From up here the city lights burn
Like a thousand miles of fire
Story of the Year “Anthem of Our Dying Day”
Letty’s drinking a beer and watching tv when Mia gets home from her rounds.
Her scrubs are dirty and she’s sticky with sweat. Her hair is frizzy at her temples and the back of her neck; her lips are dry and chapped. In contrast, Letty looks cool and relaxed, sprawled on the couch in a white tank top and jeans.
“Boots off the coffee table,” Mia says automatically, as if it hasn’t been years, as if the guys will be spilling into the room any minute, filling the house with noise and energy and the smell of sweat and grease.
As if Jesse was still alive. As if Dom could come home.
“Hey girl,” Letty says and lifts her beer in a languid salute. “I’m home.”
There’s a twist to her lips and though it might be a smile, her eyes are hard.
Mia sits on the end of the couch, perches awkwardly on the cushions, and rests her hands on her thighs. Her fingers have that dusty feeling of being in gloves too long. Her nails are jagged and unpolished. She wants to get into bed and sleep for a week. She wants to wake up in a world where she’s not living alone in a house pulsing with the ghosts of her former life.
She might have hated her place it in, but at least she wasn’t alone.
They fall into their patterns. Letty spends most of her time in the garage. There’s dust and cobwebs and dead bugs everywhere, but she cleans it up a little and gets to work. The fucking Charger is the skeleton in Mia’s closet – she never goes out there now.
Right after, when Dom disappeared and Brian stopped by only long enough to tell them Letty’s name was somehow clear and they were too pissed at him – too betrayed -- to question him, instead they wouldn’t let him through the front door, they’d packed up the house and put the boxes out there. Each one had been carefully labeled: Jesse, Leon, Vince.
Dom’s stuff they left alone. Letty demanded it, but Mia hadn’t planned to touch it anyway. The house was his, really, she was just keeping it for him.
She once told Brian that Dom was the center of their world, that Dom was like gravity to everyone he met. At the time, she hadn’t meant to include herself in that, but now she is spinning free and she knows the truth.
Mia does her residency thing, leaves early and comes home late. She doesn’t keep much food in the house, and she’s not even sure Letty knows how to cook. Couple weeks of this, and then sometimes there’s dinner on the counter when she gets in. Letty doesn’t wait for her, but it’s there, and it’s always something easy to reheat.
Letty sleeps in Dom’s room. Mia peeks in at her once because she can hear the bed springs squeak. She’s asleep – the room’s still too hot despite the open window – but it’s fitful; she tosses and kicks off the sheet. She’s wearing boxer shorts and another white tank and in the moonlight she looks like a ghost.
Her face is softened and one hand is curled into a fist near her cheek.
Mia can just barely see the glint of a silver cross between her fingers.
She leaves the room before she starts to cry. She should be beyond this. She thought she stopped mourning sometime over the years; she threw herself into her studies and into her work and she was going to be Dr. Toretto and one hell of a surgeon.
God, she misses Dom. She crosses herself and thinks about praying but doesn’t.
Mia’s got a day off, the first one in – well, it’s been so long she can’t remember. Weeks. Months, maybe. All she wants to do is work, get more hours in, learn all she can. But Letty’s around now, and when Mia’s asked to fill in for someone else, for the first time ever, she says no.
The temperature jumps another five degrees and for a second she actually wishes she was at the air conditioned hospital.
Not even Letty can deal with it. She comes in from the garage just after noon, heads straight for the shower, and then collapses on the couch in a clean white tank and a pair of black boy-cut panties.
Mia’s been pretending to read for hours, but really drinking iced tea and trying to figure out what she thinks she’s doing.
Letty doesn’t turn on the television, which is a surprise, she just sits there. Mia sneaks a look at her over the top of her book and Letty’s watching her right back. She smiles slow, just a hint of her former cocky grin, and warmth uncurls low in Mia’s stomach.
