chibi_veneficus: (sparkly dance)
[personal profile] chibi_veneficus
Title: Verumi (4/4)
Verse: AU/G1
Rating: PG
Characters: Jazz, Prowl
Warnings: Angst
Summary: Jazz had always felt that Prowl was a little...different then the rest of them.
Notes: the end!!!

Previous chapters on LJ/DW:
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 2.5
Chapter 2.9
Chapter 3

Slightly edited version up on AO3





Jazz is uneasy.

The ride back is tense and bumpy, filled with the roar of the wind and muted sounds of Ratchet doing what he can for the drone. Bumblebee’s attention is solely on guiding their ride through the bombed out road ahead, while Smokescreen sits on the back edge of the skimmer, keeping a continued sharp-optic for any pursuers. Jazz knows he should still be helping Smokescreen watch the skies or going over what the report should say but his mind is preoccupied with thoughts heavy with realizations and discomfort over his past actions.

He doesn’t want to feel bad for his reactions to the truth. At the time, they had made perfect sense. The anger, the bitterness, the tint of disgust coloring the edges, it all had felt right after what he’d learned. Those feelings still drudge up when he thinks back to that time, even now.

But that was then, before all…this.

“Here.” Jazz discretely hands over the memory core to Ratchet despite a strange reluctance that comes over him to keep it tucked away in subspace. Ratchet takes it, face a grim mask, but doesn’t yell at him for keeping the core there. Jazz’s spark slows its frantic spinning a bit, bolstered by this quiet signal that he hasn’t screwed up.

With the wind howling past the open bed of the transport it’s unlikely that Bumblebee or Smokescreen can overhear him if he talks quietly enough. Even so, it’s a bad idea to even hint at what the SIC actually is out loud. This far out of Shockwave’s territory comms are an option but…guilt loosens his lips.

“You were right. ‘Bout the memory thing.”

He receives a dismissive snort in response.

“…Sorry.”

Ratchet looks unfamiliarly old and tired in the bright light thrown from his arc welder, his voice drained of the anger that had colored it previously while discussing this subject. He spares a glance for Jazz but it holds no victory.

“Not me you need to apologize to. Get some recharge, Jazz. It’s going to be a long night.”

~*~


Jazz onlines to a familiar ceiling. He must have heeded Ratchet’s advice because he doesn’t remember arriving on base, much less being transported to medbay from the vehicle. Ratchet most likely had been a helping hand in making that last part happen. Jazz pings his diagnostics; they report that the medical stasis codes have been purged, his fingers have been replaced and his dents popped, but his paint-nanites still need more time to heal. He takes a moment to just lie there, stare at the report, and get his thoughts and feelings in order. Try to, at least.

He sits up when it becomes clear the maelstrom in his spark won‘t calm, his frame aching a dozen different ways in protest to that physical action. Jazz deliberately turns his attention to the other mech in the room.

The other mech has been cleaned of soot and his abdomen has been put back together, but he looks oddly small. With a start, Jazz realizes that the other mech’s door wings haven‘t been replaced. The mech’s hands are clasped tightly together but the shaking in the digits is still visible.

He is looking at Jazz, but does he remember? Jazz doesn’t know if Ratchet was successful in installing the memory core, if that memory core had even been the correct one. Had there been memory corruption? Was this still the same mech or was he gone forever, for real this time?

“…you alright?” Jazz asks when the unknowing begins to crush him.

“Yes. Other than the wait time on new sensor wing fabrication and installation, I have been fully repaired and can resume my duties as soon as Ratchet discharges us,” the figure says. That voice is no longer a dull monotone void of life; the words are chock-full of quiet emotion and Jazz’s spark lurches in its chamber at the familiar cadence.

Jazz hasn’t realized just how much he has missed that voice, and not just its subtle inflections during that short time escaping Shockwave’s lab. It has become a cornerstone in his life during the war. When Jazz had cut off all unnecessary contact, he hadn’t realized that he would be emotionally crippling himself. To hear it again is a balm.

But that short blurb doesn’t answer the question as to whether this is still the same mech and the words aren’t coming as easily as they usually do for him. Silence blankets over them again as Jazz struggles to articulate just what to say next.

“I am sorry, Jazz,” the figure says, breaking the loud silence this time. “I never meant to hurt you. I just…” He looks away, fists clenched in his lap. His next words are so quiet as to be nearly incomprehensible, “I didn’t want to lose you.”

Joy courses through Jazz. There’s no doubt about the memories now and it feels like a vise has lost its grip on his spark. There’s a chance to fix this mess. But white-hot shame follows close behind, tainting the joy, reminding him that he’s the one that made his friend so scared in the first place.

While a part of Jazz is still hurt and still wants to hurt, mostly he is just tired. This whole ordeal was really nothing but of his making. If he hadn’t been so hung up on old prejudices to listen then this awkward situation wouldn’t have arose. But Jazz also knows himself too well. As painful as this lesson has been, Jazz knows that he had needed it. He prides himself on adaptability but hadn’t realized how rusted set in his ways he’d been about drones. He needs to set things right, and not just because he was wrong.

He wants his friend back.

“I’m the one that should be apologizing.”

“You did nothing wrong Jazz --”

“Yes I did!” Jazz rubs a hand over his face. “I shouldn’t’ve cut you off like that. It wasn’t right, and it wasn’t fair. And you didn’t deserve being ignored like that, ‘specially for something you had no control over.”

The mech clasps his hands together again, face set in a stern look that is its staple for meetings. The familiar image makes Jazz’s lips curve up a bit even though he knows it‘s a shallow poker face.

“What do we do now?” the mech asks.

“Don’t know.” Jazz sighs, shifts awkwardly in his seat like he hasn’t done since he was a new-build. “This is all a mess.”

The neutral look crumbles and the mech shrinks in on himself, looking miserably uncertain. In all their vorns together, Jazz has never seen him like this. If there’s any doubt left over about the mech‘s aliveness, on what Ratchet and Mirage had told him, it’s washed away by this display of emotion.

Jazz needs to figure out how to repair this relationship, on how to make things right.

An idea comes. It’s not that great but Jazz latches onto it like a sinking mech grasping a lifeline.

“That just means we’ll…we’ll start over. Start from the beginning.”

It’s going to take time to rebuild what they had. Even if it had been for a very good reason, Jazz’s trust has been broken and that’s no easy thing to fix. There’s still the issue of Shockwave, what he’s done, and what he‘ll do next. But those things can wait.

Jazz holds out his forearm before he can overthink it. “M’ name’s Jazz,” he says, the words thick and rough in his vocalizer. He feels as if his spark is exploding, unable to contain all the different emotions whirling inside of it. “What’s yours?”

The mech reaches across the gap and grasps his offered forearm with shaky force. Optics overly bright and a fragile, desperate smile growing on his face, he looks like he wants to crumple in relief. Jazz doesn’t think he looks any better himself.

“My name is Prowl…and it’s a pleasure to meet you, Jazz.”
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