Astrosecond- 2.5 earth Seconds
Klik- 150 earth seconds/ 2.5 earth Minutes
Orn- 150 earth minutes/ 2.5 earth Hours
Joor- 60 earth hours/2.5 earth Days
Metacycle- 17.5 earth days/2.5 earth Weeks
Vorn- 10 earth weeks/2.5 earth months
Stellercycle-30 earth months/2.5 years
Breem-slang for a moment/minute.
Night Cycle: star down to star up
Day Cycle: Star up to star down
Disclaimer: I own nothing!! Nothing I say!
It was in the early orns of the day cycle, when the planets star had just begun to bathe the mechanical world in its light, that the last drop-ship finally made its way home.
Blaster had been relieved when he spotted the hanger door, situated above in the ceiling, spit open to reveal the lighted sky.
From that bright, almost blinding light, dropped the sleek, black ship that had been missing from the hanger since the cycle prior. The ship was carting the last remaining Autobots home from the mission in Tarn.
Blaster, whom had been keeping track of communications during the mission, all but skipped with relief to the ship's ramp. The thin black steel slid from its housing and hissed as it depressurized, lowering to the ground.
The red communications mech grinned as the steam cleared and Optimus Prime stepped out onto the ramp. Pressed into his side and practically clinging to their leader was Sideswipe, one of the most dangerous frontliners the army had ever seen.
The red mech grinned at the frontliner and saved an image in his memory banks; after all you don't often see Sideswipe hanging off of anyone, let alone their leader, like a youngling.
The crimson mech's optics were dim and unfocused; his faceplates had a drowsy look that suggested he had just been recently roused from recharge.
"Hey boss ‘bot! Everything go ok?" Blaster asked, having been relieved of his shift before word from Optimus’s unit had arrived.
Making their way down the ramp, in slow shuffling steps, Optimus replied, "As well as what could be expected. It is never an easy task to pull out from a strong hold, never mind during a riot."
Blaster beamed up at his leader. “Yeah, but everyone got home right? Mission well done I think.”
Optimus chuckled as he reached the bottom of the ramp. “I suppose it is a mission well done. None of our mechs have been deactivated, although many civilians of Tarn were. We must not forget that either Blaster.”
Blaster dropped his baby blue optics to the floor. “Of course not sir.”
Optimus nodded and patted his communications specialist on the shoulder. “It is far too easy to forget when so many of our own mechs made it home safely.”
“I know sir. I was just happy that none of our mechs are deactivated”, Blaster replied, Optics still down cast.
Optimus nodded and opened his mouth plates to say something else when Ratchet appeared at the mouth of the ships entrance. “Ok you two, that’s enough touchy feely time”, the old medic grumbled, as he carried Sunstreaker down the ramp.
Blaster looked up and felt his lower jaw plate hit the ground. It wasn’t just that Ratchet was carrying Sunstreaker, the medic carried mechs down to the medbay all the time, it was more the fact that Ratchet was carrying Sunstreaker like a newly bonded mate would, complete with the frontliner’s face tucked into the medics neck. It would have looked almost adorable if not for the sparks that shot out of where Sunstreaker’s audio fin should have been and the plain grey plating covering the hole that had been torn into his side.
Ratchet came down the ramp of the ship and glared at the red mech. “In less you want me to wipe your memory banks you’ll delete those pictures Blaster”, the medic growled.
Blaster blinked at Ratchet, and tried to smile innocently. “What pictures Ratch’?”
Coming to stand beside the communications mech, Ratchet leveled a glare at him. “Don’t give me that slag Blaster”, the medic said firmly, “I know you took the picture. You know you took the picture. Just do us both a favor and delete it from your memory banks.” Without another word, Ratchet left the hanger
Stunned, Blaster asked, “How does he do that?”
Optimus chuckled at the red mech. “Jazz has a few working theories to that questions. The most popular is that Ratchet is psychic or an alien.”
