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Waiting for a Sign

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Brian set in a hard chair in the USO staring at a computer screen. He had been sitting there for sometime, hand on the mouse with the curser just hovering over the reply button. He had a long layover in Dallas coming from Iraq, and still had an hour before he flew out to L.A.

The email in his inbox certainly hadn’t been expected, and he didn’t quite know what to do. He sat back in his chair and scrolled to the top of the screen and read through the message once more.

Dear Brian,

I’m not sure if you will even get this email, unfortunately Jesse couldn’t find any other email address for you than your old one. I’m not sure if you even still have this one or check it at all. It’s been four years Brian, I’m sure you know how long it’s been, just me rambling.

I know why you left, I don’t think anyone else but you, me, and Dom does, but I figured it out. Call it sister intuition I guess, but I knew that morning that we woke up to find you gone what had happened. It wasn’t hard to see the guilt, and heart break on Dom’s face. I didn’t tell him till a year ago that I knew, I guess I was a little angry with him. For what he did to you, for having a relationship as serious as what the two of you obviously had and hiding it from me.

He told me that not telling everyone was the biggest mistake he had ever made. I’m not trying to make you feel bad for leaving of course; you had every right to walk away if that’s what was best for you. You’ve always done what’s best for him, since the moment you met, and I have to be honest Brian I’m proud of you. I’m glad you chose yourself just once.

It’s been hard trying to juggle my feelings of wanting you to settle down someplace and be happy, and then my wish that you would come back see how much he really does love you, how sorry he is and maybe still love him too.

I wasn’t sure what to do other than give you space, hope that you were happy and if you weren’t then maybe you’d come back. Four years is a long time though, and I find myself wondering about your life more and more with each passing day.

I know Dom thinks about you all the time, driving himself crazy with what ifs. Honestly we’ve searched for you like crazy, and could never find anything out. We have no idea where you are, what you’re doing, or if you’re even alive. I know you are though, mainly because I can’t bear to think you’re gone, so I won’t.

I’m sure you’re tired of all my babble; you always did have a short attention span. I thought long and hard of how I should reach out to you, try not to ruin any new life you might have, in the end I came up with the idea of writing you an email and asking if you got this, and you still love Dom, us, that you come home.

I know it seems kind of random that after all these years that I’m asking you that. It’s really not, the holidays are quickly approaching, and it’s the time when I think about you the most. Wish that you were around for Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

I’m not the only one, Jesse misses you something terrible. He hasn’t stopped searching for you almost every day hoping he will get lucky and something will turn up. Leon misses you too and even Vince if you can believe it. I know you probably can, you two had become friends of sorts before you left. There are some days that I think he knows you left because of Dom. He snaps at him a lot, especially when your name is brought up, which is often. Dom just takes it, I guess he feels like he deserves it. Him and Vince aren’t as close as what they were.

Before I finish this email, and you make a decision I just want to tell you a few things. I know that you wanted to tell all us about you and Dom, but he didn’t want to, I’m still not sure why fully, I know Letty was a part of it. He was afraid she would take off on the family if she knew he loved you. You must have felt he chose her over you, I don’t blame you I would have felt the same. You should know the day you left Dom and Letty when outside and had a long talk. When she stormed into the house and packed up her bags I asked Dom what he did. He only said that he did something that he should have done a long time ago, but now he was a little too late.

I know it doesn’t make up for anything, but my point is that he might have been late, but he did choose you. There hasn’t been anyone else Brian, not even a random race skank, and I don’t think there will ever be anyone else but you for him.

Which gets me to the end of this email, if there is someone else for you, if you found them and they make you happy, then please delete this. Go on with your life and be happy, because it’s what you deserve. If there isn’t though and there won’t ever be, then please come back to him. There is so much unhappy shit in this world Brian, so much. I fully believe if you have a chance at happiness then you should take it.

Dom doesn’t know I’m writing to you, I didn’t want to get his hopes up, Jesse hasn’t even told him he found your old email. We know it’s a long shot, but it was one I had to take. You’re my brother Brian I care about you as deeply as I care for Dom. If you do delete this email, maybe you could write to me tell your okay at least. The not knowing is hard on everyone.