Time and distance stretches between them, but for the first time, Mia thinks it’s for the best. They’re not the same girls who first kissed at fourteen or fucked at fifteen or had screaming matches at sixteen. They’re not even the same women who circled each other while their worlds revolved around Dom.
Things have changed. Things have really changed, but the important stuff stays the same. Letty’s had a place in Mia’s heart for years, for decades, ever since they were five years old and Letty picked her up when she fell off the monkey bars at school trying to climb as high and as fast as the boys. As Dom. Her knees and elbows were wrecked, bloody messes, and none of the other girls would come near her, but Letty shouldered through the crowd and helped her to her feet and took her over to the playground aide who hadn’t been watching close enough. She’d been this bossy little girl with tight braids and a scowl too big for her face.
Mia knows she still looks at her like she’s the greatest woman in the world.
“Come here,” Letty says and her smile goes wicked.
There’s no time to think about what she’s doing – or maybe she doesn’t let herself think. Instead she sets her book aside and joins Letty on the couch. She’s sprawled out so much Mia doesn’t have much room, but it’s not like she’s going to complain, especially when Letty puts her legs across her lap. She stretches her arms over her head and her shirt rides up.
Mia smiles at that practiced seduction and places her hand on Letty’s lower stomach. Her thumb skims the top of her underwear; Letty twitches her hips, trying to rock her hand lower, but Mia knows that trick.
It’s too hot to cuddle on the couch but Mia doesn’t resist when Letty grabs her hand and drags her forward until she sprawls across her, their legs entwined, breasts pressed together.
“Kiss me,” she orders and Mia presses her mouth to her shoulder and ladders kisses up the line of her throat and along her jaw, teasing her until Letty shifts and kisses her properly.
She’s still got it, that perfect kiss, firm lips and just enough teeth. Mia kisses her until she runs out of air, until her lungs ache, and then pulls away, gasping. Letty always did leave her breathless.
Sweat slicks down her back, but she rests her forehead against Letty’s shoulder and holds her closer still. She’s shaking, her arms feel strangely weak, and her throat is tight. She hasn’t cried in years.
“Girl, it’s okay,” Letty whispers, her breath hot against her ear. She kisses her temple and shifts them around until they’re both slightly more comfortable. Still sweaty, but better.
She blinks hard. She’s not going to cry. Letty doesn’t. She just gets things done.
They eat dinner outside in the dark, hoping to catch a breeze. Letty makes a quick run for Chinese and there’s plenty of beer. She strips off her cargo pants as soon as she gets back home and for a second, when she sits down at the picnic table, Mia worries about splinters.
“What’d I miss, being gone?” Letty asks suddenly.
Mia spears a piece of orange chicken and chews it slowly while she thinks about what to say. She’s had a lot of life since her family was blown apart, and even when Letty was around in the beginning, she wasn’t paying attention to anything but her own grief.
She didn’t know what to tell her about. The miscarriage year zero, when it all blew apart and Brian fucked everyone over in so many different ways. It was for the best, she hadn’t even told him, she shouldn’t have been stupid enough to get pregnant in the first place, she knew how things worked. She didn’t want anymore memories of Brian.
Still, it had shaken her and she’d cried one night through until her pillow was soggy and her head stuffed up and her eyes raw.
The mess of year two, applying for her residency and the end of med school and, Christ, Match Day. She’d been fucking lucky, not only had she been matched, she got a place in L.A., she didn’t have to leave what was left of home. Or maybe she was cursed, stuck with the past when everyone else got to escape. She still doesn’t know which is worse. Some of her classmates had to scramble for positions and she’d felt as sorry for them as she could, but there wasn’t much sympathy left inside.
Her residency has been a hard battle, long hours and too much work and not enough sleep. That’s the only good thing about being alone, no one else has any claims to her time. She tells herself it makes things easier, but she’s lying.
