Title: Regardless of Make
Author: Jedi Buttercup
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not.
Summary: Dom made a face at the brand, then wiped a hand off on a rag and took one anyway. "Budweiser? Told you, I'm a Corona man." 1600 words.
Spoilers: Season 5-ish for Stargate SG-1; veers AU between movies 1 and 4 for "The Fast and the Furious" 'verse.
Notes: For misse, for Day 8 in Wishlist 2012, for the prompt: "Jack O'Neill/Dominic Toretto (in whatever degree of relationship) - Colorado Springs sure as hell ain't LA."
"So what'd they say?" Dom's host asked, walking out into the garage with a pair of beers snugged between the fingers of one hand and a metal folding chair in the other.
Dom made a face at the brand, then wiped a hand off on a rag and took one anyway. "Budweiser? Told you, I'm a Corona man."
Jack O'Neill snorted and set up his chair between the side wall of the garage and his truck, then sat down and popped the other bottle's cap off. "Yeah, well, this is what I've got in the fridge. When you get to the store, you can pick up your own."
"Fair enough." Dom struck the cap of his off on the corner of a tool box and took a long, cool drink. Then he set it down on the bumper and leaned back over the engine. "Who do you mean, they?"
"You know. They. The folks you didn't want your whole, you know." The Air Force colonel waved in Dom's general direction, as if to sum up the last few years on the run in one explanatory gesture. "Situation, to blow back on."
Dom grimaced at that. O'Neill had told him to go ahead and use the house phone to call whoever he needed to call to let them know he was back in the States, but it hadn't been all that long since he'd ditched Letty in the Dominican Republic and burned rubber for Panama, and the last time he'd called Mia she'd let him know Letty was there and holding a grudge. If he told them where he was, they'd expect him out there on the next flight. He wasn't ready for that. Not yet. Not until he could be sure he wasn't bringing everything he'd just experienced back with him.
And who the hell else would he call, O'Conner? Even the buster had vanished sometime after Dom fled LA in the man's car. He hadn't heard from Vince since his childhood friend had gone to ground in South America, and Leon hadn't contacted anyone since the dust had settled after that last, disastrous truck heist. Mia'd said he hadn't even sent flowers to Jesse's funeral.
"Haven't called 'em yet," he grunted, and didn't look up. The other man was career military, and Dom had met his team. He wasn't sure he wanted to see his reaction.
O'Neill didn't respond immediately, and Dom heard the clink of a bottle as he set his down. Then he sighed and leaned back, judging by the creak of stressed metal from his chair. "I had wondered why you suddenly developed a burning desire to work on my truck. Not that I'm complaining; avoidance is a time honored motive around here. I just wanted to make sure, in case there's some confusion: you don't have to repay me for the guest room. I didn't make Daniel do it that time he came back from... overseas... without a dollar to his name, so it would be a little hypocritical of me to start now."
A muscle in Dom's neck twitched at that reference to overseas; he was perfectly capable of picking up a euphemism when he heard one. Especially given what he'd walked into in Panama. Did that mean Jackson was an alien? He'd already guessed 'Murray' was. Sure wasn't what he'd have ever expected as a kid, catching reruns of Star Trek before dinner while he waited for his dad to get home.
"Yeah, well. Haven't figured out yet what I'm going to tell them," he replied, gruffly. "I say my record got cleared, they're gonna want to know why. I say where I'm staying, they'll wonder just how much I've been drinking. You know my history. Wanna guess what they'll say when I tell them it's classified?"
O'Neill grunted. "Ran into my ex-wife once, in the middle of an incident. Not the same kind of incident, but, you know. Related. She didn't take well to that explanation, either."
"Related?" Dom shot him a curious look, then shook it off when he saw the pained lines around the man's eyes. "Nevermind. Even if you could tell me, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to know." Visions of glowing eyes, reverberating voices, and energy beams shooting from the hand of a man he'd worked with for months were more than enough nightmare fuel for one year.
