see if it had been inappropriately pinched by a mech with less than good intentions.
And it was in that moment that Jazz's optics widened under his visor and he hurriedly looked away, staring down at the table with something close to a laser sight...
Oh... Oh frag.
This... He didn't know what to think of this. When? WHEN?
When had he gone and fallen for his best friend?
There was something not right about this. Especially since all of Optimus' and Ratchet's and even IRONHIDE'S indulgent glances and quiet smirks aimed at him made a world of sense now. Did he... Did he stare like that all the time?
The Master Spy buried his face in his hands in mortification.
Slag... The only good thing about this was that Prowl was too inexperienced to have noticed. Count the little blessing as the saying went.
"Jazz?" The saboteur's head snapped up, his visor flashing in alarm to stare into the concerned faceplates of his superior, friend and apparently crush. Prowl had tilted his head to side slightly, trying to get a better read on his friend. Jazz inwardly cursed at himself for thinking the action cute! "Are you alright? You seem unwell..."
Putting on a reassuring smile, Jazz replied, "Just feelin' a bit tired, that's all. How was your day?"
Prowl may have been naive in a lot of things, but he knew when a mech was trying to derail him from a particular subject. Why his friend was trying to divert him, trying to lie to him, made him even more concerned. "Are you sure?" he asked, "you have been 'tired' for a while."
The saboteur winced, but kept his smile firmly plastered. "Nah, mech. Ah'm fine."
Huffing in exasperation, with a flick of his doorwings, the Praxian left. If Jazz wasn't in the mood to talk to him, then he would leave. Jazz watched him go, feeling instantly guilty at the mask that had seamlessly slipped over the doorwingers face as he left. And he had just shut up and sat here like an idiot while his crush left, disappointed. Slumping forward, he murmured, "Smooth, Jazz-man, smooth. Grade A work."
A Metacycle later
"You are moping."
"I'm sorry?" Prowl glanced from the datapad he had been trying to concentrate on to look at Red Alert.
"You-" Red Alert pointed at his superior. "Are moping."
Prowl frowned. "I believe you are mistaken. I do not mope."
The security director shrugged. "Then you're upset over something."
An optic ridge raised. "What would give you that impression?"
"Because we've covered the same material three times now."
Prowl shuttered his optics slowly before he looked at his marked datapad. Oh. It already had notes. Prowl groaned inwardly. What was wrong with him? Oh, yeah, he remembered. Jazz hadn't spoken to him outside of work for the past metacycle...
Red Alert, as tentative as Prowl was with social skills, suggested, "I know that I am at my worst when Inferno and I have disagreements in our friendship. He's always trying to get me to refuel when I insist there is no reason for me to. When we don't talk to each other...it's not a feeling I would wish on anybot...perhaps such a situation has happened with you and Jazz?"
The Praxian sighed. He may as well talk about it to the security mech. He could keep secrets like no other. "He's been rather distant from me recently. It's odd...I haven't done anything to upset him that I know of, and when I try to find him to ask him what's wrong, he brushes me off. I...I don't...it-"
"It hurts," supplied Red Alert helpfully, and Prowl nodded.
"He promised me we'd be friends forever. Said he didn't care for any of my inadequacies..." he trailed off under the red and white mechs thoughtful gaze on him.
"I've heard rumours," began Red Alert.
"What rumours?" asked Prowl.
"Well, I think he's got this huge fixation on somebot. There's a rumour that he's exclusive now. Maybe that's why he's being distant?" It was the truth, but not quite. Red Alert may have paranoia attacks from time to time, but it in no way meant he was stupid. He knew who Jazz had his fixation on and he knew who he wanted to be exclusive with.
The problem was that the saboteur was used to flings. He didn't know how to deal with deeper feelings.
Same with Prowl.
Prowl loved Jazz. It was obvious to the Security Director, watching his love struck older brothers day in and day out. If they didn't hurry up and make their move, he was going to lock them in a closet with Ratchet. Seriously. The dancing around each other was getting annoying. Another problem was that while Jazz didn't know how to deal with deep feelings, Prowl was so awkward and insecure in everything but work that he didn't know how to work with emotions at all.
