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Tale of Two Praxians

Chapter Text

The attack was over in seconds. As fast as it had begun, it was finished; leaving a once proud city burning, its people dead or dying.

No one made any preparations for the attack. No escape routes or procedures. Of course they hadn’t, no one expected such a thing to happen. Yes there was a war. And yes, other smaller towns had already been lost to the crossfire. But they were the first full city. Filled with innocents, most having little ties to the battle taking place.

Neutral. Not swayed to either side, the city’s governing body held firm on that accord. Both sides were at fault, depending on whom one asked. Yet, asking wouldn’t do you much good. The towers burned, every last soul inside dead. Nobles and commoners, so different and separate in the system, shared the same ending. The few mecha hailing from the city had left before hand. Cycles before the devastating blow, the few lucky ones having reported to their chosen sides.

Prowl surveyed the smoldering ruins of his homeland. He gazed at the buildings that had once been his job, his apartment, and other places that he went to. His optics sweeper forlornly at where Praxus’s Crystal Gardens used to bloom. The shards of the crystals glittered with the scarlett glow of the nearby flames.

The black and white Praxian continued his walk. He had no time to waste, even if it was to remember what just joors ago used to be there. He pressed on with the thought there still might be survivors. By now it was unlikely, so far no one in the city seemed to have lived. Seeing more greyed out frames of the deactivated, Prowl had to wonder, was that the intent?

Leave no one -mech, femme, sparkling- left? No grounder native to walk the busy streets of city again? No flyer to perform acrobatics above? And for what… a display of power? Another wrong supposed to correct the wrongs of the world?

The autobot tactician shook his head. He knew he shouldn’t think that way. But with every passing breem another small piece of hope wilted away within his spark.

After a few more breems, and not finding anything, the tactician knew it was time to head back to base. It was then Prowl first heard it. Distant at first, the sound slightly increased as Prowl made his way to it.

It sounded like that of a sparkling or youngling’s cries. But that shouldn’t have been possible. If no grown mech or femme had survived the tragedy, what hope could there be for a child?

Despite that thought, the adult Praxian still hurried towards the muffled wails. With so much rubble it was hard to walk in through the streets, much more so to run, but Prowl seemed to manage well.

Closing in on the noise, the autobot found himself staring at a dilapidated building. From the first glance, it appeared as though no one could for so long in such a place. But the muffled crying continued, so Prowl went in after it.

As he searched through the house, Prowl came across a femme’s offlined frame. Another room found a mech. If one didn’t look closely they would have missed the few scattered sparkling toys on the floor.

It had taken Prowl a bit to realized it but eventually he did notice after tripping on one. Covered in dust to match that of the ruined floor it was no wonder that the Praxian didn’t pick up on it at first.

Now suspicions confirmed, the tactician returned to his mission with added vigor. It took another comb of the house again before Prowl found his next helpful clue, that there could be a survivor.

Having gone unnoticed or cared in his first sweep, Prowl took a longer look at the frame of the mech. The bot had been thrown on the ground, faceplates appearing determined to get to something. The position of the legs seemed to show he was moving toward something, probably because it held value to the other mech. What was Prowl’s greatest clue was how the bot’s right servo had fallen. Limp like the rest of the body, but almost as if he had thrown something.

It took little time before the object was identified. An overturned energon cube sat near a doorway, it’s blue liquid seeping into the open room. With hurried steps Prowl followed after the trail. The cries had long since stopped, but now in the final room of the house the tactician could hear faint whimpers and sniffles, barely audial even now.

Continuing to follow the the glowing blue liquid trail, Prowl came across another pile of rubble. With a practiced ease after today, the Praxian removed it with ease, revealing a desk.

That wasn’t what surprised the older mech. It was what was under the desk that counted. Somehow, someway, perhaps by Primus’s will alone, a sparkling curled up in a ball peered back up at him.

Young and old Praxian held gaze with each other for sometime. The little one out of fear and the elder one out of pleasant shock. How had the little one manage to survive when all others couldn’t?

Prowl shook his head again, that didn’t matter. What was important was getting the child somewhere safe. The autobot tried what he hoped was an easy going, caring smile. “Hello there, young one.” He wasn’t sure how effective it would be, it wasn’t like Prowl had the same level of emotions as his friend Jazz did. He spread his arms out now kneeling on the dirty floor.

It took a moment but out of either trust or the want to be near someone else the tiny sparkling crawled into the older Praxian’s arms.

Careful not to hurt the little one, especially near the developing doorwing, the tactician scooped up the child and headed out of the house. Knowing the sparkling in his arms might feel distress about seeing the offlined frames of his creators, Prowl was careful to shield the optics of the little mech.

Once he got outside the crumbling building he commed the other officers on the base, ::Prepare the medbay. I’m returning with a survivor.::

Chapter Text

Ratchet was almost done repacking the emergency equipment when Prowl’s comm came in. Before he hadn’t had a need to use it, for out of the entire city of Praxus no one was left online. The medic had a sense of regret. If they had responded quick maybe he could have saved someone. But the Decepticons had spared no one, ever ruthless in their surprise attack of the neutral city.

::Prepare the Medbay. I’m returning with a survivor.::

Yet, the moment the call came in Ratchet was ready. This was his chance to make a difference. He just didn’t know how big of a difference it would.

“Wheeljack! I need the life support system online now! Pharma, standby but prepare for surgery!” He roared. Immediately the two other bots got busy getting systems and tools ready. Mechs and femmes who had minor injuries cleared the medbay rapidly. If their CMO was ordering his subordinates around like that, then it could only mean one thing. Someone had survived Praxus.

