Warnings so far: Murder mystery, sword fight training, mention of past rape attempt, wishing rape upon someone
Although he couldn't see that many stars above them due to the bright city lights, Jazz found that this was a lovely night to be in the Towers Hovering Garden, THG for short, a large park that practically hovered in the mid levels of the city. Knowing that Sunstreaker was fast asleep after that intense massage he had, Jazz had snuck out with Sideswipe to conduct some secret sword training. Sunstreaker was in no danger being left alone in the estate, and Jazz recently found out that the tower they lived it was patrolled by flying security guards. Sideswipe was rather excited to finally get started and he seemed to enjoy the whole sneaking out thing. Turned out that Sideswipe had a curfew enforced by Sunstreaker, meaning he had to be home at a certain time unless he was working. Sideswipe confessed he snuck out before to go to clubs and music venues but now that he was doing it with someone else he found it to be a little more thrilling. Jazz just told him to stop sneaking out unless it was with him or else his brother would worry.
They walked further in the park, past the glowing onyx trees and crystal flowers until they reached a place designed for fitness enthusiasts, with a running track, exercise equipment and engex fountains. It was the perfect place for outdoor fitness and Jazz recalled seeing it when he was in the shuttle taking him to Knockout's clinic. It was deserted now, except for some prowling turbofoxes, which was a little surprising as Jazz thought there would be other bots in this vast city who liked to train in the dead of night. No matter, it meant he could focus on training Sideswipe without anyone disturbing them, plus the peace and quiet was a bonus. Sideswipe himself looked quite giddy, bouncing upon the heels of his feet with his arms shaking with eager delight. He behaved and kept quiet as Jazz unpacked the training swords from a special case he bought, though his grin did seem to widen by the second and for a second it looked like he had stars in his optics.
Jazz placed the training swords to one side and stood up to face Sideswipe. "Alright kid, time for some trainin', you ready?" Sideswipe nodded furiously. "Ok, we'll start with a warm up." Jazz pointed over to the track. "Two laps around that should do."
"No problem," boasted Sideswipe, suddenly converting into his vehicle mode.
"No wheels," ordered Jazz, giving Sideswipe a gentle kick prompting him to convert back to his bipedal mode. "I want you to use those legs."
Sideswipe groaned at the idea of running the full track on his legs but he did as he was told. He lightly jogged around the track at a steady pace. Every now and then Jazz would order him to do something different, like running backwards, hopping, skipping, sidesteps, and high jumps with every four step. Sideswipe would curse and grunt as he stumbled over himself but completed the warm up, jogging back over to Jazz whilst venting heavily. Unfortunately he wasn't quite done as Jazz then ordered him to run to certain obstacles and then sprint back. After a few of those he had the red mech do some strenuous exercises, all designed to make use of every hydraulic muscle in his body. After about ten minutes of nothing but warm ups Sideswipe already looked worn out, steam lightly rising from his frame.
"Feelin' alright?" asked Jazz, wondering if Sideswipe was ready to call it quits.
The red mech shook his head. "N-nope," he gasped, "still pumped."
"Alright then," chuckled Jazz, "now stretch yourself off before we begin."
It took Sideswipe a moment to catch his breath before standing up and stretched his arms and legs, groaning as his metal exo-skeleton clicked and popped as he moved. Jazz had to demonstrate a few stretches that Sideswipe didn't know, and even had to step in to assist him in completing some of them, one of them being for his back. With his warm up and stretches finally out of the way, it was now time for the training. Grabbing one of the training swords, Jazz stood upon a stable bit of ground so he could show Sideswipe what he was going to teach him.
"Alright, there is always a borin' part to every trainin' session," explained Jazz, testing the weight of the sword with a slash. "In this lesson you're gonna learn how to adopt the correct stance." It was the most boring part of the training but it was also vital. Sideswipe watched as Jazz moved into position. "For now this is what you're goin' to learn."
Bending his legs slightly, pushing one leg out in front of him, he adopted the basic fighting stance that all beginners had to master before they could learn anything else. It was dull as he moved back and forth, explaining the reasons why his legs had to be that way and his arms had to be sticking out. Sideswipe watched with impressive interest, even attempting to copy the moves himself. Jazz gave Sideswipe the training sword and instructed him on how to handle the training sword. He stood awkwardly at first so Jazz manually arranged him, bending his arms to the correct angle, twisting his hips so his legs were positioned better, and raised his head a little. Sideswipe had to repeat the move a few times before he got it almost right.
"You have to practise every now and then so your body will remember and get used to it," explained Jazz, "now we'll do it whilst swingin' the sword."
Jazz demonstrated how to do it, explaining the movements in perfect detail. Sideswipe copied, a little off at first but he slowly got the hang of it.
Sideswipe was enjoying it but he didn't seem to like the silence between them and decided to ask Jazz some questions. "So why did you want to become a swordsmech?"
