Genre: sedoretu, after a fashion; post-Fast 6
Characters: Brian, Dom, Letty, Mia, Tej, Roman, Han and Gisele in absentia
Pairings: Very nearly everyone/everyone.
Rating: R for brief sexuality, language
Word Count: ~1300
Notes: Unofficial yuletide fic written for xenakis on DreamWidth.
It is dedicated to Roger Rodas and Paul Walker.
The walk in front of 1327 is LA-baked, innocuous bleach toned concrete the city put down decades ago and the trees have been reclaiming ever since. And this is a city with no trees but the roots that push up from beneath white slabs like the Hollywood Undead. But there's music in the cracks, nothing their neighbors have ever loved and very little that will be remembered anywhere else a decade from now. But 1327 will remember--as will 1325 and 1329, if they stay that long. A decade from now, Mia Toretto will walk out barefoot, light and quick in ways that would have been painful, would have burned, if she hadn't done it a hundred times that year already. Mia sheds her shoes in March--always has, ever since she was a little girl--and by July, her feet are tough and the mail is hers. (If Jack doesn't rush out first. He'll have that habit by then, no longer an infant but a child grown in the blistering, loving society that is the pride of 1327.)
The music will be the same, in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, the halfways between all of them. And it will be loud. It will be loud enough to fill the cracks in the ground.
It is 2014 and the house is theirs again. Han is dead too soon, in Japan. (Finally, in Japan.) There are rites to be upheld and dark suits to remember, but first there's a phone call, an e-mail, a dissemination. First there is music, loud, pounding lyrics hard into the pavement that mean nothing, have nothing to do with what the song itself has come to mean to them. Food. The smoky, mesquite ghosts of grilling meat circling up into the air along with the burning of cigarettes, and cigarettes, and cigarettes. There are prayers, to follow the smoke upward, jokes at each other's expense, and at the city's expense, and even at Han's, because they have too much respect for their fallen to honor them with estrangement.
Burnin' one for you, man, says Tej, raising his lighter to the tip of Roman's cig, which extends vertically from between his lips, head tipped back towards the sky. Fuckin' quitter, always eating them chips instead.
Roman laughs, or maybe it's a guffaw. In any case, he nearly swallows his cigarette, saves the merchandise by snapping forward and spitting his cigarette onto the ground; it lodges in a crack.
Kind of like exchanging pussy for dick, you know what I mean? I mean, damn he was always about them chips--
Roman tells him to speak for himself; because his dick is like a fiiiine--vowel extended, luxuriating--wine. You want I take it out right now, Imma take it out right now, I ain't got nothing to be shy about--
They're all a little drunk. Jack's face is smeared with barbecue sauce. Mia and Letty are dancing.
You should join them, Dom says to Brian, with nothing but the affect of his eyebrows, that sly, slackjaw grin of his. With a twitch of his middle finger, Brian replies, nah man, not my thing. Dom will prove him wrong someday. They got all the time in the world, now.
It's a strange thing to say, knowing what they do, but they don't go in for the usual thing. They do not dwell. They do not break. They continue to live by codes Dom hasn't spoken aloud in years, in quarter-miles they measure only literally. There is no time to waste on metaphor.
At 1327 happiness and grief break the sound barrier; they conflate, become one another, and it's music and barbecue and dancing and love that make both real. In times like these, they don't speak much, and never in car metaphors. If they tried, maybe, tried to dig deep and find sorrow in the wind that whistles through slit windows, rubber tacking to pavement, they would probably need to fall back on the language of steel and mechanical parts. But they are thoughtless for the most part, determinedly so. It's a way of life that privileges living, not memory.
Memory is more fragile than dance, more deceptive than smoke, and less specific than the smart of your tongue against sweaty clit. Letty, more than anyone, knows. She knows more about memory than anyone that has them. So she dances.
There is a density to grief that is impermissible here.
They all are open windows, the people at 1327, panes that carry nothing with them but the sun. When the sun goes down, they know each other's skin by how bright it shines in the orange urban glow. Shy of midnight, the summer breeze walks in, makes them remember to breathe, and Brian puts Jack to bed and Mia takes Tej and Roman and Dom take up the difference, suck each other off in the front room while they wait for Letty, who always, always comes in her own damn time. Sometimes Tej wanders in instead, and then it's Mia and Brian waiting on Letty those first buzzing hours, liquor on their breaths and muggy July seeping from their pores.
This is a funeral. This is another day. This is ten seconds, before a second ten, a third, a fourth. One day there will be no fifth, but that day is not today.
Music drums through the pavement.
And in the morning, there's a shop to run, a race to organize (inasmuch as these things ever are), tickets to be got. Japan Airlines. (Roman offers his jet and Dom says no. Tej says hell no.)
They don't think about the day before them as something that might be their last. They don't think about its absences, or its cracks, or its heavinesses. That's no way to live forever. Instead they live expansively, with wide mouths and loose throats, shouting and jibing and hollering like there's space to fill and they're gonna goddamn race to fill it. It's not that they forget whose space it is; they just pick up. They pick up and take in, and live like they have a thousand lives to live.
Mia dances over the cracks to the mail in the morning. Letty has Jack.
They make cars in Japan, you know. Brian is hovering over Dom's shoulder, scrutinizing the webpage Dom scrolls through, slowly. Dom is making the necessary preparations for Japan.
Nah, they don't. Resolute, derisive, affectionate.
Brian delivers a swift nip to the back of Dom's neck.
Fuck you, O'Conner. Dom smiles, but Brian's gone. Brian breaks away before the air settles around them and that alien thickness to things, that thickness that is nothing like the world they want to know, strangles. They owe their fallen that much. Brian! Dom shouts down the stairs.
But Brian's never really answered to that kind of bullshit, even when it meant getting his ass handed to him. He's outside already, shouting up to their peeling window, the one that's always open, the one that's always letting ash and pollen blow into the office. Catch me! Brian shouts. He waves up at Dom, filling space greedily, noisily, thoughtlessly. Like breathing takes every limb and every piece of the air around him. Because in the end, they all live like they command the road, and the first rule is you never let anyone steal your wind.
"Catch me!" he shouts.
Just try and fucken catch me.