Currently, the who was curled up in his rescuer’s arms. The little sparkling was enjoying the warmth of the older Praxian’s spark. It reminded him of his creators. His creators! The little not almost forgot with all the screaming and shaking. It scared him. The sparkling chirped then whined, what if it happened again? Where was Sire and Carrier? He wanted them. He let out another whine and stared imploringly up at the other bot’s optics, squirming as he did so.

Prowl looked down when the bundle he was holding started to make a fuss. He didn’t have any experience with sparklings having no sparkmate or siblings of his own. The tactician did have an idea of what to do, seeing colleagues who did have young children go through this. Gently he bounced the small Praxian, smiling soothingly.

It took a breem or so, but the sparkling quieted down for awhile. He was happy and safe with this bot. The larger mech saved him from the scary screaming and shaking and then the silence that followed. The sparkling decided he could be trusted. Contented, the little bot snuggled back up in his guardian’s chassis.

Satisfied with the results, Prowl continued to head towards the base. It wasn’t far now, only a klick away. Aware of that fact Prowl scanned for any Decepticon signals. It wouldn’t do for him to put the rest of the Autobots in jeopardy because he was distracted.

The sentries guarding the exit opened up to let their Second in Command in without a second thought. They glanced at the bundle in Prowl’s arms, and one asked questionably, “Sir?”

“The survivor.” Prowl responded without hesitation. The two bots nodded and let the two pass.

The rest of the journey to the medbay, Prowl was met with many stares and double takes from the troops on the base. A few gave small coos or waves to the sparkling, but they weren’t returned. The little mech shrunk away from the strangers, hiding under his caretaker’s servos. The action only brought on slight chuckles and a small smirk from the mech himself.

“Woah, bro!” Prowl’s silence was interrupted by the two younglings on the base. The youngling who spoke ran over, “Look at that!”

“What?” His brother asked irritably, trailing after the first, who was making his way to the Autobot Second.

“Prowler has emotions!” The red one exclaimed.

“I don’t believe it.” His golden twin responded, tone in an absolute awe. Afterall, the tactician was normally expressionless. It wasn’t that Prowl had no emotions, they just kept well under check for the welfare of the troops. Of course, that also distanced Prowl from their social circles, but when skirmishes became bloody and causality rates grew it made the pain slightly less.

As if they thought the Autobot Second couldn’t hear them, the red youngling beamed and gave a wave, “Hiya Prowler!”

The named bot sighed, the nickname Jazz had given him long ago had seemed to stick, especially among the younger bots on the base. “Hello Sideswipe, Sunstreaker.” He nodded at the twins. “Is your guardian in the Medbay?”

The red youngling, Sideswipe, nodded eagerly, “Yep! What for?”

At the same time his brother pointed to the shifting bundle still in Prowl’s arms. “What’s that?”

As if the sparkling knew he was the object of the pointing and discussion he peaked his helm out.

Upon sight Sideswipe squealed and clapped, “Look Sunny! Prowlie has a sparkling!”

Sunstreaker responded by swatting his twin, “I know that, stupid! And my name isn’t ‘Sunny’, stop calling me that!”

If Sideswipe was fazed by the swatting he didn’t show it. “So whatcha need Ratch for?” He questioned, in a way one could consider innocent. That is if anyone could call the prankster youngling innocent. Many bots had made that mistake, and pranked for their ignorance.

“I need Ratchet to check on this little guy. We need to make sure he is healthy.”

“Okay! Follow me!” Sideswipe chirped running off in the medbay’s direction. As he past his twin he gave him a light slap and told him, “Tag! You’re it!”

His brother gave a whoop and ran after his brother. Prowl chuckled softly at the energetic younglings’ never ending bout of energy. It was a miracle sometimes with how Ratchet and Ironhide were able to keep up. As for the Praxian himself he followed after them, longer legs keeping stride at the walk.

Of course it wasn’t long before the two tired of the game. Apparently not in the mood for games, the two contented themselves with peppering the Commander with questions.

“Where’d ya find him?”

“What’s his designation?”

“Where’s his creators?”

“Is that his actual paint job?”

So on and so forth until the group reached Ratchet’s domain. It was here the two left him with a “See ya Prowler!” As they ran off they were talking excitedly and giggling, most likely over there latest prank. Ah well, he’d let Ratchet know after the check up.

The medical bay was in a frantic flurry when Prowl walked in. Over the noise Ratchet was giving orders to medical assistance, not without his customary words of choice.

All activity stopped when Ratchet noticed his friend’s entrance, but not the bundle in the other mech’s arms. “Well? Where the slag are they?”

At the new gruff voice, the little sparkling shifted curling up further into his savior’s chassis. The new voice wasn’t like the other two bots from earlier. This one sounded tough and mean and scary. A flash of the event from before entered his mind again. He whimpered, not understanding what was going on.

The medics hawk like optics and audials picked up on the movement and the whimper. “What in the pit?” He moved closeted only to receive more distressed sounds from the little Praxian.

Sensing the little bot’s discomfort and picking up what it was, Prowl narrowed his eyes at the CMO. Over the comm, so not to terrify his charge even more, the tactician sharply spoke, ::Language.::

The medic opened his mouth to retort. He could speak however the frag he wanted, it was his pit slagging medbay! Immediately though he closed it, he knew the sparkling wouldn’t let him check the young spark out if he considered the medic a threat.

“Hey there little guy.” Ratchet cooed in the same voice he used when he and Ironhide first met the abandoned Sideswipe and Sunstreaker. “It’s alright, you can trust me.”

The sparkling made no move to open up to Ratchet, but he stopped whimpering at the very least. His optics looked up at his rescuer, silently asking about the medic.

The SiC nodded, “Ratchet is a friend. He’s going to make sure your healthy.”

The child turned his bright blue optics over to Ratchet, but launched backwards, clinging to Prowl. Having become a sparkling magnet the black and white mech bounced his charge up and down in a soothing manner like he did before. “It’s alright. I’ll stay right here the whole time.”

