The plan was risky.
No matter how Prowl looked it over, recalculated the odds, or tried to rework the entire plan, the end result was the same.
A 33.92% chance of success.
Liplates pulled taunt in a disproving line, he went back to the top of the datapad to try again. True, he had already presented this plan to Optimus, and it had been approved, but Prowl was determined to try and increase their odds in any way possible. He had until tomorrow morning when the plan went live.
Sighing, he pinches his nasal ridge, well aware the only light in the room is a soft glow of blue from a particular someone’s visor.
“Jazz. I’m busy.” Sitting on the edge of the desk, swinging his legs casually and grinning down at Prowl, Jazz only leans back a little with a flare of mischief in his field.
“Ah think you’re just makin’ yaself busy, Prowler~.” A frown tugs at Prowl’s lipplates again, reading the same line multiple lines because it’s just not registering in his processor and-
“Jazz.” The saboteur holds the datapad aloft, high out of Prowl’s reach, having swiftly leapt to his pedes on the desk. His other servo is on his hip, a gesture that shows he’s not finding it as amusing as he was a moment ago.
“C’mon, sweetspark. I can tell ya circuits are gonna start overheating any time now. Ya gotta take a break.” Prowl narrows his optics at Jazz, debating between yanking him off the desk and stealing the datapad back, or letting him get away with this.
“... I need to-”
“Jazz, I have to-”
“You hafta rest. Ya already made th’ plan, it’s going ahead, an’ ah’m confiscating this so you can recharge.”
“Jazz!” It’s rare that Prowl raises his voice. It’s rarer still that he slams his servos on his desk. For him to do both at the same time, doorwings flickering back and forth in irritation, suggest that he’s not reacting well to his datapad being confiscated.
But then, Jazz knows it’s more than that.
It’s always more than that.
“Talk to me, Prowl.” He subspaces the datapad, leaping off the desk with catlike grace to gently step into Prowl’s personal space, one servo resting reassuringly on his upper arm. Prowl glances at it. He tries to say something. Stops. And sighs, doorwings wilting as he turns his gaze to the ground.
“It’s the mission. I don’t- I mean- It’s not…” He vents again, heavier this time, lifting his helm to look Jazz optic to visor, showing the vulnerability and insecurities to his sparkmate with no hesitation.
“I constructed the plan. I presented it to Optimus, convinced it was the best it could be. But now it has been approved and the time draws closer…”
“Doubting the odds. Jazz, 33.92% is… It’s…”
“It’s more than a third, sweetspark~.” The servo that isn’t on Prowl’s upper arm reaches up to caress his cheek lovingly, Jazz’s smile soft as he brushes his thumb digit over Prowl’s cheekplate rhythmically.
Prowl gives him a small, almost sad smile.
“Barely. That’s a 66.08% chance of failure.”
“Ah’ve gone into missions with lower odds than that, an’ I’m still here, ain’t I?” Prowl rolls his optics, moving his own servos to rest on Jazz’s hips, once more dropping his helm.
“Yes, but we both know you’re absolutely insane, go off the book, and somehow survive impossible situations. What’s different this time is that it’s not a solo mission. You won’t be able to do that. Other mechs will be relying on you to do your part perfectly.”
“Jus’ as I’ll be relyin’ on them. That’s ma team, Prowl. We’re Spec Ops! It’s what we do!” There’s a pause where Jazz nudges Prowl’s chin up to look at him again.
“An’ hey, you know they’re jus’ as crazy as me~. Whatever I do, my team will keep up.” Quirking an optic ridge, Prowl can’t stop the corner of his lipplates twitching upwards.
“Yes, I do recall that one time your team simultaneously blew out all the doors in a Decepticon warship and Bumblebee launched himself via Bluestreak’s rocket launcher directly into the deadliest target on board~.”
“Hey! Little bit’s got guts! And hella good instincts. Never seen a mech disable someone’s motor relay system whilst fallin’ to the floor before…” Prowl shakes his helm affectionately.
“You’re a bad influence, Jazz.”
“You love it~.”
“Sometimes, my beloved, I do wonder why.” Jazz laughs quietly, sliding his arms down to wrap around Prowl’s waist and draw him in for a hug, resting his helm against Prowl’s shoulder. Almost immediately, Prowl senses him sobering and becoming serious.
“What’re our odds of not making back?” Shuttering off his optics, Prowl mentally detaches for a short moment to deliver the calculations. It makes it easier to say them.
“Within the 66.08% of failure, there is a 53.7% chance one of you will cease to function.”
“Designations and odds of offlining?”
“Mirage, 41%. Bumblebee, 39.84%. Yourself, 22.05%. Hound and Bluestreak, 12.39%. There is an 11% chance more than one will be lost, and a 6% chance you will all deactivate should the mission fail.”
“... Well, Ah’m liking those odds!” Prowl shutters his optics rapidly as he reengages his emotional center, looking down at a grinning Jazz like the saboteur is crazy.
He reminds himself that Jazz’s record probably proves his suspicion.
“... You’re going to do something neither of us expects, aren’t you?”
“Eh, prob’bly.” Shrugging innocently, Jazz takes a step back. He softens his vocaliser.
“I can stay here tonight, if you’re that worried…?” It takes a moment for Prowl to decide, thinking with both his spark and his processor. He calmly smiles as he comes to an answer.
“No. I won’t disrupt your Spec Ops tradition~.”
“Ya sure? Pretty sure the guys can have a sleepover without me.”
