It starts the morning before they’re meant to fly back to London. Shaw wakes up and he just feels off. Well, he thinks, he saved the world. He’s kind of entitled to, right?
He winces when he sits up, muscles in his torso pulling tightly, but that’s all, so he puts it down to saving the world with Twinkle Toes and makes for the shower before any of the Hobbs siblings can jump the queue and use all the hot water. It’s kind of nice, though, like when he was a kid and it was a mad scramble to get ready in time for school, pushing Owen and Hattie out of the way until it was a rowdy heap in the doorway and Mum would laugh and step over all three of them and lock the bathroom door behind her. “First rule,” she’d call with a smile in her voice. “Never let your guard down, darlings!”
Smiling, Shaw creeps past the many, many bedrooms- all filled with Hobbs-es, Christ, how big is this family?- and is just about to open the door when someone else opens it from the other side and he’s eyelevel with a damp and bare-chested Luke Hobbs, wearing nothing but the towel round his waist. Now even he can admit that he is (objectively) kind of hot- they’re enemies, but Shaw’s not blind and his tastes run wide enough to include men. But this is Hobbs, twinkle toes, bastard, prick and princess hulk, so he most absolutely definitely does not stammer upon seeing him practically naked. He does not but holy shit.
Shaw is one of the best bastards in the world, so he recovers quickly enough to grunt out a ‘good morning’ before Hobbs can notice anything’s amiss. And the man doesn’t move aside but simply grins at him, “I didn’t know you were physically capable of getting up this early twinkle toes.”
“The only reason you can get up at all after taking all those punches is because you’ve got a thick skull, numb nuts,” the bite is familiar even if the insult’s a little weak and Deckard falls into the routine easily. It feels… friendly? No, it feels like- oh. Oh. Oh shit.
“Hey!” a hand waves in front of his face and he flinches back and nearly falls- another huge hand grabs his waist and stops him dead in his tracks. It doesn’t feel like stopping in a car crash, though, it feels gentle. Hobbs stopped him falling over and is being gentle. Bollocks.
Despite every nerve ending screaming not to, Deckard shoves him away with a scoff, “Get off, prince charming.”
Hobbs’ concerned face looms above him, tender in its care. “You zoned out,” he says- unnecessarily, in his opinion. “You okay?” He has very big muscles. Very big… Shaw turns on his heels and makes to go back to the bedroom he’s sharing with Hattie, glad that he’s wearing baggy pyjamas. “Hey, don’t you wanna have a shower?” Hobbs calls after him, brow creasing deeper as he frowns.
“Wha- no, I- forgot something!” winces at how high-pitched and strangled his voice sounds. Just like Hattie as a kid- he fancies the same bloke as his sister, for fuck’s sakes!
“Well… alright, but you know if you leave it much longer you’re only getting a cold shower, right?”
As he turns to slam the door shut he glimpses Luke- Hobbs! Hobbs, not Luke!- at the door to his own room, towel sliding ever lover on his waist and Deckard bangs the door shut and falls against it, feeling riled like he hasn’t in years. Cold shower indeed.
Hattie, mercifully, is nowhere to be seen in the tiny box room they’re sharing for the duration of their stay at the Hobbs’ family home, and Deckard lets himself get comfortable for a minute, lets himself think he might be in the clear.
Never let your guard down.
Then, at breakfast, everyone gradually filters away until it’s just him and Hobbs left opposite each other over the kitchen table. Deckard sips at his coffee and looks away. Hobbs makes a noise and then another when he doesn’t look over the first time. The third attempt is too pointed to ignore, so he looks over the rim of his mug and tries to raise his eyebrow in the picture of disdain and instead feeling his stomach flip when the arsehole smiles at him.
“What?” he grunts, wondering if you really have to be polite to the bloke you saved the world with when you fancy him and he kissed your sister. (Kissed her on the mouth.)
The other man shrugs, looking completely comfortable in his skin and his home, an innocent look on his face, “Just wondering what you had planned for today is all, princess.”
