Genre: definitely slash, but later. Much later.
A/N: I don't own them, obviously. Brian has enjoyed being uncooperative, so I hope this part works well. Song lyrics are included at the beginning because his character has always struck me as one that feels music as an emotive outlet even if he doesn't consciously acknowledge it. Hope you like. Comments/crits are always welcome.
We’re strange allies, with warring hearts
What a wild-eyed beast you be
The space between the wicked lies we tell
And hope to keep safe from pain
~ Dave Matthews Band, “The Space Between”
You can’t help but notice Dominic Toretto. He’s a primal force of nature. Mia once called him gravity, but I don’t know that she had it exactly correct. Gravity is stable, unchanging, constant; to my mind, Dom is the red dwarf star at the center of the galaxy. Exerting its overwhelming gravitational pull on those that wander into his life, but only the truly brave and hardy are capable of orbiting in close proximity without being burned into oblivion. Every movement, every detail, efficient to the extreme. No wasted energy, no wasted emotion… no waste of space. No room for extraneous fat under that naturally tanned skin. Not with the muscle he’s packed into it.
There’s more to him than that, though.
Those couple weeks I spent in Dom’s orbit … they feel like years whenever I think back on them. Like a data stream jumping from dial-up to DSL between one heartbeat and the next. Sensory overload.
I watched him with his team, his family, and I yearned to have that. I craved it like a NOS-junkie itching for the right moment to punch. Never going to have it, knew it then too. But you always want what you can’t have, right?
Dominic Toretto is my NOS.
That pretty much sums it up, I think.
I remember Vince and me going at it. One minute we’re slamming on each other, the next it’s not Vince in my grill but a shaved scalp and muscled torso sculpted by honest work. You can’t fake that no matter how much money or time you spend on a machine. His dark eyes are intense, crackling with electricity, “I’m in your face.”
That gaze reminds me of dark chocolate, a straight shot of espresso. Deep, rich, thick, and slightly bitter. Try to take in too much at once, and it does strange things to you. Like make you addicted, dependent. Jittery.
Dom has very expressive eyes despite his control. There’s a wealth of information there for the reading in a fleeting glance, if you know the language – or have the translation manual. Adrenaline thrumming through my veins, but I don’t even consider trying to lick into this man. I’ve stepped into his microcosm and disrupted the natural order. Thrown a wrench in the gears.
That first race… God, what a thrill it was. Ripping down the road at 150 miles an hour and looking over as I accelerate past him. I sat there with the engine billowing smoke in the aftermath, and I was a different person. I didn’t know it then; you don’t see the fine lines when you’re that close to them. It’s only from the distance time gives you that you can realize this was the point at which everything shifted on its axis.
“You never had your car,” and in that moment his rumbling voice, threading through the jeers of the crowd, is the gravitational pull that sucks me into his orbit forever.
The GPS tracking device in my Eclipse was what tipped the cops to the illegal racing activities. They could tell how fast I was going, knew what was happening, and couldn’t pass up a chance to swoop in and scoop up such rich spoils. I followed Dom as he pulled away in the RX7 out of sheer instinct, really. Didn’t think he couldn’t take care of himself in the least – no doubt his team drew the same conclusions – but his team was the perfect chance for my “in”. Despite the intercultural blending of the illegal meets, the teams themselves tended to adhere to very specific and well-defined lines of ethnicity. Toretto’s squad was the exception, not the rule, and I knew I needed whatever leverage or opportunity I could create for myself.
Especially since Bilkins and Tanner would both want my ass in a sling for sacrificing the pinks for the Eclipse. I had to make it worth it. Obviously that wasn’t my only motivation. I mean… I was driving his car. It was his and I had no intention of reneging on that.
My skin tingled, having him in the passenger seat of the car. Like static electricity jumping back and forth between us. Evading is much like pursuit driving courses in the academy, and I’ll admit I pulled out all the stops. Wanted to impress him, since it was glaringly obvious he’d been far from impressed when I raced him.
Dom’s not the chatty type. It’s all that control and efficiency – he doesn’t waste breath saying inconsequential things. I didn’t realize that at the time, though, when that rumbling purr murmurs, “Two years in Lompoc. I’ll die before I go back.” I mean, all ex-cons say that – don’t they? Say they’ll do anything to avoid going back behind bars again, but those words don’t keep them from breaking the laws and sinking further into the world of illicit activities.
When I glance over and see the faraway look in his eyes as he stares out the window, it makes all the words die in my throat and sucks the wind from my lungs.
I don’t think I’d even recovered from that when Dom denied delivery of the damned Eclipse. I stared at him with what I’m sure was a stupid look, had no idea what the hell he was doing. I wasn’t dumb enough to miss the tension and outright hostility between him and the Vietnamese. Kept my mouth shut, and watched him. Tried not to let it show that my skin was literally crawling under Lance’s stare. You’d think the man had never seen blonde hair before, or something.
It was all on Dom, though. If things got ugly, I could hold my own but my sidearm wasn’t with me; wasn’t tucked in my jeans, wasn’t slid under the front seat. Wasn’t hiding in the trunk. I took the opportunity to study Johnny Tran. Hadn’t seen him around Harry’s in my time undercover, but the Feds had a bead on that one.
If I never have to hunt down a taxi in that part of the city again, it will be too soon. Dom fell back into that same reticence, and I soaked up the sensations of comfortable silence and companionship.
