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Title: The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday
Status:
Work in Progress
Pairings: Brian/Mia, Dom/Letty
Additional Categories: Alternate Universe
Genre: Action, Adventure, Angst, Drama, Brian!Whump, Violence
Season/Episodes: Picks up about 13 years after „The Fast and the Furious" – circa 2014
Rating: Teen, may change to Mature
Warnings: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language
Summary: AU after the end of The Fast and the Furious and 2 Fast 2 Furious. Brian has been at war in Middle East and now he really wants to come home. However, the military life has taken its toll on him and he soon sees that things aren't now quite the same as they were 13 years ago before he was shipped off. Can the old Brian be recovered?
Author's Notes: Huh, I guess I wanted to make more Military!Brian. This time he still went to Miami, but things ended a bit differently than in the movie. In order not to waste time rehashing the movie, I'm gonna skip out most of the scenes from 2 Fast 2 Furious, only concentrating on the ones I made different.
The characters from 2 Fast 2 Furious will only make a brief appearance. Sorry, but the bunny just had to go this way. While I'll plan to have Rome in a slightly bigger capacity than the others, but that's just it. However, the characters introduced in movies after 2 Fast 2 Furious will not make an appearance.
And for the Brian!Whump warning, I've put writing those scenes on hold, due to the recent death of Paul Walker as writing them yet would be a bit disrespectful at current time. But I might get to them in the future. We'll see.

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday

Prologue, Part 1

Anchors aweigh, my boys, anchors aweigh!
Farewell to foreign shores, we sail at break of day-ay-ay-ay
Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam
Until we meet once more, here's wishing you a happy voyage home

"Anchors Aweigh", Charles A. Zimmerman & Alfred Hart Miles


*2001*

Brian watched Dom get in the Supra and drive off as the sirens began to get closer. He began to walk away from the scene, but soon enough ran into a trap. A CVPI had stopped just near him and four officers got out of the car, with their guns drawn. Brian thought quickly. Running wouldn't be a smart move, so he simply surrendered and got in the car with the officers.

Three hours later, Brian was finally released from the processing and got home. Things hadn't looked good for him – suspended under further notice my ass. It really rather seemed to him as a more polite way of saying „you're fired".

What had gone wrong? Tanner and Bilkins had made it easy for him. Find out who are the suspects, get evidence, get the suspects and evidence together, bring in the hijackers and come to collect his detective badge. Heck, not a rocket science, even for him, he who was not so good at school. He had found only completed three of the five goals, but after he had failed to bring in Dom and his crew, there was nothing to do now.

Everybody was against him now. He shouldn't even think about Vince and Leon. He was a cop, which was definitely the main reason for them to hate him. Jesse probably wouldn't, but he was the youngest and nerdiest of the group, so if his opinion would matter was another subject entirely. Letty would be so happy to run Brian over for trying to arrest her man, Dom would come after Brian with two shotguns. And Mia. Yeah, she was the only one who had no part in the team's misdemeanor, but she had made her choice. She had still chosen her family over Brian in the desert. Which meant he'd be less likely to get a very warm welcome from her.

LAPD would definitely hate him now after he chose to betray their trust and let the case go down the drain. Before the hijacking case, Brian wasn't really a model cop with his methods being quite unorthodox with him spitting on by the book tactics and not knowing shit about the procedure, but his results were rather good, so when it came to the property damage, ignored rules etc., Tanner would mostly let it slide. But know, after he had betrayed their trust, he'd never have their trust again. Best he could do now was to hope that things would work out in the end someway and he wouldn't be sent to prison. A dirty cop was definitely a "much-loved" inmate in Folsom, San Quentin, et cetera.

Roman Pearce? Oh god, better not go there. They had met in the juvie when Brian was fifteen and Rome was 16 - nearly 17, and they had built up a very good friendship, but it had deteriorated when Brian was going to become a cop. Rome hadn't been enamored with Brian's idea and attempted to talk him out of it, but it hadn't worked and slowly Rome had distanced himself from him. But just with the bust two and a half years ago, there was now zero choice for Brian and Rome to mend their friendship. Brian didn't have to have any role in his friend's arrest, but he was still a cop. Enough for Rome to consider him hostile. Of course, Brian had once visited Rome in jail, but Rome had refused to come and see him at first. Finally he came and picked up the phone, but only told Brian very quickly to get out and that he never wanted to see him again, the guy whom he once considering his good friend.

