A/N: Here we go again! We both hope you enjoy this chapter. It's angsty, it's bitter, it's sweet. It's everything I hoped it would be. Thank you to all of you who reviewed and favourited this story!
Warnings: Sticky mech on mech interfacing, mentions of sparkling death and violence, angst.
Disclaimer: No, I do not own Transformers.
AND! Not to mention a humungous shout out to the wonderful, the hilarious, the encouraging, KATEA-NUI! She's an awesome writer and I adore writing this series with her.
Feeling Complete – Chapter 3
Prowl was trying to recharge, but knew it was a fruitless exercise.
Ever since his sparkling had...had...and the medbay...and the knowledge that it was all his fault. Jazz promised him that it was all going to be okay. How could it? He had lost the being he had been nurturing due to his own confidence in his battle plans.
He ejected a dry sob to the air. He had cried so much that the reservoirs of optic fluid had been depleted.
Prowl felt so wretched, and wished his mate wasn't being so loving and supportive. Where was the blame? It was all his fault...all his fault...his...he had, in effect, killed his sparkling. He let another keen out, hugging his pillow to him. Well, at least Jazz had left him alone in his misery. He had stopped the flow of the bond as to not burden his mate with his problems. He didn't know where he went.
Something about Prime?
Soft footsteps sounded in their living room, and the Praxian knew his bondmate was back.
"Prowler," Jazz murmured, spark sinking at the dejected form of Prowl, doorwings still slumped and tear tracks etched plainly on his faceplates.
Prowl didn't reply, only dry sobbed harder.
"Prime's...Prime's given us approval to get out of here," the saboteur went on, approaching the berth and sitting on the edge, placing a hand on Prowl's hip.
Prowl was torn. Half of him didn't want to move. Wanted to stay here, curled up on his berth and just... waste away. The other half, the half that was very much alive with feelings of Jazz, wanted to escape the constricting pressure and atmosphere of his self loathing. Of the reminder.
Not knowing what to do, he broadcast his helplessness to his mate, feeling gentle servos graze his shoulders before a warm frame pressed against his back. He twisted to press his face into Jazz's neck, his frame trembling with the occasional sob.
"It's okay, babe. Ah know..." the saboteur murmured in his audio. "Ah know."
"So you're going?"
Jazz turned around, slightly surprised to see the former Decepticon Air Commander and Second in Command standing just inside the entrance to the Ark, watching his wingmates as they flew lazily in the distance. "Yeah. Gotta get Prowl outta here... Ah can't keep 'im in a place that's only crushin' his spark more."
"I agree," the Seeker said quietly, turning his helm so that he looked at the saboteur, watching the methodical movements as Jazz packed enough energon and supplies for the trip. "I am sorry for your loss. As much as some Seekers do not like to admit it...Praxian are Seeker kin. It was truly cruel for such thing to happen."
The visored mech let out a bitter chuckle. "Yeah. Maybe Hawaii can lighten the mood for the both of us."
Those red optics softened ever so slightly with compassion. "You are a good mate for him."
"Thanks Screamer." Jazz smiled crookedly when the detested nickname was heard by the jet, who scowled.
"Whatever. I do have something to ask you," Starscream said. "I want to go after Shockwave. Not only did he threaten the lives of the triplets, but he...well, you are feeling that all too well. And he's not fit to be functioning after all of the slag he's done." He vented, letting his suddenly murderous emotions that he had tramped down calm, put the slagger mostly out of his mind as he asked, "So...do you want to find him with me? Make him pay and affix his antennae on the wall as trophies?"
Jazz stared long and hard at the Seeker. "Ya serious?"
"As serious as your Prime is about ending this war." A dark look passed over the Seekers gun metal faceplates. "Are you in?"
A mirthless laugh fell from the saboteur's lips. "Ya have ta ask?"
Starscream smirked. "I suppose not." The smirk was gone just as quickly. "Don't tell anyone. Not even your mate. The less who know, the better, seeing as it'll leave no chance for anybody to get word of it." The jet paused, his optics slipping back to his wingmates. "And the safer we can keep others."
"Ah hear ya."
Both turned to see the CMO striding down the hall to the entrance, datapad in servo and a twin on either side. Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were taking no chances with their mate and their sparklings were with Wheeljack and Bluestreak at the moment. "Here." The red and white mech shoved the datapad into the startled servos of his superior. "That's for Prowl. He's lost a lot of energy and that'll let you know what will be good for his systems and what isn't. Also, there are instructions just in case he crashes. Normally, I wouldn't worry, but given the circumstances..."
Jazz gripped the datapad a little tighter, his gaze shifting to the floor. Yes, given the circumstances, it would be easier for something to send Prowl's circuits into a state of haywire and induce a crash. Which could be disastrous with many of his firewalls weakened.
"Jazz..." Ratchet's servo hovered in the air between them, unsure if he should comfort or even if it would be welcomed. "Jazz, I'm sorr-"
Ratchet blinked at the sudden fierce conviction in the Porsche's voice. "What."
"Don't. Don't apologize, Ratch. Ya have NOTHIN' to be sorry for." His visor flashed. "Prowl and Ah may have lost our... our first chance at a new future together, but we would do it again, even knowin' the outcome. Apologizin' only makes Prowl's sacrifice seem like it was nothin'."
