Author's Note: This chapter took me much longer to work on than I thought it would. As many of you know, I no longer have a full time Beta for this story, so it took me longer to iron out all the kinks. This chapter was looked over by AOE01, and I thank her for her help! Thank you so very much, for someone who never watched Sons of Anarchy you helped me where I needed it!

I am actively looking for a new full time Beta. If you are interested in becoming a part of this project, please send me a PM or say something in the review. I will get back to you and we can talk. Please be patient with me, while the search continues!

I would also like to thank everyone who has been reading and keeping up with this story. It means a lot to me to know you all are enjoying the story so much! As always, I love to hear from you and see what you guys think of what is happening, so please take the time to leave a review after reading, or send me a PM.

Last time…

"They are not going to lay a single hand on her. They'll have to kill me and walk over my cold dead body before I let anything happen to her," she heard Jax proclaim. "Sons protect family," she heard him go on. She looked over to Hammer as she saw his eyes frown as he listened in also. "We don't back down to a threat, and we don't let some outside sick fuckers hurt our family. They already took out Quinn and Clay to get to Addison, for whatever reason. I'm not going to sit back and wait for them to go after someone else."

At hearing what Jax had just said, Addison had to back away from the door. She felt like a bucket of ice cold water had been dumped over her. The shock of hearing the words that were just spoken made it hard for her to breathe. Clay had been shot because of her. Her father had been killed because of her. As much as she wanted to dwell on the pain of knowing that it was her fault behind the pain and suffering, there was only one thought that pushed itself to the front of her mind.

Before she could focus on it, the heavy door opened, and she looked up to see Jax walk out. He stopped as he saw her standing there, and didn't waste time in looking over to Hammer.

"Shit," he said out loud, knowing that they had overheard what had been said. It didn't take long before the others piled out of the stairwell behind him, to fill out the hallway. "How much did you hear?" Jax asked in a soft voice.

"Enough," Addison said keeping her answer short. She didn't trust her voice to say much more. "Is it true?" she couldn't help but ask.

Not knowing what to say to her Jax just kept quiet. He didn't want to tell her anymore than what was needed, but it was clear it was time to come clean with her. Before he was able to fill her in on what they had been keeping from her, a movement from further down the hall caught his eye. Looking over her shoulder, he saw Kozik headed their way, waving his hand to them.

"Hey, Tara came out with news about Clay," he said to them, then turned around and headed back.

Forgetting about what was said and overheard, they all took to making their way back to the waiting room. It didn't take long and before they knew it, they were waiting for Tara to deliver the news.

Addison watched as the young doctor looked around the room, and took a deep breath. "The bullet missed his heart, but not by much. There was some damage done and the surgeon was able to patch everything up. It's still touch and go, but if he makes it through the night, he should be able to make a full recovery," she said.

There was a collective weight that lifted off the room as everyone took in what she had just said.

Clay was alive.

Born to Die

Chapter 23

Written by: DanniMitchell85

The suffocating pressure that had settled over Jax's chest lifted at the news. His step father was alive. If Clay could make it through the next twenty four hours, he should be fine. Jax wasn't delusional; he knew the road to recovery was going to be long and hard. Whatever damage the bullet caused would have to heal, and Clay was already showing the signs of wear and tear of old age and years on the hard road. Clay Marrow was a stubborn old man, and Jax knew he would fight tooth and nail to make a full comeback.

He wouldn't admit it to anyone, but when there had been a thought of Clay's death, Jax felt the weight of leadership fall onto his shoulders. He was the Vice President of the mother charter of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle club, should anything happen to put the President – Clay – out of order, he would take over. He wasn't sure if he was ready to take the chair at the head of the table, or the gavel, quite yet.

"I think this would be a good time to find some place to talk." Bear said as he stood behind Jax, placing a hand on the younger man's shoulder. "Things need to be decided," he added. "We can't put 'certain' topics of conversation on hold any longer."

The tone in Bears voice told Jax it was time to have church.

"I'm not leaving my mom and Addison," Jax said looking over to the two women who were sitting with Ellie. His mother looked like a wreck, and Jax could only assume she was thinking back to when his father, John had passed away in this very same hospital. He couldn't even imagine what she was going through at the moment. His family had suffered so much loss, and no matter how much he put on a strong front, the pain never left. He wasn't sure how his mother kept so strong, and he could only hope that she would share her secret with Addison. She was going to need it.

"I'm sure this place has somewhere we can talk without being 'overheard'." Bear said, pulling Jax away from his inner thoughts.

"Yeah," Jax nodded as he turned around to face the other man. "We'll use the chapel, it's down the hall, should be big enough to hold everyone."