When the cab finally graced the street Dom hailed it with a sharp whistle, fingers between his lips. I tried not to stare but didn’t succeed, heat pooling in my gut. We piled into the back seat and Dom gave the cabbie his address in Echo Park. That tingling sensation returned, proximity in confined space I guess. He sprawled his legs, braced his arm on the door, settled in. Between the two of us, there wasn’t much excess space. I let my head fall back against the seat, hands limp in my lap, and didn’t twitch when he shifted, when his knee came to rest against my thigh.
I stared at the sagging ceiling liner, the tang of body sweat, stale smoke and whatever shit air freshener that was blending into a revolting assault. Could feel Dom’s gaze on me. When he was still looking after a couple blocks, I rolled my head to the side and met his gaze. There wasn’t much to make out, in the intermittent streetlights. A flash of smooth scalp, dark eyes boring into me.
The corner of his mouth twitched, drawing my attention back to those lips. “Thanks.”
I stared at him, brow furrowing in confusion. Had to pick my head back up to swallow, because my mouth was suddenly devoid of moisture. “What for?”
He jerked his head back the road behind us. “Keeping your cool back there.”
“Oh.” My gaze slid past him, out the window over his shoulder. “Okay. Any time.”
His laughter was a quiet chuckle, lips curving up into a full-fledged smile. A streetlight illuminated him like a strobe, and I caught a glimpse of the glint in his gaze. He licked his lips, glanced away. “It could have been worse, you know?”
I let my head fall back again, shifted a bit on the seat to relieve some of the pressure in my groin. Suddenly my jeans were a size too small. That man’s voice should be a controlled substance. Every syllable rumbled through me, laying rubber along my nerve endings like they were sprint tracks.
“Close is a lingerie shop without a front window.” The movie reference keeps him laughing for a few moments longer, which was my goal. God, that sound is like sex. Makes my dick twitch. Of course, that could be a side effect from a lot of things. I’ve pretty much been in a state of semi-arousal since I punched the NOS earlier.
Damned thing didn’t want to go down. Underneath the prevalent stench of the cab, I could smell him. Leather, sweat, musk, cologne; a trace of NOS from the fumes and smoke of the Eclipse, too.
“I liked that car,” I said, taking in the line of his throat, the bulge of his shoulders beneath the jacket. The curve of olive flesh and hard, toned muscle beneath the stretched white cotton tank. The desire to follow those curves with fingers, tongue, lips – it was sudden, intense.
Dom rested his right arm up on the back of the seat, his knee pushing into my thigh with more insistence. “So did I.”
Yeah, that whole thing could have turned out worse. Those bullets would have torn through flesh as easily as they punctured that car. It chilled my blood, how close our escape was. And it had nothing, really, to do with much except a streak of petulance on the part of those Vietnamese. Obviously they had a bone to pick with Dom, but it hadn’t yet crossed over into outright bloodshed.
The silence stretches out. I roll my head to look at him and his gaze is right there, meeting mine. Watching me. He licks his lip, but those dark eyes don’t falter. Right then, I know he feels it too.
Whatever this is. NOS in our blood, maybe? But no, it was there earlier today too. I know he felt it then, just like he does now. It’s something else.
His gaze slides away and he runs his left hand back over his scalp, turns to stare out the window. I wonder what he’s thinking, watching his profile and the play of light and shadow. The strong line of his jaw, the tension in his neck. My fingers ache to trace those lines, feel the heat and life beneath flesh. I can almost sense the wave of intensity that would match mine ounce for ounce.
But I keep my hands in my lap. He looks down at his knee, that single point of contact. Dom doesn’t move away, doesn’t lift his gaze; just watches me in his peripheral vision. I don’t look away.It didn’t get tense and awkward until we got closer to his house.
I’d hoped he would invite me in, but I was not about to impose on his hospitality. I was fighting off that jittery post-adrenaline crash as it was. Didn’t think I could keep my cool or rein in my fists if Vince decided to start another pissing contest with me.
When he offered me a beer, I could tell it was half gratitude and half challenge. And it was more than a beer he was offering me. That much was obvious the moment I set foot inside and kicked the door shut.
I’ll never forget the way his voice sounded like some Charger revving its Hemi at the starting line, “you can have any brew you want, as long as it’s a Corona.” Being the outsider, I could clearly see him tightening the weave of his team. Reasserting his authority and position. Frankly, I half expected him to whip it out and start marking his territory or something. If the tension hadn’t been so thick, I might have laughed. Wasn’t about to get in the middle of it, though. It would only make them see a weakness. And Dom wouldn’t want my interference. Even if it was blatantly clear he’d just firmly defined my membership in his inner circle.
In essence, Dominic Toretto – everything about him, from his life, to his moods, his physique and the very sound of his voice – is his father’s Charger. Haunted by specters of the past that he cannot or will not release, and they shadow every move he makes. His body is all solid lines and his voice growls on that low register that just rumbles through to the deepest corners, shakes your bones. Even in his calm, controlled moments, it’s easy to see that the containment on that power is a fine, fragile thing.
Even sitting in the driver’s seat, you don’t control a car like that Charger.
All you can do is grip the steering wheel, nudge it, and pray to all that’s holy that you make it through the experience in one piece.
In the end, not a single one of us succeeded.
“He owns you now, you know.” Mia … she acted like she was telling me something I didn’t understand.
She never caught on that he’d owned me before that.