Mia had left a note pinned to the fridge with a magnet. It said, Date with Frank tonight, back in the morning. Leftovers in fridge.
Brian sighed, tugging the note free of the magnet and scrunching it into a ball. He tossed it in the trash and opened the fridge to see what Mia had brought them home from work.
They were playing it straight, trying to fly under the radar for a few months and not draw attention to themselves if they could help it. There wasn't the payback in playing it straight that there was in skirting with illegality, though, and money was tight. They all worked out of a garage down by the beach; occasionally the cars they were doing jobs on were as hot as the weather they were working in, but mostly they were keeping it clean. They were doing tune-ups and fixing faulty transmissions. Easy stuff, the kind of thing that Brian had once planned with Roman. Those plans had folded once the FBI had approached him; he'd had to choose between a future that would make him happy, and one where he might one day get to fix things so that Dom could come home. There had been no competition at all, and he'd left Roman to set up the garage alone, heading back west to start all over again.
Sometimes the jobs slowed up and they needed to make ends meet; the weeks when that happened, Mia took on extra shifts at the diner, and Dom worked down at the pier, hauling boxes of fuck knows what onto container trucks twelve hours a day. Brian was the weak link; not fluent like Mia and Dom, he sold Coca-Colas to tourists down at the beach, and sometimes worked security at the club down the block. Brian had been on the run once already, and it hadn't been pretty. He'd drunk too much and driven too fast and taken too many risks because he hadn't cared. This time was nothing like that last time. This time he had a home of sorts to come back to every night.
"It's lasagna," Dom said, coming in from the back porch and nodding towards the fridge. He was holding an empty bottle of beer. He tossed it in the trash and leaned past Brian and into the fridge, coming out again with two more beers and passing one to Brian.
"Not hungry anyway," Brian said, twisting the cap off his bottle. "Been home long?" Home slipped off his tongue. Brian wondered if it was like that for Dom and Mia, if what they had here meant as much to them as it had come to mean to him. It had been a long time since he'd had somewhere he'd cared enough to want to come back to. With Brian it had always been people, rather than places. One person in particular.
Dom shrugged. "Long enough for a shower and a beer." He nodded towards the fridge again, towards the spot where Mia's note used to be. The magnet was an old Ford GT; Brian had found it down at a stall by the market and brought it back the week after they moved in. "Mia's not coming back tonight."
"I saw," Brian said. He didn't bother testing his heart to see if it still hurt; it didn't. He and Mia had tried it for a while, when Dom had been on trial and again afterwards. When they first got down here, exhausted and exhilarated and riding the crest of the wave for the few weeks it took them to get settled, then they 'd shared a room and let Dom take the other room across the hall. But he and Mia hadn't ever been a long term option. When they didn't have Dom's welfare in common anymore, they'd struggled to fill the gap, and even though it had been Mia who'd finally told Brian that they weren't working out, Brian had known she was right. So now Brian took the couch, and Mia the bedroom, and they tried to figure their shit out as friends.
"This guy had better treat her right," Dom said, leaning back against the counter and taking a long gulp of his beer.
"Yeah," Brian agreed, because he loved Mia. He just didn't love her. He never had, even though he'd lied to himself for a while and tried to convince himself that he had. "She seems happy, though."
"Yeah," Dom echoed, and he nodded towards the back porch. "He'd better see that it stays that way. You want to sit outside?"
"Sure," Brian said, following him out. They had a scrap of a yard, some sun-browned grass and a couple of lawn chairs. A barbecue. Brian hadn't known what he'd expected when he'd crossed the border with Dom and Mia, but this probably wasn't it. Working the sort of shitty second and third jobs he hadn't worked since he'd been a teenager, the only car he owned the kind he wouldn't have ever looked at twice before, this wasn't how he'd imagined them ending up. "You ever miss it?" he asked, because racing gave him the kind of rush that he couldn't get anywhere else, and all these weeks and months without it had given him the kind of feverish withdrawal he figured was like going cold turkey. He dreamed of pressing the pedal to the metal, the road stretched out in front of him, going on forever and ever, the speedometer maxed out. He woke up hard.
Dom shot him a glance, kicking back in one of the rickety old lawn chairs. He didn't ask what. "Like breathing," he said, after a moment, and leaned his head back, staring up at the sky. "But I'm never going back to jail again, not ever."
