I own nothing you recognize. All original characters and storylines are my own.
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
"Ma, he doesn't need a big party. He's just turning one." Milla said as she saw her mom put, yet another box of cutlery into the cart.
"Nonsense. He's my grandbaby and this is his big day." Milla snorted, Jax had gotten married three days earlier and her mom was putting more care and attention into this party than she had in the wedding.
"Keegan will be here tomorrow. To spend some time with us before the shipment." Milla said suddenly and Gemma sighed, she was enjoying this time with her daughter and grandson without the Irish prick. She was also enjoying seating Juice and Milla next to eachother at dinner and watching them dance around each other.
"Fine, I'll take little Clay tomorrow night and-" She abruptly stopped talking when she saw her daughter's face. "What is it baby?"
"I was actually hoping I could stay with you while he's here. Keegan and I..." She took a deep breath. "We're not on the same page right now. In fact, if I'm left alone with him and cutlery we may have a dead Irishman on our hands."
At that comment Gemma was ready to go to the kitchenware aisle and get her the biggest, meanest looking butcher's knife she could. Instead she looked at her daughter and saw the pain in her face.
"What happened baby?" She asked and Milla sighed.
"I don't want to talk about it here. Let's finish up then go to lunch with Lu and Little Clay. I have a feeling she won't give up my son without a fight." Milla picked up a package of balloons and put them in the cart before she walked ahead and Gemma watched her daughter with a frown on her face. Milla usually suffered in silence, but this time she was angry. Whatever the mick did, it was bad.
Juice stood outside the garage smoking his cigarette and glaring. Why did his bitch have to do this shit now? He finished his cigarette off and crushed it under his heel before he took another one out of his pack. She was getting too cocky, thought she had a voice with the Club, didn't know her place. This was why you didn't date civilians. With a groan of frustration he moved away from the wall, dusted off his hands and went to the clubhouse. Sure enough she was still there, sitting like she owned the place. What possessed him to claim her?
"So I told her that I'd only wear Hollister-" The look on Luann's face was pure revulsion as she held Little Clay and waited for Cherish to shut up.
"Juicy, thank god. Will you play with Little Clay for a bit? Gem and Mills are late." Juice grinned at the little boy who reached chubby little arms toward him. Without thinking Juice scooped the little boy out of her arms and blew a raspberry on his cheek before Luann dashed off, probably eager to get away from the annoying blond.
"You're really good with him. There's something sexy about a dangerous man with a baby." Cherish's voice lowered to the tone she used when she wanted to be sexy and Juice raised an eyebrow.
"It's easy when you love them. Besides I missed this little guy. He and his Mama are really important to me." At the brief mention of Milla he saw Cherish's smile turn to a grimace and mentally smirked. He may have been fucking her and dating her but she was well aware that she was a stop gap, a way to be less lonely. He was a man built for monogamy so going from slut to slut had gotten old fast.
"So, I was thinking. It's my friend Lisa's birthday tonight and she wants to go to Hard Candy. You up for some clubbing?" She asked and Juice grabbed a napkin from the table and wiped a bit of the drool from Little Clay's chin.
"Can't, family dinner tonight at Clay's. Gemma told me to be there. Don't know how long I'll be." He smiled as the little boy reached up to be cuddled and did just that. As he cuddled him he saw a look of determination settle in Cherish's eyes.
"That's fine, we'll go to dinner then go clubbing. The real party doesn't start until after eleven anyway." She grinned again and Juice felt a pressure build up behind his eyes.
"Uh, I was invited to dinner. I'm not sure Gemma will like me bringing a plus one." He was silently begging her to take the hint but she pressed on.
"It is a family dinner isn't it? I'm practically family." She grinned brightly and he was about to tell her everything that was wrong with that sentence when the clubhouse door opened and Milla walked in followed by Gemma while a couple of the guys from the garage carried in bags of party stuff.
"Where's my little man?" Milla asked as she walked up to the table and picked up her son, giving Juice a wide smile. The last six months had been tough but they'd worked through her stupid jealousy and gotten back on firm footing again. He was back to being the perfect man in her eyes and she had never been anything less than perfect in his.
"He teething?" Juice asked and Milla nodded.
"Yep, I hope he wasn't too much trouble." She cuddled her son while Juice looked at them with poorly hidden adoration.
"He was perfect." Cherish piped up and Milla gave her a look that clearly said "you're still here?" before she turned her attention back to Juice.