That brought some memories back for Jazz. "You're gonna laugh," he snorted.
"It can't be that embarrassing," said Sideswipe with a snigger.
He warned him. "Well, when I was little I used to watch this show called "Knights of Light Adventures" and one of the Knights on the show wielded two swords and was a total badaft," lamented Jazz, thinking back to his days as a sparkling. "I wanted to grow up to be just like him, kill the bad guys and savin' folks. That was my earliest memory of my love for swordfightin'."
As Jazz predicted Sideswipe could not help but snort with laughter. "A cartoon made you want to be a swordsmech," he chortled, almost throwing himself off balance.
"Oh and what was your reason?" asked Jazz, pausing to get Sideswipe back in the correct pose.
Sideswipe thought for a moment. "Back at my first school there was a book I loved to read, I think it was about a knight going on a quest to save a town from a Predacon, can't remember the title." Sideswipe smiled a little as the nostalgia made his mood light up a little. "I used to pretend I was that knight, running around the garden waving a sword I made out of an onyx tree branches, and this space slug was a Predacon. I think that's why I wanted to be a swordsmech."
"A book made you want to be a swordsmech?" chuckled Jazz.
"Hey, at least I read about it," scoffed Sideswipe, "you watched a cartoon."
Jazz rolled his optics with a uncaring smile. "You do like to read a lot, don't you?" he suddenly asked.
"A little, I guess," muttered Sideswipe, trying to focus on his sword swinging.
"A little?" snorted Jazz, "I saw over three hundred data novels on romance in your room."
Sideswipe instantly halted his sword swinging, dropping the training sword and his face turning bright red. He stared at Jazz, unable to say anything at first. "M-my novels?" he finally squeaked, "you saw them?"
Jazz grinned as he nodded. "Romance novels are your thing, huh?"
The red mech continued to look embarrassed as he scrambled to pick up the training sword. "I-I like to read them, yeah," he confessed, "no other reason."
Jazz wasn't certain why but he had a feeling there was some interesting reason why Sideswipe was so fascinated with romance novels. He ignored it for now to continue the training and to help the red mech focus. Teaching Sideswipe to hold the sword correctly whilst swinging it at different angles was a little easy, and Sideswipe was slowly getting the hang of it.
"Did you ever fight anyone?" asked Sideswipe suddenly.
He was going to have to be careful here, as everyone here was aware he came out of a bodyguard adcademy, and was never in the war. "A few times when someone gave me and my client trouble." By client, Jazz was referring to Kup, a war hardened sergeant who he worked with back during the war. "Everyone was out to get that guy, and it was tough keepin' him safe."
"Did you lose any fights?" asked the now curious Sideswipe.
"A couple," admitted Jazz.
"What happened to your client?" gasped Sideswipe.
"He ended up savin' me," laughed Jazz, recalling how he almost got eaten alive by a sparkeater only for Kup to literally bash its brains in.
"Guess you started off as a lousy bodyguard," snickered Sideswipe, "er, no offence."
"No, I was a bit of a green horn," chuckled Jazz, "but as the battles waged on I gained experience."
"Battles?" Sideswipe seemed confused.
"Oh, er, like I said a lot of bad mech's were out to get my client," corrected Jazz, "he had quite a few enemies."
Sideswipe didn't appear to notice something was off and continued with his training. "If you dreamed of becoming a swordsmech, why did you decide to become a bodyguard?"
Damn the kid was inquisitive today. "I thought it would be a cool way to use my skills," lied Jazz.
"Yeah but hardly anyone gets in trouble up here," sighed Sideswipe, "all those modelling companies have private armies to keep their models safe."
Jazz decided to change the subject before Sideswipe became suspicious. "What kind of career are you after? Y'know, since you want to learn sword fightin' so much." Sideswipe looked a bit uncertain after Jazz asked him of this. "You do know what you wanna do with this kind of skill, right?" asked Jazz.
"Well..." Sideswipe trailed off a little. "The war is over so a solider is out of the question. I was kinda thinking of an enforcer, but they got too many rules and with my record they wouldn't even consider me. A freelancer sounds cool but I'm not sure about it. Then there's mercenaries, goons for hire, maybe a bodyguard..."
As Sideswipe continued to list his idea of jobs that one could take if they were a swordsmech, Jazz could not help but slap himself in the face. It seemed that Sideswipe had no career aspects or a clue to what he should do with his future. He wasn't going to be buffing armour whilst living with his brother forever.
"Tell you what," sighed Jazz, "I'll get you some career pamphlets, hopefully you'll get a good idea of what you want to do." Maybe one of them might inspire Sideswipe to take up a career that needed a skill such as the one he was teaching him.
As the night dragged on Jazz taught Sideswipe the basic stances, basic attacks and some basic strategy. It was a simple lesson but it was much more that what Jazz learnt on his first day. After packing the training swords away he ordered Sideswipe to run round the track a few times before a quick stretch off. Once that was complete, the red mech fell onto his aft and rested upon the ground, panting heavily. Jazz pulled out an energon canister he had packed and presented it to Sideswipe before sitting down next to him.
