They’d gone back to his place after he drove around the area a couple of times to make sure there was no tail. He trusted Brian. As soon as he touched him he knew, but Didion was another story. He didn’t know how ex, the ex FBI agent was and how inclined he might be to do a little favor for his former brothers in arms. Drop a dime on a felon and nail a dirty cop. At that thought he’d spared a quick guilty glance at Brian. In the four years he hadn’t thought of Brian like that. Hadn’t put it in those stark terms. Brian O’Conner was a dirty cop. For him.
The silence prevailed as Dom pulled into his driveway. Getting out of the car, he grabbed Brian’s bag and the other man followed him quietly into the modest house. His keys landed on the coffee table, and he placed Brian’s bag almost reverently beside the couch. With Brian looking on, he moved into the kitchenette just off the living room and returned with one beer that he handed to Brian. With barely a pause in his stride, he disappeared again into the back of the house.
Brian uncapped his beer and took a long sip. After all this time, he was with Dom, in his home. and he could feel the reality of that trying to overwhelm him.
The buzz of a razor caught his attention and Brian followed the sound. Brown eyes met blue in the bathroom mirror. Dom smiled at Brian who sipped his beer and watched intently as the other man transformed. When head and face were clean, Dom turned to look directly at his guest.
Taking one step which closed the small distance between them, Brian reached up and brushed his knuckles against the newly smooth skin of the man he’d waited for. Dom’s hand covered the one stroking his face and twined his fingers with Brian’s. The first touch of Dom’s lips on his was tentative, permission seeking. And permission was eagerly granted as the empty beer bottle slipped from Brian’s fingers. And their entwined hands pressed against the small of Brian’s back. Four years of longing and uncertainty wiped away in the deepening and the heat between them. When there was no choice but to come up for breath, they pressed their foreheads together and held on.
"You like it," Dom murmured.
"Yeah, I like it." Brian replied huskily.
"Hey, lead foot." The five o’clock shadowed, blue-eyed blond flashed Dom a smile as he bound up the porch steps.
Without breaking stride, the blond headed into the house. Dom watched the screen door as it slammed closed and flashed a grin of his own at the space just recently vacated by his partner.
In the first year of learning how to be together, Dom and Brian learned their reunions after more than a day's separation were passionately all consuming. Any work that was undone didn’t get done, calls to be returned weren’t. At separations end it was all about each other.
That first night after the warehouse meeting, after Dom had taken care of putting his appearance right, they’d touched, held, loved each other and lived inside each other's skin for three straight days. They managed to keep themselves fed, but mostly they couldn’t keep their hands, mouths or eyes off each other.
Later, when things were more settled, they laughed about those three days. A fluke caused by four years of longing and fear.
The first time they were separated for a week, one thing was learned, another thing remembered.
After the meeting with Tanner, O’Conner called Dom to tell him he was headed to LAX. He hadn’t bothered to hide either the strain or the fatigue in his voice.
As Dom cruised the airport arrivals area , he’d tried to keep his mounting frustration at bay. From the moment Brian said his name on the phone, he’d wanted to get to the other man. He understood Brian’s need to see his former commanding officer, but he’d also been afraid that the other man might harbor some resentment. He’d been afraid when he first heard the strained way Brian said his name that the other man had been arrested.
He’d dropped off Brian in worn form fitting jeans and t-shirt, a baseball cap fit snugly on his head. He’d dropped off a relaxed beach bum and picked up an exhausted GQ model. It made sense that Brian would have shaved, gotten cleaned up for the meetings that he had, but Dom hadn’t quite expected the man he picked up. The well-tailored suit, the tightly knotted tie. He had never seen Brian like that. And he felt desire he hadn’t felt since right before Lompoc.
Though Echo Park and downtown Los Angeles were geographically close, for Dom parts of it were another world.
