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It's a wrap!
The room was nice, but the sunlight made him sneeze for some reason. Sneezing really hurt, both his face and his head. When he’d opened his eyes the first thing he saw was the top of Dom’s head. Dom hadn’t shaved for a while and his skull looked like a shadow was creeping across it.
“Don’t,” Dom was saying low and gruff in his ear. Brian realized that he was fighting with the railing to the bed, fighting with the odd tubes on his hand (the IV), and struggling to get up.
“Don’t,” Dom repeated and he was there suddenly, big eyed. Bandages on him too, looking blazing white in the sun. “Don’t get up.”
“Ah oan wanna…” Brian trailed off, the sound of his own voice surprised him. He felt a lot better than he sounded, but he didn’t really sound very good. And now that the sleep or unconsciousness or medication-induced stupor was receding, he didn’t really feel that good either.
“I know,” Dom was looking at him very carefully. “I know.”
Brian lay still and let Dom look. Dom got closer, nudging Brian’s chin with his nose and Brian realized he was looking for a safe place to put his mouth. Brian tilted his chin up to make it easier. Brian felt warmth and lassitude spread over him while Dom shoved his face deeper into the hollow of his throat. Tentatively, he touched Dom’s cheekbone with the tips of his fingers. Dom snagged Brian’s hand and pressed it to his mouth and an unmarked length of time disappeared. Finally, Dom pulled back and they looked at each other for a while.
“Yeah,” Dom gestured apologetically. “You passed out and we…Christ, Brian.”
“S’okay,” Brian held up one hand reassuringly. He noticed that it seemed to work fine, despite the bruises and abrasions that curled up his wrist like a tattoo. “U mah nest uh kin?”
Dom grinned and rubbed at the deep etched lines in his forehead. “Yeah, is that okay?”
Brian squeezed his eyes shut and nodded. He could feel the weight of Dom’s elbow, pushing down one side of the bed. Dom couldn’t seem to stop rubbing his thumb over Brian’s knuckles and it was starting to hurt a little. Brian opened his eyes.
“U ganna crah?” Brian said, after a while. “U a beeg gull?”
Dom pressed both his lips together and nodded seriously. “Yes, I am going to cry. Yes, I am a big girl. I appreciate that you notice these things.”
“Beeg gulls doan crah, Dom,” Brian shook his head, very grave.
Dom made a sound between a snort and a growl, pressed his face into Brian’s armpit while he gripped the bed’s railing until it groaned. Brian felt the tremors of his laughter through the whole mattress. He stroked both hands over the back of Dom’s head until Dom stood up abruptly and strode to the window. Dom dug the heels of his hands into his eye sockets and he bent double as the light hit him. Brian watched, frozen. Dom shook and muttered the word ‘Fuck’ as his eyes streamed.
The second time he woke up, it was to a low-voiced argument. Rome’s angry hisses pitted against Dom’s low-voiced rumble.
Brian listened for a minute, then called, “U kids playan nahss?”
“Ah, man, you’re awake,” Rome came over and threw himself in the nearest chair. “Tell this asshole that I don’t need to be here twenty-four-fucking-seven, okay?”
Brian looked at Rome steadily until Rome fidgeted in his chair. He shifted his gaze to Dom, “E hades ospidas.”
“Who likes hospitals?” Dom had folded his arms and was frowning at the back of Rome’s head. “I just wanna go get us a couple of Jamba Juices and for some reason he can’t sit here for half an hour.”
“S’okay, now that my man is awake,” Rome said sullenly. “Just can’t watch a man sleep, dude. ‘S weird.”
Dom sighed, shook his head and left.
“That dude is one stubborn motherfucker,” Rome pointed after Dom firmly. “Boy is a mule. And he acts like you’re made of damn glass, man.”
Brian shrugged, “Ahm nod.”
Rome relaxed back in his chair. “I know you’re not, brah. I know this.”
Rome fidgeted a little more and said, “You really okay?”
