Race Wars is like an itch, a terrible thing underneath her skin that Letty just doesn't know how to get at. It's not a memory, a resurfacing of old thoughts and feelings. It's a new, terrible sensation, and she doesn't like it.
Dom's good. Dom's steady. But he can't be there all the time. Race Wars is cars and noise and too many people, and Letty knows that there was a time when she liked all of that, when she lived it. Does she still feel the same way? She doesn't know.
Sun and heat and sand, and Letty almost knows it. She wishes she knew it the way she knows how to drive stick, the way she knows the smell of gasoline, and the way she knows the fastest route to get to Sal's Pizza from the Toretto's house.
The guy she's racing looks over at her and smirks at her over his steering wheel, and she thinks that she should know this too.
In London, she'd loved the races. Shaw would let her go with a bored roll in his eyes, and she'd spend the night chasing something or running away from something -- she'd never quite understood which it was. She doesn't have to run anymore, but sometimes, she still wants to, needs to, and the races aren't cutting it anymore.
She wins her race, which is good. And then she punches a guy in the face, which is bad. Dom pulls her out in time, but it's still-- she doesn't like it when she's like that. She doesn't like it when Dom sees her like that. Dom looks at her like he loves her, and she doesn't even know who she is, who it is that he really loves.
She takes her own car back to the Toretto's place. Dom's not happy about that, but Dom's not happy about a lot of things.
Once she's back inside the house, Letty looks for Mia. Mia never treats Letty like she's waiting for Letty to turn into anyone else. That's what Race Wars had been, too many people who had known the old Letty. Too many people expecting things from her that she didn't know how to give.
But Mia's not home. Letty finds Brian instead. He's doing laundry of all things, folding up some of Jack's tiny clothes and placing them in the laundry basket.
"Hey," he says, smiling at her with too many teeth. Brian's always been the simplest out of all of them, the only other Evening in the house. They don't talk much, but he's always been friendly, nice about it. He doesn't need the same things from her that Mia and Dom do. He's just… around. He helps Dom with the cars, bent over the opened hoods and getting grease underneath his fingernails. He kisses Mia in the mornings, Jack wriggling and happy in his arms.
"Hi," Letty says back. She sticks close to the walls, uncomfortable, arms folded over her chest.
"You guys just got back from Race Wars, right?" he asks. He sounds wistful. Letty wonders how many of them he'd been to before, whether or not people would recognize him on sight, too.
"Yeah," she says. "Was looking for Mia."
He rolls up a pair of tiny socks. "She's taking Jack to a doctor's appointment." He pauses for a moment. "You all right?"
"No," Letty says.
He stops and looks at her, and she wants to hiss at him, claw his eyes out, force him to go back to his stupid baby t-shirts. "You want to talk about it?"
"No," Letty repeats. She shrinks away from the bedroom doorway. Brian and Mia's room. She's slept in here once or twice, when Brian's spending the night with Dom. On those nights, she wraps herself up in Mia's softness, lets Mia show her how she likes to be touched. Mia was studying to be a doctor, Letty knows, and she has careful, dangerous hands. Mia knows that Letty won't break easily, and she's far rougher in bed than Dom ever lets himself be.
"Okay," Brian says. Letty wants to hate him. She wants to hate him for his ease with the other two, how settled and comfortable he is. But Brian's too sweet, too happy, too obviously good for them. Letty hasn't missed the way Dom glows under Brian's attention and the way Mia smiles brighter when Brian's around.
"I'm leaving," she says.
She watches his reaction. He lifts his eyebrows. "If it's something Dom did--"
"Not exactly," she says. She thinks about the way Dom will cup her face, the way his voice will get even deeper, even rougher when he's talking to her. She thinks of how it felt at Race Wars, out in the middle of the desert and the walls still kept closing in.
"Okay," he says. He holds out his arms, welcoming her into a hug. "Just remember that you'll always have a place here. That's not going to change just because you're not around."
"Thanks," she says, leaning into the solid warmth of his body, and she almost believes it.
Her memories come crashing back when she has Dom cradled in her arms in the hollowed out remains of a parking garage.
Letty's still running on the adrenaline of the last few hours. Her heart bangs heavy in her chest. The rubble is jagged and uncomfortable underneath her knees. The air still smells like explosives and concrete dust.
She presses her lips to the smooth skin of his bald head, and she feels a cold squeeze in the center of her chest. No, she refuses to let it end here, like this. Not when it's all just come back. She remembers the first time he touched her, the stale smell of mid-afternoon summer sweat, the thin, rough sheets of his bed, the eagerness of his lips against her own. She remembers their last job together before she came back to LA, the way Dom had held her on the beach afterwards, and how he had left her behind out of some sort of nobility bullshit.
Brian's there beside her, and she remembers him, too. She remembers the way he'd trail after Dom like a puppy just waiting to be kicked, remembers the sharp burn of knowing anger when they'd discovered that he was a cop, remembers sitting in his shitty FBI office as he filled out her CI paperwork.
Dom's skin is still warm to the touch. She can still feel the rise and fall of his chest as he breathes. She wants Mia here, Mia who was studying to be a doctor, Mia who would know what to do.
Letty lets herself cry for the first time since she woke up after the crash, ugly, wet sobs that shake her whole body.
And then Dom mumbles something with his familiar rumble, and it's okay. Everything is going to be okay.
On the beach, she and Dom watch as Brian and Mia play with Jack at the edge of the water, frolicing in the waves. Their laughter carries back to where they're sitting. She leans against Dom's shoulder, closing her eyes and letting the sun, the wind linger on her face. If she could make time stand still. If she could tell the rest of the world to fuck off and just keep this one moment.
"You alright over there?" Dom asks. She can feel the vibrations of it where their skin touches.
"Yeah," Letty says, and she's not even lying.
She opens her eyes to look at him, and his expression is dark and soft, full of unspoken feeling. Letty presses herself in closer to his side, breathing him in. He still uses the same soap now as he did when he was twenty. His arms are bigger, though.
She's not paying attention to anything else, which is how Mia gets the drop on her, tackling her to the ground like they're fifteen again, like they're still all awkward limbs and acne. Roman wolf-whistles, but then there's the smack of skin on skin and silence, like maybe Dom or Brian punched his arm.
"You remember this, right?" Mia asks. She smiles exactly the same as she did back then, sharp and a little wicked, and it's good to know that motherhood hasn't changed her that much.
"Yes," Letty says, tilting her head back so that Mia can kiss her. Out of the corner of her eye, she can see Brian handing Jack over to Dom, all three of them wearing matching grins.
Mia doesn't try to hold her down. She just lets her long dark hair fall around them, her arms framing Letty's head. She kisses differently than she she did when she was fifteen, more aggressive, more sure of herself.
Jack lets out a sharp cry, and Mia pulls back, snapping to attention.
"It's fine," Dom says. "Little man just got a little over excited, that's all." Jack giggles from where he's sitting on Dom's shoulders, arms wrapped around Dom's forehead.
Brian rolls his eyes, and his smile is the same smile he wears when Mia's getting Jack ready for school in the mornings, adoring and fond.
Mia tugs Letty's hand, pulling her upright. Letty wipes the sand from her legs, her arms, her shorts. She takes a deep breath and listens for that small voice in the back of her head, the part of her that's scared, that's always ready to run. But it's quiet right now. It doesn't have anything to say.
Dom gives her a knowing look, like he's been reading her mind. He doesn't say anything, though. Instead, he runs towards an incoming wave, Jack screeching with delight as he gets splashed by it.
Mia squeezes Letty's hand. She doesn't ask Letty to stay. She doesn't need to. Letty's not going anywhere.