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Meet Somewhere Left of Middle

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It was a game of cat and mouse, not only with the authorities, but with each other. Brian and Dom, even Mia, knew they couldn’t stay together, but they couldn’t stay apart for too long either. The last five, almost six, years had taken their toll and they were tired of being alone.

It was times like this that made it all worth it, though. The times when he and Dom met up in the middle of nowhere and they had a chance to just be. Like right now, they were pulled off some deserted stretch of broken highway in…hell. Brian didn’t even know what country they were in. There’d been too many in the last eight months.

But it didn’t matter, because Dom was lying next to him on the hood of the Challenger that Brian was currently driving. Dom’s Camaro was parked next to it. They were under the shade of a massive old tree and they could both hear the waves crashing against the rocks down below, the ocean stretching out before them, and the road behind them shimmering in the heat. It was the most calm he’d felt since he’d made the decision to throw his career away for the second time for the man next to him.

It was kind of scary how much sway Dominic Toretto had over him. Gravity, Mia had said. She wasn’t lying.

“Did I ever thank you?” Dom’s voice was a low rumble when he broke the silence and it took Brian a few seconds to actually hear the words.

Brian rolled his head on the windshield to look at his…friend? Were they friends? He’d like to think they were, otherwise everything he’d done; everything he’d given up was for nothing. If they weren’t, then he was seven kinds of fool and more than a little stupid, which was also a distinct possibility. He loved Dom, more than he should, considering how little time they’d actually known each other. Sure, their acquaintance was going on six years, but the actual time they’d spent in each other’s company was only a few short months. It was insane. But then that pretty much summed up his life since he’d met Dom and his team, didn’t it?

Instead of answering Dom’s question, Brian asked, “Are we friends?”

This time it was Dom’s turn to roll his head so he could look at Brian. He took his sunglasses off and stared at Brian. “What the hell kind of question is that?”

Brian sighed and took his own shades off, squinting a little at the brightness of the day. “I don’t know. I mean, when you think about it we really haven’t known each other all that long and yet, I’ve thrown away my career for you twice. If we’re not friends then what kind of moron am I?”

Brian tensed when Dom wrapped his hand around the back of Brian’s neck, but he didn’t resist when Dom pulled him forward and pressed their foreheads together. They stayed like that for a long moment, their breathing synchronizing, and Brian let himself relax and enjoy the contact. It’d been awhile since he’d been touched and that it was Dom doing the touching…well, it was nice.

“We’re more than friends, Bri. We’re brothers.” Brian’s breath hitched and he made to move away, but Dom tightened his grip and continued. “Anyone who’s done what you have has the right of family as far as I’m concerned. I was mad as hell at first, I won’t deny that. You wormed your way in so easily and then to find out you were sent to bring us down, I couldn’t see past that. It took a good six months for me to remember that you didn’t turn us in and by then, we were all scattered. It was too late. So life went on and then Letty…” he trailed off and took a shuddering breath.

Brian wrapped his hand around Dom’s neck and offered silent comfort. He wanted to apologize for getting Letty involved, for not being able to save her, for not…being good enough to give them their happy ending.

Jesus, what was it about this man that made Brian willing to put his own feelings and desires aside just to see to it that Dom was happy? He didn’t know and didn’t want to sound trite, so he didn’t say anything. Turns out he didn’t have to.

“Letty was home,” Dom said softly. “She was the embodiment of L.A. and our life there. We were comfortable and familiar and I loved her. I always will. But I left her and the last thing I expected was for her to try and clear my name. I owed her and that debt has been paid. I’m not surprised the Feebs reneged on the deal. I’m a bad man and I deserved to go to jail. I’m just sorry you got caught up in my shit again. So, I’ll ask again, did I ever thank you?”

Dom didn’t try to stop him this time when he pulled away. Brian sat up and pulled his knees to his chest, draping his arms over them. He stared out at the water for a minute before he said, “Stasiak fucked up in the warehouse, not us. You and I held up our end, but Penning was covering asses and we got hung out to dry. I couldn’t live with that kind of hypocrisy, especially once the sentencing came down. It was all wrong.” Brian gave a hollow laugh. “Mia asked me once if I had a code and I told her I was working on it. I think I finally figured it out. I’d rather be a fugitive and have a clear conscience than carry a badge and compromise my sense of justice to please the higher ups.” He looked at Dom. “I did it as much for me as for you. You don’t have to thank me, Dom.”

Dom sat up, the corner of his mouth quirking up, and he murmured, “Weird logic, but I get it.” He leaned in and brushed his lips over Brian’s. “Thanks anyway.” He couldn’t even really call it a kiss, but to Brian it was more intimate than if Dom had held him down and fucked him. He blinked at Dom, but didn’t- couldn’t- say anything. That chaste brush of lips was everything, and nowhere near all he’d ever wanted from Dom, and he didn’t have the first clue what to do next. Dom seemed to understand, though. He just leaned back against the windshield and put his shades back on.

Casually, like he hadn’t just rearranged Brian’s world, again, Dom said, “I think it’s time to stop running and settle down. I kinda like this place. What do you think, Bri?”

Brian blinked a few times and fumbled with his sunglasses. He put them on and cleared his throat, trying to jump start his brain into something resembling functioning. He finally eased down to match Dom’s casual sprawl and said, “I don’t even know where the hell we are, Dom.”

“Does it really matter?”

Brian thought about it. His cop brain tried to throw up a whole slew of questions, but he fought it back. Dom was asking him to stay with him and Brian didn’t have it in him to refuse.

“No, it really doesn’t.”

-30-