"All right , I'll let the boys know," Bear said as he backed away and began to spread the word.

Rubbing his hand over his face, Jax tried to pull all his thoughts together and put them in order. Clay was alive, and he hoped he would make a full recovery. The hard part was over and now it was a waiting game. There was nothing more he, or any of his brothers, could do at the moment. Being a man of action, he knew it was a waste of time -and effort- to spend time dwelling on the things he had no power over. There were other things, things he did have power to deal with that needed his attention. Like keeping his cousin safe, and hunting down the two men responsible for killing a Son's president, and putting another one in the hospital.

Looking over at Addison, Jax fought off the urge to go over and console her. She looked worse than Gemma. She was leaning back in the hard plastic chair, not seeming to pay any attention to what Ellie and Hammer were trying to tell her. He was about to turn away when she looked up and met his gaze.

His heart ached, he wanted to tell her everything was going to be okay, Clay was still alive, and they would find the two fuckers who killed her father. However his rational mind knew he couldn't make that promise, not yet. Her empty eyes bore into his, making his chest tighten painfully, it became difficult to breathe. Quickly he turned around and left the waiting room.

SOA

"Well this brings a whole new meaning to going to 'church'." Tig said as he found a seat on one of the wooden pews as he and the other Redwood members filed into the small chapel.

Looking around, Tig nodded to Jax who was standing at the front. The Sergeant could tell his VP had a lot on his mind, and he couldn't blame him. There wasn't a Son in town who didn't want to go hunting for the two brothers who took down their leader, brother, friend and family.

"All right, I think everyone who needs to be here is here," Bear said as he shut the door behind him. Tig could see Cooler standing on the other side of the door in the hallway , standing guard. The Nomads had been asked to 'stand guard' while they had their meeting.

"Order of business?" Tig asked, starting the meeting. He had a few guesses as to what would be on the schedule, but he would wait and see.

"New leadership," Bear said, unaffected by the slight rise of voices made at the subject topic. "Don't get me wrong, I hope and pray Clay makes it, but this isn't a time we can be caught with our pants around our ankles. We need a strong line of leadership more now than ever."

"Clay ain't dead!" Jax said firmly from where he stood at the front of the chapel.

"I agree," Stone added with a nod, his deep voice having a calming effect on the room. "This could be part of their plan; take out the head in hopes the body withers and dies."

"Who the fuck made you the boss?" Tig asked from his seat, playing devil's advocate. "Last I recall, only charter members could vote for new leadership. You ain't a member of Redwood, so you have no say."

"No, but as charter presidents, we do have the right to voice our concern." Bear said standing tall, not about to back down. "We only want what is right for the club, and right now we need to stop fighting and get this shit figured out. Or have you forgotten there are two killers out there with Addison in their sights?"

"Jax," Bobby said as he rubbed his facial hair. "You can always step down should Clay return to full health. I have to agree with Bear and Stone, we can't waste time fighting about something this trivial when there are much more important matters on the table."

Jax didn't like it; it felt like he was dishonoring Clay, taking the gavel from him while he was in the hospital fighting for his life.

"Clay would understand, lad," Chibs offered, his Scottish accent ringing in the room. "He would want ya to step up and deal with this threat."

Looking around the room, Jax noted everyone had a look of reserved agreement.

"All in favor for new Leadership," Tig said, starting off the vote with a raise of his hand. If the vote was majority rule, Jax would become the new President. He supported Clay and he was a close friend, but Tig realized the importance of showing a united front. He also understood the possibility that Clay might never be able to ride again after this attack. The rules in the club were simple, you can't vote if you can't ride. That also meant if you can't vote, you can't hold a place at the table.

"Ya," Juice said with a nod and a glance to Jax.

"Aye," Chibs added as he stood next to Jax, placing his hand on his shoulder.

"Yeah," Bobby said with a nod of his head.

It didn't take long for everyone to vote. "Votes are unanimous," Tig said, "Jax is the new President."

Bobby stood up and walked up to Jax, helping him out of his cut. "I'll get this re-patched for you," he said as he made his way back to his seat and took out a knife. It was quiet while everyone watched him remove the black and white 'Vice President' patch from the chest of Jax's cut. The act of cutting the white thread seemed harder than it should, and Bobby was aware of everyone watching him.

"As new President I have the right to name my new VP." Jax said, never taking his eyes away from the work Bobby was doing. "I want Chibs," he said pulling his eyes away to look over at his Scottish brother. "You've always been there for me, and I know I can trust you with my life."