Don’t feel guilty; I don’t blame you for not thinking about that when you left. You always thought you weren’t really family, it would make sense that you thought you lost us when you left him, but you didn’t Brian. We’re still here, we love you, and we want you to come back home.

Mia Toretto

Brian sighed heavily before closing out of the entire window. He wasn’t sure what to do, on one hand he wanted nothing more to delete that email and go on living without ever having read it. He had spent the last four years trying to forget, trying to convince himself that he didn’t still love Dom, didn’t need him, and didn’t the need the family. He hadn’t been able to however, which meant that the other half of him that’s wasn’t still hurt, the half that knew what Mia said about there being no one else for Dom but Brian was true for him too, wanted to go home.

It was actually more than half of him that wanted to go home, have a real one again instead of living out a duffle and sleeping on a hard ass cot. Wanting it wasn’t enough to decide though, there were too many factors involved. It was a big risk, what if he went back and things weren’t as Mia thought them to be. What if Dom didn’t love him anymore and she only thought he did. He was also just different, calmer, more focused, not as carefree and wild as he once was. What if Dom couldn’t love the new him? He also had a fair share of scars, and he didn’t look the same anymore. The worst ones he felt being two long and slightly thick slashes across his cheek, starting right by his ear and traveling up into to his hairline. It wasn’t something he could really hide, the sides of hair were short, and the top was longer but not near as long as it use to be, which would have been against regulations. It’s why he thought they were the worst, because of their location. His arms, chest, back, and legs were scared as well, but they were easy to hide under clothes, unlike his face. However when he took his clothes off it just wasn’t a nice view. What if Dom was disgusted with how he looked now, sometimes even Brian had a hard time looking in the mirror himself, seeing the marks on his once unblemished skin.

He picked up his top that was hanging over the back of the chair and put it on; he had a three hour flight to think everything over.

Brian stepped up to the baggage claim and waited for it to start pushing bags out so he could grab his duffle. He still hadn’t made a decision, and honestly all the thinking and worrying have given him a huge headache.

Brian watched as a small blonde man with a few colorful tattoos on his arms walked up right beside him. He was obviously waiting for a bag, while he was on the phone talking to someone with a huge grin. Brian had never been nosy, but when someone was talking right beside him it was hard not to hear.

“Yes Nat, I promise I’ll tell Bucky you say hi,” he said sounding like he had said it more than once. The small man gave a little chuckle, “well it’s a little late if I’m not sure, I all ready packed up my stuff and flew here now didn’t it? Seriously Nat, I’ve never been more sure about anything else in my entire life. Moving here was the right decision. I love him Nat.”

Brian gave out a small huff that didn’t seemed to be noticed, he wish he had the guy’s confidence about decision making.

“Alright, I’ll call you and Sam tomorrow alright? Happy Thanksgiving!”

The man hung up the phone and before Brian could help himself he looked over, “it’s Thanksgiving?” The man beside him turned to him as well with a raised eyebrow, and man did that guy’s stare make Brian feel properly chastised for listening in. “Sorry I wasn’t trying to be nosy I just didn’t know it was Thanksgiving Day.”

The guy’s eyes darted to Brian’s uniform before smiling, “deployed?”

“Yeah,” Brian nodded, “left Iraq yesterday, long flight.”

“Steve,” the man said holding his hand out.

“Brian,” he replied shaking the offered hand, the guy had a hell of grip for how small he was.

“It is Thanksgiving by the way, hell of day to get back on; I bet your family is ecstatic.”

“Umm,” Brian said with a frown, “they don’t know I’m here, I don’t know if I’m...”

Brian trailed off and didn’t miss the look of consideration on Steve’s face. “Complicated?”

“Extremely,” Brian said with a sigh rubbing at the top of his head. “I’ve been gone for four years.”

Steve nodded, “there a reason why you left?”