His biological family would definitely just sit back, as they didn't like him at all.

In mid-1977, Amber O'Conner was a 15-year old sixth-generation Irish American tenth grader and the youngest of four siblings, coming from a Boston upper middle class family. But she just couldn't live under the harsh hand of her mother and stepfather, whom she was never quite close with whatsoever, so in the end she had run off with her boyfriend, a runaway kid, "Logan" from rural New Hampshire, and after running for 2 weeks, they had ended up in Barstow. Yet once "Logan" had found out that Amber was expecting their first (and only) child, he had run off and had never ever returned. Thus forcing Amber to live alone in a cheap room in a should-be-condemned inn and work her ass off at a sleazy bar. It was July 29, 1977 when she gave birth to Brian, who was born 5 weeks prematurely.

They didn't have the best life in Barstow, living in a trailer at Montara Road and driving a stolen car, but they were dealt a shitty hand and they just had to live with it.

In elementary school, things weren't too bad for Brian. It was only a quarter-mile walk away and he was quite a model student there, but in junior high, which was now a mile and a half away, he had started degrading into a C/D student. While mom tried to be there for him, she had to work double shifts and thus it was hard for her. Luckily she was one of those who didn't turn to alcohol or drugs for help, so she was the only constant in his life.

But things changed in high school. Not because it was 3 miles away, but just that Brian had degraded into an ignorant underachiever hooligan. He had gotten D's and F's in everything but PE and History where he was an A student, and was constantly sent to detention. And it seemed that detention, dismissal from class and PTA didn't help with his mom struggling to make the ends meet and Brian constantly disrupting lessons, playing truant, et cetera.

However, while in April/May 1992 riots had broken out in LA due to the LAPD officers who had beaten Rodney King being convicted, in Barstow there was another problem for Brian. He had boosted a Camaro on Buena Vista Street to get away from Barstow and to Las Vegas for a while, but CHP had stopped him on Interstate 15 near Death Valley. And things were about to get worse - in juvenile court he got a tough judge who sentenced him to 36 months in Apple Valley Juvenile Detention Center. He now had to get used to crappy beds, structured times, cold showers and bland food which wouldn't fill you up and you'd be hungry in an hour again. But at least with him not really being a teacher's pet/model student, he didn't find it very hard to make friends there, but not too easy either. And Brian continued to live his usual lifestyle with not focusing on his classes, until one fateful day, November 20, 1992.

That day, Brian's mother had been found dead of a drug overdose in the trailer, and this had forced Brian to turn his life around. Time for playing games was now over, he could no longer be Peter Pan and had to grow up. Brian started focusing more on his classes and by the time he was early released in December 1994, he had shaped up to a mostly B/C student with A's in PE, History and English, while still having D's in Algebra. But at least he had got a GED, something his mother didn't have. Yeah, when she had run away from Boston to Barstow, she had only finished her sophomore year, but having to work double shifts and raising a son alone had forced her to skip both junior and senior years.

With his GED in hand, Brian still didn't know what to do. His mother's family would not want to hear a single word of him due to her being pregnant at 15, a runaway and him being born out of wedlock. College was so out of question, because he had nobody to help him pay the tuition fees, and his grades still weren't all that good. So Brian had to think for a moment.

After seeing a shrink and them having a talk about him never growing up, yet when he had to due to his mother's sudden death, Brian had made the decision to become a cop. So in early 1996, while he was still only 19½, Brian had his birth year cheaply changed to 1976 and he went to LAPD Academy. And by now, he had gone from a very promising rookie to a cop with five years under his belt and being investigated.

Shit, now he had to sit in his house while probably being monitored and wait until the LAPD and FBI would figure out how they would punish him for all that went down.


*Ten days later*

Brian was sitting at the dinner table in his cheap rental house, eyes unfocused. The investigation was still ongoing.

