Brian was a cop, Officer Brian O'Conner of the LAPD. An undercover cop who was sent into to find the people responsible and bust them for committing a series of truck jackings. He found the ones responsible, but he didn't bust them.
He came clean, he made evidence disappear, acted like a shitty incompetent cop who pointed a finger at Tran every chance he got. Then when the mess was cleaned up, when it was clear no cops were going to beat down their door to arrest anyone, he walked.
Just like Dom told him to, just like they all wanted him too, well maybe not all of them.
Vince sure, he had always hated Brian, and not just for being cop, but just for the man being himself. Of course no one was really sure how much of the Brian they knew was actually him, and how much was a lie perfectly constructed to make him fit in their world. So maybe the person Vince hated wasn't actually Brian at all.
Letty shared Vince's feelings on Brian, but it was more because of Dom's once easy acceptance of the blonde man. Letty was all about dues, things you had to go through in life to show that your worthy of respect. She didn't think Mr. Arizona ever had a hardship in his life, had him pegged for the rich kid two story home life right from the beginning. Dom didn't think that was the right theory as far as Brian life went, and how could they even really know if he was from Arizona.
Mia was on the fence, caught between what her family told her to feel about Brian and what she really felt. Brian was friend, something they agreed that would work better for them after their first almost happened but not quite date. She felt guilty that her friend had laid some much on the line for other people's crimes, and ended up the only one losing something. Lose something he did, his job, his life, them; Dom suppose if they actually really meant all that much to him in the first place.
Jesse was firmly in Brian's corner and was pissed at everyone for trying to convince him otherwise. He was pissed at Dom too, something Jesse had never been before, angry that Dom pushed Brian out when he felt like he might need them the most. Which was true he might need them, even with the lack of evidence the cops still thought they might have done the job. Just thinking wasn't that much a danger to them, but suspecting Brian knew the truth and wasn't giving it had cost him everything.
Leon was on Jesse side, who really knew if that was because he honestly felt like Brian shouldn't have been casted out, or if it was just so Jesse didn't have to stand alone. Either way he made his support known when Jesse yelled at them, or gave them the silent treatment. Dom wasn't quite sure how long that would last, if this would be the thing that breaks them apart.
Dom honestly didn't know what side to take, and one of them was his own. He had sent Brian packing in a moment of anger, the betrayal still stung too much after everything was all said and done. Now that a few days have passed, and he's had time to think, really think, he realized it wasn't betrayal at all. Betrayal would have been Brian turning them in, getting a nice big promotion for breaking them apart. That's not what he did though, he took a suicide dive into failure, and didn't expect anymore than what Dom gave in the end, the boot.
He took it so graciously too, like it hadn't been the first time he put his neck out and then was shut down, cast off, left alone. His quick silent departure looking like he expected it, accepted it had Dom thinking about a past conversation at the table on a Sunday afternoon.
"All this, the picnic, the barbecue, it's like a family." Brian said with a slight smile after Dom pushed him to say what was on his mind.
"What are you an orphan?" Letty taunted.
"Nah, just whenever I show up my dad always called the cops you know?" Brian shot back as a joke, deflecting.
"That's funny," Dom had said, and then laughed, but Brian didn't, he smiled but it didn't meet his eyes like there was more to than that.
Dom felt like there was some truth behind Brian's joke, or at least some bad history with his old man. The truth was that he just didn't know for sure, none of them did. It had been the only time Brian had actually ever answered a question that gave even a small amount of information about his parents.
Asking Brian a question about his past, was as good as asking him to leave and not come back for a day or so. It just took one small, even basic, question about his life and Brian would haul ass, no answers, no reasons, and no warnings. He would just leave, it had happened several times over, with every member of the team.
"I can't cook," Brian answered to Mia's request for him to help with dinner.
"Your mom never taught you?" She asked facing the stove stirring, when she heard nothing she turned around and was shocked to to find Brian no longer standing there. She heard the truck start up from in front of the house, walked to the window just in time for it to leave.
Brian didn't come by the house for two days after that, and he only showed up then because Dom forced him to come to dinner.
"My mom taught me how to drive," Leon said sitting on the Supra one hot afternoon.
"Your mom?" Dom asked.
