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Title: An Energy Like No Other: 2/4
Author: jedibuttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not
Rating: PG-13
Prompt/Prompter: for ymfaery - The next installment of the F&F/Transformers series.
Spoilers: AU fusion post-Fast Five and parallel to TF: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Notes: I wrestled with this one awhile - but in the end, it insisted on being chapter 2 of the previous fic for this prompt and prompter; there will probably be a couple more scenes before the specific storyline's complete.

Summary: "Wait, my files?" Simmons replied to Brian, voice going even stiffer. "The whole planet's in danger again, and my files are the thing that actually gets you to call?" 3100w.



"D. Cappucio and Simmons."

The voice carrying through the call over Bestia's speakers was irritable, annoyed, and so familiar in tone that it threw Dom for a moment, trying to figure out what it was reminding him of. Then he caught sight of the smirk on Brian's face.

Ah. So this was Brian's Vince. In the years since his lover had pulled him off a prison bus and spilled the beans about his time with Sector Seven, Brian had never talked much about the family he'd found there, preferring instead to focus on their present. Dom got that, so he'd never pushed for more. But he had wondered.

"What? No Wells in there? Or even an O'Conner?" Brian replied, the shit-eating grin he wore fully audible in his tone. "Because I could swear I put some money into that little remodeling project you were bitching about a few months back. And from what I hear from my new buddy Hobbs...."

"New buddy Hobbs!" Seymour Simmons' voice was terse, strained, and impatient as he interrupted Brian's attempt to tease, but more bark than bite; yeah, definitely Brian's Vince. Even more so than his friend Roman, whose temper might spark quicker but ran much less sour. "Hah! It's about damn time you called. Because if the kid's handing out access to our intergalactic invaders like popcorn now...."

"C'mon. You know it's not like that. If it was, don't you think I'd have signed the rest of my crew up already?" Brian made a face in Dom's direction, dropping a hand over the fingers he'd left resting on Brian's thigh. "It was an accident; he didn't mean for that to happen."

"Some fucking accident," Simmons scoffed. "I swear, Brian, if it was possible for him to do that all along...."

"Like I said, if it was, do you really think I'd still be the only 'spark in the family?" Brian rolled his eyes. "And even if we'd had some idea it might be possible, I wouldn't have wanted to risk it without doing some testing first. An energy jolt that size is at least as hard on the system as a taser; remember, not everyone in the shock zone made it out of Mission City. And we only got the fallout that day, not the Allspark's undivided attention."

The longer the explanation went, the more it smelled of self-justification; Brian had a bad habit of running off at the mouth when he was worried he'd let someone down. What, did he think Dom might feel the same way-- that he should've made Witwicky zap him the minute they'd realized what had happened to Hobbs? Idiot.

He tightened his grip, half in reassurance and half in warning, and cocked an admonishing eyebrow. Brian knew better; it was Dom's decision to make. As much as he loved his car, and appreciated that it could love him back now, it was a big step from there to having it in his head. If and when he was ready for that, he could ask Witwicky himself. If Simmons felt differently, that was his problem, not Brian's.

"Some of us might have been willing take that risk," the former agent groused with a snort. "But I know you didn't call about that. So did you catch the Decepticon that tore up the street in front of the deli, or what?"

Brian threw Dom another glance, mouth quirking in a penitent smile, and answered. "It was Barricade; and no, he ran for reinforcements before we could catch him. I doubt the fight will make the news this time-- for once, the 'Cons settled for tearing up a stretch of forest rather than a city-- but Megatron was there, and Starscream, and a couple other heavy hitters, too. They nearly took down Optimus."

Simmons sucked in a sharp breath. "Megatron? Freaking NBE One? I might not've been there to see the kid kill him, but I did see the footage of him being dropped in the ocean, as lifeless as a damn Tinker Toy and twice as ugly. How the hell did he come back from that?"

"You're asking the wrong people," Dom replied, grimly. "The wrong question, too."

"What, do you mean why?" Simmons scoffed. "I don't need to ask that, 'cause the answer's obvious already. However he woke back up, the first thing he did was go after the Autobot leader. Quod erat demonstrandum. What I wanna know is if this is gonna be a long-term thing. Is he back for good? Do I need to shut the deli? Is that silver 'bot who talked like a walking stereotype coming back then, too?"

Bestia's radio interrupted with an irritated-sounding staticky noise, and Brian cleared his throat. "I wish. And we don't know yet. The first thing Megatron did was actually to go after Sam, not Optimus, looking for a piece of information that used to be stored in the Allspark. It's a good thing Optimus was close enough to intercept, or it sounds like the 'Cons might have got their hands on an advantage big enough to tip the scales of the war. I'd hold off on shutting the deli down at least until we get there, though; the facts we have about what they were looking for are incomplete. We need to take a look at your files."

"Wait, my files?" Simmons replied, voice going even stiffer than before. "The whole planet's in danger again, and my files are the thing that actually gets you to call?"

Brian cast his eyes toward the Bestia's ceiling with a resigned expression. "Not the 'one man alone' speech again, Seymour; this right here is exactly why...."

