Dom runs into the alley cursing when it turns out to be a dead end, and when he turns back there’s a squad car there, lights flashing.
“Fuck!fuck!fuck!” He raises is hands. Dom knows what he looks like and the last thing he needs is to take a beating or worse by some overzealous cop or spooked rookie who’s blood is up because of the chase.
The cop that gets out is by himself. Dom is struck as flashes of red and blue highlight him. It’s California and beautiful blonds are no novelty but there’s something ethereal about the cop, as he stares at Dom with eyes both innocent and bearing the weight of the world at the same time.
He leans against the car, arms folded. “Nice race.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Officer.“ Dom keeps his hands up despite the other man’s relaxed stance. There’s something too intense about the way he’s staring at Dom and he’s preparing himself for the guy to make a move either to fight or one to fuck--wouldn’t be the first time for either-- when suddenly the cop grins and shakes his head.
“Of course you don’t, Toretto.”
Dom relaxes a little. If the guy knows his name, he’s probably square. They catch the occasional cop, a gear head or somebody with ties to the neighborhood, somebody sympathetic to the cause. He tries to figure out which the cop fits into.
Dom swears he doesn’t even blink but suddenly the cop is right in front of him. His name tag says B. O'Conner. The name’s not familiar.
“Toretto. Dom. You should be careful.”
It’s not a threat. A warning maybe, something in his--in O'Conner’s tone sends a shiver down Dom’s spine but he shakes it off, grins. “Where’s the fun in that?”
The sirens have faded completely and Dom figures it’s safe to head out, since it’s obvious O'Conner isn’t going to arrest him. He moves to brush past him, but a hand on his arm stops him. Dom’s arm burns where O'Conner’s fingers grip him.
“I’ll be watching you.”
Again it’s something other than a threat, but Dom doesn’t know what and he doesn’t like feeling off kilter. He pulls away and heads out of the alley, deliberately not looking back.
He asks around and nobody knows O'Conner. Dom should forget it, he knows he should. They’ve got another job coming up and Race Wars in a couple of months, and he has a feeling the cops might be watching them. Lots of things to worry about besides some weird ass shit that went down in an alley.
Something makes him keep at it though, even though Mia looks at him like he’s crazy when he gets her to call Metro and ask for the guy.
“The only B. O’Conner they’ve got was killed in the line of duty a year ago.” She pulls up the newspaper article and it’s Dom’s cop.
He swallows everything that comes to mind. What? Is he gonna tell his sister he was talking to a
dead man a week ago?
It was calling to him, begging for him to touch it. Brian knew he was wasting time but he couldn’t help but stop and run his hands along the curves of the Charger. The car was almost as notorious as it’s owner.
“Man, I’m telling you this is nothing but trouble.”
“You’re right.” The deep raspy voice seemed to echo through the garage. The cocking of the gun was loud in the silence that followed and he and Rome both froze as the garage lights came on. They stood up and raised their hands facing a very pissed off Dominic Toretto with a very big gun.
Well a gun other than the ones he was sporting naturally and Brian was seriously not thinking about how hot the guy was while he was about to shoot them.
Rome glanced at him and Brian didn’t know what he saw on his face but it resulted in a maximum level eye roll.
“If you weren’t jonesing for Toretto and his car in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”
“I’m serious.” He looked at Toretto. “Since you won at Talladega, he’s practically been...”
Brian groaned, face burning. “If you don’t shut up, I’m going to take the gun and shoot you myself.”
Toretto grinned, lighting up the usually dour face and Brian couldn’t help responding with one of his own. After all it wasn’t like Rome was wrong about it or anything, but that wasn’t going to stop Brian from busting his ass when they got out of here. Which they definitely needed to do soon. He could hear sirens in the distance.
The receiver in his ear beeped three times with Suki’s signal to go. He saw Rome tense next to him. Toretto was still watching them--him, but he’d lowered his gun. Suki’s engine revved loudly coming up the drive. The sirens moved closer.
Brian lowered his hands and grinned again, ruefully this time. “Gotta go.”
