"Sorry guys, the forecast is sayin' it's gonna last all night," Blaster said apologetically over the comm line.
"Thank you, Blaster," Prowl said with a sigh.
"No problem. You two find some place to hole up and stay there, hey? Last thing we need is for you two to freeze like Skyfire and get buried so far under the snow that we can't find you until spring," Blaster said with a chuckle.
"Unlikely," Prowl replied.
"But we'll hole up somewhere anyways, Blaster," Jazz butted in, and Blaster chuckled again.
"I'm sure you will," he said, the comment sounding almost like a leer, and Jazz laughed.
"Thanks man, have a good shift," Jazz said.
"Naturally. See you two when the blizzard's over," Blaster replied with another chuckle. They said their goodbyes, and Prowl and Jazz turned their attention back to the world around them.
"Well Jazz, ideas?" Prowl asked with a hint of irritation in his voice.
"Find some place to hole up?" Jazz said helpfully.
"I was looking for something a little more specific. Like a place nearby to hole up in," Prowl replied grumpily.
"There should be a town at the bottom of this pass," Jazz said.
"You want to go down the mountain...in a white-out," Prowl responded incredulously.
"Not really," Jazz admitted, and Prowl growled, revving his engine.
"You are extremely aggravating sometimes, you know that?"
"Yep," Jazz said, sounding distinctly like he was smirking. "But weren't we talking about finding shelter?"
"Yes, we were, but you weren't being much help," Prowl stated.
"Well, there was this crevice a little ways back that was rather sheltered, if you feel like backtracking," Jazz commented. Prowl remained silent for several moments, but in the end, he opted not to ask Jazz why he'd mentioned the town if he knew about this crevice, instead carefully pulling back out onto the mountain road and slowly creeping back the way they'd come. Jazz followed right behind, his front bumper literally inches from Prowl's rear.
It didn't take long for Prowl to locate the crevice, which turned out to be a lot bigger than Jazz had thought, opening into a small canyon of sorts. The sides bent in so much over the top that it was almost a cave, with only a sliver of the grey sky able to be seen, and only small amounts of snow swirling down from there. It was also, surprisingly, occupied.
"Yo," Thundercracker greeted the two Autobots in a bored tone when they entered.
"Oh great, company," Starscream groaned.
"Whoa. Fancy meetin' you two here," Jazz said in surprise when it became obvious Prowl's logic processor was taking longer than normal to recover from the unexpected encounter.
"Yeah, not really. We were following you." Thundercracker said with a shrug.
"Thundercracker!" Starscream snapped, and the blue jet gave him a defensive look.
"What? That blizzard isn't about to let up any time soon, so we're probably going to be stuck here together for awhile. Might as well make polite conversation," Thundercracker said.
"They're Autobots," Starscream said, twitching slightly.
"Really? I hadn't noticed." Thundercracker said sarcastically, then turned to Jazz and Prowl, still standing, surprised, in the entrance to the crevice. "Don't mind Screamer, he's just slagged off about 'Warp teleporting himself out of the blizzard and leaving us behind. Please, come in, join us in our little crevice in the mountain." Thundercracker motioned vaguely around the crevice, and Jazz nudged Prowl. The tactician shook himself, then glanced back at Jazz with a disapproving frown.
"Hey man, y'can go back out there if y'want, but I ain't gonna," Jazz said, shaking his head, and stepped around Prowl to get into the main part of the crevice.
"Jazz -" Prowl started to object, then sighed as the saboteur flopped himself down on the ground. Jazz was well away from the two Decepticon Seekers, but within speaking distance.
"Followin' us, hey?" Jazz questioned, and Thundercracker nodded.
"Yeah. Kinda curious why you decided to go visit the mountains in the middle of winter, though," he said.
"Eh, some friends of ours needed a lift to the other side," Jazz said with a shrug.
"Those humans you were travelling with going the other way, you mean," Thundercracker said, and Jazz nodded.
"Spike and Carly, going to see Carly's parents for Christmas. They had to leave it late this year, and with all the snow up here this season, Bumblebee never would've been able to make the trip without copious amounts of transforming. So we volunteered," Jazz said, motioning to himself and Prowl. The tactician himself just shook his head and glanced over at Starscream, who gave him a sour look.
