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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.”

Chapter Text

By the time Val and Dom had returned to their house, Brian and Mia were there with Jack. Brian expressed more worry than Val thought necessary about the whole situation, but she just thought it was where he had been a cop. Val found all the tools that she would need in order to tear apart her room and decided that it might be for the best to just toss out all of the furniture and start fresh.

 

The furniture was over a decade old. She had Brian and Dom carry all of the furniture down the stairs.

 

“You know, if I would have known that I was going to be put to work as soon as I walked through the door, I would have waited a little longer,” Brian said as he entered into the room. He gave her that smile that made one feel warmer inside for just seeing it. Val returned it a shake of her head.

 

“If it makes you feel any better, I really do appreciate it.” Brian stepped next to her and put his arm around her shoulders. He gave her the same smile as he squeezed her shoulder. Dom walked into the room looking a little bit more the bummed out that he had to keep walking up and down the stairs lugging bits of furniture though he would never voice it.

 

Dom and Brian picked up the next piece of furniture and walked out the bedroom door with it. Val had a shoebox that she was filling with all of the old photos on her walls. Mia silently walked into the room and looked around.

 

“It’s really starting to come together in here.” Val nodded as she unpinned another picture off the wall and threw the picture in the box. Mia walked to the box and picked up a small stack of pictures. She had a nostalgic grin on her face as she flipped from picture to picture.

 

“It all seems so far away,” she said in almost a whisper. Val turned back to her and watched her little sister. “But it’s weird too. Now that we’re back, it seems like it was only yesterday.” Val turned back to the wall and looked at the pictures. Val tried not to pay attention to most of them because most of them had Leon in there somewhere, but now that Mia had mentioned it, she was right. It was so long ago, but yet, it seemed like it was only yesterday.

 

She could remember all the crazy nights they had in that very house. All the parties. All the cookouts. All the nights to where it was quiet and everyone just snuggled up in front of the television watching a random movie. She grinned at all the small memories she had. All the good ones she had of her and Leon. He always had treated her like a queen, but whether or not it was because he really cared about her or if he was scared of her brother was beyond her.

 

“It is pretty crazy isn’t it? Of all the things I could have done with my life, becoming an international criminal was not at the list.” Mia chuckled dropping the stack of photos into the box and started helping her take down the pictures that was on her walls.

 

“You really like taking pictures didn’t you?” they heard Letty ask from the door. They turned and she stood there a little awkward. She was still getting used to the fact that everyone around her had a history with her as far back as childhood. At first, she would barely leave Dom’s side as if immediately clinging onto the alpha male of the group. She was still coming out of her shell around the others. It was weird for Val to see her that way since she knew how Letty used to be. She wasn’t afraid of anything or anyone. She would always have your back no matter what. She was quick with a smartass remark and wasn’t afraid to tell anyone the way she felt.

 

“Yeah, I always had disposable cameras somewhere in this house. Figured that if you couldn’t capture the memories, they didn’t really happen,” she said. Letty stepped in slowly and began to look around. Val stood back with Mia as they watched her. Maybe if Letty looked around at some of the pictures there would be something triggered in her memory. Dom slowly entered the room watching Letty carefully.

 

They watched her as she walked to the wall and looked over the pictures slowly. She would even reach out and touch a couple of them as if she felt some kind of connection to the picture. She turned slowly and looked back at the others in the room. She gave them a small smile, though her eyes said nothing was really triggered. She left the room quietly. Val walked to her brother and put her hand on his arm as a sign of comfort.

 

“Something has to trigger her memories. We’ll find it eventually.” Dom grinned at her.

 

“I hope you’re right about that.” Before too long, her room was completely emptied of furniture and she felt like she could really get to work. The first thing that she was going to do was tear up the carpet in her room. One thing that she could remember about her room is how much crap had been spilled on it over the years. She bit her lip as she remembered how sometimes she and Leon would get a little crazy after they had just a little too much to drink. That would always result in beer cans and liquor bottles being pushed off her dresser or various other places where they would put it.

 

Val huffed when it dawned on her that she had only been with one man in her life and that was over ten years ago.

 

She was pathetic.  

 

She went to the corner of her room where the bed sat and started ripping up the carpet there as if she started there she would be able to rip away all those wonderful nights she would spend in the throws of passion with Leon. She tore the carpet up evenly and began to roll it up so it would be easier to carry out of the room and down the stairs. She even wrapped each end up in duct tape to make it even easier.

 

She couldn’t believe how much dirt and dust was underneath her carpet. She groaned leaning her head back as a twinge of regret pushed through her body. All she really had to do was shampoo the carpet and call it clean that way, but no, she had an idea so now she had to run through with it no matter what.

 

She need alcohol. As if her brother could read her mind, he appeared at the door with his arms crossed over his chest, his shoulder leaned against the threshold.

 

“I’m going to go make a beer run before you get too far into this,” he said. She nodded. He glanced around the room then gave her a curious look. “What’s your plan in here, anyways?” Val looked around taking a deep breath then put her hands on her hips.

 

“Actually, I want Jack to have this room.” Dom frowned pushing himself away from the threshold and dropped his hands.

 

“And what about you?” Val grinned and looked at her brother.

 

“I think I’m going to get my own place. Somewhere close by.” Dom smiled and left the room. Val wasn’t sure how to read his actions, but if she knew anything about her brother then he probably didn’t know how to read himself either. He probably wanted to sort through his thoughts on the situation. All of their life, they had been together. Living together. Surviving together. Separating was a huge step for them.

 

Val pushed the thoughts aside as she began to pull the rolled up carpet out of the room. She managed to get it to the stairs then pushed it down with a grunt. It slid down to the bottom and she grinned to herself. She walked down the stairs to pull it out back, but her foot caught onto the underpart of the rolled carpet and she tripped. She cursed loudly as she tumbled and braced herself for impact because she still had a couple steps to fall down before she hit the ground.

 

She felt hands grab her and someone make a random sound as they caught her. Val felt her back press into someone’s chest and it took her a moment to focus on what was happening. She heard a chuckle and that was all it took for her to know who it was that caught her. She looked up into the ever calculating eyes of Han.

 

“You know, for a doctor, you’re really clumsy.” He helped her get her balance back and Val gave him a hug.

 

“That’s ex doctor and you know you wouldn’t want anyone, but me working on you.” He shrugged and looked up the stairs.

 

“What are you doing up there?” She led him into the living room wondering where everyone had gotten off to. If they knew what was good for them, they would have taken off. Anytime Val would start on a project, she would do it all by herself until she need an extra set of hands, then she would get mad at them and tell them to leave as soon as she didn’t need them anymore. Dom always called her a robot because of how serious she would take her projects and how she wouldn’t stop until it had been completed.

 

“I’m remodeling my old room so Jack can have it. Complete makeover.” Han gave her that small smirk that he got when he knew there was something more to the story than what someone was letting on. Especially when it came to her. Val watched him for a moment before rolling her eyes then crossed her arms. “There’s too many memories in that room.” She glanced around the living room hearing the laughter of Mia and Brian outside. “In this house.” She looked back to Han. “It’s all memories of a life that’s long gone and never coming back. So, I’m getting me my own place.” They made their way out back and stood at the back door looking out at Brian and Mia who was playing with their son with the happiest of smiles across the lips. “Besides, this is the perfect place for Brian and Mia to raise a family.” She heard Han let out a sigh behind him. She didn’t have to even look back to know he was thinking of Gisele.

 

She moved out of the way so Han could go outside and join the others. Val grabbed the broom, a trashbag, and the dustpan before heading back upstairs. She began the tedious work of clearing away all the years of dirt and dust that had collected under her carpet. She opened the window so the dust wouldn’t linger, but it really didn’t help much. Once she got all she could up from the floor, she took a pry bar and started pulling the drywall away from her wall. She tried to keep it as intact as possible to minimize the mess that it could make. She had managed to get one wall down by the time Dom made it back and brought her beer.

 

Brian and Dom took down the pieces of drywall that she had already removed to get them out of her way. She got the rest of them down when she heard a cough at her bedroom door. She turned then beamed upon seeing Roman. She threw herself at him and wrapped her arms around his neck.

 

“You’re just in time. I need your help hanging drywall.” Roman groaned leaning his head back.

 

“Oh man, this is why they warned me not to come up here.” She smiled then turned around.

 

“Don’t worry, they got to come back up and get the rest of the old drywall out of here.” She leaned out of her window looking down onto the back yard.

 

“Brian, Dom,” she hissed catching their attention. They looked up at her like a couple kids who had been caught looking at their dad’s secret porn magazine stash. “Get up here and bring me the new drywall while you’re at it.” They groaned and started on their way into the house.

 

“So what are you going to be doing in here?” Roman asked leaning against the threshold.

 

“I’m remodeling it for Jack. I’m going to be getting my own place soon.” Roman perked up and got into his playful mood. He began to dance around chanting “Party at Val’s.” Val broke down and started dancing with him as Dom and Brian came in with the new drywall.

 

It didn’t take them long to have the drywall hung and Val chased Roman off. She pulled out the mesh tape and began to tape up the cracks to get them ready for the spackling. She made quick work of that then poked her head out the window again to see where the fans were to see Tej had joined the rest of the crowd. He knew better than to come see her when she had a project to do so he was avoiding her. That was when she decided to say screw it and hurried downstairs to give Tej a hug.

 

Han sat on the back porch steps sipping on a Corona while Roman and Tej fussed over the grill that was currently making their dinner. Mia was inside taking care of the side dishes with Letty while Brian and Dom sat off by themselves enjoying themselves.

 

Val talked back and forth with Han, Tej, and Roman. Han was going to Tokyo. Val was going to miss him, but she understood why he had to do it. She could see it in his eyes that it had something to do about Gisele. That was when they heard a huge vehicle pull up. They heard two car doors close and Luke and Elena come around the corner.

 

“Uh oh, Mia better hide the baby oil!” Roman called out over. Val gave him a flat look. She went to reprimand him for his statement, but Luke had beat her to it.

 

“Better hide that big ass forehead!” Tej who had been in mid sip of his beer spit it out so he could start laughing. Val laughed with him since the look on Roman’s face was priceless. Val watched as her brother and Brian stood to meet Luke so they could talk. Val watched as Luke handed over a manila folder. She hoped those were the pardons that they were promised. She took a sip of her beer as Luke turned to her and called out her name. Her eyes went huge as she suddenly felt like she was under a microscope since all eyes were on her. “I have something for you.” She swallowed nervously as she started walking to him.

 

Tej and Roman started teasing her behind her. She turned around quickly so that way she couldn’t see her brother’s eyes on her.

 

“You guys are just jealous because he didn’t bring you anything.” They laughed as she turned back to Luke. She stood before him his massive frame making her feel so small. He handed her another manila folder and she took it from him. She opened it looking up at him curious.

 

“What is this?” she asked and he smirked.

 

“It’s a little thank you for patching me up.” She pulled out the contents. There was a small stack of papers and she began to skim over them. She gasped looking up at Luke whose smirk turned into a smile.

 

“What is it?” Dom asked. Tears worked up in her eyes from the sheer joy that was surging through her.

 

“He cleared my entire record. I can be a doctor again.” She shoved the papers back down into the envelope and looked back up at the man standing before her. “I really don’t know what to say, Luke. This is wonderful. Thank you so much.”

 

“It’s the least I could do.” Val grinned holding the papers against her as if she was hugging it.

 

“So, I give you a couple stitches and you get me my old job back. What would I have gotten if you would have severed an artery?” she teased. Luke’s smile turned back into a smirk.

 

“Let’s hope we never have to find out.”

 

“Why don’t you and Elena stay for dinner? We got more than enough.” Luke politely turned her down and they began to take their leave. Val bit her lip watching him leave. She reached in her pocket and pulled out her carpenter’s pencil and wrote her number down on a part of the manila folder, tore it off, and took it to Luke. She told him to call her whenever he was back in town and she would take him to dinner. He agreed then hopped in the truck.

 

When she turned back to her family, all eyes were on her once more. She shifted her gaze between everyone.

 

“What?”

 

“What do you mean what? What was that?” Letty asked bumping her hip into Val’s hip.  Val grinned at her because for just a split second she could see the old Letty in there.

 

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” she teased with a wink.

 

“And for that matter, his name is Hobbs. Not Luke,” Roman said as the table had food placed on it. He reached in for a piece of chicken and Brian pointed an accusing finger at him. Val knew exactly what had just happened and it brought a big smile to her face and warmed her heart. She was surrounded by her family. Every last person around her cared for her just as much as she cared for them. She would go to the ends of the earth for every single one of them just as fast as they would her.

 

She smiled as Letty slid into Dom’s lap just like she used to. She watched as Brian leaned over and gave Mia a kiss. She frowned as she began to think about how much she had missed the touch of another man in an intimate way. A decade was a really, really long time. She hadn’t even realized it had been so long. Her heart seemed to skip a beat when her mind turned to Luke. She hated he wouldn’t stay. She wondered if Elena wasn’t with him if he would have stayed.

 

She came to when she heard her name being called out. She looked around to find who had said her name to find everyone staring at her again.

 

“Val, are you okay?” Mia asked. Val nodded her head quickly. Tej got a shit eating grin on his face.

 

“Yeah, she just has the Samoan Hulk on her mind right now,” he teased her earning a teasing laugh out of him and Roman. She rolled her eyes and threw some of her food at them.

Chapter Text

After the cookout and everything was beginning to calm down for the evening, Val found herself back in the room she was creating for Jack. The spackle had dried so she was sanding it down so it would be smooth for when she applied the paint. She still hadn’t quite figured out what color she was going to be painting the room. She thought first of a soft blue, but she figured that was just so cliche of a little boy. Then she had thought about an off white color, maybe antique white walls the decorating the walls with a mixture of muscle and tuner cars.

 

“So, what’s going on between you and Hobbs?” The sudden voice startled Val into dropping her sandpaper. She turned around quickly placing her hand over her heart letting out a quick gasp. Dom stood in the doorway watching her. He had an amused look on his face from her reaction. She had been so caught up in her thoughts about the room, she hadn’t heard anyone coming up the stairs, let alone coming into the room.

 

“Jesus, Dom, you scared me.” He chuckled coming the rest of the way into the room and took a look around. He nodded his head giving his approval of the room. She crossed her arms over her chest watching him. “What do you mean what’s going on between me and Luke?” Dom finally looked eyes with her upon hearing Luke’s name come out of her mouth. They were filled with curiosity.

 

“I just feel like I missed something somewhere. You call him by his first name, he gives you a chance to get your old job back just because you stitched him up, now he’s got your number.” Val shrugged turning back to the wall she was currently sanding. He really didn’t sound angry with her by no means. He mostly sounded curious and there was nothing to really be all that curious about. At least, she didn’t think so.

 

“There wasn’t really much to miss. I like to get on a first name basis with someone I’m sewing up. I honestly didn’t think a few stitches merited my old job back so I want to thank him.” She turned when she heard an additional sound of sandpaper scratching away at the wall. Dom was working at the spackle with her. Normally she would have chased him out of the room, but he wanted to talk. He wanted to make sure his little sister was safe. He wanted to be her keeper. Just like he always had been. She grinned turning back to her own work.

 

“I know it must be pretty hard coming back to this room. Seeing all these pictures. Remembering how everything was with Leon. I know it’s been a very long time since you’ve been with a man. With the way our lives have been, it’s been really too hard on you to have any kind of stable relationship. And Hobbs, he’s a good man. Why don’t you go and have some fun?” Val stopped and shot a look over her shoulder at her brother. Did he seriously say what she thought he said?

 

She could remember back when Brian and Mia first started showing an interest in one another. Dom was ready to string Brian up by his privates, but Val and Letty had talked him down enough to where he had to accept that his baby sister wasn’t such a baby anymore and was more than capable of handling herself. Hell, she could handle Vince, so why not Brian? Sure, that ended up blowing up in their face, but that was besides the point.

 

“Well, that will all depend on whether or not he calls me next time he’s in town.” Dom hummed at her response as he moved to the next part of the wall and began sanding. It fell silent between them as Val let her mind wander. She knew he would call her eventually and in knowing that it made her happy. It was nice knowing that she would be able to go out and have fun with someone that wasn’t in their little ragtag group of ne'er do wells.

 

“I’m sure he’ll call.” She shrugged looked back at him. He had stopped sanding and had made his way to the door. He put his hand on the threshold looking back in at her. “I’m sorry for everything, Val.” Val frowned turning back to him. What would he need to be sorry for? She couldn’t really think of anything that he would need to be sorry for. Dom sighed turning back into the room. “I know it’s not been an easy time for you since all of this went down. You had to live without me, then you had to leave everything behind. You and Mia had a good life here. When you two came, at least Mia had Brian. You had no one. If we would have never gotten into all that, you would still be here. You could have had a family.” Val dropped her sandpaper and walked to Dom.

 

“It was my choice to come. You needed my help.” Dom put a hand on her shoulder and smiled. Val could see it in his eyes that he was searching for something to say. “Do you remember when I got into my trouble all that you had to go through in order to help me? How when I was bedridden with withdrawals and you would lay in bed with me rubbing my back. Or when you pulled me from the wreckage of that car. Or when I went to jail. You never once turned your back on me. You never gave up. What kind of sister would I be if I turned my back on you?” Dom pulled her against him and kissed the top of her head.

 

“I don’t know what I would have done without you,” he whispered his voice rumbling deep down in his chest. He pulled away from her and left her alone to finish with the room before bed. She would finish the sanding then would worry about painting and the new carpeting the next day.

 

She had decided to go with antique white walls with a cream colored carpeting. She had bought a lot of toy cars and shelves to put them on. She also bought a few pictures to hang on the walls of different types of cars. She had put up white curtains with a blinds to help keep out the sun. When Brian and Mia brought Jack in to see what Val had done for him, Jack couldn’t believe his little eyes. It made Val really happy to see how he was reacting. She was convinced that he wished he had more than just two eyes to look around. Mia gave her a hug followed by Brian as they said their thanks.

 

Val laid in the floor with Jack and played with him. She pushed a car around in front of him making funny sounds. Jack cackled at her and chewed on his hands. She handed him a car and he immediately put it in his mouth.

 

The thought of actually having kids had crossed her mind once or twice during their little adventures in the past. She and Leon would even talk about it every once in awhile, but they would always come to the conclusion that they weren’t quite ready for a family yet. Looking back that may have been for the best considering everything she had to go through with her family. How Mia was able to handle it was beyond her. She wondered how many kids she would have if she would have stayed behind. She and Leon could have still been together. Hell, they could have even been married.

 

She supposed that was all behind her now. Maybe it was too late for her to have a family of her own. She supposed she could find herself a man with a kid or two and marry him. She was okay with being the step mother. She would be okay with being able to keep her figure. Sure, Mia was able to keep her figure, but the stretch marks were awful.

 

About three weeks later and Val was losing her mind. She wanted a practical house for her, but all the realtors wanted to do was show her places that was suitable for a family of four and when they didn’t do that, they would show her a house where all of her neighbors were eighty years old with fifty cats. All she wanted was something practical for her. Something to where she wouldn’t have to worry about being robbed, but also wanted something to where every week she wouldn’t be attending a funeral of one of her neighbors.

 

Roman had gone with her to a few of the places because he heard she was going to be grabbing some lunch some time during the day. They sat in a local pizza place talking about the type of place she really wanted.

 

“All of these houses she keeps showing me are all for a family of four. Sure, I would like a house with an extra bedroom. Maybe I want to have a guest bedroom. Or an office.”

 

“Why not both?” Roman argued. Val shrugged her shoulders taking a sip of her drink. “It’s not like you’re going to be hurting on money any time soon,” he said throwing a piece of pepperoni in his mouth. Val leaned forward and rested her chin in her hand as she played with her straw in her drink.

 

“Because that just sounds like too much to clean.” Roman laughed at her statement before taking a huge bite of his pizza. Val shook her head at him.

 

After they made it back to their house, Val plopped down next to Tej to see what he was doing on his computer. He was working on the latest program he was trying to develop and was currently working on the code.

 

“Did you find your dream home?” Tej asked without even looking away from his  computer.

 

“Nope. Not this time. It’s only the first week though.” Tej hummed though Val was sure he was too engrossed in his computer to have actually heard her. She quickly grew bored of what he was doing and stood to go sit on the couch and watch television. She tried to find something good to watch, but there was absolutely nothing on. She laid out across the couch digging her fingers into her eyes.

 

She felt restless. She felt like there was something she needed to be doing. She shrugged it off because there was absolutely nothing to do.

 

She just stared at the television as some random cameraman was over in Africa studying the wildlife there. She watched as the lion made its way through the grass blending in almost perfectly. As soon as the lion shot from the grass, Val’s phone rang. She groaned loudly fishing for the phone in her pocket.

 

“I swear to god, Tej, if that’s you calling me so I can bring you a beer I’m kicking your ass.”

 

“That isn’t me!” he snapped back quickly. Val frowned as the phone came out of her pocket. She looked at the screen to find that it was a number that hadn't been saved into her phone yet. She frowned wondering who it could possibly be. She answered.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Val?” the voice on the other end said. The voice sounded familiar. She had heard that voice before. Then it clicked.

 

“Luke?” She bit her lip when he confirmed it.

 

“So, listen. I’m back in town for right now and you mentioned something about dinner. Is that still on the table?” Val leaned back on the couch with a smile across her face.

 

“Of course it is. What did you have in mind?” She felt giddy. He had actually called her. Part of her wasn’t sure if he was going to be calling her at all. Part of her was certain that he threw her number out of the window as he drove away laughing at her expense.

 

“Well, I’ve been stuck in northern Italy for the past three weeks and I swear if I ever see pasta again I’m going to shoot myself.” Val giggled at his statement and about that time she saw movement out of the corner of her eye. She looked towards the moment to see Tej and Roman standing there acting really ridiculous as they mocked her. Roman was currently overdramatizing her giggle while Tej pretended to puff his chest out to make himself appear bigger as he made poses worthy of Shakespeare. “How does Mexican sound?”

 

“Mexican sounds great. Can you hang on just a second?” She didn’t give him a chance to respond. She lowered the phone and grabbed a throw pillow on the couch and threw it at them. They laughed at her. “What are you guys, three?” she hissed then put the phone back to her ear glaring at the two men that were still acting ridiculous. “Yeah, Mexican sounds wonderful.”

 

“Alright,” Luke said sounding a little confused. “I’ll pick you up. Seven sound good for you?” She glanced at the clock. It was almost four. That gave her enough time to get ready.

 

“Seven is perfect. I’ll see you then.” They said their good-byes and Val ended the call. She grinned at her phone, then glared at Tej and Roman. “Are you guys kidding me?” she asked as she stood from the couch. “Can either of you take anything serious? It’s just dinner.” They crossed their arms over their chests giving her an amused look. They said nothing. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go get ready.”

 

“Get ready for what?” Mia asked coming into the the room with Jack. Val looked at her sister with a grin.

 

“Luke called. We’re going out tonight.” Mia immediately perked up and handed Jack off to Tej whether he liked it or not. Jack grabbed his face and started jabbering away about something only he could understand. Mia grabbed Val’s hand and began to drag her upstairs.

 

“I’m going to help you get ready.” Mia dragged her into her and Brian’s room where Brian was laying on the bed taking a nap. Mia slapped his foot to wake him up.

 

“You’re going to have to get out, Brian. Val and I have a lot of work to do.” Brian lifted his head off the pillow and looked around the room. Val glared at her little sister.

 

“What is that supposed to mean?” Mia didn’t answer her.

 

“What’s going on?” Brian said sitting up. He blinked a couple times trying to bring his vision into focus.

 

“Luke finally called. They’re going out tonight.” Brian looked up at Mia then to Val with a grin.

 

“It’s about time. I was beginning to wonder if he would ever call.” He threw his legs over the edge of the bed and stretched. He stood from the bed and made his way out. He stopped beside Val and nudged her with his shoulder. Val was currently brooding. Was there seriously a gossip column floating around the house that she wasn’t aware of? “Have fun on your date.” Val rolled her eyes.

 

“It’s just dinner.” Brian made a sound that he really didn’t believe her then Mia shooed him out of the room before closing the door. Mia turned back to Val clapping her hands together.

 

“Now let’s get you ready.” Val knew there was no getting out of it. She would just have to deal with what her sister was going to do with her.

Chapter Text

Luke pulled into the driveway of the Toretto residence at exactly seven PM. He took a deep breath looking up at the house. He wouldn’t say he was nervous as much as he was anxious. He hadn’t been on a date since before Samantha was born. It was hard to have any kind of romantic relationship with anyone when one was married to their work like he was.

 

When he had left the Toretto’s homestead weeks before, Elena had suggested that he call her as soon as possible. It wasn’t like he needed her suggestion since he had already planned on calling her. He found Valentina Toretto pleasant once he got to know her a little better. She was fairly easy on the eyes as well. Her black hair looked just as soft as her tanned skin and her eyes were dark pools of chocolate that could satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth.

 

He had decided her eyes were his favorite feature when she hovered over him while she stitched up his arm. He hadn’t even noticed his wound until about ten minutes after he had obtained it. She had practically forced him into a chair so she could patch him up. He watched her carefully as she cleaned his wound. Her eyes seemed so focused as she made sure there was no chance of an infection. She was less than amused with him when he had turned down the local anesthetic. He had watched her as she fussed over the others and their injuries performing a full work up on each of them.

 

He turned off his truck and opened the door. He wore a pair of his nicer jeans. The fabric felt weird against his legs since he had been wearing his cargo pants for longer than he would like to admit. He stuck with his boots since he didn’t want to go too far out of his comfort zone. He wore a white button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He wanted to be casual. A civilian.

 

He walked up the front steps slowly as he took another deep breath. It had been so long that he had been on a date with anyone he wondered if anything in the game had changed. Were flowers still a thing? He hoped not because he hadn’t even thought about flowers until he was getting ready to knock on the door. Not to mention he knew nothing of flowers outside of roses.

 

The door opened before he even had a chance to knock. He frowned upon seeing the judgemental eyes of Roman. Roman leaned up against the threshold of the doorway crossing his arms over his chest.

 

“Can I help you?” he asked. Luke’s frown deepened.

 

“Roman! Is that Luke?” Luke heard Val scream from somewhere inside the house. Roman turned and leaned back into the house.

 

“Maybe.” Luke saw Roman duck out of the way as something hit the wall behind him. Luke couldn’t tell what it was since it flew out of sight just as fast as it entered his sight. “Now why you gotta go and throw stuff at me?” Roman complained.

 

“Because you are literally on my last nerve,” Luke heard Val’s reply as she descended the stairs. She finally appeared by pushing Roman out of the way and swung the door open. Luke grinned upon seeing her. She wore a pair of ankle high black boots with dark colored bootcut jeans tucked away in them. She wore a purple button up shirt with a black undershirt. Her hair was pulled back from her face by a clip that rested on the back of her head. She stood before him, but her focus was on Roman as he squared off at her.

 

“You better have her back by eleven!” Roman said with a teasing grin looking at Luke. Luke didn’t have a chance to come back with a witty response because Val turned quickly and pointed a finger in his face.

 

“And you better sleep with one eye open tonight.” Luke watched very amused as Roman looked truly terrified by Val’s threat. Val finally turned her full attention to Luke and her mood shifted instantly. She smiled and Luke smiled back. “Hi.”

 

“Are you ready?” he asked.

 

“Oh yeah,” she said stepping out onto the porch and closed the door behind her. “Get me out of here before I hurt someone.” She was making her way off the porch and Luke followed behind her.

 

“Is everything okay?” Luke asked as she walked around the other side of his truck and hopped in. Luke opened the driver door and hopped into the truck himself.

 

“Nothing really interesting has happened since we’ve been back. We’re all still trying to settle before we go out and try to reconnect with old friends and crowds. So, needless to say me going out with you tonight is the most interesting thing since the curly fry.” Luke grinned at her as they drove down the road towards their destination. He knew the Toretto family was well known in the underground circuit and he was curious as to why they hadn’t slipped back into it. They had been back for nearly a month. He figured that was more than enough time to get settled back into their old lifestyle even if they had been away from it for so long.

 

“So, what’s Italy like?” she asked to change the subject. She really didn’t want to think about the others back at the house. She was with Luke now. Just the two of them. That was all that mattered. She could feel herself already relaxing next to him.

 

“You mean you never went?” he asked glancing over at her. Val crossed her arms over her chest.

 

“Well, someone had to go and make us all international criminals, not naming any names, and I had to stay out of countries with extradition.” Luke glanced over at her a couple times with a frown on his face. He knew what he had done, but he was sure that what he had done for them was more than enough to make up for it. He had cleared their names, even gave them a head start whenever they had taken down Reyes together, though that ended up being a bad idea since they had gotten all of the money.

 

As soon as he discovered that Letty was still alive, he had hunted down Dom because it was just the right thing to do. Dom needed to know that she was still alive. Even if there was an underlying motive to obtain the group’s assistance to take down Owen Shaw. His thoughts halted immediately when he saw a grin creep onto the corners of her lips. He grinned too and shook his head at her.

 

“Italy is beautiful no matter what part you’re in. You should get out there and check it out for yourself now that you don’t have to worry about being locked up.” Val hummed looking out of the window.

 

“Maybe I will one day.” The ride fell silent until they arrived at their destination at a Mexican restaurant somewhere in the center of town. Val leaned forward taking the building in. The restaurant hadn’t been there when they had left all those years before and she wondered if it was any good. She could see a lot of people on the inside talking, laughing, and eating so she came to the conclusion that it was a good place to eat. She hopped out of the truck and walked around the front of the truck. Luke stood there waiting for her and they made their way into the restaurant.

 

Val’s senses were immediately taken over by the smell of the food being prepared on the inside. She heard all the chatter of everyone inside and the laughter. There were tables in the center spaced perfectly apart to where the waiters and waitresses could get through even with seats pushed back away from the tables. There were booths along the walls. There was a bar in the very back. The air felt warm and friendly and Val decided that she really liked the place already. They waited at the front for the host to come and seat them.

 

They slid into their booth and their waiter came to get their drink orders. Luke and Val glanced at each other then grinned. They were still silent and it was a little awkward. It was really odd seeing Luke as just a civilian after seeing him as the soldier who’s only purpose was to bring her entire family down at one point in time. She had seen him dressed in normal attire and that was when her, Tej, and Luke went to collect older model cars that couldn’t be hacked, but even then she saw him as Hobbs. Not Luke. He was just pretending to not be a soldier at that point. Now here he was, full blown civilian. He wasn’t working. There was no enemy hiding in the shadows threatening the safety of mankind. It was just her and Luke. Not Hobbs.

 

It wasn’t up until that point that she realized that she had no idea what she was doing. Hell, she didn’t even know what had possessed her to give him her number. Sure the reasoning she gave herself was so she could somewhat pay him back for getting her old job back. Her old job that she hadn’t even tried to go and actually get. She had been too busy trying to find her own place to worry about her old job. She wanted to be living on her own before she went back. It had been three whole weeks since she had been looking and she couldn’t find anything. Part of her felt a little guilty. She felt she had let Luke down. He had went out of his way to help her and she hadn’t even acted on it. Would he be upset with her? She had seen him angry. She had seen him annoyed. She had seen him completely relaxed. She had even seen him amused.

 

That was when she realized that she knew absolutely nothing about him. His age, his history, nothing. What had put him into working with DSS? What did he do for fun? Did he even have fun? She decided she needed to know a little bit more about him. She could start there. She put her elbows on the table and leaned forward.

 

“So, Luke, tell me a little bit about yourself.” Luke scoffed looking down at his hands then back up to her with a grin.

 

“What would you like to know?” By this time, the waiter had brought their drinks to them. The waiter asked them if they were ready to order their food and that was when both of them realized that neither of them had even touched their menus. Luke politely turned the waiter away as they reached for their menus.

 

“Anything really. I don’t hardly know anything about you.” Luke grinned as she opened her menu and looked everything over. Luke opened his own menu and started looking over it too. He leaned back with a sigh as he searched his mind of what he could possibly tell her. He really didn’t want to lead with the fact that he had a daughter and she was currently the only female on the planet that he cared about other than his mother.

 

He knew that she had no kids and part of him was curious as to why. She had no boyfriend that was present during their encounters though there was a little ping going off on his radar that maybe there was something going on between her and Tej, but that was quickly pushed aside when he overheard Val call him her ‘best friend in the whole wide world’. It wasn’t like he cared if her and Tej were together because at that point he was just assessing the team.

 

“Well, what’s there to know? I, uh, I played football in high school.” Val groaned laying her menu flat on the table.

 

“You’re not one of those people that like to live the old days over and over because those were the best days of their life, are you?” she asked the look on her face full of distaste. Luke chuckled.

 

“Hey, you said anything,” he defended pointing a finger at her. Val giggled picking up her menu again. “Tell me something about yourself.” Val frowned looking at him over the top of her menu. She looked back down just as soon as their eyes met and Luke noticed that she pulled the menu up a little farther as if hiding behind it.

 

“You’ve read my file.” Luke had read her file. He knew about her criminal background. Theft, possession, grand theft auto. He knew about her stint in rehab, though she never completed it, but after all that her criminal history ended. He had no idea why it ended or what had happened, but she didn’t leave the country until about seven years after. She had been a well known doctor before the criminal activity started. Luke laid his menu down and reached across the table hooking his finger on top of the menu and pulled it down to where he could see her eyes. Her eyes had darkened. He had upset her, but she was trying to hide it.

 

“I have read your file,” he said as a matter of factly, “But I want to know something that isn’t in the file.” Val sighed closing her menu and laid it on the table. Luke had done the same since he had figured out what he would want to eat. Val rested her cheek against her fist giving him an amused look.

 

“I didn’t play football in high school,” she admitted. Luke chuckled shaking his head and leaned forward getting ready to smart off to her, but their waiter came back to take their order down. Once he got their orders and took their menus, Luke looked back at Val, glad that she no longer had something to obstruct his view of her. She was looking down at her hands as if she was in deep thought. He wanted to ask her what she was thinking about, but he knew that she wouldn’t tell him.

 

“Do you have any brothers and sisters?” she asked suddenly. Luke crossed his arms and leaned them on the table.

 

“No, I’m an only child. I was raised by my mother. My father took off on us.” Val frowned giving him a saddened look, but it soon went away when she noticed the little shine in his eyes when he mentioned his mother. Val glanced down.

 

“Mia was only a year old when mom had passed away. So after that, it was just us and dad. Dad was gone a lot because he worked two jobs. One of those jobs, of course, was racing. Dom practically raised us.” Luke watched as her eyes grew dark again. “I was only seventeen when dad died. They tried to put me and Mia in homes, but I legally emancipated myself and dropped out of school so I could care for Mia.” Luke grinned at her as a certain fondness appeared on her face. “When Dom got out, he forced me to go back to school so I could go to college because he knew how bad I wanted to be a doctor.” It was the short part of it, Luke knew, but he was glad that she was able to open up like that. What she had told him definitely wasn’t in her file.

 

Their food finally came and Val couldn’t believe what was set in front of them. She had ordered a smothered burrito, but the way they placed food in front of Luke it seemed like he had ordered one of everything. She grabbed her fork and knife wondering if she had ordered the wrong thing and maybe some of the plates on the table was hers as well.

 

“You know, my mom had to work two jobs when I was growing up,” Luke said nonchalantly as he reached for his utensils as well.

 

“Yeah,” Val scoffed looking around at all the random foods. “And one of those jobs was just so she could feed you.” Luke let out a genuine laugh as he looked around.

 

“I have to watch my figure,” he said putting a bit of food in his mouth. Val laughed with him, but she had to admit, he did have one hell of a figure. She wouldn’t doubt it would take all of this food to sustain his massive build. His metabolism had to have been crazy high. Her eyes wandered down to his broad shoulders that didn’t look as big as they did whenever he wore his tight shirts whenever he was on a job, but that still didn’t mean that they looked any less massive under his shirt. His complete size was well hidden under the casual wear he had on right now, but she could remember how big he was.

 

Her eyes traveled back up to his eyes, then she felt her cheeks nearly burst into flames as he was watching her watching him. She looked down at her burrito and cut into it before shoveling it into her mouth.

 

Luke couldn’t help, but grin as he watched Val’s eyes begin to wander his body as soon as he made his remark. He couldn’t help himself. He felt his pulse quicken upon seeing her do this. When her eyes met his he didn’t look away. He wanted to see her reaction to when she found out that she had been busted watching him. He was more than glad that her cheeks instantly turned red as she looked away. He took another bite of his food grinning at her.

 

“Valentina Toretto, is that you!?” Val’s eyes widened at the male voice across the restaurant. She searched in the crowd with Luke and Val’s face lit up as she slid out of the booth. A man came toward them holding his arms open wide to her. He was Latino and bald with a pencil thin moustache. He was a little on the bulkier side. He seemed friendly enough when he came up to Val and wrapped her up in a hug and spun her around. “Where have you been, Val? You and Mia just kind of up and disappeared like your brother.”

 

Val smiled warmly at him while her hands rested on his shoulders and his hands stayed on her waist. Luke frowned at the gesture, but didn’t do anything about it. He had no idea who this man was and Val had said that they hadn’t connected with any of their friends since they had gotten back. With the way this man was acting towards her, they had been close.

 

“It’s a really, really long story, Hector.” She turned her attention towards look pulling away from Hector to where her arms was around his waist while his remained over her shoulder. “Hector, this is my friend, Luke. Luke, this is an old friend of mine Hector.” Luke reached out his hand and shook it and nodded a hello. Luke looked at Val who was smiling back at him. Luke couldn’t help but grin back at her. Hector shot a look between the two.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry, am I interrupting something?” Val turned her attention back to Hector and smiled at him, but her eyes did more than enough to tell him that, yes, he was interrupting something. Hector grinned then leaned over and kissed her cheek. “I’ll leave you alone. It’s good to know you’re back. Come to Race Wars next month.” He stepped away from her and nodded his head to Luke as a way of saying good-bye.

 

Val slid back into the booth watching Hector depart.

 

“That was Hector. He’s one of the higher ups on the underground circuit and a long time friend of the family.” Luke hummed taking another bite of his food.

They fell into comfortable conversation with each other. They laughed about little stories they told. Val had told him about how she hadn’t even acted on getting her old job back because she was wanting to find herself a house before she got her job back. She was glad that he wasn’t even angry and even offered to keep an eye out for any kind of home that she might be interested in. She had told him about how she had remodeled her old room so Jack could have it and Luke seemed really impressed with the fact that she could do something like that.

 

He told her about how he came to be in the DSS. As soon as he had graduated high school, he had joined the local police force. After a couple years, he had been approached by someone to see if he would be interested in joining the SWAT team. He had been with SWAT for a few more years before he was approached once more to see if he wanted to join DSS. He slowly worked his way up through the ranks until he had become a team leader.

 

Val was amazed at him since he had finished almost everything on his plates before finally leaning back saying he was done. Val was curious about when he would be eating again.

 

When the waiter laid the check on the table, Val went to reach for it, but Luke had snatched it up before her fingers could even touch it. She gave him an exasperated look as he looked it over.

 

“Uh, I said I was buying you dinner.” Luke shook his head making a sound that he didn’t agree with her. She repeated the sound back to him to which he repeated it back to her. She blinked a couple times. “What do you mean?” she asked then made the sound one more time.

 

“Because where I was raised, when a couple of people go on a date, the man pays.” Val froze. A date? She had never meant for this to be a date. She went to correct him, but she stopped herself to think it over. They had been here for a little over an hour talking back and forth. She had enjoyed his company and she would even go as far as saying that she had fun with him. A blast even. She couldn’t believe how funny he was. He had seemed so serious and deadpanned that she wasn’t even sure if he could smile. And he had a fantastic smile. Okay, she had to admit it, she was on a date with Luke Hobbs.

 

Luke seemed happy that she wasn’t going to argue with him about it as he slid out of the booth to go pay for their meal. He held out his hand for Val to take so he could help her stand. Val grinned and obliged him. His hands were rough to the touch, but gentle as it slightly tugged at her to stand.

 

They walked side by side to the front of the restaurant so Luke could pay for their meal. Once it was paid for, Luke led her out of the restaurant and they hopped back into his truck. Luke watched her for a moment, as he pondered whether or not to take her home. He wasn’t ready for her to leave his side, but he hadn’t really planned on anything other than dinner.

 

She had seemed to enjoy herself so maybe there was a chance that he could take her on another date. He glanced over at her as she stared out the window as he pulled out of his parking spot.

 

“This was a lot of fun, Luke.” He glanced at her again to see she had turned his attention to him.

 

“What are you doing tomorrow?” Val narrowed her eyes as she tried to remember her schedule.

 

“I have, like, seven houses to go look at tomorrow. My realtor says one of them is going to be ‘The One’, but I’ve heard that line before.” She sighed with a roll of her eyes glancing back out the window. “You could come with me if you’d like.”

 

Luke thought about it for a whole three seconds before responding.

 

“Nothing about any of that sounds pleasant.” Val chuckled leaning back in her seat.

 

“Yeah, I know. Roman went with me today and he complained the entire time.” Luke chuckled.

 

“I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard him not complain about something.” Val laughed then shrugged her shoulders. There was a brief silence between them. “I would love to go with you tomorrow.” Val looked at him with wide eyes.

 

“Really?” Luke hummed nodding his head.

 

“Yeah, why not? We’ll grab a bite to eat afterwards.” Val smiled.

 

“Sounds good. My first house showing is at eight in the morning.” It was then that he stopped in front of her home.

 

“I will pick you up at seven thirty.” Val nodded and opened the door. She glanced back at him when he called out her name. “You looked really nice tonight.” She smiled brightly at him then hopped out of the truck and pulled away from the curb. It was going to be much of a date tomorrow, but it was something. He was going to be spending the entire day with her. Luke would be lying if he said he wasn’t a little excited about that. Going out with her had been more relaxing and refreshing than he could have thought.

 

Val walked up the steps to the house and walked in with the biggest smile on her face. She made her way into the kitchen and opened the fridge to pull out a beer.

 

“How did it go?” Mia asked rushing into the kitchen. Val laughed turning around to face her sister. Dom was close behind to make sure that nothing bad had happened. They both had seemed very pleased with her story and they went into the living room to sit down for some television.

 

Val stared at the television, but she wasn’t watching what was on. She was too busy thinking about what was going to happen tomorrow. She didn’t even care if she was going to be looking at several houses the next day. She was going to be with Luke. He would make the day pass by quicker. She was excited to see him again.

Chapter Text

Before Val went to bed that night she took a shower because she knew that when Luke said seven thirty in the morning, he meant seven thirty. She wasn’t much of a morning person and she wasn’t about to get up extra early just so she could shower before he got there. Even waking up at seven in the morning was more than enough for her to be ready to slaughter someone. Lucky enough for everyone in the house, everyone stayed in bed as she moved around downstairs so she could get ready.

She had been crashing on the couch downstairs since they had returned because she had nowhere else to sleep. Mia and Brian took up residence in her old room while Jack took hers. Dom slept in his old room while Letty slept in the guest bedroom because she just wasn’t ready to share a bedroom with her brother.

She woke up to the god awful sound of her alarm on her phone. She sat up on the couch and rubbed her eyes before looking around the living room trying to figure out where her phone was placed before she stood. She always had to place it somewhere away from her so she wouldn’t turn it off, roll over, and go back to sleep without much of a passing thought. She walked over to the television across the floor and shut off her alarm before blinking a couple times and turned around.

She walked into the kitchen and made herself some instant coffee so she could have coffee of some kind in her system while she made actual coffee for herself. She sipped at the terrible excuse of the life giving liquid as she walked into the bathroom to start getting ready. She already had her clothes pulled out so all she had to do was change and brush her hair and teeth. The clothes she decided on was a knee length blue dress with a thin brown belt that went around her waist. She put on brown flats with it. She brushed her hair before walking into the kitchen to pour herself a real cup of coffee. She leaned against the counter sipping at it.

She glanced at the clock to see that she had another ten minutes before Luke would be sitting in front of the house and decided that she didn’t care how bad the coffee would taste, she would have to brush her teeth. She stepped back into the bathroom and brushed. She walked back out and refilled her cup before stepping outside and leaned against the railing on the front porch to wait for Luke to pull up.

She didn’t want to keep him waiting. She wasn’t sure what kind of guy he was, but she was sure he wasn’t the type of man who enjoyed to be kept waiting. She sipped at her coffee just watching the world wake up. Once she had woken up and had a chance to get her coffee and relax, she always enjoyed the early mornings. She liked as each bird woke up to greet the fresh morning light, she liked hearing as more and more vehicles hit the roads for their morning commutes, she liked how the skies became more and more blue as the sun rose.

By the time she had finished her coffee, Luke had pulled up in front of the house and she glanced down at her phone. Seven thirty on the dot. Just as she had expected. She left her cup on the porch and trotted down the steps to his truck.

“Good morning,” he said handing her a cup of coffee that he had bought from a fast food place. She grinned taking it before opening it up to see what he had brought her. It was simple black coffee and she was glad.

“Good morning.” She took a sip, but it burned her mouth too much so she put it back in the cup holder to let it cool more.

“Good morning. I’m glad you showed up.” Luke grinned as he watched her.

“And miss an exciting day of looking at houses you may or may not buy?” Val grinned as she gave him a sarcastic smile. “Never.” Val giggled. She gave him the address of the first house she was supposed to see that morning and Luke started on his way.

Val took a deep breath leaning her head against the back of the seat she was sitting in and closed her eyes. She felt completely relaxed. She didn’t care how stressful her day was going to be looking at all the houses her realtor had lined up for her because she was with Luke. Everything was going to be okay because he was there with her.

“You okay over there?” he asked breaking her away from her thoughts. She let her head turn to the side and looked at him. He watched her from the corner of his eye so he could keep an eye on the road.

“Yeah, just thinking about the way today is going to go. I thought it would be a little more exciting looking for my own place.” Luke hummed with a nod of his head.

“Have you ever lived on your own before?” She frowned crossing her arms loosely in front of her. She looked out the window.

“No, actually. It’s just always been us.” Luke looked to her. He couldn’t tell if the confession bothered her or not. From what he had learned about the Torettos and their little group, they were tight nit. Always there around each other in some way. Some families were like that and he understood. He did, however, find it odd. Every last one of the group had one trait in common, and that was independence. Even Val had this trait, but it currently wasn’t showing. Maybe that was why she wanted her own place. She wanted her own independence.

Val wasn’t sure how to feel about that fact. She was in her thirties and, yet, had never owned her own home. Hell, she hadn’t even rented her own place. It simply had just been them. Always had been. She even realized about how the thought never really crossed her mind to get her own place except for when her and Leon were together. They had talked loosely on getting their own place, starting a family, the whole shebang, but it just… never happened. She lowered her head realizing that a lot of their relationship was just that… talk.

She reached down and grabbed her coffee and took a sip no longer caring if it burned or not.

“Thank you for the coffee. That was sweet.” The statement brought a grin to Luke’s face. It wasn’t every day that someone would call a gesture performed by him “sweet”, but he liked it. Especially when it came from her lips. They pulled up in front of the first house and they looked up at it. It had white siding, brown shutters, a nice covered porch. Nice curb appeal that would make any realtor proud. Luke looked back to Val who turned her head to look around. He watched as she turned in every which way simply just taking in the neighborhood.

There was a woman who walked onto the sidewalk from what Luke was assuming the driveway and the way she was dressed in a navy blue blazer and a matching skirt, he figured it was her realtor. Val opened the door and slid out of the truck. Luke followed suit and met Val around the front to meet her realtor.

“Good morning, Miss Toretto, I see you’ve brought another friend with you today.” Val nodded turning towards Luke so she could introduce him. The realtor’s name was Mrs. Sumter. She had poofy blonde hair that clearly came out of a box and hundreds of dollars spent at a beauty salon. She tried to hide her crow’s feet under thick, thick make-up and she clearly visited the tanning bed too much. Luke really didn’t care for her much, but as long as she did her job and showed Val quality homes that she would be able to make a life out of, he would put up with her.

All it took was the first sentence out of Mrs. Sumter’s mouth and Val didn’t want the home. Five bedrooms, two and a half baths. What the hell was she supposed to do with five bedrooms and two and half baths? Val didn’t say much about anything when she was being showed the house. Luke had to admit, it was a very nice home. It had large living room and decent sized dining area with two sliding doors that went into a kitchen with an island in the center. There was two bedrooms downstairs with a small room off by itself that served as the laundry room with the half bath near it. One of the bedrooms was considered the master bedroom since it had a bathroom inside it.

Upstairs was the remaining bedrooms with another bathroom at the end of the hallway, but there really wasn’t much else to see up there. Luke could tell Val didn’t like it. He could tell from the air around her. She walked around just glancing instead of looking. She seemed bored. Worse, she wasn’t even interested.

The second house they went to was slightly smaller at only four bedrooms and two full baths. Val seemed to be really interested in it, but when they stepped out front, cops went racing by sirens blaring and spun down another side street. Mrs. Sumter wasn’t too happy about it and even tried to say that it rarely happened, but it wasn’t enough to change Val’s mind.

By the end of the third house, Val was clearly upset. The home her realtor was showing her was more along the lines of a mansion. It had an attack that could be converted into a bedroom since it had its own half bath. There were four bedrooms upstairs with a full bathroom. And another bedroom downstairs that served as the master bedroom with its own massive bathroom. The home was immaculate, but Luke was more than certain it was way outside of her taste.

After the third house, they decided to take a break and go get some lunch. They agreed to meet Mrs. Sumter at the fourth house in an hour and a half so that would give them enough time to eat and relax. Val sat next to Luke surprisingly quiet. He could feel her mood radiating off her so much that it was starting to affect him. He felt his body tensing up as little twangs of Val’s emotion passed through him. He didn’t like seeing her upset, he felt the emotion didn’t suit her, and he wasn’t sure what he could do to cheer her up.

“Your realtor, she’s quite the character,” Luke said as they sat in a diner eating a burger and fries. Val leaned against her arm pushing a fry around in her ketchup. She wasn’t all that hungry. Mrs. Sumter had ruined her appetite. She had specifically told her what kind of house she was looking for, but still insisted on showing her homes that Mrs. Sumter knew Val wouldn’t be interested in.

“Yeah, that she is.” Luke frowned at her tone. If there was even a tone to her words.

“You don’t like her.” Val finally met his eyes for the first time since they had sat in the restaurant.

“No, it’s not that. I just hate the fact that she keeps showing all these houses that are for a family of four or more.” Val sighed looking back down. “I just think it’s a waste of time since I don’t have a family of my own.”

“Would it be too imposing to ask you why you never settled down?” Luke asked before taking a large bite of his burger. The bite made Val chuckle and she finally decided to eat the fry.

“I don’t know if there would ever be a time to when a question like that wouldn’t be imposing.” Luke gave her an apologetic look and even went to apologize for it, but his mouth was currently full with possibly the best burger he had ever had in his life. “I just never got around to starting a family. There was someone,” she paused for a moment as she bit her tongue. She didn’t really want to bring Leon up to Luke just yet, but it was already too late. “But that was a long time ago. When I left to go be with Dom, he chose to stay behind. I never saw him again. After that, I was just… I don’t know… wasn’t interested. Next thing I know, ten years had passed.”

Luke could see the regret in her eyes. He wasn’t going to ask if she wanted a family eventually because all he had to do was look in her eyes and see that she did.

“I used to be married,” Luke confessed. He grinned at Val’s face. Apparently, the thought had never crossed her mind. “It started off just like all marriages all happy and whatnot. After a few years though, something had just changed. All we did was fight except when we were in bed together and then even that stopped. It was mutual, but we got a divorce deciding that it was for the best.” By this time, he had pulled out his phone and unlocked the screen. He scrolled through as Val’s curiosity was starting to get the best of her. She was more than just a little curious as to what he was doing on his phone. “It wasn’t too much longer after we separated that she gave me the most wonderful gift I would ever hope to get.” He paused looking down at his phone and a smile filled with utter joy and pride spread across his face.

“And what is that?” she asked even though she had a strong gut feeling as to what he was getting ready to say. Luke turned the phone around and handed it to Val. On the screen was a little girl with long black curls, dark skin and a striking resemblance to the man sitting in front of Val.

“My daughter, Samantha.” Val smiled at the picture then handed the phone back to him.

“She’s beautiful. Why didn’t you say anything about her?” Luke shrugged shutting off his screen then shoved his phone back into his pocket.

“Well, I wasn’t sure if talking about my daughter was first date material. Then before that you were an international criminal so it was for her protection.” Val laughed then pointed a fry at him accusingly.

“I wouldn’t have been an international criminal if it wasn’t for a certain someone…” she started, but Luke interrupted her by holding up his hand. He was shaking his head at her with a smile.

“Am I ever going to live that down?” Val narrowed her eyes and hummed as if she was considering it.

“No.”

After their lunch, Luke had noticed a little extra spring in Val’s step and the smile on her face wouldn’t go away. He wasn’t sure if it was him that gave her a sudden boost in her attitude, or if it was the food and really, that didn’t matter to him. He loved her smile and he didn’t care what had to happen in order to keep it on her lips, just as long as it was there.

The fourth home they looked at had Val drooling at the mouth. The neighborhood was active with people of all ages, the home itself had a wonderful curb appeal. It had a covered porch the length of the front of the home with places for flowerbeds for the length of the bottom part. Upon walking in led into the living room and it was massive. There was a smaller dining room in the back corner with three doors leading into it. One from the living room, one from the hallway that led back into the master bedroom, laundry room, and kitchen, and one that led straight into the kitchen. The kitchen was wide open with plenty of counter space for anything. The master bedroom was massive to say the least, but what sold Val was the claw foot tub in the master bathroom.

Luke couldn’t help, but smile as she fussed over the tub talking about how bad she always wanted one, but was never able to because of how much they cost. She ran the water in it and Luke was wondering if she was going take a bath right then and there.

But that had nothing on the look she got on her face when Mrs. Sumter showed her the garage that sat at the end of the driveway. Luke should have known better than thinking that maybe she wasn’t a typical Toretto that was obsessed with cars. She went inside and took a deep breath of the inside. It still smelled like oil and grease. There was a couple oil stains on the concrete floor, but that didn’t matter to her. She walked around the edges running her hands over the workbenches and shelves that lined the walls.

Val turned back to her realtor with a big smile on her face.

“This is it. This is the one.” Her realtor clapped and jumped a little in place then left to start the necessary paperwork. Val walked over to Luke and wrapped her arms around his big arm and leaned her head against his upper arm. She let out a dreamy sigh taking one more look around the garage then looked up at Luke. “I do believe you are my lucky charm.” Luke chuckled looked down at her.

“So I guess that means you’re going to keep me around for awhile then, huh?” Val giggled and leaned her head against his arm again.

“Maybe for a while.” Val released him and turned to walk out of the garage, but Luke’s big hand landed on her stomach, stopping her in her tracks. She looked up at him as he slowly pulled her to face him. She felt her cheeks go hot. She felt his hand on the side of her face and she resisted letting her eyes close so she could focus on his touch and his touch alone. She felt herself lean into his touch slightly. He leaned closer to her and Val felt as if they had slipped into their own little bubble. There was nothing around them. Just Luke and Val. No sound except for their heartbeats.

Val smiled and put her finger to his lips to stop him from kissing her. Luke was clearly confused by her actions and just stared at her waiting for an explanation. He had just the sudden urge to kiss her so he acted on it. He wasn’t expecting to be rejected. When she had wrapped her arms around his arm and leaned against him it felt like his body had been set on fire.

“I don’t kiss on the second date,” she simply said before lowering her hand and walked out of the garage. Luke followed behind her trying to calm himself down a little. Whether he liked it or not, she wasn’t going to kiss him until she was ready and he was just going to have to wait. He stepped next to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Val looked up at him with a smile as her arm snaked around his waist.

After finishing up all the paperwork and odds and ends of closing the sale, Luke took Val to the beach where they walked with their feet in the water hand in hand. They came across a pier and walked out to the very end enjoying the view of the ocean idly chit chatting back and forth.

Eventually, they had made their way to another restaurant for dinner. After that, it was time to bring their times spent together to an end. They sat in Luke’s truck in front of her house quietly. Val really wasn’t ready to end the day with Luke by no means, but the sooner they did, the sooner the could have another day together.

“Thank you for everything today. I had so much fun,” Val said looking at him.

“Me too.” She opened the truck door and began to slide out, but Luke’s hand grabbed her arm causing her to looking back at him. He pulled her closer to him as he leaned in to kiss her once more and this time, Val leaned in too. Her hand rested on his cheek as their lips touched gently. The kiss only lasted for a short few seconds, but to them it felt like it was for eternity. Shockwaves went through them at the touches.

They weren’t sure who it was that pulled away first, but the kiss was gone. Val slowly opened her eyes and smiled at Luke. Her eyes fell to his lips before bouncing back up to his eyes and Luke took that as a cue to kiss her again. The second kiss was a little harder, more confident. Val’s hand lowered itself from his cheek to the back of his neck.

Val felt Luke’s tongue brush along her lower lip and she parted her lips letting Luke’s tongue in. She twisted her tongue around his and both of the seemed to sigh at the sensation. The kiss seemed to go on for hours before they pulled away from each other.

“Goodnight, Luke,” she whispered because she was afraid she would squeak if she talked normal.

“When can I see you again?” he asked leaning back in his seat. Val thought about it for a moment.

“Well, I was going to see if Mia wanted to go with me tomorrow to start looking for furniture. Would you like to join us?” Luke made a face at her that clearly said, “Hell no”.

“What about afterwards? We can go to dinner.” Val smiled and nodded. “Just let me know when you and Mia are done and I’ll come pick you up.” Val began to slide out of the truck.

“Goodnight, Luke.” He grinned.

“Goodnight.” Val closed the door and watched him as he pulled away from the curb then made her way up to the house and went in. She found everyone sitting around in the living room watching television. She told them about how she had finally found a house and started showing them all pictures. Everyone seemed to be really excited for her. Mia agreed that she would go with her the next day to find some furniture and things to start putting in the house.

Val walked into the kitchen and grabbed a beer out of the fridge and leaned against the counter. After taking a sip of the beer she touched her lips remembering the electricity she felt as their lips danced over each other. She felt her heart flutter in excitement at the thought of seeing Luke again the next day.

“How are things going between you and Luke?” Dom asked walking into the kitchen.

“It’s still too early to tell. It’s only our second date.” Dom narrowed his eyes at her with a grin.

“Second date? I thought yesterday wasn’t a date,” he said standing beside her and opening his own beer.

“Yeah, well, apparently the only person that believed that was me. I just had to get over it.” Dom chuckled. “We’re going to dinner after me and Mia get done shopping tomorrow.” Dom gave her a curious look.

“Three days in a row? I think he might be a little hung up on you.” She bit her lip looking down. She didn’t think there was anything wrong with that fact since she was a little hung up on him. The past two days had been the most exhilarating days she had in a very long time.

She laid down on the couch though she knew she wasn’t going to be going to sleep any time soon since all she could think about was Luke. She felt like a little school girl all giddy over one of the older boys. She knew she was acting ridiculous, but she couldn’t help it. She wasn’t sure when she managed to go to sleep, but she did eventually manage to sleep sometime within the night.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t an alarm that woke Val up the next morning, it was Mia putting Jack on top of her. He immediately fell forward putting his mouth on her cheek and began blowing raspberries on her cheek. Val grumbled grabbing the baby then sitting up. She was getting ready to start smarting off to her kid sister, but shut her mouth when she realized Brian was holding a cup of coffee in front of her face. Brian and Val traded what was in their hands and Val stood.

Val drank her coffee then ran upstairs so she could take a quick shower. She wanted to hurry up and get this day over with so she could be with Luke again. She was more than excited to be getting everything that she needed in order to make her house into a home, though. She couldn’t wait to jump around from store to store in search of the perfect everything to make her home her own. Not to mention that she was shopping with Mia. She always loved shopping with Mia. She would have invited Letty to come, but any time Val took Letty shopping, Letty spent most of her time brooding.

When Val was done with her shower, she grabbed her phone to turn on some music while she got ready. Whenever her front screen had a text message notification. She smiled when it was a good morning text from Luke. She sent back a quick text telling him good morning as well. Val ran a brush through her hair and pulled out the hair dryer so she could dry it a little. Just as she plugged the hair dryer in, her phone beeped to let her know she had another message. She opened it and Luke had asked how she had slept.

Not too well. she replied then started drying her hair. As she was drying her hair, her eyes kept falling to her phone waiting for it to light up with a new text message. As soon as her phone lit up, Val picked it up. Luke had replied with a simple question mark. She grinned glad that he was playing right into her hands.

Well, I went out with this guy yesterday. She ran the brush through her hair a few more times then started drying it some more. She saw her phone light up and she grabbed it.

Did you now? it said and she grinned to type a quick text back.

Yup. She threw her hair up in a messy bun then dropped the towel around her so she could get dressed. Just as she put on her underwear, her phone buzzed again.

And what does going out with some guy have to do with your sleeping schedule? She giggled as she hit the portion of the screen to reply.

I don’t kiss and tell. She put her phone back on the counter in the bathroom and finished putting her clothes on. She just had a simple pair of light jeans and a plain black t-shirt. She was going to have to go for comfort this day since she wasn’t sure how long she was going to be shopping.

She wasn’t sure if Luke would be texted her back or not. He really didn’t seem like the type of man to “lol” at something he found amusing. Even if he did reply, what would or could he say? She hurried downstairs so she could hurry up and get out of the house. She wanted to go shopping for her new home.

As her, Mia, and Jack drove towards their first destination, Mia looked to her sister.

“I saw you last night,” she said with an accusing grin. Val gave her an odd look wondering what she meant. Of course Mia had seen her the night before. They had talked the night before.

“What are you talking about?” Val asked as she turned onto a different street.

“In the truck. With Luke.” Val felt her cheeks heat up and she glanced at her sister. She couldn’t say why her cheeks lit up, she wasn’t all that embarrassed about it. It was an amazing kiss and she honestly couldn’t wait to do it again, but it was an intimate moment that was to be shared privately and someone was watching the entire time. She couldn’t help but feel like there was a little magic sucked away from that moment.

“And?” Val asked though the way she said it came out a little more defensive than she had attended. It wasn’t that she was angry, but there was still a part of her that was irked.

“And you didn’t tell me about it!” she exclaimed happily. “Luke is seriously your first boyfriend in years and you don’t give me every juicy little detail about it? Come on, I practically told you everything about me and Brian.” Val grinned shaking her head. She glanced at her sister who had put on a pouting facade next to her.

“Yeah, you have and I’m still working through most of it with my therapist.” Mia rolled her eyes then laughed. She leaned over getting really close to Val’s face making Val lean away from her. “Come on, Mia. I’m driving.”

“Not until you tell me.”

“What’s to tell if you already know that we kissed?” Mia gave her a look as if what she just said truly offended her.

“I just know that you kissed! There’s still so much more to know.” Val rolled her eyes.

“Don’t make me call Brian to come get you and I’ll take Jack shopping with me.” Mia threw her hands up in the air.

“Whoo! Babysitter!” Val busted out laughing. The threat was useless. She should have known better. She leaned in again giving Val her puppy look. Val hated that look. She hated it with a fiery burning passion. She could never resist that look. Ever since Mia was little all she had to do was bat those brown eyes at Val and Val would instantly become her puppet.

“He’s a really good kisser.” Mia squealed clapping her hands together. She turned herself in her seat a little so she was facing Val a little more then got comfortable.

“Was that the first kiss?” Val nodded. Mia gasped in a very dramatic fashion causing Val to look at her like she had just went insane. Which at that point, Val was convinced she was.

“He waited that long.” Val chuckled.

“No, I waited that long. He had tried to kiss me earlier in the day, but I wouldn’t let him. I wasn’t even going to kiss him when he dropped me off, but I did anyways.”

“I can’t believe you waited until the second date to actually kiss him,” Mia said with a strange look on her face. Val giggled looking over at her younger sister after she pulled into the parking lot of the first furniture store they were going to go looking through.

“Well, Mia, not everyone can be like you and give it up halfway through the first date.” Val went to get out of the car, but not before she felt Mia slap her on the back of the head playfully. Val laughed and reached in the back to get Jack out of his carseat as Mia grabbed his diaper bag. Val sat Jack on her hip and checked her phone to see if Luke had messaged her back. She frowned when he hadn’t, but shrugged it off and put it back in her pocket.

Since he wasn’t going to be spending the day with her like he had the day before, he probably was catching up on stuff he couldn’t do since he was with her. That was when she began to wonder what he did on his free time. She knew for certain that he worked out. She couldn’t even imagine how much he had to work out to keep up his physique.

Then her mind began to wander to places they probably shouldn’t have. She imagined what Luke looked like as he lifted massive weights with his muscles bulging and rippling after he performed multiple reps. She imagined the sweat that would run down his skin giving his skin a shimmer that would make one’s heart stop.

She shook her head to get the thoughts out of her mind when they walked into the store. She would have to focus. She didn’t need to be thinking about Luke. She checked her phone one more time to see if he texted her, but he hadn’t. She shoved the phone back in her pocket and sighed.

They managed to make it through their entire floor in about two hours as they talked about a little bit of everything sitting on all the couches and chairs that Val even remotely seemed to like, but nothing really stuck out. They had to hightail it out of there when Jack had spilled his juice on one of the couches before someone had caught them and they had to pay for it to be cleaned.

Fortunately for Val, she really didn’t care for any of the pieces of furniture that was in there. She had decided just to get a basic mattress and a metal frame for the guest bedroom with a nice quilt and lightly darkened wooden dressers. Her bedroom she wanted cherry wood furniture. They made it to the next to a store to where she could buy everything she would need for her kitchen, bathrooms, and little bits of decor.

She checked her phone again to see if Luke had texted and huffed when he hadn’t. She tried to push her disappointment out of her system. She knew he wouldn’t be the type of man to constantly send texts back and forth. Hell, she was a little surprised to have gotten a good morning text from him, though she did find it very sweet. She knew there was a big soft spot somewhere underneath that rough exterior. She had seen it when he found the picture of his daughter.

His daughter. She bit her lip as the girl crossed her mind. How did she go about the fact that he had a daughter. She really didn’t mind the fact that he had a daughter. She didn’t really mind that he had been married at one point in time. All it did was remind her of a life she had missed out on. A life that she was potentially getting a second chance at thanks to Luke for more than one reason. She smiled at the thought. How long would she have to wait to meet little Samantha? Had Luke even told Samantha about her? Should she ask? Was that inappropriate?

At the current store they were at, she found a nice set of plates, cups, wine glasses, shot glasses, coffee cups, all of the little things she would need. They went ahead and took their haul over to Val’s new place so they could start unloading everything. Mia loved Val’s new home and wouldn’t shut up about it the entire time they were there unloading everything they had purchased. The bathrooms had linens, the kitchen had pots, pans, plates,everything that it would need, Val knew her home needed a lot more than what she bought, but she was more than excited to have been able to put a dent in it.

She kept a mental note of all the things she would still need. Which was a lot, but she was good at keeping everything organized in her head. Once everything was put away, Mia suggested that they grab a bite to eat as Jack was starting to get fussy. They found a small BBQ restaurant that smoked their meat right in front with the sweet, sweet smells of their smoke wafting through the air for miles. Val got her a nice pulled pork sandwich with a side of fries. Mia had suddenly grown very quiet and Val noticed it within minutes. They were talking and laughing about anything and everything then suddenly her eyes grew distant and darker.

“What’s wrong, Mia?” Val asked curiously as she lay Jack in his carseat when he fell asleep after his feeding. Mia stared at her son as a small smile tugged at her lips as she rubbed his belly gently.

“I just got to thinking about something,” she said in a quiet voice to make sure she didn’t disturb the sleeping babe. Val narrowed her eyes at her little sister. Whatever it was that was on her mind, it really seemed to be disturbing her. It forced a pitted feeling in the bottom of Val’s stomach. It made her nervous. She didn’t like it when her sister looked like this. She hadn’t looked like this since Brian had decided to come back into their lives and she was so conflicted it hurt.

“What is it, Mia?” Val asked as she took a sip of her drink.

“What is sex going to be like between you and Luke?” she blurted out. Val nearly fell out of her seat trying to keep from spitting her drink all over her younger sister.

“What?” she hissed.

“Seriously!” Mia hissed back. Val gaped at her sister unsure of what to say to her for a moment. Why the hell would she ask such a question.

“Why are you so worried about the sex between us?” Val hissed in a whisper so no one overheard their conversation. She couldn’t believe her sister. Mia had always been the one that was more open to the sexual parts of life while Val liked to keep them more private. Mia didn’t mind to talk about it whatsoever. Val hated it when she told her about the nights that her and Brian spent together. Val didn’t care how good Brian was in bed, she didn’t want to hear about it.

“Because think about it, Val. Luke,” she paused for a moment, “he’s a big man. Like, really big. What if he’s,” she cleared her throat as if to clear away a vulgar word from her mouth before it escaped, “proportionate.” Val felt her all blood rush to her face. Hell no was she thinking about Luke being “proportionate” before, but she was now! Unable to do much else, Val grabbed a french fry and threw it at her sister.

“You’re terrible, Mia! Absolutely terrible.” They fell silent for a few moments before Mia grew brave and spoke again.

“If he is, will you tell me?”

“Mia!” She giggled. After lunch, they decided to go ahead and call it a day since Jack was getting more and more fussy as the day went on. Val didn’t mind since Mia apparently had sex on the brain and needed to get back home before she exploded.

Val texted Luke as soon as she got home to let him know that she was ready whenever he was.

I will be there in an hour. Where would you like to eat? She informed him that she had already eaten and would like to just go somewhere with him. He must have sensed the urgency even through text because he messaged back saying to take it back and he would be there in thirty minutes.

