Swings and Roundabouts

This is a prequel to my story Give and Take.
It takes place around seasons 3 and 4 starting with when the group are released from Stockton after 14 months.
The story explores the start and development of the relationship between Chibs & Juice. There are some changes to the original story and timeline, but it makes sense in my head!
Language – yes, this is SoA! Some sexual content.
Characters belong to Mr S, I’ve just borrowed them to mess it around a bit.
Would love to hear what you think of it if you want to leave a comment.

Chapter 1: Reflections

It’s a memory that evokes so many emotions, a photograph in time that transcends the absolute dichotomy that is Juice, the idiot fool and comic prankster who, at the same time, is so much more. More giving and kind, more intelligent and insightful, more everything than anyone gives him credit for. Chibs remembers fondly the vision of Juice dressed only in a diaper and his boots, a cardboard sign stapled to his chest offering the retarded child for adoption, and a pacifier taped in his mouth. Duct tape. Who’d have thought that’s one more thing it’s perfect for?

 

Tig and Bobby had dressed him, or technically undressed him, after he’d passed out on sleeping pills he’d mistaken for speed, and they’d found him face down in a puddle of his own dribble under the pool table. It might have been Chibs who’d suggested they leave him comatosed in the middle of town to be found by the local Feds, and they’d all collapsed with laughter when they spied from afar and watched an incredulous Hale nudge him with a wary foot and move Juice along as he finally came to.

 

He can’t be sure but Chibs thinks that’s when his infatuation with the boy had first started. There’s no denying that the lad’s taut body could elicit appreciative glances from many a watchful eye, and that he’s probably the only brother, save Jax, who could possibly have come out of the situation with looks of admiration alongside the ridicule. But for Chibs, that episode gave him far more to dwell on than the firmness of Juice’s body, the defined contours of his abs, the tone of his skin and the brightness of his joyous, if embarrassed smile. What Chibs most remembers is a feeling of awe and respect that the crazy, stupid fool was able to take the jibes, laugh at himself and return to his brothers without a trace of bitterness or resentment at the stunt they’d pulled on him. He took it in such good grace, far more generous of spirit than any of the rest of them would have been. Chibs knew then that that kind of self-effacing humility made the boy special. Special in a way that he’s never quite got out of his system.

Chibs is deep in thought in the dusty waiting area outside Stockton. He brings himself back to the present, allowing the comforting memory to fade. He’s been lying along the length of his bike for over an hour, head and shoulders resting perched on the arch of the petrol tank. His legs, bent at the knees, wedge him precariously into position as his heels dig in to the seat, sunglasses protecting his vulnerable eyes from the searing brightness. Movement is hardly an option, just the occasional shifting of hand to mouth as he breathes in the nicotine from his cigarette, and a tilting of his head to check the status of the so far idle prison gates.

 

He, Ope and Kozik have ridden out with a couple of the prospects, bringing the bikes over on a flatbed truck so that they can make the journey home as a club, all brothers together. For fourteen months the three of them have run club business from the outside while Clay, Tig, Happy, Bobby, Jax and Juice have been locked up, their only interactions with the outside world through weekly visits and brief conversations on smuggled burners. It’s become somewhat of a tradition to ride home together after any of them have endured a stint inside, and this time, with the club about to be whole once more, it’s an even greater sense of occasion to be celebrated. Besides, the throb of an engine between legs, the sensation of carving through the gusting wind and dust and the buzz of clinging to the open road offers a grounding that every one of them will be grateful for.

 

There’s no doubt that fourteen months will have taken its toll on the brothers. In the scheme of things, and considering their outlaw life, it’s by no means a long stretch, but still significant, and Chibs expects that there’ll be a weighty period of adjustment for some of them, particularly Juice.

 

Before the sentence, the two had started to become close, spending many a hazy evening drinking and smoking, chatting shite, laughing and simply relaxing together. He hasn’t over-analysed as yet his own growing feelings for the lad. That’s a complex and complicated path to tread. Merely the acceptance that there is something to address is an admission of sorts. Besides, with a fourteen month separation, there has seemed little point trying to find answers to questions that don’t even exist.

 

Chibs wonders what emotional cost Juice is likely to face; isolation, shame, uncertainty and loss of control all common by-products of time inside, and all characteristics that Juice had with abundance to start with. Juice has precious few of those personality traits that build resistance and toughness. He has little resilience or internal strength to cope with endless time to think, and the constant threat of what, or who, is lurking in dark corners waiting to pounce.

 

Juice had enough doubt and insecurity in his head before. He doesn’t know the details yet, he doesn’t know specifics of his history and background, but Chibs knows enough to be sure that Juice has a troubled and a pretty ragged past. That Juice ever made it this far shows a strength and character that those who delve less into his psyche simply don’t appreciate him for. That he’s had a shit life is clear. That he’s fragile, tormented and troubled by it is obvious. That he’s still whole is an out and out miracle in itself. But whole he is. And there it is again. The duality hits Chibs in the face as he scrutinises this cacophony of contradiction and contrast. Like all contrasts, all strengths and weaknesses, black and white, fact and fiction, truth and lies, they’re not absolute, not pure concepts. They have shades of light and dark, different hues for different days. Just like Juice.

 

Chibs supposes that there are some people in this world who can go through life’s adversities and be less outwardly damaged by them, simply because they tell themselves they are strong and that they will survive. There are others who are constantly belittled, told they’re useless and unworthy and who learn to believe and become what they’re told, despite all the good they have inside, all the love, hope and joy they offer to the world. He thinks he fits into the first category. He knows Juice sits in the latter.

 

As he looks around him, impatiently waiting out the bureaucracy and red tape that he knows is delaying the release of his brothers, he ponders on this group of renegade rabble-rousers and desperate misfits. He thinks of Piney, the elder statesman, the steady, resolute, outspoken and cranky link with the past, encumbered by an outdated set of morals and beliefs. Shaped by recent tragedy, Opie remains the epitome of the strong but silent giant, steadfast, anguished through the death of his wife but ready to realise some peace and happiness. In Tig and Happy the club has its own fellowship of strangely bizarre, outlandish weirdness, wrapped tightly within a casing of the fiercest devotion and loyalty. Clay is solid, immensely solid, both in stature and in mind, the unstoppable force or the immovable object, who knows which? The concrete entity driven by personal gain, fuelled by greed and selfishness, hidden beneath a veneer of club allegiance. In contrast, Jax is the truculent, challenging heir apparent, born to the life and the legacy, a moderator and mediator torn between a bloody reality and an optimistic idealism. Bobby is driven by club; club values, club ethics, club rules, the real club conscience. He’s the go to man for anything relating to integrity and has been mopping up the overspill from brotherhood disputes, particularly between Clay and Jax, forever.

 

Reflecting on the mish-mash of eccentrics their club is made up of, Chibs’ train of thought returns to the enigma that is their pretty Puerto Rican hacker. He thinks Juice is wired differently to anyone he’s ever known. What he can do with a computer is not achieved by accident. He’s able to methodically decipher and decode encrypted information into logical, rationalised order and to a technophobe like Chibs that type of intelligence is admirable. Muddled alongside that genius, he’s deemed to be lacking in the simplest of social skills, and constantly mocked for his senseless idiocy. Juice’s brain rarely connects with his mouth before an onslaught of inept, clumsy words are formed and spoken. Chibs recognises though that it’s still Juice who actually understands people, can read their emotions and sympathise. He knows empathically when someone needs a word of kindness or encouragement, a friendly hug, a bolstering pat on the back. He’s heard it for himself on so many occasions, just when he’d put money on Juice making some fuck up remark, he offers a sentence of real, deep insight and understanding in the hope of making someone feel better about themselves. Juice gives unconditionally, judges rarely, and appreciates individuals for who they are not what they can give him. And yet he can’t see it about himself, can’t accept that he’s worthy of the same in return.

