Title: Twisting Road
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 22 June 2009
Fandom: Fast and Furious
Word Count: 2278
Summary: When Dom made his choice, Letty made one, that led to surprises
Spoiler: for Fast and Furious
Archive: Archive, Please
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DD09
Disclaimer: Property owned by One Race Productions and Universal Studios
Author’s Notes: Written for Dog Days Of Summer 2009
Beta: Thank you to ilyena_sylph for the beta, and for everything
Letty Ortiz was a woman who had given her love to one man while she'd been little more than a child herself. She had been with that man, through a lot of hard times and too many losses. There wasn't much she could deny him, or that she had ever wanted to.
All of that had changed the moment she woke up alone in the bungalow, after his talk about him being a target, and no one being safe anywhere near him. She had plenty of cash, a good car, and papers that let her cross the important borders when she needed to, but no Dominic Torreto to guide her life anymore.
She didn't do more than touch base with a few contacts; she knew Dom well enough to know he'd taken her choice away. He was running, but she wasn't allowed to come with him.
It left her hurting with a vague sense of betrayal, but in the end, she still loved him. Out of love, she would respect his decision for them both, and not look for him. Instead, she'd do the one thing he couldn't do on the run.
She would go home and protect his baby sister. Mia was no Dom, but she was a Torreto, and the second most important thing in Dom's life.
Mia's eyes widened at coming home to find Letty on the couch, when she knew quite well that the woman had an outstanding warrant for questioning in the hijackings. They hadn't been able to prove her or Leon's involvement, because the trucker hadn't seen them, Vince hadn't talked, and Brian had run, but that didn't mean she was in the clear – not with the cops knowing that where Vince was, Dom and the rest of their team weren't far away.
"Easy, little sister." Letty rose off the couch, all lithe grace and tanned muscle and resolve.
"You could get in trouble being here," Mia said, shaking her head. "They still watch the house." That was something she'd just had to get used to, much as it rubbed salt in the wound of her family's separation.
Letty shrugged that possibility off. "I got something in the works, Mia. Now...we're still family, right?"
At that questioning, wry tone, Mia moved to hug her tight, the strength of it reinforced with sheer worry and wondering. When she pulled back, she looked down into Letty's eyes, searching for the reason she was here, not at Dom's side where she should be.
"That brother of yours... I'm gonna nail his hide to the garage when I see him next," Letty began, choosing her words carefully. Two long months of carefully working her way back to the States had given her time to push the ache down, but she didn't need it spilling back over now. "The day I can't choose my road, and drive my own fate is the day they put me in a coffin, not a minute before!"
Mia let those words percolate and then she just shook her head. "What was he thinking? No, wait. More 'Dominic-being-the-boss-of-us-all' and thinking we're better off without him."
Letty snorted at the aggrieved little sister voice Mia had used, a slow smile on her lips. "Just about got it in one, Mia."
Mia rolled her eyes, then looked over at the bag at the end of the couch before regarding Letty evenly. "Take his room... and your things are in the garage."
"I hoped you'd say that I could crash."
"Family sticks together," Mia whispered, before going to work in the kitchen, tears stinging her eyes. Letty watched her go, remembering that line and how often it had been true...until it all went wrong.
It hadn't happened overnight, Letty knew. Even though she and Mia were close to the same age, she had been trying to run with Vince and Dom since she had been a child, with little time for Dom's little sister.
Growing close to Mia had been something of an extension of Dom's own concerns for her. Because Dom saw Mia as someone to be cherished and protected, Letty had done so, starting about the time Dom got out of prison and came home in time to notice Letty wasn't just a tom boy anymore.
Now, though, Letty was learning more about Mia. Mia liked food from several ethnic groups, not just the native Italian and Mexican bastard cuisine of their neighborhood. Mia enjoyed a fast car just as much as the rest of the crew, but preferred the challenge of freeway runs to set races, when a street race didn't give you thrown-on brakes suddenly or swerving vehicles in front of you suddenly. She hadn't been able to handle the reminders of all that was lost, and had redecorated, putting away the things that had been their parents, choosing a brighter, more floral style.
Mia also was not the little sister anymore. Letty was working on getting the mower running again, so they wouldn't have to pay Tico down the street, when Mia came out with an ice cold lemonade for her.
"It's not a beer?" Letty joked, getting a small smile from the woman, even as she noticed the way Mia's shorts and halter top clung to curves any race girl would love to have. That flat stomach was muscled, and there wasn't an inch of fat anywhere that didn't just make Mia look more feminine.
"Not in this heat, Letty!" Mia protested, passing the drink over and waiting as Letty drank it all down. When Letty passed it back, there was a look of something Letty knew all too well in Mia's face. It was the look of weighing the now against the past, coming up in painful hurt as the present couldn't match what had always been. Letty felt it every morning she woke up, Dom's scent fading from her nose as she let go of the pillow he had once used.
"I remind you of him, smack me, chica," Letty told her, shifting to put an arm around the other woman's shoulders, despite the height difference. She saw Mia's nostrils flare, catching the sun-warmed sweat and grease smell, and started to pull away, only to have Mia hastily hold on to her, taking comfort in that.
"You do... and you don't, and I need it," Mia said softly.
Letty decided the mower could wait, and went to take Mia inside, clean up, and treat her to dinner.