"Yeah man...that was before she left though, you know, can hate her for that, but can't hate her completely." He shrugged. "What about you Brian?"
"What about me man?" Brian asked confused.
"Who taught you how to drive, your dad, your mom?"
Brian jumped off the roof of the Supra so fast Dom had only caught the fact that he moved from the sound of his feet hitting the ground. He walked off mumbling something about a bathroom.
Once again the sound of a truck firing up could be heard, and Brian wasn't at work the next day.
"Wash my car when your done" Vince mouthed off after seeing Brian helping Mia with the dishes.
"What was that?" She asked, with a look of incredulous anger.
"No Mia, I'm talking to the punk. Wear your favorite dress, cause when your done I'm putting you on the street where you belong cutie. I'm sure you learned all about whoring from your momma right?"
It was a typical thing Vince would say to start a fight, and any other time Brian would have undoubtedly thrown a punch. If he hadn't brought up Brian's mother he might have, but instead he set the plate and the towel down and took off through the front door.
By then Dom had been use to the pattern so he waited Brian out for a day, handed him a wrench and pointed to the Supra when he showed back up.
Brian stood over Mia and her textbook pointing out some of the steps she had missed. Mia nodded as Brian explained patiently.
Dom smiled over at the two, glad to see someone who could not only discuss Mia's classwork, but also help her when she got stuck on a hard algebra problem.
"You're really good at math," Mia said with a smile when she finally understood what she had done wrong.
Brian shrugged off the compliment, "just always clicked for me."
Letty snorted and closed the fridge she had just grabbed a bottle of water out of. "I'm sure your big fancy degree from some Ivy League school helps."
Dom watched as Brian grimaced, "no degree," he told her, "didn't go to college."
Mia looked up at Brian with wide surprised eyes, "you didn't? But your so good at all of this."
Dom had to admitt he was a bit shocked as well, Brian was really smart, mathematics, engines, all the shit Jesse talked about that Brian could keep up with, and the way he could easily help Mia with her own college work. He was sure that the man had gone to college before he said otherwise.
Brian shrugged again and looked down at his arm, "nah I...I didn't even finish High School," he said quietly.
"You didn't?" Dom asked, not judging Brian for the admission, just asking for plain simple curiosity.
"Nah, didn't get a chance too, got my GED though," he told Dom who nodded.
Letty snorted, "bet your parents were really happy with that."
Brian looked up for a minute and turned his head to the side like he had something to say, but I’m the end he didn't say a word just walked out of the kitchen like he was possessed.
"Brian!" Mia called out after him as she stood up from the table.
"Don't bother Mia," Dom told her with a frown, "I'm sure he's already pulling out by now."
"I have scars like yours," Jesse told Brian in the back room one day, unaware of Dom standing around the corner.
"What scars?" Brian said with a laugh.
"The ones on your back and chest, I saw them one night when I came back to the shop late. You had your shirt off because you thought you were alone, like I said I have scars like that too, I know how somebody gets them. Your family?" Jesse asked while staring at Brian like he was trying to get him to understand that it was okay, that he understood.
"Man Jess, I don't know what you’re talking about, I don't have any scars.” Brian denied gruffly while standing. He moved towards the door quickly, calling out, “I'm going to go find Dom,” over his shoulder as he went.
Dom didn't even move from his hiding spot, he knew Brian wouldn't be looking for him, he knew Brian would be gone.
"What about your father Brian?" Dom asked him, not really meaning for the words to leave his mouth, after telling him all about his own father's death, and about getting locked up.
Brian jerked, like he was getting ready to bail, which is what Dom had come to expect from him, but he planted his feet. It looked like it took a lot of effort to keep himself standing there long enough to ask, "what about him?"
Dom finally felt like he might be getting somewhere, that Brian might actually shed some light on who he once was, so he decided to take it slow, ask a simple question. "Is he alive?"
Brian bolted, quick enough that Dom never saw his face, he must have ran to his vehicle, because by the time Dom walked out of garage he was backing up into the street.
It wasn't how Dom expected the whole break her heart, I'll break you neck speech to go. He only meant to scare Brian a little, not scare him away before he could even take Mia on a date.