“Yeah,” Brian said not really sure why he was about to tell this guy his story, but his mouth was already moving. “I was in love, thought he felt the same, and maybe he did but he wanted to hide it, didn’t want to tell anyone. It led to a lot of fights, things were said, the kind you can’t take back or forget. I knew I couldn’t live like that, being hidden away for the sake of his ex’s feelings so I left.”

“I get that,” Steve said tilting his head to the side, “you think it will be different now?”

Brian shrugged, “I got an email from his sister, she’s says there hasn’t been anyone else, that he still loves me, feels bad. She asked me to come home, but I...”

Steve’s eyes lit up, “you’re not sure. Worried that is not the case.”

“Right,” Brian told him, “it’s a hell of a risk.”

Steve chuckled, “well you’re a soldier so I bet you know all about risks. I’m taking a chance myself.”

“Yeah?” Brian asked.

“Yep, my ex Bucky he moved here two years ago, and now I’m moving too, from New York.”

“You’re moving for your ex?” Brian asked eyes wide.

Steve nodded, “yeah, I love him more than anything. Even more than Brooklyn which is saying something,” he gave a chuckle. “We had one of those fights, words said, couldn’t take them back, couldn’t forget. He said something that cut me to my core, and in return I told him we were done. He tried so hard to say sorry, make it right, but I couldn’t get past the pain. So I stopped talking to him, moved out of our apartment and locked myself up at a friend’s place. My friend Sam said he couldn’t stand being so close and not having me so he moved out here. A month ago he tried calling me again and I picked up,” Steve looked over at Brian, “want to know why?”

Brian nodded his head, “yeah.”

“Because the pain of not having him in my life was above and beyond some hasty words spoken in the heat of an argument. I was young and dumb, so naïve thinking that what was said mattered over what I knew. I knew he loved me, I still do too. So when he called, I picked up the phone. We were on the phone for two seconds before I was spitting out how much I missed him, how stupid I had been. He could done a lot of things, told me it was too late, agreed I was stupid, or something else that would have broken me completely. He didn’t though, he told me that he loved L.A., but all I had to do was ask him to come home, because he didn’t care where he was as long as I was with him.”

“Wow,” Brian said, he gave a small jerk as the buzzer for the baggage went off.

Steve turned to watch for his bag, but didn’t stop speaking. “He has a good job here that he loves, and my job well I can do it from wherever. So I told him I would come to him. Cheapest day to fly out was Thanksgiving.”

“How can you be sure that it’s going to work out?” Brian asked curiously spotting his duffle.

“Easy,” Steve replied seeing his own three bags. “We both know what it feels like when it doesn’t, makes you work harder, respect what you have more.”

Brian grabbed his duffle and helped Steve grab two of his. “You want me to roll this outside for you?”

Steve shook his head with a laugh, “no, I have strict instructions to wait inside. It’s not that cold out, but Bucky worries, I get sick easily.”

Brian nodded, “mind if I wait with you then?”

Steve shook his head no, “stalling? Even after my awesome pep talk?”

Brian laughed, “you do give pretty good talks,” he stopped talking and frowned. “I want to go, I miss him more than I can explain, god I...I’ve been walking around for four years feeling empty. Even if he does feel the same way, how can I be sure that he still will after he sees me?”

Steve’s eyes traveled to the scars on Brian’s face, “I’m guessing those are new?”

Brian nodded, “two years ago, I was captured, not the only place I have them either,” is all he said.

“Well I can’t speak for the guy, don’t know him. If I was him though I wouldn’t care about those scars, if anything I’d be thankful for them, because scars just mean that you lived.”

Brian looked shocked for a moment before smiling slowly. “Thanks.”

Steve nodded, “I mean I’m 90lbs soaking wet, I have asthma, have to wear these stupid things,” he motioned to his black glasses, “or I can’t see anything. I wear hearing aids because I’m partially deaf, I always get sick. I’m honestly not that great of a catch. Bucky never made me feel like I was anything but though. He lost his arm when we were kids, has a metal prosthetic now, but for the longest time he didn’t have one. He felt awkward about it, but I never cared, loved every piece of him. When you really love someone, like really love them, what they look like doesn’t matter because to you their always going to be the most beautiful person in the world.”