Toretto reached over to the metal box on the wall, punched in a code and opened it to reveal multiple keys. He grabbed a set and tossed them in Brian’s direction. Brian raised his hand instinctively, catching them.
“You look like a Supra kind of guy.”
They stared at each other a moment longer, then
“Oh my God! Seriously?” Rome rolled his eyes and yanked Brian toward the bright orange car at the end of the garage. They got in and Toretto hit the opener, raising the door. They took off with Suki following. Brian looked back until he couldn’t see the gate anymore.
“We are never letting you pick the jobs again. I swear...”
He tuned Rome out. This was bitching lite compared to what it was going to be like when Brian told him they were keeping the car.
Brian knocked on the door of the white frame house mouth open to apologize for being late. The door swung wide and he froze that way when Dominic Toretto came into sight.
“You planning on catching flies?”
Brian jerked his mouth closed abruptly, flushing when Toretto cocked a brow at him.
“Sorry, I uh...”
“Wasn’t expecting the chair?”
“No, Mia told...I knew that.” Mia had told him all about the crash when she was pimping him into modeling for her brother. Brian had seen his work, so she didn’t have to try very hard. Of course she wouldn’t have had to try at all if she had mentioned he was built like a brick shit house, or for that matter that his voice was like sandpaper across velvet. Okay, to be fair, as his sister she probably didn’t really notice those things, and it’s not like he made it a habit to tell girls he was sleeping with what kind of guy pushed his buttons.
Brian had been modeling since he was fifteen. He was beyond professional and he knew better than this. He got himself together and followed Dominic into the house. The entire shoot took three days and you don’t fall in love in three days. Brian kept telling himself that until it was almost a mantra Until he almost believed it. Whatever he felt or thought he did, it was a moot point because Dominic Toretto read as straight as the lines that framed his work. He'd be lying to himself if he said he didn't check his phone repeatedly that first couple of days, in some kind of futile, manic hope that he was too old and too experienced for, until Mia mentioned her brother had gone to Europe for a job.
He and Mia weren’t actually going together so technically, they didn’t break up, just kind of drifted back from friends with benefits to the kind that waved in the halls, and exchanged the occasional hi, but didn’t stop to talk. He missed her in his life but every time she’d smile a certain way or tilt her head to just the right angle, he’d see Dom and he'd learned it was a lot easier to let go of things he couldn't keep than things he could never have in the first place.
The guy had been hanging around the store for a week, eying Dom while pretending to eye Mia. When O'Conner finally made a move, cornering Dom in the store room in the back, “My boss wants to meet you” wasn’t exactly the offer he was expecting.
The boss was Carter Verone. Dude already had a rep in Miami big enough that when he’d hit town, the word had hit the streets. Two minutes into the meeting and Dom already didn’t like him, in no small part because of the possessive hand resting on Brian’s arm.
“Los Angeles is full of opportunities if you have the right connections. My guy here tells me your crew might be what I’m looking for. “
Dom swore he could see an apology in Brian’s eyes when their gazes connected. He turned back to Verone and shook his head. “I’m flattered but I don’t think so. We’re pretty set for jobs in the near future.”
Verone flashed him a cold smile. “Well, maybe we can change your mind. Brian tells me you like to burn up the track a little bit. How about a challenge?”
Dom folded his arms, mostly to resist the urge to punch Verone and be done with it. “What did you have in mind? “
Verone slipped an arm over Brian’s shoulder. “You and Bri, one on one. He wins, you agree to one job for me. A trial run. If things work out we could look at a something long term. You win, I move to the next name on my list, no hard feelings.”
“No problem. Tell your ‘guy’ to stop by the store for the set up.” He ignored the flash of hurt in Brian’s eyes as he left.
After the race, Dom stood in the cheering crowd, grinning and taking his own share of the various pots that had sprung up. He had one eye on Brian, who had stopped to congratulate him before heading over to Verone.
“Good race man, I almost had you.”
Dom rolled his eyes. “You almost had me?”
“Yeah. “ He grinned like he’d won instead of lost and he’d kept grinning until he got over to Verone.