“Ah bee OK,” Brian tried to smile but it just made Rome wince.
“Man, that motherfucker,” Rome slapped his thigh. “I could just…whatever Vince did, it wasn’t enough.”
“Vinzth?” Brian blinked.
“Yeah, one of Dom’s million and one guys,” Rome snorted. “Got extremely good timing, I will say that for the man. Smells like a brewery though…”
“Rome, gimme zha staaree,” Brian balled up a tissue and threw it at Rome’s face. “Ah knaaw Vinzth.”
“OK then, why you acting all surprised?” Rome threw up his hands. “We got there, Verone was escaping, Vince had the bike, I sicced him on Verone, so I could find you. You following me here? So I don’t know the rest of the story yet, but the boy had a baseball bat and it looked like he knew how to use it.”
Unconsciously, Brian rubbed the back of his own head which now had some kind of bandage.
“You wanted me to stay on him?” Rome tilted his head down and looked out at Brian sideways from under his brows. “I just thought…I mean…”
“Man, jus’ shud up,” Brian held out his hand and Rome took it underhand like they were about to arm wrestle. “You knaw you did aww raahd.”
“Yeah, well, I’m sure our boy saw to Verone,” Rome said in a tone that wanted to convince himself more than Brian.
“Bed he did,” Brian nodded. “He owes me one.”
When Brian filtered up to himself the third time, Dom wasn’t there. In his place a handsome young Asian man sat, grinning, half-framed by a cell phone. He was talking rapidly in something that Brian took to be Japanese. The cadences of it were soothing, and he drifted for a while just listening to the handsome man talk and laugh with whomever.
Finally, the man wrapped up his conversation and clicked his phone shut. “Sorry, if I woke you.”
Brian turned to look at him and made a dismissive gesture. “’s nothing.”
“I’m Han, by the way,” Han didn’t offer a hand, he just relaxed further into his chair and nodded at Brian as if it were all the most normal thing in the world.
After a second, Brian mouthed out, “You a friend of Dom’s?” It came out kind of like ‘Ya-a-frenuvdamms?’
“Mmmhmm,” Han was still smiling down at his cell phone.
Brian said without intending to “I never met you.” He flushed for a second, hoping Han hadn’t understood him, but no such luck.
“We go a ways back, but we run in some different circles nowadays,” Han shrugged, “Dom’s got a lot of friends.”
Painkillers made him stupidly voluble. Brian mumbled, “I don’t,” again without intending to. But it came out kind of muffled and mumbled. He doubted Han had heard him.
Han didn’t move but his voice sounded like an invisible shrug. “But if you’ve got friends like Dom, you don’t really need a lot.”
Brian stayed silent.
“Plus your buddy, Roman.” Han flicked his eyes as if he could see Roman through the wall. “Seems pretty solid.”
“Yeah, he’s a good ol’ guy,” Brian touched the blank spaces in his mouth with his tongue for the thousandth time.
Han nodded, “Reminds me of Dom. Kinda. Just a little.” Han chuckled at Brian’s expression. “OK, I see you don’t agree.”
Brian shrugged, “Never thought about it, I guess.” It came out like ‘nevahtautaboudid’.
“They’re both kind of…relentless,” Han explained. “They both got that dangerous stubborn streak.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Brian relaxed a little. It did feel astonishingly normal. Just sitting here chilling. Shooting the breeze. Not like he was wearing what was essentially a dress on backwards with an IV jutting out of his hand.
“Me, I kinda go with what flows,” Han mused.
Brian nodded in acknowledgement that that was the only way to be, “So, was that your girlfriend?”
Han looked askance, so Brian explained, “On the phone.”
Han snorted, “Nah. Grandmother.”
“Huh,” Brian didn’t quite know what to make of that. “That’s nice.”
“My grandma is the shit,” Han laughed to himself a little. “Almost ninety and still sharp as a tack. And tough as nails, speaking of hardware.”
