Dreaming of Mexico

TFaTF fic by Stormy

Notes: Takes place just after The Fast and The Furious. First fic in a series. Will eventually contain Dom/Bri slashy goodness. Don't like it, don't read.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

The iron bars slid across his field of vision, the bolt slamming home with a metallic ring that stung his ears. The coarse laughter of the prison guards chorused off the walls, mixing with the jeers and ribald laughter of the other inmates stuck on his floor. The air was hot and dank, heavy in his nose with the scent of urine, sex and body odor.

Brian O'Connor, former member of the LAPD, rising star of the undercover group, surveyed his home yet again with distaste and a small, familiar amount of fear. His home. For now, at least, while the D.A tried to see if there was any strength in their charges against him.

It was an intimidation tactic more then anything else. There was enough reasonable grounds to have Brian put away while the LAPD investigated what the media was dubbing the greatest scandal to hit the LAPD in months, but not enough to charge him with anything. Brian's boss, Sergeant Tanner was furious that the district Attorney was resorting to scare tactics, especially when he learned that Brian couldn't afford the fifty thousand dollar bail the judge had posted on him, hoping that some prison time would scare Brian into confessing anything they wanted.

Brian wasn't afraid of jail time. He had been in there a week already – one whole week since he'd handed the keys to his Supra to Dom and watched as the big man disappeared, most likely bound for Mexico where he couldn't be touched. The thought of his big friend safe on the beaches made him smile. Dominic Toretto. That was the main reason Brian was in there, and that made him alternate between wanting to laugh and wanting to cry.

They had nothing concrete. Oh, the FBI had hunches and some evidence, but most of it was still linked to Hector and Tran, and shot so full of holes prosecution would sink before any judge could lift his gavel. Brian hadn't done too much work from Dom and the gang's angle, not wanting to believe his new friends were the ones causing all the headaches in his life to multiply tenfold, and so the flimsy evidence – half of which was inadmissible – was grounds for mere suspicion only, not enough for a solid arrest.

That was what truly saved Dom's life. Not the getaway vehicle, not the way he'd helped Brian by taking out Tran with his charger. What kept a nation-wide bulletin off his ass was the fact that there was no solid evidence against him, nothing that a good defense attorney couldn't rip to shreds. The LAPD knew this – hence the reason they were coming down hard on Brian.

In fact, Brian reflected for the millionth time, all the LAPD had was Vince, stuck in some minimum-security prison and refusing to give them any answers. The trucker he'd tried to steal from with the help of Dom, Leon and Letty had never come forward. Most likely because the driver would have been slapped with a few charges of his own. If he'd had a chance, Brian would have liked to ask the D.A about the legality of trucker vigilantism with sawed off shot guns and firing at a police officer, but then, you couldn't always get what you wanted. And it was unlikely he'd be able to ask much of anything as long as he was stuck in the pen. Dom didn't even really have to leave L.A, since the FBI wouldn't be able to make any charges stick yet. But better to be safe then sorry, he guessed.

Sitting down on the standard-issue cot with its blanket made of some terrycloth-sandpaper hybrid, Brian rubbed his shoulder wearily. He'd acquired a few new bruises thanks to his 'playmates' out in the yard. An ex-cop in Lompoc screamed far more then 'fresh meat' to the inmates who'd positively slathered with excitement when word of his arrival had come to them. If not for the solitary cell he'd been given – Tanner's work, he thought with a muffled sigh of relief – and his years of fighting skills, he would have been the next new bitch on the block for whichever butch master wanted him. Instead, Brian found himself fighting on almost a daily basis for his right to stay free. So far, he'd been lucky.

He just had to make it a few more days. Tanner had been by to visit him and told him the D.A was thiiis close to dropping the charges against him – they were hoping that his stay in Chateau d'prison would have brought results by now. Tanner's lawyer was screaming at the FBI about civil suits if they didn't let the blonde cop out.

Brian sighed. Suing would be one thing, but what did he really want? His job as a cop was up in the air – technically, he hadn't yet been fired. Tanner was the only one who could do that, and despite pressure from the top brass, he hadn't canned him yet. Maybe they'd let him keep his job if he didn't sue the LAPD for illegal confinement and wrongful arrest.

After all, he wasn't a complete traitor. VICE still wanted him for his contacts, as did Homicide. A few of the guys Brian had buddied around with back during his Academy days had even come to visit him, telling him to stay tough and not to let it get to him. So not the entire world was against him. That was something, right?