Brian nodded slowly taking in everything that was just said, “your destroying every reason I have for not going to see him.”

Steve smiled brightly, “awesome, because that is what I am trying to do. Honestly though I got a bad case of pneumonia five months ago and I lost 15 pounds. Not a lot to some people but when your this small,” Steve rolled his eyes, “ribs start poking out more than they did, not the sexiest thing, I’m a little nervous as well.”

Brian turned to the other man, “you got nothing to worry about you look good,” he blanched, “I wasn’t hitting on you,” he said quickly.

Steve laughed, “I didn’t think you were, you have someone. Besides it wouldn’t be a smart route, I might be small, which doesn’t meant I can’t handle myself, but trust me Bucky isn’t, he is actually bigger than you.”

Brian chuckled, “protective?”

Steve nodded, “use to annoy the shit out me, he hovered, but I find that I’ve missed it the most. Feeling that loved, wanted, and cared for.”

Brian nodded, “yeah I miss it too. I use to despise being smaller than him, always made me feel a bit like...”

“The chick?” Steve drawled with a smirk.

“Yeah, but I felt safe you know? Haven’t felt like that in four years.”

Steve nodded, “I get it...”

“STEVIE!” Brian looked over towards the door at the man that yelled. He was tall, and certainly built, the metal arm clued Brian into who he was right away. He did have to agree with Steve’s statement, dude was way bigger than Brian.

“Bucky!” Steve yelled out with a laugh, dropping his backpack and leaving his suitcases by Brian to run into the man’s arms.

Brian chuckled as the larger of the two picked up the smaller and spun him around before pulling him into a large hug, it was kind of funny to see Steve’s legs dangling off from the ground.

Brian stood off to the side, giving the two a private moment, but he didn’t move so Steve’s luggage wouldn’t be abandoned.

“God you look gorgeous,” Bucky gushed as he set Steve back down on his feet.

Even being a good ways away Brian could see the red that colored Steve’s cheeks perfectly. “Oh stop,” Steve said, “I’m down 15 pounds since the last time you saw me, and I don’t look near as good as you, the tan is nice.”

Bucky chuckled, “hard not to have a tan in Los Angeles. Seriously though Stevie you look perfect, and I’m sure I can get those pounds back on you,” he said with a smirk.

Steve didn’t say anything in return; he just flew into Bucky’s arms once again. “I’ve missed you so much Buck!”

Bucky bent his head down and pulled Steve into a kiss that Brian could only describe as steamy. When they pulled apart they were both panting, Bucky was reaching for his pocket, not something that Steve noticed but Brian did. When he saw Bucky pull out a small box and stick it behind his back he was pretty sure what was about to happen. He pulled out his phone and started to record the two men, figuring Steve would want a video of it.

When Bucky got down on one knee it was like the airport just stopped. Everyone quit moving, talking, and started to watch the two men.

Brian took a couple of steps closer, still close enough to the bags, but now in a better range for the phone to pick up what Bucky was saying.

“I swore to myself that was I going to wait to do this. I was going to let you get settled, give us time to be us again, but seeing you again, I can’t wait. I also realized that we don’t need time be us again, that we never stopped. I’ve always been yours Stevie, and you’ve always been mine. I want to keep that way. So Steven Grant Rogers will you marry me?”

Brian watched with a large smile as Steve nodded and hugged Bucky once again. “God yes!”

The people around them all started clapping loudly while the two kissed again. Brian recorded for a little longer before pressing the button once again; he would have to get Steve’s number so he could send it to him.

He looked down at his phone to check the time, it would be noon soon. Not that he was on a time limit or anything, but he knew he needed to decide what he was going to do.

When he looked back up he noticed the two men walking toward him, Steve was gesturing to Brian, obviously telling Bucky about how they met.

Steve walked up with a large grin that looked like it could split his face in half. “Thanks for waiting with my stuff, kind of forgot all about it.”

Brian chuckled, “that’s alright, I umm...well I recorded it for you on my phone.”