They all learned in their own ways that Brian was a flight risk when they brought up anything personal. That day at the barbecue was more telling than Dom thought Brian had meant to be, he was sure.
Dom couldn't get those words out of his head, like a family. Of course they were a real family, it didn't take a genius to figure that out. So why did it take Brian so long to do so, why did they all have to be sitting around a table hanging out like the usually did for it to click for him. Why didn't he know a family when he saw one? Did he not have one? If he didn't who had raised him, where did he grow up?
It was only a few questions Dom wanted answered, he had a few hundred more in the back of his mind, but he would settle for those at first.
Which meant he had chosen his side, and it wasn't his own. The questions he needed answered about Brian's past, about why he gave it all up for him. Dom needed those more than anything else. Brian was like
a light that drew you in, and Dom was captured in it. Had been since the cocky bastard challenged him to a race for money and respect. It's where it all started for Dom, the feelings he had for the other man. He felt guilty at first, when he thought both Mia and Brian had feelings for each other, but when he found out they didn't he only had fallen a bit harder. Now he needed to know how much of that was really Brian. Was he still the guy, Dom liked?
"I have questions," he told everyone that night at dinner.
Mia glanced over at him, "about what Dom?"
"Brian," he said simply.
"Why?" Jesse asked heatedly, "I think at this point we've done, or haven't done enough." It was weird for Dom to see Jesse standing up to him, the kid usually followed along with whatever he said. It just showed how strongly Brian and Jesse had connected, how strongly he felt about the once cop.
"I want to know about who he was," Dom told him gently, trying to let Jess know he had gotten the message.
"Why?" Letty sneered at the same time Jesse asked, "want me to look him up?"
"No," he told Jesse ignoring Letty's question for the moment. "I have questions about Brian, for Brian."
"Brian doesn't answer questions about..." Leon said.
"About himself, yeah I know. That's not going to work anymore for me."
"Why," Letty asked again, harsher.
"Because I broke the only rule we have, protect the family, and you never turn your back on them."
"So that's what the Buster is now, huh Dom, family?" Vince snarled.
"Yes," he told him firmly. "Because he didn't break the rule like me, he might have lied, but he didn't turn his back on us when we needed him, and he protected everyone but himself. Now it's our turn, because we all know there is something more to him not talking about his past."
"Doesn't want to admit how well off he was I bet," Letty snarked, but it held less heat then her previous statements. Which is how she was always was when Dom put his foot down, snapped and barked but eventually she would give in.
"I don't think he was well off, he has scars." Jesse pointed out, something him and Dom only knew about.
"I'm sure pigs get scars on the job Jess." Vince told him.
"He has scars like mine," Jesse snapped out at him.
That shut everyone up, the arguments about Brian were over, it was decided the minute Jesse opened his mouth.
Vince sighed, "how do we find him then kid?"
"I'll find his address," he answered with a grin.
It was a contagious grin, that spread all around the table, it even caught Dom. They were going to find Brian and put the family to rights again.
At first Dom wanted to do it on his own, he even expected everyone else to understand that and not even ask him to come. As soon as Jesse rattled off an address however they all had their keys in their hands.
"What are you all doing?" Dom asked them.
"You want answers right?" Letty said like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Yeah," he was a little slow on her train of thought.
"The problem is we all asked him when we're alone with him. Only one or two of us around, he could flee to easily." Mia told him, and Dom understood if they wanted answers they have to do this together.
Dom nodded, "lets go then."
They walked up the drive just in time to ser two uniformed officers step out of Brian's house and sneer at them.
"You see still a cop, lets go Dom," Vince said nastily.
"You here to pick up your bitch Toretto?" One of the cops asked him.
"Excuse me?" Dom barked out turning around to face the cop.
"He's all warmed up for you," the other spat with a nasty smirk on his face.
Dom started to move towards the man, only seeing red and wanting answers about what he had done to Brian, but Mia grabbed his arm. "Dom," she warned. "Their cops Dom, you can't do anything let's go." She pushed him past the two men and further up Brian's walk way.
"Careful Toretto, he's not a very good bitch, uses to much teeth."
It wasn't Dom who whirled around after that, but surprisingly Vince, "what the fuck did you say?"
The cop laughed, he stopped in front of the patrol car and sang out tauntingly, "I'd keep walking if I was you, or I'll find a reason to take you in."