He watched the SIC's face harden into its mask, closing himself off emotionally. "Is that so?"
Red Alert nodded. "From what I hear. I've certainly seen signs to support it, but I think others are taking it too far."
"Hhmm. It gives no logical credence as to why he might be avoiding me..." Prowl mused aloud, while Red Alert stayed silent. He would let his superior stew over that for a bit, allow him to draw his own conclusion. After a few breems of silence, the Praxian continued, "Unless he felt that this possible relationship is blocked by our friendship...or maybe his words are just empty words and he never meant it at all."
The security mech was very tempted, in that moment, to facepalm. Leave it to Prowl to not consider the truth.
This meant he would need to bring out the big guns. While Prowl fell silent again, Red put a comm through to Mirage. If anybot could get Jazz to listen to them, it was Mirage and Bumblebee, Mirage more so because he was more experienced than the yellow scout. :: Mirage, this is Red Alert.::
::How can I help you sir?:: replied the Noble.
::It's a very personal and delicate matter,:: he warned.
::I'm sure you've noticed Jazz's lovestruck behaviour. If you are as tired of it as I am, I have a mission for you.::
::Ah, I was thinking of that actually. I'm glad someone shares my sentiments. We need to get these two together.::
Red Alert fought to hide his smirk. ::Do what you can. If nothing is done soon, I think the chance may be lost before our commanders drift apart for good.::
::Yes sir, Mirage out.::
Once this was done, Red Alert turned to Prowl and said, "Jazz isn't that petty. He would tell you. I'm sure he's just doing the uncharacteristic thing and thinking."
"Yes," Prowl said quietly before suddenly straightening and repeating it louder, looking far more relieved. Apparently he'd come to that conclusion. "Perhaps he just needs space to think. I am hardly the mech to talk to about such things."
'Preaching to the masses,' Red Alert thought in amusement.
A few orns later
Jazz's servo tightened on his ration, his optic trailing after the two Praxians crossing the room.
Again. Smokescreen was with him AGAIN! What the frag was that about?
"Ah, it looks like things are working out," Sideswipe said contentedly from his left, having been employed (unknowingly to Jazz) by his little brother, Mirage and Smokescreen to help out.
"Workin' out?" Jazz murmured in question, still watching as Prowl and Smokescreen chatted amiably. There was a little smirk on Prowl's lips, one he was accustomed to seeing only in privacy.
"Yeah, between Smokey and our resident stick-up-his-aft." Sideswipe ignored the glower on purpose. Just because Jazz was love struck didn't mean he gave up his opinions. "Mech came to me with his problem. Seems he's always had his optics on Prowl, but he just didn't know how to approach him. He certainly cared enough not to gamble everything with a night of passion. Me and Sunny helped him out."
"And how did ya do that?" the saboteur asked suspiciously, trying to tramp down the images in his processor of doing things that were very slow and painful to Smokescreen for even thinking things like that about Prowl. He was tempted to get Sideswipe too, but he couldn't blame him...entirely.
Shrugging, the red hellion said, "Reminded him he could always formally court Prowl. And tease him about his doorwings. You remember how we broke in Bluestreak? Well, Smokescreen remembered all the good things about being a Praxian in frame and plans to use 'em on Prowl. We were talking about him just touching the doorwings and..." Sideswipe fought hard to hide his grin as a low growl emanated from deep in the visored mechs chest. Looks like this plan was going all too well.
"Plans on goin' the whole hog with Prowl. Ya know, romancin', interfacin', maybe bondin'," Sideswipe went on. Now, he was hamming it up, but if it got Jazz moving faster, he'd toast himself with some high grade and a picture of a certain medic.
Jazz heard the words and felt something within him quiver with anger. Smokescreen didn't deserve Prowl! The mech was a gambler! Not to mention they would be completely incompatible.
"Pfft, as if they'd last," he said, trying to carry on a normal conversation.
