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06 February 2015 @ 01:41 pm
Festival Challenge - Day 5 - Part 2  

Their next assignment was in the evening again, another celebration in another big hall. Jazz didn't really care one way or another beyond the knowledge that Prowl would again be walking around as the Hammer of Primus and as such he really needed a hammer. It was only proper.
Thankfully, a quick search on the net gave him more than a handful costumes shops and he hit the nearest one the moment it opened up. Entering it, he looked around in awe. The shop's lights were dimmed, but from floor to ceiling were accessories, costumes, imitations of weapons, and even a few real-size monster costumes in the corner.
"Good morning," greeted the Helix shopkeeper, a tall, thin mech with fins. "How can I help you?"
Jazz gave him a nod. "Hey, I'm just trying to help out my friend, ya know. He had this great Axeron costume, but no weapon. And I thought he just needs a hammer to make ot perfect."
"Ah, I see." The shopkeeper smiled. "I can certainly help you out in this case. Would you please follow me?"
"Sure." The walked to the back to the shop, where to Jazz's surprise stairs indicated at least two other floors. The shopkeeper went down.
"If I may ask, how tall is your friend and did he go with silver or white?"
"Uhm, a head taller than me, I guess. And his frame his white, but his doorwings and chevron silver."
"Chevron?" repeated the shopkeeper with mild surprise. "He's a Praxian then?"
"Yeah."
"Praxian doorwings are ideal for an Axeron costumes. I think I have quite the right thing for your friend!" He walked fast through the towering shelves full with things, until he stopped in front of one. "It should be around here..."
This shelf was full with hammers of all sizes. Big and small, some with red, some green, some golden, most had artwork added, while a few were plain. And several of them were silver or white with Axeron's rune on the hilt.
"Ah, here it is!" With triumph the mech pulled out a long hammer from the pile. It had a white hilt, a silvery head and small tiny wings above the handle. All in all the hammer was as big as Jazz was tall. "Doesn't it look impressive? The real thing can only be marginally better!" praised the shopkeeper.
Jazz had to chuckle. "Well, it will certainly make Prowl look really good." He admired the hammer. "That's not a cheap material either, is it?"
"Hardly. Real hardened silver, and see that rune here? Platinum. Of course, it's nothing compared to mythril or something, but it's the best I can do for a costume..."
"It's great!" Jazz hurried to say. "I think Prowl will love it. I'll take it. How much?"
"45 credits an orn," informed him the shopkeeper.
Jazz nearly winced at the price, but paid without another word. Prowl would look great with the hammer and it's not as if he was poor.
"I wish your lover and you much fun in Helix." The shopkeeper said, as Jazz left. "Enjoy the celebration."
Lover? Jazz nearly turned around to enter the shop again. What had the shopkeeper led to that conclusion? But he as looked at the hammer in his hand, and decided not to care. His partner was surely already waiting for him in the hotel to talk about their next assignment. He couldn't wait to see Prowl's reaction to this beauty!
======
"So, same speeches again?" Jazz asked, as they entered their assigned balcony.
"I was told that this celebration is famous for its Sparkdancers," said Prowl and leaned his majestic hammer against the wall.
Jazz had been right, the hammer really had made a difference with his costumes. It made him not only look merely regal, but powerful. To Jazz's delight Prowl had the cutest embarrassed face ever, when a few young mechs had asked them for photos, praising the Unicron / Primus theme. A bit off the mark, but Jazz hadn't cared at all. Not that their head of operations had been happy about the costume addition. Inconspicuous they were now certainly not, but thankfully that made them in a strange way blend in more. No one here tried to be a boring, normal looking mech. Both their usual black and white paintjobs would've only worked as 'Attention, official something here' flags.
With a beautiful Praxian on his arm, Jazz had walked to the city hall, for the first time really enjoying himself since arriving in Helix. To his surprise Prowl hadn't protested the touch at all. Maybe he was really melting that ice cube. Slowly.
"Sparkdancers? Sounds lewd." Jazz grinned. "Didn't think Helix's creators would take their creations to such an event."
Doorwings moved and Jazz was – once again – out of the loop. "I am reasonably sure that Helix has a very different kind of sparkdancer in mind."
That had been dry humor, right? Right. Jazz grinned. "Or maybe I thinking about the right thing and they simply start really early here."
"It would explain the age limit at 160 vorns at the entrance."
Definitely dry humor. And hey, that was a repeat of the gesture before, did it mean 'Careful here comes sarcasm?' "That's what I say, early starters here. Gotta be careful not to flirt with a youngling, wouldn't look good on my CV." He put his last weapon aside and fell into the chair. "Hey, Prowl, can I ask ya something?"
