Work Header

Wasted in the Afternoon

Work Text:

It's early morning still, and Brian's a few miles outside of Palmar de Cuaulta, sitting on the beach with his board standing up in the sand next to him. His wetsuit's pushed down around his waist, and he's still wet after an hour spent watching the sunrise from out on the surf.

There's coffee in the air, a strong Mexican brew from the small, rusty corner liquor store with the small grocery in back, and it's mingling with the heavy, yeasty smell of pan dulce, still fresh and warm. His stomach's already growling; all he needs to do is work up the energy to get up and make his way across the two-lane road for breakfast.

"Took you long enough, O'Conner," he hears from close behind him.

The shock of the voice travels through Brian, tightening his shoulders, making his stomach clench; it's the biggest surprise he's had since he opened up his mailbox to find a twenty-five cent postcard with the words Palmar de Cuaulta, Nayarit, Mexico scribbled in a familiarly careless scrawl on the back.

He wants to turn around, see the face to go with the voice, find out what difference a year can make. Probably not enough of a difference, he knows, since Dom was never one for change, and a year living it up on a distant beach in central Mexico isn't exactly hard living. And while Brian's not thinking that he needs any sort of forgiveness, not really, and especially not from Dom, he doesn't necessarily expect for Dom to agree.

And he's not sure if he should be in any rush to find out.

So he holds perfectly still, doesn't turn to look, even when he feels Dom settle lightly next to him in the sand.

"Hey, things to do, places to be. You know how it is," Brian says, calm and easy, like sitting on a beach with Dom isn't anything but normal.

Dom snorts.

"So, how'd you find me?" Brian asks because, seriously, it's not like Dom could have just looked him up in a phone book. Even Rome doesn't have his new address.

"Shouldn't that be my line?" Don moves, wiggling down into the sand. Brian can just see his feet, big, clunky motorcycle boots that look completely out of place on a Mexican surf beach.

"Not so much, really. Since you sent a postcard and all, telling me where you were."

"True." Brian can see the shadow of Dom's head nodding once. "Some new friends back in the states. They helped me out and looked you up." Dom's voice is casual, easy, but Brian can hear the tightness in the words, how they're strung together and forced into being as close to possible as natural. Brian spent months studying Dom, every move and expression and nuance, and maybe not all of it was necessary for the job, but it's still valuable information.

Brian had been exceptionally good at what he did.

"And?" Dom just turns his head and tilts his head at Brian's question.

"And what? You think I owe you an explanation, O'Conner? That's just fucking hilarious."

"Whatever, Toretto. Anyway, nice to know that you're still alive." Brian gets up and finally lets himself look down at Dom. Dom looks exactly the same. Same white tee, same khaki pants, same dark skin; still looking like he lives at least more than half his life in the gym. He looks right into Brian's eyes, and the anger Brian remembers from that moment on the highway with Vince between them, is still there, etched deeply into the lines around Dom's mouth.

"Christ. Brian." Dom rubs his hand across his head, lets out a breath loud enough that Brian can feel it roll between them. Then Dom looks up at him, and there's not anger there anymore, just a blank face that Brian's not sure he can figure out. "Give me a ride?" Dom asks.

It's probably not so much a question, not really, but Brian nods his head anyway. It's not like he spent seven days driving into Mexico to surf the A-frames and admire the tourist traps. "Let's go," he says.

Dom falls into step next to him, their shoulders brushing together as they walk across the sand. Brian gets to his truck and starts to pull off his wetsuit, slicking it down his body, leaving wet skin and dry, clinging sand behind. "You just going to stand there?" Brian asks when Dom doesn't seem to be doing anything more than watching Brian silently.

"Yeah, maybe," he says, but he's already turning away, walking over to a beat-up old motorcycle and pulling a small duffle bag from the back. He tosses it into the bed of Brian's truck and climbs into the passenger seat while Brian's still tying down his board with two old bungee cords and a ratchet strap.

