Brian learned how to hide young and he’s got Rome to thank for that. Rome who shoved him when they were ten, play wrestling, and who Brian suddenly found himself showing throat to. Rome had been the one to shake him hard and demand to know what the fuck he thought he was doing because he couldn’t do that, not where they were growing up.
“Do you know what they’ll do to you?” Rome had demanded, two years older and seemingly worlds wiser to Brian. “Do you know how many people here think being a submissive is the same thing as saying yes? People who'll know it's not but won't care?” He had looked scared and dragged Brian home to talk to his mom.
What it boiled down to, although Mrs. Pearce had been kinder and gentler in her phrasing, was that Brian was pretty. Throw submissive in the mix and he could've attracted a whole lot of the wrong kind of attention. In a safer neighborhood somewhere else, maybe, there wouldn't have been any dangers in being himself but their particular trailer park was something of a dumping ground for ex-cons and rehab rejects. There were too many were too many lowlives not above getting their drugs or jollies the ugly way in that fucking trailer park(Brian's methhead mom included) for Brian to risk letting anyone know his dynamic had presented as submissive.
So he was ten when he started hiding. He kept his hair short, not buzzed or bald but shorter than he wanted. He let Rome convince him to steal cars and he punched the biggest kid in the place his first day in juvie. Act alpha, be the big dog, present a profile of dominance - that was the deal. That’s who he had to be, unless it was him and Rome.
Then, well, then he could sink to his knees in whatever shithole they were living in and press his forehead to his friend’s knee and rest or do chores for his mother. He could accept a hand on his head and someone telling him where to go, what to do. He had a place with Rome and Mrs. Pearce where he felt useful and safe, right up until Rome got his stupid ass hauled off to prison on an actual felony and ruined everything.
Almost ten years later, a detective with a badge, a gun, and orders that come from a boss instead of a scene partner, Brian still hates him a little for getting caught. Maybe if he'd never gone to prison, Brian would've felt like he could stop pretending at some point and started actually being. Of course, He still loves Rome's dumb face, too, or the Toretto thing would never have gotten this out of hand. That first picture of Dominic Toretto reminded Brian of his friend, a glossy five by eight of the man leaning against a car that was so beautiful it almost made Brian hard all by itself with his shaved head and his cut off sleeves. They stood the same way - like they owned everything around them.
The difference being that Dom actually backed up his dominance with power. When he got Vince off Brian that first day - during their little fight - the command in his voice made Brian want to kneel right there on the fucking asphalt. He wanted to bare his throat, or at the very least duck his head the way Vince did. Not doing so had been one of the hardest things he’d ever done.
Had been. Up to that point at least. Then, when Brian actually finds himself in the midst of the Toretto clan, it seems like every damn day is a new exercise in the painfully difficult.
Staying undercover is the least of it. There’s their pet genius Jesse who is needier than Brian ever was and ever could be and who seems to hit subspace at the smallest compliment. Letty is sleeping with Dom despite the fact that they have the same dynamic and her aggression ripples through every room she enters and Vince is always right behind his shoulder, ready to push him for position. There’s Mia who he likes, likes so fucking much he wishes he were dynamic-queer like Letty and Dom so that he could want her the way she wants the man she thinks he is.
And there is always, always Dom. Dom manages to make even breathing hard for Brian because when he’s in the room, Brian wants to ask him for permission to do so. He wants tell Dom what he’s doing, why, then beg for forgiveness, for permission to stay, to belong. He’s finds himself opening his mouth to do it a few times, but he doesn’t do it. He doesn’t tell. He doesn’t ask for anything. He doesn’t show throat, or roll over, or offer himself, or straight-up out himself. He sometimes bites his tongue so hard he tastes blood and feels himself falling deeper under Dom’s spell.
Brian nearly loses it in the garage when it's just the two of them. Dom is raw and open and, talking about his father and Kenny Linder and the blackout grief that turned the good man in front of him into a criminal. “What can I do to help?” he asks, hating himself for asking as soon as the words are out of his mouth. It’s submissive behavior - the offer of service - but he couldn’t stop himself.
“Can you take it back, my dad and Linder?”
“Then don’t worry about it. It’s not your weight to carry.”
Brian almost does a lot of stupid things in that moment. He almost kisses him, almost dips his head and turns his neck to expose his jugular in offer, almost spills it all.
He holds it together, though. By the skin of his fucking teeth he hangs on to his shit until after Bilkins and Tanner raid the Tran property. When the strike is over and he knows for sure that the truck hijackings are Dom, well, then, it doesn’t matter anymore does it? He’s fucked however he turns. It's just of choice of which way he wants it.
In the end, of course, Brian knows that there was never any real choice. Fucking Dominic fucking Toretto had him the first time they met. Everything after that was just extra knots in the net. Even as he pulls Dom out of the the wreckage of Charger after that fucking semi hit him, shaking with leftover adrenaline and terror - Brian can’t push down the tiny buzz he gets from having his hands on his body in even that most dire situation.
Dom stands beside him, ready to get hauled in, bleeding and battered but still tall and strong and Brian is just… He’s owned. Dom owns him, completely and utterly, and he never had to try. That revelation is followed by the realization that Brian doesn’t do something to acknowledge that fact, he will regret it for the rest of his miserable life.
All of these reasons are why he pulls the keys to his own car out of his pocket and holds them out, palm up. It's a classic submissive service gesture, a willing offering made to a dominant with open hands - in Brian's case his heart and Dom's freedom.
Dom stares at him. Brian is going to miss those eyes. “Do you know what you’re doing?”
The voice in his head that gives him instructions on how to be a dominant, the one that sounds like Rome, tells him to say something sarcastic. He could say that he owes him a ten second car and it would totally work. Instead he takes a step closer and kneels because seriously, screw it all. He’s throwing his career away. Why not sink his whole life while he's at it?
He keeps his hand with the keys outstretched and bows his head. “I know exactly what I’m doing. Sir.”
There’s a sharp hiss of breath above him, then the keys are being snatched from his hands and he’s being hauled to his feet. Dom’s mouth is on his, kissing him like he's leading a conquering army instead of engaging in a simple meeting of lips and tongues. Brian doesn’t know where to touch, what to do. Dom’s injured. The cops are coming. There’s no time but he tastes so good and he feels right, exactly right.
Dom breaks the kiss, taking the lead. He grips the back of Brian’s neck with the same hand holding the keys, his good hand. “We’re not done, you hear me?”
“Yes, sir,” Brian says, the honorific coming out as easy as breathing.
“You’re going to be in so much trouble when I get my hands on you again, Brian, fuck. Fuck.” Dom kisses him again, hard and fast like the car crash he just climbed out of. “But the keys, God, Brian, you’re being so good.” Dom praises him before giving him one last, quick kiss.
Brian melts. He aches. He comes to life. He nods and forces himself to take a step back. He watches Dom drive away because that's what Dom needs him to do. It’s fairly easy compared to holding himself and his submission back.
If Dom doesn’t follow through, he’ll know that, at least this once, he was able to be good for Dom. He was able to be of service in the most important of ways. And if he does mean what he said about finishing what they started, well, Brian’s been sitting on his desires most of his life. He can wait a little longer.