"No," Brian said, because he wasn't ever letting Dom go back to jail, either. He'd do whatever it took, because he wasn't sure that if it came to it again, he'd be able to break Dom out a second time. Their luck wouldn't hold again, and Brian knew, without thinking too much about why, that he wouldn't cope if Dom went back to jail. Brian knew that jail would break Dom too, like nothing else had ever managed to. They all knew it and all of them were killing themselves playing it straight and not checking out the local racing circuit, because that way led to trouble and right now none of them needed that. Brian imagined what it would feel like to have the open road before him and a fast car and nothing to stop him, and wondered if Dom spent as long as he did remembering the adrenaline kick and the hum of the engine as it peaked out.
"Pen called," Dom said. Pen owned the garage where they all pulled shifts; they didn't see much of him because he lived up the coast with his family. Brian secretly thought that they might have a future here, that Pen might sell up and they could find the money somewhere, make it theirs. The three of them. Sometimes Pen called them up when he had a big job for them. A job with Pen meant that Brian could drop the tourist stall down by the beach, which he hated. Dom and Mia both told him that they could make the rent with just his security work and without what he brought in working the beach stall when the garage didn't have anything for them, but Brian didn't want an easy ride. He didn't like not being busy.
Brian sat up straighter in his chair. "What's he got for us?"
"Four cars," Dom said. He shot Brian a sidelong glance, and grinned. "Gotta make them walk the torque, Bri. Got to make sure they're ready for the track."
"Yeah?" Brian said, unable to stop himself from grinning right back. "The track?"
Dom shrugged. "He knows someone who's putting a team together. For the track circuit over in—"
"A racing team?" Brian interrupted. "Are they looking for drivers?"
Dom watched him, and then shrugged again. "Don't know, " he said. "You interested if he is?"
Brian swallowed. Yes, yes, yes, he thought. He'd spent his whole life obsessed with cars, pulling them apart and putting them back together, racing from the moment he'd got his hands on a set of keys and his first car. He'd become a cop so he could drive fast without getting pulled over; with hindsight, it was probably a stupid idea. Brian loved cars like he loved waking up in the morning; without them he'd be nothing. He'd never felt that way about the law. He shifted in his seat. "Would he consider us?"
"They're looking for someone to fix the cars up first," Dom told him. He shook his head. "Fuck, Bri. It's like having it dangled right in front of you. Everything you want."
"We could get rid of these piece of shit cars," Brian said, meaning the two cars they had parked out front, and Mia's. He remembered the cars he'd been driving the past few years, the Skyline that he'd honed until it felt like an extension of himself. The last time they'd all got drunk together, Dom had talked about the Buick Grand National he'd driven in the Dominican Republic. Mia had fallen asleep on the bench between them, and Brian had been left listening to Dom talking on and on about the two-twenty horsepower and the upgrades they'd pulled until the cars had breathed with them.
Brian had waited until the bedroom doors had closed softly behind Dom and Mia before he'd jerked off, the low rumble of Dom's voice as he talked about the ecotec-14 engine the soundtrack to his fantasy. He wasn't fool enough not to know what it all meant.
"I'd kill to fucking race again," Dom said, interrupting his thoughts. Brian took a long drink of his beer. He knew what it had cost Dom to admit that. He knew how much it screwed with Mia that she'd never got to finish school. Brian never got to go home again. They all had crosses to bear. The cars, though, they were the hardest. He was pretty sure that they couldn't keep it up, that they couldn't keep on the right side of the law for long. They needed speed too much to give it up like this.
"Did I ever tell you about the 1968 Mustang 390-GT I fixed up?" he said, because sometimes he couldn't not talk about cars, and Dom's face looked strained. They'd made a deal, this time, no racing, and it had been too much for Tego and Rico to stick to. Occasionally they checked in, but mostly, it was Dom and Mia and Brian, and all of them trying to make a go of it. "7.5 liter," he went on, and Dom looked at him from under hooded eyes, "V8." Brian leaned back in his chair. The sun was beginning to set over the houses. "Hot as fucking hell," he said, "no air conditioning and it didn't stick to the damn road. Suspension needed re-configuring and the chassis was on its last legs." He glanced across at Dom, who was watching him, his face deceptively lazy. Brian felt the familiar, sharp tug of something hot and desperate in his chest. "Blew a whole month's pay on a stereo system."