"We're not going to be able to stop them, so you might as well come in," the Air Commander said, glancing disdainfully at Jazz and Thundercracker, and Prowl grimaced, silently agreeing. He joined Jazz farther inside, while Jazz and Thundercracker watched with amusement, until Starscream saw and whacked Thundercracker on the head, then pointed his null-ray threateningly at Jazz. "I'm still armed, you know!" the red jet snarled.
"Oh come off it, Screamer," Thundercracker said with a snort, then turned to Jazz and Prowl and added conversationally, "Our weapons froze up an hour ago. Yours?"
"Haven't tried, but they're probably fine, considering they're in subspace," Jazz said with a shrug.
"This is true," Thundercracker admitted. Silence fell in the crevice as it seemed no one either knew what to say or wanted to speak. Surprisingly, it was Starscream that broke the silence half an hour later.
"What the slag is 'Christmas'?" he asked, looking over at the two Autobots, and they looked at him in surprise.
"It's a human holiday," Jazz supplied, and Starscream frowned.
"What's it about?" he asked.
"Uh - well, it started out as a religious festival celebrating the birth of some saviour of theirs over nineteen hundred years ago," Jazz said. "It's sort of grown since then, though." Starscream looked thoughtful at that.
"So - nothing to do with jets?" he asked, and Jazz chuckled in surprise.
"No, nothin'. Why?" he couldn't help but ask.
"We were sitting on an airfield waiting for you two to move on at one point, and some little fleshbag was yelling to it's creator about how I was 'Christmas-like'," Starscream said, voice thick with disdain, and Jazz started laughing.
"It's your colour scheme," Prowl told the jet dryly while Jazz laughed. "Wheeljack gets the same thing around this time of year. Apparently green, red, white, and gold are 'Christmas colours'. You're missing the green, obviously, but it was likely enough for the child."
"Oh," Starscream said, sounding confused. "Why?"
"I have no idea," Prowl said, glancing over at Jazz, who finally managed to collect himself.
"Don't look at me," Jazz said with amusement. "I never asked Spike th'why, just th'how an' th'what."
"Typical," Prowl said with a shake of his head.
"Hey, I'd like t'see you try t'sort out th'origins of even th'most basic human tradition, let alone one of their major holidays," Jazz said defensively, then added thoughtfully right afterwards, "Actually, I wouldn't, it would short your logic processor."
"That's because humans are illogical," Prowl grumped.
"You sound like Soundwave. Only with more emotion," Thundercracker commented.
"Really?" Jazz asked in surprise, and Thundercracker nodded.
"Soundwave's always complaining about how illogical humans are. What's funny is that Rumble and Frenzy can be even more illogical than humans at times, and he doesn't say a word about them," the blue jet said. Jazz considered that.
"Y'know, come to think of it, Prowl, I don't think I've ever heard ya complain about how illogical any of th'Autobots are," the saboteur said, turning to Prowl.
"That's because I'm stuck with you glitches no matter what. I keep hoping, though, that if I complain enough about the humans, Prime will send me back to Cybertron," Prowl replied smartly.
"But - I'll still be here," Jazz pointed out.
"And you can have fun being here, while I stay happily on our nice, logical homeworld," Prowl replied, and Jazz gave him a pathetic look. Prowl stared back impassively for several long moments before giving in and covering his optics with a sigh. "Fine, I'll just stay on Earth and have my logic processor continually short out thanks to the humans."
"Did I miss something here?" Thundercracker asked with amusement.
"Nah, nothin' important," Jazz said with a grin.
"Bonded, or just seeing each other?" Starscream asked in a bored tone.
"None of your business," Prowl replied dryly.
"Just curious," Starscream said with a shrug. "I'd offer Decepticon gossip in return, but I don't think you really want to hear about which 'Cons are interfacing with each other."
"And you want to hear about which Autobots are?" Prowl asked in return. Starscream considered.
"Point. Unless Skyfire's getting some," the red jet mused.
"He's too big for even Prime an' too small for Superion. Nope," Jazz replied with a chuckle.
"Superion?" Thundercracker asked, sounded slightly disturbed, and Jazz chuckled again.
"For example. A few of his parts might have objections t'havin' a relationship with Skyfire," the saboteur said.
