All or Nothing 16: No Longer Hiding
Jazz did his best to keep his optics from cycling too many times as he took in the Crystal Gardens of Praxus. Sure, Prowl had taken him on many tours, showed him everything of the living, singing crystals hanging in jets of methane and charged neon and xenon. But to see it decorated for a royal wedding brought an entirely new dimension of beauty and grandeur to the famous place.
A shiver of excitement went through him. After today they wouldn't have to worry anymore about being found out. After today their bond would be acceptable to the rest of the world. After today, his claim to Prowl would be public knowledge, uncontested, instead of a secret shared among few.
The idea made him smile. Prowl was his.
"Excited, little bro?" Sideswipe grinned at him, supposedly on guard against Prowl trying to see him early, but really there to keep his brother company.
Jazz laughed, an easy, happy sound. "Of course. Just not for the reasons most would think."
"Of course," Sideswipe grinned at him. "I have to admit, this place is impressive all decked out. I wonder if they're expecting a sparkling announcement before they take it down."
Jazz settled for smirking at his brother, though in truth it wasn't something that he had really discussed with Prowl. He was certainly not opposed to the idea, but Prowl had his own plans, plans that a sparkling would potentially hinder.
"What? You are bonding into the most sparkling-crazed House on Cybertron," he teased. "Being the first to bond, I bet they're going to want an emergency heir or three out of you ASAP. They do seem to believe that everyone should have a job," he winked. "Maybe yours is sparkling-maker."
The smaller mech look mock horrified at the idea, not so much for his sake but for Prowl's, and suspected that there was some truth to his brother's words. "You might be right, but we'll see." It wasn't like anyone had really managed to control the two of them yet.
"I think you'd make adorable sparklings with him," the red royal purred his high performance engine, enjoying teasing his brother entirely too much. "And very mischievous ones too, with your wits and his processor. They'd run the empire in no time."
Before Jazz could hit find a reply the music changed, catching the attention of both mechs, and Jazz attempted to bury the bit of nervousness that flared in him. Seasoned performer he might be, but there was far more at stake here than just a slip of the glossa or a bit of errant music.
Pride and honor, and not just his own and his family's but Prowl's as well.
::You'll do fine, little bro. I'm proud of you,:: Sideswipe commed him as Lady Rilla and Lady Sweetsong appeared to take their creation before the crowd, before the Prime, and before his soon-to-be-legally-bonded.
"We all are," Lady Sweetsong smiled warmly and hugged Jazz, careful of his extra-fine polish and all the decorative touches that Sunstreaker had created for this special day. "You have chosen a fine mech to bond with."
"And you've both proven yourselves ready by indulging four nervous creators," Lady Rilla added as she came up on his other side to guide him forward.
The approval meant a lot to Jazz, though over that last little bit he had to hide a twitch.
As lovely as it was Jazz worked on ignoring the gardens around him, searching for that place inside that had always allowed him to perform without being overwhelmed by his surroundings. When that did not have quite the desired effect he touched his bonded instead, seeking the calm and focus that he had become so accustomed to finding there. While his creators and his brother walked with him now eventually they would be stepping aside, leaving only him and his 'intended' before the Prime and those gathered as witness, and he wished to be ready for that.
~You will be,~ Prowl wrapped his spark in a blanket of calm warmth, absolute faith and adoration. It was enough to sooth the last of Jazz's nerves as he took his place and tried not to be surprised at the spark-blue cloak that covered every bit of his intended. He knew it was their tradition, knew it would be what Prowl wore at their bonding ceremony, but it was still weird to look at the formless lump. Doorwings tucked tightly against his back, face down, cloak and hood concealing him completely, the mech could be anyone ... but Jazz knew by his spark it was Prowl.
The small, curious part of Jazz's processor that could never stop asking questions made a note to find out exactly what was behind that tradition later, allowing the warmth and comfort to flow over him and finding something to offer in return.
Joy flowed across the bond, barely muted at the small shifting of places of the others involved that would allow the ceremony to begin. It was easier when the Prime rose, his presence alone demanding attention and the optics of all present.
"Welcome Citizens of Cybertron," the red giant's deep voice rose and flowed to the farthest mech in the crowd. "We have gathered to bear witness to a joyful union between the House of Protihex and the House of Praxus through their junior creations. A bond and a choice of love, not obligation."
