When Roman was younger, he didn’t want any kids.
Things were always so messed up.
He had no family to speak of, he spent most of his time on the streets and he was always getting into some kind of trouble with the police. Roman didn’t want kids because he didn’t want to bring someone else into the mess he called a life. He didn’t want to screw up some innocent kid just because they were unfortunate enough to have him as a father.
But then he found out about Tasha and Leo, and Roman was happy.
He wished that he was there for the earlier years. He wishes he’d been there for Leo’s first day at school and Leo’s first time driving a car. Roman even wishes that he could’ve been there for the diaper changing phase of his son’s life, he wishes he could’ve been the one to hold Leo and tell him he was safe if he had a nightmare in the middle of the night. He wishes he could’ve been there to deal with the bullies that Leo told him about. He missed out on a lot.
But he has Leo now and Leo’s willing to let him make up for lost time. Roman is happy he really is.
When Roman was younger he didn’t want kids.
When he found out about Tasha and Leo he was happy, even more so that Leo wasn’t a girl. Not that he wouldn’t have loved to have a daughter, it’s just…
He didn’t want to become that dad.
You know, the crazy psycho dad who never lets his daughter out of the house, watches her every move and threatens to shoot any member of the male species that comes near his daughter with a shot gun. That dad. Roman knew that if he had a daughter he would become that dad, because he knows what little boys are like, he knows what grown men are like. He used to be a little boy and he is a grown man. Up until a few months ago when he found out about Leo he was one of those grown men, he was that teenager and he was that little boy.
Thinking back on it, sometimes Roman would cringe hard at the memory of all the pickup lines and come-ons that he’s used with girls. Being what he was and knowing what he knew; Roman knew that he’d go insane if he ever had a daughter. He wouldn’t just be that dad; he would be the worst dad. His daughter wouldn’t even leave the house unless Roman was sure that every inch of her body was covered up and concealed. She wouldn’t talk to any boys, she wouldn’t go out with friends and she wouldn’t go to parties, because Roman has been to those parties; he’s thrown those parties. He knows what boys and friends do at those parties and God help the little bastard that tries to take any daughter of his to one of those.
So yes, finding out that he had a son and not a daughter, was a relief.
Not that boys aren’t in as much danger of being hurt as girls but, statistically speaking the level of threat is lower.
Or so he thought.
See Leo’s gay, which is fine. It might have taken Roman some time to come to terms with the fact that Leo was gay but it’s his son. A son who was doing so well for himself; who’s smart and confident and funny and even if Leo wasn’t any of that he’d still be Roman’s son. So he came to terms with it, accepted it. He’d be happy for anything that made Leo happy. So it was fine really it was. Until he found out about Brian.
That’s when things became less fine.
Leo is his son, a son that he’s quickly learning to love more and more with each passing day. They have their differences of course; they’ve had plenty of fights with both of them saying some hurtful and just plain fucked up things to each other. But they’d make up later and Roman would live for those moments when Leo hugged him tight, gave him a smile and told him how happy he was that they met; how much he missed seeing him since the last time.
It was incredible.
But then there was Brian.
Roman tried not to talk about it with Leo too often since that topic just made both of them really uncomfortable. Roman didn’t want to think about Leo doing anything with a man that much older than him let alone his best friend and Leo just felt like the entire situation was awkward. And it was.
They talked about it a couple of times. The first time Leo said that it didn’t mean anything, that Brian was just a phase. Then he said that Brian was a friend that he just got close with, another time Leo said it didn’t matter. One time they got into a fight that escalated quickly because Roman told Leo that he needed to stay away from Brian, despite the fact that Leo didn’t want to be around Brian either. Another time, Leo stormed out of the house and didn’t talk to Roman for two weeks because he found out that Brian called Leo about a month before. And then there was the time they ended up falling asleep on the couch, because they just got news about Mia giving birth. Roman ended up consoling his son on why relationships suck while they watched one of those weird Finnish horrors Leo likes so much.
It was exhausting.
But they worked through it, because Roman felt like that was something they just needed to do.
Eventually, Leo introduced him to a boy that he’d started dating.
Roman hated him, but he kept up a smile in front of Leo if only because Leo liked him and he really didn’t want to become that dad. Leo’s a good smart kid, he’s Roman’s kid. He can handle himself. But just in case, the night that they left, Roman had Ramsey do a background check, just to be sure.
The kid was clean, but Roman still hated him.
He doesn’t want to be that dad.