"Coming to dinner tonight?" She asked and Juice nodded, willing Cherish not to speak and piss people off.
"We'll be there!" Cherish said excitedly as Milla shot her another look and Juice internally groaned. Why the fuck did he claim her?
Later that night Milla was in the kitchen with her mother, Lu and Donna as they worked on the dinner. Donna had been roped into it with promise of uninterrupted time with her best friend and unofficial godbaby. Time she never seemed to get anymore. Instead she was busting her ass as Fuhrer Gemma doled out the orders. Eventually she needed some fresh air and managed to drag Milla outside.
"You have two seconds to tell me what's wrong with you. You're putting up a good act but something's up." Milla looked at the door then back at her best friend and sighed. Donna was tenacious and wouldn't accept that she was fine, the only way to stop the stares was the truth.
"Keegan...he...he got his mistress pregnant. She wants him to move her to Belfast and he wants me to just accept this shit. He said it was a hazard in his business. A fucking hazard! Jesus Christ, Donna, he might as well have slapped me in the face. I told him, in no uncertain terms that he can keep his whore but we can't be in the same city. I won't be disrespected like that." Donna took a deep breath, she had only wanted to kill one other person as much as she wanted to kill Keegan at that moment. She took another deep breath, looked at Milla then pulled her into her arms.
"What do you want to do?" She asked and Milla laughed in a way that sounded like a sob before she hugged Donna back.
"I want to give him and her the house, get full custody of Little Clay, move back home and build a life here for us. I want that more than I've ever wanted anything." She clutched Donna as Donna kissed the top of her head.
"What are you going to do?" Donna knew Milla well enough to know that she'd never actually do what she wanted, she always put everyone else first.
"If that little whore comes to Belfast I'll kill her, she will not flaunt herself in my fucking home!" Milla ground her teeth and pulled away from Donna.
"You know I'll support you no matter what, right?" Donna asked and Milla nodded before she used her hand to wipe off her face.
"I know and I love you for it. Let's go back, Ma and Lu are bound to wonder where we are and neither of us want Mom on the warpath." With a deep breath Milla walked into the house and Donna watched her friend. Why couldn't life ever work out for that girl? With a shake of her head she walked in behind her, ready to do the Queen's bidding once more.
"So I told her that Professor Johnson doesn't know his ass from a whole in the ground!" Cherish practically shouted before she devolved into obnoxiously high-pitched giggles which caused nearly everyone's eyebrows to raise and Tig to give Juice a look that said "are you serious?" Juice just cringed and tried to inch away from his woman. As he got a short distance away he looked across the table at Milla who was smiling sympathetically at him. She didn't hate him for Cherish, but he'd be damned if he didn't hate himself for bringing her with him.
"So, Cherish..." Milla's nose wrinkled in distaste. "What year are you?"
"I'm a Junior, only have a few classes left. I'm going to be a fashion designer, at least I will if I can finish my purchasing courses. What did you get your degree in?" Juice wanted to throw Cherish out on her ass when he saw the pain in Milla's eyes but Milla just gave herself a mental shake and pressed on.
"I got my degree in life. I got pregnant and got married. Someday I'm going to complete my degree but for now I focus on staying alive. Belfast is a dangerous place." Milla set down her fork and picked up her glass, so above everything that Juice couldn't help but grin.
"That sucks. I hope Juan doesn't get me pregnant just yet." At that Juice felt his heart squeeze in his chest. Her...pregnant? He'd shoot himself first.
"I don't think you have to worry about that darlin'. I doubt you'll be around that long." Milla said as she calmly sipped her drink. "Juice doesn't like being reminded of his mistakes."
Three days later...
Keegan stood on the deck of the boat as he watched the lads finish putting the drums on the pallets. He grinned as he thought about this day. He was finally going to right a wrong and take care of his biggest obstacle. He'd talked to Jimmy and gotten the go ahead. If he could get away with it he was welcome to try. So he paid off the lads and fooled with the equipment...
"Where's McKeavey?" Came a shout from below and he couldn't suppress a grin as he saw the mohawked bastard come down the deck.
"Not here! I'm in charge of this shipment!" Keegan shouted and Juice walked up the gangplank and looked at the barrels that were being loaded on the pallet.
"They ready to load?" Juice asked, not wanting to get into any non-business related discussions with the Irish bastard.
