Title: Always with protection
Prowl/Jazz in the later chapters.
Bayverse, AU
Word count:
~ 6,600
Jazz should always use protection when trying to hack the enemy. The consequences are not exactly pleasant.
Author Notes:
All of our actions have consequences, Jazz is about to find that out the hard way.

No, I have not forgotten or abandoned this story! RL is just very busy. This story, this entire 'verse here, is huge. There is still a lot more plot to go. Thank you all for your patience and kind words! I treasure them all.

Chapter Five: Distant Orns, Empty Words

For the first time in Cybertron's history, everyone was happy that the planet was no were near any suns. The everlasting night has returned and only artificial light illuminated the streets, showing the carnage that was yet to be fixed. Iacon was scarred along with its mecha, and those who were still alive shall remember that day for the rest of their functioning.

Today was a dark page in the history archives as all who were capable of walking where attending the service that the Prime was giving in front of City Hall. More than one third of Iacon's population was lost yet there was no end to the crowd on the streets. Most of them bore heavy scars, indicating direct exposure to the acid rain. More than a few mecha were keening for lost loved ones.

That orn, Jazz was hiding in the shadows of a corner close enough to have a good view of the Prime when he would give the speech, but far away so that no one noticed him there. He took the scene before him with somber optics, feeling tightness in his chest. After the rain had stopped, he had helped clean the bodies from the streets and help lift the debris from the fallen highways. When that orn was over, Jazz had been covered in so much energon that no matter how hard he scrubbed afterward, he could still feel it creeping up his frame.

Mechs, femmes, younglings and sparklings – he had lifted body after body, cleaning the streets as if he were handling mere trash. The death count continued to grow with each new passing orn, as more and more mecha died from too severe injuries, but mostly bonded couples followed after their mates towards the Matrix.

The control over the production of energon was strongly enforced after this. The rain had contaminated the energon reserves, causing severe shortage. All of the soldier's fuel, from two cubes per orn, was reduced to one. Not many were happy with this revelation. And just like now, Jazz had stood in the shadows and watched how slowly everything around him had gone to the Pits.

The Decepticons had a solid strategy.

"Yes." Jazz would not deny that. "But tell me somethin', Prowler. What worth does a victory like this have for them? Barely thirty percent of the victims are Autobots. The rest are civilians." The crowd before him, starving, wounded – dying – was proof enough to that statement. This was war, and even in his young age, Jazz had seen a lot of it. But he was not prepared to see this. He never once believed the Decepticons would go this far. Yet, when he pulled out of the debris a sixth deactivated frame of a sparkling, his reality shifted, and he came to the conclusion, that there would always, always be something more horrifying waiting for you when you think that you've seen it all.

"How can anyone expect to rule Cybertron when there's nothin' left to rule?" Jazz muttered darkly. A king without a kingdom was like a Prime without a Matrix.

There are always innocent casualties in warfare. It was an expected outcome.

"Ah know that." He hissed, "War isn't just some stupid numbers." And instead of arguing, the AI remained silent. The spy sighed warily as he gazed at the red optics.

"Jazz, that you over there?" Surprised, Jazz tilted his head back only to see Clearbolt, walking along with a very familiar youngling and not so much familiar dark green mech. He really wasn't in the mood to talk with anyone, but come to think of it, that's all he felt these last few meta-cycles.

He smiled at the youngling, "Hey there little buddy. Lookin' good."

"Yup." The little blue mechling smiled back, "The medics fixed me up pretty fast. Said I was lucky that ya found me." He instantly pressed close to Jazz.

The spy realized how alienated physical contact had become for him, because Jazz barely stopped himself from stepping out of the youngling's grip, but a part of him relished in the feeling of the pure trust and little arms around him. Jazz petted his head.

"Nova, that's rude ya know?" Came a chuckle from the unknown mech, but bore sub harmonics to his vocals that Jazz could associate with the youngling. Even so, the spy's stance shifted just the tiniest bit, placing himself between the green mech and mechling at his side.