Roman isn’t crazy. He’s not obsessive, he doesn’t freak out over nothing. He isn’t going to be the guy that opens the door with a shotgun in his hands every time a boy comes over to spend time with his kid. He doesn’t want to be that dad, honest.
So why does fate keep provoking him like this?
The first thanksgiving that he’s going to spend with his son.
Everyone came over.
Dom and Letty, Tej, Ramsey, Suki, Brian and Mia brought their son Jack. Hobbs couldn’t show because of some business to take care of with the feds.
Roman was so excited, he was so ready to show off his kid, so ready for Leo to meet the one group of people he was so close with that he called them family. Of course Leo had already met Tej, Suki and… Brian. But Roman was excited to introduce him to Dom and Letty and Ramsey.
He was elated.
Until the party got started, which is the point where things got weird.
He got annoyed whenever Leo talked to Brian, even though Mia was with them more often than not and his son seemed more interested in Jack, whose face would light up like Christmas every time Leo used his bionic arm to make energy spheres or lift something heavy. Roman got annoyed cause Brian kept staring. Something about that stare was familiar, too familiar.
Leo and Ramsey hit it off, Leo told her about his stepfather and all the inventions they made together. Leo, Tej and Suki got on like a house on fire the way they always did whenever Leo visited Miami. Letty seemed to like him well enough and Dom was Dom. He was friendly and open and welcomed Leo into the family with a huge grin and a hug while Mia kissed him on the cheek and kept piling food onto his plate.
It was weird.
Mia wasn’t really any different than normal but Letty kept watching Leo. Not out of distrust but, almost like she was trying to figure something out about him like something about him confused her. And Dom was really really open, completely comfortable. Almost like he’s met Leo before. Almost like he’s known Leo for ages.
But that can’t be right.
They sat down for dinner and Roman tried to shake off the weird feelings he’s been having since Leo arrived, but it was difficult. Brian wouldn’t stop staring and Letty kept watching and Dom was just way too comfortable around a 19 year old boy he just met.
Something felt off.
The only comfort he got was the normality of Leo and Suki fighting over something that he showed her on his phone while Ramsey looked over Suki’s shoulder to get a look before laughing.
They all sat around the dinner table.
Roman at one end with Ramsey sitting next to him on his right. Suki sat to her right while Leo sat next to her and Tej sat on Leo’s other side. Dom sat on the other side of the table with Letty at his right next to Mia who sat between her. Jack was next to his mom sitting across from Leo with that perpetual look of hero worship and Brian on his other side.
The turkey was carved, dinner was served.
“So Leo,” Letty started as she cut up the meat on her plate, “Roman says you’re a bionic agent. He says you run the bionic academy too.”
Leo let out a sigh as he looked over at his father, “You told them everything, didn’t you?”
Dom smirked, “He talked for days.”
Ramsey gave a snort, “He wouldn’t shut up about you.”
“What, I can’t be proud of my son?” Roman asked and Leo smiled as he looked away, in a way that he could tell was blushing. Roman couldn’t help but smile back as he continued, “I’m telling you, he’s going to be president someday.”
“Not if Jack beats him to it.” Mia said with a grin and they all laughed Leo just shrugged, “He can have it. I couldn’t spend my day sitting behind a desk all day anyway even if it’s in the oval office.”
“What do you do at the academy?” Ramsey asked and Leo shrugged again, “Some administrative stuff, but I mostly manage the teams. Lead missions and training. Big D has me working on some of his inventions sometimes but I spend most of my time out on missions.”
“Big D?” Mia asked and Leo gave a snort, “My step father, Donald Davenport, He’s the owner of Davenport industries.”
“Oh, is he the one that made you-… you know?” Letty asked as she gestured in the general direction of Leo’s arm and the teen paused. Roman paused as well since Leo’s told him this story before. He told his father about Marcus and Douglas and Kane and Taylor. And although Leo insisted that he made peace with everything that happened, Roman wondered if he should intervene when Leo spoke.
“No, my uncle did.”
“Big Ds brother, so step Uncle I guess?” Leo frowned a little before shaking his head. “He co-founded Davenport industries, perfected the first bionic chip design and programmed all of the abilities. But then he and his brother split for a little while till he came back.”
“How did he end up giving you bionics?”
Leo swallowed hard and Roman sighed, opening his mouth to speak when Brian beat him to it.
“There was an accident. One of Davenport’s enemies attacked Leo and they were forced to replace his arm with a bionic one. Then a year later his sister got into trouble, Leo saved her but ended up losing his leg so they replaced that too.”
Brian didn’t look up when he spoke, so he didn’t immediately see everyone staring at him until Tej spoke, “How do you know that?”
