: Wooing Lady LuckAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupDisclaimer
: The words are mine; the worlds are not.Rating
: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003); refers to the first movieSummary
: Two tychokinetics running in the same pack had just been asking for trouble
. 1000 words, AU.Notes
: An excerpt from a Mutants/Specials AU I don't currently have the time to write. Inspired by, though not directly a response to, a prompt at the meme.
"Why? Seriously, why me?" Brian finally asked in the air on the way to California. He'd heard the official patter, but he was pretty sure there was something else to it; the Agent Bilkins he'd known in L.A. would have sooner hung him up by his testicles than recruit him for another undercover operation, much less go so far as to indulge his request to bring in Rome. "I thought you hated my guts."
Bilkins took a deep breath, then nodded as though he'd come to some kind of decision. "It wasn't you per se, O'Conner. It was more that I knew the minute Toretto actually took you in that things were going to go pear-shaped in a hurry, and Sergeant Tanner refused to listen to reason. Two tychokinetics running in the same pack? Whatever your loyalties were, it was just asking for trouble. I don't care if your ethnicity was all wrong to join any of the other cliques; you should have just stayed a parts runner for The Racer's Edge."
Brian's eyebrows flew up at that. "I thought the consensus was that I hadn't been strong enough to fight off his charm," he said. Tanner
had sure been convinced that Toretto's projective empathy had been affecting him, despite the fact that Brian had been chosen partially because of his natural mental shielding.
"Hogwash," Bilkins snorted. "Maybe it makes him feel better to think you were seduced away; that you didn't really choose
Toretto's side over his. And you didn't, quite, or you'd be in Mexico now and we wouldn't be having this conversation. But the choices you did
make had some pretty damn spectacular consequences, as anyone with two brain cells to rub together should have expected."
"How so?" Brian still didn't fully understand the chaos of those last twenty-four hours in L.A. himself; the adrenaline and the drain of using his secondary telekinetic talent in a frantic attempt to divert Tran's bullets around Jesse had rendered the later events of the day a washed-out blur. He'd been running on fumes and instinct by the time he'd jumped on the truck, never mind that last race with Dom.
Bilkins sighed. "Either of you alone could flip a coin and make it come up heads eight times out of ten; I know, I've seen it. Whoever thought putting you in his team would let you cancel out his luck clearly didn't know a thing about the way these sorts of mutations work. It just meant that Lady Fortune was bound to go to some pretty unlikely lengths in an effort to keep both of you happy at once. And after you joined that 'family' of his, spending so much time together...." He shrugged. "I was more surprised that Johnny Tran was the only collateral damage than I was about the fact that you and Toretto both bolted afterward."
That... was certainly a way of looking at it that Brian hadn't considered before. He rubbed at his face, mulling it over, then nodded. All right, he could buy that, but surely the FBI had other 'lucky' agents who knew a thing or two about cars? It wasn't like Roman Pearce was anything particularly special, either; he could make himself steel-strong, which had been pretty damn convenient in juvie but didn't stand out compared to some of the talents out there. It certainly hadn't saved him from getting caught with hot merchandise when Brian had left for the Academy and left him to face the odds alone.
"Still, why track me down? Why let me have Rome?"
"Partly because you were already in Miami," Bilkins replied. "But partly because-- well, he doesn't advertise it any more than Toretto did, but the core of Verone's operation is fully staffed with mutants, too. Individually, your talents and your resume aren't anything we can't find elsewhere. But locating a driver who's not
known to be a part of any of the local agencies, can't
be manipulated into toeing Verone's line, and isn't likely to get his ass killed in the preliminaries, but will still ping as 'one of us' to Verone's readers, and last but not least looks and sounds the part? Not exactly a dime a dozen."
Well; Brian could see why they hadn't told him that
up front. Including Dom's own esoteric talents, the Toretto team had been staffed by largely non-threatening gifts: Mia's healing ability; Jesse's intuitive understanding of machines, which Brian had pegged as a specialized expression of micro-telekinesis; and Vince's passive empathy, which had inevitably made him suspicious of Brian's cover despite or even because of Brian's shielding. Only Leon and Letty's talents-- differing branches of the so-called 'feral' mutation class-- could be classified as natively offensive. He was willing to bet Verone's group was by and large far deadlier.
"What's his talent?" he asked.
"Him? He's a torch; strong enough to create fire out of thin air, not just manipulate it." Bilkins scowled, expression distant as he elaborated. "Likes his explosives, his cigars, and the hot end of the torture spectrum. He's got a lot of hulks, mind-rapers and electrokinetics on his security team, and a random assortment of others-- Agent Fuentes hasn't met 'em all, since she has to spend most of her time in the one form to keep Verone's primary telepath from catching on, but she's got us most of their dossiers."
Brian shook his head. "Damn. Yeah, I can see why you'd rather use someone expendable for this. Hey," he held up his hands as Bilkins immediately began to object, "don't argue, we both know it's true. I'm cool with it. Just so long as you hold up your end of the deal when we pull it off."
"Hold up your
end of the deal and I'll make you a job offer," Bilkins replied, dryly.
Brian snorted, amused. "How about we roll that die when we come to it," he said. He didn't think it was very likely.
But then, nothing about his life ever had been.