"Asshole," Brian says, pulling himself over into the driver's seat. "Where to?" He starts up the engine and looks over at Dom.

"Just drive. I'll let you know."

Brian shrugs, figures that's pretty much sums up his entire history with Dom until this point. Not much point in changing things now.


They drive out through the slow, badly paved road, watching as the handful of shacks dotting the line of the main road roll by, all beat-up and beat-down. No fancy hotel or five-star dining here, no snug little bungalows tucked up along the coastline, drawing in the rich and famous. This is the stretch of coastline that hasn't gotten rich off the tourists.

It’s a place poor in everything except the surf that sits a few hundred feet off the road, all rough breaking roads and pristine sand that’d had Brian parking his truck and pulling down his board before the gravel had settled beneath the tires.

Hidden beauty, only if you know where to look.

Brian drives until the sun has long since set, until the bright heat of the day has given way to the oppressive heat of the night that spreads endlessly out in all directions. Dom hasn’t offered to drive and Brian hasn’t asked; he’s not sure what they’re doing here, but it’s good in the too many weird ways that Brian remembers: Dom, long stretches of road, and silence with no end in sight.

Rome calls somewhere between one shack and another, and it's the third time he's called since Brian left LA. Brian's ignoring the calls, not daring to answer because that'd mean explanations and excuses. Three months ago, he'd left Miami on his way to LA for vacation, he'd told Rome, but he'd pulled into the city and tasted the smog in the air, heavy and bitter and dirty, and it'd tasted exactly like home.

Brian's not going back to Miami. And he still has no idea how to tell Rome.

The engine is a soft, low purr beneath them. He’d spent long nights in Miami rebuilding the engine himself until it was perfect, all silent strength beneath the rusty paint and the beat-up body. Right now, it's the only sound in the night, everything else just disappearing into the quiet that's settling easily between them. Brian’s not sure what he expected but he’s pretty sure it’s not this complete absence of words; he’d sort of always assumed that Dom would have something to say.

Instead, he's staring at the window, the wind rushing through the car, billowing his shirt up against his body and tracking the lines of sweat down across his head and into the worn out collar of the white tee. He keeps reaching into the cargo pocket of his pants and pulling out a worn sheet of off-white paper, creased and beat-up, looking like it's been crumpled over and over and then smoothed out obsessively.

Brian doesn't ask and Dom ignores the look Brian keeps flashing his way and, okay, hundreds of miles into Mexico and a free ride to...somewhere - wherever - obviously hasn’t given him questioning rights.

When the sun starts to fade into the ocean, Brian stops at a break between towns, pulls all the way off the road and into the tall scrub along the shoreline. Dom just raises his eyes and Brian shrugs.

“What’d you expect?” He asks, just to break the silence. He tosses Dom a rolled up sleeping bag and crawls over the seat and into the back. Brian flops back on his bag, hands behind his head, looking up at the stars bright in the sky and missing the cold breeze of the air conditioner as he feels the sweat start to pool along the length of his body.

“Didn’t say a word,” Dom says and Brian closes his eyes as he feels Dom settle down soundlessly beside him.

“Dom,” Brian starts, but stops when he feels Dom’s body moving closer, until their legs are pressing together, hot and heavy, sweaty in the heat, and all Brian can think is yes to feeling something, finally, after so long of nothing. "Fuck."

Dom settles in close, holding still, just pressed in against Brian nice and easy. They're both staring up at the sky, and Brian wants to curl up and curl in, and roll in closer, until he forgets that there's this history between that's mostly bad, except for those moments that were incredibly perfect. He still wakes up most mornings smelling the metallic tang of blood in the air, hearing the screech of tires on the pavement, feeling the ghosting touch of Dom's fingers taking the keys from his hand.


Days are long this time of year, sun rising early and setting late, all humid and sweltering and nothing like the dry, desolate heat of his childhood.