Brian chuckled along with him. He envisioned some gnarled knot of a woman, tiny but tough.
“Oh yeah,” Han nodded. “She met my granddad in an internment camp. She was a biologist. And had six kids. On her last holiday, she went to Antarctica. She’s had like, colon cancer, breast cancer, all kinds of crap and still going great guns. She’s more machine than man now. Probably why she can kick my ass at Halo, five times out of six.”
“Wow,” Brian was impressed.
“Yep, she’s kind of my barometer for tough,” Han admitted.
“That’s really cool, nice that you stay in touch,” Brian said.
“Don’t really have a choice in the matter,” with a flick of his wrist, Han flung a magazine on the foot of the bed. “Rome left that for you.”
“Hope it’s not porn,” Brian picked it up. The latest EVO. Sweet.
“Depends on what you consider porn,” Han said lightly. “Take a look at the GT-R.”
“Where’s Dom?” Brian asked after a minute. Han looked away, but Brian could still see the edge of his smile. “Sacked out.” Off Brian’s look he explained. “Sleeping.”
“Ah,” Brian nodded.
“I’m really glad you’re okay,” Han said delicately.
“Thanks,” Brian looked up over the magazine. Han wasn’t looking at him, which was kind of weird.
“If you hadn’t been okay,” Han rocked his head back and forth like he was listening to inaudible music. “I think we might’ve lost…” Han stopped talking abruptly and just looked straight at Brian. “Anyway, I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Oh me too,” Brian said and smiled. Han didn’t flinch.
When he woke up again, the bedside light and a tiny lamp on the far wall were the only pools of light in the room. It was very late and Dom was glaring at him. No. He blinked. Dom was glaring across the bed at someone. Someone who was glaring back. Brian blinked harder.
“O’Conner,” Bilkins tilted his head to acknowledge Brian and then went back to glaring at Dom. “How are you feeling?”
“Confused,” Brian said honestly.
“Understandable,” Bilkins said gruffly. “Could you ask Toretto to leave?”
Dom shot Brian a look which suggested that not even tectonic plates colliding would move him.
“Only if he wants to,” Brian tried to say lightly. “What’s this about, Bilkins?”
“It’s about the case we’re putting together,” Bilkins sounded like he was trying not to grind his teeth. “Against Carter Verone.”
Brian was distracted from his sudden maelstrom of emotion by a loud crack. Both he and Bilkins stared at Dom who examined the armrest that he’d snapped off the chair dispassionately and then dropped it on the floor. Dom went back to glaring at Bilkins.
“O’Conner,” Bilkins took a deep breath. “Do you need me to explain the legal concept of an alternative explanation of events?”
Brian licked his lower lip, even though it hurt like hell. Bilkins continued inexorably.
“We have got a forensic team combing the site of an abandoned restaurant up in the Angeles Crest right now. They’ve pulled out the remains of nine people so far. Preliminary identification has pulled up sheets on seven of them. And we picked up Carter Verone two miles down the road, saved his life, I might add, because he’d somehow fallen foul of a biker gang, who fled the scene when we arrived.”
Bilkins shifted his eyes from Brian to Dom, “Now, he’s in intensive care. One of his kidneys is ruptured; he’s got a hole in his leg the size of a golf ball and the way he’s been beaten around the face makes you look like an oil painting, O’Conner. He may die. Then again, he may not.”
Dom leaned back and folded his arms.
“Now, me, I got my own theories about what happened. But most of my forensic evidence is charred beyond recognition at this point,” Bilkins stroked his chin. “That building is cinders. And so there is nothing to keep any half-way decent defense attorney from conjuring up an alternative explanation of events which has Carter Verone kidnapped for 40 hours, held up there, beaten and…tortured.”
Bilkins paused and let the silence work.
“Of course,” Bilkins took a deep breath, like he was stifling a yawn. “We got time while he recovers to follow all the trails down, phone records, gather up some other accomplices…but it’d go easier if I had some kind of relatively unassailable witness, like say, a police officer….”