He was five minutes late, but she wasn’t going to hold it against him. Maybe he didn’t time one of the lights correctly on his way over. She knew he was there since she had learned the sound of his truck and she had to chase Mia away from the door for fear of her asking him if he was “proportionate” or not.
By the time she had chased Mia away, Luke had made it to the door and Dom had answered it. They shook hands and said their hellos before Dom stood to the side to let him in.

“Val, Hobbs is here!” Dom called out. Val rolled her eyes. She wondered if the others would ever grow to actually call him Luke. Val made her way into the front of the house smiling at Luke as soon as she saw him. Luke grinned back at her letting his eyes wander down her body then back up. “Why don’t you guys stay a while? Have a beer or two,” Dom offered in a friendly manner. Val grinned. Dom wanted to get to know Luke a little better. That was a good sign. Unfortunately, Val had other plans.

“Actually, Luke and I are going to be going and picking up Morrigan.” Dom hummed then gave Luke a sorrowful look.

“Well, Hobbs, looks like you can go ahead and kiss all the attention my sister has been showing you goodbye.” Luke narrowed his eyes at Dom, then looked to Val questioning her. The smile that was on Val’s face confirmed everything that Dom had just said.

“Who is Morrigan and why do I have a feeling I need to be worried?” Luke asked crossing his arms.

“Because, Hobbs, she’s a Toretto,” Letty said bringing in a beer for Dom. “You learn to get used to it.”

“Fair enough. You ready, Val?” Val nodded and they made their way out of the house. Val had her phone out of her pocket and was texting away before they even made it to Luke’s truck. Luke decided to be a gentleman and open her door for her since she seemed a little busy. When he got in his truck, started it, and pulled away from the curb, Val put her phone in her pocket then leaned over and gave Luke a kiss on his cheek. He grinned looking at her.

“Hi,” she said with a smile. Luke smiled reaching over and placing his hand on the inside of her thigh and ran his thumb over her leg.

Chapter Text

Val directed Luke through town until they stopped in front of a house that had a fence all the way around the property. There was a sidewalk just on the outside of the fence. There was a walkway down the center of the yard that came to a gate. The house itself wasn’t immaculate, but it wasn’t a dump either. Luke frowned looking at Val. Val grinned at him knowing his curiosity was starting to get the best of him. Val was going to end it soon as she was going to show him who Morrigan really was. She was so excited that she was barely able to hold it in. She hopped out of his truck and trotted around the other side practically dragging Luke along.

“Hey, there’s my future ex-wife!” Luke heard someone call out inside the house. The front door opened and out walked Hector with a friendly smile on his face. His arms were open wide ready to wrap Val up in a hug. “I was wondering when you were going to show up.” After he hugged her, he turned towards Luke and held his hand out to shake it. “So, what, man, you like her boyfriend or something like that?”

By this time, there was a woman that came out on the front porch wearing short shorts and a tank top. She was barefoot. She had her hair up in curlers and a cigarette in her mouth. She looked really upset until her eyes landed on Val and her entire body lit up. She started exclaiming in Spanish as she ran down the steps and Val pushed her way around Hector to go embrace her.

“Something like that,” Luke said watching as Val she hugged the woman. He could hear Val speaking to the woman in Spanish. He was very impressed with her. He supposed it made sense though considering where she had lived, but he had no idea. He hadn’t even thought to ask. She kept her arms around the woman as they walked down the walkway back towards the men. Just as they reached them, Val slipped away from them woman as she clearly started cussing Hector up one side and down the other. Val stood next to Luke and let him wrap an arm around her shoulders.

She watched as the two people in front of them argued back and forth in Spanish shaking her head slowly. Luke was starting to grow very uncomfortable with the whole situation as something like this seemed like it was something that should be handled in private. The woman stuck her finger in his face and at that moment, Luke decided if they were going to argue, they weren’t going to be around to watch.

“Should we…?” he coaxed, but Val held a finger up to shush him. Then she waited for a moment, her finger still suspended then spread her fingers out. She lowered her thumb, then her pinky, then continued in this fashion until only one finger was left then pointed at them. They suddenly stopped fighting then stepped into each other to give each other a light kiss. Val looked up at Luke with an amused grin on her lips.

“Some things just never change,” she said as she put her arm around his waist then her other hand on his chest. The woman turned to walk back into the house and Hector gave her a light tap on the rear as she walked away. He watched her for a moment then turned his attention to Luke and Val. I pointed at them waving his finger back and forth between them.

“Something like that,” Hector repeated. Val gave him a weird look then looked up at Luke who just nodded to Hector. Hector turned his attention to Val as he clapped his hands once together. “Alright, Val, you ready to see your baby?” Luke narrowed his eyes as Val pulled away from him.

Baby?

“Yes, I am. Where is she?”

She?

Hector waved for them to follow him so they did. They walked around the side of the house where there was another gate that they went through. They walked around back to where there were multiple garage doors. Then it all came clear and Luke wanted to slap himself.

Morrigan was a car. That’s what Letty meant by her being a Toretto. He should have known better. Then he grew curious. What kind of car would Valentina Toretto drive? He knew it had to be some type of American Muscle. It was in their blood. Hector stopped in front of one of the closed doors and pulled keys out of his pocket. He unlocked the lock and slid the door open. Inside was a car that was under a cover.

Hector and Val walked around back as Luke stood outside out of the way so they could remove it. They lifted up the cover then ran it over the top to let it fall in front of it. Luke couldn’t believe his eyes. It was so beautiful. It was midnight blue with a black top. 1970 Hemi ‘Cuda in mint condition. Luke swore that he was on the verge of drooling. It was such a beautiful car.

“Say hello, to Morrigan,” Val said running her fingers sensually down the hood. Luke stepped in walking down the side of it giving it a look over. It had black interior and if Luke didn’t know any better he would say it was all original.

“This is a really nice car,” Luke said running his hand over the roof. Val walked around to the driver’s side and opened the door. She sat in the front seat with her feet still outside on the ground. She took a deep breath and smiled.

“She even smells the same! Hector you’re the man!” Hector leaned against the car with a grin on his face.

“Papi knows, would you like the keys?” he asked holding them out to where the door was. Val nearly squealed as she snatched them out of his hand and stuck them in the ignition. She leaned out of the car looking up at him acting like she was getting ready to ask Hector a question. “I’ve kept her up the entire time. If she doesn’t start right up, you can kick my ass.” Val grinned then leaned back into her car. She grabbed the keys and twisted them. The car roared to life.

Val reached down and popped the hood. Luke walked around the front then opened it for her. Val was too busy looking around on the inside of the car making sure everything was still in order. Luke was too busy trying to figure out which was sexier; what was under the hood, or the woman that owned what was under the hood. His mind was made up when Val appeared next to him and leaned over the car looking in every nook and cranny making sure there was nothing out of place.

He watched as she reached her hand in to manually hit the throttle forcing the RPMs up. She closed her eyes as if she closed off one sense to enhance another. She smiled again then stood up straight. She looked to Hector and made the motion to cut the engine. He did so then pulled the keys out of the ignition the closed the door. He made his way to the front of the car to stand next to Val.

“She sounds good, she looks good, I knew I left her in good hands.” She lifted up the back of her shirt and pulled out a white envelope that she had stashed in her pant line and handed it to Hector. Hector opened it and peered inside before closing it and shoving it in his pocket. Val reached in her pocket and pulled out a piece of paper and handed it to him. Hector gave her a curious look.

“It’s a list of everything I need you to order for me and have it delivered to my new place. Address is on there. Also, a little extra cover everything then a little bit more for doing this for me.” Hector nodded then handed her the keys to her car.

“You coming to Race Wars next week?” he asked looking at both of them. Val shrugged then looked up to Luke.

“Well, I’m going to watch, but I’m not going to be racing this time around, what about you, Luke? Would you like to come?”

“If I don’t get called out, yeah.” Val grinned stepped into Luke letting his arm wrap around her. She turned her attention back to Hector.

“We’re going to go ahead and head out. Take your time on that stuff, it doesn’t have to be here tomorrow.” Hector nodded and handed Val the keys.

Luke had followed Val back to her house and hopped out of his truck to open her garage for her as she backed her car in slowly. He stepped inside and closed the door as she turned off the car. She hopped out with the biggest smile he had seen on her yet running her hand down the car.

She turned her attention to Luke and walked to him wrapping her arms around his waist. She stood on her toes so she could reach his lips. She kissed him gently then rested her head against his chest with a sigh. One of Luke’s arms wrapped around her waist while the other rested on the back of her head.

“Thank you for this, Luke.” Luke chuckled as he left a lingering kiss on the top of her head.

“No reason to thank me.You kind of told me I had to do this,” he said. Val laughed then looked up at him. Luke didn’t give her a chance to answer him as he pressed his lips to hers again. His hand tangled in her hair. Val ran her hands up his chest then wrapped her arms around his neck. Val felt his arm tighten around her waist as her nails tickled the skin on the back of his neck. Val felt them spin around and Luke began pushing her back. She wasn’t sure where he was pushing her to, but all came clear when she felt her lower back hit one of the work benches. Luke lifted her up and sat her on it. She spread her legs out so he could step between them.

Luke’s hands rested on her waist as his fingers massaged her skin. His lips broke from hers and he started kissing down her jaw then down to her neck. Val’s breath shuddered as she leaned her head back.

Luke pulled away from her then put his forehead against hers. Val felt she was out of breath, though she hadn’t done anything to run out of breath. She moved her hands to his cheeks then kissed his lips gently. Luke’s hands rested on either side of her as he pulled away from her.

“Can I ask a potentially inappropriate question?” she whispered. Luke narrowed his eyes at her. “When can I meet Samantha?” Luke stepped away from her and crossed his arms over his chest. She wasn’t sure what to make of the look on his face. She figured she had upset him. She lowered her eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. I knew it was too soon.” Luke moved to where he was leaning up against the workbench next to her his arms still crossed over his chest.

“It’s not that at all. I was just wondering why you would think something like that would be inappropriate.” Val looked up at him with a small smile.

“Because I don’t even know what we are. I mean, we’ve been on a few dates and we’ve kissed, but that’s it.” She looked away from him focusing on something across the garage. “I just… I don’t even know what I’m saying. Just forget it.” She heard Luke chuckle next to her, but she didn’t look back at him.

“I’ve actually told her about you,” he admitted. She glanced over at him, but not for long. “She can’t wait to meet you.” Val let out a light sigh as it felt as if a weight lifted from her shoulder. “But, I still don’t think it’s quite time for that yet though.” Val lowered her eyes. It was an odd feeling that shot through her. She wanted to melt away. She had completely embarrassed herself. She knew that she would have to eventually meet Samantha and she was trying to rush it along. “Look, Val, it’s nothing against you. Believe me when I say that. It’s just,” he stopped and sighed.

Luke hated this. He wasn’t the type of person to talk about his feelings. Hell, he wasn’t supposed to have feelings. He had spent years pushing them down and out of the way in order for him to be the man he was. He had avoided relationships because of his job. Relationships were distractions. Relationships were dangerous. He could be putting Val in danger just by spending time with her. When he had told Samantha about her, she seemed happy that he was interested in a woman even if when she found out that the woman was a Toretto she freaked out a little on him.

She had bombarded him with question after question about the woman her father was seeing. Was she beautiful? Very. Was she funny? Yes. Did he like her? Luke looked to Val who was waiting patiently next to him for what he had to say. How could he not like her? He had felt more alive in the past three days with her than he had in years. She was intelligent, brave, caring. He was actually having fun with her. And she deserved to know how he felt.

“It’s just been a long time since I’ve been in any kind of relationship. In my line of work, it’s hard to be romantically involved. There is a potential danger in being with me. I make a lot of enemies. I’m gone for weeks, sometimes even longer and that could put a strain on any kind of relationship.” Val was watching him now. “And then I meet you.” He paused unsure of what to say next.

She grinned as if she understood what he was trying to get at. She leaned against his shoulder.

“Instead of going out for dinner tonight, let me cook for you,” Luke stated. Val looked up at him with a strange look on her face.

“You cook?” she asked in surprise.

“Of course I cook. I don’t live on fast food.” She hopped off the workbench and faced him.

“And what would you like to cook me?” Luke thought about it for a moment, then shrugged.

“We’ll figure that out when we get to my place.”

Luke lived in a nice home in a nice, quiet neighborhood. It hard hardwood throughout the entire layout except in the bathrooms and kitchen. There were a few pictures on the walls, but that was it. He had a sectional couch and a huge television. The kitchen was more than what she had expected. She had to admit, she wasn’t sure what she was expecting in coming to Luke’s home, but she surely wasn’t expecting that. She was impressed.

She sat at the island in his kitchen as he went to his refrigerator to grab them a drink. He sat a beer in front of her before he turned back towards the refrigerator to rummage through it. He pulled out a pan that was covered with aluminum foil and Val was onto him. He laid it on the island and lifted it up so Val could take a peak. He had marinated some steaks in some kind of sauce. She grinned and looked up at him.

“You had all of this planned, didn’t you?” Luke grinned and winked at her as he picked the steaks up and headed to the back door. Val followed along to see what he was doing. Out was a fenced in area of his back yard. There was an above ground pool with a deck circling around it. There was a grill sitting a ways from it under the roof of the porch.

“Can I help with anything?” Val asked as he ignited the grill so it could start heating up for the meat. Like refused to let her do anything since it was him that would be cooking for her. She fussed at him because he seemed to be running around, but he managed to get everything cooked without burning it. Val about had a heart attack when she tasted the steaks that he had made. She had never tasted anything that was so amazing in her life. Luke laughed as she practically inhaled the entire steak.

She did up the dishes since Luke cooked and there was nothing he could say about it. He kept trying to help her, but she would just chase him away. After the dishes were done and put away they found something on television to watch so they could just relax. She leaned into Luke while his arm wrapped round her tightly. She wrapped her arm around his waist and leaned her head against his chest. Luke propped his feet up on his coffee table and scooted on the cushion a little so Val could be more comfortable.

They had found an action movie to watch though Val wasn’t paying much attention to it since Luke’s fingers were caressing an area of exposed skin from where her shirt was pushed up. His touch was so soft that Val could barely just tell that it was there. She tried to keep her heart rate under control even though she was sure she was failing.

Before she even knew it, she was asleep laid up against Luke. Luke had felt her body relax and he knew she was asleep. He wiggled his way down to where he was in a more lying position. Val stretched her legs out on the couch and snuggled into him more. He grinned down at her as he started running his fingers through her hair. She looked so peaceful pressed up against him, so beautiful.

His mind began to wander with thoughts of their relationship. He thought of the dangers he would be putting her in just because of his line of work. If anyone whatsoever that he was hunting down found out where he lived or who he was with then there would be nothing stopping them from taking her. There had been times to where DSS had to put his ex wife and Samantha into a form of witness protection whenever one of the people he was bringing down had threatened his family.

He was more than lucky since no one had ever actually harmed them. But if something were to happen and Val got hurt, he would never be able to forgive himself. He lived in fear every single day when he was out in the field wondering if there was someone somewhere watching his daughter. Being with Val would just add to the fear.

He knew Val was more than capable of taking care of herself, and if there was something that happened to her, she had her friends and family who would stop at nothing until she was safe again. And if she was in any kind of danger and he knew about it, he knew all he would have to do is call Dom and Val would be safe.

But that wouldn’t stop the guilt he would feel if she was put into harm’s way just because of who he was. He supposed that she had been put in harm’s way multiple times before and some of that harm was because of him, but that was then and this was now. They weren’t sure exactly where they were in the relationship currently, but he was certain that there was no denying that they were growing into something so much more so quick that it was enough to make his head spin.

Looking back, Luke was okay with being alone. He had grown to accept it. It was just the way things were. He was content with the only girl in his life being Samantha. But that was up until he saw the way Val’s eyes had lit up when she had discovered that she could be a doctor again. For the three weeks after that he had spent in Italy, those eyes had haunted him. Always somewhere in the back of his mind. He couldn’t wait until he could return to the states so he could call her and take her out.

He loved the way she smelled whenever she was close enough for him to smell her. She smelled of flowers after a summer rain with a touch of engine grease under all of it.

He had somehow managed to lay out on his couch behind her without waking her up and wrapped his arm around her waist. She snuggled into his chest and he buried his nose into her hair. He grabbed the folded blanket that he had on the back of the couch and spread it over the both of them.

He would have woke her up and took her home, but he liked that she was pressed up against him. He didn’t want to wake her. She just looked so beautiful. He felt his eyes start to slowly drift closed. He was just about asleep when Val gasped and shot up. She nearly fell off the couch, but Luke gripped her waist to keep her from falling.

Val looked around the room before turning her attention back to Luke.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fall asleep on you like that. I wasn’t even tired.” Luke grinned.

“You looked comfortable. I didn’t want to wake you up.” Val rubbed her eyes slowly.

“You should have.”

“Well, I didn’t. So lay back down and let’s go back to sleep.” She sighed looking back at him.

She really hadn’t meant to fall asleep on him the way she did. She had just been so warm and comfortable pressed up against him that she couldn’t help herself. She remembered coming too slightly when she felt him moving about, but she just snuggled up to his warmth and went back to sleep. She could feel her hair being messed with, but she really didn’t mind it because it relaxed her. That was when she started slowly working her way through the fog of her sleep.

She knew she was laying with Luke. And that was something she couldn’t be doing. It wasn’t that they were doing anything wrong, but if she were to stay overnight with him, she would never hear the end of it from Mia and the others. It wouldn’t matter how many times she would tell them that nothing happened, they would still annoy her to no end.

She couldn’t lie, though, it felt so good to be wrapped up in his arms the way she was. She felt so warm and secure. And the way he smelled was enough to send chills down Val’s spine. Not to mention how handsome he looked as he watched her through tired eyes as he waited patiently for her to take her place beside him on the couch. She didn’t want to leave, so she wasn’t going to. She laid back down next to him letting him hold her against him once she got comfortable.

She would deal with the others the next day, but for right then, what they were going to say to her for staying with him, didn’t matter.

Chapter Text

It was the sound of Val’s cell phone going off that woke her up the next morning. She groaned wishing it would stop, but it wouldn’t until she answered it. That much she knew. She tried to move, but she couldn’t. There was a weight on her and a little part of her panicked, but that was until she remembered where she was. Her back was to his chest and he had his arms wrapped around her. He had rolled forward a little practically laying on top of her. His leg was wrapped around hers and his nose was nuzzled in her neck.

“Luke, I need to answer my phone,” she said wiggling around hoping that would be enough to wake him up. Apparently, even her phone going off wasn’t enough to wake him up. She felt his arms tighten around her as he quietly shushed her as he tried to bury himself farther into her neck. She giggled as she wiggled again. She managed to get her arm free and she poked him in his ribs. She felt him jerk and heard him grunt behind her. Val turned her head back to look to him as much she could, which wasn’t much.

“You’re ticklish?” She was able to move her head when he lifted his to stare down at her. She had a challenging grin spread across her lips and Luke didn’t like it.

“Don’t you even think about it,” he warned. He knew she wasn’t going to listen. Who was he kidding?

“What, this?” she asked as she poked him in the side again. Luke’s body involuntarily jerked away from her touch and practically growled at her as he maneuvered them around to where Val was laying on her back with him on top of her. He pinned her hands above her head. She was giggling the entire time as he done this. He grinned down at her.

“I warned you not to do that,” he said. Val wiggled under him trying to free her wrists, but his grip was strong and true. She absentmindedly bit her lip and the motion didn’t go unnoticed by Luke. He found himself swallowing down a lump that appeared in his throat.

“No, you told me not to think about it. There’s a difference.” He grinned as he stared down at her.

“You’re so damned beautiful,” he whispered. He watched a light pink color touched her cheeks. He kissed her lips gently, keeping her hands pinned above her head. He felt her wiggle under him gently as a small moan escaped her throat. Luke released one of her hands and wrapped it around her waist to bring her closer to him. Her hand, once it was free, wrapped around his neck to deepen the kiss. He released her other hand, but left his arm above her head. She ran her hand down his arm slowly. Luke felt his entire arm tingle under her touch. It rested on his shoulder tickling the skin under his shirt.

Luke broke the kiss and made his way to her neck. He heard her breath shudder as her nails dug slightly into his shoulder. He could feel her heart thudding against his chest as she arched her back into him. He pulled up her shirt enough to expose skin so he could run his fingers over it. Her skin was so soft under his touch even if it seemed to tremble when he touched it.

He knew he needed to stop, but he didn’t want to. She tasted so sweet and felt too good under him. He bit her neck gently and when Val whimpered under him and lightly raked her nails across his shoulder, he knew he was at the point of no return. He kissed her lips roughly and she kissed him back just as hard.

They both came back to reality when Val’s phone went off again. They pulled away from each other, both of them out of breath. The looks in their eyes mirrored the lust both of them were feeling. Val bit her lip looking over to the table where her phone was. She looked back to Luke. All she wanted to do was smash her phone and get back to him, but she knew she couldn’t. It was too soon. No matter how good it felt.

“It’s probably Dom or Mia. I didn’t let them know I wasn’t coming home last night.” Luke let his head fall on her shoulder.

“I’m going to go take a cold shower,” he said as he pushed himself up off her. By the time he had left the living room to shower, her phone had stopped ringing. She reached over and grabbed it then brought it to her face to check her messages. There was two calls missed from Dom and a text message from Mia.

Is he proportionate? Val rolled her eyes then hit the box to reply.

Fuck off, Mia. She called Dom back so she could check in with him.

“You didn’t come home last night,” she heard Letty’s voice on the phone. “Are you currently with a big hulking man?” Val rolled her eyes.

“He’s in the shower. Is Dom around?” She heard Letty hand the phone to Dom.

“Good to know you’re still alive.”

“Yeah, I would have called, but we fell asleep on the couch.” They talked for a little bit longer before getting off the phone.

Luke drove her over to Dom’s so she could shower and change. He hung out downstairs with the others while Val went upstairs to shower. Val regretted not locking the door because as soon as she slid the curtain closed, she heard the door open. She poked her head out to see who it was to find Mia making herself comfortable on the toilet.

“Get out, Mia. I’m trying to take a shower.”

“Nope, you’re going to give me every juicy detail.”

“There’s nothing to tell. We didn’t do anything.” She heard Mia huff outside of the shower.

“I call bull crap, Val.” It was Val’s turn to huff. She poked her head back out of the shower.

“Nothing happened, Mia.” Mia crossed her arms over her chest.

“Not even a make out session?” Val rolled her eyes the closed the shower curtain back. “Oh! So there was! Dish, dish, dish!”

“Mia, seriously, you have a perfectly fine husband you can go and do this with.”

“But this is more fun!” Val really just wanted to shower in peace. That was all she wanted. She wanted to be alone with her thoughts maybe even work off some of the tension that had been built between her and Luke that morning. But her annoying little sister was annoying the ever living piss out of her. That was when Val grinned when an idea hit.

“His cooking is better than yours!” She heard Mia gasp and she grinned. That would get rid of her. Then she heard Mia flush the toilet and immediately cold water hit her back. Val screeched jumping out of the way then she screamed Mia’s name. She heard the bathroom door close.

XXXXXXX

It was nearly a week later and the day of Race Wars. Luke had always heard of the event, but had never personally been since he wasn’t much of a racer. The races were somewhere out in the desert and if it wasn’t for Val riding with him, he would have never been able to find it without using his GPS.

Luke and Val had spent everyday together for the entire week. Her whole house had been furnished and she had officially moved into it. She was an excellent designer. Luke had helped her choose everything and he couldn’t believe how much fun he had shopping with her. Even if he had to be the one doing the heavy lifting with Dom in the end.

They hadn’t spent the night together since that one night, knowing that they wouldn’t have been able to keep their hands to themselves even if that didn’t change the fact that the tension between them kept building with each passing moment. Every touch shared by them sent shockwaves throughout their bodies that they had to resist.

After dropping her off one day, Luke had found himself shopping for groceries. As he passed by the pharmacy section, his gaze had found the small section of condoms, lubricants, and other products for sex. He knew it would happen between them. There was no denying on both of their parts that it was there. He wanted her. He would even take it as far as needing her.
He had bought a few packs just to be safe. He knew he wasn’t as young as he once was and that his libido wasn’t going to be as large as it was years before, but he knew that since he was going to be making love to Val, it was going to be like he was a teenager again full of raging hormones.

He found his bed getting colder and colder and his imagination getting crazier and crazier with each passing day. When he wasn’t with her, he was constantly thinking about her and it was driving him simply mad.

When she had walked out of her house to get in his truck, Luke huffed then swallowed. She was wearing low riding, boot cut jeans with boots that went halfway up her calves. But that wasn’t what had his palms clammy and his chest tight. She wore a form fitted shirt that went down to her ribs. It veed down showing an amazing amount of cleavage. The shirt accented the curve of her waist and Luke found his mouth watering. It took everything in his power not to pull her out of his truck, throw her over his shoulder, take her to bed, and take her in a manly fashion.

Luke was surprised as to what he was seeing at Race Wars. He had known it was a popular event, but not that popular. There was a line of cars side by side waiting to race over a mile long. There were two men walking along marking them so they could keep track of winners and losers. He could hear the cars as they took off down the strip as race after race commenced. There were bleachers set up that was overflowing with people watching the races, but the crowds moving about as people conversed and moved about was immense. It was easily over a thousand people. No question about it.

Val took his hand and led him through the crowds. Luke watched her as she would stop and talk to a few people. She would shake hands, kiss cheeks, and wrap people up in hugs. People would scream her name and rush to her. Val was famous amongst this crowd. It seemed everyone knew who she was. She seemed to be in her element. She was completely comfortable. These were her people.

They managed to find Dom and the others eventually. Hector stood with them chatting away casually. Val pulled away from Luke long enough to give Hector a hug and for Luke to shake his hand before Val was touching Luke again. It was a simple brush of her shoulder against his arm, but it was enough to send slight chills down Luke’s spine.

That was when Luke noticed a slight change in Val’s demeanor. He had felt her jerk slightly and she stayed stiff. She seemed to stare off through the crowd, and before Luke could follow her gaze through the crowd to see what she was looking at, she began to look as if whatever it was had disappeared.
She stood closer to Luke and Luke could feel that she was worried. Uncomfortable even. Her eyes seemed to search the crowds. She was distant. Luke wrapped an arm around her shoulder to get her attention. She glanced up at him and Luke didn’t like what he seen. She was worried. She was scared. She seemed to be questioning herself.

“Are you okay?” he whispered to her. She looked away and searched the crowd one more time. She looked up to him one more time.

“Can we go? I want to go.” He could hear the worry in her voice. He wasn’t going to question her. He was going to get her out of there. They quickly said their goodbyes though Dom kept asking what was wrong.

Luke led her back to his truck as quickly as possible and got her out. Luke watched her from the corner of his eye. She was distant. She was fidgeting. She wasn’t herself. Luke reached over and grabbed her hand gently. She didn’t even move at his touch. There was a storm in her eyes.

“Where do you want to go?” he asked gently. It was then that she gripped his hand back. Luke was glad for the reaction.

“I don’t care as long as I am with you,” she whispered to him. Luke wanted nothing more than to ask her what was wrong with her. Why she was acting the way she was, but he wanted her to come forward and tell him on her own terms.

The entire ride back to Luke’s home was quiet. He never released her hand. He wasn’t sure what he could do to comfort her, but he would do anything in his power to do it. He took her back to her house hoping the familiarity of it would comfort her. She went into her room to change her shirt. She came out wearing a blue cami. Luke waited for her on the couch.

She sat next to him on the couch and wrapped her arms around his waist. He immediately wrapped her up in his arms. They lay there for what seemed like hours in total silence. Luke felt Val finally relax.

“His name was Leon,” she started quietly. Luke stared down at her. “He’s the only man I’ve ever been with in every aspect. He was apart of Dom’s crew since before Brian came to the family. When Dom had to leave, Dom made him promise to look after me, Mia, and Letty. When we thought Letty had died, Mia and I wanted to go to Dom so we could be with him. Leon begged me to leave with him, but I just couldn’t do it.” She paused for a moment. “When you cleared our names and we came back, I found my room destroyed. All the pictures I had on the walls of me and him and friends, all the pictures with me in them had my face scratched out. It was a little creepy, but I really didn’t think anything of it.” She paused again as Luke felt her nails tickling his skin under his shirt. “I saw him at Race Wars. The way he was looking at me… it was just… I didn’t like it. Then when he disappeared, I could still feel him watching me and it just made me uncomfortable.”

“I wouldn’t have let him near you,” Luke promised. Val chuckled and attempted to scoot even closer to him. Luke kissed the top of her head lightly and began to run his fingers through her hair. They stayed tangled up with each other for the rest of the day.

Chapter Text

It had been a month. One month and three days to be exact. That’s how long Luke had been gone. He had suddenly been called out and had to leave almost immediately. Val didn’t want to release him as he held her against him. His fingers ran through her hair slowly as his other arm wrapped tightly around her waist. The way he kissed her lips with such need it made Val feel like she was going to melt into him.

He had explained to her that he wasn’t sure how long he was going to be gone, it just depended on how fast they could complete their mission. He said with the way the dossier looked it could take a while. He had also explained to her that for her safety that he wouldn’t be able to contact her in any way. He wasn’t even taking his personal phone with him on the mission for that reason. Val had protested greatly because she wouldn’t know if he was okay or not the entire time, but he said it was a price that had to be paid in order to keep her and the others he cared about safe.

It had brought tears to her eyes as she thought about Luke getting hurt in multiple scenarios and she wouldn’t have any idea what was happening with him. She knew that every day that passed by, she would be getting more and more worried about him. Part of her wondered if the entire thing was just her imagination and she would be back in Luke’s arms in no time.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Seconds turned to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days, days to weeks and Val was miserable. She had tried to keep her mind occupied by going back to work at the Sacred Hearts Hospital. All she had to do was make a quick phone call and she was working in the Emergency Room again.

It was worse than Deja Vu going back to work in the hospital. Everything seemed so familiar. All the rooms were the same. The vibes were the same. The smells were the same. There were even a couple of her coworkers still worked there from before. They were more than happy to see her back and asked her all kinds of questions about where she had been. She wasn’t sure what to tell them about it, so she just said she had moved out of the country before coming back to The States.

She fell back into the routine of the hospital life quite easily as if it were riding a bike. She loved that she was going back to work as a doctor and made sure to come up with a perfect plan to thank Luke when he returned to her. She was still in a daze that she was a doctor again. She loved that the hours were long and sometimes brutal, but that just gave her more reason to come home, shower, eat, then go to sleep for a while so she could get back up and do it all over again.

Her days off, however, consisted of her finding anything and everything that she could do just so she could keep her thoughts away from Luke. She prayed he was safe wherever he was. She missed him greatly. She missed the way his fingers brushed across her skin leaving trails of fire behind. She missed his smile. His taste. She knew she had it bad. Luke had managed to work his way under her skin.

There was a part of her that was hoping that every time he opened his mouth it would be the moment that he would ask her to be his girlfriend. The thought of it felt weird though. Was that how people their age did it? Did they handle it the same way as a couple of teenagers? Maybe people their age didn’t even bother with asking and just fell into a comfort with each other. In that case, they were already dating in her eyes, but what if Luke didn't have the same level of feelings for her?

It was the third week of him gone that she had received flowers from Luke. She had laughed at the card attached because it simply just stated “From: Luke”. She should have known better that there would be no declaration of love or anything of the sorts on the card, but she still figured there would have been more on the card than just his name. She smelled the flowers gently with a smile. Just the fact that Luke had sent her flowers showed that there really was a romantic side to him somewhere. She knew that the flowers he sent to her was partially just to let her know that he was fine.

On her day off, her, Letty, and Mia had found themselves having lunch together in a random diner they had found. Brian had kept Jack so they could have some time to themselves and to give Mia a break. Also because Mia had told him he had no other choice. Val had tried to pay attention to what the girls were talking about, but no matter how hard she tried, she felt her mind wander back to Luke.

She wondered where he was traveling to on his current mission. She wondered who he was going after. Maybe it was a group of people similar to her family. Maybe it was a drug lord. Maybe it was a war lord. Wherever he was, she hoped he was safe and warm and well fed. If he was in a third world country she knew it was going to be hard to keep him fed up to his standards. She would have to cook him a nice home cooked meal worthy of his appetite when he returned.

She came too whenever she saw Letty’s hand wave in front her face trying to catch her attention. Val even shook her head a little as if she had to shake her thoughts about so she could back on track.

“You zoned out there for a bit. You okay?” Letty asked a little of concern across her face. Mia giggled catching both of their attention.

“Oh, she’s fine, she’s just regretting not getting Luke in bed before he took off,” she teased. Letty narrowed her eyes at Mia, then looked to Val. Letty leaned towards Val quickly and put her elbow on the table.

“You haven’t slept together yet?” she asked as if she was seriously shocked that they haven’t been together like that.

“We’re not even dating, yet,” Val admitted. Letty’s hand smacked the table.

“What the hell is his problem?” Val couldn’t help, but chuckle at her.

“We’re just taking it slow.” Letty and Mia exchanged bemused looks then looked back at Val.

“Slow? Who are you trying to kid? You two are so hung up on each other right now that it’s almost disgusting. You have literally spent every day together, you’re all over each other, and it’s hard to tell what happens behind closed doors, even though apparently it’s not much. And I’m not going to lie, Val, with the way he looks at you, it’s enough to give anyone an orgasm,” Letty stated. Val covered her face with her hands and groaned.

A week later, Val had five days off from work and had it in her head that she was going to do absolutely nothing the entire time. She was exhausted. She had work four eighteen hour days in a row and even stayed at the hospital for one of those nights because she was too tired to drive home. She knew that if she got behind the wheel of her car that she would just end up back at the hospital and not to work.

She hadn’t even changed out of her clothes before she plopped down on her bed so she could sleep. She had slept nearly the entire next day away, but when she came to she felt rested enough to where she would be able to function at least somewhat normally. She made herself something to eat since she had barely eaten in the past four days. As her food cooked was when she went into her bedroom to change out of her scrubs finally. She changed into a pair of shorts that she wore to bed and a cami. She put on a pair of knee high socks to keep the cool air of the air conditioner off her skin.

She had just made herself a can of soup not wanting to eat herself sick just yet. She sat down on the couch and started eating her soup slowly as she flipped through the channels trying to find something for her to watch. She found a movie, but hadn’t really paid attention because her thoughts had always went back to Luke.

XXXXXXX

Luke couldn’t stop thinking about Val. Every breath he took he hoped that there would be a random whiff of her scent somewhere. Sometimes as he would walk through the streets of the Middle East country he was currently in trying to shut down an entire drug ring, he would catch a scent that would remind him of her. If they were able to complete the mission at hand, there would be billions of dollars of narcotics off the streets worldwide. The drug lord they were currently hunting had been on DSS’s radar for years and they were finally closing in on him.

Luke was beginning to get frustrated with the whole situation. He wanted to go home. He wanted Val back in his arms. He needed to hear her laugh. Hear her voice. See her smile. He hated that he wasn’t able to call her since he was on a mission and he was glad that she understood why he couldn’t. His chest had tightened when he had told her he couldn’t because of the look of disappointment in her eyes.

He regretted fully that he hadn’t asked Val to be his right then and there, but he couldn’t do that to her then leave indefinitely on the mission he was currently on. He should have done it sooner. It had already been over a month since he had been back in the States.

He had sent her flowers, knowing how big of a mistake it was, but he had to do something for her as a token of his affection, a sign that she was on his mind, a symbol that he was still okay. He wanted so bad to put something romantically poetic on the card, but he couldn’t think of anything that would be worthy of Val. It was hard to tell how many times that he tried to fill in the little box for what they would put on the card for him before he would delete it all then continue staring at it. He settled on his name and he was so ashamed of himself. He was sure the people at the flower shop were currently laughing at him for his lack of romance.

He had never really been the romantic type. He had no idea what he was doing. He wasn’t even sure if Val was the type of woman to enjoy flowers. He wanted to slap himself for being so pathetic. His entire life he had always been so confident in himself then he has to go meet Val and he has to be just so beside himself about everything. It was pathetic.

When the mission was finally over and they were able to bring the drug lord down, Luke had only received a bullet to his side. It was just a flesh wound and it was taken care of by the doctors provided by DSS. It didn’t hurt though every time he moved the wrong way he could feel the stitches tugging at the rest of his skin.

He wasn’t able to get Samantha for a couple days since she had school and he didn’t live inside her district, but he had stopped by to see her for a couple hours. She was so happy to see him and that he was okay. He held her tight against him when she ran to him. Shana, his ex wife, and Jerry, her new husband asked him to stay for dinner which he did.

He got along with Shana and Jerry. He liked Jerry. He treated his daughter like she was his own daughter. Jerry wasn’t able to have children due to him being a diabetic. He treated Shana like a queen and Luke knew that Shana deserved no less. They talked loosely of his mission and they were so relieved to know that Luke had taken down a major drug cartel. It wasn’t long before Jerry had brought up Val.

“So, Samantha here is talking about this new lady in your life.” Luke gave Samantha a sideways glance. Samantha just grinned at him with a grin that clearly said “neener, neener, neener”. “What’s her name?” Jerry asked.

“Her name’s Val. She’s a doctor.” Shana hummed very impressed by Val already.

“How romantic, is that how you met? Was she patching you up?” Luke thought back for a moment. He had known who she was and had even watched her as she moved about with the rest of the crew, but the first time they were alone and were able to talk, she was patching up his arm. He absentmindedly rubbed his arm where the scar was that she had fixed up.

“Actually, yeah,” he said with a slight scoff. He wasn’t sure where someone would be able to call that romantic by no means, but whatever worked.

“Well, I think it’s great, but when are you going to let her meet our daughter? Seriously, Samantha wants to meet her.”

“Yeah!” Samantha agreed. Luke chuckled and pushed his food around on his plate for a second.

“We’re not even official yet. We’re just casual.” Shana frowned the pointed at Luke with her fork.

“Well, you need to hurry it up. I’d like to meet her too eventually.” Luke’s imagination went crazy on how the first meeting Val and Shana would have. Val would like Shana. He knew it would be a little awkward because it wasn’t every day when divorced couples would be able to maintain a decent relationship with no kind of negativity towards each other.

After dinner, Luke helped Samantha with her homework and put her to bed. After that, he decided it was time for him to take his leave so he could go see Val.

He glanced over after he turned his truck on to see Shana walking towards it. He rolled down the window to see what she had wanted. He ran through all the items he carried in with him wondering if he maybe forgot something in there, but he hadn’t.

“Jerry doesn’t know, but Samantha told me who this Val really is. And how you really met her.” Luke narrowed his eyes at Shana wondering what she was getting at. “But she makes you happy, I can tell. And you deserve that. Don’t let her slip through your fingers.” Luke grinned and nodded to her.

Luke had stopped by his home so he could take a shower and change into civilian attire. He was going to take his chance and make Val his. He felt that he wouldn’t be able to relax until he asked her to be his. He was sure to grab a package of the condoms he had purchased just in case. A slight anxiety gripped at his heart as he thought of her rejecting him, but he knew it was thinking crazy. There was no way Val was going to turn him away. She just couldn’t.

XXxxxxxxx

Val had finally managed to get Luke off her mind long enough to watch the climax of the movie she was watching to the end. She felt her stomach start to rumble as hunger took over her once more. She made her way into the kitchen so she could make herself something a little more filling than soup. She decided on spaghetti and pulled out one of her pots to fill with water. When she sat it on the stove eye and turned it on, she heard someone knocking at her door.

She quickly ruled out Roman and Tej since they had their signature “shave and a haircut” style knock. Dom would always call or text before coming over so it couldn’t have been him. She thought maybe it was Letty, but she doubted it since Letty was still going through the small phase of not being able to leave Dom’s side for very long almost like it was instinct. She put her money on it being Brian and Mia. Those two were always the spontaneous ones of the bunch.

She unlocked her door and slowly opened it up. She gasped in surprise upon seeing Luke standing there. He gave her a brief once over taking in her casual attire with a grin. She heard his name escape her lips in a whisper. She would have never thought it was Luke. He always called or texted whenever he came over. She figured he would have let her know he was back or something. She felt an unknown pressure build in her chest when she made the assumption that he wanted to surprise her.

She leapt forward and threw her arms around his neck. He responded immediately by wrapping an arm around her waist as his free hand tangled in her hair. He lowered her as she began to pull away from him and she kissed his lips a few times before wrapping her arms around him once more.

“I missed you so much, Luke,” she said looking up at him. He reached up letting his fingers brush against her cheek. He doesn’t repeat it back to her, but she could see it in his eyes. He had missed her too. She pulled him into her house and closed the door behind them. She locked it up tight then faced Luke again. His hands rested on his waist as her hands began to wander his body.

At first, Luke had thought she was doing it as a way to be sensual and he was enjoying every last inch her hands explored. It wasn’t until he saw the serious, calculating look in her eyes that he discovered that she was examining him. He chuckled grabbing her hands to stop her.

“I’m fine, Val. Hardly a scratch on me.” She narrowed her eyes at him.

“Hardly?” She slipped her hands out of his and began rubbing his body some more. Her fingers brushed against the patch on his side from where he was shot. She frowned looking up at him. She lifted his shirt though he tried to stop her and looked at the patch. “What happened, Luke? That’s a huge patch!”

“A bullet just grazed me a little.” Val looked up at him clearly exasperated by his words. Just a little he said. He pushed his shirt back down then kissed her lips again gently hoping that it would be enough to get her mind off his wound.

That was when they heard the sound of water boiling in the kitchen. Luke waited patiently for the proper moment to ask her to be his. The moment came as Val snuggled up next to him on the couch. They watched a random television show in silence before Luke turned to face her.

He told her about how he couldn’t get her out of his mind the entire time that he was gone and how much he regretted that he never asked her sooner. He told her how he should have followed his gut and asked her as soon as he could. When he finally asked her, her eyes seemed to light up.

She crawled up into his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. She kissed his lips gently.

Luke had known Shana was right, there was no way he could allow a woman like Val slip through his fingers and there was no way in hell he was going to let that happen.

Chapter Text

Luke had stayed the night with Val that night. Between her still being exhausted from so many hours at work and Luke’s jet lag, sleep had gotten the better of them. Luke had offered to leave for the night, but Val had told him to stay with her.

He was the first to wake up the next morning. It took him a moment to remember exactly where he was, but once he remembered, he couldn’t help but grin. He glanced down at Val who lay sleeping next to him. Her back was facing him with her hair spread out behind her. The blanket that covered her only came up to her waist. The way she was laying put a perfect curve to her waist.

Luke scooted across the bed and wrapped his arm around her. She moaned at the sudden weight on her, but she didn’t wake up. Luke huffed a little disappointed that she didn’t wake up, but he didn’t act any farther. He glanced around her room. Her furniture was a dark cherry wood that they had found in an antique store. Her bed was perfect to sleep in especially while she was sleeping in it with him.

There was a television that sat on top of her chest of drawers with a cable box under it. The remote was sitting on the nightstand on Val’s side of the bed. There were lamps on both nightstands. On Luke’s side of the bed was a picture of the entire crew standing in the annoying family portrait style.

He looked down at Val and watched her sleep. She was his and he was hers. He found it odd how natural it felt to be in a relationship with her. He figured there would have been an awkwardness between them for a while until the fell into the groove of being together, but it was just natural.

Luke molded himself as best he could behind Val and tightened his grip on her waist. She moaned again and wiggled a little.

“What are you doing?” she mumbled. Luke wondered if she was still asleep or not.

“None of your business,” he said burying his face in her hair. She grumbled again and rolled over. She buried her head in his chest and Luke took no time to wrap her up in his arms. She yawned quietly and wrapped her arms around him as best she could.

“What time is it?” Luke hummed resting his head on the pillow.

“About that time.” Val hummed a response and they fell into a silence. Luke felt Val relax next to him as she fell back to sleep.

About another hour passed before Val began to wake again. They lay in bed together for another thirty minutes before they decided to get up for breakfast. She decided on making him a big breakfast. Biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, and bacon. Luke had made sure there were no chances of leftovers.

It was some time in the early afternoon when Val’s phone went off. She and Luke had decided to stay indoors for the day and just be with each other. She answered it and said hello to Hector. Luke found the conversation curious especially since he only heard Val’s side of it. Apparently, Hector had challenged Val to something and Val had accepted without giving it another thought.

She had explained to Luke that before Val had taken off to Mexico to be with Dom, that Val had made an oath to one day out drink Hector. She had never been able to and always ended up bedridden for the remainder of the next day. It never stopped her from trying however. She knew it had been a really long time since she had drank like that and she was going to regret it.

An hour or so later, a knock came to her door and Val stood to answer it. Mia and Brian came in and Val to Mia into the kitchen while Brian sat in the living room with Luke watching whatever television show Val and Luke had been watching.

“Did he stay here last night?” Mia asked in a whisper so no one but them could hear. Val nodded as she poured herself a cup of coffee and made Mia her own cup as well. “Please tell me you guys finally had sex.” Val chuckled taking a sip of her coffee.

“No, we were too tired last night, but we are official now.” Mia’s face lit up as she stepped closer to Val. Mia went to say something, but Luke and Brian made their way into the kitchen. Luke leaned against the counter next to Val and rested his arm behind her.

“It’s about damned time!” Mia exclaimed looking at Luke. Luke gave her a strange look.

“What did I miss?” Brian asked looking to his wife.

Later that evening, they had went to a bar. Dom and the others were already there sitting at a table. Val and Luke walked up to them. Val said hello to everyone before she was dragged up to the bar by Hector. Luke watched them carefully as Hector ordered a round of drinks for the two of them. A few shot glasses filled with alcohol was set in front of them. Luke watched them as they clanked their glasses together and tossed them back.

“You’re going to be seeing a different side of Val tonight, Hobbs,” Dom said as a waitress laid a pitcher in the center of the table. “Just be ready to get her out of here.” Luke looked to Dom questioning him. Dom slowly took a sip of his beer as he watched Val and Hector at the bar doing shot for shot. “Every time they do this, Hector always does something stupid and starts a fight and Val always feels the need to jump in.” Luke shook his head then looked back to the bar as he heard Val laughing at something Hector said.

“So, what’s up with you and Big Guy over there?” Hector asked as he tilted his head back. “You guys still “something like that” or are you guys official?” Val grinned tilting back her own shot.

“He asked me to be his girlfriend last night,” Val said then her face twisted as the bartender poured them another drink. “That sounds so weird.”

“What do you mean, baby?” Hector asked with a grin. Val leaned a little closer to Hector as she reached for her shot.

“I don’t know, just feels like I’m a little too old for someone to be asking me to be their girlfriend like we’re still in elementary school.” Hector laughed and they threw their shots back together.

“I don’t think that matters anymore, sweetheart. You got yourself a man now.” He turned and glanced at Luke who was currently in a conversation with Dom. “A really, really big man.” He turned his attention back to Val. “Seriously, how are you still walking?” Val slapped her hand to her forehead.

“Seriously, why is it that every time I have a conversation with someone about me and Luke it always veers off to our sex life? Which, mind you, is currently non existent.” Hector looked at her with disbelief, but it slowly went away as Val’s facial expression didn’t change.

“What the hell is his deal? Look, woman, if you were mine, I’d have you knocked up by now.” Val busted out laughing at her friend.

As long as Val and Hector had known each other, he was constantly hitting on her even though he never acted on it. They were good friends. Whenever Val would go to a race that Dom as racing in, Val would always stick close to Hector so all the men would leave her alone since Leon was always the lookout during the races and wouldn’t be able to protect her.

It was amazing on how it never really slowed anyone down on hitting on Val and Mia at the races even with everyone knowing who their older brother was. It was hard to tell how many times they had to pull Vince off a guy for being too close to Mia. Val rarely had to worry about anything because if a man advanced her and Hector was around, he would shut him down real quick.

She couldn’t remember how long ago it was that Hector started calling her his “future ex wife”, but she could remember it was long enough to where his wife started calling Val her “wife in law”. Or, at least, the Spanish equivalent.

Val’s head was spinning from the quick consumption of alcohol, but that didn’t stop her from taking another shot with Hector. Hector made a sound that he had an idea and waved the empty shot glass in Val’s face.

“You know what we haven’t done in years?” Val narrowed her eyes at him.

“Considering I haven’t been around in almost ten years, I would say a lot.” Hector slammed his shot glass down on the bar and stood. He grabbed Val by the arm and pulled her off her barstool nearly making her fall in the floor.

Luke leaned forward across the table and pointed a finger at Tej. He had sat casually with the rest of the crew, but always kept an eye on Val. He wanted to go to her, but he figured that he would be dragged into the game with the two drunks and there was no way he was going to do that. Not with him being the designated driver. Not if he had to pull Val out of there to keep her out of trouble.

“I’m getting really tired of repeating myself,” Luke started.

“What?” Roman asked from his seat next to Brian. Luke’s finger slid over to Rom.

“I will shoot you.” Everyone at the table laughed as Luke pointed back to Tej. “There is absolutely no way in hell that Jackie Chan would win in a fight again Bruce Lee.” Tej groaned rolling his eyes.

“Oh, come on, man! Jackie Chan would whoop his ass!” Luke shook his head and dropped his hand back on the table.

“I could whoop Jackie Chan’s ass!” he claimed grabbing his beer. A sudden movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. He watched as Hector dragged Val across the bar to the dance floor that was across the bar. There was only a few people dancing on the floor at the moment.

He watched as Hector released Val and walked over to the jukebox that sat at the edge of the dance floor and searched for a new song. A salsa themed song blasted from the speakers around the bar and the dance floor seemed to clear. Val stood laughing at the other end of the dance floor as Hector turned to her.

They met in the middle as the music took off and Luke was astonished. He watched as Hector spun her and dipped her. They moved in perfect sync with each other as the dominated the dance floor. The people that were on the dance floor cheered them on.

Luke felt his pulse quicken as Val danced. He had no idea that she could dance. In all the conversations that they had over their time together, it never came up. He supposed he could have asked her if she had any special talents, but then she would just return the question and there was really nothing that he could say back to her. What could he say? He could shoot the eye of a squirrel at four hundred yards? That wasn’t a talent. That was conditioning.

The song ended and Hector and Val hugged as the entire bar cheered and clapped for them. They hurried off the dance floor and instead of going back to the bar, they came to the table. Hector took his place in an empty seat while Val took her place on Luke’s lap. She was hot to his touch from all of the movement and there was a small sheen to her skin from where she had began to sweat. Hector made a motion to the bartender for another round of drinks.

“Where in the world did you learn to dance like that?” Luke asked still in a daze at watching her dance. If he didn’t know any better he would say she was a siren that had him under her spell. Val laughed looking at Hector who had ducked his head down in embarrassment.

“Okay, story time,” Val started off as she reached for the pitcher of beer to pour herself a glass. She poured another one of Hector since they were doing a drink for drink competition. “It’s a funny story. True story, too!” Luke chuckled as she took a drink of her beer. Hector was still looking down as if he wanted to disappear. “Okay, so, like forever ago, Hector decides he wants to get married to that lovely, lovely woman you got to meet over at his place, right?”

“Right.”

“Well, she’s Cuban and she loves to dance. Well, Hector here, never once learned how to dance growing up.” She slapped a hand on Hector’s shoulder for emphasis. “He wants to surprise her at their reception by dancing the tango with her. So, he goes and signs up for these dancing classes and Hector walks in and…” She had to stop because she started laughing. Even by that point, Dom was having a hard time keeping himself composed during the story. Just hearing Val’s laughter was enough to make the story funny.

“Okay, okay, I’m good,” she said after calming down a little. “So, he walks in and there’s all these eighty-year-old women in there learning how to dance!” Everyone at the table was laughing now. “That’s not even the best part! Hector, Hector, man, you gotta tell them the best part!” she said slapping Hector’s shoulder. He groaned looking up at her. “Come on,” she coaxed.

“Man, those old ladies were grabbing me in parts I never even knew I had!” The entire table erupted in a fit of laughter. Once they were calmed down enough for Val to continue, she did.

“He calls me to be his partner so that way he stops getting molested by old ladies and before you knew it, we were dancing queens.”

“Wow.” Val chuckled and took a sip of her beer.

“We won four dance competitions after that, too.” The waitress of the bar came to their table and put shots in front of everyone and told them that they were on the house for the wonderful dancing. Val took her shot with Hector then stood up looking back at the bartender.

“Hey, bartender!” she called out getting his attention. “What else can we get for free back there?” The bartender grinned at her.

“Pretzels,” he replied without missing a beat. Val frowned crossing her arms.

“That stuff is already free,” she stated.

“Exactly.” A couple snickers came from their table. Val shrugged her shoulders looking down at the people surrounding their table.

“It was worth a shot, I suppose.” She took her place back on Luke’s lap. The group fell back into a comfortable conversation. Hector and Val continued their little game though it started to slow down a little as both of them were becoming very inebriated.

It didn't take long for the debate between Luke and Tej to start back up on whether or not Jackie Chan could beat Bruce Lee. Luke kept trying to listen to Tej’s argument, but Val was tickling the back of his neck and it was very distracting. He found it odd. He had never wanted so bad to just be alone with a woman so he could simply just touch her. He found himself pushing up the hem of her shirt so he could run his fingers across her skin lightly. He didn't miss the grin that grew across her lips as he did so.

Val had slipped off into her own little conversation with her brother about if he was going to be getting back into the underground circuit the way he used to be. Part of him wanted to because it would be nice to race for the pleasure instead of racing for his life, but he also wanted to stay out of trouble for a little while longer.

“Alright, that’s it, Val, you got my back on this right?” Tej asked pulling her attention away from her brother to him. She had known that they were arguing over something that only they could possibly think up to argue about so she had pushed the conversation out of her thoughts so she could focus on her brother for a moment. Before she answered, another shot was laid before her and Hector. Hector threw it back like a pro, while Val grumbled at hers, but she took it still. She shook her head slightly at the bitter taste of the tequila.

“Bias says I kind of have to have his back,” she said tilting her head towards Luke. Tej gave her a flat look while Luke grinned.

“Who would win in a fight? Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan?” Tej asked her anyways. Val frowned looking between the two.

“Who’s pulling for Jackie Chan?” she asked. Tej pointed to himself and Val grimaced looking to Luke.

“Sorry, I kinda gotta go with him on that one,” she said. Luke gave her a look of pure disbelief.

“You’ve got to be kidding me! Give me one good reason why Jackie Chan would beat Bruce Lee.” Val stalled for a moment while she took a sip of her beer. She gave look a calm look.

“Jackie Chan is alive. Kind of hard to fight back when you’re dead.” Luke huffed at her then shook his head. “However,” she said holding up her finger to him. “If by some miracle they were able to meet in battle, Bruce Lee would totally win.” Luke’s grin immediately returned. Tej threw his hands up in frustration.

“How in the world would he be able to do that?” he all but yelled at her.

“Uhm, have you forgotten that Bruce Lee trained the one and only Chuck Norris? And we all know how much of a badass that guy is.”

“You can’t argue with that, Tej,” Brian agreed sipping at his beer. Tej grabbed a handful of pretzels and threw them at Val. Val moved out of the way so the pretzels would fly behind her instead of her being pelted.

“Hey, you guys keep it down over there! You’re disturbing everyone!” some guy yelled at them from the next table. Val looked back at him over Luke’s shoulder. The guy had a build similar to Brian’s. He had slicked back, dark hair that reminded her of Danny from Grease. He wore a dark blue button up shirt with a white undershirt and a pair of jeans. There were three other men at the table.

The one to his right was built like a WWE wrestler with long blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail. He wore a black t-shirt with a pair of jeans. The man that sat to the greaser’s left had short curly brown hair and wore a tank top. Val wasn’t able to see what kind of pants he was wearing. The guy that sat across from the greaser was bald and in desperate need of a sandwich. He wore a tank top as well.

“God, chill out,” she said turning her attention back to the table. Everyone fell back into conversation with each other around the table when suddenly, Hector’s head fell against the table. Everyone stopped to stare at him. Val perked up a little thinking that he had passed out and she had finally won, but he lifted his head up and started ranting about women.

Val huffed leaning farther into Luke. Hector complained for what seemed like hours, but it wasn’t like anyone was complaining. What he was complaining about was absolutely hilarious and had everyone in an uproar at the table.

He complained that his woman never once made him a sandwich. He complained that she never once took the trash out. He complained that just because he was in the mood, she wasn’t. Val tried to make a few arguments with him, but Hector then made her laugh so hard that she couldn’t hardly breathe.

In his drunken state, he wasn’t really paying attention to his movements or the fact that he still had his beer in his hand. He threw his hands up in the air and, in turn, beer flew all over the person behind him. Val gasped looking up at the person and immediately recognized him as the guy who needed a sandwich that was behind them.

“What the fuck?” the guy exclaimed then punched Hector in the back of the head. Val gripped her beer in her left hand as red filled her vision.

“You mother,” she growled as she stood quickly from Luke’s lap and swung the glass around smashing it into the side of the scrawny guy’s face, “Fucker!” she finished. Luke stood, too glancing behind him to see the blonde wrestler type coming at Val with a right hook. Luke reached out and grabbed the man’s wrist stopping the assault.The man looked to Luke with a blind anger, but the anger went away upon seeing Luke’s sheer size. Val turned to see the man and Luke.

“Oh, I know you weren’t about to lay a hand on my woman,” Luke said. The man swallowed hard. Luke’s free hand grabbed the guy by the throat and choke slammed him on the table where the group of men were sitting.

“DAMN!” Hector yelled standing next to Val. Val looked up at Luke with wide eyes. Luke turned back to Val.

“Get her out of here,” Dom said appearing next to Luke as the remaining two men advanced them. Luke nodded then wrapped an arm around her shoulders to lead her out. She grabbed Hector’s hand and dragged him along.

The cool night air licked at her skin as they stepped out of the bar and headed towards Luke’s truck quickly. The sounds of things smashing inside the bar was in her ears. She wanted so bad to go back and fight, but there was no way Luke was going to allow that and she knew it.

“Are you okay?” she asked Hector as Luke began to pull out of the parking lot of the bar. She turned back to Hector who was still in a daze in the back seat of the truck. He nodded.

Val turned her attention to Luke who was focusing on the road. She leaned over to him and put her left hand on his cheek to pull him to her. She kissed his cheek, but Luke pulled away from her hand glancing at it.

“Your hand is sticky,” he said. “Are you bleeding?” Val pulled away from him and flicked on the light above her. Sure enough, there were cuts all over her hand and she was bleeding all over the place.

“Shit,” she said staring at it. The alcohol had thinned out her blood so it was going to be a little tough getting the bleeding to stop. Luke stopped at a stop sign and lifted his t-shirt over his head then handed it to her. She laid her hand on it not wanting to put any kind of pressure on it worried that there was still glass stuck in her hand. She tried to focus on her hand to see if there was, but she was way too drunk. The more she focused on her hand, the more painful it became so she decided to focus on something else.

She turned to look at Luke. His muscles looked even bigger with his shirt off. His arm looked bigger than her head and all she could do was envision his arms wrapped around her with his broad chest pressed against her. She licked her lips looking forward.

“So, I’m going to have to admit it. That was pretty sexy what you did back there,” Val said looking back at Luke. He grinned glancing at her.

“Oh yeah,” Hector said with his head leaned back against the back headrest. “I’m getting a stiffy back here. Take me home so I can sleep with my wife and think of you.” Luke wasn’t really sure how to respond to that. Like, at all. Val turned around and looked at him with a grin on her face.

After dropping Hector off at home, then going to Val’s to patch her up a little and grab some clothes then headed to Luke’s. Val immediately went to sleep when they laid down.

Chapter Text

Val woke up and immediately regretted it. A thick pounding resonated through her brain, neck, and shoulders. All she wanted to do was curl up and die. Why did she always have to give into Hector? Why did she always insist on doing this to herself? There was never a morning that she didn’t wake up with a hangover when she did a drink for drink competition with Hector and yet, she had to keep going back. Maybe she was just a glutton for punishment.

That was when her senses came back enough for her to feel fingers running through her hair to massage her scalp. She was pressed up against a hard body, her head on a broad chest. Her arm was draped across the waist. She took a deep breath and the scent screamed pure masculinity. She could hear the low thud of the heart beating in her ear. She could hear the slow breaths and feel the slight rise and fall of the chest. She could hear the low conversations of random people on the television somewhere in the bedroom.

She started to lift her head so she could look up at Luke, but the slight movement made her pain twenty times worse and she groaned squeezing her eyes shut. She could hear Luke chuckle as he looked down at her.

“How are you feeling?” Luke asked.

“Like I’m going to kill Hector as soon as this headache goes away,” she said as her hand lifted to grab her head. When she did, there was a roughness to her hand. She pulled her hand away to look at it to see that it was wrapped in gauze and tape. She groaned again letting her hand fall back across her head.

“Here,” Luke said catching her attention. She looked up to Luke to see that he had a couple aspirin and a bottled water for her. She grinned slowly sitting up with a groan.

“You are amazing,” she managed to get out, but it even hurt to speak. She grabbed the aspirin and popped it in her mouth. She grabbed the water and took enough of it to swallow the aspirin. She handed the bottle back to Luke and took her place next to him as he placed the water back on the nightstand. She rested her head against his chest and wrapped her arm around his waist again.

“Do you need anything else?” he asked as he started massaging her scalp again. She groaned as she snuggled closer to him. She wrapped her leg around his.

“For one, I would love for you to stop screaming at me. And two, I would like you to deport Hector’s sorry ass for me.” Luke chuckled and pressed a kiss to the top of her head. Luke felt her slowly relax as she slipped back into unconsciousness. He grinned watching her for a moment before turning his attention back to the television.

She had snuggled up to him sometime in the night and Luke had obliged her without a second thought. At one point, he was a little worried that she was going to be sick, but it had passed after a while. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had ingested so much tequila. He had woke up when she had gotten out of bed to head towards the bathroom. He had listened carefully thinking that she was getting up to get sick, but all she had done was pee then come back. When she hadn’t snuggled back up to him, Luke got up so he could get her some aspirin and a bottled water just in case she was going to wake up with a hangover. It would have been a miracle if she hadn’t. When he had returned, she had rolled back into him and rested her head against his chest.

Dom had called to check on her during her sleep and Luke had assured him that she was fine though she was hungover from hell. Dom had said that the entire bar had erupted into a fight, but almost no one got arrested. Their little group managed to get away before the cops had showed up.

She had woke up again a couple hours later with a groan. She sat up on the bed rubbing her face with her hands.

“Feeling any better?” Luke asked rubbing her back. Val groaned again as an answer. Luke sat up next to her and kissed her shoulder.

“I need food,” she said resting her hands over her eyes. “I need a shower and about another year’s sleep.” Luke grinned kissing her shoulder one more time then stood up out of bed. Val turned to look at him curiously. He walked over to his dresser then started pulling clothes out to change into.

“What kind of food do you want?” Val grinned at him getting out of bed herself so she could head into the shower to scrub away the alcohol that was currently seeping through her pores.

“Something greasy. That always seems to work.” Luke nodded then lay his clothes on the bed. He stepped to her then kissed her lips gently. Val made her way into the bathroom and dug a couple towels out of the linen closet then turned to start up the shower. She heard Luke leave the bedroom before she hopped in to take a quick shower.

She stood under the hot water for what seemed like hours just letting it run over her skin. It felt so good on her tired body. She felt as if it had rejuvenated her. Her headache wasn’t nearly as bad as it was. The aspirin must have kicked in. She felt tired still, but the shower was helping her wake up a little. After she was done showering, she got out and threw her hair up in a towel. She hadn’t grabbed her hair dryer the night before and there was no reason why Luke would own one. She did, at least, grab her hairbrush and toothbrush.

She brushed her teeth to get the taste of the alcohol taste in her mouth though every time she burped she could still taste it. She made her way into Luke’s living room and sat down on the sectional to brush her hair as she watched television. She turned it onto a ghost hunting show and started running the brush through her hair so it could possibly dry a little faster. The sooner it dried, the sooner she could go lay back down.

She hear Luke pull back into his driveway. He came in with a couple brown paper bags with something inside that was so greasy that it was seeping through the bag. He sat down next to her and started pulling food out. He had gotten some Philly Cheese Steaks for them. She ate slowly so she could savor the taste of the wonderfully greasy sandwich. After she was done eating, she stood claiming to go lay back down. Luke followed her and laid down next to her. She snuggled up next to him once more and fell back to sleep after a few minutes.

It was nearly three in the afternoon before she woke up again and was ready to stay awake though she made no move to actually get up. She loved laying with Luke in bed. He was surprisingly comfortable considering how hard his body was.

She called Hector to check on him, but apparently he was still asleep since Val had talked to his wife. Luke knew this because she was speaking Spanish the entire time. When she ended the call she turned to Luke.

“Hector is still asleep. Agatha said he won’t move,” she said clearly amused as she lay back down next to him. Luke hummed.

“Where did you learn to speak Spanish?” Val shrugged.

“I learned it in high school, then took an advanced class in college. Figured it would be useful considering where we live and I was going to be a doctor.” Luke grinned reaching out to reach up under her shirt to run his fingers across the skin of her lower back.

“It’s pretty sexy,” he said. Val grinned looking up to him.

“You think so?” Luke grinned as he pulled her hair over her shoulder then rested his hand on her cheek.

“I know so.” Val bit her lower lip moving to where she could kiss his lips. The kiss was gentle, but the fire it sent through her body was violent. The kiss had done something to her that she couldn’t explain. She broke the kiss slowly looking into Luke’s eyes. His eyes had darkened in a way that sent shivers down her spine in the best way imaginable. She attacked his lips as her hand ran up his chest then rested on his shoulder. His hand fell from her cheek to her waist as his tongue brushed against her lips. A slight moan escaped her lips as she parted her lips.

Luke’s hand squeezed her hip as he moved his body to where it was facing her. Her hand moved from his shoulder to the side of his neck. She felt her pulse quicken as a familiar excitement start to grow in the lower part of her body. As if he could sense it, his hand went up to the back of her shirt and pulled her against him as his lips began to travel down her jaw to her neck.

Feeling his rough fingers brush against her skin and his lips against her neck forced goosebumps to appear all over her body and caused her breath to shudder. Luke’s hand ran down her back slowly leaving a fire in its wake. It traveled down passed her waist and down her thigh. His fingers hooked behind her leg and pulled it up over his waist as he pressed farther into her as he began to push her to her back. That was when Val came to and pushed him back. He allowed her to though he looked very frustrated that she had.

“We can’t do this,” she whispered because she couldn’t trust her voice. Luke’s frown deepened as his frustration grew though he made no attempt to move. Val swallowed to bide her time so she could regain some more of her composure. “I’m not on any kind of birth control.” Luke smirked as he reached out to touch her cheek.

“I have protection.” Val felt her breath involuntarily shudder.

“Thank God,” she said pulling him to her as she rolled onto her back. He rolled on top of her putting his weight on his elbows so he didn’t crush her under his weight. Her hands rested lightly on his back as their lips crashed together.

Her fingers bunched up his shirt slowly so she could start pulling it up and over his head. Luke broke their kiss so he could sit up on his knees so he could pull the shirt up over his head. He tossed the shirt somewhere in the room. It really didn’t matter to Val. All she could do was look over his body slowly wondering what she had done to deserve such a man hovering over her.

She found herself slightly sitting up so she could run her fingers across his skin as he smirked down at her. As she ran her hands over his torso, he began to pull her shirt up and she allowed him to pull it up over her head. She let her hands run up his body to his shoulders as she pulled him down back on top of her.

She felt him break the kiss and move his lips down her jaw to her neck once more. She felt his fingers tug at her bra straps down over her shoulders slowly as she arched her back into him. She felt one of his hands reach behind her and unsnap her bra. He sat up just enough to pull her bra down her arms so he could remove it.

He took a quick once over so he could take her newly found nudity in. He smiled at her upon seeing her cheeks turn a little pink at his wandering eyes. He pushed his body against hers as his lips attacked the exposed skin of her shoulder. She let out a slight whimper at the feeling of his lips against her skin.

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he whispered in her ear then sucked on her earlobe. He kissed down her skin slowly making his way down to her exposed breasts. She gasped as he took one of her hardened nipples in his mouth as he ran his hand over the free one.

She didn’t want him to stop, even when his kisses went down to her stomach. Her fingers tickled the back of his neck as he didn’t leave any piece of skin untouched by his lips. One of his hands stayed on her breasts feeling the soft, squishy skin.

“Oh, Luke,” she whimpered as his bit down slightly onto the skin just above her hip bone. Luke’s hand left her breast and made its way down to the button on her pants. She felt a slight tugging her at pants as her button came undone. She looked down at him briefly to see him looking to her as if he was asking permission to continue. She grinned as her fingers dug into her pants and underwear and started pushing them down.

Luke sat back up on his knees so he could pull down the pants and underwear. Once they were off she watched him as he looked over her naked body slowly. He had a small grin on his face as he did so.

“Son of a bitch,” he whispered with a slight shake of his head.

Luke knew he had to take it slow. He vividly remembered how Val had said that she hadn’t been with a man in any way shape or form in nearly ten years. If he did act the way he wanted, he could hurt her. He had to make her ready for him. No matter how bad he wanted to be inside her. He scooted down the bed a little. He began to kiss at her stomach slowly earning another whimper from Val.

Val felt his lips move down her body slowly. She hated the way he was teasing her, but it was worth it. She absolutely loved what he was doing to her. She hadn’t ever felt that way. Not even with Leon. No matter how good Leon made her feel, Luke made her feel a thousand times better and he hadn’t even touched her most sensitive areas yet.

He kissed lower and lower until his lips touched the inside of her thigh. All she wanted was him to touch her. Whether it was with his tongue or his hands or anything else, she didn’t care as long as he was touching her.