Letty pulled at Vince's arm when he made no move to walk away himself, "lets go."
The door was left opened and Dom walked right into the house. It was a grimy, practically filthy, no place for Brian to live in. Everything had a layer of dust on it, and the walls that looked like they were once white, were now a tan color from dirt.
The carpet was stained with blood, which made it easy to find the person they were looking for. "Jesus Brian," Dom called out at seeing him laying on the floor in the fetal position with his hand tucked between his legs.
"Fuck," Brian moaned. "They see you?"
"Yes," Dom said while bending down, "they do this?"
Brian didn't answer, he untucked his hands with a yell, and shifted so he could sit up. "Leave," he told all them. "Before someone else comes around looking for me, you don't need to be around cops. They will bait you just so they can take you in."
"What were you even doing around cops, you were fired?" Mia asked eyes scanning Brian’s body taking in his injuries.
"Thinks for reminding me," Brian said bitterly. He looked towards the kitchen and sighed. He turned his body to the side, and started inching in that direction.
"Here," Dom told him and started to reach to help him up.
"Don't touch me, don’t need your help," Brian hissed lifting up his arm to point in the direction they had just come from. "The door is that way, help yourself to it."
"Can I help?" Jesse asked coming around to the spot Brian was in.
Brian looked like he was about to blow his top, but one look at Jesse's face and he calmed right down. "No Jess, I'm fine, but you all being here is going to make this worse. Just please leave."
"Brian," Jesse started but was interrupted by a shout.
Brian grunted and threw himself back on the floor, "just fucking perfect," he mumbled. "In the living room Tanner!"
"Brian," Tanner said in shock, at Brian's state or the fact he had the Toretto team in his house was anyone's guess.
"What happened Brian?"
"I got hit by train," Brian said seriously.
"A train?" Tanner raised his eyebrow, "a train with fists, didn't know they made ones like that." He said a seeing the bruises on Brian in shapes that we're obviously done by punches.
"Life is full of mysterious things Tanner, you being here for instance, them." He said waving his hand.
"I came to make sure Hart and Myers did in fact drop you off at your house after your official questioning, and not take you into some unknown area to drop off your body."
"Would have been kinder," Brian mumbled lowly, but everyone heard it. "As you can see Tanner, I'm home. Now if you don't mind I think this is the time where everyone leaves Brian's house and let's him suffer in peace."
"You need a hospital," Tanner pointed out to him.
"What I need is a gun, want to let me borrow yours Tanner? Your already here after all, wouldn't have to drive all the way across town to fill out a report," Brian smirked wanting to freak the man out enough to make him leave.
Tanner narrowed his eyes at the blonde, "you want me to have you admitted as suicidal Brian? Because I will."
Everyone tensed and looked at Brian who waved his hand at the other man, "no, I just want everyone to fucking leave."
"I came to tell you Brian that LAPD isn't pressing any charges against you, because of lack of evidence in the case."
"Goody, is that everything?"
"How about you show some respect Brian? I put my ass on the line, told them that you blew your cover when we all know that isn't true." Tanner said pointing in Dom's direction.
"I didn't ask you to Tanner," Brian said with a sigh.
"What was I suppose to do, let you go to jail?"
"Sure," Brian told him. "Wouldn't be the first time I was there, would it?"
Tanner narrowed his eyes at the blonde man, "you weren't a cop the first time. They would kill you."
Brian laughed bitterly, "cop, sixteen year old kid, not much of difference when your in prison with the big boys is it?" Brian shrugged and Dom tensed. "Besides you think they could do worse than our brothers in blue?"
Tanner nodded, "I do, but you need to move Brian. Everyone at the station knows where you live, I won't be able to stop them fully from coming back to teach you a lesson."
"Plan on it, look Tanner let's just stop with the concerned act alright? Stop showing up and acting like I'm nothing but a huge fucking disappointment to you. I'll leave L.A., just get out of here alright, and take them with you."
"I meant out of this house Brian," Tanner raised his voice. "And I'm gone, but I'm not taking them. I told you that families came in all different types and you had to choose yours. You chose O' Conner," he looked at Dom, "I hope it was worth it."
