It takes them five years to pay off the Mercedes. They avoided that one for awhile, but eventually the law caught up with Sean and he didn’t have a choice. There were court dates and character witnesses and a little panic about jail time for awhile, but in the end the lawyer Sean’s sister hired got him out of the whole mess with only the cost of the car hanging over him.
So they’ve had five years of court-mandated monthly payments, and meanwhile they’re still driving around in that piece of shit Charger Nick can’t stand to look at anymore. For five years they keep it on the road because they’ve both got to get to work somehow, and they can’t afford to replace it and pay for some rich bitch’s wrecked convertible at the same time.
The day Sean writes out the final payment they drive the Charger to the nearest used car lot and hand over the keys. They don’t ask how much they can get for it, they just find a car they can agree on that doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as the last one they bought, and they drive it off the lot that day. Then they go out for the biggest steaks they can get their hands on, drink a few beers and debate whether or not they should have just sold the Charger for scrap instead of trading it in.
The argument continues later, when they’re home pulling off each other’s clothes on the way to the bedroom. Because Nick doesn’t ever want to see that fucking car again, not even abandoned on the side of the road when it dies on whatever sucker buys it from the dealer. But Sean’s got some kind of weird sentimental thing for it, and he doesn’t see why it should be crushed or stripped for parts when it’s still running.
And that’s all thanks to Nick; he was the one with no marketable skills when they got to Florida, so he was the one who had time to learn how to fix the car while Sean went to his day job working for Disney. Which is crazy all on its own, but they’ve got great benefits and they recognize Nick as Sean’s partner or whatever, and Sean gets to work on movies, so he’s happy. Which is all it really takes to make Nick happy, and anyway it turns out he’s pretty good at fixing cars.
His mom would probably never believe he was smart enough to become a mechanic. But he’s got a steady job now and he helped pay for a whole Mercedes, even if he never got to drive it, so that just shows what she knows.
“If you liked that car so much why’d we sell it?” Nick asks after another five minutes of listening to Sean rhapsodize about how many years they’d had the damn thing.
“It’s not that I liked it,” Sean answers, letting Nick push him backwards onto the bed. He bounces a little on the mattress, smiling and pushing himself up onto his elbows to watch Nick pull off his jeans. “It’s just that we spent a lot of time in that car. The first time you kissed me was in that car. Feels like the end of an era, you know?”
And he’s always known Sean was kind of a sap – he would never have come after Nick in the first place if he wasn’t – so he should have expected this. “We spent too much fucking time in that car,” he reminds Sean. “We killed somebody in that car once.”
“Well yeah, but she had it coming,” Sean says. “Anyway, it’s not like we could have saved her.”
It’s true, but that’s not what Sean said when Nick roasted that girl just to show him that they were dealing with actual vampires and he wasn’t just some lunatic. They’d spent way too many hours in that car hunting bloodsuckers, or sleeping when they didn’t have the cash for a hotel room. Hell, there were a few times Nick thought he was going to die in that car, so he wasn’t sorry to see it go.
But Sean’s right; there were good times in that car too. There were the times he’d caught Sean just watching him while he was driving, the times Sean reached over to feel his forehead when he thought Nick was asleep. Like he was somebody’s fucking mom, but it meant he gave a damn, and Nick liked that. There were a thousand conversations in that car, about bad movies and good music and growing up without a father. About the future and what happened if they actually got to have one.
Nick plants a knee on the mattress and pushes himself up onto the bed, climbing over Sean until they’re face to face. “You kissed me.”
“In the car. You kissed me first,” he says, leaning in until their lips are just a breath apart. “Though you held out on me for a long fucking time; I thought you were never going to make your move.”
Sean laughs, and Nick feels it against his mouth. “Nobody was stopping you from making the first move.”
Nick shrugs and closes the space between them, pressing a soft kiss to the corner of Sean’s mouth. Then another on his jaw, and one more just below his ear. “First time anybody’s ever chased me,” he says, and he feels the shiver that rolls through Sean when Nick’s breath hits his skin. “I kind of liked it.”
Sean shudders again, hand sliding up Nick’s shoulder to trace the scar left by the bullet he took when they killed Sean’s Forsaken. It’s been over six years since then, and the scar’s faded a lot. He doesn’t even really notice it anymore, but every once in awhile Sean runs a finger over it and gets that look on his face and Nick knows he’s thinking about how close Nick came to dying.
“Yeah, well, somebody had to make sure you didn’t get yourself killed.”
He doesn’t have to look to know Sean’s wearing that expression right now, but he does anyway, taking in the little frown and the way Sean’s eyes go a little watery. And it’s not about the car, but he gets Sean’s point now. Because he hated that fucking car, but without it he wouldn’t have any of this. So he’s not going to miss it, but he’s never going to forget it, either.
“Thanks for that, by the way,” he says, just to make Sean laugh.
It works, and the sound sends a flutter through Nick’s chest. “Don’t mention it,” Sean says, hand leaving Nick’s shoulder to slide into his hair and pull him into a kiss.
The next morning when Nick drops Sean off at work, he kisses Sean even more thoroughly than usual before he lets him out of the car. A new memory, and it’s not the same as their first kiss, but it’s the first of many more, so it counts. Once Sean disappears into the labyrinth of tunnels underneath Disney World, Nick points the car toward the auto shop where he’s been working for the past three years.
There’s a wrecking yard right next door, run by his boss’ brother and they salvage a lot of their spare parts from the cars that end up there. Some of the guys even salvage whole cars for next to nothing, and Nick’s listened to them talk about fixing them up for long enough to think about doing it himself.
He parks their new car at the garage and wanders over to the scrap yard, looking around at the daunting piles of metal. And he doesn’t really have a plan, but Sean’s birthday is coming up in a few months, and if he put in some extra hours at the shop on the weekend he could probably have it presentable in time, if not actually road ready.
“Morning,” a voice says behind him, and Nick glances over his shoulder to nod at his boss’ brother. "You here on business or pleasure?"
"Hey, Randy," Nick answers. "Pleasure, I guess."
“About time. I was wondering when the boys were going to talk you into customizing your own ride. What you looking for?”
“I was thinking of something in a convertible.”
Randy raises an eyebrow at him, but he sets his coffee mug down in the office and nods toward a pile of scrap to their left. "Think I got just the thing. Right this way."
Maybe it's crazy. He's not even sure he can pull it off, let alone keep it a secret until Sean's birthday. But his boss will probably let him keep the car at the shop and work on it when he's not busy with paying jobs, and it'll be worth it to see Sean's face. Besides, they could use an extra set of wheels, and this way they'll still only have one payment. It's not the same as the Mercedes they finally paid off, but it's not that fucking Charger either, and Sean will love it, so that's all that matters.