A small smile pulled at the corner of Ratchet's lips. "You're right. Then, I guess... be safe is the only other thing I can offer."
Jazz smiled and reached out to pull the CMO and his very good friend into a hug. "We'll be back causin' and stoppin' trouble before ya know it."
"Primus save us all..." Ratchet mumbled, hugging back before separating, nodding an acknowledgement to Starscream and waving as he and the Twins returned into the Ark.
It was quiet for a few moments before the Seeker turned to the black and white. "I'll work on an outline to send you. We'll need to strike fast and be as unpredictable as possible. Shockwave is a crafty fragger, but work outside the box and he has trouble keeping up." The Seeker smirked as Jazz nodded his understanding. "Besides, Hawaii is quite a drive and a swim... you'll need something to keep you busy."
With that, he folded into jet mode and streaked across the sky to join his trine, leaving the saboteur with a feeling that things were going to be changing soon.
It couldn't have come too soon.
Inside of Skyfire's hull, Prowl and Jazz were in car form, making sure their EM fields were tucked close to their frames. Skyfire was generous enough to fly them there, and neither wanted to burden him with the gravity of their emotions.
Prowl was having trouble not keening out his continued anguish. His spark kept searching for the little bundle of love, even though the presence of the hole was heavily pronounced. Jazz had been silent too, not talking to him much.
They had talked a bit though. Enough for Prowl to feel a fraction better when it came to his mate. Jazz had assured him he didn't blame him for losing the sparkling, and that, if anything, the strength to continue with life had made his love and respect increase. It was a comfort in such a time of sadness. He didn't really care where they were going. Didn't care about what they were leaving behind (although he had approved a few electronic requests without even looking at them. He didn't even care about what he had licensed to happen!). All he wanted was this pain to go away.
"ETA to main island, Hawai'i, fifteen minutes," Skyfire informed them quietly.
Jazz sent him a ping in affirmation.
They were going to see two islands. The big island, Hawai'i, and Maui. Jazz could only hope it would signal the beginning of something new for he and Prowl. A healing of wounds, a blossom of understanding and more love.
Thank goodness that a retired police officer Prowl had worked with once, Officer Renwick Kuuai, was letting them stay at his property on the big island. It saved a lot of hassle for Jazz, who planned this trip so rapidly.
When they finally touched down at Hilo International Airport, the Porsche had to nudge his Datsun partner gently to remind him to exit. Prowl said nothing, driving down slowly and following cues from humans. Jazz was left to organise. A position that was foreign to him without Prowl right there by his side. Once everything was sorted out with the authorities, he nudged the cop car again before they set off for the property near a place called Wailuku River State Park. Neither black and white could find it in them to admire the new terrain or the beauty of it.
Prowl sat on the beach, the sound of the surf pounding on the sand soothing... calming. And echoing.
He liked it. It drowned his thoughts, his hurt... but it was all still there under the surface. He doubted the pain would ever go away. It seemed to be an endless thing. It would come upon him when he tried to recharge at night. He wasn't even sure if getting away was doing any good.
Jazz had to disagree. It was their second day in and already Prowl seemed calmer, less inclined to sit and weep for hours on end, though he still wiped away tears during recharge hours. Even so, it was doing them both good. Not to mention, his own mood seemed to be bleeding over their bond which he had implored Prowl to keep open.
"What is so funny?"
The saboteur glanced down at the chevroned helm in his lap. His grin was splitting his faceplates. "Just got a comm. from Ratchet."
"Yep." The grin got wider. "Prime and Screamer got over-energized last night. In Prime's quarters."
A slow blink was his answer. "No?"
"No... Really, no."
Jazz just smiled at his mate.
"Dear Primus you're serious."
Jazz snickered. "I wouldn't even know that if I hadn't guessed when Hatchet called to check-up and he mentioned Prime and Screamer were in the medbay gettin' looked over."
Prowl groaned, "Please tell me they just got drunk and that was it. Please. Please save my processor from the mental images."
His mate giggled and stroked over his chevron, before going, "Nope. They got more than drunk. One very awkward one night stand."
The tactician could only sigh as his mate broke out into fits of giggles. If he had been in his usual mood, he might have laughed along. Now all he could feel was a kind of weary resignation. He curled into Jazz's lap more, winding his arms around his waist in a desperate bid to keep him from sinking ever deeper into the chasm of loss he was trying to crawl out of. Jazz detected it immediately and pulled him up so his helm was now tucked into his neck.
"Ah didn't know the thought of Prime and Screamer together made ya want to cry," the saboteur joked weakly, knowing it could be interpreted two ways.
Prowl sighed again, although he transmitted through their bond that it was kind of funny.
"It's beautiful here," he said after a while. "I'm glad you brought me, love. I don't deserve you sometimes."
"No, no, babe. Sometimes Ah feel that way too, but it only cements that we really do deserve each other. Even like this...you complete me."
"And you, me," Prowl confirmed quietly, letting the pulse of his mate's spark soothe his fear and sadness back.
He concentrated on the slow movements of Jazz's servo rubbing down his back, along a doorwing, the back of his and on to complete the circuit again. It was... comforting in a way Prowl had never appreciated more than right at this moment.
"Prime and Starscream."