"I'm honored, brother," Chibs replied as he stood tall.

"I need a second," Jax said.

"I second," Tig said with a nod. No one argued with Jax's decision.

"Tig, I want you to remain SAA, and Bobby as Secretary." Jax stated. Both nodded in agreement.

"Now that we have that out of the way, let's move onto other matters. What are we going to do about the brothers?" Bear said.

Jax sat down in the front pew and ran a hand over his hair. "I have no fucking clue. They have been ahead of us the whole time."

"We need to change up the game," Stone said. "Make them play by our rules."

"How?" Juice asked. "I have run every type of background check on them and came up with nothing. The house was the best lead we had and we know how that ended up."

"Let's face it," Bear started. "We were all caught off by the events that have taken place. However it's not going to change the fact they are after Addison for whatever sick reason."

"To bad we can't lure them out, and just kill the fuckers." Kip mumbled from the back of the room.

"We are not using Addison as bait!" Jax shouted as he stood up and started to pace in the front of the chapel.

"We would never use her as bait," Bear said trying to calm the young man down.

"No, but we could use someone who looks like her." Stone said as he thought out loud. "Use a fake, and send Addison as far from town as we can get her."

Bear rubbed his chin, "That just might work."

"So what?" Jax asked, "dress some crow eater up and make her act as Addison, wait for them to make a move? What if we can't get them? What if we aren't fast enough? I'm not going to have more blood on our hands."

"Would you rather risk Addison, or some used up cunt?" Tig asked, knowing what the answer would be.

Jax didn't say anything, he didn't need to.

"Bella, she has the right body build, and hair color." Juice said grimly.

"What do we do about Addison?" Chibs asked.

"Couple of Nomads could take her on a road trip, keep her moving." Stone said. "Moving target's harder to hit."

"Could work," Bobby said as he finished pulling the white threads off the patch. "Who would stay with Addison?"

"Hammer," Tig, Jax and Juice all voiced at the same time. Everyone knew the large Son would do anything to keep the young woman safe.

"No," Stone said, looking down. "If we want this plan to work, Hammer has to stay here, with our fake Addison. We have to assume the brothers have been watching, that they know Hammer is close to her. They are smart, they would smell something was up, if all of a sudden he left."

"So who then?"

SOA

"He ain't going to like this," Happy replied to the news he just received. He, along with the other Nomads, had been instructed on keeping an eye on the waiting room while the Redwood charter had church. He hadn't known how long it would take, and was surprised when they made their way out of the hospital chapel forty-five minutes later.

Everyone noticed the change in the members as they filed out of the room. The mother charter members, along with Bear and Stone, were standing tall and held a sense of accomplishment. He also noticed Jax and Chibs were missing their cuts, and Bobby was holding them tenderly in his hands. He didn't have to guess what had taken place behind the closed doors. He always respected Jax, and knew he would make a great President. He knew it wasn't under the best circumstance, but the club had to move on. Things needed to be dealt with and they couldn't just put everything on hold while Clay recovered. The brothers wouldn't stop coming until they got Addison, and the Sons weren't about to let that happen. Not after everything they had been through to this point.

"He doesn't have to like it," Stone said as he stood beside the killer. "If we want this plan to work, everyone has their role to play."

"Yeah, but you're telling him," Happy said in understanding. Everyone knew Hammer to be a fun loving guy, but Stone and Happy knew Hammer also had some underlying anger issues.

"I'll tell him, but you gotta pry him away from the little lady." Stone said as he nodded over to where Hammer was sitting in a chair next to Addison. His large frame made it look like he was sitting more in a child's chair, rather than one for an adult. Stone was surprised the cheep plastic seat hadn't broken under his monstrous size and weight.

Happy had to give it to the big man; Hammer wasn't letting up on trying to get a response out of Addison. He could only guess what was going on in her mind. The news her uncle would live, right after overhearing what they found in the house, was sure to be overwhelming.

Rolling his shoulders he called out to Hammer, pulling him away from Addison and over to where Stone and he were standing outside in the hallway. "Hammer," it was simple, yet got the point across to his large brother.

Happy watched on as he said something softly to Addison as he pulled himself up and out of the chair, a cracking nose echoing within the waiting room.

"You break it, you buy it," Cooler said, getting a reserved laugh out of everyone.

"The chair can't handle all this greatness, it was bound to happen." Hammer replied with his trademark smile, walking over to his President. "What's going on?" Hammer asked as he stopped in front of Happy and Stone. "I see the mother charter promoted Jax."

"Yeah," Stone said. "…best for the club right now."

"So what are we going to do about the shit heads?" Hammer asked, inquiring about the brothers.