It’s… not a completely useless or inane question. “Sorting things out, I suppose. Make sure we’re definitely off the Wanted List before we go back to London. Don’t want to get arrested the minute we step off the plane.”
Hobbs snorts and swigs his own coffee, “Yeah, wouldn’t want that.”
Deckard rolls his eyes, scrubs his hand across his mouth and places his own mug on the table none too gentle. “Look, twinkle toes. The ‘getting you arrested in an airport’ thing I… could probably have done not doing.”
“Is that an apology?”
“Yeah, well,” he shrugs, skin prickling hotly and looking away again. “It was a dick move and my timing was terrible.”
A grin spreads over Hobbs’ face, melting softly into the sun, “So this is an apology.”
“Not for the name,” he retorts before he can get too big for his boots. “That was funny.”
“If you have the IQ of a five year-old, maybe.” But Hobbs is grinning and so is he. “Not that I’d expect anything else from you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean, twinkle toes?”
“it means-“ he leans over the table on his forearms (his arms!) and gets very close to his face, close enough there’s no way he can’t see every millimetre of that perfect blinding bloody smile- “twinkle toes, that I’ve come to expect a certain level of immaturity from you.”
“No more than I’ve come to expect from you,” he volleys back, downing the last of his coffee and taking his mug over to the sink. “But I’ll make sure I remember that before I take your name off the Wanted List.” There’s a pause where normally he’d leave, excuses made, but, well, he doesn’t. Instead, he leans against the counter and folds his arms and watches as Hobbs pulls a disgusted face at his now-cold coffee and before the silence can get too awkward he asks, “What are you doing today, anyway? Apart from being annoying?”
“Probably annoying you some ore,” he grins. Deckard can’t help but smile back. “Call Sam. And her Mom. Maybe see if I can arrange something so she can come visit this place.”
“She’d love that,” Deckard agrees softly, remembering Hattie and Owen’s faces when their mother took them to the beach for the first time or when he snuck them into the cinema to watch The Goonies. They’d run smack bang into Mum when they left, hands on her hips and trying to hide the smile on her face. Never let your guard down darlings. In the corner of his eye he sees Hobbs frown and lean closer and with a carefully-hidden start he realises the conversation’s been carrying on around his head like cartoon birds and he’s got no idea what the hell the other man’s just said, or what his own mouth is currently saying now, but it makes Hobbs huff out a laugh and call him a bastard, Deckard smiles awkwardly and shuffles his feet- he’s acting like a teenage girl with her first crush, bloody fucking hell! “Well… s’pose I’ll let you get on, then.”
Hobbs throws another one of those concerned looks his way and his stomach flips again. “Now? All you’ve had for breakfast is coffee.”
“Some of us don’t require ungodly amounts of protein to function, Hulk Hogan.”
The insult hits him as hard as a punch and his face falls slightly and Deckard only feels worse; that wasn’t that bad, was it? Certainly no worse than any other insult they’ve ever thrown at each other. So why….
“No breakfast and playing nice, are you sure you’re feeling okay?”
“Piss off, you arse, can’t a bloke just not be hungry occasionally? Besides, Hattie’s told me to behave and I’m a damn sight more scared of her than I am you.”
The frown deepens, “You’re scared of me? Really?”
Deckard rolls his eyes. “It’s called a joke, Hobbs. Learn to take one.” He storms out before Hobbs can get another word out.
Hattie doesn’t even spare him a glance from her book, “What have you done now?”
“I-“there’s not use lying to her. She’d know. Plus, she’d kill him. “I might have cocked up.”
She offers him a tentative smile as she turns the page, “Deck, given you’re track record with Hobbs you’re going to have to be more specific.”
“Piss off!” he tries to pace and then realises that maybe he needs to sit down. “I… think I upset him?”
That gets her attention, “And you care if you did?”
It takes two seconds of scrunched-nose scrutiny before she works it out and her face breaks into gleeful delight. Despite the inner turmoil, Deckard relishes in it. It’s been a really, really long time since he last saw her smile and he’s missed her, he’s missed her. She puts her book down and leans forward, smiling widely and hair swinging in neat edges across both sides of her face, “You like him?”