The sparkling stayed still. Prowl continued, “If you’re good Ratchet will give you a treat when he is done.” The tactical officer knew the CMO typically carried some on him for Sides and Sunny, and Ironhide’s other charge Bumblebee.

It did the trick. Slowly, but surely the sparkling removed himself from his ball and was set on a medical birth. True to his word the older Praxian sat down with him.

At each stage of the routine medical examination, Ratchet held up a tool and gently explained what it was. Every now and then he paused to ask the tactician something, and the exam was soon over. Like the sparkling was told, Ratchet gave him a small energon goodie for being good when Ratchet checked him over.

As the medic moved away he shook his head, chuckling, and muttered something about the perfect bribe.

Ratchet turned his gaze up to the black and white. “Designation?”

“I do not know.” Prowl stated truthfully. Usually he hated not knowing things, it could mean the deactivation of entire units.

“Well, we can’t just keep calling him ‘little one’ all the time. He needs a designation.” The CMO responded. Ratchet was right, they really couldn’t keep calling the sparkling, ‘little one,’ there would come a day when he would grow older and require a proper name.

Prowl thought for a long moment. Roadrunner? Silverblade? Dustcycle? The tactician shook his head, he wasn’t the little bot’s creator but he sensed that none of those names would suit the sparkling. He remember how he had found the sparkling. He was in a building, curled under a desk. Leading into that room was the trail of the energon. A messy blue streak, but it had helped Prowl discover the little bot.

Wait that was it! “Bluestreak. His designation is Bluestreak.”

Ratchet looked and Prowl and glanced over at the sparkling. It was no time before the medic stared at his friend like the tactician had lost a few screws in the processor.

“Prowl,” red and white bot said, oddly calm, “There’s not a speck of blue on him!” He gesture to the happy grey sparkling still eating the treat.

“I know.” The tactician insisted.

“Well?”

“‘Well,’ what?”

“What the frag are you going to name him then?”

“Bluestreak.”

The medic growled a sign he was getting impatient. “Prowl, do I need to take a look at your processor? That sparkling is grey, not blue! Get that through your fragging glitched processor!”

The SiC’s doorwings raised also getting slightly aggravated with the discussion. “Ratchet, I will not say it again.” His friend sighed in relief before Prowl had the chance to continue. “His designation is Bluestreak, and if you don’t like it, I will type it in the file myself.”

The sparkling, newly designated ‘Bluestreak’ by his rescuer, cheered and shrunk back at the raised voices of the two adult mechs.

Ratchet backed off at that. There would be no arguing with the tactician once he was set and there was no way he’d risk the sparkling fearing him. He huffed, grabbing the datapad he made the sparkling’s file on.

“Fine. It’s done. His designation is Bluestreak.” Under his breath he muttered, “Primus only knows the frag why.”

Prowl nodded curtly, picking up the newly named ‘Bluestreak,’ “Good day, Ratchet.”

The medic grunted a farewell, and started to put away some of the more important tools.

Still in the room, Wheeljack and Pharma exchanged looks. It was Wheeljack who asked the two’s silent thoughts, “Since when did ‘Grey’ become ‘Blue’?”

In the seconds that followed Wheeljack let out a cry as awrench of his annoyed friend collided with his helm.

Pharma held up his hands in surrender. “Bluestreak it is.”

Chapter Text

With Ratchet confirming little Bluestreak’s health Prowl set out on his next task. Getting a permanent guardian for the little bot. As a Praxian, Prowl would be better choice, but as the Autobot SiC it was an unnecessary risk. If the Decepticons found out, they would target Bluestreak to get him for sure. The tactician could not just let that happen.

By now most of the base had heard of the arrival of Praxus’s only survivor. Many bots commented on the state of affairs involving the child, and many more placed bets on a permanent guardian for Bluestreak. Afterall, Prowl was unsuitable for taking care of a child. With virtually no emotions except anger or annoyance, the Autobot SiC would not be able to give such a sparkling the care and kindness it deserved.

Originally no one voiced that out to Prowl. Having witnessed his entire homeland and everyone he knew deactivated, most bots would be inclined to believe him deep in grief. But damn that cool indifferent expression! Did that bot even have a spark to such emotions?

Such thoughts were plaguing Cliffjumper’s processor. The red minibot was brash and loud and very critical of any actions that he did not like. Watching Prowl walk by with such an empty expression pushed him past the breaking point.

“Hey drone! Whatcha doing with that sparkling? He should be given to Ironhide! Now that’s a real mech!” Cliffjumper announced out loud to the cruel snickers of the other troops nearby.

Other mecha in the Hall took that time to add their jeers to the fray. Most of them faded into the noise but a few notable ones rung out, words biting.

“Your glitched processor can’t handle a sparkling!”

“I’ll bet you would age him up. Send him into battle.”

“Yo Prowl, Is that your newest statistic?”

“Poor child. Forced to be stuck with a drone like you.”

More insults continued as their Second in Command briskly moved through the crowd. The tactician’s plating bristled, his doorsings rose and flared out. Yes, it was true he did not typically show emotions on his face, to do so would add more risks to himself and the army, but his doorwings were constantly displaying his mood. Only if one knew how to read them.

“I bet you don’t even know what a sparkling is! Hint it’s-” Cliffjumper started before being interrupted by another newcomer.

“Better behaved than ya. Y’all should be ashamed of ya selves.” The other black and white officer on base scolded. “Prowler works hard ta keep y’all online. Dismissed.”

The bots in the hallway cleared, invisible tail between their legs. It was hard enough to be yelled at by any officer, but this one was the worst, besides the Prime himself. Jazz’s happy go lucky demeanor and easy going social behaviors allowed him to become a friend to everyone on the base.

