Jazz slipped behind the bar and snagged a bottle of mid-grade from the employee’s barrel, twisting off the cap and chugging half of it down in one fell swoop. He was absolutely parched, and his vocalizer was on the verge of crackling.
He didn’t care how loud that noisy crowd chanted ‘encore!,’ he needed a fragging break. Even if it meant using said break to serve some ungrateful customers their special blends.
Jazz dumped the empty bottle into the recycle bin and peered around the edge of the circular bar. Spinout was staffing it tonight, apparently. Thank Primus.
Cycling a ventilation of relief, Jazz edged back toward the other side. Either Bluestreak was on the upper floor, or tonight was his day off. That would save Jazz a world of humiliation.
“There you are,” Blurr said as he mixed one drink and served another, offering a great big smile to his customers, all seemingly effortless. “We’re out of tungsten shavings, and I’m swamped. Can you..?”
“On it!” Jazz chirped. He hopped over the bar, sliding easily between two patrons trying to vie for Blurr’s attention, one of whom hadn’t taken his visor off Blurr’s aft all night.
He didn’t seem to notice the Seeker staring narrow-opticked in his direction. If Starscream became any more tense, he’d rattle right out of his armor. Maybe Jazz ought to sashay over there and remind his old friend that murdering his mate’s customers was generally not good for business.
They could look. They were allowed to look. And if they thought they could get away with touching, Blurr generally reminded them right quick that it was not a good idea. He didn’t need a Seeker defending his honor.
Starscream had a bad habit of being a tad possessive. Reason number three-thousand four-hundred and fifty of the ten-thousand reasons he and Jazz would’ve never worked out anyway.
But first, the tungsten shavings.
Jazz made his way through the crowd, packed tonight – no surprise there, aiming directly for the supply closets tucked to the left and right of the elevator bank. Only a select few had access to the lifts, and so far, not a one drunken patron had mysteriously made their way to Starscream and Blurr’s penthouse.
Jazz keyed in the code to the supply room and shimmied inside before an overeager customer could try to acquire himself a free handful of anything – supplies or otherwise. The door slammed shut behind him, maybe a bit too quickly. Perhaps they ought get Wheeljack to take a look at that. Mech could lose an arm that way.
The lights were already on.
Bluestreak blinked at him, in the midst of reaching for a box on a shelf just above his head. Jazz froze, his spark thumping in his chassis, and a hot-cold flush taking over his entire frame.
“I told Blurr I’d get the shavings,” Bluestreak continued as he finished shoving the box back onto the shelf. He had two small shakers tucked under one arm. “And it’s not like I’d ever forget, though someone obviously forgot to stock them this morning. I told Blurr it wasn’t me. It was probably Spinout. He’s always forgetting everything. Unless we’re out of something else. Are we?”
Jazz worked his intake.
This closet was small, he realized. Very, very small. Every wall was lined with shelving, all of it overflowing with backstock and overstock and regular stock. There was just enough room for a single average-sized mech to walk inside, get what he needed, and walk back out.
Two mechs meant there was less than an arm’s length of space between Jazz and Bluestreak. They were so close Jazz could smell whatever wax Bluestreak preferred. It wasn’t anything special, just the standard ration.
Jazz’s mouth watered.
“Jazz?” Bluestreak prompted, his head tilting. He looked concerned. “Are we out of something else?”
He shook his head. “No, it was just the shavings,” Jazz said, and threw a thumb over his shoulder. “But it looks like you’ve got that well in hand so I’ll just be on my way.”
He spun and slammed his hand against the panel, cursing himself for acting like a dumbaft. He didn’t even know why all of the sudden being around Bluestreak turned him into a gibbering idiot. Something in the younger mech’s field perhaps, or the way he seemed to look right through Jazz, or the way he… he…
“Why isn’t this door opening?” Jazz demanded, slamming his palm against the panel again. It beeped at him in a low tone, informing him that it was locked.
Yes, you stupid door, he knew it was locked. He was trying to unlock it, frag it.
“Did you try the code?” Bluestreak suggested.
Jazz’s fingers jabbed at the panel. Leaving shouldn’t have required inputting the code again, but maybe the damn thing was glitched.
It beeped at him negatively. Jazz swore the panel taunted him.