“Former police officer,” Brian said faintly.
“A police officer,” Bilkins spoke over him easily. Dom’s scowl seemed to extend beyond the confines of his face. “I had testimony like that, it could help me make a case for not extraditing Verone back to Miami…help the state of California build a solid case for crimes against persons, homicide. You know I have a lot of…local support on that front. Verone gets offered no deals; he stays here, in California.”
Brian swallowed and blinked. In his head, Sergeant Tanner smiled at him gently.
Bilkins looked straight at Dom. “So at the end of the day, he does state time.”
Dom’s face was unreadable.
Bilkins drawled. “You got any friends left in Lompoc, Toretto?”
Dom still sat stone-faced, but he wasn’t glaring.
Bilkins paused and stroked his moustache. “You think about it, O’Conner. If I can’t get you for a witness, I’d still sponsor your app at the Academy. I’ve been at the Bureau for fifteen years and I know that one thing that all the best agents have is emotional resilience.”
Bilkins stood up and smoothed his jacket. “Resourcefulness, too. Ability to plan imaginatively. Think outside the box.” He seemed to be almost talking to himself.
Dom stood up too, whether to usher Bilkins out or shove him out, Brian wasn’t sure. Bilkins sketched a salute and made to leave, but at the door he turned. “Think about it, O’Conner. Hours are shit, pay is pretty shit, but it’s got it own rewards. Plus we got great medical. Dental.” Bilkins tapped his own pearly whites with a fingernail and left.
“You look like shit,” Vince said with his usual amount of tact.
“Mmmm, s’funny,” Brian blinked at him. “I feel graaaade.” He stretched a little and wondered if he were dreaming. He noticed Dom sitting by the window. Dom smirked at him and went back to watching Vince like a hawk. Maybe he wasn’t dreaming.
One side of Vince’s mouth curled up and he clumped his feet more firmly on the chair he’d pulled up for a footrest.
“How’re you doin’?” Brian quirked his chin. It hurt and tingled. Now his face itched all over. Cuts were seaming. It still took a lot of effort to make an ‘H’ sound. He’d been on antibiotics for two days and the swelling was starting to subside somewhat, but his mouth still felt inflated like a balloon.
Vince shrugged, “Good to be back in the States. Don’t really realize you miss it until you get back.”
“How’s your ahrm?” Brian pointed to his own arm in case it wasn’t clear. Vince held up his arm and studied it. The long gashes where the cable had torn into him were slowly lightening to an angry pink. “It aches, but I got full mobility. In the mornings, it’s stiff.”
“What’s stiff?” Leon piped up slyly. Vince grabbed his crotch theatrically and flipped Leon off, grinning.
“This one took a little longer,” He stood up and peeled up his t-shirt so that Brian could see the starfish of gnarled tissue at the base of his ribcage. “But you know, beats the alternative.”
Vince looked right at Brian as he said that and Brian nodded, acknowledging his thanks.
“So, anyways, this cocksucker, what’s his name?” Vince polled the room.
“Doesn’t matter,” Dom growled while Leon muttered, “Verone.”
“So, he didn’t get far,” Vince smirked. “That part of the Angeles Crest, it’s real easy to meet with an accident. And he was hurt pretty bad, even before Chaco took a bat to his rear tire. Someone’d juked him and he was bleeding like a pig.”
Dom cut his eyes over at Brian who shrugged.
“When we left, he was bleeding a little more. And he’d lost a few more teeth than you, guy, but…” Vince sighed. “There were some factors beyond my control.”
“The cops showed up?” Dom asked flatly.
“Got it in one, man,” Vince grunted. “How’d you know?”
“Lucky guess,” Dom muttered.
“Thanks,” Brian said, looking at Vince and then Leon. “For everything.” Leon fidgeted and patted the top of Brian’s foot uncomfortably. But Vince looked straight down at him and drawled, “It’s all good.” Vince half-grinned and punched Dom playfully. “We’re all good.”