Brian's eyes focused on a red Dodge Intrepid across the street with two men inside, pretending to read a newspaper. It would have been more plausible if the newspaper wasn't last week's. Plus he had noticed that the Intrepid had been there all the time since his release from the processing. He was making out that the guys were not LAPD, but rather FBI. The Feds were already investigating the Rampart Scandal so it wasn't too hard to understand that they were investigating him as well.

His mind was elsewhere when he suddenly heard the shrill of his cellphone ringing. It was Tanner. „I have some news for you, Brian. Rendezvous in my office a.s.a.p."

„Alright, I'll be there." Brian sighed and dressed up in more presentable attire. He got outside and caught a bus to the precinct. He walked to the inner offices and knocked on the closed door.

„Come in." Tanner's voice called out. Brian walked in the office and closed the door behind him. „Sit down." Tanner pointed to a chair before the desk. „I have to tell you some things."

Brian sat down and looked straight into Tanner's face. „I'm afraid this isn't really a social visit."

„You're right, Brian." Tanner cleaned his glasses. „But things aren't really all that bad per se. Well, Captain Rodriguez had a press conference yesterday, and they talked about you too."

„Really? I hope mostly good stuff." Brian joked even though he knew the answer and that Tanner was dead serious.

„No. In fact, they're not thinking of handing you a special commendation. The case was marked as an „operational failure" due to the perpetrators being identified, but they managed to escape. But after the riots nine years ago, which had already caused too much controversy on the department's behalf, and now that FBI is currently investigating us due to the corruption in the CRASH unit they really tried to cover up for themselves, but I'm afraid it was really futile. Due to the issues surrounding the political battlefield, the mayor and the police chief are going to retire by the end of the year. But they're trying to sweep you under the rug so first, a gag order was issued. And as for you, you kind of have two choices now. Your request for promotion to Detective First Grade was denied and you were demoted to Officer First Grade. Secondly, you were given a letter of reprimand, and now comes the part where you have to choose."

„What are the choices?"

„You can either stay and be a cop with a ruined reputation or resign now quietly. Sorry to say, but to me it seems that the second option would be the best one."

„But I have responsibilities here, a duty to uphold."

„I'm afraid you can't do that. After you allowed Toretto to escape, there's nothing in this department for you. You're already on the Captain's as well as Commander's shit list and they'd keep the blown operation swept under the rug. If you stay here now, the higher-ups would most likely be content on punishing you, so most likely you'd end up in gun cage, MTD or something similar."

Brian sighed. He had heard tales of the officers who had been punished with gun cage or MTD. The other officers would treat the ones punished as if they were lower class, deliberately getting their equipment dirty or damaged to make them get them ready on time. „But what are the odds of me getting transferred to another division or station?"

„With the current state, the captain or commander may deny it as they wouldn't want to take a risk. But even if you'd get transferred, you'd most likely end up patrolling the grittiest gangbanger districts like Compton, Inglewood or Watts. Not to mention that the other officers there might not trust you, especially when you need a backup."

Brian had heard about the officers who had been labeled traitors and when the other officers simply would not respond to their backup calls.

„Your chances of moving up on the career ladder would be even worse, at least in the immediate future. I don't know if they'll pass you over for promotions after two-three years. You might get a chance to move up if the commander or captain gets replaced."

„Alright, I really got myself into a mess. So you think it's better for me to resign now while things are still better?"

„Unfortunately, yes."

„Hmmm, this would look good on me now if I started typing out résumés."

„I don't think there is anything in this city for you to do, due to the fact that we're already being investigated by the LAPD and your reputation was ruined. Not to mention that with you not having a degree, best you could do in LA at current state might be graveyard shifts frying chicken in KFC."

Brian tensed at the thought of working nightly in KFC (or even McDonalds or Burger King) and all that for low pay, no hopes of promotion, job insecurity and some more problems. No, he wasn't going to sink this low.

„Is there anything for me to do to clear my name?"

„Well, now that you're mentioned it, go talk to Bilkins. He just told me he needed a undercover operative with just your skills and that if you kicked the ball running, he'd make a deal for you in terms of your record. If I were you, I'd take it up. Think of it as a chance for a fresh start and a clean slate at least."