“It won’t work!”
“Maybe because I haven’t left yet?” Bluestreak said and leaned around Jazz from behind, his chestplate bumping Jazz’s backplate. Jazz froze. “Here. Let me try.”
Bluestreak put in his own code, each quiet beep seeming to match the sudden pounding of Jazz’s spark in his chassis. His hands were trembling, frag it. And his ventilations doubled in oscillation cycles all of the sudden.
The panel rejected Bluestreak’s code, too.
“Huh,” Bluestreak said. “Think you can hack it? Or try calling Blurr? I’m getting static on my comms, which is really weird. Maybe the music is interfering or something.”
“Or something,” Jazz echoed faintly.
He was starting to suspect that this was not a glitch, but sabotage. Sabotage by the name of a smirking, smug Seeker who was going to need a new paintjob and quite possibly a new spike by the time Jazz was through with him.
Jazz tried his comm, just so he could say he did, and wasn’t surprised when he heard nothing but static. The kind of static that meant all outgoing signals were being jammed.
“We’re stuck,” Jazz growled, and glared heat at the door, as though his visor could produce lasers which would cut them an exit, and free him to do damage against the mech responsible.
Or mechs. Something told Jazz that Starscream wasn’t working entirely on his own. He and his partner were starting to behave a little too much alike.
“Someone will come looking eventually,” Bluestreak replied with a roll of his shoulders, his field reflecting a wealth of optimism and patience. “Especially as busy as we are. We just have to wait.”
Wait he said. As though his very nearness wasn’t sending Jazz nearly into spark-arrest, and wasn’t making his spark pound, and his glossa stop functioning, and his thoughts white out with static. Bluestreak made him glitch in a bad way, and Jazz didn’t even understand why.
“Maybe I can hack it,” Jazz said, alarmed to find his fingers shaking as he slipped a small knife from subspace, and tried to ease the razor-thin tip under the edge of the panel.
“By destroying it?” Bluestreak’s voice was rich with humor. “Wouldn’t it be easier just to wait?”
Jazz huffed a vent. “That’s what hacking does, Blue. Gotta get to the meat of it before I can start to tenderize.” The knife slid a bit further, before the panel blatted angrily at him.
Jazz eyed it. How rude. Why in the world would Blurr set up such a delicate and sensitive alarm system on a stockroom door of all places?
“You know, sometimes I’m not even sure you’re speaking Cybertronian,” Bluestreak said with a chuckle. He reached over Jazz, however, fingers sliding over his hand. “But maybe ruining that for good isn’t the solution here, yeah? Boss might get mad, and then Starscream gets prickly and no one wins.”
Jazz huffed and slid out from under Bluestreak’s hand like he’d been shocked. He backed up against a shelving unit, his fuel pump stuttering. Something rattled on a shelf behind him, and he threw out an arm to keep it from tumbling off.
He failed. It crashed. Jazz winced.
“Yeah,” he said, and had to cycle his vocalizer to clear out the static. “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
His hand was tingling. Why was his stupid hand tingling? And Bluestreak was looking at him now, head tilted, optics bright and incisive. That look he got sometimes, one that hinted to there being more underneath than a friendly, chatty mech.
It made Jazz shiver. Made him want to run and hide.
Made him want to drop to his knees and beg, and he wasn’t even sure what for. Just that he needed and his mouth went dry and something deep inside whimpered, desperate for relief.
“Besides,” Bluestreak continued as he leaned against the unit behind him, though there was so little room here that their knees jostled for space, “it can’t be that bad to be stuck in here with me, can it? I mean, I can be quiet when I need to be. Promise. Warrior’s honor.” He winked and crossed his hand over his chassis, something he had to have learned from Ironhide.
Jazz folded his arms over his chestplate to hide his shivering. “Course it ain’t that bad,” he said. “I just don’ like small spaces, is all.”
“Mm. That I can understand.” Bluestreak tilted his chin, his optics darkening, his armor plates juttering. His field loosed from his control a tad, and Jazz felt the echoes of something broken in it, before Bluestreak reined it in again.
Small spaces. Dark spaces. Jazz had spent the war crawling in and out of them. It wasn’t the size of the space that bothered. It was the inability to escape that clawed at his circuits and quickened his ventilations.