“Show me,” Rome bared all his teeth at Brian comically.
Brian sighed and peeled his own lips back.
“Wow,” Rome leaned over and almost stuck a finger in Brian’s mouth until Brian smacked his hand away. “Good as new. That’s truly cool.”
“Clothes,” Brian nudged Rome ungently. “Focus, please. I wanna get out of here this century.”
“Temper, temper,” Rome handed over the bag and grinned. When Brian came out of the bathroom, he was doing a little Harlem shuffle.
“Someone’s in a good mood,” Brian muttered. He himself was having difficult hiding his own elation. Wearing his own clothes was so awesome. Walking, talking, eating, drinking, and chewing had never seemed like such cool and fun things to do before. Not being under threat of a painful and humiliating demise was also pretty sweet. The simple pleasures of life were best, Brian decided.
“Leon fixed the Spyder,” Rome popped and locked for a moment.
Brian snorted with laughter, “Of course he did, Mr. Jackson.”
“You ain’t gotta be a dick about it,” Rome said aggrieved. “Car’s fixed, you’re fixed, don’t be hating just because a brother feels the love.”
By the time they got to the lobby, Rome had distracted the nurse (who was, Brian acknowledged, righteously adorable) enough so that Brian could snake out of the wheelchair a few steps shy of the door. The sun hit the back of his head like a slap and the breeze tugged at him. He took a deep breath.
Dom was leaning against a…Brian blinked. “Is that a GT-R?”
Dom looked down and then rocked his head back, miming surprise, “I dunno, is it?”
“That’s a fucking…” Brian trailed off and just gawked. “How the hell did you…?”
“Mysterious ways, man,” Rome strode up, tapping a new number into his phone. “Best not to ask too many questions. I suspect Han and boatload of scrilla.”
Brian just held his hand out and Dom tossed him the keys with a grin, standing up.
“Shotgun?” Rome looked hopeful and Dom growled, “I know you’re kidding.”
“Turn here,” Dom pointed.
“Where are we headed?” Brian turned hard, thrilling to feel the grip as the tires clawed the road.
“Do you really care?” Dom shoved his sunglasses down and looked at Brian over the top of the lenses.
“Nah,” Brian found an empty straightaway and punched the gas hard enough to throw Dom’s head back.
“This is nice, is this yours, D?” Brian walked through the house to the deck. The contrast of the azure sky pulled out all the dusky pink hues of the desert. In winter, the air of Palm Desert felt as cool and refreshing as water.
“Old friend,” Dom said vaguely. “She’s getting ready to sell it, but we can stay here for a while. Just thought it would be…peaceful.”
Rome hooted when he saw the pool. “And that’s my first stop.” He loped off with his bag.
Brian walked through the house while Dom examined the contents of the fridge and cabinets. Long front room with two couches clustered around a TV at one end. A table with half a dozen Shaker chairs. The front bedroom with floral curtains, a large bathroom, cheerful with Mexican tiles. The master bedroom, lined with closets and double doors out to the courtyard and the pool where Rome was already floating. Another, smaller bathroom with just a shower. It looked like a dream of a life he’d never had. A normal life.
Brian leaned on the double doors and watched Rome bob around.
“What’re you thinking?” Dom stood, framed by the door, bag in hand.
Brian shrugged, “For a person with about 6% body fat, he floats pretty well.”
Dom glanced out at Rome and snorted. “Wonder how he’ll react when he finds the Jacuzzi.”
“Yeah,” Brian looked down at his feet. “Find myself wondering how he’ll react to a lot of things.”
It was funny, Brian thought, how he’d used to find Dom so difficult to read. Dom had always seemed so contained and controlled, but now, even though his face didn’t shift at all, Brian could practically feel Dom’s heart beating from where he stood.
Dom swallowed and said, “Yeah.”
Brian looked over at him, “So put your bag down.”