"M-hm." Jazz grinned.
"It will remain a one night stand."
"Ya sure 'bout that babe?"
"It will." The conviction in Prowl's voice left no room for argument and Jazz was torn between wanting to snicker and want to laugh with his joy. Prowl almost sounded normal for a moment.
The sun beat down on them, warming their plating and Prowl drifted into a light doze, rest being what his body demanded after being deprived by restless recharge cycles.
It was night time. Refreshed after his afternoon nap, Prowl wandered up and down the secluded beach area that was all his and Jazz's for a few weeks. Every now and then he would spot a pretty shell or a piece of sea glass and tuck it away in his subspace. His reason being that they would make for good gifts and educational tools for the triplets upon their return.
Soon, he began humming. That same little song he had learned as a youngling, the one he had planned on singing to his own creation. It didn't bring him the sadness he thought it would. Picking up a large, purple shell, a rather novel idea occurred to him. They hadn't created their protoform yet. And the spark, once gone, merely dispersed into the atmosphere, or in a sparklets case if destroyed, absorbed what was left back into the creator's spark. Maybe what was keeping him on the brink of misery was the lack of closure he had received. Nothing to pay his respects to. Nothing to bury.
The shell was large, fitting into the palm of his hand. He brought it up to his chest, still humming.
Prowl walked further down the beach until he came to a palm tree with a few bushes of white flowers near the base. Kneeling in the sand - taking no notice of the grains working their way into his joints, he scooped away a portion of the sand and placed the shell on it.
Part of him felt silly. It was a shell, no comparison. But he inflected meaning on it. Slowly, methodically covering up the sand, he sung, "Farewell, farewell, back to the Well, greet all our past and embrace them. Don't cry that I'm still living and I won't cry that you're gone. It's a circle of life, no matter how we don't like it as it rolls along." The doorwinger continued to sing well after the shell was covered. It was only when he heard footsteps behind him that he stopped, the sudden silence hanging, suspended between them.
"That was beautiful, Prowler," whispered Jazz, kneeling beside him and wrapping an arm around him.
Prowl couldn't reply, a sudden need welling up with him, so he turned and brought his mouth to his bondmates, seeking for love, seeking for affirmation that they were still strong together.
And his silent plea was answered in the almost scalding kiss that greeted him even as they fell back and he sprawled over his lover. Their mouths never once breaking contact, Prowl's servos feverishly searched for everything he knew was Jazz. His angles, his seams, his cables... Everything as he relearned territory he already knew and could map in his cortex without looking.
Jazz was far from idle, his own need to have his lover with him in all senses of the word once more, strong. One servo pressed against the back of Prowl's smooth helm, deepening the kiss for exploring glossae and eager, sucking kisses that had both ex-venting desperately when they broke away to stare at the other.
Jazz's visor clicked back, cobalt meeting beautiful electric blue and it was like a deep, dark weight lifted from their shoulders.
They collided again, sand flying and grinding into their joints which they ignored. The cool evening breeze made their frames feel as if they were on fire where they touched, sensitizing plating as their arousal climbed.
"Prowler..." Jazz breathed, one knee hooking over his lover's waist and pulling him impossibly closer.
The answering shudder was accompanied with a whined, "Need you...to be with you."
The saboteur knew what his mate needed and clicked open his panel, keeping his spike tucked firmly away as his valve was bared to his love. Prowl needed some control and he was ever too willing to give it. He purred, nuzzling up against his neck and rolling his hips up so the heat from his components brushed against the Praxian's hip plating. "Baby, Ah'm all yours."
Prowl moaned, two fingers slithering down his mate's lithe body to tease the valve lining, already slick, before pushing in and wriggling them around, brushing every single sensor node in his frantic desire to please, to prove himself.
"Nnngh," groaned Jazz, already wanting more. This was not enough. Nowhere near enough. They needed to be connected.
"Beautiful Jazz," murmured Prowl, thrusting and wiggling his fingers in and out, burning with pleasure, tempering all his sadness. All he could feel was love as it was shoved through their bond, and he returned in full. Stress melted away. This was what mattered. The feeling of togetherness.
Knowing they both couldn't wait, the doorwinger wrapped his lover's legs around him and slid smoothly into the wonderful tightness of Jazz.
They keened, gripping each other hard, forcing their plating into contact, needing that closeness, needing that friction.
Prowl moved slowly, tenderly, but with no less intensity than what he had in preparing his mate. It was wonderful and yet sobering, exhilarating and yet bittersweet. Their mouths came into contact again, pressing into hot, needy kisses and panting and whimpering into each other.
Jazz was the first to unlock his chestplates, not parting them yet, but begging, "Ah...Ah need to feel ya babe. Sweetspark, join with me. Ah love you. Come back home."
Prowl felt something inside of him break. With a sob, his chest plates split apart, almost hurting with how quickly they slid aside to reveal his desperate spark. "I want to come home."
"And Ah'll welcome ya with open arms." Jazz assured, pulling his lover down until their sparks brushed.
The first tendril of brushing energy drew a keen from pearl white lips and then they were crashing together with all the ferocity of a train wreck, falling into the endless stream of their love for each other. Hurt was sought out and soothed. Tears were brushed away. Hope was replaced. Love was strengthened.