Scuttlebutt had it that he’d been pulled from the wreckage of Praxus. That he’d been buried in an avalanche of crumbled buildings and dead frames, surrounded by rust and silence and decay.
Two little vials clattered as Bluestreak dropped them to a space on a shelf beside him. Jazz nearly leapt out of his plating at the abrupt sound. The music beyond the door thumped loudly, but that tiny noise made him startle.
What the frag was wrong with him?
Bluestreak pushed out of his lean, the small motion putting him nearer than arm’s reach to Jazz. “I think, though, that it’s less that this room is small then it is you’re stuck in here with me,” he said.
Jazz shook his head. “No way, mech. I like ya. Why would that be a problem?”
Bluestreak’s expression wasn’t dark, not like Jazz thought of darkness, but it was intent. Focused. Kind of eerie actually. Eerie in a way that crawled down Jazz’s backstrut and pooled in his intake and made him flush from head to foot.
He could have sidestepped. He could have ducked under and around and evaded, but Bluestreak took another step closer, and Jazz froze in place. His optics widened behind his visor, his ventilations catching.
He thought about Earth and the hazards of driving on back country roads with barely lined lanes and foolish four-legged creatures that leapt out in front of unsuspecting vehicles. He thought about how the deer would stop in the middle of the road, ears perked, eyes reflected in a car’s headlights. How’d they freeze as if they didn’t realize their doom was bearing down on them.
Suddenly, Jazz felt a kinship for those creatures.
“You know, Jazz, I think you’re lying to me just a little,” Bluestreak murmured, his field lightly touching Jazz’s now, like it had tangible weight. “I think you do mind being here with me. And I think it’s because you’re not as blind as you’re pretending to be. So why keep playing the game?”
Jazz’s vents hitched. “Ain’t got no idea what you’re talking about, mate.”
Bluestreak leaned closer, their armor within scant inches of touching. His hand pressed to the shelving beside Jazz’s head, bracing his weight, and effectively caging Jazz in between his arm and what barely counted as an escape – further into the storage room.
Jazz counted ten different ways he could dismantle Bluestreak, all without causing permanent harm and half of which Bluestreak wouldn’t even remember, and a quarter wouldn’t harm him at all. Funny how he couldn’t seem to lift a finger to enact even the gentlest of them.
“What ya doin’, Blue?” he asked, and Primus, his voice was shaking.
Bluestreak was hot, venting heat that wafted against Jazz’s armor. His optics were big and blue, so intense, Jazz felt like drowning in them.
“Testing a theory,” Bluestreak murmured, and his free hand reached for Jazz, and Jazz didn’t even try to stop him. Just rattled a vent as Bluestreak’s fingers held his chin and tilted his face up, causing a jagged lance of something to bolt straight toward Jazz’s array.
“Tell me to stop, Jazz.”
Jazz whimpered, which nowhere resembled a request for Bluestreak to stop, and Bluestreak capitalized on that. He leaned close, so close, his vents brushing over Jazz’s lips before his own followed.
Bluestreak kissed him, their mouths coming together in a meet of wet heat, and Jazz moaned. He melted into the shelving behind him, electric fire blazing through his spinal strut at the first touch of Bluestreak’s glossa. His array pulsed, valve fluttering, spike throbbing, pushing insistently at his panel.
His processor spun dizzily. Heat flushed his face. His hands hung there, like useless tools, and all he could think about was how sweet Bluestreak tasted and how much his array throbbed.
Bluestreak pulled back, Jazz chasing after his lips, but not getting very far thanks to Bluestreak’s hold on his chin. Bluestreak’s thumb rubbed over his bottom lip, and Jazz struggled to cycle a ventilation. His spark pounded, cycling faster than seemed healthy. He wanted to pull Bluestreak’s thumb into his mouth. He wanted to suck on it. He wanted Bluestreak to hoist him up against this shelving, take him hard and fast, until he couldn’t think anymore.
He wanted… He wanted…
“Think you can get us out now?” Bluestreak asked, his voice rich with humor, the arrogant little brat.
Jazz’s visor dimmed as he grabbed at Bluestreak’s hips with clumsy fingers. “Thinking ain’t really happenin’ anymore, Blue.” His processor had melted into a puddle and really, all he could manage was ‘guh’.
