nightrider101 (nightrider101) wrote,

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FIC: Along the Way (6/13?)

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 didn’t wake up until the screen door opened and Mia walked inside. He jerked his head up, wincing as his neck protested the jarring motion.

“Did you sleep on the couch?” Mia asked, setting her purse aside and sitting down next to Dom. She pushed his hand away and started rubbing the knots in his neck. “Yeah, you slept on the couch,” she said, the contracted muscles in Dom’s neck providing sufficient evidence to answer her question. “Long night?”

Dom grunted in response. He was getting too old for this shit.

“Did something happen with Brian?” Mia asked, concerned.

Dom shook his head. “Brian’s fine.” Despite his hazy thoughts after being woken up, he knew it wasn’t a good idea to share the revelation that Brian had just been waiting around for Dom to beat him into a bloody pulp. He was still trying to come to terms with that little bit of information.

“Better?” she asked as she pulled her hand away. Dom nodded and rolled his head, his neck cracking. Oh, that was much better. Mia leaned forward, her eyes narrowing. “Where did you get this?” She picked up the model car and held it in her hands carefully as if she was holding a treasured artifact.

“Why? You recognize it?” Dom asked, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his knees. He needed coffee. Badly.

Mia glared at him. “Of course I recognize it. It’s Jesse’s car.”

“Yeah, besides that.”

Mia lifted the white hood, her finger sliding over the tiny silver engine. “Brian worked on this for days during your trial. I think it gave him something to do, something to keep his hands busy.”

Dom dropped his head in his hands. Yes, he was definitely getting to old for this shit. “Brian did that?”

“Yeah,” Mia said. “But he left it at Jesse’s grave. We went there together. I didn’t realize he went back for it.”

Dom sighed. The story was just crazy enough Mia might believe it. If she didn’t, he had living proof drooling on the pillows in her bedroom. “He didn’t.”

Mia turned so she could face him. “So who did?”


Mia blinked several times. “You’re telling me that Leon’s here.”

“Did you notice the car outside that doesn’t belong to us? Check your bedroom if you don’t believe me.”

“Leon’s here and he’s sleeping in my bed?”

Dom chuckled and tried to rub the ache out of his forehead. “If it’s any consolation, he offered to make waffles.”

Mia shook her head. “It’s not. I’ve tasted his cooking. It took me three days to clean all the pots and pans.” She leaned back, dropping her head on the back on the couch much like Dom had done the previous night. “Leon’s here.”

“There was a phone number in that car,” Dom explained. “A number for some guy in Barstow.”

“And that’s how Leon ended up here?”

“By way of Miami,” Dom said.

Mia pressed her fingers against her eyelids. “What the hell is going on?”

“I have no idea,” Dom said. “Ask Brian. He’s the one with all the answers.”

Mia rolled her eyes. “Yeah, because Brian’s the kind of guy that’s going to open up and answer everything I ask him.”

Dom shrugged and pushed himself off the couch. He needed caffeine and lots of it. Now if not sooner.

“Any chance of Leon being followed?” Mia asked quietly. “I mean, if he could find us –“ She let the thought hang the air, a thousand less than pleasant possibilities filling their minds.

“I doubt it,” Dom said. “From what I could gather, there were several people involved and a couple of pay as you go phones. I doubt he’ll be tracked.”

“It sounds like quite the story,” Mia said, watching as Dom started the coffee pot.

As if summoned by the conversation, Mia’s bedroom door was opened and Leon stumbled out, rubbing his eyes. “Coffee. I need coffee.”

“It’s coming,” Mia said, grinning as Leon jerked his head around at the sound of her voice.

“Mia!” He grinned and managed to pull her off the couch before she could get to her feet. “It’s great to see you, girl!”

She chuckled, wrapping her arms tightly around his shoulders. “Good to see you too, Leon.”

He stepped back, his hands resting on her hips, and whistled. “You look great.” She slapped his shoulder playfully, and Dom watched the exchange, a slight smile lifting the corner of his mouth. Considering he hadn’t had his morning dose of caffeine yet, it could be considered a full on grin.