 

Sometimes, when he’s this introspective, Chibs wonders where he fits within this weird and wonderful band of outlaws, what he brings to their table? And he laughs out loud that he might be the sanest of them all. That conclusion is enough to persuade himself that it’s time to stop thinking. All this philosophising hurts his head, and he wonders when exactly he became Confucius? Luckily, it’s at this moment that the electronic gates start a-whirring, shifting creakily to expose the newly released and liberated to the vast openness of the outside world.

 

The six men stride purposefully towards the waiting possy, led by Clay and Jax. Bobby, Tig and Happy follow, with Juice bringing up the rear. An accident or a deliberate formation of rank? Chibs wonders. There’s a seriousness, a controlled gravity about their faces until they reach the waiting group. And suddenly the atmosphere transforms and there are whoops of joy, smiles and hugs and many-a manly slap and macho punch to backs and shoulders.   The prospects pass round the heavy, leather cuts their brothers have been missing while they’ve been locked up. Chibs circulates, offering handshakes and hugs, words of welcome greeting and relief that their club is finally complete again. He waits as long as he can make himself before he picks up Juice’s cut and walks over to the boy. He helps him slide himself into it, watches as he shrinks into its protective layering and feels it begin to shield his insecurities once more. Their eyes meet for a brief moment, as Chibs tries to see the extent of the burden Juice carries. Juice offers a shy smile and Chibs suddenly reaches for him, pulling him in by the back of his neck for a long hug, brushing his lips across the lad’s grown out hair.

 

“Welcome back Juicy”, he says, gruffly. “It’s good to have ye back, boy, hair an’ all!”

 

“It’s good to be back, Chibbie”, says Juice’s voice, while his eyes tell him so much more.

 

Chibs sees it. A flicker of uncertainty. A glimmer of doubt. A flash of insecurity. He vows to try and change it. Juice sees it in Chibs. A spark of hope. He dismisses it as a misjudgement on his part.

 

“Let’s get ye home, lad”.

 

There is nothing in the world like the rumble of a Harley engine firing up, except for the thundering roar of many, and the sound sends thrills through them all as they set off for home. It doesn’t go unnoticed by Chibs as he rides alongside, that Juice is the only one who looks back, wondering how much of himself he’s left beyond the prison fence. Chibs has already seen enough to know that Juice’s recovery won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but he promises himself, because at that moment he can’t promise Juice, that he’ll be there for him every step of the way.

 

They pull into the garage to see a full quota of brothers, family, friends, and crow eaters, spilling out of the clubhouse, all cheering and wishing them a welcome home. It’s not long until the whole club moves on to Opie and Lyla’s wedding, a celebration of new hope and a declaration of endless possibility. Chibs and Juice are part of the group who are tasked with sorting out the Russian problem. The Scot would have done anything to shield Juice from this so soon after his release, but it’s not been possible. The least he can do is watch the boy carefully. It’s hardly the ideal time, particularly for a subdued Juice, but every detail has been meticulously planned. It goes well, as well as any killing ever can, and the boys return to the wedding, finally able to relax and forget.

 

There’s music, food, and beer, lots of beer, with a generous sprinkling of chaos and bedlam. Within a couple of hours, numerous Sons are spread around corners of the wedding site with an assortment of long, luscious bodies draped across them in varying stages of undress. Chibs finds himself sitting next to a world-weary Juice at the makeshift bar. It’s been a long, long day.

 

“Do ye want to get out of here, lad?” Chibs asks, and Juice nods gratefully.

 

“Want me to come to yer place and keep you company?”

 

After another appreciative acknowledgment from Juice, Chibs grabs a bottle of whiskey and they’re on their way.

 

It’s the first time Juice has been inside his house for fourteen months. It feels strangely quiet, unused, like an unlit light, or an un-played song. It’s clean and freshly aired. Chibs maybe, or Gemma, he thinks. He slowly wanders around, needing to feel the solid touch of possessions beneath his fingers to sense the reality of being home. Chibs allows him some time and space to re-acclimatise, finds a couple of glasses from the kitchen and settles himself on the edge of the couch waiting for Juice to collect himself.

 

For the first time that day, Juice finds the space in his head beginning to clear, the hazy fog he’s been trying to dispel finally unclogging in his mind. As Chibs pours them both a generous glass and places them on the coffee table, Juice stands before him, hands bunched into his pockets. He feels lost, adrift, a sense of absent misplacement, but at that moment he so appreciates the impact and influence this man has had on him over the last few months. From prison visits, secret calls, good-hearted letters replying to his own long ramblings, to the way he’s quietly watched and guided him through the day, checking, reassuring, comforting and encouraging, all subtly and discreetly. He clears his throat, swallows hard and gulps out a simple,

 

“Thanks. For everything.”

 

“Aye, lad,” replies Chibs.

 

It’s an invitation of sorts. At least that’s how Juice sees it as he strides towards Chibs, hurtling down before him, planting his knees between Chibs’ feet, hands on his thighs and eyes locked together. Their sharp, gasping breaths merge as they inhale the same air. Juice flicks his tongue across his lips before he crashes his mouth into Chibs’. His tongue begs entry and sweeps inside for a fiery, passionate kiss.

 

Not now. Not now. Not now, is the chorus running through Chibs’ mind. It’s too soon, the boy’s not ready for this, not yet got his head straight. He pulls away to speak, to tell him no, that it’s too early, that they have to wait.

 

“Are ye sure?” are the words that escape instead, and Juice replies with another clash of lips as their mouths meet again hungry, needy. Juice’s tongue, probes and explores, tasting the other greedily, wrapping it around as he circles and flicks, strong, assertive, eager.

 

There’s no doubt that Juice is Chibs’ weakness, his Achilles heel. His ability for rational, coherent decision making is shot to hell by the physical desire he feels. He knows it’s mis-timed. He knows he should be more patient. He knows he should pull back and pause. He knows this crosses a line that Juice is unprepared for. Aye, Chibs knows a lot. And he ignores all of that knowledge while he absorbs himself in the intensity of the moment.

 

Juice’s fingers trace the marks that stretch from the corners of Chibs’ mouth across the softness of his cheeks, the marks that embody the Scot’s chequered past. His tongue follows softly along the scarred outline, soft kisses punctuating the blemished skin. It’s personal and intimate and it’s something that Chibs normally wouldn’t be comfortable allowing anyone to do. He exhales deeply as he relaxes into the sensations. His own hands cup Juice’s neck, thumbs rubbing along his cheekbones. They pause, their mouths slightly apart, synchronised breaths lightly drifting over each other’s face. They both crave more body contact, and Chibs pushes himself from the couch onto his knees, thighs touching Juice’s, pressing his growing erection into the boy, feeling the hardness returned. They grind their hips together, rutting and gyrating, seeking relief.

 

Slowly, Chibs pushes the cut from Juice’s shoulders. Juice does the same. Chibs reaches for the hem of Juice’s shirt, pulling it over his head, dropping it to their side. Juice copies again. They continue to mirror each other as their hands ghost over exposed flesh, fingers tracing each other’s chests, exploring velvety skin and supple muscles, healed, gnarly scars, sketching over old and recent ink. Chibs lowers his head and trails the tip of his tongue down the side of Juice’s neck, nipping and biting, eliciting a low, encouraging growl. He hooks his fingers into Juice’s waistband and pulls his hips even closer, crushing against him now. Lowering his head further he flattens his tongue over Juice’s taut pecs, circling a nipple, then flicking, teasing his mouth over it, kissing and nibbling with his teeth. Juice releases another throaty moan as Chibs alternates between harder bites and licking swirls, twisting and tweaking. They reach for each other’s belts, unbuckling and unbuttoning, push their jeans and boxers past their hips, slipping them quickly off and kicking them away, and both reach towards the other’s hardened lengths, gripping and stroking each other, rough hands around rigid cocks. They revel in each other’s touch for a while, hardening more with each stroke.