It was this attitude that helped many mech’s to forget Jazz’s true roles within the Autobot ranks. Third in Command and Commander of Autobot Special Operations, were positions that required a lot more than simple friendship to receive and maintain. But with the way Jazz normally acted it was easy to forget that on the field he made both Cons and Bots shiver down their spinal struts.

Bluestreak curled up in a ball again, why were those bots yelling at his savior? The other Praxian had saved him, why were those bots so mean? The grey sparkling was thankful when all the yelling stopped. There was another voice, chastising everyone who hurt his rescuer’s feelings. It belonged to another black and white mech, the same colors as the bot who held him. Though this one didn’t have doorwings, Bluestreak noted. Was he a friend of Prowl’s?

Satisfied with the results, Jazz turned a cheerful smile over to his best friend. “Hiya Prowler!”

In acknowledgement Prowl nodded at his companion. “Jazz.”

Taking that as open invitation Jazz slide his arm over Prowl’s shoulders with a practiced ease. “Ah think ah can guess what happened this time. Ya really gotta start standing up for ya self, mech.”

“Jazz-” Prowl started but his friend cut him off.

“Ah’m serious. How can ya expect them to follow ya orders on the field, when they mock at the base? Even Screamer gets more respect.”

“You know why.” The tactician informed.

“Just, think ‘bout it. Ah worry ‘bout ya mech.” Jazz said, but stopped speaking when the other Autobot lowered his doorwings, in a gesture that he did not want to talk about this any more. The SpecOps agent removed his arm from Prowl’s shoulders. He crouched down at the sparkling level. “Hey there, little dude.”

“His designation’s Bluestreak.” The Praxian informed.

The Autobot’s Third in Command looked up incredulously, waving a servo around the sparkling, “Uh Prowler, mech? There’s not a speck of blue on him!”

The object of Jazz’s disbelieving stare did not falter or hesitate a beat, “I know.”

“But-”

“But nothing Jazz. His designation is Bluestreak.”

“Why?” The agent questioned not getting the logical mech’s logic.

“I was only able to find him because of a leaking energon cube. It left a blue streak on the floor.” The tactician explained.

Jazz laughed and shook his head, “Prowler we gotta get ya some sparkling namin’ classes.”

The named mech thought about that sentence, “There are classes for that?”

Jazz looked up from his crouched position of humor. “What? No, it was-nevermind.” He waved his friend’s question off. “Ya going ta see Prime?”

Prowl nodded, “I need to find a permanent caretaker for Bluestreak.”

It was Jazz’s turn to nod, “Gotcha. Ah’ll see you later, Prowler! ‘Member what Ah told ya!” He called out heading down to the SpecOps wing.

Prowl turned and walked until he reached the officer hall where all of the senior officers offices were. Except for Medical, that was a room attach to to the medbay so the medics had easy access in case of emergency. Well that and SpecOps, they usually used the lower, more secure war rooms. And for good reason, most of their mission were of critical priority and the Autobots couldn’t let their plans be known to enemy spies.

Finally Prowl came to the office labeled Prime. Optimus Prime, was the Supreme Commander of all Autobot forces as well as the bearer of the Matrix of Leadership. As such, Prime was the obvious choice to receive help from to find a good caretaker for Bluestreak.

Prime’s second pinged the office for entry. Approved the tactician strode in. “Optimus,” Prowl greeted his leader with a nod.

“Hello Prowl. Who’s this?” The Autobot leader sat at his desk where he set down the datapad he was working on. He gestured at the sparkling in his SiC’s arms.

“Sir, this is the survivor from Praxus. Designation Bluestreak.” Prowl stated.

Optimus made a move to ask a question. Knowing what the question was going to be already Prowl answered it without having the question asked. “Yes, I am perfectly aware he has no blue on him. The designation is simply in relation to how I found him.”

His leader nodded slowly, uncomprehending. Snapping back to the reality, he motioned for the tactician to take a seat. “Ah I see. What can I do for you then Prowl?”

Prowl took the offered chair and moved it closer to the desk. “Bluestreak requires a guardian. I was hoping you would know someone up to the task.”

“There would be a few suitable Autobots willing. But are you sure you don’t want to care for him yourself?” Optimus inquired.

“I have no knowledge of how to take of a sparkling. Besides, even if I did, my work would not be able to provide the attention and care a sparkling should have.” Prowl responded. That much was the truth, between long office hours, running an army, and not having any prior experience.

“If you’re sure…”

“I am, sir.”

“I’ll send someone to your quarters for Bluestreak in a little while.” The Autobot leader told his second. The Matrix bearer was positive that the tactician’s choice was the right one, but Prowl was convinced it was the best one.

Taking his que to leave, the Autobot SiC stood up and nodded to his leader. “Thank you, sir. I will see you at the officers meeting next cycle. Have a good orn.”

Optimus watched as Prowl left. He inclined his head, shakeing it slightly. Inside him the Matrix pulsed, signaling a new era. He just didn’t know how soon this change would come, nor the lives it would soon affect.

Chapter Text

A few joors after his meeting with the Prime, the doorbell chime to Prowl’s quarters rang out. Having been working at his desk, completing some reports at the time, Prowl rose and walked over to the door.

It opened up to one of Jazz’s main scouts, Hound. The dark green truck nodded a polite greeting to his commander. The tactician returned the nod, gesturing for the scout to enter. “Please come in, Hound. How can I help you?”

Prowl was a bit surprised to see the scout at this time. Since Hound’s Amica Endura, another member of Jazz’s unit, the spy Mirage, was currently away on a high priority mission, the Praxian assumed that the green scout was waiting for word of his lover’s return.

The green mech looked a bit concerned and anxious. “Prime said to talk to you about a bot named ‘Bluestreak’?” He had a pained expression on his face, “Is ‘Raj okay? Did something happen?”

