Jazz followed Ironhide apprehensively into the Lennox household. Ratchet had sent him with Ironhide after insisting that it would make him feel better to meet the human sparkling. Jazz wasn't so sure. He was grateful not to be dead, obviously, but after Ratchet had pulled him from the well of sparks, Jazz had been left permanently weakened. The shard had brought him back to life but he would be unable to fight ever again as using weapons would put too much of a strain on his systems. He was basically useless now, apart from tactical planning but Prime had Prowl for that.
Jazz felt like a waste of space, put simply. He was born to be a saboteur, spy and a warrior and now he could do nothing. At first, he'd tried to help Ratchet in the medbay, but he could tell he was useless, plus Jolt really didn't like him so he just stopped. Ratchet had basically kicked him off base when he decided that he couldn't put up with a moping Jazz any longer.
He sighed and sat down on the sofa next to the femme or rather, woman called Sarah.
"So what's your name?" She asked him smiling. She seemed like quite a nice human unlike some of the ones at base, namely a certain inspector Galloway.
"Ah'm Jazz." He replied.
"Will mentioned all the bots' names, but I'm certain he never mentioned yours. Are you new?" He shifted awkwardly and sighed again.
"Well not really. Ah was killed by Megatron an' brought back to life again by Ratchet an' the allspark." He waited for her to react. Most humans usually gaped at him like he was Primus himself or just awkwardly changed topic. This human did neither.
"Right, so shouldn't you be on bedrest or something? Whatever you call it."
"Um, well yeah. I was kicked off base afta mopin' about. Ratch got annoyed with meh and asked to send meh with Hide. Prime was happy enough to oblige."
"And what were you moping about for?" For the first time, Jazz willingly decided to tell someone about his condition.
"Ah'm weak. The shard resurrected meh, but for some reason, everytime ah use weapons or do too much activity, mah energon levels plummet. So ah can never fight again. Ah tried bein' a medic but ah'm fraggin' useless an' ah can't plan tactics cause' meh brother Prowl does that. So ah'm useless to the Autobots and ah'm just a waste of space an' resources."
"It seems to me like you need a hobby," she said very matter-of-factly, like the fact that Jazz's story hadn't thrown her at all. Little did Jazz know, Sarah was hurting very much for him. She knew what it felt like to be useless. She herself had to wait and do nothing whilst her husband was putting himself in danger every other day and might even die. She wanted to help him.
"Ah need a wha'?"
"A hobby. Something to do, to keep you happy."
"All ah've ever done really is war stuff. Circuit-su an' all that."
"I'll help you think of something, meanwhile would you like to hold Ashley? I doubt you've ever seen, let alone touched a baby before."
"Um, okay." Sarah went over to talk to Will who was holding Ashley Jazz looked over to where Ironhide and Wheeljack were playing with the sparkling designated Annie. She seemed to be teaching them to draw pictures. It looked like the human equivalent of Sunstreaker's painting, although done by a sparkling and two inexperienced bots. Jazz smiled, despite himself.
"No Hide, like this!" the sparkling insisted, swapping Ironhide's black pen for a pink one. Wheeljack seemed to be making an effort to copy her exactly, uncaring that he was drawing in pink. "See, Jackie's got it!" Ironhide grumbled to himself about how pink drawings were unbecoming of a warrior, but he still drew in pink anyway.
Sarah returned with Will holding Ashley.
"Position your arms like this." Sarah instructed. Jazz did as he was told. Will lowered the sparkling into Jazz's arms. Jazz gasped slightly. The sparkling was tiny! His scans told him how fragile her skin was, how breakable her bones were. He didn't hold too tightly for fear of crushing her, and he noticed Ironhide giving him 'the look'. The evil look that meant 'hurt her and I'll weld your aft to the wall.' Sarah and Will beamed at him.
"You've got it Jazz." Will said. Ironhide looked back at Annie, content that Jazz would not hurt the sparkling. Jazz looked down at her. She had brown eyes, and small brown hair. Little pink fingernails, tiny hands and chubby arms. She smiled up at him. "Gaaaah!" He chuckled and waved his fingers at her, like he had seen Will do earlier.
