nightrider101 (nightrider101) wrote,
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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
Tags: along the way, fanfic, fast and furious
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