"How did I do?" asked Sideswipe, still panting hard.
"There's room for improvement," replied Jazz, "but you'll get there." Sideswipe smiled after hearing that and proceeded to drink his beverage. As he did, Jazz decided it was time to ask the red mech the question that had been on his mind all day. Of course he wasn't going to flat out say it, but he was going to start a conversation that would lead to it. Relaxing himself a little, he put on his casual smile. "How is work?"
Sideswipe shrugged, gulping back some energon. "It's sort of like my old one, but I have to go to rooms to collect the armour," he huffed. "The other day this prissy old timer kept yapping on how I would scratch it if I didn't use the right cleaning solution. I wish I had my old job back."
"Made any friends?" asked Jazz, sipping some energon he bought for himself.
"Not really," muttered Sideswipe, "they all avoid me. I guess my reputation has got around."
"It's nice to have friends," sighed Jazz, "someone you can trust, who has your back, a mech you can talk to when you need it."
"Do you have a friend like that?" asked Sideswipe, unaware he was walking right into Jazz's trap.
Jazz nodded and held in a vent, keeping his optics locked on the red mech. "I do," he said, "Nightbeat's his name." Jazz watched Sideswipe, looking for signs that the name sounded familiar to the red mech.
However Sideswipe merely said, "that's a cool name. Is he like your best buddy?"
Jazz but his lip. Sideswipe didn't react at all to the mention of that name. His spark pulse was normal and his tone sounded unfazed. Anyone could see that he had no clue who Nightbeat was at all. Did Nightbeat failed to make contact with Sideswipe or something? Still it was a good thing, at least this proved that Sideswipe couldn't be responsible for Nightbeat's death, but it did mean he had to dig up some more clues.
"Yeah Nightbeat was my best buddy," continued Jazz.
"Was?" questioned Sideswipe.
Frag, Jazz didn't wish to reveal what happened to Nightbeat but after that littke slip he didn't really have a choice. "He... um... he passed away recently," muttered Jazz.
"Oh," winced Sideswipe, "I'm sorry."
His apology seemed genuine. "It's cool," replied Jazz.
"So... um... do you have other friends?" asked Sideswipe, who wanted to steer away from the dead friend topic.
Jazz thought that bringing Prowl into this wouldn't hurt. "There is another and trust me on this, he is the most cruel overworked emotionless fragger I ever met. He is ruthless, mean and doesn't give a slag if you're dying from cosmic rust."
That seemed to shock Sideswipe. "Why would you be friends with someone like that?" he gasped.
"He may be a jerk, but he means well," chuckled Jazz, "he just isn't used to conveyin' emotions so well. In fact watchin' him attemptin' to smile is real scary."
Sideswipe shivered. "I hope I don't meet him." Jazz kinda hoped that if Sideswipe did meet Prowl it would be for friendly introductions and not for a interrogation.
After they rested and finished their energon Jazz decided it was time to head back. There were still a few hours before Sunstreaker woke up do they took their time, walking through a somewhat quiet section of the city. Sideswipe would practise his footwork as they walked back, taking care as not to trip over himself. Jazz was deep in thought. Nightbeat had asked for Sideswipe before he died. Why did he want to talk to him? Was it something related to that cold case he was investigating? Sideswipe had committed petty crimes, his enforcer record was full of them, but if Sideswipe was indeed involved, then what did he do? Maybe it Sideswipe was a witness or something, Jazz had no idea. He could only hope to dig up more clues as the investigation continued.
"Hey Jazz," said Sideswipe abruptly, "can we go in there to eat?"
Jazz looked up to see a small fancy diner that was still open. The name Bex's Place hung above in blue glowing letters. Despite its quaint appearance it still had that look of posh and high quality about it. He was a little hungry but not for decorated energon. "It ain't that fancy crap, is it? I hate eatin' stuff like that, it makes me sick."
"Depends what you order," replied Sideswipe, already heading inside.
Following him inside, Jazz found that the diner was similar to a Greasy Gears restaurant only it was far more luxurious. There were only a couple of patrons inside and a single waitress serving blue energon out of a crystal jug. Sideswipe slid into a window seat and waved at Jazz to join him. The smell of extravagant good was off putting and the menu upon the wall looked overly complicated but Jazz decided to give it a try, sliding into the chair opposite the red mech.
The waitress already stood before their table, pouring the blue energon into their glasses. "What will you be having today?" she asked in a high pitched voice.
"A grease burger," demanded Sideswipe with a hungry grin. Jazz frowned as he was certain that wasn't on the menu.
The waitress frowned. "Sir, we call them tallow cakes here," she stated.
"Same thing," muttered Sideswipe. "Oh, and some engex bites with a energon omega shake."
