the difference between here and now
By unperfectwolf
Rated: pg
Fandom, Pairing: The Fast and The Furious, Gen: Brian O'Connor
Summary: Brian makes a joke about his family, but Dom wonders just how much of a joke it really is.
Disclaimer: not mine never was mine never will be mine.
Notes: 700 words. Holy shit guys, these boys. They have eaten me. grumble

the difference between here and now

When everyone was done eating, they all helped move the dishes inside, setting a plate of leftovers aside and wrapping the rest up to put in the fridge. Before it got dark, everyone grabbed a beer and sat out front, watching the sun go down.

Brian wasn't sure when he'd done something like this last, if he ever had. His parents hadn't been big on family dinners, and he hadn't been very welcome with friends' families. He could maybe remember Fourth of July gatherings when he was younger, where the whole neighborhood would get together and eat potluck style, but the last one had been when he was eight or so. Then the gatherings had moved into fenced backyards, and his family had never gone to one.

When he finished his beer, he got up to grab another one. Dom followed him in, grabbing Leon's empty on the way. Everyone else still had some of their drink left, and the conversations didn't stop as the two moved away. Vince glared at Brian as he went by, but that wasn't new.

Brian grabbed a beer and cracked the top with his keys, leaning back against the counter as Dom opened his and Leon's. Dom set Leon's beer down and then leaned against the fridge.

Neither of them spoke for a few minutes, just drank their beer and stared at each other. Eventually, though, Brian shifted, standing up straight and getting ready to head back out to the others.

"Were you making a joke?" Dom asked, making Brian stop and lean against the counter again.

"When?"

"When you were talking about your dad."

Brian tensed up, his eyes meeting Dom's. He didn't say anything for a long moment, then let out a sigh. He looked down at the floor and shook his head. "No, not really."

"Not really?" Dom asked. His voice was low and halfway concerned. He stood straight and took a few steps forward, until he was standing right in front of Brian. "Hey, look at me." Dom paused, waiting until Brian looked up, then repeated himself. "Not really?"

Brian licked his lips nervously, keeping his gaze up but away from Dom's. "I was fifteen when I got picked up for stealing cars. I'd only had my learner's a few months, but a friend of mine who was a year older had a deal with some shop, and he got me in on it."

After taking a drink of his beer, he glanced over at Dom for a second, then away. "My dad was… is a cop. His best friend had been the one to bust me. He probably would have let me go, but I kept mouthing off to him. And kept at it. I could have gotten out after a year, but I was young and pissed off and didn't stop pissing people off the whole time I was there."

Brian sighed. "I was seventeen when I got out. Still a minor. I had a little over a month before I turned eighteen, but after three nights at home with my dad, I took some stuff and split. I went back to see my mom when my dad wasn't home. I managed it a few times, but then one time, he was there. He tried to knock me around a bit, but man, I hadn't let anyone get away with that shit while I was in—in Adobe, and I wasn't about to let anyone do it while I wasn't. He called the cops that time. And the next time I came around to see my mom, he called them before I even got to the door."

Brian looked over at Dom again, but this time, he held his gaze. "I haven't gone back since."

Dom didn't say anything, just reached out and gripped his chin. "We don't call cops on family here, Bri. You don't have to worry about that."

Dom turned away from him then and headed back out to the porch. He didn't see the guilt in Brian's eyes or how when he blinked, it was gone.

When he looks back, Brian is pretty sure that's when he knew he wasn't going to turn Dom in, even if it was him.