a/n: Special thanks to Lady Azar de Tameran for the beta-work on this.
Title: Creak in the Night
Universe: TF Prime, Event Horizon
Characters: Bluestreak, Jazz, Prowl
Description: Bluestreak, meet Jazz. Jazz, meet Bluestreak's blaster.
Bluestreak's optics snap online. He jolts out of recharge. The glow from his optics lights up his room. It's darkened, save for the emergency light over the door.
Something had woken him up. What was it?
He sits up, swinging his legs over the edge of his berth. Every sensor is primed and waiting. There. A noise. From the common room?
Optics flashing, he switches them to a dimmer band and reaches for his blaster, always nearby. Not that there's a lot of crime to be found in Praxus, especially in the neighborhood where Prowl resides. But it never hurts to be careful.
He opens the door, metal sliding aside silently, and peers into the dark commons area. There are a few emergency lights across the floor. Praxus is the height of society, but sometimes, the power fluctuates. Prowl won't say why, but Bluestreak has his suspicions.
Cybertron's running short on energon. No one wants to admit it, but Bluestreak can tell. Riots in the streets. More and more bots becoming Empties. The price of energon climbing steeply orn by orn. It's not unaffordable yet, but it's no longer cheap. Or maybe that's just in Praxus.
Gritting his denta, Bluestreak forces his thoughts back on track. Nothing and no mech in the commons room. Not hiding behind the chairs or the flat vid-screen.
His optics swing to the left. There. The refueling area.
Bluestreak brings his blaster to his shoulder, finger wrapped around the trigger. He's got more than enough plasma bolts. But waste not, want not. He's going to make every shot count.
His steps are silent. Prowl's taught him very well.
He peers around the edge of the partition dividing the commons from the refueling area. There's a mech rifling around in their cabinets! The gall!
Optics cycling down, Bluestreak aims and fires without missing a beat, the shot smacking into the back of the mech's right knee and making him crumple to the floor. A muttered curse escapes the thief, energon splattering a bright blue across the floor.
"Lights on forty percent," Bluestreak orders, the overhead lights immediately illuminating the space and giving him a better view of the downed thief.
Bluestreak steps fully into the refueling area. He never lowers his blaster, this time aiming it at the mech's dark helmet. A visor is dim from pain.
"Who are you?" Bluestreak questions, but it's nothing less than a pleasant-faced demand. "Not anyone can hack Prowl's locks, you know. Or decipher his codes. And he doesn't hand out his keycodes to anyone. So who are you, mech?"
"Slag!" the mech yelps, clutching at his leg and trying to stem the leaking energon. Bluestreak managed to sever a hydraulic line, too. Mech won't be walking on that leg until he sees a medic. "You must be Bluestreak."
That's not convincing enough. Plenty of mechs around here know that Prowl picked up a stray by that name.
"How do you know who I am?" he asks again, not quite as pleasantly. Though the mech could lie easily, Bluestreak wants to see what kind of slag he might make up.
"Prowl told me."
Bluestreak ventilates loudly. He doesn't even dignify that.
"And how do you know, Prowl?" His tone is warm, nice even. "Did he arrest you once upon a time?"
The thief laughs, his visor brightening to a pale blue. "You don't know how close you are ta the truth, youngling."
His doorwings quiver. Indignation flares through his energy field before he clamps it down. His voice when he responds is calm, controlled. Too much like Prowl's for all the tone is agreeable.
"I'm not a youngling," Bluestreak corrects.
The stranger just snickers. Like he hasn't just been shot in the leg and isn't laying on the floor.
"Ya look like one," he replies, all smug smiles and bright visor.
"Whatever you say. You're only stalling anyway"
Bluestreak shrugs and clicks on the targeting for the blaster, not that he needs it. He just wants the thief to know he means business, and that's never clearer than when the red cross glints on the mech's forehelm.
"You never told me why you're here."
The thief grins wider of all things, relaxing despite the grip he has on his leaking knee. "I have a standing invitation."
"No," Bluestreak disagrees, so pleasant, so deadly. "I don't think so." He's just about to pull the trigger again.
"Whoa!" the thief yelps, free hand reaching out, as though trying to ward a blow. "I'm not lyin', Blue. Just ask Prowl if ya don't believe me. I know he's here."
Bluestreak never takes his optics off the intruder, but if the mech's going to leak all over the floor, Prowl deserves to know why. And it's easier to question bots when they're alive.
That half-nanosecond of inattention was apparently an invitation in the thief's datapad. He springs, a miraculous feat considering the state of his leg, and Bluestreak yelps. The stranger's too fast.
They collide with a loud crash of metal on metal. Bluestreak squeezes off a bolt that goes wide, making a smoking hole in the ceiling as they both hit the ground.
"Never let go of your weapon." Prowl's words echo in the back of his processor.
Bluestreak clings to his blaster and lashes out. He jerks up a knee, slamming it against the joint he'd shot out earlier.
The thief howls, avoids his punch, and tries to pin his arm across Bluestreak's neck. His doorwings are pinned beneath him, and it hurts like the pit but endure. That's another one of Prowl's lessons. Sometimes, a bot has to suffer a little pain, but he can't let it become a distraction. Pain will heal in time. Offlining is a whole different matter.
"Just listen fer a minute!" the thief gasps out, fans working hard.