Through it all they kissed and called each other's designations, Prowl pistoning his hips as Jazz's own rose to match him, hard, fast, unconquerable...
A flash of blinding white light from their sparks lit their area as release crashed through them both simultaneously. There was no definitions here in this place of blinding emotion, and everything ceased to exist except for the entity of Prowl-and-Jazz, melded together, whole and strong once more. They screamed out each other's designations, before both slumped, offline from the sheer force of their overload.
Jazz was first to wake, noting their sparks were still connected, a lovely feeling of warmth filling him from top to toe. He purred, sliding his mouth along a chevron point to entice his lover to wake.
Prowl finally onlined, completely strutless and relaxed in post-overload bliss. He felt almost whole again. "I love you," he whispered, lacing his hands with smooth black ones.
"I love you," replied Jazz, relishing the words each time they came out of his mouth. No matter how much they uttered it to each other, it never got less true.
The chevroned mech reluctantly leaned back, disentangling his spark from his mate's and pulling free of the hot, fluid filled valve. Jazz gasped as he did so, sticky strings of overload connecting them in their lower regions. They closed their chestplates and stood together, looking at each other lovingly in the moonlight. Jazz twined their hands again, and they walked back to the lean-to that served as their resting place at night. Clicking down his visor, he smirked and said softly, "We need a wash tomorrow. Sand everywhere."
"Mmm...but for now, snuggling. You can have your hands all over me tomorrow," teased Prowl softly.
Seeing his mates blissful smile, Jazz could only laugh.
Three Weeks Later
"Prowl! Prowl! C'mere!" The Praxian official reluctantly opened his optics, the lenses automatically dialling down to compensate for the light of the sun. He sat, doorwings shaking sand free from his plating as he stood to cross the short distance between himself and his mate, Jazz standing on the edge of the surf and staring into the waters.
He came closer to look as well, slightly curious as to what held the saboteur's attention. He frowned. "What am I supposed to be looking at, Jazz?"
The Porsche grinned, pointing carefully. "That."
For a moment, Prowl still saw nothing. Then he did.
Floating just on the surface of the water and rolling with the small waves was an opaque creature, camouflaged perfectly with the surface of the water. Leaning closer, Prowl could make out hundreds of hanging limbs or tentacles below the surface and he correctly deduced it as a jellyfish. He smiled.
"It is rather interesting."
"Yeah...apparently they sting if their tentacles are touched."
The Praxians doorwings flared as he caught the mischievous tone in the visored mech's voice, and he admonished quietly, "It is not doing anything to us. Leave it be."
"Ah just wanna see..."
Prowl settled his face into his palm as Jazz grinned and stepped into the waves lapping around his pedes, before leaving down and extending a finger to touch the tentacles. There was an immediate reaction from the creature, and it seemed to spasm before moving the jelly like membrane to swim away. Jazz was giggling, moving back to his mates side and saying, "Ooh Prowler, it was really tingly."
"I'll take your word for it."
Jazz grinned, taking his hand and leading them down further, pointing out more jellyfish bobbing here and there on the water, showing his lover butterflies of all colours, and simply tugging them around in some imagined dance.
Soon enough Prowl was smiling, held securely to the saboteur's side.
"Ah always wondered what it would be like to surf..." Jazz hummed thoughtfully, staring to the bigger waves rolling in, his arm tightening around Prowl's waist. "Blaster tried once. 'Parently, we're too heavy."
"I would believe that," Prowl chuckled, the arm around Jazz's shoulders tightening as well. "Cybertron didn't exactly require many of us to be able to float."
Jazz frowned. "Ah think we were missin' out."
The chevroned helm bobbed in a short nod and then it was quiet between them, the sound of the ocean moving and the wind blowing calming.
"One more day."
Prowl startled out of his thoughts, for once not gloomy and self deprecating.
Jazz looked at him, visor glinting handsomely in the sun. "Ah said one more day. One more and then we gotta head back..."
"Is that what you have been brooding about all day?" Prowl had not been blind to the overly cheerful smiles or the occasional frowns, though he had been content to ignore them and just bask in his mate's attentiveness and love.
Apparently, that wasn't the response that Jazz had been expecting. "Yer not upset?"
Prowl cocked his helm to the side curiously. "Should I be?"
"Well, no, Ah mean... Yer not... Ya sure yer okay?"
Oh. THAT was the problem. Prowl smiled. "I am fine Jazz. Better than I thought I could ever be after... after that." There was a small pause in which Jazz allowed his bondmate to gather his thoughts. "Truth be told, since my processes have become clearer, I am rather worried."
Jazz frowned. "'Bout what?"
"If there will even be an Ark left to return to."
There was a long stretch of silence in which the saboteur took in the completely serious look on Prowl's face before he pulled away, doubling over in laughter.
"Oh baby it's times like these ya really know how to make me worry less 'bout ya," Jazz laughed, straightening again, launching back into fits of giggles with Prowl joining in. He stepped forward to nuzzle against his mate, hanging on tight to him. After so much pain and sparkbreak, after so much talking and sparkmergeing which they had sorely needed, they were both on the right track again. They would never forget the sparklet, but nor could they carry the burden of sorrow. It was time for a new beginning. They chuckled again as Jazz supplied a mental image of the Ark decorated with masses of streamers and Optimus hiding in his office.