"Yeah?" Dom said, slowly. His voice sounded husky and warm, lazy and relaxed in the warmth of the late evening sunset, his beer resting against the inside of his thigh.
Heat thrummed beneath Brian's skin. "Yeah," he said. "I had the hood up every half-hour we were on the road. Needed a fucking graveyard, man. I was always covered in oil."
"How'd it feel, though?" Dom asked, taking a long drink of his beer and tipping his head back so that the taut lines of his throat were exposed, just for a moment. Brian felt suddenly breathless.
"Used to drive through the tunnels just so I could hear the engine," he admitted. "Dropped a cog just to hear it purr. Fuck, it purred like a cat. A noisy, angry cat. A lion. It was a real fucking lion of a car."
Dom gave a low bark of laughter, shaking his head. He took a last gulp of his beer, stood up, and shook the bottle from side to side. Empty. "Do you want another one?"
Brian nodded. He was almost done with his. "Yeah," he said, and stared into the neck of his beer bottle. "I loved that car," he said, softly. "I ran it off the road when I was twenty-two."
Dom rested his hand on Brian's shoulder, just for a moment, and ducked down to press a quick kiss to the top of Brian's head as he passed by on his way into the kitchen.
Brian knew that Dom didn't mean anything by it, that he'd done it a thousand times before in Brian's company, to Vince, to Mia, to Tego and Han and sometimes even Brian. It was familiar, and it meant you were a part of something, of Dom's family. You meant something. Brian knew that this curious family they were trying to keep together, Brian and Dom and Mia, this meant something. It didn't mean what Brian wanted it to mean, though, it didn't mean that Dom wanted Brian the way that Brian wanted Dom. It didn't mean that Dom jerked off thinking about Brian the way that Brian jerked off thinking about Dom. It didn't.
Brian curled his hand around Dom's wrist, unable to help himself. Above him, Dom stilled, and Brian could feel the way his heart beat faster as the moment stretched on, the warmth of Dom's skin beneath his fingertips. He looked up, meeting Dom's eyes, and Dom was watching him, deceptively casual. A muscle pulsed in his cheek, though, and Brian thought, he's not pulling away. Emboldened, Brian stroked his hand up Dom's arm. He was risking everything. The only family he had left.
He tilted his chin up, meaning it as gesture of determination, but above him, Dom breathed, "Fuck." Dom closed the distance between them, leaning down and pressing his mouth to Brian's.
Brian's hand found its way into the curve of Dom's neck, pulling him down closer, and then he was dropping the remains of his bottle of beer down onto the sun-browned grass and kissing Dom back. Dom's hands curled into Brian's hair, holding him close, breathless and anticipatory. They broke apart, but Brian didn't want to think this through. They'd done it, now, there was no going back to how things were. Ten second cars were ten second cars; races were won and lost by taking part, not by standing on the sidelines. He rested his forehead against Dom's for a moment, and then nudged at Dom's mouth with his own. Dom didn't resist; he groaned into Brian's kiss and tilted his head back to get a better angle. He ran his fingertips down Brian's throat, and Brian arched up as he realized he was hard. He rolled his hips, trying to get a better, less uncomfortable position, and Dom must have seen, because he pulled away and growled.
It went straight to Brian's dick, and he couldn't help it, his gaze went straight to the bulge in Dom's pants. "Dom," he said.
Dom tugged him out of the seat, and Brian went without protest, having no cause for complaint even when Dom pushed him back against the siding. He tangled his fingers into the collar of Brian's shirt before leaning in to kiss him again.
Kissing Dom wasn't like Brian had let himself imagine it being. It was sweeter than Brian had ever given Dom credit for, Dom cradling Brian's hips against his with a possessive hand on Brian's hip. Brian pressed up against him, one hand cupping Dom's cheek, kissing him until Dom's mouth was familiar against his own.
Dom pulled away, and Brian was relieved when Dom looked as turned on as Brian felt. Breathless, Brian tugged Dom back against him, feeling the telltale signs of Dom's erection against his hip. Brian fisted his hands in Dom's shirt and kissed him again, groaning against Dom's mouth as Dom nudged his thigh in between Brian's legs, sliding his hands down Brian's sides until he reached Brian's ass.
Brian wanted to say, wanna ride with me, but he didn't, hiding his smile as Dom mouthed his way down Brian's neck, Brian tipping his head back so Dom could get better access. "We should take this inside," Brian managed, since they had neighbors and they probably didn't want a show. Brian wasn't sure he wanted to be a show.
Dom's hands found their way underneath Brian's shirt, and Brian wanted nothing more than to touch Dom all over, run his hands over all of the hard, muscled planes of Dom's body. Map them out beneath his fingertips. Fuck him, if Dom will let him. Be fucked. He just—wanted. He wanted.
"Sure thing," Dom told him, still mouthing at the spot beneath Brian's ear.
Brian urged him back into the house, pushing him backwards until they stumbled in the doorway and had to break apart, standing facing one another, breathless and panting.
"What are we doing?" Brian asked, before he'd had a chance to talk himself out of it.
Dom's expression didn't change. "This," he said, and tugged Brian inside, letting the door swing closed behind them.
"I don't want to fuck this up," Brian admitted, because he wanted Dom more than anyone he'd ever wanted in his whole entire life, and he'd shown that by giving everything up not once, but twice for him. He couldn't have been more obvious if he'd written it across his chest in black Sharpie for everyone to see. I love you just didn't cut it, but he couldn't fuck this up. This family he and Dom and Mia had created was more important to him than almost anything else. He'd had nothing, and now he had everything. The thought of losing them forever because of a bad decision made his chest hurt just thinking about it.
"You think either of us would let you go now?" Dom said, in a low voice. He clenched his fists. "We love you. You're family."
"This isn't what you do with family," Brian said desperately, waving his hand between the two of them.
"It's what you do with people you love, though," Dom said.
"I can't - I mean." He looked Dom right in the eye. "I don't know what I'd do if I fucked this up and didn't have the two of you. If I didn't have you."
Dom's gaze didn't waver. "You've been mine since the moment you lost me my ten-second car," he said. "I say it again; you think I'm going to let you go now? After everything?"
Brian wasn't exactly known for making good decisions. Every single decision he'd made since signing up for the undercover job in the first place was a bad one, on paper. Every single one of them had led him to this point, though, this moment. This decision.
He took the two steps forward he needed to close the distance between them, cupped Dom's face in his hand and kissed him, hard. It's what you do with people you love. "Wanna go for a ride?" he said, and was rewarded with a rumble of laughter from Dom, who kicked open the door to his bedroom and tugged Brian inside.
Taking their clothes off was a hurried mess, shirts and pants tangled up on the floor as Brian pushed Dom down on to the bed and knelt over him, leaning down to kiss him over and over as he ran his hands down Dom's chest. Dom arched up into the kiss, tugging him down closer until they were tangled in the sheets, sticky and hot and wishing they could afford a place with better air conditioning. It wasn't until Dom leaned in and ran his tongue up the hollow of Brian's spine and Brian groaned, burying his face in the pillow that Brian realized what Dom was doing. His tongue was sneaking lower and lower, down over the curve of Brian's ass. Brian reached blindly for Dom behind him, and Dom slid his hand into Brian's but didn't stop what he was doing.
"Dom," Brian managed, as Dom's mouth moved even lower still, until his tongue licked around Brian's asshole and Brian made a high, desperate sound in his throat, squeezing Dom's hand as Dom mouthed at his ass. Brian knew that Dom had to have done this before; he was too expert for it to be anything else. Did he do it with Letty, he wondered, but that train of thought was hastily derailed when Dom slid a finger inside of him, and Brian forgot how to think.
One finger was joined by a second, and Brian was reduced to nothing but a desperate, sweaty mess beneath the combined forces of Dom's mouth and his hand. He clutched at Dom's hand, a focus point when the rest of him was being systematically taken apart.
"Easy," Dom said, pressing his mouth to the curve of Brian's ass. Brian tried to focus, to remember how to breathe. His grip on Dom's hand loosened a little, and Dom breathed out his thanks against Brian's ass. "Turn over," he said.
It was better this way, Brian thought, a minute later. He got to see Dom take his cock in his mouth, his fingers still in Brian's ass. Brian arched up off the bed and tried to catch his breath as Dom sucked him off, slow and steady and with the kind of glint in his eye that Brian already knew was dangerous. He wasn't as expert at blow jobs as he was at fingering Brian's ass, and Brian wondered if it really had been Letty he'd rimmed. Turned out that he didn't care, because he was too busy falling apart.