Prowl shook his helm, “Mirage is fine. We got a comm with him earlier in the joor. Prime is bringing him back to base as we speak.”

There was alleviation showing on Hound’s faceplates. “That’s a huge relief.” The green mech didn’t know what he’d do if his lover got hurt. He couldn’t think of living a life without Mirage. He told the noble exactly that when he had proposed a bond between them. Unfortunately, however, despite the many orns of mutual affection between the two, Mirage declined it, because of his dangerous line of work. Both mechs tried to see it was for the better, but it was a sore spot for both of them.

Hound mourned those events for a moment before moving back into the present. “Who’s Bluestreak then?” He questioned puzzled. Having just came back from a border patrol just a few breems earlier, it was possible he had not heard of the day's events.

“One moment.” The tactician responded, getting up to go get the recharging sparkling from his berthroom. Hound watched the SiC go, still confused about the whole thing.

The sparkling yawned opening and closing his little mouth slightly, Bluestreak opened his optics dimly as he was shifted from the warm, cozy berth and into someone’s arms. Sensing the mech carrying him to be his rescuer, Bluestreak snuggled further in the tactician’s chassis.

Prowl brought the little bot over to where Hound sat on the tactician’s rarely used couch. He had got it at Jazz’s insistence, so the troops felt more at ease when they had to come to the tactician’s quarters. Besides Jazz, for the SpecOps beloved ‘movie nights,’ no one came around. And to be honest, Prowl actually preferred it that way. He already felt the loss of comrades, because of a faulty plan, hard enough, that he did not need the extra burden of friendship on it. Secretly, the Autobot Second dreaded the day something went wrong with Jazz’s missions.

Sitting down, Prowl introduced Bluestreak to one of his to-be-guardians. “This is Bluestreak.” Anticipating the question the scout was bound to have, Prowl continued exasperated, “And yes, I’m quite aware he is grey.”

Hound closed his mouth. “Okay… Hey there Blue, I’m Hound.”

The sparkling peered up at the dark green visitor. Another friend? He blinked, it seemed to be something like that. Comfortable, Bluestreak curled back up into his rescuer‘s chassis, ignoring the older bots’ conversation.

“Do you know why you are here?” Prowl inquired.

“Not really. But I have a good guess.” Hound shrugged and inclined his helm at the recharging bot in his commander’s arms.

The SiC nodded. “I know you and Mirage are very busy, but would you be willing to take care of him?”

Hound perked, excited his guess of the situation was accurate. The tracker had always wanted a sparkling of his own, but the lack of a bond made that pretty much impossible. His good mood lessened at that. Mirage might not be able to take on that extra burden with his job… And he, himself, was also occasionally away on missions for extended periods of times. They might not be able to provide the amount of time and care a sparkling needed.

“I would love to, sir. But I would need to talk to ‘Raj before we commit to anything.” Hound voiced his concerns.

Prowl suspected that would be the answer. In the scout’s position, he would have done the same thing. Being part of SpecOp Divisions was dangerous enough, adding a defenseless sparkling to that mix could create a disaster, if not properly discussed or planned for. One did not need to be a tactician to know that. As such, he fully agreed with Hound’s response.

“Of course. I know you’ll need some time just to spend with yourselves, but please inform me of your final answer as soon as you can.”

“We will. Was that everything you needed me for?” Hound asked as he stood up. It wouldn’t do to just leave without approval from his higher up, even despite this wasn’t a typical professional meeting.

Prowl nodded, “Yes. You are dismissed.”

The scout didn’t need to be told twice. He was on good enough terms with the strategist, but that was a far cry from being friends. In fact, being on ‘good terms’ meant that Prowl would not get immediately annoyed with being around the mech in question. Being an actual friend to the black and white Praxian… well, only Jazz was known to accomplish that feat.

Sharp, azure optics trailed the retreating form of the scout. Prime made a very good choice with the mechs to look after Bluestreak. While the spy could be vain at times, both the scout and the spy were generous, hard-working bots, loyal to the Autobot cause.

Meanwhile, the tiny Praxian shifted once more, shaking Prowl from his musings. Walking back over to the back to his berth, the tactician deposited the younger bot on his berth so he could have a more comfortable recharge. In contrast, the Autobot Officer went back to complete the mountain of reports on his desk.

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Mirage just finished his debriefing of his mission with Jazz and Prime. Hopefully, the intelligence he gathered would be enough to stop Megatron’s newest Weapon of Doom. If not… they’d deal with it. As it currently stood, Mirage had more pressing matters to deal with. Matters such as spending quality time with his lover.

Hound turned his head when the doors to his and Mirage’s shared quarters opened. He was expecting either Trailbreaker or maybe Bumblebee, given that the kid expressed an interest in becoming a scout. Upon seeing who entered exactly Hound ran over giving his Amica Endura a large hug.

“I missed you so much!”

Mirage chuckled, returning the hug, after making sure their quarter was closed. He had never been one for public displays of affection. “I missed you more.”

“Lies,” Hound responded.

The spy shook his head, and gently admonished, “That’s the truth and you know it. You don’t know how lonely it is when all your ‘friends’ are hostile.”

“I guess you’re right. Did Prime tell you about the new assignment?” Hound asked, wondering how much his lover knew about the base’s youngest addition.

The former noble’s optics narrowed, “A new assignment?Already?”

“Yeah. You know about Praxus right?”

Mirage bowed his helm sadly. “Who doesn’t? Millions of mecha died.”

Many of his childhood friends were from Praxus, as the two tower communities were close trading partners. He remembered how happy many of Decepticons were after the attack. It was utterly repulsive, and Mirage was thankful his commanders decided to pull him out nearly immediately after.

“One survived.”

The spy’s helm shot up, “What?”

