Faster Than Flying
Disclaimer: I do not own anything pertaining to the copyrights of "Harry Potter", movies or books, nor "The Fast and the Furious" movies; accusations to the contrary will be met with bemusement. (That's confusion, not amusement…)
Note: so, to celebrate the end of this story I put up my first fic cover image, thoughts?
(After doing so I found the perfect image for 'It's Not A Rabbit Hat', and couldn't resist - but this one was the first! Honest!)
Speaking of It's Not A Rabbit Hat…although this story is finished, if you have ideas featuring Dom and Harry or Brian or Vince or some combination there of (I've always been fond of Jesse too…) and would like to prompt them, please do so here in a review or a PM, thank you all for reading!
Home is the Heart
They gathered together in the kitchen and Harry was reminded of Molly Weasley, and how in the Burrow the heart of their home had been the kitchen, Molly's domain. It was hearth and home, where meals were made and served to keep the family healthy and whole.
Surrounded as Harry was with people, mostly strangers who had taken him in with more warmth than friendship could claim to, it didn't hurt so badly to remember the family that had all but adopted him, welcomed him in with open arms (despite the danger they must have known would follow him) and how he'd chosen them as his kin in turn. Ginny could have been his wife, if she'd had her say.
Harry smiled, briefly looking to Letty and Mia – in this home there wouldn't be such a neat fix.
"Did you clean in here?" Vince asked of Dom, his tone incredulous, knowing Dom's habits – and giving voice to them as only the best of friends could. At his words Letty and Mia looked around, Letty looking suspiciously to Harry who avoided her dark gaze by looking to the table he sat at among them. He stared at the wood, its whirls and circles marking it as true wood. Those shapes within the wood were much like ruins; the ancient written word of magic, that Harry couldn't help but think that by such patterns in nature words must have been born.
Harry wondered what kind of wood it was, perhaps holly as his wand had once been, or related to vine wood like Hermione - or the ash that Ron had had. It was bitter sweet, the memory of them, but growing more sweet than bitter year by passing year.
That too was in part what Harry had run from so far, forgetting any part of them, the bitter with the sweet, it was painful to close his eyes and not recall the shape of Hermione's nose, what shade of red was Ginny's hair, or the freckles on Ron's face.
Day by day he lost bits and pieces of them; until Harry feared that all would be left of them were shadowed memories and names with vaguely recalled faces. Moving portraits and pictures were all well and good, but they weren't the living person – only an echo of memories given the words and appearance, like a Pensieve anyone passing could glimpse.
Harry could not bring himself to see them like that, not yet – yet he felt alone in that wish, in his own world the halls of Hogwarts and nearly all the walls of homes of wizard and witch alike had such moving portraits, to remember heroes. There were many reasons that Harry had left the magical world, which like his memories were bitter – and sweet.
There were things that Harry had seen that he felt he would never be clean of, and doing housework was much simpler, keeping his mind occupied by tasks, one goal at a time – and anyone who would judge him for it or begrudge a man helping clean house wasn't worth much in Harry's eyes.
"No…" Dom answered his friend, with a look to Harry. Vince could guess from that look, which of them had to be cleaning things up. Harry looked up from the table top and met Vince's eyes, held them, as if daring Dom's friend to mock him.
"Yes, actually, if I'm to be spending my time here and Dom doesn't object," at that Mia snorted and Dom ducked his head with a smirk. "I'll spend my time as I like, cleaning, cooking, reading, riding…." Harry shrugged, trailing off with a shrug, not glancing away from Vince.
Vince wasn't that stupid, if he wanted to keep peace under his own roof – which besides his son and Letty now held Mia and Brian, he wasn't about to object to a man doing work around the house. That wasn't his objection to begin with.
Harry was Dom's guest – not friend, or family, but a stranger who had needed a place to go for a night and Dom had opened his doors. It didn't matter much to Vince if Harry was paying for the privilege however he and Dom did or did not work that out, but a guest didn't work in a house they stayed in - that to Vince was a bit like slavery or servants.