 

Chibs manoeuvres Juice more urgently now, his firm hand turning him, pushing him forwards and bending him over the couch. He moves behind him, caresses his firm arse while his other hand presses down on Juice’s shoulder, massaging his defined muscles. His eyes savour the tight ripples as he moves forward to tongue where his fingers trace. Suddenly, as Chibs’ leans down, Juice tenses, a sharp intake of breath catching in his throat. His arms start to flail as he tries to shift himself from beneath the heavy body.

 

“Please, Chibs. No. I ….. can’t.”

 

Chibs stills, releases his hold, immediately moving his hands away, allowing the boy to break free from beneath his weight. He’s still immersed in the heat and lust of the moment but realises his earlier suspicions were right. He deliberates quickly the best way to calm the lad, knows he needs to find out some details of what’s gone on if they’re to move forward from this, figures that Juice will try and avoid if he has the option.

 

“It’s ok lad. C’mere,” he starts, as he turns Juice back round, now facing towards him, their bodies close but no longer touching.

 

“Look at me, Juicy,” he says softly but firmly, demanding that Juice’s eyes find his own. Juice’s panting calms a little as he lifts his panicked eyes. Chibs waits a moment, then places the palm of his hand gently on Juice’s chest, watching for any sign of a flinch. It’s a small gesture, but it stalls Juice’s tumbling thoughts and starts to ground him. He lifts his other hand slowly, wraps it carefully round the back of Juice’s neck, rubbing gently and pulling him in closer so their faces are just inches apart again.

 

“Ye need me to stop?” he asks in a muted whisper.

 

“No, please. I want to….. I just…… can’t like that……not yet.”

 

“Aye lad, I know.” His voice is still a low murmur, soft and raspy, calming and soothing.

 

“Relax Juicy. I won’t hurt ye, I’d never do that. Want to make ye feel good love, nothing but good things. That ok, sweetheart?”

 

“Yeah, Chibbie, that’s fine. Please, babe…… want you.”

 

Chibs leans towards Juice’s mouth again, pressing in for a deep, sustained kiss, while he coaxes him up onto the couch, lying along its length and settling himself alongside.

 

“How do ye want me, Juicy?”

 

Juice opens his mouth to respond, but the words don’t come. He can’t vocalise what it is he needs, what it is he wants and what he doesn’t want. Chibs suspects he’s simply learned not to ask, like Pavlov’s dog, conditioned to respond, or in Juice’s case, not to respond.

 

“How ’bout we just do what feels good and ye let me know if something’s not right? Can ye do that?”

 

Juice nods. Yeah, he’s sure he can do that.

 

Keeping their gaze locked together, Chibs lowers his hand to Juice’s thick, still hard cock, working his fingers around the head, massaging the pre-cum over the tip with the pad of his thumb. Juice whimpers softly, the sound creating a stirring in Chibs’ gut, his own erection hard as steel. Chibs groans with desire as he hears the sensual, hungry echo of Juice’s gasps and watches the flexions on his face, his dark, expansive eyes and that irresistibly seductive mouth. He cups Juice’s balls, manipulating softly, circling them in his fingertips, then traces a finger over the delicate, sensitive skin behind. He moves his hand to wrap around the length and begins to stroke up and down the pulsing shaft, a firm, steady rhythm. Moaning louder now, Juice’s breathing quickens, and his hips thrust forwards and back, his length enveloped in the strong hand, slick from the pre-cum. He’s close now, bucking harder, hoarse groans escaping from his throat.

 

“Ye look so hot Juicy, so fuckin’ hot, boy. Cum for me darlin’.”

 

“Oh God, Chibbie….. yeah…… gonna c…cum, babe. Oh fuuuck…….”

 

Chibs relaxes the pressure slightly, guiding him through as Juice starts to shoot his cum, warm spurts spilling over his abdomen, his muscles twitching in involuntary spasms. Juice is breathless, his body spent as he lies in a crumpled mess. He begins to calm and Chibs lowers his head to Juice’s stomach and starts to lap up the sticky mess, tonguing and licking, swirling his tongue round droplets of cum, swallowing it down, savouring his sweet taste.

 

“Ye taste delicious, Juicy.”

 

It’s the most intimate thing Juice has ever felt, intense and powerful, without being violent or aggressive. He reaches his hands to Chibs’ face, guides him back towards his mouth and kisses a lingering, penetrating kiss, immersing himself in his own taste. Eventually, he releases his lips, whispering quietly, almost unheard,

 

“Wow. Wow, babe…..I’ve never felt……. not from just…. a hand….”

 

“Aye, sweetheart, I know.”

 

Juice goes to reach for Chibs’ still hard cock,

 

“Let me…” he starts, but Chibs takes his hand in his own, threads their fingers together, ghosting his lips over them, and tries to find the words he needs, knowing that this spent, peaceful, post-orgasmic Juice is where he’ll find his answers. They continue lying on the couch, limbs tangled, faces almost touching, hands entwined.

 

“What happened earlier, Juicy, ye freakin’ out? Ye know I need to know? Whatever ye can tell me, lad, for me, but for ye too.”

Chapter 2: Admissions

Juice is drowsy but calm, not sure he’s ready for this makeshift confessional, but ready to try. He settles, breathes. Faltering at first, he begins to talk.

 

It started when he was 8. His Mom’s boyfriend. Initially it was a slap when he was late, or not quick enough carrying out some request or other. By the time he was 10 he was being beaten regularly, sometimes with a fist, sometimes a belt, other times with whatever was at hand, a stick, a bat, a shoe.   Only occasionally did the bruises ever appear on his face. Most of the time they were in places he could hide them under his clothes. By that time he’d deliberately provoke the man when he was drunk so that he wouldn’t go after his Mom or sister. One time he hit him so hard that his belt buckle had ripped and torn into his flesh and he’d needed stitches, the scar still visible today. It was always something petty that would set him off, and the worst part was that Juice could never read when it would happen. The man could flip at any time, there was never any rhyme or reason to it, never any pattern to the triggers. Juice still doesn’t know what happened to him. One day he came home from school and he’d gone. He remembers it being one of the happiest days of his childhood. Little did he realise things were about to get a whole lot worse.

 

Step Dad no 2 came into his life a few weeks later. There was little difference between him and the first, another mean fuckin’ drunk. At 11 he was still being beaten, kicked and thumped, had cigarettes put out on him, more scars for his collection.

 

“This one….”

 

Juice points to a ragged scar across the base of his stomach.

 

“This was a knife. The bastard stabbed me one night when we were getting into it and he was beating the shit outta me. I laid one on him, which I’d never done before, got him good and solid on his jaw, and the fucker drew a knife and slashed me.”

 

Chibs traces his fingers across the mean looking indentation, makes soothing noises, encouraging Juice to continue.

 

When he was 12 his Mom died. He knew she’d been ill, tired and listless, but he didn’t really understand what was going on and nobody told him. He was devastated. Child Services got involved and he went into care. His sister went to a different family and they pretty much lost touch. This, Juice recalls, was the loneliest time of his life. He didn’t understand he was grieving for his Mom, and for the loss of his only ally, his sister. His foster family were only interested in what they got for taking him in. There were beatings again, but this time it was sexual too. He was forced to perform oral sex, made to open his mouth and suck the bastard’s dick. At 13, he was raped for the first time, held down and fucked up the arse, un-prepped, by his sadistic bully of a Foster Dad. He remembers the crushing weight of him as he pushed him down into his own mattress. He remembers the searing, shooting pain that he thought would never end. He remembers the words he didn’t understand, coursing from the bully’s throat along with the saliva drooling from his mouth. He remembers afterwards, the blood and semen drying to his skin, and the thought that he would never be clean again. He remembers the confusion of not quite understanding what was happening to him, of having no idea on this earth why it was happening to him. He remembers feelings of humiliation, shame, degradation, and the fiercest rage and anger he’s ever felt. Most of all he remembers the fear. At 14, he was raped for the fourth time. His drunken Foster Dad passed out afterwards and Juice packed a bag with a few clothes, took money he stole from the douche bag’s wallet and walked out of the apartment, too scared and ashamed to ever look back.