"Jazz, this is Buzzer; Nova's legal guardian." Clearbolt answered, and then privately added, ::His creators didn't make it. Don't worry, he's clean, I checked him out.::

"Name's Jazz." They shook hands and he slightly relaxed but not by much. His sensors picked up something but Jazz couldn't be sure what – it was so small that only his sensor horn relays detected it, something about the other mech's field. Surprisingly, the AI was still remaining silent, sensors primed on the youngling. Was it unsettled by it?

"Buzzer." The mech smiled, "So, ya preferred to watch this live as well?"

Jazz shook his head, "Don't care really." He couldn't spend a click longer in that base turned graveyard. They had to store the bodies somewhere before getting smoldered and the hospitals were overflowing with injured mecha to spare the space. He turned towards Clearbolt.

"Have ya seen Orion?"

The mech shook his head. "No. Not since I last saw him helping the cleanup crews as well."

Jazz frowned. He knew Blaster was probably locked in his room that was equipped with enough tech to pitch in the live feed and public cameras around city hall. Blaster wasn't on the streets but he was handling the camera feeds that orn. He saw everything. From what Jazz heard, his friend hasn't recharged properly ever since.

"He's probably at the library then…" He trailed off. Orion didn't need to witness history in the making. He was more content writing about it. And what a grim history it was.

"So, you're an Autobot as well?" Buzzer asked. Jazz simply puffed his chest, showings his auto-brand, as if saying 'Are you blind?'.

"Jazz's the Autobot that saved me!" Nova smiled again at Jazz and had to marvel at how quickly youngling bounced back, how they have the strength to find a reason to smile so easily like that.

"Then I know who to thank." Buzzer smiled, gratitude glinting in his optics. "His creators were close friends of mine; I know they will want you to hear this: Thank you."

For a moment, Jazz stiffened. Those words sounded so distant and empty in his processor yet, somehow, they made his spark spin faster. Thankfully, the commotion in the crowd distracted their group to look at the podium. The frightened crown shifted their attention to the mech coming out of the building – the Prime and his Senate. Jazz absently felt his claws twitch, noting with distaste that not one of them sported any injuries or scars or anything for that matter that indicated exposure to the acid. A stark contrast to their shaken public. Oh, how the irony hurt.

The speech would be broadcasted live all around Cybertron. Jazz would lie if he said he wasn't interested in the speech. What could be said after this tragedy? Sorry? We'll try not to disappoint next time? Empty words and nothing else.

Jazz crouched next to Nova and placed his hands on the youngling's shoulders, directing his gaze towards Cybertron's leader. When he spoke, the spy's voice was a whisper, so only the child heard him.

"Listen closely kiddo," Jazz rumbled, "See and learn how a Prime schmoozes his people and hides the truth in the obvious."

Confused, Nova just slightly tilted his head to the side, not fully understanding what Jazz was trying to say. Still, his optics were trained on the podium, carefully observing it.

"Citizens of Iacon, fellow Cybertronians." The words boomed all over Cybertron. Millions of optics gazed at this one mech. Would he be able to light their darkest hour?

Red optics on his HUD flared as Jazz's narrowed behind the visor.

"We faced off an incomprehensible tragedy." Sentinel Prime looked at the cameras broadcasting him live.

"Observe how he's trying to make us equal to him." Jazz explained to the youngling, "To make us feel just as important." A lie that not even the Prime himself was believing, but was selling to his public like the cheapest of energon. A starved mech would take anything, and that was how the crowd was reacting, drinking in every little piece of hope presented to them.

"We survived! We overcame that monstrous orn and now we stand here together, alive." Sentinel spread his arms wide and welcoming, optics glowing a soft blue.

"The mech even has the nerve to use "we". Look closely Nova, look how they don't sport even the slightest of cracks on their plating."

The speech continued, the Prime avoiding the mess of things like none other. With each new word, Jazz more and more disliked the mech. Was he the only one who saw through this charade? Even Prowler was silent, but the damn thing was probably recording this to analyze for later.

"This will not happen again!" The words echoed around them.

"See through the empty promises he makes." Jazz said, not sparing a moment. "Because words are nothing but empty air."

"He lies." Nova said unsure, trying to understand.

"I promise you that victory will be ours, no more innocent lives will be lost like this."