The tone was different, more resonant than usual, Jazz noted absently, even as he realized that Prowl didn't register the difference. Prowl felt it though, the subtle echo of extra approval of a love-match.
The knowledge sent an extra shiver of appreciation through Jazz into Prowl, memories of the bonding of his oldest sibling slipping through his processor, a match of politics and tradition. Love and thankfulness that it was a mech of his choosing and the match of his spark standing at his side.
"The sparks of all of Primus's children are precious, and there is joy when two of them are bound before him, to face the future together, stronger as one," Optimus Prime continued, his voice's resonance picking up, sweeping the crowd with him.
"Jazz, fourth creation of Lady Rilla and Lady Sweetsong, the rulers of Protihex, do you take the mech beside you as your bonded, to honor him above all others for your entire functioning?" Prime asked, entering the formal portion of the ceremony. "Will you share your berth with him and place your creations with him above all others?"
"I do and willingly." The answer was easy, and said with all of the conviction Jazz felt in his spark.
The Prime smiled warmly at him before turning to focus on the cloaked figure.
In the momentary pause before Prime spoke, white hands on black arms slid out to the clasp and unlocked it. The cloak floated down to pool around Prowl's feet, revealing him in all his pristine black and white glory. The gleaming red chevron lifted as Prowl raised his face to look upon his Prime and doorwings slid outward in the smooth flutter of tightly controlled joy.
"Prowl, seventh creation of Lord Crystal and Lady Cloud, the rulers of Praxus, do you take the mech beside you as your bonded, to honor him above all others for your entire functioning?" Prime's voice rolled over Prowl. "Will you share your berth with him and place your creations with him above all others?"
In that moment Jazz realized what was going on as he felt Prowl's response, the similarities and differences it had from Sirenis' voice. The harmonics of Prime's voice called on the truth, demanded it, forbid anything but honesty before it. It was a wondrous feeling for Prowl as his spark, his processors and the truth were in perfect harmony.
The moment the cloak hit the ground the Prime fell to second in Jazz's attention, the respect he commanded unable to compare to the hold that his bonded had on his spark. And being able to feel what Prowl felt through the bond, how happy his mate was, was wonderful.
"I will, my Lord Prime," Prowl bowed his head and his doorwings in submission, yet no one could doubt the tightly contained joy and pleasure displayed in those vibrating wings.
"Then by the power invested in my by Primus, I declare that Jazz of Protihex and Prowl of Praxus are bonded in law before all of Cybertron," Prime's voice rose once more, musical and thrumming to every spark in the garden.
With the warm, doting smile of a creator towards a beloved creation, Prime lowered his gaze to Jazz once more. "If you wish to say anything to your bonded before all, I welcome you to speak your spark."
A very small bow, of thanks and acceptance, before he turned to face his bonded.
"Jazz, the reason my spark pulses," Prowl turned to his bonded and reached out to clasp black hands in his white ones. "You have opened my optics and my spark to the joys in functioning. A reason to exist beyond my duties. You are everything I never dared hope for. I love you with all my spark, my beautiful Jazz, and I thank Primus every orn that you are mine."
"When we first met," Jazz responded, "I was sure Primus was laughing. Now if he was, I believe he was smiling as well." Fingers wove together; lacing tightly with Prowl's, symbolic of everything Jazz hoped and longed for, present and future. "Treasure unlooked for, gift for the unworthy. I love you with everything I am. I will stand by you through anything we may face, together as one."
He looked into Prowl's optics. ~Yours as you are mine, forever, with the blessing of Primus.~
~Yes,~ Prowl's spark sang with joy. His doorwings fluttered wildly, displaying to all his inner feelings as he lifted Jazz's hands to kiss the fingers reverently.
Neither mech was all that aware of their audience anymore as Prowl drew Jazz into his arms, pulled him close, and kissed him with all the passion in his spark. The mech in his arms melting into the embrace, returning the kiss with equal passion, laying claim to his mate with a fierceness that none who observed would doubt.
Prowl moaned into the contact, his spark singing as it always did when faced with Jazz's desire for him. His hands stroked Jazz's back, drawing him closer as pleasure began to spiral from one spark to the other, stroked by knowing hands.