"You're his guest, man, you're paying Letty for the bike and Letty will probably give Dom money for a loan or to borrow or he'll ask me sometime – so it sort of doesn't sit right, you know?" Vince shifted in the wooden chair feeling as if it might as well be hard as metal and cold as ice.
He knew Brain was looking to him and Mia trading looks with Letty, and he didn't dare look to see Dom's reaction yet – he kept his eyes on Harry as he struggled to explain what he'd never quite put into words before.
"I wasn't asked to help around the house, but I can appreciate your concern. I'll not let myself get taken advantage of." Harry didn't smile, but his green eyes squinted in mirth at Vince. He'd guessed it was something like that, but wizards and witches had had an older system of barter and trade before they'd settled for trying goblin coins for goods. Harry had found Molly knew the older system better than the coined kind, and that was how older families had found themselves at a loss with changes – and why Arthur had looked closely to muggles to see how they managed it.
"Well, now that that's settled. Let's have drinks?" Dom offered, with a glance to his refrigerator and cupboards. Dom and Brian got up, headed toward them, but were halted by what Harry said next.
"It's best if we don't have anything alcoholic." Harry looked to Mia, who nodded when Dom looked to her - and Brian frowned in puzzlement.
"Why?" Brian asked, blunt and confused by the look on Letty's face and the careful calm on Vince's features. Dom laughed, and Vince relaxed as it was clear that Brian hadn't known and wasn't marrying Mia because of her pregnancy, which Dom might object to as it could lead to resentment between the two later. No one could – or should - keep a couple together that loved each other but could not live together, certainly not a child.
"How did you know…?" Mia asked of Harry, she'd told Letty, but had wanted to wait till Brian had asked Dom before she told either her brother or fiancé that she – they –were now expecting a baby. She hadn't wanted the knowledge to push either of them, one way or another. There was time before she showed, and she was curious to know Harry could know so certainly and meeting her for the first time.
"Just a lucky guess, I guess." Harry tried to not make much of it, shrugging one shoulder as if the question was only an unpleasant itch. Dom's glance at him showed how he wasn't fooled, and knew somehow Harry had a way of knowing – on top of his being a wizard with all its wand waving and magic words.
"Do you have the baby's name picked out yet?" Harry asked of Mia, teasing, she looked to Brian and then to Dominic, and nodded.
"Jack, I think, for my dad." Mia watched her brother's reaction with care; it was to look to Brian, as if to check that Brian wasn't going to argue with Mia's choice.
"Better your old man then mine, Mia." Dom clasped his hand on Brian O'Conner, holding firm and steady. Brian gave the other a small smile, brittle, knowing that Dom was telling him silently that he wasn't alone, that his friend would soon be made his brother by marriage to Mia.
"So, now that that's settled," Letty smiled at Harry and he knew her words to be a distraction, to give Brian distance between now and his history. "I've a surprise for you. Your bike's done, you want to see it?" Dom's eyes widened in surprise, while Harry's smile made every bit of work she had done on it – and made Mia and Vince and Brain help with at the end, worth it.
"Yes, yes of course. I knew there was a reason I liked you." Harry looked ready to stand and bolt out, his fingers twitching as if to already try to touch what wasn't there.
"Likewise, m'lord Harry." Letty laughed with a wink. Harry looked up to catch Dom's staring, narrow eyed and almost suspicious in his surprise.
"But… you only got the contract, Okaying payment and everything today." Dom's expression showed his obvious dismay – if one knew what to look for, and Mia and Letty and Vince knew – while Harry and Brian saw only his worry at Harry's sudden good news.
"I figured you and Harry were good for it, and I was right, wasn't I?" Letty with her dark eyes and smirk dared Dom to deny that Harry wasn't – or that Dom wouldn't have paid her back for the bike if it had made Harry happy to have it.
Yet it was clear that Dom had expected to have more time with Harry and for a moment Letty felt bad about that – but it wasn't right, that Harry be trapped with Dom until Dom made up his mind on his feelings. Harry should be free to have his own feelings and make his own choices about them too.