Brian thought for a moment. „Fine, I'll get him."

„Good to hear that you made the right choice. He'll wait for you in the FBI office tomorrow at 3 PM."

Brian then lifted his hands and unclipped his badge from his chest, then dropped it on the table with his service gun. „I'll put in my resignation tomorrow." He had actually already typed up his resignation letter while being monitored by the FBI, only thing missing was the date and his signature.

Tanner picked up the shield before handing it back to Brian. „Keep it. You've given four years of your life to the force. Don't abuse it."

„I won't." Brian simply slid the badge into his pocket as officially he was not allowed to keep it.

„Look, Brian, I know how it feels. Everyone once makes the wrong decision in their live once. You just have to come to terms with it and move on. Sometimes doing the right thing might not be doing the best thing. But until there's a tomorrow, you could still have a chance to make things right. Good luck. And please do me a favor, don't end up in hospitals or newspapers, I'm old and bald enough already."

„I'll do my best." Brian shook hands with Tanner and then left.


„Do you really think it's a good idea to let someone like him get involved in the operation?" U.S. Customs agent Frank Markham asked Bilkins while skimming through Brian's personal file. „He's too much of a rogue factor, everything points to that he has turned on the operation. If we let him loose in Miami, I can guarantee for sure we'll have to collect Fuentes in a body bag. But she's one of my best agents and if we have to do that, I'll rain shitstorm down on him."

It had been already a year since the operation had been going on. In Miami, the Customs and the FBI had tried to arrest Argentinian drug lord Carter Verone for money laundering and some other crimes, but Verone had been too careful to leave behind any pieces of evidence. And just two days ago, Bilkins had got a call from Miami that their last informant so far had just been fished out from Everglades. And then Bilkins' bosses had started pressurizing him to get this case closed, which eventually led him to think of giving Brian a chance.

„Look, I'm not saying the case was a great success, but O'Conner does have the potential to be one of the best undercover informants. While I think that the LAPD just made a mistake in throwing him into crowds he used to ride with before he joined the police force, allowing him to be tempted. He might be a bad guy, but he wouldn't connect with drug dealers and crowds like this."

„The LA case was riddled with mistakes, we can't afford that in Miami. One mistake we make and Verone will get a chance to make a run for it to Argentina."

„I'm confident O'Conner won't make the same mistake again. As I said, he wouldn't relate to drug dealers, and it feels like he owes to us to make up for the SNAFU."

Their conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door. „Come in." Bilkins said. Brian stepped in and gave him a respectful nod. „O'Conner, this is US Customs Agent Frank Markham, the senior agent in charge of the operation, and this is Martin Dunn, your partner for the operation. Markham, Dunn, this is Brian O'Conner, formerly of the LAPD, now our informant on the street racing world."

„So you're the officer who single-handedly blew the LA case. How do I know you won't pull something similar in Miami?"

„Is this an interrogation? In that case, I wouldn't have come."

„I just don't think you're the one we need for this case. I've done a year worth of good job on this case and I ain't gonna let it all go down the drain just for some failure of a cop."

„Enough, Markham. He is our first-class ticket to infiltrate Verone's operation. If he got into the Toretto's crew, he could easily do it again in Miami."

Brian then pointed to the younger agent, who was drinking soda from a can and had been silent so far. „Are you serious in letting Agent Dunn be partnered with me? No offense."

„Whoa, first a dirty cop and then he starts questioning my agents. FYI, he graduated on the top of his class in Glynco."

„I don't doubt that, but when was it?"

„About 20 months ago." Bilkins cut in.

„See? He's too young to handle this case. He doesn't know the street lingo and probably not the details of the cars we'll be racing. The moment we step out on the streets, the other racers can smell the academy training off him and your suspect will be alerted about us. I don't know about Dunn, but I'd prefer if I didn't become a meal for sharks or alligators."

„Well, O'Conner does have point regarding the cars." Bilkins remarked.

„So, it looks like we're gonna be partners, Dunn. If we were going to work together on a beat-up Viper, which engine would you fit in, the 360 or the 426 Hemi?"