The shared passion flared, passion that had only been strengthened by time and trials since it was kindled all the vorns before.
Prowl very much wanted to ignore the polite cycling of a vocalizer nearby, but Jazz recognized the harmonic and reluctantly broke away to look at a very amused Prime.
"While I am sure some parties would enjoy your traditional culmination of the ceremony, you may wish to save that for later," Prime chuckled.
"Lord Prime." Jazz agreed, firmly getting a hold of himself before daring to look at his bonded. The flared doorwings, the segments fanned out, his armor puffed out to maximize heat dissipation ... it was quite possibly the most erotic thing Jazz had ever seen short of Prowl's spark reaching for his. "Shall we?"
The Praxian nodded and stepped back, struggling to center himself enough so he wouldn't simply grab Jazz and ravish him completely in front of everyone now that he truly could.
They turned to face Prime and bowed.
"Until all are one," Prime smiled at the new couple, setting off a cheer that reverberated through the gardens. He lowered his voice and clasped a hand on each of their shoulders. "Enjoy the partly. There will be plenty of time to enjoy each other after dark."
"Thank you." Jazz said, sending his bonded a promise of just how much Jazz intended to make up the wait to his bonded once they were free from their obligations here at the party. "We do have guests to see too, love. And my brothers are getting impatient, I believe."
Nearly three joors later Prime finally found an opportune moment to separate the newly-but-not-newly bonded couple from the crowd. That they were both lightly overcharged had only helped him as their patience for not sneaking off for a little fun in a back corridor was diminished. He waited for the overload to settle and the pair to relax before giving an audible click to warn them of his approach. After all, he'd seen enough in each of their sparks to know his rank was no protection against either of them defending the other from anything they perceived as a threat.
Caught but not particularly sorry about the fact Jazz wrapped an arm around his bonded, greeting the Prime respectfully even as Prowl held him tight.
"I wished to speak to you both in private," Prime smiled at the adorable pair. "About how long you have been bonded by spark and how it happened."
For a moment Jazz froze, then relaxed. "Of course, my Lord."
He leaned into Prowl. ~You know the Gardens better, love. Where would be best for us to talk?~
"The Circle of Ancient Reflection," the Praxian said, looking at Prime. "No one will bother us there."
Prime nodded. "Very true. It requires the Matrix to even open from the outside." He raised an optic ridge. "I take it you found a way in without me?"
"My first few hundred vorns were full of my efforts to entertain myself until others began to realize that to leave me to my own devices was ... hazardous," Prowl said sheepishly even as he tugged Jazz to follow him.
Jazz laughed, enjoying that special part of his mate that few now knew of, that curious, mischievous side of Prowl that still existed buried deep in the handsome mech. He followed where he was led, curious to see this part of the gardens denied him until now, and not afraid of what might come. Prime was not upset and he was next to Prowl. What could go wrong?
They wound their way deep into the garden to where it began to climb the palace ground's outer wall. Yet between the time it took Jazz to glance at his mate's profile and look forward again the scene had changed. Instead of a large, ancient crystal there was now a doorway in the middle.
"It only appears when the Matrix is close," Prime explained. "Which does make me curious how you even found out it existed."
"Spatial physics," the Praxian shrugged one doorwing. "There was a space that wasn't accounted for."
Jazz paused mid-step, slightly in awe of his mate as he looked at the door. ~Prowl?~
~It's safe,~ Prowl nuzzled him and paused, allowing Prime to enter first. ~It's just ancient magic. I got in and out a dozen times before Impact made me promise not to sneak in anymore.~
Reassured, Jazz allowed himself to be led inside, looking around curiously now. It didn't look different from the rest of the garden, other than being completely inside a crystal, that while huge, was not nearly large enough to contain it. Even on the inside he couldn't tell how Prowl might have gotten in or out.
~It was blocked off,~ Prowl explained with a touch of sadness and guided Jazz to one of the luxurious crystal benches carved into the space.
"Now," Prime focused on them when all there where settled. "How long have you been spark-bonded?"
"Almost the entire time we were supposed to be courting." Jazz answered honestly, leaning into Prowl. "Over a hundred vorns."
"How did it happen?" Prime asked, his tone gentle and unrecriminating.
