Jazz had kind of worried about what his first officer's meeting as head of Spec Ops would be like. Blacklight had left some impressive tracks to follow, and Jazz had mostly been a field agent till now, which was a different gig. Blacklight had trained him for this, but learning and doing could be two different things. Jazz was expecting to be kind of bored, and he was, but only until Prowl started talking.
Now, Jazz had heard Prowl's voice before. Mech was second-in-command and had frequently worked with Blacklight on ops, helping to direct Jazz or other agents. But hearing it live and with a full-body visual was a whole new experience. Prowl probably thought Jazz was paying serious attention to the briefing, and yeah, he was listening, but he was mostly fascinated by Prowl. This was one good-looking mech, and add to that the voice, the confidence, and the smarts? Ooh yeah! Another perk of being the new joint second: they had equal rank, and it wouldn't be a conflict when Jazz asked him out.
Prowl didn't turn him down. Not exactly. What he did do was look at Jazz thoughtfully for a handful of nano-kliks and then say he'd think about it. It wasn't a 'yes,' and it wasn't a 'no,' and Jazz really did want that date, but there was nothing for it now but to accept the answer he had gotten and wait. It took several cycles, but Prowl came to Jazz's office late in the shift to talk to him.
"I wanted to further explain my reaction to your request for a date," Prowl explained, sitting down across the desk from Jazz. "You have the clearance to know about my creation's background now, and I'm sure you've read the files."
"Yeah, I read through everything that opened up for me when I took over from Blacklight." Jazz wanted Prowl to know he hadn't been reading up on him, specifically cause that might come across as creepy. Prowl had adopted a juvenile orphaned in the Fall of Praxus, one of the few survivors from the doomed city. Bluestreak was very young, hadn't even hit his adolescent upgrades yet, and had severe post-traumatic stress syndrome. His background was classified not so much because of anything he knew but to keep him safe from invasively curious mecha.
"I asked for time because I wanted to observe you with you in mind as a potential romantic partner. I cannot simply take it on faith that anyone I become involved with would understand my creation's needs. There are times I cannot leave home or perform social activities because Bluestreak needs me. He wouldn't act up on purpose," Prowl continued, "because he is a well-behaved juvenile, but anxiety and trauma still take their toll. I am concerned about dating simply because I do not want to introduce a new individual into our lives and have it end abruptly. I hope you understand."
"Yeah, of course," Jazz assured him. "You're putting your kid first. I expect you to."
Prowl seemed to relax. "Thank you. I did consider turning you down, but you are – I am attracted to you. And, Bluestreak recently began to express concern that his presence and needs are keeping me from a more active romantic or social life."
Jazz began to realize that Prowl was trying to ask him out, but awkwardly, as if he didn't have much experience doing so. Just to be sure, Jazz decided to ask.
"Prowl, are you saying you want to go out with me?"
"I – would like to try dating you. But, you should be aware that a successful outcome would mean you would be expected to take on a caretaking role, if not a parental role, of Bluestreak. I can't be involved with anyone who doesn't understand that."
That explained some of the uncertainty and tension Prowl was showing. 'Fall for me, and you'll be a step-parent' was a pretty heavy thing to lay on someone. But Prowl did have a traumatized kid to worry about, so it wasn't like it was totally unfair.
"I like kids," Jazz said frankly since honesty seemed like something Prowl would appreciate. "Used to think about having some – y'know, before. So it's not a deal-breaker."
Prowl nodded and stood, apparently either done or just too nervous about continuing. "Please take some time to think about it."
Jazz…actually didn't need to think about it because he'd known Prowl had the kid before he'd asked him out the first time. But it was pretty evident that Prowl needed him to need the time, so he left things as they were for a few cycles and then asked Prowl out again. This time, Prowl said 'yes,' and they agreed to drinks in the officer's club the next night.
Jazz showed up promptly at Prowl's door to pick him up and walk with him to the club. They could've gone straight from work, but Prowl always took time at the end of the day at the very least to check in with Bluestreak. But when the door opened, Prowl didn't look like a mech anticipating an evening out. It was still pretty subtle, but Jazz could read expressions very well, and Prowl was worried.
"Jazz, I apologize, but I must cancel tonight. I – "
"No, it's okay," Bluestreak, who was hugging himself and clearly distressed, broke in. "I-I'll be fine. I don't want you to cancel."
"Bluestreak, it's fine. Jazz and I can reschedule." Prowl's voice was gentle, soothing, but Bluestreak looked more distressed.
"But - !"
Jazz thought he'd figured out what was going on: Bluestreak was upset over something that wasn't Prowl going on a date, and Prowl wanted to stay with him because of it. But Bluestreak wanted Prowl to go on his date and was getting upset again over Prowl cancelling it because of him. Prowl was getting stressed over his creation getting more upset and doing his best not to show it.
"Hey," Jazz said. "I've got an idea. Why don't we all hang out here, watch a movie or something? If you don't mind me inviting myself over, I mean."
Bluestreak looked at him for the first time, surprised. Prowl visibly relaxed.