Brian’s eyes went wide, like he only just realized that he’d spoken. Roman’s jaw clenched as he spoke, stabbing an asparagus stick with his fork and lifting it to his mouth. “I told you Leo works with the FBI sometimes; apparently Brian worked with him a couple of times.”
Letty immediately looked up at that, staring at Brian before bringing her gaze over to Dom who just cleared his throat as he dodged it.
“Oh right, I remember you telling me about working with bionic agents.” Mia said with a smile as she looked over to the blonde. “Why didn’t you tell me you worked with Leo?”
Brian shifted in his seat, “It was a long time ago.”
“Mmmhm.” Roman hummed out as he glared at Brian when Leo grabbed his attention, “We don’t really work with the FBI as much anymore. Usually we just follow alerts about natural disasters and accidents; we even have a hotline for emergencies.”
Suki gave a snort, “That must be a pain.”
“Yeah, for some reason people don’t understand that a clogged toilet isn’t an emergency that needs to be fixed with bionics.” Leo joked and they laughed when Letty spoke.
“So you live at the academy all year long and visit Rome on days off or?”
“Oh, we have a huge house in Mission Creek.” Leo explained with a shrug, “It’s empty most of the time though. Most of my family lives in Centium city now. I usually spend a couple of days at the house every once in a while.”
“Must be lonely.” Letty asked and Leo shook his head, “My brother Adam runs the academy with me and he comes back to the house with me sometimes so it’s not that bad.”
Letty nodded and Roman noted with a frown that a smirk was starting to pull at the older woman’s lips, “I bet you have friends over to just hang out or spend the night, sometimes though right. Big house like that.”
“Friends? Most of my friends from high school are in college now and the academy students like it better there so-“ Leo trailed off and Letty’s head gave a tilt, “Aw, you don’t even have any one special over sometimes?”
“Special?” Leo frowned and Suki gave a snort, “C’mon now, don’t try to expose the kid’s game when his dad is sitting right there.”
Tej arched a brow while Mia, Ramsey and even Roman laughed. Except for the soft snort from Dom, he and Brian were oddly quiet. Leo chuckled, “I don’t really have that much time to date.”
“You had time two months ago.” Roman couldn’t help but mumble out and Leo rolled his eyes, “O.K, I get that you didn’t like Shaun. But I broke up with him; you don’t have to keep complaining about him anymore.”
“You had a boyfriend two months ago?” Tej asked and Leo glanced up at him for a moment before looking away, “It was just a couple of dates, he wasn’t even really my type.”
Mia giggled as she helped Jack cut up his meat and vegetables, “What is your type?”
Leo shrugged, “I dunno, I usually just try to play it by ear. But Shaun wasn’t the kind of guy I usually notice. He was just nice when we met, I felt weird about turning him down.”
“That should’ve been the first red flag.” Roman said and Leo rolled his eyes, “Yeah yeah, I get it.”
“Well what kind of guys do you normally notice?” Mia asked and Dom looked over at his sister with a frown, “Why are you so interested in his love life?”
“I’m just curious.” Mia said slowly as she picked up a glass of water to take a sip, “I wanna imagine what kind of guys Rome’s going to be sending death threats to.”
They laughed Roman shook his head, “I wouldn’t do that.”
“Sure you wouldn’t.” Ramsey said with a grin while Roman just rolled his eyes, “Leo’s a smart kid, I know he can take care of himself.”
Leo smiled and Roman felt his chest fill with warmth when Letty suddenly spoke out of nowhere, “You know what I think your type would be?”
Leo’s head gave a tilt, “What?”
“I’d say, tall, muscular, strong, masculine. A guy’s guy. Kind of like Dom.” And as Letty said that she turned her head and looked right at Dom, who almost immediately started choking on his food. Leo’s eyes went wide. Luckily Ramsey, Suki and Tej were too busy laughing to notice.
“Dom? Seriously?” Ramsey asked and Letty shrugged, “Call it a hunch.”
Leo quickly cleared his throat and gave a strained laugh as he just shook his head, “Nah, I mean, no offense but the academy has hundreds of guys on it that can lift trucks with one hand and have commando apps that makes them take control of every situation. When you’re around that all the time, the whole big strong tough guy routine gets old.”
Letty nodded as she went back to her food when Leo spoke, “I guess the guys I usually notice are usually, well if I had to compare it to one specific person I know-“
Brian looked up at that and Roman continued to frown as he watched the blonde when Leo spoke, “Like Chase, I guess.”
Brian just stared.