He wondered what Dom and Leon were up to. Thought about how Mia might be taking everything that went down, and how Vince was really doing. Jesse, he'd heard through the grapevine, was alive but in a coma-type deal thanks to the three bullets he took from Tran. He wondered if Dom had visited Jesse before he left. He wondered if Dom knew where he was. Dom must be in Mexico. Or somewhere else where the sun was hot, the waves were warm and the cars were like bolts of lightning. Brian growled and banished his thoughts before they could get him into trouble.

He lay back on the creaky cot, ignoring the hoots and cries of other prisoners as they slaked their lust and pent up fury on those unfortunate enough to be locked in the same cell with unleashed predators. Squeezing his eyes shut, Brian ignored the dull pangs in his ribs and tried to sleep.

"You okay, kid?"

Brian blinked at the bright sunlight that beat down on him, wishing he had his sunglasses. As though reading his mind, Tanner reached into his pocket and pulled out an extra pair of ray bans. Brian smiled faintly, slipping them on. His need for sunlight notwithstanding, the shades gave him a bit of cover, a little bit of extra strength when every nerve of him felt raw and exposed.

The last few days had been the roughest. As if they knew they would be losing their newest toy, the inmates had thrown themselves upon him like starving wolves at every given opportunity. Brian's right arm was still bandaged from an altercation in the bathroom that had involved a lighter, a swiped knife from the kitchen and three huge rednecks that shared a fixation with blondes. Brian had knocked the first two unconscious and only the timely arrival of the guard had kept him from killing the third. Not for the first time, Brian sent a mental thank you to his older brother who had encouraged his study of the martial arts years ago, way back when life had been simple.

The cut wasn't long but it had torn through the layers of muscle down to the bone. The second-degree lighter burns would heal up in a couple of weeks, though he'd have the scars forever unless he chose to have surgery done. Brian didn't think he would though. He considered this a learning experience. Pain was an excellent teacher. Those scars would serve as reminders of what he was put through at the hands of those he had once considered his superiors.

Tanner didn't seem to upset that Brian had yet to say a word since he'd had the guard fetch Brian from his cell for the last time. "The D.A is dropping all charges and will issue a formal apology during a press conference later on this week." His eyes slid to Brian's as though waiting for acknowledgement.

Brian snorted. The two strode through the open ceiling tunnel that led to freedom. A rumble broke out from the front of the gate and Brian slowed somewhat. Tanner looked furious.

The press had obviously heard of his release after his four-week sentence and they clustered around the gate, just beyond the banishing range of the security guard. Tanner scanned the crowd and Brian followed his gaze, locking on to the jeep Cherokee that was at the curb. His ride, obviously – he recognized the vehicle as the one Tanner had bought his wife two years before. Then they were buzzed through the gate and the crowd swept forward.

Camera lights flashed and reporters shoved microphones at him, babbling questions about his feelings and his plans for the future. Brian choked back a snarl and strode through the teeming masses, uncaring of who got knocked out of his way. Tanner kept his arm wrapped around Brian's back, using his other arm to keep part of the crowd at bay. The second security guard from the control booth tried to make himself useful by pushing people back but he was having little luck.

Brian kept his head up, gladder then ever for the sunglasses. He reached the jeep and the door opened before he could lay a finger on the handle. He swung inside the vehicle and slammed the door, narrowly missing the fingers of a particularly adventurous reporter who looked like she had been two seconds away from deciding to jump in the jeep with him.

"Good to see you O'Connor."

Brian looked at the driver, recognizing him as one of the ones who hadn't hissed at him during his mock-trial back at the precinct a month earlier. "Donnelly, right?

"Yes sir, Officer James Donnelly."

Brian nodded and then they were off. He watched the flashing lights of the cameras disappear. Tension wound through his body and he looked back to the front where Tanner was eying him in the mirror.

"The LAPD is going to give you your job back, since they never really took it from you, and have no course to do so, whereas you have plenty of reason to sue them for wrongful dismissal if they do – severe lack of evidence does that, you know," he commented mildly.

Brian looked back out the window at the scenery flashing by. Empty fields and sparse groves of trees, litter and a few dilapidated old buildings peppered the landscape. "They still think I'm guilty of a crime."

"Are you?" Tanner asked, matter-of-factly.

Brian shook his head.

"Then don't worry about it."

And just like that he was absolved. It didn't mean shit.

The walls of the Cherokee seemed stifling after the bright sunlight of the early afternoon that he'd spent too little time in thanks to those damn reporters. The windows were tinted, hiding the light. The doors were auto-locked by Donnelly. One last look behind showed some of the reporters following them at a leisurely pace, not unlike the wolves he'd thought he was safe from, out here. He was free, yet he was still in prison.

Brian wondered just when the world had gotten so damn complicated.

He closed his eyes, shutting out the mockery of freedom surrounding him and dreamed of Mexico.