The Praxian looked up from his weapon pile. "Of course."
"So... Not sure how to say this, but your doorwings, they move."
Prowl actually looked at his doorwings, then back to Jazz. "Yes. They are supposed to move."
"Right." He was doing this really the wrong way. Why was he so nervous? "Just wanted to ask if the movement mean something. ’Cause I noticed that sometimes I can kind of read them."
The doorwings froze and their very tips moved towards each other. Prowl's face was blank.
"Yeah, exactly like this!" Jazz hurried to say. "I guess it means ya're surprised?"
Again Prowl looked at his doorwings, then at Jazz. "Yes. I am surprised," he confirmed quietly. "I did not realise that my expressions were so difficult to read."
"Not difficult. Just... not my language." Jazz shrugged sheepishly. "Ya're the first Praxian I've worked together for longer than a joor."
"I see." Prowl put the weapons down. "Then I guess... you did not stop our conversations in the first two joors, because he were annoyed with me?"
Jazz gaped. "What?" Prowl's doorwings trembled. Nervousness? "No! Prowl, I mean, just no. I thought ya weren't answering!"
The tip-movement, followed by an uptake. Surprise and... uh, happiness? Jazz really had no idea, but at least the more relaxed face of Prowl was proof that it wasn't something bad.
"I suppose I should apologize for giving you this impression. This is my first non-military assignment out of Praxus." Some strange doorwing movement, Jazz barely even saw. "I did not think that something that comes this natural to me, would be a language barrier for you."
"Well..." said Jazz sheepishly. “I'm learning. A few more orns and I might understand simple things like yes or no."
"There are several movements for yes and no," answered Prowl amused. He was obviously taking an effort to make his emotions appear on his face, and Jazz appreciated it. "But I would be willing to teach you."
"That would be awesome." Not to mention really educational. Praxus was a bit isolatist, and Prowl might be his only chance to learn more.
::Central Command to Team Epsilon. Do you copy?::
::Team Epsilon here and in position,:: answered Jazz.
::Understood, Agent Meister. Our suspect has been seen around your hall, so please pay extra attention to any Kaonite frame. A second suspect has entered the city with a Tarn passport, but possessed a Vosian flier frame.::
::Seeker?:: asked Prowl.
::Negative, Enforcer 55. Colors are unknown. Our experts have identified his paintjob at the checkpoint as camouflage. Only other identifying characteristic is larger than average turbines and a dark face.::
Not a lot to go on. Jazz wanted to curse something, but he knew full well that everyone was already working at their best. ::Got it,:: he said. ::Anything else?::
::Negative. Your shift starts in one klick. Good luck, Team Epsilon. Central Command over and out.::
Jazz sighed. "Looks like things will get interesting soon."
Prowl didn't answer, but his doorwings...
"That was a yes, right?"
Prowl looked towards him, then nodded slowly. "An 'I agree with you'."
"See, I'm getting it."
Same movement again. Jazz grinned and moved closer to cuddle up with Prowl again. It shouldn't feel so comfortable, but the warmth made him like this position very much. That Prowl put his arm around his waist this time by his own free will, didn't hurt either. If only they weren't here for work...
Then the gong sounded and their shift started and Jazz banished all distracting thoughts.
There were political speeches this time again, and with the information about Helix's politicians from the first evening he now even understood... every tenth joke or so. Aside from that, this show also included fairly regular music bands. Not world-class bands or famous singers, oh no, he would bet they were all local mechs who liked playing music.
"I'll think they had some real talent with them," he said after one performance. "Not that I want to become a fan, you know. But they were good."
"If the schedule is correct, the next performance is by the cities Sparkdancers," said Prowl and moved a bit to make them both more comfortable. Jazz cuddled nearer against his armor. Suddenly, Prowl straightened. "Quadrant three, at the end of the table. Kaonite frame?"
Jazz searched the area. It was at the corner of the stage and once Prowl pointed it out, he had no trouble seeing a big mech sitting down between some others.
"Confirmed," he said quietly. "I see some red paint beneath his... is that a Tabroan-kitty costume?"
It seemed ridiculous that their suspect, a Kaonite frame to boot, would chose to walk around in a kitty costume. A cute one, too, with little fuzzy ears that moved on top of his helmet and an elegant black tail. But here their suspect was.
"I think so," said Prowl quietly. ::Team Epsilon to Command Center. Kaonite suspect sighted.::
::Command Center here. Good work. What is he doing?::
Prowl looked down to the Kaonite. ::He seems to drink highgrade, and just started swaying to the music with the rest. Sir, he is wearing a black Tabroan-kitty costume.::
There was an incredulous silence on the other side of the line as the Command Center tried to picture their suspect like that. Obviously they failed, because the next sentence was: ::Enforcer 55, please send a picture to confirm.::
Prowl wasted no time and did so and the silence on the other side of the comm only grew louder.
::Team Epsilon, good work. If our Kaonite suspect does anything besides celebrating, please apprehend him. Over and out.::
The Enforcer and the Agent both looked down at the suspect, who was now doing exactly the same thing as everyone else here, while getting drunk. He seemed to be in a very good mood and when the Helix mech at his right side leant over and kissed him, he returned the favor with vigor.
"I have a feeling, that this mech will not make trouble tonight." Jazz leant back against Prowl. "What are the chances he acted suspiciously, because he has a Helix lover that he wanted to tell no one about?"
"Quite high," said Prowl quietly. "Of course the chance that he is a terrorist is still there."
"We will not hesitate in that case."
"Of course not," agreed Prowl and Jazz wished he could see the doorwings from his position. He would bet that the steely undertone was accompanied by an expression just as strong. "Jazz, the sparkdancers have started."
Even though he was on the job and shouldn't, he trusted his partner enough to risk a glance. "What are they doing?" he asked baffled. "I thought they were dancers."
It was a whole troupe, all of them young and good looking. All of them lithe and painted in bright,  red and golden colors that clearly imitated military uniforms of past centuries. But there dancing was... well, they jumped around in formations, up and down, perfectly synchronized. An up the legs and pedes went, exactly so far that it wasn't indecent by a single cable width.
"Sexy enough?" muttered Prowl. Jazz could feel the amusement of his partner in the air.
"I guess..." He watched them. "It's less dance and more acrobatics, than I expected. I mean that pyramid there? Quite impressive. In Altihex I've seen mechs called cheerleaders do something similar." Of course, the difference was that these sparkdancers weren't cheering on, they were clearly a main attraction. The show master sounded very proud, talking about winning some competition and champions, while the dancers showed off more and more complicated figures and acrobatics.
"I haven't visited Altihex yet, but I would like to in the future. Quadrant two, blue and green mech. Drunken or dangerous?"
Jazz looked there. "Drunken and living dangerous. That waiter looks like he'll tear him apart in – ouch. Yes, that mech deserved that."
"Security is already coming," Prowl pointed out.
"Mmh. Good response time." That security mechs did escort the drunken mech out professionally as well. Good to know they could do their job. "So, if you haven't seen Altihex, what about Polyhex? We're neighbors after all."
"I have to disappoint you there as well. Though I would like to."
It would be nice to show Prowl Polyhex and not to be always stuck with him in Helix's snow. Jazz simply knew that Prowl would love Polyhex architecture that took anything less than spectacular as an insult. Maybe he could also introduce him to the famous Polydishes or the newly opened Organic Zoo. "If ya find the time, I would love to show ya around," he said. "I have a small house there, guest room, everything. What do ya say?"
Silence. And this time Jazz had again no idea, what Prowl was thinking. He tried to resist he urge to turn around and look back, because that was simply not acceptable on an assignment. But as the silence stretched he became more and more convinced that he had made a mistake. Maybe Praxians didn't visit friends or – or Prowl didn't think them friends. Well, and really, they weren't right?
"Do you invite all of your working colleagues?" asked Prowl after nearly a breem had passed and Jazz had become convinced that Prowl hated him now. Not that this question helped.
Jazz wished very strongly, that he had never said anything to the Praxian. "Uhm, no."
How many had he invited in fact? There had been Mirage, vorns ago. But they had known each other for over 50 vorns already and went through the Agent training together. And then there had been Blaster, of course, a DJ. But he had known Blaster for a while too.
"I see," said Prowl slowly. Again silence.
"You do not have to come," said Jazz meekly. "I'm sorry if I thought something or... I didn't mean to anger you."
"I am not angry," The Praxian said. "I would be happy to come."
Jazz blinked. "Really?"
"Really." Prowl's voice sounded warm and he pulled Jazz closer. "Just tell me when."
"I will," Jazz said without a second thought and feeling so much lighter.
Light enough to fly even, as if only Prowl's warm arm across his waist bound him to Cybertron – and oh, it was so comfortable. He thought he might never want to leave again.
It was then that Jazz finally realized, that maybe he had a crush. But leaning against Prowl, he really didn't find it within himself to mind.