Luke pushed her legs farther apart before he took his place between them. She felt his tongue rub against her. She called out slightly, forgetting what it had felt like to be touched in such a way. He ran his tongue over her clit ever so slowly causing Val to dig her nails into the sheets of his bed as a moan escaped her lips.

He pushed her legs down, leaving her completely open for him. He ran his tongue up her wet folds a few times then ran his tongue over her clit once more. She gasped his name. His tongue ran over her slowly as his hands massaged her thighs. She let out a low, long moan as she moved her hips with him.

She felt one of his hands move closer to her center causing a ripple to flow through her body and her breath to shudder. He ran his finger around her opening as if to tease her. The motion earned a disapproving grunt from Val. Luke smirked to himself upon hearing the sound the escaped her lips. He continued to run his finger around her soaking his finger in her juices before he slowly slid a finger inside her.

“Oh, Luke,” she moaned out again as his finger began to move inside her slowly. She arched her back slightly as he moved his finger inside her. She could feel the roughness off his finger as he slowly moved it inside her. He sucked on her clit making her call out his name.

He moved his finger inside her faster slightly making her moan with his motions. He knew what he was doing was going to make her ready for him. He didn’t want to hurt her and he knew that he could if he didn’t make her ready.

He licked up her again and she gasped. He held her down as he ran his tongue around on her.

“Oh, Luke,” she called out as her hands gripped the pillow up by her head. She rocked her hips against his finger and tongue. Luke felt her get wetter against him as he pleasured her. He curled his finger inside of her as he worked her.

She felt a familiar pressure in the bottom of her stomach as he started working her to the edge. She started moaning with the consistency of his movements inside her. She bit her lip looking down at him. She grinned upon seeing him watching her as she squirmed under his touch.

He pushed her closer and closer to the edge until he finally made her reach the point of no return. She chanted his name trying to force her hips against him, but it wasn’t enough. She pulled her hips away from him giving him a frown of disapproval. He returned her look full force though he wasn’t as out of breath as Val was

“I want you, Luke,” she demanded making Luke smirk. He began to kiss up her body as his hand began to undo his pants. He kissed her lips gently as he felt her hands run down his sides to his pants and started to push them down, but she could only push them down so far. He managed to push them down and off before he wrapped his arms around her. He kissed her slowly as he felt his skin catch fire as her nails tickled his back.

She moaned into his mouth pulling him closer to her. He reached into his nightstand drawer and grabbed one of the condoms without breaking the kiss. Val heard the package tear open somewhere above her head then felt Luke’s hand move down between them.

He positioned himself properly finally breaking the kiss. He stared down at her for a moment silently asking if she was ready. She nodded with a small grin on her face.

He pushed into her slowly watching her face for any signs of pain. He had to be easy with her. He had to make sure she was adjusted to him before he continued. He moved in her slowly watching her facial expressions. Once he was certain he wasn't hurting her, he picked up his pace a little more.

Val couldn't believe how good he felt inside of her. He filled her completely and then some. His size only hurt her slightly, but the pleasure overpowered tue sensation ten fold. She couldn't help as a whimper escaped her lips as she felt him start to move faster inside her. Her nails dug into his shoulders. Luke nuzzled into her neck.

“Harder,” she begged him. Luke groaned slightly as he happily obliged her. She felt so tight around him, so good. He felt her nails in his shoulders again as he moaned with his rhythm. “Oh, my god.”

Luke groaned as he kissed and nibbled at her skin. He felt one of her hands run up the back of his neck as her nails continued to dig into his shoulder.

She felt the familiar pressure begin to build in her lower abdomen once more. She whimpered uncontrollably as he eased her closer and closer to sheer bliss.

Luke raised himself up so he could watch her teeter over the edge. She looked so unbelievably beautiful under him, he found it hard to believe that they were finally releasing the pressure that had been building between them. He couldn't believe how good she felt completely wrapped around him.

Val felt as if her entire body had exploded when her orgasm hit. She called out his name digging her nails into his skin. Luke felt her insides pulsate around him the sensation bring his own orgasm to fruition. He groaned as he rode it out.

They lay there in silent bliss for a moment before Val decided to break it.

“That was incredible.” Luke chuckled and kissed her lips gently. He slid off her slowly so he could dispose of the protection that he used.

He faced her then wrapped an arm around her waist to pull her to him. She kissed his lips slowly running her fingers down his cheek. His hand ran down her side slowly as if he was lightly massaging her skin.

Slowly, sleep took the both.

Chapter Text

Luke cringed and let out a slight grunt at the sudden stinging sensation he felt on his back as the hot water of his shower poured over him. He reached his hand back running his hand over the skin on his back as best he could. He scoffed a smirk across his lips as he felt small welts and the roughness of scabs on his back.

He had lost count how many times he and Val had made love the night before. After they had taken a short nap after their first time, they couldn't stay off each other. It had been Val that ended it all saying that she was just too sore to continue. He tried not to think about all the sounds that she made as they made their way into oblivion together. He tried not to think about how she called out his name. He tried not to think about her perfect body pinned under his. He tried not to think about how she ran her fingers through her hair as she sat on top of him working her hips.

He got out of the shower and dried off with a towel before wrapping it around his waist. He stood before his mirror with his back to it to see what kind of damage Val had done to it. His back looked like he had been mauled by a cougar. He had scratches all over his back from his shoulders down to his lower back. He grinned as he thought about each one and what he had done in order to get them. He turned to face the mirror and shook his head. He had a bruise in the perfect shape of Val's teeth on his right shoulder. He remembered as soon as Val's teeth clamped down on his skin as she tried to stifle the screams that was still escaping her throat, but being so caught up in the moment, he hadn't realized that it was going to leave that kind of mark.

He walked out of his bathroom, but stopped as soon as he saw Val still sleeping soundly on his bed. She looked so beautiful with the sheet wrapped tightly around her body showing off every little curve on her perfect body. He dropped the towel around his waist before crawling back into bed with her. She immediately rolled into him and hummed.

"You're really warm," she whispered kissing his skin slightly. He grinned wrapping an arm around her.

"I just got out of the shower," he said. She hummed again opening her eyes slightly. She smiled at him as soon as her eyes met his. Her eyes wandered down to the tattoo covering his left shoulder and his left pectoral. She ran her fingers over it slowly. She took in its intricate design wanting to take in every little detail of it. She had no idea what the story was behind the tattoo, but it was magnificently done.

The only tattoos that Val had was a small camel on her big toe that she had to get when she had lost a bet with Jesse many years before. He would have gotten the same tattoo if she would have won. She had a tribal style tramp stamp that she had gotten one drunken night at spring break. Her final tattoo was on her thigh of a rose that she and Mia had gotten matching sister tattoos forever ago. Her tattoos were no where near as amazing as Luke's, but she was missing where that part mattered.

She leaned forward kissing his skin gently running her fingers across his skin gently. She felt the soreness of her thighs showing proof that the night before was not a dream.

"Last night was wonderful," she said blissfully. Luke chuckled running his fingers through her hair. "What time is it?"

"Early," he responded. Val grumbled in disapproval.

"I have to go home," she said, but made no move to do so. Luke frowned in question. Val yawned rolling onto her back. "I have work clothes to wash before I have to go back to work and I'm sure there's dishes in my sink." She felt his hand run across her stomach sending chills down her body.

It had taken them a couple more hours to get motivated enough to even get out of bed. Luke had driven them over to her house so she could get her chores done. Luke had felt his ego soar when he noticed the slight limp to her step.

At one point during the day, Mia and Brian had showed up with Jack much to Val's enjoyment. As soon as Jack's eyes landed on her, he began to squirm in Mia's arms until Val took him from her. Jack began jabbering away to his aunt making her laugh at him. She began to walk back to her laundry room so she could change out a load of laundry. Mia hurried after her. Once they were in the privacy of her laundry room, Mia slipped in real close to Val.

"Are you going to tell me what happened last night?" she hissed. Val handed Jack off to his mother giving her an odd look.

"What are you talking about?" she asked as she opened her washer to transfer clothes to her dryer. Mia huffed.

"Oh please, like I'm supposed to look over the fact that you're limping," she snapped. "Now, tell me, is he… you know… proportionate?" Val grinned looking away from her. Mia giggled uncontrollably.

"You really need a hobby," Val said throwing the rest of her clothes into her dryer before starting it up.

"So, how was it?" she asked completely ignoring Val's statement. Val grinned again unable to control herself causing Mia to giggle all over again. "High five!" she said holding up her hand. Val rolled her eyes, but obliged her sister anyways.

"Like I said before, 'hobby'."

It had been two weeks when Luke had finally asked her if she wanted to meet Samantha. She wasn't sure if she was excited or nervous or maybe both. It was a huge step in their relationship. She knew and understood that as soon as she found out that Luke had a child that he was a "package deal" as it were. That part she was perfectly fine with, but what if Samantha didn't like her? What if she couldn't live up to the standards that she knew his daughter had set for her? If she didn't approve, then what would happen with their relationship?

Luke had said for her to come to his place and to bring a bathing suit. She had went to her brother so he could calm her down for the meeting. He was a little shocked upon learning about Luke's daughter, but he had done what he had done best and calmed her nerves.

She sat in Luke's driveway for a few minutes before grabbing her bag and walking up to his door. She wasn't sure if she should knock or walk right in like she owned the place. She had never been to Luke's without him so she had never had to worry about knocking. Thankfully, Luke had met her at the door.

"She's in the pool," Luke said closing the door behind her. She bit her lip slightly looking through the house towards the back. She took a deep breath looking up to Luke as his arm wrapped around her waist.

"I'm really nervous," she admitted quietly. Luke chuckled.

"She's not that scary." Val gave him a flat look. Luke grinned at her and led her through the house. The smell of Luke cooking out on the grill filled her airwaves and her stomach growled. She wasn't even hungry, but just thinking about Luke's cooking was enough to make her hungry.

Samantha was in the pool splashing around, but stopped when she heard them walk out onto the back deck. She swam to the steps and got out of the pool to come meet Val. Val swallowed the nervous lump that worked its way up into her throat.

"You're Val," she stated giving her a quick once over. Val grinned looking at the small child.

"And you're Samantha." Samantha grinned looking up to her father.

"She's really pretty." Val felt her cheeks heat up as Luke's arm wrapped around her again. "Did you bring a bathing suit?" Val nodded. "Then go put it on. I want to go swimming." Val felt Luke's arm fall from around her shoulders so she could go back inside to change into her bathing suit. It was just a simple white bikini but the way it contrasted to her tanned skin made her feel sexy. Not that sexy was something that she needed to really go for at that moment, but it was the only outfit she had to wear in the pool.

She grabbed herself a towel and walked out back so she could get into the pool. She watched Luke out of the corner of her eye as she made her way to the steps. He watched the same way. In moments like that was the only time that Val was more than happy that she didn't have any children. She was still able to wear bikinis without having to worry about stretch marks scarring her body. She remembered when Mia would wear skimpy clothing all the way up until she got pregnant with Jack. Now she refused to wear anything that would have a chance of riding up and showing her belly.

She slowly got into the pool, the cool water causing little bumps to raise all over her body. She went under to wet her hair before coming back up. Samantha swam over to her with a grin on her face.

"Do you have kids?" she asked. Val gave her a sad smile. She figured that Samantha was hoping she did so that was she did have someone to play with that was her age. Luke had never mentioned that his ex wife had anymore children so she was just assuming that there were no other children running around.

"Not that I'm aware of," Val replied.

"Why not?" Val watched Samantha as she swam in a circle around her like shark would before attacking its prey. All that she needed was a dorsal fin and the Jaws Theme playing in the background. Val gave a slight shrug of her shoulder.

"Just never really got around to it." Samantha was quiet as she continued to circle Val.

"Will you and dad have kids?" Val nearly choked at her question.

"Samantha," Luke said with a warning tone.

After Luke had finished with dinner, they ate out on the patio. Val felt as if she was on the verge of tears as she tasted the burgers he made. The only thing Val had cooking skills for was breakfast since she had made it literally every morning since she was old enough to see over the stove. After that, if it didn't have step by step directions, she couldn't cook. It had always been Mia that cooked dinner in the evening since Val was always busy cleaning up the grease stains all over the house that her father had left behind.

"I'm telling you, Luke, you are in the wrong profession. You could own your own restaurant with this stuff," she said sipping at her beer. Luke grinned at her unable to answer since he was chewing his own food.

"I've tried telling him," Samantha said sending a playful glare to her father.

"Yeah, and what would I possibly have on the menu?" Luke asked looking between them.

"Honey, you could serve mud and people would flock from miles around to eat it," Val said before taking another bite of her burger. Luke looked across the table to his daughter who was smiling at him.

The three at the table frowned when Luke's phone began to go off. Luke reached for it and checked to see who it was. He let out a sigh glancing back to Samantha before standing up stating he had to take it. As soon as he shut the door behind him Samantha sighed looking down at her food.

"It's work," she said lowly. Val gave her a small grin. Val never took into consideration how a job like Luke's would affect Samantha. Luke and Val wasn't even dating at the time and Luke being gone was more than enough to rattle Val's nerves to no end. Val reached across the table and placed her hand gently on Samantha's hand. Samantha looked to Val and returned a sad smile. "I like you, Val. You make my dad happy." Val leaned back in her chair with a sigh. Just hearing those words come from her mouth lifted an unknown weight off her shoulders. She had wanted to impress the girl and she had succeeded.

Luke stepped back outside and took his place back in his seat. Samantha looked to him expectantly. Luke took a sip of his beer staring at her.

"I leave in three days." Samantha perked up looking to Val.

"That means we can still go to the Santa Monica Pier tomorrow! Val do you want to come too?" Val glanced to Luke who was too engrossed in his burger and thoughts to see what was going on.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world."

The day was so perfect for a day at the pier. There wasn't a cloud in sight. They had started off by grabbing lunch at one of the restaurant there then went looking through some of the shops. Samantha literally dragged Val everywhere.

Luke was more than happy that Samantha approved of Val. He wasn't sure what would have happened if she didn't like Val. Would he have ended their relationship? He wasn't sure if he would have been able to go through with it so he was glad he no longer had to worry about it. Part of him worried that Samantha was annoying Val as she dragged her from store to store to look at all the merchandise, but the smile on Val's face took all of his worries away.

Luke tried to enjoy himself just as much as Val and Samantha, but he had the current job on his mind. He was going to be traveling to multiple parts of the world for a while trying to track down the culprit. The man, at least he thought it was a man, was running a sex trade all over the world. They would wait for men and women to be traveling alone and kidnap them before selling them to the highest bidder. The job would keep him busy for a long time until it was finally closed.

The dossier that was delivered to him didn't have much information since the case was just recently opened. There was a profile on a few lower level ass holes whose only job was to be kidnapping new merchandise. It wasn't much, but it was a nice start. At least he actually had a lead with the case. He wasn't sure how long he was going to be gone with the case, but it would be off and on until it was all over.

The night before, he found himself in his living room studying the dossier hoping to find something somewhere that would give him a little more of a lead. The kidnappings were sporadic in different parts of the world which would make his job so much harder.

It was nearly two in the morning when Val came shuffling in, her eyes bleary from sleep. She didn't say a word as she came over to him and grabbed his hand. Luke watched her curiously as she pulled him up from the couch. She began to lead him down his hallway towards his bedroom.

"I have to go over that file," Luke protested, but made no move to pull away from her.

"Shut up. It's weird being in your bed without you. You're coming to bed." Luke didn't argue. He felt like he was starting to see double anyhow.

Samantha had demanded that they go to the aquarium. Luke wasn't sure what it was with her and the aquarium, but every time they came to the pier she insisted that they go to the aquarium. Val was finally able to fall back and be with Luke as Samantha ran around looking into all the tanks. She laced her fingers with his leaning into him. It was an odd sensation as he wasn't much on public affection, but he welcomed it.

"You're being quiet," she said as she watched Samantha run across the room to another tank to admire whatever it was inside. "You're not thinking about work, are you?"

"Would you believe me if I told you I wasn't?" Val scoffed looking up at him.

"No." Luke grinned down at her. She stopped him turned him towards her. "Look, I know you're getting ready to leave to go and save the world, but you have to think. You don't know when you're going to be back. It could be weeks even months. That's a long time to go without Samantha." Luke glanced to his daughter as she darted to another tank.

"What about you?" he asked pulling her to him. Val grinned wrapping her arms around his waist.

"What about me?"

"It's a long time to go without you, too." Val chuckled.

"You just like me for my body," she teased. Luke grinned tilting his head slightly to the side.

"It does help." They separated just in time for Val's arm to be nearly yanked off by Samantha as she dragged her away to look at the seahorses. Luke decided to take Val's advice and forget about work so he could enjoy what little time he had with them. He knew Val was right. He didn't know when he was going to be back. It could be a long time before he seen either of them again.

It was well after dark when they pulled into Luke's. Samantha had fallen asleep on the way home so Luke carried her to her room to put her to bed. Val was wore out. Samantha had ran her ragged throughout the day. She plopped down on the couch and leaned her head back. She had worked countless hours in the ER taking care of anything from a woman in labor to someone who had been stabbed at an ATM to multiple people coming in from a gang fight practically all at the same time and she never felt that tired when she finally walked through her door, but that child exhausted her.

She felt herself being lifted up and her eyes shot open as a sudden shock shot through her system. She looked up to Luke who was carrying her through the house to his bedroom to lay her down. Luke laid her down then crawled in behind her wrapping his arm around her waist.

"Samantha said I was allowed to keep you," Luke whispered kissing her shoulder. Val began giggling as she grabbed his hand to force him to hold her tighter.

Chapter Text

It had been nearly two months since Luke had stepped foot on American soil. He had been to so many different countries and through so many different time zones, it was making him sick. Every time they got a lead of any kind, they had to follow it. They had to build some kind of case. Luke had chased down many people trying to get to the higher ups, but they weren’t giving him anything.

He leaned back in his chair in their temporary headquarters in Bangladesh. He closed his eyes tight. Was it still Bangladesh or had they moved onto the next country already? He had heard mention of Burma, but he thought they had already been there. Or was that Peru? He ran his hand over his eyes with a sigh.

The case was just simply annoying. There wasn’t anything that was getting him closer to where he needed to be. All he needed was one little break. One little break to get him closer to where he needed to be.

The security footage that he had picked up from all of the airports were a sham. He was able to see where the victims got off the planes, got through customs and whatever else they needed, whenever he watched them get into random vehicles, he would run the plates, but they were always fake.

Whoever it was that was running the ring knew how to cover their tracks completely. He had watched each clip at least a thousand times and never caught anything that would suggest they were being followed or watched or anything out of the ordinary.

Luke glanced over to his team. Since he had lost his team in Brazil when they were ambushed, DSS had assigned a new team to him. He didn’t agree with it in the least since it made him feel like his entire team was expendable, including him. Something that could be replaced without a second thought, without a problem. It had taken him years to bond with his team to the point to where they were more than just a team, they were a family. He and his new team were still trying to get a feel for each other.

He knew they were getting restless. They hadn’t seen any kind of action in over a week. It had been a long time since they had been with their families; their girlfriends or wives. He could feel it himself. It started off as jitters. Almost like he had drank one cup too many of coffee. Then he began to grow testy. All it would take was someone to glance his way in a way that he didn’t like and he was ready to go off like a nuke.

He had already had to break up multiple fights that were breaking out between his teammates. They were feeling it too. There was too much testosterone floating around and it was getting to the point that it was unbearable. Luke had found himself constantly in the area they had designated their workout station so he could relieve some of the pent up aggression that was building.

Val was constantly on his mind, but that was nothing new to him. Thoughts of her was always sure to keep him warm at night mainly because thoughts of her always drifted into the more naughtier parts of his mind and got him hot and bothered. He missed her more than he would like to admit and hated that the mission was taking so long. He tried to do the math in his head and count backwards to find out roughly what time it was where she was.

She was probably at work saving the life of some poor sap that was simply just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And he knew that the poor sap would be able to pull it through whatever mishap he had thanks all to her.

He could remember the exact moment that he had decided to help Val get her old job back. It was as soon as the pardons had passed through and landed back on his desk so he could deliver them personally, as per request. He had flipped through each file making sure everything was in proper order. He stopped when he came across Val’s file and took in the contents. He ran his hand over the wound on his arm that she had patched. It was mostly healed, but he could tell that it was barely going to leave a scar thanks to her expertise. Luke decided quickly right then that someone with that kind of skill needed to share that skill.

He wondered if she was thinking of him just as much as he thought about her. It was a ridiculous thought, he knew, but it had crossed his mind. It amazed him how much she had managed to work herself under his skin so quickly.

“Hey, Luke,” he heard Ben, one of his teammates say to get his attention. Ben was the youngest of his crew and because of that, he was the one who caught the most hell from his fellow squadmates. He had bright blonde hair and baby blue eyes with a physique that would make Captain America jealous. He was a good natured backwoods boy from somewhere in Kentucky. He was barely old enough to be in the DSS, but his file had placed him as one of most skilled soldiers in decades. He was quick on his feet and never broke a sweat under pressure. Luke felt a little bad for him. His girlfriend had just given birth to his first son just a week before they had been called out. “What are you going to do when we get back stateside?”

Luke knew it was time to give them a break. At least a week or so. Let them go home and recharge their batteries. Let their loved ones know that they were okay and alive. He went to answer, but Hank jumped in before he could.

Hank was roughly Luke’s age and joined DSS much the same way Luke had, though Hank was retired military instead of retired police. Hank was beginning to bald though what was left was the color of milk chocolate. His eyes were a bright hazel color. He had closer to a natural build compared to Luke. He had lived a little bit of everywhere in his life because his father was a military man. He had a wife and two sons and one little girl. His two sons were already well into their teenaged years while his daughter was closer to Samantha’s age.

“I know exactly what Luke is going to do,” Hank started crossing his arms. “He’s going to go shack up with that mystery woman of his.” Luke grinned looking back to his computer so he could continue watching the surveillance videos. “This mystery woman that he refuses to tell us anything about.” Ben grinned looking to Hank.

“Yeah, why don’t you tell us anything about her?” Jamal piped up. He was a black man with bright brown eyes that made them look unnatural. He had long dreads that went down to just below his shoulder blades. He had closer to a swimmer’s build. He hailed from Central Florida.

“She must not be a very attractive woman,” Ben said glancing to Jamal. Jamal grinned leaning up against the wall and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Watch it now,” Luke warned sending the rookie a glare. Hank chuckled.

“Oh, it’s worse than I thought,” he said watching Luke. “She’s fat and ugly.” Luke shook his head pausing the video before facing his team.

“I’m missing where my woman is any of your business,” Luke said.

“Oh, come off it, man,” Jamal said. “We all bitch and moan about our women when we’re on missions and you haven’t bitched or moaned once.” Luke sighed shaking his head.

“For one, Jamal, you don’t have a woman. Two, you guys bitch and moan. I, however, am not a woman so I don’t gossip.” The three men stared at him for a moment.

“Oh yeah, she’s totally fat and ugly,” Ben spoke up finally.

“Oh for the love of god, here,” Luke said turning back to his computer and pulled up her social media account and pulled up her profile pictures. The three men came to him to look over his shoulder.

“Uhm, she is either fat nor ugly,” Jamal said.

“Yeah, good job, there man,” Ben said patting Luke’s shoulder. Luke’s phone began to ring. He reached for it and stepped away from his teammates so he could answer the phone.

He spoke to his superior for less than five minutes then ended the call. He turned to the rest of his team who was still pouring over Val’s social media account. He rolled his eyes making his way over to them. He closed down the window earning sounds of disappointment from his squad.

“Alright, guys, we got another lead. Time to gear up and head out.”

XXXXxxxxx

Val had officially lost her mind with worry. Every time she sat down for more than three seconds, she would fill with anxiety and start chewing either on her lip to the point to where it would bleed or would chew on her nails to where it hurt.

She had literally cleaned her entire home from top to bottom by the end of the first month without having Luke around. She had looked through the file he had. It helped for a while knowing the type of bad guy that he was going after, but the longer he went without sending her a gift of any kind or contacting her like he had before, the more she would feel the anxiety.

Any time that she had a day off work, she would go and work at Tej’s new garage so she could keep busy. As long as she was keeping her hands busy, she was keeping Luke off her mind.

Sleep was like a lost friend to her. She would lay in bed staring at the side of the bed Luke had claimed as his own. She would always take her pillow and lay it to where it laid adjacent to her then would snuggle into it, but it still wasn’t the same.

One morning, she was sitting on her couch drinking a cup of coffee whenever her phone went off. She picked it up seeing her brother’s name show up on the screen then answered it. He had informed her that he had bought them a gift. She felt a surge of excitement shoot through her because she always loved when Dom bought them a gift. It was always a project car that they would build from the ground up then sale it.

Sure enough, not even an hour later, she heard the continuous beeping of a large vehicle backing up. She ran out on her front porch to see a flatbed truck backing up her driveway. On the back was what looked like a 1971 Dodge Challenger, but the body was so rusty and dented it was hard to tell.

“You better have gotten this for free,” Val said looking to her brother. He grinned watching as the driver began to drop the car in the driveway.

“Just wanted to get something that will keep us occupied for a little while.” Val gave him a sad smile then leaned her head against his shoulder. She knew that he was getting the car for both of their sakes. She knew the fact that Letty not being able to remember their life together really bothered him though he never really liked to let it show. They were too much alike for their own good. Anytime they needed to get their minds off anything that was bothering them, they had to do something that would keep their hands busy. Which normally consisted of project cars just like the Challenger currently taking up a lot of space in her driveway.
With a lot of help, they managed to get the car in her garage. Val huffed looking over the car. It was going to need an entire new… well… everything. It was hard to tell what had actually happened to the car in order for it to be dumped like it had. It was a miracle that the entire bottom of the car didn’t fall out whenever they managed to get it in the garage. They may have been able to salvage some of the engine parts, but that wouldn’t be determined when they started breaking it down.

Val went into her house and grabbed her laptop so she could start putting orders in for parts. While she was doing that, Dom was prepping the floor jack so they could start lifting out the motor so they could assess the damage.

After a lot of curse words and elbow grease, they finally managed to get the motor out of the car. All of the bolts were rusted and damn near impossible to get out, but they had managed.

“How’s Letty doing?” Val asked as they worked together to take the motor apart. Dom glanced up at her then back down to the motor.

“She still doesn’t remember anything. She’s still sleeping in the guest bedroom, though it’s getting better between us.” Val grinned glad to hear it. She couldn’t imagine how hard it was on Dom knowing that his wife had no idea that they were married or had a happy life together for literally most of their lives.

It had to hurt him to know that when his wife looked at him, that she saw a stranger, when in reality, that wasn’t the case when he looked to her. He had said that he didn’t want anyone to tell her that they were married that he didn’t want to overwhelm her with knowledge of her life he wanted her to ease into it. To remember it all on her own.

Val wasn’t sure if that was the best idea considering the possibility that telling her about her past may trigger something for her, but then again, it would freak her out and she could run away without remembering a thing. The mind was such a fickle thing.

“What about you and Luke?” Val sighed dropping a few bolts into a pan so they didn’t get misplaced.

“I hate that we can’t be in contact while he’s away. I think that’s the most nerve racking part of this whole thing.”

“It’s for your protection,” Dom said. Val nodded knowing the reason.

“It doesn’t make it any less difficult not knowing if he’s okay or not.”

“I’m sure he’s okay, Val.” Val grinned looking to her older brother.

“Yeah, you’re probably right. It’s not like he’s on a very dangerous mission right now anyways. Right?” Dom nodded giving her a small grin. Dom knew about the mission Luke was on because Val had talked to him about it.

XXXXxxxx

Luke and his team pushed through what was supposed to be an abandoned warehouse and honestly couldn’t believe their eyes. There were rows upon rows of sheets, curtains, and blankets clipped to cords that made up small rooms. In each room was a different woman from all around the world and all ages. Some of them fit the descriptions of some of the missing women they had been searching for.

In some of the rooms there were men having sex with the women. The women looked like they weren’t all there. Maybe they were high. Maybe they had been beaten into submission. Maybe they had just lost all hope. It haunted Luke seeing that some of the girls were around Samantha’s age. He vowed to never let her fly alone anymore. He couldn’t remember how many times he had let her fly by herself to see her grandmother for a couple weeks a year during the summer. He wondered how many times she narrowly escaped being in a situation such as the girls they were currently clearing out.

They had managed to capture one of the guards and was ready to interrogate him in hope of him giving up another one of the higher ups. Luke stood behind the two way mirror with his fingers digging into his eyes. The local law enforcement had no idea what they were doing when it came to interrogating. They were speaking in their native tongue, but it didn’t take a linguistics major to know that the cop was messing up big time.

Luke had finally had enough of it and decided it was time for him to intervene in the interrogation. He wasn’t in the mood to be pushed around by some lousy scumbag that made his living kidnapping then brainwashing girls into prostitution and slavery. He walked into the room and told the officers to leave. The man sitting in cuffs at the table stared at him with a slight form of intimidation in his eyes. Luke smirked as he walked over to the camera that was up in the corner of the room and unplugged it.

“Now,” he said as he made his way to the table then started to slide into the chair. “You’re going to tell me everything you know.”

XXXXxxxx

Nearly two weeks later, Val and Dom had completely stripped the Challenger down to its frame since they had decided that the best course of action was to build it back up from the ground up. They were able to salvage some parts throughout the car, but there wasn’t much. Dom was sure that the only time he came over was when Val had time off work knowing that she would get angry with him if he worked on the car without her.

Dom found the car a nice distraction for them both. He knew that it was difficult on his younger sister with Luke gone. Even when she was working away on the car, laughing with him, he could see the small shine of worry behind her eyes.

At first, Dom wasn’t sure what to make of whatever it was between her and Luke. Luke had tried to ruin their lives completely, but in the end, he came through and cleared their names.

In Brazil, Dom had watched as Val fidgeted over Luke when they were ambushed. Luke didn’t say much as she checked him over searching for any kind of injury. It was then that Dom discovered that somewhere under all that Dom discovered that the man before him was only human. He hadn’t expressed much when it came to emotions or anything remotely close to a personality, but when he lost his team in the ambush, there was no hiding it. Losing his team had caused him to lose a part of himself.

The way that Val’s face had lit up whenever she had discovered that she could go back to work thanks to Luke, had warmed Dom. Dom knew she missed it. She had lived for her job. Losing her job had changed her in ways that broke Dom’s heart for her. She was never really quite the same whenever she lost her job. Luke had brought that part of her back. He had made her happier than she had been in years and for that, Dom felt that he would always be in debt to Luke.

Dom had tried not to be ugly towards his younger sister after she had given Luke her number. If the truth be told, Dom didn’t think it was going to go passed a few dates, but here they were, together and Val was more than happy. And that was what really mattered to Dom.

Chapter Text

Another three weeks had passed by miserably slow for Luke and his team. He had tried again and again to get his team some time off, but every time they came close to getting the approval for two weeks off, something would happen and they would need to head to the next country to follow a lead. However, there was a little bit of a silver lining in the ordeal. Luke had managed to close down the ring. The ring was ran by an entire family with children destined to pick up the legacy. The thought made Luke sick to his stomach. The family was conditioning the next generation to the underground world. Making sure they knew all the ends and outs. The main boss of the ring was a woman. She had three children, two girls and a boy, with her husband who was her right hand. She had two younger brothers who served as a form of security for her. Those two had five children between them. The children under the age of eighteen were simply thrown into the system while everyone else was thrown into prison.

Now he was allowed to go home and he was hoping it was going to be for quite some time. He had already put in for a couple weeks off so he could go up to his cabin in the northern California. He had bought the cabin many years before when he was still a simple cop. He found that going to the cabin after a long mission was the perfect way to unwind. The cabin was on a lake with a forest surrounding it. There was no one around for miles and Luke was able to just forget the real world. It was always enough to bring him back. He had been approved for the time off and was set to leave three days after he returned to LA. It gave him enough time to get home, pack, and get Val to come with him.

He swore the closer and closer he to got back home the faster and faster his heart rate rose. He was anxious to get back home so he could see Samantha and Val again. It felt like it had been years since he had seen either of them. He wondered if there was anything that had changed about either of them. Would they even be recognizable? Would they even recognize him?

He hated the missions that lasted for longer than he had anticipated for. He always anticipated whether or not home would still be standing when he returned. It was an odd habit, but he couldn’t help himself.

When he pulled up in Val’s driveway, he saw her inside her garage working on something under the hood of an old Challenger. But it wasn’t the car or what she was doing that had his attention. It was on her bent over the car with coveralls on, but they were pulled off her shoulders and the arms tied around her waist to keep them up. She wore a white cammi. The fabric was pushed up a little on her waist because of her natural curves.

She didn’t make any type of move to where she knew Luke had pulled in. He hopped out of his truck and grinned. She had some Motley Crue blasting through unseen speakers. A bomb could have went off right next to her and she wouldn’t have known. Luke moved towards her slowly trying not to let her know that he was there. He wanted to watch her just as she was for as long as he could.

He stood right behind her and watched as the muscles in her body contracted with each movement that she made. He wanted to reach out and touch her skin, but he had a much better idea.

He gripped her shoulder and forced her to stand up straight. He spun her around and he held his hand up to block her swing of the tool in her hand. As soon as her eyes met his, she gasped.

“I’ve been gone all this time, and this is how you say hello?”

Val felt sudden tears of joy sting her eyes upon seeing Luke. She felt her heart skip a beat and her breath hitch. She let the tool fall from her hand as she threw her arms around his neck. Their lips crashed together roughly. She broke the kiss placing her hands on the sides of his face. She placed her forehead against his smiling.

“I missed you,” she whispered. Luke’s response is another kiss to her lips. Val tilts her head so she can deepen the kiss. She felt his arms tighten around her waist. She broke the kiss running her hands down over his shoulders then down his chest. His hands rested lightly on her hips. She stepped forward burying her head in his chest and wrapped her arms around him. They stood there for a moment before Val pulled away slightly. Her hands began to roam his body slowly and Luke shook his head. He grabbed her hands gently to stop her recalling how she had searched his body before for wounds.

“I’m fine, Val. Not even a scratch.” Val frowned as if she didn’t believe him. He lifted his hand as if he was swearing on a bible in court. “I promise.” The smile returned to Val’s face.

“Did you catch the bad guy?” Luke nodded. Val giggled stepping into him once more. She rested her head on his chest. “My hero.” Luke chuckled wrapping his arms around her. He buried his face in the top of her head and breathed her in. The smell of grease overpowered her natural scent, but he found it sexy. Just like he found the grease stains on her hands sexy. Just like he found the grease on her clothes sexy.

“Well, well, well, look who found their way home,” Dom said somewhere behind him. Luke looked back at him over his shoulder as Val stepped slightly away from him. Dom carried a couple white paper bags filled with most likely some kind of fast food and a drink tray. Luke shrugged innocently.

“Yeah, I almost forgot where to go.” Dom hummed as he walked into the garage and sat the bags down on a free space on a workbench. It was then that Luke noticed the boxes and oddly shaped parcels still covered in paper that littered the garage. He assumed it was car parts considering the half completed car that currently occupied the space that once had housed the Barracuda. He hadn’t noticed them before since he was so entranced by Val.

“So, what’s going on in here?” Luke asked as Val stepped away from him to start digging around in the bags. Dom slapped her hands away and pointed outside. Val huffed and grabbed a bottle of Gojo juice before heading outside. Luke heard water begin to run to the ground.

“I bought us a project car. Me and Val like to stay busy.” Dom at this point was digging through the bags of food. He pulled out what looked like a burger then opened it to check its contents. He sat it down on the workbench next to the drink tray then dug out a thing of fries. “I would have picked you up something, but I Val didn’t let me know you were home.”

“That’s fine, I’m not hungry,” Luke stated watching as Dom rolled up the paper bags then threw them up on top of one of the cabinets well out of reach. Dom had a triumphant smirk plastered across his face as Val walked back into the garage. She looked on the workbench for her food then frowned upon seeing a missing bag. She glanced up on top of the cabinet then her hands immediately went to her hips and she lightly stomped her foot.

“Real mature, Dominic.” Dom shrugged his shoulders taking a bite of his burger. She looked to Luke. “Kick his ass for me, will you?” Luke gave her an amused look.

“And what’s in it for me?” he asked clearly teasing her. She clicked her tongue at him crossing her hands across her chest.

“You should already know what’s in it for you,” she said with a knowing tone. Luke’s eyebrow raised slightly as a smirk touched his lips.

“Oh, come on, Val. I’m trying to eat,” Dom groaned with a mouth full of hamburger. She walked to where her food was that was sitting on top of the cabinet and went to reach for it, but she was too short to reach it. She groaned in frustration. Dom chuckled and took a sip from his drink. Val sent a glare to him.

“What are we teenagers again? I thought you grew out of this.” Dom shrugged again reaching for some of his fries. Val sighed rubbing her temple as she felt a slight headache starting to come on. Back in their younger years, Dom’s growth spurt seemed to happen overnight. Once it happened, he delighted in putting everything that Val wanted just out of reach just to get her worked up. It was hard to tell how many times she had tried to beat him up because he would put her dinner plate on top of the refrigerator.

“I thought I did too. Then I remembered how much fun I used to have doing this to you.” Val groaned again, then turned back to Luke.

“Can you reach it for me?” Luke made a humming sound as if he was thinking about it.

“No.” Val narrowed her eyes at him then made her way out of the garage without making any further comment. Dom and Luke gave each other calculating looks. “Why do I feel like I need to be worried about this?”

“Because you should be,” Val said from behind him. As soon as Luke turned, cold water sprayed all over his back. She had hooked up her water hose and began to spray the both of them down. Dom and Luke both yelled at her to stop, but she was too busy laughing at the two of them as they tried to shield themselves as best they could from the water.

XXXXXxxxx

Luke laid back on the couch while Val snuggled in next to him. They had decided to go to Luke’s since it had been so long that Luke had been there. It seemed to be a place that he had only seen in his dreams. The smells seemed to be something from so long ago.

Dom had decided to leave once he and Val had finished eating their food so she and Luke could have some much needed alone time. Luke wasn’t sure how he had managed to drive the rest of the way to his home without falling asleep at the wheel. He felt like hadn’t slept in over a year. He had fallen asleep on the couch, only to wake up when Val slid in beside him and wrapped her arms around him.

He told her of all the different places he had been to and all he had done on his last mission. Val listened to every word he said. Even the parts she really didn’t want to hear about. He wanted to tell her about how it still bothered him that some of the girls that he had saved from the sex ring were barely older than Samantha, but he wasn’t sure how to go about it.

He watched her as she ran her fingertips across his chest slowly.

“I’m so glad you’re home now, Luke, but I’m also glad that you were gone long enough to take these people down. I just hope that they’re treated the way they deserve.” Once his job was done, he hardly ever heard what happened to the people. It wasn’t any of his business afterwards. All he was there to do was catch the bad guys and be on his merry little way. He didn’t care what happened to the criminals afterwards. That part wasn’t in his job description.

His attention was pulled towards Val once he felt her lips touch the skin on his neck. They were light kisses, but it was enough to make his pulse quicken. He couldn’t believe that such a simple touch from her was enough to set him off.

“What are you doing?” he asked even though he really didn’t have to ask. Val chuckled.

“What do you think I’m doing?” she whispered as her fingers tickled his skin. Luke groaned lightly as he reach over to grab her. He pulled her to where she was straddling his waist then rested his hands on her hips. Her hands rested gently on his shoulders as she kissed him.

Val couldn’t deny the fact that it had taken everything in her power not to jump him as soon as she laid eyes on him. He had been gone for so long that part of her was beginning to think that maybe everything that had happened between them was just apart of her crazy imagination. It wasn’t fun waking up in the dead of night from a very heated dream about one’s man without him actually being there. She had her so worked up that Mia had began telling her that she would have to go buy herself a toy to hold her over while he was away. It was going all fine and dandy until Mia started talking about all the different kinds that were out there and how they functioned. Then it only got worse when she started talking about which ones were her favorites.

Luke tightened his grip on her hips as Val arched into him a little more. She deepened the kiss letting out a light whimper. Her fingers began to tickle the skin on the back of his neck. Luke’s hands trailed up her body pulling her closer to him. His tongue brushed against her lips. Val parted hers letting her tongue meet his. Val felt herself release a sigh as she melted into him. Their lips moved so slowly over each other as if trying to memorize every little detail.

Luke groaned when she dug her hips into his. Val felt him start to lift up her shirt slowly. Val broke their kiss so she could sit up. She hooked her fingers into the hem of the shirt and lifted it over her head. She threw it to the floor as Luke sat up wrapping his arms around her waist. He started kissing her collarbone then moved down to her still covered breasts. She wore a simple white sports bra, but Luke couldn’t help but think about how sexy it looked on her.

Luke felt himself being pulled up to where he was sitting before he met Val’s eyes again. She grinned as she began to pull his shirt up. Luke allowed her to pull it off. She tossed it aside without giving it much thought. Her arms wrapped around his neck as she pressed her lips to his again.

He turned them onto the couch to where he was sitting with her straddling his lap. Luke wrapped an arm around her to secure her as he pushed them up off the couch. Val gasped at the sensation of being lifted, but that didn’t stop her from running her fingertips over his skin as he made his way back through his house to his bedroom.

He laid her gently across the mattress. She took no more time to lift her bra over her head and threw it across the room. As she did that, Luke was undoing his belt. He watched her as she scooted herself up to the pillows so she could be a little more comfortable. Luke took his belt off and undone his button before crawling onto the bed and to Val who watched every little move he made.

He pressed his body against hers as his lips found hers again. Luke reached over to his nightstand so he could grab one of the condoms inside, but Val’s delicate hand stopped him. He broke the kiss giving her a questioning look. She gave him a reassuring smile to let him know that there was nothing wrong. He noticed a slight pink touching her cheeks, but he wasn’t sure if it was the heat of the moment or if it was embarrassment.

“I figured it would be a good idea that I get started on birth control. An implant. I’ve been on it since a few weeks after you left. You can use a condom if you want, but you don’t have to.” Luke grinned and kissed her lips lightly as he withdrew his hand from his nightstand.

Soon enough, both were shed of the remainder of the clothing. Luke slid into her slowly taking in the new sensation of having her without protection. She felt like she had encased him in the finest of silks. He moved within her slowly wanting to savor every inch of her body. He watched her as she squirmed under him. He listened as her breath shuddered as he worked her closer and closer to the edge.

When they had both reached the point of their release, Luke had found himself so tired that he couldn’t find the strength to roll off Val. Instead he had rested his head against her chest and fell off into a sleep in a matter of minutes.

Chapter Text

Val wasn't tired. Normally sex always made her sleepy to where she was able to get a couple hours sleep, but Luke seemed to have revitalized her. Unfortunately, she couldn't get out of bed and do anything about it since Luke was asleep on top of her. She had somehow managed to sit up a little on the pillows and that helped a lot with the crushing weight of Luke. She turned on the television in his room and found one of her ghost shows to watch as he slept soundly.

She felt a little bad that she had sex with him knowing how tired he was. She could see it in his eyes and in his demeanour. He seemed to move a little slower when he was exhausted. She wondered if he was able to get a full night's rest while he had been away. With the way he hadn't moved since he had fallen asleep told her that he probably didn't. She ran her fingers over his skin absentmindedly as she tried to focus on her show. Her fingers ran across a scar on his shoulder and she ran her finger over it. It was long and thin making her assume that it was a knife wound.

She wondered where he was when he had gotten the wound. Who he was hunting. What they had done in order to catch the eye of DSS. The next thought made her heart thud against her ribcage painfully for a split second before settling back down. Had Luke killed whoever stabbed him? How many people had he killed? She knew he had killed before, but that situation was a classic “kill or be killed” scenario. She supposed it was like that in every situation that Luke managed to find himself in with DSS. The people he was after were probably trying to gun him down just as much as he was trying to hunt them down.

She bit her lip looking down at Luke. He looked so peaceful as he slept soundly with his arms wrapped around her. He was always sure to handle her gently as if he could break her if he gripped her too hard. Of course, he probably could. He could be a very dangerous man. She recalled the times when he had been public enemy number one in her little world. When he had been the most dangerous person on the planet. It was hard to believe that considering what he had put their family through, there they were cuddling after making love.

She smiled at the thought then ran her hand through her hair before letting her hand rest back comfortably on Luke. She would have never thought her road would have led her to where she currently was in the arms of the man who had once tried to rip her family apart. And if she had to be completely honest, she couldn't have been happier. He made her happy.

She felt her eyes start to grow heavy after a couple episodes of her show and she let herself drift off.

When she woke up, Luke had somewhat rolled off her, but his head was still resting on her chest and his arms were still wrapped around her waist. She glanced over at his clock and sighed. She had to be at the hospital in a little less than five hours. She looked down at Luke and grinned. Unfortunately, she would have to get up and start her day, but she didn't want to risk waking him since he still needed rest. She laid there for a moment weighing her options as she ran her fingertips over his skin. He didn't show any signs of moving anytime soon so she couldn't just lay there and wait for him to move. And he needed to move pretty soon. She had to pee.

She ran her hand slowly over his shoulder hoping that the feeling would make him roll away from her, but all it did was make him tighten his arms around her.

“Luke,” she whispered hoping it was enough to wake him up. He didn't move or make a sound. “Luke.” He grumbled as he tried to bury his head farther into her chest. “Luke.”

“What?” he managed to get out. He sounded grumpy, but Val saw no other way to get him up. And her bladder felt like it was getting ready to explode.

“I have to pee. You gotta let me up.” Luke groaned like he didn't really want to move, but he did anyway freeing Val from his grasp. She got out of the bed slowly so she didn't disturb Luke anymore than she had to then went into the bathroom. She took care of her business then decided that a shower was in order since she smelled like she had been trapped under a man twice her size the entire night.

After her shower she wrapped her hair up in a towel then wrapped another around her body. She stepped out into Luke’s room and grinned. He had grabbed the pillow that she had claimed and had wrapped his arms around it. She walked over to her side of the bed and sat down. She reached for her bag that had her clothes in it and started digging through it.

She paused when she felt Luke’s hand run over her back. She glanced back to him. He watched her through very tired eyes. She turned to him a little as she reached her hand back to brush it across his cheek. Luke closed his eyes as she touched him.

“What would you like for breakfast?” she asked in a low voice. Luke hummed as a smirk stretched across his lips. Before she could even react, Luke had grabbed her and forced her to lay back down with him. The sudden twist and movement had forced the towel around her body to come undone. Luke removed the towel from her hair slowly. He ran his fingers through her wet, messy locks and started kissing her neck.

“You,” he whispered before pushing her onto her back. Val giggled and pushed him away. He huffed in protest looking down at her.

“Not right now. I just got out of the shower.” Luke hummed the smirk returning to his lips. Val giggled again as he attacked her neck again. “Plus, I have to start on breakfast.” Luke ignored her as he began to kiss down her body.

“I have my breakfast right here,” he said as a matter of fact as he put his head between her legs. Val giggled once more. Okay, maybe once more before breakfast.

Val moved around his kitchen making brunch. It would have been breakfast, but Luke had kept her in bed for too long and she had to improvise. She had made Luke biscuits and gravy with scrambled eggs and bacon. He had hopped in the shower while she cooked since he had worked up quite the sweat with her. Val probably needed another shower, but she was too busy feeling like she was on cloud nine to worry about it. She had to work the night shift at work that evening and she was going to find it very difficult to leave Luke. Even if he was going to sleep most of the time anyhow.

Just as she had finished piling the food on serving dishes, she felt arms wrap around her from behind. She immediately knew it was Luke because of the sheer size of them. She leaned back into him with a sigh. She looked up at him and put her hand on his cheek.

“I'm going to need a ride to work or you can take me home so I can grab my car.” Luke buried his face in her neck groaning.

“Call in.” Val bit her lip shaking her head.

“I can't do that.” Luke groaned again as his arms tightened around her.

“Yes you can.” Val stepped away from him so she could turn to face him. She stuck her finger in his chest.

“Look, you didn't get me my old job back just so I could call out whenever you wanted me to.” Luke laughed crossing his arms.

“You didn't know my motives when I did that.” Val turned to grab the food so she could place it on his dining room table so she could finally eat. Luke had made sure that she had worked up quite the appetite.

“Oh, so you were crushing on me even then, huh?” Luke scoffed as he carried the remaining dishes.

“I wouldn't say crushing per say.” Val gave him a look that she really didn't believe him, but she didn't really force the matter.

“I still need a ride to work though.” Luke sighed giving her a look of clear disapproval.

“Fine.”

Xxxxxxxxxx

Val should have listened to Luke. She should have called in and let him throw her over his shoulder and carry her back to bed where they could have disappeared into their own little world of nothing but sheer ecstasy and bliss. Because if she would have let him do that then she wouldn't have had to deal with the chaos that was that emergency room. She hadn't realized it was a full moon that night until she was already there.

There had been a really bad car accident with six vehicles involved and everyone ended up in with her. There had been one individual who had to go under her knife immediately since a large shard of glass had been lodged into his cheek. The EMT didn't want to remove it for fear of the man bleeding out. She had made quick work with the man in sewing him up then put the man in contact with a plastic surgeon so he wouldn't have the scar after it had healed. She wanted to glue it but the injury was too serious for that.

A few of the other victims only suffered from slight head trauma and broken bones, but they were nothing too serious. The person who had caused the accident was only sixteen years old and had only gotten his license three days before. He shouldn't have been out driving so late. He had walked away without a scratch, but the EMTs had talked him into going to the hospital just in case. Val was looking him over and noticed his pupils were dilated to the point to where his eyes were nearly solid black. This had worried her at first until his tox screen had come back with him testing positive for methamphetamine.

When his mother and father had arrived with their nerves shot, Val had no other choice than to inform the parents of his intoxication. It was surreal seeing the fire that appeared in his father's eyes. He had tried to attack his son for smoking. The man had called the poor boy everything that was an insult. Val had to call security on the man and had him escorted off the hospital property.

Just as everything had calmed down, there was a group of people that came in looking like they had went a few rounds with Floyd Mayweather. As it had turned out they were a mixture of different gangs that ran the streets of LA and had gotten into a turf war. There wasn't any life threatening injuries, but every single person that had been brought in had to be restrained because, even though most of them had been knocked stupid, they still tried to finish the job on the other gang. The cops were called in and nearly every single cop in LA had come to help with the damage control. One of the little punks had tried to attack her with a scalpel, but she had backed away just in time. She sedated him just because he had pissed her off. Just as everything was seemingly calming down some more, three women came in that was in labor. Val had delivered one of them in the hallway because the baby was coming out right there.

After that, she ran away so she could take a little bit of a break. She went to a secluded area and pulled out her cell phone. She stared at it for a moment before calling Luke. She wasn't sure if he was going to be up or not, but after a couple rings Luke answered his phone. They had made it through their initial greeting when Val had glanced down at her scrubs to see them stained with blood. She groaned loudly leaning her head back.

“I should have listened to you and called out. Full moons always brings the crazies through the door.”

“Do you want the “I told you so” now or later?” Luke asked as she heard him rummaging through what she was assuming was his pantry. Her stomach growled involuntarily just thinking about his cooking.

“Fuck off,” she grumbled.

“So later?” Val chuckled resting her back against the wall. The cold of the wall felt good on her back. The door opened and one of the nurses poked their head into her little sanctuary.

“Dr. Toretto, we need you out here.” Val sighed then shooed her away. The nurse’s eyes widened shut the door quickly.

“New girl is scared of me.” Luke chuckled.

“You are pretty intimidating,” he joked. Val sighed rubbing her temples.

“I have to go. I'll call you when I'm off.”

Val stood at the nurse's station looking over the file the nurse had filled out on the patient they so desperately needed her for. The nurse stood nearby to answer any questions that Val may have had. Val flipped through the file taking all the information in. He was only a nine year old boy who had gotten the lead from a pencil in his eye. His blood pressure and heart rate was elevated, but that was to be expected. Val was the enemy. The scary doctor with the scary needles that she was going to torture him with. And here she was covered in blood spatter to add to the stereotype. She was going to traumatize the boy.

She looked to the nurse who was fidgeting away near her and rolled her eyes. The girl was fresh out of school. Val had heard that she was at the top of her class in every aspect so there was absolutely no reason for her to be acting so nervous around her. Unless she had heard the rumors about the criminal doctor. Well, they weren't really rumors since most of them were true. Like the fact that she was apart of an underground racing world that only certain people had access to. Or the fact that she got caught stealing narcotics. Or the fact that she was in jail for possession and grand theft auto. But there were also rumors about how she was an assassin and had to lay low for a while. That one was her personal favorite, but it simply just wasn't true. Val was going to have to talk to her. Let her know that she wasn't some scary monster that was hiding under her bed at night.

Val grabbed the file and walked into the room where they had the little boy. The mother was lecturing the boy over what he had done wrong. Val felt sorry for him. He held a wash cloth over his eye sniffling in pain and here he was getting yelled at.

“You know,” Val said interrupting the mother, “When I was in school, I hated homework too, but never enough to where I would shove a pencil in my eye.” The little boy sniffed, but Val caught the little grin on his face. Val sat down in her chair after washing her hands and slipped on a pair of gloves. She pulled the wash cloth away carefully. She checked his irritated eye. The piece of graphite was wedged in there pretty well, but a quick flush would take it right out.

“Do you want to go ahead and tell me how this happened? Go ahead and lay back.” He laid back slowly as Val stood to get everything that she needed.

“I was doing homework and the lead broke and flew into my eye. Am I going to get lead poisoning? Jimmy said I was going to get lead poisoning.” Val chuckled at the legitimate fear in his voice.

“Who is Jimmy?” Val asked.

“My brother. He said I was going to be poisoned and you were going to take my eye out.” He paused for a moment. “You're not going to take my eye out, are you?” Val chuckled standing next to the bed he was laying on.

“No. And they haven't put lead in pencils since like the fifteen hundreds or something.” The little boy looked up at her as if she were lying to him.

“Then why do we still call them lead pencils.” Val shrugged.

“It's easier to say than graphite pencils. Now, what I'm going to do is flush your eye out with this,” she said holding up the bottle.

“Is it going to hurt?” he asked.

“Not nearly has bad as me taking your eye out, but if you want me to do that…” He cut her off.

“No. No. Use that.” Val glanced at the mother who seemed relieved to see that nothing was going to happen to her son. With one quick flush of his eye, the piece of graphite came right out and he was ready to leave. She gave him a little red sucker.

“You can eat that now or you can wait until you get home and eat it in front of Jimmy.” The boy grinned evilly at her then hopped up off the bed. For the next few hours, everything seemed to be going really well. The people were coming in slowly and there was nothing too serious and just as soon as Val let her guard down, everything went to hell.

Chapter Text

Val sat outside of the hospital on a bench with her head in her hands. She needed to breathe. She had to calm herself. She had already cried for the past thirty minutes at least. She had to get herself composed. But who was she kidding? She was an absolute mess. Tears worked up into her eyes, but she tried to keep them back. She was a failure. She was never meant to be in her line of work.

She leaned back on the bench. She craned her head back looking back at the oddly colored sky as the sun began to rise somewhere off in the distance. She reached into her scrub pocket and pulled out a lighter and a cigarette. She put the cigarette between her lips and lit it. She took a nice long draw and let it loose in a smooth stream.

She dug her phone out of her other pocket and scrolled through her contact list until she found Luke’s name. She stared at it for half of her cigarette so she could calm her nerves enough so she could call him. He couldn’t know that there was anything wrong. She pressed her finger to his name so she could call him.

Unfortunately, as soon as she heard Luke’s voice, she could already feel the knot in her throat. It blocked off her breath so bad that it hurt. She choked back a sob and leaned forward on the bench. She ran her hand through her hair careful of the cigarette.

“Val, is everything okay?” Luke asked quickly. She sniffled as she ran her hand under her nose. She was almost certain that she had snot and all other gross bodily fluids that seemed to escape human orifices whenever they were falling apart.

“No,” she managed to get out somehow. She took a deep breath leaning her head back to look at the sky. “Can you just come get me?”

“I’m already on my way, baby.” She scoffed out a sob burying her face in her hand. God he was so perfect. Here she was in the midst of a mental breakdown and she didn’t even have to tell him to come sweep her off her feet. She just hated that she was just too emotional to tell him.

“I’m sitting out front. I’ll see you in a bit.” She hung up the phone without saying goodbye because she didn’t want him pressing the matter. All she wanted to do was go home and go to bed just so she could forget everything. She knew that was just wishful thinking, but it never hurt to dream. She took a long drag from her cigarette and let it out before she heard the strange sound of a man making a sound of pity.

She glanced over to see an old man sitting in a wheelchair that was being pushed by one of the nurses that worked in an area she wasn’t apart of. His hair was so thin that she wasn’t sure if he could be considered bald or not. He had liver spots all over his body. The rheumatoid arthritis was so bad that she was certain that he couldn’t close his hands. He had a cigarette in his lips that the nurse lit for him.

“You look like you had a rough night,” he said. His voice was weak, but deep. She didn’t answer him at first. It wasn’t that she was trying to be rude by ignoring him, it was the fact that she wasn’t sure if she really could.

“Yeah.” The old man hummed taking a drag from his smoke. He looked back at the nurse and shooed her away. The nurse looked to Val and Val nodded in a silent agreement that she could watch him while she took a step back. Val couldn’t say what it was that made her agree to watch him, but she just felt like it needed to be done. The nurse stepped away leaving Val and the old man alone.

“What area of the hospital do you work in?” he asked scooting a little closer to her. She glanced at him then looked to the pavement beneath her feet.

“I work in the emergency room.” The old man hummed taking another drag from his cigarette.

“Are you just trying to calm down or do you have someone coming to pick you up?” Val threw her cigarette down and stomped it out.

“My boyfriend is on his way,” she quietly said. The term “boyfriend” still felt weird on her tongue, but what else could she call him? She felt too old to have a boyfriend.

“Boyfriend? He must be a lucky man to have such a pretty young thing like you,” he said causing Val to chuckle. She looked at him and she could see a little sparkle in his eye.

“I’m going to be a little cliche and say that I’m the lucky one.” The old man laughed a little then he began to cough. He shook violently as he coughed and Val frowned. It was hard to tell how old the man was and it was even harder to say how long that he had been smoking to cause those violent coughing fits. He finally settled down after a bit and took another drag of his cigarette.

“My late wife was a nurse,” he started looking up at the massive building behind Val. “As a matter of fact, it was at this very hospital before it had become Sacred Hearts.” He paused for a moment taking one more drag from his cigarette watching the hospital as if it held fond memories. “Of course, back in those days, times were a whole lot simpler. You didn’t have these,” he paused throwing his hand out, “gangs that you see on the news at night.” Val shifted in the way that she was sitting thinking back to her experience with the gang member that came at her with a scalpel.

Val looked back to the old man. She supposed that back in his day, LA was a completely different place. People were still decent people. Back in his day, the worst thing you could do was smoke a joint. It was different nowadays. So different.

“My wife,” he continued. “She was a nurse in the ER. Worked alongside doctors.” He finally made eye contact with her. “Are you a doctor or a nurse.”

“A doctor.” The old man fell silent for a moment.

“You know, there was something my wife said to me.” He paused for effect. “The day you come home unaffected by something you seen working in the ER, was the day that you had lost your soul.” Val wasn’t necessarily certain how that was supposed to make her feel any better, but somehow it did. The old man flicked his cigarette away and dug into his jacket pocket pulling out a pack of cigarettes. He put it in his mouth then reached his hand out to offer her a cigarette. She knew she really shouldn’t have since smoking was something that Val never really did, but she obliged him. She lit the cigarette.

They sat in silence for a while just enjoying the night air and for that matter, each other’s company. She flicked her cigarette away from her barely even half way through it because she just couldn't handle it. She had never really smoked unless the situation at hand was really, really stressful. She coughed trying to get the sensation of having something stuck in her throat out.

“How long have you and your boyfriend been together?” the old man asked. Val shrugged. How long had they been together? Seven months? Eight months? She relayed it to him. He hummed.

“Time doesn't matter when you're with someone. It doesn't matter if you've been together for one month or one year, just as long as you hold those moments you have together dear.” Val grinned looking at him. Val’s attention was drawn away from him as she heard Luke's truck pull up. She stood then glanced back to the old man to say her goodbyes, but he was no longer there. She frowned then looked around, but she was the only one there. Not even the nurse that had pushed him up to her was in sight. She stepped closer to Luke's truck as the confusion turned into an unsettling fear. She knew she wasn't going crazy. She was having a conversation with an old man in a wheelchair. Wasn't she? She glanced in the direction of where she had flicked her cigarette away, but she couldn't find it. She bit her lip then jumped in Luke's truck.

 

He didn't say anything as she buckled. He pulled away from the curb.

“Can we go back to my place?” Luke nodded. Val fidgeted with her hands until they reached her place.

“I'm going to go run a bubble bath,” she said. Luke watched her as she made her way back to her room. He waited for a few moments before he followed after her. As he stepped into her bedroom he saw her walking into her bathroom wearing her robe.

Val stepped into her bathroom and knelt down next to her tub and put the stopper in the drain. She turned on the hot water and waited for it to heat up before she started adjusting the cold water until it was the perfect temperature. She sighed as she slouched next to her tub. She saw Luke standing in the doorway with his shoulder against the threshold. He said nothing to her. Val reached over to a small rack that hang on the side of her tub that held her bubble bath and other assortments. She grabbed her bubble bath and poured some into the water that was collecting in the bottom of her tub. When she placed it back in its place, she sighed once more than glanced at Luke.

“There was a fifteen year old girl that came in tonight,” she started quietly. “She was in her third trimester and she had been stabbed repeatedly. Her vitals were all over the place and I was worried that she had went into an early labor because of the trauma that had been done to her body.” Luke made no movement. “We got her into a room. We cut off her clothes so we could start on surgery and that was when I noticed some of the stab wounds were in her womb.” She paused for a moment as she felt the knot return to her throat. She felt tears start rolling down her cheeks. She sniffled a little. “I couldn’t save them, Luke. They were already too far gone. I did an emergency c section hoping that the baby was okay, at least, but one of the stab wounds were through his little heart.” She paused again as she leaned her head back as if doing so would help her force the tears back. “The cops said that it was her father that did it and when he had realized what he had done, he shot himself.” She wiped her tears away. “Why do people do the things they do?”

Luke finally moved by pushing himself away from the doorframe and stepped into the bathroom. He stepped next to her then reached his hand down to her. She looked to his large hand in front of her face, then looked up to him. She reached her hand out and wrapped her fingers around his hand. He pulled her up gently then placed his hand on her cheek.

“You did everything you could. You know as well as I do that you can’t save them all.” Val closed her eyes with a sigh.

“I know,” she whispered. “But why her and that baby? Neither of them deserved that. I don’t care what happened.”

“I know.” She glanced down to the bathtub to see that it was about half full so she started to undo her robe. She dropped it from her shoulders letting it collect on the floor behind her feet. She looked back up to Luke.

“Would you like to join me?” she asked. Luke’s hand fell from her cheek and he made his way to the bathroom door.

“I don’t do baths.” She grinned. Val stepped into the bathtub and leaned back. She let out a relaxing sigh. She leaned her head back against the side of the bathtub and closed her eyes. “Are you hungry?” She shook her head. “I was going to cook some breakfast.” She grinned opening her eyes to glance at him.

“Alright fine.” Luke grinned at her then stepped the rest of the way out of the bathroom. Val let out one more sigh. She thought back to the old man that she had a conversation with before he had up and disappeared. She wondered what had happened. Could she have hallucinated the entire thing? Had she zoned out and the nurse had taken him back inside without her realizing it? She tried to think back to the last thing he had said to her, but she couldn’t remember what it was. She lifted her hand from the water and rubbed her forehead slowly. She didn’t want to tell Luke about him because she was worried that he would find her crazy. Hell, she felt crazy.

She drifted off into her own little world as the tub filled up to her shoulders. She turned the water off and let the silence engulf her. She was alone with her thoughts. If she actually thought anything at that moment. She was so fried from the night before that she was sure she wouldn’t be capable of a solid thought for at least another couple days.

She came to when she could smell Luke’s cooking wafting into the bathroom. She wasn’t sure how long she had been in the tub, but it was long enough. She pulled the stopper then stepped out of the tub placing her feet on the floor mat next to the tub. She dried off with her robe then walked into her bedroom to put clothes on. Once she was dressed in bed clothes, she walked into the kitchen to see him standing in front of her stove. She could see something piled on a plate just before he placed something more on it. She stepped next to him to see what he was cooking. It was French Toast.

“How did you learn how to cook so good?” she asked grabbing one of the slices from the plate and tore a piece off to start munching on it. How was it that she wasn’t even hungry, but when he cooked, she was suddenly starving?

“My mom. Her cooking is better.” Val gave him a look of disbelief. There was no way that she could cook better than him. No one could cook better than him. His cooking could put the finest chefs in the world to shame. She lifted herself up onto her cabinet top then munched some more on her slice of French Toast. “So, I’m going to be going up to my cabin for a couple weeks in a couple days.” He paused for a moment so he could flip the slice of French Toast in the pan. “Why don’t you come with me?”

“I can’t get that kind of time off work so soon,” she said tearing another piece of her toast.

“You could try,” he said moving the pan from the eye and turned it off. She rolled her eyes not really wanting to argue with him.

“Fine. I’ll try, but it’s not going to work.” She grinned as he leaned against the counter next to her and looked at her. “Two weeks alone with you in a cabin? I think you’d get a little sick of me.” Luke scoffed.

“Nah, that started months ago.” Val gave him a flat look.

Chapter Text

Val wasn’t sure how she had managed to pull it off, but she had. She had called her boss immediately after she had finished eating and asked if she could have the two weeks off and he had given it to her. She was curious as to whether or not he meant it, but she wasn’t going to question it. Especially since she was currently sitting in the passenger seat of Luke’s truck wearing a light blue sun dress as he drove them up the coast.

It felt so good to be getting away from life for a couple weeks. It seemed like it had been forever since she was able to do it. The two weeks was going to be perfect for her to recharge her mental batteries. She glanced over to Luke who was focused on the road. He wore Aviators to block out the sun’s rays. He wore a black tank top that hugged every square inch of his broad frame and a pair of khaki cargo pants with his boots.

“I can feel you watching me,” Luke said then he glanced at her. She bit her lip to try and hide the smile, but it didn’t work in the least.

“Are you sure that you want to do this? It’s not too late to turn around and take me back home.” Luke frowned looking to her long enough to search her eyes for some kind of meaning.

“I wouldn’t have asked you to come with me if I didn’t want you to.” He paused for a moment. “What are you so worried about?” Val shrugged her shoulder and looked out her window. She wasn’t really worried, but that wasn’t going to stop her from aggravating him. Especially since she knew she could do it and get away with it.

“I don’t know. How do I know that you’re not taking me up there so that way you can do weird things to me?” Luke scoffed shaking his head.

“Good way to go and ruin the surprise,” he stated. Val giggled.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. I’ve just been onto you since you suggested that I tag along with you.” Val raised the center console that separated them and scooted into the center seat of his truck. She forced him to raise his arm and put her around her.

“I guess I’m going to have to get better at hiding my intentions, huh?” Val giggled again as she snuggled into his side a little more. She reached up and kissed his cheek.

“You’re going to have to do something or I might have to throw you to the Bigfoot,” Val said resting her hand on the inside of his thigh. Luke let loose a scoff of exasperation.

 

“Oh come on, now. You can’t tell me you believe in that crap.”

“It’s not crap!” Val defended sending him a mild glare. “I believe in ghosts, so why can’t I believe in Bigfoot too?” He shook his head glancing down at her though she wasn’t looking at him.

“Because at least there is somewhat evidence of ghosts out there.” Val rolled her eyes with a slight shake of her head.

“There is evidence of Bigfoots all over the world! Hair samples, pictures, video, you name it. Actual physical evidence. So if you look at it the right way, there’s actually more evidence of Bigfoot than there are of ghosts.”

“Oh please, next you’re going to tell me that you believe in aliens.” Val leaned away from him causing him to look at her for longer than he probably should have since he was driving.

“How else did we build the pyramids?” Luke laughed at her question.

“It sure as hell wasn’t the aliens.” Val sighed leaning back into him.

“Was too.” Luke went to argue with her, but Val held her finger up to his lips hushing him before he started. “And I don’t want to hear anymore on the matter. Aliens built the pyramids.”

“What about The Great Wall then?”

“That was aliens too, but humans helped them. How else do you explain people being buried inside the wall?”

“I don’t know, Val,” Luke said glancing real quick out of his window as another car passed by them.

“Hieroglyphs and paintings and even scriptures suggest that there were aliens.” Luke couldn’t hold back another scoff at her words. “Don’t mock me! Let me explain.”

“Oh, I’d love to hear this.”

“The hieroglyphs suggest super beings in chariots made of fire. Think about it, whenever anything enters our atmosphere it catches fire. We just went and said they were in chariots and called them gods because our small primitive minds couldn’t comprehend the vastness of what space was and the technology the beings had.”

“But why would they travel all this way just have to have build The Great Wall and the pyramids?” Val frowned at his question. He had a good point.

“If we knew that, we would understand so much more on what’s going on out there.” Luke hummed amused.

“What about yetis?”

“Yetis are nothing but Bigfoots from different parts of the world.”

“Or are Bigfoots nothing but yetis from different parts of the world?” Val sighed looking up at him.

“Now you’re just being an ass hole.” Luke grinned as he glanced down at her then looked back towards the road. He felt her lips against his cheek once more then felt her settle back in next to him. Her free hand ran up across his chest. “But that stuff doesn’t exist, Val.” Val clicked her tongue at him letting her hand fall from his chest.