“So, I said something about making waffles,” Leon recalled, starting for the kitchen.

Mia reached for his shoulder. “No, it’s okay. I’ll make something.”

“Mia, I can handle it,” Leon said, grinning at her. “I might have learned how to cook. It’s been a long time, yeah? Anyway, Brian seemed pretty excited to try them.”

Mia leaned against the counter. “Did he now? Poor guy doesn’t have a clue.”

“No faith,” Leon muttered, kneeling down to rummage through the cabinets.

“I’m going to take a shower,” Dom said. “Keep it down, okay? Brian’s still asleep.”

Leon looked up as if he was going to say something, but the serious expression on Dom’s face and Mia’s nod made him keep his mouth closed. He waited until the bathroom door closed before saying, “I gotta tell you, Mia. I never thought I’d see him again.”

Mia considered his statement for a second. “You know how Dom is, sooner or later, everyone comes home.”

Leon nodded as he pulled out the waffle iron and set it on the counter. “Yeah, I guess.”

Mia watched him carefully. “Not what you were expecting?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I just had to get here, and man if that wasn’t a mission.”

Mia grinned. “I heard. You went all the way to Miami.”

“Yeah, it was insane. I never thought I’d actually get here, but after I found that note, I knew I had to try, you know?”

“Note? What note?”

“The one Dom left in that car,” Leon said, pointing to the model car on the table. “The phone number.”

She glanced over her shoulder. “The note Dom – oh, that. Yeah.”

Despite her hesitation, Leon was too busy mixing batter to notice. “I never expected to see Spilner again either.”

“Who?” Mia asked, her eyebrows knitting in confusion. “You mean Brian?”

“That’s his name, isn’t it?”

Mia looked at her hands, considering. “No, it’s Brian O’Connor.”

Leon nodded again, pouring the batter onto the open iron. “So he lied about that too?”

“Leon –"

He lifted his hand. “It’s not important, Mia. It’s in the past, right? None of my business.” He closed the iron and started searching the cabinets for plates. “If Dom’s cool then it’s all good.

Leon had an adaptable attitude towards life and wasn’t one to hold grudges without good cause. He never had any beef with Brian. The guy was nice enough. After Dom revealed Brian was a cop, Leon had been too concerned with getting his own hide to safety. Now it all seemed like a lifetime ago, and he had little interest in dredging up the past if he didn’t have to.


The sound of a door opening and soft footfalls caused Mia and Leon to turn. Brian appeared moments later, edging around Leon to pull a bottle of water out of the refrigerator.

“Smells good,” Brian commented.

“See, someone has some faith,” Leon said, giving Mia a teasing smile before pouring himself a cup of coffee.

“I’m withholding judgment until I actually taste it,” Mia said, not giving an inch.

“Then prepare to be amazed,” Leon replied.

“I’ll be amazed after I get changed.” She shared a parting glance with Leon. There was a warning shrouded in her dark eyes – go easy.

After she closed her bedroom door, Brian said, “Need any help?” He started gathering the silverware out of the drawer and took the plates Leon had already pulled out over to the table.

“I think I have it covered.” Leon expertly shifted the waffle out of the iron and poured the batter for another one. He kept his back to Brian when he said, “I almost forgot – I’ve got a letter for you.”

Silverware clattered against a plate. “What?”

Leon turned and leaned against the counter. “Unless Dom’s nickname is Bullitt which I doubt.” Brian eyed him carefully, his stance noncommittal at best. It had been years since someone called him that. “I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out sooner. Barstow, Miami – instructions that good could only come from a cop.”

Brian cleared his throat. “Former cop.”

Leon nodded. “Yeah, former cop.” He pulled the syrup and butter out of the fridge and passed it to Brian to put on the table. “I’m not going to ask you why you did it. Don’t much care, but whatever your reasons, thanks.”

Brian was thankful he didn’t have to explain because he didn’t know why he did it, and he had even less faith that it would actually work.

“Bullitt, huh? Some nickname.”