“What are you, twelve?”
“So you do like him!” He can’t be annoyed at her- not that he ever really could be, even as a kid with her and Owen both, and especially not now, when two weeks ago he still doubted she’d even show up at his funeral. “You should tell him.”
“I should- you bloody kissed him!” he hisses, feeling the tips of his ears burn. “What, are we going to share him?”
Hattie rolls her eyes, “The world was ending and I was dying and your ex-boyfriend was coming to kill us and if Madam M was around I’d have kissed her instead, but she wasn’t.”
“Don’t say that like some excuse, he’s not- he shouldn’t need to be an excuse.” The words trail off into a mumble and he glares at his shoes and crosses his arms over his chest, fingers itching to punch someone as he realises he’s said something that he shouldn’t have said. Never let your guard down.
“So you do like him. Good. That means Jonah owes me twenty quid.”
“Mum’s already text twice asking why you haven’t both got your heads out your arses yet.”
He buries his face in his hands, wishing beyond all belief that he’d never gotten out of bed today. “For fuck’s sake.”
“You could just grow up and tell him how you feel.”
“Why not? He likes you too- trust me, I’ve kissed him.”
“Or… I could ask him for you.”
“Big fat no, Hattie.”
“No! Now will you please just fucking drop it?” He feels as if his head is about to fall off- what the fuck is wrong with him today?! A thought occurs to him, “And don’t you even think about getting Jonah to help you lock us in a cupboard because one: he’s the sanest person in this place so don’t go corrupting him. And two: I will tell Mum.”
“What if I thought it already?” she calls sweetly from down the hall- he hadn't even noticed her leaving, Jesus Christ. Deckard gives today up for a lost cause and crawls back into bed.
When he wakes up, he is 99% certain his entire body is on fire.
Breathe, breathe! But even the air is hot and he yanks the blankets off his face and heaves in lungfuls of air that don’t smell like his flat in London, it’s- Luke Hobbs is about four inches away from his and he switches his opinion from nightmare to dream and then back to nightmare in three seconds flat.
“Christ,” Deckard grumbles, blinking at the afternoon light streaming through the curtains. Not burning- this is Samoa and he’s buried himself under a pile of blankets fully clothed and now looks bad and probably smells even worse in front of his stupid crush. Stupid Shaw. Stupid Luke- Hobbs!- stupid, stupid, stupid.
“It’s a good thing you don’t have hair, the way you toss and turn, you know.”
“Dunno if you’re too dumb to realise, He-Man, but you ain’t got any hair either.” Exhaustion hits him like a sack of shit and now he knows there’s no danger he sinks back into the mattress, determined to escape into unconsciousness as soon as possible. “The fuck’re you doing in here anyway, you perv?”
He shrugs, looking nonplussed at the insult, “Do you want any dinner?”
He’s slept through lunch?
Mum would nag him for skipping meals but he isn’t hungry. Everything is just off. “Thanks, but no- your gormless face always puts me off eating.”
“And your shitty attitude puts everyone off of liking you.”
Yeah, that’s fair.
“Your sister said you wouldn’t want anything- she said to tell you she’s already sorted out everything before you go back home.”
He can’t tell if his sister is an angel or an interfering busy-body. He suppresses a grin, probably both. “Clearly she’s even more desperate to get away from you than I am.”
“Yeah? Well I’ll be glad to see the back of you but don’t worry- I’ll let the door hit you on the way out.”
Hobbs is already at the bedroom door, one huge hand on the handle- Deckard can just picture him shutting him in this room and going off to have fun with everyone else downstairs, Hattie included. “You sure you don’t want anything? Mom can save something for later.”
“Stop fussing, twinkle toes.”
“Hey, dick-face, just don’t want you getting any scrawnier, is all.”
“Please, I could be starving and still be able to wipe the floor with you.”
“Alright, if you say so.” A smug look slides over his face, “Prove it- we can spar together tomorrow morning.”
Every sensible part of his brain is screaming that this is a bad idea.
Fortunately or unfortunately, Deckard Shaw loves bad ideas.