The first meeting with his court appointed attorney was nerve-wracking. He expected impatience and indifference, the stereotype. But, he found himself mesmerized as the man laid out his defense strategy. He passionately declared that although they would dress him in a way that showed respect for the court, he wouldn’t be putting him in a monkey suit. Jurors saw through that shit. And then Dom couldn’t help but focus on his pd’s ‘monkey suit’. And his stomach had done a little flip. He attributed it to nerves and did his best to concentrate. The public defender explained to Dom the importance of making the jury see him as a heartbroken, grieving son and not a hulking bruiser.
That night, after lights out his mind returned to the meeting, but the lawyer’s pronouncements and strategies faded away as Dom simply saw a man and his well contoured suit. And as the image persisted, his hand drifted below his waistband.
They met two more times. The night of their third meeting it clicked for Dom that on the nights following those meetings, he’d jerked himself to sleep with the image of the attorney in his head, like he couldn’t help it. Other nights snapshots of Letty worked, but the intensity was different. After a moment of panic, he figured it was some kind of fucked up expression of gratitude. That was until they took him to the criminal courts building. He was inundated with other men who had the same GQ styling, his stomach flipped and flopped and he gave his nerves the credit. He was on trial, he was probably going to do some time. Who wouldn’t be nervous?
He kept as still as he could, ignoring the somersaults in his stomach when the arresting officer, now suited up for court, rose to testify. That night, in his cell, he’d gotten off to the combined images of his public defender, the cop that arrested him and random suited others. Others, for which he had no reason to demonstrate any expressions of gratitude, fucked up or otherwise. He was almost grateful when the day of his sentencing finally rolled around.
Watching Brian’s approach through the windshield, he felt that spike of all of those things he’d felt in the presence of those other men. The intense want, but this time there was no mistake about what it was. And this time it was his for the taking.
Brian tossed his bag in the bed of the truck and slid in tiredly next to Dom. He slipped his hand into Dom’s, rested his head on the headrest.
"I’m not sure." Brian had answered after a beat.
He had just nodded and pulled away from the curb. It was a forty five minute drive back to the house. Dom didn’t think that he was going to make it. While Brian dozed beside him, Dom almost rear-ended a couple of other drivers because he couldn’t help but look. When Dom opened his door, Brian woke with a start.
"We home?" He asked blearily.
"Not yet," Dom answered huskily. He let Dom tug him out of the truck and when he saw where they were he smiled.
"We taking another look?"
"Something like that." Dom had said as he grabbed Brian’s hand and walked toward the garage building that was at the top of their list of choices. The realtor had given him the key because he’d wanted to do another walk through without the chattering sales pitch in his ear.
As soon as he got the door locked behind them, he was on his partner. He’d wrapped the silk tie that complemented the blondls eyes around his fist, with his other hand he unzipped his own pants. He pulled Brian to him and despite the lingering vestiges of sleep, Brian came to him eagerly. Dom pressed himself tightly against Brian’s suited body as he took his mouth in a hard kiss. His unfettered erection left a trail of pre-ejaculate on the suit pants.
Pulling out of the kiss suddenly, Dom unfurled the tie from his fist, quickly unknotted it, and turned Brian around. He bound Brian’s hands together. Turning Brian again so that they were face to face, he wasn’t sure what he would see in the other man’s eyes. What he saw was desire swirling with the other thing that had so far only been expressed through actions. Brian hadn’t given up his home, his career and his reputation just because he wanted to get laid.
Stepping back, he allowed just enough space so that he could slip his hand between them. Stroking himself with one hand, he let his other run over the fine fabric of the suit jacket before slipping it underneath to fondle the crisp white shirt. The feel of the fabric over the hard plains underneath made Dom’s hand move faster over his erection. Leaning forward he pressed his mouth to a cloth covered nipple and bit gently.
"Baby," Brian gasped.
"Ssh," Dom whispered as he shuddered and came all over the suit. Without hesitation, Dom unbuckled and unzipped Brian just enough to take him out, then lowered himself to his knees. The heft and weight of his partner felt good on his tongue as Dom took him in until his gag reflex tried to trigger. With hands folded into the material of Brian’s pants, he worked the hardness, until
"Dom," Brian moaned and let go.