Blaster quirked a brow plate at his leader as the larger mech began to follow Ratchet, no doubt taking Sideswipe to the medbay. When the large red mech disappeared, Blaster thought about the situation for a moment and then deleted the file. No need to anger the medic.
Bumblebee appeared at the top of the ramp next, looking tired and worn out, but relieved to be home. Prowl was behind the minibot, and the normally stoic mech casting worried glances over his white shoulder plate. The pair made their way down the ramp in silence, but Bumblebee smiled up at Blaster once he reached the bottom.
“Hey Blaster! How did your cycle go?” The yellow minibot grinning up at the taller mech, trying to ignore Prowl as he continued to shoot glances up to the top of the ramp.
“Not bad ‘Bee. How did it go out there?” Blaster responded, oblivious to Prowl’s glancing.
Bumblebee shrugged. “Okay, I guess. How about I tell you about it over a cube of energon.”
Blaster grinned back, just as Jazz appeared at the top of the ramp. “Sounds good ‘Bee. I’ll see you in the rec room in a few kliks.”
The yellow minibot nodded, and headed for the exit of the hanger, waving to Blaster before leaving. Blaster turned to greet Jazz, but was surprised when the saboteur brushed past him without a single glance. The black and white mech stormed to the exit of the hanger looking impatient at having to wait for the door to whoosh open, then stormed from the hanger.
Blinking in confusion at Jazz’s abrupt exit, Blaster couldn’t help but feel a little hurt by the cold way the TIC had brushed him off. “Prowl, what happened to Jazz?”
Still standing beside the red mech, Prowl’s doorwings dropped a little. Monotonously as ever Prowl replied, “I do not know. He and Ratchet did bear witness to the death of civilians but I have a theory that something else is upsetting him.”
Blaster cast a worried look at the seemingly unemotional tactician. Prowl vented a puff of air and went to follow Jazz. He needed to find out what was bothering his saboteur.
Prowl found his normally happy and bouncy mate in the furthest corner of the rec room. His back was to the wall and he was hunched over a cube of high grade, with his black helm in his servo. His visor was still a deep, navy blue; a telltale sign that the saboteur was upset and he seemed to paint his little corner of the room black with his mood.
Prowl, after first taking a cube of mild mid-grade for himself, sat at a table across from his mate to watch him. At first, nothing overly noteworthy occurred. Jazz was just staring down at his cube of energon, his faceplates lax. But Prowl could feel the dark, angry emotions that rolled off his mate in thick waves. Then, almost as if some unseen force flipped a switch, Jazz started drinking.
He finished his first cube of high-grade very quickly and got up to get his second. Soon after that he got his third...then a fourth...and by the time Prowl finished his first cube Jazz finished his fifth.
Prowl slowly stood from his seat, suddenly very glad that the morning shift had started long before they arrived back at the base. The mech’s that served under them didn’t need to see their TIC, and un-appointed morale booster, in such a state.
Jazz stood as well, seemingly unaware that Prowl was moving towards him; something else that made Prowl worry. Jazz was never unaware, and he was now mumbling to himself. The mumbling was far too soft for Prowl to hear, but what disturbed Prowl the most was that Jazz was shaking his helm as if he was disagreeing with himself.
Worry twisted in his chest plates as Prowl watched Jazz head to the dispensers and stumbled hard. He managed to catch himself with a stool, using it to support his weight. But his legs were shaky as the high-grade suddenly hit the saboteur. Unable to support himself, Jazz sunk to the floor coming to rest on his knees. He pressed his forehelm to the seat of the stool that he had caught himself with, gripping the legs in his servos.
“Slag it.....slagitslagitslagitslagit!” Jazz cursed, his anger coming out in a hot swell of emotion. But just as quickly as the anger came, it dissipated, leaving only misery.
Prowl sighed and slowly approached his mate. As he got closer, he heard Jazz mutter, “....s’not like that.”
Prowl put a white servo to Jazz’s black shoulder plating, causing the saboteur to jump. “What is not like that Jazz?” Prowl asked.