“What doesn’t exist?” she asked just to clarify his words.

“Aliens. Bigfoot. Ghosts. None of that stuff is real. It’s all make believe. For entertainment only.”

“You don’t even believe in ghosts?” she asked slightly confused. It wasn’t like it bothered her that he didn’t believe in ghosts or Bigfoot or aliens even, but it was a subject they had never really covered on both their parts. Luke knew that she at least believed in ghosts since she always watched shows that touched on the ghost hunting.

“Nope.”

“Not even an afterlife?” Luke turned his eyes to her for a moment then looked back to the road. He shrugged his shoulders.

“What like Heaven and Hell?” Val nodded. Luke shrugged his shoulder. “I believe in the possibility, I guess. We just can’t prove it. Sure, we have all this evidence that ghosts and stuff exist, but nothing solid enough to where we can accept it as truth.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.” Val hummed as she slid away from him and sat back in her seat. She turned around and got on her knees so she could lean over the seat to get into the back. The wind coming through her window pushed her dress up around her waist showing her underwear. Luke grinned staring for a moment. They were black lacy boy shorts. Val reached back trying to smooth her dress back down to its proper place.

“That’s fine, Luke, just let me moon everyone that passes us,” Val bit out sarcastically.

“I’m okay with it,” Luke said with a chuckle on his breath. Val leaned up long enough to glare at him before leaning back over the seat to keep digging around in her bags in the back. The wind pushed her dress up one more time. Luke shook his head. He reached over and gave her rear a light slap causing Val to squeak.

“Stop that!” she demanded as she unzipped another bag. She exclaimed a sound of victory and sat back in the seat. She had a small bag in her hand and opened it. She dug through it and pulled out a bottle of nail polish. She propped her feet up on the dash so she could start painting her toes.

“Have you ever experienced something that you couldn't quite explain?” Luke shrugged his shoulders.

“Not that I can think of.” Val began to paint her toes the same color blue as the dress she wore. “Have you?” Val paused for a moment then glanced at him with a frown.

“Yeah, but I don't really like to talk about it.” She paused running the brush over her nails some more. “Maybe I'll tell you one day.”

Curiosity filled Luke, but he decided against pushing the issue. He could see in Val’s eyes that whatever it was that had happened to her still bothered her. They fell into a silence as the sounds of the radio played some music. He could feel the uneasiness that was wafting from her and he wanted it to end. He grinned once an idea came to mind. He waited for her to get ready to paint another nail then he slammed on the breaks. Val gasped as she lurched forward. She glared at Luke.

“Why did you do that?” she snapped as he laughed at her. She put the brush back into the bottle then pulled it back out. She ran the brush down his arm. Luke looked at the light blue mark on his arm then frowned at Val.

“Stop that.”

“What, this?” she said running the brush down his arm one more time. Luke tried to wipe it away, but all it did was smear it across his skin. Val rummaged around in her little bag until she found a small bottle of nail polish remover. She pulled out a small cloth then used it to wipe away the nail polish on his arm. After he was cleaned up, she finished painting her nails.

She leaned back in her seat and wiggled her toes so she could admire her handy work. She then scooted back into the center seat and leaned into Luke wrapping her arms around his.

They had already been on the road for a few hours. They had gotten up early so they could travel. From what Luke had said they were going to be traveling for about eight hours depending on how many stops they had to take along the way. By this time, Val was getting a little restless. She felt like she could run the rest of the way and she would feel fine.

Almost as if sensing that she was feeling a large amount of restlessness, Luke pulled off the road and stopped at what looked like a small park or rest area. There were a few picnic tables scattered about. Some were left out to the elements while others were put under a shelter. There was several trees scattered about with a row of bushes that seemed to hide a small path that led somewhere out of sight.

Val hopped out of the truck after putting on her flip flops and stretched her arms above her head. She groaned as she stretched out her tired muscles. She heard Luke slide a medium sized cooler out of the bed of his truck and began to walk to one of the picnic tables. Val caught up with him practically skipping next to him. She wasn't sure why she was feeling so giddy, but she really didn't care.

They ate a light lunch together at one of the picnic tables. After Luke stowed the cooler in the bed of his truck, they made their way to the little foot path and went for a small walk to release some of the built up energy. Val walked out in front of Luke stopping on occasion to admire some flowers that were growing along the sides of the footpath.

They made their way up to the end of the footpath. There wasn't anything there of great importance. Just a couple stone benches that sat at the edges of a gravel circle with trees outlining the area. Val turned to watch Luke as he stepped up to her. She reached up to wrap her arms around his neck and kissed his lips gently the giddiness building back up inside her.

“We still have a couple more hours drive before we get there. We need to get back on the road.” Luke turned keeping his arm around her shoulders as he began to lead them back down the footpath. Val’s arm snaked around his waist as her free hand tangled around the fingers of the hand that was wrapped around her shoulders.

Luke grinned looking down at her. The smile on her face hadn’t left since she had gotten approved for her two week vacation. She seemed to vibrate she was so excited. When he had told her that they were only going to be alone for just a week before Samantha was going to join them, Val got even more excited.

They had only been around each other for those three days before Luke had to wander off and play hero. In those three days, Luke had seen his demise in the two females. When Luke had announced that it was bedtime for Samantha, Val and fussed at him about it being the weekend and she didn’t need a bedtime until he had agreed to let her stay up. It didn’t matter if she was only up for another thirty minutes after that, Samantha was happy that she had gotten her way.

Luke, at that point, wasn’t too sure what to make of Val already trying to make rules when it came to Samantha, but he really saw no harm in Samantha staying awake a little past her bedtime since it had been the weekend. He wasn’t sure how far to let her go into the disciplinary portion of being around Samantha. Like he really needed to worry about something like that. Samantha was a good kid. She liked to push her limits at times, but what kid didn’t. He rarely had to reprimand her for her actions.

Luke knew it was all over when he had walked into his kitchen the next morning to see Val and Samantha covered in flour as Val attempted to teach Samantha how to make pancakes, but the teachings just became a flour fight. He had stood there watching them as they giggled over the bowl trying to mix flour and water together for the pancakes then Val would fling a little bit of the flour in Samantha’s face only to have Samantha throw some in Val’s. That was when he realized that there was flour all over his kitchen. He had tried to get mad at them, but all that had resulted in was a couple handfuls of flour being thrown in his face.

He was pulled from his thoughts when he heard something rustling through the bushes and trees just out of his sight. His conditioning automatically put him on edge, but he was sure it was nothing. It didn’t sound big enough for it to be something, but he could feel Val tense up next to him.

“What do you think it is?” Val asked in a low voice.

“It’s Bigfoot,” he said in a dark voice. Val glared up at him, then jabbed her finger into his ribs causing him to grunt and pull away from her.

Chapter Text

Val wasn't sure what she was going to expect when they finally arrived at the cabin, but the cabin was absolutely beautiful. It was made out of the traditional logs and looked like it was two stories tall. There was a large front porch with a roof over it. There was a swing that hung from one of the beams on it. There was a patio table with a couple chairs.

There was a large out building sitting near the side of the cabin. The land was a large plot of land that rolled in small hills out into the distance. It was starting to get dark, but she could still see the lake through a small patch of trees that spread out behind it. She felt high, but she chalked that up to the fact that she was breathing in fresh air and her system wasn't used to all oxygen that was currently in her system.

She helped Luke grab their luggage out of the truck though all she really wanted to do was go inside and look around. Luke entered first since he had the keys and Val stepped in behind him. He flicked on the light and Val gasped. She couldn't believe the inside. The ceiling was twenty feet high. The first floor was completely open and blended into the kitchen. There was a large fluffy couch in the living room where a television sat in front of it. The coffee table was bulky. There was a side table on each side of the couch the same colored wood as the coffee table. There was a long stand behind the couch that had a lamp and phone on it. There was a fireplace caddy cornered in the living room.

There was a staircase that lead up to a loft where Val could see what looked like a single bed pushed into a corner. There was what looked like a hallway that disappeared up there as well. Under the staircase was another hallway. The kitchen was pretty large and took up the corner under the loft. There was an island that had the stove built in. There was a bulky dining table in front of the sliding doors that led out back.

Val walked to the back door then stepped out onto the back porch. The back porch was just as big as the front porch. There was a hot tub sitting in the center with steps that led down to the back yard. There was a pathway that led down to a dock where a boat sat tied off to it. She took a deep breath taking in the fresh air. She heard Luke step out behind her and felt his arms wrap around her waist.

“This is so beautiful, Luke.” She felt his lips kiss her neck. She leaned into him resting her hands on his. “Does it just have to be two weeks?” Luke chuckled, but didn't answer her. They stood in silence a little while longer before stepping back into the house so Val could explore a little more.

She found a bathroom in the hallway downstairs. It was fairly large with a huge stand in shower. It bummed her out a little since there wasn't a tub, but Luke had told her that he didn't do baths. She found what she was sure to be Luke's room. There was a large bed that was centered in the bedroom with a dresser sitting against the wall. There was a door that she assumed was the closet. She made her way over to the bed and sat down on the edge. An immediate groan escaped her lips as she seemed to just keep sinking into the mattress. She turned and made her way into the center of the bed before falling onto her side. She giggled as she rolled onto her back and spread all her limbs out as far as she could.

She looked towards the door to see Luke leaned against the door frame grinning at her.

“This bed is awesome.” Luke shook his head.

“I have to go check the well. Do you want to come with me?” Val groaned in protest, but sat up from the bed anyways. She followed Luke out to the out building and waited for him to open the door. She was curious as to why he wanted her to go with him since all he had to do was walk out to the building. Luke opened the large door and allowed Val to step in first.

She looked around the inside to see mostly just tools and other junk laying around, but in the center was a well kempt ATV. Luke walked to the ATV and threw his leg over it. He glanced to Val as he turned the key and hit the starter. She just stood there watching him as he moved.

“Are you coming or not?” he asked leaning forward onto the handlebars. Val narrowed her eyes at him as if she had suddenly grown very suspicious. She put her hands on her hips.

“This is where you take me to the woods and do those weird things to me, isn’t it?” Luke smirked not easing her suspicions.

“Maybe if you’re a good girl.” Val bit her lip to keep from laughing then made her way to the ATV. She climbed on behind her and wrapped her arms around his waist. She rested her chin on his shoulder making him glance back at her as best he could.

“You promise?” Luke chuckled as she sat properly on the ATV. Luke put it in gear and drove out of the building slowly. He picked up speed as he went along. He drove along what Val assumed was the edge of the property getting farther and farther away from the cabin. Val looked over her shoulder to see how far they were from the cabin and a slight worry gripped her heart.

“We left the cabin unlocked and we’re really far away.” She worried that someone would come along and break in. She had her laptop and phone in the cabin. Sure they were easily replaceable, but the data stored inside wasn’t so easy. She saw Luke shake his head.

“We’re not in the city anymore, Val. We have nothing to worry about.” Luke slowed the ATV to a stop and turned it off. Val saw a small white building sitting in front of them. Val scooted back and got off. “Except maybe Brenda. You may have to worry about her.” Val frowned as he got off the ATV. She imagined who Brenda could possibly be. She pictured a crazed country woman wearing some type of moo moo and bunny slippers while waving a 12 gauge shotgun around.

“Who is Brenda?” she asked before her imagination didn’t get too out of control.

“The old lady across the lake. You’ll meet her tomorrow.” Val wasn’t too sure how to feel about that fact. She really didn’t want to meet the woman if even Luke said she would need to worry about her. If Luke was worried then she needed to be terrified.

Luke walked into the small building leaving Val alone with her thoughts. When she realized that he wasn’t around, she hurried into the building. He was checking the water to make sure there was enough in there to hold them over for at least the night and ran a couple tests on it to make sure it was usable. Luke grinned satisfied with what he found then stepped back out of the building. Val stepped out and waited for Luke to get on the ATV.

He drove them back to the cabin. Val was relieved to see that everything was still intact and was even more relieved that there was no crazed old ladies named Brenda waving a shotgun around.

They made their way back into the cabin as Val’s stomach began to growl embarrassingly loud. She wasn’t sure what they were going to do about food for the night since it was hard saying how long it had been since Luke had stepped foot inside the cabin, though it did look very clean. She frowned at the realization. Something was off at that. There should have been a lot more dust collecting on everything than there was.

Luke opened the fridge then shut it just as fast. Val wasn’t sure what he was looking for since they hadn’t stopped for groceries along the way. She was sure there was something she could find in the cooler though it probably wouldn’t have been much. He opened one of the cabinets to find that it was filled with food.

“Place is fully stocked it looks. I’m going to go grab some firewood. You go ahead and eat.”

“How old is that food?” Val asked.

“Brenda probably brought all this up this morning.” Luke made his way to the back door so he could collect firewood. Val wasn't really liking how vague he was being about Brenda, but she was hungry so she dug around in the cabinets until she found something simple and made that. By the time she was done, Luke had a nice fire going in the fireplace.

They fell asleep in the middle of a movie they managed to find on the television. Val wasn't sure when she had woke up, but the fire had burned down in the fireplace and she was a little cold. Luke had his arm draped around her shoulders, but that wasn't enough to keep her warm. She sat up slowly letting Luke's arm fall from her shoulder, but he hadn't moved. His head was resting on the back of the couch gently. His feet were still propped up on the table. She stretched out her tired muscles and moved her head around to get the cricks out of her neck. She reached over and shook Luke's shoulder gently. He let out a slight grunt, but not much else. Val let out a yawn and stretched again. She hated that she had fallen asleep on the couch with that huge bed calling her name in Luke's room. She shook Luke's shoulder again. He slowly opened his eyes and glanced to Val.

“What?” he asked, his voice more gravelly than usual.

“Come on. Let's go to bed.” Luke groaned as he dug his fingers into his eyes. Val stood and waited for him to stand before walking back to his room and crawled under the blankets. The chill of the sheets had Val shivering almost immediately, but Luke wrapped his arms around her and buried his head in her neck. Sleep took them once more in a matter of minutes.

Luke felt himself being pulled out of the comfortable sleep he was in slowly. The smells coming from the kitchen were waking him up. He was still too asleep to think it was Val in there cooking, but he did come to when he rolled over to throw his arm around Val just to find that she wasn't there.

He lifted his head to glance around the room to find the only evidence of her being there was her suitcase sitting next to his on the dresser. He thought it was odd that it was his that had been left open. He slid out of bed slowly stretching out his muscles. He went to his suitcase and dug through it until he found something to wear for the day. He changed into his clothes then stepped out of the room to hunt down Val.

Val stood in the kitchen wearing one of his t-shirts and from what Luke could tell, not much else. Her hair was pulled up on top of her head in a messy bun. There were strands of hair sticking out and framed her face. She had nothing to cover her bare legs. Luke swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. He had to take a moment to collect himself. The sunlight coming through the window cascaded around her making her appear almost heavenly. She looked so beautiful wearing his shirt and her messy hair.

She finally noticed him and smiled. She turned to the coffee pot and poured him a fresh cup. Luke walked up behind her and placed his hand on her hip as she turned around. She held the cup up to him. He grabbed it from her and placed it down on the counter. He pressed her up against the counter causing her to giggle. She ran her hands up his chest then linked her fingers together behind his neck.

“I stole your shirt. Hope you don't mind.” Luke grinned lowering his head to where their lips were almost touching.

“Not at all because it's not going to be staying on you much longer.” Val giggled again closing the gap between them. The kiss was slow as of they were just discovering each other. Val moaned as she felt herself melt into his embrace. Her palm rested against the back of his neck as she tilted her head to get a better angle. She felt his hands bunch up the sides of the shirt she was wearing then felt his hands slide under the material and grip her rear.

She took a deep breath and that was when she could smell something burning. She pulled away from him wondering what it could possibly be. That was when she remembered.

“Shit! I'm burning breakfast!” she yelped pushing Luke away from her. She took the pancake out of the pan then threw it in the sink. Smoke began to fill the cabin. Luke walked to the back door and opened it up to let the smoke out. Val dropped the pan in the other side of the sink and huffed. Luckily she had seen another pan in the cabinets that she could use. She grabbed it and put it on the stove so she could finish with breakfast. Luke had grabbed his coffee and sat down at the dining room table. He pulled his phone out so he could go through emails.
Most of them were from work while others were emails from Samantha’s school informing him of upcoming events, her grades, etc. Others were just spam that somehow always managed to make their way into his inbox.

He was pulled away from the task at hand when a plate of pancakes were placed in front of him. Val made her way back to the stove and grabbed a small pot that she had used made maple syrup. She sat in on top of a pot holder that was on the table and put a spoon in it so they could spread the syrup onto the pancakes. She stalked back into the kitchen and grabbed the coffee pot. She brought it over to the table and topped off Luke's coffee before taking it back into the kitchen. They ate most of the meal in silence. Luke finished his coffee and Val stood to grab the coffee pot to fill it one more time.

She stood close enough to touch him as she poured the liquid into the cup. Luke's hand reached around her and rubbed her thigh under the shirt. She grinned looking down at him. She lowered her head down to him and placed a gentle kiss to his lips. She sat the coffee pot down on the table so she could place her hands on him. He reached his other hand around and hooked it around her leg and forced it up and over his lap so she could straddle him. He pushed the shirt up so he could rub her skin under it. She wrapped her arms around him to pull him closer to her. She moaned into his lips as his hands trailed all over her body. His tongue slid into her mouth only to be met by her own. He ran his hands up her back to discover that she wasn't wearing a bra. He fought back his own moan as she dug her hips into his.

He felt his shirt being lifted slowly so he lifted his arms so he could let his shirt be removed. Val’s lips attacked his again as she forced her body to be flush with his. She dug her hips into his again, but Luke didn't hold his groan back at the motion. He lifted the shirt she was wearing and tossed it away. He grabbed one of her breasts in his hand and began to massage it as his other hand traveled down to her underwear. He began to rub her gently through her underwear. She broke the kiss placing her forehead against his as she rocked her hips against his touch. He could feel how wet and warm she was through the thin cloth that separated her from him. She whimpered his name and it was enough to send Luke over the edge.

He released her breast and leaned forward. He brushed his arm across the table to clear a spot. He heard everything go crashing to the floor and even felt the coffee that was in his cup splash across his arm. It had burned, but he ignored it as he lifted Val from his lap and placed her on the edge of the table. She bit her lip as he stood in front of her and started undoing his pants. Once they were undone, he took her underwear off. He dropped his pants and stood between her legs. Val wrapped her legs around him loosely as he pushed her back onto the table. He kissed her lips slowly. He broke it so he could watch her as he slowly pushed himself inside her. He felt her nails dig into his shoulders. He always found the moment when he first pushed into her very satisfying. Her eyes always seemed to glaze over slightly as they widened at the sensation of him. She bit her lip and her nails always dug into his shoulders.

He found a steady rhythm as he leaned over her. She gripped the edge of the table to keep from being pushed onto the table. She arched her back and moaned his name. He watched her as her breasts bounced to the rhythm of his thrusts.

“Don't stop,” she begged. Luke had no desire to stop, but hearing her beg nearly sent him over the edge. She couldn't have been more beautiful in any other moment. She arched her back off the table and wrapped her legs around him to keep him in place. “Harder.” He obliged her. She began to make a mixture of grunts and moans as he pace became faster and harder.

Val’s orgasm hit so hard that she swore she was seeing stars. She called out Luke’s name as her hands left the edge of the table and wrapped around him. He laid his body across hers and grabbed her hips to keep her in place. He wasn’t far behind her with his own orgasm. He groaned as he rode it out.

Neither of them moved as both of them attempted to catch their breath. Val placed a hand on his cheek and giggled.

“Good morning,” she said though she was still mostly out of breath. Luke grinned then kissed her lips gently.

“Good morning.” Val took a deep breath as Luke stood up straight so he could pull his pants up.

“I have syrup and coffee all over my back and in my hair. I have to go take a shower now,” she said sitting up on the edge of the table. She looked down to see that the stuff Luke had pushed off the table was surprisingly still intact except for the coffee pot which had shattered on contact.

She felt her underwear land in her lap and looked to Luke. He was looking down at the mess he had created as well.

“You go shower and I’ll clean this up.” She slid her underwear back on then hopped off the table and grabbed his hands.

“Or you can come take a shower with me for round two,” she said tugging him in the direction of the bathroom. As much as he really wanted to clean up the mess in the dining room, he followed her to the bathroom.

Chapter Text

Round two didn’t happen for the two of them until after the shower since the shower consisted of nothing but trying to get the syrup out of Val’s hair. No matter how hard she tried to get it out, her hair still felt somewhat sticky. Then to make matters worse, she and Luke had made their way to the bedroom for round two with her hair still wet. Now her hair was all kinds of crazy and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it.

Luke told her to get ready while he cleaned up the dining room since it technically was him that made the mess, though he tried to make the argument that she started the whole ordeal by wearing his shirt. In her defense, his shirt was really, really comfortable and really, really big. Perfect for the person who really, really didn’t feel like putting pants on. How was she supposed to know that wearing one of Luke’s shirts would turn him on? Well, she had her suspicions, but she was looking forward to not wearing pants.

After putting enough product in her hair to possibly be blamed for ninety percent of the world’s pollution, she decided to dress comfortable. She threw on a pair of capri pants and a simple purple cami. She figured wearing flip flops would be the best route, but then again, they were also going across the lake to meet Brenda. She would probably need sensible shoes just in case she would have to run away. She decided against it. If Luke was so worried about her, then why would he be willing going over there to see her? Plus, she stocked the house and Val figured she cleaned up a little for his arrival. She couldn’t really be that bad.

Right?

Finally deciding that she was ready for her first encounter with the infamous Brenda, she stepped out of the bathroom and walked into the living room to find Luke sitting on the couch watching some sports talk show. There were four panels of four different men all talking at once. Each one tried to over talk the others and it was all just a chaotic mess. Luke glanced back at her as she walked around the couch. He gave her a quick once over and looked a little disappointed at her outfit. He turned the television off and stood as Val put her hands on her hips. She glared at him as he carelessly tossed the remote on the couch. He looked to her then frowned.

“What?” he asked truly confused. She clicked her tongue at him.

“What was that look you gave me when I came in? Do you not approve of my clothes?” Luke grinned and shook his head. He stepped up to her and wrapped a big arm around her waist. He pulled her against him. She made no move to return the gesture n any kind of way, but she didn’t push him away either.

“Not really.” Val narrowed her eyes at him. “I was kind of hoping for one of my shirts again.” Val couldn’t hide her grin. She shook her head stepping away from him.

“You’re terrible.” Luke chuckled and led her out of the back door and down the steps to his boat. She didn't really know much about boats, but she recognized the vessel to be a pontoon boat. It was about twenty-five feet long and had bench seats that lined the entire thing except for the captain’s seat and two fishing seats up front along with the three gates that sat on either side and between the two fishing seats.

Luke checked the fuel before starting it up. It seemed to couch a few times before it finally started. He stood up and walked around the boat to make sure everything was stowed away. Val took her place on one of the bench seats up front and spread her legs out in front of her. Luke stepped off the boat to untie it then pushed it out away from the docks. He sat down on the captain’s and put it in gear.

Val wasn’t paying any attention to where they were going because she was too busy soaking up the sun’s rays. There wasn’t a cloud in sighed and she was pretty sure that she had never seen the sky so blue before in her life. The sun beat down on her, but it wasn’t as harsh as it could have been because the air was cooling her off.

She felt Luke slow the boat down and she finally opened her eyes to take a look around. They were entering what looked like a dock to where people paid to leave their boats on the water year round. There were three large docks in the cove that spread out across it. There were boats in almost all of the little nooks they built into the docks. On the shore was a quaint little shop with one gas pump sitting at the edge of the docks.

There was a man that stepped out onto the docks as Luke pulled up and helped tie the bat off. He had a fantastic head of hair even though it was a peppery gray of an old man. His skin however looked like it was going to be donated to a leather factory after his death so it could be sewed into furniture. He wore no shirt, a pair of flip flops, and a pair of cut off blue jean shorts that looked like they belonged to Daisy Duke. An eye patch covered his left eye.

Luke stepped off the boat and shook the man’s hand.

“It’s good to see you, Luke. What brings you up to these parts?”

“Vacationing for a couple weeks. Willy, I want to introduce you to someone.” He turned to Val who had just stepped off the boat watching the two men interact. Willy gave her a kind smile. “This is my girlfriend, Val. Val, this is Willy.” Willy stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Val. Val, taken aback by his sudden action, hugged him back lightly giving Luke a look that said, “Save me!” Luke just grinned. He felt oily under her touch, but she figured that was because he was covered in tanning oil. She could smell it on him.

“I have to say, Val, you are absolutely beautiful. How did he ever score a woman like you,” he said stepping back, but his hands stayed on her waist. It made her a little uncomfortable to have him touching her like that, but since Luke made no move to correct the action, she figured that it was harmless.

“He got lucky, I guess,” Val replied playfully. She glanced back at Luke who was grinning in amusement at the two.

“Clearly.” He turned to Luke. “You planning on doing any fishing while you’re here?” Luke crossed his arms over his chest.

“No, I came to my cabin that sits on a lake to stare at it.” Willy laughed and slapped Luke on the shoulder.

“I’ll go pull some of the new stuff for you and turned on the pump.” He walked back to the little shop and disappeared inside. Luke readied the pump to refuel. Val was too busy trying to fight back laughter. Luke gave her on odd look.

“What’s so funny?” Val tried to tell him, but her laughter wouldn’t let her get it out. Luke chuckled feeling her laughter taking over him. He leaned against the gas pump and waited for her to collect herself. He wasn’t too sure what was so funny, but just hearing her laugh about it was enough to make it funny. She finally collected herself enough to where she could talk.

“His name is One-Eyed Willy,” she said then started laughing again. Luke let out a laugh. Yes, he had realized that his name was Willy and only had one eye and had put two and two together, but seeing Val’s reaction had revived the joke. The pump clicked off allowing Luke to know that the tank was full. He wrapped his arm around Val’s shoulder and led her into the small building.

There was just two aisles in the building that were covered in nothing but junk foods. Val wasn’t sure what the smell of the place was, but she was sure it had something to do with the corner that had a wood sign above it that said “LIVE BAIT” in big green letters. One side of the building was nothing but a large counter that served as the check-out. There were maps, handbooks, trail guides, fishing guides, pretty much anything and everything one would possibly need when facing the big outdoors in the area covering the counter top. Behind the counter, the wall was covered in different dry lures for fishing and different types of fishing line.

There was an ice cream freezer sitting in front of it. There was a line of coolers along another wall filled with all kinds of drinks from beer to sports drinks. Val went straight for the ice cream and peered inside. She saw a Drumstick and immediately reached in and grabbed it. She munched on it slowly as Luke and Willy discussed different types of lures. It was all Greek to her so she just made her way around the small shop to explore.

She made her way back to the Live Bait corner curious as to what it was since the smell seemed to get stronger and stronger as she made her way closer to it. There were two large tubs with some kind of filtration system running through it. She peered inside to see small fish swimming around. In one tank, the fish inside were only about two inches long while in the other they were about four to five inches long. There seemed to be hundreds in each tank.

Val watched them as they all swam around aimlessly. They were so mesmerizing. She picked off one of the walnuts that was on her cone and threw it into one of the tanks. The fish swarmed it and soon the piece of nut was gone. She picked off another piece of nut and threw it in the other fish tank so the other fish could have some food too. They treated it the same way. She grinned to herself and walked away from the tanks. She looked up to the front of the store to see Luke leaned over the counter fiddling with a lure in his hands as Willy talked away about it.

Val walked down the aisle of junk food finishing up her ice cream and pulled a bag of Cheetos off the rack. She walked back to the live bait as she opened the bag. She grabbed a couple out of the bag and started munching on them as she watched the fish. She tossed one of them in the tank and watched as the little fish swarmed the Cheeto like piranha. She watched as the morsel quickly disappeared. She tossed a couple more in and watched as they disappeared. She munched on one of the Cheetos when she felt a hand on the small of her back. She glanced up at Luke who was staring ito the tanks curiously.

“What are you doing?” he asked looking at her. Val shrugged.

“THis was more entertaining than you and Willy talking about fishing gear.” Luke grinned.

“Fair enough. But we’re going to be late if we don’t leave soon.” Val nodded then threw a couple more Cheetos in the tanks before walking up to the front of the store where Willy was bagging up an assortment of different lures. There were two cases of beer sitting on the counter as well. Val grabbed the bag while Luke grabbed the beer and they walked out to the boat and stepped on. Willy followed them out and waiting for them to stow everything away before stepping to Val and giving her a hug one more time.

“It was good to meet you, Val.”

“You too.” Luke shook his hand as they said their goodbyes and he started the boat. Willy pushed the boat away from the docks and Luke and Val were on their way once more.

Val decided that it may have been a good idea to remember where they were heading so she could start getting a feel for the area, but the sun felt so good on her skin that it lured her into a state of total relaxation so she lost track. She hoped that Luke was going to go fishing sometime during the day because there there was a sun bed on the back of the pontoon that was calling her name. She had heard him make a comment that he was going to go fishing at some point.

She had went fishing a few times with Brian and he had taught her a couple things, but she was no good at it. She had never caught a fish. Sometimes her hook would come off because she didn’t tie it the proper way. And if they were fishing off a bank, Val was more interested in tossing her line in the trees than in the water. Mia was a fishing queen and Brian would even get mad at how many she could catch. At least she could lay in the sun while Luke fished.

Luke began to slow the boat as he approached what Val was assuming Brenda’s house. Val could only see patches of the home since there were a bunch of trees blocking her view. She could see the docks through. There was a really nice bass boat tied off to the wooden dock.

As Luke maneuvered the boat to the dock, there was a man that stepped down onto the dock from hidden stairs with a fat chocolate lab waddling near him. He wore a pair of blue jeans and a white t-shirt. He was barefooted. He had neatly trimmed white hair. He tied the boat off as Luke picked up the cases of beer that he had bought at the store. He handed one off to the old man and stepped off the boat. They shook hands then Luke introduced Val to him. His name was Carl and he was Brenda’s husband. Her worries of Brenda eased back even more in meeting him. She couldn’t be that crazy if she had such a clean cut husband.

Carl led them up to his cabin. The only word that Val could possibly think of to describe the cabin was quaint. It wasn’t as big as Luke’s cabin and looked like it could have been put into a fairytale story where the main character happens across the cabin in the middle of the woods. Val swallowed at the fact that there was mostly bad guys inside those types of cabins.

“Brenda, Luke and his girlfriend is here!” Carl yelled as they approached the cabin. Luke grinned wrapping an arm around Val’s shoulders as Brenda came into view. She wore earth toned clothes that flowed around her like a weeping willow. She had hair down to her waist that was back in a tight braid. She had a thin waist, but it was clear that she had bared a child or two. She wore hemp jewelry donned with an assortment of stones, beads, and seashells. She had a smile that melted one’s heart and the kindest eyes Val had ever seen.

Her eyes seemed to sparkle as she hurried to LUke with her arms outstretched. Luke sat his case of beer on the grass. She barely came up to Val’s shoulder so LUke practically had to get on his knees to hug her. She kissed his cheek long and hard making a loud “mwah” sound before stepping away. She placed her wrinkled hands on his cheeks gently smiling at the hulking man in front of her.

“Oh, I am so glad that you’re here, Luke,” she said dreamily. “Maybe you could talk some sense into my ass hole husband!” she snapped turning towards her husband. Carl crossed his arms glaring at his wife.

“Dammit woman! I told you that I didn’t need any help!” he snapped back. The dog yawned by his side before waddling off to find shade under one of the many trees on the property. Luke frowned standing up straight giving Carl a look of disappointment.

“I thought we agreed that you wait until I get here so I could help you.” Carl huffed walking away from them. Luke rolled his eyes then turned his attention back to Brenda.

“Brenda, meet Val.” Brenda’s eyes fell on Val who was staring at the people before her in bewilderment. No wonder Luke had said that she needed to possibly worry about Brenda. The woman was fearless even in her old age. Her eyes lit up as she stepped forward and wrapped Val up in a hug so tight she could barely breathe. Brenda all but squealed as Val gasped for air. She was strong for such a little old lady. She smelled like she had bathed in marijuana.

“It is so good to finally meet you, Val! We’ve heard so much about you!” Val glanced at Luke with a grin imagining Luke talking about her like some high school crush, but she was met with a look of confusion.

“From who?” he asked causing Val to frown. He hadn’t been talking about her? She knew he wasn’t really the type to gossip or anything, but he couldn’t have been talking about her in any way? Whether it be how he cared about her or how he liked “that one thing” that she did. SOmething. And yet, she got nothing. BRenda sighed with a shake of her head. She turned to Luke.

“You were supposed to play along, dumbass!” she hissed to him. Val grinned. Brenda had lied to make him seem like he was head over heels for Val to make Val feel special. And Luke blew it. Luke sighed rubbing his temple.

“Yeah, it would have been a lot better if you just went along with it.” Luke grinned shaking his head.

“I’m going to go find Carl,” Luke said throwing his thumb over his shoulder. He turned on his heel looking like he really wanted to get away from the two heated females. He stopped long enough to point to the case of beer still sitting in the grass.

“That’s yours,” Luke stated then began to walk away once more. Val placed her hands on her hips sending a light glare to his back.

“It’s barely noon,” she said. Sure she already had an ice cream cone and a bag of Cheetos, but that was besides the point. Luke threw his arms up in the air.

“We’re on vacation,” he yelled over his shoulder. Val shrugged her shoulders then looked to Brenda.

“Want a beer?” Brenda put her hand on her shoulder and Val picked up the case of beer.

“I thought you’d never ask. Come on, let’s go get these in a cooler. I want you to try my brownies before we started drinking. It’s a new recipe I’ve been working on and Carl is getting sick of being my taste tester.” Val grinned as she followed the old woman into the cabin.

Chapter Text

The inside was very spacious considering how small the outside looked. It was one large open area. The cabin smelled of burned wood and earthy scents. Brenda dug a cooler out of a cabinet then carried it over to the refrigerator to fill it with ice. Val began to put cans of beer into the cooler while Brenda spread the ice around the cans to make sure they stayed nice and cold.

Once they were done with the task at hand, Brenda lead Val to the kitchen where a plate sat piled high with the most lucsious brownies she had ever seen in her life. They smelled very good and Val was practically drooling over them.

“Go on, dear, help yourself.” Val grabbed one thinking it was too soon in the day for a brownie, but it was as Luke had said. They were on vacation. It was kind of mandatory that one do things they wouldn’t normally do in their regular lives and if that meant eating a brownie for lunch, then by God Val was going to have a brownie for lunch. She snatched one up and took a small bite.

It had an odd taste to it that tasted somewhat familiar to Val, but she couldn’t place it. It was something she hadn’t tasted in years. She could almost remember what she was doing when she tasted the taste for the first time. She wanted to think of white walls, but she couldn’t really think as to why. They were still good even if they did have an odd taste to them. Brenda ate one with her and watched Val as she ate the entire square.

“They’re really good,” Val admitted though it was partially a lie. Val reached for another one and took a bite of it. Brenda hummed catching Val’s attention.

“You might want to take it easy on those, Val. You’re not going to be able to function if you’re not careful.” Val gave her an odd look.

“Why wouldn’t I be able function?” she asked as she took another bite. Brenda chuckled and pointed to the pile of brownies.

“Because there’s a pound of my finest grass in these brownies.” Val paused glancing down at the morsel in her hand. She dropped it back on the plate as it came back to her. She was in college doing a study group and someone had brought pot brownies in. Val had already been smoking weed during her college days because that was what kids at college did. They were all in one of her friend’s dorms that had white walls.

“Brenda, I’m a doctor, I work in a hospital. If I get caught with this shit I could lose my job.” Val wasn’t trying to panic, but panic was happening no matter what. She thought of Luke. He was a cop. Well, not a cop like LAPD or anything, but still law enforcement. What would he think about his girlfriend eating pot brownies with an eighty year old hippy woman?

“Oh nonsense!” Brenda defended waving her hand around in front of her. “I worked as a lawyer for forty years and never once got tested for drugs.” Her words eased Val’s nerves slightly, but she still had to worry about how Luke would feel. She knew that sometimes he was a little unorthodox when it came to his missions, hell he had called on her family to assist him in taking down Owen Shaw because he knew he needed the help. Even in the end, the fact that her family had helped him take down Shaw never reached his reports on the mission. As far as anyone was concerned, he had brought down Shaw and his little traitor whore.

“Besides,” she said catching Val’s attention once more. “This isn’t a drug. This was only made illegal because it could really take down not only the pharmaceutical companies it could take down the lumber companies too.” Val grinned shaking her head.

“You’re one of those, huh?” Val said. Brenda grinned pulling out a joint from a hidden pocket on her clothes and offered it to Val with a smile.

“You’re damned right I am.” Val sighed running her hand through her hair as she stared at the joint in the woman’s hand. She really seen no issue with marijuana. She wasn’t sure why it was so illegal since she had heard so many different reasons it was hard to tell which one was the actual truth. The worst thing she had ever done while smoking it was eat everything in her dorm then would be calling Dom the next day seeing if he could send her more money because she was out of food. She always loved the fact that he would never huff or puff or even ask any questions except how much she money needed.

Granted, maybe using some of the money Dom had sent her to buy more weed was a little worse than eating herself out of house and home, but it could have been much worse. Luke couldn’t really be all that mad at her for getting high. She was a doctor. She had spent countless hours pouring over book after book about drugs, both illegal and pharmaceutical, that told her how to identify what kind of drugs people were on just by the way they were acting. She had seen all of them and most of the books had it right, but weed was never really that bad. If they came in and said they were smoking weed, the only thing Val would have to worry about was that her favorite vending machine would be empty by the time they left with their friends. There was truly no real bad side effect to weed.

Besides, it was already going to be in her system because of the brownie and she was on vacation. Just as she was about to reach for the joint, Luke stepped into the cabin. Brenda made no motion to hide the fact that she was offering a joint to Val. Luke eyed Brenda as he approached Val and placed a hand on her hip. Val wrung her fingers together and stared at them. She could feel Luke’s eyes on her. She knew that he knew what she had done. She couldn’t tell if he was mad or not, but she wasn’t going to look at him and find out.

“You ate a brownie,” he said. He didn’t say it as if he were wondering. No, he knew. Val finally looked up at him. Of all the emotions she expected to see in Luke’s eyes, amusement was the last one she figured she would see. Val grinned.

“I did,” she admitted freely. Luke shook his head then looked back to Brenda who was lighting up her joint.

“I told you that she couldn’t smoke,” he said sounding a little stern in his words, though he still had a hint of amusement. Brenda shrugged her shoulders taking a nice long hit off the joint. She held in the smoke and let it out slowly.

“I know. That’s why she ate it instead.” Val bit her lip trying to hold back a laugh. “But now that it’s in her system anyways, she might as well go ahead and smoke.” She offered the joint to Val one more time. Val wasn’t sure if she should have reached for it or not, especially with Luke standing there, but Brenda did have a point, it was already in her system. Val took a chance and reached for the joint.

“You know that’s illegal, right?” Luke asked dropping his hand from her hip. Val stared at the joint resting between her fingers.

“Brenda says that the only reason this stuff is illegal is because of the pharmaceutical companies would go under,” Val said nonchalantly with a shrug.

“And the lumber companies!” Brenda reminded. Val giggled.

“You know, I can arrest you for this,” Luke teased leaning up against the counter next to her. Val grinned leaning into him holding the joint away so the smoke didn’t bother him.

“Oh, so this is what it took to get you to pull the handcuffs out?” Luke smirked raising an eyebrow. Brenda tried to stifle her laughter, but was failing miserably. Luke leaned closer to her to where their lips were just inches apart.

“All you had to do was ask.” Val giggled again as an odd excitement coursed through her veins.

“Alright, you two,” Brenda said. “Either hit that or give it back.” Luke leaned away from Val and looked to Brenda.

“So, you going to arrest me?” Val asked. Luke shrugged.

“Maybe later, I have a lot of work to do right now.” Val went ahead and took a long draw from the joint and held it in. It didn’t take long before it had choked her up and she handed off the joint so she could get over her coughing fit. She looked back to Luke who was trying not to laugh at her.

“I haven’t smoked this stuff since college.” She coughed one more time before changing the subject. “So, wait, you’re on vacation and you’re going to spend it working?”

“It won’t take long,” he said making his way out of the cabin. Val rolled her eyes then looked to Brenda who was handing her the joint.

When Luke had found Carl, he was in his workshop throwing pieces of wood around in a frustrated manner. Luke had met them a week after he started building his cabin on the water. They had brought their boat up right to the shore and introduced themselves. Brenda had brought him brownies as a way of saying “Hello, new neighbor” but they had been pot brownies. He grinned at the memory. It had taken him a while to realize what was happening with him. He had thought the brownies had tasted weird, but he didn’t want to be rude and mention it to Brenda. After that, he never really trusted her treats because mostly they had a lot of weed in them.

As years went by, he noticed that Carl was starting to slow down in his old age so every time he came up to his cabin, he would help him with as many projects as possible to take the burden off him. He always found Brenda’s and Carl’s relationship odd since they were polar opposites, but they had been married since Brenda was eighteen. They mostly argued with each other, but at the end of the day, they were cuddling on the couch watching Perry Mason whilst eating a fudge pop. Was it wrong for Luke to want something like that? Well, except the Perry Mason part.

The project that Carl was working on currently was making his dock into a boat house. When Luke entered the workshop, he could hear Carl complaining about his wife, but he stopped when he realized Luke was standing there. Carl frowned as he collected himself.

“Where’s Val?” he asked.

“With Brenda.” Carl grinned.

“You mean to tell me that you left your girlfriend alone with my wife?” Luke thought about it for a moment.

“Oh, shit,” he said hurrying out of the workshop and headed straight for the cabin. As soon as he entered, he knew he was too late when Val wouldn’t look at him. Brenda was offering her a joint, but he wasn’t sure if she had smoked any of it or if she had just eaten her brownies.

Luke wasn’t against marijuana and found it stupid that it was still illegal in a lot of countries. Sure, a lot of countries had been decriminalized the drug and more had even legalized it or just stopped caring if people did it or not, he had never heard of someone robbing a convenience store or a bank because they were smoking weed. He used to argue with Brenda about it, but she had changed his mind about the dangers of it. That and he had simply just gotten tired with arguing with her about it. He knew he was stubborn and rarely backed down, but Brenda was a special breed of human. There was a reason why she was a lawyer.

It had irked him that Brenda had slipped Val a pot brownie knowing full well that Val was a doctor and was subject to random drug testing, but Brenda was too good at finding loopholes in everything. He wasn’t even sure if Val had even smoked weed or anything of the sort and wasn’t sure if she was going to be able to handle it. Brenda was always able to get potent stuff and it was guaranteed to knock one on their rear every time.

He had warned Val about Brenda, but he supposed he should have specified. Knowing how Val was, her imagination probably had went wild and who knows what she had managed to think up about Brenda. But not telling her was more exciting for him. He figured let her imagination run wild and see what happened. He had just never pegged Val for a stoner.

He supposed he couldn’t expect anything less of her. In the time that they had spent together as a couple and even as not, she had always been an adapter.

He recalled their times together when she had patched him up when he had dropped all those feet to Shaw’s suped-up dune buggy and hurt his arm. Her brother had been shot by Letty and Val had tried to take care of him, but Dom had turned her down no matter how hard she tried. Instead, she had come to him and had taken care of him.

It was odd at first because she was a criminal, but he was the one that had made her a criminal. She had no connection to what her family was doing and yet, he had turned her into a miscreant. She had given up her entire life to be with her family. Had given up her love life just so she could be there for family. Had given up marriage and a family of her own all so she could be there for her family. And he exploited it. He had found the weakness and he played it.

But she barely knew him and yet, she made herself feel so familiar. Like she could be trusted. It was such an odd feeling for him since the only thing that he could consider being familiar was Samantha and his mother, especially since his team had been murdered in Rio. He hadn’t been assigned a team big enough for a job as big as Owen Shaw, but he was the best at what he did and that was why DSS had approached him. They knew he would find a way and he did, even if it meant teaming up with the people he was trying to take down a couple years before.

Looking back, Luke figured out that the only reason Val had approached him was because she wanted to take her mind off her brother. She had known that he was in pain and was injured, but there was nothing that she could do to ease it. Maybe that bothered her and she hid it well, but Luke had caught onto it. He could see it in her eyes.

After smoking half the joint, Brenda put it out in a small glass dish that Val supposed was an ashtray though she wouldn’t classify it as an ashtray. Apparently that didn’t matter because as soon as the joint was put out, Brenda grabbed Val’s arm and dragged her outside. She had tried to take in as much as the porch as she could when she was led up to it, but apparently there was so much more.

Brenda cut the corner and lead her to a glass top table and patio chairs that was shaded by some trees that were planted near it. Val took a seat and took a deep breath. She honestly couldn’t say she had taken such a clean breath since she had returned to LA.

There were little patches of sun peeking through the leaves of the tree that hung over the porch in a natural canopy. She wasn’t sure what type of tree it was, but she could tell that it had been there for a long time. There were little flower pots filled to the brim with different types of flowers that lined the border of the porch and Val swore she could smell every single one. She could hear birds in the tree that she had never heard before.

“You alright, there, dear?” Brenda asked catching her attention. Val stared at her for a moment because she had forgotten that she was even there. Val licked her lips only to discover that they were very, very dry.

Then that was when she realized.

“I’m stoned,” she admitted. “And I need a drink.” Brenda chuckled.

“Do you want a beer?” Val thought for a moment, but she came to the conclusion that a beer was a wonderful idea. She was on vacation after all. Then she remembered that the cooler was still inside and she couldn’t let Brenda carry it out by no means. Val stood from her seat.

“I’ll go grab the beer.” Val walked back into the house long enough to grab the cooler full of beer that Luke had designated as hers and carried it back out to the table to Brenda had taken them to. She opened it and pulled out a beer. She slid it to Brenda then pulled one out for herself. They cracked them open together. Val took a sip of her beer.

“So,” Brenda started, “How did you and Luke meet?” Val was taken aback by the question. How could she explain their meeting? Did Val talk about the first time that she had ever laid eyes on Luke? At that point, he was the bad guy. She had at least heard of him by the time she had laid actual eyes on him, but the first time she had ever seen him, her brother had tried to kill him.

And she wanted him to. There was some sick part of her that wanted Dom to end his life just so he was no longer a problem, but Mia had stopped him.

Did she talk about how she and her family managed to get away with a ridiculous amount of money and the only reason why Luke had come back into their lives was because it was convenient for him? No, she couldn’t do that to him. He had too much of an ego. Admitting something like that would destroy him. Especially if Brenda knew that the only reason why he managed to bring down such a target like Owen Shaw was by asking for help from someone he had as a former target.

“He was hurt on the job and I was the one that patched him up,” she said before taking a sip of her beer. Brenda frowned leaning back in her chair.

“Well, that doesn’t seem too exciting at all,” Brenda said truly sounding that she was bummed out by the simplicity of their meeting. Val just wished that she was able to go into full detail because it was a very exciting story about how they had actually met. Especially since Luke started off as the bad guy in the beginning. Val chuckled to herself. It amazed her how much everything had changed.

“Because what I heard,” Brenda continued pulling Val out of her thoughts. “Was that you were in trouble and he was sent to take you down.” Val gave her an odd look. Had Luke really told them about that? “At least, that’s what Samantha has been telling me.” Val shrugged her shoulder running her finger down the side of her can. Was it okay that they knew what had happened? It seemed too personal for her.

“It’s a long story,” Val mumbled. She felt herself becoming a little self conscious about it. In all the time that she and Luke had been together, they had never really discussed how they were supposed to go about telling people how they met. They never really had to worry about it honestly. The people who asked, were close enough in their lives to know the truth and the others already knew how they had met. Brenda hummed as if she was considering Val’s words.

“Luke said the same thing.” They fell quiet for a moment letting their buzzes settle over them. Val felt as if her entire universe was enhanced. She was completely relaxed. She hadn’t felt that good since before she had started working at Sacred Hearts again. She hated how stressful the job could be, but she loved it nonetheless.

“Where did you and Carl meet?” Val asked after sitting there for what seemed like hours, but Val was sure that it was only a few short minutes. Brenda chuckled as a fondness entered her eyes.

“I had just started college and was working at a waitress in a twenty four hour diner. He and a bunch of his buddies came in every single morning at three o’clock completely ripped out of their minds and would hit on me and the other waitress that was there with me. It went on for months before Carl finally approached me by himself and asked me why I never wanted to go out with him. I told him it was because he was a drunk, but that didn’t stop him from coming in there every single morning at three completely drunk. I went against my better judgement and finally agreed to go out on a date with him thinking that he would be too drunk to remember that he had asked me, but he wasn’t. And we were married a month later.”

Val blinked. Just a month? And they had been married all that time? Val wondered how they could possibly have made it work so well for all those years. It was admirable. She wondered if her mother and father were still alive if they would still be married. She was still very young by the time her mother had passed away, but she could remember that they had a very wonderful marriage. She couldn’t remember them ever fighting, but then again, maybe she had blocked out all of the negativity in that time so she could just focus on the good times they had shared while her mother was still alive.

“Have you ever been married?” Brenda asked before taking a sip of her beer. Val frowned. She hated when people asked her that question. She felt so weird admitting it. Someone her age should have been married at least once by that time or at least a child running around.

“No. No children either.” Brenda grinned as if she realized how uncomfortable the question had made her. She leaned forward and lowered her voice as if she was telling a secret.

“That’s okay, dear, you were just waiting for Luke to come into your life before you started doing all that.” Val rolled her eyes then chuckled.

“Maybe you’re right, but we’ve not been together long enough to make those types of decisions.” Brenda shrugged her shoulder and leaned back in her chair.

“What was the first thing you noticed about him?” Brenda asked. Val smiled and shook her head. She wasn’t sure why Brenda was asking all of those questions, but she wasn’t going to get mad at her. She remembered the first time she had ever laid eyes on him and the first thing that came to her mind was, “Holy shit!” She wasn’t sure if it was because he had found them or if it was his sheer size, but that was her first impression.

“Have you seen him? What do you think I noticed about him first?” Brenda let out a laugh then raised her arms as if she was flexing her muscles. They both began to laugh.

Val had noticed his eyes second or maybe it was his scent. She could remember as she was patching him up that she had gotten a whiff of his cologne. She remembered that she had loved the scent and was curious as to what it was. It wasn’t until after they had started dating that she had discovered that it was English Leather.

She had avoided him as much as possible when he and her family had teamed up to take down Shaw since she was still having some trust issues with him. He had promised their freedom, but there was a part of her that was telling her that he was just saying that to gain their cooperation. When she was patching him up, they had locked eyes for the first time. Sure, he was annoyed with her because he kept telling her that he was fine, but she wasn’t having any part of it. Even though there was a hint of annoyance in his eyes, she could still tell there was a gentleness in them. It was then that she knew there was so much more to the man that was once her family’s greatest enemy.

She took a deep breath leaning back in her seat taking in the sun’s rays. She was so glad that she got the chance to get to know him. There wasn’t a day that went by that she had spent with him that he didn’t amaze her. There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t bring butterflies to her stomach. There wasn’t a day that she didn’t wake up and immediately think of him. She knew she had it bad. Way bad. But he made her happy. Happier than she had felt in such a long time, she wondered if she was ever that happy.

Val glanced at the old woman in front of her who had been trying to get her attention. Val blinked a couple times as she came to.

“What?” Brenda started laughing.

Chapter Text

Luke had decided he was going to wait about an hour before he went to check on Val and Brenda. By that time, he knew that the brownies would be in full effect and he wasn’t going to miss that for anything. By that time, he and Carl had completed the framework for the three main walls for the boat house. He actually enjoyed working on projects with Carl since he was very knowledgable and Luke always seemed to learn something new from him. He was always efficient and nothing rarely went wrong.

They both agreed to take a little bit of a break so they could go check on their women. Carl didn’t really ask any question about Val and Luke didn’t really expect him to. It was another thing he liked about Carl. He wasn’t nosy. He always left people to their own devices. He didn’t ask about her family or how they met and that was perfect for him since he really didn’t want to explain the whole story. It was just too complicating.

They heard their laughter before they even reached the porch. Carl let out a low chuckle.

“I suppose those brownies kicked in,” he commented as they reached the steps. They stepped around the corner where the glass top table sat and found Brenda leaning back in her seat with her head leaned back as she laughed with delight. Val had propped her feet up on the glass top table and was laughing in much the same fashion as Brenda. Val glanced over her shoulder at the approaching men and tried to settle down a little, but it wasn’t working. She ran her finger under her eye to wipe away a tear that was forming.

Luke slid into the chair that was to her left, where he feet were propped up on the table. He watched her as she and Brenda tried to calm down enough to where they form coherent sentences.

“Brenda was telling me about the time she slipped you a brownie and you called her an hour after you left to bring you more food,” Val finally said though most of it was still hard to understand because she was still laughing. Luke rolled his eyes.

“I’m still mad at her for that,” he said eyeballing the older woman who was smiling as if she was the most innocent person in the world.

They fell into light conversation about Carl’s latest project and how he figured it was only going to take a day or two with Luke’s help. Carl complained lightly how his son wasn’t there to help, but he understood since his son was working all the time. Val could tell that he missed his son and it was hard to tell when the last time their son was there. Apparently, he only lived thirty minutes away. Val personally couldn’t understand it. She lived about that far away from her family give or take a minute or two and she was always sure to visit as much as possible. It didn’t matter how busy she was. She wasn’t going to voice her opinion because she figured it wasn’t her place.

Brenda and Carl asked Val about her family. She spoke of Dom and Mia first. She loosely touched on how Dom was the one who practically raised them and how it was always him taking care of things. She spoke of Letty and Brian and how they came into the family, though she stretched the truth on Brian a little. She talked about Tej and Roman and Han. She talked about little stories here and there that she shared with each person.

“You have a really big family,” Brenda stated taking a sip of her beer. Val shrugged sipping at hers as well. Sure most of them weren’t blood related to her, but that didn’t matter. Family was family. It didn’t matter if they didn’t share the same blood or even the same skin color, they were still her family. Her brothers and sisters.

She pulled out her phone and started scrolling through pictures until she found a photo of Jack and showed it to Brenda and Carl. Brenda practically squealed as Carl grinned. The picture was of Jack and Val. Jack was sitting in her lap and Val had taken a selfie with him. They were making crazy faces at the camera. Brenda just couldn’t get over the little boy in the picture.

Brenda began to talk about her grandchildren. She had a little boy and girl. She claimed she hadn’t seen them in about six months and Val could tell that it bothered her. It made Val upset hearing that. No family should go that long without being with each other. She thought of Luke and how long it had been since he had seen his mother. She lived in Hawaii which was where Luke had moved from when he joined DSS. Val and Luke had been together for nearly a year and she had yet to meet his mother in person. She had talked to her on the phone a few times, but that was it.

Luke and Carl had left them alone once more so they could continue on their project. Brenda and Val told each other stories. Val liked the old woman. She was glad that she wasn’t as crazy as Luke was letting on. Sure she liked to give you pot brownies and wouldn’t let you know until after you had eaten it, but that was besides the point. She was a kind, gentle woman with an affinity for slightly illegal substances.

After a short time, Brenda and Val decided it was time to go check on their men and make sure they weren’t killing each other quite yet. They found the men down by the docks putting up the framing of the boat house they were attempting to build. Val had to take a deep breath to compose herself upon seeing that Luke had discarded his shirt. If she didn’t know any better, she would say he did that to her on purpose. She always got a little weak in the knees when he walked around without a shirt on. She could see a small sheen of sweat coating his muscular back as his muscles flexed as he lifted the frame of the wall. She took a sip of beer to wet her tongue. It had dried out and she was certain it wasn’t cottonmouth that time around.

Brenda and Val had taken their place under a shade tree. The fat chocolate lab, Cocoa, laid down next to Val and rested her head on Val’s lap. Val grinned down at her and rubbed her head slowly. The dog yawned loudly then rested her head back on Val’s lap. Val grinned looking down at the comfortable pooch as she caressed her head then looked back to a more interesting spectacle. Luke moved as if he hadn’t noticed her, but she was still skeptical. She bit her lip watching as Luke’s muscles flexed and relaxed under the hot sun. She watched as he seemed to glow with the sweat that coated his rough, yet smooth skin. She had to take a deep breath to compose herself, then she glanced over at Brenda just to discover that she had been trying to gain her attention.

“Shut up,” Val stated when she saw the grin that Brenda was supporting. Val wasn’t going to deny that she had been caught by the older woman because there was no point in the matter. Val was well aware that Luke was a very attractive man and that Brenda herself had noticed. Brenda couldn’t blame Val for her actions. She knew Brenda was well aware of the level of their relationship. Luke had told her that he hadn’t really had any kind of relationship since before Samantha had been born. It was simply too hard for someone in his line of work to have a relationship. So Val knew she was one of the only women, if not, the only woman to be to his hidden cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Val wasn’t sure if it was jealousy or the weed that made her think of her next thought, but she wondered if Shana had been to his cabin. It was a possibility. Val wasn’t sure how long his cabin had been around. Maybe it was built when he and Shana were still married. There was an odd grip to her heart upon thinking that Shana and Luke had slept together in the same bed that she and Luke had shared. Even worse, maybe he had made love to his ex wife in the same way he had made love to her. She knew she shouldn’t have been thinking the way she should have, but that didn’t stop her.

She looked back to Luke who was helping lift up another frame to a wall for Carl. She wondered if Shana had ever looked at him the same way she had looked at him previously. She lowered her eyes away from him wondering if Luke had ever made love to Shana the same way he did her.

Cocoa, as if sensing her uneasiness, lifted her head to catch her attention. Val grinned and the brown canine and scratched her behind her ears. She knew that Shana was happily married to another man and that Luke approved of the man that was helping raise the daughter that he and Shana had created together, but that didn’t stop her from wondering if Shana had looked upon Luke’s partially nude body the same way she was. She would hate to admit that she was jealous, but she was a woman and they never admitted things like that.

Had Shana had to live through the same things she had with Brenda? Had she eaten the tainted brownies? Had she drank the beers before one o’clock? Had she had to listen to the arguments of Carl and Brenda? Had Shana their relationship? Val knew that Luke and Shana had separated before Samantha was even born, but she wasn’t sure when the cabin of his was even built. Maybe Shana had been spent time there maybe she hadn’t. She wasn’t going to ask because she didn’t want it to become awkward between anyone. Especially Luke.

It was then that Val heard the sound of thunder and the sound drew her eyes to the sky. So far the day had been so beautiful, but the looks of thick, dark gray clouds looked like they were rolling in. She looked to Brenda and the way the woman had looked at her, they were sharing the same thought. There was a storm rolling in. It was still a ways off, but with the way the clouds were moving, it wasn’t going to be much longer before the storm hit. She glanced down to Carl and Luke who had stopped what they were doing to look at the sky as well. They turned back to their work and started moving faster.

“It wasn’t supposed to rain today,” Brenda said in annoyance.

“Try telling that to the sky,” Val said looking to the old woman. Brenda sighed.
“This just means I won’t be getting my boat house any time soon.” Val frowned glancing back down to the men then back to Brenda.

“Your boat house?” Brenda let out a small giggle.

“Yes, my boat house. That’s my bass boat down there.” Val had to take a moment to let Brenda’s statement sink in. Val had just assumed that the boat house was Carl’s along with the boat. If the bass boat was Brenda’s then that would mean that she was an angler. Brenda’s laughter caught Val’s attention.

“I grew up with five brothers. I had to learn all of the outdoorsy things, but fishing is my favorite. Carl hates it.” Val grinned waiting for more detail. “He thinks the worms are disgusting.” Val laughed.

Thunder rolled through the sky once more, but that time it sounded a lot closer and a lot louder. Val could have sworn she felt the electricity in the air. Her heart rate picked up a little almost as if instinct took over her and it was telling her that she needed to find shelter. The wind started to pick up. The men started to clean up so nothing got ruined by the upcoming storm. They hurried into the workshop as Cocoa slowly got up and waddled towards the house.

Val stood too and helped Brenda stand. They walked back to the house and started getting the beer together so Luke and Val could just head down to the boat. Luke collected the beer and he had Val made their way down to the boat. Carl and Brenda followed after them to say their goodbyes. Val hugged Brenda and shook Carl’s hand while Luke done the same. Carl pushed them away from the docks as Luke started the boat and started on his way back to his cabin.

The sky was thick and black and Val could tell that the storm rolling in was going to be bad. Luke hurried to tie the boat off at his dock and grabbed the beer. They made it into the cabin just in time. The first raindrops hit and they were huge. It took no time for the real storm to start. The wind was blowing so hard that the trees leaned around the cabin. The lightning never seemed to stop causing the thunder to never stop. Sometimes it shook the cabin it was so loud.

Val grabbed a book that she had packed and took her place on the couch to read it. Sure it was a little hard to keep focused on it since she was still buzzing bad on the brownies, but she still tried. She found herself having to reread paragraphs because her mind began to wander and she lost track of what she was reading. Luke cracked open a beer and took his place next to Val on the couch. Val scooted over to the middle cushion and leaned up against Luke to continue reading her book while Luke turned on the television. Luckily, he had cable so the storm didn’t effect the tv.

They sat in a comfortable silence for quite some time only for Luke to ruin it by chuckling. Val glanced at the television to see if there was something funny happening, but he was watching a random restoration show that looked more boring than anything. She looked up to Luke who was watching her with a very amused look on his face.

“What?”

“You’ve been reading the same page for thirty minutes.” Val looked back at her book and giggled. She placed her bookmark back between the pages then tossed the book on the table.

“I’m still stoned.” She paused for a moment. “And hungry. I think the munchies are setting in.” She went to stand, but Luke grabbed her around the waist and pulled her into his lap. He pushed her hair over her shoulder and began to leave light kisses on her skin. She giggled rearranging herself on his lap so she was straddling him.

After they had made love on the couch, they had laid back together. Val had covered them with a blanket and was running her fingertips over his skin while he mindlessly played with the tips of their hair. Val felt like she was having an out of body experience. She had never felt so relaxed in her entire life. Mixing sex and marijuana was possibly the best combination that she could ever have put together, but there was still one little problem.

“I still have the munchies.” Luke chuckled before pushing her up so he could make her something to eat.

Chapter Text

Val had her Barracuda pulled up to the line and revved her engine. The engine was so loud that it drowned out the sounds of the crowd cheering on the sidelines. She glanced over as her opponent pulled up alongside her and revved his engine as well even though his tuner had nothing on her muscle car. She glanced into the crowd to see her brother standing there a small, proud grin on his face. He nodded to her as if giving her the go ahead to blow the doors off her opponent’s car.

 

Like she needed his approval.

 

A woman stepped in front of the cars wearing a mini skirt and an even smaller halter top. Her top was barely covering her boobs and if she made one small motion in the wrong direction, her breasts would be out for everyone to see. She pointed to Val’s car first signaling the question if she was ready. Val revved her engine in response. The woman pointed to the other car asking if they were ready. They revved their engine in response though the car sounded more like a go-cart than an actual car.

 

The woman raised her hands in the air and spun her hands around in circles. Val and her opponent revved their engines getting themselves ready to start the race then dropped her hands. Val and her opponent sped off the line staying neck and neck until Val began to gain speed. She could feel the exhilaration of the race pumping through her veins. She could feel the rush of leaving her opponent in the dust.

 

She reached the first half of the course and spun her car around skillfully and began to race back to the finish line. She had pulled so far ahead of her opponent that he was still making it to the first turn. Panic filled her as her opponent turned his car into her lane. Terror filled her when she couldn’t move her steering wheel to get out of his way. She kept urging her car to turn, but she couldn’t.

 

She watched helpless as the car hit her head-on. She blacked out for a moment, but came to when there was something banging on her window. She looked through her window to see Dom beating on her window. He was moving his mouth as if screaming, but Val couldn’t hear what he was saying. He beat his fists on the glass until they became bloody. Blood splattered all over her window so much that she could barely see him anymore. She looked to the other side of her car to see a fire. It grew closer and closer then Val saw a bright white light as her car was completely engulfed in flames.

 

Val jerked awake. She felt a cold sweat on the back of her neck. Her breath was labored. She rolled on her back and ran her hands over her face taking a deep breath to calm herself down. She lulled her head to the side to see Luke laying next to her with his back to her. The blanket was down around his waist showing his powerful back in the dim morning light. She rolled to face him and tried to go back to sleep, but every time she closed her eyes all she could see was flashes of the dream that had woken her up.

 

She wasn’t sure how long she had laid there before she decided that she wasn’t going to be able to go back to sleep. All she could think about was the dream. It had been a long time since she had dreamed about her accident. She wondered what it was that made her dream about it. She sat up slowly in bed trying not to wake Luke. She didn’t want him to worry about her. It was just a dream. She grabbed her phone from the nightstand and used the light on the screen to locate her underwear and Luke’s t-shirt. She got dressed as quietly as she could and made her way out of the bedroom.

 

She didn’t know that Luke was already awake. He hadn’t slept well because Val was tossing and turning all night. She would let out light moans as if she was in pain. He had tried to wrap his arms around her hoping that it would calm her down, but she wouldn’t stop tossing and turning. She would eventually calm down and Luke would try to go to sleep, but Val would start tossing and turning again.

 

Val made her way to the back door and slowly opened it up, cringing as she hinges groaned because of the movement. She didn’t want to wake Luke. He didn’t know about her accident. She didn’t want to tell him about the accident. It was too dark of a time in her family and it was something she hated revisiting. She hadn’t dreamt about the accident in years it seemed like.

 

She stepped out onto the back porch, leaving the door open. The air was chilled from the rains that had come the day before and she could smell the rain. The porch was still damp including the chairs that sat out there so she decided to stand. She walked to the banister and leaned her elbows on it holding her phone up in front of her. She scrolled through her contacts until she found Dom’s number and pressed her finger against it. She knew her brother was still asleep, but she really needed to hear his voice. He always found a way to calm her nerves. She knew he was going to be a little upset that she was calling him just as the sun was coming up, but he would get over it.

 

“Hello?” his deep voice greeted. His voice was deeper than it usually was telling Val that she had woke him up.

 

“Hey,” she said in a low voice. Dom let out a yawn.

 

“You okay?” he asked, his voice no longer sounding asleep. Val could tell that he had went into full blown protective brother mode on her. Val sighed running her fingers through her hair tugging at the knots that had appeared overnight.

 

“Not really.”

 

“It’s too early to be burying your soon to be dead boyfriend, but I’ll go grab the shovel.” Val chuckled lowering her head.

 

“It’s not Luke. I just…” She paused unsure how to continue. She didn’t want to worry her brother especially with her being so far away from him. If she was at home, he would have already been in his car on his way over to her house.

 

“Val,” Dom drawled out in his father-like tone. She hated that voice. He always gave it to her whenever she had done something wrong.

 

“I had a dream about my accident.” Dom hummed in understanding.

 

“It’s been a long time since you’ve done that,” he said. Val hummed an affirmative. “What was it this time?” Val bit her lip and closed her eyes.

 

“My wheel locked up. I couldn’t move out of the way and he was coming right at me.” Dom hummed again and Val wondered if he was even listening to her or if he was falling back to sleep.

 

“You know that’s not how it happened,” Dom reassured. She couldn’t remember much about what happened that night, but from what everyone was telling her about that night, she knew he was right. That didn’t stop the nightmares at all evidently. She felt tears stinging her eyes, but she wanted to remain strong.

 

“You couldn’t get to me, Dom,” she said as her voice broke.

 

“Val,” Dom said quickly as if to snap her out of it, which it did. She pushed her tears back and took a shaky breath. “I got to you. I was there and you know it.” No, she didn’t. Everything was hearsay by other people. Val couldn’t remember that night. A therapist had told her that she had pushed it out of her memory because the moment was so traumatic.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Val.” She made a sound acknowledging that he was speaking to her. “You do realize I’m about nine hours away from you right now, right?” Val let out a light chuckle. He was implying that she needed to go to Luke for comfort.

 

Dom knew that the nightmares caused her to seek the comfort of him because he was the only one who could do so. When Val had been with Leon, she would leave their bed to wake Dom up. It was hard to tell how many times Val had ended up dragging Dom out of his bed so she could be comforted.

 

“Oh, please, Dom, you and I both know that you can be here in an hour if you wanted to.” Dom chuckled with her. Just hearing his voice was enough to calm her enough. She took a deep breath. “Hey, Dom.” He hummed in response. “Luke doesn’t know.” Dom said Val’s name disappointment dripping from it so much that she lowered her head in shame as if he was standing right in front of her. All she wanted to do was crawl under a rock and not come out until he was not disappointed in her anymore. She bit her lip.

 

“I know,” she said as if she were a child that had known she had done wrong by shoving her Barbie in the toilet and tried to flush it only to have the toilet overflow.

 

“Apparently you don’t,” he snapped. “You two have been together for nearly a year and you haven’t told him about that?” Val ran her fingers through her hair and started pacing the porch. She figured that if she moved around she wouldn’t feel so nervous about telling her brother the truth.

 

“How do you expect me to do that?” she hissed quietly. She didn’t want Luke to wake up and hear her. “Oh, by the way, your girlfriend has brain damage!” She said it a little louder than she meant. She glanced inside the cabin, but didn’t see any lights or anything and she hoped she didn’t wake him.

 

“You don’t have brain damage, Val,” Dom reprimanded her quickly. Val huffed and stamped her foot.

 

“I was in a coma for six weeks. It took me over a year to fully recover from that, if that’s what you really want to call it. It took me over a year to sit in my car again after that. Another month just to start it.”