While everyone was busy watching the man leave Brian had scooted far enough along the floor to grab onto a counter and pull himself up. He walked over to the sink full of dishes and turned the water on, he grabbed a roll of paper towels and started to clean off his arms and face.
"Brian," Mia called. "Let me help you, you know I can."
"Then you'll leave?" He asked her shaking, Brian knew he needed her help, he didn't want it, but he needed it.
"Just let me help you," she said gently, not agreeing to his terms.
"Fine," Brian hissed, while reaching into his freezer and grabbing an ice pack. Mia grabbed his arm and lead him over to the small old couch in his living room.
Mia slipped Brian's shirt off and everyone gasped at what they saw, the man was covered in bruises and cuts. The two cops that had down that two him were monsters, and Dom wanted to hunt them down.
"Do you have a first aide kit?" Mia asked sadly, "some of those are going to need stitches."
Brian nodded, "under the sink." Mia walked back into the kitchen. "Watch out for the gun," Brian called when she had opened the cabinet.
He laid the ice pack in his lap, and every man in the room gave a wince knowing why. "They kick you?" Dom asked motioning to the ice pack, trying to contain the rage he felt knowing it would just put Brian on edge.
Brian nodded, "more than once."
"Bastards," Vince hissed out. "What else did they do?"
Brian looked up at Vince and gave him a look that said I wouldn't tell you if you were the last person on earth.
Vince nodded slowly, Brian's silence was an answer enough.
Mia came back and Dom watched as she tended to Brian's wounds, that cop was right Brian needed a hospital, but Dom didn't think they were going to be able to convince him of that.
Mia moved quickly and efficiently cleaning Brian's wounds, stitching up the ones that needed it, and bandaging the cuts that weren't deep enough for stitches but still needed to be covered.
"Why are you here?" Brian asked softly, with a lot less heat than his words had held before.
"We have some questions," Dom said hesitantly.
Brian sighed, "about?"
"Your past," Mia said gently.
"Well you came all this way for nothing," Brian barked out, his anger returning.
"Why won't you tell us?" Jesse asked, "I know it wasn't good, but like I've told you before I have scars like that Brian."
"That doesn't mean anything," Brian said gruffly, not able to yell at Jesse the same way he had with everyone else.
"It means I understand Brian," Jess told him.
Brian shook his head, "no Jess, you can't understand, no one can. It's not something I'm going to talk about."
"Why?" Dom asked, "why won't you tell us? Why do you think we can't understand?"
"Because I'm nothing fucking like you!" Brian screamed out shocking everyone. "When you told me about your dad, about the sadness, the pain, the rage, the guilt you felt watching him die, I knew then I could never be apart of your family."
Dom narrowed his eyes, "why?"
Brian eyes went cold, "because when I watched my father die, I didn't feel any of that! I watched in cold satisfaction as he drew his last breath. The only emotion I can see we shared would be the rage, but yours was directed at the person who caused your father's death. Mine is what caused my father to die."
"What are you saying Brian?" Mia asked quietly, standing up from her spot on the couch having finished patching Brian up.
"I'm saying I killed my father, when I was sixteen years old." Brian looked around at the looks of shock and disbelief on their faces. "So now that you know I'm a murderer you can all leave now, thanks for stopping by."
"No," Vince said suddenly shocking everyone. "I don't know you all that well Buster but you don't seem like the type to kill someone for no reason, so what was it?"
Brian shook his head no, "just leave alright?"
"No," Dom said, "you're going to tell us."
Brian's eyes lit up in fury, "you want to know so damn bad? Fine! You want to here all about poor little Brian O'Conner who was abused at such a young age that he just thought it was normal, that's what fathers did to their kids? You want me to tell all about how when I was ten I watched my father push my mother down the stairs, I watched her die. Heard my father tell the cops she slipped and fell because of all the alcohol she had drank, and how I was too scared, too weak to do anything but lie and confirm his story!" Tears started gathering up in Brian's eyes. "How when I got older and met other kids I found out that my life wasn't normal, that parents actually loved their children, and figured I must have done something terribly wrong to make mine hate me! That without the extra person in our lives for him to take his anger out on that the abuse just got worse and worse. Oh how about I tell you all about how I stayed and I endured it, never once ran away to get away from the monster. Is that what you wanted to hear Dom, is it?"