“Fuck,” he says, wiping a hand across his forehead, pushing away sweat and probably leaving a wet line of dirt.

Dom snorts and keeps staring straight ahead out the windshield. He looks clean and fresh, not a drop of sweat on his face. Brian remembers what he looked like smeared with dirt and leaning over the hood of a race car, sweaty and real, and such obvious belonging that Brian can still feel the envy creeping up inside.

They stop for lunch at a beat-up old diner, more of a roach coach without wheels than any real restaurant. There are a few decent hotels and more tourists wandering around; it’s far enough north on the coast and the middle of summer, and people always go to the untouched surf. They spend an hour eating tamales and chiliaquiles, drinking ice-cold cervezas next to the water, and watching two teenagers wipe out over and over on a beat-up, old longboard.

"You talked to Mia?" Brian asks when their food is cleared away by a waitress.

”Yeah. She's good. At school, doing her own thing." Dom's smiling a little, at least as much of a smile as Dom ever wears. "She's getting married in a few months." And Dom's staring right at Brian now, head tilted to one side like he's waiting for something.

"That's good. She deserves to be happy." Brian takes a long swallow of his beer, contemplating Mia and marriage. He can't think of anyone more deserving of a little happiness than Mia, who's somehow managed to spend her life surrounded by people who care about her, but are destined to disappoint her.

Dom nods his head and then waves the waitress over, holding up two fingers for more beer.

“Are we on any kind of a schedule?” Brian asks finally, waving his bottle in the air. “Because if we’re not-,” he lets his voice trail off as he nods toward the waves. He’s already up and moving toward the truck when Dom answers, “Not really,” like Brian actually needed his permission.

Brian’s untying his board and pulling it down, jogging toward the water with a quick wave back at Dom. He paddles out and crests the first swell on his board, feeling the sun on his face and the warm, warm Pacific water surrounding him.

Almost like home, maybe, just without the smog and the noise and the two million people.

Brian spends thirty minutes floating around, catching two smallish waves and riding them in. He feels Dom’s eyes on him, almost scalding him, the entire time. Afterward, Brian walks up next to him and slicks the water out of his hair, watching Dom's eyes trace the lines of his body.

“Ready?” Dom asks and apparently it’s the end of the conversation, because he gets up and walks back to the truck, sliding into the driver’s seat as easy as one-two-three.

“So. I guess you’re driving,” Brian says, flipping him the keys and stripping off his wetsuit. He gets the board tied down and just settles into the seat when the engine roars to life, and Dom peels out of their spot like he’s forgotten that he's driving a truck and not a Supra.

And Brian closes his eyes, and he can smell the hint of engine oil in the air as it’s carried off on the ocean breeze.

It smells exactly like Dom.


Apparently, twelve hours on the road is all they can handle in the heat, because sweaty and dusty and too tired to care, they pull over to settle at an out of the way park a few miles outside one of the major tourist centers. They’re not hidden, it’s impossible to hide when ten thousand tourists are a mile away, living la vida loca with a few hundred gallons of knock-off margaritas. But they're far enough off the road that the truck is only a shadow blending into the shrubs and night sky.

Brian strips off his shirt and settles back on his bag with a long, slow sigh. Muscles tight from sitting in the seat all day, shoulders cramped and stiff, his whole body just starting to soften under the crashing sound of waves against the beach. It's not such a surprise tonight, when Dom slides into the back next to him, too close by half, close enough that Brian can feel the heat from his arm, feel the glide of bare skin against his shoulder.

“Dom?” Brian asks when he feels Dom shift next to him, moving closer and reaching around.

“Shut up, Brian,” Dom says, pushing up and leaning over, and wrapping Brian up in a kiss that isn’t soft or gentle or anything but desperate and rough.

“What-? Fuck,” Brian whispers between kisses, but he lifts his arms up, pulling Dom closer, getting hands beneath the thin cotton of his muscle shirt, all hot, sweaty skin against the palm of hand.