 

Juice knew he had to go. If he’d stayed he would have killed or more likely been killed, because he knew he would never let the guy rape him again. He hustled on the streets, taught himself some tricks and started to move from place to place. At 15 he got a break and met Lucas, a Hispanic a couple of years older than himself in a similar situation. He was sleeping in a disused warehouse and they’d spend their days in libraries and internet cafes where Lucas taught Juice about hacking. He’d always been good with computers and picked it up quickly. They spent their days hacking, doing jobs for guys they met on the streets who’d pay them for it, sometimes with money, sometimes with pills or coke. In the evenings they’d hustle for more money, usually cards or pool, occasionally a more planned sting. Like all good things, they got in over their heads and after one risky job too many, Lucas ended up beaten to within an inch of his life. They had to leave quickly, and went their separate ways.

 

With his share of the money they’d stashed, Juice made it across to Cali and fell into a crappy job in a small garage. He set up a computer system for orders and invoicing. They let him crash in a pokey room above the shop and taught him about engines. Any spare time he had was spent reading computer programming books. He stayed a good while, learning all the time, honing his skills. When he’d scraped enough money together and restored the old, disused bike he’d won in a card game, he stuck a pin in the map, made it to Charming and started his life here. He was a brilliant hacker and a good mechanic. He was looking for a place to call home and eventually he stumbled across the club.

 

Chibs has been listening intently, catching his breath in places, continuing to touch at times, gentle, coaxing strokes, his bile rising at some of the detail, but encouraging Juice to talk and tell his story.

 

“Jesus Juicy. I’m sorry, lad. I don’t know what to say other than that should never have happened to ye. Those scumbags were supposed to take care of ye not fuckin’ rape and beat the shite outta ye.”

 

“Don’t you dare pity me Chibs. Not you.”

 

Juice almost chokes the words out as he pushes away, and scrambles to sit up on the couch. Chibs follows hesitantly, sitting up, turning in towards him, hand placed lightly on his thigh.

 

“It’s not pity, lad. I swear it’s not. Anger, shock, revulsion maybe, but not aimed at ye Juicy, never at ye.”

 

Juice breathes and with a small nod and a huge leap of faith, accepts what Chibs is saying. It’s not something that he ever thought he’d be able to do, to trust anyone enough to share his history, but he starts talking again, hesitant, not sure of the response he’ll get to the next part of his story. He keeps it brief thinking that short, sharp, shock is the way to go, rather than long and drawn out. He’s pretty fucked either way, he thinks.

 

Juice knows that this is the bit that Chibs will grapple with, that he’ll struggle to get his head around. He suspects he’ll need to apportion blame and Juice is pretty convinced that he deserves for most of it to be levelled at him. Hell, Juice can’t get straight with it, can’t get past the fact that it’s his own fault, that he’s somehow responsible for bringing this on himself. Blame, fuck it, he’s sure he deserves it all. He knows it’s classic survivor’s guilt, but he’s text book PTSD. He ticks every box. It’s the only subject he thinks he’s ever scored full marks in. One hundred percent the model, archetypal paradigm with his flashbacks, nightmares, emotional blunting, detachment, anxiety, panic, avoidance and unresponsive episodes. He has the winning ticket.

 

“It was shit, it was all fucked up, but I was managing the symptoms. I swear, when I started prospecting out here I was ok with everything that had happened to me. Yeah, it’s made me wary, and it’s given me some fucked up self-esteem issues and all that crap, but I wasn’t broken. Or at least, I’d fixed the pieces back together pretty well. It’s taken Stockton to really screw me up.”

 

“What do ye mean, Stockton? Fuck, Juicy, what happened?”

 

“Fuck Juicy is just about right, man. They pimped me out Chibbie. The club. For protection. Just 2 or 3 times, but Clay said I should do it for the club. And I thought I was ok with it. I mean, they’re my brothers…..”

 

As Juice tails off, Chibs looks shocked to his core, visibly shaken.

 

“No, Juicy. No. What the fuck? Why would they do that? They were supposed to look after ye in there. Why would ye do that? Jesus, Mary, Mother of God, they had no right to ask that of ye lad. Do ye think they’d have accepted that as summat they would have done themselves, ‘for the good of the club’?”

 

It hits Chibs hard, like a fist to his gut. Of course they wouldn’t. They didn’t have to. They had a Juice to do it for them. He wonders what he would have done if he’d been inside with them. Would he have gone along with that, with selling Juice for the price of safety? He knows without doubt that he wouldn’t have, couldn’t have done that. And it shakes him to his very soul to think that he would have gone against his club to protect this boy in front of him, that he may still have to if he can’t reconcile this thing that he can only describe as betrayal. A fundamental betrayal of a kid whose only crime is that of being dutiful and compliant.

 

Juice, being Juice, tries to justify.

 

“I thought I’d be alright Chibbie. I mean, I know it’s fucked up, but it was for the club, for my brothers.  We were being hassled from all directions, black, yellow, brown, white, everyone wanted a piece of us. A piece of me, as it turns out. I should be flattered! Besides….”

 

His voice shrinks from mock sarcasm to a muffled whisper,

 

“I don’t think I had much choice. They told me I’d be saving their arses.”

 

He snorts in ironic cynicism as he hears his own words.

 

“Ha! Saving their arses by giving my own.”

 

With words beginning to fail him, Chibs spies the forgotten bottle of whiskey beckoning him seductively. He reaches for it, rejects the ceremony of glasses and takes a long gulp, feeling the burning liquor trail down his throat. He passes the bottle to Juice who accepts and takes a generous slug of his own, wishing it was tequila. He’s quiet again as he continues,

 

“If I hadn’t been through all that shit when I was a kid, I might have been able to handle it. Jesus, Chibbie, are you sure you want to hear this? Can’t I just stop now?”

 

Chibs hears the tell in his voice, that tiny sign that Juice is asking for permission, seeking approval to continue, to purge himself of this. It’s an act of sanitisation and purification, though he expects that for Juice it’s a bit like cleaning out his guts with a wire scouring pad and a bottle of bleach.

 

“I wanna hear whatever ye choose to tell me, sweetheart. I’m not gonna force ye Juicy, but tell me if ye can, eh?”

 

Juice reaches again for the whiskey bottle. Why didn’t he bring tequila? He steels himself to carry on.

 

“It’s not so much the sexual thing, or the pain, and fuck it Chibbie, in prison it’s pretty brutal, fucked-up fuckin’. It’s not even the guilt and humiliation. For me, it’s the powerlessness…… being held down…… the weight of their bodies pressing me down, keeping me still. That’s what I can’t deal with, hands on me keeping me still, feeling helpless and defenceless. And what happened in Stockton just brought it all back, every fucked up thing that ever happened to me as a kid. It’s like it all happened yesterday, and I’m that confused little boy again, who doesn’t know why it’s happening to him.”

 

That’s why Juice, much as he’d wanted to, hadn’t been able to give that to Chibs earlier, and why, when he’d turned him over the couch and leaned his bodyweight over him, he’d panicked and lashed out. His reaction before had always been different, numbness, dissociation, detachment. It was never consent, but disconnecting was his mind’s way to flee, his ‘flight’ response, since he couldn’t escape in body. It was the intrusion of memories he thought were safely locked away, a replay of his childhood ordeals reinvigorated by recent trauma that made Juice’s fight response kick in this time. Call it self-preservation, they’re both pretty surprised he had any left in him.

 

Chibs understands. He thinks he’s always known, but maybe was never quite ready to believe. He reaches for his boy, wraps his arms around him and allows him to sob into his chest. Suddenly Juice is just that…. his boy. This man/boy with his quirks and idiosyncrasies, his sexy mouth and lips, his pools for eyes that he swears he could drown himself in, his intelligence and understanding, his faults and his perceptions, and Chibs realises that he’s in. He’s hooked. Whatever this is or was, it’s gone beyond the love for a brother. And he’s surprised to realise he’s good with that. At least he will be once his brain has processed what he’s been told tonight.