"Oh good. That leaves just Menasor as the creepy flirting gestalt," Thundercracker replied with a nod.
"What? No, I don't want t'know," Jazz said with a shudder.
"No, you don't," Thundercracker said, shuddering. "Suffice it to say Megatron's forbidden the Stunticons from forming Menasor outside of battle for any reason, including training."
"Can we please talk about something else? Or nothing at all?" Starscream asked crankily. "It was disturbing enough to have Menasor hitting on me without having to hear about it again, repeatedly, afterwards." Surprisingly, Prowl snickered at that, and Starscream glared at him.
"Sorry, just - you remember when the Aerialbots approached the Decepticons about switching sides?" Prowl asked with a smirk, and Starscream and Thundercracker nodded in confusion. "Most of them were convinced they were in love with you at the time, Starscream. Silverbolt was the only one immune."
"Primus! What is wrong with all the gestalts! I do not like big bots! In fact, I like small ones! Small and slender, as in femmes!" Starscream ranted, causing Thundercracker and Jazz to laugh, while Prowl continued smirking. Starscream fumed while the other two slowly calmed down, and only once it was almost silent again did Prowl speak.
"Not according to Skyfire," he said, and all three mechs gaped at the smirking tactician, before Thundercracker and Jazz turned their attention to Starscream, who winced and shrunk a bit under their gaze.
"That was a long time ago," he mumbled, and the other two started laughing again. "How do you even know about that?!" Starscream demanded angrily, glaring at Prowl.
"After Skyfire decided to join us, he was all depressed because you and he were on opposite sides. So Jazz decided to get him over-charged," Prowl said.
"Oooh, I remember that. He has a hollow leg, I swear!" Jazz said with a wince.
"More like he's more than twice your size, Jazz," Prowl replied with a snort. "Anyways. Skyfire out-lasted Jazz and all his co-conspirators, though he was fairly over-charged himself by the time the last of them went down. Ironhide and I ended up having to haul them all back to their quarters, and it took both of us to help Skyfire through the halls. We wouldn't have been able to move him at all if he hadn't been conscious. Though we would've preferred that, since he went on about you and him the entire way from the rec room to his quarters. In graphic detail at some points." Prowl shuddered. "I still haven't managed to block out everything he said."
"Primus! I'm going to kill him!" Starscream groaned.
"Except not, because you refuse to shoot at him even in combat," Thundercracker commented.
"Shut up," Starscream told Thundercracker with a growl, and the blue jet smirked. Starscream turned back to Prowl with a glare. "For that, you owe me an answer."
"To what?" Prowl asked blandly.
"You two," Starscream said, motioning to Prowl and Jazz. "Friends, lovers, bonded?"
"Somewhere in-between the last two," Prowl replied.
"That doesn't make sense," Starscream pointed out.
"You just wanted an answer. You didn't specify if you wanted it to make sense," Prowl replied. Starscream retorted snippily, and the two second in commands began to bicker back and forth, while Thundercracker and Jazz watched with amusement.
"Seeing and hearing this was worth the entire trip, blizzard included," Jazz commented to Thundercracker over a closed comm line.
"I completely agree," Thundercracker replied.
By the time noon came around, Blaster was beginning to get worried - he'd been trying to contact Jazz and Prowl since around two in the morning, but hadn't gotten a reply, and Teletraan was reporting Decepticon activity around their last known location. So the communications officer went to Prime with his concerns, and the Autobot leader told him to take Skyfire, Hound, and the twins and go out looking.
Skyfire had to fly carefully to avoid being seen, but he managed to make it to the mountain Blaster had lost Jazz and Prowl's signals on, and they began to search, keeping in mind that the two Autobots had been looking for shelter. They split up, Skyfire waiting where he'd landed, while Hound and Blaster searched down one side, and the twins down the other. They hadn't been searching for more than twenty minutes when Hound spotted a crevice, and went to investigate.
"Blaster...come see this," Hound called over a comm line, an odd tone in his voice.
"There are 'Cons in the area, Hound, we don't have time to sight-see," Blaster reminded the green mech, though he was already heading in the direction of the crevice.