"Sure are, you stay and help monitor the loading, I'll have my men handle the unloading." Juice nodded and walked over to the pallet. Once it was in the air he watched the progress when suddenly one of the chains went slack and the drums toppled down. Juice yelled incoherently and dived, barely managing to avoid a drum to the head but wasn't unscathed when one of the barrels slammed into his chest. He heard a crack as his chest burned and the air was knocked out of him.
"You ok?" One of Keegan's men rushed over to him and he couldn't move, everything hurt. "Jaysus, Keegan, I think this boy's hurt."
"Hurt? He's still breathin'?" Keegan asked and walked over to see that, yes Juice was still alive. He was like a fucking cockroach.
"We need ta get him ta the hospital!" The man shouted as he rolled the drum off Juice who was finally breathing on his own.
"Bloody hell..." Keegan whispered as Juice's eyes settled on him and narrowed. He'd really fucked up this time.
"Why'd ya call this meetin'?" Jimmy asked O'Flagherty as he sat at the council table while the older man silently glared.
"We just got a call from Charmin'. Your man tried to kill a Club Officer." He said it with such conviction that Jimmy knew he'd have to come up with something creative.
"Ya got proof?" He asked as he cursed the boy, "tried" was not the word he wanted in this situation. He told the boy only to go through with the deed if it could be done, not rely on chance. He expected a bullet or a knifing, something sure.
"They know the boy and his relationship with the Officer. No question in their mind." O' Flagherty looked maliciously pleased at the predicament Jimmy was in. His distaste for the man was well known.
"If there's no solid proof then there's no case against my man. We'll just bring him an' his family home." He said reasonably and O' Flagherty was about to speak before Father Ashby put up his hand.
"They require retribution Jimmy. Even without proof our arrangement is in jeopardy. We'll spare the boy's life but some recompense is required." There were nods at the table.
"Trade back the girl. Keegan's got another woman now; we'll get them a divorce and send her home. That should make everyone happy." There were a couple of nods at the table.
"Divorce is an affront to God Jimmy. Besides, the girl and her son will undoubtedly be useful in the future. We let them punish Keegan as they see fit, then bring him back. He will not be dealing with Charming again." This brought a mass of agreement from the table and Jimmy nodded. The boy decided to do this; he deserved the consequences of his actions.
"Done." He just hoped the boy survived his punishment.
Milla sat at a table in the Clubhouse and ignored the screams of pain that were coming from the chapel. They'd dragged Keegan in there an hour ago and the noises had started immediately. This time she wouldn't interfere, she'd heard their suspicions about how Juice had ended up with four broken ribs and if Keegan was responsible he needed to be taught a lesson. As she sat Koz came out of the room wiping off his hands and she turned away from the blood. She'd been happy at first that her surrogate big brother had come to Charming for her son's birthday but now she wished he hadn't, Keegan would have been in bad enough shape with Tig taking over.
"We're done in there kiddo. Chibs'll be taking care of his injuries. Go talk to Juice, then decide what to do because your man's never coming stateside again." Milla felt a sharp pain in her chest at his words. She had a choice she needed to make.
Keegan felt his insides turn to ice as they dragged him through the clubhouse. As soon as the Latino could speak and breathe again he'd called one of his brothers and they'd shown up en masse with the van and loaded him in it. Keegan hadn't even tried to run. He knew they'd take that as a sign of guilt and he knew Clay would have already talked to the council. Even though he had Jimmy's permission Keegan knew that the council would never stand for what he did, they'd hand him over to the Sons. He knew they had no proof that he'd arranged anything but proof didn't matter, they knew he wanted the mohawked bastard dead and that was enough.
"Mi-" He tried to call to his wife before the large blond with the spiked hair put a hand over his mouth and twisted his arm painfully, the only positive of this situation was that the scary fella, Happy, wasn't there. Keegan was sure he never would've left the docks if that were the case. He was thrust into a chair by the blond and saw that the room was filled with Sons who were glaring murderously at him. He lost the ability to swallow as he saw Juice leaning against the wall his ribs taped. Standing with him were the President and VP who looked angrier than he'd ever seen them.
"You know why your here so I'll skip the questioning. You know what you did so I'll skip the accusations. More importantly the Real IRA knows what you did, unfortunately since we only have our guts to go on and no proof we can't kill ya. If we could I'd give Juicyboy here free reign, but he's been benched, so that means that we take care a ya. Tig, think you can work with Koz, just this once?" Keegan felt his bladder loose itself at the look in the blue-eyed psychopath's face.