"You mean the files I liberated from the recycling bin when S-7 exploded? You mean the records of all the investigations I conducted out of my own personal pocketbook and on my own personal time, because everyone else in the organization, you included Brian, kept telling me it was a waste of my time?" Simmons spoke over him, tone a curious mixture of fury and glee. "Those files are now vital to a situation that potentially threatens the fate of our planet?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Those files," Brian said, irritably. "C'mon. I told you, I was undercover with the FBI at the time, trying to keep my contact convinced all the stuff I was passing him had to do with Japanese robots. I wasn't about to try to sell aliens to a man with the power to ruin my life-- not to mention the lives of all my friends-- if I gave him any information he didn't want to believe. I couldn't afford to spend any time on a wild goose chase that obvious."

Dom squeezed his thigh again; he knew exactly what 'the lives of my friends' meant. That FBI agent had a lot to answer for. Even if he was the reason Brian had come into Dom's life in the first place.

"A likely story," Simmons sniffed, then relented. "What exactly are you looking for?"

Brian exchanged another glance with Dom, eyes sparking bluer than usual in the sunlight streaming through Bestia's windows. "Optimus mentioned ancient Cybertronians called Seekers-- possibly so named because they were looking for the same thing Megatron and his faction are after. Whatever it is, the directions were only stored in the Allspark, and were written in a language those Seekers speak. We were hoping somewhere in those files you had enough clues to find one and ask it some questions."

"And what, you're just gonna trust the answers?" Simmons sounded deeply skeptical. "The one my mom met was more against the other guy than for her, if you get my drift. It only helped her because of some kind of quid pro quo thing with my dad. Tracking them down's one thing; if you go trying to make friends, you're asking for trouble. These things aren't like the Autobots you know, if they even are Autobots at all."

"Well, that's our lookout, isn't it? Besides, we've got Optimus and his team with us," Brian insisted.

"Hmph. Well, then I guess it's your lucky day, because wouldn't you know it, right after your good friend Hobbs brought your problems to my neighborhood, I caught a little scrap drone trying to sneak into my meat locker."

"A Decepticon?" Dom asked, frowning.

"More of a wannabe, if you ask me," Simmons sniffed. "'Bout the size of that one that tried to carve the kid up a couple years ago, but a little less Terminator and a little more toy-grade RC. Anyway, it calls itself Wheelie, and we had ourselves a nice little chat."

"...And?" Brian prompted his cousin further, wincing at the acrid bite in his voice.

"And I showed him those pictures I have of Cybertronian symbols all over the globe, and the readings I found that everyone swore were infinitesimal, not worth investigating. He put them all together and plotted me a map." Irritation shifted to smug satisfaction in Simmons' tone. "All I had to do was tell him he could switch sides, and he spilled the beans like that. Puts a little perspective on this war of theirs, doesn't it, if it's been going on long enough the little ones don't even have the concept of defection."

Brian exchanged another troubled glance with Dom. "So if I asked you to tell me where to go....?"

"If you're still anywhere on the mid-East Coast? The National Air and Space Museum, I think; the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. It might not be the closest, closest, but it's the strongest reading of the bunch, and the easiest to get into."

Dom didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but Brian seemed to. "The new annex out at Dulles? Where they keep the pieces too large to display at the main building on the National Mall?"

"That's the one!" Simmons enthused. "Now, don't thank me all at once; certainly not with a meeting with the kid or anything...."

"I'm sure we'll stop by after it's all over," Brian half-promised, then made a throat-cutting gesture. "Thanks again, Seymour."

Bestia took her cue and ended the call, but Brian held up a hand as Dom opened his mouth to speak.

"You get that, guys?" he said, shooting Dom an apologetic look.

His Customs friend's voice carried back, bright with amusement. "And Luke was so looking forward to digging through that meat locker."

"Speak for yourself," Hobbs snorted. "The quicker we get there the better, with alien terrorists running around thinking they've offed the Prime. You trust his intel, O'Conner?"

"He may have a few screws loose, but when it comes to Decepticons? Yeah. He doesn't want Megatron running around loose any more than we do. Optimus? Sam?" Brian replied. "What do you guys think?"

The kid's voice carried through with a sigh. "Yeah, I'll talk to him. Might be a good idea to see if it's repeatable anyway-- Lennox has had some problems with the international guys with NEST, thinking we don't trust 'em with certain jobs when it's just that they weren't at Mission City and don't have the Allspark touch. And in the meantime...."

The Autobot's leader spoke up then, his voice deep and stern. "We have a new destination. Autobots? Change route to Washington DC."

The rest chimed in with affirmatives... and then Brian tapped the dash again.

"Comms cut," Bestia replied, the radio dial spinning down without the touch of human intervention. Then she added more petulantly, "Well, the big boys can't say we haven't done our part after this."

For a car, she really came off as a teenager sometimes; Dom had never been kidding when he'd referred to the NBTs as Brian's mechanical children. They and some of their more trigger-happy NBE cousins had been having an on-an-off squabble ever since the team had arrived on Diego Garcia, regarding who'd scored what points in the on-going skirmishes against the Decepticons. Dom was pretty sure it was more the homegrown bots' youth leading to the hazing than anything else; unfortunately, the only kind of fix for that was time and experience. At least it might give Bestia something to bond with Belle over, if they ever got past the current pigtail-pulling phase; he doubted Hobbs' big LAPV would take that kind of condescending attitude sitting still.