"Where is it?" Harry queried with puppy-like eagerness.
"My garage, Dom can take you there." Letty hadn't looked away from Dom's own stare, but when Harry looked to him, Dom broke the look they were sharing.
She hid her own knowing smile, although Brian frowned between Harry and Dom in dawning suspicion, and when Brian looked to Vince – Vincent's nod was all the confirmation he needed to pin down that suspicion of feeling to something. It was good to know that Mia's future husband was not a blind one.
"Would you?" Harry asked, and that was what Letty liked about him – he asked – he wasn't lordish enough to assume.
"Of course, come on, the sooner we go the sooner we can come back. I'm sure Letty and Mia will mix up some fruity non-alcoholic drinks to torture us – er- toast the coming bells and babe with." Dom stood and headed to the door, knowing that Harry was quickly standing to follow him out. He took one look to check how close Harry was behind him, and saw Brian mouth silently 'nice save' to him. Dom smiled his thanks as he held open the door for Harry, and followed Harry out in turn.
"This way," Dom calls to Harry, waving him around to the side that Harry hadn't noticed before. "This is my garage." It isn't much to look like and is tucked in the back of the house rather than the front side, and it feels like a secret. Yet it's his now, what was once his dad's black 1970 Dodge Charger R/T is sitting there, like stalking hunter, ready to snatch from life those who are unwary of it's power. Dom has never been so careless, not since he saw his dad's crash.
It's what Don doesn't say about the car sitting front and enter of everything, like a shrine, that catches Harry's attention, he looks to Dom's face, his dark eyes, his stillness, and knows that a loss in Dom's life is linked to this car he keeps polished and purring.
"Was it your dad's?" Harry asks, softly, careful.
"It was my dad's first, but mine now, yes." It still scares Dom, but it's his, his freedom in ten seconds. He wonders, sometimes, what it would be like to just leave –in the middle of the night, without saying a word to anyone – he'd drive off with nothing but what he needs and a few keepsakes, and drive until he could move in somewhere – somewhere no one knows anything about him, maybe where they don't even speak English.
Dom wonders if that's what Harry did. Dom knows he can't do the same – the Charger is both bait – and trap.
"He died in it, didn't he?" Harry can't help but be blunt about death, he sees no sense in euphemisms – living is alive, dead is dead. Both can hurt the living – but ghosts, with them, they can't feel pain, only a sense of wrongness, of displacement that makes them linger until they resolve whatever piece of them they forgot they needed to put right. Some of them don't want to be whole – but, in the end – they all go on.
"Yes." Dom says, blunt, knowing as he says it that there are no signs of that crash anywhere – his dad's body is ashes, the car restored – and looking at where he wrecked, you couldn't tell now that anything live-altering had happened to anyone, let alone death and dying. Dom thought about saying that too, but as Harry looks along the drive – no more than dirt and gravel until it hits the street, pockmarked black tar lined with faint yellows and whites.
Dom senses that Harry knows what sort of scars a seemingly ordinary place can show up. Harry starts to talk, soft and thoughtful, not really to Dom - but to himself, as if his own words can help him to sort his thoughts. Maybe they do. Dom has the feeling that Harry doesn't really talk about his story – not because it isn't important– but because it's the sort of story everyone knows about him, if they've heard of him and likely before they met him. Dom is the exception in this – in most everything since meeting Harry.
"There is this village in England called Godric's Hollow where I was born and I guess where my parents wanted to raise me. Not all wizards and witches are good people, like muggles we have or bad ones – and crazy, and powerful, and dark." Harry puts his hand on the sleek black Dodge Charger, wax and biting cold metal, knowing that it's as close as he will ever know of the love Dom felt for a father he knew, Harry's loss is disjointed, unbalanced, he misses what he never got a chance to truly know.