"Just this once. Think you can work with me pussy?" He turned to the blond, who merely grinned.
"No problem man, as long as you let me get in a few face shots." The blond had taken off his gloves and had put on what looked like brass knuckles.
"Just leave the nose to me. I always thought he was too pretty." The men in the room grinned predatory grins then Keegan was lifted from the chair and thrown to the floor.
Juice watched as his brothers doled out a beating on his behalf. If it hadn't hurt to even breathe he would've joined them. He had to grin at the kicks Tig delivered to Keegan's groin and felt like cheering as Koz punched him multiple times in the face with the brass knuckles, feeling a sense of joy as bruises immediately marred the mick's face. Once the initial beating was done, Keegan was relatively unharmed so Clay opened it up for other brothers to go for it and Juice felt pride that these men wanted to right a wrong done to him. He knew it was mostly because of the patch on his back, but he also knew that these were his brothers and they cared about him. Once they were done he got a good look at Keegan, his face was a mass of blood and bruises, with two swollen eyes, an unrecognizable nose and both lips were split. Juice managed to get up and slowly limped to him as he held his injured midsection.
"You fucked up...you really should've killed me because now you're about to lose everything." He said quietly before he kicked Keegan square in the face. It felt good. Having Milla in his arms, finally his, would feel better.
In Juice's dorm room later...
Milla stood outside of his door for what felt like an eternity. She'd seen what they did to her husband, the damage they inflicted, and it made her feel sick, almost as sick as the thought of what they were saying he did. She couldn't believe that Keegan would try to kill a Club Officer, he wasn't that stupid, he wasn't suicidal.
"I know you're out there." Juice's voice said loudly and shook her from her thoughts.
She opened the door and felt her heart break as she saw Juice lying on the bed with his ribs taped and a bottle of tequila on the night stand. He looked over and for once didn't try to mask his love for her.
"How are you feeling?" She asked him and cursed herself as her voice caught.
"Sore and pissed off. We should've killed him. You know what he did." Milla felt tears prick her eyes. She didn't know anything, except that her husband was accused of something unforgivable and the man that she really loved was injured in something that could have been an accident.
"Do you have proof that he did it? Proof that this wasn't an accident?" As soon as she asked the question she felt her heart stop. Juice's eyes narrowed to slits as he looked at her.
"He hates me and wants me out of the way. That's all the proof you should need." He couldn't believe that she would ask that question, he couldn't believe she'd go this way.
"Juice I-I can't just blindly accept this. He's the father of my child, my husband...I can't just believe he's so devoid of honor. I can't just believe that I'd give myself to scum." She felt tears rolling down her cheeks and Juice turned to her.
"You can believe because it's what happened. How can you take his side?" Juice was at a loss, this was the woman he loved, the woman he'd die for and she didn't believe him.
"I need proof, before I destroy everything I need proof. I'm sorry, I love you Juice I know that you know I do but I can't just take my son away from his father. I can't just abandon everything because you know." Her tears came faster and Juice felt his heart break. She didn't believe, didn't want to believe and he couldn't be with her if she didn't trust in him.
"This is it then? You've made your choice and it's him. A part of me will always love you Milla, but now I can't even look at you. Go home, go to Belfast. I don't even want to think about you again." He turned away from her and she cried out in anguish. It really was the end; he'd never be her safety net again. She turned and ran to the bathroom just in time to throw up and didn't stop until her stomach was empty. All of her dreams were dead and she wished she was.
Later that day...
"You have to choose babygirl, stand by your man or the Club. The choice is yours."
Her mother's words rang in her ears as she held her son in the airport. She'd been exiled along with Keegan. She'd made her choice but they didn't understand why she made it. It wasn't love or loyalty that made her take Keegan's hand. It was fear, fear for her child, fear for her future.
"You leave me and you'll never see Clarence again. I'll get custody and you'll be labeled a kidnapper. You think we can't work with the Peelers when it benefits us? The choice is yours. Come home with me or lose everyt'ing."
She cuddled Little Clay close as she watched the planes come in. Her life as she knew it was over, but she'd survive. Her Morrow blood made it impossible to do anything else.
Author's Note: This is the end of Brath. I know it's over so soon but that's just so I can continue with my next story that will continue the story into seasons one and two of the show. Sorry to leave it on such a downer but this felt like a fitting conclusion to this portion of the story.
Thank you, as always, for reading and reviewing.