Dom put his bag down very slowly and they had a whole conversation with eyes and no words.
Brian looked out to where Rome was grinning and gesturing splashily, “Jacuzzi!”
“Man, this is fucked up,” Rome said for the third time the following morning.
“Get over it,” Brian picked apart a blueberry muffin. Whatever Dom was doing in the kitchen smelled a lot more appetizing than the fakey blueberries that made his teeth ached.
“I don’t see why…I mean,” Rome was shaking his head in wonder. “I mean, you get tortured by a psychopath for almost two days, but I’ve got to have the psychotic breakdown. Doesn’t seem fair.”
“You’re not having a psychotic breakdown,” Brian chewed some unadorned muffin. “You’re just a jerk.”
“I’m a jerk? Me?” Rome rolled up a newspaper and took a swing at Brian with it. “You’re the one who’s keeping the big secrets, kind of life-changing secrets from me, your best fucking friend…”
“OK, let’s review,” Brian tilted back in his chair. “Could you maybe suggest a more opportune time over the past ten days, when I could have sat you down and said, Rome, buddy, look there are some things you don’t know about me and there are definitely some things you don’t know about Dom Toretto? When do you think I should’ve worked that in?”
Rome scowled at him and took an angry chomp of his own muffin.
“I wasn’t keeping it from you,” Brian wiped his palms with a napkin. “And how much is it going to change things, really?”
Rome leaned over his plate and muttered something that sounded like ‘wingman’.
“Ah,” Brian said very seriously, “So your objection isn’t moral, just practical? Me being with Dom might keep you from scoring trim?”
Rome’s face was all glare.
“Look…can you have a married wingman?” Brian asked reasonably.
Rome mumbled, “I guess.”
“So you can have a wingman who’s otherwise unavailable right?” Brian asked, oozing the reasonableness.
Rome squinted suspiciously. “You guys are married?”
A plate full of scrambled eggs smashed on the tile next to their feet. Dom managed to steady the tray he was holding and set it on the table.
“I’ll clean that up,” Dom said reassuringly, but he looked a little pale. Brian felt a sudden urge to punch both of them.
“I’m gonna go lie down,” Brian said, rubbing his temples.
“Whatever,” Rome grunted sullenly. “Least I don’t have to sleep on the couch.”
He woke up, needing to pee. The other side of the bed was empty. The bathroom was empty. Rome was snoring peacefully in the front room. Brian stood for a while and let his eyes adjust to only moonlight.
Dom was standing out by the pool, still as a statue. Brian stopped in the shadow of the lintel and watched the faint light spill over Dom’s shirtless back, the unself-conscious strength of him. Dom’s head was bowed, he might’ve been watching the ripples in the pool.
“Sorry, if I woke you,” Dom muttered so low that Brian wasn’t sure if he’d actually heard it or Dom was communicating telepathically.
“You didn’t,” Brian stepped out onto the paving stones. “Cold out here.”
Dom shrugged or shivered.
“You okay?” Brian took another step. He folded his arms against the chill.
Dom shook his head dismissively and turned around to face the desert. There were some faint stars in the east. “Just a nightmare.”
“Thought I was supposed to be the one with the nightmares?” Brian meant it to sound airy and meaningless, but it kind of missed on both counts. He’d had nightmares in the hospital when the IV had made him feel bound to the bed, but Dom had always been there, shaking him gently. They’d tapered off out here. “Can’t believe I didn’t wake up, too.”
“I wasn’t asleep,” Dom said curtly and Brian mulled the implications of that.
“You know, back at the hospital…they had me…” Dom sighed and looked straight up at the sky.
Brian waited; the cold was starting to settle in his stomach.
“Next of kin,” Dom grunted. “They had me sign off on everything they did to you.”
“And you did a great job,” Brian said, trying vainly to lighten.
“Brian,” And Dom’s voice crumbled like broken stones. “I’m so…”
“Needing to shut the hell up,” Brian finished for him. Firmly. They weren't going to talk about this if Brian had a say.