“Who’s Chase?” Mia asked when Suki supplied the answer after swallowing down the food in her mouth, “Oh that’s one of your step brothers right?”
“Yeah.” Leo smiled, “He lives in Centium city leading the elite team. He has super human intelligence, telekinesis, super senses-”
Ramsey nodded, “So he’s very very smart.”
“Yeah, he’s kind of nerdy, actually really annoying, great with computers and tech. But still a total pain in the neck.”
“Sounds like someone else I know.” Suki said as she looked over at Tej who just rolled his eyes, “Hey, if you like guys that are anything like me then you know you have good taste.”
“Any other super genius’ on the island?” Ramsey asked and Leo shook his head, “There are but there is no way I’d date one of the other agents. Never mix work with pleasure, it never works out as well as you want it to.”
“Speaking from experience?” Letty asked again and Leo glanced at her before quickly bringing his gaze back to his food, “Something like that.”
“You know who else might be good for you?” Letty continued as she grabbed her glass of wine and held it loosely in her hand, “Someone charming and smart, resourceful. An adrenalin junkie with lots of bark to his bite.”
“Yet again, me.” Tej joked earing a snort from Suki. Letty just grinned as she shrugged and took a sip from her glass.
“No I meant someone like Brian.”
That caught Roman’s attention.
Dom grabbed his corona and took three large gulps while Brian started choking.
“Are you O.K?” Mia asked with a frown of concern and Brian just thumped his chest to catch his breath before he spoke, “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Brian?” Suki’s head gave a tilt, “Yeah I could see that.” Ramsey nodded in agreement.
Leo shifted in his seat as he gave a strained laugh that was actually pretty believable, “Nah, he’s a little outside my age range plus I’m not into blondes.”
“At all.” Roman emphasized glaring at Brian who dodged his gaze in favor of staring at his food. Letty smirked as she turned her head and looked over to Brian, “You know what they say, age is just a number.”
“Yeah, so is four to fifteen.” Roman bit out and Ramsey laughed, “Already so protective, I guess this is what Shaun had to deal with.”
Leo sighed, “You have no idea.”
Dinner went relatively uneventful after that.
They talked about other things.
Dom and Letty’s adjustments since she came back, Brian and Mia’s in Spain. Tej and Suki chatted about the garage and Ramsey talked about what she’d been up to over the past few months, Leo invited her to the island, since she seemed so interested in bionics and how they worked. Tej joked about how he hadn’t even been invited to the island yet despite knowing Leo longer. Baby Jack babbled and squealed every few seconds.
It was great.
But Brian kept staring and it was really starting to piss Roman off.
They finished dinner, settled in the living room to watch the game and things almost felt like they were settling in. That is until Roman got up to go grab a few extra beers from the kitchen, came back and Leo was gone. Brian was also gone. Roman was pissed.
Mia glanced up from her spot on the couch with Jack in her arms as she tickled the boy and made him giggle every few seconds to answer. “He went to go get some more soda in the fridge in the garage and Dom went to help him.”
“Help him?” Roman asked incredulously staring at the woman in disbelief.
He has a bionic arm, how much help could he possibly need to carry some soda?
“It’s fine.” Letty chimed in from her seat next to Mia with a smug smirk pulling at her lips as she stared at the TV, “They should be back soon enough.”
“Where’s Brian?” Roman asked and Mia answered just as she tickled Jack again and he giggled, “Bathroom.”
“Bathroom? Uhn uhn.” Roman started as he turned around and headed towards the garage, “Somthin ain’t right.”
It’s been a while, but somehow it seemed like nothing’s changed. The kid was still a brat and Dom still liked hanging out with him. He was like the little brother Dom never had. Of course there was that one night in Mission Creek but that was just… things happening. He loves Letty and no one could ever take her place but Leo was still,
“You told her?!”
But not today.
Dom looked down at the teen in front of him letting out a sigh as he leaned back against the wall with his hands shoved into his pockets.
“She asked about my life.”
“You didn’t need to tell her about me.” Leo said with a glare, “How did that conversation even go anyway; ‘I went to jail for a while, Brian and Mia broke me out and oh yeah I screwed this kid I was crashing with for a couple of weeks while I was hiding from the cops’?!”
Dom barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes, “She wanted to know if I’d been with anyone besides her after she disappeared. I told her there were only two people Elena and a guy I was crashing with for a couple of weeks. I never told her your name.”
“O.K so how did she find out about Brian?”
“She wanted to know how I met the guy I was crashing with in the first place.” Leo let out a groan of frustration as Dom finished, “I had to tell her something. I’m not lying to my wife, kid.”