Flinching, Jazz responded with, “...Ah....wha’?”
“Come on Jazz. Let’s get you into a berth.” The SIC said quietly, his tone flat.
Jazz made a noise of unease and seemed to fidget in Prowl’s hold. The tactician led the saboteur from the rec room and out through the halls of the base. The further along they went however, the more uneasy Jazz became and the more he seemed to wriggle.
“Jazz, what is wrong with you?” Prowl demanded, calm as ever.
Jazz flinched away from his mate, “Nothin’.”
“I do not believe you. You have been upset since you got to the ship and have only gotten worse since arriving back at base. There for, something must be wrong.” Prowl’s tone was even and quiet, but it still made Jazz flinch away. He seemed to shrink into himself and turned his face plates away from Prowl, focusing them on the ground.
The tactician sighed again, not liking the way that Jazz avoided optic contact and still seemed to be trying to get away from him; the saboteur leaned as far away from Prowl as physically possible.
The pair walked the rest of the way to the commander’s hall in silence. Although it was an awkward walk with Jazz drunkenly attempting to escape Prowl’s hold the whole way there. When Jazz’s quarters came within arm’s reach, Jazz tried to break Prowl’s hold with more effort and lunged for the control panel.
However Prowl, using his battle computer, had predicted that Jazz would try to get to the safety of his own quarters and had been ready for the move. In the end, Jazz only ended up half crashing to the floor, both of Prowl’s arms wrapped around his waist. The saboteur snarled and struggled hard against Prowl as said tactician stood upright, flaring his doorwings for balance.
“Let meh go Prowl.” The usually cheerful black and white mech snarled as he fought to get free.
“Calm down.” Prowl responded reasonably.
Jazz snarled again and struggled even harder, forcing Prowl to grab both of his wrists and twisted them behind the saboteurs back. In a desperate attempt to break free, Jazz kicked out at Prowl’s pedes, forcing the tactician to step back. But Prowl kept his hold on Jazz and, seeing no other way to calm the other mech, swung Jazz around and pinned his slightly smaller frame between his own and the wall. “Jazz, calm down.”
Jazz instead roared in anger and thrashed even harder against Prowl. “Jazz please, just stop!”
“I just want to talk Jazz.” Prowl said, his tone smooth and even again.
“Ah don’t want ta talk!” Jazz snarled, but still didn’t move.
“I have never seen you this wound up Jazz. Nor have I ever seen you drink so much high-grade that quickly, not even after failed missions. I care far too much about you to allow you to suffer like this.” Prowl’s tone was softer than it had been before, but his hold was still firm.
Jazz cycled air hard and pressed his forehelm against the wall. Guilt mingled with fear, anger, and bitter sadness. He couldn’t, couldn’t, let Prowl know what was gnawing at his spark, the tactician would never forgive him if he knew.
Getting ready to fight again, Jazz glanced over his shoulder to look at Prowl, but the open concern on the grey faceplates took all the fight from the saboteur. His tense shoulders drooped a little and he dropped his forehelm back to the wall with a sharp clang.
“Alright... ah’ll talk”, the saboteur grumbled, hoping that Prowl wouldn’t hear him.
Jazz could feel Prowl shift behind him and then slowly release his servos. The SIC hesitated before moving away from his mate, half expecting Jazz to bolt the moment he was released. Jazz however, merely pushed himself away from the wall and turned to Prowl, still not meeting his lovers gaze.
Venting air, Prowl took Jazz’s servo and gently tugged him further down the hall towards his own quarters. The subdued TIC followed quietly, although still swaying slightly from side to side the due to the amount of high-grade he had consumed.
They arrived at Prowl’s quarters without any other fights, and the tactician quickly typed the code to the lock and palmed the door open. It whooshed open, and Prowl dragged Jazz inside.
“I must say Jazz I never thought that it would be me that was dragging you into a berth room.” Prowl said in an attempt to make his mate more at east.
