Fandom/Settings: Pre-Movieverse 07, Post-Movieverse
Relationships/Character: Jazz/Prowl, Ratchet
Prompts: Ya'aburnee - an Arabic word meaning the hope that one will die before a loved one because it would be too painful to live without them.
I Giorni (translated to 'The days') composed and performed by Ludovico Einaudi (can be found on youtube)
Content: Angst, refs. canon character death, grief, suicidal ideation. Tissue warning
Jazz subvocalized the phrase, tweeking the coding of his vocal processor as his linguistic center integrated yet another of the human languages in preparation for their mission.
From the other side of the bridge, Ratchet buzzed an inquiring glyph.
"Ya'aburnee," Jazz repeated, swinging his pedes up to rest next to the teletraan interface. "Means 'bury me' in the dialect of the one of the major linguistic groups indigenous t' this region." Jazz transmitted a burst of code at the volumetric display highlighting a small region on the eastern end of a major inland sea.
"That does't sound like a safe practice for an organic species dependent upon oxygen for their cellular metabolism," Ratchet noted.
"Some cultures honor their dead by buryin' 'em," Jazz explained with a wave of his hand.
"Yeah... well... they eventually decompose and become part of the dirt."
"So a phrase indicating instructions upon a human's demise?"
"No... a declaration of affection. I love ya so much I wanna die first, 'cause livin' without ya'd be too hard. It's also said by creators to their creations, 'cause outlivin' their children'd be more than they'd wanna bear."
Ratchet gazed at Jazz intently. As amicable as Prime's second was, his field rarely gave away his true emotive state, and it was difficult to parse what was the special operations facade and what was Jazz. He sometimes wondered if there was a such thing as the 'real Jazz' beneath the facade. Yet, knowing the potential for the imminent recovery or destruction (and perhaps both) of the Allspark, Ratchet deduced that Jazz could be sharing more than his norm.
While Jazz crossed cables frequently and had many casual liaisons, there had only been one with whom he'd ever bonded as cohort. An unusual binary arrangement, to be sure, but it had been fitting. Prime's previous second had been as near-impossible to read as Jazz. Prowl had been lost early in the Allspark recovery mission- his bond with Jazz severed, and the military strategist believed to have extinguished. His frame had never been recovered, just like so many others long gone.
"Seems like it would be kinder to wish to extinguish at the same time, not leaving either behind to suffer the loss," Ratchet observed carefully.
Jazz trilled, considering. "Sometimes the ones left behind still have a job t' do, Ratch."
Ratchet gave a casual hum of agreement, but set several more subroutines to keep a closer optic on Prime's second. No matter how much Jazz might wish to move on and join his cohortmate, they could ill afford to lose him, or any Autobot. But especially him. In the vorns since the loss of Prowl, Jazz had seemed increasingly reckless with his deadly, yet small frame.
Prowl turned the data crystal over in his talons. It was one of a collection, passed into his keeping when he'd arrived. Jazz, it seemed, had been determined to catalog all the music that had been available on earth's primitive datanet at the time of what would be his final mission. He could well imagine his cohortmate's processing on that - should humanity fall to the Decepticons, at least Jazz would ensure their music was not lost. He would have sworn to see to that personally.
This particular crystal was apparently a personal mix, music Jazz had selected from his vast collection for reasons known to him alone, rather than categorized by genre and culture as the others were. It was labeled with a single Arabic phrase - one that Prowl found far too poignant once he understood the cultural context.
Their bond had been severed by the brief anomaly that had captured and transported Prowl to a distant galaxy while on recognizance. Prowl had known through those long megavorns that Jazz likely believed him extinguished. What else would sever a bond so thoroughly - leaving not even a single strand of quantum connection? Yet Prowl had endured, and despite the odds being completely to the contrary, he'd even encountered other Autobots and eventually arrived on the tiny planet Jazz had sacrificed himself to save.
Arrived a vorn and a half too late.
Prowl keyed up the first track. The simple, yet hauntingly longing tones of the primitive hammer and wire instrument washed over his frame. 'Bury me', it seemed to whisper, 'deep at sea.'
Prowl had reviewed the memory captures of the battle that had taken his only bonded cohortmate. He feared he knew exactly why Jazz had rushed to face Megatron alone.
His vocalizer keened and then spat static. He wanted to crush the data crystal, along with all of its mournful longing, into powder.
It was bitter, indeed, to be the one left behind.