“Fine, I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
“Right.” The smug look is still there. “Tomorrow at five. Okay.”
The door shuts and Deckard flops back against the mattress. What the fuck was he thinking?
“What the fuck were you thinking?” grouses Hattie, still half asleep as he pulls his socks on in the pre-dawn darkness. “Seriously, Deck, how fucking hard did the bad guys hit you to make you think this was a good idea?”
“He insulted me!” he tries to defend, tying his laces. “I was defending my honour, here.”
That gets him a snort and an insult half-muffled in the pillow as she throws another at his head. He ducks and winces- he woke up at four and was fine until he remembers Hobbs exists. Now he might genuinely have to run to the bathroom and puke, or concede defeat and ask Hattie for some of the really good painkillers she keeps for that time of the month. And no, he doesn’t mean the werewolf thing, the other thing. Standing, he bites back a hiss as the movement pulls the nervousness in his stomach in five different directions and- after much deliberation- ruffles a hand through Hattie’s bed hair. She doesn’t pull away but rather leans into the touch like when they were kids and- he has his sister back. That’s worth developing a crush on Luke Hobbs for.
One sharp eye looks him over and she turns onto her side, “You know this is a stupid idea, don’t you? You look like shit.” It’s worth a million punches in the face to have his sister care. Two million, even.
“That bastard always gives me a headache,” he shrugs. “Let me go wipe the floor with him and then we’ll go home, hey?” Not quite ‘back in time for tea’ the way it always was when they were kids, but they’ll probably be back in time for Mum to have tried her eleventh jail break. Same thing, right?
Hattie rolls her eyes and pulls the covers back up over her head, “Men.”
It delights Shaw no end that Hobbs is late.
“You’re late,” he crows delightedly, as if he himself wasn’t ten minutes late because of a detour to throw up. He's never been so nervous as he is now, waiting for Hobbs to come, and he's done a lot of stupid shit over the years. “Should have known you wouldn’t be smart enough to tell the time. What, does your daughter have to look at the clock for you?”
Maybe that’s kind of a dick move, but he’s feeling like a Dick today and Hobbs is wearing nothing but a pair of shorts. He feels like his Mum always did when she was fanning herself over Baywatch.
“I should be getting her to fight instead,” Hobbs teases, taking up a position five feet across from him in the secluded back yard. “You wouldn’t last two minutes with her.”
“Perhaps not,” Agrees Deck, well aware of the damage little girls can do when necessary. “But you, twinkle toes, won’t last two minutes with me.”
The words are hardly out of his mouth before Hobbs is lunging for him and he’s side stepping the tackle and swinging round for more. Every movement pulls at something and only makes the pain stronger and the sun hotter, salt getting in his eyes and making him blink as the morning begins in full, the two of them almost in sync and ducking and lunging and throwing punches, blocking punches, at times rolling right on top of each other on the ground. When Hobbs stands up there’s dust all over the hem of his shorts and sticking to his broad, muscular back and if he weren’t so pumped on adrenaline and exhaustion Deckard would have a boner right about now. How long they’ve been at this weird, almost-friendly roughhousing he doesn’t know, but he’s faltering- his steps aren’t as quick as they were at the start and every time he breathes in it tastes funny and if he didn’t actually need to breathe, he wouldn’t because it hurts a lot. This needs to end soon, now, something is wrong and Deckard Saw refuses to call it quits against Luke Hobbs and- yeah, he thinks, wincing at how his muscles pull at his torso, that’s the basis for most of his problems, isn’t it?
Deckard Shaw refuses to stop a fight just because he is lovesick, and over a bloody American at that.
Perhaps the only consolation in all of this is he’s got Hobbs on his toes, looking equal parts tired and determined- and Hattie says he’s stubborn, Hobbs goes beyond sensible. At the last moment he realises the other man’s coming towards him again and ducks out of the way, falling against the wall of the house and trying to blink the black spots away from his eyes as he steadies himself. The blurry vision is obscuring Hobbs from view, which is a shame.
He’s faltering and Hobbs knows it.