Dom groans and Brian can feel it more than he can hear it, against his chest and next to his tongue, all over where Dom’s touch is burning. Seems like the kiss goes on forever, but it’s just seconds, Brian knows, seconds until Dom is pushing off and rolling away.

“Go to sleep,” Dom says, and he’s breathless, and Brian thinks he should be glad of that at least. Dom's breathless, but he’s over there and Brian’s over here, the space too small, no real room to move around, but he's hard and wanting and feeling trapped despite the smell of ocean air and the soft lullaby of a Mexican guitar strumming from somewhere in the distance.

“Yeah.” Brian closes his eyes and sleeps, listening to the breaking waves and the sound of Dom’s short, gasping breaths.


In the morning, Dom slips into the driver's seat again, and it's all speed and smooth lane changes, his big hands caressing the steering wheel, head cocked to the side like he's listening to the purr of the engine. Brian's watching the road roll by alongside them, content to sit back and let someone else drive.

“I wasn’t sure you were going to come,” Dom says, breaking the silence just as the wun starts to light up the sky with oranges and reds as it dips down into the ocean. Brian has to strain to hear the words over the roar of the wind rushing up and over the windshield.

“Yeah? I wasn’t sure if I was really supposed to.” Which is just dumb, Brian realizes, because Dom had obviously sent him the postcard, and took the time to find out his address, the new one that he’d just moved into after six weeks in a sleazy LA hotel.

“Well, that’s stupid,” Dom says as he shifts into fourth with a smooth double clutch. “I told you where I was, didn’t I?”

“Right,” Brian says, because maybe Dom really believes that half a sentence on a postcard is like some grand fucking announcement. “You going to tell me what you’ve been doing for the last year?”

Dom looks over at Brian, just a quick look before he turns back to the road. He reaches over and turns the old dial on the radio, hears mostly static with a few Spanish words cutting in and out. “Wasn’t planning on it. No.”

“Yeah, didn’t really think so,” Brian says, and it’s true, he hadn’t expected that. But that hadn’t kept him from thinking that this time, maybe things would be different enough for them both.

Brian turns his head and sees Dom staring at him, not watching the road in front of them. "Give me some time, okay?" Dom asks, and for a minute, Brian forgets to breathe, looking away out the window and seeing nothing except the rush of shrubbery and the rolling flow of ocean. After a while, he answers:

"I can wait."


That night, Brian finds a distant corner of a mostly empty beach. It's filled with rocks, missing the long, smooth expanses of uninterrupted sand that most tourists prefer. He pulls all the way out into the sand, parking the truck just out of the water line and climbs into the back. The water is roaring around them, waves crashing and surf breaking, and there's no trees around them tonight to buffer the sound.

The days have been getting hotter and hotter, and instead of a nice ocean breeze tonight, the air is stagnant, settling down around them, heavy and sticky, draping around Brian so thickly that he's almost gasping for breath. The sleeping bag underneath him is sticking to his bare skin and when Dom squeezes into his space, the air becomes oppressive.

"You going to tell me where we're headed?" Because Brian's been wanting to know, sees them moving closer and closer to northern Mexico and can't help but wonder if Dom has any idea what he's doing.

“Quiet.” Dom speaks the word into Brian’s mouth, all easy touch and a soft whisper of lips.

“Just. Quiet.” And it’s a harder kiss, a more insistent touch, and when Dom’s tongue traces the outline of his mouth, Brian opens up and lets him in.

Dom pushes up his shirt and his hands touch bare skin, rough and good and, fuck, Brian can feel every sharp, callused edge, every piece of jagged nail digging into his skin. Brian wraps his arms around Dom’s waist and pushes up, thrusting hard, forcing them up and over and slamming them down onto the other side of the truck bed, Brian on top, moving against Dom with long, slow thrusts.