Based on the whispered conversation, the frown and the grip on Brian’s arm, Verone was not very happy. Dom was about to head over there, head off things if they got worse, when Brian looked up and met his eyes. He waved at Dom and then he and Verone got in Verone’s car and took off.
Brian was at the store the next day, which was a good thing. It saved Dom having to go looking. Dom leaned against the counter, arms folded.
“You didn’t have to throw the race. I’d have taken you.” It didn’t take him long to realized what Brian had done, and he was still a little insulted.
Brian grinned and shrugged. “Next time.” His expression sobered. “Carter likes to get what he wants. Things can be very unpleasant if he doesn’t. This way he saves face. I’m the one that fucked up.”
“So what, you take the heat instead of us?”
“I’m fireproof right now.”
“Why, because you’re fucking him?” Dom told himself it wasn’t jealousy that made that come out so harshly.
Brian’s expression closed off. “I do a lot of things for him, and I’m good at all of them.”
“I’m sorry. It’s none of my business.”
He reached over and grabbed Brian’s arm, fingers fitting over the faint bruises already there. “If you ever need...”
“I don’t.” His expression warmed again. “Thanks for offering though.” He fidgeted a bit, then frowned. “Look, Carter’s eyes aren’t the only ones on you. You and your crew might want to consider taking a vacation.”
Dom didn't know what information Brian had, but that might be a good idea. They were attracting a little too much attention lately. “What about you?”
“I convinced Carter the Trans are a better bet anyway. After he makes the deal, we’re heading back to Miami.”
“You owe me another race.”
There was that grin again. “Some day.”
“Brian.” He was already the door before Dom could figure out what he wanted to say. Brian turned around. “Be careful.” And that wasn’t it, or not all of it but by the look Brian gave him, maybe that was enough.
“I will if you will.”
Brian watches his dad wrap up in the uniform, in the job, instead of his family. He’s never there even when he’s there. Brian swears he’s never going to be a cop. That doesn’t tell him what he does want to do though.
After Rome gets arrested, Brian’s at loose ends. He winds up in school in LA mostly because it gets him out of Barstow, and it makes his mother look at him with something other than disappointment for a little while.
He meets Mia in the quad and they bond over the bad tuna sandwiches she makes that taste just like his moms, and of all things, cars. Not like it hurts that she’s gorgeous. She invites him home often, tells him he’d love her brother, tries to lure him with tales of the Charger her brother is restoring and the neighborhood barbecues they have on Saturdays. He always has an excuse, doesn’t say he’s not ready to be a part of something, of somebody else’s family even though the way she looks at him, he figures she knows.
If it wasn’t for her, he doubts he’d have lasted the two years he does. One day he wakes up and he can’t stand to be there anymore. He leaves Mia a note, a bastard move he knows, and takes off, hitchhiking around for a while. He picks up a sweet red Mitsubishi 3000 GT, thinks about going to New York and finally settles on Miami. The street racing scene down there catches him up and before long he’s built up a nice little reputation.
When the Feds pull him in and make him their offer he thinks they’re crazy. He knows he’d have to be crazy to do it but there’s still some part of him running wild, even if he doesn’t know if it’s toward or from something. The deal for Rome sells it though.
They not only survive, they take down the bad guy like real fucking heroes. When it turns out that he and Rome both grabbed a little bonus, he talks him into going into business with Tej and things settle for them.
He’s working in the shop one day when the low growl of an engine draws him outside. Across the street a black Charger pulls up at the diner. The sight of the car stirs something in Brian. It’s not quite de ja vu but something about it pulls him. He almost heads across the street when Rome comes out and wraps an arm around his waist.
“Monica is meeting us at six. She said we’d better not be late.” He notices Brian’s distracted and follows his gaze. He gives a low whistle when he takes in the car. “Bet you’d love to get your hands on that.”
Brian’s about to agree when the door opens and a guy gets out. He’s striking--huge and golden and Brian feels his breath catch in his throat. He doesn’t make a sound and even if he had, there’s no way the guy could have heard him from that distance but he turns toward them, staring. It feels like forever, even though it’s probably not even thirty seconds. Something inside the car draws the guy’s attention and he leans down, says something then goes around and opens the passenger door, pulling a very pregnant, dark haired woman, out. She reaches up and kisses him, and Brian swallows something sharp in his chest.