"One of the worst of the dark ones came after me because of a prophesy, I'm sure he would have come for my family eventually, my parents had been against him even while in school and faced him a number of times with a organization called the Order of the Phoenix – their headmaster, and mine, later – was the leader of it. He…he called himself the Dark Lord, Voldemort – but his name was Tom Riddle, and he killed them there, came to the door and walked in, killed my dad first – than my mom." Harry, as if the Dodge Charger is a Dementor, he can hear them being murdered all over again - his dad's shouting, his mom's pleas.
"Their cottage still stands there. The village made it into a monument. There is a statue of me as a baby with my mom and dad there too – and their bodies are laid to rest in the graveyard there. I was seventeen before I saw any of it. I still wasn't ready to see it – and yet, I didn't want to leave." There is a rough sort of longing in Harry still, and he doesn't know why he's told Dom what he has – but Dom's hand comes to rest on his neck, cradling it.
His support is a wordless weight, warm and comforting as the hand he holds onto Harry with. Harry is still under his touch, and it is not until Dom is pulling Harry face-to-face to him, his other arm circles around Harry's waist, fingers playing in the belt loops of his jeans near zipper and metal button. Harry loops his own arms around Dom in a hug, their foreheads resting against each other as they breathe together, warm private air – and Harry recalls a saying about pain shared being pain halved, and knows it for it's own wisdom.
The sudden press of Dom's lips against his brow is warm skin, and Harry up looks at him puzzled- but present, and that's what Dom cares about as he offers a small smile, not hesitant, but welcoming. Dom finds his fingers curling around the base of Harry's neck and tangling in the small hairs that grow there– but he doesn't pull the wizard toward him. Harry smiles, something between shy and sweetly – it's Harry that moves forward and his kiss is slick from just licked lips, his tongue flicks at Dom's lips and when he opens them, probes and pushes and plays. Dom breaks away reluctantly, breathing jagged and his smile more than smugness at Harry's glazed eyes and bruised lips.
Whatever long and lonely path Harry's mind might have been wondering, Dom has a very good idea now how to bring him back to the here and now.
"Come on." Dom nods as he opens the door to the driver's side, slipping in is like putting his hand in the wolf's maw, a dangerous thrill.
Dom sometimes thinks about just leaving his life here, moving in the middle of the night without saying a word to anyone. His car is both the bait and the trap. Now he wonders what it would be like with Harry to run away with – and if he would or could leave Harry on his own. Dom watches him as Harry opens the passenger door more carefully, as if he knows just what kind of beast the Charger is. Dom starts the Charger up, and it growls to life, shivering the metal around them to awareness, as if they really sit the mouth of some beast.
They say nothing more as Dom drives them to Letty's garage; Harry's silence was thoughtful rather than hurt or insulted. The ride is quiet, but Dom is glad to be in Harry's company– it's a quick trip, walking would have been just as easy. Yet having Harry with him in the Charger, driving, was somehow more satisfying.
Dom pulls up to Letty's garage and parks, getting out in an odd sort of synchronization with Harry as they walk to the sliding door, it's broken only when Dom gets out keys that Letty long ago gave him to her garage – and house, and with a twist it's unlocked and Dom lifts it up and it opens. Throughout it all, Dom is aware of Harry's stare upon him, and Dom would feel the same about that gaze as a watchful animal wondering at a trap or freedom.
The bike is there, sleek and black like a shadow.
"Hello, Sexy." Harry greets it - Sirius's bike, like it's a name. Dom is partly glad and partly disappointed that the motorcycle makes no reply. Harry catches his expression and smirks a bit, shrugging as if he might change Dom's feelings on that someday.
Harry looks to the sky, and Dom realizes he's not just taking in the scenery because of nostalgia, no, he looks to the sky as Dom would look to the road he's about to race. Dom feels his heartbeat climb when Harry nods upward, sliding a leg up over his motorcycle's seat, smirking suggestively as he straddles it.
"Want to fly?" Harry asks it like a challenge – it is – and a promise, and Dom holds him to it.
They fly together like it's a race that can't be won by wind or road; faster than flying is falling, faster than falling is love and much of love is like falling- and flying.
(The danger of it, the why – the way, is much the same.)