Dom caught him as his knees started to buckle and eased him to the floor. When his hands were free, Brian reached for Dom and pulled him into a deep kiss. The big man continued to stroke his hands up and down the suit. "We couldn’t even make it to the house this time."
"Mmm, gonna have to buy you another suit. I think I ruined this one."
"I think my suit wearing days are over," came the satisfied reply.
"You need another suit."
"Is there something you want to tell me Mr. Toretto?"
"Maybe, Mr. O’Conner."
They’d sat on the garage floor for a little while. Brian asleep in his arms. Dom had accepted that he and the ex-cop were going to be together. But it had never occurred to him until he saw Brian at the airport, until with his hands tied behind his back by a felon, Brian had still been able to look at him with the same trust he had that first night. Fully willing to fulfill a fantasy he knew nothing about. It had never occurred to Dom that the person he loved could also be his fantasy. He hadn’t realized that Brian O’Conner would be everything.
They stood across from each other, behind the chairs of their custom made dining set. They’d learned early in the relationship how important it was to have chairs and tables that could bear their combined weight. In the flicker of the light, he saw his own feelings mirrored in Brian’s eyes. The joy at another safe homecoming, the temporarily banked heat and the promise for later, the love.
"I didn’t forget."
"I wanted to get here last night. I almost shot the client."
Dom’s rich dark laugh floated across the table eliciting an infectious grin from the blond.
"I don’t think your employers would have liked that."
There was a slight shift to solemnity in Brian’s face.
"My employers know what comes first with me."
"Yeah, it’s in my contract."
"Yeah. It smells really good, Dom."
Dom picked up the bottle of wine and poured for both of them.
"Have a seat. Dinner is served."
There was nothing particularly deep or meaningful about the initial dinner conversation, its value came from the same thing it always did. They were together, they were safe.
"God, Dom. Maybe you should have opened a restaurant instead of a garage." He grinned at Brian’s almost dishwasher clean plate.
"I think," he said as he watched Brian savor his wine, "that you’re probably a little biased."
"Yeah, I do."
Playing for time, Dom picked up his own glass. He’d been waiting for this moment since Brian came home. And now that it was here, his stomach was starting to jitter.
"I had no idea," he said as he placed his glass carefully on the table, his eyes focused on his own hand, "when you came into the store the first time, no idea. And sometimes it’s so -." He looked up and made a kind of sweeping motion with his hand.
"I know," Brian answered softly and he leaned a little forward.
"And sometimes, Bri..."
"What’s on your mind big man? Order something online you want to try out tonight? You buy me a new suit?" He finished huskily.
Dom couldn’t help but laugh. His fingers stretched across the table so that they just barely touched Brian’s.
"I think that we should get the last piece of paper."
Dom had been prepared for Brian to laugh his ass off. He had been prepared for him to laugh so hard that he fell on the floor. He hadn’t been prepared for Brian’s face to go sheet white. He hadn’t been prepared for all the heat and playfulness that animated the other man’s features to just vanish.
He also wasn’t prepared for Brian to stand up and suddenly leave the room. The creaky swing and slam of the screen door reached him in the dining room.
"Shit," Dom exhaled under his breath.
He lowered his head for a moment. They didn’t fight in the house. It wasn’t something that they had ever talked about. But at the beginning of their very first fight, Brian had headed for the porch and Dom went after him. And that’s the way it went. Their next fight they’d ended up yelling at each other in the backyard. From then on their fights always seemed to happen on either the front porch or in the backyard.
The inside of the house remained kind of hallowed ground. His father had told him that although it was a cliche, he and his mother had lived by the adage never go to bed angry. In his relationship with Letty, he’d been able to do that . They never went to bed mad at each other. It had meant him giving in many times. when he hadn’t wanted to, but he’d done it.