 

“Val,” Dom snapped causing Val to flinch. “Now you listen here and you listen good. Those doctors told me that you would never wake up and that I should just give up. They couldn’t keep the swelling down on your brain and that you would be brain dead for the rest of your life and I should have just pulled the plug and let you go, but I told them no because I knew you would wake up. And you know what? You did and the doctor’s couldn’t believe it. The swelling went away and they couldn’t believe that you had recovered in the time that you did and was able to come home. Sure, it was a really rough time after that, but by the grace of God you got back on your feet and kept fighting until you were back to normal. You didn’t have brain damage or anything. You know it was a miracle. Now you need to tell him about it. About everything.” By the end of his rant, Val felt as if she was an inch tall. She sank down and felt the dampness of the wood under her rear already seeping through the fabric of Luke’s shirt.

 

“I know. You’re right. I do need to tell him. Can you be there for it though? So you can fill in the blanks?”

 

“Of course I’ll be there,” he said much calmer. “I’m sorry I snapped at you.” Val grinned resting her chin on her knees.

 

“I deserved it. Thanks for listening, but I’m going to go. It’s cold outside.” She heard her brother chuckle on the other side of the line.

 

“Try to get a little more sleep, kiddo.” Val grunted upon hearing her nickname.

“I hate it when you call me that.” Dom chuckled again. “Hey, Dom.” Dom hummed. “I love you.” He chuckled again.

 

“I love you, too, kiddo.” She hit the end button without saying goodbye as a way of punishment for calling her by her childhood nickname. She slowly stood from her spot, her joints aching from the crisp morning air. She raised her hand to her head and felt of the tiny scar left behind by the craniectomy. The doctor who had performed the surgery had done an amazing job to minimize scarring. It was small starting an inch and a half above her right ear and disappeared somewhere on the backside of her skull. It had been so long and the scar was so thin that she would lose it in her mess of hair.

 

She knew that Dom was right. Luke did deserve to know. There had been a night where they were laid tangled in bed after making love. She laid in his arms with her head rested on his chest while his fingers ran through her hair slowly when his fingers ghosted over her scar. When he asked her about it, she had simply told him it was nothing. He had pressed the matter a little only for Val to lash out at him slightly then scoot over to her side of the bed and roll away from him. She didn’t speak to him for the rest of the night. He never asked her about it again, but she knew he didn’t deserve that. She slowly made her way back into the cabin hoping that she hadn’t woke Luke up.

 

But what she didn’t know, was that Luke had heard the entire thing. He had slipped out of bed quietly upon hearing the creaking of the back door. He moved silently into the kitchen and stood out of sight as he listened to Val’s side of the conversation. He wanted badly to go out onto the back porch to let her know that he was there and he had heard everything, but when she had asked Dom to be there when Val told him about the accident so he could fill in the blanks, he decided against it. He felt his heart sink to his feet when he heard her say that she was in a coma for six weeks. When she started to wrap up the conversation, Luke made his way back to the bedroom and laid back down as if he was still asleep. He waited patiently for her to return to the bedroom which she did after a few short minutes. He rolled onto his back and watched her as she stripped herself of the clothes she had put on. She grinned at him as she crawled back into bed and laid next to him. She rested her head on his shoulder and wrapped her arm around his waist, but said nothing.

 

“You okay?” Luke asked mainly because he was curious as to what her response would be. Val snuggled into him a little more and tightened her arm around him.

 

“Yeah. Just a bad dream. That’s all.” She said nothing more as she slowly went back to sleep.

Chapter Text

Val nearly fell out of bed when thunder caused her to jerk out of her unconsciousness. It sounded like someone had dropped a bunch of pots and pans directly next to her head. Her heart thudded roughly in her chest as the rest of her senses took their sweet time coming to. She could hear the rain coming down in what seemed like tidal waves outside the window. She glanced over at the clock that sat on Luke’s side of the bed only to see that the red numbers were dark.

She huffed. The power was out. She threw her legs over the edge of the bed and stretched her arms above her head. She stood slowly and walked over to the dresser where she had went ahead and placed their clothes in so they didn’t have the eyesore of their luggage lying about anymore and pulled out a fresh pair of underwear and slid them on. Not really feeling like dressing for the day, she put on the pajamas that she had put on the night before only for Luke to rip them off minutes later so they were still clean. She stepped out of the bedroom to find Luke standing in front of his front windows leaning against the frame watching the storm. He had a cup of coffee in his hand. He had no shirt on with a pair of plain black pajama bottoms.

“Power’s out. Best grab some coffee before it gets cold,” he said without even moving. She grinned shaking her head. She wasn’t sure how he had heard her because she had always been a light walker, but he had. He always did. She grunted in response and made her way into the kitchen to pour herself a cup of coffee. It looked like only one cup was missing out of the pot. She poured herself a fresh cup before turning to Luke.

“Do you want some more coffee?” she asked. Luke glanced down at his cup then looked back out the window.

“Yeah.” He turned to walk back into the kitchen, but Val was already on her way to give him more coffee. They met halfway and Val topped him off with more coffee. They separated; Luke going back to the window, Val back to the coffee pot to drop the pot back into it. Val made her way to Luke sipping on her coffee. She placed her cup down on the window sill and wrapped her arms around Luke’s waist from behind. Thunder shook the cabin again, but Val ignored it as she breathed him in. She ran her fingertips over the skin on his chest and stomach slowly.

She felt his muscles move as he lifted the cup to his lips to take a sip of his coffee. Val hadn’t slept well at all and she felt exhausted. All she wanted to do was go back to sleep, but she wasn’t going to be able to do that since there was a huge storm raging outside. She wasn’t able to get the conversation her and Dom had earlier that morning out of her mind. The sound of disappointment in his voice echoed through her head when she had admitted that she hadn’t told Luke about her accident.

It wasn’t like she hadn’t thought about telling him and it wasn’t like she hadn’t come close to telling him. It was just every time she had gotten close to telling him, she would get worried about how he would react to it. Dom wasn’t wrong when he had said it was nothing short of a miracle that she had managed to pull out of it the way that she had. The doctors were baffled by her recovery when they had discovered there was no amount of damage to her brain considering how long she had been in a coma. But Val wasn’t so convinced that there wasn’t anything wrong with her. She had been in a coma long enough for her to be classified as being in a vegetative state. There was no avoiding any kind of permanent damage to her brain.

Every part of her medical training told her that. There had to be something there. Some kind of damage. Miracle or not.

“You okay?” Luke asked unmoving. Val grinned taking a breath. She pressed her lips against the skin on his back gently. She felt guilty by not telling him about her accident sooner. Luke was a good man even if he drove her absolutely insane when he was gone for weeks on end without any kind of communication. She never tried to hold that part against him since it was in her best interest. He also treated her well. Sure, they would bicker about things, but it wasn’t ever a full blown argument. Sure, there had been times that they would have to walk away from each other because it was going to escalate into an argument and neither of them wanted that, but he never raised his voice to her. She would always get what she asked for. Whether it be a hot bath and a beer after a long day’s work or holding her on the couch while she calmed down.

He didn’t deserve her keeping something like that from him.

“Yeah, just thinking about how lucky I am to have you,” she whispered with her lips still against her skin. Luke looked back at her over his shoulder. He wondered if she was thinking about the conversation he had overheard between her and Dom the night before. He couldn’t say why she would keep it away from him no matter how bad the accident was. He knew that Val was an odd woman and her reasoning behind why she hadn’t told him was probably something ridiculous, but the fact that she hadn’t told him brought an odd pang to his chest. He wasn’t sure if it was frustration, disappointment, or something entirely different, but it was a feeling that he hadn’t felt before.

He wasn’t sure what Dom had said to her, but it didn’t seem to reassure her in some way. She was distant and her aura was dull. He had only seen her like that on days that affected her greatly at work. He hated when she came home looking both emotionally and physically drained that at times he regretted ever clearing her name so she could work as a doctor again. He always felt so useless when she came home in a state like that. She always came out of it though and all he had to do was wait patiently while she did. She deserved that much since she was always waiting around for him whenever he was called out.

She said she was lucky to have him, but she had no idea how lucky he felt that he had her. Not many people could stand being with a man like him. He wasn’t difficult to be around, but being in the line of work that he was in always put a strain on things. She always looked so upset whenever he had to leave and every part of him wanted to stay with her just so he didn’t have to see that look in her eyes, but when he returned to her, it was always worth it. He loved how her eyes lit up whenever she opened the door to see him standing on the other side. He loved how she always lept into his arms and held him. He loved how her hands wandered his body looking for any type of injury that he could have gotten during his latest mission. He loved her smile and more importantly, her laugh. He loved the way she smelled and loved the way she tasted. He loved her patience and loved even more that she never backed down when she truly believed in something.

No, she wasn’t the lucky one. He was the lucky one.

He looked back out to the monsoon-like weather and took another sip of his coffee. Val finally stepped away from him letting her fingers run across his skin until he was out of reach and grabbed her coffee from the windowsill. She stood next to him sipping at her coffee.

“Weather’s not going to be letting up anytime soon. Said it could last all day,” Luke said casually as he wanted to break the silence between them. Val hummed as she turned her back to the window and leaned against the frame. She grinned into her cup giving look a playful look.

“Well, it looks like it’s just you and me today,” she said. Luke grinned down at her. She pushed herself away from the window. She leaned in close to him and ran her finger up his arm. “So, why don’t you go and put a fire in the fireplace and I will be back out in a bit.” Luke watched her as she walked away and disappeared towards their bedroom. He wasn’t sure exactly what she was getting at when she said it that way, but he was going to get right on that fire and see exactly what it was.

It took him no time to have the flames burning brightly in the fireplace. He turned upon hearing Val’s light step behind him and grinned. She carried the blanket from their bed in her arms. She still held her coffee cup loosely in her hands. Luke grabbed it from her and sat it on the table. She threw the blanket down on the ground then, with Luke’s help, pushed the coffee table up against the couch. Luke watched her with a grin on his face as she spread the blanket around the floor in front of the fireplace. As soon as it was to her liking, she flopped herself down on it and stretched out with a groan.

Luke laid on his side next to her the grin never leaving his face. She didn’t notice it though. She seemed to be too entranced by the flames dancing around. She let out a low sigh. Luke’s grin altered a little. She still seemed distant. Like her mind was elsewhere. He knew why and he wanted to comfort her, but he wasn’t supposed to know. For some reason, she wanted to keep it from him. He kept searching his mind for any logical explanation as to why, but there was nothing that seemed reasonable enough.

He was pulled from his thoughts when Val sat up and reached over him to grab her coffee and her book that was tossed carelessly on the coffee table. She sat her coffee cup off the blanket and rolled onto her stomach so she could read the book in comfort. Luke shook his head as a slight disappointment floated through him. He was expecting the request for a fire to go in a slightly different direction. He rolled on his back and put his arms behind his head with a huff.

Val was trying everything in her power to keep her mind off her nightmare the night before. And more importantly, she had to keep her mind off the fact that every fiber of her being was wanting to tell Luke about her accident. As much as she didn’t want to, Dom had convinced her that it was important to tell him and now she was wanting to just get it over with.

There was still a lot of that time of recovery that was still spotty to her. Her short term memory was non existent for roughly the first six months of her recovery before it started coming back and even then it would have habits of coming and going. She would have bouts of confusion. Sometimes she would black out and come to in places she had no memory of going to.

She could remember someone trying to talk to her and suddenly, they would be very frustrated with her and Val would have no idea why. Dom had forced her away from the garage because her labor time was insanely long because apparently, they would walk into the garage to find Val staring blankly at the wall with a tool she didn’t even need in her hand.

But Dom was right. She managed to come back. She never gave up. And with the support of her family, she was back to normal.

It wasn’t until after she had made her “full recovery” that Dom had admitted that he had been filming her throughout her recovery so she would have something to look back on to see how far she was able to make it. She couldn’t believe her eyes upon seeing the films because she had no recollection of them being done. She had watched them for days in her room crying because of what she had put her family through. She had been such a burden on them, but they never once complained.

She supposed that was what family was for.

She took a quick peek to Luke who was laying on his back with his arms behind his head looking very bored. He was mindlessly chewing on his lip. She grinned looking back down to her book to continue reading. She heard Luke move beside her, but she paid no mind to it.

They laid in front of the fire with the storm raging outside for what seemed like hours in complete silence. Val had put a good dent in her book and she was glad for it. She had been reading on that book for over a month with no luck because of work. The words were starting to blur on the pages so she figured that it was enough of reading for a little while. She closed the book and tossed it back onto the coffee table. She stretched out with a groan then folded her arms under her head so she could rest for a bit.

She closed her eyes to rest them for a while. They felt like they had ten pound weights on them. She felt a large hand rest on her lower back and slowly run up to her shoulders. She groaned as his hand began to knead her muscles. He slid a little closer to her without stopping his massage.

“That feels really good,” Val whispered without opening her eyes. Luke hummed as his hand slowly made it way down her back kneading away. She gasped as his fingers found a rather tense muscle causing an odd pain to shoot through her. She stayed tense as he worked away at the muscle until it loosened enough for her to relax again. She sighed.

Her eyes shot open giving Luke a playful glare when his hand cupped her rear and gave it a nice squeeze. He had a smirk plastered on his face. They said nothing as his hand began to trail back up her back except his hand went under her shirt instead of staying on the outside of her clothing.

Val released a small groan letting her eyes slowly close again. He let his fingers slowly slide over her skin feeling the goosebumps pop up all over her body. His smirk only grew as he felt her forcing a shiver back.

Val felt his hand slide to her side and his fingers gripped her. He pulled her to her side to where her back was against him. His fingers ghosted across her stomach as his other hand pulled her hair over her shoulder to expose the skin on her neck to him. His lips touched her neck and she couldn’t suppress the shiver that shot down her spine. All of the heat inside her body shot down to her lower abdomen as she grinded her hips back against him and felt his still hardening erection against her.

His arm tightened around her waist as if he felt her arousal. His hand traveled up the front of her body until he was able to grip her breast in his hand. She instinctively arched into his hand as his teeth brushed against the skin on her neck. She let loose a small whimper at his actions. She wasn’t sure how he managed to do what he did to her, but he always knew just where to touch her to drive her absolutely insane.

She ran her hand down his arm following it up to her breast and urged him to squeeze her tighter. His kisses trailed closer to her ear causing her breath to shudder. She bit her lip as a way to hold back another whimper because she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he had turned her on so much with so little effort.

The hand on her breast slipped out from under hers and just as she was about to pull her hand away, his hand covered hers keeping it in place. She squeezed herself for him as his hand left hers and slid down her body to her pant line. She moved her hips against his urging him to go farther. She felt his teeth clamp down on her neck roughly as his hand shot down the front of her pants and immediately found her bundle of nerves. He ran his fingers around in a small, slow circle over them earning a moan from her.

She picked up her leg and rested it on top of his so she could open herself up to his touch more. Luke squeezed her against him grinding into her so she could feel that he was fully hardened. She lowered her hand from her shirt so she could put it behind her to feel him. Luke let out a low groan as she ran her hand up and down his length.

His fingers slid down a little farther as he ran his fingers between her wet folds. She wanted nothing more than for him to be inside her, but she wasn’t going to rush him since what he was doing to her was absolutely amazing. Once his finger was lubricated enough with her juices, his fingers went back to work on her clit. His wet fingers provided a new sensation for Val. She involuntarily called out as she arched her back.

Luke withdrew his hand from her pants earning a grunt of protest from Val. She looked back to Luke to see what he was doing, but all came clear when she felt her pants and underwear being pushed down. She maneuvered her hips around to make it easier for him to push them down. He managed to get them down to just below her knees then Val kicked them off the rest of the way. Val tried to roll to where she was facing Luke, but he held her tight with her back against him. She felt Luke moving around to push his pants down behind her. Once they were off, he slipped his hand under her knee and lifted it up to expose her completely to him. She arched her body to make it easier for him to push into her. She turned her head back to him when she felt his tip press against her opening. He kissed her lips roughly as he pushed into her. Val's hand rested on the back of his neck as she let out a gracious moan as she felt him fill her completely in one thrust.

He began to move inside her slowly without releasing her lips. She moaned as she began to move her hips to meet his thrusts. Luke released her lips and buried his head in her neck as his thrusts became a little faster and harder. Luke lowered her leg to where it was resting back on his and began to push her shirt up as he kept thrusting into her. It was awkward, but Val managed to get her shirt off with little trouble. Luke's hand immediately went to her breast and began to squeeze and pinch her flesh. She whimpered at the sensations leaning her head back.

She felt Luke begin to press against her as if pushing her forward. Unsure of what he was after, she went with it. Luke pushed her to where she was laying on her stomach and he went with her. She kept her hips raised so he wouldn’t slide out of her. She spread her legs out and bent her knees for extra support for her. She felt his hand grip her hair and pulled on it hard enough to force her head back. She gasped as he started thrusting into her roughly. Luke groaned into her ear. His free hand ran down her arm and he wrapped his fingers around her own. She whimpered his name.

The hand tangled in her hair released her and it wrapped around her neck to keep her head leaned back. She felt his lips caressing the skin on her neck causing what felt like electric shocks to shoot through her entire body.

She felt him pushing her closer to the edge causing her to start grunting with each of her thrusts. She bit her lip trying to hold it back, but it wasn't helping. She tried to lower her head, but Luke's grip tightened on her neck to keep her head upright. He released her hand letting his now free hand travel down under her and found her clit. She called out his name at the new feeling. She raised her hips more to give Luke a better angle.

Her orgasm was so sudden that she almost wasn't believing she was having one. Stars exploded into her vision as she couldn't control her vocals. Luke's fingers began to run over her clit quickly as her orgasm hit just adding to the pleasurable sensations. Luke didn't stop until the orgasm started to dissipate.

Luke slipped out of her and raised up so he could flip her over on her back. She was out of breath and a small sheen of sweat coated her body. Her eyes were glazed over with arousal. Her hair was a little messy from where he had his hand tangled in it. Luke thought that she had never looked more beautiful. She raised up and put her hands on his shoulders. She pushed him to where he was laying on his back before she climbed on top of him. She leaned down and roughly locked her lips with his. Luke's hands rested on her waist as he kissed her back just as ruthlessly.

She reached down between them and gripped him. She lowered herself down slowly letting the feeling of him surround her. Luke's arms wrapped around her to keep her against him as she began to move her hips on him. His hand pressed into her lower back to urge her along. She moaned against his lips. She broke the kiss and sat up. Luke's hands ran along her body before settling on her waist. She began to move her hips in a slow circular motion. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes.

She felt Luke’s hand run up the front of her body slowly before stopping to squeeze the soft skin of her breast. She began to rock her hips over his slowly. Luke’s hands continued to roam her body. She felt her second orgasm coming closer and she felt her hips start to move faster without her even thinking about it. She ran her fingers through her hair to get it off the back of her neck for a moment since she was feeling hot.

Luke sat up wrapping his arms around her body as his mouth found the flesh around her neck and chest. Val placed her hands on his shoulders and rearranged her legs a little so she could be a little more comfortable while she moved over him. She kept her head lulled back so he could attack her skin.

Luke’s hands rested on her waist and they squeezed her so tight that it hurt, but that didn’t stop Val. He began to force her hips faster causing Val to let out a long, guttural moan. She dug her nails into his shoulders forcing a groan from Luke. Luke’s hands ran slowly up her back then gripped her shoulders. Val let her head fall forward and wrapped her arms around his neck.

Luke began forcing her down on him hard. Val couldn’t control the sounds coming from her at the shockwaves that went through her body. Her orgasm was violent and quick. She threw her head back screaming his name unable to control herself. Her whole body seemed to shake at the waves rushing over her body. Luke began to moan with each of her forced thrusts. Val felt her nails dig into his skin, but she wasn’t sure where. Luke seemed to explode inside her as her arms wrapped around her waist and held her tight against him as she rode him out.

Neither of them said nothing as they tried to catch their breath. Luke’s head rested against her chest and Val’s rested against the top of his head. It took a few moments for either of them to move. Luke rested back into the blanket and rested his hands behind his head. Val lowered herself so she could kiss him then reached over onto the couch to grab the blanket on the back of the couch. She covered their waists then she laid down beside Luke and rested her head on his chest. Her fingers tickled the skin on his chest.

Val couldn’t get the smile on her face to go away. She giggled looking up to Luke.

“You know, I’m not the one to complain,” she started.

“But you’re going to anyways,” Luke rebutted quickly. Val “tsked” at him before continuing.

“No, but I do have to ask. What has gotten into you?” Luke thought for a moment, then looked down at her.

“What do you mean?” he asked truly confused.

“I haven’t been able to keep you off me since we’ve been here. We haven’t had this much sex since we first got together.” Luke frowned wondering why that would be an issue in any way. Sure, she didn’t present it as if it were an issue, but why would she even question it? He shrugged his shoulders as best as he could. Val chuckled letting her head rest on his chest again. They fell into another silence. The only sounds they could hear was the storm still raging outside and the crackles of the fire still burning in the fireplace.

Luke’s fingers found her hair. They began to routinely run through her hair. Val closed her eyes letting the sensation relax her to where she could sleep. It didn’t last long. Luke’s fingers ran across her scar and ran across it. Her eyes shot open. She tried to control her heart rate. She wondered if it was a sign that Luke had found her scar. Maybe it was time to tell him about her accident. Even if she wasn’t going to be able to tell him the whole story because she wasn’t truly there through the whole thing.

“I always try to come here about once a year,” Luke started. “At least for a couple weeks to just get away.” Val lifted her head and rested her chin on his chest so she could look at him. He stared at the ceiling as he made his explanation. “I don’t have to worry about anything other than the fact that it’s just you and me right now.” Val stayed quiet as she watched him. She understood what he meant. Once she had started back to work and Luke always into something with work, it was hard for them to truly be together. Even when it was just Luke and her, they still had to worry about her family. The trip to the cabin was exactly what they needed. They just needed to be alone. Away from the drama of everyday life. They needed to rediscover each other.

Val sat up on her knees and put her legs out beside her so she could lean into the side of his body. She put her body across his. She propped her chin up on her hands which she laced together with her fingers.

He deserved to know.

“Luke, there’s something you should know about me,” she started, but once it was out, she wondered if she should continue. She worried about how he would react to it. There were too many scenarios going through her mind. Unfortunately, she had already started and had no other choice but to continue. “About twenty years ago, I had just gotten my license and was starting to get into the whole underground racing circuit scene. Dom was teaching me how to drive and I was getting pretty good at it.” Luke was watching her, but she was avoiding his gaze. “I was starting to race and started to win a few races, but there was this one racer that I just couldn’t beat.” She paused. “His name was Jason and he always loved taunting me. Something,” she paused again wondering if what she was about to say next was worth it. “Happened. Dom had done something to him. I hear a lot of different stories from different people. I don’t even know whether or not to believe Dom’s story. He says he had beaten him down because he wouldn’t leave me alone, but what he did wasn’t enough of a motive.” She paused again running her fingers across his skin. “He challenged me to a race one night and I accepted. It was a one mile race. We would go half a mile down, spin the car around, and come back. I was a full car length in front of him in no time. I got to the end, drifted the car around, and started to come back.” She paused once more and sat up with a sigh. She could always remember up the that point before it started getting splotchy.

“I don’t… remember seeing his headlights in front of me… but suddenly they were.” She looked into his eyes curious as to what kind of look he had. She had to judge his look. He watched her patiently. “I don’t remember much of anything after that.” She looked away from him. She started into the fire letting its dance engulf her. “All I know is that I was in a coma for six weeks and it took me over a year to fully recover. All I hear are these stories from people telling me things that I did without me remembering.”

She bit her lip as she felt tears sting her eyes.

“I was considered to be in a vegetative state. Everything states that people that are in a vegetative state will have brain damage if they wake up.” She stopped. She couldn’t continue. Her voice had broken and there was nothing more she could say without breaking her down. An eternity passed before she heard Luke move behind her. He sat up and rested his hand on her shoulder before kissing the other.

“I heard you talking to Dom this morning.” Val glanced back at him quickly. She hadn’t seen him or heard him. He was laying in bed when she had come back in still sound asleep. She didn’t know that he had gotten out of bed to eavesdrop on her and Dom’s conversation. How was someone that was so big able to move so quietly? “You said you have brain damage.” Val looked back to the fire. “You know that’s not true, right?” Val bit her lip looking down.

“The doctors said there was no damage, but that’s just impossible. There has to be some damage there.”

“But there’s not.” Val sighed looking back to Luke. She searched for something to say to him, but nothing really came to mind. “Look, if you had any kind of damage, do you honestly think that they would have let you come back to the hospital if they thought you were incompetent because of brain damage?” Val shrugged, knowing he was right. The hospital knew about her injury. Hell, it was Sacred Hearts that she stayed in while she recovered.

“I know you’re right, Luke. Dom has been telling me the same thing for years. It’s just… everything I know about medicine says that there has to be damage, but there’s not. All of the scans, all of the tests, says there’s nothing there, but they’re wrong. There has to be something there.” She let out a sigh upon hearing how ridiculous she sounded.

“There’s not, Val. You’re fine. There is no damage. You pulled out of it.” She sighed once more and leaned into Luke’s body. He wrapped his arms around her so he could hold her against him. Val had seen people with brain injuries before. In her line of work, sometimes they were an every night occurrence. She knew the way they acted, the way they weren’t all there. They weren’t able to care for themselves in any kind of way. Their families had to care for them around the clock. Just like her family had to do for her at one point. Sometimes, the patients would pull through and sometimes they wouldn’t. Val was one of the lucky ones.

“If you would like to know more of what happened to me, you’re going to have to talk to Dom and Mia. My therapist said that I had blocked a lot of it out because it was such a traumatic experience. I still have nightmares about that night though last night had been the first time in a very long time that I had dreamt about it.”

“We’ll go talk to Dom and Mia when we get back. Until then, I don’t want you thinking about it.” Val gave him a flat look. He made it sound so easy. She sighed.

“I’ll try not to.” Luke grinned lifting his hand to her cheek then kissed her lips gently.

“I know how to keep your mind off it,” he whispered in a husky voice. He kissed her again and pushed her on her back without releasing her lips. She giggled resting her hands on his cheeks. He was worse than a highschool kid who had just discovered his sexuality, but she wasn’t going to push him away by no means.

Chapter Text

The storm had forced Val and Luke to stay indoors for the rest of the day. It wasn’t like she was complaining since all they did was stay tangled together. The power had come back on sometime in the evening, but Luke and Val kept everything off using the fire in the fireplace as the only light source. The storm let up at some time during the night, but Val wasn’t sure when since she had been so entranced by Luke and everything he was doing to her.

The next morning, after she had showered and made breakfast for the two of them, a few vehicles pulled up into the front yard. Val watched as three men hopped out of the various vehicles and went to their trunks. Luke walked to the door and stepped out onto the front porch with a small grin on his face. The three men pulled out several cases of beer and liquor and started carrying it inside.

The first one inside was as tall as Luke though his muscle mass was nothing like Luke’s. He sat the alcohol down on the table before turning to Val. He had a kind smile as he approached her. Val just stared at him as the two remaining men walked in with their alcohol.

“You must be this Val that we’ve heard absolutely nothing about,” he said holding his hand out to shake hers. She reached her hand out and let him grip her hand. “I’m Hank.” Val smiled at him. She had heard about the team DSS had assigned him after the deaths of his previous team. Luke barely talked about them, but what she did know, they seemed to be a good team together. They had to be since they always returned.

“It’s nice to meet you, Hank. Luke must be ashamed of me or something because it seems that he doesn’t really talk about me much to anyone,” she said as Luke stepped into the cabin carrying bags of food. He shot her a playful glare.

“Oh, no, he’s not ashamed of you. He’s just worried that we’ll try to steal you away from him,” he said still holding onto her hand. Val felt her face heat up as she jerked her hand away from his.

“You do realize you’re married, right, Hank?” the black man said crossing his arms across his chest.

“Only when we’re in the same zip code,” Hank said not taking his eyes off Val. Val took an instinctive step back suddenly feeling very uncomfortable. Luke appeared next to Hank giving him a deep glare. Hank slowly looked to his leader a slight cringe appearing at the corner of his eyes.

“Walk away,” Luke demanded. Hank raised his hands defensively and walked away from them. The black man approached her to introduce himself next.

“I’m Jamal.” Val shook his hand with a smile. The last was Ben and when Val went to shake his hand, he shook his head.

“Oh no, we hug where I’m from,” he said and stepped forward wrapping his arms around her. She felt like she had disappeared in his large embrace. She squeaked when he picked her up in a bear hug.

Val had no idea what was going on and had no idea why Luke’s team had randomly just showed up at the cabin. Luke hadn’t mentioned anything to her about them showing up and wondered if he even knew, but with the way he didn’t question them, she figured that he knew the entire time and just hadn’t let her know. Val walked into the kitchen and started to help put the alcohol in the fridge to start cooling off and put the meats up so it didn’t spoil.

She put on another pot of coffee for them as they sat down at the dining room table and started talking. They talked about how they had been waiting practically all year for their get together at the cabin telling Val that it was just tradition. Being with your team outside of work built trust between them all. Trust within a team was the most important thing to have. She could relate more than Luke knew.

Once the coffee began to brew, Val went to the table and sat down next to Hank who immediately leaned closer to her with a grin on his face. She frowned looking at him as she leaned away from him. It didn’t last long as she felt her chair begin to slide away from him and closer to Luke. Val grinned looking to Luke as he glared at Hank. Luke’s arm rested on the back of her chair.

“I’m just picking,” Hank defended. Luke didn’t answer and Val was glad that he was going to leave it alone. The last thing she wanted was Luke to get into a fight. Especially since they were on vacation. Even if they were no longer alone. She would be lying if she said it didn’t bum her out a little knowing that they were no longer alone especially since Luke had just said how much they needed to be alone, but who was she to get in the way of one of his traditions.

“No, you ain’t,” Ben stated from across the table in a thick accent.

“You’re not,” Jamal corrected him.

“Shut up.” Jamal chuckled.

The group fell into casual conversation. Mostly all they wanted to know was more about Val. She told them about her work at the hospital and her family. She even showed them pictures and videos of Jack though when she tried to show them to Hank, Luke made sure that she didn’t get too close to him. Hank and Ben had showed her pictures and videos of their kids as well.

When lunchtime came around, Val had made them all the sandwiches of their choice. Once they were done eating, Ben had helped her with the dishes while Luke began marinating the steaks that his team had brought with them. She liked Ben. He reminded her a lot of Brian in a way. He was down to earth and an absolute sweetheart. Val couldn’t believe that he was so young and in the DSS. He was still just a kid to her.

Once the kitchen was cleaned up and the steaks were marinating, the beer was taken from the fridge and everyone started drinking. Val wasn’t really in the mood to really start drinking, but Hank continued to pick on her until she grabbed her own beer and drank it all in one drink. Luke cornered Hank in the kitchen giving him a fair warning to lay off Val or else he would kick his ass.

They all made their way out onto the back porch a few hours later so Luke could start cooking the steaks. By that time, everyone was working on a decent buzz. Jamal and Ben had stayed close to Val as if blocking her away from Hank. She wasn’t sure if he was joking or not about his advances, but with the way the rest of the team was acting towards him, he wasn’t. He made her feel very uncomfortable every time that he came close to her, but Jamal and Ben would always get in his way before he got too close. She really prayed that he was joking with her, for his own sake. It was hard telling what Luke would do to him if he pushed it too far.

“So, Val, you’re a doctor right?” Jamal asked out of the blue. Val narrowed her eyes at him.

“No, I’m not looking at any mysterious rashes.” Ben nearly spit his beer out everywhere as he busted out laughing. Jamal crossed his arms over his chest. Luke just shook his head chuckling.

“I was just going to ask you what is the craziest thing you seen walk through those doors.” Val hummed at his question and gave it some thought. Considering she worked in an emergency room in the middle of Los Angeles, there was a lot of crazy things that she seen walk through those doors.

“There was a guy that came in with a nine inch blade in the back of his skull and it was sticking out the front of his face. He didn't feel any pain. He was able to talk. His vitals were normal. He even drove himself there. You see, it's my job to stabilize the patients and get them to the right area of the hospital for further treatment if they need it. But this guy was stable. That was pretty crazy.”

“Wow. Yeah that is pretty crazy. Alright, what's your favorite type of injury that comes through the door?” Val gave him an odd look at his phrasing.

“What do you think I am; a sadist?” Jamal gave her a flat look.

“You know what I mean.” Val grinned shaking her head.

“I wouldn't say that my favorites that come through the doors are injuries per say,” she said taking a sip from her beer. Jamal made a motion as if he was wanting her to continue. “But my favorite thing that comes through those doors are the erections lasting for more than four hours.” As soon as those words left her mouth, it seemed like the entire universe had been put on mute. Even Luke had turned to look back at her as if wondering if she had said what he thought she had said. She giggled at the looks all the men around her were giving her. “Now hear me out on this.”

“I don't know if I want to,” Luke spoke up from his spot in front of the grill. Val giggled again.

“Okay, now listen… when men come in with this problem, there is two types of men. The first are the men who are very ashamed of the problem and will barely tell you what's going on and most of the time you're playing a mixture of charades and fill in the blanks to get the information out of them. Then you have the men who practically come in fully nude, rolling out the red carpet, putting spotlights on it, the works. They're more than happy to tell you all about how they were able to go for more than four hours and all that.” Jamal grinned looking over to Luke who was stone faced staring at Val.

“I think you're going to have to have a talk with your woman over here, Hobbs.”

“I think you might be right,” he countered waiting for Val to continue. Val laughed at them then held her finger up to shush them.

“That's not the best part,” Val said. Ben laughed.

“Oh, I can't wait to hear this,” he said. Val gave the rookie a playful glare.

“Then shut up. Now the best part of these problems is the looks on the mens’ faces whenever you tell them what you have to do in order to get the erection to go away.” There was a slight pause amongst the group as the men wondered what had to happen in order to get rid the erections.

“Alright,” Hank spoke up after a moment. “I'll bite. What do you have to do in order to get their boners to go away?” Val gave him a devilish grin.

“We take a needle and drain the blood.” Val grinned looking around at all the different looks of the men around her. They all seemed to pale a little upon the reveal. She giggled again. “Yeah, that look.” Jamal shook away a chill that crawled up his spine.

“I think you may be just a little bit of a sadist.” Val chuckled in a way that seemed to brush off Jamal’s comment.

“Nah, I just enjoy what I do.” Jamal leaned away from Val, taken aback from her statement before turning to Luke.

“Yeah, I think you need to have a conversation with your woman.” Luke turned back to the grill to check on the meat and pretended that he hadn't heard Jamal. As Jamal kept talking to Val, she had discovered that he was the field medic of the team. She wasn't sure why the new information had thrown her off, but she just never thought about anyone in his team having a special job within the team. She wasn't even sure why his team was so small compared to what it was before they had been killed. She had the sudden urge to ask, but she avoided the question since it wasn't the time or the place to ask.

She remembered trying to work on Vince while he slowly bled out when he had suffered a gunshot wound, but she didn't have the proper equipment to save him. She remembered kissing his cheek as she slowly closed his eyes. She rested her head against his for a moment cursing Luke Hobbs name. She had blamed him for Vince’s death at first because if it wasn’t for him, then he would have still been alive. She remembered turning to Luke and started fussing over him as a way to take her mind off the loss of Vince. It didn’t matter how angry she was with the hulking man, her medical training made her check him over.

She could remember how broken his eyes had seemed as she looked him over. She had seen him getting knocked off his feet by one of the cars being hit by an RPG causing an explosion. He hadn’t moved until Dom had helped him stand. Val had just assumed that he was physically hurt because Luke Hobbs seemed to be invincible. But the look in his eyes told her that he was just a mere man. A man that had lost something very dear to him. A team; a family.

When he ignored her questions, she tried her best to assess him before moving onto Brian and Dom to check them over, but they had shooed her away. Seeing the man she feared most, so broken and hurt made her regret being angry with him over the death of her friend. He had lost so much more than she had and he was suffering with no one around to comfort him. At least she had her team; her family. He had no one. She felt selfish for blaming him instead of blaming Reyes.

She glanced over to Luke as he opened the grill to turn the steaks over. It still amazed her how far they had come. Part of her wondered if she would ever be able to get over the fact that he was once a man that she had wished death upon and now she never wanted to leave his side. She came to whenever she heard Ben say her name. She glanced up at him blinking a few times.

“You alright?” Her eyes moved to her beer as she spun it around to see the contents inside just to find that there was nothing left.

“Yeah, I need another beer. Does anyone need beers?” There was a collection of yeses that came from the group. She stepped back inside the cabin to retrieve beers for them. She placed enough beer on the counter and reached for the bottle opener when she heard the front door of the cabin open up. She stepped away from the counter far enough to see who was coming in. She frowned seeing the newcomer.

The first thing Val noticed about the newcomer was that she was absolutely beautiful. She stood a few inches taller than Val and had a thick, strong frame. She had bright blonde hair and even bluer eyes than Brian. She had thick, full, naturally pink lips. Her breasts were a good cup size more, at least, than Val’s C cups. She had them pressed together in a tight, black vest with a white, long sleeved shirt underneath. She had a perfect waist and Val didn’t even have to look to know that she had a perfect round rear. Her legs seemed to go on for miles. She wore a pair of dark, boot cut jeans that were tucked away in black knee high boots. She had a long cigarette hanging from her lips and a huge bottle of Vodka in her hand.

The blue eyes of the woman found Val and she stopped walking. She looked Val up and down in curiosity. Val felt inadequate to the woman since Val had decided to go with plain clothes for the day since she didn’t know there was going to be a party. The mystery woman took a long draw from her cigarette without grabbing it with her fingers then let a long line of smoke exit through her nostrils as they studied each other. Val wasn’t sure who the woman was, but there was a small voice in the back of her head saying that she didn’t like her.

“Who are you?” Val inquired. The woman was silent for a moment as she gave Val another once over.

“Who are you?” she retorted in a thick Russian accent.

“Natalya!” Luke snapped from outside. Val flinched inwardly upon hearing the frustration in Luke’s voice. Val looked over to see Luke standing just inside the door. Natalya casually looked to Luke. “What did I say about smoking in the cabin?” Natalya grinned.

“It is good to see you too, Hobbs,” she said in a teasing manner. Luke frowned crossing his arms across his chest.

“Put it out.” Val turned back to the beer to open the bottles as the woman made her way out back onto the porch. Val rushed to open the bottles so she could get back out there. She wanted to know who that woman was. She felt Luke’s hand brush across her lower back and she glanced back to him. She handed him one of the beers with a small smile and grabbed the rest of them to take out to the others.

They stepped out onto the back porch together and Val handed the beer around to the others. She felt Natalya’s eyes on her so Val looked back at her. She seemed to be studying Val almost sizing her up. Val felt an arm go around her shoulders, but it didn’t feel like Luke. She looked to its owner hoping that it wasn’t Hank. She was relieved to see Ben.

“Natalya, this is Val, Hobbs’ girlfriend. Val, this is Natalya. She’s, uh, she’s a friend.” Natalya raised an eyebrow as if it had surprised her to hear that the woman standing in front of her was indeed Luke’s girlfriend. Natalya glanced to Luke who was busy with the grill then back to Val.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Val said with a kind smile, trying to be friendly with the new arrival. Natalya took another draw from her cigarette without touching it and let it loose through her nostrils, but said nothing to Val. Val’s smile disappeared as she felt the tension rise on the back porch.

“Foods done,” Luke said breaking the silence. Everyone shuffled back into the dining room so they could all eat. Val stayed quiet as she ate. She stared at the plate before her not really wanting to engage in the conversation. She was too busy wondering how Natalya played into the picture. It made her uneasy with how the woman looked at her when she had found out who she was. She seemed familiar enough with them all to where she could just walk in without knocking. Luke hadn’t mentioned to her that there was going to be anyone else coming, but then again, he hadn’t let her know anyone was coming in the first place.

She chanced a glance to the Russian woman to find her eyeing Luke. She immediately shifted her gaze to Luke to see what he was doing. He was too busy watching Jamal as he told a random story about a time back in Florida that involved alligators. He had a small grin on his face as he listened to the story. He seemed oblivious to the fact that Natalya was watching him, but Val knew better than that. Luke was more than aware that the woman was staring at him. Val looked back down to her plate as jealousy radiated through her.

Was Natalya an ex lover of Luke's? He had said that it was hard for him to have any kind of relationship because of his line of work, but that didn't mean he didn't have women. She tried to force the images of them together out of her mind, but they still haunted her. She really couldn’t blame Luke, Natalya was a very beautiful woman, but what if Natalya was better than her? Val’s inexperience in the bedroom could have been boring for Luke after so long. Sure, he was completely dominate when it came to sex, twisting and turning Val around to satisfy his needs, but maybe he liked to be dominated. And Natalya seemed to be a very dominating woman. Maybe Natalya was able to satisfy Luke in ways that Val was never able to.

She felt her heart start to ache as her mind raced more and more into the depths of what their relationship really was. Val just couldn’t grasp any other reason why she was there. She didn’t act like she was apart of their team.

She was pulled from her thoughts when she felt Luke’s hand brush against her thigh under the table. She looked to him. He had a small look of concern in his eyes, but Val grinned patting his hand as if to reassure him that she was fine.

Once dinner was done, Hank helped Val do dishes. She really didn’t want to be around him and his perversions, but she welcomed the extra hands so she could get the dishes done faster. She tried not to say much to him while they worked away, but he was a regular Chatty Kathy.

“I do want to apologize to you, Val,” he said catching her attention. She handed him a plate covered in suds for him to rinse watching him curiously. He ran the plate under the water. “Truth is, I’m happily married to the love of my life and she has given me three beautiful kids. I only came at you the way I did because pissing Hobbs off is one of my hobbies.” Val gave him a weird look.

“That’s an interesting hobby you have there.” Hank chuckled. “Why would you have that kind of hobby?” Hank shrugged his shoulder continuing to rinse dishes.

“Because he’s absolutely adorable when he’s angry.” Val began cracking up then looked out the kitchen window to see Luke watching them from the corner of his eye. He was conversing with the Russian beauty, Ben, and Jamal, but he was watching Hank and Val. Val grinned at him getting a grin from Luke in return.

“He is pretty cute, huh,” Val said nudging Hank with her elbow. They both stopped for a split second exchanging a look then started laughing. They left the dishes in the drainer to let them dry and grabbed themselves another beer before heading back out onto the back porch.

“Watch this,” Hank whispered as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Val went along with it, all discomfort around the man gone. “Hey, Hobbs!” he said getting Luke’s attention. Luke narrowed his eyes at them. “I was alone for five minutes with your woman and that was all it took to steal her away from you.” He looked at Val and squeezed her shoulder. “Right, baby?” Val would have been more than happy to play along, but the fire that flashed through Luke’s eyes stopped her.

“Yeah, this isn’t fun anymore,” she said as Luke stalked toward them.

“Says you,” Hank said with a grin as Val stepped away from him and made her way around Luke who didn’t even give her a passing glance. She stood next to Jamal and Ben who was watching the scene unfold.

Luke put his finger in Hank’s chest roughly.

“You, me, now,” he growled. Luke turned away from him and made his way to the stairs. Hank followed behind with a grin of victory on his lips.

“Man, Luke must be really into you,” Jamal said simply putting his arm over Val’s shoulder. Val gave him a curious look. “It normally takes Hank all night to piss him off this bad. It’s not even dark yet.” Val watched as Luke and Hank faced each other as they started to stretch their muscles. Val frowned at the spectacle.

“So, what’s happening?”

“They’re going to fight,” Ben said casually leaning his elbows on the banister.

“What!?” Val exclaimed.

“It’s okay. They do this every time we come up here. It’s a team building exercise,” Ben said as if it was the most normal thing to do. Val slowly turned her gaze to the youngest of the team with her eyes wide. She had seen Luke fight before and it was never pretty. His massive size was not just for show. How was any of that okay?

“How is this a team building exercise?” Ben and Jamal fell quiet for a moment as if they were truly thinking about how to answer her question.

“I don’t know,” Ben said truthfully. Val swallowed hard watching as Hank and Luke had finished stretching and were facing each other ready to fight.

“Americans,” Natalya said taking a swig of her Vodka straight from the bottle then shook her head.

Val was nervous. She wasn’t sure what to expect from the fight that was about to happen. She felt she could cut the tension in the air with a knife. She bit her lip. All that needed to happen was a gust of wind needed to blow a bushy tumbleweed between the two men and they would have a genuine western showdown.

Hank went for Luke first with a right hook and Luke dodged to the side, then countered with a blow to the side of Hank’s head with his elbow. Everyone on the porch cringed at the contact.

“You’d think he’d learn. He always gets hit like that,” Jamal said shaking his head. Val glanced at him nearly having a heart attack. She couldn’t believe how casual they were all acting. Hank recovered quickly and swung a massive fist towards Luke connecting with his jaw. Luke barely seemed to notice the hit as they stepped away from each other to reassess the field. Luke seemed dead set on ripping Hank apart while Hank seemed to be calm, cool, and collected.

They went after each other again, this time grappling with each other. They ended up on the ground as they started to wrestle each other. Val was biting her lip so hard from anxiety that she could taste blood. She could hear blows, but she couldn’t tell who they were from because of the tangle the two were in.

Ben and Jamal began whooping and hollering at the two cheering them on. Val looked at both of them like they were insane. She had seen Rome and Brian wrestle around plenty of times, but they were both always laughing and throwing playful insults back and forth. She had never been nervous with them wrestling, but Luke looked like he was out for blood.

Hank managed to get Luke on his back and landed a couple blows to his face. Val tried not to gasp. She tried not to react at all, but she was sure the others around her could feel how nervous she was. Hank may have been half Luke’s size when it came to muscle mass, but that didn’t mean that he didn’t know how to throw a punch. She could tell just by the sound of his fists connecting with Luke’s face that it hurt.

“You have no reason to worry, Val,” Natalya said from the other side of Ben. “They always do this. Here, have Vodka. It calms nerves.” She held out the bottle to Val. Val stared at it for a moment. She wasn’t much of a Vodka drinker at all. She was more into tequila, but she decided to trust Natalya and grabbed the bottle. She took a swig of it and her face twisted at the bitterness of it. Natalya chuckled at the look causing Val to glare at the Russian. She took another, longer swig not letting the bitterness hit her tongue.

She wasn’t sure what had happened, but Luke had somehow managed to hit Hank off him and was now on top of him swinging at his face. Hank tried to block the hits as best as he could, but the sheer force of the blows was still doing a number on him. Out of nowhere, Hank countered by taking a jab at Luke’s ribs. Luke snarled down at Hank when his fist connected with Luke’s ribs a second time. Val bit the inside of her lip praying that Hank didn’t just break his ribs.

They began grappling each other again rolling around on the grass grunting and straining. The fight ended when Luke had managed to get Hank into a choke hold. Val watched as Hank’s face began to turn red and veins began popping out in his head. Hank finally tapped Luke’s arm. Luke released him, letting Hank fall forward as he gasped for breath. Luke stood slowly staring down at the man. Hank rolled on his back and sprawled out while he caught his breath.

Luke bent and grabbed Hank by his shirt collar and pulled him up.

“She’s mine,” he growled. “Remember that.” Hank raised his hands in surrender and Luke let him fall back onto the grass. Luke walked away from him and stepped back up onto the porch. His cheek was red and he was limping a little. There was a small line of blood trailing out of the corner of his mouth that he wiped away. He spit over the railing to get the blood that was working up in his mouth. He grabbed his beer that he left abandoned on the railing and walked to Val.

He sipped his beer putting his arm over her shoulder. Val frowned crossing her arms and looked up at him. He glanced down at her with a frown upon seeing the look she was giving him.

“What?” Val shook her head looking away from him. She took a sip of her beer. “What?” Luke inquired again. Val stepped away from him and walked back into the cabin. Luke watched her as she walked away from him. As soon as she disappeared, Jamal and Ben started cracking up.

“Oh, man, she is pissed at you,” Jamal said.

“What did I do?” he asked truthfully.

“She act nervous when you fight,” Natalya said standing on the other side of him. Luke took a deep breath and shook his head. He rubbed the back of his neck and made his way into the cabin to figure out what was going on with Val.

He found her in the kitchen rummaging through a first aid kit. She pulled out an ice pack and broke it so it could start freezing. She was aware of his presence, but she didn’t acknowledge him. She moved the contents of the ice pack around until it was all nice and cold before she finally looked up to Luke. She stepped in front of him and placed it on his cheek. Luke welcomed the cold since the adrenaline was easing off and his cheek was beginning to throb.

He put his hand over the cold pack as her hand fell to his ribs. He flinched when she ran her fingers across the sore area. She sighed and turned back to the first aid kit to dig around for another ice pack, but Luke grabbed her and turned her back to him.

“Why were you worried about us fighting?” Val shrugged looking down at her feet a little ashamed. She knew she should have trusted Luke and his team, but that didn’t help to calm her nerves. She still felt anxiety coursing through her body. Luke removed the ice pack from his cheek and tossed it on the counter. “Val.” Val met his eyes with a sigh.

“The last time I saw you fight was with Dom.” Luke gave her a small grin. He understood her reasoning. The last time she had seen him fight, he was there to rip her family apart by arresting her brother. “I’ll be alright in a little bit.” Luke kissed her lips gently before making his way back out onto the back porch with the others. Val looked on the countertop to see the discarded ice pack. She huffed rolling her eyes before grabbing it and carried it outside with her. She found Luke sitting on one of his patio chairs and stalked over to him. She tossed it on his lap giving him a demanding glare. He narrowed his eyes at her.

“I got that ice pack for you for a reason,” she hissed.

“And I’m fine,” he stated with certainty. Val’s glare deepened. Luke sighed putting the ice pack on his cheek. Natalya gave Val an impressed look, but it went unnoticed by Val.

“You know,” Hank called out from his spot on the grass. He hadn’t moved an inch since the fight had ended. “I could really use an ice pack down here.” Val looked down to him from over the banister. She looked to Luke and grinned. She looked to Ben who was shaking his head in disappointment at his comrade. Val placed her hand on Ben’s shoulder to catch his attention.

“Go poke him with a stick until he moves.” Ben grinned widely at Val before hurrying off the porch. Val felt large fingers slip into her back pocket and pull her backwards. She squealed praying that she would land on something soft as she tumbled backwards. She landed in Luke’s lap hearing him grunt when Val landed on the leg that was currently hurting. She felt his hand slide around and down her waist to rest on her rear. Val leaned into him, careful of his bruised ribs.

She glanced over to Natalya when she felt the Russian woman’s eyes on them. Her eyes seemed to be filled with curiosity causing Val’s mind to fill with curiosity. She glanced at Luke who was grinning as he watched the rookie of his team poke Hank with a random stick he had found laying out in the yard. Val followed his gaze to the yard and started laughing. Hank was swatted and kicked at the stick being jabbed into random parts of his body. Jamal was screaming random things down to them as Hank cussed at Ben.

Val looked back to Luke who had once more discarded the ice pack. She stared at him until his eyes met hers. He watched her before he realized what she was doing and picked the ice pack placing it back on his cheek. Val grinned victoriously and kissed his other cheek. She could still feel Natalya’s eyes on them and she spared the woman a glance. Val tried to ignore her gaze, but no matter what, she could still feel it.

The day progressed into night and Luke stood off away from the rest of the group. He watched as Val listened to one of Ben’s stories of when he was living back in Kentucky. Luke had heard the story before, but it was still a pretty good story. He grew up on a cattle farm. His family bred and raised cattle and when they grew to the right size, they would sell them to slaughterhouses. A bad storm had come through and knocked a bunch of trees down. Some of the trees had hit the fences and a lot of the herd had gotten loose and were roaming the streets.

Luke was never really sure how many cattle had actually gotten loose in the end because the number changed drastically every time he told it. Sometimes it was a hundred head of cattle. Sometimes it was four hundred head of cattle. Ben had to go wrangle up all of them none stop for days. He told Val about different cattle that he could remember catching. Like the cow he found eating produce in the local supermarket. Luke shifted his gaze to Natalya catching her attention almost immediately. He tilted his head towards the door. She nodded her head and made her way into the cabin.

The motion didn’t go ignored by Hank who watched Luke curiously. Luke nodded his head to his point man giving him the go ahead. Hank nodded his head in return and put his arm around Val’s shoulders.

“Come down in the yard with me,” he said leading her to the steps. Val followed along glancing to Luke who was grinning at the pair.

“What are we doing?” she asked wrapping her arm around Hank’s waist. They made it down into the yard.

“I’m going to show you how to fight,” he said casually shrugging his shoulder. Val frowned at the information given. She didn’t want to learn how to fight. She had never really needed to learn to defend herself. She always had friends or family around to defend her. She never had to fear someone hurting her. Not to mention she was a doctor, she was supposed to heal people, not harm them.

“Why should I learn to fight?” she asked crossing her arms. “I’m not supposed to hurt people.” Hank grinned shaking his finger at her.

“Because every woman as beautiful as you needs to know how to defend themselves.” Val rolled her eyes at him.

“Well, why would I need to learn to defend myself when I have big, strong, handsome men such as yourselves here to protect me.” She heard Ben and Jamal laughing as they came down the stairs to join them on the grass.

“She has a point,” Jamal started. “But, Val, we’re not always going to be around to protect you.” Val rolled her eyes, but decided to entertain them anyways. She would never really need to worry about defending herself because of all of the extra precautions that Luke took just to protect her and her family from the dangers he faced every time he left.

They started her off with basic stances. She knew there was no point in them trying to teach her much of anything because all of them were very inebriated. She was trying to stand up straight as instructed, but she was swaying lazily. Hank kept kicking at her feet to widen her stance, but it just made Val lose her balance causing her to giggle.

“Maybe we should try something different. Alright, Val, I want you to hit me,” Hank said squaring off with her. Val’s eyes felt like they were about to fall out of her head she opened them so wide.

“No!” she exclaimed taking a step back. She bumped into Jamal who was standing close to her.

“Yes, hit me!” he said stepping closer to her so he was within swinging distance.

“I’m not going to hit you!” she practically yelled at him. She couldn’t figure out why he was so interested in getting beat on. He had just went toe to toe with Luke just hours before and here he was wanting to be hit all over again.

“Come on, I’m giving you a free shot! Seriously, who turns down a free shot?” he asked turning his attention to the two men standing behind her. They shrugged.

“I think Luke may have hit you a little too hard earlier,” she said turning her head to look up on the porch only to see that Luke wasn’t there. And for that matter, Natalya was missing as well. She frowned, but her attention was drawn back to Hank who stepped in close to her. She tried to step back away from him, but he grabbed her by her shoulders to keep her in place. Her heart began to thud in her chest.

“I’m going to hurt you if you don’t hit me,” he said in a low voice. Val’s breath caught in her throat. She glanced over each shoulder to see that Ben and Jamal not doing a thing to stop Hank and his threat. Her eyes shot back up to the porch to find Luke still missing. She would have even settled for having Natalya there to step in. She swallowed as she glanced back to Hank who squeezed her shoulders a little tight. “I’m going to hurt you.” She felt her body begin to tremble as anxiety shot through her body. She couldn’t tell if he was serious or not. Surely, Ben and Jamal wouldn’t allow Hank to hurt her. Right?

Right?

She tried to look back at the two men behind her, but Hank shook her lightly, jerking her attention back to him.

“I am going to hurt you!” Val shook her head at him. He squeezed her shoulders even tighter causing her to wince.

“Let me go. You’re starting to hurt me.” He leaned in, his eyes dark. Val couldn’t hear anything but her heartbeat which was beating erratically in her chest.

“Good.” Val wasn’t sure what happened next because her body reacted naturally. She brought her hands up in between her and Hank and forced her arms out breaking the hold he had on her shoulders. Then she brought her fist up and punched him in the side of the next. He was immediately on his knees gasping for breath. Val gasped covering her mouth kneeling down next to him.

“Shit! Hank! I’m so sorry!” she yelled putting her hand on his shoulder. He shook his head grabbing his chest and squeezed at his shirt as if it would help him catch his breath. He glanced at Val out of the corner of his eye and shook his head with a smile.

“No,” he said then coughed. He took a few more deep breaths. “That was perfect.” His voice sounded raspy. It was then that Val heard Jamal and Ben laughing. Val helped Hank stand and she touched his throat seeing where the red mark was already forming. She couldn’t believe that she had done it. The only time she had ever raised a hand against anyone was when they messed with her friends or family. It was just the way it was. She never wanted to cause anyone any kind of pain unless they were hurting someone she loved. She never had to worry about herself because she knew the ones she loved were the same exact way. She never once had to raise her hands in self defense.

She was pulled from her thoughts when she felt a hand slap down on her shoulder. She looked to see Jamal giving her an approving smile. Ben came out of nowhere and swept her up in his arms and swung her around.

“That was so awesome! I don’t think he’s ever gotten put on his knees so fast!” he exclaimed happily.

“Yeah! It’s usually faster!” Jamal said elbowing Ben in the ribs. They both laughed loudly.

“You guys are fucking insane!” Val finally screamed out. The three men stopped instantly. They shook their heads. Hank put his hands on her shoulders only this time without any kind of intent of hurting her.

“Listen, Luke just wanted to make sure that he didn’t have to worry about you,” Hank whispered. Val frowned.

“He worries about me?” Hank nodded. “Why?” Hank grinned tilting his head a little.

“We all worry about the ones we love when we walk out that door.” Val lowered her eyes as her heart seemed to skip a beat. Did he just say love? She glanced back up to the porch, but Luke was still missing. She bit her lip wondering where he could have gotten off to. And for that matter, where the hell did Natalya go? Ben held up a bottle of whiskey with the cap already twisted off and took a swig before handing it to the others. Val took a couple steps back so she could slip away without them noticing. She hurried quietly up the stairs and slipped into the cabin glancing behind her to see if any of the three men followed her. Something in her gut was telling her that something was very off by the whole situation. She found it odd that Luke and Natalya seemed to disappear as soon as Hank decided to give her a lesson in self defense.

She didn’t find them in the kitchen or the living room and even went and poked her head out front to see if they were there. She frowned as her heart began to race. What was going on? She made her way quietly through the cabin back to their bedroom. The door was shut, like always, but the light was on. Someone was in there. Luke was crazy about turning lights off as you left the room and he had fussed at her multiple times for leaving them on. She stepped in front of the door and put her ear to it. She could hear Luke and Natalya inside talking low. Her heart fell to her feet. She felt tears sting her eyes. What were they doing in there? She reached down quietly and gripped the doorknob wondering if she should really try to go in. What would she see when she went in? Would they be locked in the throws of passion? Would Luke really risk cheating on her while she was literally just out back? She knew he was smarter than that, but it didn’t help calm her aching heart. She still could not deny the fact that Natalya was absolutely gorgeous and could probably bring kings to their knees with just a simple glance.

She summoned the courage to try the doorknob, but it was locked. She looked down at it. She swallowed. She had wondered why his bedroom doorknob wasn’t a normal type knob for a bedroom door. It was a basic knob that someone would put on a front or back door. She hadn’t asked him though as she just figured it was because he was such a private person. But she had to know. She had to know what was on the other side of that door. She turned quickly and moved into the bathroom. She picked up her bathroom bag and dug through it until she found two bobby pins.

She put one of the down on the bathroom counter then pulled the other apart so she had a straight piece. She bit of the rubber knobs on each end. Then she bit down on the tip of the flat half of the bobby pin then bent it just a little. Then she bent the other half around to make a make-shift handle. She sat it down on the counter then picked up the other. She used her teeth once more to bend it into a ninety degree angle. She had to use her hands to get it perfect. She took a deep breath.

“Alright, Val, you can do this. It’s just like riding a bike,” she whispered to herself as a way of a little pep talk. She picked up the first bobby pin and made her way to the bedroom door. She took another deep breath and glanced into the kitchen to see if the three outside were coming in, but they weren’t. She knelt down in front of the door so she could get a better view of what she was about to do. She slid the second bobby pin into the lock as far as it would go and turned it slightly to put pressure on it, but not too much.

She stuck the first bobby pin in through the top and began moving it around, feeling each individual tumbler as they were pushed up. She turned the handle as she pushed up as each tumbler fell into place until she heard that a satisfying click. She took another deep breath. She wasn’t sure what she was about to see, but whatever it was, she was prepared for it. Even if it meant that she would never see Luke again.

She turned the knob and busted into the room. She gasped. She had expected many things when she walked in, though every outcome had been the same; catching Luke red handed. And she did. She just wouldn’t have thought it was going to be like that. She was too shocked to move. Natalya was standing on Luke’s side of the bed nearest the door while Luke stood on Val’s side of the bed. She was met with Natalya pulling a gun on her. Luke was quick to draw his own gun and point it at Natalya’s head.

Natalya glanced at Luke out of the corner of her eye to see the predicament she was currently in and lowered her weapon. Val glanced around the room. There were big black cases scattered about the room. Some of them were open. There were different kinds of weapons in each case ranging from pistols to fully automatic weapons. She thought she had caught a glimpse of what looked like a grenade launcher in the case that was currently sitting on Luke’s bed in front of him.

“I thought you say you lock door,” Natalya snapped at Luke. Luke relaxed a little.

“I did lock the door and what did I say about bringing loaded weapons in my house?” Natalya rolled her eyes shoving her gun into its hiding place in the back of her pants.

“I am arms dealer, Hobbs. It looks bad if I no have my own weapon.” Luke went to reply to her, but he paused for a moment. He held his finger up to her telling her to wait.

“I did lock the door.” His gaze shifted to Val who was standing there completely stunned by what she had walked in on. “Val, how did you get in here?” She didn’t speak. She didn’t move. Luke wasn’t sure if she had heard him. He sighed. She wasn’t supposed to see any of that. She was supposed to remain oblivious. It wasn’t illegal what he was doing, persay. Natalya was a contractor that dealt with a lot of different branches of the government to make sure that their teams were well equipped. Once a year, he and his team would meet in Luke’s cabin to get new weapons if they wanted them.

He moved from the side of the bed and made his way over to Val. He stood directly in front of her to block her view of what was inside their bedroom silently hoping that would be enough to break her out of the spell she was under. Luke heard footsteps moving around outside in the kitchen before they hurried to the open bedroom door. Luke looked behind her to see Hank standing there. Luke shook his head. Hank frowned before walking away. The others were supposed to distract Val long enough for him to complete the transaction, but Natalya was sure to bring out the M32A1 Grenade Launcher that Luke always had to drool over. He wanted it so bad, but he didn’t have two thousand dollars laying around to buy it. Not when he needed attachments and other accessories for his other weapons along with extra ammo. If it wasn’t for her bringing out that launcher, they would have already been done and back outside and Val would have been none the wiser.

He wasn’t sure how to go about telling her about what Natalya was actually doing there. He wasn’t sure how she would react to it. He wanted to ease her into it. It was a little difficult wrapping one’s mind around the world that he lived in. Sure, she had lived through some incredible experiences in her life, him being apart of some of them, but that was supposed to be all behind her. He didn’t want her to feel like she was being dragged back in by him.

“What… what is all this, Luke?” she finally asked. His eyes met hers. Her eyes screamed confusion. He sighed, then reached down to grab her hand. He led her into the room so she could see everything. Her eyes slowly scanned all the weapons laid out before her.

“Natalya is a contractor that supplies me and my team with weapons that we need for missions.” She pressed her lips together in a thin line.

“So… you two aren’t…” she said vaguely looking between the two. She didn’t need to finish her sentence. Luke knew what she was thinking when she first came through the door. He knew that it didn’t look good with him being alone in his room with another woman with the door locked and with the way that Val’s imagination ran crazy on her sometimes, he knew what she was thinking. He tried not to let it anger him, but he couldn’t help, but feel a twang of anger pulsate in his heart. No matter what it looked like, she should have trusted him.

“Why would you think that?” Luke asked sounding a little bit more angry than he intended. He mentally lashed out at himself at the hurt look in Val’s eyes.

“Because she’s just so…” she whispered looking back to Natalya, but she stopped before she finished. Luke frowned wondering what she was getting at.

“Married,” Natalya finished for her. Val frowned then looked down. She felt shame shoot through her. She was so stupid. But that still didn’t explain why Natalya had been staring at them practically the entire night.

“Then why have you been watching me and Luke all night?” Natalya grinned crossing her arms. She poked her hip out to the side giving her body an exaggerated curve.

“Because I had heard rumor that Hobbs had got girlfriend, but I never believe it. I have known Hobbs long time and he never had him a woman. It was odd when I come in and see you standing in kitchen, but I guess the rumor was true.” It all made sense to Val. She wasn’t stupid. She was extremely stupid. She never took into consideration that Luke hadn’t been in any kind of relationship with a woman in a very long time, just like she hadn’t been with a man in a very long time. So, when someone heard that he was, in fact, in a relationship, it only made sense that some of them didn’t believe it. Especially since Luke must not have talked about Val much from what she understood. Hell, his team didn’t know anything about her and they had been dating for nearly a year. Hank had said love. Did Luke really love her? How could he if he never talked about her to anyone?

“I’m sorry,” Val said lowering her eyes. Luke placed a hand on Val’s lower back.

“Val,” he said catching her attention. “How did you get in here? I locked the door.” Val grinned as she scratched the back of her head.

“I used to boost cars, remember? The guy that owned the chop shop that I would take the cars to would always give me extra cash if I brought in vehicles with no damage. So I learned to pick locks so I could break into people’s houses at night and steal their key. I haven’t done it in years though. I’m a little surprised that I remembered how.” Luke grinned impressed at finding out that Val had another skill that he had no idea about. She looked back to the cases filled with guns and took a deep breath. “Okay, so…” she said holding her hands on in front of her. “I’m going to go ahead and assume that I didn’t see any of this.” She looked up to Luke and placed her hand on his chest. “And me and you will talk later.” Luke nodded slowly. Val stepped passed Luke letting her hand slide across his chest and she made her way out of the door. She closed it behind her.

Luke stared at the door for a moment as pride swelled through his chest. She was going to try to understand everything that was going on. She was going to try to accept it. She was able to handle the situation better than what he thought she was, but what else could he expect from the woman he called his own?

“You love her, don’t you?” Luke’s eyes shifted to Natalya, the grin never disappearing on his lips. His grin brought a grin to her face.

Val walked into the kitchen, her head swimming with what she just encountered. She was still trying to wrap her head around everything. She was more than happy that Luke wasn’t in there sleeping with her, but she never expected to walk in and see something like that. She walked to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of beer and opened it with the bottle opener. She made her way out back with the others who were all gathered around talking low to each other. They stopped when Val made her presence known.

They simply just stared at her as if assessing her. It was Ben who approached her first.

“Can I ask you a question?” Val shrugged as a way to give him the go ahead. “Is it true that you used to be one of Luke’s targets?” She looked at the three men as they watched her.

“He was really just after my brother, but he turned us all into criminals so he could trap him.” The group exchanged looks.

“So, you were there,” Hank said. “When he lost his old team.” She nodded again. She wasn’t sure how they knew about any of that, but she supposed that DSS was just like any other work force when it came to rumors and gossip.

Luke appeared on the back porch about ten minutes later and went straight to Val. He watched her for a moment as if questioning if she was alright to which she nodded her head. She stepped into him and placed her head against his chest. She was over the initial shock of what she had witnessed by then. If anything, it made her feel much better about letting him leave for missions knowing that he and his team were more than well equipped all thanks to Natalya.

One by one, the team went into the cabin to look over Natalya’s wares. Luke had taken his place back on one of the patio chairs and had pulled Val down onto his lap. It took roughly another hour and a half for everyone to be done with Natalya. By that time, Val had consumed a lot more tequila with Hank and she was feeling fantastic. Perhaps a little too fantastic, but that didn’t matter to her as she bit her lip and leaned into Luke’s ear.

“Let’s go to bed,” she whispered and Luke grinned pushing her up from his lap. She grabbed his hand and practically dragged him into the cabin while whoops and hollers could be heard from his team.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Val woke up with a blissful sigh. Her head was resting on Luke’s chest and her arm was draped lazily across his stomach. The night before was absolutely amazing. They had practically run into the bedroom and Luke barely managed to shut and lock the door as Val began to strip. Luke all but tackled her onto the bed. He seemed to completely surround her as he slammed into her.

She couldn’t even remember how many times that she had orgasmed. She begged him for different things to which he happily gave her. He had flipped her and turned her and bent her in all ways she could imagine. He had her screaming so loud at times that her throat was going hoarse. She was certain the others had heard them, but she didn’t care. What they had done the night before was incredible.

They had went at it for what felt like hours non stop. There were times to where it had felt like they had fused together and had become one entity. When Luke had finally reached his own climax, he grabbed her hair and jerked her head back roughly. He growled out a curse and there was just something about what he had done that ripped one last orgasm from her body. She didn’t even know she had one left in her. She held him against her while they panted for air.

She began to run her fingers across his skin letting out another sigh. She felt Luke’s arm lift and wrap around her waist. She finally lifted her head and rested her chin on his chest. Luke laid with his eyes closed with a small, content grin on his lips. She lifted her hand from his chest and ran her fingertips across his cheek. She stopped along the edge of his beard then ran her finger along the edge of it. She could feel the stubble underneath her fingers. She grinned remembering how she felt it against her neck as he bit and sucked at her skin.

She let her finger trace down to his neck. She bit her lip when she saw teeth marks embedded into the skin on his shoulder. The bites had left his skin slightly purple. She let her fingers run down to his chest and she traced them along the lines of his tattoo. She snuggled into his side a little more and slid her leg over his. She let out a slight grunt feeling soreness in her thigh, but the pain went away as soon as she relaxed her leg. She nearly giggled at the thought of having to stretch before she had sex with Luke to avoid getting sore. She lifted her head and began leaving light kisses across his skin. She felt his fingers begin to rub the skin on her lower back. She lifted her eyes up to him as she continued to kissed his skin and found him watching her.