Brian chuckled. “I didn’t pick it.”

“Judging by your friend’s shop and your street name, you ran some races while you were there,” Leon said conversationally.

Brian shrugged. “Some.”

“Win any?”

“A few.”

Leon set the large stack of waffles on a serving plate. “Bullshit.” He glanced over his shoulder when he heard heavy footfalls. “Just in time.”

Dom pulled out a chair. “Doesn’t look half bad.”

“Mia, food’s ready,” Leon called before stabbing three waffles and putting them on his plate.

After dosing his helping with a generous amount of syrup, Brian passed the bottle to Dom. Mia joined them a second later.

“Leon, why don’t you say grace?” Dom said.

Brian snickered and folded his hands. He was having a serious case of déjà vu. Leon’s prayer was short and effective, “Thanks for the grub. Amen.”

The waffles were good as Mia begrudgingly admitted even if it was hard to screw up waffles.

“Any meal I don’t have to make is a good meal,” Brian said.

“Good point,” Mia agreed.

“So you guys have to give me the scoop,” Leon said. “What’s the nightlife like around here? Despite being in the middle of fuckin’ no where, there’s got to be some action somewhere.”

Dom shrugged. “Been keepin’ off the radar.”

Leon blinked at him. “You? Since when?”

“People change,” Dom replied.

“Not that much,” Leon muttered. “Anyway, you can’t tell me there’s not some hunk of junk somewhere that you’re fixin’ up.”

Dom pointed with his fork towards the door that lead outside to the garage. “There’s an Eclipse in the garage we’ve been working on. It’s not mine, though, it’s Brian’s.”

Brian shrugged. In his mind it didn’t belong to him. “Consider it a house car.”

“When we’re done, I wanna see it.” Leon swallowed the last bite and pushed his plate away. “You know with the left over cash I’ve got we could buy something decent. Unless -” He looked at Brian - “You want your money back. ‘S yours after all.”

Brian poked at the food on his plate. “Consider it a donation from those couple of races I won.”

Leon grinned. “Couple my ass.”

Brian returned his smile and pushed away from the table to gather the empty plates and put them in the sink.

“Come on, I want to see the car,” Leon said, standing and bouncing on his heels excitedly.

“Go ahead,” Mia said. “I can wash the dishes.”

“I’ll help,” Brian said, “Dom, show him the car before he has a meltdown.”

Dom led Leon outside, the door slamming behind them.

“You sure you don’t want to go with them?” Mia asked, filling the sink with water. “I can get this.”

Brian shrugged, picking up the dish towel. “You do more than your fair share around here.” Mia smiled and started passing the plates to Brian after she washed them in the sink.

“How’d it go at the college?” he asked. She froze, her hands immersed in the water. “Dom told me you wanted to finish school here,” he added quietly.

She sucked in a deep breath and sighed. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Sure, it does. It’s important to you, isn’t it?”

“No, it doesn’t,” she said harshly, “because it’s not going to happen.”

Brian waited, placing the last dish in the drying rack. He passed her a clean towel to dry her hands. He was used to waiting; sooner or later the need to fill the void of silence would win.

“I should have known it wasn’t going to work,” she said, her tone bellying her frustration. “I didn’t even consider citizenship or finances or –“

“We can come up with the money, Mia,” Brian interjected.

Mia shook her head. “It’s not your job, Brian. I’m not going to ask Dom either. I should be independent.” He spared her the speech about looking out for family. She was better than him at giving it anyway.

“What else?” he asked.

She looked down her hands that were gripping the counter. “They’re going to ask questions. Things I should have thought about before – identification, background, things you have to provide if you’re going to go to school.”

He laid his hand on her shoulder. Unless he could come up with a fake identity for her which he doubted she’d go for anyway, there wasn’t much he could do to help her. “I’m really sorry, Mia.”

She leaned against his side, and he slid his arm around her shoulders. “Yeah, me too.” She sighed. “I just don’t want this to be my future, you know? It’s not that I don’t want to be close to my brother because I do, I just want to have my own life too.”