 

He releases his hold on Juice, brushing away his tears with gentle fingertips. He leans forwards, pressing their foreheads together, a touch that he hopes symbolises care, security, protection, unity. He’s telling Juice he’s here. He doesn’t know what to say, has no magic wand to wave, but he’s here.

 

“Do you know a guy called Tully?” Juice asks, almost inaudibly.

 

He’s been angry, upset, hesitant, anxious, agitated and distraught while he’s been talking, but Chibs is struck by this new, submissive chill.

 

“The Aryan Brotherhood Tully? Aye, I know who he is. Why? Was he one of them?”

 

“No. Yes. Sort of. A few months ago he came to Stockton on a lifer. Clay and Jax took to meeting with him regularly, looked like they were brokering some sort of deal.   He’s already established himself as a big player in there, has access to everything, a lot of the guards in his pocket… he’ll be running the place soon. They got me hitched with him a couple of times just before we got out. He never touched me, just wanted to talk, read poetry, that sort of crap. It was like he was priming me, real mind-fuckin’ type stuff, tried to get right inside my head, Chibbie. It was like it’s not the fuckin’ that gets him off, but the control and power, like he wants to really own you. Scared the shit out of me. If we’d been in any longer that’s where I’d have been pimped out next.”

 

Juice shivers, the chill creeping from the back of his neck down his spine. He’s frighteningly aware he wouldn’t have survived that.

 

The sun is rising before they finish talking, still lying wrapped together on the couch, Juice adding bits to his story, Chibs listening, offering what reassurance he can.

 

Over the next days and weeks, club chaos moves up a notch as they get caught up in Cartel business. Juice is obviously struggling to come to terms with Stockton, often quiet and restrained. Chibs misses his joyful exuberance, notices his smile rarely reaches his eyes anymore. He catches glimpses of the old Juicy when they’re alone, private times when there’s just the two of them. But in the main, Juice is distracted and Chibs hasn’t yet worked out how best to bring him back. If he’s honest, he’s side-tracked by the daily grind of staying alive, and pre-occupied by his own misgivings about his club. He hasn’t settled what Juice told him about Stockton and for the first time he’s second-guessing the level of his own allegiance and commitment to brothers who he feels have let him down. At least, they’ve let Juice down. He worries that Juice will think he condones what they did. He worries that Juice condones it. He worries about Juice in general.

 

They’ve taken to spending a lot of their nights together. When they’re not out on club business or diverting the direction of some shit that’s headed their way, they’ve established a routine of sorts. They start in the clubhouse, drinking and hanging out, messing with the crow eaters until one of them becomes tired of the façade and gives the other a quick nod that they’re ready to go. They’ll leave separately but ride to one or the other’s house. It’s easy enough to keep it quiet. Everyone is agitated enough to be easily distracted and it simply goes unnoticed.

 

They seek each other’s mouths, explore their bodies, learn their quirks and penchants, utter words of affection. Chibs watches and listens. He learns to read the nuances, the moans and gasps, the looks and the pauses, the stills and the breaths. He studies and absorbs, discovering when to press, when to guide, when to insist, when to coax. Juice begins the long process of learning to trust, but he still hasn’t yet discovered the basic necessity to trust himself. Chibs learns what levels of intimacy Juice can cope with. There’s plenty of hand and mouth action, and while he can’t turn his back, Juicy is more than happy for a good face to face fucking. Chibs doesn’t push, he’s happy for this to be all on Juice’s terms. Besides, they’re doing a grand job of being creative and both are enjoying the process of studying each other’s sexual inclinations.

 

Chibs worries though when Juice disappears, wonders where he escapes to and why he needs to. Juice’s usual cover is that he just needs some time, some thinking space to clear his head. The reality is that he’s being played again, pulled in by Roosevelt and Potter this time. They reveal that his Dad is black and use that as leverage to get intel on the cartel deal. Juice is ravaged with fear. He searches for a way out, for a way to put it right without hurting the club. Every time he thinks he can solve this, he finds himself a step deeper into the mire. He only wants to make it better, doesn’t want to fuck it all up again, but he knows he will. He wishes he’d gone to Chibs at the start, told him what they’d got on him. He doesn’t know why he didn’t, only knows that he doesn’t want to lose the one thing that’s ever made him feel good, the only person who’s ever looked out for him.

 

That one, desperate mistake, leads Juice into a chain of events that spiral so far out of control that he doubts he’ll ever come back. In the confusion that follows, he bungles the attempt to get a sample of coke for Potter and he kills Miles. Fuck, his first real kill, and he’s devastated. They think he’s a hero. To Juice it’s sadly ironic that the first time he’s felt truly part of and trusted by the club is the time he least deserves it. He knows what he is. A grade A, murdering, disloyal, deceitful grass. And if anyone ever knew, he’d be a dead, murdering, disloyal, deceitful grass. But he hadn’t meant to do it. He didn’t want to kill Miles. It really was self-defence. At that point he just wanted to live.

 

Now, now he’s not so sure. If he’s not around to keep making bad decisions, the club survives. Chibs is the only one who might miss him but Juice knows that he’ll get over him. More than anything, he doesn’t want Chibs to know what a stupid fuck up he is. God, that he’ll be disappointed in him. That alone would kill Juice. It would rip his heart from his body to know that he’s failed him like that. Ending it solves things, takes him out of the equation. It gets the club clear and he gets to avoid seeing that disappointment on the face of his best friend, his lover.

 

The guilt of violating his own moral code and his obsession with it, are paralysing. He’s not sure about anything, but that’s where his thoughts lie when he wraps the cold, unyielding chain around his neck. So different, he thinks, to the warm, indulgent hands his lover places there on occasion to help ground him when his tumbling thoughts are out of control.

 

It’s not a plan, it’s a seed of an idea that has been planted in Juice’s head since that 8 year old boy took his first beating. It is the spore of an escape route that has been propagated by bereavement, separation, abuse and rape, grown from roots of uncertainty and anxiety. His recent opening of those old wounds and the imbalance it’s caused has crept up like the ill wind, turning his never rosy garden into thorny, rampant weeds of self-loathing, that have spread so wildly that they’ve strangled and choked any hope or chance he ever had to flourish, his ability to even function.

 

Maybe he should have paid more attention to forming that plan because, of course, he can’t even off himself without fuckin’ it up. The branch breaks, he’s bruised but alive. He gets disturbed and has to venture back to the woods later to try and clear up the evidence from that disaster before anyone finds out.

 

That’s when Chibs follows him, he’s not sure why, but something in his gut doesn’t sit right, some instinct tapping away in his brain telling him that all is far from well. Tracking him into the clearing, he quietly stalks behind, far enough away that Juice doesn’t know he’s there. Not believing for a second the boy’s story about the cause of his bruised neck, he’s known for a while that this is more than twitchy, jumpy Juice, and all other attempts to find out the problem have failed. If he’s honest, Chibs has lost patience with Juice’s avoidance tactics. He watches the boy reach down for the twisted chain, tangled round the broken branch. Juice falters when he remembers the sensations, the flashes in his mind as he set himself to jump, the tight choking as he swung, how he willed his throat to constrict and his breathing to fail, the shock as he plunged hard into the earth and his gradual realisation that he was still alive, that he’d failed. Juice suddenly hears a rustling sound behind him and jerks his body round, terrified of who might be bearing witness to this.

 

Chibs steps into the moonlight his eyes caught between the chain, the black and purple bruising on Juice’s neck and the terror on his face. A shocked realisation trails through his body, coursing into his brain. He knows, even though he’s tried to hide himself from this truth.

 

“Jesus Christ, Juice. What did ye do? Ye idiot, ye selfish fuckin’ prick. How could ye do that, ye fuckin’ coward?”