"That would be acceptable, thank you," Prowl said and stepped back. "Please, come in. I don't think you've met Bluestreak before?"
It was a while before they settled on a movie and got stuff like snacks and drinks together. Prowl sat between them, some space between himself and Jazz and with an arm around Bluestreak. Bluestreak fell asleep at some point, and so when the movie ended, Jazz murmured softly that he'd leave and let Prowl get Bluestreak to bed.
Prowl caught his hand as he rose, looking up at him. Bluestreak was curled up against his side, completely out with his head on Prowl's shoulder. It was adorable, and suddenly Jazz was glad they'd spent a quiet evening together here, instead of being on display in the officer's club.
"Thank you," Prowl said quietly. "You didn't – but thank you."
Jazz squeezed Prowl's fingers gently. "Any time, Prowler."
The cycle after their first date, Prowl came to Jazz's office again.
"Do you have a moment?" Prowl asked. "I realize we're both on shift, but I'd like to speak with you about personal matters."
"Happy to make time for you, Prowler," Jazz said, flirty and honest, and put two chairs next to each other. "What's up?"
Prowl sat next to Jazz, not quite as posture-perfect as he was at meetings but not off-shift relaxed, either. "I wanted to thank you again for your understanding last night. You exceeded my expectations."
"You saw that Bluestreak was upset because I intended to cancel our date and that I would not be comfortable leaving him. I'm certain many mecha would have become annoyed in your position," and that did not say good things about Prowl's dating history, "but you offered a compromise. You also set a good example for Bluestreak of problem resolution." Prowl looked at him curiously. "Was that your intent?"
"No," Jazz replied. "I just didn't like seeing you guys unhappy. How was Bluestreak feeling this morning?"
"Much better. You made an excellent impression on Bluestreak, and certainly part of how you handled his distress was part of that. I believe that even though he expressed a wish for me to date, he still experienced some anxiety when it occurred. He has a fear of abandonment, and while he has made great strides, sometimes he can be overwhelmed."
Jazz nodded. "Makes sense. He's been through a lot."
"Yes, he has. Experiencing the Fall of Praxus traumatized him to a level I cannot understand, but he is doing exceptionally well." Prowl sounded proud. He was proud, and Jazz just knew he told Bluestreak that all the time. Mech loved his kid, no question about that. "He does often require more time and patience than I believe other juveniles of his age might, however. There might be times a compromise cannot be found or would not be appropriate, and I would have to focus on Bluestreak instead."
"Okay," Jazz said simply. "If you need me to go away for a bit 'cause Bluestreak needs you, just tell me. If I can help, tell me that, too."
"Thank you." Prowl smiled, shy and sweet. "Would you like to try again for drinks?"
"Yeah," Jazz said and smiled back. "I would."
Jazz dating Prowl went pretty well, and yeah, there were a few cancelled dates either because Bluestreak needed Prowl or thanks to the war's demands. But it went well overall, and soon they even started to do family outings, mostly going to the race track or movie nights in the common room. It wasn't like they could take the kid to Six Lasers anymore, after all. Eventually, gradually, Prowl began to encourage Bluestreak and Jazz to spend time together without him. Jazz did not mind that at all. It hadn't taken long for Bluestreak to work his way into Jazz's spark, and while Jazz wasn't going to make Bluestreak call him sator, he wouldn't mind if the kid started.
"Are you going to move in with us?" Bluestreak asked, nibbling on a rust stick while he and Jazz walked to cool themselves down after a race.
"I will if Prowl asks me to," Jazz said honestly. "Would you be okay with that?"
"Yeah. I think Prowl wants you to. He just hasn't said yet."
"He'll ask when he's ready."
"Not right away. Not while he's worried about how it's going to affect me."
Jazz nodded. "Prowl loves you a whole lot, Bluestreak. He wants you to be happy."
"But I want him to be happy too!"
"Okay." Jazz put a hand on Bluestreak's shoulder. "Okay," he repeated. "So, what should you do if you think Prowl's worried about something?"
"Um, talk to him about it?"
"Right," Bluestreak murmured. "Jazz, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, Blue, anything you like."
"Can I tell you about my creators?"
Prowl had said that Bluestreak rarely talked about the mecha who'd requested his spark, Hunter and Breakneck, and especially to anyone who wasn't Prowl or Rung. Jazz was touched and put his arm around Bluestreak's shoulders, hugging the kid against his side.
"Of course you can. You can tell me anything."
Bluestreak leaned against him affectionately for a moment. "Thanks, Jazz."
Prowl did eventually ask Jazz to move in, and – well, it was a bit of an adjustment. Jazz had lived by himself for a long time. Even when he'd lived with Ricochet, that'd been one person and his sib at that. Living with a lover and a near-adolescent juvenile was different. Jazz was careful to make sure he gave Prowl and Bluestreak plenty of time together and not be either too permissive with Bluestreak or too strict. Not like it was difficult. Bluestreak was a pretty easy juvenile to look after, though his anxiety flared after Jazz moved in. Made sense, it was a pretty big change, and Jazz got that. But everything smoothed itself out, and soon it was like Jazz had always had a kid. At some point, and he wasn't sure when, Bluestreak had changed from being filed as 'Prowl's creation' to 'our creation.'