Dunn was shifting uneasily and both Brian and Bilkins knew he could not come up with the answer, also Markham, but he hoped Dunn might still pass the test. „Um, I'd do with 426."

Brian stood still. „I didn't expect either of these answers, as the best and only engine for a Viper is a V10 engine. Do you think I can survive long with him?"

Markham got annoyed at the fact Dunn had failed and he grabbed the can from him, throwing it into the trashcan. „Then what? Verone doesn't hire single drivers, you must have a partner!"

„But I'm not going through this if I can't get a partner who knows his way around cars."

„Another officer?" Bilkins asked. „It would be tricky with the jurisdictions, but for the interest of justice I can get him assigned to us."

„Nope."

„That a fact?" Markham asked sarcastically. „So he must be one of the Toretto crew?"

„No. He's a guy from my past. I think he'll go through it to get off his parole early and his record cleaned."

Markham glared. „Great. First a dirty cop, then he wants to bring a street thug friend of his to the party."

„To make this happen, you need people who don't smell like academy training."

„Enough, we'll take him with us." Bilkins cut in. „Tell us about him."

„Roman Pearce. Native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but has lived in Barstow since he was sixteen. We met in juvie and became good friends, but we fell out after he was arrested just two months after I graduated the academy as he just hates law enforcers. I think he's currently paroled in Barstow."

„You sure we have to do this?" Markham asked Bilkins. „Either of us can get an agent from our team to fill in."

„Let's face the facts, Markham." Bilkins sighed. „All of our previous drivers got fished out from Everglades. Fuentes is Verone's personal assistant, but it's less likely she'd find out about his money, so we need drivers for him."

„Fine. I don't like it, but it doesn't seem like I have much of a chance now. Guess I'll be going back to Miami." Markham sighed and left with Dunn.

„Alright, O'Conner, we're taking a trip to Barstow tomorrow morning at seven. We'll pick up your boy and then we'll come back to LAX to board a flight to Miami."

„But I need to start building up my street cred. Look, Toretto has escaped now, but he'd most likely sweep my involvement as an officer under the rug. So I can make it look like I just left LA and are now running for Miami."

„It's a four day drive to Miami and there's another problem with it. As you're not an official agent, we can't help you on your way to Miami, which would mean that if you got caught, there's nothing we can do about it."

„Well, a man has to take some risks. If I just randomly showed up in Miami, everyone would start suspecting. Look, here in LA I was accepted easily due to being under Toretto's wing, but in Miami I wouldn't have anyone like him. So if you want my services, I need a more in-depth cred."

Bilkins sighed, as he wouldn't win this match and Brian did have a point. „Fine. Well, the operation won't really start before two weeks, so once you get in Miami, you'll have around a week or so of free time which you could actually use to build up your cred as you said. But remember, you have fourteen days, then you have to check in with us and the operation is on."

„What about our vehicles?"

„The Miami impound has given us two Mitsubishis, a yellow Lancer Evolution and a purple Eclipse Spyder. You'll get them after you check in with us."

„Right. But I think I could do with a vehicle right now."

„Here's the list." Bilkins handed Brian the list to check out. Brian eventually settled on a red Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 and he eventually got the keys.


*16 days later, Miami*

„What was she doing here, brah?" Rome asked after Verone and his two goon-boys had left.

„She came to warn us that Verone will have us killed after we make the run."

„Shit. What are we gonna do then?"

„I don't know. But we really need that exit strategy now." Brian suddenly started pacing around, thinking random thoughts. Damn, so Verone's gonna have us killed after we deliver the money, and his goon-boys would be riding with us. Fuck, can I tell Tej? Would the Miami crew want to help me if they find out I'm an informant?

Sometime later, when Tej and Suki finally arrived to them, Brian was still pacing around.

„Whoa, Bullet." Tej cut in, using the nickname Brian had earned in the Miami racing scene due to his driving style. „What has got you so fired up?"

Brian failed to react so Tej tried again. „Hey! You gonna wander around all day or tell us?"

„I need help."

„Then talk, what with?"

„Well, I'm a FBI informant."