“You’ve given up a lot,” Brian said quietly, resting his chin on the top of her head. There was no confusion as to what he was referring to.

She laughed even though there was no humor behind it. “I wasn’t the only one, and I don’t regret what we did. Don’t think that for a second. I guess I just didn’t realize what a big impact it would have.”

He nodded. They’d talked about the repercussions some while Brian was making plans to get Dom out during his transfer to prison. Everything kept coming back to getting Dom out, and nothing else mattered. No matter what he could have told her, she’d never have sat idly by and not helped. That was just Mia’s way.

“Oh well,” she said, stepping away from Brian and faking a smile. “Pick yourself up and keep going, right?” Brian could only nod because what other option did she have? “Thanks for asking, though,” she added. “I really mean that. Dom was so caught up with Leon coming back –“

“I’m sure he would have –"

She lifted her hand. “You don’t have to defend him. I’m used to it. I’m not upset or anything. It’s just –“ she shrugged – “nice to be remembered.”

“You’re pretty unforgettable,” Brian said, smiling.

She returned his smile and this time it reached her eyes. “Yeah, you too.”

The sound of Leon’s animated voice drifted through the house and they turned in time to see the door open. “Man, that car is going to fly once you finish it! I can’t believe you haven’t taken it out yet!”

Brian ran his hand over his head. “Haven’t had much time.”

“Well, rescuing kids from house fires can limit your free time,” Leon replied.

Brian cleared his throat and gave Dom a pointed look that caused Dom to shrug. “He asked.”

Leon looked between them. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to go around posting flyers or anything. Hmm…I wonder if it made the papers.”

Brian groaned and dropped his head on Mia’s shoulder. She patted his head consolingly. “Don’t worry. He loses interest quickly.”

“Oh yeah,” Leon said, snapping his fingers. “That letter.”

Dom watched him walk to the living room and dig around in his bag. “What letter?”

“Mail call for Bullitt,” Leon said, passing the crumpled envelope to Brian.

“You know you can stop calling me that,” Brian said, slipping the envelope into his back pocket.

Leon shrugged. “It’s the name on the envelope.”

“Bullitt?” Dom repeated.

“Yeah, that was his street name in Miami,” Leon said excitedly. “Must have won a lot of races to get a name like that.”

Brian rolled his eyes and stepped outside, closing the front door on Dom saying, “Must have.”

He pulled the folded envelope out of his back pocket and sat down. No one followed him out. Despite the typical Toretto closeness, a letter from home was a private affair. He recognized the cursive script immediately – Tej. The man always had expressive handwriting. It suited his personality.

Tej didn’t know much about Brian’s past. He never asked, and Brian didn’t offer much. Sure, they were friends, but it was also business. Brian had made Tej a lot of money so when Brian asked him a favor, if a guy calls him, give him the name of the shop, and if he shows up, give him the name of this town, and Tej never asked why. What he did say was “Sure, man. No problem.”

He pulled the letter out carefully and set the envelope aside. Unfolding the paper and smoothing out the creases, he swallowed and started reading.


If this actually makes it to you, I’ll be impressed. I hope life’s treating you well. Things haven’t been the same since you left. There’s no good challenger to put these would-be racers in their place. Scene just isn’t what it used to be.

Business is steady here so I can’t complain. Suki still asks about you from time to time. I keep telling her I don’t know where you are, but I don’t think she believes me.

I don’t know what kind of trouble you’ve gotten yourself into now, but the reason why I’m writing this – a couple of guys came looking for you about a month ago. These weren’t cops either. I know a thug when I see one, and these guys were the real deal. They looked like henchmen, the kind you see in those Hollywood movies.

Well, I need to go. I’ve got the exterminators coming to the shop again. Can you believe we’ve been overrun with rats? It’s fucking unreal.

I realize you hate it when anyone tells you this, but take care of yourself.


After Brian reread the letter for a third time, he replaced it in the envelope and slid it in his pocket. Rats. Fuckin’ rats. Tej never used to have a rodent problem.