“This is a nightmare.”
“It’s not that bad. I mean, you seem to be having a good time.”
Leo looked up at the other in disbelief, “I’m having a good time?”
“I saw you talking to Tej while Roman was in the kitchen.” The older man said with a smirk pulling at the corner of his lips. Leo paused as he took a step back.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sure you don’t.”
“Who else knows about… you know.” Leo said folding his arms across his chest and making a random gesture between them with his hand.
Dom shrugged, “No one else, far as I know.”
“Far as you know.” Leo rolled his eyes with a huff of frustration and Dom chuckled as he pulled his hand from his pocket and reached out towards the boy, “C’mere.”
Leo glared for a moment and moved forward despite himself to lean his head on Dom’s chest while an arm went around his waist. The boy let out a sigh.
“How are you really holding out?” Dom asked as he looked down at the teen and Leo took a deep breath.
“He keeps staring.”
“I noticed. You should talk to him.”
“Everything. He’s Rome’s best friend, you can’t avoid him forever.”
“I can try.”
“Things’ll never stop being awkward if you don’t.”
Leo sighed again, “And?”
“You want your father to keep his best friend don’t you?”
The boy paused, “Of course I do.”
“Then suck it up and get moving.”
“I hate it when you’re right. You’re worse than Chase.”
Dom chuckled, “Did you ever tell Rome about me?”
“Are you insane?!” Leo asked as he pulled back a bit to look up at the man, “He’d lose it.”
“Nothing that’s secret is kept secret forever.”
“Yeah well, I’m not willing to tell it right now.”
Dom shook his head as he stood up straight and Leo pulled back but the arm around his waist stayed right where it was. “You gonna tell him about Tej?”
“There’s nothing to tell.” Leo said stubbornly and Dom arched a brow.
“I thought you knew better than to lie to me.”
“I’m not lying.”
“I saw him checking you out.”
“You did-I mean-I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Dom let out a loud hearty laugh and Leo flushed as he glared at the older man when the door to the garage leading from the kitchen suddenly opened and they both looked up just before Roman stepped inside. The boy jumped back and Dom immediately let go.
Roman looked up between the two with a frown.
“What’s going on here?”
“Oh I uh…” Leo looked around when his eyes landed on the two bottles of coke standing against the wall and quickly reached down to grab them, “Soda, we were all out in the kitchen.”
“Uh huh.” Roman nodded as he looked at Dom in suspicion, “What about you?”
“Yeah.” Dom said with a smile as he moved passed Roman towards the door, “I should get back to Letty.”
Roman said nothing as the other man left before he looked back to his son who couldn’t seem to look him in the eye and a feeling of dread washed over him.
“Please tell me you didn’t.”
Leo’s feet shuffled awkwardly in front of him before he moved passed his father, “Didn’t what?”
“You know what I’m talking about.” Roman answered as he followed the boy into the kitchen and the door shut behind him, “Leo-“
“Dad, everything’s fine.” Leo said after he set the sodas on the counter and turned back to his father to wrap his arms around him in a hug and Roman accepted it and felt his frustration melt away despite himself. “You trust me right?”
“You know I do.” Roman breathed out giving the teen a squeeze, “But-“
“But nothing.” Leo said as he leaned up to press a kiss on the older man’s cheek, “Nothing’s wrong. So just trust me.”
Leo pulled away and Roman let out a sigh as he watched him fill his glass with ice and coke before heading into the living room.
He trusts Leo, he honestly does and he really doesn’t want to be that dad, he really doesn’t.
Roman followed Leo into the living room and watched from the doorway as the boy flopped down onto the couch while Suki sat on the arm rest giving the teen a playful shove before making to grab his glass and they started to argue. He watched Leo roll his eyes while Suki laughed and couldn’t help but smile himself.
No, he isn’t that dad. He won’t be that dad-
Suddenly Tej seemed to come out of nowhere. The older man went to sit on the armrest on Leo’s left and leaned over to whisper something in the boy’s ear. Leo’s eyes went wide before he turned back to glare at the other while Tej just smirked as he wrapped an arm around the boy’s shoulders.
Roman looked down to see Letty pausing beside him on her way into the kitchen with an arched brow, “You O.K?”
Roman looked back towards his son and his eyes narrowed down into a glare since he could tell that Leo was blushing. His hands clenched.
“I need a shot gun, a really big shot gun.”
Letty looked back into the living room as she set a hand on his shoulder and gave a comforting squeeze despite the smirk on her face.