“I’m sure, Jazz. The… ‘Sleepover’ allows your systems to sync up in preparation for the mission, and the close company of your team - your best friends - assists in recalibration of circuit stressors.” With what can only be described as a purr, Jazz pulls Prowl in for a tight hug.
“Thanks, Prowler~. Yer th’ best.”
“I only wish the plan had better odds.”
“Hey, hey hey… More th’n a third is better odds than most of our battles! An’ I know you wouldn’t have presented it to Prime if ya didn’t fully believe it would work.” Jazz pulls back again, visor a softer, gentler shade of blue as he meets Prowl’s optics.
“I trust ya, with all my spark.” His arms recede from the hug, and Prowl drops his own hold too. As Jazz starts to step away though, leaving Prowl’s quarters to head for the common room Spec Ops sleepover, Prowl grabs his wrist and tugs him back.
He steals a peck on the lips.
Nothing lingering. Nothing passionate. Just sweet and loving in the way Prowl always is when they’re alone.
“Come back to me, okay?” Happily dazed by the affection, Jazz nods. Amusement flickers in Prowl’s field.
“Don’t mess up my plan too much~. I put my spark into that, just for you.” Holding his hands up in mock surrender, grin creeping back on his face, Jazz waggles his optic ridges.
“I make no promises Ah can’t keep~.” Laughing, Prowl steps towards him, raising a finger as if he’s about to start lecturing him.
“You behave yourself, sweetspark!” Jazz turns on heel and flees out the room, screeching as he goes;
“No promiseeeeeessss!!!” The door slides closed and Prowl chuckles warmly in the silence of his room, feeling a lot more content than he previously had. He ex-vents slowly, softly with loving affection, touching his lips gingerly.
Kissing Jazz never failed to make him feel like he was falling in love for the first time all over again.
Wondering just how spectacularly Jazz was going to frag up the plan this time, Prowl settles into recharge, knowing full well that the Spec Ops team will be causing mayhem in the common room before they pass out in a big cuddle puddle, ready to leave early for the mission tomorrow.
They’ll all come home. Prowl knows Jazz will make sure of it.
When the team returns that evening, Jazz proudly holds his disconnected arm in his other servo, Bumblebee leans heavily against Mirage to limp home, Hound is a wonderful shade of neon orange, and Bluestreak has an all too innocent expression. All 5 have the cheekiest, widest grins.
Greeting them at the Ark entrance, Prowl is just as shocked as Optimus Prime and Rachet. The latter of which is bound to explode in a rage when he gets over his shock. Pinching at his nasal ridge, Prowl comes to one conclusion.
“You spectacularly fragged up the plan, didn’t you?”
“Oh, we hella fragged up your plan~.” Jazz pushes his chest out in pride, and Bluestreak snickers from the back. With a guiltless smile, Bumblebee raises his servo.
“My bad, this time.” Mirage chuckles, steadying the young mech before he falls over on his absolutely shredded leg.
“If you hadn’t had those grenades on hand though, I think Ravage would have found me~.”
“Oh, I greatly enjoyed chasing her through the Nemesis with explosions everywhere~.” Bluestreak’s snickering breaks into a full-on laugh, and Hound pats his back when he starts to cough. The now-orange mech apologetically shrugs.
“Well, put it this way. Half the cons won’t be fighting fit for days, ‘Bee traumatised most of them, Blue got the rest, their weapon storage room is destroyed, and their base is more orange than ours!” The sheer glee rolling off the Spec Ops team is enough to make Optimus bury his faceplates in one servo.
“Just… Just once, can you not come back in one peice? Just once???” Jazz swings his disconnected arm over the shoulder of the arm holding it.
“Nope! Sorry Prime, but mah team jus’ ain’t good at following instructions~.” Jazz dares to give Prowl a cheeky grin, tilting his head to the side as if acting cute will spare him Prowl’s annoyance. Prowl narrows his optics thinner and taps his pede on the floor to make it clear that Jazz will not be getting off scot-free this time.
“Well, judging from the state of you, I’d suggest we leave the debrief until after the med-bay.” Never before have 5 mechs made the exact same expression so quickly, fear flooding them as Prowl’s suggestion is followed by Ratchet cracking his knuckles.
“Yes… Come along to my med-bay, hooligans.” Bumblebee tries to shrink behind Mirage - which would work much better if the battered mech wasn’t supporting him - and Bluestreak audibly whimpers. Ratchet points at Bluestreak and Hound.
“You, and you. Excused. The wash racks will do you fine. The rest of you…!!!” Optimus, mirth in his optics, flattens his hand out to gesture the Spec Ops team inside.
“I look forwards to our debrief once Ratchet is finished with you~.” Jazz gulps. As the condemned mech slowly trudge/limp in behind Optimus, Ratchet watching them with narrowed optics and a sharp scowl, Prowl slides into step next to Jazz.
“I knew you’d bring them back.”
“Yeah… Sorry ‘bout your plan though. It was working perfectly ‘til Sounders let Ravage out for some reason.” In a rare burst of public affection, Prowl brushes their shoulders together with their fields.
“I don’t mind. Coming back alive was more important than following my plan completely.” He pauses for good measure.
“Though I’d prefer if your arm was still attached.” Jazz snickers, silencing himself ‘innocently’ as Ratchet holds up a threatening wrench. A bright blue visor turns to meet Prowl’s optics, and Prowl can’t help himself finding that proud smile cute.
Just like the night before, he steals another quick peck on the lips.
“Thank you, for coming home.”