Both Steve and Bucky smiled even more, which shouldn’t have been possible. “Thanks man,” Bucky said holding his hand out, “names James but everyone calls me Bucky.”

Brian grinned, “nice to meet you,” not bothering to give his name since he was pretty Steve had already told the man.

“Steve said you just got back from deployment?”

“Yeah,” Brian said, “Iraq, two years. Before that I was in Afghanistan for nine months, with a three month break in between.”

“Thank you for your service,” Bucky told him making Brian feel a little awkward, just like he always felt when someone said that.

Steve looked at Brian curiously, “you make up your mind yet?”

Brian shrugged, “I want too, but I...”

Steve shook his head, “no buts, you’re a runner, I can tell, but it’s time to stop running.”

Runner, it wasn’t the first time Brian had been called that, the state put it on his file when he was just seven years old, after he had already ran away from three foster homes. “Nothing good has ever come from staying,” Brian said eventually.

“Maybe it will this time,” Steve said firmly, “but you won’t know unless you take that chance.”

Bucky looked between the two men curiously obviously not understanding what they were talking about. “Can we give you a ride somewhere?” He asked regardless.

Brian shook his head, “no,” Steve glared at Brian, and damnit if that wasn’t scary. “I mean I don’t want to put you out, it’s way across town, and I’m sure you have better things to be doing, having dinner, celebrating.”

Bucky shook his head, “my place is across town too, and as for dinner I can’t cook. Steve can but you can’t exactly make a turkey when you’re in the air.” Steve chuckled. “So no immediate plans, and whatever we are going to do can hold off long enough to get you to where you need to go, what’s the address?”

Brian fiddled with his uniform for a bit, nerves wreaking havoc on his stomach. “1327 Echo Park,” he said quietly.

Bucky’s eyes lit up, “Toretto’s house?”

Brian looked up in shock, “you know Dom?”

“Yeah man, had to take my bike to his shop a time or too, Vince always fixes it up. Been in there so much that Dom invited me over for BBQ, I try to go at least every other Sunday.” Bucky looked over at Brian for a minute really studying the man in front of him for the first time. “Shit! Your name wouldn’t be Brian would it?”

Brian nodded and pointed to his name on his ACUs, “Brian O’Conner.”

Bucky chuckled, “I don’t know how I didn’t recognize you sooner! Your picture is up all over the house, I once asked who was in the picture, because I’d never seen you at the house before, and Dom told your name.”

“He did?” Brian asked curiously.

“Yeah, he misses you like crazy man! That definitely settles it; we are for sure giving you a ride.” Bucky smirked, “Dom might even give me some off the cost the next time my bike needs a tune up if I show up with you.”

Steve looked over at Brian and pointed at Bucky, “that’s a sign if I’ve ever seen one, and don’t think you’re going to get one much clear then that.”

Brian nodded, “okay,” he said with a sigh, “let’s go.”

Brian set in the backseat of the car Bucky had rented to pick up Steve, “can’t carry suitcases on the bike,’ he had told Brian. He looked up at the house they sat in front of and pulled at his top. “Sorry,” he told both men who were looking back at him with nothing but patient smiles. “I shouldn’t keep you like this, I just...I don’t know if I can do it.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Bucky said to him, “like I said no immediate plans take all the time you need. If it helps, Dom talks about you all the time, he really has missed you. I don’t know what happened between the two of you, but one day I told him about Steve, and how I loved him. He told me then about you, how he loved you, how bad he had fucked up.”

Brian looked up, “really?”

“Yeah,” Bucky said with a nod turning around to look out the window. “Uhh you know how I said take all the time you need?”

“Yeah,” Brian said once again looking down at his hands.

“Times up, Dom and everyone else just kind of walked outside.”

Bucky and Steve both got out of the car and shut their doors, but Brian didn’t move he felt frozen in fear.

“Bucky!” Mia called out cheerfully, “we didn’t expect to see you today, is this Steve?”

Bucky nodded, “Yeah just picked him up!”

Steve walked over to the driver side and stood by Bucky, grabbing his hand.