At the mention of this, Suki was quick to get fired up. „You two-timing double-crossing four-flushing bastard!" She yelled out and was ready to pounce on Brian, but Tej grabbed her before she could attack him.

Brian sighed, he was right he wouldn't get the warmest welcome for his revelation, and to make sure Tej wouldn't let Suki loose again, he continued quickly. „Look, if it is of any help, I'm not investigating your business. I was a cop in LA, but I let my mark go, but I was given a second chance here in Miami for an undercover operation. I was supposed to pose as a street racer and infiltrate some guy's operation. I brought my friend Rome here as my partner. Now he isn't a cop, he actually hates law enforcement. Our target's name is Carter Verone and he owns the biggest drug business in Florida. If we don't do the job, the Feds will rain shitstorm down on us and we might end up in jail."

„Why did we allow this guy into the garage?" Suki asked. „We never knew he was a narc."

„Suk, cut it." Tej cut in. „So what can we do for you?"

„You're joking, Tej, right? No way we're helping him! Why are you even siding with him, the guy we barely know and who is an informant and liar?"

„Hey, Suki, let me have a word with ya, okay?" Tej asked and left with Suki some steps away. Brian couldn't hear what they said, but he suddenly noticed Suki giving a small nod to Tej and then they walked back towards Brian and Rome.

„So, back to the business. What do you want us to do?"

„Well, just minutes ago another agent, she's organizing Verone's activities and running logistics, came to warn us that Verone will kill us after we deliver him the money. We'll set of tomorrow at 6 AM. And just minutes after she left, Verone himself paid us a visit, not really a social kind. He told us that his goons will be riding with us tomorrow, which means our death warrants are signed."

Tej thought for a moment. „Fine. I'll think of something and we'll help you out. But I don't want you interfering with us while I come up with a plan." With that said, Tej and Suki turned around and began to leave. „And one more thing, blondie. Once the mission is over, I want you gone, you copy? I never want to see you anywhere in Miami again. That includes Fort Lauderdale and Key West, by the way. And if you won't leave, my friends in black SUVs are gonna hunt you down."


*The next day*

The area was now full of both Miami-Dade police officers and US Customs agents, securing the wrecked but still moving boat to the dock. Every inch of it was now covered to make sure no one was hiding. Enrique had survived the fight with Brian and Rome, and he was now on his way to a hospital. And as for Roberto, the manhunt launched at the glades where Rome had ejected him had just paid off, with the search dogs and infrared-equipped helis he was now arrested and on his way to processing.

Rome was being treated to his injured arm by a paramedic, getting it bandaged. Markham now approached Brian and Rome as the paramedic had finished. „That ought to do it."

„So there were three bags total? The three from the boat?" Markham asked. He couldn't believe there was only so much money, but at least what mattered was that Verone had been caught with them.

„So we good, right? Our records clean?"

„You held up your end, your records are cleaned."

Brian and Rome exchanged looks and Brian nodded his head. Rome got up and walked to the Challenger, opening up the trunk. He grabbed the three bags out of it and walked back to Markham, dropping the bags at his feet. „So maybe there were six bags, I guess we can call it even."

„Agent Dunn." Markham called out the rookie, who now began to step towards him.

„Yes, sir?"

Markham shook hands with both Rome and Brian, he was now willing to admit that they had done a nice job at catching Verone despite his earlier concerns. „We found more evidence." After Dunn took the bags, he left with him.

Brian and Rome were now looking at Verone, who was being attended by two paramedics while some heavily armed and armored Customs agents watching him.

„Don't drop the soap, big homey." Rome laughed.

Brian smiled at Rome at it, he was quite confident that Verone would still get out of prison in the end. With his money, he could definitely have the best lawyers who'd make the charges, or at least most of them, disappear. „I hope you know that when he gets out, he's gonna kill your ass."

Rome was laughing, but he was still confident. „He ain't getting out. You think he gonna get out?"

„He'll get out."

„No, for real. You think he getting out, though?" Brian and Rome were still trying to reach an agreement on the possibility of Verone's release. But just then they noticed Bilkins and Monica approaching them.

„We took care of your decoys, they're free and clear."