At the moment, though, Dom was more concerned by the worried lines in Brian's face, and the feeling of idling at the top of a mountain, with a long, sharply curving route to go before they reached the bottom. Whatever scheme Megatron had in mind, it was clear they were still in the first act, and he couldn't shake the feeling that there would be worse to go before it got better.

"Brian," he began again, not even really sure what he wanted to say. Spooking at shadows wasn't their style. "...His mama really named him Seymour?"

Brian huffed a laugh, the bright flash of his smile breaking back through the worry. "Yeah, yeah she did. No family excuse for it, either. Her name's Anna; his dad was a William, called Bill; and his mom was a Margaret, though she went by Margo. And her dad was Walter, the founder of Sector Seven."

"Walter Simmons-- it was his wife's second husband you're descended from, right?" Dom prompted him, remembering the family tree Brian had sketched out for him and Mia. "The other founder, the one who retired to marry her when the first guy got all obsessed with the Ice Man?"

"Yeah. Theodore Wells. I guess he and Walter were pretty close in the beginning; I've seen a few of Old Man Simmons' journals that Seymour inherited, and he's mentioned several times in the early going." Brian made a wry face at that, like he wasn't sure he should say anything else, and Dom raised an eyebrow at him.

"That bad? Or that familiar?" Dom wouldn't be surprised by either; half the reason Brian had fallen into the Toretto orbit in the first place back when he'd been a rookie detective had been his deep and abiding hunger for family. It had been weird enough for Dom to hear stories of the grandfather who'd pro-raced in Italy back when his parents had been around to give them life; how much harder had it been for Brian, reading about his own famous ancestor in his equally long-dead rival's journals?

"You tell me," Brian said ruefully, then shifted tone as if he was quoting something. "Why do we pursue lives fraught with lies and danger? I believe, though I would never tell him this, that Theo does it for the mere visceral thrill. He looks out upon the world and finds it lacking; there is a hole in his soul and Theo seeks to fill that hole with adventure."

Dom knew exactly what Brian was trying to say; more of the same self-sabotaging bullshit that had made him a buster years ago when they first met and still did sometimes today. It was true that their days of living life by the quarter mile, of trying to outrace their problems ten seconds at a time and giving no kind of a shit about the consequences, weren't all that far behind them. They'd done it mostly at separate times and for separate reasons, but it had more or less come from the same place. Brian was pointing out the resemblance like it was a bad thing, though; like he hadn't just reminded Dom what had come after that, as well.

"Yeah, I see it. The agent thing, the cop thing," he said slowly, letting his eyes trace over the lean lines of Brian's form. Then he shifted the script, continuing in admiring tones. "Why you left it all behind in the end, too. They say sometimes genes skip a generation; that must've been what happened with your father."

Brian gave Dom a startled, confused look. "What do you mean?"

Dom let the corner of his mouth curl up and shifted his hand a little further up Brian's thigh, voice deepening with intent. "He decided family was more important than the job. I wonder who that might remind me of."

Brian swallowed, a flush creeping up the line of his throat. Then his expression softened, and he leaned across the gap between the seats.

There were decided benefits to the whole cars driving themselves thing, Dom decided.

...Or could have been, if they weren't essentially riding inside their own kid. He pulled back with a grimace a moment later, then gestured toward the dash. "Raincheck," he reminded Brian. "Little pitchers."

Even in the midst of a robot civil war, family was still the most important thing in their universe.

He thought that was a legacy Theodore Wells would have approved of; definitely his own father, even if the grandchild in question was a little on the motorized side. It wasn't as though the Torettos didn't practically have oil for blood anyway; what were a few gears more or less to the heart?

...Or the mind. All right, all right; when he had the chance, he would ask Witwicky about it. It was a part of Brian, and Jesse, and all the girls; and they were what was important here, not Dom's wariness of the alien power. Besides. What if it extended their lifespan, like it did with the NBEs? Like hell he'd make them go on without him when another option was available.

Just so long as it never tore them apart, like it had Optimus and Megatron. It wasn't so hard to read behind the lines and see that there'd been something else between the bitter enemies a long time ago; hatred that intense didn't grow from ignorance or apathy, and in many ways Cybertronians were unsettlingly similar to human beings.

"Shit. Sorry, Bestia," Brian apologized, patting the dash again.

"Why? I've had that talk too, you know," Bestia replied, puzzled. "You didn't even get to the part with the sticky fluids on the seats. Though I'd appreciate it if you didn't; that doesn't sound very pleasant for the upholstery!"

The look on Brian's face at that was something to see; like he'd taken a bucket of ice water to the face, a preview of what it would be like in a dozen years or so when it was Jesse's turn to go through puberty.

Dom laughed in warm amusement, letting Brian's splutters of parental indignation and Bestia's impertinent responses wash over him, and settled back to enjoy the rest of the ride.

-x-

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