“It’s so nice to finally meet you Steve! We’ve heard all about you from Bucky!” Mia gushed. “I told him the minute he told us you were coming that he better bring you over one Sunday to introduce us to his boyfriend.”

“Fiancé,” Bucky corrected with a smile.

“Congrats!” Jesse yelled out walking a little closer like everyone else. “You two have any plans for dinner?”

Both men shook their heads no. “Then you should stay,” Dom said, “we can celebrate.”

Bucky nodded and looked over to Steve who also nodded. “Sounds great, and we would love to stay for dinner. It’s not the reason we came over though.”

“Why did you?” Vince asked curiously.

Bucky looked over at Dom, “I found...” Steve elbowed Bucky in the stomach causing him to gasp. “Steve found,” he corrected, “something that belongs to you I think.”

Brian heard Steve give a knock on the window and he knew it was now or never. He couldn’t stay hidden behind the tinted windows for the rest of his life. He opened the door, threw on his hat and stood up. He didn’t turn to look at anyone until he was on the other side of the car on the sidewalk.

When he looked up his eyes instantly found Dom’s, the sense of gravity hadn’t changed any over the last four years. He still felt tied to the man, like he could walk into a crowded room and instantly know where the man was.

“Brian,” Dom gasped, while everyone yelled out around him.

Both Dom and Brian stayed frozen in shock, but everyone else quickly flew down the yard to hug the man they hadn’t seen in four years.

Mia reached him first, “you came!” She yelled out throwing her arms around him.

Brian chuckled and finally broke off his eye contact with Dom to look down at her. “I just got your email today I was in the Dallas airport when I read it.”

Vince was next pulling Brian into a bone crushing hug, “it hasn’t been the same without you, we’ve missed you buster!”

Brian chuckled, “I missed you too asshole.”

“The Army!” Jesse yelled out when he hugged Brian, “Do you know how many Brian O’Conners there is in the army?”

Brian laughed, “I think like fourteen or something. At least I’m pretty sure, my work email has the number 13 after it, and I was told before there was a 14.”

Jesse nodded, “your name would pop under US Army when I looked for you, but when I saw that many guys with the same name I figured it was a dead end.”

“We didn’t think you would have joined up,” Leon said grabbing at Brian, “guess we should have though, you always do the opposite of what we think you’re going to do.”

When everyone had given him a hug and backed away Dom finally moved. He walked quickly over to Brian and only stopped with a small frown when Brian held up his hand.

“Look Dom...”

“Wait,” Dom said quickly, “just give me a chance Bri please.” Brian nodded. “I’m so sorry Brian, more than you could ever know. I’m sorry for not listening more, caring about your feelings better, and I’m sorry for taking you for granted. Thinking things could just stay the same and you would keep putting up with it. You didn’t deserve that, I’m mostly sorry that I didn’t realize any of that until you were already gone. I told Letty, I know it was too late, but I did. Because the moment that I saw that all of your things were gone I knew that you leaving hurt way more than what her leaving ever could. I shouldn’t have chosen her feelings over yours. It was dumb, stupidest thing I’ve ever done, and you know I’ve done a lot of dumb things.” Dom ran his hand over the top of his head, “I love you Bri, so much, and I want everyone to know. I’m hoping you can forgive me, that you still love me. Because I want you to come home, stay with me. I know you’re in the Army now,” he motioned to the uniform, “and you might not be able to stay here right now but...”

“My four years are up actually,” Brian said cutting Dom off. “I only signed up for four, now that I’m back in the states I just need to sign the separation papers, and then I’m out.”

Dom’s eyes lit up with hope, “so will you stay?”

Brian sighed, “Look Dom,” he stopped at seeing the man frown and gave one of his own. “I want too, I just...I can’t even begin to explain how much I’ve missed you, everybody,” he said looking around. “I do still love you,” he told the man once again staring into his eyes. “I tried to stop but I couldn’t, I think you’re probably the only person I’ve ever loved, going to love.”

“But you can’t forgive me?” Dom asked frowning.

