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FIC: Along the Way (5/8?)

Title: Along the Way
Author: NightRider
Rating: PG
Fandom: The Fast and Furious
Characters: Dom, Brian, Mia, Rico, Tego, and Leon
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.





Dom watched Brian retreat inside the house. He knew he’d just screwed that up, but he didn’t know what else to say. How could Brian know how he felt? Brian had known the team for less than two months before Race Wars. Sure, he could apologize, he probably meant it too, but words could never fill the void of Jesse or Letty or his makeshift family that he’d worked so hard to protect.

He hadn’t expected Brian to apologize, though. Dom knew he’d been doing his job. He’d never in a million years thought Brian would jump on that semi truck to save Vince. He’d never expected the look of rage on Brian’s face when he watched Jesse being gunned down by Tran and his cousin. He’d never expected Brian to be the one to kill Johnny. He also hadn’t expected Brian to let him go after he’d crashed the Charger.

Then, five years later, Brian had allowed Letty to infiltrate Braga’s drug ring to bring him home. It had ended in her brutal death. Would she have even been there if Dom hadn’t left her in the middle of the night with no explanation and no goodbye? Brian had willingly left his jurisdiction, his safety net, to get Braga, to bring him to justice. And when Dom’s trial hadn’t gone the way Brian hoped it would, he’d been the one to orchestrate the plan to get Dom out.

It was a cluster fuck, and frankly, it was making Dom’s head hurt. Cars were so much easier, all metal and parts. Parts that worked like they were supposed to. If there was a problem, Dom could find it, fix it, and everything was as good as new.

He couldn’t fix this. He didn’t know where to begin or even if he was supposed to.

Dom was frustrated with his life, with how things had turned out, with the choices he had made, but it seemed a whole lot easier to put that on Brian.

He grabbed another beer, twisted the cap off and tossed it on the stairs.

Maybe this wasn’t about Brian at all or maybe everything was about Brian. He didn’t know anymore, and that was frustrating him more than anything. Dom was used to having all the answers, to each movement being calculated, planned, except for those treasured ten seconds on the track. That was when he allowed himself to cut loose, to forget everything and everyone, his responsibilities and his wrongs; it was when he finally allowed himself to be free.

No one made him hijack those trucks. It had been his idea, and it wasn’t like he needed the money. Granted, his team had been more than willing participants, but the idea had been his and the responsibility was his alone. Brian being a cop had nothing to do with what happened. If it hadn’t been Brian, it would have been someone else, and it was highly unlikely that person would have let him go. It was even more likely that Dom would be six feet underground right now if it hadn’t been for Brian.

All of this inner exploration was enlightening, but maybe he should be sharing some of this with Brian. He wasn’t sure what he’d say, but Brian had a right to know he hadn’t been wrong, and Dom didn’t blame him for doing what he did. Dom had felt betrayed, he wouldn’t deny that, but he never expected Brian to apologize for being a cop. Just like Brian never asked him to apologize for breaking the law.

“What the hell is in this beer?” Dom muttered, glancing at the bottle before starting up the stairs. The house was quiet, and Brian wasn’t in his room. That left one place, the place where Dom knew Brian found peace just like he did, the garage.

He saw yellow light emerging from underneath the wooden door. He pushed the door open, walking through with purpose. They could settle something tonight, here, in this shabby makeshift garage. It was high time they both moved forward because, frankly, Dom didn’t they could sink any lower.

Brian glanced up, his eyes hooded and wary. His movements were deliberate as he wiped his hands on a rag, swallowed, and tossed the dirty cloth on the ground.

“All right, Toretto,” he said. “Let’s have it.” His arms were at his sides, his shoulders tilted in as if Brian was forcing himself to hold still.

Dom froze, the train of thought in his head thrown of its tracks by Brian’s resolute posture. “What?”

“Go ahead,” Brian said, a hand waving in invitation. “I won’t fight you.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Brian’s eyes closed, his tongue darting out to moisten his lips. “Will you just finish it already? I can’t do this anymore.”

Dom took a step forward, his hand out and Brian squared his shoulders, waiting. “You think I’m going to hit you?”

“Don’t act like you don’t want to.”

Dom withdrew his hand and rubbed his chin instead. “The thought had crossed my mind, but I doubt for the reasons you think.”

“Letty wasn’t reason enough?” Brian growled, his eyes sharp underneath the hazy light.