"We gotta plan, and you have a large role to play." Stone said.

"You know I would do anything for the kid," Hammer nodded. "So what do you need from me?"

"We're sending Addison out of town with two Nomads; keep her moving while we set a trap for the brothers." Stone said, watching Hammer carefully.

"Good plan, moving target is harder to hit." Hammer said, agreeing with the same logic that Stone had said in the chapel. "So who is going with me?" He asked, assuming he was one of the two Nomads going with Addison.

"Happy and Bull are taking her, you're staying here." Stone said, rolling his shoulders and standing tall. Both Happy and Stone knew Hammer wasn't going to take the news very well.

"What?" Hammer asked confused.

"We need you to stick around town for this plan to work," Stone replied.

"That's fucking shit!" Hammer yelled out, his face turning red with anger. Clearly he didn't care who overheard him.

"Calm the shit down," Happy said in a deadly voice as he looked around the hallway. Nurses and passing doctors were stopping to watch. They didn't need an audience right now.

"You don't have to like it," Stone said in a calm and firm voice. "If we want this plan to work, you will stay behind and do your part. I chose Hap and Bull for a reason."

Hammer turned around, and Happy could see the tension in his shoulders. Hammer was trying to calm down, and he knew Hammer was only doing so because Addison was now watching him. With a deep breath, he turned around to face Hap and Stone. "Fine," he said with his hands resting on his hips. He then turned to Happy and pointed a finger, "If anything happens to her..."

"You better get that finger out of my face if you want to keep it." Happy said, his eyes darkening. Normally he wouldn't have said anything, he would have just taken the finger, bent it back until it broke or until Hammer begged him to stop. However Hap knew Hammer was just worried. He didn't like the idea of letting Addison out his sight, but he should have known never to threaten Happy, let alone point a finger at him.

Hammer retracted his hand, and took a step back, but didn't back down. He turned over to Stone, "When do they leave?"

"Now," Stone said. "If we want this plan to work, we can't waste anymore time." Stone told Hammer the full extent of the plan. How they would use Bella, a crow eater to fill in as Addison while Happy and Bull took her out of town on a 'road trip'. It was a simple plan, but had many ways of becoming messy quick. If the brothers fell for the bait, they hoped to end their sick game within a week. However should things go south, Addison would be far enough away and out of their reach.

With the hard part out of the way, telling Hammer the plan, it came time to fill Addison in. Stone had moved forward to talk with her, when Hammer held out his hand to stop him. "Let me talk to her," he said in a soft voice.

"Make it quick," Stone said smoothly.

"I ain't going to just drop a bomb on her, she's been through enough." Hammer said firmly as he made his way back to the seat. Stone looked over to Happy, they both agreed it was best to have Hammer tell her the news. Happy didn't like dealing with females when he didn't have too, and considering he was about to go on a road for an unknown amount of time with Addison, he was more than happy to let Hammer deal with delivering the news.

"Let's get Ellie and Gemma out of the room," Stone said, "they are just going to bitch if they overhear what's going on."

"Bear," Happy called out, getting the man's attention. Bear had found his way back over to his wife and Gemma. Both women were now standing with Jax, and it was clear Gemma was getting worked up over the news of Jax's promotion. Words couldn't be heard from where they stood, but both men could see she was saying something to her son. They seemed to be unaware of what was going on around them at the moment.

"I think Gemma and Ellie need to get something to eat." Stone said, the tone in his voice left no room for arguing.

Bear looked over to the two old ladies and then back down to Addison who was still seated, than to Hammer who was sitting beside her once again like a loyal guard dog. He understood what conversation was about to take place, and silently agreed with Stone. It would be wise to get Gemma and Ellie away for the time being.

"Come on, let's get you ladies something to eat." Bear said lovingly as he led the two older women out of the room.

"What about Addison?" Gemma said, planting her feet and not taking another step.

"Addison will catch up with you in a few," Bear lied. He had the suspicion this would be the last time Ellie and Gemma would see the young woman. If Happy and Stone were smart, which he knew they were, they would get Addison out of the hospital and out of town while he had the two mother hens out of the way.

There would be hell to pay later when Ellie and Gemma learned what had done, but it was for the best.

Author's Note: So there you have it! Oh Gemma and Ellie are not going to be happy to learn they snuck Addison out! Oh and there you have it… she will soon be on the road with Happy and Bull. I hope you all understand why Hammer isn't going to be going with her; this is a Happy/Addison story…not a Hammer/Addison story. As always reviews are welcome, I love to hear what you guys have to say and think about the story so far.