"We had merged, not for the first time, but early on," Prowl drew him closer. "I wanted him to be mine, to always be mine. I wasn't thinking of bonding, not actively."
"Neither of us were thinking anything at that point," Jazz chuckled. "I know I agreed, I wanted to be his, to have him forever. We woke up able to hear each other in our sparks. Kinda worked out what happened from there."
For the first time there was not instant disbelief, instant doubt, about their story. Instead Prime settled better on his seat, just studying the pair for a moment. "And you chose to keep this to yourselves, telling no one?"
"Not until Sideswipe and Sunstreaker caught us after a metacycle," Prowl nodded. "Thankfully they chose to confront us in private and once they were convinced I was being good to their brother they agreed to help us conceal it and convince our creators to allow the legal bonding to take placer sooner. After seven vorns I believed Impact was convinced enough that Jazz was good to me that we came out to her to gain an ally in Praxus. We told no one else. We intend to tell no one."
"No one else needs to know, now." Jazz rumbled defiantly, pulling Prowl closer. They were bonded, legally and completely. "They aren't going to tell anyone, and it doesn't matter now."
"No, it does not," Prime reassured them. "I have no desire to cause turmoil in your families or for you. However, if you did intend to tell them, I would be willing to sooth the shock some. The Matrix of Leadership sings with joy at your bond, far more than it does for most. I do not know what role you will play in Cybertron's future, but I have no doubt it will be important."
~I know of no reason to tell them, unless you think it necessary love.~ Jazz commented, considering that new bit of information. ~Except Sideswipe.~
~Why does Sideswipe need to know what the Matrix thinks?~ Prowl glanced at him.
~The smart aft made several comments about Primus and the two of us very early on. He meant it as humor. I want to see his expression when I tell him this.~ Jazz responded, smug.
Prowl laughed out loud. ~All right love. Torment him all you want with it.~
Prime smiled at the result of the silent exchange. "Then I will leave you to enjoy the rest of your celebration," he stood. "I'm sure Prowl can work the way out when you are ready to indulge the outside world again."
Prowl nodded as they thanked the Prime again, not even bothering to move as the regal mech left them to their own devices.
The Prime was barely out of sight when Jazz claimed a kiss from his mate, shifting around so that he was sitting in Prowl's lap. Comfortable, he broke the kiss, nipping and teasing at Prowl's face and neck as he purred. "He's putting a lot of faith in the idea that we'll come out again. Stupid party was starting to take too long."
"He never mentioned rejoining the party," Prowl purred, his hands quickly finding the sensitive seams on Jazz's sides and lightly rocking his codpiece against his lover's ... his bonded. Yes, they really were bonded in law now, not just in spark. "As long as we make the ceremony in Protihex no one will expect to see us." He ducked his head to nibble Jazz's neck. "No one will really want to see us, given my temperament. You do know you're the only anything that has driven me to violence?" ~I love you that much, more than even family.~
The idea drew a small whimper from the mech on his lap.
His. And now he could treat the mech he loved in a way that he never had and never would love the rest of his family as Prowl deserved. With all of his devotion, all of his attention, all of his spark.
They were family now.
His spark trembled, already craving more than the mere physical touch of skilled hands.
~Yes,~ Prowl moaned into a kiss and unlocked his chest plates. ~Merge here, in this place of the Primes.~ He trembled, unable to give words, even in thought, to the intensity of the proposition. The forbidden claimed for their own.
Spark glow joined the light from the living crystal, adding a level of magic that the two responsible for were almost too far gone to notice. Wrapped up in the presence of perfection, even the location was second to each other. They sank into the familiar bond with renewed purpose, going even deeper than they ever thought possible. They had never held back before, but this place, Prowl's personal and crystal resonance in it, drew them into another level of awareness.
Somehow Prowl's connection to Primus was flung open here, and Jazz's followed suit. It basked both of them in the purity of their creator, the great spark that they had all originally come from.
Love for both of them, pure and bright.
Then a pull, a tug on their bond that caused each to hold to the other all the tighter in a refusal to let go for anyone or anything.
Approval of the love that existed between them, and a blessing on it as well as the power withdrew and everything faded but the sense of being whole and complete and loved in the presence of one who balanced completely and did so without reservation or hesitation.
A reaffirming and strengthening of two as one.