“Yeah,” Brian says into the kiss.

They're both moving, quick and sharp against each other, their bodies slamming on the hard metal of the bed of the truck. Dom wraps his hands into Brian's hair, holding him tight, turning his head until Dom's whispering into his ear, and Brian can't understand the words, hears his name, maybe, but it's more rough vibration than any true sound and it's making Brian groan, push down harder, quicker and quicker. When Dom pulls back, just enough, Brian knows he's going to pull away, move to his side and stop this, and Brian's already aching and hard, and needing this bad enough that anything but finishing isn't an option.

He rolls them over and wraps legs and arms around Dom, licking into his mouth with hard thrusts, not even letting them come up for air, just demanding nownownow, giving no choice, gasping out harshly, "Dom, fuck, come on. Come on," before he's shaking apart, his eyes closing, his body still moving, clenching and tightening, and nothing has ever felt this good. His legs are numb and he's still fighting for breath as Dom stills, and moans, low and deep before collapsing back on Brian, all heavy, heavy weight and unmoving mass.

Brian's hands run down the length of Dom's back, sweaty, smooth skin, and he can remember looking past Mia, watching the muscles move in Dom's back; remembers feeling so much for Mia but being fascinated by Dom. He likes to tell himself that letting Dom go that day was the right thing, somehow, but he knows that he'd just never had any real choice.
Dom had never left a lot of room for choice.

Dom pushes away, rolls smoothly to the side. "Fuck," he says like it's some great piece of wisdom.

Brian nods his head and says, "Yeah," like he isn't already dreading tomorrow



Brian decides that all the really important conversations between them are going to take place somewhere on an open road, when their attention is split between what they're saying and what they're doing. Seems to make things easier, at least.

"Wasn't sure if I was going to kill you or ask you for a ride," Dom say casually, like going to kill you was just another annoyance in a day filled with petty irritations.

"Yeah," Brian says, because, seriously, there's not much he can say. "When'd you finally decide?"

"Right about the time I found you on the beach." Dom nods his head, slow and deliberate, and Brian can feel the movement from across the car.

"Well...that's good to know."

"You'd think so, wouldn't you?" Dom says, pulling out that same piece of paper form his pocket and rolling it between his fingers. "Hated you for a while."

"I'm surprised you still don't." Brian's craning his neck to try and get a look at the paper in Dom's hands, but Dom folds it up and puts it back in his pocket before Brian can see more than the blurry black ink.

Dom just turns his head, looks right at Brian, slowly, not turning away, not rushing, not trying to hide what he's doing. And there's nothing cold in his eyes. Brian clenches the steering wheel tighter.

"Dom," Brian says, and he can't believe he's going to even argue with Dom at all. Right now, he has more than he ever thought he'd have from Dom again. "You know, I'm always going to be the guy that turned you in. Betrayed you

"Did you?"

"I don't think so. But--." Brian's not even sure how to finish that sentence. He know he wants this -- or something like this, whatever this is -- but last time, the price he had to pay for Dom was high. Possibly too high. And he's not sure if there's anything else left to give up.

"Yeah," Dom says. And maybe Brian can hear an answer in there somewhere. He likes to think so anyway.

They drive for a few hours until Brian starts to nod off and Dom's nudging him with his finger every few minutes to stay awake. When Brian starts to pull off to the side of the road, Dom says, "No," and points up ahead to a motel in the distance, half-lit neon sign in Spanish, that's probably supposed to say something about casa but instead twinkles as into the summer sky. Brian nods his head and keeps on going until he sees the turn off into the parking lot, all dirt and no paving, the paint peeling off the side of the building in long strips.

Dom hops out of the car as soon as Brian shifts out of gear, already heading into the small office with a tiny lamp and a man sitting there, his head almost swallowed up by the counter. Brian shuts off the car, listening to the buzzing in the air, the soft music melody drifting from somewhere. He can hear the waves just beyond the first sounds, rhythmic and familiar and almost too quiet for Brian to relax.