"Most likely," snickered Prowl in reply.
"Y'know, Skyfire arrives in 23 hours. Think we have time for another couple'a merges?"
"Interfacing fiend," his bondmate teased.
"Ya like me that way. What do ya reckon? We'll go jump in the lake at the bottom of the waterfall and clean the sand off, and then we'll dry off and have a nice round of-" Jazz was cut off as a hungry pair of lips crashed down onto his, sealing the suggestion with agreement and tugging them inland towards the waterfall Jazz mentioned.
"I want to see if you can scream my name loud enough to make birds fly away out of the treetops," purred the tactician.
Skyfire touched down at the sunny Hilo International Airport next to the black and white Porsche and Datsun, and if he had been in root mode, he would have been smiling. Even ten metres away from him he could tell this holiday had done a world of good for his commanders. He swore he could see smiles on their alt modes.
Their part of the runway was empty, and so he felt no qualms about speaking aloud.
"Prowl, Jazz. Good to see you both. I trust it's been a good stay?"
"Very," the cop car replied as he slowly drove up the shuttle's ramp. "I highly recommend it."
"Especially if ya're with a special someone," Jazz chimed in, back to his usual state of cheekiness.
Skyfire relaxed on his landing gear. He could feel their contentment and joy, and their acknowledgement of what was needed to heal. It was good to feel it in their EM fields. He and the others had been so very worried for the couple. It was always hard to bounce back after the death of a sparkling.
He was about to start preparing for takeoff when one of his sensors pinged.
That was odd. It was one of those special 'flier modified' sensors. Now, if he could only remember what it meant...
It couldn't be.
One of the mechs inside of him was sparked.
Deciding to take the wisest course of action, Skyfire did not mention it to the two mechs settling on their wheels. He would not give them false hope, and nor would he cause them new pain. This was news for Ratchet to give them, not himself. He only hoped that one of the Command Trine wouldn't sense it and blurt it out.
It was quiet for the majority of the trip, the three of them exchanging idle chit chat. Jazz and Prowl commenting on the island and it's wonderful secrets, sights and wonders. Skyfire giving a somewhat convoluted idea of what had been happening at the Ark. Prowl was content to know that it was at least still standing and not reburied, burned down, taken over and the like.
It was sometime later as they were flying over California that Prowl drifted into a light doze.
"So I see the trip did the both of you some good," the large shuttle commented.
"Yep." Jazz was cheery, but there was also and undercurrent of relief. "Took awhile, but Ah think we're over the worst o' it."
Skyfire chuckled. "I would say so. We have missed you. Prowl especially, but you as well."
"Awwww... Now that just ain't right!"
There was a laugh that replied to his whine. "Starscream has been valuable in helping to keep our troops in line. And Skywarp did what no other mech has been able to do before."
The curiosity in Jazz's voice was comical. "What'd 'Warp go an' do that Ah couldn't?...Besides fly."
"Put the minis in their place."
"I see you are speechless."
"What'd he DO?"
With a large internal smile, Skyfire sent the audio file that was a popular on the Ark to his superior.
Jazz made a move on his wheels that seemed to be reeling back from shock. "Holy slag...just...holy slag. Ah haven't even been around him all this time and Ah'm proud of 'im. Did a great job."
"That's not all they've been doing," the shuttle said quietly. "He and Thundercracker have become very attached to the Aerials. They, as well as Starscream and I, are planning to guide them through their first heat when it comes. I am very glad it has not occurred yet. I don't think the Ark would have survived five fliers in heat."
The Porsche laughed. "Oh man. Fliers make everything go crazy."
A thought occurred to him, and he said, "A hope it doesn't make Prowler stress out. Sounds like a lot of new work will be given to him."
Skyfire was silent for a moment. "Actually, as long as he and Starscream collaborate, I doubt he will have much issue."
Jazz could only chuckle. "We'll just hafta see, won't we?"
Optimus Prime smiled warmly as he watched his two most trusted friends arrive back at the Ark and transform gracefully in front of him, both saluting. He was very glad to see that they were looking much better than they had before they left the Ark. Jazz was smiling, looping an arm around Prowl's waist, while the Praxian looked content.
It seemed like the couple could really work things out after all.
"Prowl, Jazz, it's good to have you back," he greeted.
"Good to be back Optimus," Prowl answered quietly, and for him, it was. He was eager to throw himself back into his work to undo any damage that had been wrought in his absence. Mainly, the Seekers and the Twins.
"Home sweet home. Ah mean, Hawaii was nice, but sand kept getting stuck in my joints 'n' all," Jazz chimed in.
Optimus laughed and stepped back to walk them in. "Well, I'm sure the weather was nice. Surprisingly, things went smoothly while you were both away. Perhaps not as smoothly as it usually is, but smooth for-"
Optimus prime ducked as Skywarp jetted through the wide entrance hall of the Ark, three happily squealing triplets on his back, while Sunstreaker, Ratchet, and Sideswipe spewed curses from their mouths as they raced after the wayward jet, both black and whites nearly being bowled over without so much as an acknowledgement.
Both SIC and TIC stared in surprise before Prowl gave Optimus a very non-plussed look.
Optimus hunched his shoulders indicating the sheepish expression he wore beneath his mask. "I admit that could have gone better."
" Yes,' Prowl agreed silently with and inward smile. 'It could also have been worse.'
"For his own good, Ah hope Ratch doesn' catch up wit' Warp." Jazz commented, still staring at the entrance and some ways in the distance three angry creators and a loop-the-looping Skywarp and packages.
"So far Skywarp has been undeterred by any threat and/or punishment Ratchet has managed to come up with." Prowl felt the amusement coming across the bond. Somehow, he wasn't too surprised himself.
"So the fliers are integrating well into the Ark then?" Prowl asked.
"Well, it was a little bumpy at the beginning. But it smoothed out."
"There's that word again," the black and white Datsun said flatly.
"Smooth. I am almost afraid to find what has gone on while we were away."
"Well...er," mumbled Optimus, when suddenly Starscream came into sight, strutting down the hallway, optics on his datapad. He looked up once to give a nod to the SIC and TIC, sharing a look with Optimus, and then proceeding to walk right past them. However, as he passed Optimus, his hand shot out and groped the Autobot leader's aft with a cheeky grin, before moving on. He disappeared behind a corner before Optimus could scold the incorrigible jet.
Jazz and Prowl stared in shock.
"Please...don't tell me Ah just saw what Ah saw," Jazz said, astonished.
"I'm about to have a processor crash," Prowl muttered, fighting his logic circuits.
Optimus's faceplates behind his mask got even redder as he tried to find some easy, logical way to explain it to both black and whites. "Well, you see...it's all mutual, and there's nothing...nothing but interfacing."
The two mechs stared at him as if he had grown an extra pair of heads.
"You...and Starscream...sharing a berth?" asked Prowl.
"Think of it as concreting ex-Decepticon and Autobot relations," the Prime broke in. This could go really bad, and fast.
"Damn, Prime. So, how is he?"
"Jazz!" hissed Prowl.
Optimus was very glad that he suddenly had an excuse to change the topic when Skywarp came barrelling in through the doors again, triplet-less and cackling as twin blurs of red and yellow chased after him down the hall. All three had literally needed to flatten themselves against the wall to avoid being run over. Ratchet followed at a much more sedated pace, still scowling but with all three of his sparklings trailing after him, each with wide smiles on their faceplates.
Jumpstart was the first to notice the black and whites. "Powl! Jass!" he squealed, launching himself gleefully at the Datsun and Porsche, quickly followed by his siblings.
"They missed you as well," Optimus chuckled, watching as each sparkling chose a limb to attach themselves to.
Jumpstart threw his arms around Prowl's neck happily, Speedlight gripping an arm, while Brightspark tapped on Jazz's visor in greeting. The black and white's attentions were drawn off topic, for which the Prime was grateful for. If only for now. He knew Jazz would be pressing for details, while Prowl would most likely try and skirt around the issue.
It brought him back to something he was wondering about. Like how Prowl was reacting to having the sparklings on him. Truthfully, Optimus had expected something a lot worse than the usually stoic tactician talking to the sparklings that had latched onto him. He had expected that Prowl would politely excuse himself so he wouldn't have to deal with seeing something that could have almost been his.
"I'm glad you two are back," Ratchet grumbled. "Can you believe the pranking that the twins have gotten away with ever since Prime's been shagging Starscream?"
'Damn you Ratchet!' the leader wanted to scream.
"Oh really?" Prowl asked, gaze narrowing.
Optimus did his best not to cringe under the intense stare. "I - uh - "
"And do NOT get me started on the fragging Seekers! Thundercracker is okay I suppose, but Skywarp is corrupting our own resident fliers! Air Raid actually SQUEALED yesterday!" Ratchet continued to rant and the Prime wondered if it would be a wise choice and tactically sound to retreat now.
"The Aerials?" Prowl asked, his tone sharp.
"Have practically been adopted by Thundercracker and Skywarp. After you approved the rights to monitor their schedules before you left." Prowl vaguely wondered if he had actually signed any such papers and then remembered that Starscream had shoved several in his face which he had indeed signed before leaving without looking them over. He would have to go through just whathe had allowed on the Ark in his and his bondmates absence. "I almost never see those mechlings unattended by at least one of them at a time!"
Well, maybe it wasn't such a bad thing. The Aerialbots needed guidance.
"Apparently there are several things we must go over after our absence."
"Aww, Prowler! Can't it wait 'til Ah see everybody?" the saboteur whined.
At his bondmates whine, Prowl's features softened slightly and he sighed. "Today. That's it. The reign of the troublemaker ends tomorrow. For today...I just want to reacquaint myself with my quarters. Tomorrow I get back to work."
Jazz smiled brilliantly at the other black and white, cooing to Brightspark as she jabbered away at him.
Prowl smiled back, turning back to his rather nervous and embarrassing looking leader. Smugly, he said, "I expect that 'smoothly' includes you not keeping up on your paperwork?"
Actually feeling proud of his achievements in that respect, Optimus replied, "Not at all. They're all clear. I've had Starscream helping me deal with the workload ever since he firmly insisted he was more than just a sparkling sitter. He's been very informative and helpful. He also implemented a plan on how to tell the human authorities about he and his trine switching sides without any mention of the triplets."
"Thank Primus," muttered Ratchet, twirling his wrench idly.
"Helping is he Prime?" Jazz asked cheekily.
"Can I expect those datapads to be...clean? By the time they reach my desk?" Prowl mused aloud, joining in on his mate's game of embarrassing their leader. He was strangely not upset to have been proven wrong on his assertion in Hawaii that the thing between his leader and the ex-Con would be more than a onetime thing.
"Oh they better be clean." Ratchet grinned, the smirk looking positively evil. "Especially since I've had Starscream and Prime in my medbay more than a few times recently."
The squawk of indignation had all the mechs chuckling. Until the sparklings decided they wanted more attention from their recently returned Uncles. Speedlight leaned over in Prowl's hold to pat at Jazz's shoulder.
"Look! M' jus' like you, Jass! See!" The mechling jabbed at his own, new shiny visor he'd begged his carrier to install so he could look just like 'Big Brother Aid'.
"Ah'm seeing, mech! Must say it looks good on yah!" Jazz agreed, smiling widely. The dull pain from he and Prowl losing their sparkling reared its ugly head, before going away in the face of such innocence. No, they would never hold it against these adorable, innocent beings. He turned back to their carrier, who scowled.
"It better..." Ratchet growled. "The processor ache I had to put up with...!" He suddenly plucked all three of his sparklings from the Second and Third's grips and then set them on the floor. "Work and socializing is great, but neither of you are going anywhere until you get a check up! Into the medbay with you!" He paused thoughtfully. "Actually, while I'm at it, Optimus, in with you to- PRIME! GET YOUR AFT BACK HERE YOU FLITTER GLITCH!"
Prowl and Jazz began to laugh as Optimus taunted back and ran off. When an irate Ratchet turned to them, they both obediently followed him back to his lair...his medbay.
The twins were in the medbay, heated from chasing Skywarp, and they wordlessly took their offspring from Ratchet. The sparklings waved goodbye to the two returned commanders, who waved amiably back before following Ratchet's instructions and sitting on the berth for their check up.
Ratchet was silent as he worked, hooking up scanners to them. It was obvious he was in deep thought.
"Are you both well?" he asked finally.
Prowl and Jazz recognised his way of broaching such a delicate topic.
Jazz merely grinned his trademark cheeky grin and answered, "We're doin' just fine Ratch'. Better that fine. Just needed that time to let our sparks rest, but we're all good now. Dontcha worry 'bout us."
The medic scoffed, "It's my job to worry. Prime forgot to put it in the job description when I got promoted to CMO."
The remark even got Prowl to smirk as he patiently waited for the scanners to give he and Jazz the all clear. He felt the need to crawl back into his familiar quarters with his mate twined with him in recharge. Still, you never left until Ratchet said you did. Therefore, he was unconcerned when one of the scanners began to beep insistently. Ratchet went over to it, pressing buttons to reveal what it was alerting him to yet.
His expression rapidly changed from calm to shocked within seconds and he gaped at Prowl and Jazz, who now became worried.
"What have you found?" asked Prowl, concerned.
"Oi! What was that for Ratch?"
"You oversexed black and white glitches! As if Prime and that Seeker don't give me enough processor aches already, I have to deal with you two being absolutely-!"
"Why are you hitting me more than Jazz?" growled Prowl, ducking as the medic tried to grab his chevron.
Sighing, Ratchet calmed a little and asked, "Just how many times did you two sparkmerge?"
"I dunno," Jazz said, eyeing the wrench still being tightly gripped in the medic's hand warily. "Wasn't exactly keepin' count, doc."
Uh oh. An optic ridge twitched. Which meant something big was beginning to brew. Prowl wondered just how far Jazz had managed to dig their graves with the one statement. Pretty deep, judging by the fact that Ratchet was still being 'calm' when he spoke again.
"And I am to presume that means 'more than twice'."
The next thing either of the recently returned officers knew, their audios were ringing with the force of the cry of frustration that bounded and echoed off the walls of the almost completely empty medbay. Swoop and First Aid jumped where they had been quizzing each other in their corner and turned to stare at their mentor curiously. A sedated Wheeljack (who was still missing an arm and several fingers on the other hand from his latest project-gone-wrong) twitched, but otherwise remained completely unawares. The visiting Bluestreak had taken his cue to dodge behind his slumbering lover's berth... Just in case things decided to start flying.
"Frag you! Frag you and frag every fragging fragged fragger who can't tell their afts from their helms if their lives depended on it!"
"Lotta frags there, Ratch..." Jazz dared to comment, before he followed Bluestreak's example, only using his mate as cover instead of the berth, as a wrench came for his helm again.
"You have a problem with my cursing...?" the CMO said dangerously.
"Erm...no, not really Ratch...just keep going," Jazz deflected easily. He smiled a little. He didn't want the medic to be on his bad side right now. It was ruining his pleasant mood after helping Prowl overcome their difficulties. With the lost sparkling and all...
Ratchet glared at Jazz, before sighing heavily again. Here they go on another roller coaster ride.
"I hate to tell you this, but Jazz...you're sparked," Ratchet finally stated, face taking on its normal, neutral expression.
Prowl gaped at the medic, looking from the red and white mech to his mate, and then back again. "Are you serious?" he asked.