The waitress seemed to be annoyed as she wrote that down. "You mean paraffin frites and hydrogen aromatic juice," she corrected. She then looked at Jazz, her friendly face now looking like the face of Mortilus coming to get you. "And what will you be having sir?"
"Same as him, minus the drink," replied Jazz, unable to name these odd names for these simple dishes, "but do you serve nucleon floats?"
The waitress seemed to growl as she stormed off. "Quantum delights," she corrected once more.
Sideswipe couldn't help but discreetly snigger. "This stuff isn't as fancy as it sounds, they just serve it differently and give them supposedly better names."
"I figured," snorted Jazz, "I don't get places like this."
It didn't take long for their meal to arrive, the waitress slamming it all down upon the table as she announced its arrival. "Two orders of tallow cakes with paraffin frites, along with a hydrogen aromatic juice and a quantum delight. Enjoy." She said that last part almost bitterly.
Jazz stared at his meal. It was indeed a grease burger but it was garnished with inedible decorations and served in a way that made no sense whatsoever. The engex bites looked oddly shiny than what they were supposed to look like and his drink was served in a glass with strange things sticking out of it. Why did they go to this absurd effort to make his meal look pretty, he was just going to eat it. As he was about to grab the grease burger a loud cough caught his attention. The waitress was pointing to a sigh that enforced a ridiculous rule, "use the cutlery provided. Do not use hands to consume meal." Jazz sighed as he picked up a fork and knife, which also looked bizarre to him. Looking over at Sideswipe he watched as the red mech stabbed his grease burger with a fork and held the whole thing up, eating away at it as it dripped and splattered all over the table. That seemed to upset the waitress but she did nothing and stomped off to attend to the other customers.
"They never said how to use them," said Sideswipe, his mouth full of chewed up grease.
Jazz could not help but snort with laughter. "I guess so," he agreed, though he did use his fork to cut and tear away at the burger, completely destroying it. It was still edible and it didn't taste too bad, just the sauce was a little rich. "Do you eat here often?"
"It may look posh, but it's cheap as hell," replied Sideswipe, stuffing his face as he chatted away, "they just want to fit in with everything else around here. They used to be a standard restaurant but everyone ignored it for being too ordinary, hence why they now act real snobby like." Forcing a few of the bites into his mouth, he somehow continued to talk. "It's the closest to normal I can stomach, plus it's a little fun to tease them."
He wasn't certain if the etiquette of the Towers was rubbing off on him or something, but he was started to get a little disgusted with Sideswipe's mess. Grabbing a napkin he forced it unto Sideswipe's filthy face. "Eat slower," ordered Jazz, "we have plenty of time to get back."
Sideswipe swallowed hard. "Sorry," he said, grinning sheepishly.
As Sideswipe attempted to eat slower, Jazz decided to ask some more questions about the red mech. He had known him for a little while now but knew nothing much about him. "So have you lived in the Towers all your life? With your brother?"
Sideswipe shook his head in response. "We were actually sparked in Kaon believe it or not," revealed Sideswipe, "but all the preschools there were full so we were transferred to a remote one in the Chrome Fields."
"That's not too far from here," said Jazz, remembering that he had to travel through it to get to the Towers.
"You could see the Towers right from our old back garden. At night it would light up the northern skies. I remember sitting down in the garden with Sunstreaker and looking at the Towers in the distance," lamented Sideswipe, "he always wanted us to go there, said its where beautiful bots lived."
"Did you?" asked Jazz.
"Not really," confessed Sideswipe, "I wasn't into the whole "beauty is everything" and all that crap. Sunstreaker was always good looking so I guess he thought he could take on the modelling career to show off how beautiful he could be."
"So you didn't consider becoming a model like your brother?" asked Jazz.
Sideswipe instantly paused with his eating and stared at Jazz in complete shock. He then started to laugh, bits of his grease burger spluttering out of his mouth despite his best effort to keep it closed. He hit the table with his hands a few times, his amusement over the question seemed hard to contain. "Are you kidding me?" he laughed, wiping the tears that had formed around his optics.
"What?" asked a bewildered Jazz.
He tided himself up before replying. "Well... look at me," he said, gesturing his hands at himself, "I'm not exactly good looking am I?"
Jazz didn't seem impressed with that answer. "Wait a minute, you don't think you're good lookin' enough to be a model?"
Sideswipe's expression seemed to change. "I'm just not pretty enough," he sighed, "I've always known that."
"Always?" Jazz was slightly intrigued.
Sideswipe sighed a little as he leaned back into his chair. He then looked at Jazz, smirking a little. "If you tell anyone this, I'll deny it."
Jazz realised Sideswipe was about to share something personal, so he raised one hand and placed the other over his spark. "I won't tell a soul," he promised.