She grinned up at him then got back to work kissing his skin. His skin tasted a little salty from all the sweating they had done the night before, but that didn't matter to Val. She loved the way his skin tasted. She ran her fingers down to his stomach and tickled his skin. She felt his body twitch under her touch, but he made no motion as if it bothered him. He raised his free arm and placed it behind his head. Val took the opportunity to run her fingers up his side knowing how it would effect him. She felt him slightly jerk away from her touch, but not enough to break contact. She felt him take a deep breath as if to calm himself.

“Didn't you have enough last night?” he asked. Val's response was a giggle. Val felt Luke begin to roll on his side to face her. She looked up at him and smiled. He wrapped his arm around her. She didn't move as she stared at his handsome face. His brown eyes, though they still looked tired, were beautiful in the sunlight that flooded the room. He had a strong jaw and a prominent nose. Her favorite time to touch his cheeks was early morning before he shaved for the day. The scruff that managed to show overnight darkened his jaw line slightly and the roughness of it always secretly drove her crazy. His lips were unbelievably kissable. They were incredibly soft and gentle as they kissed her all over.

She loved his broad shoulders and masculine chest and his big arms as they held her against him. She loved the way he smelled he showered, but nothing beat the natural scent of him after a night of making love. She began to kiss at his skin again as she felt his fingers trace circles and various other shapes on her back.

“Just to be fair,” she said between kisses. “I don't think I could ever get enough of you.” Luke chuckled as he let his hand run lower on her back. She hissed when a sharp pain shot through her rear and up to her head when Luke gripped her right cheek. She twisted as she pulled down the blankets to see what was causing the pain, but another sharp pain shot through her lower abdomen. She grunted as her body automatically reacted by curling up.

“What the fuck?” she grumbled once the pain went away. She stretched back out slowly and pushed the blankets down farther. She tried to raise up enough to see the source of the pain, but she wasn't able to lift herself up enough without the pain hitting her. Instead, Luke raised up to see what it was.

“Oh, man,” was all that he said. He reached his hand out and ran his it down her rear gently. Val finally managed to find a position to where she could sit up and remain somewhat comfortable so she could see what Luke was looking at. She gasped when she saw the culprit of her pain. On the right cheek of her rear was a large purple bruise that looked eerily similar to Luke's large hand.

She looked to Luke who was still staring at the bruise before his gaze met hers. She wondered if he could remember when he gave her the bruise. He had her on all fours slamming into her from behind when she felt his hand spank her. She gasped at the sensation that shot through her body then turned to look back at him before telling him to do it again. And he did. Again and again.

She glanced back down at her body noticing the smaller, fainter bruises the size of Luke's fingertips all around her hips and waist.

“I guess we got a little carried away last night,” Val stated as she leaned into Luke. It didn't last long since she felt the same dull pain shoot through her lower extremities. She fell back onto the bed and laid on her back. She took a nice, deep breath leaving her hand to rest on her lower body.

“I guess it's safe to assume that your team heard pretty much everything last night, huh?” Val asked glancing up at him. No sooner than she said that, Luke's phone buzzed on the nightstand. Val couldn't remember Luke bringing in his phone, but then again the last thing she was worried about the night before was his phone. He picked it up and checked the message. He grinned shaking his head then handed the phone to Val. Val read the message and laughed handing Luke's phone back to him. Hank and sent him a message stating that he wasn't sure if he was going to be having his therapist bill Luke or if he was wanting some pointers on how to do things like that to his wife. Val rolled back on her side and snuggled into Luke.

She could remember at one point, Mia, Letty, and Val had been out at lunch and were talking about random things when Letty, of all people, asked Val to tell them something that Luke did. At first, Val had no idea what she had meant by the extremely vague question, but she had figured out that she wanted to know something about Luke that they didn't know. Something that they wouldn't think of him doing. When Val had told them that he was a cuddler, Mia had nearly fell out of her seat she swooned so much.

There was still a lot of things they didn't know about Luke Hobbs. He was a completely different person around her compared to who he was around other people. He was relaxed with her whenever they were alone, but as soon as they stepped foot through the threshold to the outside world, he was always on alert. As if the boogey man himself was hanging out just around the corner to ambush them. Even when he was around her family, he seemed to put up walls that only Val was able to get through. Even Dom had asked her once how she was able to put up with someone who seemed to have a ten foot stick shoved up their ass, but that simply just wasn't the case. She wasn't sure exactly as to why Luke did that whenever he was around her family and when she asked him about it all he did was shrug.

But behind closed doors, he was such a different man. He laughed. He joked. There were times that he was even playful, though most of the time that led to them in bed together. He was an excellent father. Seeing him with Samantha opened up an entirely new world with Luke. Seeing how he played with her and talked with her was surreal. It shocked her even more when Samantha started asking question about the mission Luke had when he was sent to take them down. Luke hid nothing from his daughter.

She frowned at the thought. He hid nothing from Samantha and yet Val was always left in the dark about what went on in his missions. All she was ever told was if he captured his target or not. She wondered if Samantha knew about the fact that Natalya would sell him weapons. She raised her head to look at Luke in the eye.

“Why didn't you tell me about Natalya?” Luke frowned looking down at her. He sat up a little in bed so he didn't have to raise his head to look at her.

“What does it matter?” Val sighed.
“Because it does. I literally spent the entire night thinking that you two were ex lovers and thought you were cheating on me when I heard you guys in here talking. And for that matter, why haven't you told me anything about your team? And for that matter why haven't you told anyone about me?” Luke stared at her as if she had gone crazy. By the end of her little rant, she was sitting up with her arms crossed. She tried to ignore the dull throb in her lower body and her rear as best as she could.

“You know that she's married,” he defended.

“And I would have known that a lot sooner if you would have told me. Instead, I had to go and make a complete fool of myself and come busting in here trying to catch you two together.” Luke sat up more and pulled his knee up to rest his elbow on it.

“Where is this coming from? This has never been an issue before.” Val clicked her tongue at him.

“Well, it is. And I want to know why you never tell me anything or talk about me to anyone.” Luke shook his head with a sigh.

“Val…” he started, but Val interrupted him.

“No, Luke, I want to know.” He rubbed the back of his neck and it was clear in his eyes that he was trying to keep his cool.

“If you would let me talk, I'll tell you.” Val stared at him without saying a thing to show him she was allowing him to continue. “Everything is for your protection.” Val rolled her eyes.

“Oh give me a break. You didn't even tell Brenda about me. How is that for my protection?” Luke let out a quick breath and looked away from her for a split second.

“She knew more about you than what she was letting on. Of course I talk about you to other people, it's just not that often.”

“Why? Is it because I used to be one of your targets? Because you know better than either of us that it wasn't my fault that I was labeled a criminal.” Rage flew through his eyes.

“That has nothing to do with it, Val. If I was so worried that you were one of my targets I would have never called you called you.” Val felt her anger being to rise. She couldn't help herself. Maybe she was being irrational, but she wasn't thinking about that.

She slid to the edge of the bed, cringing at the pain that went through her body.

“Oh, I see. So, then you must be ashamed to tell people about me. Wouldn't want anyone to know that your woman used to be a professional thief with a pill addiction.” She stood from the edge of the bed and made her way to the dresser to pull out some clothes. She dressed as quickly as her sore body would allow her.

“Where is this coming from? Where in the hell did you get the idea that I'm ashamed of you?” he snapped.

“Well, why else wouldn't you tell anyone about me? And don't give me that shit that it's for my protection.” She turned to find Luke had put on the pants that he had on the night before and was standing at the foot of the bed. She hadn't even heard him move. How the hell did he do that?

“It is, Val.”

“How could it possibly be for my own protection? That's the stupidest excuse I've ever heard.” She stepped towards him, praying that he would move out of her way so she could leave the room, but he stood strong.

“Listen, Val, this may come to a surprise to you, but I don't have many people in my life. I have my mother, Samantha, you, my team, and Brenda and Carl. That's literally a list of people I trust in my life. My own team didn't know about Samantha until a year after they were assigned to me.” Luke sighed again and lowered his eyes. He flopped down on the foot of the bed and stared at the floor. Val stood there, once again, feeling stupid. It still made no sense as to why hardly anyone knew about her, but why would he go to such lengths to keep the existence of Samantha from his own team for so long.

“It took me years to build the team I had in Brazil,” Luke started. “We were the top team in DSS. We trusted each other.” He paused for a moment as if searching for his words. “We were a family.” Val felt her heart break at how broken his words came out. He had never talked about his team. “Now my team is small and incomplete, but we are building trust and becoming a family. I didn't tell them about Samantha or you for so long because what would happen if they were a mole? What if there was a leak in the department? What if…” he paused again and he slumped over some more. “What if someone came after you two because I told them about you thinking I could trust them? I would never be able to forgive myself.” She reached her hand out and touched his cheek to guide his face to look at her. “I didn't tell you about Natalya because you left this kind of life behind. I don't want it to seem like I'm dragging you back in.” Val narrowed her eyes at him.

“So it was illegal what you were doing in here last night.” Luke shrugged.

“Depends on who you ask.”

“Why didn't you ask me?” Luke sighed again.

“I don't know.” Val shook her head. She wasn't going to push the matter. She was glad that he was opening up to her. She leaned against him and grabbed his hand.

“Actually, it makes me feel better knowing that you have access to all that kind of weaponry. I know you try to find bad people, with the exception of me and my family, and it's hard to tell what kind of arsenal those people have when you go after them. It's just good to know that you have the option of going in with something more than standard issue.” Luke wrapped an arm around her waist careful of her bruises.

“I could never be ashamed of you, Val. Even with your wild imagination.” Val chuckled. “You coming into my life is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.” Val lifted her head from his shoulder and looked at him. His revelation sent a sharp twang straight to her heart. Her mind immediately went back to the night before when Hank had mentioned love. He watched her out of the corner of his eye. She smiled and leaned forward to kiss his lips, but she stopped and leaned back when the dull throb came back.

“You better hope that this goes away by the time Samantha gets here,” Val snapped as she stood from the bed. She kept a hand on her stomach as if it would help the pain. Luke stood with her.

“I’d be more worried about that,” he said vaguely. Val gave him a curious look. Luke reached out and touched her neck. “Go look.” He turned his back on her and Val gasped. What had she done to him? There were scratches all over his back. There were even some so deep that there was dried blood around them. Luke turned back to look at her upon hearing her gasp.

“You, uh, you may want to put a shirt on. Just saying.” Luke tried to look at his back, but he couldn't. He took her advice and put on a shirt while Val walked out of the room and into the bathroom. She flicked on the light and stood in front of the mirror. Her eyes widened as her fingers shot to her neck.

“What are we, in high school?” she called out as she leaned closer to the mirror to observe the dark hickey that Luke had left on her. He had never left a mark on her before and after one night of drunken sex, he had left bruises all over her and left a very dark hickey on her neck. Granted she had left teeth marks on his shoulder and nearly scratched off the entire top layer of skin on his back, but at least he was able to cover it all up with a t-shirt. She wouldn't even be able to cover her hickey up with make-up.

Luke stepped into the bathroom ignoring her question and wrapped his arms around her. Val covered his hands with her own and stared at him in the mirror.

“I'm sorry I got mad at you, Luke. I overreacted.” Luke left a light kiss on her hickey causing her to giggle. “What would you like for breakfast?” Luke grinned.

“Ben and Natalya are still here,” he said and Val rolled her eyes. Of course they were still there. Now she had to walk out there with a hickey on her neck. It was worse than the walk of shame. She turned back to the mirror and reached for her make-up bag so she could at least attempt to cover the discoloration on her neck. She wasn’t really in the mood to hear any type of ridicule for the mark.

“I’ll be out in a second. I’m going to try to do something with this.” Luke’s hand touched her cheek and pulled her face to where she was looking at him. He kissed her lips slowly. Val felt as if he had literally stolen her breath. He broke the kiss slowly and smirked upon seeing Val breathless. She watched him as he left the bathroom. She bit her lip and shook her head as she faced the mirror once more.

She opened her make-up bag and pulled out her concealer to try to cover the hickey. She leaned closer to the mirror and started working away at trying to cover it as much as possible. No matter how much makeup she put on it, there was still a faint hint that it was still there. She wasn’t sure if it was just where she was aware of its presence or if it was still showing enough to be noticed by people.

“You know,” Natalya said from the threshold that separated the bathroom from the rest of the cabin. “I have known Hobbs for long time.” Val stood up straight and turned to her. “He always was good man, but he was always serious. Never smiled. Never joke. Never showed any kind of affection.” Val turned back to the mirror to see if the hickey was still showing while she talked. Sure enough, it was still noticeable. “It is nice to see that he can smile. And it’s all because of you.” She stepped into the bathroom as she reached into her pocket. Val turned to her again curious on what she was doing.

Natalya removed a piece of paper from her pocket and handed it to Val. Val took it from her and looked at it. It was a number.

“If you need anything, please, give me call. But for now, I must return to husband and perform wifely duties.” Val smiled at her and nodded. She wondered what her husband looked like. She was curious about the man who would have been able to catch the attention of a woman like her. Natalya went to leave the bathroom, but stopped. “I'm surprised you're walking today.” Val rolled her eyes looking into the mirror. She heard Natalya leave the bathroom and Val put on one more layer of concealer before deciding that it was all it was going to do.

She popped a couple aspirin to combat the pain in her lower abdomen. She stepped out into the living room and nearly laughed at the sight before her. Ben was sitting at the dining room table with his head resting on his arms. He was groaning. Luke was standing in the kitchen. He leaned against the counter next to the coffee pot. His arms were crossed and he shook his head in disappointment at his rookie member. Val went to Luke who lowered his arms so Val could lean into him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her head against his chest. They looked who Ben who groaned from the table.

“Is he going to make it?” she asked.

“No,” Ben said without raising his head. Luke chuckled.

“He just can't keep up with the big dogs,” Luke teased. Val grinned when Ben picked up his hand to give Luke the finger. Val stepped away from Luke to make herself a cup of coffee. She took a sip then sat it on the counter. She started rummaging through cabinets to find pots and pans that she was going to need for cooking breakfast. She felt the dull throb in her lower body starting to get worse and worse until she just wasn’t able to handle it anymore. She felt like she was cramping. It was more annoying than anything and she felt like she was going to be a little crabby because of it.

She felt Luke’s hand on her lower back catching her attention.

“I’ll make breakfast. You go rest.” She grinned shaking her head. She kissed his lips gently and made her way into the living room with her coffee. She flipped on the television and found a movie to watch. Ben stayed in the kitchen groaning over his hangover.

After breakfast was made and Ben had been fed, he said he was well enough to go ahead and head back home to his woman and kid finally leaving Luke and Val alone. She had made her way into the bathroom to take a shower. She was certain she smelled like a prostitute after a busy night. It wasn’t long before Luke had joined her. She washed his back and made sure all the scratches were nice and clean before she started leaving light kisses all over his skin.

Luke’s hands rested on her hips lightly as he massaged her skin lightly.

“You need to stop. I’m going to hurt you even worse,” he said in a low, husky voice. She glanced down to find that he was standing at full attention and just for her. She groaned wishing that she would be able to go another round with him, but he was right. She was already way too sore to go another round. She grinned and bit her lip as an idea flashed through her head. Luke narrowed his eyes in curiosity then he smirked when she started getting down on her knees.

After their shower, Val was hating herself. She was supporting a sore rear, a sore vagina, and now she had a sore jaw. She sat on the couch reading a little on her book when Luke called for her from the kitchen. She glanced over at him to see him with a some sort of black case. She stood and took her place next to him.

“I bought you something,” he said sliding the case over to her. She flicked the locks on the case and opened it slowly. She frowned looking at Luke. Inside was a pistol tucked perfectly away in a crease. There were three clips in their own creases next to it.

“Why did you get me this?” she asked. She didn’t like guns. She had never even held one. They made her nervous. She had pulled bullets out of too many people in her life time to feel comfortable with them. She had seen too many times what kind of damage they could do in the wrong hands. Luke’s hand touched her cheek as if it would ease her worry.

“I want you to be able to protect yourself when I’m gone.” Val glanced down at the gun then brought her eyes back up to Luke.

“Why are you obsessing over my protection all of the sudden? What’s going on?” Luke chuckled.

“Nothing is going on. I just want you to be able to protect yourself just in case.” Val grinned. She looked back down at the gun and ran her fingers across the cold steel.

“I don’t know how to use one of these.”

“I’ll teach you.” Val sighed running her hand through her hair.

“I don’t know how I feel about this, Luke.” She reached into the case and pulled the gun out to look it over. She turned it over in her hands taking in all the little details.

“You don’t have to shoot it just yet. I want you to be comfortable with it before that happens. I’ll teach you how to take care of it.” Val swallowed the nervous lump that was forming in her throat before placing the gun back in its spot in the case. She still wasn’t all that convinced that Luke would have to go to such a drastic measure as to getting her a gun and teaching her how to use it, but she was going to trust him and his judgement. If he felt that she would need to protect herself, then she was going to learn how to protect herself. Even if she didn’t quite agree with it.

He had told her that there were just a couple times in his career with DSS that someone had threatened his family and they had put Samantha and Shana into protection until the target was captured. There had been no signs of the target even trying to come after them so the protection was just an extra precaution. Val never really dwelled on the dangers Luke always worried about. They had been together for nearly a year and he had been on multiple missions during that time. None of them had tried to come after her or Samantha. Luke was always so careful to leave his personal life out of his missions that Val never had to worry.

Or so she thought.

“Do I really have something to worry about when you’re away?” She asked because she worried enough about him while he was away, she didn’t want to worry about herself wondering if there was going to be a masked bad guy that was going to snatch her up just because she was Luke Hobbs’ woman.

“No. This is for me,” he said leaning back in his chair. Val gave him a strange look. “When I’m away there is always this voice in the back of my head saying that you’re vulnerable and that something bad could happen to you and there would be nothing I could do about it.” He put his hand on top of the case. “This gives me peace of mind.” Val grinned and nodded in agreement. Luke watched her as she stood from the table and moved over to him to sit on his lap. She was careful of her bruise. She wrapped her arms around his neck to help keep her on his lap.

She kissed his lips gently then rested her forehead against his. Hank had mentioned love. Maybe Luke did love her. Maybe he was getting there. It was hard to say. All she knew was that when he finally said it, she would be the happiest woman in the world. Because she could no longer deny the fact that she loved him. Of the time they had spent together, he had managed to work his way into her heart and lodged himself in there. Every morning she woke up with a smile on her face because he was laying next to her. Every night she fell asleep with a smile on her face because she was wrapped up in his arms. She had never been so happy in her life and it was all because of Luke.

Chapter Text

The days passed by casually after that. During the day, Luke and Val would travel across the lake so Luke could help finish the boat house for Brenda and at night, Luke would teach Val how to handle her new gun. It was a simple Ruger LC9. It was lightweight and it seemed to fit perfectly in Val’s hand.

Luke could see with each time she worked with the gun that she was getting more and more confident with it. She barely hesitated when she reached for it in its case. He could see in her eyes that she was no longer dreading her lessons on how to properly care for her gun. He showed her how to clean it and how to properly hold it though he said it would be much different once it was loaded.

He figured she was getting comfortable enough with it to shoot it so he decided to teach her how to properly load it. She was a quick learner, but guns were pretty self explanatory though he was more impressed with the fact that she was able to learn to take the gun apart and put it back together so quickly.

Her hickey was disappearing nicely with each passing day, though he was certain she was going to have to cover it up still when Samantha arrived. An hour or so spent in the hot tub at night was helping the bruise he had left on her rear.

Luke woke up slowly to the smells of cinnamon rolls baking. He felt his stomach tighten in hunger as soon as all of his senses came to. He sat up on the edge of the bed and stretched his muscles out with a groan. He blinked away the previous night’s sleep then made his way into the kitchen.

Val stood at the counter spreading the icing across the cinnamon rolls as she baby talked into her phone. She saw Luke from the corner of her eye and turned to the coffee pot to pour him a cup while she continued to talk.

“Who is Auntie Val’s handsome boy?” She paused for a moment then giggled. Luke stepped behind her and placed his hands gently on her waist. He lowered his head and kissed her shoulder gently. He could hear Jack as he squealed and jabbered away. “That’s right and you’re no one else’s. Auntie Val misses you Jackie Boy.” Val handed Luke his cup of coffee as he heard Jack start jabbering away again.

Val finished putting the icing on the cinnamon rolls as Mia got back onto the phone. Luke didn’t pay attention to their conversation as they chatted away casually. After she was done talking to her sister, she grabbed a cinnamon roll then turned to Luke.

“When is Samantha going to be here?” she asked between bites. Luke checked his phone for the time.

“Here in the next couple hours, I guess. Depends on how many times they have to stop on the way up here.” Val plopped down on the couch next to him with her coffee and cinnamon roll. She was excited that she was going to be spending the rest of her time at the cabin with Samantha. She hated that she and Luke had been together for nearly a year and she had only been able to spend time with Samantha once for a very short weekend. She hated that Luke had waited so long to introduce the two. Whatever his reasoning behind it was. He had been away for the majority of their relationship it had seemed like. She really hoped that it wasn't going to be that way forever. She hoped him being away for all that time was just a fluke. She wasn't sure how she was going to be able to handle him constantly gone.

It was around four o'clock in the evening when Samantha, Shana, and Jerry finally pulled into the driveway. Luke stood and stepped out on the front porch just as Samantha jumped out of the car before it was even turned off. Val stepped on the porch just as Samantha screamed, “Daddy!” and jumped into his arms. Her tiny body seemed to disappear once Luke's arms wrapped around her. Val smiled at the pair as she felt her heart melt.

She turned her attention to the car that Shana and Jerry were driving as they stepped out to stretch their tired bodies about a little. Shana appeared to be Native American with long, beautiful, black hair that matched Samantha’s. She had soft eyes and a mischievous grin. Jerry was, for lack of a better term, lanky. He seemed sickly, but Val just chalked that up to the diabetes. He seemed to have been at once a large man, but once his disease got him, he lost it all. His skin was pale and his eyes seemed a little unfocused. He looked ill. Shana walked over to him and wrapped an arm around his waist. He put his arm over her shoulder and leaned on her as if he was too weak to carry himself. His sugar must have been low.

Val’s thoughts ended abruptly when she felt tiny arms wrap around her waist and her name being called out by Samantha. Val smiled looking down at the child and wrapped her arms around her. She was glad that Samantha wasn’t going to play shy around Val as if their meeting before had never happened. Granted Samantha was nothing but shy the first time they had met.

“How are you doing, kid?” she asked wrapping her arms around Samantha.

“Good. Come on, meet my mom,” she said grabbing Val’s hand and nearly jerked her arm off. Val happily followed along with her since she was finally going to be meeting Shana and Jerry. She had wanted to meet them pretty much from the moment that she had discovered Samantha’s existence.

Shana gave her a warm smile as they approached.

“So, you’re Val,” she said holding her hand out to shake. Val immediately took the woman’s hand and smiled. “It’s about time. I have been riding Luke for months to let me meet you.” Val glanced back at Luke who was walking to the car to collect Samantha’s things.

“I think he might be a little greedy. He wants to keep me all to himself.” Shana giggled glancing Luke’s way as well.

“This is my idiot husband, Jerry.” Jerry held his hand out and Val shook his hand as well. She didn’t give him a smile, however. She was worried. His hand was cold and clammy.

“Are you okay?” Val asked genuinely concerned. He looked like he was getting ready to fall over at any second.

“No, he’s not. He let his sugar drop because he knew Luke was going to have dinner ready by the time we got here. And Jerry can’t resist Luke’s cooking.” Val frowned not really agreeing with what Jerry was doing to his body, but no one could resist Luke’s cooking, diabetic or not and the meatloaf burgers that were currently grilling away to perfection on the back porch made Val’s mouth water.

“Well, we’d better get him inside before he falls over,” Val said stepping on the other side of Jerry. She put her arm through his to give him some extra support. He protested greatly, but Val and Shana just ignored him as they began to walk him to the front porch.

They got him inside and sat him at the dining room table. The smells coming from the back porch were taunting the people inside.

“Alright, Sam, take your stuff upstairs,” Luke said dropping her luggage at the bottom of the stairs. Samantha huffed looking up at her father. Luke paused staring back at her.

“But daddy!” she whined. Luke sighed shaking his head then bent to collect her things. He began his way upstairs grumbling to himself. Val couldn’t help but chuckle.

“And that’s why your ringtone is the sound of a whip,” Jerry said looking very tired. Val cackled. It was perfect. It didn’t take long for Val to realize that Samantha had Luke completely wrapped around her finger and that she knew it and abused her power at any given chance.

“Shut up, Jerry,” Luke snapped at the top of the stairs. Samantha trotted over to the table with a very smug smile gracing her lips and plopped down in the chair next to Val. Val grinned looking at the child. She seemed tired from the trip. Her eyes were droopy, but she could still see the shine of excitement of being on a little vacation with her father.

“Mommy and Jerry are going to Vancouver tomorrow,” she said. Val turned to Shana and Jerry getting ready to ask what was taking them up to Canada, but frowned. Jerry was slumped over the table a little and seemed to be a little out of breath. He was even paler and his skin looked clammy. Shana was leaned into him with her arm around his shoulders and her other hand resting on his forearm. She had a frustrated crease showing, but Val could see the worry in her eyes.

Val wanted nothing more than to shove a chocolate bar down his throat to make him feel better. She didn’t care how good Luke’s cooking was, it wasn’t worth forcing one’s self into a diabetic coma just so one could enjoy it. He looked like he was going to pass out at any given moment. She fought against every fiber of her being to not go full on “doctor mode”, as Mia always put it, and fuss over him. She felt her skin start to itch as if she was craving it, but she held strong.

In order to keep her mind off it, Val stood to start putting condiments on the table because she knew that the meatloaf burgers were nearly done. Luke had managed to slip by her without her hearing him and had placed the burgers on a plate. He set them on the table and allowed Shana to make Jerry a plate. Luke watched Val as she took it upon herself to prepare Samantha a plate.

“So, what’s taking you guys up to Vancouver?” Val asked truly curious. She had never been that far North and was curious as to what would draw someone’s attention there.

“We’re going to be seeing some of his family for a while. That is, if Jerry doesn’t slip into a diabetic coma first,” Shana said sending a not-so-playful glare towards her husband. Jerry hummed as he bit into his burger with his eyes closed.

“If I do, then it would be totally worth it,” he said through his food. Val saw Luke shaking his head in disappointment out of the corner of her eye. Val felt the itch start to come back and wanted nothing more than to fuss over Jerry or at least scold him about how he was harming his body by doing this.

“You know, I would love to sit here and tell you all the reasons why what you’re doing is bad for you, but I feel like I would be wasting my time,” Val said before taking another bite of her burger.

“It’s because you would be,” Jerry said.

After dinner, Jerry wasn’t feeling too well and said he needed to rest up a little. Shana had went with him to bed in the other bedroom upstairs while Luke, Val, and Samantha decided they were going to go down to the dock and go swimming.

Val nearly had a heart attack when Luke grabbed Samantha and practically threw her halfway across the lake. Samantha emerged from the water and went to yell at her father, but didn’t get a chance.

“You can’t just throw her into the water like that! She could have been hurt! What if she hit her head or something and got knocked out?” Val fussed as she poked her finger into his chest. Samantha giggled as she watched Val give Luke the third degree.

Out of nowhere, Luke grabbed Val by the waist and tossed her into the water as well. Val screamed, but they were muffled when she hit the water. She emerged with a pout and looked to Samantha who was floating next to her giggling.

“Well, this isn’t fair,” Val stated simply then glared at Luke. He was grinning at them looking very proud of himself. All she wanted to do was slap him around a couple times just to get that look off his face, but she knew it wouldn’t help. There was no way she was going to be able to hurt him. Even if she wanted to. Luke dove into the water and emerged quickly.

Luke was able to stand in the water and Samantha took advantage of that fact by crawling up onto his shoulders then jumping off him. Luke would sometimes let her stand in his hands and would fling her through the air so she could dive into the water.

Val loved watching them play together. Luke never once seemed to be annoyed with the constant harassment from Samantha. The smile never left his lips as she would climb up onto his shoulders so she could be flung into the water. Luke never seemed to tire out because of it. Of course it was hard to tire him out no matter what he was doing.

Hours seemed to pass when Samantha claimed to be hungry and wanted to eat. As if Shana knew she was going to be hungry, she stepped out on the back porch and screamed down to the docks that she had made her some sandwiches. Samantha turned to Val.

“Are you coming?” she asked sounding hopeful. Val grinned.

“If I must,” she said swimming over to the ladder on the dock. She allowed Samantha to climb out of the water first. Val climbed out behind her and grabbed the towels they had brought down with them. She wrapped one around Samantha first then wrapped one around herself. She felt Luke’s arm wrap around her waist. Val turned to him and smiled, then squeaked when Luke threw her back into the water.

After another hour or so after Samantha ate, she began to yawn. Jerry had joined them again and he was looking much better once the food had settled and leveled out his sugar levels. Luke had carried Samantha up to bed to tuck her in as per her request.

Val thought it was absolutely how wrapped he was around her finger. Not even Val had him that wrapped. Jerry, Val, and Shana went out onto the back porch to enjoy the cooled air of the evening. Luke joined them minutes later.

“So, Val, everyone has been really vague about how you and Luke met. So, I’ll just ask you. How did you and Luke meet exactly?” Val glanced to Luke as a pang of nervousness shot through her. Shana’s eyes widened a little as her gaze settled on Luke as well.

Luke watched Val out of the corner of his eye running his finger through his beard slowly. They had never talked about how much they were going to tell people about how they really met. They never really talked about how they met. Sure, they made idle jokes about it every once in awhile, but they never really talked about it. It wasn’t like they were indifferent on how they met, it just as if it was a silent agreement that they never spoke of it.

“She was one of my targets, Jerry,” Luke said. Val didn’t have to look to Jerry to feel the hole that was currently being burned in the side of her head.

“What do you mean she was one of your targets,” he growled. Shana reached over and placed a hand over Jerry’s as a way to calm him down, but Jerry jerked his hand away from her sending a glare her way. Luke watched him carefully while all Val wanted to do was melt away. “Did you know about this?” Shana tried to give him an innocent smile, but it only made Jerry angrier. “And you let Samantha around her? What the fuck?” he snapped standing from his chair.

“It’s not what you think, Jerry,” Luke said standing up slowly as if trying not to seem threatening to Jerry.

“Not what I think? How long were you two planning on keeping this from me? I know the type of people you go after out there, Luke! Every last one of them are as dangerous as the one before them!” Jerry turned his attention to Val. “And what exactly made you an international criminal?” Val opened her mouth to let him know that she was technically innocent, but he held his hand up to stop her before she even started. “You know what? I don’t even want to know. Come on, Shana. We’re leaving,” he said turning to Shana. Then he turned to Luke. “And we’re taking Sam with us.”

Jerry stormed into the house leaving the trio in his wake. Shana shot up from her chair quickly looking up to Luke desperately. Luke stared at the doorway trying to keep his calm.

“Well, he took that a lot better than what I thought,” Luke said simply then followed Jerry inside. Shana glanced down to Val who, by that time, had practically curled up inside herself to make herself as small as possible. Shana sighed and knelt down in front of her and grabbed her hands. Val looked to Shana her eyes filled with regret and sorrow.

“It wasn’t my fault, Shana, I promise it wasn’t.” Shana gave her a kind smile and nodded.

“I know. Luke told Samantha everything and she told me.” Val gave her a grateful smile, but the look never left her eyes. Shana stood pulling Val up with her. Shana went to tell Val something that Val suspected was going to be very reassuring, but the sound of something thudding around inside the cabin drew their attention.

They hurried inside to find that Jerry had slammed his and Shana’s luggage next to the door. He turned to make his way back up the stairs, but Luke stood in his way.

“You and Shana can leave, but you’re not taking Samantha with you,” Luke stated simply. Val was very impressed with how Luke was able to keep his calm. If it was Val in his place, she probably would have been saying things just to start a fight.

“To hell, I’m not! There is no way I am leaving her here with that bitch of a convict that you call a girlfriend!” Val gulped as she watched Luke visibly tense.

“Come on, now, there’s no reason for that,” Luke said as his voice changed in tone. He was starting to get angry.

“Daddy? Are you and Jerry fighting?” All eyes were drawn to the top of the stairs where a groggy Samantha stood rubbing her little eyes.

“No, baby girl, go on back to bed.” Any other time, upon hearing Luke call her that, would have made Val’s heart melt, but all she really wanted at that moment was for Samantha to go away. Val didn’t want her to hear any of it. She was too young to understand.

“No, grab your bags. We’re leaving,” Jerry snapped. Samantha frowned and tilted her head a little.

“But I thought I was staying,” she asked confused.

“There’s been a change of plans. Go on and grab your things.” Luke stepped in.

“No, there hasn’t. Just go back to bed, Sam.” Samantha nodded to her father, then looked down to Shana and Val before turning to go back to her room. Val kept her eye at the top of the stairs to make sure she actually went back to her room. She saw some movement at the top of the stairs and just knew that Samantha had simply just slipped into the shadows so she could hear was what going on. Val’s heart leapt up into her throat.

“She’s coming to Canada with me and Shana. I’m not leaving Sam here with her,” Jerry snapped flinging his finger in Val’s directions, but she wasn’t paying any attention to his hurtful words. Honestly, she thought that Jerry was completely overreacting to the whole situation. Everyone had a past. Sure, Val’s past was a little more colorful than most people’s, but that didn’t automatically make her a bad person. He was actually getting along with her before he had found out. What had changed other than the fact that he found out that she used to be a criminal?

“You’re taking this way out of proportion,” Luke argued.

“Samantha, please, sweety, go back to bed,” Val said catching everyone’s attention. Luke looked over his shoulder to the stop of the stairs half expecting to see his daughter there, but he didn’t see her.

“Don’t you dare talk to my daughter, you bitch,” Jerry snapped glaring at Val. By the time the last word of the sentence left his lips, Luke’s hand was around his throat and Jerry was slammed into the wall.

“Daddy!” Samantha shrieked from the top of the stairs. Val had gasped rushing forward and grabbed onto the arm that was currently clutching Jerry’s neck. Val heard Shana rush up the stairs to get Samantha back in her room so she didn’t have to see the scene unfolding. Val wasn’t sure what she was going to do in order to stop Luke from harming Jerry, but she was willing to try anything.

Jerry’s eyes clearly stated that he couldn’t believe what was going on. Luke pointed his finger in Jerry’s face, his eyes dark with a calm rage that sent chills even down Val’s spine.

“You listen and you listen good because I’m only going to say this once. Samantha is my daughter. Not yours. You seem to have forgotten that. And I swear to God, if you ever, ever insult Val in front of me again, I will tear you to fucking pieces.” Val’s eyes widened as she looked to Luke. She couldn’t believe the seriousness in his voice. She ran her hand across the bare skin of his arm drawing his attention to her.

“Come on, Luke. Let him go.” His eyes softened a little and he loosened his grip on Jerry’s throat. Val pulled his hand away from Jerry slowly then pulled on him so he would step back. He turned his body to face Val and ran his fingers across her cheek slowly. “It’s okay, Luke,” she whispered. His eyes darkened with anger once more as he looked to Jerry.

“It’s not okay,” he growled and acted like he wanted to go after Jerry again, but Val grabbed him and somehow managed to keep him from moving. She reached up and placed her hand on his cheek. He closed his eyes under her touch and took a deep breath as if trying to calm himself.

“Shana, come on! We’re leaving!” Jerry screamed up the stairs then moved for the luggage. He picked it up and moved it out to the front porch before going for his car keys. Shana came down the stairs once Jerry had made his way outside to load the car down with their luggage.

She looked upset and embarrassed. Her footsteps were heavier than what they had been all evening. She ran her fingers through her hair in aggravation as she made her way to Luke and Val. Val let her hand fall from his cheek and rested her palm against his chest as he pulled her to him.

“I’m so sorry, you guys. There was no reason he should have acted like that,” she turned her attention to Luke, “And I can’t say I’m too happy with you right now either, putting your hands on my husband like that and in front of our daughter no less.” Luke finally looked to her. “But I still can’t say he didn’t deserve it.” The front door swung open and Jerry poked his head into the cabin.

“Shana, we are leaving.” Shana sighed looked back to him.

“I will be out in a second.” Jerry acted like he wanted to protest, but he shook his head closed the door leaving them alone again with Shana. She turned her attention to Val. “I’m so sorry for the way he talked to you. I’m going to talk to him and force him to get his head out of his ass. I really hope that his actions didn’t reflect on me. Because, well, I think you’re great.” Val grinned and broke away from Luke long enough to wrap Shana up in a hug.

“It was really great meeting you, Shana. I hope to see you again soon.” Shana patted Val on the back lightly.

“Take care of Luke for me,” she whispered in Val’s ear. They separated and Val nodded to Shana. Shana patted Luke’s arm then turned to walk out of the cabin. They watched as their car pulled out of the driveway before turning to each other.

“I’m sorry, Val,” Luke whispered placing his forehead against hers. “I should have kicked his ass for insulting you like that.” Val chuckled as she ran her fingers up his chest slowly.

“Well, I’m glad you didn’t.” She tilted her head to kiss his lips gently. “Why don’t you go check on Samantha and I’ll go take a shower to get this nasty lake water off me.” Luke nodded slowly then kissed her lips.

Luke watched her as she stepped around him letting her fingers brush against his torso until he was out of her reach. He watched the sway of her hips as she made her way into the bedroom to grab a change of clothes.

There was nothing about his woman that deserved to be talked down to the way that Jerry had. It took everything in his power not to completely deck the man for speaking about her the way he did, but he managed to keep a level head about it because, in the end, he was Shana’s husband and he respected his ex-wife enough not to do that to her.

He sighed rubbing the back of his neck. It was all his fault. It was all his fault that Jerry had said all those things to Val. If he wouldn’t have burned Val and the others just to get to Dom, Jerry would have never said those things. He was so irrational, that he wasn’t even wanting to listen to what Luke had to say. He had tried to explain what had happened, but Jerry was having no part of it.

Val didn’t deserve it. She wasn’t an international criminal. Hell, her family was a bunch of trouble makers, but they weren’t terrorists. It didn’t matter what their records showed before Luke had wiped them clean.

He was glad that their files had hit his desk because he would have never met Val otherwise. He could still remember the exact moment that he had become attracted to her. It was just a glimmer of an attraction, but still an attraction no less. Luke had been hovering over Tej’s shoulder as he worked away on his computer hacking into systems to try and track Shaw’s movements.

Luke had been more than impressed at Tej’s hacking skills. He clacked away on his keyboard with practiced ease as random windows popped up for him to put in codes to break through firewall after firewall. Val had come up to them and wrapped her arms around Tej’s neck from behind. She kissed his cheek roughly, earning an annoyed huff from Tej.

“What do you want?” he asked without taking his eyes off his computer screen.

“I’m bored,” she complained.

“And what do you want me to do about it?” he asked.

“I want you to help me pull a prank on Rome.” Tej’s fingers faltered a little on the keyboard.

“Give me five minutes,” Tej said then got back to work. Val giggled and kissed his cheek again before standing up straight. She glanced at Luke and gave him a kind smile before walking passed him. And that was when he caught it. Her scent. That smell of a wildflower after a summer rain mixed with engine grease. He turned to watch her leave. He caught his gaze wandering down her back to her waist and watched as they swayed back and forth with each step that she took.

He loved her playful nature and how excitable she was. Her energy was always so carefree and it was enough to put anyone at ease. He found himself so relaxed around her that he would let his guard down completely. It was one of his favorite things about her.

He made his way upstairs to check on Samantha just to make sure that she was okay. Jerry and Luke hadn’t argued since Samantha was a toddler and they had a major disagreement on discipline. It was before his diabetes had hit him and he was still a very muscular man. They had beaten each other into the hospital. After that, they had a certain respect for each other and was always able to talk things through, just like adults should.

Luke tapped on Samantha’s door lightly, silently hoping that she had already fallen asleep, but he doubted it. He opened the door slowly and saw her lift her head up from her pillow.

“Why were you and Jerry fighting?” she asked in a tired voice. Luke stepped into her room and walked over to her bed and knelt down next to it. He flipped on her bedside lamp. She flinched at the sudden light, but didn’t complain.

“Don’t worry about it. We’re not fighting anymore.” She rested her head back on the pillow staring up at her father. Her eyes were filled with questions.

“Why did he say all those mean things about Val?” Luke sighed as he adjusted the blanket covering Samantha.

“I don’t want you worrying about that either. I just want you to get some sleep because we have a busy day tomorrow.” Samantha beamed as excitement clearly coursed through her body.

“Are we going fishing?” Luke chuckled leaning his elbow against her bed.

“You bet.” She giggled as she snuggled down into her blankets more.

“Okay, daddy. I love you.” Luke grinned leaning forward to kiss her forehead.

“I love you too.” He flicked her light off the stood to leave her alone so she could sleep.

“Hey daddy?” Samantha called out when Luke reached her door. Luke looked over his shoulder at her. “Do you love Val?” The question caught Luke off guard and it took him a moment to collect himself. He grinned.

“You’re damned right I do.” He heard her giggle.

“Good.”

He heard the shower running when he walked downstairs and made his way into the bedroom to change into some pajama bottoms so he could get some sleep.

He put on a pair of pajama bottoms and laid down on the bed above the covers. He stared up at the ceiling absorbing all that had happened. He hated that it had to happen, but there was nothing he could do to change it. He grinned thinking about how he had admitted to Samantha that he loved Val. He had felt that way for a while and wanted to tell Val, but there was a small part of him that didn’t want to rush things. He didn’t want to admit how he felt for fear of being rejected by her because it was too soon. He knew it was pathetic of him, but Val could make him feel like that like no one else could.

Samantha had never went through the cliche way that children always dreamed that their parents would end up back together and live happily ever after. At least, she never voiced it. Shana and Luke both had sat down with her when they thought that she was old enough to understand and explained to her that it was better the way they were living now. She seemed to understand completely and even seemed okay with it.

He worried greatly that when he told her about Val that she would have disagreed with it, but she didn’t. She was excited. The relief that washed over him was incredible.

He heard the bathroom door open after a while. Val stepped into the bedroom wearing a pair of shorts and a tank top. She carried her hairbrush in her hand. She crawled onto the bed and turned her back on him as she started running the brush through her wet hair.

She sighed half way through and placed the brush in her lap.

“Is there a reason why he freaked out like that when he found out how we met?” she asked fiddling with the the bristles on her brush. Luke sat up on the bed leaning his back against the headboard.

“Yeah, for whatever it’s worth,” he said. Val looked back at him waiting for him to continue. She turned to face him and started brushing her hair out again. “His brother was in the DEA and was deep undercover with a major drug cartel. He had been undercover for years earning the trust of the leaders and had finally become one of the most trusted people. They were getting ready to close the whole operation down from top to bottom and it was all thanks to him.” Val had finished brushing her hair and had discarded the brush on her nightstand. “There ended up being a leak in the department and they made him.” He paused for a moment rubbing the back of his neck. “They tortured him for days only to behead him.” Val’s mouth slacked open in shock. “They filmed the entire thing and sent the tapes to the family.”

“Oh my God,” Val whispered unable to say much else. “Oh my God.”

“That doesn’t make it okay with how he talked down to you. He has to understand that the only reason you were labeled like that was because of me.” Val grinned a playful grin and Luke knew she was getting ready to say something smart ass to him, but he stopped her. “Even if you were technically breaking international law right along with Dom.” Val tilted her head in question. Luke gave her a flat look. She was unbelievable. He held up his hand to start counting all of the laws that she had broken. “You broke your brother out of prison and fled the country. Aiding and abetting. Harboring a fugitive. Evading arrest.”

“Alright, alright, that’s enough. I get it,” she said scooting in next to him and rested her head against his shoulder. Luke chuckled wrapping his arm around her waist. “At least we didn’t go and take all the credit when we took down Shaw.” Luke gave her a playful glare.

She squealed as his grip tightened around her waist and lifted her up to lay her on her back. He twisted his body so he could pin her. She rested her hands on his shoulders.

“And miss out on that hefty bonus I got? Not a chance.” She giggled as she rose and kissed his lips gently.

“And what kind of bonus does saving the world get you?” Val asked. Luke smirked.

“Not nearly as much as getting away with a hundred million.” Val hummed softly, but she frowned.

“I didn't take any of that money.” Luke paused for a moment taking in what she said. He had always assumed that she had taken some of the money since she was able to pay for her home in cash. They never really discussed their financial situations. He knew they both did very well for themselves.

“You didn't?” Val shook her head. “Why not?”

“It was dirty money. I didn't want anything to do with it.” Luke frowned. Dirty money or not, even he would have taken some. “I spent a lot of time making a lot of money by stealing cars. All it did was land me in jail and ruined my life. I wasn't about to go and do it all over again.” Luke shook his head.

“Then where did you get the money for your house?” Val wiggled under him until she was able to spread her legs and wrap them around his own. She sighed at the new position.

“That's better. I gave Hector free range of my finances when I left to be with Dom. That guy is a genius in the stock market. He quadrupled my money within the first year.”

“Shit. That's really impressive.” Val nodded. Luke lowered his head to brush his lips against her neck slowly. Val felt her hair raise at the sensation and felt her pulse quicken. She began to run her fingers over his skin slowly. Luke pressed himself against her when his lips found hers.

He kissed down her jaw grinding his hips into her earning an eager groan from her. He nibbled at her skin as he felt her fingertips trace random patterns in his skin.

“Are you still sore?” he whispered before nibbling on her earlobe.

“Want to find out?” she asked with a shaky breath. He grinned as his arms wrapped around her to pull her closer to him.

Chapter Text

Val woke up the next morning to Luke wrapping arm around her and his kisses. She groaned trying to push him away, but she knew that it was a fruitless effort. She stretched her body out with a groan feeling Luke’s fingers roam her body.

“Will you stop that?”

“Never,” he teased as he nibbled on her ear lobe. She giggled trying to squirm away from him, but he tightened his grip on her.

“Come on, stop!” Val squeaked out as his fingers went up the front of her shirt and began tickling her skin just below her breasts. Luke kissed her neck as the sound of footsteps were heard above them signaling that Samantha had woken up. Val sighed looking back at Luke. “Now you’re going to have to stop. Samantha’s awake.” Luke buried his face in her hair gripping her tighter.

“You might want to brace yourself,” he mumbled. Val frowned glancing back at him as best she could. She listened as Samantha’s footsteps walked around upstairs for a little bit longer, then she listened as they hurried down the stairs and came around to the bedroom door. Samantha opened the door and ran over to the bed and jumped on them.

“Come on, guys, wake up! We’re going fishing! Wake up!” Val groaned covering her head with the blanket.

“I don’t want to,” she complained. She felt the blanket get ripped away from her and Val was really glad that she and Luke had put their clothes back on after making love the night before. She raised her head long enough to pull the pillow out from under her head and flopped her head down on the bed then covered her face with the pillow.

She heard Samantha growl.

“Come on, daddy! Get up! We’re going fishing!” Luke groaned rolling on his back.

“I’m up. I’m up.” Val felt the bed shift as Luke got up. Val, however, was unmoved. Samantha exclaimed happily and got off the bed as well.

“We’re going fishing!” she all but screeched. Val finally lifted her head and looked at the little girl standing next the bed. She had never seen anyone so excited to go fishing in her life.

“Hey!” Val quipped to catch the girl’s attention. Samantha looked to her. “Breakfast first. Then fishing.” Samantha groaned in protest looking up at her father.

“You heard her. Now get,” he said pointing to the door. “We’ll be out in a minute.” Val waited until she heard the door close before she sat up with a groan. She stretched her arms above her head and let out a yawn. She stayed on the bed trying to clear out the cobwebs.

“What’s wrong with you?” Luke asked.

“I’m tired,” she grumbled. She stood up slowly rubbing the sleep away from her eyes.

“Tired?” Luke asked as he started rummaging through his drawers for clothes.

“Yeah,” she whispered walking over to Luke and wrapped her arms around his waist from behind. She rested her head against his back and let her eyes drift closed. “I’m sure I wouldn’t be so tired if someone didn’t keep me up half the night.” Luke chuckled as he tossed a shirt on top of the dresser and turned around to face Val. Val ran her hands over his chest slowly to savor the ripple of muscle underneath.

“You weren’t complaining last night,” he teased as his hands ran down her sides to rest on her waist. Val giggled shaking her head.

“No, but that doesn’t mean I can’t complain now. And now I have to go make breakfast and then we get to spend all day under the hot sun smelling worms and fish. Exciting.” The sarcasm that came out with each word was nearly painful. He rolled his eyes turning away from Val to put on his shirt.

“I thought you said you’ve gone fishing before,” Luke countered as he put the shirt over his head. Val took off her shirt and dug around in her underwear drawer for her bikini.

“Yes, but I never said I liked it. I’ve never been able to catch a fish ever. Brian has tried teaching me, but it’s never stuck. The worms are a weird slimy noodle. Not to mention it's completely unsanitary. You sit there all day and nothing happens except sun poisoning and dehydration.” By the end of her little rant, she had completely changed into her bikini bottoms and a pair of short shorts and was trying to tie her top, but was losing the battle.

Luke had changed as well and was listening to Val’s little rant with the utmost amusement. He waited for her to finish running her mouth before he stepped forward to help her with her top. He tied it around her middle first before tying it behind her neck.

“You know, if you want you can stay here while we go fishing,” Luke stated simply as he finished tying her bikini top. She sighed leaning up against him looking down to adjust the bra so her breasts didn’t slip out. As much as she was sure Luke would enjoy that type of wardrobe malfunction, Samantha was sure to be traumatized.

“I would love nothing more than to stay here and go back to bed, but I’m sure that me doing that will disappoint Samantha and I don’t want to do that.”

Luke grinned lowering his head to kiss her shoulder. Her words meant more to him than she knew. He ran his beard lightly against her skin just so he could feel her tighten to hold back a shiver. He loved the way she did it, as if she was trying to take away a power over her that he already knew he had.

She bit her lip to hold back the shaky breath that was threatening to escape. She hated when he did that. As soon as the hairs on his beard tickled her skin, her skin almost instantly heated up. Her hair stood on end as if she had just touched an electric fence, but instead of one fast jolt, it seemed to spread through her body in slow motion. It was enough to make her melt and make her bend to his every will. And it pissed her off because she knew he knew it.

“I’ll go make coffee,” Luke whispered in her ear. He stepped past her and left the room to leave her to slump down on the edge of the bed to collect herself. It took everything in her power not to throw herself back on the bed and go back to sleep. She stood instead and grabbed one of her tank tops and put it on before walking out of the room.

Luke had showed Val an EpiPen and told her about how Samantha was deathly allergic to bees. Val already knew how to use one so Luke didn’t bother to show her how to use it. He had told her about how they had figured out that she was allergic to bees when she was three years old and had been stung while playing out in the yard. Her throat had closed up instantly and she had passed out. They had rushed her to the hospital and with them knowing immediately what was wrong with her, they were able to treat her and save her life.

Samantha followed Val around in the kitchen like a shadow wanting to know everything that she was doing. The look in her eye when Val handed her some eggs to crack into a bowl was absolutely priceless. When she cracked them into a bowl, there was a couple pieces of the shell that had fallen into the bowl, but it was nothing that Val couldn’t pick out with her nail. Val went ahead and added the milk to the eggs for fear of Samantha spilling the milk everywhere, but she did let Samantha mix the eggs after putting in vanilla and cinnamon.

Val showed Samantha how to dip a slice of bread into the mix and put in into a pan to cook. Samantha watched closely as Val flipped the slice of bread to the other side and let it cook until it was done then picked it up and slid it on a plate that she had out for them.

Val watched Samantha as she dipped another slice of bread into the egg mixture and put it in the pan. Samantha was so excited that she was actually making french toast and that there was someone actually letting her.

Luke watched from his spot at the dining room table with a grin on his face. He was happy that Samantha approved of Val and that they were able to get along. Sure, that was subject to change in later years when Samantha hit puberty, but he still had a while before that happened. He could remember years ago when his mother had brought home a man and Luke hated the guy even though he was so good to his mother. He had felt threatened by the man and lashed out any chance he could. It even had driven the poor man away. At the time, it had made him happy that he was gone, but later in life, he had regretted it because he knew how much that man had made his mother happy.

Samantha had made some pretty good french toast, Luke had to admit, but he was glad that they had managed to make it out onto the lake before it got too late in the day. Val spread a towel out on the back of the boat putting on tanning oil while Luke and Samantha readied their fishing poles.

“Samantha, come here, you need sunscreen,” Val said waving the bottle in the air for emphasis. Samantha groaned in protest, but walked to the back of the boat anyways so Val could put sunscreen on her face, shoulders, and chest.

“Why do I need sunscreen? My skin is pretty dark already.” Val chuckled as she tossed the sunscreen on top of her bag.

“Well, my skin is pretty dark too, but I still get burnt, just like I know you do,” Val said placing some of the stray hairs behind her ears. Samantha huffed.

“Then why doesn’t daddy need sunscreen?” she asked with a little stomp of her foot. Val chuckled shaking her head then glanced up to Luke who had cast out. He was pretending not to listen to their conversation, but she knew better than that. Val reached down and grabbed the bottle of sunscreen and held it out to Samantha.

“I tell you what, if you can get your dad to put some of this on, then I’ll give you five bucks.” Samantha looked back to Val to see if she was serious and Val nodded a confirmation. They turned their attention to Luke to discover that he was glaring at Val. Samantha giggled and hurried to the front of the boat as she waved the bottle towards Luke.

“Here daddy! You need this!” she said waving it up at him. As soon as he looked down at her, Val could see it in his eyes that he had melted. He sat down on the bench seat a little close to the edge so she could get in behind him so she could put sunscreen on him. Val went ahead and took it upon herself to lay out on the back of the boat so she could nap.

“Are you not going to fish with us?” Samantha asked. Val put her hands behind her head after draping a towel over her face to block out some of the brightness of the sun.

“I’m afraid not, sweetheart,” Val said simply.

“Why not?” she inquired curiously.

“Because I’m no good at it,” Val said truthfully.

“I could teach you how,” Luke piped up. Val lifted the towel from her face and rolled onto her side and propped her head up on her elbow.

“If you somehow manage to teach me how to catch a fish, you will have accomplished something that Brian has been trying to for years,” Val said in a tired voice. All she really wanted to do was lay back and nap in the sunshine. She wasn’t at all interested in going fishing.

“Tell you what, if you manage to catch a fish today you’ll have to double,” Luke stopped when Samantha leaned forward and whispered something in his ear. “Triple what you owe Sam here for getting me to put sunscreen on.” Val narrowed her eyes and bit her lip as she thought it over. It felt like a trap. And in her world, if it quacked like a duck, and looked like a duck, it was probably a trap.

“Deal, but I’m only agreeing to this because if, for whatever reason, you manage to teach me to catch a fish, I’m going to rub it in Brian’s pretty little face,” Val stated sitting up on the back of the boat. Luke and Sam glanced at each other with a grin then fist bumped. And it that moment, Val regretted agreeing to anything.

By the time that Luke had Val set up with her own fishing pole, Samantha had caught a fish. It grossed Val out a little while Samantha pinched her fingers into the bass’s lip and all but tore the hook out of the poor thing’s mouth. It was only about six inches long and didn’t really weigh that much, but the look of utter joy and pride on Samantha’s face was worth it. Samantha tossed it back into the water and the little fish swam away.

“Okay, your turn,” Samantha said beaming up at Val. Val shrugged and was about to cast her line out, but Luke stopped her before she could. He eyed the shoreline carefully before pointing to an area that had some roots and branches from fallen trees in the water. Val did her best to cast out to it. The small white and red bobber floated on top of the water for a few moments before it jerked underwater for a split second.

“Oh you have got to be kidding me,” Val said with wide eyes. Sure enough, the bobber went under again, but this time, it stayed under and Val felt a small tug on her fishing pole. She jerked the pole a little and began to reel it in.

“Ha ha!” Val exclaimed once the fish was in the boat. “I actually caught a fish!” It was a small fish, but a fish no less. It was only around four inches long, but that didn’t matter to Val because she caught it. Luke told her that it was a bluegill. She took a picture of her with the fish so she had something to send to Brian so she could rub it in his face.

“Okay, now you gotta get it off the hook and put it back,” Luke said crossing his arms. Val stared at him for a moment then looked down at the fish that was still dangling from the hook. Its dorsal fin was spread out and its gills moved quickly as it tried to breathe without water. She touched it with her finger just to see what it felt like, but the fish went crazy flopping around. She held it out away from her so it didn’t smack her.

She looked up to Luke desperately, but he had turned away from her to cast his line out into the deeper part of the lake for bigger fish. She glanced at Samantha who was still smiling at her. Val reached out slowly and gripped the fish by its belly since its mouth was too small to pinch it with her fingers. It tried to wiggle out of her grasp, but it was no use. She cringed at the slimy feeling of its skin. She wanted to gag. She tried not to think about all the germs that was now on her hand.

“Ew! Ew! Ew!” she repeated as she pulled the hook from its mouth. It was a strange ripping pop as she finally worked the hook free and tossed the fish back into the water. She shivered and looked down at her hand still covered in the fish’s grimey germs. “That was disgusting. What do you guys see in this? Those things are covered in germs and bacteria.”

“I thought germs and bacteria were the same thing,” Luke said glancing over his shoulder at her with a grin. Sure, technically they were the same thing, but that was besides the point.

“Shut up,” she hissed getting into the cooler to grab a bottle of water. She heard Luke chuckle and Samantha giggle behind her. She poured it over her hand and washed off as much of the grime as she could. She made her way to the back of the boat and laid back down.

“Are you done already?” Luke teased from the front of the boat.

“Yup. Fish are disgusting. Though it was exciting to finally catch a fish,” she admitted putting the towel back over her head and rested her hands behind her head. She heard Luke chuckle once more. She slowly began to doze off listening to the conversations that Luke and Samantha was sharing. She told him about school and her friends. She talked about some sleep overs that she had with her friends.

Luke told her about some of the missions that he had went on and what he had to do in order to bring down the bad guys. He told her that about Val’s first encounter with Brenda and Carl without telling her about the pot brownies that Brenda had slipped her. He told her about the project that Carl was currently working on for Brenda. Samantha mentioned about wanting to go and see Brenda and Carl, but by that time, Val was going in and out of sleep.

The slow rock of the boat lulled her off to sleep. The warmth of the sun seemed to comfort her down to her very soul. She felt completely relaxed and felt like she was being whisked away on a cloud to dreamland.

Val came to by hearing Luke saying Samantha’s name in a panicked tone. She shot up all sleepiness leaving instantly. She saw Samantha slumped over on one of the bench seats with her eyes closed. Luke was knelt in front of her with his hands on her face trying to get her to wake up. Her skin was flushed in patches while she was having trouble breathing and Val knew exactly what was going on. She jumped up and dug around in the dry bag until she found Samantha’s EpiPen.

“Hurry up, Val!” Luke snapped over his shoulder. She finally found the yellow plastic tube and handed it to Luke. He plunged it into the skin on her thigh and held it there for a few seconds before tossing it to the side. Val knelt down next to him and every part of her wanted to push him away so she could asses the girl, but she knew that doing that would be like signing her own death warrant.

Luke grabbed Samantha’s face again watching her with helpless terror waiting for the medicine to take hold. Samantha’s breath became easier and she slowly opened her eyes. She stared at Luke with wide eyes then glanced to Val. She hissed in pain looking down at the spot on her arm where the bee had stung her and tears began to fall. Luke wrapped his arms around the child and pulled her to him. He wrapped her up in his comforting embrace letting her sob into his chest. He shushed her quietly,

Val rested a comforting hand on Luke’s shoulder and leaned into him while her other hand rested on the top of Samantha’s head. She could feel Luke’s quick breaths as he tried to calm himself. The entire thing had happened within a matter of forty five seconds, but it felt like it had been hours.

“We need to get her home,” Val urged. Luke gave Val a sideways glance and nodded slowly. He pulled away from Samantha and gave her a reassuring smile. “I’ve got her,” Val said in a calm tone and began to tug Samantha gently away from Luke. Samantha shifted her body to where Val could cradle her in her lap while Luke shot up to pull in the lines and anchors.

Samantha’s skin felt hot, but Val figured it was where it was mostly from the sun and the adrenaline. Val held her tight rocking her slightly as Samantha whimpered. She was trembling. Luke had them back at the docks in a matter of minutes. Luke jumped off to tie the boat off while Val stood with Samantha in her arms. She carried her to the edge of the dock and allowed Luke to take her.

“Leave the stuff, we’ll come back for it later,” Luke said hurrying off the dock to head back to the cabin. Val darted past him so she could get some allergy medicine ready for her before the EpiPen wore off. She left the back door open for him while she rushed into the bathroom to find what she needed in the medicine cabinet. She found it with no problems since allergy pill bottles usually had the familiar pink writing on it.

She carried it back into the living room where Luke was sitting on the couch with Samantha in his lap. Val gave her one of the pills which Samantha swallowed with a little trouble. Val reached out and felt Samantha’s throat to check for swelling and tenderness. It still felt a little swollen to her, but it was nothing to really worry about.

“Let me see your tongue,” Val said. Samantha opened her mouth so Val could see. Her tongue was a little swollen as well, but again, it was nothing to cause for alarm. “Do you think you can eat something? Like soup?” Samantha nodded slowly with a small sniffle and cuddled further into Luke’s embrace. Val glanced up at Luke who was staring down at his daughter with pain in his eyes. “Would you like something, too?”

Luke shook his head. Val reached out and touched his cheek lightly before standing up and made her way into the kitchen to make Samantha some soup. It was light and easy to swallow and would hopefully bring a little relief to her throat and tongue. She put it in the microwave instead of cooking it on the stove so she could get it to Samantha before the side effects of the allergy medicine kicked in and she fell asleep.

Samantha was only able to eat half of her soup before she said she wasn’t hungry anymore. Val wished she would have eaten more just to have something on her stomach, but she could make due.

Luke stayed quiet, his eyes never leaving Samantha for even a moment. Val could see the guilt and worry in his eyes. She clung to him as if her life depended on it and he held her tight against him as if protecting her from all the dangers in the world. Val had never seen Luke in such a state. He looked so helpless since there was nothing he could do to take his daughter’s pain away. Val never would have dreamed in a million years that she would see him in such a state. She would have never dreamed that Luke Hobbs could be so vulnerable.

Slowly, but surely, Samantha fell asleep in Luke’s arms. Luke gently adjusted the child in his arms so he could stand with her. He stood slowly so he didn’t disturb her though she was so tired from the experience then the allergy medicine it was going to be hard to wake her up period.

“I’m going to go lay down with her,” he muttered walking back towards their bedroom.

“Okay, I’m going to go get everything off the boat then I’ll be in,” Val said to him. He acted like he didn’t even hear her. He still watched Samantha with unwavering eyes. Val hurried down to the boat and unloaded it. She had to make multiple trips because the cooler was too heavy to carry so she had to empty it out some by throwing ice into the water in order to carry it. She still had to drag it up to the porch where she left it at the bottom of the stairs. There was no way she was going to be carrying that up the steps. The rest of the boat was easy to unload. She brought everything into the house and unpacked it and made sure everything was put up in its proper place before going to check on Samantha.
Samantha laid next to Luke on their bed covered in their blanket. Her head rested on Luke’s shoulder and her arm was draped around his torso lazily. Luke’s big arm was wrapped around her body and his cheek was rested against the top of her head. He stared across the room at nothing in particular. The sight, even under the circumstances, was adorable to say the least. Val walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge nearest Luke.

Val felt around on Samantha’s throat to check for swelling. It was going down more and more with each passing minute which was absolutely fantastic. She wanted to check her tongue as well, but with her being asleep, she didn’t want to wake her. She could wait until Samantha woke up. The rash was going away as well, but Val suspected it would return once the allergy medicine wore off.

She placed her hand on Luke’s cheek finally getting him to look at her. The pain and worry in his eyes shot a pang right to her heart.

“She’s never been stung around me before,” Luke admitted. He glanced back down at Samantha wondering if he was disturbing her. She remained still. “She was talking to me and just out of nowhere, she collapsed.” He paused for a moment taking a deep breath. “She wasn’t breathing.” He paused again running his large hand down Samantha’s back. Val couldn’t even begin to understand the fear he had felt in that moment. To see one’s child not breathing was enough to bring even the mightiest to their knees and it had.

“I’ve never been so scared in my life,” he confessed in a whisper before pressing his lips to the top of Samantha’s head. Luke leaned back still keeping his eyes on her. Val leaned forward placing a gentle kiss to the corner of his mouth before snuggling into his side. Luke wrapped his free arm around Val loosely.

They laid there in silence watching Samantha together. Val wasn’t sure what she could say to Luke to make him feel better about the situation. She wasn’t sure if there was anything she could say. Usually she would tell the parents of a child that came into the ER that everything was going to be fine and they were going to keep the child for a little longer for observation before releasing them and she was able to leave the room only to return if the parents had a question that only a doctor could answer. That rarely happened in a situation such as Luke’s.

She was pulled from her thoughts when Luke chuckled. She lifted her head to look up at him to find him with a grin on his face looking down at Samantha.

“What is it?” she questioned curiously.

“She’s drooling on me,” he said the chuckle still on his breath. Val giggled resting her head back on his shoulder.

Chapter Text

Luke and Val had stayed up with Samantha the entire night that night. Luke had barely left Samantha’s side. He would only leave long enough to use the bathroom and grab a quick bite to eat and that was it. Val had constantly reassured him that she was going to be fine and that he could get some sleep, but he just shook his head and said he was fine. So she endured with him.

The next morning when Samantha finally woke up, she claimed she was starving. Val had made sausage gravy and biscuits as a way to keep things as simple as she could considering Luke’s appetite. Samantha devoured her food quickly and had even asked for seconds much to Val’s delight. She was glad that Samantha was eating.

After breakfast, Samantha started complaining that she was itching really bad and her rash was starting to show back up. Val had given her another allergy pill.

Val was doing dishes when Luke came up behind her and put his hands on her waist. She grinned as he buried his head in the crook of her neck and kissed her skin gently. He whispered a thank you in her ear then kissed her neck one more time before leaving her alone to do the dishes.

Val had washed the sheets and blankets on their bed because she swore they smelled like fish and worms.

Luke had found Val and Samantha on the couch sleeping while cartoons played on the television. Val was laying behind Samantha with her arm wrapped around her while Samantha used her other arm as a pillow.

By the next day, Samantha was all better and was back to her normal self. When Val woke up in the morning, she walked out into the kitchen to find Luke and Samantha at the dining room table with a couple rifles scattered about. Samantha had a big grin on her face as Luke talked about gun safety and what each gun was.

“We’re going to go shoot guns today!” Samantha said full of excitement. Val chuckled shaking her head. She noticed that her gun was sitting on the table as well and looked to Luke. He simply shrugged and nothing more.

Once the targets were set up, Luke handed a .22 rifle to Samantha who reached for it without giving it a second thought, but Luke pulled it out of her reach at the last moment. He gave her a questionable look.

“What’s my rule?” he asked the girl. Samantha smiled.

“Don’t tell mom,” she said. Luke grinned handing her the rifle.

“That’s my girl.” Val crossed her arms over her chest. She knew she could trust Luke to take care of Samantha. She just wasn’t sure how she felt about Luke keeping a secret like that from Shana. Luke and Shana seemed to have a very good relationship considering. If she somehow managed to find out that Luke was allowing their child to shoot a weapon especially since she was only six, lord knows what would happen.

She wasn’t sure what the proper age was to have a child start shooting a weapon, but if anything, it varied from parent to parent. Luke placed some noise canceling earmuffs on Samantha’s head and gave her a thumbs up. Samantha nodded and held the gun up and checked the clip to make sure it was secure, then checked the safety. Val glanced up at Luke to see pure pride shining in his eyes as Samantha lined up the shot. Val instinctively covered her ears. She wasn’t sure how loud it was going to be, but she wasn’t about to risk tinnitus.

Samantha pulled the trigger and the blast echoed. Val watched the target as hole after hole appeared in various spots. Once the clip was empty, Samantha checked the safety then handed the rifle off to her father. She took off the earmuffs with a grin.

“I’m getting better,” she said with an excited tone. Luke grinned popping out the clip and putting another in for her.

“Yeah, you are. You want to go again?” he asked handing the rifle back to her. She put the earmuffs back on with a grin. She ended up shooting another four clip’s worth of bullets before she wanted Val to shoot her gun.

Val wasn’t so sure if she was ready to shoot her gun. She had gotten more and more comfortable with it with each passing day since Luke was teaching her how to use it. She was now able to take it apart completely and clean it then put it back together without worrying if she was doing it right or not. She was able to drop the clip and reload it with little to no trouble. She was still an amature by every sense of the word, but she wasn’t nervous anymore. Luke hadn’t taught her how to shoot just yet, so she supposed today was going to be that day.

Luke opened the case for her and held it out to her so she could grab her weapon. Val reached in and grabbed it. It was cold to the touch, but that was something she was used to by now. She grabbed one of the clips and slid in into its place. She cocked it and glanced at Luke.

“You ready?” he asked her and she nodded. She faced the target and held the gun in front of her. She checked the safety to make sure it was off. She felt Luke’s hand rest on her shoulder and his other on her waist. She felt his breath in her ear and she resisted the urge to shiver. “You have got to relax and breathe. Aim slowly until you’re sure that you’re going to hit the target.”

She listened to him as much as she could. She had never shot a gun before so, needless to say, she was a little anxious so it was a little hard for her to fully relax.