The dark look that Jazz gave him as he jerked his servo out of Prowls told the tactician he had failed in his attempt. Heaving a sigh, Prowl closed the door and locked it. Turning to watch his mate, Prowl shook his helm in dejection as Jazz started pacing the room.
Prowl followed the saboteur for a few breams with his optics, before moving to stand beside the berth. Keeping his movements slow and dramatic so as to not startle his mate, Prowl held out his servo to Jazz. Making sure his voice was smooth and calm, Prowl said, “Come here Jazz. Let’s just sit down.”
His lover froze where he was, staring at Prowl as though he had never seen him before. Prowl could see how tense Jazz had become again, his frame wound so tight that it shook with the effort.
He was close, Prowl knew, so he gave that last little push. “It’s ok Jazz. I promise its ok.”
His tone was so soft, so gentle, that it sounded nothing like Prowl, but it had done the trick, and Jazz finally broke. The saboteur suddenly pitched forward, falling to his knees with a cry of anguish. He gripped his helm tightly as he curled into himself, making his frame as small as possible. Dry, choking sobs wracked the saboteur’s lithe frame, causing him to shake in an alarming way.
Prowl’s spark twisted and dropped in an awful way as he watched his beloved mate crash to his knees and sob out his hurt into his servos. Dropping his arm to his side, Prowl shot to Jazz, moving faster than he thought possible in such a tinny space. The SIC pulled his mate onto his lap in a smooth, quick movement and held him tightly to his chest. Jazz sobbed harder and clung to his mate with a desperate hold as he shook.
The words came quickly then, pouring from the saboteurs lip plates. “They slaughtered ‘em Prowl. Slaughtered ‘em like...like turbowolves! They...they were only yellin’. They didn’t need ta be...be left ta deactivate in the dirty street!”
“I know Jazz, I know.” Prowl said evenly unable to put his concern in his tone. Instead the tactician held his mate tighter, hoping to convey his love through touch.
Jazz sobbed harder into his mates chest plates. “Those enforcers...they...they just.”
Jazz looked up at Prowl as pink energon tears slid down his cheek plates from under his visor. Reaching up tenderly the tactician clicked the visor so that it could be removed, and he did so with such ease that it calmed Jazz just a little. Sub-spacing the visor, Prowl looked into Jazz’s sad blue optics as another energon tear slide down.
“It’s ok Jazz.” Prowl said as he wiped the tear away with his thumb. “There was nothing you could do.”
Jazz shook his head, looking down again. “Ah just can’t get over it...the enforcers...just like...” He stopped suddenly, looking guilt ridden with wide, worried optics. The TIC’s body went taut as he snapped his jaw shut with a sharp click.
Prowl frowned, truly frowned, at his lover as worry bloomed in his chest. Pressing his hands under Jazz’s chin, Prowl forced the saboteur to look up at him. Jazz began trembling again as he looked at Prowl with a fear in his optics that Prowl had never seen. “Oh Jazz. What is it? What is causing you such fear?”
“Ah...Ah can’t Prowler. Ah can’t. Please...just don’t.”
Prowl moved his servo to rest it on Jazz’s chest plates. “Then show me.”
Swallowing hard, Jazz looked down at Prowl’s white servo. They had yet to form a permanent bond to each other, but had lightly spark merged. This allowed them to share feelings, thoughts and, more importantly, memories.
Jazz’s optics shot up to meet Prowl’s icy blue ones. “No.”
Prowl pressed his servo harder against Jazz’s chest. “Show me.” The tactician pleaded.
“No...Ah can’t. Please don’t Prowler.”
“Jazz did you not once tell me that you would care about me no matter what?”
“The same goes for you. I care about you Jazz. I care far too much to allow you to suffer like this.” Prowl tried to put as much emotion into those words as he could, but knew that it still came off as cold and emotionless.
Fear and hurt gripped Prowl when Jazz looked away, and Prowl felt as though he was being rejected by the one mech he truly loved. But the feeling of rejection dissipated quickly when Jazz’s quiet, broken voice reached Prowl’s audios. “’Ya’ll hate me...so, so much.”