With Brian. With Brian, things were a complete 180. The best they seemed able to manage, especially in that first year, was to always go to bed together. That was their other constant. Certainly they had fewer fights now than they had at the beginning, but they always went to bed together. Sometimes that meant that each of them rode their side of the bed so hard they were in danger of falling off, but no one ever slept on the couch or outside of the house because of a fight. Sometimes that meant great makeup sex in the morning, sometimes it meant they just got up and picked up where they left off.
Dom thought it was a perfect example of just how deep it went with them. Angry, sometimes furious, but still able to sleep beside one another. He reached across the table to snuff out the candles. He hadn’t expected to spend any part of the evening on the porch, and he hoped that he wouldn’t be spending any of it riding his side of the bed.
"Is there any reason why we’re spending our anniversary on the porch of doom." Not a laugh or even a smile. His partner’s shoulders tensed instead.
Dom downed the rest of his wine fast. Toretto. It was going to be bad then.
Although they hadn’t talked about it, his proposal hadn’t been random. Wasn’t without thought. They had most of the paperwork. The power of attorneys, the business partnership agreements, the living wills, the co-signed mortgages. It was in black and white for anyone to see, but Dom had been raised to be married.
He didn’t dream about weddings, what he would wear or the friggin’ cake. But he was the product of a happy marriage, a good marriage and he’d always assumed that eventually he and Letty -
This was just the next step. Except he was standing on the porch with Brian last naming him, on their anniversary.
"A couple years ago, after the Chavez job down in Costa Rica, I came home and you weren’t here. I didn’t have a chance to call before my flight. I called your cell and it went to voicemail a couple of times. I didn’t know where you were. I was home twenty minutes before I checked the closets and drawers to make sure that your clothes were still here."
Dom’s hand tightened on the stem of his empty glass.
"After... I started calling first to make sure you were here, that you were going to be home. This year when I finished the Taylor Industries job, you were picking up that car in Ixtapa. I knew you were going to be late. You said twenty minutes. After an hour, I started checking the closets and drawers."
Dom set his glass down very deliberately on the porch rail so that it wouldn’t shatter in his hand.
"I would think," Dom said very carefully, quietly, "ten years of having you in my heart would get me a little more faith than that."
"You leave the scene of a murder suicide where you were hip deep in blood," Brian continued as though he hadn’t heard his partner, "and you interview the relatives and friends who keep telling you how much the couple loved each other, what a great wife she was, what a great husband he was. How unbelievable the whole thing is. I use to think that maybe it was just people not wanting to speak ill of the dead, shock or guilt maybe.
But I realized people would say the same about me. El rubio so nice, so thoughtful. We can’t believe it. And I didn’t know. I didn’t know that I was that guy. You know. I really didn’t know. And maybe not having the paper -"
Dom watched Brian’s hand shake as he downed the rest of his glass. And he kept watching because he didn’t know what to say. He knew that maybe he should tell his boyfriend that he wasn’t that guy.
Instead, their first major fight flashed in his mind. It had taken about a year for them to get settled, find the house, find the garage etc. And Dom had thought they were good to go. So much so that one night when Brian said I’ve been talking to Chris - not one single alarm bell went off. Dom knew that Brian and the private investigator were still in touch. He paid the household bills and that included his and Brian’s cell bills. He knew what numbers Brian called. It hadn’t seemed like a big deal. Until that night.
"Mm, hmm." Dom said as he surfed the internet for an engine. He was going to restore the Charger.
"Yeah, he’s putting me in touch with some guys down here who work in asset retrieval."
Maybe because his attention was split, it still didn’t trigger for Dom.
"I’m meeting with a couple of them tomorrow afternoon."
Dom clicked on a link that looked like a good lead, then asset retrieval clicked in his head. Bookmarking the page, he turned his full attention on Brian.
"What kind of assets?"
And the man that he loved explained in great detail how the assets in question were kidnapped executives, but that he intended to specialize in collateral retrieval. He explained them as innocents kidnapped by accident because their families were thought to have money, employees mistaken as members of the wealthy families they worked for, family members of assets.
"Families should never be in play Dom."