 

Chibs spits out the words, his eyes glistening in the dark as he tries to blink away the dreadful reality of what he sees. Juice is not prepared for the anger, shocked even by his presence and has no idea how to try and explain this.

 

“I… I…..”

 

“Don’t fuckin’ talk to me. Just don’t,” Chibs roars, his accent thick with a gravelly rawness.

 

He catches a sob in his throat, swallows it whole. He won’t give Juice that. He’s given him everything these last few months, grown to love the boy, although he’s never spoken the actual words to himself or Juice. He won’t give him the hurt he feels now, can’t allow himself to show that level of emotion to someone who, in that moment, he considers so wholly undeserving. Stumbling clumsily into Juice, he pushes him fiercely to the ground, lashing out the only way he knows how, violently and furiously. Juice recoils, shrinking into the woodland earth, tears now spilling freely, while Chibs sinks on his haunches, his legs weak, unable to hold him upright.

 

He’s a selfish man. He knows this. He always has been, even as a young boy, but it started to lessen with Fi, and especially when they had Kerrianne. He learned to be more selfless with a woman he loved and a precious baby to look after, with them coming first. But ultimately his own needs, and those of the causes he followed, took a higher priority, his selfishness inherently apparent. After Jimmy O, when Chibs was forced away from his blood family, the only thing that he had the capacity to worry about was himself. He began to heal and keep himself whole by keeping himself insular, his justification that if you don’t love you don’t open yourself up to that devastating emotional hurt. He learned that other things take its place – loneliness, isolation, seclusion, but over time Chibs has almost welcomed those as relief from the pain of the loss he’s endured. It’s a strategy that has kept him intact for years, more than a decade. And yet he’s hurting now. It feels like he’s never experienced pain like this. He can’t explain it, but he feels it.

 

He looks towards his young lover, lying broken in front of him, and the best he can, steadies himself into a place of almost rational reasoning. He reaches towards Juice, grabs his cut and drags him back into his own body, folding his arms around him. More than anything he needs Juice to be okay, and however scared and angry he is, he still feels the overwhelming urge to protect and fix. If only he knew how.

 

“C’mere Juicy. I’m sorry, lad. But ye scared the living daylights outta me.”

 

He brushes his lips across Juice’s cheeks, his anger ebbing away, replaced by a growing sense of inadequacy and fear. Wiping away Juice’s tears, he pulls him up to stand, brushing away the dead leaves and twigs from his clothes.

 

“C’mon, sweetheart, let’s get ye home. Then ye explain yerself.”

 

They walk back to their bikes, his own left some way from Juice’s when he’d tried to be invisible to the lad. They ride home in tandem, Chibs keeping a watchful eye on his boy. Juice is devastated to be found out, embarrassed, ashamed and scared shitless, wondering how he can ever explain this. He knows he can’t lie anymore, that only the truth will do. He heard the hurt and disappointment in Chibs’ voice, the look in his eyes, and it nearly destroyed him all over again. If he’s going to do this he figures that real honesty is his only option, even if that means losing this man he loves.

Chapter 3: Demolishing Walls

They pull up outside Juice’s house, park in the driveway and take off their helmets. Juice slowly climbs off his bike, not yet able to look Chibs in the eye. The Scot walks over to him, places his hand in the middle of Juice’s back, slowly guiding him towards the door.

 

“One foot in front of the other, Juicy-boy,” he says as he eases him forwards into the house. They both take off their leathers, get beer, fidgeting, pacing, moving trivial items from one place to another, neither quite ready to pause for long enough to acknowledge the big, fat elephant in the room. Juice trails Chibs to the bedroom and eventually, Chibs takes a breath. He walks to Juice, gathers him in his arms, searches for his mouth with his own in a demanding, probing kiss. Juice’s brow furrows in confusion but he responds as he always does, opening his mouth to his partner, meeting his tongue, sinking in to the strength and solidity that enfolds him. They stay, mouths locked together for a brief moment that seems like eternity, then Chibs breaks contact and his hands move to firmly wrap around Juice’s face, thumbs rubbing over his cheek bones. He looks deep into his boy’s eyes.

 

“Are ye gonna do me the courtesy of explaining what’s going on with ye? Ye’ve trusted me with the hard stuff, all the other things ye told me, but ye can’t trust me with this? Do ye know how that makes me feel, lad?”

 

He pauses, squeezes Juice’s face harder between his hands, willing his words to have an impact. He lowers his voice to a rasping whisper,

 

“Ye tell me, Juicy. Ye tell me everything, otherwise I walk away and I don’t look back. Tell me, and I stay. No matter what. Ye understand?”

 

Juice shrinks even further within himself, his shoulders drooping, his gut clenching. He has no doubt that the man means every word. He looks imploringly and apologetically into his piercing eyes. Chibs releases his grip, sighs with a deep, stinging regret and turns to walk away.

 

“Wait….. please. Don’t go. I’ll tell you everything Chibbie. I just…. got to….. I don’t know where to start, just give me a minute….. to think. I just need to think….Please?”

 

Chibs turns back. Nods. Sits. Stands. Sits again. Waits.

 

Eventually, Juice begins to stutter. He tells Chibs how it started, how Roosevelt pulled him in with the picture of his black Daddy. It’s a bitter irony to Juice that it’s the only photo he’s got of his biological father. He tells him about the psycho Potter, and how between them they’d filled his head with notions of ex communication from his club, his family, simply because his real family was the wrong colour. It’s as if they knew every weakness and insecurity in him and they played him so well.

 

Chibs remembers how the ATF bitch, Stahl, had played him the same way, searching for any frailty or vulnerability and then pouncing mercilessly. For a while he’d been consumed with guilt and overwhelmed with remorse, but in the end he’d trusted his brothers and the club that they call family. Chibs understands why Juice feels he can’t do that, why he has no faith or conviction in those same people who’d offered his body in down payment for protection. But that Juice doesn’t trust him enough either, that eats away at him.

 

“Once they’d fucked with my head, I was easy for them. They wanted a sample of the coke. I stole the brick Chibbie. I didn’t mean to, I was just gonna take a small bit but I panicked. I was trying to get the brick back when Miles found me. He was going to bring it to you all, show me as the thief. I was just trying to get away. I tried to run. He shot me. He kept coming at me, man. I thought he was going to kill me, so I just grabbed the gun and fired. That’s when you all found us and thought I’d caught him. I swear on my mother’s life it was self-defence. After that I just knew I deserved everything I got. Killing myself was how I could put this right. Not for Miles, it can never be right for Miles and I’ll never forgive myself for that, but for the rest of you, to be able to kill the RICO case. If I wasn’t around anymore I couldn’t keep fuckin’ it up for you.”

 

“Jesus Christ, Juice.” Chibs’ head is spinning, his guts churning. “Why couldn’t ye come to me lad? Ye know how I feel about ye. Why isn’t that enough?”

 

“I know how you feel about me? Really, Chibbie? All I know for sure is how I feel about you, and how I’d do anything for you not to hate me. And that look you’re giving me now, that look of pity and disgust and shame? That’s everything I can’t face.”

 

He looks away, but Chibs pulls him back, one hand on Juice’s shoulder, the other placed gently on his cheek. He doesn’t disbelieve any of what Juice has told him, he’s as sure as he’s ever been. The boy has made a ton of mistakes, but they’ve been the consequence of being used and played, not conscious decisions made to hurt. He doesn’t see someone out to ruin their club for his own end, just a mixed up kid, so desperate to belong that he even thinks that killing himself is a better option for the people around him. There is no easy fix to any of this but Chibs finds himself at an impasse, a junction at which he needs to make a choice. A choice based not on head or heart, gut or instinct, but on the fundamental principles of right and wrong, of faith and trust. He chooses Juice.

 

“Please, love, I need to know ye won’t do anything like this again, that ye’ll come to me before it ever gets to this. If ye’d topped yourself ye’d have damn near killed me too. I love ye, Juicy. I have for a while. Ye must know that?”

