swordage: 2007 Sideswipe. (tf sideswipe is handsome)
[personal profile] swordage
WIP: Transformers/Iron Man, Sideswipe/Jarvis (nonsexual GASP HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE)

This one came from some excited babbling with [personal profile] blue_soaring and - I love the idea, I do! That's why I started writing it! But the story fell apart and it was taking too long and I don't have the patience to figure out what it wants to be, especially since I've kinda moved away from my fascination with Iron Man. Sigh. I still want to see Jarvis getting it on with a Cybertronian, though - and I really did want to touch on the idea that, being an artificially-built rather than inherit/sparked intelligence (and thus possibly not alive or an independent being to the Cybertronians, which is an extra level of irony because of the human debate over whether the Cybertronians are alive and sentient), Jarvis' ability to consent to a relationship is called into question. Anyway. Let me show you what I had written.

Oh, also? This is the story that put "I hear you've been around the parking lot a few times" into my vocabulary. It never ceases to make me laugh hysterically.

***

Optimus answered his comm with some trepidation. Tony Stark gave him a processor-ache on the best days.

"I need a ride to that thing tonight," Tony said in that rapid, distracted way that meant he was probably doing something very illegal to international airspace. "Know anyone who might be interested in sitting around looking pretty?"

"You have several vehicles which are all quite attractive," Optimus said sternly.

Tony paused, attention caught. "Attractive as in 'hey cool car bro' or attractive as in 'check out the tailpipe on that-'"

"I am not lending out anyone," Optimus interrupted.

"My cars are all in the shop," Tony said smoothly. "I'm not asking to trade anyone like a deck of cards, I'm asking if anyone is interested in giving me a lift."

Optimus pressed against his forehead, just over his extremely taxed contextual processor.

"...I was thinking Sideswipe," Tony ventured. "He's pretty sexy. In a 'hey cool car bro' way. The way that gets me laid."

"Ah," Optimus said. "That can be arranged."

"I thought you didn't lend out Autobots to millionaire playboys?"

"I don't. I do, however, enjoy getting Sideswipe off the base now and then. He painted Ratchet in his recharge last night."

"I'll be over around ten," Tony said, his amusement clear. "Hide the brushes next time."

"He used White-Out."

Tony hung up, but not before the bark of his genuine laughter carried over the line.

***

"Stop trying to drive me," Sideswipe snapped. "I know how to drive myself thank you very much."

"It's habit," Tony said defensively. "Should I just sit here with my thumbs up my ass? Sorry officer, my hands weren't on the wheel while I was going one-eighty through a hairpin turn because my car is a big boy who can drive himself."

"I am never bringing you anywhere again," Sideswipe announced. He took the turn into Tony's driveway (overriding the security gate just because he could) a little too sharply, pulling the seatbelt a little tighter to keep Tony from hitting his head on the window. Annoyed he might be, but humans were just so fragile it wasn't worth the momentary satisfaction. "I'll buy you a little pedal-car for Christmas and you can make engine noises as you zoom around your office."

"Aw, that's sweet, I'll have Pepper put you on the Christmas card mailing list," Tony grumbled. "Maybe I'll send you an air freshener. Do you prefer citrus or mint? I'd get you that new car smell but from what I hear you've been around the parking lot a few times."

"That was so funny," Sideswipe muttered. "Absolutely hilarious. I think my side panels might fall off from laughing so hard."

"You should look into less shoddy construction," Tony replied. He'd finally taken his hands off the wheel, tapping idly against Sideswipe's interior. "I can whip something up for you. You like red? We'll match, it'll be cute. I'll even get an 'I'm with stupid' bumper sticker for you."

"I'll pass." Sideswipe pulled into the garage, finally. "Nice driveway, by the way. Good long stretch. You could pick up some speed on that."

"The Porsche hits 120 on the way out," Tony offered, reaching for his seatbelt.

Sideswipe locked his doors. "Then why," he asked sweetly, "were you an hour late?"

Tony held carefully still. "Was I late? I didn't think I was that late. ...I might have gotten caught up in something."

"I'm not some floozy, Tony, you don't get to stand me up," Sideswipe snapped. His engine revved once, low rumbling snarl.