Sideswipe leaned forward a bit. "When I was really young, back at the school me and Sunstreaker went to, we always got donated toys every three months. One time I got this awesome toy that I used as a sword. I ran round the garden swinging it around like a crazy, but then I remember seeing my brother with the item he pulled out of the donation box." Sideswipe sighed sadly. "He always loved playing dress up with the used garments we were given. Since we lived so close to the Towers it was normal that we received stuff like that from them. The matrons would use them to make berth sheets or curtains, but Sunstreaker liked to wear them. He was surrounded by some of the matrons as he paraded around in them. They all told him how cute and adorable he looked. I remember getting a little jealous."
Jazz tried to imagine a miniature Sunstreaker dressed in an oversized garment. "I guess you wanted to dress up too?"
Sideswipe nodded. "I really wanted to get the matrons attention and have them praise me like they did with Sunstreaker. I thought they would because I was convinced that me and my brother looked identical, apart from the colour scheme. So I asked Sunstreaker if I could wear his garment. He smiled at me and said "sure" and he even helped me put it on right. He kept telling me that I looked just as cute as him, and that made me super happy... but..." Sideswipe suddenly looked miserable and sunk back into his chair. "When I went to show the matrons they all just laughed at me, said I looked ridiculous. I ran off and cried after ripping it off. I guess it was right around then that I realised I wasn't as pretty as my brother despite being his twin."
That story was a little sadder than Jazz thought it would be. "So because a bunch of matrons laughed at you for playing dress up, you assumed it was because you weren't as pretty as your brother?"
Sideswipe nodded. "Pretty much, I'm used to it now."
Jazz remembered Sideswipe saying something like that before, that he was used to thinking he wasn't as good looking as his twin brother. It was almost sad to think he didn't think of himself as pretty as Sunstreaker. "Surely you don't think that you ain't good lookin'?"
Sideswipe shrugged. "No one ever told me I was," was all he said, "well, except for Sunstreaker."
Still it seemed like a sad situation to be in; completely convinced that you weren't pretty just because others treated you unfairly. Sure he wasn't as good looking as the models that populated the city but Sideswipe was still a fairly decent looking mech. If only he could convince him that.
"Surely there were others who complimented you on your appearance?" asked Jazz, determined to make the kid see he wasn't that bad looking.
"Besides Sunstreaker? No, no one," muttered Sideswipe, fiddling with the mini parasol that came with his drink.
"Well you must've dated at least once?" asked Jazz. "I bet someone must've wanted to go out with you at some point."
"Seven times," replied Sideswipe coldly.
Seven? "You been on seven dates?" questioned Jazz. "Same guy?"
"I've had seven relationships," explained Sideswipe, bending the stick in his hands. "All of which ended with me getting dumped."
Jazz's optics widened. "So you've been with seven different bots and none of 'em ever complimented your looks?"
Sideswipe suddenly snapped the stick in his hands, his face converting into a foul expression. It suddenly got quiet between them and Jazz could not help but feel uncomfortable. He could see that this particular subject had upset Sideswipe, and from what he had learnt he could see why. The red mech had grown up believing he wasn't physically perfect and he dated seven different bots who apparently never told him that he was cute or handsome. It all sounded rather stressful.
"Why'd they dump you?" asked Jazz, deciding to press forward. There was no point in backing out now.
The red mech but his lip. "Can we talk about this some other time?" he pleaded, "I'm not in the mood." Jazz nodded, thinking it would be best to leave it be for now.
They got back to eating their meals, starting a more good natured chat about swordfighting. Jazz knew this topic would cheer up Sideswipe and it worked like a charm, the red mech instantly forgetting that he was in a bad mood in the first place. They talked and joked and laughed, even after they finished their meal. Jazz morphed his war stories into tales of how he protected his clients from crazy crime bosses and assassins. Sideswipe would sit and listen, asking Jazz how he managed to save his clients from such maniacs. The topic changed over to Sideswipe's interesting life in the Towers. There were clubs he went to when he wasn't working, models he pranked because they got on his nerves and silly little stunts he used to pull on the streets. Although the law abiding part of him disapproved of these acts, he couldn't help but marvel at how he managed to pull these things off. He almost laughed his head off when Sideswipe revealed he stuck some grease gum on Tracks aft plate and it was still there in a published photo.
With their time running out, Jazz paid the bill and he and Sideswipe headed back to the estate. They arrived with a couple of hours to spare and Jazz decided to get his head down for a bit, for he had busy day ahead.
Before he could head to his room, Sideswipe stopped him. "Can we do this again?" he asked.
"The trainin'?" assumed Jazz, "Well of course, it takes more than one session to-"
"No, I mean... the stuff we did after that?" rephrased Sideswipe, blushing a little.
Jazz smiled a little. He enjoyed the down time he spent with Sideswipe for he wasn't so stuck up like everyone else. He was someone Jazz could talk to and now that he wasn't acting like a brat Sideswipe was fun to be around. "Sure, why not?" he replied.