"I don't know. Prowl and Smokey go back pretty far and they were friends before this. Not close friends, but Smokey knew about the whole glitch thing... And it apparently doesn't bother him. I think that's a big selling point to Prowl. Plus, from what Trailbreaker has been telling me, Smokey talks almost non-stop about Prowl on card nights. Mech's infatuated and it looks like Prowl is warming up." He gestured airily to the chatting mechs.
The cube in Jazz's servo made a cracking noise and his servo was shaking. Sideswipe sat up, pulling up a concerned face to act with. "Jazz, you okay buddy?"
"Fine," the TIC said shortly, standing and stalking off.
He missed the triumphant grin Sideswipe shot his brother across the room.
Meanwhile, with the Praxians
"Thanks for looking at this, Prowl. I appreciate it."
"No need to thank me, Smokescreen. Your theory is sound, and it would make a good contingency in the case of an emergency. I don't know why Red Alert hasn't looked at it yet."
"He's in the medbay."
"Oh?" Prowl looked at him, surprised.
"Passed out. Mech works himself to exhaustion. Not unlike a certain little brother I know..."
"Do not pull me into this." Prowl looked at his older brother flatly.
The orange and light blue mech shrugged. "Remind me again why we keep the fact that we're brothers secret."
"For the same reasons Red Alert and the Twins keep their own relationship quiet. The chances that you would be targeted are too high."
"Always knew you cared."
Prowl gave his older brother a flat look, and Smokescreen knew that there was care in those light blue optics. Shifting his gaze over to the side for a moment, he inwardly smirked. Yep, the plan was going along swimmingly. He was playing his part well. It looked like Jazz was going to come over and slag him just for talking to Prowl. As the saboteur left, looking furious, he turned his attention back to the other black and white.
"So, little brother, when are you going to find someone to care for you, hmm?" he asked.
The tactician turned his helm to the side, and this tiny, small smile crossed his face as he replied, a bit bashful, "Smokescreen, it is none of your concern."
"It is my concern. Ya need a nice warm frame to cuddle up with you and keep you functioning when I'm away," the yellow chevroned mech snickered, watching as the white faceplates heated in an endearing way.
"Promise not to tell, Smokey?" Prowl asked, voice so quiet and so uncharacteristically vulnerable that Smokescreen knew, without a doubt, that Prowl was serious and just a little afraid of revealing something that was kept so hidden, kept just as shielded as his real emotions. Smile dropping from his face, he nodded and replied, "If it means so much to you, brother."
Sighing, the younger mech admitted, "Truth be told, there's really no mech I can picture ever being with...except for...well...except for Jazz. He's been my friend for so long, the only one who really cares and..."
Prowl broke off as Smokescreen grabbed him and tugged him out of the rec-room until they were in his quarters. Once there, the older Praxian laughed in glee and hugged his brother to him excitedly. "I knew it! I couldn't be sure of course, but I had a suspicion and...oh Prowl, this is wonderful!"
The black and white Praxian stared at his brother in shock. "You knew? You... was I that obvious."
"A little," Smokescreen chuckled.
"Oh... Oh Primus! Do you think that's why Jazz has not been speaking to me?"
Smokescreen frowned. "Now wait just a klik..."
"It HAS to be! I've messed it up! I made a grave miscalculation and... mmf!"
Smokescreen had clapped a hand over his brother's mouth with a snort of amusement. "Now don't be going all Red Alert on me now. I like your glitch just fine. I know how to deal with that..." He pulled his hand away from the embarrassed Prowl. "Now I don't think that's why at all. And if it is then the slagger's not worth your time. Seriously. He still needs to pass the big brother test." His grin promised things that Prowl, if he was honest with himself, didn't really want to know.
"They just went into Smokey's room," Bumblebee reported dutifully, having answered his commander's comm. "I don't see why it matters. I'd be happy if Prowl found somebody. He needs it."
