Why?

A Transformers Prime Fanfic

"So June, been busy?"

June Darby gave the middle-aged special agent an amused look as she accepted the coffee he handed her.

"Now why would you assume that?" she asked as she relaxed back into the battered sofa. Special Agent William fowler sat down beside her and they stared out across the base. Jack and Miko were sprawled out on their stomachs, arms elbow deep in some half dissembled machine. Raf was bent over a computer screen with Ratchet trying to figure out why the latest addition to the Autobot's equipment was refusing to integrate with the main computer.

"Oh you know, being a working mother and all…Not like there's anything else on your mind." The special agent flashed her a mischievous grin as he sipped from his own cup.

June smiled again and let her eyes rest on her son. Sometimes she was so proud of him she could barely contain it. At the moment he was patiently explaining a welding technique to the small Asian girl helping him.

"Busy is the word," she murmured.

"I know what you mean," Fowler sighed. "Waiting an hour or so for Prime's monthly report practically counts as a vacation."

June looked up at the middle-aged black man curiously.

"I was wondering, why do you pick those up personally? Why not have Optimus just send it to you electronically?" She asked.

"In a word, security," snorted the agent. "The line between us and the Autobots is secure, Ratchet made sure of that, but our own computers are far from it. With that Soundwave character out there, there's no system on Earth that's safe. All documents regarding our dealings with the Autobots are kept hardcopy."

A clatter from the disassembled machine and an exasperated shout from Jack drew their attention. The boy was clutching one wrist while Miko tried to apologize between fits of giggling. June quickly assessed the situation and decided Jack didn't need assistance.

"Speaking of a security risk," she murmured, while smiling at the spunky girl.

Fowler followed her glance and gave a grin.

"Ha, she kinda reminds me of myself at that age."

"Fearless and adventurous?"

"Ah, something like that."

"You know Fowler, I'm still rather curious why you allowed this in the first place." June mused.

"Hmm?" Fowler asked through a mouthful of espresso.

"The children. If you want to talk about a huge security risk. I like them being under the Autobots care because I truly think it is the safest option for them. But they are a huge unknown factor to the military. I'm just surprised the powers that be allowed them to stay; didn't ship them off to some secure witness protection program or something." June frowned. It was odd now that she really thought about it. She gazed searchingly at the special agent. Fowler glanced away quickly a guilty look creeping across his face. June's mother instincts flared up.

"Fowler?" She demanded quietly.

The agent glanced nervously around.

"You know," June said dangerously, "for a secret agent you have a lousy poker face."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Fowler stated a little nervously.

June's features hardened into her serious face, and she laid a hand on the agent's arm.

"Special Agent William Fowler, what aren't you telling me?"

The fed tried to say something, glanced around the base, started again, then surrendered and shook his head.

"Lovely night out for a walk," he finally suggested, and offered his arm to the woman.

June nodded her understanding and let the man help her to her feet. The two rode the elevator to the surface of the butte which housed the Autobot base. They strolled out to the edge of a repair catwalk. Agent fowler leaned on the railing and stared out over the Nevada desert. A new moon hovered over near endless sagebrush and a cool night wind stirred the air. June waited patiently for the man to speak.

"Mrs. Darby," he began slowly. "Please believe me when I say the children's' safety was considered at all levels and had top priority. Like you said, they are simply safest here. We could have sent them all into protective custody, but that involves loads of paperwork." The agent shuddered at the thought, "paperwork that has to go through countless computers. The cons were already after them at that point. Having their names and images in our system would have brought the cons down on their heads instantly. You know what sick …monsters they can be."

June nodded and shivered. She knew all too well. 'Your choice Jack…' echoed in her head.

"But there was another reason." She prompted the agent.

"Yes," Fowler turned and looked June straight in the eye. "Right before Arcee met up with Jack the Autobots had just lost one of their own."

"Cliffjumper," the woman murmured softly. Arcee had told her about him one lonely day.

"Yes, they lost him defending this planet, our planet," Agent Fowler gestured around at the surrounding desert, "from the cons. There they were aliens from outer space, defending a race that for the most part, didn't even know they existed. A race," he went on with a hard face, "that had proven themselves to be little better than the cons on more than one occasion. Now why were they doing that?"