Hound nodded, “A sparkling. He needs caretakers. Prime was wondering if we would be willing.”

The blue and white bot listened in with shock. One defenseless sparkling? When all adults ceased to function. That...that was incredible.

It took a moment before Mirage’s awe gave way to common sense. “What about our jobs? Can we really afford that burden?”

The scout shrugged. “I’m not sure. But it’s uncommon both of us are out at once, and when we are it’s usually not for long.”

“That is true. Yet, if the Cons find out, they will definitely use him to get at us. Is that truly a risk worth taking?”

“He’s the only survivor of the extinction of an entire city. The kid needs love and support. It’s similar to Bumblebee or the twins. We can’t just abandon him, Mirage!”

The spy huffed, starting to get frustrated, “I know that! But why us? What about Ratchet or Ironhide?”

Hound shook his helm, “They can’t! Ratch is already sinking to his knee joint from the twins, and Ironhide has it worse!”

That was the truth, Mirage had to admit. But surely there had to be someone else. “Who has him now?” Perhaps if that bot was at all willing or a decent caretaker, he could be out of this mess. It wasn’t like Mirage did not want the sparkling, he had enjoyed sparksitting for many of the younger children back in the Towers, it just seemed the risks were too high.

“Prowl,” Hound told his Amica without any hesitation.

Mirage furrowed his optics, in surprise. “Pardon? I think I misheard you.”

“Who’d you hear?”

“Prowl.” Was the deadpanned response. Mirage was sure that could not be right.

Hound smirked seeing the other mech’s reaction, “That’s what I said.”

For the former noble that one drop of a name changed everything. If he did not agree to raise the sparkling now… The poor child! He would most likely get the barest minimum of supplies, and obviously little to no affection. No, despite the security risks it posed for Hound and himself, he would make sure that child got the love and care he deserved.

That determination glinted in his optics as Mirage made optic contact with his lover. “What did you say the sparkling’s name was?”

Chapter Text

One night and a confirmatory comm from Hound later, had Prowl making his way the base’s primary rec room. Along the way the tactician caught stray optics trailing him as well as hushed unpleasant murmurs. Like always his door wings stood erect, fanned out in a formal and confident manner. He kept an unwavering gaze straight ahead, further enhanced by his typical stony expression.

It was odd… Prowl decided reaching the handoff point. He rarely came in to the rec room unless he had to sort out one of the troops petty problems. It was equally as awkward for the other Autobots in the room too.

Sure, many of their officers would come in every now and then. Some, like Jazz, practically lived in there. But this was Prowl, and Prowl didn’t do parties, or pranks, or picnics… or pretty much any fun thing that started with the letter ‘p’! Honestly what enjoyment could there be with bots who liked paperwork, personal schedules, and perfect calculations! Did it truly matter what the ten millionth of a percent risk was in run of the mill missions?

It wasn’t that bad, per say. It was just unexpected and tense. The typical loud music and voices were subdued to a much more quiet level. It was similar to the behavior in the archives during exam cycles for the Cybertronian academies. Lower ranking bots were making sure they used the correct titles for higher up friends. All and all it just wasn’t that free flowing chaos that was normal for the base’s inhabitants.

Prowl noticed the lack of noise near immediately. It was similar to when he would pull the plug on celebrations, before anyone could get too drunk on high grade. The tactician did not do anything about bringing said chaos back, however. Instead, he choose a table, near the back, and settled in to wait for Hound and Mirage.

The first visitors he received were not the two bots he was expecting. The rec room door opened and inside flew two fast moving blurs of paint. Upon recognition of the base’s commanding officer, the younglings skidded and looked around, as if the apocalypse just started.

As the two’s gazes at the older bots were met with barely visible helm shakes. Only if some mecha was truly trying to see it, no one would actually notice or care.

Briefly the twin shared a shrug before going over and hopping on bench opposite of the tactician. They wouldn’t let such a prime opportunity slide.

“Yo Prowler, ya feeling alright?” Sideswipe asked the question no one else dared to.

His twin continued, “We can get Ratchet for you. He said not to disturb him except in an emergency, but you’re in here… So that’s gotta be an emergency!”

Before Prowl could politely decline the offer and say he was perfectly fine, the red youngling had climbed onto the table and began to shake his servo in front of the tactician’s faceplates. “Are you really the real Prowl?”

Having enough of the pestering, Prowl reached up gently pushed the servo away from from his optics. “Yes, I am the real Prowl. And while I appreciate the offer, Sunstreaker, there is no need to interrupt Ratchet. I am feeling quite fine.”

The golden twin crossed his arms over his chassis, “Then why are you here? You never come here!”

His twin shook his head rapidly, agreeing with every word his brother stated. “Yeah! Like Sunny said!” Sideswipe took on a demanding, childish tone, jabbing a digit at the black and white mech for emphasis. “Who are you and what have you done with the real Prowlie?”

Having previously removed Sideswipe’s servo from his faceplate, it was needless to say Prowl was slightly annoyed with the digit that just poked him in the upper chassis. He told himself that it was fine, these were younglings, and this was what younglings do.

Fortunately, Prowl did not have to worry about the removal of the red twin’s latest offending body part. Sunstreaker took care of that for him. With a scowl Sunstreaker push his twin aside with the exclamation, “My name is not Sunny!”

Rather unfortunately however Sideswipe decided to push back, prompting a fight between the brothers.

The Praxian sighed, it was too early to deal with this nonsense. And yet, he found himself sympathizing with the gold twin. He knew the annoyances of constantly being called an unwelcome nickname. However, Prowl found himself going back to his original logic; it was too early for this. ::Ironhide, do you have a free moment?::

Over the line Prowl heard the older warrior grumble, likely from being woken up from recharge. ::Ah do now.::

::Can you come to the rec room and deal with the Twins?::

::Ah could, But Ah’d ratha not.:: Was the drawled reply. With that one line it was clearly evident where, or, in this case, who, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker got their disrespect of authority from.

::Ironhide.:: The name was spoken sternly, not going to be taking no for an answer.

::Fine, Ah’m comin’, Ah’m comin’. Don’t get ya tailpipes in a tizzy.::

::Thank you.::

In the breem it took for Ironhide to show up, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker continued their half-sparked brawl. Not that it did not look intense to bystanders. The younglings’ servos kept colliding with ‘clangs’ as they continuously slapped at their opponents. In addition to the changing of metal, came the squeals and indignant squawks getting vocalized from the twin mouths.

Needless to say, the occupants of the rec room exhaled in unified relief, as the large figure of Ironhide strode through the entrance.

“Alright, what’s all this racket ‘bout?” Came the disgruntled voice of the red truck.

“Ironhide!” Came the joint cry of happiness from the twins as the ran over to their guardian. Promptly, both of them tried to share their side of the story, of what the said racket was about.

As the twins rambled on, the two mechs Prowl was actually waiting for arrived. Mirage flashed and optic ridge at the sight of the the two squabbling younglings, but made his way with Hound to their commander.

Repeating another common phrase of the orn Hound smirked, “We didn’t think you’d be here. Now who are you and what have you done to Prowl?”

After speaking, Mirage, discreetly, jammed his elbow joint into his lover. Always a business mech, the spy made a beeline for the point of this meeting. “So this is little Bluestreak. You would think he’d be slightly blue.”

The tactician reigned in a sigh. Why was everyone so critical of the designation? It wasn’t that bad!

As if being summoned, the sparkling stirred as his newly given name was uttered. Bluestreak squirmed in his hero’s hold to get a look at the newcomers. He knew one of them; it was the green mech from yesterday. Hound, right? The green bot seemed friendly enough. So did the other adult, the blue and white one. He liked his savior better though. The older Praxian took good care of him.

A gentle nudge from his rescuer had Bluestreak looking up at the black and white mech. “Bluestreak, you remember Hound. He and his friend Mirage are going to take care of you for a while.”

The sparkling gave a confused chirp. Did that mean that the green and blue bots were going to play with him? Bluestreak liked to play. His creators used to play with him all the time, they would read him stories too. There was this one story about a really cool Space Ranger, he explored the universe fighting bad guys.

Bluestreak gave another contented chirp as he reach out for Mirage, not understanding the true meaning of being taken care of. He cozied up to the noble’s spark, not paying attention to the conversation taking place between the adults. He couldn’t wait to have fun with Mirage and Hound. The little Praxian was sad that his savior wasn’t coming with them, but Bluestreak knew he’d see the older bot after playtime was over.

As he was carried out of the room by Mirage, Bluestreak leaned over the spy’s shoulder and gave his hero a small wave.

On the other side of the rec room, Prowl’s processor and spark were in a heated battle. Yes, he could finally get back to his towers of datapads without being distracted, but that didn’t explain why a small piece of his spark had left with the sparkling.

Chapter Text

Five breems after Hound and Mirage had taken Bluestreak with them, had Prowl back in his office, prepped and ready to develop more winning strategies. He had already arranged the troops' shift schedule for the upcoming decacycle and had approved of the inventory requests for all of the needy departments on the base. He took care of that quickly and efficiently, just how he liked it. So why was he not pleased?

Even the 94.17% success rate from one of his plans, did nothing to improve the tactician’s
mood. It felt like something crawled into his spark and processor and then started eating it. In short, Prowl was miserable, and to add to the feeling, he did not even know why!

Almost as if on cue, Jazz bounced in and plopped down on the chair, opposite of his friend. "Good mornin’ Prowler!”

“For some. What do you need Jazz?” Came the annoyed Praxian’s reply.

“What happened, mech?” Across the desk Jazz’s signature, the happy-go-lucky smile turned into a perceptive frown.

“Nothing happened. Everything is fine.”

“Bullslag. Ah know that cant of ya doorwings. Something’s gotta be wrong.”

“I told you everything is fine.”

“And Ah’m telling ya no way in the pit! We’re not leaving this room 'til we find out what’s da matter” A dark, demanding look swept onto Jazz’s visor, “And that’s final.”

“Fine,” Prowl muttered. He just wanted to get back to work.

The saboteur beamed at his friend, “Great!” He leaned over the desk at grabbed the data pad that contained the copies of the preliminary battle plan strategies. “94.17%, Ah’m impressed Prowler. Much better than usual.”

Prowl’s doorwings subconsciously fluttered slightly with the compliment. Many mechs did not know how hard he worked to ensure their safety, and the rare bits of praise he received felt pretty good.

“But it ain’t something Ah would consider to be the cause of ya case of da grumps. What about da duty roster? Ya having any trouble with that?”

“Done and checked.” Came the response from where the tactician transferred over to reviewing the base’s collective complaints about… well, everything.

Jazz let out an hmm, thinking about what else could be the matter with the other mech. Apparently liking the sound Jazz started humming and tapping away at his friend’s desk.

Used to such behavior by now, everyone knew of the SpecOps Officer admiration with music, Prowl continued to work, in the mostly soundless office.

After a few breems and a particularly loud slap later, Jazz released the exclamation of the orn, "Ah figured it out!”

Not prepared for the vociferous interruption, the Praxian’s helm shot up. Two optics locked onto visor and Prowl picked up on the half-frown that appeared on the agent’s faceplate. Over time, the Autobot SiC came to recognize that as Jazz’s thinking face.

“Ya still have lil’ Blue?” The tone of the question was serious but not nearly as bad if this had been an interrogation with a Decepticon prisoner.

“I do not. I gave Bluestreak over to Hound and Mirage, earlier this morning. Surely you received the report I sent to your office, as it regards your mechs.”