He misses the noise the most, he thinks: car horns and sirens and the movement of a million people all in a rush.

When Dom gets back to the car, he grabs up his bag and jerks his head toward the far corner of the building. Brian jumps out and follows along behind him, watching the shadow of his ass in the mostly burned out lights along the edge of the building. His body tense, anticipation settling heavy in his stomach, when Dom shoulders open the door to the last room.

Brian steps inside, takes in the dingy comforter on the bed, the tiny TV in the corner with the v-shaped antenna tilted haphazardly across the top. The whole things smells musty, not dirty really, just locked up and put away and not used as often as it should be. Dom's staring at him from next to door and Brian reaches over and shoves it closed, sliding the lock into the place. He steps in closer to Dom, slow and deliberate, different from the other times when it's mostly been act and react and need demanding this from them both.

But this is different, Brian wants this, right now, like this, in this run-down hotel room a few hundred miles south of the US border.

He's got one night left, he thinks, just one, and he's already learned that it doesn't take much more than that to change almost everything about life. So he leans in, and reaches out, and winds his fingers through the hem of Dom's shirt, letting is thumb brush softly against the sweaty skin.

"Do you want this, Dom?" He asks, pushing in closer until there was barely room between them for Brian's hands. "Do you want me?"

And Dom answers with his body, his arms wrapping around Brian's body, pulling him closer, and trailing kisses down Brian's neck and across his throat. He bites hard at the skin between neck and shoulder, soothes it with long, slow swipes of his tongue.

"Do you even need to ask?" Dom says as his lips close against his ear, all hot breath and raspy voice, and Brian's knees are fucking shaking.

He shuffles into the room, not letting go of Dom, groaning when the back of his knees hit the bed, and he can tumble down, pulling Dom along with him, tangling their bodies together. His hands reach out, pulling Dom's up, slamming his hands down above his head. He licks into Dom's mouth and then trails wet, stinging kisses down his neck and across his chest, until Dom's body is jerking under him and Dom's whispering, "fuck, fuck," over and over like a mantra. Brian's hard, he can feel his legs trembling and his stomach clenching and the want shocks him.

Wants this, needs this, can't imagine how he'd never before imagined how good this could be.

Dom's pushing at his shoulder, down, down, softly almost, and it's the closest Dom will ever get to begging. He lets his tongue wander across Dom's stomach, into is belly button, lets his teeth catch on the waistband to Dom's pants, and he unbuttons and unzips and then reaches in and pulls Dom's cock out. Long, slow swipes of his tongue up and down, and Dom's hips are thrusting up, and Brian wraps his hands tight across Dom's hips, sees his fingers pushing white against Dom's skin, and then swallows him down.

It's not the time for leisurely, not the time to enjoy the feel of Dom against his tongue, the way he swells and grows, and the way his voice rumbles through his whole body, letting Brian feel it with his fingers and his mouth. Moves fast, up and down, following Dom's hips, and swallowing, again and again, until the only thing Dom is saying is, "Brian, Brian, Brian," like it's the only word he remembers.

He comes silently, not a sound, just a gasp and his whole body clenches. Dom's staring at him, watching Brian lick his lips, trembling still from need, and when he leans up on his knees and reaches for his shorts, Dom's hands are already there, pulling them down and reaching in and palming him, moving fast, his palm sweat slick and so good. Only takes three strokes and Brian's tumbling forward, spent and exhausted, crashing down against Dom and letting the heavy air and the darkness take him away.


The border's right there, sitting practically on top of their hood, close enough to reach and touch almost. He's just got to put the truck into gear and drive a thousand feet and there they'd be, sailing out of Mexico and into California, easy as that. Except not so easy, because Brian can go back, has money in the bank that was mostly legally obtained, a bed, and an apartment, and neighbors that think he's a good boy just down on his luck.
But for Dom, crossing that border is a whole other thing; hiding and praying and trying his luck.