He felt a familiar chill running down his spine that he hadn’t felt since he’s pulled alongside the prison transport bus that contained Dom.

Henchmen asking questions about him and rats equaled something he’d hoped to leave behind on the shores of the Keys. He dropped his head in his hands. He should have known better. He didn’t get to run from his past because his past always found him, or in this case, could potentially find someone he cared about.

There was one person he could call, someone he never thought he’d talk to again.

He pushed himself off the chair and stared at the dust being kicked up by the wind. He swallowed and gave a final nod of affirmation. He had to do this.

Pulling open the door, he walked inside to the grab the keys to the Eclipse. It wasn’t finished, but it was drivable.

“Everything all right?” Mia asked, looking up from her novel.

“Yep,” Brian said, pulling the keys off the counter.

Dom turned the television off, watching Brian intently. “You sure?”

“I just need to make a call.”

Leon shifted uncomfortably. “And that requires car keys?”

“Never got a cell phone,” Brian replied, shrugging. “I figured now was as good a time as any to buy one.”

Leon was quicker than people gave him credit for. “One of those pay as you go deals?”

Brian grinned and started for the door. “Yeah, something like that. I’ll be back later.”

“O’Connor,” Dom called, and Brian paused with his hand on the open door. “You want me to come along?”

For a second Brian actually considered it, but no, this wasn’t Dom’s fight, and maybe it was nothing at all. This was one mess Dominic Toretto had nothing to do with, and Brian intended to keep it that way.

“No worries, man. I’ll be back in a bit.”

Brian had been vague on the time of his return for a reason. He’d driven two hours north to purchase the phone then driven another five hours west prior to making the call. The last thing he wanted to do was risk being traced.

He pulled off on a dirt road that dead ended at a rocky outcropping. He got out of the car and leaned against the hood, his thumb running over the business card he’d pulled out of his wallet miles ago. A cell phone number was written on the back.

Brian dialed the numbers and waited. The familiar voice picked up on the second ring. “Agent Bilkins.”

“Hopefully you’re still special,” Brian commented, resisting the urge the dropkick the phone at the sound of his voice.

“Who is this?”

“How long has it been? Three years? Maybe four, but who’s counting.”

He heard the man swallow. “O’Connor?”

“Congratulations. I’m glad I’m not that unforgettable.”

“I never thought I’d hear from you again,” Bilkins said. Brian heard the unmistakable sound of papers being shuffled. “If you’d like to meet somewhere -“

Brian rolled his eyes. “I’m also not that stupid.”

“Since this obviously isn’t a social call, what do you want, O’Connor?” Try to establish a relationship, and when that doesn’t work, get to the point. Brian had sat through that training too.

Luckily getting to the point was something Brian did well. “Carter Verone.” The name tasted like poison.

Bilkins hesitated for a second. “What about him?”

“Where is he?”

“In prison.”

Brian squinted his eyes against the falling sun. “Bullshit.”

More papers were shuffled. “Why do you ask?”

“Where. Is. He?” Brian repeated slowly.

“Fine, it’s your neck on the line anyway,” Bilkins muttered. “He’s no longer in our custody.”

Brian laughed, it was more of a short bark of disbelief. “He escaped. One of the most wanted drug lords, and you let him escape! How the hell did that happen?”

“You tell me, O’Connor. I hear you’re the master of prison escape plans.”

Brian kicked at the ground. This couldn’t be happening. There were criminals and then there were men like Carter Verone, men who didn’t have a soul. “Any leads?”

“You know I can’t tell you that.”

Brian nodded even though Bilkins couldn’t see him. He knew how this worked, and he knew by the sound of Bilkins voice they had no clue where Verone was, and if they did, he sure wasn’t in their jurisdiction anymore. All he could say was, “Rome.”

“We have taken into account the risk to Mr. Pearce,” Bilkins acknowledged.

“Yeah, that makes me feel a lot better.”

“Is there anything else you wanted to discuss, O’Connor?” Bilkins asked, his tone indicating he was through with this conversation.

