Five Ways Vince Didn’t Die
They were having a moment. Vince was bleeding out behind the driver’s seat from yet another gut shot and they were having a moment. Brian had always known Dom’s emotional timing sucked, but, damn it!
He manhandled a pretty much unconscious Hobbs out of his way and crab walked down the length of the van, pulling off his shirt in the process. He was too annoyed to be very gentle as he elbowed Dom out of the way and then pulled on Vince’s legs until he slipped off the seat and flat onto the floor. He bunched up his shirt, pressed it to the wound and held tight.
“What the hell is it,” he almost snarled, “with you getting shot and me having to save your ass?” Then, as an afterthought, he added, “Asshole.”
Vince laughed, a choked, painful sound, and in the front seat Mia giggled hysterically. Brian looked over his shoulder at Hobbs, one hand held out, expectantly. Five years of deep cover had taught him a few tricks and, without a doubt, that a man like Hobbs was always prepared.
Hobbs hesitated for a moment and then started emptying the pockets of his cargo pants. He came up with disinfectant wipes, a knife, a lighter, bandages. Everything Brian needed to put Vince back together long enough to get him to a real doctor.
He gave the bigger man a toothy grin. “Congrats, man,” he said, “today is the day you don’t die.”
And then he damn well made it so.
It was a fluke. An absolute fluke. An inch to the left and it would have hit Dom. And inch higher, it would have hit no-one at all. If Vince hadn’t stumbled over a piece of rubble, it would have hit him in the stomach.
But it didn’t. Didn’t, didn’t, didn’t and all Dom saw, the entire of his vision, of his world, every sense, was filled up with the image of Brian.
Brian on the ground, half his head blown to pieces. He’d been kneeling, taking cover and then - Brian, unmoving. Brian was never unmoving, not even when he slept. Brian was life in its most basic form: Movement, spirit, action.
And now he wasn’t.
Mia was screaming, Neves was trying to hold her back. Hobbs was stumbling to his feet and Vince was screaming for Dom to move, fucking move, or they were all dead, all of them.
Not just Brian.
Brian. Who was dead. Brains blown out.
Dom blinked, not registering anything that was happening around him. Not even Mia’s anguish was enough to move him. He blinked and opened his eyes again.
The image didn’t change.
For a second that turned into a long moment and then into white hot shame, he wished that Vince hadn’t stumbled.
Then his oldest friend was there, screaming still, grabbing his arm. Towing him away. In the car Mia latched on to him, shaking with the power of her sobs.
They left Brian where he’d fallen.
“I’ll drive,” Neves offered as they all grabbed guns and ammo, ready to bail out the guy that was hell bent on locking them up. Why were they doing this exactly?
Dom shook his head without looking at her, holding out a riot gun. She took it automatically as he said, “Vince is the better driver.”
Then he looked up at the other man, said, “Keep Mia safe.”
Vince nodded and switched places with Neves.
Mia was staring fixedly at the slivers of horizon visible between the rooftops outside the windshield, trying to keep her breakfast down.
Running, the fight, Dom with that wrench, getting arrested. The baby was squirming in her gut and she felt bile rising with every other breath. It took all she had to not just barf on Hobbs’s feet.
He’d deserve it.
Breathe, she told herself, and just kept staring at the sky.
The sky, which was suddenly blocked by a figure in black. A mask. A… was that a goddamn rocket launcher?
“Trap,” she yelled before her brain caught up with what she was seeing, “It’s a trap, it’s a trap, it’s a trap!”
The driver probably didn’t realize who it was that was screaming, just heard the words and slammed on the brakes. The open comms system connecting the cars assured that the other drivers followed suit.
There was a moment of artificial stillness where no-one moved or breathed. The rocket – rocket! - slammed into the street only feet from the first car of their convoy, sending concrete shards flying in all directions.
Their driver slammed the car into reverse and hit the gas.
Too close, Mia thought as Hobbs reached out the window to return fire and the world exploded into motion. Too close, too close, too close.
This time, there was no holding down breakfast.
Dom kept looking toward the door. While they were planning, hanging out, training to avoid the cameras.
His gaze kept slipping and landing on the door.
Like he was waiting for something. Something other than Hobbs and his men. Someone, maybe.
Brian watched, silently, as Dom’s looks grew longer and his expression stonier. He wanted to offer some sort of comfort, but he didn’t think, “I’m sorry your best friend sold you out,” was going to go over well.
So he watched Dom and Dom watched the door. Waiting.
Vince never came.