No one needed that much pain hanging onto their heart, but at least Letty understood it.
The first time Letty came home bruised from a fight, a small cut near an eye, Mia frowned. She silently tended the cut, checked Letty over carefully, and then left her alone.
It was as Letty went upstairs to Dom's old room that she heard just what the fight had done to the woman she had come back to protect. Mia was in her own room, the old door doing little to mask the muffled sounds of crying into a pillow. Letty hesitated just outside the door, listening, hearing the soft prayers coming between the sobs.
<i>Don't let me lose her too. Don't take her away again. Just let me keep one piece of my family, and keep her safe!</i>
Letty had to move on then. It hurt her deep in her guts, knowing she had made Mia cry. When Letty realized that was the reason her own chest was so tight, she had to shake her head, almost banging her head against the wall to check it, for that line of reasoning. Yeah, she liked Mia, always had in one way or another, but this...this was different.
She was too much like Dom to stay out of the thrills, out of the danger. Mia needed family, though, which meant doing just that... or bringing Dom home. That was impossible, so Letty would just have to learn to be a good girl.
Letty paused in the middle of slipping inside, the night later than she had intended for it to be. The living room was dark, but she could just make out Mia on the couch in the glow of the streets coming through the shades.
"What? Sorry, Mia; I tried to wrap up earlier," the other woman said, trying to clear her mind of the beer haze. Really, she had just gone down to hustle a little money at the pool table; that was nice and calm and not very dangerous, right?
"No. Why did you come back?"
"With Dom gone..."
"What, you thought since you'd lost one Torreto, the other might need you?!"
Letty stopped herself from moving toward the upset woman. Just enough beer to loosen her lips, enough to make truth spill from them, she realized, but not enough to keep it from hurting.
"Yeah... thought Dom would rather I look out for you."
Mia stalked over after rising abruptly, coming face to face with Letty in the half-dark. "Dom didn't get to watch over me when he was in jail. And he didn't seem to think I needed much looking after when he went and cooked up that mess that nearly got Vince killed!" she lashed out at her brother's longtime girlfriend. "So why should now be different?"
Letty stopped, considering, watching Mia's eyes, her pretty, soulful brown eyes that were never as dark as Dom's, certainly not as dark as her own. She saw the hurt, the wish to divorce herself from the pain of losing the brother who had half-raised her, who had been the center of their shared plans for the future until his need to prove his skills took it from them both.
"You miss him," Letty finally answered. "I missed him that morning he left me there to protect me. I came home, thinking I was being true to him in my own way." She reached up and ran her hand along Mia's jaw, feeling the other woman tense and not letting her pull free.
Not that Mia was trying, Letty noticed quickly.
"And? You're making my point! I'm not an extension of Dom!"
"No, you're not." Letty moved her thumb, and it brushed Mia's lips. "The difference is that I figured out I came back for the wrong reasons. I should have come back just because you are family. I should have come back because we are friends. And now that I'm back, chica... I see you are far more than just Dom's sister."
Mia's lips pursed at the caress, then parted slightly, words on the edge of vocalization. What she might have said was lost as the hand was slid back, into Mia's hair, and Letty kissed her.
It started light, half open lips pressing to the same, and then a quick swipe of her tongue invaded Mia's mouth. When that bold venture received no rebuke, only a half-choked moan, Letty pressed the kiss deeper, exploring the taste and feel of this woman who was no longer the little sister.
Parting from her, she saw Mia's eyelashes flutter before their eyes met.
"It's not about him?"
"Not anymore, Mia." Letty kissed Mia gently again, then smiled. "Half-drunk right now, chica...can't lie for shit, remember?"
Mia just smiled, and then turned to go make sure the door was locked.
This time, it wasn't Dom's bed Letty found, and Mia did not cry into her pillow.
Letty felt the cool air of the fan whispering across her skin, the play of Mia's softer hair tickling her arm when the air moved it. She looked down, catching sight of the trouble brewing in the set of the eyebrows, the thinness of the lips.
"What if he came back?"
Letty felt the words slam through her veins, weighing them, hearing the conflict in Mia.
Mia wanted her brother back, wanted the world to make sense again in the way that meant family stayed together and took care of each other. Letty...
When Letty had been ten, she had liked the thirteen year old Dom for all he knew about cars. Dom went away for two years when she was fourteen, and when he got back, her sixteen year old self had been enough to soothe his prison nightmares. That became the normal of their family, with her as his girl, never really first with anyone, but okay to let it go at that. Off and on, ever since, was what they had been. Sometimes it had been Mia backing off the race skanks. Sometimes it had been Dom knocking the barrio boys on their asses. Either way, they always came back to each other in the end.
Now? Dom making that decision had slammed through everything Letty thought they were. He didn't trust her to have her own back, let alone his. He didn't accept the commitment she gave him as sufficient reason to run the risk of staying with her. She would never not love Dom, but it could never, ever be the same.
Dom coming home now was still important. He was the patriarch of their crew, in some ways, the alpha wolf, brother and protector in one. Mia wanted him home...and Mia wanting that was as important to Letty as it was to herself, even if her reasons had changed.
"Then we'd be family again, and Dom would have to get used to you and me."
The worry lines smoothed out, and Mia pressed up, kissing her, letting Letty know what that meant in the most direct way she could.
Somehow, they'd find a way to bring him home, but until then they had each other.