She’s got about a year left and some days she’s not sure she’s going to make it but she doesn’t have any other choice. She’s made her sacrifices just like everyone else and this has been her dream since Mom got sick when she was eight and died when she was ten.
Mia swallows and shrugs. “Life,” she says. Letty frowns, but too bad, that’s all she’s gonna get. It’s enough.
They’ve been fucking for almost a month when Letty starts acting strange. Mia gnaws the inside of her lip bloody some nights, waiting for her to come home, waiting for her to disappear, waiting for the rest of her world to fall apart, but each time Letty’s in bed with her when she wakes and life is okay.
She doesn’t know it’s their last night together when Letty stays home and orders pizza and cheese sticks and they go to bed early. The sex is good, slow and slightly rough and it lasts forever.
After, Mia’s almost asleep, her head on Letty’s shoulder, when Letty tucks her fingers into her hair.
“I’m sorry,” she whispers and it’s more like a breath, faint and almost lost in the darkness.
Mia tries to ask For what? but she’s gone, she’s asleep, and her dreams are filled with warm beaches and the laughter of her family.
She sneaks out of bed in the morning, careful not to wake Letty, who has dark bruises under her eyes. She’s not sleeping nearly enough.
She’s not quiet enough and when she comes back from her shower, Letty’s awake, the sheet kicked off, a beautiful distraction sprawled on the bed. She watches Mia get dressed, silent, her eyes big and dark, and there’s a restless energy around her.
Mia kisses her good-bye and rushes out the door. She’s running late. If she knew what was next, if she knew she’d find the silver cross on her pillow and about the phone call she’d get in the middle of the night, she would have lingered.
She’s learned the hard way you don’t always get to say a proper good-bye.
“Where are her dog tags?” Dom asks and his voice is low and rough.
Mia looks away, stares out the window over the sink and out into the night. She’s been washing dishes so long her fingers look like prunes; she’s probably washed every dish in the kitchen three times.
“Was she wearing them?” he presses. It would be an easy thing to lie, to tell him yes, that they’re gone just like she is, but this is Dom. She presses her lips together in a thin line and breathes slowly through her nose.
“No,” she says at last. “They’re around here somewhere.”
He settles himself heavily against the doorframe. She washes the soap from her hands and turns to look at him. He’s holding the back of his neck with one hand; his other arm hangs loose at his side. There are deep shadows under his eyes, wrinkles at the corners of his mouth. He looks worn down.
He looks old and her heart stutters.
Dom can’t die. He can’t. All her medical training and still she thinks her big brother is invincible.
“I’ll fix this,” he promises, and it’s the wrong fucking thing to say.
“There’s no fixing this!” She presses her fingers against the edge of the sink. “She’s gone and no matter what we do, she’s not coming back.” Her voice breaks and tears sting her eyes.
He wraps her in a hug, his big arms tight around her, and she squeezes him as much as she can, clinging to him. She cries against his shirt, and she’s pretty sure, from the hitch in his breathing, that he’s crying too.
She’s not stupid. She knows about loss. Both her parents are dead and twice Dom’s left her behind. She knows the world sucks sometimes and there’s nothing anyone can do. People get hurt, people leave, people lie. People die. It happens.
Letty’s gone, really, truly gone this time and never coming back, and Mia’s never felt so raw and fragile and alone.
Mia prays that night, Letty’s dog tags wrapped around her fingers, a rosary clutched in her other hand. She hung the silver cross in the goddamn Charger – she crosses herself – and Dom can have it if he wants, if he thinks he can outlive the fucking curse again, but the tags are hers.
They are cool against her fingers, they’ve long lost the feel of Letty, but they warm as she holds them and somehow she feels the stirrings of hope.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Rob Cohen, etc.
Setting: During Fast & Furious
Written for: nikitangel for her birthday.
Series: Follows "land meets water meets sky" (Letty/Dom)
Setting: During Fast & Furious
Written for: nikitangel for her birthday.
Series: Follows "land meets water meets sky" (Letty/Dom)