Dom winced inwardly, and he forced himself to keep his breathing even. He might not be as calm and collected as Brian, but he knew when he was being pushed.

“I don’t blame you, Dom. I’d want to kill me too if I was you.”

“You’re one fucked up guy, do you know that?” Dom snapped. Brian was actually providing justification for Dom to beat him into the ground. “So you’ve just been waiting around for me to kill you? Do you realize how warped that is?”

Brian shrugged. “You don’t need anymore unfinished business.”

“Jesus Christ, Brian. I’m not going to kill you.” Despite how angry he’d been, how betrayed he’d felt, the idea of fighting Brian hadn’t crossed his mind since he found out about Brian running Letty.

Truth be told, he actually felt like hitting Brian for thinking up something so insane. “I don’t know what you think I am, but I don’t go around killing people who are –“

What exactly was Brian, anyway? He didn’t know how to finish that sentence so he opted to repeat his previous message to make sure Brian got the point. “I’m not going to kill you, and if I hit you, you’ll know exactly what it’s for, and it won’t have anything to do with our past. You understand?”

Brian never got the chance to respond, to tell Dom that no, he really didn’t understand, because the sound of tires driving across the packed dirt pulled their attention away.

“Mia’s not supposed to be back until tomorrow,” Dom mused, reaching for the door. “We’re not done here,” he said as an afterthought.

“Um, hello?” a hesitant voice called.

“Holy Christ,” Dom whispered, walking across the yard. Brian stood in the garage doorway, his eyes on the car with its engine still running and the driver that was standing next to the open door. “Leon? Leon??” He felt like he was seeing a ghost.

“Dom!” Leon yelled, his voice close to a shriek. He’d deny that later, of course.

It was a cross between a tackle and a bear hug, and Leon was bodily lifted off the ground for a second. It had been too long.

“How the hell did you find me? Where the – just – what?“ Dom wouldn’t have been more surprised if Tanner had shown up and offered him international immunity. He also knew if Leon could find him, chances were that anyone could including multiple law enforcement agencies that would love to have his head on a silver platter.

Leon grinned, pushing his hair out of eyes. “I got your message. Finally.” He waved a tiny model Volkswagen in front of Dom. It was an exact replica of Jesse’s car. It even had the stickers on the sides.

Dom held the car in his hand, eying the tiny rims and the tires that actually spun. “Where did you get this?”

Leon cocked his head. “You should know. You left it, didn’t you?”

Dom didn’t respond, and Leon passed him a small piece of folded paper. The numbers were blurred, and the scrap paper was crinkled as if it had been folded and unfolded multiple times. “A phone number.”

“Yeah, for some crazy guy in Barstow. I gotta tell you, man, you have some weird friends.”

“Barstow, huh?”

Leon continued, his hands wildly animating his tale. “Oh, it doesn’t stop there. Then he told me to buy a new phone, call some guy in Miami then I had to get rid of the phone.”

Dom shook his head. This was going to be a long explanation. “Grab your stuff and come inside.” Leon leaned inside the car and turned the engine off. “Need some help?”

“Nah, only got one bag. You can take this, though.” He passed a cooler to Dom. When Dom opened the lid, it was filled with Coronas. He could only laugh.

“You bring nothing more than a change of clothes, but manage to come with a cooler of beer?”

Leon shrugged. “I wasn’t even sure if I’d find you, but if I did, I couldn’t show up without the goods.”

“Smart man,” Dom said, clapping him on the back. As they started for the house, he noticed Brian wasn’t around. The light in the garage was still on, shining underneath the closed door. Dom would get him later. Right now, he had five years of lost time to get caught up on.

He put the warm beers in the fridge and passed Leon a cold one after twisting off the cap. He still couldn’t believe Leon was here standing in front of him.

“So tell me again how you got here?” Dom asked, settling on the couch.

“Man, forget about that! What about you? What have you been up to? Where’s Mia?”

“It’s not that I’m not glad to see you because I am. I really am, but I have to know if there’s a chance you’ve been followed. There are a lot of people lookin’ for me.”

Leon held the tiny piece of paper in his hand like it was his lifeline. “But you left this note.”

Dom didn’t say anything different. "Tell me about this guy in Barstow.”