"Big words." The spy said quietly, visor not leaving the Prime.

"More lies." The youngling said and tried to back away but Jazz held him in place.

"Yet, every mech believes them." The visored mech said, "You are witnessing another tragedy Nova, see the appalling silence of the good people as not even a single one of them raises their voice."

"Why don't you raise your voice?" Finally Nova looked away from the podium, looking curiously at the gray mech.

"As if mah voice could make a difference." Jazz snorted and patted the youngling on the head before he stood up. He saw Clearbolt's disapproving optics.

::Jazz… ::

The spy made a dismissing noise, ::Hey, someone's gotta teach the kid how life truly works.::

::But filling his head with such dangerous thoughts about the fragging Prime is not just wrong and dangerous, but plain stupid.::

Sentinel Prime slowly came down from the podium, walking beside his people, patting most of them on their shoulder and plating, being like the supportive leader he should be. Flashes of cameras, shouts of joy and glee filled the air. And as if the tragedy from mere orns ago didn't happen, the streets where once again filled with life. Because the mecha on them felt alive. At least for that Jazz couldn't blame his Prime for. It was impressing, how one mech could inspire so much faith and belief in the people. Was Jazz just seeing what he wanted to see, that their Prime wasn't what he claimed to be? Is he so used to the war around him that he didn't know how to look at the world without it? And just for a moment, Jazz wondered if it would've been better if he was just as blind as the rest. Because, after all, ignorance was bliss.

No, he thrived for knowledge, for the truth. He wore a visor, but he was not blind. It was then that someone shouted 'All hail the Prime' and Jazz couldn't help himself but chuckle darkly.

"Y'know, their stupidity is actually amusing, following blindly like that." He tilted his head, "I'm getting' out of here."

"But it's barely started!" Nova protested as he held Jazz's hand, "C'mon, stay just a little longer Jazz, please?"

Jazz stared at those big innocent optics, filled with so much life. He stared and for the first time, he felt nothing. He was numb.

"Sorry kiddo, but I have some errands to do." He gave the child a teasing smile, "But I promise to make this up to you! I'll take you out one evening, just the two of us if Buzzer over there allows, eh?"

That seemed to work because Nova smiled brightly, "You promise?"

"Yup." Jazz patted Nova's helm and turned towards the two adults. He gave them a mock salute with two digits, ignored Clearbolt's frown and left on his way. Far, far away from this entire crowd and unseeing optics.

Jazz reached the Autobot HQ, that had so many acid scarring that it made mechs cringe from just looking at it, he entered the building after a dozen of security checks (no one was taking security lightly here, not any more) and slowly made his way to the med bay.

"Yer quiet." Jazz said, placing a hand on his audio horn to look like he was using the comms.

There is nothing for me to say.

"Right. You probably hate wasting your time in small talk." The spy sighted. The red optics just kept staring at him and Jazz wondered absently if some orn he'll get used to the scrutiny.

Your fuel levels are low.

That made Jazz snort, "Should I count this one as an attempt? More of a failure if ya ask me. Small talk really isn't your thing."

He stopped in front of the closed doors of the med bay. It actually sent a chill down his spine struts. There were injured Autobots there, but only a couple of levels down, the morgue was stored in the same spot. It was rather anticlimactic.

What is your purpose here?

"Gotta visit someone." Jazz said and with a sigh let himself in. Just like he had expected, the largest room that was used as an ER was full. Little drones glided between the berths, constantly checking fuel lines, delivering energon to those who could consume it and offering more pain killers for mecha that need that as well.

"Jazz? What the frag are you doing here? Don't tell me you damaged your optic again!"

Jazz smirked at the kind medic. Everyone loved Ratchet, he was so much… nicer than Softbite. Though, the medic's state almost made the spy lose his smile.

Observation deducts that the medic is most likely exhausted.

'Ya think?', was what Jazz wanted to blurt out but Ratchet was in too close hearing range. "Hey Ratch'. You look like slag."

The medic glared, "Shut yer trap." And promptly scanned the spy, "Besides a little under fueled, you're fine. So, that brings us to the question, what are you doing here?" Ratchet crossed his arms.

"Came to visit someone." And looked around, but when he couldn't find him, looked back at the medic, "Where is Nightbeat?"

The head of Ops had been dug out from under the debris of one of the fallen highways. It was a miracle he had survived. Jazz wasn't there when his boss was found, but from what he had been told, he wasn't a pretty sight for the optics.

The last time Jazz had seen Nightbeat, he was in the deepest possible stasis lock, and wouldn't come out of it soon. The fact that he wasn't here could only mean… Jazz tried to keep the worry our of his field as he waited for answers.

Ratchet sighed, "He's in surgery. Softbite hasn't been able to leave his side for 8 joors straight now. Nightbeat just keeps on crashing."

The relief that hit Jazz was so strong he had to offline his optics, "Ah, I see."

"You won't be able to see him anytime soon. Even after surgery he'll be in the ICU for a long, long time." Ratchet explained tiredly.

Jazz nodded and moved aside so a drone could pass by, "So, why aren't you in there, helping your mentor but rather stuck out here?"

"Because I'm needed out here more. We don't have enough medics and the critical patients are more than we would have liked." The red and white mech gestured to the overly full room. "Say, Jazz. Will Ops have a new commander? Nightbeat will be out of commission for a while."

The spy leaned on a berth and tilted is head back, thinking, "We've been debriefed that we'll have a temporary new commander. Your medical ward will probably get the same memo but it's probably delayed because of, well," He gestured the injured around them, "This chaos. All we know is that he's getting pulled out from deep undercover. No one knows when he'll arrive and only the officers know his real designation and how he looks like."

"I see." Ratchet cycled his optics.

"Hey," Jazz gently placed a hand on the medics arm, "Get some rest, yeah? I really mean it Ratchet, ya look exhausted."

"Hah, yeah." Ratchet shook his head, trying to clear it. One monitor started beeping and the medic actually shuddered. By the time he looked back, Jazz was already gone.


The way to the recreation room is the other way around.

"Well, good thing I don't want to go there, right?" It shouldn't be so much fun to try and frag off the AI, but Jazz sure as Pit was enjoying it. "And besides, I haven't seen Orion in a while." He wondered should he try reaching Blaster, but respected when someone needed their space in order to get their thoughts in order.

"Hey…" Jazz started uncertain, "Can you tell me the statistics of Nightbeat's recovery?" Because it didn't look good. Not at all. And Jazz wanted to be… expecting if it happened. That thought alone made him shudder. Nightbeat was the best mentor he had had – it was he who had discovered Jazz's talents and included him in Ops. He was the mech that had introduced Jazz to his team and created bonds with them… and he was the only one who had visited him in the med bay after that dreaded mission.

Are you sure you want to know?

"What kind of a question is that? I'm asking, aren't I?" Jazz asked annoyed.

He has 17, 91 % chances of making a full recovery.

Jazz tripped. He fell on the ground and for a moment he didn't have the strength to get up. Another face to haunt him, another fading memory. Why didn't Ratchet tell him? But then, he remembered that the medic always had trouble handing in bad news, but Jazz had the suspicion this wasn't the case. Perhaps Softbite had known that Nightbeat's case might be inoperable one and tried to spare Ratchet from one more death? Jazz shook his head. The red optics looked narrowed.

This is why I was reluctant to inform you.

Jazz sneered, "Frag this." He was angry again, at the world, at himself – at everything that moved. "Where the slag is Orion?!" He hissed and got up, storming out to find the archivist.

"Watch it!" Jazz growled as he bumped into someone.

"Ah, sorry! I can't seem to navigate myself here yet!" An unfamiliar voice started, "All this corridors look the same."

It was after Jazz got a good look of the mech that he noticed the wound on the mechs hand, or the fact that there was no hand at all.

"Primus! What in the world happened mech?!" Jazz was came at the mechs side, helping him up. "It looks like that hand is melted right off!" Was the mech tortured? What could have caused this? Battle protocols hummed to life.

"This? Oh, it's nothing." The mech actually smiled, or Jazz thought he smiled. It was hard to tell with the mechs mask on, "I was trying to create a repellent strong enough to sustain the acid we have been bombed with. Unfortunately, there has been an error in my calculations. I was on my way to the med bay."