Sideswipe suddenly formed a smile that Jazz had never seen before, and the bodyguard couldn't help but admit how it made Sideswipe so charming to look at. He looked genuinely happy and it made him look so... attractive. The red mech excused himself and headed back to his room, leaving Jazz to head back to his own room.
Jazz released a caged yawn as he stood by Sunstreaker, the model signing autographs at the Omega arena. Today was the memorial service for Tremor and thousands of the dead musician's fans have gathered to pay their respects, and to get Sunstreaker's autograph. Jazz had to drink eight cans of Alpha Omega Engex shakes to stay awake. He kept a close optic on the creepy fans and obvious stalkers, shooing away the ones who tried to get too close to the Mortal Sol. Since he was incredibly tired he appeared much more terrifying to the crowds of fans, which actually made his job a tad bit easier.
"Recharged correctly, did you?" asked Sunstreaker, once they were inside a private section of the arena.
Holding in another yawn, Jazz did his best to smile. "Late night on the workout bench," he lied. He didn't want Sunstreaker to think he was too tired so he kept his visor on to hide his dark optics.
The memorial went on with songs being sung, actors and fellow musicians paying tribute and a slideshow dedicated to the glamourise life Tremor lead. There were tears and laughter and shanix being made without anyone realising it, and before Jazz realised it the whole thing was over. He almost fell asleep through most of it, discreetly slapping himself awake when he felt the need to nod off. Every time a tray of engex floated past him he would grab a few glasses and gulp them down. He couldn't go through this again and decided to find a better time on the day to train Sideswipe, or at least make certain he had nothing special going on the next day.
With the memorial over, everyone clamoured into the main lobby for the final reception. Models drank high quality energon whilst mingling with actors and singers, chatting away about trivial things. Sunstreaker got the usual crowd of idolising fans, all praising him for a spectacular service in the memory of the late Tremor. Jazz kept by his side, still a little groggy even after all the engex shakes. He was starting to wish he had those military grade ultra energon drinks that could keep him awake for months. It was normal for the black ops to consume such powerful beverages, so they could continue fighting even when their enemies were too exhausted to fight back. Jazz recalled how he had almost forgotten how to recharge because he had been wide awake for nearly three hundred years. Maybe if he asked Prowl he could get a hold of some, just until he left the Towers.
As he stood there he could not help but wonder what Sideswipe was up to. He had work later on today so he was possibly resting from the training last night. Thinking back to last night Jazz could not help but recall how the red mech smiled at him when he promised to hang out with him some more. It wasn't one of those cocky grins or smug smirks but a simple but sweet smile showing how much it made him happy that Jazz said yes. He actually looked really cute when he smiled like that and Jazz was having a hard time getting it out of his head. He hoped Sideswipe was getting the TT he needed.
"How are you feeling Jazz?" suddenly asked Sunstreaker, the pair of them being left alone for now.
"Apologies, I shouldn't have worked out so much," replied Jazz, holding in a yawn. "I'll rest once we get back."
"It's fine, you have a life outside of this job and I can't keep you from it," chuckled Sunstreaker with a smile. Looking over at the crowds that surrounded them, Sunstreaker continued to smile calmly at the scene before them. "To think Tremor had so many fans."
"I guess they loved him for his music," suggested Jazz, for it certainly wasn't for his attitude.
Sunstreaker made a single amused sound from his throat. "Music isn't the first thing that came to mind when I listened to his songs. Aw well, at least he's gone."
Jazz didn't find that tone Sunstreaker used to be pleasant. "You make it sound like you're happy he's gone."
"Of course I am," huffed Sunstreaker, "fragger tried to rape my brother."
Jazz was shocked to hear Sunstreaker say such a thing out loud in public, despite it being true. He recalled the story from Sideswipe who had tried to convince his brother what transpired between Tremor and himself at the recording studio, but Sunstreaker acted like he didn't believe him. It now seemed from that sudden statement that Sunstreaker had indeed taken Sideswipe's story to spark, only he never told him for some reason or the rest of the world, acting as if he sided with Tremor. "Sideswipe said you didn't believe him when he told you," said Jazz.
"I did believe him," sighed Sunstreaker, looking a little sorry for himself, "but as a model and one of the main faces of one of the most powerful modelling companies on Cybertron, I couldn't just run over to Tremor and attack him or hire an army of lawyers to take him down. I had to handle it the professional way and unfortunately Sideswipe had to be a scape goat."
Jazz was almost sickened by this. "He's your brother," he said, "you should've fought for him."
Sunstreaker looked up at Jazz, a hint of anger in his calm expression. "Jazz I'm going to tell you right here and now that I adore my brother above all else, however I can't always side with him because of my position." Sunstreaker looked back to the crowd. "It's a difficult position I'm in unfortunately... It would be much better if I took him away from all this," he said quietly.