Dom got that, but that was all he got. Because when they were looking at property for the garage and signing loan papers. Dom had been given no reason to think that they wouldn’t be doing all of it side by side.
As he looked at the eager expression on Brian’s face, it dawned on him that maybe it should have occurred to him.
"Dammit Brian. We’re out. We’re done. We managed not to get put in jail or killed in the last four years so let’s walk away. We’re supposed to be walking away.
You are not doing this."
Startled blue eyes held Dom’s for a moment before Brian said evenly,
"I’m an ex-cop Dom, who drives like a wheelman. And since we’re not going to be knocking over liquor stores or banks...I want to do something that uses what I can do. all of what I can do."
Before Dom could answer, Brian grabbed his beer and went to the porch. Dom stayed in the house for fifteen minutes to see if he was going to get less upset. When that didn’t happen, he considered driving straight to LA and kicking Chris Didion’s ass.
The fight stretched over two full days and nights. Brian had not only kept his meeting, he’d also lined up a first assignment. On the morning of the third day, Dom sat on his side of the bed with his head cradled in his hands. He’d begun to fear that they might not make it. And so he did something that he wasn’t use to doing. He offered a compromise.
"Let me come with you." Awake on his side of the bed, Brian reached out with his hand and slipped it under Dom’s t-shirt. He traced small circles on the warm skin of his back. Dom shivered. It was the first time the other man had touched him in two days.
"Brian, you scouted garages with me, you talked to the real estate agents, the banks. The web designer. I am just asking you to let me see this. Help me find a way to be okay with this."
"It’s too dangerous baby. I can’t -"
"But you want me to let you go. You want me to let strangers watch your back?"
They sat like that for a long time, Dom with his head in his hands, Brian caressing him. Until -
"Okay." Brian said quietly.
It was to have been an exchange of information meet. Dom’s cover was as freelance muscle, complete with his own sawed off shotgun. The meet went bad in every way something like that could. If Brian hadn’t been so livid afterwards, Dom would have thought the whole thing was a setup designed by the blond to prove just how well he could watch his own back.
Brian had read the room quickly, expertly. When the bullets started flying, before Dom was even sure what was going on, Brian covered him and took two men out coldly, clinically. That should have given Dom more fuel for his arguments against Brian taking on that kind of work, but there was no arguing with Brian’s skill, or the beauty of him in his element. He hadn’t realized how deadly Brian actually was, especially when he was pissed off. He’d known Brian could kill, had killed. But seeing it....
Toretto took a step to close the distance between himself and the man he loved. Brian’s shoulders tensed, but that didn’t prevent Dom from reaching out to brush his knuckles against the tanned skin of Brian’s cheek.
Blue eyes fluttered closed as Brian relaxed into the touch. Common sense gave up the fight. And Dom set the words free, asking the only thing he could.
"Is that a yes O’Conner?"
Eyes snapped open and suddenly Dom’s knuckles were touching air.
"You still want me to say yes?"
There was a naked desperate surprise in the question.
"Do you want to say yes?"
"Bastard. You son of a bitch." Dom stepped closer.
"My parents were married, and I’m the son of a bitch who’s gonna make an honest man of you."
In the course of the six months it took them to finish the remodel, there were more than a few fights in the backyard and more than a few rounds of impromptu sex on the bathroom floor.
Dom trailed a washcloth gently up and down Brian’s torso, while his other hand stroked Brian’s hip. The blond was dozy in his arms. His head lolled on Dom’s shoulder.
They’d had the post fight make-up sex, begun on the porch and ended in one of their custom made dining room chairs. There was the Happy Anniversary sex followed quickly by the we’re getting married sex.
They’d barely been able to crawl into the tub.
"Brian Toretto," he murmured against Brian’s damp hair. The blond roused in Dom’s arms.
"You want me to change my name?"
"Well, I am putting my life on the line." Though his tone was light, he felt a slight tightening of the muscles beneath his hands.
Dom continued his caress.
There was no hesitation.
"Yeah, yeah I would...I will. Happy Anniversary, baby."