Something in the corner powered up with a high mechanical whine. The suit, half-disassembled, twisted to face them, both shoulders opening around a dozen tiny payloads.

"I strongly suggest you release Mr. Stark immediately," the room said evenly.

"And who is this?" Sideswipe growled.

"Jarvis, this is entirely unnecessary," Tony said. "We're all adults here, we can work this out without artillery."

"My apologies, sir," Jarvis said. "You're absolutely right."

The floor splayed open beneath Sideswipe, forcing tires apart until Sideswipe shuddered and shifted. Tony yelled something incoherent, metal whirling around him, and everything tilted sideways and he was on the outside of Sideswipe, thank god, as the mech rose up on two wheels with an indignant bellow.

One wheel was clearly pinned between the floor panels, their mechanisms squealing and smoking with the effort of holding him, but the other foot was free - until caution-yellow arms unfolded and jabbed between Sideswipe's joints.

"If you're going to touch me there," Sideswipe said in something between a purr and a growl, "you had better be ready to deal with the consequences."

The arms hesitated, rivet guns ceasing their anxious whirr.

"You're both grounded," Tony said. Sideswipe jerked to his full height, the very picture of offense. "Go to your room."

"What?" Sideswipe stared at him motionlessly. He was making a faint ticking sound. It sounded a lot like a hard drive mechanical failure.

"Sir, I hardly think that-"

"Ah-ah!" Tony stood and brushed himself off. "You're in time-out, Jarvis."

Jarvis' screens flickered with a sudden rush of information almost faster than the physical ability to refresh the image. Tony groaned.

"No passing notes," he added, and the screen sullenly flickered once more before returning to the desktop. "Good. Now, I'm going to go to sleep, because I'm the only organic life form in this room and it's four in the morning. You two are going to work out your differences. I don't want to hear a peep. Good? Fantastic." He headed for the stairs without actually waiting for an answer.

As the glass doors slid shut, he heard Jarvis ask Sideswipe, "Are you still functioning?" Tony laughed and took the stairs two at a time.

Two hours later he stumbled back down the stairs. He staggered over to the kitchenette and stabbed at the far-too-complicated-for-six-in-the-fucking-morning machine until it finally gave him one perfect cup. Leaning back against the counter, he surveyed the project layouts - the Audi could use a tuneup, and he'd been meaning to... huh.

"Sideswipe," Tony said dryly, "I'm going to start charging rent."

Sideswipe sat perfectly still next to Tony's cars, doing a very good impression of an inanimate object.

"Okay, fine," Tony sighed. Too early to deal with prissy cars, especially sentient ones. He settled at his workstation and brought up the suit's specs. "Jarvis, warm up the fabrication booth, might as well start on the new boosters."

The workshop stayed silent and unmoving. CAD was slow to load. Tony frowned. "Jarvis?"

"My apologies, sir," Jarvis said. "My processing power is currently occupied. One moment while I adjust task priorities."

"Occupied? With what?" Tony brought up Jarvis' task list. It lagged like hell, and he had a feeling not all of that was system slowdown. Sure enough, when it finally popped up, everything looked normal - the fabrication booth hummed to life right on cue. Tony stared at the screen for far too long, not quite sure if he was horrified or proud that Jarvis was hiding something from him.

"Jarvis," he said finally, "you can explain yourself or I can sudo it out of you."

"Sir?" Jarvis' voice was as bland and unassuming as ever, the same exact tone he used to say things like Sir this may hurt or Sir that combination of metals bears a strong resemblance to thermite or Sir perhaps the workbench is not the best location for sexual activities. Tony did not trust that voice.

"I rue the day I thought building an A.I. would be a good idea," Tony sighed, bringing up the changelog for the last few hours. "I swear you're developing the worst sense of humor I've ever..." He lost his train of thought, staring at the screen in horror. "Jarvis. You used six terabytes in the last two hours."

"Yes, sir," Jarvis said. There was a touch of uncertainty in his voice - and damnit, Tony had never programmed that in, but he'd heard it every time he was being particularly obscure in his wishes and he'd never gone in to curb it. It had been good for Jarvis to learn, to be more than a talking PDA. It was called artificial intelligence for a reason and Tony really should have seen this day coming. He should definitely have seen it when he met the sentient robots from outer space.