"She likes you!" Sarah said delightedly. Ashley grabbed Jazz's finger and squeezed. For something so small and fragile, she had a surprisingly strong grip. For the first time since he could remember, Jazz relaxed, content to watch the small sparkling in his arms.
Sarah watched Jazz and Ashley happily. Her plan seemed to be working. The bot seemed to have cheered up and relaxed a bit, but she wanted to do more. There had to be something she could do to help someone as miserable as this poor bot. Then she had an idea. Why not invite Jazz to stay with them? Annie would love the idea of an Autobot living with them and Will would be happier to know they were better protected.
She tapped her husband on the arm and tilted her head towards the kitchen. Leaving the Autobots and the children in the living room, they went through to the spacious kitchen.
"I've had an idea Will." She ignored her husband's look of apprehension. "I think Jazz should stay here permanently, with us, on the ranch." What Sarah expected was for her Husband to ask why, or to say it might be complicated. She was very surprised when he laughed at her.
"Well Sarah, I've actually been asked by Ratchet if Jazz could stay permanently as a guardian. Wheeljack also because there have been a few ….. issues with him on base."
"He has a tendency to blow his experiments up. If we gave him a field or something, he could experiment away from the girls and away from people. He would be perfectly happy out here as he isn't really a fighter either."
"Of course they can stay!" Sarah loved company, and the ranch did get lonely sometimes. She also wanted to help the Autobots war, in some small way.
"Wheeljack knows but Jazz hasn't been asked yet. Prime didn't want to ask him in case Jazz felt unwanted. I think he just wants Jazz to be happy and feel useful."
"I'll ask him now." Sarah said determinedly. She knew just what to say to Jazz. Will looked at his wife with pride, he was lucky to have such a kind, caring woman. He followed her into the living room. Ironhide looked up as they entered the room and, noticing the look on Sarah's face, raised his eyebrows questioningly at Will. Will just watched Sarah make her way over to Jazz and Ashley.
"How are you getting on with her Jazz?"
"She's ah beautiful sparkling."
"How would you like to stay here with us on the ranch as her guardian?" Jazz looked up, shock across his holoform's face.
"Really? You mean protect her from the decepticons?"
"Ah'd love to! I'll ask Prime!" Ironhide smirked as he watched the exchange, knowing that Prime would be more than happy to agree.
Later that evening, after the Autobots had left the house to go and recharge in the barn, Jazz went outside to look up at the stars to see. He found it soothing to do as it reminded him of the days when he was a sparkling. He and Prowl had snuck up onto the roof of the youngling centre regularly to look up at the stars and name the constellations. Speaking of Prowl… Jazz slowly lowered the walls around his half of the bond. He had kept them in place for most of the time since being resurrected as his negative emotions tended to affect Prowl and vice versa. They couldn't communicate in words from this far, but Jazz let the soothing emotions leak across and Prowl sent back an emotion of happiness and love.
"What are you doing out here youngling?" Ironhide's voice startled Jazz slightly. The older warrior came and sat down beside him.
"Ah haven't been a youngling for a few vorns now Hide."
"Compared to me, you look like a new-born sparkling. Both mentally and physically." Jazz ignored the jab at his height, he had learned to get used to them a long time ago.
"Are you going to be alright on the ranch on your own?"
"Ah won't be alone Hide, ah'll have old Jack with meh."
"I know, but you like to be around lots of other bots Jazz. You always have done, ever since you first joined the Autobots. It gets lonely out here."
"Ah'll be fine Hide. Ah need to feel useful ya know?" And the old warrior nodded. He understood. He would miss Jazz on the base, but he would see Jazz sometimes. It was Jazz's happiness that was the most important thing, and Jazz was slagging miserable on base. Unable to express how he felt in words, the battle worn mech placed a scarred hand on Jazz's shoulder and as Jazz leaned into his side, much like he had done as a youngling, Ironhide felt energon form at the corners of his optics and he knew that he would miss the young mech dearly.