“He was…hurting you,” Dom sounded like he was pushing the words out through a pile of rocks. “And I was being fucking clever, when I should’ve been…”
“I’m glad you did it like you did,” Brian cut him off. “I got to walk out of there…well, OK, run out of there but…”
“Point is,” Brian shrugged. “I didn’t have to be carried out. So let’s call it a win.”
Dom shook his head, “But it’s my fau…”
“Look, you can’t wallow in this, like you do.” Brian punched him in the arm, knuckles out. “It’s not your goddamned fault. I need you to forget about it. So that I can.”
Dom blinked. “Not gonna forget,” he muttered.
Brian rolled his eyes, “Then pretend to.”
Brian turned around and stalked off. He called over his shoulder, “Come back to bed.”
When he felt Dom’s weight settle beside him, he took a deep breath of victory.
“Think you made enough food?” Brian poked at a hamburger. The grill was completely covered in meat. “You know Rome ain’t coming back in time for dinner, right?”
Dom grunted at him, “Have you seen what he does to a fridge that doesn’t have easily accessible leftovers? Whenever he gets back, he’ll be hungry. The man’s a menace.”
“You like him,” Brian stated.
“Sure I do,” Dom grinned. “He’s a great guy. Just eats like a vacuum cleaner. Here.”
He flipped a burger down on Brian’s plate and Brian ate it, groaning with appreciation.
“Could you stop?” Dom pressed his spatula down and the grease sizzled.
“Stop what?” Brian spoke around his full mouth.
“Making that noise,” Dom glanced at him sidelong. “It’s distracting.”
Brian licked a dab of ketchup off the corner of his mouth very deliberately. “But it’s so good.”
“I know it is,” Dom quirked his eyebrows. “You don’t need to advertise.”
Brian leaned back in his chair, and let his knees relax completely. “Sorry for breaking your concentration like that.” Dom gave him a long look.
“Eat your food,” Dom said, his low voice full of promise.
When they’d finished, the sky was scarlet and the air was cooling rapidly. Brian stood up and looked hard out at the faint glow on the horizon. Not the setting sun. Los Angeles.
“You know, that Fed said, if I convinced you to testify, he’d close my file, I could go back,” Dom’s voice almost echoed in the silence, even though he wasn’t speaking very loudly at all.
Brian turned around to face him. “Just offers, no threats?”
Dom raised one shoulder, “Said if I convinced you to go work with him, he’d lose the file and everyone else’s as well.”
“That’s a pretty sweet deal,” Brian folded his arms.
“You convincing me?” Brian asked, in his best seductive voice.
Dom tilted his chin down and said with a touch of humor, “If I wanted to be a manipulative asshole, I could just become a cop myself.”
Brian snorted. “Sweet talker.”
“It’s your life,” Dom sounded gruff. “It’s up to you.”
Brian half turned back to the glow of a billion lights. “I’d like to go back. Don’t feel like I’ve finished with it yet.”
Dom said, “You know how I said that you didn’t belong there?”
“Yeah,” Brian grinned down at his feet. “That was like a year ago.”
“It was a month ago,” Dom looked at him sideways.
Brian leaned on the railing, “Not for me.”
“Fair enough,” Dom shifted behind him, stood up and put his beer down. “Point is, you remember.”
“Sure, I remember,” Brian shivered a little.
“Maybe I was wrong,” Dom said softly.
“Yeah,” Brian sighed. “You’re often wrong.”
Dom wrapped his arms around Brian’s shoulders. The warmth made him shiver more and Dom tightened his grip. Dom rested his chin on Brian’s back and they breathed in tandem.
Dom cupped Brian’s hand which had healed, but for a few cuts. The scars were already starting to fade.
“I belong there,” Dom stroked his hand over Brian’s knuckles and pressed his thumb into Brian’s palm. “You belong with me.”