“He’ll come for me,” Brian said, the sudden chill danced down his spin as if a bucket of ice had just dropped down the back of his shirt. Dom, Mia, and Leon – none of them were safe, not while Brian stayed here.

“I’ve thought of that as well,” Bilkins said. “Brian, we can protect you. If you’ll-“

“What if I can do one better?” Brian asked, the wheels in his head turning a mile a minute.

The sound of a creaking desk chair leaning back echoed through the phone. “What are you suggesting?”

“I can go where you don’t have jurisdiction,” Brian said, the words tumbling out of his mouth. “I’ll bring him to you.”

Bilkins laughed. “Carter Verone. You’re going to capture Carter Verone.”

What was one more case? After all, if he refused to be the hunter, he’d remain the prey. “This has to be an embarrassment to the Bureau,” Brian mused. “A wanted man escaping while in your custody. Not good publicity if you ask me.”

“The press doesn’t know about it,” Bilkins hissed. “And if they found out, I give you my word I’ll –“

“An exchange, then,” Brian said. “I’ll give you Verone.”

“And what you do want? I can’t give you immunity, O’Connor. If you set foot in this country –“

Brian shook his head. “That’s not what I want.”

Bilkins paused. “If you think Toretto is going to –"

“No, not Toretto.”

The chair creaked again. “Then what? I admit you’re a good guy, current circumstances aside, but you have to want something.”


Bilkins paused as if his mind was trying to place that name. “Toretto’s sister?”

“I want her cleared. Of everything. And don’t say you can’t do it because I know you can. You did it for me once.” The other end of the phone was quiet, and Brian said, “She’s no risk and you know it. She wanted to protect her brother, and now she wants to finish college. You can do that.” Brian knew Mia didn’t even register on the criminal radar when a name like Carter Verone was tossed around. Hell, Verone made Dom look like a saint. Brian knew it, and so did Bilkins.

Bilkins sighed. “That all?”

“I want her to be able to cross the border whenever she feels like it. No red flags and no following her.”

“So she can see Toretto, you mean.”

“You guys lost a major drug lord who has rap sheet that's longer than Toretto’s ever hoped to be. As far as risks to public safety, who do you think is more dangerous?” Brian asked conversationally. “But if you don’t want to do it, that’s fine. I’m sure there’s several reporters that would love to hear –“

“Don’t threaten me, O’Connor.”

It was never about threats or keeping himself safe. To Brian, Verone was one of the lowest life forms on earth, a man that existed purely for profit, and didn’t give a shit about anything but himself and his money. What kind of man uses a rat to torture someone? “It’s not a threat. You know the kind of man Verone is. He’s dangerous. The longer he’s free, the more people are going to die. If you can sleep with that then –“

The words Brian never expected to hear drifted through the receiver. “Mia’s cleared.”

“I want the paperwork sent to an attorney in Panama.” Brian rattled off the contact information. “Got it?”

“You don’t trust me, do you?”

“I was promised immunity for a friend before,” Brian replied. “I’m not as quick to trust these days.”

“Anything else?” Bilkins asked.

“You keep your guys watching Rome,” Brian said. “Just don’t let him know he’s being watched. He’ll lose his shit if he finds out.”

“We’ll have two agents on him at all times.”


“So how exactly do you plan to catch him?” Bilkins asked curiously.

Brian pressed his back against the car hood, the warmth seeping through his shirt. “Easy. Be seen. I’ll call you when I have him.”

“O’Connor –" Bilkins paused – “Be careful. Verone has a lot of resources, and if something happens to you -"

“I won’t expect a funeral,” Brian said. This mission was off the radar and out of the books. The risks were his and his alone. “Oh, and Bilkins?”


“I’m going to need a car.”

“A car,” Bilkins said flatly.

“Something fast,” Brian mused. “Take it to the shop in Miami. I’ll work out the transport deals later.”

“What makes you think we won’t track you?”

“How badly do you want Verone?”

When Bilkins didn’t respond, Brian said, “Exactly.” He closed the phone on Bilkins’ continued silence.

Chapter 7
Tags: along the way, fanfic, fast and furious

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