Bluestreak's answer is to buck upward, trying to throw the smaller mech off of him, not that there's a huge difference between their sizes. The thief is shorter, but he's heavier. And wily. Mech feels like he's got limbs everywhere, and the arm across Bluestreak's neck is compressing a few necessary fluid lines.
He snatches at the thief's lateral plating, digit working into a gap in the mech's armor and curling around what feels to be an energon line. A main one, too, judging by the thickness of it.
Above him, the thief tenses. He isn't nearly so friendly and smug now.
"Ya wanna let go of my cable, mech?"
Bluestreak's neck is crushed, but his vocalizer works just fine. "Ya wanna get off me, thief?" he retorts, copying the mech's strange speech patterns.
"What in Primus' name is going on here?"
Bluestreak nearly leaps out of his plating. He tilts his helm back, getting an upside down view of his mentor.
Above him, the thief also looks up at Prowl.
Neither says a word.
Prowl's arms are crossed over his chassis, his doorwings hiked up high with irritation. He's been pulled out of a deep recharge, and Bluestreak knows how much his mentor despises that. Interrupted defrags tend to leave his processor with loose ends, and Prowl loathes that almost as much as he does criminals.
"Jazz, get off my ward. Bluestreak, please don't attack our guests."
He can't decide if he yelps or splutters.
The thief – Jazz apparently – takes a click but then laughs. He does as Prowl commands, rolling off and gingerly hopping up on one leg.
He offers a servo to Bluestreak as well.
Bluestreak gives him a look, but under Prowl's watchful optics, he reaches up and takes it. The thief's fingers lingers, gripping Bluestreak's and refusing to let go.
"I apologize for not telling you about Jazz sooner," Prowl says as Jazz finally moves off and Bluestreak puts some much needed distance between them. Prowl then shifts his optics to Jazz with a stern glare that Bluestreak knows quite well. "And I seem to recall having a conversation with you about visiting at unseemly times."
Jazz grins lazily, a slow slide of lip components. "Since when do I obey a schedule?"
"Try."Prowl shifts his attention back to Bluestreak, optics sweeping over him in quick assessment. "Are you injured?"
Frag, that came out a lot more sullen than Bluestreak had intended it to. But he shouldn't have let Jazz pin him so easily. How's he going to be an Enforcer if he can't subdue one stupid thief?
Jazz lifts a finger in the air. "Um. I'm shot. In the leg."
"Don't be upset, Bluestreak," Prowl insists, not even sparing Jazz a glance. "Jazz has significantly more martial experience than you."
"It hurts. A lot," Jazz states a bit louder this time.
Bluestreak instantly brightens at the pleased gleam in Prowl's optics. He gives Jazz his own version of a smug grin. It's unsurprisingly chipper.
"Serves you right. Sneaking into someone's house like that."
Jazz pulls a face. "You're just mad 'cause I pinned ya." Jazz tilts his helm up and down, making a long, lingering show of looking Bluestreak over from helm to pede. "Which I wouldn't mind doin' again if ya ever feel partial to a rematch."
Bluestreak's wings hike upward, going rigid. Unexpected anger bubbles up inside of him like carbonated energon.
"Jazz, don't provoke him," Prowl snaps, sliding between them. "Bluestreak, an Enforcer must remain calm at all times."
Bluestreak presses his lip components together but somehow remains silent. He forces himself to take a step backward. Prowl shifts, giving Jazz a firm look. Bluestreak glances away.
Jazz, nonplussed, lifts his pectoral girdle and drops it. "I meant what I said. Mechlets got good instincts for Metallikato."
Bluestreak suspects that training isn't what he had in mind. He's naïve, not stupid. Still, he does want to learn, and if Jazz is offering...
"Not until you've mastered Circuit-Su," Prowl says before Bluestreak can so much as indicate his interest.
Ambition flattened, Bluestreak droops.
"Return to recharge, Bluestreak."
Again, Prowl cuts him off, his door panels twitching, the only indication of his mood.
Prowl's very annoyed.
Bluestreak barely even hesitates. "Yes, sir." He does pause then and glances at Jazz. "What about...?"
"Oh, I'll take care of him."
The smile Prowl tosses Bluestreak is just this side of scary. He's suddenly glad he's not in Jazz's position, though the thief doesn't seem to notice his predicament.
"Good," Jazz says. "Cause I'm leakin' energon everywhere."
"You will mop that up later."
Prowl grabs Jazz's arm, pulling the thief toward Prowl's dojo, which is connected through the common room.
"Why me?" Jazz whines playfully. "Bluestreak's the one that shot me."
"If you'd used the door like mechs who don't habitually break the laws, he would not have shot you."
Jazz vents loudly, a fake noise of indignation. "I'm a fine and upstanding citizen of Cybertron, Prowl!"
Somehow, Bluestreak severely doubts that.
"I think Slipstrike would argue otherwise," Prowl retorts with a note of humor Bluestreak rarely hears.
Then the two of them are gone, leaving Bluestreak with a hole in their ceiling, spilled energon on the floor, and an interrupted recharge.
Jazz, huh? Guess he'll have to start pestering Prowl for some answers.
a/n: I have several more ideas in storage, just waiting for the right kind of push to get them going.
Feedback is very appreciated. :)