“You need to squeeze the trigger. Don’t pull,” he advised in a low tone. Before she knew what had happened, she had squeezed the trigger. The sound deafened her momentarily before her hearing came back leaving behind a slight ringing sensation. She had missed the target completely. She frowned a little disappointed in herself. She had aimed carefully and could have sworn she had it lined up perfectly.

“Again,” Luke encouraged. Val readied the gun again and tried to aim. She lined it up one more time with the target and squeezed the trigger again. She huffed in frustration when she discovered that she had missed again.

“You’re not very good at this, are you?” Samantha asked from beside her. Val lowered the gun.

“I’ve never shot a gun before. So, no, I am no good at this,” she said sending a playful glare to the girl. Samantha giggled.

“Again,” Luke demanded catching her attention. Val huffed and picked up the gun one more time and aimed. She pulled the trigger. She missed again. “Again.” Before she knew it, she had emptied the clip, but had missed the target completely every single time. She dropped the empty clip from the gun and handed it to Luke.

“I think it’s broken,” she said clearly frustrated. Luke gave her an amused look and held his hand out to her silently asking for the gun in her hand. She gave it to him and stood back as he loaded it with a new clip and aimed it. He fired quickly at the target and emptied the clip in a matter of seconds. Each shot hit the center of the target. He dropped the clip into his hand once it was empty and glanced at Val.

“Seems to work just fine for me,” he said handing the gun back to her. Val huffed taking the gun away from him and was more than ready to shoot the gun again. Even if she felt as if she was going to go deaf before she was going to be able to hit the target.

It took her another two clips before one of the bullets hit the target. She squealed and danced in place for a moment. She put the safety on and looked to Luke who was grinning at her.

“Again,” was all he said to her. She loaded another clip and shot at the target again. She had hit it three more times that time around and she was getting more and more excited. She was actually shooting a gun and wasn’t all that bad at it. Sure, she had handled virtual guns before, but the beauty of guns in video games was that they had automatic reloads and crosshairs that flashed red whenever you crossed them over an enemy. It was completely different when it was a real gun.

She had become very comfortable with her gun by the end of their session though she was sure she wasn’t going to be hearing nothing but ringing in her ears for at least a week. She was grateful to Luke that he had been so patient with her when it came to the gun. He pushed her to get comfortable with it, but not to the point that it angered Val. She hoped she would never have to use the skill that Luke was teaching her, but she was glad to have it.

It worried her a little that Luke thought that it was a skill that she needed to have just because of his job, but she would be able to defend herself if the need arose. She had asked Luke that night if anyone had ever come after his family. He had told her the truth and said that sometimes they had threatened to come after his family, but it had never happened.

The rest of the time that they had spent at the cabin consisted mostly of Val and Samantha bonding. Luke had seemed to step back a little just so they could. They played board games together and Val had taught her a couple easy card games. Samantha had discovered that Val could speak Spanish and had asked Val if she could teach her how to speak it. They had given each other manicures and pedicures. They had visited with Brenda and Carl a few more times before they took off.
The night before they left, Val and Luke were laying in bed. Val had her bedside lamp on and was determined to finish her book before they left because she knew once they returned she wasn’t going to have enough time to sit down and read it for long. She was glad that the light didn’t bother him. He laid with his back to her, but she wasn’t sure if he had fallen asleep yet or not. He had laid down earlier than usual just because they had a long drive ahead of them the next day. She had offered to drive on the way up multiple times, but he refused stating that he was fine.

She had made sure that Samantha had showered and brushed her teeth before sending her off to bed and had even told her a story until she drifted off to sleep. Samantha didn’t have that many books in her room, which was understandable since the cabin was more of a vacation home than an actual home. The books were too young for her and knew she was going to have to update the small collection Samantha had the next time they came to the cabin. Val had settled on telling her the story of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Samantha had listened intently for as long as she could before sleep began to take hold and swept her away for the night. Val stood from the edge of the bed as quietly as possible and kissed her on the forehead. She had grown attached to the little girl in the time they had spent together. It upset her a little that Luke didn’t get her that often and hoped that once school was over that they would be able to spend more time together. She wanted Samantha to meet her family because she knew they would love the girl just as much as she did.

She closed her book, finally finished with it, and reached over to turn the light off. She snuggled down into the sheets a little more before scooting closer to Luke so she could steal some of his body heat. As if sensing her closeness, Luke rolled over onto his back and wrapped an arm around her. She adjusted herself to where she was using him as a pillow and draped her arm over his stomach.

In just a few short minutes, Luke rolled onto his side to face her. His fingertips ran over her cheek back to the back of her head where they tangled into her hair. He kissed her lips slowly. Val felt her breath catch in the back of her throat as her hand rested on his shoulder. He broke the kiss and allowed his thumb to brush over her cheekbone slowly.

“I love you,” he said just above a whisper. Val’s heart skipped several beats before it settled back down. Excitement and happiness shot through her system instantly. She attacked his lips with her own and pressed her body against his. He held onto her tight. She couldn’t believe he had said it. She wondered how long he had felt that way, but wasn’t going to ruin the moment by questioning him about it. It didn’t matter anyway because she was just happy that he felt the same way about her as she did him. She broke the kiss and giggled. She was finding it hard to contain herself, but she somehow managed.

“I love you, too,” she whispered and kissed his lips once more.

Chapter Text

Samantha had stayed with Luke and Val for another week before Shana and Jerry had returned from Canada to retrieve her. Luke and Val made sure she made it back and forth to school though they had to run nearly forty five minutes out of their way to get her there. She could understand why Samantha stayed with her mother because it was clear that the school in her district was a lot better than the one in the district that Luke lived in. They wanted her to have the best education and she was.

One day, Val picked Samantha up at school, and while she was waiting in the ridiculously long line of cars that stretched three quarters around the block, Dom called her. He was his usual calm, cool, and collected self, but she could still hear the worry in his voice. He had explained that he, Brian, and Tej were working on Dom’s car and Brian was working on getting one of the bolts loose when the wrench had broke loose and Brian’s hand jerked forward. When he had, his hand had scraped against something. It had left a terrible gash and Brian wanted Val to look at it before they decided if he needed to go to the hospital or not.

Val grinned when she saw Samantha walk from the school and beamed when she saw Val sitting in her Barracuda waiting for her. When Samantha had seen her car, she had immediately fallen in love with it and quickly decided that she wanted it for her first car.

“How bad is it really?” Val inquired as she waved to Samantha with a smile. Samantha looked up at the teacher that was on bus duty for the evening asking permission to run out to Val’s car. The teacher nodded and Samantha took off like a bolt.

“Mia’s cleaning it up right now so we haven’t really seen how bad it is, but with the way he’s bleeding, it looks kind of bad,” Dom admitted with a calm voice. “I think you need to come look at it before we take him to the hospital.” Samantha jumped into the car and smiled at Val.

“I’ve got Sam with me,” Val started, but trailed off for a moment. Samantha hadn’t met her family yet and wasn’t sure if Luke wanted to be there with her so she had a sense of familiarity and comfort, but Brian was hurt. Worse case scenario, he needed stitches. That was something she could handle right there in the kitchen if her kit was fully stocked. She hadn’t checked on it since she had moved out and it was hard to tell how many times the others had gotten into her stash. She sighed.

“What’s my kit looking like?” she asked as Sam buckled her seat belt. Dom hummed and Val could hear him rummaging around for her kit. It was a cheap tackle box that she had bought because of the little separators. She had raided the supply closets at work getting all kinds of first aid and various other things she might need for the home. Roman had habits of hurting himself and others.

“Looks a little low,” Dom said.

“Okay, let me run by my place and I’ll grab my kit from there and I’ll be over. Clean the wound as much as you can then keep his hand above his heart and keep his elbow bent. We have to keep the bleeding to a minimum.”

“Is everything okay?” Samantha asked as Val began to fight traffic to get out of the school parking lot. She was grumbling to herself the entire time. What was the purpose of having school buses anymore since the entire population picked their children up at school? At least Val had a good enough reason since the buses didn’t run by her or Luke’s house. It took her nearly fifteen minutes to get out of the parking lot.

Once she got to her house, she ran in real quick to grab her kit then ran back out to her car all the while texting Luke where she was going to be with Samantha. She rushed as quickly as she could over to Brian and Mia’s place without getting a ticket. She pulled up in front of the house since there wasn’t really anywhere she could park in the driveway since everyone was there.

She had told Samantha loosely what was going on and didn’t really want to go into too much detail without assessing the situation herself. She wasn’t really expecting it to be all that bad since Dom honestly didn’t seem all that worried about it. She walked into the kitchen dropping her kit on the counter top.

“Dom, you’re going to be my nurse, scrub up,” she demanded as she opened her kit and pulled out a couple pair of gloves. She turned to Brian and shook her head. He had his hand resting on the kitchen table with his hand covered in a bloody towel. Val walked to the table and removed the towel slowly. She felt a presence next to her as she lifted it up and glanced over to Samantha who was staring at Brian’s hand with the utmost interest.

“Samantha, I would like you to meet Brian and my sister Mia,” Val said as she completely removed the towel. The wound wasn’t as bad as she was thinking. It was a wide cut, but it wasn’t very deep. It appeared as if when his hand jerked forward that it had caught on a bolt sticking out and had torn a piece of skin away starting from right in between his index and middle knuckle all the way down to his wrist.

It was still bleeding, but it appeared to have slowed down. It wasn’t going to need any kind of stitches, but it was going to take a while for it to be healed since it was on his dominate hand. It looked nice and clean. Mia had done a good job. She turned away from Brian as Dom finished washing his hands so she could wash her own hands before putting on gloves.

“And this is my brother Dom,” she said as she started running water in the sink. She suddenly felt Samantha grip her shirt and felt her tiny body press up against her. Val frowned looking down at the little girl who was cuddled into her side. She was peering up at Dom with wide eyes. She looked nervous and unsure. Val shifted her gaze to her brother who was smiling warmly at the Samantha. She wasn’t sure why Samantha was acting shy all of a sudden around Dom, but she didn’t have time to dwell on that. She slipped on the gloves then turned her attention back to Brian.

“Okay, Brian, it doesn’t look like you’re going to need any stitches, but this is going to be a pain in the ass to heal. You’re not going to be able to move it for a couple days so I’m going to wrap it up to make sure it minimizes the movement. Neosporin should be able to take care of any risk of infection, but I can call one of the other doctors at the hospital to write you a script for some antibiotics.” While she talked she was taking gauze and wraps from her kit and was tossing them on the table. Brian shook his head at the mention of antibiotics.

He didn’t like pills. He hated taking them. He even waited days with a headache before even taking an aspirin for it. She sighed then looked to Mia.

“I want you to keep an eye on it. If it looks like it’s getting infected I want you to call me immediately and I’ll get a script for him.” Mia nodded. “I’m not going to worry about giving you any lidocaine or anything since I’m not giving you stitches, but I do recommend you taking some aspirin for the pain.” Dom opened a couple gauze pads and held them out for Val to grab. She pulled them from the packaging and folded them over and placed them over the wound. While she did that, Dom opened a package for gauze wrap and held it out for her to take whenever she was ready for it.

She grabbed the wrap with one hand while the other kept the pad in place. She began to wrap his hand gently as the front door opened. In a matter of seconds, Luke stepped into the kitchen.

“Hi, daddy!” Samantha said full of excitement. Luke placed his hand on her head with a grin. “Val’s fixing Brian up. He hurt his hand.”

“I can see that,” he said leaning against the counter next to Mia. Mia grinned up at Luke before turning her attention back to Val. “You know, if you use lotion it reduces friction so you won’t have to worry about this happening again.” Val sighed letting her head fall forward, but she didn’t stop wrapping. Mia had to cover her mouth to keep from laughing while Dom didn’t hold back. Brian just gave him his infamous goofy grin.

“Yeah, I’m sure you would know,” he countered playfully. Luke crossed his arms over his massive chest.

“No, not really,” he answered truthfully. Val glanced over her shoulder to see Luke watching her intently.

“Oh, come on, I’m right here,” Dom grumbled grabbing some tape so Val could finish up with Brian.

Once she was done patching him up, she stood so she could tear off her gloves and start cleaning up. Dom stood to help.

“I need to talk to the two of you before you head out,” he said in a low voice. He glanced down at Samantha who was sticking close to Luke so she didn’t get in the way before looking up to Luke. “Alone.” Val and Luke frowned glancing at each other, but it had to be important if he wanted to talk to them alone.

“Samantha, why don’t you go in the other room with Brian and Mia while me and your dad talk to Dom,” Val suggested putting her hand on Samantha’s shoulder. Samantha stepped a little closer to Luke and looked up at him with wide eyes. Luke nodded and Samantha walked into the other room with Brian and Mia while Luke and Val followed Dom out onto the back porch. Dom pulled out his phone and started scrolling through something. Once he found it, he handed the phone to Val.

The picture was of a man that was standing next to Letty. He was skinny, sickly skinny. His cheeks were sunken in along with his eyes. The dark circles around his eyes made him look more like a raccoon than a human. He wore a toboggan that he wore low on his head as if trying to hide as much of his face as he could. He wore a long sleeve shirt under a t-shirt and old raggedy jeans. His hands were shoved in his pockets. Val wasn’t sure who he was, but there was something about him that seemed familiar. Maybe if he wasn’t so scrawny and sickly, she would be able to recognize him.

“Who is that?” Luke finally asked.

“You don’t recognize him, Val?” Dom asked. Well, that meant that Val was supposed to know who it was in the picture, but no matter how long she stared at the picture, she wouldn’t be able to tell who it was, even if he was familiar.

“I mean, he looks familiar, but other than that…” she said before Dom interrupted her.

“It’s Leon.”

Val’s eyes widened as she stared at the picture. She zoomed in on the picture so she could see him in a little bit more detail and sure enough, it was Leon.

“What happened to him?” Val asked in a low voice. He had changed so much. She had seen him months before at Race Wars, at least she thought, but it wasn’t long enough to take him all in. He looked so bad.

“Considering the track marks all over his arms,” Dom said then trailed off. Val sighed handing Dom’s phone back to him then she leaned into Luke. She needed to process everything. Leon had made contact with her family again and he was an addict. Sure, he had a problem with pills when they were together, but she had her own problem as well. They had gotten sober together, but Val had stayed sober, apparently Leon hadn’t.

“So, what’s the plan?” Val asked.

“He wants to come back to the team, but I told him that I would need to talk to you about it first,” Dom said simply. Val bit her lip glancing up at Luke. “That and he’s gotta kick the habit.” Val’s gaze shifted back to Luke and Dom watched as a silent conversation passed between the two. It was surreal to watch, but they were speaking to each other and they weren’t saying a word. Their eyes spoke a thousand words. He felt a small grin tug at his lips.

Val finally grinned then rested her lips against his bicep giving him a light kiss. Then she turned her head and rested her cheek against his arm.

“He needs our help, Dom. He’ll die if we don’t help him,” she said. Dom nodded with a grin. “Is he going to go to rehab or is he going to do this here?” Dom shrugged his shoulder.

“Rehab never worked for the two of you,” he joked. Val rolled her eyes. It was the truth. When she had first went into rehab, they drove her completely crazy. There was no contact to her family on the outside until she was clean. They wouldn’t let her have any kind of stimulant like coffee or cigarettes. She wasn’t even allowed to have phone calls. She got out of there and walked home as soon as she was able to and finished with her detox in her bed.

“I’ll get some fluids and diuretics from the hospital,” Val said then raised up onto the tips of her toes and kissed Luke’s quickly before heading into the house. She was making a mental list of all the things that she would possibly need for Leon’s detox knowing how unpredictable they could be depending on how long and how bad the addiction was. She would have to call in a couple favors, but that’s what they were there for.

Dom leaned against the railing on the back porch and looked over to Luke.

“You’re okay with this aren’t you?” Dom asked him. It was something that he wanted both Luke and Val to be okay with. Sure it had been nearly ten years since Leon and Val had been together, but that didn’t make him any less her ex. It didn’t help that he wasn’t sure what kind of man Luke was when it came to jealousy. He couldn’t really be the jealous type since he didn’t really act jealous whenever Hector and Val danced together, but Hector and Val had never dated.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Luke asked truly curious. Dom grinned and shook his head.

“Because Leon is Val’s ex,” Dom said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Which it kind of was.

“It’s been what? Ten years? Yes, I’m okay with this. It sounds like he needs help and if there’s anyone on this planet that can help, it’s you guys.” Dom nodded his head.

“I just hope that it sticks. Val was able to get sober and stay sober, but Leon had habits of relapsing. It never got this bad though, but I think it was because we were around to catch on what he was doing and stop it before it got too out of hand.” Luke watched as Dom became distant and lost in his thoughts. Val did the same thing whenever she was expecting a metaphorical storm. It was almost as if they were thinking about every possible scenario and figuring out ways to resolve each one so they could act accordingly and efficient whenever the scenario presented itself.

Around the front of the house, they heard the Barracuda roar to life and heard Val take off. Luke scratched the back of his neck and sighed. It may not have been the proper time to ask, but he wanted to talk to Dom without Val being around and sometimes it was hard to shake her when they were around her family.

“Val told me about her accident,” he stated simply. Dom shot him a look of surprise since she had said that she wanted to wait until after they had returned from their trip to his hideaway cabin to talk about it, but he supposed that she got tired of waiting. Which she did have habits of doing. “But only the parts that she was able to remember, which, as you know, isn’t much. She said I needed to come to you if I wanted to know more.” Dom hummed rubbing his finger across his lips and drifted off into his deep thought process again.

“There’s something that I’m going to tell you that I expect doesn’t get back to Val, no matter how bad you want to tell her.” Luke narrowed his eyes in suspicion. What could Dom possibly say that was so terrible that not even Val could know about it, but he nodded anyways so he could get the info that he needed. “Her car accident was all my fault. If she knew the truth on why Jason tried to kill her, she would hate me for the rest of her life and honestly, I don’t think I would be able to handle that.”

“How was it your fault?” Luke asked truly curious. Hopefully, Dom would tell him the truth instead of the sorry excuse that Val had given him. Val wasn’t stupid and knew that Dom was lying to her, but she chose to believe him just because he was her brother. Dom sighed before glancing over at the giant of a man to his left.

“Jason and I go way back. Never really liked each other. He and I get into this huge argument and then he called my sisters whores so instead of ending his life right then and there like I should have, I decided against it and slept with his sister who was notorious of being the whore of LA. A few weeks later, she comes to me and says that she pregnant and even shows me this little strip that said she was. Well, don’t get me wrong, I believed she was pregnant, but there was no way that the baby was mine. She said she was like nine weeks along and it had only been like three since we had hooked up. Well, since the baby wasn’t mine and I knew it for sure, I turned my back on her. She apparently went and had an abortion because of what I did and Jason went after Val. I did try to beat him down a few times, but he was out for blood.” He paused for a moment and took a deep breath. “He’s got another five years before he’s out.” He let out another deep breath then looked over to Luke.

Luke stood quiet as everything Dom said to him slowly connected. Luke could understand a little as to why he kept the truth from Val, but not for that long. Dom’s fear that Val would hate him had overpowered the necessity to tell her the truth. It confused Val to no end how Dom had lied to her. She wasn’t able to connect the dots and it bothered her. Learning the truth angered Luke, but not at Jason, but at Dom. He couldn’t believe that someone who stressed the importance of family like Dom did had lied to Val for all those years.

“Come on, I want to show you something.” Dom stepped back into the house while Luke followed behind.

Chapter Text

Luke sat down at the kitchen table and waited for Dom to get back. He could hear Samantha and Brian talking away about the mechanics of what sounded like Sonic the Hedgehog. Mia came into the kitchen eyeing Luke. She didn’t seem upset that Luke had asked Dom to tell him more about Val’s accident, she looked more upset over the fact that she was going to have to relive that moment all over again. She sat down at the kitchen table with Luke, but didn’t say a word.

Brian and Samantha were laughing and goofing off while they played their video game. Dom came into the kitchen carrying a medium sized box and set it on the kitchen table gently. He opened it and peered inside before reaching in and pulled out a small photo album. He opened it and flipped through the pictures slowly as guilt twisted his features. He took a deep breath before he started.

“They were racing a mile. They were supposed to go a half mile, spin the cars around, and come back. I should have known something was up the moment the race started, but Jason was good at covering it up. He acted like he popped the clutch and stalled his car out. It gave enough time for Val to get a good distance ahead of him. She spun the car around and got the car going when he suddenly turned into her and hit her head on.” He snapped the photo album closed and handed it to Luke.

Luke opened the small photo album and he felt his breath catch. Judging by the way the car looked in the picture, it was the one that Val was driving when she was in her accident. The entire front end was smashed and the windshield was gone. The entire roof was smashed in. The driver’s side of the car was crushed beyond repair. He couldn’t even tell what kind of car it was it was so smashed. It appeared the photos were taken of the car after it had been transported to an impound lot.

“How did she even survive this?” Luke asked as he flipped the page. All of the pictures in the album appeared to be of the car, but his gaze lingered on one in particular. It was of the driver’s seat, or whatever was left from it. It was covered in blood.

“She didn’t,” Mia said in a low voice. Luke shot her a look of surprise then looked at Dom who sank into one of the chairs. He laced his fingers together in front of him and cracked his joints before reaching into the box for another album.

“As soon as he hit her and her car started flipping, I was running for her. I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my life. When I got to her, she wasn’t awake. I’m not sure if she was alive still at that point or not, but all I knew was that I had to get her out of there. I’m still not really sure how I got her out of there, but I did. And there was blood everywhere. That’s when I realized she wasn’t breathing.” Dom paused and slid the album he just pulled out of the box to Luke.

Luke opened up to the first page and he suddenly felt sick to his stomach. Val was in a hospital bed. The entire side of her face was swollen and bruised. There was cuts and stitches all over her skin. She had a tube down her throat, but that wasn’t what made Luke sick. It was the fact that half her hair had been shaved off and there was a long nasty gash along the side of her skull where they had performed the craniotomy.

“I kept doing CPR until the ambulance showed up. They had to use a defibrillator to bring her back. I rode in the ambulance with her while Vince drove Mia behind it.”

Luke flipped through the pictures and watched as Val’s wounds slowly healed, but also that she got skinnier and skinnier with each picture that was taken. Every last picture that he saw she wasn’t awake. That was when he realized that all the pictures in the album he was looking through was when she was in her coma. The last picture in the album was of Dom and Val. Val was still in her bed, but this time she was awake. The tube was still in her throat and Dom was leaning over her. Val’s hand was raised and touching his cheek. The next album was slid in front of Luke.

“It took her six weeks to wake up. The doctors kept telling me that I should just pull the plug on her and let her go. That even if she woke up that she was most likely never recover, but I refused to give up on her.” Luke began flipping through the album. The first one was of Dom and Val. Dom was laying in the bed next to her with his arm around her. He stared down at his little sister adoringly while she snuggled into his side. She had a smile on her lips, but there was something off about her. There was something in her eyes. Like she wasn’t all there.

The next picture had Mia sitting in a chair next to the bed while she painting Val’s nails. Val watched Mia with a loving smile, but her eyes were still distant. They were slightly glazed over as if she was zoning out, but she seemed to still be aware of what was going on.

“She was in the hospital for another month before they finally released her. She kept telling them that she was ready to go home, but they wouldn’t listen to her. That was all she ever talked about. She wanted to go home. One of her doctor buddies went and pulled some strings and got her out of there and even gave us everything we needed to care for someone in her condition.” The next pictures was of her being in their home. Val was placed on the couch.

“She wasn’t getting better. All of the tests were showing that she wasn’t healing. Her short term memory was still shot. She was still having a hard time moving around. Her motor skills were gone. It had been months and she showed absolutely no signs of getting better. And I finally gave up.” Luke shot a look to Dom. His eyes were dark and distant as if he was reliving the very moment that he had decided to give up. Luke didn’t think that a Toretto had the ability to give up. He shifted his gaze to Mia to see the heartbreak in her eyes.

“Mia and I, we discussed our options on what we were going to do with her. Where we were going to send her. Everything.” Dom reached into the box once more and pulled out another photo album and ran his fingers across it. Dom took a deep breath before exchanging a look with his youngest sister. She nodded giving him the go ahead and Luke got the photo album. He waited to open it.

“And that’s when it happened,” Mia said in a low voice. Luke stared at her for a moment. He wanted to urge her to continue, but he knew he couldn’t do that. “Me and Dom, we were sitting right here talking about the final arrangements to send her away then we heard Val talking to someone. It was a little odd since we were the only ones here. So, me and Dom went into the living room to see who she was talking to. But there was no one in there with her. I remember her looking at us, then looking back to who or whatever she was talking to and said bye. Then she looked back at us…,” she broke off for a moment as tears appeared in her eyes. She wiped them away and took a deep breath.

“She looked back at us and she said that mom and dad said hi and that everything was going to be okay from now on.” Her voice was cracking so she stopped once more. Dom decided to take over.

“We took her back to get tests done the next day,” he started then scoffed. “And she was healing. The doctors couldn’t explain it.” Luke took the opportunity to open the album. It was strange at first. It was just different angles of Val laying on the couch, but after looking at a couple more of the pictures, he noticed one thing that all of them had in common. Every last one of them had two hazy figures that was standing near Val and Val was staring directly at them in every picture.

“They would visit her about once a week and they would talk to her. And each time they visited her, her body would heal tremendously.” Dom reached into a box and pulled out an old recorder with a cassette tape inside. Dom hit play and sat it down. It sounded full of static, but he could make out Val’s voice. She was talking away just like she was talking to an old friend. When she would stop talking, there was something else that sounded like voices, but they were muffled. It was clear however that it was a man and woman.

“This is why she believes in ghosts,” Luke suddenly said as if the switch had been flipped in his brain. Dom and Mia nodded their heads. Luke sat back in his chair and laid the album on the table in front of him. He had to let the story sink in. He understood now why Val thought the things she did. Why she didn’t really believe that there was no damage there. She didn’t believe in miracles. She had studied medicine. She believed in the facts. But the facts were that her healing the way she did was a bonafide miracle. Even Luke had to admit it.

“Dom, you’re going to have to tell her the truth. She knows you’re lying to her. The longer you wait, the worse it’s going to be.” Dom lowered his gaze and shifted in his seat.

“It’s been too long. And honestly, I don’t know what’s worse; the fact that I lied to her about the reason why he tried to kill her, or the fact that by the time I wondered if I should tell her the truth, years had passed by and I decided against it because it had been so long.” Luke could see it in Dom’s eyes. It was subtle, but Luke’s trained eye caught it. It wasn’t that he was afraid Val would be angry with him or would even hate him when he told her, he was afraid of her being disappointed. He understood, Luke’s heart had been ripped out plenty of times by Val’s looks of disappointment.

“She deserves to know,” Luke said in a low voice. Dom leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. He acted as if he wanted to respond, but the familiar sound of Val's Barracuda grew louder and louder in the distance.

They heard the front door open and Letty’s, Tej’s, and Val’s voices filled the living room. The sound of plastic bags moving filled Luke’s ears as the voices moved closer to the kitchen. Tej was the first to enter the kitchen carrying a few boxes of pizza. Letty was next with carrying two liter bottles of soda. They were laughing over something. Val came into the kitchen last carrying a couple plastic bags filled with various things she needed from the hospital. She stopped dead in her tracks open seeing the familiar box filled with the most traumatic moment in her life. She bit her lip looking at Luke, but Luke was watching Dom. Dom stared at Val, the inward battle clear in his eyes.

Val deposited the bags quietly on the counter and started pulling the contents out. Tej set the pizza down on another part of the counter watching Val as she worked away at emptying the bags. There were various first aid items and other things that she was going to need for Leon’s detox. Tej moved in close to her giving her a questioning look. Luke assumed that Tej knew about Val's accident in full since they had been friends for so long.

“You alright?” he asked in a low voice. Val hummed her answer though it wasn't very convincing. It made her uncomfortable; Luke could feel it radiating off her. Luke slowly stood from his chair eyeing Dom in such a way that it demanded that he tell Val the truth. Dom gave him a slight nod agreeing that he was going to tell her.

“Guys let me talk to Val for a sec,” Dom said standing from his chair. Everyone nodded and left the kitchen and made their way into the living room. Samantha was sitting in front of the TV playing Sonic the Hedgehog on an original Sega. Luke was impressed that the piece of equipment still worked considering how old it was. Brian was sitting next to her with his signature grin giving her little pointers on how to play the game. Samantha was tense while she played and Luke wondered how difficult for someone of her generation to play a game like that. She appeared to be doing well since it looked like she was already on the second level. Brian looked to the small group of people as the came into the kitchen and his grin faltered. Mia walked passed him and brushed her fingers through his hair and gave him a reassuring smile before she headed upstairs to get Jack.

Brian watched her until she disappeared from his sight then turned his attention back to Sam and the video game. Luke wanted to be in the kitchen with Dom and Val so he could be there for her if she needed the comfort. He wasn’t sure how she was going to react to the knowledge that she had craved for years. Would she feel relief? Anger? There was a multitude of emotions that could hit her all at once and he wouldn’t be there for her, but he knew that in a moment like that, it had to be just between brother and sister.

He saw movement coming from the kitchen and he looked to see Val hurrying out with her head down. He could see tears in her eyes and she didn’t look anyone in the eye as she walked through the living room and out the front door. Dom emerged from the kitchen next the hurt in his eyes clear for everyone to see.

“Is Val okay?” Samantha asked as Mia walked down the stairs carrying a barely awake Jack. Mia handed Jack to Brian where the boy snuggled into his father and stared at Samantha trying to figure out who she was.

“She’ll be fine, but if you don’t hurry up, you won’t be,” Brian said nodding towards the television. Samantha gasped and started playing the game again. Dom turned away and walked back into the kitchen. Luke heard him go out the back door. He frowned and went to stand up, but the sound of Morrigan roaring to life stopped him. He heard her pull out of the driveway and squealed the tires as she sped away.

Mia huffed and stomped her foot in frustration. She walked into the kitchen and pulled plates down from the cabinets for everyone and made Samantha a plate of two slices of pizza. She brought it back out and sat the plate down next to Samantha so she could eat between levels, a look of annoyance all over her features. She kept looking over her shoulder towards the back door as if waiting for Dom to come back into the house. Tej and Letty made their way into the kitchen so they could start eating. Mia came back out with a plate for Brian and looked to Luke.

“Are you hungry, too?” she snapped. Brian looked up at her with cautious eyes. It wasn’t like Mia to get upset over anything. She was always the level headed one of the Toretto trio. She took a deep breath and ran her fingers through her hair as a way to calm herself a little. Luke tried to rack his brain to figure out why she was so upset, but he couldn’t think of anything. “Would you like some pizza?” she asked in a much calmer tone just as she always did.

“I’ll get it,” Luke offered and moved to stand up, but she raised her hand and disappeared back into the kitchen. He heard her open the back door.

“Dom!” she yelled nearly flooring Luke at the harshness in her voice. Then she closed the door back. She appeared back into the living room carrying another plate of pizza and gave it to Luke. She turned back towards the kitchen and waited for a moment with her hands on her hips. She clicked her tongue and headed back into the kitchen. She opened the door one more time and screamed for her older brother. She slammed the door back and stomped into the living room. Luke wanted to stand and go look for Val, but with the way Mia was acting, quite frankly, he was afraid to move.

“You okay?” Brian asked looking up at his wife with an amused look. Mia glared down at him as if his cheery mood upset her even more. She turned towards the kitchen one more time and stomped to the back door. She opened it.

“Dominic Francis Toretto, you get your ass in here right now!” she snapped and Luke nearly fell off the couch. He had to cover his mouth to keep from busting out laughing. Francis? Dom’s middle name was Francis? In his files it only showed a middle initial since it wasn’t really all that important that Luke know his full name. He had all the information he needed, from his past all the way down to a personality profile, but never his middle name.

“His middle name is Francis?” he asked Tej who was sitting next to him on the couch. Tej nodded since he was trying not to start laughing as well. Luke had to look away from him since his reaction was making Luke want to start laughing even more. Mia came back into the living room looking very pleased with herself. Moments later, the back door opened and slammed. Luke could hear Dom’s heavy footsteps coming into the living room.

When he appeared, he looked like he was ready to slap Mia. He stepped right up to her and got in her face, his own face twisted in anger. Brian just watching the two with his grin shaking his head.

“Do not use my middle name,” Dom growled. Mia crossed her arms over her chest clearly not afraid of his hidden threat.

“Got your attention, didn’t it?” she hissed back. Dom’s glare darkened a little. “You need to get your head out of your ass, get in your car, and bring her back,” she demanded. Dom sighed looking away from her.

“She doesn’t want to see me,” he said in a low voice.

“Oh, please, Dom, you’re full of shit! This is a lot to process for her and she doesn’t need to be doing it alone. So, go!” She pointed to the door for emphasis.

“And how am I supposed to know where she’s going?” Dom reasoned with her. Mia rolled her eyes and huffed in frustration.

“Where did she always go when she was having issues concerning her accident?” she asked in such a tone that there was an unspoken “dumbass” in there. Dom sighed again and shook his head. Mia held his keys up for him to grab. He did so and headed out the front door. Just as he stepped out onto the front porch, Mia turned to Luke and placed her hands on her hips giving him a frustrated look.

“What?” Luke asked. Mia growled.

“Go with him, you idiot! We’ll watch Sam until you get back.” Luke blinked at her a couple times before shifting his gaze to Brian giving him a look that clearly said, “Are you going to let your wife talk to me like that?” Brian grinned at him with a shake of his head.

“I’d do as she says if I were you.” Luke stood from the couch finally and looked to Mia.

“Thanks for watching Sam.” He looked down to Samantha who had paused the game to watch the scene unfold. “Do your homework.”

“Okay,” she said cheerfully then turned back to the television to continue playing her video game. Luke scoffed and stepped out the front door to join Dom in the search for Val.

Chapter Text

“Val was only fifteen when she graduated high school,” Dom said after a brief silence in his car. Luke wasn't sure where they were headed at the moment, but he also didn’t care as long as Dom led them to Val. He was on the fence about whether or not to leave Val alone so she could sort through everything on her own since she did like to be by herself when she needed to figure things out, but Mia thought different. Now here they were in a silence that was nearly deafening and Dom decided it was time for him to talk.

“She was always so much smarter than me. Her nose was always stuck in books and medical journals.” Dom scoffed shaking his head as a fond memory came to mind. “We didn’t even need to worry about giving her “the talk” because she had already read all about it in those books.” A small grin touched Luke’s lips as he looked out of the window. “When she had gotten a full ride we couldn’t have been more proud of her, but she had to turn it away when dad died and I went to jail.” Luke turned his attention back to Dom. The regret in his eyes was apparent.

“She dropped absolutely everything to be with Mia and finish raising her since no one else was able. And when I finally got out of jail, I forced her to go back to college no matter how much she didn’t want to since she had lost her scholarship. She said there was no way we were going to be able to afford it, but that didn’t matter. She was going to follow her dream and become a doctor whether she liked it or not.”

“She was tormented a lot because of her age and it was at least once a week she would call me crying her eyes out because of something someone said to her about her age.” Dom shook his head and he turned down another street. “It took everything in my power not to go down there with every call and beat the ever living shit out of those punks for making fun of my little sister just because she was smarter than them. She begged me not to come. She said that it would just make it worse.” Dom gripped the steering wheel so tight that his knuckles turned white.

“There was a point in time that she had met a guy there and she really liked him.” The mention of a boyfriend caught Luke’s attention. The only boyfriend that he knew about was Leon. “He was older and I didn’t need to meet him to know I didn’t like him. Mia would just tell me that it was where he was so much older. He was nearly ten years older than her and it was just too much. I knew there was something up.

“She calls me one night, crying her eyes out and blubbering away about something that I couldn’t make out and I immediately get in my car and start driving to her. When I finally get to her, I find her in her dorm, eyes all puffy. She tells me that the only reason why that guy was showing any kind of interest in her was because she was able to do his work for him so he could go out and party any time he wanted to. He had come in drunk, and tried to force himself on her, but she had managed to fight him off. She said he had called her a lot of bad names before storming off and when she went to find him, he was balls deep in some little dorm slut.

“The bad thing about it was, Val really did care about him. She always liked to talk about the little gifts that he would buy her. He would bring her food whenever she was out of money and I wasn’t able to send her some. He would buy her clothes. I hunted him down and beat the shit out of him for what he did. And because of that, I nearly got Val kicked out of school permanently.

“She had to appear in front of some type of board and state her case. She was allowed character witnesses and honestly, she probably would have been kicked out if it wasn’t for the character witnesses she brought in. Instead of kicking her out permanently, she suspended her for the rest of the semester and allowed her to come back.” Dom fell into another silence again and they drove through the streets of Los Angeles to a destination that was still a mystery to Luke. He wondered if there was a point in the story that Dom was telling him or if it was just for the sake of ending the silence that was between the two, not that it was awkward.

“Val has had to fight tooth and nail for absolutely everything in her life just to have it all ripped away from her because of me. She almost died because of me. She lost her job because of me. She lost any chance of having a normal life because of me.” Dom scoffed shaking his head.

“And she never once complained. Never once held it against me. I never deserved her as a sister.” Dom turned the car into a large cemetery. There were gravestones perfectly spaced out as far as the eye could see. Some of the gravestones had just a simple last name on them while others said some type of phrase. Luke’s curiosity peaked as Dom slowly drove through the gravestones.

“I’m going to be honest, when she hooked up with you, I didn’t think it was going to last. Hell, not really anyone did for that matter. But, I’ll tell you what, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this happy and it’s all thanks to you. You’ve given back to her everything that I’ve taken away from her and there is nothing I can do to repay you for that.” They finally came to a stop behind Val’s Barracuda. Luke looked out of the window to see Val among the tombstones. She was sitting in front of a pair of them with her knees drawled up to her chest. She looked so small with her limbs all knotted together.

“Why is she here?” Luke asked, his eyes never wavering from his woman.

“When she was having problems with handling the effects of the accident, she would come here and visit mom and dad. I’m not sure why, but it always put her at ease.” Dom pulled out his phone and pointed it at Val. Luke heard the shutter click as he took a picture of Val. Dom chuckled shaking his head. “I’ll be damned.”

Dom turned the camera to Luke so he could see the picture. Sure enough, it was of Val sitting in front of the tombstones all knotted together, but there were the two familiar mist-like beings near her as if someone or something were with her. Luke shook his head then looked back at Val.

“So, what do we do now?” Luke asked. Dom took a deep breath.

“Now we wait. She’s not ready yet.” Luke gave Dom a curious look. Luke supposed Dom was right, any time Val needed any form of space, the last thing anyone wanted to do was be around her. She would either shut them out completely or she would lash out at them and say things she never really meant. Luke had learned that the hard way when they had gotten into an argument over something he couldn’t even remember.

She had stormed off trying to get away from Luke, but he followed after her since he wasn’t done fighting with her. At first, she had tried to shut him out, but he kept after her until she finally lashed out and said a few choice words to him that, needless to say, put him in his place. She had left his place and went to hers. Luke had decided to leave her alone for the night and let her cool off. When he had went to see her the next day, she had met him at his truck and started apologizing for what she had said to the point that she had brought tears to her eyes.

He was sure she wasn’t angry in the current case, but the storm of emotions that was raging inside her probably left her unsure of how to feel. She probably had no idea who to blame for her accident, or if there was anyone to truly blame. From Luke’s standpoint there was a little bit of blame to go in all directions. It was the bitch’s fault for lying about who the father of her baby was. It was Dom’s fault for simply turning his back on the woman instead of handling the situation like a grown man should. It was Jason’s fault for trying to take revenge for the death of his unborn niece/nephew by trying to kill Dom’s sister.

“I played football back in highschool,” Luke started as his gaze stayed on Val. “I was damned good at it too. Had recruiters coming to bribe me left and right trying to get me to come to their colleges and play for them. I pretty much had my choice of any college in the country, but I had only one college in my sights. When they finally came to check me out, it was homecoming and I was on fire. Every time I looked up in the stands to where the recruiters were sitting, they were looking impressed which only pushed me harder. I was tackled on one play and it was the strangest thing. There was a sharp pain in my lower back that nearly blinded me it was so sudden, but it was gone just as fast as it happened. And when I tried to get up, I couldn’t.” Luke paused for a moment when he saw Val shift how she was sitting. She sat indian style, but it still seemed she wasn’t ready for any type of company.

“I remember thinking first what the hell? Then I remember trying to move again, but nothing happened. And that was when the panic set in. I wasn’t in any kind of pain, so why couldn’t I move? My teammates and coaches were surrounding me and I can remember someone asking me to lay flat with my legs straight and I told them that they were straight. Evidently, that was the wrong answer because everyone seemed to panic around me. When they got me to the hospital and ran all of their tests, they told me I was never going to never walk again. And,” Luke paused and moved his hand as if something was flying away from him. “There went all my dreams of going pro.” Luke took a deep breath.

“I got low during that time convinced that my life was over. I wouldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I never wanted to be around anyone, whether it was my friends or my own mother. That kind of isolation it… it brings out a certain darkness in people and it can and will swallow them whole. And it nearly did with me.” Dom stayed quiet hoping that Luke would continue since Dom wasn’t too sure what Luke was getting at though he did have an idea of where the story was going. Luke sighed.

“I tried killing myself a couple times then my mother put me in an institution. They helped me cope with the fact that I would never walk again and helped me understand that just because I couldn’t walk didn’t mean that everything was over. It took me a year or so, but I finally got tired of feeling sorry for myself and started trying to walk again and before I knew it I was walking again. I still don’t know how I managed to do it, but I did, but that solidarity stayed with me. I excommunicated myself from the rest of the world only focusing on me.

“I met Shana in a bar once I learned that I was going to be apart of DSS. There was some guy being really forward with her and it was clear that she wasn’t interested so I stepped in. Next thing I know, we’re getting married and I blink and our marriage is ending.” Luke paused again as he searched for the right way to word the next sentence. “I did love Shana, but it’s different with Val. She looks passed all the bull shit and can see people for who they really are.” Luke stopped talking for a moment before Dom realized that he was done talking all together. It was different hearing about Luke’s past. Dom was always curious to where he had come from, but he grinned deciding that he was going to break the silence.

“There for a minute I thought you were going to tell me that you want to marry her,” Dom joked with a chuckle on his breath. Luke didn’t move.

“I plan to,” was all he said as he watched Val from his window. The confession took Dom by surprise for a moment, but he smiled once it settled over him. He was okay with it amazingly. He figured he would feel some kind of discomfort with Val getting married to Luke, but it felt just the same as when Brian approached him to ask for his blessing to marry Mia. It was just meant to be.

Luke sighed and opened the car door.

“Screw this,” he mumbled and slammed the door shut. Dom watched as Luke walked through the cemetery towards Val. Luke stood behind Val at the tombstones for a moment before he sat down behind her. Dom watched as Val scooted backwards until Luke was able to wrap her up in his embrace. She seemed to disappear against his large body. Dom wasn’t sure what was happening, but whatever it was, it seemed to be working. He could see that Val was talking though she was too far away for him to make anything out. Luke sat still as he listened to everything she said, only speaking when it seemed it was important.

Val leaned forward and wiped hidden tears from her cheeks before looking back to Luke. She kissed his lips gently then pulled away from him. Luke stood and pulled her up with him. Dom took it upon himself to go ahead and exit the vehicle praying that Val wasn’t angry with him. Or worse, disappointed. As soon as he walked around the front of the car, Val rushed in front of Luke and threw her arms around Dom’s neck. She sniffed against his shoulder.

“It’s not your fault,” she whispered. Relief washed over him as he wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her shoulder. “You saved me from the car. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. I don’t want you blaming yourself anymore.”

“I’m sorry I waited so long to tell you,” he whispered. Val grinned as she pulled away from him and placed her hands on his cheeks.

“It’s okay. I know now,” she said with a smile. Dom grinned with a shake of his head. There was no way that he deserved to have such an understanding sister. “And I’m sorry I took off. I just didn’t know how to feel about all this. I still don’t, really. I’m just glad I know now.” Dom leaned forward and kissed her forehead gently. Val backed away until she was touching Luke and smiled up at him.

Val took the back seat since there was no way that Luke was going to be able to fit in the back. Hell, she could barely fit and that was just sad. Dom’s phone went off while he was driving and he tossed it back to Val so she could check the message. She unlocked his phone and opened up the message to find that it was from Leon. He was currently in route to their home so he could begin his detox.

A slight nervousness gripped her. She had remembered what her room had looked like when they had returned. He had acted like he was obsessed with her, but she wondered if he had done it all in a drunken/drug induced state. She wondered if he would even remember that he had done it. It was hard to tell how long ago that he had done it. Of course, she had Luke and she knew that as long as he was around, she would never have anything to worry about.

She was curious about how he would react once they saw each other. Would he act as a friend or would it be awkward. She was glad that Luke was home for the time being so he could meet Leon as well. She figured that would be the only awkward part about it so it was good to go ahead and get it out of the way. She bit her lip before relaying the message to Dom.

It was going to be a long week.

Chapter Text

Luke, Dom, and Val had managed to make it back to the house before Leon had showed up much to Val’s relief. She wanted to go ahead and start getting the bedroom set up for whenever he started going through the first stages of withdrawal. She had Dom go down into the basement and find the IV pole they had kept after she had healed from her injuries. She made sure there were fresh sheets and blankets on the bed to maximise comfort. She lowered the blinds and closed them to make it as dark as possible. She could remember that Leon couldn’t sleep with any form of light or sound in the bedroom.

Mia was in the kitchen making Leon a small meal so he had something on his stomach when he started with his withdrawal since they weren’t sure how quickly he was going to start showing symptoms. The earlier the better since that would mean it would be sooner that he was over them and they could go back to living a normal life.

Val knew that she was going to have to stay for the next couple days since the those were the worst part of the withdrawal. She wasn’t sure the severity of his addiction and she hoped that he would be honest with her when she questioned him about it so she could better prepare. She would possibly have to have him transported to the hospital because of the withdrawal symptoms if they were bad enough. She hoped that it wasn’t as bad as she was expecting. She had just finished preparing the room when she had heard an unfamiliar car pull up in front of the house. She knew it had to be him.

She stepped out into the living room to see Dom walking to the front to meet Leon. Brian, Tej, and Letty took Samantha out back to distract her while they brought Leon into the house. Val stood next to Luke and let him wrap an arm around her waist. She bit her lip and the nervousness gripped her again. There was no turning back now, she knew it, but it was going to be awkward. She heard the familiar voice of Leon approaching the house and a weird sense of deja vu filled her mind. She shook the little memories away from her mind.

She seen his shadow move up the stairs and she saw Dom step out of the way so he could enter the house. She couldn’t believe her eyes when he finally stepped in. He looked so much worse in person compared to the photo Dom had showed her. The first thing she noticed was the filth that covered his body. There were grease stains on his skin that looked weeks old and dirt all over his clothes. His clothes had worn out holes all over them and it looked that he was using an old piece of rope to keep his pants up. His hair was shining how oily it was. He had a beard that looked scraggly due to no upkeep. The circles under his eyes were from days with little to no sleep. Val could see every bone in his face. It wasn’t long before his odor hit her nose.

She let out a slight, involuntary gasp. He looked terrible. He looked like he was sleeping on the streets. Leon had always been so clean cut. He always looked like a wanna-be gangster, sure, but his wardrobe was always picked very carefully by him every single day. He had to shower every day because of where he worked in the garage. He said that it messed with his hair too much. He told her one time that the only reason why there was hair on his face was because he allowed it to be there. As soon as he would see one little hair out of place, he would pluck it with a pair of tweezers he carried in his pocket at all times.

He would even fuss at Val if she wore her pajamas past noon until she got up to put regular attire on. It didn’t matter if they were planning on leaving the house or not. He always wanted his woman to be looking her best at all times.

His eyes finally landed on her and Val immediately dropped her gaze. She didn’t want him seeing the look of utter shock on her face. His stench got stronger as he approached her. She struggled against the urge to cover her nose.

“It’s good to see you again, Val. You look good,” Leon said in a quiet voice. Val met his gaze with the best friendly smile she could manage.

“Thanks. The guest bedroom is all set up. Mia is making you some food. Why don’t you go get settled in.” Leon lowered his gaze and nodded his head. He walked passed her and stepped into the guest bedroom. Dom stopped next to Val. He watched her for a moment before leaning in close so he could whisper to her.

“You don’t have to do this,” he said in a low voice. Val nodded her head. Either way she knew that Dom was going to help Leon. Whether she liked it or not. He was in desperate need of their help. He needed to get back on his feet. He needed to get clean or else he was going to get himself killed. But there was one thing that she did know for certain.

“This is going to be bad, Dom,” she whispered. Dom nodded his head in agreement.

“I know,” he said with a sigh. “But you can tell me what I need to do and I can take care of this.” Val rubbed the back of her neck before looking up at Luke. He seemed to be waiting for her to decide what she was going to do about the situation. Dom was offering her an out. Val weighed her options for a moment, but it didn’t take long for her to decide.

“We shouldn’t start seeing real symptoms until tomorrow. Small things like nausea, anxiety, agitation. By tomorrow night, we’ll start seeing worse symptoms and that’s when we’re going to want to start keeping track of his vitals. We can give him aspirin for his aches and antacids for his stomach problems. Where was he staying?” Dom crossed his arms over his chest.

“In his car,” he said simply. Val shook her head in pity.

“Someone needs to go search his car and make sure it is completely cleaned out. The last thing we need is for him to find a forgotten needle under his floor mats and relapse. I also need specifics of his addiction: how long he was on this stuff, how often he did it, how much of it he was doing at a time. Vital signs need to be taken regularly once the withdrawal symptoms start showing up. The worst part of the withdrawal is going to last for the next couple days, but after that they should start dissipating and he’ll be back to normal after a week or so.” She paused for a moment and looked to her brother. “And make sure he gets cleaned up before all this happens. I’ll be back later on tonight so I can watch him while he’s detoxing.”

Dom nodded slowly as he mentally made a list of all the things Val had just said to him. Luke and Val made their way out back to find Brian kicking around a soccer ball with Sam. He wasn’t very good at it and Sam was trying to teach him how to do it properly, but he had her laughing so hard that she was hardly able to walk around, let alone kick a ball. Val wasn’t sure where Letty had gotten off to, but she wasn’t really worried about it either.

“Sam, come on, we’re leaving,” Luke called out as he walked down the back steps. Samantha stopped in mid step and looked to her father. She pouted a little, but still gave him no grief as she ran off to get in his truck.

“Bye, Brian!” she yelled over her shoulder. Brian waved at her saying his own goodbyes as Val walked up to him. He grinned at Val as she stepped next to him.

“Cute kid,” he said crossing his arms. Val chuckled. Luke waved to Brian as he cut the corner of the house to get in his truck so he and Sam could go ahead and take off. Luke didn’t want her around Leon, Val figured. And for good reason. Seeing a man in such a state would probably raise questions Luke wasn’t ready to answer at such a young age. “So, how bad is this going to be?” Brian asked lowering his voice. Val shrugged her shoulder and let out a breath.

“It’s going to be a long week,” she said already feeling drained from the upcoming detox session Leon was going to go through. She wasn’t going to be leaving until after the peak of the withdrawal was over with. Once the peak was over, he was going to be getting better and better with each passing day. It was hard saying what Dom was going to do with him after his detox was over, but Leon was eventually going to be let back into the team.

Val wasn’t sure if he was going to like the turn of events that led the family to live a life on the straight and narrow instead of ripping off big rigs carrying various electronics. Val had to fight back a giggle. They had come so far over the years. It was so hard to believe that they had gotten their start from stealing electronics.

“I’ll see you later,” Val said walking away from him. Val made her way back to her car and got in. She took a deep breath leaning her head back against the headrest for a moment. She wasn’t sure if she was going to regret being there while Leon was detoxing. She turned on her car and backed it out of the driveway carefully before pulling away to head back to Luke’s for a couple more hours before she returned.

She thought about how they had went through withdrawal together way back when. She wondered if she would have stayed if she would be in the same boat as Leon. Would she have been a needle junkie just like him or would they have been completely sober? Would they have any kids together? She couldn’t help, but feel a little responsible for Leon’s condition. She had turned her back on him without even giving it a second though. She hadn’t even felt bad for leaving him. She had always felt that it was his fault that he didn’t come with her. She wasn’t going to leave her brother to suffer and grieve the death of his wife alone just because Leon didn’t want her to leave.

She had every intention of returning once she figured that her brother was well enough to be on his own, but she never got around to doing it. She had come close to leaving a couple times when she had gotten into arguments with Dom, but she never did. The worst she did was drive around in a bad mood for a couple hours before she returned.

If she would have left, she would have never met Luke. Well, she may have met him, but the chances were slim to none. She never once regretted being with him in the least except for when he was going for long periods of time. She wasn’t one to really believe in destiny, but there was no denying that she would have never met Luke Hobbs if she would’ve left her brother to return to Leon.

It could have been her living out of her car. It could have been her wearing clothes so dirty and matted that they were getting ready to fall off. It could have been her so filthy that she was nearly unrecognizable.

She pulled into Luke’s driveway wondering how in the world she had even made it there since she had zoned out on her drive over. She got out of the car and walked into the house. She found Samantha in the living room watching television. She was sprawled out on the floor staring up at the tv with the utmost interest. She grinned at the small child and walked farther into the house to find Luke.

She found him in the kitchen drinking a glass of water. He was leaning his back against the countertop. He seemed distant. He stared across the kitchen at nothing as he sipped away at the liquid. He didn’t even acknowledge Val’s presence and she was afraid she had upset him. She stepped in front of him and rested her hands on his waist. He lowered his gaze to her. He didn’t pull away from her or anything which promised her that he wasn’t angry with her. If he was, he would have put a little distance between them until he started calming down.

She wrapped her arms around him loosely and he finally met her gaze. He put the glass on the countertop near him then rested his palms on the corner of the countertop.

“What are you thinking about?” she asked in a low voice. Luke looked away from her towards the living room for a split second before he pushed himself away from the counter. He led her into the bedroom where he closed the door so they could speak in private. He sat down on the edge of the bed and rubbed the back of his neck.

“Sam told me on the way over that she doesn’t want to go home. She said she wants to come live with you and me.” Val grinned as she wrapped her arms around his neck and she slid into his lap.

“And what did you say to her?” she asked nuzzling into his neck.

“I told her that you and I didn’t live together.” Val snorted out a laugh. Of course he told her that. She bit her lip as she waited for him to continue. “Then she asked me why we didn’t live together and I honestly didn’t know how to answer her.” She raised her head a little so she could look him in the eye. She wasn’t sure what he was getting at, but she shrugged her shoulder a little unsure of what to say either. They had never really talked about living together.

“Move in with me, Val,” he said out of nowhere. Val blinked her eyes a couple times as if it was helping his words sink in a little more. She smiled at him.

“No,” she countered. Luke narrowed his eyes at her.

“What?”

Val giggled then kissed his lips.

“My place is bigger,” she started. “You move in with me.” Luke gave her a flat look and shook his head no.

“You’re the woman, I can’t do that,” he said nonchalantly with a shrug of his shoulder. Val clicked her tongue at him.

“The fifties called, not even they want those standards back.” Luke laughed at her and shook his head.

“Then let’s get a place together,” he reasoned. Val tilted her head a little and studied him for a moment.

“You’re serious about this,” she said finally. Luke nodded his head. Val chuckled and kissed his lips gently. “We’ll talk more about this once I’m done taking care of Leon. It’s going to be a couple days before he’s done with the worst part of detox.” Luke fell silent and stared at the bedroom door for a moment. Val narrowed her eyes at him wondering what was going through his mind.

“What did you ever see in him?” he asked truly curious. Val snorted again and shook her head. She shrugged her shoulders as she stood from his lap.

“He wasn’t always like this. We were both on a destructive path and I think that may have had a lot to do with it. I’m not sure though. We were together for a long time before I left to be with Dom. I just can’t believe he has fallen this far.” Luke hummed as Val turned away from him to start gathering some clothes that she could take with her.

“Are you sure you want to do this? You told me about the shape your room was in when you came back. And you seemed a little scared when you spotted him at Race Wars.” Val sighed as she pulled a bag from the closet to use for her clothes.

“If he did what he did because of the drugs, then yes I’m sure I want to do this. Heroin will make your mind go crazy. Whether it’s from the lack of sleep or the drug itself or a mixture of both. If we can get him clean, maybe he can think clearly again.” She threw some clothes into the bag before turning to Luke. “But don’t worry, I’m not going to go back to him or anything,” she teased. Luke rolled his eyes and stood from the bed.

“It never crossed my mind. But you know you don’t have to do this,” he said in a low voice. She nodded.

“I’m going to be there in case something happens. Dom doesn’t have to do this alone.” Val turned to Luke when he fell silent. He stood there like a stone watching her. She grinned and stepped in front of him. She curled her fingers around his belt tugging him against her gently. “You don’t want me to do this, do you?”

“I just want to make sure that you’re comfortable with this,” he admitted. Val leaned her forehead against his chest.

“It’s never comfortable seeing a friend go through something like this. Maybe we should have sought him out when we got back just to make sure he was okay, but we didn’t. Maybe I should have tried harder to get him to come with me when I left to be with Dom. We abandoned him and this is what happened to him.”

“It’s not your fault, Val. He chose to live like this.” She sighed stepping away from him.

“Maybe, but we can’t turn our backs on him now. He needs us now more than ever.” Luke sighed and wrapped his arms around her waist.

“Samantha needs us too,” he said as a certain sadness touched his eyes. Val tilted her head in curiosity. “She said Shana and Jerry are fighting a lot. She said they are waking her up at night arguing with each other.” Val frowned.

“Oh.” So that was why she wanted to move in with them. She figured it was just where she was a daddy’s girl through and through. Shana and Jerry seemed to get along just fine when she had met them except for when Jerry went off the deep end when he discovered that Val had been one of Luke’s targets. Shana had been very angry and most likely embarrassed for the way he reacted to the fact, but they didn’t seem to her that they were going through any form of rough patch, but it was amazing what happened behind closed doors.

“If she moves in with you, she’ll have to change schools. That’s never easy for a kid,” Val thought out loud. “Maybe we could find a place together over in her school district so she doesn’t have to change schools.” She bit her lip in thought as Luke grinned down at her. “And what will happen when you have to leave for work?”

“Well, that’s what you’re going to be there for,” Luke reasoned. Val rolled her eyes and grinned playfully.

“Oh, I see now. You want me to move in with you so you have a babysitter,” she said in a teasing tone. Luke shook his head.

“Now you’re catching on,” he teased back. Val giggled and pulled away from him so she could finish putting a bag together for when she went back to Dom’s to care for Leon. She made her way into the bathroom to gather up some toiletries to take with her. Luke stood in the doorway and watched her as she gathered everything. “Do you think that realtor of yours will be able to help us find a place?” Val shrugged her shoulders as she gathered everything that she was wanting to take with her in her arms and carried it out to drop in her bag.

“Probably, but we’ll talk about this later. I want to go spend a little more time with Samantha before I head back over there.” She threw the strap of the bag over her shoulder and walked out of the bedroom so she could finish watching the movie with Samantha. Luke huffed a little annoyed, but he followed after Val anyways to watch whatever movie Sam had found to watch.

Chapter Text

Val sat at the kitchen table with Mia and Letty having a cup of coffee while they waited for Leon to start showing signs of withdrawal. So far, they were starting to notice little things, but it was nothing serious at the moment. He had taken a long shower. Brian had given him some of his clothes to wear. He seemed to keep his distance from Val, but she was okay with that.

It was somewhere around one o'clock when it was time for Leon to go into the worst part of the withdrawal. They managed to get him into bed with little trouble out of him, but he was making sure to avoid all eye contact with Val. Val was setting up the IV so she could hook some fluids up to Leon so he could stay hydrated.

She grabbed his arm gently so she could try to find a vein to put it in. She frowned when she noticed that his veins had collapsed. She wasn’t going to be able to hook him up with fluids because of it. Leon reached out slowly, still avoiding eye contact with Val, and took the needle away from her. Val watched in disappointment as he was able to find a vein and put the IV in with little issue.

“Just get some sleep,” Val suggested standing from the chair she had sit at the edge of the bed. “You’re going to need it.” Leon nodded and laid back on the bed. He ran his fingers through his hair and Val checked on the IV to make sure it was dripping. She turned to leave the room, but stopped when Leon called out her name. She stopped at the doorway and turned back at him.

“I’m sorry for this, Val.” She nodded her head lightly. She wasn’t sure why he felt the need to apologize to her. It wasn’t her that needed the apology. She left the door cracked so she could hear him if he needed anything. She found Dom in the living room flipping through the channels on the television. She sat down next to him and leaned against him. He had a cup of coffee resting on his knee. He ran his thumb over the rim of the cup absentmindedly. She could smell the coffee and she regretted not going into the kitchen to make her a cup.

Dom had found an old episode of Night Gallery. Val loved the show. It was one of the family traditions that they had when their father was still alive. They would get together and watch Night Gallery, The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, Columbo, and any other show that came on at night. Val had completely forgotten Night Gallery’s existence. She sat up on the couch and stood so she could grab herself a cup of coffee. She wasn’t going to be sleeping while Leon went through his withdrawal.

Once she grabbed a cup of coffee and went back into the living room, Mia had taken her place next to Dom. Jack was wide awake in her lap. Mia was hardly holding her eyes open while she watched television with Dom. Val sat down on the couch on the other side of Mia. Jack crawled over into Val’s lap and snuggled up in her chest.

The days passed by slowly, but that was to be expected since Val wasn’t sleeping. She felt like she was high due to the mixture of caffeine and lack of sleep. Leon’s withdrawal was a fairly bad one which consisted of sweats, the shakes, and severe nausea. He groaned in pain as he curled into the fetal position. Val wished there was something that she could do for him, but it would defeat the entire purpose of the withdrawal if she gave him any type of pain medication. So, instead, she sat on the edge of his bed with a cool washcloth and dabbed his forehead with it slowly.

All the toxins that were leaving his body was causing there to be a stench in the room, but it was bearable. It was going to take forever to get the smell of the room. Leon kept trying to talk to Val, but there was very little that he was making any kind of sense with. She imagined that everything his body was going through at the time was making him slightly lethargic.

Mia played nurse and made sure she recorded Leon’s vitals every time that she took them. His blood pressure and heart rate was as normal as someone who was going through withdrawal could be. It took four days for the symptoms to completely subside and at that point, all Val wanted to do was sleep for the next week. She felt so sluggish and dainty.

Dom had agreed to care for Leon’s remaining days so Val could go home and get some sleep. Luke had picked her up so she didn’t have to drive. There was a large chance that she would have fallen asleep behind the wheel and no one wanted that.

She slept for thirteen hours before she pulled herself out of bed even if she felt like she could sleep for another thirteen hours. Luke was gone and she imagined that he was away at work for the day. She lazed about the house for the day. She felt so tired and lazy. She couldn’t even get the gumption to get up and make herself something to eat.

She thought back to when Luke told her about Samantha wanting to move in with them. She was still a little shocked that Luke had asked her to move in with him even though her house was bigger than his. She remembered that he had suggested that they just get a place together, but she really didn’t want to do that since she had just bought her house barely a year ago, but she supposed she was willing to let it go if it meant that she and Luke could live together.

Val was curious as to what Shana and Jerry were always fighting about. Was it her fault? Had they been fighting since Jerry had met Val or had it been happening for longer than that? Val prayed that they weren’t arguing because of her. She didn’t want to be the underlying reason for their fights. She didn’t want Samantha thinking it was Val’s fault that they were fighting all the time.

Val imagined that she and Luke needed at least a four bedroom home for them. Val did eventually want to have a baby and Luke was just going to have to get over that. They hadn’t really discussed the possibility of having a baby together, but Luke knew that she did want to have at least one baby.

She didn’t have what one would call “baby fever” or “baby crazy”, but she couldn’t help, but feel a pang of some type of weird jealousy every time Jack called Mia “mum”. Maybe it was her age. Her biological clock was no longer ticking, it was pounding. She supposed her body could feel that with each passing day she was getting closer and closer to the point to where she would miss out completely on being a mother. She supposed that she could always adopt if need be, but she really didn’t want it to come to that. She wanted to feel that little life growing inside her. She wanted to feel the little movements. She wanted to feel that bond that was unique between mother and child

She managed to pull herself up from the couch and made her way into the bedroom so she could gather up some clothes to take a shower only to discover that all of her clothes were dirty. She rolled her eyes and sighed. She dug around in Luke’s drawer until she found one of his t-shirts and decided that it was going to have to do until she done laundry.

She stood under the hot water of the shower. She had every intention of washing her hair and body, but as soon as the hot water hit her tired muscles, all she wanted to do was let the water do its magic. She rubbed her tired shoulders a little so she could relieve some of the tension build up.

She was stressed, but she honestly didn’t feel that way. There were worse things that had happened in her life that would cause stress. She supposed that Leon coming back into the picture, discovering why her accident happened, finding out Samantha wants to move in with her and Luke, and Luke asking Val to move in with him all within a matter of days was a little overwhelming.

She sighed leaning her head on the shower wall. She felt like she needed to go back to sleep so she could meditate on everything that had happened. She wasn’t certain why her thoughts were so jumbled. Maybe she needed more sleep, or maybe she had too much sleep. She couldn’t recall ever being that tired whenever she had to work doubles and even triples at work.

Once she was done with her shower, she got out and dried off. She dressed in Luke’s t-shirt and threw on a pair of small shorts so she didn’t have to worry about flashing anyone. She threw a load of laundry in the wash and started it up when she heard a knock at the door. She didn’t even have a chance to get to the front door before Tej let himself in.

He carried several bags in his hands and Val groaned. She wasn’t sure what was in those bags, but she wasn’t in the mood for it. All she was in the mood for was that big, soft, king sized bed that was currently whispering her name from the bedroom. That was, at least, until she saw the angry look in Tej’s eyes.

“Alright, whose ass am I going to have to kick?” Val asked as she followed him into the kitchen. He set the bags down on the countertop before facing Val.

“My computer’s ass,” he said simply. She grinned.

“Oh, no. What happened?” she asked grabbing an apple from a fruit bowl that sat on another part of the counter. She hopped up on the counter as she took a bite of her apple.

“Fucking code being difficult. So I need a break,” he said with a shrug. Val perked up. If that was the case, then there was only one thing that was in those bags. She slid off the counter and rushed over to the bags. Inside was assorted items for making cookies. Tej had a hidden talent that he really didn’t like to voice because “it wasn’t very manly”. He could bake the best cookies, cakes, and other pastries that the world had ever tasted.

Anytime he was messing around with a program that wasn’t agreeing with him in any way, he would bake his troubles away. There was something about it that helped him keep his mind off the frustrations of making a program or whatever it was he was doing on those computers of his. When Roman had found out about his talent, Rome had made fun of him all the way up until he tasted his chocolate chip cookies. Then Rome started treating him like a god whenever he was baking.

Val started pulling everything out of the bags so she could figure out what he was going to be making. It appeared to be chocolate chips, peanut butter, and no bake cookies. She hummed as she heard Tej rummaging through her cabinets for everything that he would need to bake the cookies with. His no bake cookies were her favorite.

“So, how is…” Tej started, but he trailed off at Leon’s name. Val grinned.

“Leon,” Val helped.

“Yeah, how is he?” Tej asked as he started preheating the oven. Val shrugged tossing her apple core in the trash.

“He’s going to live. He’s still trying to sleep it off though, but he’s through the worst of it.” Tej nodded.

“What’s Dom going to do about this?” Val sighed and shrugged again. She wasn’t sure why, but there was a certain frustration that tugged at her edges at his questions. She didn’t want to talk about that. It was over for her. Her job was done. Leon was better and was only going to continue to get better if he allowed it to happen. She didn’t really talk to Dom about what was going to happen with Leon after they sobered him up other than the fact that he would have to prove himself to return to the team.

“Is this going to be a little weird for you?” Tej prodded some more. Val crossed her arms over her chest.

“Why would it be weird?”

“Mia said he was one of your old boyfriends,” he said nonchalantly. She rolled her eyes.

“Maybe, but that was like ten years ago. A lot of shit has happened and a lot of shit has changed,” Val said a little more harsh than what she wanted. Tej paused for a moment and studied Val, but didn’t say anything.

“What about Hobbs? He doesn’t really come off as the jealous type, but…”

“It’s because he’s not the jealous type,” Val snapped. “He’s okay with this. Leon needed our help.” Tej paused again as he studied her. Val knew what it was. She was being snippy with him and for no reason. She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. “I’m sorry. It’s been a long couple days.”

Tej moved as if her words were enough to drop the subject. She was glad for it since there was no reason for everyone to be worried about the fact that she and Leon once dated years ago. She was able to leave him without giving it a second thought, so maybe she didn’t care for him as much as she thought even if they were together for so long.

“Luke asked me to move in with him,” Val said simply. Tej shot her a look.

“Yeah, because you guys practically don’t live together right now,” he joked. Val chuckled and shook her head.

“Yeah, but he asked me to move in with him. I’m not sure how I feel about it though.” Tej tilted his head a little in curiosity. “Sam said that her mom and her husband are arguing a lot lately and wants to move in with Luke. I was joking about it, but I told him that the only reason why he wanted me to move in with him was because he needed someone to watch Sam while he was gone. Now it’s all I can think about.”

“Do you really believe that?” Tej asked as he started mixing ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

“I don’t think I do, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking it,” Val said handing him some of the ingredients that was out of his reach.

“Well, that’s because you’re a woman. You know how they are,” he teased. Val cackled as he turned on the mixer to mix everything together. He turned it off and pulled it out of the dough. He reached in and grabbed some of the dough and held it out to Val.