"Yeah, I know that, just...you have to see this," Hound said as Blaster approached the crevice, but before the red bot could enter, Hound appeared and made a shushing motion. "Quiet," he said over the comm line, and Blaster frowned, but moved more quietly as he carefully made his way over the drift at the crevice's entrance. Once inside, he looked around curiously, only to stifle laughter at what he found.
Hound had not only found Prowl and Jazz - he'd found two Decepticon Seekers, as well. Thundercracker was sprawled across the ground of the crevice, with Starscream using his midsection as a pillow. Jazz, in turn, was using Starscream's legs as a foot rest, while his head rested in Prowl's lap. The Autobot tactician was the only one of them still sitting, propped up against the crevice wall, one arm wrapped around Jazz's upper torso. All four were apparently deep in recharge, though as some of Blaster's snickers escaped, Thundercracker's optics slowly came back online. He lifted his head slowly to look at the two Autobots, and Hound and Blaster froze, neither quite sure what to say.
"Good mornin'," Hound finally settled on with a cheery grin, and Thundercracker stared at him for a moment.
"Good morning," he finally replied, looking almost surprised at himself for replying.
"Soooo, do we wanna know?" Blaster asked, motioning to the three recharging mechs, and Thundercracker glanced over at them.
"I don't know. I passed out first," the blue jet admitted. "Last thing I remember was Screamer and Prowl debating chaos theory."
"Okay then..." Blaster mused. "Uh, we should probably wake them up, though. The blizzard's over, and your buddies are out looking for you."
"Including Skywarp?" Thundercracker asked, optics glinting somewhat dangerously, and Blaster nodded. Thundercracker reached down and thumped Starscream on the head at that, and the red jet came online with an unholy shriek, startling Prowl and Jazz into wakefulness.
"Frag, I think I understand where he got his name now!" Blaster whined, rubbing at his audios, and Thundercracker chuckled, while Starscream scowled. Jazz was rubbing his audios as well, a pained expression on his face, and Blaster had to feel for the other mech - not only had he been closer, but his audios were more sensitive. Prowl, meanwhile, was looking a little fuzzy, like he hadn't quite caught up to where he was and what was going on yet.
"Come on, Screamer. Warp's called in the cavalry to look for us, apparently," Thundercracker said, pushing Starscream's head off his midsection and standing.
"Good. Time to pay that little fragger back for deserting us!" Starscream snapped, standing quickly.
"Shove him into a mountain?" Thundercracker inquired politely.
"Biggest snowdrift available," Starscream countered. "Bonus points if you can cause it to avalanche on him afterwards."
"Really not that much of a challenge, here," Thundercracker responded with a smirk.
"Then let's go do it," Starscream snapped, beginning to rise in the air, and Thundercracker chuckled before taking off out of the crevice. Starscream followed, only to pause just as he was about to leave, glancing back down at the Autobots. "Hey, tell Skyfire 'hi' for me."
"Yeah, sure," Prowl said blearily, waving vaguely in Starscream's direction. The red jet smirked and took off, leaving the Autobots alone in the crevice.
"You two alright?" Blaster asked Jazz and Prowl with amusement.
"Yeah, we're fine," Jazz replied, shaking his head one last time, then looked up at Blaster and Hound with a frown. "Hey, why're you two out here?"
"Couldn't reach you on the radio," Blaster said with a chuckle, then rapped his knuckles against the crevice wall. "Probably because you were surrounded by solid rock."
"Oh, heh, oops," Jazz said with a chuckle, then hopped to his feet before turning around and offering a hand to Prowl. "Come on Prowl, let's go," the saboteur said when Prowl just looked at the hand blankly.
"Wha? Oh. Right," Prowl said blearily, grabbing the hand and letting himself be pulled upright, where he wobbled unsteadily for a few moments before regaining his balance.
"Man, he ain't a mornin' mech, is he?" Blaster asked Jazz with amusement.
"Not after he spends most of the night debating theoretical physics and philosophy with Starscream," Jazz replied dryly, and Prowl glared at both of them equally.
"There wasn't exactly any other source of intelligent conversation available at the time," the tactician said bitingly.
"Oooh, ouch," Jazz said with a grin. Prowl made a displeased noise and stalked out of the crevice, leaving the other three mechs to follow behind him, laughing.