Bluestreak chuckled. “Good,” he murmured and leaned in again, kissing Jazz harder this time, more of a claim than an introduction. He leaned his weight against Jazz, pinning him against the shelving, a knee nudging Jazz’s thighs.
Jazz moaned into the kiss, hands tightening on Bluestreak’s hips. His array cycled harder, heat pooling in his internals, need spiking through his sensory net. His knees wobbled, his ventilations stuttering, and all he could think about was how sturdy this shelving was and if it could take the force of Bluestreak pounding him through it.
Through the haze, he heard beeping. Chirping. Like that of someone overriding a lock.
Bluestreak ended the kiss and whirled away from him, leaving Jazz to stumble in the sudden absence of warmth and dizzying kisses. He leaned back against the shelving for balance, even as Bluestreak yanked a box off the shelf and took a single step, neatly concealing Jazz behind his frame.
A very observant mech might notice Jazz’s legs peeking out from behind Bluestreak, but it was dim here. Which was good, because Jazz didn’t particularly want anyone to see how dazed he was.
The door opened. “There you are.” Jazz recognized that voice, even with the hint of annoyance attached to it. “What are you doing?” Blurr demanded.
“Sorry, boss. The door wouldn’t open,” Bluestreak said, tone absurdly cheerful and light and entirely unbothered. “I couldn’t get a comm out, and my code wouldn’t work and I got so flustered, I forgot what I came in here for and I’ve been trying to remember.” He gave the box a shake for emphasis.
Blurr vented noisily. “Starscream changed the codes this morning. He’s paranoid about something.” He raised his volume to be heard over the thumping music. “I sent you for tungsten shavings, by the way. Did you find them?”
“Oh. Right. Oops.” Bluestreak twisted around in very small circles, shifting the box from one hand to the other. “Um, I grabbed cobalt so…”
Blurr vented again and Jazz imagined he was probably palming his face, too. “Grab the tungsten and come on. I’ll leave it unlocked for you.”
“You haven’t seen Jazz, have you?” Blurr asked, and now his tone was less irritated and more… mischievous. Too much like Starscream’s, if you asked Jazz.
Great. The two of them were conspiring now. Oh, that sneaky little Seeker was going to pay for this.
“Nope. Sorry. I’ll keep an optic out for him though!”
“Yeah, do that. See you at the bar.”
Blurr left and the door slid shut behind him, a quiet click to indicate it hadn’t locked. Jazz didn’t believe for even a single moment that Blurr didn’t know he was in here.
Bluestreak tumbled the box back onto the shelf and turned to face Jazz again, his lips curved in a smile and his optics bright and cheerful. It was as if he’d become a completely different mech, and both of them were enough to make Jazz’s knees wobble and his processor crumble.
“Who are you?” Jazz asked as their optics met.
Bluestreak cupped his face and leaned in for another kiss, one that Jazz met with an embarrassing amount of eagerness. A moan burbled up in his intake, only to be quickly swallowed, as the press and heat of Bluestreak’s field left him tingling.
“I am who I am. Who I’ve always been,” Bluestreak said against his lips, and something in his tone, in the cadence of it, was very familiar. “I am Bluestreak, and you are Jazz, and after our shift, I want to grab a bottle of engex and take you for a walk somewhere. Can I do that?”
Jazz licked his lips. He worked his intake.
“Yeah,” he said. “Sure. I’d like that.”
It never crossed his mind to do anything but accept.
“Good.” Bluestreak’s thumb swept over his cheek, the tip of it brushing the bottom edge of Jazz’s visor. “Then I’ll grab a bottle of Tetrahex Sunrise, and you can meet me out back when you’re done. Deal?”
Bluestreak grinned and let Jazz go, stepping back to give him what little ventilating space was available. He snagged two vials off the shelf behind him, twirling them about his fingers.
“See you out front!” he said cheerfully, winked, and made his exit, the door clicking shut behind him without a care of the world, as if he hadn’t just thoroughly rocked Jazz’s with naught but a handful of kisses.
Jazz cycled a ventilation, though rattled it was. He touched his lips with trembling fingers, swearing he could still smell Bluestreak’s cheap armor wax around him, and he still carried the weight of Bluestreak’s heat.
Starscream was going to pay for this.