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Guilty by Association

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It felt so good to be finally home. Full pardons all the way around. They could be a family again on American soil, even if little Jack wasn’t born in America. Valentina Toretto grinned to herself looking around the yard. It had been so long since she had been home. She couldn't believe how crazy her life had become. It was absolutely stunning what she had managed to survive. It was nice to be back somewhere where that was familiar.

She couldn’t believe it was all the same. The garage was still in the back where her older brother stored their father’s Charger. There was still a grill and a picnic table large enough for her family. She wasn’t sure how Dom had done it, but he had. He’d kept the house for over a decade without anyone being there.

“Home sweet home,” Dom said wrapping an around around her shoulder.

“Yeah, it’s going to be strange seeing it empty.”

“Nah, it won’t be empty for long,” Letty said on the other side of Dom.

“It never is,” Val agreed. Entering the house made Val frown. She wasn’t sure what she was expecting when she entered, but it wasn’t that. The whole place felt dead. The warmth was gone. Those rooms were always filled with laughter and smoke and beer. They were filled with friendly faces. Friends that she considered family. Leon, Vince, and Jesse. Vince and Jesse were dead. Leon bolted when the going got tough. Val frowned at the memory.

She and Leon were together at that point. Had been for quite some time before that. It was almost four years if her memory served her right. It had been so long since she had thought about him that she had completely forgotten everything about their relationship.

He had offered to take her with him when Dom had to leave. Leon had said she didn’t need to live a life like the one Dom was dragging her into, but Val just shook her head, kissed his lips one last time, got in her car, and headed for Mexico.

Part of her wondered where he was. Maybe he had a family. Or at least a baby mamma or two. Or three. Four at the most. She wanted to bust out laughing at her thought, but she didn’t want her brother thinking she had gone bat shit crazy.

In Mexico, Letty had been murdered. She and her younger sister stuck close to him for weeks completely worried for him. It broke Val’s heart all over again remembering the look in her brother’s eyes. He had left with Brian, much to her surprise, to hunt the man down and bring him to justice. In the end, he had, but had landed himself in prison.

Breaking him out was so much fun! She wasn’t as good a driver compared to her brother and his little gang, but she could still hold her own. She raced sometimes, but she wasn’t as big into it as her brother was.

And that was when Hobbs came into play. The man was massive. Tough. And he had one thing on his agenda; bring the family down. He almost had. He came busting in like he owned the place and fucked everything up. Literally. The way he and Dom threw each other around, it surprised Val that the whole building didn’t come down on them.

Her gaze found a picture of her father. Dom was sitting on his right, Val was hanging around his shoulders, and Mia was resting in his arms.

Dom had almost killed Hobbs. Almost killed him the same way he almost killed the man that pushed their father into the wall. The worst part was, Val wanted him to kill Hobbs. He was a threat to her family. He was going to tear them apart. She knew Dom wouldn’t let that happened. He would protect them just like he’d always done.

After the tiring escape, their family grew. Brian had brought in Tej and Roman whom Val had immediately hit it off with. She loved their attitudes and wit. She loved how she could joke with them. However, in the end, she was closer to Tej than she was to Roman.

They had walked away from that heist with millions of dollars and their freedom leaving Hobbs in their dust as they fled to different countries around the globe. Dom, Brian, Mia, and Val were sure to stay close even though Val liked to disappear at times and go see Tej for a month or two. She came back when her nephew Jack was born of course and didn’t leave again.

That was when she got the devastating phone call from her brother. Letty was alive. She wasn’t sure how or why, but she was alive. Brian had said Hobbs was just playing with their heads, but the tears working up in his eyes wasn’t convincing anyone. Val was already on board. Letty was her best friend and partner in crime. They always had each other's back no matter what. They had gotten each other in and out of trouble since they day they had met.

It took a little convincing from Mia to get Brian on board.

Enter Luke Hobbs once more! Only… he was asking for their help to stop a man named Owen Shaw who Letty was currently working for and/or with. The deal had been that if they took down Shaw, the family got full pardons. It sent chills down her spine when Hobbs agreed to it.

Home. It was within her grasp. One last job and they could be home. That was all it was going to take. One… last… job. The night they had their first encounter with Shaw had brought every one of her boys back injured. Tej, Brian, and Roman had crashed their vehicles. Dom had been shot by Letty. Even Hobbs had been injured apparently jumping from a moving vehicle on an overpass down onto another vehicle.

“So, let me get this straight,” Val had said once she had heard all their stories. “They tag your cars with hockey pucks, which in turn shuts you cars down. You go rolling, Tej. Roman, you go through a department store, Brian gets rolled by some random vehicle thing, and Hobbs tries to stop Shaw by jumping off a thirty foot overpass onto his car…” Tej and Roman exchanged looks.

“Yeah, that about sums it up.” Val blinked a couple times letting it all soak in.