"That scanner was recalibrated a few days ago. Yes I am. Now we're going to have another sparkling to think about."
"Not that we weren't before," Jazz said quietly, in some sort of shock. Sure, he and Prowl had talked about trying for another soon, but not quite this soon. Reverently, he placed his hand over his spark and breathed in deeply. He felt worry and concern flow from Prowl to him, and he sent back pulses of calm. They would just have to re-prepare for another life yet again.
And slowly, but surely, a remarkable grin spread across the saboteur's faceplates and he turned to look at his bondmate .
"We get another chance, Prowler," he said breathlessly.
Prowl, for his part, was pretty much speechless. He had no idea how to react. On the one hand, he was ecstatic and wanted to jump for joy. On the other, he couldn't help but to feel a little bitter. In light of his bonded's joy, however, he immediately felt a wash of shame at the bitter feelings and squashed them ruthlessly down. A small, very happy smile lit his own face.
"We do, Jazz," he said quietly. "We do."
Walking into their quarters was just as hard as they both thought it would be, but it was eased by the new joy of life revived. Prowl and Jazz took the things collected from their holiday out of subspace and arranged them around, giving a fresh feel to the rooms, numbing the reminder of the past tragedy; A driftwood set of chimes, the many pieces of sea shells and sea glass stored for the triplets when they wanted to play with them, a vibrant hibiscus blossom carefully preserved in glass.
Once done, Prowl moved into the berth room, slowly trailing his hand along the wall. As he stared at the berth, he could see a faint stain from where he had laid there, crying.
"Don't dwell baby," Jazz said softly from behind.
The Praxian sighed, turning to embrace his mate and pulling him tight. "I'm sorry. It's hard for both of us. I am glad we have succeeded in sparking again."
The saboteur tilted his helm to the side, searching for truth. Finding it, he smiled. "Ya know, Ah feel like some serious cuddlin'."
Prowl frowned. "I thought you wanted to see everybody."
Jazz shrugged. "Yeah, but Ah got you. No one can ever measure up to that Prowler."
As the doorwings relaxed as they moved onto the berth, Jazz carefully hid his intentions. The rest was not for him, but for his mate. Prowl was tired from the recent emotional shocks. He, however, had some revenge to do. Opening up his comm. he contacted the one mech that he knew would be hungering for Shockwave's spark to be extinguished.
:-Starscream here. How are you and the sparkling Jazz?-:
Jazz smirked slightly. Of course. Seekers knew everything when it came to sparklings.
:-Content. I am about to give Optimus a message from Soundwave. Do you want me to convince him to send us on our...ah..little mission?-:
:-If ya can. And if not, Plan B is ready?-:
:-Yes. See you on the roof afterwards if so.-:
Jazz, smirked a bittersweet version of his normally cocky grin which was hidden from his mate's view as he tucked Prowl's helm under his chin.
All that was left was to play the waiting game.
Jazz smiled at his mate, the exhausted mech lying on their berth with a peaceful look on his faceplates in recharge. The poor mech had been on an emotional roller-coaster this month and he deserved the rest. But, Primus, how he hated not telling the tactician about the plans he and Starscream had exchanged on their way back from Hawaii, but he knew that if Prowl knew, then there was no way he would have been going, Master Spy or not.
He double checked his equipment to make sure that he had everything he needed and was just finishing up when he got a ping from Starscream.
He opened the private channel. :- Yo, Screamer. We good to go?-:
:- Yes, and I suggest you hurry. We have exactly two point four breems before either Hatchet, Red Alert or my trine realize we're up to something.-:
:- Had to implement plan B, huh?-:
:- Prime is a soft sparked fool. Sometimes I wonder if he even remembers that we are at war.-: Even through the sneer, the saboteur caught the tone of affection lacing each word.
:- Well, I'm on my way and I'll be there in a third of that time. -: he assured, leaning down to kiss his mate's chevron before rushing from their room.
He met the proud Seeker on top of the volcano the Ark was buried under, and couldn't help but notice the flier's subdued manner in the way he turned, nodding at him and merely following his instruction. It had been part of their deal that Starscream follow everything he said, lest they be deactivated.
Jazz could only hope that he wouldn't have to come back to base alone.
Activating the jet pack he 'borrowed' from a kind helm finned inventor, Jazz nodded to Starscream who turned on his own thrusters. They rose into the sky, quiet, their minds filled with the mission they had put together through sparse comm. conversations. Their supplies were ready, their will set.
The saboteur let the sight of the stars lull him to a sense of peacefulness as they flew to the space bridge, thinking about the spark resting inside him. He was endangering it by going on this mission.
But this was a war. He didn't want to have a sparkling at all if it meant Shockwave was still living. It was only worse.
For Prowl. For himself. And for their unborn sparkling and for their extinguished one. He was going to have that mech's energon coat his hands one way or another.
As if reading his mind, Starscream murmured from beside him, "Here we go. Showtime."
The space bridge came into sight and both their resolves hardened into steel.
There was no going back now.
A/N: Ohmigosh! Due to a bit of writers block on our part, it was a bit longer than we would have liked in coming to you, but here it is! I hope you liked it, and personally, my favourite scene is the one where Prowl 'buries' his sparkling. I get teary eyed just reading it over.
Please review! Katea and I love the feedback.