Brian shook his head, “I forgave you the minute I read Mia’s email asking me to come back home.” Dom looked over at his sister in shock. Mia only shrugged at him before turning back to Brian, hoping that things would work out alright. “If I’m being honest though, I actually forgave you a little over two years ago.”

“Why didn’t you come home then Bri?” Dom asked sadly, not understanding why Brian stayed away for so long.

Brian looked back at Steve who nodded in encouragement. “I’ve been in Iraq for two years now, deployed. Before that though I was in Afghanistan. It was my second year in the Army, first tour, I was suppose to be there for a year, but I only did nine months. About five months into it were ambushed on patrol, me and another guy were taken as hostages and then later prisoners.” Brian’s eyes lowered at the painful memory. “We were tortured, knives, whips, water boarding, electric shocks,” Mia and Jesse gasped, while Dom, Vince, and Leon had a concerned but angry look on their faces. “It was a stroke of luck we were found by another unit. When we got out of there we were both in bad shape, had to be airlifted to the US hospital in Germany.” Brian rubbed at his right arm, “I could have been medically discharged, my right arm doesn’t work the same anymore. I hid the full extent of it, but sometimes it doesn’t really work at all. If it gets too cold, or stiff. It was shocked repeatedly, and I have serious nerve damage, and I’m...” Brian stopped speaking before changing what he was going to say. “I obviously stayed in, even though I wanted to come home, but I didn’t know if you would still want me, still not sure if you will.”

“Bri, I told you, I love you, of course I want you...”

Brian held up his hand, “let me just show you first, alright? You can’t be sure till you see.”

Steve let go of Bucky’s hand and walked two steps to stand behind Brian. He took the man’s hat when he took it off, and shot him an encouraging smile.

Brian ducked his head, and pulled at the velcro on his top, before pulling down the zipper and shrugging his arms out of the sleeves. Steve once again took the item Brian took off and held it in his hands.

Dom took one look at Brian and took the needed steps to close the distance between them. “Bri,” Dom said and watched as the man closed his eyes in dread and shook his head.

“I’m different, my chest, my legs, my backs, my arms, I have so many scars, even on my face. I have PTSD, nightmares that turn into night terrors. You can’t say you love me, because the guy you fell in love with isn’t the same.

Dom let his eyes travel down Brian’s body, taking in the large burn scar that traveled up his right arm well up past his shoulder Dom was sure, the slash like scars on his left. He saw the two scars on the side of Brian’s head and reached up to touch them with a frown. “What did these?”

“A knife,” Brian answered, finally opening his eyes to look at Dom. He reached out for Brian and hooked his hands into the fabric of the man’s shirt to untuck it from his pants. “What are you doing?” Brian asked obviously confused, and looking a little nervous.

Dom looked up at Brian knowingly, “I know you, you’re not going to believe that I still want you until I’ve seen it all. I can’t do anything about your legs, unless you want to take your pants off that is,” He finished with a smirk, which got a hint of a smile out the blonde in front of him. “Your chest and back I can look at though, and it might just be enough to convince that when I say that they don’t matter I’m being honest.”

Brian watched Dom closely as the man pulled up the front of his shirt and studied the burn scars there. Taking them all in slowly, even the scars on his right shoulder. He walked around Brian to his back and gently traced the ones that were left there by a whip. When he was done he grabbed Brian’s shoulders and turned him around. “I love you Brian O’Conner,” he said looking the man deeply in the eyes, hoping that Brian would believe every word he was about to say, “and no amount of scaring physical or mental is ever going to change that. You’re the same guy I fell in love with, want to know why?” Brian nodded his head blinking at Dom very slowly. “Because the guy I fell in love with was the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen, and he still is. You’re always going to be perfect to me Bri, always.”

It was like a wall inside of Brian fell down, a wall that was keeping him from flying into Dom’s arms the minute he had seen him. Once it was gone he dove for the man, arms wrapping around his body in a tight grip, letting out a quiet sob of relief.

Dom caught Brian the minute he moved, when the blonde fell into him all he could do was wrap him up and keep tugging him closer, even though he couldn’t possibly get any closer than what he was, whole body firmly planted against Dom’s. He hadn’t forgotten how good it felt to have Brian in his arms, no he had remembered, which it what made it so hard to not hug Brian when he had been gone. Hugging him now was like taking a deep breath for the first time in a long time.

