A/N: I am no stranger to obsession. It comes and goes, and I never know for how long the latest will last. Right now, that obsession is Sons of Anarchy, is Jax and Tara. I do know that this won't be my last piece for them, for I already have another one shot written; I do know that I will continue to write for Olicity. I have no idea, however, how my muse is going to divide her time between these two pairings. Also, please note that I have yet to watch S6 of SOA. The DVD set is pre-ordered, and I, unfortunately, know things I wish I could forget, wish I could change, but what I am writing is based upon the first five seasons only. Thanks and enjoy! ~Charlynn~
P.S. The title of this story comes from the song "Wicked Games." There are many versions, but I prefer the London Grammar one.
No One Can Save Me But You
A Sons of Anarchy One Shot
He kicked the door shut behind him, liking the loud, angry sound and liking even more the fact that no one was around to give him shit about it. It only took him a few strides to reach the fridge, easily pulling it open and grabbing a beer. After tossing the tab in the general direction of the trash, he gulped down a satisfying stream from the ice cold bottle, immediately reaching for his pack of smokes. It wasn't until he had a cigarette in his mouth and his hands cupped to light it that Jax remembered why he was at home that afternoon instead of at the garage or out riding.
"Shit," he swore, annoyed.
But that wasn't anything new.
Dropping his bottle of beer onto the counter, he retraced his steps, lighting up as soon as he was outside. He took a long drag before heading towards the end of the driveway, passing his bike on the way, as he came to a stop in front of the mailbox. It was full – always was. If it didn't have something to do with the club, her plants, or her god damned bird, Gemma had no interest. While Jax used that to his advantage – after all, it made doing what he wanted a hell of a lot easier, it still ate away at him – his mother's priorities, her secrets, her lies, her manipulations.
Oh, he loved her. Rifling through the envelopes with one hand, he brought his cigarette back up to his mouth with the other. He loved her for staying, for not dying, for her loyalty, because of how much she loved him. But she was possessive and controlling... at least when it came to certain aspects of his life – who he spent his time with, what she wanted for his future, and he didn't want to deal with her drama – not when nothing had been decided yet, not when he wasn't sure if there was anything to even decide.
So, he kept his own secrets, and he lied, too, and he made sure that Gemma had no idea that, despite never having any real interest in school, he had applied to a few colleges. That made it necessary for Jax to get the mail... or, at least, to go through it before the post office called and bitched about their box being too full, and either Gemma or Clay would finally empty it. He only received rejection letters... which was confirmation in and of itself that he had no business even thinking about leaving Charming, but there was no way he could have his mother getting her hands on them. She'd flip her shit, and she'd immediately go after Tara, knowing that his girlfriend was the only person who'd ever meant enough to him to get Jax to leave the club – his father's club – behind.
There was only one envelope – a large manilla with no return address – for him, so he shoved everything else back into the mailbox, took a final drag off his cigarette, and flicked it away, making sure to rub it out with the sole of one of his tennis shoes. Striding back towards the house, Jax had every intention of finishing his beer first before opening his mail, but, even with the sweaty bottle once more back in his hand, he couldn't take his eyes off the envelope tossed haphazardly onto the island.
While it wasn't another rejection letter – and he couldn't blame the schools for turning his applications down – not with his grades, not with his anti-social attitude, not with his sincere lack of respect for authority and rules and his impressive truancy record, not with the lack of a diploma to his name and, instead, just a GED because he dropped out, it sure as shit wasn't an acceptance letter either. He didn't mind... not going to college. Hell, he wasn't even sure why he applied in the first place. Ever since he had been born – the first son, his life had been determined for him. And he didn't mind, not really. In fact, there were only two things that he had ever wanted, and one of those things was for the club to be his.
The other was his girl.
She was the reason for the applications. Tara didn't expect him to change. Sometimes he didn't understand it, but she loved him despite everything – his piss poor attitude, his anger, his lack of dreams. She just wanted him the way that he was... even if the future they both knew was awaiting him scared her. It wasn't that she was weak. Gemma would say otherwise. His mother would say that Tara's fear made her a coward, but he didn't see it that way, because, when he was alone or with Tara, he, too, could admit that there were things about the club that worried him.
Jax wasn't afraid of dying. Hell, it'd be preferable to go out in a blaze of glory than slowly wither away, but the idea of losing someone because of Samcro, because of who he was, that terrified him. All he wanted was to ride – was the freedom of the road and the freedom of a brotherhood that allowed him to say fuck off to the rest of world that thought it had a right to tell him how to live. But running guns, the constant threat of the Feds over their heads? That didn't feel right; that wasn't what Samcro was supposed to be about, and it definitely wasn't the life that Tara was meant for.
She was smart – so smart it intimidated him sometimes, and she, too, had been through her fair share of shit. When her mother died young, her father lost himself in his grief and the bottle, and he lost his daughter to disinterest and neglect. Tara never complained, though. She was strong, and stubborn – perhaps even more stubborn than he was, Gemma, too, and she lived by her own code as well. It wasn't the same as his, but they fit in a way that still amazed him. She was too good for him, too good for Charming, and definitely too good for Samcro. She had dreams – wanted to be a doctor, a surgeon, and Jax wanted her.