Tightening his hold around Jazz, Prowl whispered, “Never sweet spark. I could never hate you.” The tactician’s voice still held its toneless quality, so he began rubbing his mates back hoping it would calm him.
Prowl sighed and offlined his optics. When he onlined them again, he knew what he needed to do, steeling himself to say the words that Jazz had so desperately needed to hear. “Jazz listen to me. I love you. Love you more than it is logical for me to love you, and I will never hate you.”
Jazz looked up in surprise, unsure how to take Prowl’s words. “’Ah. Really?”
Prowl nodded and Jazz dropped his gaze again. Pressing his face plates into Prowl’s neck, Jazz muttered, “Ah love ya too Prowler.”
The pair clung to each other then, letting the love wash away the hurt and pain in both mech’s sparks.
“You need to show me.” Prowl finally said, breaking the silence and causing Jazz to groan.
“Can’t we just go into recharge?”
“No, not unless you ever want to spark merge again. I would prefer to experience this memory when I’m expecting it, not in the throes of interfacing.”
Jazz sighed. “Never thought of that.”
To Prowl his mate sounded so sad that he almost backed out. Almost let his Jazz just go into recharge and forget about whatever was upsetting him. But, with a soft click Jazz’s chest plates split apart and his beautiful blue and gold spark emerged from its casing.
The light from Jazz’s spark twinkled off Prowl’s armor, making the tactician gasp slightly. No matter how often he saw it, Jazz’s spark was still the most beautiful thing Prowl had ever seen. Reaching out with a white digit, Prowl caressing the spark causing Jazz to gasp and arch into the touch.
As his chest plates opened, revealing his own gold and silver spark, Prowl tried to smiled at his lover. “It is going to be ok Jazz.”
The tactician moved to press their sparks together when Jazz stopped him with a servo to his shoulder. “Just don’t hate meh.”
Arching over so that their sparks didn’t quite touch, Prowl pressed his lip plates to Jazz’s forehelm. “Never.”
As gently as he possibly could, Prowl leaned down to Jazz and pressed their sparks together. Both mech’s gasped and arched into each other’s frames. Desperate servos grabbed at the others body as their essences became one.
Within astroseconds they were completely emerged in each other, you couldn’t tell where Prowl ended and Jazz began. For those few, beautiful, perfect moments there was nothing but love and acceptance between the two.
However, Jazz could sense that Prowl wanted to see...to feel the memory. Pulling his mate closer, Jazz let the memories wash over both of them, coming to their processors in quick flashes...
Jazz was standing in a dark street in Tarn with Ratchet, when he spotted the enforcers-just like Prowl-march down the street .
The enforcers-just like Prowl-took aim at the rioters, their optics sharp, focused and cold.
Jazz was helpless, watching the protesters yell back at the enforcers-just like Prowl.
The enforcers-just like Prowl-shot the civilians, slaughtering them all.
The enforcers-just like Prowl-moved away as if nothing horrifying had just occurred, leaving an energon smeared street and twisted bodies in their wake.
Guilt, fear, and sadness not his own filled Prowl as he began to understand. Jazz was trembling against him, clinging harder to Prowl’s frame as the next memories washed over them.
Jazz sat in a corner of the rec room, immersed in self-loathing and bitterness. To anyone else it would have been just a corner in the rec room, but to Jazz, it was the deepest point of the Pit.
The only thing that screamed in Jazz’s processor was Prowler’snot likethat! Prowler’snotlikethat! Prowler’snotlikethat! But a nasty, cruel voice kept repeating Are you sure? He was an enforcer. Are you sure? How can you be so sure?
‘Ratchet’s sure! That’s why Ah can be sure!’ Jazz argued with himself.
‘How can Ratchet be so sure...’ The greedy, cruel voice laughed, mocking the saboteur.