Jazz just stared at the mech. What in the world…?

Is he suffering CPU problems?

Even the AI was confused by the strange mech. But Prowler tended to not understand things that weren't logical.

"Uhh, it's two corridors down and go left. You'll see two big double doors there. It has a big sign on it. Ya can't miss it." Jazz just stared at him, actually amused by the insanity of it all. At least his foul mood was momentarily forgotten.

"Thanks you! I'm Wheeljack, by the way." He extended his uninjured hands which Jazz took, "Nice to meet you. I'm new in Engineering."

"I'm Jazz, part of Ops."

Jazz, fuel.

"Oh fine, you overbearing nanny-bot. Uhg, just shut up already." Jazz couldn't stop himself and looked not a little worriedly at Wheeljack. "Ah, uh sorry. I was on the comm when we bumped."

"It's quite alright. Though, if you would like, come by my work station. I've been working on a new project for you spies. It's a prototype for internal comm. system. No longer will you need to gear up, but it's directed right inside your internal hearing system."

Now that would be useful! Not only for their missions as a whole, but for communication with the abomination of an AI camping in his CPU.

"That's amazing!" Jazz exclaimed.

"I know, right?" Wheeljack laughed but it was short lived as he winced, "Well, I better go now. I think I'm feeling a little light headed here from the energon loss. I work at Lab 08, come by anytime."

And with that, Jazz watched the strange mech make his way towards the med bay. He shook his head, feeling a little amused. He turned around, only to remember he didn't know where Orion might be.

"Great. How in the world can I find that fragger now?" Jazz crossed his arms, thinking.

You can track him via Telatraan's network.

Jazz's visor flared, "I'll never be able to pass the security network unnoticed. Only officers have the codes and I'm still not good enough to do it on my own."

Not if I do it.

That comment made Jazz frown. He was quick to make his way into a small storage closet. Before the door had even closed, the spy was already hissing, "Oh frag no. Why would I let the enemy straight into our network? Do you really think me that dumb?"

Essentially, I agree. But you still haven't come to terms that I am not your enemy. Not anymore.

"I still don't trust you."

Yes, I figured as much.

"What was that?" Jazz glared, visor shining in the dark room, "I see someone's learning emotions."

Believe me when I say that I am not. Though I'm unable to stop the small feedback I am receiving from you.

"Frag that, I'm still not letting you anywhere near Telatraan." Jazz said, final, "I'll find him the hard way then."

The AI remained silent and Jazz got out of the closet, frustrated.

In the end, after spending more than two joors searching, Jazz's short patience was just that – short lived. With a grumble, he subspaced his energon cube and headed towards the landing docks. He always preferred to drink his fuel there when agitated like this, and there was always something calming in the ever-lasting Cybertronian starry night. They all had too much sun these last few days.

The landing docks were usually pretty empty this time of the night, safe for the guards that always patrolled there. But Jazz knew a place that was hidden from their route and was perfect for nights like this.

You should report it.

"Are ya nuts?" Jazz expertly snuck around the guards, being easily one with the shadows, "Give away my spot? Fat chance."

It is a blind spot in your security. Also, if you let me in Telatraan, I could find all of the detrimental places like this one in your security network.

"Listen you paranoid glitch. There is no way the cons could discover this place. Sure, it can serve as a hiding spot – but it's just that. You can use it to neither sneak in, nor sneak out. So shut yer trap and let me have some peace and quiet!" Jazz huffed, tempter short.

Though, the spy had to admit that he was distracted, because he noticed the company he had until he was standing right in front of it. Orion was sitting on the ground, a dozen of data pads spread around him as he typed on another one. There was a half full energon cube next to him, obviously forgotten.

Jazz sighed, "Fate has a funny way of fragging me in the face." He made his voice louder, smirking when Orion jumped, not expecting the company.

"Jazz?" The archivist asked optics bright, "What are you doing here?"

"Fragger, why don't you answer your comms? I've sent you about a dozen messages." Jazz walked the distance between them and promptly seated himself next to his friend, "I've been searching you for two straight joors damn it."