Jazz shrugged, “Probably did. Ah just haven’t got there yet.”

The other black and white bot just shook his helm. Of course, Jazz would not have started his daily duties by now. Admittedly they were much less than the Praxian’s own, but diligence and efficiency was the key to running the army.

The SpecOps agent snapped his digits, drawing Prowl from his musings. “But don’t ya see? Ya miss da lil guy; ya just gotta get Blue back!”

Prowl scoffed. Surely a sparkling was not the reason for his current emptiness. Such a thought was purely preposterous. Prowl decided to voice his opinion on the matter, “A sparkling, Jazz? Do not be ridiculous.” Of course, as he said it, he did not feel that it was that crazy at all. It actually made a bit of sense. The tactician shook his helm slightly, what was he thinking?

“Ah’m telling ya! Ya need Blue!”

By now both Prowl’s spark and processor was screaming at him to agree with Jazz. And yet, he found himself resisting. He could not honestly need a sparkling, did he? His spark seemed positive he did. Just over the course of the last few orns, Bluestreak wormed his way into the tactician’s spark and left an empty void begging to be refilled in his wake.

No… Prowl cursed himself for being so selfish, As much as he wanted to go back and snatch the Praxian youngling for himself, the child would be much happier with the spy and the scout. That was it; end of story.

“Bluestreak is in a much more favorable place where he currently is.” The statement was said in the tactician's customary smooth, calm, vocals, tone saying the matter was final.

Jazz threw his servos up exasperated and gave the ceiling a ‘why me Primus,’ look. “Prowler, I just don’t get it. Why do ya gotta be so stubborn?”

“I will not allow my personal desires to tamper with another’s need for survival.” Was the long version of, ‘I will not be selfish.”

The SpecOps agent opened his mouth to reply, but Prowl was spared when the TiC got a comm from one of his agents.

“What’s da scoop, Skids?” A beat paused, as Jazz listened to his subordinate’s response, “Ah’ll be there in two shakes of a ‘gon-shake.”

“The line of duty rests for no one,” Prowl noted meaning every word. Someone always needed something that required his attention.

Jazz laughed, assuming his friend made a pass at a joke instead of a comment about the truth. "No kiddin’. Ah’ll talk to ya later. ‘Member what Ah said!” The saboteur called out, excusing himself from the office.

“I will look forward to it.” Prowl called back, out of audial shot he muttered under his breath, “I always do.”

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the meantime, Bluestreak was having fun, he built a tower of datapad a with Mirage and watched Hound mess with his holograms. The sparkling thought they looked pretty cool. But,
like with all good things it had to come to an end.

He was getting tired and he wanted his rescuer. The older Praxian’s spark was w arm and made him feel happy. Mirage had a warm spark and Hound’s made him feel happy too, but Bluestreak just couldn’t get comfortable. It just didn’t feel right, and he didn’t like it! He wanted his savior!

At first, Bluestreak looked around, maybe his rescuer was playing that hide-and-seek thing Mirage played with him earlier. With no early success in finding the bot he wanted, Bluestreak let out a wail. Maybe the big bot couldn’t find him, so he let out a couple more sounds.

That didn’t work… the sparkling found out, as he was placed back in the spy’s lap.

“What’s wrong, Blue?” Hound questioned his charge, hoping the little bot could signal what he wanted even though he couldn’t speak yet.

The sparkling cried louder in Mirage’s faceplates and the spy let out a sentence that sounded something like ‘Oh Primus.’

“Is he hungry?” The scout wondered aloud.

“I don’t see how. We fed him a few breems ago.”

“Waste tank?”

The question was quickly waved off, “Too soon. Maybe in a joor.”

Bluestreak was mystified. How did the older two bots not get it? His savior always understood what he wanted immediately. With that logic, the tired sparkling cried some more. He wanted to recharge! So where was the other Praxian?

“Blue, sweetie, you need to calm down,” Mirage said bouncing the sparkling up and down in his arms.

At the same time, Hound asked about a third potential cause for the wailing, “Are you sleepy, little guy?”

Finally! It took them long enough, Bluestreak decided, ceasing his tantrum.

He heard chuckling above him, “Looks like we got a winner. C’mon let’s get him to bed.”

The winglets on Bluestreak’s back fluttered, excited. There were gonna let him recharge! They were taking him back to his hero! They were-hold on, this wasn’t his savior’s quarters. It didn’t
look like the office he was taken to a few times either. And his rescuer was nowhere in sight! Where were they taking him?!

Within that moment Hound and Mirage were treated to another bout of wailing. Too loud to be heard over the crying, the scout and spy took to their comm links.

::I thought he wanted to recharge!:: Hound exclaimed over the comm.

::I thought that too! What’s wrong with him?::

::I don’t know! But he behaved perfectly before this! No wonder why Prowl wanted to get rid of him. With all this crying, I don’t blame him! It sounds like the air raid sirens.:: The scout sighed at the comment.

::What did you say?:: Mirage demanded. It was hard to hear the comm what with the sparkling’s screeches, but for a moment it seemed his lover might have had the answer.

::I said his wailing sounds like the air raid sirens.::

:: No, before that.::

::Oh! I said I don’t blame Prowl, for trying to get rid of him.::

::That could be it!:: Mirage sleuthed like he would have on one of his mission to enemy territory.

::What’s that, ‘Raj?::

::What if Bluestreak wants Prowl?::

Hound paused for a moment, thinking the question through. At last, he responded, ::I have no clue why Bluestreak wants Mr. Rulebook, but I’m gonna bet you’re right.::

Now with his lover backing his theory, Mirage let out a comm to the Autobot SiC, ::Prowl? This is Mirage. We need you at our quarters asap. It’s Bluestreak.::