Title: Tradition by Reason
Prompt: Jax's first kill. We've seen how ready he is to kill for the club and for his family. Did he have a difficult time committing that first murder? Did it bother him, or did he shake it off fairly easily? Did it scare him that he was a murderer? Etc.
Warnings: Minor character death, a little OOC at the beginning.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything SOA, I just wanted to play a little bit.
Notes: Written forthinkatory for her donation in the help_japan auction.
Summary:Jax hadn't always been ok with taking a life.

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"Anarchism does not mean bloodshed; it does not mean robbery, arson, etc. These monstrosities are, on the contrary, the characteristic features of capitalism. Anarchism means peace and tranquility to all."-August Spies

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Jax Teller was not a cruel man… He didn't hurt or kill things (people) for the fun of it. He did what needed to be done, but he wasn't spiteful. There were times though, and situations, where what he didn't want to do was what he had to do…

Laying back on cold, hard asphalt, with a tearing gut wound, and panicked Opie kneeling next to him, screaming at him to hang on, "hang on Jax! Just hold on!" while not paying attention to the Mayan coming up behind him, was a pretty good reason to shoot someone.

Even raising his arm to level the gun at the tattooed biker, made him stomach flare in pain, and left him panting. Opie looked at him, a split second of guilt stricken thanks, and then Jax pulled the trigger, the gun's recoil sending a new shaft of pain through him, and leaving him in encompassing black.

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It didn't hit him until after he woke up in the hospital, that he had actually killed the man he had shot to save his best friend's life. Eighteen, and he should have been thinking about college, girls, and hot rods; not breathing through the pain, SAMCRO, and blood on his hands.

At first, the images would only show up in glimpses, pushing through his drug induced haze, in brief, breaking flashes.

Surprised eyes looking back at him.

Dark hands rising to clutch at a heaving chest.

Blood rapidly staining a white tee shirt, deep red.

The Mayan falling as if in slow motion as pain in his own body forced a deafening darkness to surround him.

The slices of clarity would startle him, push him out of reality, and back to that night before depositing him harshly back into a situation that he was unprepared, and unable to deal with.

Conversations would leave him floundering, decisions seemed too complicated, and before long Jax began to draw away, and let others do the thinking and decision making for him. He could see Gemma watching him more and more, looking for any signs that he was cracking and ready to break.

Clay and Opie seemed to be at the point of almost coddling him, and they were keeping him closer than normal, also buying into the idea that he was at his breaking point. He probably was.

Tara was long gone, but he knew that if she had still been there, she would have been breaking down doors to pull him out of the life, and she would have taken him away with her.

The scary thing was, he might have gone with her without a fight.

Jax's life couldn't exactly be described as Apple Pie, but before he had actually shot to kill, he had never really seen his situation as that bad… or he had, but it had never really smacked him in the face clearly before- it had just kind of knocked at the back of his mind at times.

With the full force of Mayan's death on his mind, Jax was finding it hard to figure out just where he belonged now. He knew that SAMCRO was his family, and yet he wasn't as sure as he had once been that the MC was where he needed to be.

'If you hadn't shot him, Opie would be dead. Your brother would be gone!'Gemma's words hung heavy and true in his heart, leaving his chest clenching, and his head in an aching mess. It all left him wondering if this had been how his father had felt when he had chosen to leave and go Nomad.

He was acting like a jumbled mess, and that wasn't him, he had always been cool, the one calm and in control. It pissed him off the more ground he lost on his control, on holding everything together, andthatmade him all the more confused and angry. It was a vicious circle that left him down and wounded.

He wanted it all to stop.

He was going to makeit stop.

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Taking a deep breath, Jax held back a grimace as his stomach pulled taut. Looking around he noted that while he wasn't alone in the bar, he may as well have been. All the other members of the club were passed out in various degrees of embarrassing positions.

While the scene should have left him wondering just what he was doing with all of these guys, it only left him with an odd feeling of comfort.

This was hisnormal.

The revelation jolted him, left him wondering just what kind of funk he had been in since killing the Mayan that he had forgotten his place within the charter, within his family.

It was enough to make him want to kick himself.

Jax sucked in a deep breath, ignoring the pull as he pushed to his feet, and made his way through the building to the small bedroom that was housed in the back, and then to the bathroom that was connected. After taking a piss he turned and blearily looked at his reflection in the mirror, roughly scrubbing his eyes with the heel of his hand.

What looked back at him was not the man he had come to know. His beard had grown bushy and unkempt, his long hair was greasy and matted, and dark smudges underlined his lined eyes. He looked like the mess he had felt like since that night.

Killing that man had killed part of himself, and he wanted that part of himself that was naïve and carefree back. He felt as if he had aged in the span of a few weeks, and his appearance told him that while physically he hadn't aged, mentally he had taken on a lot more responsibility and care for life and those around him.
It was time that he got back into the swing of things and put what had happened, behind him.

But first thing's first, he thought, I need a shower.

END.