"Ah, apologies." Orion murmured, "I was not in the mood for company."

Jazz just looked him over, noted the dull color of his armor and sighed. Everyone was having a hard time these last few orn. Jazz was surprised that he was handling this so well, but it was probably because he had an annoying AI constantly checking his status and reminding him to refuel. Damn thing.
But even he was forced to admit that the orns weren't as lonely as they would have been if Prowler wasn't there, well, prowling his mind.

"Yeah, I figured." Jazz said, "Though this is my place too, y'know? Found it a couple of vorns back, when Darker showed it to me." Saying his name no longer brought him pain. Just loneliness.

"Ah, well that explains it. If there was a nice shadowy place with a good view, Darker would sniff it out." Orion placed the pad away, "But I am impressed that you speak so freely about him. It's been a while…"

"I guess…" Jazz started, "I guess there's so much a mech could take, you know? You just get used to all the slag that's happening to ya and learn to live on."

"But it's not easy." Finished Orion.

"Primus no." Agreed Jazz and the two fell in a comfortable silence, watching the stars. And if Jazz concentrated, he could even hear the quiet sub harmonics of Cybertron's inner workings. After all, the planet was alive, just like them.

Casually, Jazz pulled out his cube of energon when the AI narrowed its optics at him to finally fuel, "What's with the pads?" The spy took a long gulp, hating himself to admit that he really was hungry.

"Remember Ariel?" Orion asked and there was something different in his voice.

"That sweet femme you always acted like an idiot when she was around? Sure, I liked her. Made you loosen up." Jazz grinned when the larger mech glared at him.

"I'll take that as a yes." Orion sighed, "We've been… writing to each other."

Jazz's visor sparked with interest, "Oh really?"

"Yes. She's currently in Praxus with the Peace Corp but after what happened…" The archivist trailed off, "She getting assigned here."

"Well, that's awesome news mech!" Jazz said brightly, but deflated when he saw Orion's worried look. "What's wrong?"

"Everything." Orion said, and Jazz was surprised to admit that he's never heard his friend so…dark, "Iacon is not safe. We saw that first hand. It's even less safer to travel. If she comes here, I won't be able to protect her, the Autobots come first, you know this."

Understanding dwelled inside Jazz and he smiled softly, gently, "The last time Ah saw her, she was one hard-ball femme. I think she can handle herself if need be, Orion." the spy waited until the larger mech looked at him, "This is war, and we both see and know it's not getting any better. Only worse. Nowhere is safe. Who knows, even neutral cities like Praxus and Altihex are in danger. And Iacon, that was probably considered the safest place on the planet, suffered irreparable damage."

"You are not helping me." Orion sighed.

"Hey, I'm just trying to show you thing from the positive side." Jazz playfully nudged him.

"That being said by one of the darkest mechs I know." The blue mech shook his head.

Jazz gazed at his drink, watching the energon swirl, "Well, I wasn't always like that. There was a time that I could make even that fragger who trained us, Ironhide chuckle."

"No, you weren't." Orion looked at him, "What happened to you Jazz? What happened over there?"

Jazz drew his knees closer and sighed. Surprisingly, he was feeling at peace with himself, "Death. That's what happened."

Orion just watched him for long, quiet moment, "You died with them as well. Or at least, the part of you that was alive." The large mech said. Jazz chuckled.

"That's deep."

"It's the truth."


Silence stretched between them. At one point, Jazz contemplated on retracting his visor, but decided against it. He hadn't done so since that mission, the only exception was for medical reasons.

"D'ya think we'll see the end of the war?" Jazz asked and looked at Orion.

"I hope so." The other mech murmured, "You're young, we both are."

Jazz just hummed, accepting the small talk. Well, there at least was someone who knew how to have some casual conversations.

"He you heard anything from Bumblebee?" The blue mech asked. Jazz only shrugged in response.

"No, nothing. Blaster's been watching the airwaves, but nothing. Hope he's doing well."

"Yes." Orion looked at his friend, considering his next words, "Remember that time Softbite literally wielded you to the medical berth?"