“Oh yeah! Your crazy friend!” That was the beauty of Leon, he was easily distracted. “So he had told me to get another phone, one of those pay as you go deals, and call this guy in Miami. So I got the phone and called him, TG or something like that, and he told me the name of a custom auto body shop and hung up.”

“So what’d you do?” Dom asked.

“What do you mean ‘what’d I do?’ I fucking drove there!”

This story was getting crazier by the second. “You drove to Miami?”

“Fuck yeah, I did. Again, you have some crazy friends. He told me the name of this border town in Mexico and said I’d find my answers when I got here.”

“How’d you get across the border?”

“Uh, it was easy with the money you left. You can buy anything, including a trip in the back of a semi hiding between metal boat parts.”

It wasn’t funny, but between the way Leon was waving his hands and his animated voice, Dom found himself laughing. In that moment, it didn’t really matter how Leon got there. He was here, and Dom was happy.

“So, what about you? Mexico, huh?” Leon said, pausing to open another Corona and toss the empty aside.

“Yeah, it’s nice enough,” Dom replied.

“I spent some time in Costa Rica after all the shit went down.” The conversation lulled for several minutes before Lean asked, “Mia’s here?”

“Yeah, she’s here.”

Leon nodded. “Good, I can’t wait to see her. I really wanted to visit her after everything happened, but with all the heat, I had to stay away.”

“I can’t believe you managed to stay off the radar,” Dom commented.

“I don’t think the cops tried that hard,” Leon said. “Bigger fish, you know?” And that bigger fish was Dom. Leon studied his beer, rubbing at the damp label. “I heard about Letty. I’m sorry, man.” It meant more coming from Leon because he’d known her, cared about her.

“Yeah,” Dom said, looking away. “Me too.”

“So what else have I missed?” Leon asked, opting to change the subject.

The side door of the house opened, and Leon turned around. To say he’d been surprised to find Dom paled in comparison to the look on his face when he saw Brian walk through the door.

“Holy shit.”

Dom cleared his throat and kept an eye on Leon as he watched Brian pad to the kitchen to wash his hands in the sink. “There’s cold beer in the fridge,” Dom said. It was more than an offer of beer; it was a statement that Brian was here with Dom’s blessing.

“Thanks.”

Leon kept staring at Brain through wide eyes. “Holy shit.”

“You said that,” Brian commented, leaning against the wall and slowly drinking from the bottle. He watched Leon through cool, blue eyes. Dom knew those eyes – unshakable, unfathomable, like nothing in the world could touch him. He was waiting for Leon to make the next move.

Leon glanced at his hands, scratching at a scar from an engine burn that had healed years ago. “Thanks.”

Brian tilted his head to the side as though he hadn’t been expecting that.

“Thanks for Vince. You didn’t have to do that,” Leon said quietly.

“No worries, man,” Brian replied.

“So, I have to ask,” Leon said, grinning, “How the hell did you end up here?”

“I was going to ask you the same thing,” Brian replied.

Well, there went Dom’s idea that Brian had planned this little reunion.

Leon held up the replica of Jesse’s car. “I found this.” He lifted the tiny hood. “There was a note inside, a phone number.”

“Crazy shit,” Brian said, picking up the car carefully and running his finger over the sticker on the side. In that moment, Dom knew he was remembering Jesse. He spun the tires a few times before giving the model back to Leon who set is aside on the table.

Leon eyed Brian for a moment. “I gotta ask – what the hell happened to you? You look a little singed around the edges.”

Brian smiled, shrugging it off. “My mother always told me not to play with matches.”

Leon laughed. “I feel ‘ya, man. Lessons hard learned, right?”

“You mean I was supposed to learn something?”

Watching the display, the way the evasion rolled so easily off Brian made Dom want to yell bullshit at the top of his lungs. He doubted Brian even knew he was doing it, avoiding and evading, answering with a question of his own, and if that didn’t work, make a joke about it. And everyone bought it hook, line and sinker.

Leon yawned, stretching his arms over his head. “I’m beat. I’ve been driving for over twenty hours.”

“Hang on, let me clear my stuff out,” Brian said, starting down the hallway. “I should have done that as soon as you got here.”

“What?” Dom said, trying to catch up with the conversation.

“I can sleep on the couch,” Leon said. “Beats sleeping in the back of that beater.” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder as he referenced the car he’d bought for three hundred dollars after he’d crossed the border.