“Anyone else and I wouldn’t believe you.” That’s when she noticed Hobb’s arm. He had a nasty gash on his arm he had said he’d gotten from being thrown from Shaw’s vehicle.

It’s the first and only time they are alone. Hobbs wasn’t too happy about being poked and prodded by a criminal. Val just grinned at him. She knew better than that. She knew he’d read her file. She knew he knew she was a doctor working for an ER back in the states. She had lost her credentials. She had been in a car accident when she was racing. A bad one. She had grown addicted to painkillers and got caught stealing them from the hospital. She had landed herself in jail and when she got out, she had no choice, but to go into a criminal life.

She worked for a chop shop. She had gotten caught and landed herself back in jail. She had gotten out and had come knocking on her brother’s door. He had welcomed her with open arms. She had straightened up and allowed her brother to give her a job at his garage.

“I’m going to give you a local,” she had said. She had already had the needle ready when Hobbs shook his head.

“I don’t need anything.”

“You need stitches. This will help with the pain,” Val had said. Hobbs still shook his head no. Much to Hobbs’ amusement, she had started mumbling under her breath about macho men and how they annoyed the piss out of her.

Hobbs had flinched once making Val giggle.

“That will be our little secret,” she whispered making Hobbs grin.

Luke, he wanted her to call him Luke. She had given him a kind smile and nodded her head.

When she, Hobbs, and Tej had went to scope out cars that didn’t have computer chips that could be overridden by those pesky hockey pucks, Hobbs had made her blush. That prick of a Brit had pointed out that Tej wasn’t surrounded by honeys directing it at her. She had crossed her arms over her chest.

“Not surrounded by honeys,” she said mockingly. “My ass! He doesn’t even know what a honey is. I’m a honey, right, Tej?”

“Of course,” he agreed quickly. She looked up at Hobbs.

“Right, Luke?”

“Nah, you’re too classy to be a honey.” She had blushed slightly embarrassed, but she was flattered that he thought more of her. She slapped Tej’s arm to curb her embarrassment.

“You can learn a thing or two from him!” Luke had smiled at her statement. “That guy is probably such a big dick because he’s lacking in other areas.”

When Luke had made the man take off his pants, Val wondered if it was for her. When he winked at her, she knew it was.

Val had hurt her leg on the plane fighting Shaw’s little whore. She was a tough bitch. She had thrown Val around like she was a ragdoll. She and Luke had stood side by side looking down at the jeep Tej and Roman were in.

“We gotta jump,” Luke yelled over the engines.

“I can’t make that kind of a jump!” Luke stared down at her for a split second then wrapped an arm around her waist picking her up without even straining.

“Hold onto me,” he said. Val didn’t even protest. She wrapped her arms around his neck as tightly as she could. She felt them drop. She felt her stomach flutter. She felt her insides jolt back into place as they landed. She pulled away from him. “You alright?” Luke asked. Val nodded and he let her down. They looked back up to the plane to see Letty waiting. She jumped down and landed, Luke grabbing her to make sure she didn’t fall out.

Val slid into the backseat to make room for her brother.

“Dom!” she heard Letty yell. She moved back into the back of the jeep.

Seeing the plane go up in flames had her thinking she had lost her brother. Her whole body had went numb. He had almost made it, but his car had rolled. She felt Luke’s big hand on her shoulder, a simple attempt to comfort her, but it wasn’t enough for her. She turned into him resting her forehead against his chest. His arm stayed around her shoulders.

Now she was home. Like nothing had happened. Maybe it hadn’t. Maybe the last fourteen years had been an illusion. A glance around the house had proved that theory wrong. She wouldn’t have allowed it to get that bad. Dust was everywhere. The trash can had mutated. There was a weird smell coming from the sink. No, years of neglect could only cause that.

She walked upstairs to the room that she and Leon shared any time they’d gotten too drunk to leave. Well, it was her room, Leon just stayed with her. A lot.

She opened the door and gasped. Her dresser had been knocked over. Her chest of drawers had been broken. Her stereo had been tossed across the room. The glass in her vanity had been shattered. Her mattress had been torn to shreds by what looked like a knife. On the walls were all the pictures that she had hung of her and Leon all those years ago, only her face was scratched off each one. There were holes all over the walls.

“Dom! I need you up here now!” Val yelled down the stairs. Dom wasn’t in too big of a hurry to get up there. At least, not as much as Val wanted. Dom poked his head into her room with a frown.

“What the hell?” He stepped in to take a closer look. He turned and looked at the wall next to the door and frowned. Val stepped in to see what it was.

“Bitch, you’re mine” was carved into the drywall with a knife.

“Must have been from when I first left, huh?” she inquired. Dom shrugged. Val sighed. “Well, I need a truck to go down to Lowe’s.” Dom nodded looking around her room one more time then left. Val got a strange look on her face then hurried out of the room behind him. “What you’re not even going to ask me if I want help?”

Dom stopped and turned to her giving her a very strange look. “I thought that part was implied.” Val crossed her arms unamused.

“Let’s go.”