 

“We never talk about it Chibbie. I think…… sometimes I think I know how you feel, but it never gets said and when all the shit’s flying around it’s easier to believe that I’m wrong. How could you love a fuck up like me? It just doesn’t compute in my head.”

 

Chibs knows this. He’s already figured this of his boy. He knows that Juice defaults to this place of doubt and he berates himself that he hasn’t told him, explicit, outright, and kept on telling him till he starts to believe. He wonders who’s the bigger coward now.

 

“Jesus Christ, Juicy,” starts Chibs, determined this time to make his boy really hear what he means to him.

 

“Yer everything to me, ye’ve got to believe that. But sometimes ye look at me as if I’m the fuckin’ oracle or something. I don’t know all the answers, and I’m terrified of making a mistake with ye, love, of not getting it right.”

 

“Welcome to my world. All I ever do is fuck up. Chibbie, babe, you gotta learn to forgive yourself when you make a mistake.”

 

“Aye, I will Juicy-boy, just as soon as ye learn that others will forgive ye when ye make one.”

 

Chibs watches as Juice turns it over in his head. As a declaration, it’s a start, an affirmation that he’s here, now, and is staying. It’s all Juice has ever needed and it’s in this moment that he starts to dismantle the concrete blocks he’s spent his life so far assembling. It’s only now he realises that a safety net is only a bunch of holes threaded together. If walls and nets could save and protect he wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. That Chibs can help him heal he doesn’t doubt, but true salvation comes from himself, from trusting and believing. And it’s time. For them both.

 

Juice peels off his t-shirt, crumples it to the floor and moves towards his lover. His intention is clear, he’s moving this on. He steps into the space right in front of Chibs, their chests almost touching, their breaths whispering over each other.

 

“Are we doing this then, Chibbie? Properly, I mean? Talking and shit? Feelings?”

 

“Aye, I guess we are, sweetheart. Talking and shit. Feelings.”

 

“Well, in the interest of getting started on that babe, I just need to say I…”

 

“Sshhh, Juicy.”

 

“…. love you,” finishes Juice.

 

Chibs hushes him with a fiery, full-blooded, tongue swirling kiss, exploring his mouth, tongue sliding and probing over his. He releases slightly, murmuring,

 

“Sometimes ye gotta know when to stop talking too, sweetheart, when to start doing.”

 

He traces his tongue down Juice’s neck, nipping small bites along his pulse. His hands stroke firmly down his strong muscular back, sweeping over his sides, settling on his chest, massaging his pecs. Juice’s breathing deepens, a light moan escaping his lips. Chibs’ mouth drifts along his neck and shoulder, teeth grazing, tongue lapping. Juice reaches for the hem of Chibs’ t-shirt and lifts it over his head. He rubs his chest against his, sliding their smooth skin together, their hips pressing together through the denim of their jeans. They each fumble and grasp at the other’s belt, releasing the buckles, unbuttoning and pushing their jeans down as they both step out and kick them aside. Juice presses his hand against Chibs’ erection, slowly stroking his palm up and down the length. Chibs groans huskily.

 

“Want you so bad, babe,” whispers Juice. “Want you to fuck me so bad.”

 

He turns round, climbs on to the bed and sets himself on his hands and knees. The significance of the gesture is massive, an open statement of intent for Chibs, and it sends an electric jolt of passion through his gut to his already hard cock, and a clear message to his brain. It’s Juice committing to him in a way he’s never committed to anyone before, trusting in a way he’s never been able to trust.

 

He’s filled with emotion as he whispers tenderly,

 

“Juicy, darlin’. Precious boy. Ye don’t have to do this, ye know?”

 

Referring to all the bastards who have hurt Juice before, he adds slowly, purposefully and un-mistakenly,

 

“I’m not them.”

 

He needs to remind Juice that he won’t hurt him, that he’s not here to take forcefully or without consent and will only accept what he’s willing to give freely. Juice hears the meaning in the simple words, understands what his lover is trying to convey, but senses that Chibs needs to understand this message too.

 

“I get it, I do, really. But you need to understand as well. Listen to me, babe. You gotta know too, Chibbie. You’re not them.”

 

He needs Chibs to absorb that each time he lays hands on him it’s healing, cathartic, liberating. That no matter how hard he touches, how deep he pushes, how fierce and relentless Juice asks for it, he will never see Chibs as invasive or abusive.

 

Juice presses his hips backwards, pushing his firm arse against Chibs’ rock hard cock. His meaning is clear, his consent unambiguous. He’s not just giving permission, he’s demanding that his lover gives him this, insisting, challenging, pleading with him to make it count.

 

Chibs can only look over his boy with lustful awe. He leans forwards to trace his tongue down Juice’s back, his fingers massaging firmly over his tight muscles. He licks down towards the cleft of Juice’s gorgeous arse, pausing around his hole. He swirls his tongue around, lapping and slickening, probing deeply with the tip as he opens him up. He alternates between kisses, licks and sharp little nibbles and Juice writhes beneath him, letting out a series of exquisite, muffled moans.

 

“Fuck, Chibbie. Please….. want you, babe.”

 

Enthralled by the sounds and visions around him, Chibs reaches into the nightstand for the small bottle of lube, generously spreading it over his fingers and hands. He pushes Juice’s knees wider with his own and starts to stroke around Juice’s hole. He inserts one finger, pressing in lightly, quickly followed by a second then a third, probing and exploring more steadily, savouring his responses, his rolling, keening hips and his growling whimpers. He pushes his fingers back and forth, stretching and widening, as he readies him.

 

He strokes his own thick hard cock, moistening it with his lubed hand and presses it against Juice’s loosened hole.

 

“Ye ready, lad? Ye need me to stop anytime, ye tell me, aye?”

 

“I’m not gonna ask you to stop. Want you to fuck me, Chibbie, so bad. Need to feel this. Now baby….. please?”

 

Chibs smiles at this new, demanding Juice, enjoying his insistence. He leans forwards and balances his weight on one hand, next to Juice’s, pressing down into the mattress. He nips at Juice’s neck, whispers ghosted, accent laden words in his ear, words of reassurance and encouragement, how well he’s doing, how hot he looks, how much he wants him. The words alone fill Juice with lustful, unrestrained desire.

 

With his other hand, Chibs guides his rock hard erection inside Juice’s entrance, strong and steady, entering him in one sleek movement. He pauses, allowing Juice to re-adjust to the stretch, relishing the warm, tight, delicious sensations. Juice releases his held breath, and bucks back, giving explicit permission, urging him to move within him. With his now spare hand Chibs grasps at the boy’s hip, fingers digging in to Juice’s firm flesh as he starts to shift in long, hard strokes. He spends an age alternating between smooth, tender gyrations, cajoling and urging Juice to beg for more, and the deepest, fiercest, most intense thrusting motions that have his boy crying out in blissful, frenzied ecstasy. He adjusts himself slightly, pushing Juice’s hips forwards, driving at a marginally different angle. Juice lets out more raptured gasps, immersed in flashing, flaring sensations, as Chibs finds his prostate and continues to pounds into him, propelling harder, faster. He shifts his weight back onto his knees, releasing his hand from the weight of his body, wrapping his fist tightly round Juicy’s stiff, throbbing cock, wet with pre-cum, and starts to pulse up and down in time to his grinding rhythm, coaxing him towards his release.

 

“Jesus, fuuuck, Chibbie……that’s it babe……right there…….gonna c… cum babe….”

 

Juice collapses down onto his elbows and his muscles clench around Chibs as he cums, spurting hot, sticky spunk over his stomach and chest. The surging tightness is enough to make Chibs’ own orgasm take hold and he grinds himself inside his boy, coming hard. He stills as he throbs, rush after rush spilling inside Juice.

 

For several minutes he can’t speak as he re-learns how to breathe, desperate for oxygen. He lies crumpled over Juice, both spent, exhausted, overtaken and overawed by the sensations. Eventually, Chibs regains his senses, remembers what his boy’s just given him. He shifts himself to lie next to Juice, gently stroking his hand over Juice’s back, tracing soft little patterns with his fingertips.