Brian's not even sure what brought Dom this far, this close.

He flips the truck into a tight u-turn, and then pulls off the road into the parking lot of Tiajuana bar. "So," he says, turning off the engine and looking over at Dom. "What now?"

And Dom smiles, just a little at the corners. "Well, I've been thinking about that," he says.

Dom's fingering that piece of paper again, and Brian's gotten used to seeing him reach in and pull it out, touching it like it's a need. But it's more pronounced this time; Dom laying it over his thigh and smoothly it out with long, slow strokes of his fingers. Brian reaches over and stills his hand, winding his fingers through Dom's and holding tight.

"You can't go back, you know," he says. "Not now, not yet. It's--." Brian closes his eyes and breathes, wondering what the hell he's going to do.

Somewhere past the clean San Diego air, if he looks hard enough, he can probably see the smog of LA, settling down into the horizon. A yellow brick road, taking him home, all dirt and crime, and 9000 cops. "Fuck," he says.

"Actually, I can. Go back," Dom says, staring at the window. Brian can see something in his eyes that looks familiar: longing, probably. Highway 1, paved in gold and leading you on, and maybe there's more to City of Lost Angels than anyone realizes.

"Dom--." Brian falls silent when Dom holds up his hand.

"Yeah, I really can." He untangles his hand from where Brian's still gripping his fingers, pulls away and smoothes out the paper one last time before turning it, just a little toward Brian. He leaves the paper laying there on his leg, not moving it, just letting Brian finally look, and the first words he sees are County of Los Angeles and followed by Superior Court.

It all looks like a lot of legal jargon, arrest warrant, maybe, although different than any Brian's seen before. When he gets to the bottom of the page, he has to go back and read the words again, twice, three times, trying to make sense of the words that sound a whole lot like lawyer-talk for dropping all charges.

"Dom?" Brian asks, reaching for the paper. Dom slaps his hand away, softly, then grabs it back, holding on tight enough that Brian's bones shift and grind. "What--?"

"There was more than just the truck jackings going on. Something bigger that I knew about," he says, probably thinking it's all the explanation that's needed. And that can't be enough, not this time.

"Fuck, Dom. What the hell?" Brian's twisting his fingers in Dom's grasp, not trying to get away, but, Christ, Dom's got a grip and he's not sure he can even feel is fingers anymore.

"I turned state's evidence." And that stops Brian dead. Every thing he can't imagine Dom ever doing right there in his own words.

"You?" Brian waves his hand in the air and Dom nods, quick and sharp, gripping Brian's hand tighter and not meeting his eyes. "Why?"

Dom looks right at him, not hiding, not pulling the blank face at all anymore. Brian can remember Dom looking at Mia like she was everything in his world; remembers him watching Vince and Letty and Jesse like they fucking belonged to Dom. The corner deli, and the road where Dom's dad died, and that spot with two wrecked cars where Brian handed him the keys and Dom drove away, hand stuck out the window in a quick wave, and Brian thinking he could see Dom's eyes in the rearview mirror, watching everything he was leaving behind.

And, okay, maybe Brian can understand wanting things that make you do everything you never thought possible. There's a thousand questions all clamoring in his mind, all the whys and hows, but the only thing he can thing to say is:

"Yeah." Maybe someday he'll ask all those questions, and maybe someday Dom will even give him some answers. But not now.

It's easier than he thought it'd be to turn his hand over, winding their fingers together, and looking forward out the window. "So. Where to, Toretto?" Brian asks, like nothing at all has changed.

"You decide," Dom says.

Brian nods and turns they key, feels the engine roars to life, the gears settling beneath them when he slips it seamlessly into first. The tires spin when Brian pulls out and heads north, and for just a second, Brian forgets that he's not driving a Supra.

Freedom always did handle just like a race car.