That nasty little voice, sounding frighteningly like Megatron, kept up its awful little mantra. Slowly planting tiny seeds of doubt and driving the saboteur insane...
Prowl gently pulled back from Jazz’s spark, not wanting to upset the saboteur any further. Jazz had already lived through the memories once, and Prowl didn’t need to prolong the experience.
The tactician then pressed his servos to Jazz’s face plates, drawing his terrified gaze up. The saboteur’s whole frame shook so hard with his fear that it even vibrated Prowl’s armor. “It’s alright Jazz.”
Jazz whined in distress and tried to pull out of Prowl’s grip. “Please Prowl...please don’t hate meh. That voice...Ah just couldn’t make it stop.”
Prowl pulled Jazz close and wrapped his arms around the saboteur’s shaking frame effectively stopping his lover from struggling. Weakly Jazz whispered, “Please make it stop.”
The tactician sighed, holding his mate close. ‘When a special ops. goes, they really go.’ Prowl thought to himself, as statistics on the number of special operations mech’s who had corrupted CPU’s because they obsessed over facts they couldn’t change flashed through his logic center. With Jazz still held close to his frame, Prowl started stroking the back of his mates helm. “Are you still hearing voices Jazz?”
The saboteur shook his head no, muttering, “They stopped when ya approached meh in the rec. Room.”
Prowl nodded against Jazz’s helm, carefully lifting his mates trembling frame as he stood. Moving swiftly across the room, Prowl carried Jazz to the berth. Laying the saboteur down, Prowl crawled onto the berth and laid beside him. Pulling Jazz closer, Prowl whispered, “First thing when we come out of recharge, I am taking you down to see Ratchet for a medical defrag.”
Jazz, whom had buried his faceplates into Prowl’s neck, nodded. “ ’Kay.”
“I love you Jazz. Although it hurts me that you have linked me with the enforcers you saw in Tarn, I do not hate you for it.” Jazz shifted uneasily when Prowl said this, and the tactician hated himself that he couldn’t make himself sound like he meant it.
“Ah’m sorry Prowler. Ah know yer not like that. Ah don’t... Ah don’t know why ah keep linking the enforcers with ya.” Although Jazz still trembled in Prowl’s arms, his voice didn’t waver as much.
Prowl shifted next to Jazz, making himself more comfortable and at the same time tightening his hold on the saboteur. “Sometimes, during stressful situations, our memory core will latch onto something that is familiar to us. For you, that was the enforcers that you linked to me. My theory is that because the situation was negative, you attached me being an ex-enforcer to a negative emotion.”
But his monotone words had little effect to reassure the saboteur, and Prowl knew he had to do something else to help. Prowl may have been terrible at expressing his feeling through words, but he could express it through touch very well.
Pulling away so that Prowl leaned over Jazz’s frame, the tactician studied his mate’s worried expression. Then, almost painful slow, Prowl leaned down and pressed his grey lip plates to Jazz’s. The kiss was soft, chaste and everything Jazz needed at that moment. Their lip plates moved against each other in slow movements that sent a tingle down both their frames. Prowl broke the kiss to lay his forehelm against Jazz’s. “I love you Jazz. This does not change that. Do you understand me?”
Although Prowl’s tone did not match how he felt, Jazz understood. He was still loved, that had not changed because of one, stupid code of thought. It was enough to help stop Jazz’s frame from shaking. “Yeah Ah understand Prowler. I love ya too.”
Prowl’s lip plates twitched in a soft smile. “I know you do Jazz. Get some recharge sweet spark. You need it. We’ll see Ratchet tomorrow.”
“Ya know that he’ll hit us with wrenches for not going sooner, right?” Jazz said, his voice still sounding rough.
“I know Jazz.” Prowl responded as he settled down onto Jazz’s frame, holding his lover close.
Jazz settled deeper into Prowl’s embrace, preparing for recharge. “Say it again Prowler.”
Prowl chuckled into Jazz’s audio, knowing what the saboteur wanted to hear. “I love you Jazz.”