Brian looked broken, there wasn't any other word for it. He looked like a man who just spilled his deepest darkest secrets and had nothing left. Dom couldn't take seeing him like that, he moved slowly over to Brian and grabbed his hand. Brian flinched but didn't jerk away, he stared down at Dom's hand warily.
"Why?" Dom asked him softly knowing Brian needed to finish. He knew that if they wanted Brian to be apart of their family that the man needed to tell them everything. He needed to know that he was accepted even with everything he had done in past. "Why didn't you leave?"
"I had a brother," Brian said softly. "He was nine years younger than me, one when mother died. I stayed to umm protect him, act as a buffer."
"You have a brother?" Jesse asked softly.
"Had," Brian said firmly, he pulled his hand out of Dom's and sat back on the couch slowly mindful of his injuries.
"Did he..." Leon started to ask.
Brian shook his head sadly, "he's alive, he just hates me."
Dom sat down beside Brian and put his hand on his head to began combing through those blonde curls. "Why does he hate you?"
Brian sighed leaning slightly into the touch, "he was there when I...killed our father. I came home one night and the monster was beating on him with a belt, he was taking it to far, he was going to kill John." Brian put his elbows on his knees and burried his face in his hands. "So I pulled him off of him, but he wouldn't stop, he just wouldn't stop," he said desperately. "So I grabbed my knife out of my pocket and I stabbed him, three times."
Dom reached over and pulled Brian in closer to him, "shh it's okay," he told him gently. "No one here thinks badly about you for it, we just need to know Bri." Brian shoulders started to shake and Dom wrapped in his arms as tight as he could without hurting him. "You saved your brother's life," he whispered to Brian.
Brian sniffed loudly and jerked his hand up to rub at his tears, "he doesn't remember that part, he doesn't even remember that our father use to beat us. His blocked out all that trauma, which I was told was pretty common. The only damn thing he remembers is me with that knife. The cops were called and John told them what I did, they took him off to child protection services and me to a cop station. I was so fucking scared," he admitted.
Vince sat down on the other side of Brian and bumped his knee with his own, "you were just a kid, I be surprised as hell if you weren't scared."
"I was in that room with two cops being questioned for hours, I told them everything, about my father, about him killing my mother. They didn't want to believe at first, but John had a lot of bruises and welts and my body was practically a walking evidence board, it still is to this day with how many scars I have."
"What happened?" Letty asked, looking guilty for every assumption she had ever made about Brian Dom noticed.
"I was tried as an adult, the judge gave me three years in Victorville, he said while I might have stoped my brother from getting injured I still murdered someone in cold blood. I didn't have the money for an attorney, my court appointed one was shit and Barstow isn't that big, that judge had always hated me."
"That's high security!" Vince yelled out. "You were just a kid!"
Brian nodded, "when you told me about Lompoc, how you would die before you went back," he looked over at Dom, "I understood. I knew exactly what you were talking about, I'd put a gun to my head before I ever went back in."
Dom knew the answer to why Brian blew his job right then and there, "it's why you told us, because you understood."
Brian nodded, "I didn't want to be the one to do that to you, and I didn't want you to end up dead."
Vince looked over at Brian, "but they could have put you in jail, you risked going back for us?"
Brian shook his head, "I wouldn't have gone back," he stuck his hand down in the couch and pulled out a handgun, he handed it over to Vince. "There are guns hidden all around this place."
Vince looked down at the gun laying heavily in his hand and took a deep breath. When Brian said he would put a bullet in his head before he went back he really meant it. Vince swallowed loudly and looked over at Brian, "I'm not going to ask you about your time in jail."
"Good because it's not something I'm going to talk about, ever."
Vince nodded, "but after you got out? How did you become a cop?"
Brian shrugged, "my best friend's father wanted to help me turn my life around, he thought that would be the best way. My friend Rome was so pissed when he found out, he had always hated his old man, and lived on the other side of the law because of it. I was just so damn lost after Victorville, alone, so I mean yeah cop wasn't what I really wanted to do, but the brotherhood family shit sounded nice. Just learned what I've always known, family, that shit ain't for me."