"Gonna fuck you now," Dom said, his voice rough, and Brian could see how hard Dom was right now, too, how hard and muscled and amazing he looked. Even though his hands felt like jello, Brian reached for him, pulling him close and tugging him down for a kiss. He tasted kind of musky, and Brian chased the taste, intrigued and weirdly turned on. Clearly Dom was too, because he groaned into Brian's mouth and kissed him hard and fast and furious, and Brian reacted accordingly, rolling him over and kissing him back, harder.
"Fuck," Brian groaned, because this was everything. This was everything. Everything he'd risked and given up and taken, all of that and more. "Fuck me."
Dom dragged his mouth across Brian's cheek, tangling his fingers in Brian's hair, just for a moment. His eyes showed something that Brian hardly dared believe was there. He dropped another kiss to the hollow of Brian's jaw and then he was gone, sliding down the bed and in between Brian's legs.
Brian watched as Dom tore open a condom and slid it down over his erection. He swallowed, his mouth dry, and then Dom positioned himself, pressing a kiss to the inside of Brian's knee and sliding inside of Brian before Brian had even had a chance to recognize the discomfort.
It definitely wasn't like this was the first time Brian had done this. He'd fucked around with two other guys, the first a one-night stand and the other something that had teetered on the line between fling and boyfriend. The latter, a studied attempt at forgetting Dom Toretto after Brian had started working for the FBI, hadn't worked. He'd already been working on clearing Dom's rap sheet, and as Mickey's affections had clearly deepened, Brian had become increasingly detached as Dom's case took more and more of his attention. Point was, he'd done this before, but it didn't feel like it now. This was so new and so intense and his attention was focused entirely on Dom.
Dom's gaze locked with Brian's, and Brian couldn't pull his attention away as Dom fucked into him. Breathless and hot, he gasped his appreciation into the sticky evening air, and Dom fucked him harder, the rhythm becoming stilted and desperate as they both neared their orgasms.
Brian felt the twist deep in his belly as he got closer, the rising need. He grabbed at the sheets, trying to tell Dom he was close, but it was too difficult. He got as far as, "Going to—" and then he came, all over his chest.
Dom was still fucking him, and the sensation was almost too much for Brian. He shivered, unable to help himself, his skin burning hot. "Dom," he managed, and Dom reached for him, his cock sliding out of Brian as he tugged him up and into his lap. Brian ignored the burn in his thighs at the shift in position. Dom opened him up with his fingers and slid back into him, and it was easy for Brian to close his mouth over Dom's and capture Dom's increasingly desperate breaths in a kiss.
The rhythm became even more stilted as Brian rocked back against Dom's dick, and Dom groaned against Brian's mouth as he came, his hips rocking up and into him. He wrapped his arms around Brian and his breath came hot and fast against Brian's neck. Brian shivered and tugged him even closer, shifting so that Dom's dick slid out of him.
They stayed like that for a while, until Dom squared his shoulders and sat back on his heels, disposing of the condom in the trash can by the bed. Brian flopped down onto the sheets, one hand over his eyes. After a moment, Dom followed him down onto the sheets, the piece-of-shit mattress only vaguely more comfortable than sleeping on the floor. Brian and Mia had done their best to liquidate Dom's assets before they'd skipped the country, but there was only so much that they could do when Dom was in jail. The money that Dom had earned from his Dominican Republic heists had mostly gone by now, and what little he had left, Mia was making him save for emergencies. Running wasn't cheap.
After a while, Dom leaned over and ran his hand down Brian's chest, ducking in and pressing a kiss to Brian's shoulder.
Brian pretended to resist, but he was smiling fit to burst, and when he looked at Dom, he was grinning too, wide and bright. He shifted onto his side, one hand under his cheek. He didn't want to ask, What about Mia? She meant the world to them both.
It must have shown on his face, because Dom leaned over and ran his hand down Brian's side, nudging Brian's thighs apart so he could slide his leg in between them, pressing close. Brian liked the way that felt.
"Losing each other isn't a question," Dom said, and Brian wasn't sure which of the three of them Dom meant, but it might have been all of them. "You work at shit when it means that much."
Brian nodded, because it was true. He just didn't want this, whatever this was, to rip the three of them apart. Dom nudged at Brian's mouth with his own, and Brian chased Dom's kiss with his own.
In a race, Brian thought, you're in it until the end.
"Stay here," Dom said, roughly, kissing him again, and Brian didn't need to think about his answer.