“Come on, you can do better than that!” he laughs as Deckard pushes himself off the way to throw a punch at his head. His fist goes wide and Hobbs ducks under his arm and lands a hit of his own right in his stomach. Never let your guard down, darlings. Deckard’s world burns white hot and he’s falling to his knees, crashing into Hobbs on the way down, unsure if the scream he just heard was his.
“What the fuck?” are the first words he says when he wakes up in a hospital room. “Oh fuck,” he says when he sees Hattie and Hobbs sitting at his bedside.
A look of relief washes over both their faces and Hattie’s shoulders sag on her next exhale. When she breathes in again, the only crack in her composure is the fact she’s still holding his hand on top of the bedsheet. When Deckard squeezes her fingers, she squeezes back. “You know when I told you that sparring with him was a stupid idea?”
“I told you so,” she informs him seriously. She really, really did. Also Mum asked if you need her to come and visit.”
“That’ll make it, what, the fourteenth time she’s escaped custody? Better not.” His throat feels like a junkie’s carpet; pain is hovering at the edges with just enough drugs in the IV to keep it at bay and there’s sharp pull in his right side if he moves the wrong way, but if it was anything life-threatening Mum would have broken out already, so Deckard reckons he's going to be just fine. Hobbs is conspicuous in his silence.
Hattie shoots him a pointed look that is obscured from Hobbs by his massive shoulder and gives his hand one last squeeze as she looks between the two of them and then stands, “I need coffee. And I’d better call Mum before she chloroforms the guards.”
Even just laughing weakly is enough to make him wince, which doesn’t fail to escape Hobbs’ notice, and he’s on his feet and pacing round the foot of the bed the instant the door closes. “You-“ he emphasises the word by pointing his finger at him accusingly- “are the biggest fucking idiot I have ever met in my entire fucking life!”
“Have you looked in the mirror lately, twinkle toes?” Deckard tries to sit up more, then realises it’s impossible right now and slumps back down against the pillows with a frustrated huff. “Then you’d see a proper joke.”
“Oh no-“ more expressive finger pointing. “We’re not doing that- we’re not- we’re not joking and laughing this off as an excuse not to talk about it. Appendicitis, Deckard! You had appendicitis and decided you wouldn’t tell anyone and tried to spar with me at five in the morning- who the fuck does that?”
Despite the drugs and the force of nature that is Luke Hobbs’ anger, it isn’t lost on Deckard that he said his name. Or that he did technically just insult him. “’Tried’?” he says flippantly. “I was kicking your arse, I’ll have you know-“
“No. no, what did I just tell you?” Hobbs runs a hand over what’s left of his hair and swears several colourful Samoan curse words, looking as if he’s just escaped something akin to a nuclear disaster. Unless… warmth begins to kindle in Deckard’s chest. It feels very much like hope.
“We’re not joking about this. No more fucking jokes, or puns or- or damn wisecracking. This is serious- you scared the shit out of Hattie, and Mom and Jonah and everyone- I didn’t know what the hell was going on until we got here. I didn’t know if you got injured fighting Eteon or if I had accidentally-“
Whatever he’s about the say he bites back, guilt plaint to see on his face. It makes Deckard feel guilty too, just a little. Feeling guilty for making Luke feel guilty. And for worrying everyone.
“So no,” he continues, exhaling shakily. “We can’t ‘not talk’ about this. And we can’t joke our way out of this. Joking about how you fell for me isn’t funny when you fucking collapsed.”
Deckard replies before he can think anything through, “The bit about me falling for you wouldn’t be a joke.”
Luke’s face is comical. He shrugs and tried not to wince, “I, uh, I guess ‘love-hate’ relationships really do exist, huh? I didn’t- I didn’t realise it was actually anything like that, I thought I was just realising that I… like you? It was a shock to me too, to be fair. I guess, I guess I let my guard down around you by accident.”
Luke gapes at him for a while longer before the confession finally sinks in. he opens his mouth to say something and then closes it. Deckard braces himself for the punch.
“Hattie’s right,” he says at long last. “You really are an idiot.” The next thing he does is kiss him, so Deckard lets the insult go this time.