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FIC: Along the Way (3/5?)

Title: Along the Way
Author: NightRider
Rating: PG
Fandom: The Fast and Furious
Characters: Dom, Brian, Mia, Rico, and Tego
Spoilers: All four movies
Beta: The forever amazing souleswanderer and fantastic raynedanser
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Fast and Furious and no money was made from writing this story.
Summary: Dom has questions. He hopes Brian has answers.





He waited until Mia closed her bedroom door before he used two knuckles to knock on the bathroom door. “Brian?” When he got no response, he twisted the doorknob. Of course it was locked. “Brian, answer me.” He knocked again then reached out, feeling for the weakest part of the door. He rammed the door with his shoulder and the house reverberated around him.

“Jesus Christ, Dom! Give me a fuckin’ minute, will you?”

Dom grinned, leaning against the wall. “One minute, O’Connor.” He glanced at his wrist as if he was checking a watch. “Time’s up.”

He knocked again and the door was thrown open, a soaking wet, seething Brian was on the other side. “What the hell is your problem?”

Brian had a towel wrapped around his waist and an array of blisters and red marks marred his chest and arms. His shoulder was discolored and would be bruised by morning.

“Wanted to make sure you didn’t drown in there,” Dom said, still silently cataloging each injury on Brian’s body. He also noted several scars that weren’t there five years ago.

“That’s turkeys, Dom.”

“Huh?”

“Turkeys,” Brian repeated. “They look up to see where the rain is coming from and drown.”

“Yeah,” Dom said, rubbing the back of his neck. What the hell was he supposed to do now? Talk about turkeys? Mia was so much better at this.

For whatever reason, Mia had decided to leave this for him to deal with. Dom considered himself good at a lot of things, tact, however, wasn’t one of them. “So you’re a hero.”

Brian turned, his eyes flashing. “I’m not a hero. Don’t ever say that to me again.”

For a second Dom thought Brian was going to swing on him, and he actually wished he would. Fists he could deal with.

“Why didn’t you tell me what happened?” Dom asked. He watched as Brian tried to put a Band-Aid over the gash on his arm. “That’s never going to hold.” He reached for the medicine cabinet and pulled out gauze and a long bandage. That was his Mia, always thinking ahead.

“Hold still,” Dom said, reaching for Brian’s arm. Brian started to pull away. “Hold still,” Dom repeated, his voice firm. Brian froze, his chest heaving as Dom took his arm and pressed the gauze to the oozing cut. He wrapped Brian’s arm carefully, and he felt Brian’s eyes watching him in the mirror.

The entire process took longer than it should and Dom used the time to think. When he released Brian’s arm, Brian looked at the bandage, his eyes wide. He looked completely lost.

“Come on,” Dom said, stepping out of the doorway. “It’s late.”

Brian walked to his room and Dom gave him a minute to situate himself before he leaned on the open door. Brian was in bed, the covers pulled up to his chin, his arms folded behind his head. Dom guessed that was aggravating his burns, but didn’t say anything.

“Why didn’t you just tell me?”

Brian sighed, whatever fight that was in him before had vacated the premises. “Because it wasn’t important.”

“I gotta tell you, O’Conner. Where I come from, saving a girl from a house fire is important.”

The light from the hallway was bright enough he could see Brian’s face and he could see him when he squeezed his eyes closed.

Dom continued, hoping he was making the right decision. “So why’d you do it? It would have been easy just to keep walking.”

Brian’s eyes popped open and he turned on his side, facing away from Dom. “Because it was the right thing to do.”

“That a cop thing too?” Dom winced as soon as the words left his mouth. He saw Brian tense, his shoulders rigid. Why did everything have to come back to Brian being a cop?

“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not a cop anymore.” Brian’s voice was low, even, and Dom tried to find bitterness shrouded in his words.

“I had noticed,” Dom said, noting the vivid red marks on Brian’s back. “I was wondering if you had.”

Brian turned suddenly, the sheet pooling at his waist as he sat up. “It was the right thing to do, okay? Whether I’m a cop, a mechanic, or a fucking criminal, it was the right thing to do. No, I didn’t think about it, I just acted, because that’s what I do. I act, and hope to hell I make the right decision.”

Brian collapsed back on the bed as if his body had finally waved the white flag of defeat.

“So did you?” Dom asked.

Brian’s head rolled to the side, and for a second Dom thought he wasn’t going to answer him. “Did I what?”

“Make the right decision?” He wasn’t sure if he was still talking about the little girl. He doubted it.

“Yeah,” Brian said, without hesitation. “I made the right decision.”

“Good to know,” Dom said, swallowing hard and pushing away from the door.

“I’d do it again,” Brian said quietly, the hallway light reflecting in his eyes. “In a heartbeat.”