Dom tensed, because he knew he helped drive that point in further to Brian by sending him away. He didn't even know how to fix it, but he was going to do everything in his power to do so. "I'm sorry," he said quietly surprising everyone because Dominic Toretto didn't do apologies. "I should have never sent you away, and there is no excuse for what I did, so I'm not even going to try. I just hope you know that when I say I regret it I mean it."
Brian turned a wary glance at Dom, "you shouldn't, I don't belong anywhere near your family. I'm a liar, and a weak worthless murderer. It's best you keep your distance from me, I ruin everything I come into contact with."
Brian was so steady with his words, he said them so convincingly that everyone knew he really felt that way about himself. That deep down he felt all those things, and it broke all of their hearts.
"Your not any of those things, what you did doesn't make who you are. You might have lied, but you did so much to protect us, just like you might have killed someone but you did it for your brother. Your not worthless Brian!" Mia said deeply bothered by his words. "Your not worthless," she repeated.
"And your not weak," Dom added, "anyone that can survive what you have is not weak at all."
"Where is your brother now Brian?" Leon asked him trying to change the subject.
"With his new family," Brian said evenly, "he was adopted pretty fast, they are nice people, met them once."
"So they tell you about him?" Mia asked, sounding a little relieved.
Brian picked up the ice pack from his lap and threw it on the coffee table in front of the couch, "no, I only met them once, and they asked me not to try and contact John again." Brian closed his eyes and leaned his head back. "Turns out he's fucking scared of me. I use to have nightmares about my father, how much of a monster he was. His family told me about him screaming my name in terror at night, I'm the monster that gave him nightmares," Brian whispered painfully.
"But he's older now right? Someone must have told him why you did what you did?" Mia asked clearly upset, any form relief she had a few moments ago gone.
Brian shook his head, "no, it was decided that umm...he had been through enough. That it really was for the best if he didn't remember all of the abuse, so he probably still doesn't know. Unless he's remembered, but I like to think if he did remember that he might come find me, but I'm probably wrong."
"I'm sure he would if he remembered," Dom said gently.
Brian shook his head, "nah, good intentions or not I still killed someone in front him, can't be easy to live with. I've looked him up a few times, he lives in San Diego, is in high school, makes good grades, on the football team, and just hot his license this year. He has a good life, good family, and doesn't need me and my shit it in it anyways."
"He has all of that because of you," Mia pointed out to him.
"Maybe," Brian said, "and that's enough for me. Like I said I don't belong in a family, wasn't meant for me. So I'm okay with just keeping tabs from a far. It's not like I'm a upstanding member of society now, nothing to be proud of as far as big brothers go."
"You belong in a family Bri," Dom said feeling his chest tighten. "You belong with us."
Brian snorted, "funny that's not what you said when you showed me the door."
"I know," Dom said guilty, "I know and I'm so sorry Bri, I'm so very sorry." He wrapped his arm around Brian's neck and pulled him into his chest. "I know you don't believe me, but give me a chance to prove it," he begged. "Just come home Bri."
"Home?" Brian choked out.
Dom nodded into the top of Brian's head. "Yeah home, where all of us are. Where we want you to be. Family dinners, Sundays barbecues, and Friday movie nights. A job at the garage, and racing on Saturdays. A room that will always be yours not matter what, the place you deserve to be in, not this place."
"And when you all decide you don't want want me around anymore?" Brian asked knowing that day would come.
"Not going to happen," everyone said in their own way.
"I know it's hard for believe, but you gotta give us a chance to prove it Bri," Dom told him. "We just need a chance."
"You can't stay here anyways Brian," Vince said being the voice of reason, so unlike his usual self. "If those cops come back," Vince let out a growl. "If they touch you again..." Brian looked up at the man in shock while he tried to put his thoughts into words. "If anyone fucking touches you like that again, I swear to god Brian cops or not I'm going to kill them."
"Why?" Brian said sounding upset, or freaked out, no one could really tell. "You hate me."
Vince shook his head, "I didn't even know you, I knew the cop who didn't tell anyone about himself. The one that acted like he didn't give a shit about anything, I can't trust someone like that around my family. I know you now though, I know you gave up everything for us, and before that you gave up everything for your brother. That guy, this you, I trust. When I get close enough to trust someone it means your family, and I protect my family, just like everyone else here does. That's what I'm going to do for you," Vince promised.