“No,” Dom said, taking control of the conversation. “You can take Mia’s room tonight. She won’t be back until tomorrow. We’ll figure it out then.”

Old habits die hard and Leon nodded his agreement. “No problem.”

“Really, it’s not a problem for me to get my stuff –“

“Brian, shut up,” Dom said, glaring. Leon, who was only yawning, snapped his mouth closed. “I said we’d figure it out tomorrow.”

Brian stared at Dom, his eyes the same stony blue color. When he relented, it was visible and the muscles in his jaw relaxed. “Okay.”

“And in the morning, I’m making waffles!” Leon declared, standing up. “Bathroom’s over there? I have to shower. I know I reek.” He sniffed his shirt and winced.

“Yeah,” Dom said, pointing down the hall.

“I’m going to hold you to those waffles,” Brian called after Leon closed the door.

“You’ve obviously never tasted Leon’s cooking,” Dom said.

“Nope, can’t say that I have,” Brian replied. “Always up for a challenge, though.”

“I’m going to remember you said that.”

“You do that.” Brian started for his bedroom, pausing to lean against the wall. “You know I really don’t mind sleeping on the couch.”

“You don’t give up, do you?” Dom said, shaking his head.

“What? With Mia, Leon and you, that’s three people, and there are three bedrooms in this house. It’s not that difficult to piece this together.”

“This from the man who thought I was going to kill him,” Dom replied. “Forgive me if I’m not quick to trust your deduction skills.”

Brian paled for a second, squeezed his eyes closed, his composure returning so fast if Dom had blinked, he’d have missed it.

Opting for another approach, Dom said, “It might not matter in a few weeks anyway.”

“Why’s that?”

“Mia went to the city to see about finishing college here. She never got the chance in the states.” Dom didn’t bother owning up to that one, and Brian was nice enough not to mention it.

“You said she was doing laundry,” Brian accused.

“And you were freaking out,” Dom replied. “It was the first thing I could think of.”

“I remember it differently,” Brian said, tapping his lips as if he was mulling the incident over his mind. “Well, hopefully it will work out for her. If anyone deserves a college degree, it’s Mia.”

Dom didn’t ask if Brian would hang around after Mia left. He had a feeling he didn’t want to know the answer especially after just getting Leon back. He gained one only to lose another.

“Don’t forget those waffles!” Brian called, knocking twice on the bathroom door as he started toward his bedroom. “Night, Dom.”

“Night,” Dom said, watching as Brian closed the door. He picked up the tiny Volkswagen before dropping his head on the couch and trying to make sense of the day’s events. He rubbed his calloused fingers over the stickers marveling at the accuracy of the replica. Jesse would have liked it.

The sound of Leon singing in the shower filled the house, and for a second Dom reconsidered just how glad he was to have Leon back.

Chapter 6

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
goddesstar
Nov. 8th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)
You did a great job on this chapter! The interaction with Leon and Dom was spot on in characterization. I so love this series. Looking forward to the next installment!

~g
nightrider101
Nov. 8th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I was concerned the introduction of Leon might throw things off. I'm glad it didn't.

Thanks again!
jujuberry136
Nov. 8th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yay Leon!

Loved this chapter, thanks so much for the quick update!
nightrider101
Nov. 8th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
The quick update comes thanks to NaNo. ;)

Thank you!
desariwalker
Nov. 9th, 2009 02:16 am (UTC)
I love that you brought Leon into the story, and the means of getting him to Dom was very clever. The characterization and dialogue is perfect; I really enjoy seeing and hearing the characters tell the story. Awesome job. Can't wait for more!!!
nightrider101
Nov. 9th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I was afraid having Leon show up might throw some readers, but I'd been planning it for awhile. :) I'm glad it worked for you!

Thank you for your continued support and kind words. :)
(Deleted comment)
nightrider101
Nov. 9th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I'm glad you enjoyed it!
lone_zone
Nov. 11th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)
Why haven't I reviewed this?? I have no idea; but fantastic chapter, oh and on reading ur comments to other reviews Leon was great, his introduction has just created a whole new dynamic which Dom and Brian have to deal with. Can't wait to read soo much more :)
nightrider101
Nov. 11th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks, hon! I always look forward to your comments. :)

I'm glad you liked the introduction of Leon. It's going to bring a different dynamic to the group.

Funny you should mention more...

I just posted the new chapter. :)

Thanks again!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )