“You're kidding me,” Eric says, staring at Mr. Nobody.
His boss shakes his head. “Nah. I think it's a good idea. You still have a lot to learn and they can help you with that. Especially when it comes to the field. You flailed around a lot on this case.”
Eric swallows down the indignation, or tries to, at least. “I didn't!”
Mr. Nobody laughs, pats Eric's shoulder. “It's okay. We all do at the beginning.”
He turns away from Eric then, beckons him to follow. The team is in the kitchen of the Toyshop, a dingy nook with a microwave and a coffee machine that smelled more of machine oil than food. They are chatting, laughing; and it's so mundane and it's so theirs, and Eric can't imagine ever fitting in. He did, for a bit, during the latter parts of the last mission, and during that party on the rooftop. But it was all just them being nice, being grateful. He doubts they want him there.
Mr. Nobody nods at Hobbs.
“You all know Little Nobody,” Hobbs says, and Eric almost protests about the nickname again. But he doesn't. They wouldn't listen anyway. And maybe it's better to let these things slide when he’ll be working with them for longer than expected. “He'll stay on with the team,” Hobbs goes on.
Dom grins, nods. “The more, the merrier,” he says, and Letty raises an eyebrow at him.
“You haven't worked with him before,” Tey points out, and it's surprisingly hurtful. “He's got a stick lodged up his ass.”
Ramsey shrugs. “Well, it did get a little loose towards the end of this whole 'Dom might be evil' mess.”
“Ah, just don't cramp our style,” Roman adds.
They all turn back to chatting then, his membership a done deal. Eric turns to Mr. Nobody, feeling helpless, pointless, actually.
His boss grins at him, does a little wave. “Good luck, Eric.”
And then he's gone.
Eric spits out his beer.
“What?" he asks, staring at Roman.
Roman blinks. “Nothing.”
“Bullshit. You just said I was pretty.”
Roman rolls his eyes. “Pretty big head you got there.”
Eric shakes his head, still feeling dumbfounded. “You are an idiot.”
Roman looks away.
Eric frowns. “What do you mean?”
“Your driving. You need to be better.”
Eric tries not to let the assessment hurt. He loves cars but he's not a racer, not like the others are. Instead, he's an agent, and Mr. Nobody took him on because he believed in Eric's potential. Still does, Eric hopes.
“Suggestions?” he asks, because potential means work, means practise. Otherwise, it's just wasted.
“Let them teach you,” Hobbs says.
And that's how he ends up in a car with Roman next to him, his hand on the gear shift covered with Roman's. It's warm and awkward but not exactly uncomfortable.
“I'm pretty sure holding hands is not part of driving lessons,” he points out.
Roman smirks. “How would you know? The way you drive, I'm pretty sure you never had any lessons.”
Eric glares at him.
“Eyes on the road, Little Nobody,” Roman says, smirking again, and Eric hates him a little bit.
He's a bit charmed, too.
“Drop the weapon,” he orders, his own gun trained on the man.
“Why?” the man asks, and Eric thinks he sounds amused, sounds so fucking sure of himself. And Eric hates people like that, always hated them, and he wants the man away from Roman, needs him to be away from him.
“Because I'll shoot you if you don't,” Eric explains, and a part of him is somewhere else, a part of him goes through a check-list of everything he needs to consider before pulling the trigger.
“Whoa, whoa,” Roman shouts, flailing. “Let’s all take a breather before shooting anyone.”
Eric smiles, and he knows it's not a nice smile, knows it's a little bit scary. His shooting instructor at the academy had told him, said that he looked deranged before taking a shot, his smile reminding him of the hero/villain in a Tarantino movie.
“Taking a breath here,” he tells Roman, and he is still smiling.
Instead, Hobbs trains with him, sometimes drags Eric into their sessions. He gets his ass kicked, spends the days after cursing whenever he does something even slightly exhausting.
Roman thinks it's hilarious.
Roman doesn't like Deckard, though, tells Eric to be careful around him. There is something fierce in his words, something guarded in his voice, and it almost makes Eric uncomfortable. Sometimes, when Deckard sends him to the ground again, he sees Roman hanging around, his eyes on Eric.
He thinks Roman might be watching over him.
Tey snickers, Ramsay smirks, Letty raises an eyebrow at him, a challenge in the small gesture. It's all kinds of dumb and it reminds him of high school, of pretending to be better and braver than all the others.
“Okay,” Eric answers, though he isn't sure that the idea is a good one.
Roman shrugs. “At least he's pretty.”
Eric remembers Roman with a beer in his hand then, not his first of the evening, remembers him tipsy and open for seconds, saying the same thing and denying it one breath later. He decides not to comment on it.
He dresses up for the mission, tight pants and a tight shirt, and Roman whistles when he sees him. Eric replies with a middle finger. He knows what he looks like.
Roman, though. Roman looks great, and Eric kind of wishes he wouldn't know that, wouldn't have to spend a mission with Roman dressed in black, making Eric think about stuff he really shouldn't. He is supposed to be more professional than this, even when working with Hobbs' team of lunatics.
His team of lunatics, probably.
It could be worse.
Roman is next to him, so close that he is the reassuring presence Eric needs for moments and places like this, for the seconds before the mask slips into place and he becomes whoever he needs to be. He's good at the undercover game. Not perfect in any way, but good, and he throws a grin at Roman, reaches out and takes his hand to pull him to the bar.
Roman sputters but catches himself, his grip tightening for a couple of seconds. They get drinks, they get the lay of the bar and the situation. They find their target and they work their magic. It's a simple plan, after all.
“Hey!” he drawls after Roman ran into their target, and Eric lets a drunken lull creep into his voice. “Why are you flirting with this guy, baby?” He falls into Roman, flailing around for a moment before wrapping his arms around him. “Do you think he looks better than me?” he asks with the petulance of a child and the whine of a few beers in his voice.
“No, of course not,” Roman replies, and he sounds like the boyfriend he's supposed to be, half appeasing and half appalled, and Eric thinks of the way Roman calls him pretty sometimes. He forces himself to focus on the mission. It's not an easy thing to do.
Eric turns, gives the man a long look, his eyes running over him with a disdain that he doesn't have to fake. “He isn't all that good-looking.”
The man stares back, and there is a hunger in his eyes. Eric smirks, and knows that their target will fall for the challenge. It's an easy distraction, almost absurdly so. But their target's employer hasn't realized the weaknesses in his security yet, hasn't replaced this very specific man, and Hobbs and Mr. Nobody and Dom and everybody else on his team know how to use the tools they have been given.
Eric had been in a moment like this before, back when he was still with the FBI, before Mr. Nobody found him and told him it was time to switch agencies. The other agent had been so assured, his hands precise on his body, his lips and tongue a written play. Eric had liked it back then, the warmth and the solid body pressing him up against the wall, but he had told himself not to think about it afterward. There was no place for things like that at the agency, not when you wanted to get somewhere and do more important things than cases that led you to dark bars.
It's different with Roman. There is something raw in the way he reaches out for Eric's jaw to pull him in, in the way his fingers dig into Eric's waist. It's real and possessive, and Eric opens up to it all, lets Roman in until Hobbs' command pulls him out of it.
“You distracted him long enough. We got the package. Well done, guys. Get out of there.”
Roman smirks at him when they draw apart. And Eric almost pulls him back in to feel that grin under his lips.
Somewhere in the air there is a plane with a weapons-dealer on board; somewhere on the ground, there's an angry bodyguard who watched them instead of his boss. It doesn't matter to Eric right now.
“We’re gonna do the paperwork for this bullshit,” Roman tells the group, and his voice and words pull Eric back into the moment. He blinks, looks at Hobbs.
Hobbs snorts, grins at him. “Yeah, you guys do that.”
Roman leaves. And Eric follows him, anticipation rolling in his stomach like a snake ready to spring, a wild thing, a bet on something Eric doesn't quite understand but a bet he would really like to win.
He lets Roman undress him in his room, Roman's hands roaming over his chest, his body, and his “Fuck, you're pretty” makes Eric smile into a kiss. Not much later, he gasps and he curses under almost every touch, and for a crazy, reckless moment before coming, Eric thinks he could trust Roman with his life just as much as he trusts him with his body.
“Quite a show, huh?” Tey says next to him.
Eric turns to him, still feeling vaguely appalled. “More like a natural disaster. But in a cartoon. A cartoon disaster.”
Tey only laughs.
And it's not a question, Eric knows that, it's a proposition and a promise, and he can imagine what Roman means, what he wants. Eric can imagine it so easily, being bent over the car with his jeans pooling around his feet, Roman's hands hot on his hips, driving his cock into him.
He swallows. Looks at Roman.
“Hey!” Dom calls out, and Eric doesn't want to know how he looked to draw Dom's attention, refuses to think about it. “Not your bedroom,” Dom goes on.
Eric stands up fast, too fast, and only Roman's hand saves him from hitting his head against the hood of the car.
Roman laughs quietly, his hands running down Eric's back now. “I got you.”
It's not all that reassuring.
Eric turns to him then, and they're so close he expects another comment from Dom.
“You would like that that, wouldn't you? You and me and a car,” Roman says, and his smirk reminds him of driving lessons and a dark bar, it reminds him of Roman pressing into him and some fucking fireworks going off in his head.
“Nah,” he forces himself to say. “You drive like a maniac.”
Roman laughs again, louder this time, and lets him go.
Hobbs frowns at Mr. Nobody's request but lets Eric go. “Be careful,” he orders before Eric leaves.
Roman watches them.
The mission is a shit-show from the start, bad planning and bad ideas, and Eric is glad it isn't on him this time. It's the lead agent, experienced but lacking originality, and the criminals they are up against are creative and clever and cruel.
Eric gets kidnapped.
That would never have happened with his real team.
They come for him days later, just like he knew they would, and Eric has never seen Hobbs looking so angry before, has never seen fear like that on Roman's face. He tries his best to smile at them, but it hurts too much with his split lip, so he just gives them a little wave.
“Get me out of here?” he says, asks, and he wishes his voice wouldn't shake the way it does, he wishes he could have been stronger, better. But that doesn't matter as much as it could. Because they do. Get him out of there, that is.
Eric falls asleep in Roman's car.
It feels like the safest place in the world.
"You're staring," Hobbs says, and Eric startles. Hobbs smirks, sits down next to him. "Never knew Roman was so fascinating."
"He is an idiot," Eric says, looking away.
"Well, that most definitely," Hobbs answers, and Eric thinks that Hobbs is laughing at him. "So it's a good fit," and Eric just knows Hobbs is mocking him now. He's oddly okay with that.
And yet, he is.
He has nightmares, and they're not about getting kidnapped, about the bruises that still litter his body or the cut above his ribs that is going to scar. They're about Deckard or Dom betraying them, they're about Hobbs and Ramsey and Tey being taken. They're about Roman, too, about Roman with a gun against his head and Eric missing his shot.
Mostly, they're about Roman.
Eric doesn't tell him any of this, only reaches out for him when he wakes, proving to himself that Roman is there, is alright, will be alright. He'll make sure of that.
"You destroyed the last one," Eric goes on.
"That wasn't my fault!"
"You chose it for a trip to Winter Wonderland and it sank!"
Roman shrugs. "It seemed like the right choice at the time."
"A Lamborghini. On ice."
A grin, all white teeth and bravado. "See! It even sounds cool!"
Eric groans. Roman darts around him then, going for the Ferrari with a gleeful sound. For a moment, Eric considers throwing something at him. Instead, he gets into the passenger seat.
Roman's fingers running through his hair feel like the only anchor he still needs, the only reason to stay right where he is, with the world, with Roman smiling down at him.
And he wants to stay. So he does.
There is more of Roman's shit strewn all over his apartment, there is his toothbrush in the bathroom and some kind of glittery unicorn shower stuff.
And Roman keeps on going home with him.
He makes Eric breakfast sometimes, tries to, at least. His coffee is terrible, even though Eric owns a coffee machine that is more high-tech than Ramsey's laptop; his toast is burned. His omelet is pretty good, though.
He has a side in the bed, their bed, and sometimes Eric wakes up when Roman gets up before him. It's all frighteningly quaint and Eric has no idea what the hell they're doing. Though maybe, he thinks, that isn't all that important. Not yet, anyway.
“So this is over once I'm all wrinkly,” he asks, and he means it to be a joke.
Roman rolls on top of him then, his weight no longer surprising and still so very welcome. It grounds Eric.
“We're not Dom and Letty,” Roman says, and he sounds oddly apologetic “But I like you.”
Eric thinks of all the shit Dom and Letty went through, losing each other over and over again like they had tickets to the world's worst merry-go-round. And he thinks of Roman in a bar, thinks of driving with him and kissing him and killing for him.
Smiles into Roman's neck.
Says, “Who the fuck would want to be Dom and Letty?”