June tilted her head to one side as the man continued.

"Prime! It was all him. Not that I'm saying the other bots didn't care at all, but to risk life and spark day after day, to defend an unknowing, unworthy, ungrateful, faceless bunch a organics like us? Even if you assume the cons are their responsibility in the first place, that takes a sense of duty you don't find just anywhere. Prime ordered them to defend us and they did because they'd follow him to the pit and back, not because they saw anything all that great about humanity."

The woman stiffened as she realized where this was headed.

"Basically it boiled down to our planet's safety depending on the conscience of one being June." Fowler dropped his eyes and lowered his voice. "And no matter how good a warrior is, no matter how invincible he seems, anyone, even him, can go down in battle. If we lost Prime, we lost all the bots."

"So you wanted a way to make the others care," June said, and there was an edge to her voice, "to tie them to Earth. So even if something happened to Optimus…"

"They would stay, and keep fighting," finished Fowler bluntly.

June turned away from the man with her mind in turmoil. On the surface it seemed so mercenary, using the children as emotional pawns in a deadly game. But, whatever the motivations of those in power, Jack was safest under Arcee's protection, of that the woman was sure.

"And there was the other side of the coin," Fowler finally said softly, once he could see her calming down.

"What was that?" She asked suspiciously.

"Hey, this one's all good," the man asserted, holding up his hands in self defense. "I just wanted to get the ugly one out in the open first."

June arched her eyebrows skeptically.

"Really," Fowler continued, "We do appreciate them being out there fighting for us. It drives those of us who know crazy, knowing we can't help them fight."His voice tightened with frustration. "But we do what we can. Ever since they arrived we've had shrinks analyzing them, with their full knowledge of course." The man assured her. "And they discovered something amazing, something mind boggling."

June had to admit that made her curious.

"What was that?"

"They weren't all that different from us." Fowler stated. "A completely alien life form, but given what we knew about their pasts, their social position, their experiences; simply put they reacted to life the same way the shrinks said a human would under similar circumstances. Well, the way the best of us would anyway." He amended, thinking of Prime. "Anyway, we wanted to do something that would do them some good. When the children showed up; well, two birds with one stone, like they say." Agent Fowler shrugged and fell silent.

"But what good does it do the Autobot's to have the children?" Asked the woman a little confused. "I know they've been useful occasionally…"

"Mrs. Darby," Agent Fowler said with a smile, "You're a mother. You should know the answer to that question far better than an old bachelor like me."

June stared off into the starry distance, deep in thought. She called to mind all the times she'd seen the Autobots interacting with the children; the way Ratchet would smile at Bee and Raf when he thought no one was looking, Bulkhead lightly scooping Miko onto his shoulder, Arcee's faceplates lighting up as she taught Jack some new skill. She paused and considered Optimus. The only time she had ever seen a content look on his faceplates was when they were all together in the base under his watchful optics, the children wrecking havoc around the feet of their giant protectors.

"They have maternal instincts," she said softly, "they need someone, young ones, to care for every bit as much as we do."

Fowler nodded.

"I know it might seem a bit, mercenary June. But we did have everyone's best interests in mind when we let the children stay. And it's paid back in folds! You never got a chance to see what their spirits were like before the children fell into their lives. But, believe me, there is a world of difference now. And while Arcee might not have cared much about protecting some backwater planet called Earth, to protect Jack's home…"

"She'd do anything." June finished. June shivered again and wrapped her nurse's uniform more tightly around her. The desert night's could be cold.

"Let's get back inside June. Prime probably has that report ready by now."

She nodded and they started back down.

Later

"Jack, time to go," Mrs. Darby called out across the base as she fished through her purse for her keys.

"Coming Mom! We'll be right behind you as soon as we put the tools away."

June glanced around in frustration and expanded her search. She was shuffling through some papers on a desk when she happened to glance up. Optimus Prime was watching the children help his Autobots clean up. There was a look in his optics that made the human catch her breath. She didn't think she'd ever seen such deep compassion and fatherly love on the face of any being. Peace and contentment radiated from Optimus like the moonlight over the desert. A computer beeped and the moment was broken as he turned to respond. June stared at the Prime's back a second longer. No matter what the motivations of the military were, she decided, there was no better place for the children to be.