Something red flashed in front of the visored mechs optics as the news reached his audials. His spark seemed to coil in anger, and he felt a definite need for violence. Prowl, as far as he knew, was still an untouched mech. For Smokescreen to...to...before they even officially went out! How dare he? Prowl was probably confused, following Smokescreen's every instruction because he trusted the other Praxian.
What to do? Break down the door to rescue his crush from such a violation?
Or just...sit back and not interfere. Who was he to claim the graceful black and white doorwinger?
But...he wanted Prowl. The revelation may have only been a decacyle ago, but he wanted the mech. Wanted that lovely warm frame in his arms. Wanted to be the one to teach him about the most intimate act they could ever do...
He remembered what was most likely happening in Smokescreen's quarters right now.
Jazz snarled. No one was going to mess with HIS Prowler.
Stalking down the halls, the visored mech reached his destination in little time, panting from his anger as he heard soft voices talking with each other.
It ended now.
The calming game of Overlord that he had coerced Smokescreen into playing came to an abrupt end.
A very abrupt end.
There had been a knock at the door, loud and demanding and Prowl had shot a curious look at his brother who shrugged. "Probably somebody I forgot to tally into a bet."
That turned curious into disapproving, but Smokescreen was already up and across the room. He grinned back at his little brother before he opened the door... and immediately stumbled back with a surprised yelp of pain. A black fist had collided with his faceplates, sending him to the ground.
Prowl was up on his feet, ready to pull rank before his idiot sibling could get his aft beat, when a familiar form stepped in radiating fury and an intense intent to kill. "Jazz?"
The saboteur either didn't hear him or was ignoring him as he stood over Smokescreen, grabbing the mech by his collar armour. "I dunno what yer thinkin' of doin' to MAH Prowler, but I'm here to make sure ya think twice."
Prowl's spark gave a lurch as he heard the words 'my Prowler.' But before he could pay any attention to that, he gave out a barked cry as he saw his brother get slammed into the wall by the vibrating, angry form of the saboteur. "Jazz, drop him!"
Snarling, the visored mech turned his helm around to growl at the intruder into his 'bash Smokescreen' time, but he felt his ire decrease as he saw a very angry and confused Prowl, and (unwillingly), he released the elder Praxian to move to his friend/crush/love and check him over with his optics. "Where did he hurt ya Prowler? Ya can tell me," he said, voice low with restrained anger for the mech, slumped and moaning, behind them.
"He didn't hurt me at all! I don't understand," murmured the Praxian, his doorwings high in his shock. After a metacyle of Jazz not talking to him, now he wanted to save him from Smokescreen? For what?
Sighing, the saboteur reached a hand forward. For a second, it looked like he was going to cup the tactician's cheek, before the hand dropped to his shoulder. "Ah...Ah thought that he was bringin' ya back here to interface with ya. And...Ah know ya've never had any real idea about it and..." Jazz trailed off, feeling suddenly embarrassed by his impetuousness.
Smokescreen, still reeling, managed to be conscious to pull himself to the door, get out and lock it behind him. As awkward as that conversation was going to be, if they came out holding hands and will heated faceplates, it would all be worth it. He chuckled in his mind at the thought that anyone would think he and Prowl lovers!
Both black and whites didn't notice the colourful mech leave.
"Why would you think us lovers?" Prowl asked incredulously.
"Ya have been spending more time with him lately, ya always smile for him like ya smile for me, and he dragged ya in here! What was Ah supposed to think? And everyone was sayin' how it'd be good for you to have somebot and that Smokey was just right for ya and all," Jazz babbled, now feeling more embarrassed than ever. So much for the smooth rescue of the Praxian's innocence.
Oddly enough, Prowl smiled. A smile that turned into a soft laugh.
"What?" asked the visored mech.
Prowl shook his head in amusement. "Smokescreen and I are not lovers. Nor was he courting me, if that was how it appeared to you. We are in a relationship..." He cut of the growl with an upraised hand. "But not in the way you are thinking. Smokescreen is my older brother, Jazz."
There was a beat of silence where Jazz stood there in his shock, just gaping. "You... and Smokey...?"