Trying to look at it from Sunstreaker's perspective, Jazz could see why he had to act like his brother was the culprit instead of bringing the true culprit to justice. He was the highest grossing model in the Towers, the Jewel of Pulchritudo INC, a mech with a lot of fame and a lot of fans. Getting dragged into a lawsuit could damage his career, but still was his work more important to him than his own family? Sideswipe was being treated like a little crimp with a bad attitude but now that Jazz got to know him some more, he was actually just a decent young kid who wanted to live his life the way he wanted. Living in the shadow of his famous brother wasn't helping him, in fact it almost destroyed him. It was a good thing Jazz came along when he did.
"So you've been talking with him?" demanded Sunstreaker abruptly.
Jazz flinched a little. "We talk," he admitted.
"About what?" asked Sunstreaker.
"Just general conversations and all that stuff in between," replied Jazz, wondering why Sunstreaker was curious all of a sudden.
Sunstreaker was about to ask Jazz something else regarding his brother when someone shouted out his title. The pair looked over to see the red faced model, Tracks, marching towards them. He appeared to be upset about something and his bodyguard and manager were following, attempting to calm him down. Sunstreaker sighed as he wiped his brow, bracing himself for whatever Tracks had to throw at him.
"Mortal Sol, you have some nerve," hissed Tracks, halting himself before Sunstreaker. Jazz moved a bit closer to remind the blue mech of his presence but Tracks didn't seem to care.
"What do you want now Blue Flame?" huffed Sunstreaker, clearly annoyed.
"Don't give me that attitude," snarled Tracks, "why were you chosen to lead the memorial for Tremor!? I was his friend, it should have been me!"
"You know very well that it was Platinum's idea, not mine," muttered Sunstreaker, "now go calm yourself before you get stress lines on your face."
"He's right Tracks," begged the manager, grabbing a tray with a single cocktail on it, "why don't we go and have a nice relaxing-" Before the manager could finish, Tracks knocked the tray out of his hands, the sound of breaking glass and the clatter of the tray drew the attention of the large crowds surrounding them.
"You didn't deserve to do it," continued Tracks, "not after what your bitch of a brother did to him!"
Jazz was almost certain he heard Sunstreaker growl but the model maintained a calm posture. "That matter was settled a long time ago Blue Flame, so I would kindly ask that you drop it."
Tracks continued despite Sunstreaker's demand. "He had the nerve to accuse Tremor of indecent assault after he attacked him and left him with those awful scars, and then you got in the way of justice and convinced Tremor to drop the charges. Tremor would never stoop so low to commit such a heinous act!"
"I paid for his metal surgery and we sorted it all out professionally," retorted Sunstreaker, still looking very much annoyed. "Are you finished? I got the part, you didn't, same old same old, get over it for the love of Primus."
"Where is that damn brother of yours now?" demanded Tracks, "walking free and probably laughing at Tremor's demise!?"
"Sideswipe is not involved in this," snapped Sunstreaker, now getting angry that Trackscwas refusing to take a hint, "now leave us be Tracks."
"I heard he was in that part of the spa just before Tremor died," continued Tracks, his manager still attempting to calm him with no such luck. "Did he kill him for the hell of it? Were you in on it? Did you both plan his death? I always knew that spiky helmed bitch was a no good troublemaker the moment I saw him! You both are."
Sunstreaker looked like he was holding in a flood of rage but the dam of willpower he created to hold it all in was impressive. "Sideswipe would never commit such a crime and he is perfectly innocent, so go drown yourself in a bar or something and forget we ever had this conversation."
The blue mech looked absolutely furious and shouting as loud as his vocals would let him he bellowed, "your brother should have... have... he should have been in a-a a prison cell as a convict's personal whore!"
The entire lobby was filled with a collective of loud gasps before falling silent, even Jazz felt his jaw drop at such a disgusting insult like that. All optics turned to Sunstreaker who just stood there, staring at Tracks with a shockingly calm stance. There was no anger or disgust in his optics he just stood there in a strange and quiet way. Everyone started to get a little uneasy as the Mortal Sol continued to do nothing but stare at Tracks. Tracks himself actually started to appear concerned for his own safety and stepped back a little. Jazz wasn't sure if he should say or do something, he himself was angry that Tracks had wished such a thing upon Sideswipe.
Sunstreaker finally did something but it wasn't as dramatic as everyone had hoped. He merely gave Tracks a pitiful smile and said, "my word Tracks, if you keep shouting like that you're going to damage that noise box you call a voice. Why don't you take a nice long relaxing trip to one of my Celestial Spas? My treat."
Tracks began trembling with rage, angry that he had failed to ignite any frustration from his rival. He almost lunged at Sunstreaker but Jazz stood between them, taking extreme care that he wasn't going to touch either of them. "Alright just cool your jets," demanded Jazz, trying to avoid making any contact with the furious blue mech.
"How dare you speak to me like that," spat Tracks, his optics burning with rage.