Jazz laughed. It was such a warm sound. It was not forced, nor bitter and full irony and mock mirth. It was Jazz. And Orion didn't realize until then how much he had missed it.

"Yeah, I never believed the fragger would do it." Jazz snickered, "But luckily, Darker came late that night and removed the wields."

"Ah, but if memory is correct, he did have his fun before he did that." No one knew what sort of relationship there was between Jazz and Darker. Both were players. But they did warm each other's berths often enough, especially after harder missions.

"Everyone knew he was kinky as the Pits." Jazz snorted, "But he knew what he was doing."

"Please, don't give me mental images." Orion shuddered.

"Though I'll never forgive him." Jazz said suddenly.

"You were the devious one, not him." After a moment, the archivist added, "Alright, he had his moment as well. But what had he done that you still hold a grudge against him?"

"He died."

Jazz said and the now empty cube he held cracked from the force of his grip. "I'll never forgive him for dying."


"That idiot promised me that we'll live to see the end of the war, so we could travel the Universe together. He wanted to see organics of any kind so badly. Kind of grouse if ya ask me, but like I said, fragger was weird."

Jazz shivered when he felt a hand on his shoulder but didn't force himself to smile. Not this time, because it would be fake.

"Ah miss him, all of them." Jazz started at his cube with bitter fascination.

"They will not be forgotten." Orion promised, "Never, I'll make sure of that."

"A promise of an archivist, eh?" Jazz glanced him from under his visor. "I'll hold you up to that when we see the end of the war."

Such a promise is dangerous.

'But necessary.' Jazz thought in response, not caring that the AI couldn't hear him.

A soft expression with blue optics cold as ice warmed his spark. Jazz stared uncertain as a black hand was outstretched for him in silent support. Nothing else mattered.

Jazz lifted his hand, feeling the other firmly grasp it, before he was pulled to his pedes without letting go and he felt the ground beneath his feet. The world froze as that one mech smiled.

"We should go see Blaster." Jazz suddenly said, "He shouldn't be alone."

"He probably needs more time…"

"Time's up." Jazz said suddenly determined, "C'mon. I'm not doing this alone."

Surprised at the sudden order, Orion was quick to gather his pads and scramble to his pedes, following his smaller companion. Frag discretion, Jazz simply waved off the guards and ignored their disapproving glares; he'll deal with them later.

It wasn't long before they reached Blaster's quarters. Like expected, they remained locked.

"This isn't funny Blaster!" Jazz pounded on the door, but the music playing inside was nearly deafening. "It's been long enough, come on out."

"Perhaps this isn't the right way…" Orion tried to soothe. He hadn't seen Jazz so powered up in a while.

"Frag this." Jazz suddenly said and crouched in front of the door's lock in an obvious attempt to hack it.

"We'll get into so much trouble for this…" Orion muttered, glancing around nervously at the cameras.

"Pfft, what else is new?" Jazz said, distracted. In less than a breem, they heard the door unlock.

You have improved. Excellent.

Jazz ignored the compliment and motioned for Orion to follow him. The quarters were a mess – data pads everywhere, the music now even louder once inside. And of course, Blaster was there, sitting behind his desk, viewing something on the camera feeds.

Jazz frowned and made his way inside, turning off the deafening music.

"Please don't turn off my music." Blaster muttered.

"Frag music." Jazz said, "C'mon, let's go. We're getting you out of here; I don't care if we have to drag you out to do it."

His statement remained ignored and Jazz growled in frustration. Fine, fragger wanted to play like this? The spy would humor him.
Jazz calmly made his way over to the desk and in a move that no one saw coming shoved the computer off it, letting it break and clatter loudly on the ground.

"What the frag?!" Blaster exclaimed and stood up from his seat, the chair falling behind him. Instead of answering Jazz simply gripped Blaster's collar (much to Orion's horror) and pulled the mech over the desk, before starting to drag him towards the door.

"Jazz! Enough! What has gotten into you?!" Blaster slapped Jazz hand away, promptly falling to the ground. "This isn't funny!"

"Do I look like I'm joking?" Jazz asked darkly.

"I don't know what in the world is up with you, but it stops now. Get out of my quarters." Blaster pointed at the door.


