Once Dom made it to Rio he found Brian and Mia at Vince’s; the three of them planning a car heist that Vince set up. He sat near Brian and observed how much Brian had changed since their last meeting. The way his fingers shook and he seemed more on edge. He also noticed that Brian lost some weight. In LA when he found out Brian was a Fed and they took down Braga, he had noticed subtle but to him noticeable changes that Brian wasn’t as good as he said he was doing. “Hey Bri, let’s go for a walk.”
Brian looked at Dom and asked, “Why?”
“Looks like we could use some fresh air.”
“It wasn’t a suggestion. Let’s go.”
Once the two were down the hill from the house Dom pulled Brian close and asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Nightmares are back. Mia doesn’t know.”
“When’d they start back?”
“After you left when we broke you off the bus. My last UC assignment before coming back to the LA offices was a disaster. I mean I did what I needed to do and everything but it’s hard getting my head out of that assignment.”
“What happened in Jersey?”
“I was undercover in the mob and I had a wife and a kid as part of my cover. Then a neighbor kid got involved. Everything worked out but I would’ve liked to have not had to get the kids involved in any of this.”
“Brian you can’t control everything that happens. The kids survived, the woman survived, and you’re back where you belong.”
“I know. I just need to remind myself I’m Brian O’ Conner. I didn’t hear my name for almost five years and the feds didn’t care. They just cared that I took care of business.”
“Do you want me to help you remember Brian O’ Conner?” Brian looked over at Dom and Dom got his answer. “Let’s go get you a car.” Dom grinned.
The two went back to the house and Dom got his keys to his Charger. “Don’t wait up. We’ll be out a while.” Dom said as he looked at his sister and Vince.
“Where are you going?”
“Exploring the countryside. Come on Brian.”
Brian went out the front door with his hands shoved in his pockets like old times and Dom followed behind. They got in Dom’s Charger and Dom took off to the other side of the city where some races were taking place. They pulled in and started looking at the cars around them. Brian along the rows next to Dom, shoulder to shoulder, and found a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. They stopped in front of the car and Brian said, “This one is nice.”
“You want it?”
“Hey! Lay off my car!”
Dom and Brian both looked at the Brazilian that owned the car and Dom said, “Race ya for pinks?”
“What do you got?”
“1970 Dodge Charger. Never seen taillights ever.”
Ten minutes later the guy was handing Brian the keys and papers to the car. They pulled out of the racing area after Brian took a few laps around the cars getting a feel for his new car. Everyone just watched how he handled it and then saw nothing but taillights when Brian left the area. Dom followed Brian and just let him drive. Brian stopped about forty-five minutes outside of town along the edge of the road overlooking the ocean.
Dom got out of his car and moved next to Brian leaning against his Evolution. “Do you feel better?”
“A little bit.”
“What else do you want to do?”
Brian glanced at Dom with a shuttered look and said, “Lots of things that’ll take time. I’m not going to be better after just one drive or a hundred. I just need some patience on people’s parts to let me get myself back a little at a time.”
Dom stood in front of Brian and cupped his cheek. He saw the ice still covering up an assortment of emotions and he said, “You don’t have to hide behind Snowman. If you need to punch something do it, if you need to yell do it, whatever you need to do to find your center again then definitely do it. Don’t bury it inside.”
“Coming from Mr. Brickwall himself.” Brian said. He didn’t move his head away from Dom’s palm.
“Come on. Let’s go back to Vince’s and get some sleep. Gonna need it for this job tomorrow.”
“Yeah.” Brian sighed and stepped away from Dom and went to his driver’s side.
“You’re not alone Bri. Don’t think that for a second, no matter who’s around.”
“I know in my head sometimes but it’s one of those slow things.”
“I know that too. Just reminding you.”