Jazz was about to say something else when Tracks' bodyguard stepped in. "Back off chump," he threatened.
"Why don't you both back off," retorted Jazz.
Tracks' bodyguard released a low growl before smashing his head against Jazz's face. Jazz grimaced from the surprise attack, hearing the sound of his visor crack from the impact and feeling the sensation of the horrific pain around his face. He staggered back a bit, reaching for his face to asses the damage. He wasn't sure if it was because he was tired or because he was angry with what Tracks had said, but Jazz gave that bodyguard a glare full of death as he charged forward and punched him as hard as he could in the abdomen. The bodyguard was flung back, smashing into a pile of tables, models and guests screeching as they jumped out of the way.
"Cease this at once," bellowed Platinum, waddling over to the scene, "control your bodyguards this instant."
Jazz wiped his face with a grunt smearing some energon blood away whilst Tracks stomped over and berated his own bodyguard for failing or something. Sunstreaker just stood there rubbing his brow and appearing annoyed yet calm, trying to ignore Platinum as he shouted and cried about the models acting like sparklings. Once everything had settled down, Sunstreaker had a private talk with Platinum, possibly apologising for all the chaos. Jazz had patched up his face as best he could but his visit had completely shattered. Thankfully he has some special gel back at the estate that could fix it, he only hoped that all the programs Prowl installed on it were still operational. It didn't take Sunstreaker long to return and he informed Jazz that they were leaving. Following him to a private shuttle, Jazz wondered if either Sunstreaker or himself were in trouble. The model was quiet for the most part during the tide in the shuttle and Jazz felt a little awkward sitting across from him.
"Well that was annoying, wasn't it?" muttered Sunstreaker, pulling out a hidden canister of engex from a hidden subspace.
"I'll say," murmured Jazz, rubbing his aching brow.
"I swear that Blue Flame is determined to get the better of me," continued Sunstreaker, sipping his beverage, "one of these days he's going to do something stupid and he'll try and drag me down with him."
Jazz tried to relax but he was a little concern that his random act of violence might have gotten them into trouble. "Was Platinum upset?" he asked.
"Oh please, I've done worse and Tracks has caused more fights between models and their bodyguards then a drunken bar from Tarn," scoffed Sunstreaker, swigging his drink down, "He just gave me the usual "please behave" and "get that bodyguard under control" and all that other malarkey. If you're concerned about your job, don't be. It's just another day in the Towers."
That was one thing of his mind though now Jazz found himself concerned for Sunstreaker. "I was surprised you didn't shout back at him for what he said 'bout your brother."
Sunstreaker rolled his optics. "I've heard worse, and besides I wasn't going to get angry at a Tracks just because he pushed my switch. It would have been satisfying for him if I got upset."
Jazz frowned. "You've heard worse?" Had others always insulted Sideswipe in front of Sunstreaker?
"You see Jazz, models like to push each other's buttons," explained Sunstreaker, setting his drink aside, "we all laugh and pretend we're good chums, but in reality we can't stand one another. I get the most hate because of my status and so they dug around until they found the one switch that sets me off."
Jazz didn't need to be told what that was. "Your brother, right?"
"I do adore Sideswipe," sighed Sunstreaker, a sad smile present upon his polished face, "I adore him above everything else and unfortunately they all figured that out, so I prepare myself for the worst everyday because I refuse to give them what they want. I even had to dig up their own switches, pressing them the moment they try and press mine."
"Does Sideswipe know?" asked Jazz.
"No, and don't even think about telling him," ordered Sunstreaker. He reached for his drink again and brought it to his lips. "So what are you going to do with that visor of yours? It's completely ruined."
Jazz shrugged with a casual grin. "I got this special gel for it. I just smother it all over and leave it to set for a the night, it'll be working again by tomorrow."
Sunstreaker made a "huh" sound and went back to sipping his drink whilst staring out of the shuttle's windows. For the rest of the journey back to the estate there was silence between them. The model was deep in thought, possibly still upset with what had happened but was refusing to show it. Jazz found that he had a slightly better understanding of the life that Sunstreaker lead, though there were still parts that made no sense to him. He told himself that if he was in Sunstreaker's place he would have defended Sideswipe no matter what, but Sunstreaker had to take care in what he said and did due to his career, for his sake and for Sideswipe's. Sunstreaker clearly did seem to care for Sideswipe but the more Jazz thought about it the more it felt like something was a little off about it all.
Once back at the estate Sunstreaker retired to his personal quarters after falling in his manager, muttering how he needed to lie down. Jazz himself decided to call it a day, his hunger to rest taking over. Entering his room he fumbled about in his belongings until he pulled out the gel. He yawned a few times as he coated his visor with it and left it to sit on a nearby shelf. If he left a recorded message in his comm unit in case Prowl called, also leaving a request for those military engex drinks, and finally slumped onto his berth. As his optics closed and the need to recharge took over, he could have sworn he heard the sound of a door opening.