"Jazz!" Still on the ground, Blaster gripped his helm in sheer frustration, "Don't you get it? I just want to be alone for a while, okay? We all respected you when you needed your privacy after that mission."

Jazz suddenly snapped and growled, "It was not what I needed back then."

"Needed? You didn't even want to talk to us!" Blaster accused.

"Those are two separate things," Jazz glared down, "I didn't want your support and Primus did I show it. And I'm sorry I realized that so late, but I did needed it." He explained, "Trust me, I know this feeling, just as I know that right now, you need to be with us, and not here, alone. So yeah, I'm either going to drag you out here forcefully, or you'll come to your senses and come to the rec room, with us."

The silence that stretched out between them was deafening, even Orion was having a hard time not to fidget. Jazz smiled softly, a memory of someone dear filling his thoughts, visor nearly ice-blue and reached down with his hand.

Blaster stared uncertainly at the outstretched hand before his need for contact, for friends, won out and he reach back as well, feeling the other grip him tightly in support, before getting pulled up to his pedes. He felt the ground beneath his pedes.

"You have the strangest mood-swings." Blaster shook his head, their hands still entwined.

"Tell me about it." Jazz muttered and turned to grin at Orion, "Told you it'll work."

"Surprisingly, yes." Orion chuckled softly, watching his friends.

It was intriguing, fascinating. For the first time in so long, something had changed. They had changed. And Jazz not only could feel it, but see it with his optics as well. He had smiled again, and it was not forced. Primus, Jazz never realized someone could miss smiling so much. And just for a couple of moments, they could forget the war, the tragedies as the world suddenly seemed brighter, lighter filled with laughter.

Of course, it was too good to last.

"Autobot, designation Jazz?"

The trio looked surprised at the strange mechs standing before their table. Two of them looked like guards, but the third one was…unnerving to say the least. He was of sleek frame, completely back. While Nightbeat had splotched of gray here and there, this mech didn't. The only other color was the strange purple color of his visor, a most unnatural color, given who their enemy was. No one liked the smile on his face, optics hidden.

Face going neutral, Jazz lowered his cube of high grade, "Who's askin'?" The rec room had gone eerie quiet, every 'bot listening in and watching the spectacle. The tension was growing with each passing click and it was only a matter of time before it exploded.

"Autobot Jazz, you are hereby arrested for aiding the Decepticons––"

"What?!" Both Orion and Blaster exclaimed, jumping from their seats as many gasps filled the room around them, optics never leaving the scene.

"––And the resulting destruction upon Iacon until further notice. Please do not resist."

Jazz couldn't even if he wanted, too shocked to even protest as a sudden feeling of numbness overtook him when the guards placed his hands in stasis cuffs behind his back, the electricity stinging and rendering his servos useless. Red optics narrowed.


As if that woke him from his stupor, Jazz tested the cuffs and couldn't stop his engine from revving, "What!? That's absurd!" He glared at the guards, then his gaze settled upon the third mech.

A low chuckle made everyone look at the strange purple visor. He walked up to Jazz and gripped his chin, forcing them visor to visor, deep blue against dark violate.

"Oh, this will be so much fun." The mech purred so only those around them heard it.

Jazz violently jerked his head away, "And who the frag are ya supposed ta be?"

The mech placed clawed hands on slender hips, visor glinting, looking Jazz up and down, "Your new boss, agent. I'm the current head of Ops, while poor ol' Nightbeat licks his wounds." He leaned next to Jazz's audio horn, "That is, if he survives."

"Name's Dryclaw and I truly hope you'll be able to remember it once I'm done with you. I do hate repeating myself." The mech spoke casually and with a flick of his wrist, the guards started dragging Jazz out.

Jazz glanced at his friends, staring back at him utterly lost at what to do. He tried to muster whatever pride he had and walked out with his helm held high. But he couldn't stop the near-silent murmur that escaped him, knowing what was to come.


The optics flared on his screen, not leaving his side. It was enough, it had to be. He was not alone, he tried to convince his mind.

But he only came to one conclusion, and that is that all good things, had suddenly come to an end.


Disclaimer: Transformers doesn't belong to me.