Dumping the rest of his beer down the sink, he tossed the bottle in the trash before grabbing the envelope and heading back towards his room. Before he could even flop down onto his bed, Jax was already ripping the mail open, dumping its contents on top of his rumbled and unmade sheets. A bunch of faded letters were the last thing he was expecting to find.
At first, he thought them a mistake – that the mailman had delivered the envelope to the wrong Jackson. But it was his name and his address written meticulously across the front, and then he found a brief note that confirmed the letters were for him. He read it quickly – skimming, really, but it just said that he was an adult now and that he deserved to know the truth. Jax was halfway through the stack before he really realized what he was reading, and then he was finished and shoving the fistful of papers into the bottom of a duffle bag, throwing in a change of clothes on top. Fisting the note, he clenched it in his left hand – duffle tossed over his shoulder, empty envelope laying forgotten on his bed.
And then he left.
He parked at the curb, and he revved the engine so that he knew she would hear him, and he cursed himself for being such a prick. For years, he had hated how Clay had treated his mother, how Gemma just always rolled over and accepted whatever his step-father dished out, because that's what old ladies did. Jax knew that he wasn't a good guy, but he also tried to never treat Tara the way he had been raised to treat women – like disposable possessions, easily replaced. Because he loved her, Tara had been involved in shit she never should have been; because she loved him, she didn't complain or even seem to mind. Usually, when he wanted to see her, he just snuck inside, crawling through her window to avoid her father, but Jax knew, if he got off his bike, he'd lose all his resolve.
She came... just like he knew she would. It was dark now, and, judging by how she was dressed – no shoes, one of his t-shirts that swallowed her smaller frame, a pair of shorts so tiny he could barely see them peaking out below the hem of her top – she had been in bed, probably reading. Until he saw her standing there – hair mussed and eyes half asleep, Jax hadn't realized how late it was, how long he had been drowning in the harsh truths the anonymously sent letters had brought to light.
She moved quickly towards him. He could hear the soles of her bare feet against the concrete of the sidewalk. And then she was standing there, reaching up to cup his face – her brow furrowed in concern and worry. For him. Always for him. And Jax felt a small measure of pressure ease off his chest. "What is it? What's wrong?"
He allowed himself a moment to nuzzle her hand, to let the comfort she offered so freely wash over him. He couldn't tell her. He couldn't put into words what he had just read. Eventually, he'd show her the letters, let her read them for herself. He loved her enough to allow her to see everything that he was, but not that night. If he told her now, he wouldn't be able to leave, and, if he didn't leave, he'd kill them both – Clay and his mother, and, with their blood on his hands, Jax couldn't love Tara the way she deserved, the way that he wanted to. He wasn't sure what would come next. He'd get a job – maybe take some night classes, and she'd go to school. No matter what, Tara was going to college; she was becoming a surgeon. Everything else? They'd feventually igure it out. Together.
"Can you pack a bag quick?" It was then that her eyes left his for the first time, sliding down to where his own duffle was strapped to the back of his bike. When her gaze flew up to his face once again, Jax said, "I'm leaving. Tonight. For good. And I want..."
"Yes," she interrupted him. The resolve in her tone and the hope in her gaze should have surprised him. But they didn't. "Yes," Tara repeated, and then she was gone, disappearing around the side of the house to slip back inside so her old man wasn't any the wiser.
She reappeared before he could finish a single cigarette. He tossed it away, uncaring where it landed, and grinned. She hadn't even taken the time to change, simply slipping on a pair of flip-flips, a small bag draped over her shoulders. Besides a dress, it was probably the worst thing she could have on while riding with him on his bike – all of that soft skin left exposed. But she trusted him, and he'd never go down with her wrapped around him.
Kicking up the stand, Jax put the bike in gear, and then roared them down Tara's road, out of town, and by the 'You're Now Leaving Charming' sign. For a brief moment, he had doubts. He considered turning around and heading to see Opie one last time... or maybe even asking him if he wanted to leave with them, too. And he thought about going up to Piney's cabin to seek the council of his father's best friend. But then he felt Tara's arms tighten around him just that much more, felt her face dip into the hollow between his neck and shoulder as she placed a soft kiss there against the strands of his long hair, and Jax knew he was doing the right thing; they were doing the right thing.
For what seemed like his whole life, he had only wanted two things: his club and his girl. His club and everything it supposedly stood for was a joke. A fucked up lie. Pushing the throttle of his bike even further, Jax felt everything but the night, and the adrenaline of speed, and the woman melted against him fall away. But his girl? Tara was the dream that hadn't disappointed him, hadn't let him down, hadn't deceived him. With the rest of his world on fire, his girl was the only thing, the only person, who could have saved him.
And she did.