"I didn't expect this, you know," Jazz said to Prowl one night, keeping his voice down because even though Bluestreak was supposed to be in recharge, the kid had great audials. "Falling in love and having a family like this."
"No?" Prowl asked, smiling. He was no longer shy or hesitant around Jazz, but – in private mostly – relaxed and affectionate. "I confess I never expected to have a creation and a long-term partner either. Everything changed when I met Bluestreak. I don't think I'd have been as open to a relationship before he entered my life."
"He's a fantastic kid," Jazz agreed, and he wasn't biased at all, nope! "But, go back to that long-term partner bit. I like the sound of that."
Prowl leaned over and kissed him. "So do I."
It took a while after that before they got back to talking. It was the next morning over breakfast – and that was another new thing; having breakfast with someone who would definitely be there for dinner. Prowl had slept later than Jazz, and Jazz had spent the time watching him and thinking. He'd thought about a whole lot of stuff, stuff he'd never expected to think about, never really wanting to settle down before. He'd sure settled down now, though, hadn't he?
Jazz looked at the mecha sitting around the table with him and – yeah, yeah he had, and he had not expected it to make him as happy as it did. He was going to have to do something with the light, bubbly feeling that gave him in his spark chamber.
Blacklight had taught Jazz a lot, including some stuff that had nothing to do with Spec Ops. Jazz had inherited his kit along with his position as joint second and head of SO, and he grabbed it and found some space to work. Even his best wasn't quite as good as Blacklight, but the mech had been a master for vorn, so that wasn't surprising. The piece he put together was still good. It was for Prowl; he'd done his best work for his lover.
It maybe wasn't the best place for it, but Jazz surprised Prowl in his office just at the end of shift. Prowl looked up and smiled.
"Are you here to walk home with me?" Prowl asked, not expecting a thing.
"Actually, I wanted to give you something," Jazz said, walking toward him with a box in one hand. "And ask you something."
"Oh?" Prowl raised an optic ridge. "Which do you want to do first?"
Jazz held out the box. "They're kinda the same thing."
Prowl looked a little confused but took the box and opened it. His expression turned to shock.
"Jazz, I – where did you get this?"
"I made it." Jazz smiled, reminiscing. "Blacklight was a jeweller before the war. He taught me how to put a few things together, including armour inlays."
Prowl looked up at him, still looking shocked. "It's an inlay for a conjunx endura. You're proposing to me."
It wasn't a question, but Jazz answered it anyway. "I am." He stepped forward and cupped Prowl's hands, and the box, in his. "Will you marry me, Prowler?"
Prowl's smile was a little shaky but also clearly happy. "Of course I will, Jazz. Yes."
Jazz hadn't been expecting Prowl to say 'no,' but he still felt a surge of joy on hearing it, and well, then he just had to kiss his lover – his betrothed – thoroughly.
"There's something else I wanted to know too," Jazz said when they finally separated.
Prowl was cradling the box in one palm and touching the inlay with gentle fingers. "I'm sure I'll say yes to that as well, but what is it?"
"I love you both so much," Jazz told him. "If he agrees to it, I want to adopt Bluestreak."
If possible, Prowl looked even happier and more in love than before. "You do?"
"Yes." Again, Jazz didn't think he'd say 'no,' but there was a tiny bit of uncertainty.
Prowl brushed the backs of his fingers over Jazz's cheek. "Of course. If he agrees to it, you can adopt him, Jazz. I'm sure he'll say 'yes.' Shall we go tell him our news and ask him your question now?"
"In a klik," Jazz said and kissed him again.
Bluestreak practically vibrated with excitement when Jazz and Prowl told him they were engaged, hugging them both repeatedly and talking a mega-mile a klik. It took a while for him to calm down, but Jazz didn't mind. Anything that made Bluestreak happy was right by him.
"Jazz has a question for you as well, Bluestreak," Prowl said once the juvenile had settled a bit. Bluestreak's optics went wide with surprise again.
"Yup." Jazz was pretty sure Bluestreak would say 'yes,' but that uncertain feeling was back. "Prowler's already agreed to this. But if you're not ready or you want to say 'no,' those are both okay, alright?"
Bluestreak nodded, still looking curious. "Yes. What is it?"
Jazz put a hand on Bluestreak's still-slender shoulder. "Bluestreak, I want to adopt you formally. Are you cool with that?"
Bluestreak stared at him with large optics for a few nano-kliks, then threw himself forward into Jazz's arms.
Jazz hugged his kid tight and pressed a kiss to his helm. "Thank you, kiddo," Jazz said softly, and Bluestreak tried to hug him even tighter. "So happy to be your sator."
"I love you, Jazz," Bluestreak said, cheek pressed against Jazz's chest.
Prowl came closer, and Jazz slipped an arm around him. "Love you too, Bluestreak," Jazz said, voice thick with emotion, and hugged his family close.