“I love you,” Brian whispered.

Dom brought his hand up to the back of Brian’s head, “I love you too Bri, so much.”

Everyone stood around them smiling at the couple, feeling beyond happy that Brian was once again where he belonged, and the two men were together, which is the only way it was meant to be.

That was until they started to kiss and Vince ruined the moment by making a fake gag noise, “come on! None of that, you’re in the front yard for god sakes not a bedroom.”

Everyone chuckled at Vince’s rant, even Brian and Dom who had finally pulled away from each other.

“Not that want to ruin the moment or anything,” Leon said looking in Mia’s direction, “but are we going to eat anytime soon? It’s Thanksgiving and I’m starving, that should be illegal.”

Dom chuckled at Leon, “let’s go eat,” he said still smiling at the man in his arms.

Brian turned to take his hat and his top back from Steve, “thank you,” he whispered to the man as Bucky walked up next to him to grab his hand again.

Steve shrugged, “I didn’t do anything, it was all you. Quite the risk,” he commented, “worth it?”

“Yeah,” Brian said happily, “like yours.”

They all walked up the stairs and into the dining room. Mia stared at the table, “I need to get some more chairs,” she commented.

“Brian doesn’t need one,” Dom said to her sitting down and pulling said man into his lap. He chuckled at a red face Brian, “you’re crazy if you think I’m ever letting you sit in an actual chair again. You have four years of not sitting in my lap to make up for.”

Mia laughed at the two men, “Okay I only need one chair then.”

Bucky chuckled; “well actually,” he said and pulled Steve down onto his lap, “If this is allowed, I would prefer him sitting here.”

Mia laughed once again while Steve blushed much like Brian had. “Guess I just need to get the food then. Leon, Vince, Jesse, come help.”

“Hey I should go wash up before we eat,” Brian told Dom, realizing he had been on a plane and in an airport.

Dom nodded, “you remember where it’s at I’m sure.”

Brian kissed Dom’s cheek before standing up, “Yeah next to your room.”

Dom grabbed Brian’s wrist before he could walk away, “our room,” he corrected, giving Brian’s wrist a kiss before letting go.

Dom watched Brian leave with a smile before turning to Bucky and Steve, “thank you, for bringing him home.”

Steve shrugged, “he knew he wanted to come back to you, just needed the right sign.”

Dom nodded, sure over time he would hear the rest of the story.

“His duffle is in the trunk, don’t let me forget to get after dinner,” Bucky told the man.

“Alright,” Dom said with a smile, “congratulations on getting engaged by the way. He’s had that ring for a long time,” he looked over at Bucky questioningly, “what a year?”

Steve looked at Bucky in shock, “but we just started talking again months ago.”

Bucky nodded, “I knew I was going to marry you Steve, no matter what. If you hadn’t answered when I called I was going to book a flight to New York. I would have spent the rest of my life trying to get you to talk to me again if that’s what it took.”

Steve looked down at the ring on his finger; he smiled brightly at seeing the words till the end of line engraved in the sliver band.

Bucky looked back at Dom, “If your thinking about making that more permanent,” he motioned to the direction that Brian walked off in. “I can help you out with a place to find a ring, the jeweler there does custom work.”

“I was thinking Christmas,” Dom said with a smile.

Brian walked in before anything more could be said, his shirt was once again tucked into his pants, and his hair looked a little neater than what it had been after he took off his hat. “What are you talking about?” He asked.

“Airplane food,” Steve said quickly making a disgusted looking face.

Brian shrugged, “it’s not that bad, of course I’ve been only eating MREs for the last two years, so I’m probably not the best judge of food. Haven’t had a real meal in a long time.”

“Well we’re about to fix that Buster,” Vince said walking in carrying a few trays of food.

Brian laughed and leaned back against Dom, looking entirely happy.

Dom caught Bucky’s eye and nodded, he would talk to the man later about rings.