"I don't need..." Brian started to hiss out.
"Yeah, you do Buster."
"Everyone needs someone to have their back every once in a while Brian." Dom told him. "You've been on your own so long it's what your comfortable with, it's what you know. We can teach you what being in a family means, what it's like to wake up every morning and know without a doubt that your not alone anymore."
"Say yes," Jesse told Brian urgently, "just say yes Brian."
Brian looked over at everyone before giving a quiet nod, the team all sighed in relief.
Dom stood up and pulled Brian slowly to his feet, "some of your clothes are still at the house, you can rest tonight and then tomorrow we will come get the rest of your stuff."
It had been a week since Brian moved in, and he was settling in to routine and family nicely. He was also healing nicely, to slow according to Brian, who had a tendency to push himself to hard on a good day. It took some serious reining from everyone to keep him from overdoing it, but they were managing it. Brian was managing not getting huffy about the hovering when it came to his health.
Things were going well though, during the day he worked in the garage with the guys and Letty and then after they all went home and ate dinner together. Brian didn't really go out much, and when he did it was always with Dom, Leon, or Vince. The lack of space annoyed him a bit, but he knew everyone was just worried about the cop situation. He knew it was for the best, to have backup incase any of them came around wanting to teach him another lesson.
Dom was frustrated on the space that still lingered between him and Brian, the one that he had put there. It seemed crazy to him that he couldn't just walk up to Brian and tell him his feelings, Dom had never had a problem with going after what he wanted in the past, but with Brian it was different. Brian was different, Dom couldn't just be brash and blunt, he knew he had done damaged, and knew Brian wasn’t just going to forget that and hop into his bed.
Knowing all of that is what had him seeking Brian out in the first place. He found him sitting on the couch looking at a magazine, while Vince sat beside him playing some first person shooter game. "Turn your arm more to the left," Brian commented without looking up.
Vince snorted but did as Brian said and grinned when he made a kill shot. Dom walked fully into the living room, "play a lot of video games?"
Over the last week the family had been taking the time to get to really know Brian, the real Brian. He was use to everyone by now asking him small questions about his life, dislikes, and likes. So hearing Dom ask a question didn't even surprise him. "No," Brian answered looking up from the article about turbo engines. "Cop, had to test on the range quite a bit, never gotten anything less than a perfect score."
Dom nodded taking the information in, "you busy tonight?"
Brian shook his head, "had plans with Leon, but he has a date."
Vince snorted, "guy acts like he's never heard the code bros before hoes before."
Dom chuckled, "because that's one rule you've never broken huh Vince?"
Brian let out a laugh, "its cool, he's been going into that convenience store for weeks now hitting on her. Maybe now that he finally got a date we can get him to get beer from somewhere else, I swear it's been a little stale lately. Besides if I had a choice of going out on a date and hanging with your ugly mug I’d choose date to," Brian shoved his shoulder into Vince's.
Dom cleared his throat quietly, he knew he wasn't going to get any better opening than that. "Glad to hear you say that, I was wondering..."
Dom didn't get a chance to finish before Vince was standing and mumbling about giving them some privacy.
Dom sent off a glare at the man before turning back to Brian, "I was wondering if you liked to go to dinner with me."
Brian's eyes widened, "like a date with you?"
Don nodded and noticed the wary look on Brian's face. "Yes, if you want. I would really like to take you out Bri," he said nervously. He brought his hand up and rubbed his head, "I mean I don't even know if your interested in guys, me," he finished quietly.
Brian stood up and looked over at Dom, "guys, no. You, yeah, but I'm not sure if this is such a good idea."
Don felt his heart skip a beat at Brian's words, "I know I hurt you Bri," he saw Brian open his mouth ready to deny it but he spoke before he could. "No I did, and it's alright for you to admit that. It's also alright for me to know it. I shouldn't have ever told you leave, and I'm so sorry Bri, I really am. It's not something I'll ever do again. I get that you might not believe me right now, but I want to prove it to you. Please Brian?"
Brian stood up and looked into Dom’s eyes from a moment before he gave the man a small smile. “Alright,” he agreed, “a date.”