"Are brothers, yes." Prowl chuckled. "It is only natural that we spend time with one another. Our sibling relationship has always been a strong one, which I am grateful for..." His voice became quiet. "Especially recently."
Jazz gave him a look of confusion. Was somebody messing with Prowl? Threatening him? He'd make sure they regretted it!
Prowl however was now looking at the floor. "I... I was afraid that you had stopped wishing to be my friend. You have been avoiding me and I have missed your company greatly..." His faceplates heated in the wake of his truth.
Jazz felt his spark contract under the quiet, saddened tone. "No, Prowler, no. Don't evah think that." Gathering his courage he moved his servo from the Praxian's shoulder to tip his chin up so he could stare his friend in the optics. "Ah'm a jerk for makin' ya feel like ah didn' want ta be around ya. Ah'm sorry. Ah... ah love you too much and the thought that ah might scare ya away..."
Hope bloomed in both the chevroned mechs spark and expression, but he had to ask. There was no way of being 100% certain otherwise. "How much?"
The question was incomplete, but Jazz replied anyway. He traced a thumb over the soft, white, untouched lipplates before he said, "Ah love ya. Not in the way a friend loves ya. But more. Ya know...that feeling when ya've been doin' the motions of somethin', and it's not till someone points it out that you realise what that motion was? That was me a little bit more than a decacycle ago. Ah didn't know how much Ah loved ya until Raj 'n' Bee showed me." It all tumbled out, soft, yielding himself to vulnerability.
Prowl smiled. It was what he had wanted to hear for some time. To know that he was loved, cherished. "You were a jerk. But I forgive you. I...I care for you in that way too."
Jazz's gaze flew to Prowl's face. "Ya mean it, Prowler?"
Prowl nodded, face flushed with a tint of pink, optics nervous. "I do. I think... I think I have for longer than I realized too."
The elated grin that grew on the saboteur's face threatened to spread to Prowl's own. He felt a tentative arm wrap around his waist and pull him closer, the hand on his cheek tilting his face up a little. He and Jazz were the same height, and he could see the faint outline of shining blue optics under the visor. "Ah really want ta kiss ya right now," Jazz murmured.
"Then do," the doorwinger whispered, optics trusting.
"But...ya've never done it. Ah don't want to scare ya off or make ya uncomfortable," the visored mech objected quietly, letting his fingers stroke the cheek seam.
"I trust you." The statement was so firm, a universal absolute. Jazz smiled, pressing their forehelms together, so close, so very close. All he needed to bridge the gap was to tilt his helm and press in. Prowl's optics shuttered and his doorwings fluttered in anticipation.
"Beautiful," Jazz whispered against the other's lips, and finally pressed in, lips seeking gentle contact with the ones they wanted. At the touch of lips to lips, a rush of warmth traversed both frames. It was soft, chaste, unerringly sweet. Prowl's doorwings fluttered once more, happily as he pressed into the contact, asking for more, to be taught. It was wonderful, having his love so close to him. His first kiss!
They both pulled away, slightly breathless and leaned their forehelms together. "Wow," Prowl said quietly.
"Ya said it, Prowler," Jazz chuckled, hugging him close.
"So, Jazz... Why did you think Smokescreen was trying to court me?"
"Ah, well, ah noticed that he was spendin' alot o' time 'round ya, and Sideswipe was sayin'..." And that was when he got it. "Oh, they're good."
Jazz grinned and leaned in to place a little peck against the SIC's lips, revelling in the fact that he could. "Nothin' Prowler. It's nothin'."
And Smokescreen watched, pleased, with Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Red Alert, Mirage and Bumblebee in the security room as their two superior officers walked down the hall, servo in servo.
A/N: OH MY GOSH! THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE LONGEST CHAPTER WE'VE EVER DONE! (or close to it).
That being said, we would both love it if you would review and let us know if you liked it. We really hope you like it because this Arc will (hopefully) fill in EVERYTHING that may have been in the other Arc's that wasn't ever really expanded on.