"Though that reminds me," he added, leaning back to wipe his hands on the rag again and turn to face O'Neill more fully. "Why tell me anything at all? You had to've known the guy mostly hired criminals, and I don't exactly look like a model citizen."
O'Neill didn't smile; he just picked up his bottle again, picking absently at the label, and gave him an intent look. "It was pretty crazy when we broke in there. We'd thought there was only the one Goa'uld, see, and that he'd be alone. We'd been tipped off by a Fed mole in, ah, another group more concerned with profit and tech acquisition than short-term human consequences, that they'd scheduled a meet and greet. So we'd planned to substitute ourselves for the negotiating team. We didn't count on one of Snake-face's rivals finding him first and starting a shooting war with a bunch of civilians still on the premises."
He shrugged, then continued. "You might not be a model citizen, Toretto, but you kept your head when things got hot, and picked the right side to stand on. Took a hit for Sam you didn't have to, covered Daniel when he went down. And, well. It would have been a lot harder to track the Goa'uld after they rabbited without a local guide."
The energy burn on his thigh, bandaged by a medic before the flight back to the States the day before, stung at the reminder. Dom took another swig of his Bud as he thought it over. He still didn't think that was the whole story, but...
After Brian, after Letty, after years of ride or die almost crashing to a halt at the hands of two wannabe gods whose egos made Tran's crew look like strip mall Santas, he wasn't going to argue with whatever it was that had made two government-employed Irishmen decide to take a risk on a big, bald, musclebound street racer with a history of violence.
...And vice versa. Like he'd told Vince, he might not have always known the guy, but it sure felt like he had.
It hadn't exactly worked out with O'Conner. For either of them- or for Mia, who'd probably punch Brian if he ever showed up again. But he'd just met O'Neill, and that frisson of instant connection was still new and intriguing. More of a pull than getting yelled at back home, if Dom was honest.
"Not that I was exactly local," he gave the other man a wry, acknowledging smile. "Thought you were gonna blow a fuse when I told you to try asking again in English."
"Wondered for a second there if you were another spy. Or- well. Like Murray, only still working for the Goa'uld. Between the grammar and the lack of tattoo, though..." O'Neill grinned, gesturing toward his bare forehead. "It just didn't feel like you were the type who'd lead us into an ambush."
"Never did like bullies," Dom shrugged in acknowledgement. Then he crossed his arms over his chest, watching O'Neill's expression shift at the movement. "I'll call, in a couple days. Start looking for a new place, some kind of job. But it's quiet here, and I was kinda hoping to enjoy my freedom awhile."
"And adjust to finding out we're not alone in the universe?" O'Neill observed.
"That, too," Dom agreed with a shrug.
O'Neill rolled his eyes. "Well, like I said, don't hurry on my account. The house is a little empty for just me. And I think Sam was hoping to continue that conversation about modding her bike; we try to hold team nights once a week when we're all in town."
"So long as you keep Jackson from bugging me about street culture," Dom replied dryly. Not that he hadn't been impressed by all of O'Neill's teammates in action, but Jackson's enthusiasm for obscure topics had already made an impression. Like Jesse, only with fewer nervous tics and a lot more boring.
"Done," O'Neill chuckled, then stood, carefully flexing his knees. "I'll leave you to your thoughts, then. Just- let me know if you need anything. I've got a meeting in the morning, but I have the afternoon off. Probably going to clean out the gutters, but I'll make steaks after."
It was Dom's turn to watch him move, now. Creaky knees or not, O'Neill was a guy fully present in his body, who knew what it could do and kept it in shape. He might not be as built as Dom- but few guys were. And Dom had seen him without the civilized mask, down in Panama.
He'd known a lot of guys in his life. Some strong, some weak; some worth respecting, too many not. But the best of them always burned in their own ways, like a beacon.
Yeah. Colorado Springs sure as hell wasn't LA- but he was going to take some time to get to know O'Neill a little better before he made any decisions about the future.
"Sounds good," he gave the other man a nod. "Hope your dreams are better than mine."
Dom didn't think he was imagining the smirk on the other man's face as O'Neill went back inside.