Rome tugs at him. “Hey I don’t know about you, dude but I plan on getting laid tonight, which is not gonna happen if we piss our lady off. “
The sharp feeling fades and he turns into Rome with a smile. “Let’s go then.”
It's against his better judgment, but Dom let Mia set up the meeting. He just wanted to finish out his time and get back home and hanging out with cops was a sure fire way to fuck that up. But Tanner had known his father, and had been willing to stand up as a character witness for Dom during his trial. He owed him.
Looking down at the picture Tanner gave him, Dom felt like he was about to pay big time. “Your boy here won’t last a week without joining the Skinheads or giving it up every day to whoever wants to bend him over.” He slid the picture back across the table, ignoring Tanner’s wince at his bluntness.
“That’s why we need you to be his protector.”
Dom shook his head. “No way that works unless I claim him.” At Tanner’s sheepish look he grinned. It wasn’t a nice smile. “Oh, I see. He know you’re set him up to be my bitch while he’s in?”
“O’Conner agreed to do whatever’s necessary for the assignment.” He glanced away briefly. “I’m sure the two of you can improvise enough to keep him safe.”
“He gets caught, we’re both dead.”
“The deal is early parole. You’ll be out in six months. “
“And he’s under to watchdog the guards only?”
“That’s it, I swear. The warden knows he’ s got at least one on the take, maybe more. He’s not gonna get any inmates willing to spill though.”
Dom nodded. He could throw out a couple of names right there, but Tanner was right. It wasn’t worth the retaliation. Even the clean guards would react to one of their own being narced on.
Dom didn’t know what he expected but it wasn’t O’Conner to come in like cock of the walk. He was prettier than his picture if that was possible, grinning brightly and bouncing around like he was at a frat party instead of a prison. The plan was for Dom to make it loud and clear he was staking a claim on his new bunk mate that night, only there was no way O’Conner was making it through the day.
Within an hour, Dom had him up against the wall, fingers tangled in soft curls while he pushed him on his knees out of sight of the guards but where enough inmates could see it to get the message across. If the dude was nervous, he wasn’t showing it. A week in and Dom didn’t think Brian had the sense to be scared. A week after that when Brian went down on his knees for him for real, Dom knew he didn’t.
Brian was good at his job--blended in where Dom thought he wouldn't and belonging to Dom helped. The only problem was, Dom had to keep reminding both of them they were pretending.
“Brian, this isn’t the real world, it’s some horror movie version of it. In here, I’m Toretto and that means something. Out there I’m a guy that can’t vote, can’t hang out where I want to or go where I want to or scratch my ass without the State’s okay. “
“You think all that matters?”
“I think it doesn’t matter now. It’ll matter when you’re back out there, whether you want it to or not.” They were both silent for a while, and despite the small space it felt like miles between them. Dom heard Brian shift and suddenly he was climbing into Dom’s bunk, straddling him.
“I guess we’ll just have to make do with now.”
Dom didn’t let himself be bitter. Not then and not a month later when Brian left--officially, ‘transferred’. He ignored both the sympathy and the gloating that came his way and went back to keeping his head down.
Tanner kept his word and in six months, Dom was walking outside, as free as he was going to get for a while which was a hell of a lot more freedom than he’d had for the past two years. His father’s Charger was idling across the street, fully restored and Dom swallowed hard when he saw it. Swallowed again when the door opened and the driver got out, when he saw not his sister or his buddies, but the sunlight reflect off blond curls and a bouncy bright grin that hadn’t changed.
Brian grabbed his bag and tossed in the back of the car and gave him a quick, friendly hug, instead of the kind Dom wanted, which would probably have gotten them arrested for public indecency.
“Do I even want to know how you talked Mia into this?”
“Oh Mia’s crazy about me. I like her tuna.”
Brian glanced over at him. “Even horror movies get a happy ending sometimes. Shut up and enjoy it.”