He was supposed to be comforting Brian, and yet the tables had turned somewhere, somehow, and Brian was soothing deep seeded fears he never realized he had.

“Get some sleep,” Dom said gruffly. “And no running the morning.”

“Can’t,” Brian muttered. “My shoes are ruined.”

Brian fell asleep almost instantly, his body succumbing to days of exhaustion. He didn’t dream, his mind far past the point of being able to do anything but recuperate.

When he opened his eyes the following day, the sun was already dipping behind the horizon. Brian flopped on his side, wincing when the pain of the previous day’s events registered. His arm hung over the side of bed and his fingers brushed across fabric. He pulled his body far enough that his head hung over the side of the bed. New sneakers and a pair of chucks to boot.

“I thought I said I didn’t want any charity,” he muttered before rolling onto his back and closing his eyes again. He couldn’t find the energy to be pissed off. He could, however, muster the wherewithal to sleep for another five hours.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“You’re going to pace a hole in the floor if you keep that up,” Mia said, setting her book aside.

Dom stopped midway across the living room. “I don’t pace.”

“No, normally you’d be working on a car,” Mia replied.

It wasn’t that Dom didn’t want to work on the Eclipse. His hands itched to be covered in engine grease. It just didn’t feel right with Brian half unconscious in the other room. Brian had been the one that had brought the car home. Dom never asked where he’d gotten it, and Brian hadn’t offered any information.

“Why don’t you sit down?” Mia suggested, moving over and making room on the couch. Dom eyed the hallway before reluctantly sitting down. “He’s going to be all right, Dom.”

Dom felt his lip curl. “What makes you think that’s what I’m worried about?”

Mia laughed, slapping her knee for effect. “You’re joking, right? Of course Brian’s what you’re worried about.”

Dom leaned back, his arm draping across the back of the sofa. “So you think I shouldn’t be worried?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“What does it take to get a straight answer around here?” Dom asked, pressing his fingers against his eyelids.

“Maybe you’re not asking the right questions,” Mia replied evenly.

“You see! That’s exactly what I’m talking about,” Dom barked. “You’re worse than Brian.”

Mia shrugged, rubbing her hand down her arm. “We spent a lot of time together while you were awaiting trial and then sentencing.”

Dom leaned forward, trying to mask his interest. “Yeah? What’d you talk about?”

“A lot of stuff. Mostly you, though, and I actually did most of the talking,” Mia explained. “Brian’s a good listener.”

Dom rolled his eyes. “I bet he is.”

Mia bumped his knee. “Stop it.” She glanced down, chewing on her lower lip. “He’s a good guy.”

“Never said he wasn’t.”

“I’m serious, Dom. He tried calling me five years ago. He wanted to explain, to meet me somewhere and talk about it.”

“And did you?”

Mia shook her head. “Of course not. I was too angry.”

Dom swallowed, his eyes falling to the stained carpet. He felt like he was picking an annoying scab that was covering a festering wound. “Who were you angry at?”

“Him, you, the fucking cops, Tran, the semi truck driver that shot Vince. At everyone, really.”

He noted how Mia separated Brian from the cops because it was true. Those lines had been drawn five years ago. Even though Brian had gone to work for the Feds, he’d already chosen his side. In retrospect, Brian had been loyal to him through it all.

“Five years is a long time,” Dom said quietly.

“Yeah, it is,” Mia agreed.

He didn’t look at her when he asked, “Are you still angry?”

Mia sighed. “No, I’m not. It wasn’t easy, though. I’m not going to lie and say it was. If you hadn’t sent money, I don’t know what –“

Dom froze, and Mia twisted so she was facing him. “Dom?”

He shook his head, surprised she was thanking him for such a small gesture. “It wasn’t much.”

“It was reliable, though. Every two months like clock work.”

“Wait – what?”

“Except for those few times Hector brought by a lot of cash and never said where it’d come from,” Mia continued. “But every two months, you –“

“Mia, the cash from Hector was from me.”

Mia stared at him, shaking her head. “I don’t understand. I thought - ” she paused – “I thought it was you.”

Dom would have given anything to be able to tell her that yes, it was him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do that.

She leaned against the couch, crossing her arms over her chest. “So who the hell would do something like that?”

“Someone who feels like they owe you.”

“Yeah? And just who do you think –“ They both froze, their eyes locking before they turned and stared at the hallway.

Mia groaned. “He wouldn’t.”

Dom was caught between wanting to shake O’Connor awake and asking him what the hell he was playing at or squeezing the life out of him and thanking him for looking out for his little sister.

“Why wouldn’t he tell me?” Mia asked, the question softly spoken and directed at no one in particular.

“Because you wouldn’t have accepted it.”

Mia didn’t deny it, but still added, “He should have told me.”

Dom nodded, at a loss. He was used to dealing with all kinds of people, but Brian was a first. “I don’t know why we’re surprised,” Dom said, his tone gruff.

“Yeah,” Mia said, smiling. “After all, he did jump on that semi truck to get Vince. He didn’t even like –“

“He did what?” Dom barked.

Mia turned, her eyebrow arcing on her forehead. “How exactly do you think he got Vince off that truck?”

Truthfully, Dom hadn’t given it a lot of thought. There hadn’t been much time for thinking that day, and after the fact, Dom couldn’t get past the newfound knowledge that Brian had been a cop all along.

“He didn’t have a safety line.”

“No, he didn’t.”

Dom settled down to do something he was good at – seethe.

Several minutes passed, and Dom felt Mia trembling next to him. He reached out and gently turned her chin to face him. There were creases around her eyes, she was laughing.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

She wiped her eyes, shaking her head. “You have to admit, it’s kind of funny, in a fatalistic sort of way.” When Dom didn’t respond, she continued, “He saves Vince by nearly killing himself, he throws his career away by letting you go, he sends me money every two months, and then he orchestrates a plan to get you out of prison.”

“Where’s the funny part?” Dom asked, his voice flat.

“We’re sitting here pissed off. At him.”

Dom nodded, his fingers brushing her shoulder. Okay, he’d give her that. The irony could be construed as amusing. How they all got out of this mostly intact, he’d never know. Even that was a lie because Letty had paid with her life. She’d died trying to bring him home.

There was something he still hadn’t said. Okay, a lot of things, but this one Mia needed to hear. “I’m sorry.”

Her lips pressed together in a tight smile. “I know you are, but I appreciate you saying it.” She swallowed, her fingers seeking his hand. “I’ve missed you.”

He squeezed her hand and watched as she wiped her eyes with her left arm. “I’m just glad it’s over.” She glanced at the hallway. “Mostly.”

“Come on. We’re Torettos. There’s nothing we can’t handle.”

She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. “You’ve got your work cut out for you.” Dom didn’t ask her to elaborate.

They’d get there, though, in the end.


Chapter 4

Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
desariwalker
Sep. 27th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
Yay, *so* happy to see more of this.

...I act, and hope to hell I made the right decision...

...“I’m not a hero. Don’t ever say that to me again.”...

I think this sums up Brian perfectly. He does what he does, hopes/knows he did the right thing, but he doesn't think much of himself because of what he did. I like how he's showing his feelings through anger. Anger at himself, maybe, for not feeling guilty for not turning Dom in, for being willing to let Dom go a second time, and anger at Dom for being the catalyst that caused the whole situation. I've shared my opinion of Dom with you, so I won't go into it again. But I think he needs to take a good hard look at himself and realize what role his own actions have played in all of this.

Loved the talk with Mia. She's wise and very cryptic in the things she's not saying. Good to know, too, what Brian did with at least some of that money :)

...“He didn’t have a safety line.”...

That's Brian all the way through. He hasn't had anything to fall back on, nothing to catch him, and he knows it. It's another good reason for his anger.

I like Dom's apology to Mia. I hope he sees that she isn't the only one who needs to hear it.

Great chapter, sweetie! Loved it so much. More please, now??




Edited at 2009-09-27 12:33 am (UTC)
nightrider101
Sep. 27th, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
I agree with you on all accounts. :) Dom needs to do some self exploration, and Brian needs to finally stop and regroup. I don't think he's stopped to take a breath since he went undercover five years ago. It's been all fast cars, explosions, drug lords, street races, and the Feds. If I was him, I wouldn't know which way was up at this point.

He's been calm and collected for so long, I think his control is starting to slip. As you said, he's angry and just plain tired.

I'm glad you enjoyed the part with Mia. When I started writing this story, I didn't expect her to play such a big role. She's also been through so much between the first and fourth movies.

I like Dom's apology to Mia. I hope he sees that she isn't the only one who needs to hear it.

I'm glad you liked that! It was long overdue, in my opinion. As you said, she's not the only one that needs to hear it. For Mia, it's not a question of who her family is or if Dom cares for her. She can, at least, take some comfort in that.

More to follow before too long! Thanks again for the wonderful review. You're too kind!

justalittlebint
Sep. 27th, 2009 04:10 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you've decided to expand this story. I think I've reread the first two parts like three times since they've been posted. I think you've done a great job of capturing all of the characters and I really like the subtle Brian/Dom you've got going on.
nightrider101
Sep. 27th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
First, icon love! :D

When I first started writing this story, I never attended to do anything more than the first part. Everyone was so supportive and encouraging, I decided to keep working on it.

I think I've reread the first two parts like three times since they've been posted.

Wow! Thank you! I'm so glad you liked the first parts enough to come back and read them again. :)

I really like the subtle Brian/Dom you've got going on.

That's been fun to write. :) With everything Brian has done for Dom, it's hard not to see the slash written between the lines.

Thanks again for the wonderful review!
secretthought
Sep. 27th, 2009 05:06 am (UTC)
Fuck Brian! Shit, the more I hear about what he did the worse I feel for the guy. Dom needs to make him better! :)
nightrider101
Sep. 27th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
I don't envy Dom. As Mia said, he's got his work cut out for him where Brian is concerned. :)

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. I appreciate it!
goddesstar
Sep. 27th, 2009 05:59 am (UTC)
Hi! I really enjoyed this chapter. I loved the interaction between Mia and Dom. Looking forward to the next chapter!

~g
nightrider101
Sep. 27th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Mia definitely went through her fair share of drama during the first and fourth movies. I actually didn't expect to write her as much as I have, but I've enjoyed it. I'm so glad it worked for you!
rebecca102
Sep. 27th, 2009 02:13 pm (UTC)
I loved it. Of course Brian sent the money, he loves her just not the way he should. ;)

Can´t wait for the next part!
nightrider101
Sep. 27th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

More to follow soon. :)
jujuberry136
Sep. 27th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
Love, Love, LOVE!!!

Thanks so much for sharing!!

(small American nitpick, not sure if you want it or not. Americans call trainers sneakers or tennis shoes.)
nightrider101
Sep. 27th, 2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
Can you tell I've been writing too much Doctor Who fic? ;)

Thanks for pointing that out to me. I've fixed it.

As always, thank you so much for reading and taking the time to respond!
jujuberry136
Sep. 27th, 2009 07:35 pm (UTC)
There can never be enough DW fic ;)
nightrider101
Sep. 27th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Amen! :D
lone_zone
Sep. 27th, 2009 11:27 pm (UTC)
OMG! You have no idea how long I have waited for this fic to update, I have checked my email and lj everyday. Love this fic, the interactions between Dom, Brian and Mia are perfect, Brian the lost hero ... I don't know how you do it but, this has encapsulated the need he has to fit in and the pain such bind devotion caused. Now look at me, you've reduced me to spouting dribble. Great writing, can't wait to read more :)
nightrider101
Sep. 28th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
You have no idea how long I have waited for this fic to update, I have checked my email and lj everyday.

Wow! I think this is one of the nicest reviews I've ever received. :)

Hearing that you've been waiting for an update is so flattering! It keeps me writing.

I'm so glad you're enjoying the interactions between the characters. I hadn't intended on writing Mia as much as I have, but it seemed to flow with the story.

Brian the lost hero

I don't think there's a better description of him than that.

Thanks again for the wonderful review! You've made my evening!

(Anonymous)
Sep. 28th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
Rawr... I totally want more. Seriously, I'm like dieing here... Happy you updated with something so fantastical though! ^^
nightrider101
Sep. 28th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I'm glad you're enjoying the story. :)
shadowakiyah
Sep. 28th, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)
Brilliant. This is coming along nicely. I'm really liking the direction I'm hoping this is headed (dom/brian love :) but I have to say it'd be a great fic regardless. You've done a great job in displaying and exposing the characters so far, both in strength and flaw, and I'm really enjoying your writing.

Iccle picks:

I act, and hope to hell I made the right decision

I think this should say </i>make</i> purely a tense thing because he's converted what he's saying from past to future.

We spent a lot of time together while you were awaiting trail and then sentencing.

And it should be trial which is an easy spelling error :)
shadowakiyah
Sep. 28th, 2009 06:27 am (UTC)
bloomin silly <> brackets making me look like a prat! LOL. I hate those things, why can't lj just have a little 'i' button that you click on!
nightrider101
Sep. 29th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
why can't lj just have a little 'i' button that you click on!

That would certainly make things easier. :)

Instead they want us to work for our posts. We could be writing rather than diddling around with formatting issues!
nightrider101
Sep. 29th, 2009 02:54 pm (UTC)
Brian/Dom love is a very good thing. ;) I have a feeling it's going to take a long time to get there, though. I'm certainly not known for my speed as a writer.

Thanks for pointing out those errors. I've corrected them.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and respond. I appreciate it!
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
nightrider101
Oct. 24th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
First let me apologize for my late response to your wonderful feedback. I'm in the process of moving so I'm running behind on my Livejournal activities. Why must real life always get in the way?

Brian has always demonstrated an obsessive need to play the role of protector, and through it all Dom has been a wild card, unpredictable, and yet at the same time he is the anchor, the keystone, that everyone around him congregates to.

Yes, that sums it up, at least the way I see them. Brian has given up so much time and time again. He's much more demonstrative with his actions than Dom. I'm looking forward to seeing where the characters take me.

Thanks again for the amazing feedback! I thoroughly enjoying hearing your thoughts.

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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