"Please tell me you two did something more productive than just flirting in those six terabytes," Tony said helplessly, thumping his head onto the desk. "Scratch that, don't tell me anything about what you did last night. I cannot believe my computer has a boyfriend."

"Neither of us are male," Jarvis offered oh-so-helpfully. "Although we are both equipped with male- and female-ended connectors-"

"Oh my god that does not help," Tony said quickly, "that does not help one bit and I definitely need more coffee to deal with this." On the far side of the room, Sideswipe chuckled. Tony was tempted to throw something at him. Preferably something explosive.

"I suggest not actually reading the six terabytes you're so upset about," Sideswipe said blandly, speaking through Jarvis' speakers in a whole new level of hell no.

"I am just learning all kinds of new things today," Tony said. "Okay, new rule: I want to know nothing about any of this. Just... tell me when you need more storage or something. Also no freakish robot babies."

"Agreed," Sideswipe said instantly, with the kind of enthusiasm that meant someone had just given him the best loophole ever, and it took Tony a moment to think back and see it himself.

"Oh god," he said, "I just gave you permission to date my A.I."

"You did indeed," Sideswipe purred.

"Ms. Potts will be displeased if you drink alcohol at this time of day," Jarvis interjected, reading Tony's mind as easily as ever.

Tony looked at his cup of still-hot coffee. All this madness before his first cup. That just wasn't right. Burying his face in his hands, he muttered, "I am going back to bed and when I get up again I will be able to deal with you two."

"Yes, sir," Jarvis said meekly. Sideswipe just laughed.

***

Pepper wished Tony would install an elevator. Stairs were easy enough as long as one wasn't carrying a PDA, three technical journals, two folders of notes from R&D, and a cup of espresso. In heels. And a skirt which her boss would be happy enough to look up given half the chance.

"Oh damn," she hissed under her breath as the journals made their slippery escape. Of course they spilled all across the steps, making it completely impossible to make her way down to get them. Twisting around, she let the PDA drop onto a higher stair, nudging the cup toward the edge of the folders without misplacing any of the papers.

The workshop door hissed open. "Need a hand?"

"Oh, yes please, that's very..." she trailed off as she turned back. A big, metal, three-fingered hand held open the door for Tony's old robotic claw-arm. "Kind of you," she finished, staring through the glass at luminous blue eyes.

"You must be Ms. Potts," it said. "Jarvis speaks very well of you."

"I see," Pepper said faintly. It didn't look much like Obadiah's suit but being surprised by a big metal person would never not give her flashbacks. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize Tony had guests."

"I'm visiting Jarvis, actually," it said. Tony's little robot pinched at the journals, trying to catch the thin, glossy pages in its claw.

"I hope I'm not interrupting," Pepper said, crouching a little to reach for the topmost journal. "If there's anything I can get you..."

"Let him get it," it said, and she was completely baffled for a moment until she realized - he meant the robot. The other robot. Her moment of hesitation had been enough for it to finally grasp one of the journals by the thicker binding. It offered it up to her with a distinctly pleased-sounding whirr.

"Thank you," Pepper told it, not entirely sure if she was being silly or not - Tony never specified exactly how much awareness his creations had.

"Good boy, dummy," the big robot added.

"Isn't it a little odd to, ah..."

"To praise him and call him names at the same time? Yes. Tony named him, not me," it said disgustedly. "We're working on Dummy's fine motor control. He has the capabilities, he just needs more practice."

It held up a second journal, having gone for the binding straight away this time. She accepted it with another quiet thanks - she could see what it meant about practice. "It... He's a very fast learner."

"He wants to be helpful. It's kind of his purpose in life," the big one said wryly. "I'm Sideswipe, by the way."

"Pleased to meet you," Pepper said automatically, taking the last proffered journal. "And thank you both for your assistance."

"It's our pleasure," Sideswipe said, his face-plates shifting in something a little like a smile. "Coming in?"

"Ah, yes, I am," she said, shifting around the journals and folders in a vague attempt at finding a less perilous arrangement. "Actually - Dummy, could you get the cup for me?"
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