Brian sighed at the mention of Tej and Suki. Yeah, he had cleared his name, but he was now already considered „unwanted" in Miami. Yeah, the Miami crew might not be very powerful, but they might still have some serious resources, best not to risk it.

*Few minutes earlier*

"Hey, Tej, thanks a lot." Brian said. "I owe you."

"Yeah, dude, you do. So make sure that by the time we get released from here, you'll be ready to get out of Miami by nightfall. Copy that?"

*Back to present*

„There's a sedan out on the road for you with the keys in the ignition. Try to bring it back in one piece."

„I think we could do that. It's only 9.30 in the morning, but I feel like I've had enough fun for today. But thanks a lot, Bilkins. You're alright." Brian shook hands with Bilkins.

„You know, you could go back to school and get your Bachelor's which would allow you to apply for Quantico. And I think that with the job you just did, I could vouch for you so that you'll get a commendation. I'd make you my protégé, it would also look good on me when I'm gonna retire."

Brian thought for a moment, looking at Bilkins, but then he turned to Rome and he knew he couldn't do that. „Thank you for your generosity, Bilkins, but I don't think I'd like to be a federal agent. Not my cup of tea." Brian had already seen how tight was the noose the FBI kept around their agents' necks.

„If you say so. But I think you could be one of the best agents."

„I'm sure. Thanks for your help, Bilkins." Brian threw a glance at the Camaro lying on the ship, thinking of his Skyline. „Bilkins, is there a way we could keep the cars? Not the Mitsubishis, I know they're government property."

„You can keep the Challenger as you won it on the streets. You could also get the Camaro, once we can get it off the ship, which is gonna take time. As for your Skyline, though, it was auctioned off already to some Orlando playboy for 120 grand."

Brian sighed, he had developed an attachment to the Skyline, but now it was gone. „Alright, I think I can still find a new one somewhere. But thanks."

"So you trust me now?" Monica asked, looking directly at Rome as Bilkins walked away.

Rome thought for a moment, but he finally was ready to admit it. "You a'ight."

Eyebrow raised, Monica shook hands with him, unintentionally grabbing his injured arm. "Oof."

"Sorry. Nice working with you, O'Conner." She said, shaking hands with Brian.

"Same here."

Monica nodded. "See you." She left, turning after a few yards to look at Brian one more time before disappearing into the crowd of law enforcement.

„So, how long are we gonna stay here, brah?" Rome asked. „I think we should heed Tej's warning, he doesn't look like he'd just talk shit. Plus the ninja girl with him, you could never be too careful with her."

„Huh, I don't know, Rome. I think that long enough to get the Challenger's seat and door reattached and then we can be on our merry way."

„So, what shall we do then?"

„I don't know, open up a garage?"

„A garage? How are we gonna do that?"

After they had walked a considerable distance away from all the agents and officers, Brian smiled. „Your pockets ain't empty, cuz."

Rome laughed and pulled up his shirt to reveal some Benjamins, plus a few Grants. Brian then also exposed that he had stolen money from the evidence.

„Our pockets ain't empty anymore."

„And we aren't hungry no more, brah!" Brian and Rome both burst out laughing, before heading towards the sedan. It was just as boring as any car could be. All stock parts and dark champagne color. But as Bilkins had asked them to bring it back in one piece, they weren't gonna race it.

Brian got into the sedan while Rome followed behind in the Challenger, as they picked up the seat and the door from where Rome had ejected Roberto, then they tried to find a garage friendlier than Tej's. Finally they found one and Rome pulled the Challenger into it, before they drove off in the sedan.

By nightfall, with around two hours left of the deadline, they finally got the call from the garage that the Challenger was ready to pick up. Brian and Rome drove to the garage and Rome picked up the Challenger, and after dropping off the sedan at FBI's, Brian got in the muscle car and they headed for Interstate 95. They were gonna change to I-10 in Jacksonville and then head back west.

After a four-day drive, Brian and Rome finally ended up in Barstow. Yeah, it wasn't a very big place, but Brian still had enemies in LA and he couldn't risk going back there.

The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday, Chapter 1 (Part 2)