 

“Ye alright, Juicy, darlin’? Was that okay for ye?”

 

“Perfect, Chibbie. Fuckin’ perfect.”

 

Juice is completely shattered, his eyes half closed, his skin trembling under Chibs’ touch.

 

“Chibs…” he asks, placid and docile. “What am I going to do about all the shit I’ve done? How do I make it right? With the club, I mean?”

 

“We’re gonna tell Jax, lad. In the morning.”

 

Juice panics, jumps up to sitting, his eyes darting to find his lover’s.

 

“What? No, Chibbie. How…..? Why…?”

 

“Wait, Juicy,” calms Chibs, “C’mere, lad. Shushhh, it’s all gonna be fine.”

 

He reaches for Juice’s arm, pulls him back towards him, lowers him down into his own body, Juice’s back to his chest, and wraps around him, soothing and calming him. He finds Juice’s hand and laces his fingers through, nuzzling in to the back of his neck.

 

“I’m not gonna let anything bad happen to ye sweetheart, I promise. Ye gotta learn to trust yerself Juicy, but for the times when ye can’t ye gotta trust me. Do ye trust me, love? Do ye really trust me?”

 

As questions go it’s pretty fundamental, pivotal even. Juice knows that trust is a continuum, there are levels and components to it. His history screams at him to mistrust, but his reality today tells him a different story. This man currently wrapped around him has looked after him, bolstered him, protected him and opened him up in the most intimate, profound of ways. He feels safe and secure knowing him, following him and loving him.

 

“Aye, laddie. I trust ye,” Juice mocks, and he giggles as he receives a swat to the back of the head for his trouble.

 

“Well, Chibbie, if you’re gonna to resort to violence and abuse….”

 

Chibs interrupts him with a sudden growl, spinning his boy round on to his back, straddling his stomach and pinning him to the bed, knees pressing his arms down. He goes in for a forceful attack on his mouth, wet tongue probing and whiskers tickling. Juice is laughing too much to fight back and he surrenders into the sloppy, careless kiss, chortled grunts escaping his throat. Chibs chuckles to himself, marvelling that he still gets to see Juicy this way, acutely aware of how close he came to not doing.

 

Inevitably, their hips start grinding into each other again, and they move together in a haze of desire, thirsty for each other once more. It’s less frantic than before, more composed and sedate, but no less intense and meaningful as they touch and feel, converging in a hypnotic and rhythmic meeting of mind and body. There’s no rush this time as they savour each other, slowly building to mutual release. They cum together then sink in to each other, their bodies entwined, holding on tight as they finally give in to restful sleep.

 

In the morning Juice wakes alone, blinking away the slumber, wondering, just for a moment if it’s all been a dream. Or a lie. He pushes the thought away and grins as he hears banging noises followed by profane curses in a deep Scottish brogue floating up the stairs. Quickly pulling on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt he wanders down into the kitchen. Chibs looks at him over his mug of steaming tea, giving him a lazy smile.

 

“Morning, love. There’s coffee if ye want some.”

 

Juice offers him a confused glance and quips,

 

“I’m not sure I’ve ever seen you cheerful at this time of the morning. What’s going on, Chibbie?”

 

Chibs looks his boy straight in the eye as he replies,

 

“Got meself laid last night, laddie. Some pretty little Puerto Rican with a body to die for and the most fuckable mouth ye’ve ever seen. Talking of which…..”

 

He moves in for a deep, tongue swirling kiss, Juice melting in to him. He rests his forehead against Juice’s and his voice softens as he continues,

 

“And Jax is on his way over.”

“Shit. Way to ruin a moment, Chibs.”

 

“Sorry, darlin’. It’s got to be done, eh?”

 

Juice concedes, just as they hear a sturdy rap at the door. A watery smile flickers briefly over his lips.

 

“At least you gave me plenty of time to think things through, babe.”

 

Chibs smirks as he walks past Juice to open the door for Jax who wanders in to the lounge, acknowledging them both with a nod. They exchange pleasantries, before Jax shifts uncomfortably from one foot to the other. He knows they haven’t invited him over at this time in the morning for a discussion about the weather.

 

“What’s all this about, Chibs? You said it was important.”

 

“Aye, it is Jackie-boy. Juice has some stuff to tell ye, VP. He’s made some mistakes but I hope ye can hear him out.”

 

On cue, Juice begins his story, firstly about Roosevelt and Potter, then about Miles. He looks to Chibs who nods encouragingly, before he finishes with his attempted suicide. He talks with apologetic regret, shame and disappointment in himself.

 

“That’s it. I know I fucked up, Jax, but I never wanted to hurt the club. Everything I did, I did to try and keep the club whole, to try and get us away from this RICO mess, I swear. I’m sorry for all the shit I’ve caused, truly I am. This club means everything to me. I hope there’s a way I can earn it back.”

 

Jax is pissed and doesn’t expend much energy trying to hide it.

 

“You killed a brother, you stole from your club and then you tried to take the cowardly way out. Yet you say you did it all for the club? I don’t see much club loyalty there Juice.”

 

Chibs has been listening carefully, trying to judge how his vice-president will react to this. He’d hoped that Jax would give the boy a fair shot at this but it’s still on a knife edge which way this might pan out for his boy.

 

“Wait Jackie. Do ye not think Juice has proved how much this club means to him? What about Stockton and what ye all had him do in there? Does that not count for loyalty points in yer book?”

 

Jax is obviously surprised that Chibs knows about that. He doesn’t have time to really consider what’s going on between the two of them, that they’re sharing such intimate secrets and are obviously spending a lot of time together. He’ll get to that.

 

“I never sanctioned any of that. The only part of the decision making process that I was involved in was the agreement with Tully. The rest of that is on Clay. I didn’t like it. But you’re right, I also chose not to stop it and maybe I should have done. But how can we trust that Juice won’t rat us out again? How do we know that won’t happen? And how do we know he won’t try and off himself again if it all gets too much?”

 

“Maybe ye should have stopped it? Maybe? Jackson, whether or not to pimp out yer brother is not something that ye should have to think too long about. And Juice will neither rat on the club or try and top himself again. I know that. And I’m willing to put my life on that. I’m vouching for the lad. If there’s any comeback, it blows back on me.”

 

Juice is stunned by Chibs’ promise. He can’t believe that anyone would stand up for him like that, that they would show such faith and belief in him.

 

“Chibbie, no. I can’t let you do that.”

 

“Aye, ye can lad. And I am doing. So, what do ye say Jackie-boy? Does my word hold enough clout for ye, that ye’ll give Juice a chance to earn back the trust, and not take this to the table unless ye have to later?”

 

“I’m not happy about any of this, but if you’re willing to vouch for him, I can live with that. But just know that I’m not sure I’d trust him without. If he screws up it comes back on you Chibs. Are you prepared for that?”

 

“Nothing’s gonna come back Jackie. The lads all good and he’ll prove ye wrong.”

 

Jax nods his agreement. It’s a lot for him to take in and he hardly trusts himself to be logical and reasonable at the moment. He says his goodbyes and excuses himself, leaving them to it.

 

Juice releases the breath he’s been holding for what seems like an eternity. He knows how lucky he is to have this second chance, but it’s a sudden realisation, an actualisation of the key, essential core of the matter that sticks with him. He trusts Chibs. He’s learning to trust himself. But that Chibs trusts him, so much that he’ll put his life on the line for him? That really is something. He’s sharing deeply intimate moments with this man, that he never imagined sharing before, and he hasn’t let him down yet. Juice decides it’s time to dismantle a few more concrete blocks from that rapidly shrinking defensive wall.

 

“I don’t know what to say Chibbie. Really I don’t. Thank you for believing in me when I hardly believe in myself.”

 

Chibs looks deep into the eyes of his boy.

 

“Stop talking Juicy. Time to start doing better things with that mouth.”

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