It took three batches of cookies before Luke finally returned. By then, there was enough laundry done to where Val was able to change into a regular t-shirt and a pair of short shorts. Val was a little shocked to see Sam with him since she was pretty sure that it was a weekday and she had school. As soon as Sam walked into the kitchen, Val could tell that she had been crying. Her brown eyes were puffy and red rimmed them. She went to Val and wrapped her arms around her waist.

Luke stepped into the kitchen looking around at the mess Tej and Val had made.

“Did you kidnap Betty Crocker?” he asked with a grin.

“Tej’s computer is being mean to him so he’s baking his aggressions out,” Val said holding Sam against her. Tej grabbed a cookie and tossed it to Luke who caught it with ease.

“You bake?” Luke asked with amusement as Tej handed another cookie to Samantha. Sam took it from him with a small smile.

“I bake,” Tej confirmed as he winked to Sam who shyly hid her face in Val’s stomach. Luke tasted the cookie and his eyes widened. He looked down at the cookie then to Tej who had a proud smile on his face.

“I know, right?” Tej said with a chuckle.

“Sam, go ahead and get your stuff in your room. I need to talk to Val,” Luke said before tossing the rest of his cookie in his mouth. Sam was sure to grab a couple more cookies before leaving the kitchen to do what Luke had asked.
Luke snatched up another cookie before turning to Val. He glanced at Tej out of the corner of his eye, but still paid him no mind.

“I talked to Shana, she thinks it would be a good idea for Sam to come stay with us at least for a little while.” Val crossed her arms.

“I thought we were going to wait until after we got a place together to have her come stay with us,” Val hissed in a low voice. She didn’t want Sam to hear what she was saying for fear of her taking it out of context. “It would have been better that way.”

“Yeah, that was the plan until Shana told me that she left Jerry up in Canada and she’s going to go back. Jerry’s mother is sick and they’re going to stay until…” Luke’s voice trailed off leaving the rest of the sentence to the imagination. Val lowered her gaze. As much as she wanted to feel sorry for Jerry, she just couldn’t bring herself to doing it.

“You should have woke me up,” Val said walking to him. Luke snatched another cookie from the tray.

“I tried, you didn’t move,” Luke said taking a bite of his cookie. He grunted looking down at the cookie then waved it at Tej. “This is unnatural.” Tej laughed as he removed another batch of cookies from the oven then popped another batch in.

“What about school?” Val asked catching Luke’s attention.

“She’s only got two weeks left or so. We can deal with it until summer break then we can go from there.” She bit her lip as frustration shot through her. She wasn’t even sure why she was feeling that way. She was okay with Sam staying with them. She couldn’t make heads or tails of why she was feeling so moody.

She reached her hand out so she could grab one of Tej’s cookies, but Luke slapped her hand away. She glared at him, but he ignored her as he picked up the platter that was stacked high with all the cookies that had been made so far.

“Get your own,” Luke said walking out of the kitchen with all of the cookies.

“No, you share!” Val snapped, but made no move to go after him.

“Not a chance!” Val pouted a little then looked to Tej who was trying to keep from laughing.

Chapter Text

It had been two weeks and Val’s moodiness hadn’t changed at all. She was still easily frustrated and would snap at people for no reason at all. She would realize that she was feeling like that for no reason and would try to control her outbursts, but it just got harder and harder to do so with each passing day. She couldn’t figure out what was going on, but when Mia had made a simple joke about her being pregnant, they had laughed, but the more and more she realized that it was a possibility, the more her laugh disappeared.

She thought about the last time she had her menstrual cycle. Even on the birth control that she was on, her period was regular and started literally on the same day every month. She could set her watch by it. In light of everything that had been happening, she had forgotten about the dates and as it turned out she was about a week late.

Mia had dragged Val and Letty out of the house and drove them to the nearest store to pick up a couple pregnancy tests for Val to take. Val wasn’t really all for the tests since all she needed to really do was draw some blood which was a lot more accurate than a little plastic stick, but she went along with it anyways. Val had thought back to the day whenever she and Mia were walking up and down the aisles of a grocery store looking for the pregnancy tests for Mia whenever she had found out she was pregnant with Jack.

When Mia, Letty, and Val located the pregnancy tests, she looked around for the right pregnancy test.

“Mia, you’re paying for the label,” Val reprimanded.

“Only cheapskates say that,” Mia countered as she reached in a pulled three pregnancy tests off the shelves. She handed one to Letty and one to Val. Letty shrugged her shoulders looking down at the little box then looked to Val.

“What do you think?” Letty asked Val.

“I think I want to disown my sister,” Val said handing the box in her hand back to Mia. Letty laughed. “But for right now this is going to have to do.”

Now they were back at Luke’s house since there was hardly anything left at Val’s. She had began packing everything up so it would be out of the way whenever she and Luke found a new place together. They had looked at a couple houses that they were a little interested in, but there wasn’t anything that really caught their attention. The only place that Val really liked was a two bedroom, and a two bedroom was simply out of the question.

Letty and Mia flanked Val as she stared down at the paper bag the pregnancy tests were in. She bit her lip in anticipation. She had a ringing in her ears. Her palms were sweaty. She felt as if her core temp was through the roof, but her skin felt like ice. Her heartbeat was quick and hard.

“Do I take them now or do I wait for Luke?” she asked to whoever had the right answer. Luke was gone for the day at work and Sam still had three days left in school.

“I took the tests without Brian there then surprised him later,” Mia said crossing her arms. Val looked to Letty to get her advice. Letty held her hands up defensively.

“Hey, I don’t have any say in this. I’m not a mother,” she said. Mia and Val crossed their arms.

“Well, if you thought you were pregnant, would you tell Dom, then take the tests with him or would you take the tests then tell him?” Val asked.

“I think I would tell him then take the tests. It would be too nerve wracking for me to take the tests alone,” Letty reasoned. Val sighed and ran her fingers through her hair.

“This isn’t really all that helpful, guys. I’ve got one yes and one no. We need someone to be the tie breaker,” Val said wanting to just blow her brains out and get it over with. Mia let out a dreamy sigh catching Val and Letty’s attention. She had a small smile gracing her lips and a sparkle in her eye as her mind drifted elsewhere.

Letty and Val exchanged looks of curiosity, then focused on Mia. She blinked a couple times then seemed to come to. The smile remained on her lips as she gazed at the two women to her left.

“Sorry, all this baby talk is making me catch a fever,” she said simply. Val shook her head.

“You’re still not helping,” Val observed.

“Well, what do you think you should do?” Letty inquired. Val sighed leaning her elbows on the counter and buried her face in her hands. She let out a long, loud groan. Mia leaned her back against the edge of the counter.

“Oh, quit being dramatic,” she complained. “Listen, you’re a nervous wreck. Why don’t you tell him first, then take the tests? That may be better for the both of you.” Val sighed letting her hands drop to the countertop. She reached for the bag and took a peek inside. Sure enough there were still three boxes inside.

“But what if it’s negative?” Val asked in a small voice. Mia sighed then wrapped an arm around her shoulder.

“Then it’ll be positive somewhere down the lines, but for now, there’s only one way to be sure,” she said putting her hand on the bag for emphasis. Val sighed one more time then ran her hands over her face a couple times.

“I don’t see why you would want to be pregnant by Luke,” Letty thought out loud. “That baby would be like fifteen pounds.” The three laughed together.

Luke was home roughly around three hours later with Sam. Sam dropped her book bag in her room before running into the kitchen. She was vibrating with excitement. She had claimed that tryouts for soccer had been announced at school that day and when Luke had stopped by to pick her up, he signed her up. She ran out the back door claiming she was going to practice.

When Luke entered the room, Val felt her breath catch. Her heart stopped beating. She attempted a swallow on her suddenly dry throat, but nothing happened. She froze. She felt Luke’s hand on her arm. Her eyes darted to his.

“Are you okay?” he asked as he studied her.

“Yeah,” she squeaked. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Luke narrowed his eyes as if he didn’t believe her. Val broke eye contact with him and bit her lip.

“Val?” Luke said with a cautious tone. Val sighed and pushed away from the counter. She walked passed Luke tugging on his hand as a way of telling him to follow her. She was certain her voice would fail her if she tried to speak. She was worried of how he was going to react. They hadn’t been trying for a baby though they weren’t taking any extra precautions to prevent it other than Val’s birth control and birth control was only so effective.

She closed the door once they were in the bedroom and took a deep breath before turning back to Luke. He stood next to the bed studying Val as she wrung her hands together. She bit her lip and looked away from him.

“What’s going on?” Luke asked still cautious.

“I’m…” she started, but her voice caught in her throat. She swallowed the lump in her throat and tried again. “I’m… late.” As soon as the words left her mouth, her whole world froze. She waited for Luke’s response, but it seemed as if hours had passed. Luke narrowed his eyes and tilted his head a little in confusion.

“For?” he inquired slowly. Val bit her lip and met his eyes. She walked passed him and made her way into the bathroom. She opened the cabinet under the sink and pulled out the paper bag filled with her pregnancy tests. She took the back out into the bedroom and handed the bag to Luke. He watched her curiously for a moment before opening the bag. He reached in and pulled out one of the boxes. He stared at the box for a moment before he slowly sank onto the edge of the bed.

“How late are you?” Luke asked still staring at the box. Val leaned against the dresser and gripped the edges so tight her knuckles were white.

“Just by a week or so,” she said in a quiet voice. A silence fell over the both of them. She held her breath waiting for Luke to react. Would he be mad? Would he be happy? She wasn’t even sure how she felt about the situation. She wanted a baby sure, but if Luke was going to be mad at her for being pregnant, then she wasn’t sure if she wanted to be. She couldn’t think of any reason why he would be angry with her, but that didn’t stop her from feeling like that. She didn’t want him to be angry with her. He knew she wanted to have a baby and it wasn’t like she was trying to get pregnant.

“Do you think it’s time to take one of these?” he asked holding up the box for emphasis. She shrugged.

“It just depends on when this happened,” she paused for a moment. “If this happened.” She paused again for a moment wondering what she was going to say next. “I can take them now or we can wait.” Luke sighed finally breaking his sight from the box in his hand. He discarded it on the bed next to him then ran his hands over his face with another sigh. He slouched forward placing his elbows on his knees and stared at the floor.

The only thing that Val could hear was her heart thudding in her chest. She felt as if she was ready to go into a panic attack if Luke didn’t say something soon.

She grew tired of waiting so she stepped closer to him in hope of catching his attention. He raised his hand as she got within arm’s reach and rested his hand on her waist. His eyes remained on the carpet in front of him as he guided her to stand between his knees. She rested her hands on the back of his neck and let her nails tickle his skin.

His grip was tight on her waist, but not to the point to where it hurt.

“We’ll wait until after Sam goes to bed before you take the tests,” Luke finally said after an eternity of silence.

“Okay,” Val whispered. “What would you like for dinner?”

They had waited an hour after they had sent Sam off to bed before Val and Luke disappeared within their bedroom. Val had several bottles of water sitting in the bathroom just in case she needed extra help to use the bathroom.

She had chugged one of the bottles of water then plopped down on the bed next to Luke. He was staring at the television though it wasn’t on. He was able to hide whatever emotions he was feeling, but Val was certain that she was visibly falling apart. Samantha had provided an efficient distraction for the most part of the day.

Now it was just them passing the time while they waited for Val’s bladder. She sat in silence for a moment then her patience wore out.

“So, what happens if it’s positive?” she asked quickly.

“Then I guess that means your pregnant,” Luke said simply. Val huffed and crossed her arms.

“You know what I mean, Luke,” she said in a flat tone. Luke sighed and finally decided to look at her. He sat up a little in the bed with a sigh.

“What do you want me to say, Val?” he asked. Val went to answer him, but she stopped herself. She looked down at her hands and wrung her fingers together.

“I don’t know,” she admitted. She watched as Luke’s hand covered her own. He pulled her until she was straddling his hips. She wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her forehead against his. Val let her eyes close and she took a deep breath. “Are you mad?” Luke placed his hands on her waist and buried his face in her chest.

“No,” he said in a low voice.

Val wrapped her arms around him tightly. She felt so many different things that they all muddled together in a dull wave of nothing. She could feel the excitement of the knowledge that there was a possibility that she was pregnant. It was something that she had wanted for so long that she couldn’t help but feel a little excited. She was also terrified from the ordeal. If she was pregnant, would she be a good mother? Would the baby like her? There was also the underlying fear of the test coming up negative. She was worried that Luke didn’t want her to be pregnant and everything would fall apart because she was pregnant.

“I love you,” she whispered. Luke wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. The urge to use the bathroom hit her in that moment. She slid from his lap slowly. She placed her hand on his cheek and let her fingers brush along his skin until he was out of reach. She grabbed one of the pregnancy tests and entered the bathroom.

Once she had done what she needed to, she placed the strip on the bathroom sink and flushed the toilet. Luke opened the door slowly and stepped in. Val watched the clock that she had brought in from the kitchen. She bit her lip once time was up and looked to Luke.

“Are you ready?” she asked. Luke swallowed hard and nodded his head. Val grabbed the test of the counter and looked at it. She frowned and let out a disappointed sigh. She threw the plastic strip in the garbage. “It’s negative.” Luke reached out for her, but she brushed past him. Luke watched her leave the bedroom.

Luke wasn’t sure if he wanted the strip to come out positive or negative. When Val had mentioned she was late, he knew exactly what she was talking about, but he refused to believe it. He realized that there weren’t really trying to keep Val from getting pregnant, but he supposed that’s what he got for putting his faith in the birth control she was on.

It was no secret that Val had wanted to have a baby. When they were looking for a home together, Luke was saying that they could possibly move into a two bedroom since it was just the three of them, but Val crossed her arms and clicked her tongue at him then started fussing about how they weren’t going to be able to have a room for a baby. They had never officially discussed having a baby together, but they both knew that it was on the table.

Luke had hoped that they would be able to sit down and plan a pregnancy and with the test coming up negative he supposed that they were going to be able to plan it after all. As the day progressed, Val was hiding her anxiety very well, though Luke knew that it was there. They had made their way out back with Sam and was helping her run some drills for soccer so she would be better prepared for her tryouts.

There were moments to where Luke’s mind would wander off and he would start envisioning what Val would look like with her belly swollen with their child. He wondered if she would have that glow about her that everyone talked about when women were pregnant. He supposed he wouldn’t have to worry about those thoughts invading his consciousness anymore since Val wasn’t pregnant after all.

He let out a slow breath and rubbed the back of his neck. He left the bedroom quietly so he didn’t disturb Samantha. He searched the house for Val, but didn’t find her. He hadn’t heard her car start up so he knew she was still there. He found her out back leaning on the back porch railing. She had a beer loosely between her fingers, but it was already empty. Luke figured that she had chugged it. She didn’t acknowledge him as he stepped out.

He stepped behind her and rested his hands on her shoulders. He heard her sniff as if she was trying to hide the fact that she had been crying.

“Come here,” Luke whispered as he tugged on her shoulders. She sat the bottle down on the rail before turning to him. He frowned. She had hot tears flowing freely down her cheeks. Her eyes sparkled in the dim light. She sniffed again as he pulled her against him. She let out a light sob as her fingers gripped at the fabric of his shirt.

“I was showing symptoms. I was moody and tired all the time,” she said out loud, but Luke wondered if she was really meaning to. She acted like she wanted to say something more, but her voice caught in her throat. She sniffed once more before pulling away from Luke. She kept her hands against his chest. “I wanted it to be positive.” Luke gave her a sad grin before kissing her lips gently.

“I know,” he whispered and she buried her face in his chest once more. Luke really hated it when she cried. She was the type of crier to where once she started, she couldn’t stop. Luke wasn’t able to comfort her in that state just because the simplest thing would set her off again. He always tried to do something to get her mind off whatever it was that had upset her, but it rarely work because she was always thinking about whatever it was that had made her cry. Most of the time, it was ridiculous, but not this time. He wasn’t going to be annoyed with her when she continued to cry like he would be before.

Eventually, he was able to lead her back inside and in bed so they could at least try to get some rest. Luke was sure she wasn’t going to be sleeping any for the night, but he had to at least get a couple hours in. She had barely released him as they made their way into the bedroom and laid down. She had let him go long enough to turn down the blankets and crawl under then before she wrapped her arms around his waist and rested her head on his chest.

It had taken her another three hours before she finally drifted off into a light sleep and Luke wasn’t far behind her.

Chapter Text

Luke Hobbs was in trouble. Val was going to kill him if he was only so lucky. He was sure she was going to emasculate him or castrate him. Either way, something very personal to him was going to be mounted on the wall like a trophy. His mission was only supposed to last for four days. The case had nearly been closed and all they needed to do was apprehend the target and that was it. Luke was certain it was going to take a couple days, but here he was a week and a half later praying that the plane he was on was able to go faster.

He had looked at his watch for the fifteenth time in the past five minutes and nearly groaned. The flight was taking too long and he was nearly desperate to get back. His team had been teasing him none stop, but he had blocked them out hours ago.

He had finally confessed to them as to why he was so anxious and they ate it up. He had already missed Val’s birthday because of a mission and now he was missing their one year anniversary. When Luke had received the dossier on his latest target, Val had exploded in a rage that he had never thought possible of her. She had reminded him several times that he had already missed her birthday because of work and she would be damned if he would miss their anniversary. Luke was glad that Sam was gone at school at the time of her outburst because he was certain that it would have traumatized her.

It had taken Luke nearly a half hour to calm Val down enough to where she would believe his promises that he would be back before their anniversary. He had showed her the entire file to prove to her that the mission wasn’t going to last that long and he would be back a couple days before their anniversary, but he supposed that was only if he lived in a perfect world. The bastard had managed to slip through his fingers at the last second and it had taken a couple extra days to get him.

Now it was the day of their anniversary and with each second that ticked by, the more and more Luke Hobbs knew he was going to have to change his name to Lucy. He was going to have to do a lot of sucking up to Val to get back on her good side.

Luke glanced at his watch one more time and sighed. It hadn’t even been three minutes since the last time he looked at his watch. He swore that there was no woman other than Val that could make him feel the way he was. He was anxious and wanted nothing more than to perfect means of teleportation so he could grovel at Val’s feet until she forgave him. Luke leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees.

That fucking woman. What the hell had she done to him? The last time that he had felt that kind of anxiety was when Shana had went into labor. He was Luke Hobbs. He was fearless. He was powerful. Bad guys world wide checked under their beds every night for him. He was the mother fucking Samoan Thor! And here he was falling apart at the seams because he was afraid to face his girlfriend all because he couldn’t get to his target in a timely fashion. And to make matters worse, there was a sick part of his subconscious that loved every second of it.

Fuck.

“Hey, Hobbs,” Hank said in a teasing manner. “What do you want on your tombstone and I’ll go ahead and call it in.” Luke ignored him as he checked his watch again. His team laughed at him.

“Here lies Luke Hobbs’ testicles. Lost, but not forgotten,” Ben said holding his hand out as if reading it on the actual tombstone.

“Wouldn’t we have to change the name to Lucille or Lucy or something like that?” Jamal asked rubbing his chin.

“You have a point there, Jamal, I think you’re right. Would have to change his name. I could see him as a Lucy,” Hank said nudging him with his elbow. “Do you think Sam will like the fact that she’ll have two moms?”

“Either way, she’s going to have to get used to it,” Ben said propping his feet up on the bench across from him. Luke finally stood from his place and made his way to the front of the plane leaving his team in a fit of giggles like they were a bunch of school girls. Luke poked his head in between the two pilots.

“How much longer?” he asked.

“Yeah, he doesn’t want to be late for his castration!” Jamal called out behind him. The pilots gave Luke curious glances, but didn’t ask any questions.

“We’re about an hour and a half out,” the co-pilot answered slowly. Luke frowned looking at his watch. That would put them touching down around seven in the evening then it would take another hour just to get home with the gift that he had gotten for Val. Luke turned away from the cockpit and made his way back to his spot.

He tried to ignore his team as he checked his watch one more time. Jesus, the plane was moving too slow. He had to get home and he had to get home now.

Luke had followed Hank to his home since his wife, Julia, had agreed to care for Val’s present until he had returned. There was no way he could keep it from her if he had asked anyone else to do it. Julia rushed into Hank’s arms as soon as he stepped through the door and Luke pushed passed them to go farther into the house. Hank’s children ran throughout the house screaming and playing. They seemed to ignore their father who was still loving on their mother just inside the front door. Sure enough, just behind the kids, was Val’s gift.

Her gift was two puppies, one was a German Rottweiler the other a Doberman Pinscher. He had found a couple breeders and had decided that was the perfect gift for her. She liked things that she could care for to keep her distracted and a couple of puppies presented the perfect distraction. The Doberman was old enough to have his ears cropped and its tail docked and the rottweiler was old enough to have his tail docked when he had bought them and had called Hank to see if he could keep them until it was time for them to be gifted.

He would never tell her the underlying reason he had bought them for her. Eventually, they would grow to be nearly a hundred pounds each and were perfect guard dogs. If anything they were intimidating by nature. Certain dogs always carried the worst reputations, though they were actually one of the best breeds of dogs. He had thought about getting her a couple Pit Bulls, but with the way the laws were changing on who could and couldn’t own one was too sketchy and he would hate for her to get attached to her dogs only to have them taken away because of some bogus law. There was no way he was going to deal with that emotional turmoil.

“Daddy!” Luke heard Hank’s little girl scream and he heard her tiny footsteps running towards her father. Hank fell to his knees, his eyes alight with the sheer joy of being called daddy and the little girl ran into his arms. She was very small compared to other girls her age, but that was to be expected with how small Julia was. Julia was only five foot tall and the poor woman was constantly teased by everyone on Luke’s team, including Hank, that she needed a booster seat whenever she drove.

He felt Julia’s tiny hand on his arm to catch his attention. When he glanced down at her, he couldn’t help but grin back at her. She always had a warmth about her that reminded him of his own mother and it was always enough to bring a smile to his face.

“Thank you for bringing him home to me. The puppies have been good, but the kids are going to be upset when you take them,” she said as Hank’s boys ran by one more time with the puppies right on their heels.

“Well, I guess it’s time for Hank to get them a dog,” Luke reasoned.

“Yeah!” all three kids cheered at the same time. Hank shook his head with a grin on his face, but didn’t tell them yes or no.

Once the puppies were in their carrier, Luke hurried out the front door knowing he was running out of time. The longer he waited, the angerier Val was going to be. The puppies whimpered in the carrier as he hurried through the streets.

Upon reaching his home, he groaned. It appeared that Dom, Letty, Mia, and Brian were at his house. He knew it was going to be interesting. Dom and Brian stood out on the front porch enjoying a beer, but the women were nowhere in sight. Luke knew they were probably inside denouncing everything male. He looked over to the carrier sitting in his passenger seat.

“You two better keep me out of the doghouse,” he said reaching for them. He opened the door and got out of his truck. Brian and Dom laughed at some unheard joke.

“Well, well, well, look who finally decided to come home,” Brian said as Luke approached the porch.

“I never thought I would see a dead man walking,” Dom teased as Luke stepped onto the porch. Brian chuckled and bent to see what was inside the crate.

“I don’t think a puppy will get out of trouble with Val,” he said standing up straight.

“That’s why I got her two puppies,” Luke defended staring inside the open door. He could hear the women inside laughing at something, but he wasn’t sure what. Dom chuckled as he took a sip of his beer. “How mad is she?” he asked.

“Oh, you know, hell hath no fury,” Dom said with a shrug of his shoulder. Luke took a deep breath. He would be able to calm her down, he was sure of it. He just wasn’t sure if it was going to be tonight or not. He still had a few hours before the day was over, so hopefully he could suck up to her until she got over it.

He wanted to laugh at himself. Here he was, the best field agent the DSS had to offer and he was afraid of a woman’s anger and she was less than half his size. He had taken down some of the most dangerous human beings in history (if the government allowed them to be apart of history) and he was worried he was going to be sleeping on the couch. That fucking woman had made him go soft.

Fuck.

He stepped into the house slowly and found the women in the living room with glasses of wine. They watched Sam as she laid in the floor with Jack playing with him. He would squeal and laugh at the faces she would make. As soon as Val’s eyes met his own, her smile disappeared and twisted in such anger that Luke inwardly flinched. All gazes shifted towards him as she stood quickly and left the room.

“Daddy!” Sam yelled as she stood from her spot on the floor. Luke deposited the carrier on the ground and stayed bent as Sam rushed him. She threw her arms around his neck and he stood up straight as she clung to him.

“Hey, baby girl,” he murmured holding his daughter against him as his gaze watched Val as she disappeared in the kitchen. His eyes shifted to Mia, who was watching him with an innocent look on her face that he really didn’t trust. He inwardly sighed again. Now he was going to be the ass end of every joke once Mia and the others saw what he was going to have to do in order to get back on Val’s good side. They were going to be seeing a side of him that he hadn’t really shown them before. He was always sure to keep a certain demeanor with them, though sometimes he caught it slipping at certain moments.

“Val’s really mad at you,” Samantha said as Luke set her back on the ground.
“Yeah, I know,” he admitted. Sam bent to see what was in the carrier and gasped. She looked up at Luke as if asking permission to get them out, but he shook his head. No, those puppies weren’t for Sam, they were for Val. Those puppies were going to be the key to getting him out of trouble with Val. They were still a surprise and he didn’t want Sam ruining it. Luke headed to the kitchen to hunt Val down so he could begin his groveling.

He scoffed to himself. Luke Hobbs groveling. He never thought he would live to see the day that he would grovel. But it was Val and he knew when it came to her that there was nothing he would do in order for her to forgive him.

Fuck. What had his woman done to him?

He found her in the kitchen scrubbing furiously away at the pots and pans he assumed she had used for dinner. He stepped in behind her and placed his hands on her hips.

“Hey,” he said in a low voice. She dropped the dish she was scrubbing at and dried her hands on a dishcloth. She moved away from the sink and out of his touch and headed for the back door. Luke huffed and rolled his eyes. He knew it wasn’t going to be that simple, but he really prayed that it would.

“Oo, someone’s in trouble,” Letty said in a teasing tone. Luke glared at her over his shoulder. She and Mia stood there fighting their giggles poorly. She brought her wine glass to her lips to hide the giggle. Luke turned to the back door and followed Val out. She was standing with her back to him as she stared at nothing in the yard.

Luke said her name to let her know that it was him that had stepped out on the back porch, but she ignored him.

Fuck.

He stepped behind her once more, but he made no move to reach for her. He couldn’t believe that he was getting ready to say what he was getting ready to say. He swore the only people that could drag these words out of his mouth was his mother, Val, and Samantha.

“I’m sorry,” he said without moving. Val clicked her tongue throwing him a look over her shoulder before she tried to walk away from him again. He reached out and gripped the banister to keep her from passing. Without even thinking about it, she turned around and tried to move around him the other way, but he gripped the banister with his other hand leaving her trapped. She sent him one last glare before turning her back on him again.

He took the opportunity to wrap his arms around her and bury his face in her neck. Luckily for him, her hair had been pulled back in a ponytail which left the skin on her neck exposed for his assaults. She tried to shy away from him, but he had a firm grip on her and she wasn’t going anywhere.

“Stop it,” she finally said. Luke made a negative sound and kept after her neck. He left light kisses all over her skin and was sure to rub his stubble against her skin as well. He felt her start to relax, though she was fighting it as hard as she could. She tried to push his hands away from her so she could escape his grasp, but he wasn’t budging.

“Luke, stop it, I’m trying to be mad at you,” she said in a lighter tone, but Luke knew it wasn’t going to last long. Luke finally loosened his grip enough to Val could wiggle free, but he placed his hands on either side of her so she couldn’t escape. She didn’t make any type of move to try and walk away from him. Instead, she leaned against the banister and crossed her arms over her chest. She gave him a hard look.

“You lied to me!” she snapped. Luke narrowed his eyes at her.

“I made it though,” he defended. Val clicked her tongue at him and rolled her eyes. She huffed as she looked away from him.

“That’s not the point, Luke. You told me that you were only going to be four days and ten days later you come rolling in. I tell you what, something has got to give at the DSS. There has got to be some form of communication to let me know that you’re alright or whatever because this is ridiculous. I don’t know whether or not you’re okay or something went wrong. Poor little Sam has been losing sleep just as much as me. But seriously this lack of communication while you’re gone is unacceptable and I swear to god if you give me that “it’s for my own protection” bullshit, I will kick your ass to next Tuesday.”

Val’s rant brought a smile to Luke’s face. His hands left the banister on either side of her and gripped her waist. He pulled her against him. She made no move to try and get away from him, but the hard look on her face never faltered. He brought his lips close to her, but stopped just before they connected.

“I love you,” he said in a low voice then closed the distance between them. Val sucked in a deep breath as she finally relaxed completely. Luke felt her hands run up his chest and rested on his shoulders. He broke the kiss slowly. Val had a shameful grin on her face.

“Are you hurt?” she asked as she moved to lace her fingers behind his neck. Luke shook his head. She paused a moment and bit her lip. “I’m still mad at you.” Luke chuckled.

“No, you’re not,” he said kissing her lips again. Val giggled against his lips as she wrapped her arms around his neck properly. “Now go in there and see what I got you.” Val nodded and grabbed Luke’s hand so she could lead him back into the house.

“He’s alive!” Brian cheered as he threw his arms up in the air when the walked into the living room. Luke smirked as Val dropped his hand and headed to the carrier. She knelt down in front of the carrier and peered inside to see what was in there. She gasped as she opened the little gate and the two puppies came barreling out. The rottweiler puppy went immediately for her face and began licking her face uncontrollably. The doberman pup merely sat on her lap. Val squealed as she loved on her new gifts.

After about an hour or so, Dom and the others took off. Samantha had fallen asleep on the couch while watching a movie and Luke carried her off to bed. The puppies, which Val hadn’t quite named yet, slept in Sam’s bed with her.

Luke and Val made their way to the bedroom both feeling drained from the day. Luke sat on the edge of the bed massaging his tired muscles as he waited for Val to get done in the bathroom. He heard the bathroom door open and he glanced over his shoulder then did a double take. He felt a grin tug at his lips as his eyes scanned Val’s body.

Fuck.

She stood leaned against the doorframe leading into the bathroom with a devilish smirk on her lips. She wore black negligee that left little to nothing to the imagination. She wore a darker black bra and a matching thong under it. It went down to just below her more private areas. God, she had never been so sexy.

That fucking woman.

She pushed herself away from the doorframe and made her way to the bed. Luke took the opportunity to sit on the bed proper and watched her as she climbed on at the end. He watched her as she crawled up to him with an animalistic glint in her eye. Luke felt himself swallow involuntarily as he felt whatever blood that was left in his body travel to his lower half.

Fuck.

She crawled into his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck as his hands traveled up her back. She kissed his lips possessively as she grinded her hips against his slowly. She arched her back into his as his hand slid down the back of her thong and he gripped her rear. She moaned into his mouth then broke the kiss slowly.

“Happy anniversary,” she whispered then kissed his lips again. Luke grinned against her lips as his hand that wasn’t gripping her rear grabbed her by the back of the neck to pull her lips harder against his.

Chapter Text

Val sat in the bleachers watching over the game. She had her arms crossed and she was shaking her head. Sam was playing her fifth game of the season and it looked like they were going to be losing yet again. Val just couldn’t understand it. They looked so good during practice, but when it came to the actual game, they just choked. They hadn’t won a game yet and the confidence of the team was slipping. They were close to giving up completely.

She understood that they were just kids and they weren’t supposed to be playing at a professional level, but they weren’t even having fun anymore. Sam was the best one on the team, at least in Val’s opinion, but she could have very well been bias, but either way, there wasn’t enough teamwork happening for them to even get close to scoring.

She heard mothers and fathers yelling to their daughters. They were shouting words of encouragement, but as soon as they closed their mouths, Val could see it in their eyes, they were just giving them encouragement because they were parents. They could tell that the team was terrible. Val blamed the coach. His name was Kyle and his daughter was on the team. It was clear that he showed favoritism towards her just because of who she was, though she couldn’t play soccer to save her life. Anytime there was a special event of any kind, it was her that was put in the spotlight while all of the other girls were left on the sidelines.

Val felt that the coach didn't teach them the ethics of being on a team. She knew that each player had certain strengths and weaknesses. They needed to build their strength to compensate their weaknesses. And in turn they would build their confidence. Not to mention the exercise they were getting. But even more important, the kids had fun when they played and she feared that since they weren't doing very well that season that it was going to lose its fun factor.

Luke stepped up along the bleachers and looked through them until he found Val. She smiled as he stepped up the metal seats to sit down next to her. He had to work over that day so he was running a little late to the game. Val leaned over and kissed his lips gently.

“How we doing?” he asked turning towards the game. Val shrugged her shoulders and leaned back on the bleachers.

“Same as always. This sport is starting to lose its spark with Sam. I had to talk her into coming to the game today. She has it in her head that they’re going to lose, so there is no sense in her coming at all. She’s trying, but… there’s no results.”

 

Luke frowned as he watched Sam run from one end of the field to the other. She seemed focused on the game, which was always good to see in a child her age. There was a few times she had gotten the ball, but the rest of her team would leave her completely undefended so the other team was always able to get in close enough to steal the ball. The other times they wouldn't be set up in the proper formation and Sam wouldn't be able to pass it and she would always get overwhelmed. Luke could see that she was trying her hardest out there, but it was clear that it wasn't enough.

They had this discussion a few times since soccer had started. Val had expressed her concerns about Sam losing interest if they weren’t able to win any games. Luke knew with each loss they were edging closer and closer to it happening and now it was.

“Dammit,” he said as the other team scored again.There wasn’t enough time left in the game for Sam’s team to bring it back, not even on a tie game. Luke could see that Sam was upset even from his spot in the stands.

“Also, Sam wants one of her little friends to stay the night tonight,” Val said. Luke groaned looking to Val. The last time Sam had one of her little friends over, they were trying to play pranks on each other the entire night. Sam had placed a bucket on top of a door filled with glitter, with Val’s help, so when someone opened it, the glitter inside would fall over whoever opened it. Well, the victim was supposed to be Sam’s little friend, Stephanie. Luke had fallen into the trap and was covered in glitter of all colors.

Luke could remember turning away from the room he was about to enter and saw Sam poking her head around the corner. Her eyes were wide in a silent horror since she knew for certain that she was in so much trouble. Luke was ready to explode, but he managed to keep his composure as he quickly walked back to his room. He had slammed the bedroom door so hard the entire frame rattled. He heard Val gasp before he looked at her. She had her hands covering her mouth as she sat on her knees on the edge of the bed. She went to say something, but Luke raised his hand to stop her before she started.

“Don't say a word,” he had said and Val and choked back a laugh. He walked into the bathroom and was sure that there was a trail of glitter behind him. As soon as he slammed the bathroom door closed, he heard Val bust out laughing. It had been days and he would still spot little flecks of the glitter still on his skin.

“Don’t worry, it’s not even Stephanie that’s wanting to stay,” Val giggled, but the vagueness was enough to put him on edge. Luke narrowed his eyes at her. She wouldn’t look at him and watched one more time as they ran from one side of the field to the other.

“Not Tara,” he said though he already knew the answer to that. Val finally looked at him and gave him a hurtful look that confirmed his worry. Luke sighed one more time and shook his head. It wasn’t the fact that he really didn’t like the girl, Tara, she was a sweet little girl and was never any trouble. It was just the fact that Tara...

Never...

Stopped...

Talking...

The last time that she had stayed, Luke prayed for a mission that would get him out of the States until she was gone. He had never wanted a mission so bad in his life.

“Tell you what, after this, let’s take Sam for ice cream because she’s going to be upset after this game. Then I’ll take her shopping and get stuff for her and Tara then they can go and have a pajama party in the living room while you and me hide out in the bedroom until morning,” she suggested leaning against him. Luke smirked as he raised an eyebrow at her earning a giggle from Val.

The game finally ended and Val and Luke waited until the stands cleared out a little so they didn’t have to fight the crowds. Each soccer mom would go out of their way to come in close to Val and Luke so they could say hello to him. The only time they acknowledged Val’s existence was when they were sending glares her way. Val even caught a few of the mothers adjusting their bras so their breasts appeared to be perkier. Luke politely said his hellos back, but paid them no mind afterwards.

Val was glad that Luke didn’t even seem to notice the way they were acting towards him, but that didn’t stop the feeling of possessiveness that she felt towards him when they came close. The mothers didn’t talk to her or try to talk to her. When she had first started bringing Sam to her practices with Luke, the mothers would swarm them. Val found it a little odd that they flocked to them, but she figured, at least at first, that it was just their way of making the two of them feel welcome. Then she started noticing how all of the conversations were towards Luke the entire time. When Val would speak, all the other mothers would fall silent and look at her like she was vile. After that, she had kept Luke as far away as possible from the mothers, but that still didn’t stop their stares.

Luke finally stood and Val followed after him and gathered up the blanket that she put on the bleachers so the heat of the metal didn’t blister her backside. She stepped down the bleachers behind Luke and followed him to Sam who was bagging up her gear. She was moving slowly and her lowered gaze told them everything. Luke knelt down next to her and started helping her.

“You did good out there today,” Luke said carefully. Sam stopped packing her gear long enough to look back at the scoreboard that still showed the score of their game. She looked back to Luke without saying a word and started packing her gear again. Luke reached for her bag once it was zipped up, but Samantha jerked it out of his reach and threw it over her shoulder. She bolted for the parking lot. Val sighed and shook her head.

Samantha rode with Val which she found a little odd of her since she was practically Luke's shadow. Val couldn't think of anything to say to her on the way to the ice cream shop. What could she say without bashing the other girls on her team? It wasn't their fault that her coach didn't know what the hell he was doing and she couldn’t tell Sam that either because that would undermined him and Val didn't want to set that kind of example for her at all. Maybe that was why she wanted to ride with Val.

Val was really enjoying have Samantha around all the time. She was a smart little girl with an affinity of pranks. She followed Val around all the way up until Luke walked through the door, then everywhere Luke was, Sam was.

Val wasn’t sure where she stood with Sam. Sure, she was Luke’s girlfriend, but what did that mean for Sam and Val? Was Val a friend? Was she more of a mother figure? She definitely didn’t want to be stepping on any toes when it came to how Luke and Shana were raising Sam. Val wanted to give her advice, but she wasn’t sure if that would be overstepping her bounds on something that would be reserved for a parent.

With Shana and Jerry being married and for the fact that he had been in Sam’s life since the beginning, Val knew he was allowed to treat her different. They had found a nice little system to where the three of them could raise her and now here she was wondering where she fit into the whole thing.

When they pulled into the ice cream parlor, Val saw the small grin on Sam's face. Sam loved this ice cream parlor. They ordered their ice cream and found a table to sit at. Sam stared down at her banana split as she pushed it contents around rather than eat it.

“Daddy, I don't want to play soccer anymore,” she said in such a quiet voice that Luke or Val barely heard her. Luke leaned closer to her.

“What?” he asked though Val knew he heard what she had said.

“I don't want to play soccer anymore,” she said a little louder, but this time she met his gaze. Luke frowned as he leaned back as he eyed his ice cream cone.

“Why wouldn't you want to play soccer anymore?” he asked. Samantha shrugged her shoulder.

“Because I'm no good at it,” she said as she continued to push her ice cream around. Val slouched over her treat a little.

“Yes, you are, Sam. Why would you say something like that?” she asked deciding to follow along with Luke. Sam seemed to coil into herself a little.

“Then why haven’t we won any of our games?” she asked then finally took a bite of her ice cream. Val glanced to Luke who was staring at Sam out of the corner of his eye.

“Because your coach is a dumbass,” Luke reasoned bluntly. Val rolled her eyes and chuckled. Sam just stared up at Luke. Val wouldn’t have went with that approach, but it was already out there. Luke grinned looking down at his daughter before he wrapped a big arm around her. “Tell you what, you don’t have that many more games left. If you stick it out for the rest of the season, I’ll be your coach next year.” A smile stretched across Val’s lips and Sam’s eyes lit up. She stared at Luke in a daze for a moment.

“Really?” she asked finally.

“Yup, but you gotta hang in there for the rest of this season.” Sam nodded quickly then stood so she could hug him.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she repeated over and over. She sat back down all jittery from Luke’s promise. Luke smirked to himself as he watched her out of the corner of his eye.

Val took Sam shopping after they had ice cream so they could load down on all kinds of goodies for their evening and had even bought her new pajamas for the night.

When they had arrived back at the house, Sam practically tore the seatbelt out of the car she tried to get out so fast. Val shook her head as she turned her Barracuda off. The house they had bought wasn’t anything too special. It was in a calm, quiet neighborhood. It had a roofed porch extending along the front part of the house. It had a two car garage out back similar to the way Mia and Brian’s house was.

The house itself was a four bedroom, two and a half bath with two stories not including the basement. When stepping into their new home, it was an entrance room. Beyond that, was the living room. The living room was large, open, and warm. There was a hallway that led farther into the house. The kitchen was big enough that they were able to put their dining room table in since there was no dining room. The master bedroom was downstairs along with one of the guest bedrooms that Luke used as an office of sorts.

Their bathroom had a tub and a stand in shower, but the tub was currently gone since Val didn’t like the fact that it wasn’t a claw foot tub. She had coughed up over a thousand dollars for an antique tub. Luke would have never imagined anyone would spend that much on a tub and had voiced the fact several times. Upstairs, was another guest bedroom and Sam’s room with the other full bathroom. The half bath was down in the basement.

When she stepped in the house, she was practically assaulted by Thor and Loki, the dogs that Luke had gotten her for their anniversary. She had named the Rottweiler Thor and the Doberman Loki. She claimed that it was perfect for them since they were like brothers, but not really, just like Thor and Loki in the comic books and movies. Thor was a little more high strung and excitable while Loki kept a cool demeanor though he did have random bouts of playfulness. They had grown quite a bit though they were still not full grown.

Val could hear the shower running in their bedroom as she passed by it to drop the groceries in the kitchen. Val could hear Sam talking to someone on the phone and discovered that it was Tara. Val was impressed that Sam was even able to get a word in with that child.

Once the groceries were put up, Val made her way into the bedroom. She started digging through her drawers trying to find something that she could wear around the house. She had sweated out in the hot sun and it felt like her dress was sticking to her. She put a pair of shorts on the dresser before she started digging around in another drawer for a shirt to wear. She heard the bathroom door open and she could smell Luke’s soap immediately. She paid him no mind as she rummaged through her drawers.

She felt Luke’s big hands rest on her waist and felt his hips press against her rear. Val straightened up a little and glanced at him over her shoulder. He smirked down at her. Val giggled at him and turned to face him. She ran her hands up his bare chest slowly before linking her fingers behind his neck.

“Have I told you how incredibly sexy you are?” she asked in a teasing manner, though she really wasn’t teasing. Luke scoffed, but his smirked remained.

“Not today,” he said. Val reached up to kiss his lips gently as she giggled again.

“Well, then, you are incredibly sexy,” she said and kissed his lips again. Luke’s grip on her tightened as she felt herself being lifted into the air. Instinctively, she wrapped her legs around his waist and rested her hands on his broad shoulders. They continued to kiss as Luke made his way over to the bed and laid her down on it gently. She sighed leaning her head back a little so Luke could kiss down her neck.

“You know, that was really sweet what you did earlier,” Val said in a low voice as Luke pulled the straps of Val’s dress off her shoulders so he could kiss her skin there. Luke hummed in question. “When you said you would coach Sam’s soccer team next year. That was really sweet.” Luke hummed again as he pulled her dress down a little farther to expose her breasts to him. His kissed at her flesh slowly earning a groan from her.

“And just to think, this time next year, you’re going to be the coach of, at least, eleven eight year old girls,” Val said with a giggle on her breath. Luke froze suddenly and lifted his head. Val stared at him as the sudden realization washed over him. Luke had agreed to be Sam’s coach without thinking about there being other little girls on the team as well. Eleven prepubescent, whiny, needy little girls.

“Fuck,” Luke said making Val laugh. He dropped his head on her chest and groaned. Val bit her lip as her fingers tickled the back of his neck.

“Lucy, I’m home!” they heard Hector scream as he entered their home.Val groaned in annoyance as Luke lifted his head to look back to the bedroom door.

“Fuck!” he mumbled as he pushed himself up from Val’s body, but Val pulled him back to her.

“You think if we ignore him he’ll go away?” she whispered kissing at his lips. They heard Hector yell out for them again, then they heard Samantha running downstairs to greet him.

“Doubtful,” Luke answered her as he attempted to get up again. Val let him slip away from her as he stood at the edge of the bed. He reached out to pull Val up from the bed as she pulled the straps of her dress back up and she ran her fingers up his chest slowly.

“Rain check?” Val whispered giving him almost pleading eyes. Luke nodded his head slowly before he stole another kiss from her. They heard Hector scream out again somewhere in the house and Val rolled her eyes. He could be really annoying sometimes if he wanted to be. “I’m going to go see what he wants.” Val stepped around him and let her fingers brush across the skin on his chest until he was out of her reach.

As soon as the door latched, Luke’s phone went off on his nightstand. He walked over to it and picked it up.

“Fuck,” he grumbled as he answered it. It was work. They were calling him out for another job. He had noticed over time that he was working more and more. The world was getting darker and more dangerous with each passing day. Corruption and greediness was taking over and it was up to him to end it all. He had to. He had to do it for Val and Sam and everyone else that he cared about. They were giving him a week to get everything set up and get to his first destination. He had wanted a job and he supposed that he had gotten what he wanted. Unfortunately, he was still going to have to put up with Tara’s excessive talking.

He stepped out of the bedroom quietly and made his way into the kitchen where Val, Hector, and Sam were. Sam was attempting to talk to Hector in Spanish. She was speaking slow as if she was struggling for the right words. Val and Hector watched her as she tried to speak to them in Spanish with grins on their faces.

Val had been teaching Sam how to speak Spanish since they had spent that time together up at his cabin. She claimed she wasn’t sure how to properly teach her how to speak Spanish, so she would speak to her only in Spanish sometimes as a way of teaching her. Sam was getting better and better at it, but there was still a lot for her to learn. Luke was even starting to pick up on some of it.

Sam had finished speaking and paused as if she waited for their approval. Hector praised her in Spanish, then corrected a couple words that she had messed up and made her repeat them to him. She had repeated the words back to him, but Hector shook his head on one. He told her that she needed to roll her R’s on a certain word and Sam repeated the word putting emphasis on rolling the R’s in the middle of the word. Hector shook his head once more and started making a purring sound as he showed her how to roll the R’s. Sam started making the sound back to him and Val chuckled.

Hector was really good with Sam. She had warmed up to him almost immediately. Val had told Luke that the only reason why she did warm up to him the way she did was because Hector was on the same level as her mentally. After Sam ran off, Hector got down to why he was there which was something about an investment that Val had given him money for. It had paid off handsomely and he was giving her the profits, excluding his fee of course.
Later that day, the dossier for his latest target arrived. The target was a leader of a cartel that ran drugs and weapons. The target had one of the biggest files that he had ever received from DSS. Apparently, the cartel had bribed the local authorities to look the other way on everything. The target was one of the biggest cartels in the world. The target basically had an entire army at their disposal and Luke knew that this target was going to be a difficult one. It was going to be hard for him to get close since he knew he wasn’t going to be able to rely on the local authorities for anything. He was going to need someone extra on his team.

He had decided to send a message to Elena to see if she was able to help them out a little. Elena had shown a lot of promise when she had joined his team to take Dom and the others down even if she ended up in Dom’s bed at the end. She had messaged him back almost immediately saying that she accepted his offer to join them. When Luke had told Val about Elena joining him and his team, she got really excited.

She had said that she still kept in touch with Elena though she didn’t say anything to Dom about it for fear of it being a little awkward for him and Letty alike. Val really liked Elena. She had watched over her brother and helped him heal when they had thought that Letty had been killed. And when Luke had showed up with proof of her still being alive, Elena had encouraged him to search for her and willingly let him go so he could be with Letty. She had fit in very well with the rest of the team and they had accepted her as one of their own quickly. Val was glad that Elena was going to be joining him because she claimed that she would be able to watch his back, though Luke reassured her that Hank, Ben, and Jamal was going to be there with him as well.

Elena had arrived a couple days later and Val had insisted that Elena stay with them until it was time for all of them to leave. She would need to be briefed and cleared by the DSS in order for her to leave with Luke. She had mentioned about wanting to come to DSS so they had to start with the proper paperwork for her transfer if she was able to pass their tests, though Luke said she had nothing to worry about.

Val had practically clung to the blond woman when she showed up on their front doorstep. She was practically vibrating with excitement as she practically drug Elena inside. Luke had said his hellos to her before he left them alone to catch up.

Elena had asked about Letty, though Val knew it was just her way of asking about Dom. Val sighed looking down at her glass of wine and ran her fingers along the rim slowly.

“She still hasn’t remembered anything. At least, from what she’s told us. She says she has feelings though. Like a familiarity around some of us especially Dom.” Val ignored the small flinch at the mention of Dom’s name. Elena had really cared about him even to the point to where Val could say it was love. Val respected the blond more than Elena could imagine when she had told Dom to pursue Letty. That move took courage, courage that Val was certain she didn’t have.

“And Dom? How is he?” she asked in a low voice. Val grinned a sad grin.

“He’s good other than the fact that Letty still hasn’t remembered anything. The doctors are saying that the memories could come back in segments or all at once, but it was going to take time. I think Dom is a little frustrated about it though since it’s been over a year and still nothing.” Val took a sip of her wine. They weren’t sure if it was a head injury that had taken her memory or if it was the trauma of nearly being killed by an explosion. She hoped that one day, Letty would remember everything. It was such an odd feeling being around her best friend and she not remember anything about their past together.

They talked for a little longer before Elena claimed to be exhausted from the flight in. Val took her to the guest room and made sure that she had everything she needed before leaving her alone so she could rest. It was pretty late and Sam had already went to bed for the night. She was feeling a little drained herself so she retired to their bedroom.

Luke was already sitting on the bed with the dossier out in front of him as he continued to read up on his latest target. He sat in a pair of pajama pants and no shirt. He had one leg bent as the other dangled over the edge of the bed. She changed into some pajamas herself before crawling onto the bed behind him.

Luke felt her fingers run over his shoulders as she wrapped her arms around him. She rested her chin on his shoulder as she looked down at the file in front of him. She ran her fingers over his chest habitually. There were multiple reports on the target along with pictures and profiles on higher ups in the cartel. Some of the henchmen, so to speak, had already been captured and questioned for more information, which some of them gave up in the end.

Luke felt Val sigh behind him as her grip tightened around him. He looked at her as best as he could. Her eyes were distant and Luke learned that when she had that far away look in her eyes, she was thinking about something that her imagination was only making worse.

“I’ll be back before you know it,” Luke said in a quiet voice. He knew how much she worried about him while he was gone. Dom had told him about how much she changed when he walked through that door to go play hero across the globe. He had explained to Luke how distant she became like she always had him on her mind. Dom had also told Luke about how she seemed to dull with Luke not around. Luke couldn’t lie, he felt a little guilty about how she felt when he left, but he had to do what he had to do. After being exposed to how dark and cruel the world could be, he felt that he was the only one who could stop it. There was a reason he was the best.

“You always are since I never know when you’re going to be back,” she said in a sad tone. Luke leaned away from her causing her to loosen her grip on him. He was grinning because he knew what he was getting ready to do was going to change her mood completely. She watched him with curiosity.

“I have something for you,” he said reaching into his nightstand drawer. He pulled out a phone and handed it to her. It was an old brick of a phone and Val couldn’t remember the last time she had seen a phone like that. She tilted her head a little as her curiosity rose. “You said shit needed to change. That you needed to be able to communicate with me while I’m gone so you know I’m okay.” Val smiled at him as she brought the phone to her chest as if she was cradling it. Then she threw her arms around him and kissed his cheek hard. “If I tell you to toss that phone, you do it immediatly and make sure it’s away from the house when you do toss it.” Val frowned as worry touched her eyes.

“This is dangerous, isn’t it?” she asked in a quiet voice.

“I don’t want you worrying about me while I’m away. I had Tej set it up to where it can’t be traced to your exact location, but there is a possibility. The number you text is already programmed in there. And when you text it, I’ll call you as soon as I can,” he said. Val nodded in understanding.

“Thank you,” she said kissing his lips. “This is the best gift you have ever gotten me.” Luke chuckled as he reached back and pat her thigh.

“At least you’re cheap,” he teased.

“Hey!” she snapped at him. Luke laughed, then he paused.

“Wait a minute, what about the dogs? I figured that would have been the best gift,” he said truthfully. Val shrugged her shoulders.

“Those were only my puppies for one night. Now they’re Sam’s.” Luke hummed in agreement. It was the truth. Those dogs slept with Sam every single night and followed her everywhere. They only responded to her and they seemed to ignore anyone else who walked through the front door. They would show a little excitement, but that soon went away as they took off to find Sam wherever she was in the house.

Val sighed again as she rested her chin on his shoulder again. She tightened her grip on him. They sat in silence for a moment.

“I’m going to miss you,” she whispered quietly. Luke stayed quiet as he always did when Val said that to him. Val couldn’t help but have a sinking feeling in the bottom of her stomach at Luke’s mission. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but it was a different feeling than when he normally went off on a mission. She said a silent prayer asking God to protect Luke while he was away. “Promise me that you’ll come back to me.”

He moved away from her so he could look her in the eye. He studied her for a moment as if wondering where that had come from. She had never asked him to promise her of his return. She seemed a little worried about his departure, but that was nothing new with her. She always had that look in her eye when he was getting ready to leave, but there was something different there. An extra hint of worry. He sighed as he reached down to grab the file. He closed it and tossed it on his nightstand.

He reached back and pulled her to where she was sitting in his lap. She looked up at him with begging eyes as she waited to hear him promise her. He reached up and cupped her cheek with his large hand.

“I always come back, Val,” he assured her. She closed her eyes slowly with a sigh.

“Promise me,” she demanded in a harsh tone. Luke narrowed his eyes in curiosity, but he decided to oblige her.

“I promise,” he said and it instantly brought a smile to her lips. She leaned against him and wrapped her arms around him.

Chapter Text

The day had been absolutely wonderful. Val had woke up feeling better than she ever had since Luke had left. Their bed always felt so empty when he was gone. She always woke up expecting to feel the weight of Luke next to her. Usually she woke up and his big arm was draped over her or he was pressed up against her to where some of his weight was on top of her. He always hogged the bed when they slept together, but that was okay with her because it always meant that he was touching her in some way.

He was like a blast furnace and was able to keep her warm even though they didn’t have a very thick blanket for that very fact, but when he was gone she always had to get a comforter so she could stay warm throughout the night. She hated the comforter really. It was so ugly and it was uncomfortable. Sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night freezing cold because she had kicked it off her at some point during the night as if she subconsciously wanted it off her. Of course, there was nothing subconscious about it.

However, that morning, she had slept in a couple extra hours. She and Sam had stayed up late watching movies together. The day before had been a very lazy day for them. Soccer was officially over for Sam and, even though her team didn’t make it to the finals, she was still excited for the next year because Luke was going to be her coach. They had a girls’ day the day before and Val had a blast with Sam. They had went shopping for some new clothes and shoes at the first part of the day then found some hole-in-the-wall diner to have lunch at before they headed home.

As soon as they arrived, Val suggested that they put on their pajamas and they laid around the house the rest of the day watching movies and eating junk food. Val had done up Sam’s hair for her and even put makeup on her. She wouldn’t tell Luke about it because Sam looked too much like an adult all dolled up in the makeup Val put on her and it would upset him. He hated thinking about how his little girl was one day going to be a young woman. They had done each other’s nails then had finished the day sitting in the hot tub drinking juice out of wine glasses.

It was such a wonderful day the day before. It had been one of those days to where she wasn’t so worried about Luke that much. She had sent him a text that night hoping that he would call, but maybe he was busy with his current case. It always took him a couple days to call her. The last she had heard from him, the mission was coming along nicely, but the target was being a little finicky. He wasn’t able to go into too many details, but she was going to hear all about it when he got back, she was sure.

She had slept really well that night, but maybe it was just for the couple glasses of wine she had whenever Sam had finally retired for the night. She sat on the edge of the bed for a moment with a small grin on her face everything around her came into focus. She could hear the faint sounds of the television in the living room signaling that Sam was already up. Usually the girl came in and woke her up every morning if Val was still asleep, but this time Sam let her sleep in a little. It wasn’t like she cared that Sam woke her up but she was glad that she let her sleep.

She grabbed her pajama bottoms that she had discarded next to the bed the night before and put them them back on. She stepped out into the hallway and stretched her arms above her head feeling some of her bones crack. She made her way into the kitchen so she could start pot of coffee. Once it was on, she made her way into the living room to find the culprit as to why Sam didn’t wake her up. Dom and Sam were sitting on the couch watching cartoons together.

Sam was still in her pajamas and was snuggled up in Dom’s side. Dom was wearing his typical attire. Val hated that he never had a chance to be a father because she knew he would make an excellent one. Letty had told him that she wasn’t ready for kids when they had first gotten married and then they had thought that she had died. There was one point in time that she thought Elena was going to give him a child, but then Letty had come back into their lives. Now he was just trying to get her to fall for him all over again and that was proving to be quite the challenge.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” Dom said as he looked up at his sister. Val yawned as she walked over to the couch and sat down on the other side of him and leaned her head on his shoulder. Dom leaned his cheek against the top of her head for a moment before lifting his head again to continue watching the show.

“What brings you here?” Val asked. Dom chuckled.

“What? You don’t want to see your brother?” he asked feigning offense. Val giggled.

“No, but it is pretty weird to see you up before noon. You okay?” she asked. She felt him sigh and she knew there was something wrong.

“Make me breakfast,” he demanded. Val clicked her tongue at her older brother and she sent a playful glare his way. Dom grinned at her then winked. Val rolled her eyes then looked around his broad chest at Sam who was mostly focusing on the television and not the two adults beside her.

“What do you want for breakfast, kid?” Val asked getting the girl’s attention. She slowly looked to her. Sam must not have been up for long. She could still see the sleep stuck in her eyes.

“Can we do waffles?” she asked. Val looked to Dom.

“Waffles sound good to you?” she asked. Dom nodded. Val groaned as she stood up off the couch and walked to the kitchen. She could hear Dom behind her as she walked. Dom was wanting to talk. Val started gathering everything that she needed in order to make waffles while Dom made them a cup of coffee. Dom let Loki and Thor in from the backyard and fed them for Val and made sure they had fresh water.

“Me and Letty got into a big fight last night,” Dom mumbled as he sat her cup of coffee next to her. Val’s eyes widened as she looked over to Dom. Dom and Letty never fought with each other. They would bicker and fuss at each other, but they never had a full blown fight. Hearing those words come out of his mouth was almost foreign.

“About what?” Val asked as she leaned against the counter so she could sip on her coffee a couple times. Dom sighed as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“About us. I had tried to kiss her and she turned away from me. I don’t know why, but it just… I exploded.”

“Maybe you exploded because the woman that is your wife doesn’t know she’s your wife because you won’t tell her,” Val reasoned nonchalantly. Dom glared at her. “All I mean is that you really need to tell her that she’s your wife, Dom. This has got to be killing you. We need to tell her the truth. It’s been over a year since she’s been back and she still isn’t even sharing a bed with you.” Dom looked away from her.

Val started mixing together the ingredients to make the waffles. Dom was quiet for a moment. Val watched him out of the corner of her eye. She could tell that he was gnawing the inside of his cheek. He was pondering what she was saying. She knew that it was so hurtful to her brother that his wife looked at him like he was a stranger.

“I know you’re right, Val. There’s days where she’s all over me and it seems like it was just like it was before I left. Then the next day she doesn’t even want to be in the same room as me. I don’t know what’s going through her head anymore. Part of me thinks I need to just accept the fact that she’s not the woman I fell in love with,” he said. He sounded so hurt by the things he had just said and Val felt every bit of it.

“Dom…” she tried to continue, but he interrupted her.

“I know you’ve seen it too. I mean, shit, Val, you two were best friends and I couldn’t tell you the last time that you two hung out with each other. You were always getting into something and now she barely wants to be around you. All she does is distance herself away from everyone around her and quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I want my wife back,” he said staring down at his coffee cup. He scoffed then he took a drink of his coffee. “I remember a time to where we could have a full conversation and not even say anything to each other. We knew exactly what the other was thinking. Kinda like how you and Luke are with each other. We don’t have that anymore.”

Val had finished the mixture, but decided to wait a little before she started on the waffles. She stepped to her brother and wrapped her arms around his big frame. He held her against him for a moment before Val stepped away letting her hands rest on his shoulders.

“Dom, I know you love her. That hasn’t changed since you two were teenagers. Even when you were with Elena I knew that you still thought of Letty all the time. I know that it’s been difficult for you, but we can’t give up on her yet. One day, her memories will come back and then everything will be normal again,” she reassured him. Dom forced a grin at her.

“At least as normal as this family could be,” he joked. Val chuckled at him then shrugged.

“You got a point there, brother. I mean, Mia and me both ended up with a man that, at one point in time, was trying to rip this family apart. And now look at us,” she said as she went back to making the waffles. Dom chuckled.

“You know, if you would have told me this is who you two were going to end up with years ago, I wouldn’t believe you. But you and Luke are good together. Just like Mia and Brian,” he said sipping his coffee again.

“Just like you and Letty,” Val added eyeing him with a grin. Dom grinned back at her before looking down to his coffee, but his grin soon disappeared.

“What if she’s not the same woman I fell in love with? Even if she gets her memories back?” Val wondered how often Dom thought about it. It was clear that, in the current mindset of Letty, that she wasn’t the same woman. There was a lot of things that had happened to her since she woke up wherever she was with absolutely no clue who she was. It was confusing to her. And now she was surrounded by people that claimed that they knew her and she had no idea who they really were.

There were times that Letty would ask Val to tell her stories of their past together and she would always oblige her as best she could. It was hard not to include stories to where it would let her know that she and Dom were married. It took everything in her power not to just blurt it out. She wanted Letty to know, but when she and Dom would discuss telling Letty that they were married, he would voice his concerns that it would scare her away and he didn’t want that to happen. He had just gotten her back, after all.

“She’s still Letty and that means she’s still your wife. We have to be patient,” Val said as the first round of waffles were done. “Just like you guys were with me when I was recovering.” Dom scoffed.

“I think you’re right, Val. Thanks,” he said then stepped over to her and kissed her temple.

“You’re welcome, now go sit at the table like a good boy and I’ll bring you waffles.” Dom gave her a flat look, but he still listened to her. Val yelled for Sam to come eat as well.

After they ate, Val did the dishes, then told Sam to go shower and get ready for the day. They were planning on going down to Santa Monica to the beach. She offered for Dom to come and he agreed. She figured he had said some things to Letty that he regretted and he wasn’t ready for face her just yet. She was a little surprised that Letty hadn’t come beating down her door looking for Dom, but that was something she would have done before she lost her memory.

Dom had driven them to the beach much to Sam’s enjoyment. Dom always drove a little faster than what he needed to and always took turns a little sharper than he needed, but the little squeals of delight that came from Sam was always worth it. Val had given up fussing at Dom for driving like that with Sam in the car a long time ago. Sam had once told Luke how Dom always drove with her in the car, but Luke acted like he wasn’t too worried about it, so why should Val? Besides, Dom wouldn’t do anything that would put Sam in harm’s way.

She was Dom’s little buddy after all.

They spent the day playing at the beach. They got in the water for a while before they built some sandcastles. They had buried Sam in the sand. Val was sure she was going to be picking sand particles out of the girl’s hair for months on end. They grabbed a late lunch at a restaurant before they headed back home. They had only been back for an hour when Val’s cell phone rang.

She excused herself from the other two so she could answer it. She looked at the screen and saw Lett’s name on it. She stepped out onto the back porch with the dogs as she answered the call.

“Hey,” she said into the phone.

“Is Dom over at your house?” Letty asked. Val grinned and she sat down on one of the patio chairs.

“Yeah, he is. He said you guys got into a fight,” Val said. She heard Letty sigh on the other end of the phone and Val could see her run a hand through her hair just like she always did whenever she was frustrated.

“Yeah, we did and it’s all my fault. I want him to come home. I tried calling him all day, but he didn’t answer. I didn’t know what else to do so I called you,” she said in an almost desperate tone. It was such a weird thing to hear from her. Val chuckled.

“He came over this morning really upset over your fight. He went with us down to the beach. He’s building a model car with Sam right now and probably has his phone on silent,” she said trying to keep things as simple as possible, but she wanted Letty to know that Dom was upset.

“I know he’s upset. I guess he has every right to be. Can you tell him that I’m sorry and I would like to talk to him?” Letty asked.

“Of course,” Val said as Thor came up and rested his head on her thigh so he could be petted. Val smiled at him and started scratching him behind his ears just the way he liked it. Val could have swore he got a smile on his face when he was scratched like that. Loki was laying out in what little sunshine the day had left.

“Thanks, Val. I keep waiting for this to get better between us. Some days it’s really easy for me to be around him. Then on others, it’s just like it was the day I woke up with no memory of who I was,” she said in a small voice. Val bit her lip.

“I understand, Letty. I’ve been there myself. It took me a long time to recover from my accident. Even now, there’s still part of me that wonders if I have fully recovered, but I did and there is no doubt in my mind that one day it’ll all be better,” Val said as she mindlessly played with Thor’s floppy ears.

“You really think so?” Letty asked sounding a little more hopeful than she had.

“I know so,” Val answered. They said their goodbyes and Val walked back into the house. She passed by the through the kitchen and grinned at Sam and Dom working on their little model car together. She watched them for a moment. Sam was leaned over the little engine that she was glueing together. She was trying her hardest to get the pieces to go together, but they kept getting stuck to her fingers instead.

She was getting really frustrated with her work judging by the growls that she was emitting as she picked them off her fingers. Dom must have gotten bored watching her glue the two small pieces together because he handed her a pair of tweezers so she could get the pieces to go together properly. Val finally approached them and put a hand on Dom’s shoulder to catch his attention. He looked back to her before dropping his gaze back to the girl next to him.

“That was Letty on the phone. She’s looking for you,” Val said as they watched the piece of the motor finally go right into place without any fuss. Dom didn’t answer her though. Instead, he watched Sam as if he didn’t even hear Val’s statement. “She wants you to come home.”

“Later, I’m a little busy,” he said as Sam pulled another piece to put onto the motor. Val sighed and rested her hands on his shoulders. She leaned forward and placed a kiss on top of his head.

“You can’t hide forever,” she said in a teasing tone. There was a knock on the door. Val stepped away from Dom so she could answer the front door.

“Who’s hiding?” Dom asked looking at Val over his shoulder.

“You,” Val shot back then stuck her tongue out at him as she left the kitchen. She heard Dom chuckle. Val made her way to the door and slowly opened it. There was a stranger on the other side of her door. It was a man with a stern look. He had peppery gray hair that was combed back neatly. He wore a suit and tie and really shiny shoes. He was so military with the way he stood that it made Val a little sick.

“Are you Valentina Toretto?” the man asked in a flat, deep tone. She nodded as her heart began to throb in her chest. She didn’t like that the stranger on her porch knew her name and she had no idea who it was. She bit her lip and nodded. She heard Dom coming up behind her, but she didn’t look over her shoulder at him. “I’m sorry to inform you of this, but I am afraid that Lieutenant Hobbs is missing along with the rest of his team. We are unsure at this point of their well being since their captures have yet to make any demands.”

Val couldn’t breathe. She barely heard what he had said. She felt dizzy. She could could see the edges of her vision growing darker. She felt her knees go weak. She felt big hands on her as she started to collapse. Feeling the large hands on her arms made her mind shoot back to Luke. She reached up and placed her hands over the hands on her arms. She tried to look back to whoever it was that was holding her, but she couldn’t make out who it was.

“Luke,” she choked out, but she wasn’t sure if she actually said his name or not. She felt her back pressed up against a hard chest, but she knew it wasn’t Luke’s. She could feel the vibrations of the body behind her talking, but she couldn’t make out what he was saying. The door was suddenly closed and Val was able to finish sinking to the ground. She felt arms around her. A sob escaped her lips as she buried her head in the chest that currently had her wrapped up.

How could this happen? How were they able to capture Luke? How were they able to capture his entire team? They were so capable. Were they safe? What were they being put through by their captures? Were they going to be hurt? Or worse, killed? What was she going to do? How was Sam going to take the news? She squeezed her eyes shut. They had to get him back. They had to find him.

She looked up and realized that it was Dom who had her wrapped up in his arms. She wanted to tell him that they needed to get him back, but she couldn’t find her voice. Dom placed a gentle hand on her cheek and wiped away her tears.

“It’s all going to be okay, Val, we’re going to get Luke back,” he said.

“What’s wrong with daddy?” Sam asked stepping into the entrance way. Val’s and Dom’s eyes shot straight to the little girl completely forgetting her existence until that moment. Val looked up at her brother with pleading eyes. She wasn’t sure if she could speak.

“You’re dad is missing, kid. It’s okay though, I’m bringing him back,” Dom reassured her. Tears welled up in her little eyes and Sam darted for Val. Val opened her arms to Sam and wrapped her up in a warm embrace as Sam sobbed against her chest. Val swallowed her emotions down hard. She had to be strong for Sam. Sam had to see that she was able to keep a level head about the whole thing so Sam would have that assurance that her father was going to be coming home. She wasn’t going to be trusting her voice just yet so for now, she would just settle on holding her until she stopped crying.

“I’m going to call the others and have them get here asap so we can start putting a plan together. I promise you, Val, we’ll get Luke back.” She nodded slowly and she believed him. Dom wiped another tear away from Val’s cheek before he stood from his spot so he could start making phone calls and Val just sat there with Sam until she stopped crying.