I own nothing you recognize. All original characters and storylines are my own.
In the Clutch
He stood at the mouth of the store, literally shaking for a cigarette and dying to get the hell out of there. He couldn't though, he'd promised his girls that they'd take this trip and he'd promised Kenny that he wouldn't let the girls overwhelm him. Running his hand nervously over his Mohawk he looked over at his woman who was intently scrutinizing each animal Ellie handed to her. She would have made similar scrutiny of Kenny's but the little boy stubbornly held onto the black bear he'd picked up as soon as they got through the door. Juice was getting ready to duck out of the store and find refuge in the Orange Julius across the floor when Kenny came running up to him.
"Uncle Juice, please stand with me. There are too many girls here." He made a face and Juice couldn't help but smile, despite the fact that all he wanted to do was get the fuck out of there.
"Sure buddy, I'll stand with you." Taking a breath he took Kenny's hand and they walked to where Milla was checking out the stitching in a brown rabbit with floppy ears.
"I thought this was Build-a-Bear Workshop." Juice said as Kenny snickered and Milla just shook her head and looked at Ellie who nodded, her animal was decided.
"That's just what it's called Uncle Juice. They have everything!" Ellie smiled at him and Juice felt his grin stretch his face. Ok, seeing her smile might have been worth it.
"Hold this baby." Milla said absently as she handed him a dark brown bear skin and he kept his arms at his side. He escorted them here, he'd be damned if he participated. "Just for a minute. I need to go talk to the dude over there."
She pointed at a guy in a douchey little hat and Juice held in a smirk. If he pissed Milla off there was a chance he wouldn't be getting laid for a while. He simply nodded and took the bear from Milla's hands when she passed by and guided Kenny to where his sister was standing.
"Hey, no cuts!" This older guy in a Cosby-sweater practically shouted before Juice turned around and looked at him over the lenses of his sunglasses. The guy slunk back when he got sight of the ink and the patch on the vest. This time Juice did smile as he turned and ruffled Kenny's hair before he placed a hand on Ellie's shoulder. It was good to know that his patch carried the weight it did, even out here in civilian-ville.
"Well aren't you two adorable. They yours?" He looked up from Ellie, who was playing with her bunny as though it were already stuffed, and into the eyes of an older black woman dressed in her Sunday finest and holding a bear of her own.
"No Ma'am, love 'em like they're my own but they're my girl's god kids." He swelled with pride at the thought that someone could mistake these kids he loved so much as his and he smiled at the woman, being careful not to unleash the full magnitude of his smile. He wasn't sure the old gal could handle it.
"Then that makes 'em your god kids too. I have three grandbabies myself, not nearly as cute as your two." She winked and Juice nodded, not feeling as awkward as he usually did when strangers approached him. He was going to speak when Milla joined them with a card in her hand.
"Ellie, since it's your birthday they'll give you a free accessory and make your bunny a special birth certificate." She walked over and put her arm around Juice's waist before she leaned her head on his shoulder. "Thanks for watching them baby, and holding the bear."
Juice looked down at his hand and laughed, yep, he still had the bear in his hand. He handed it to Milla and looked back at the old woman, who was looking at Milla.
"You're a lucky woman." Milla turned her attention to the woman, "Having a man like that who'll come in here, damn lucky."
"Yes ma'am, I am damn lucky. And these two are my godbabies, that makes me even luckier." The woman nodded to her then moved up in line.
"What was that about?" Milla asked as she leaned up to kiss his cheek before turning her head and glaring at the douchebag who had the gall to glare at her. If they weren't in a store full of kids she would've flashed her crow and had words with him, but here they were in the center of suburbia and it didn't carry as much weight as it usually did. After the dude was sufficiently cowed she turned back to her man who was smiling at her.
"Just some old lady telling me I had beautiful kids." Milla grinned at him and kissed his cheek again, happy about the pride in his voice.
After that they moved slowly in the line as Juice looked for an escape, but didn't find one. There was no way he was going to participate in this, but he had to admit that seeing the kids happy was a very good thing. With their Dad in Chino and their Mom working three jobs they didn't have much time to be happy and just be kids, now they could. His lady made this happen and he was happy to be part of it, even if he did feel like burning the place to the ground just to escape.
Soon enough they got to the rope gate and were let through. Once there he watched the nearly obscene way the "Fluffer" pumped the feeding tube in and out of the animals. He chuckled at "fluffer" and got a bit of a glare from Milla before she dissolved into giggles. Even she had to admit that the name, combined with the movements was pretty funny and perverted. Ellie rolled her eyes in that way that only seven year olds could but squealed in delight when the fluffer had her hug her bear and asked if it was "wuvably soft", Juice was going to shank someone until he saw Milla go up to the fluffer and hand her the bear skin she had. He wondered who she bought that for since, in his experience, she wasn't the stuffed animal type. Once she was taken care of she took Ellie to the wall with the princess dresses and crowns while he stood by Kenny as the boy perused the boy clothes. He had to chuckle when he saw the little leather coats and chaps with the Harley Davidson logos on them. Maybe this place wasn't so bad.
"What do you think Uncle Juice?" He looked down at the little boy and smiled when he saw the bear in camo pants with an orange polo shirt that looked very similar to what the little boy had on himself.
"That's cool dude; don't you wanna get it shoes or something?" What the hell? He wanted to get out of there, not stay longer.
"Good idea!" The boy practically shouted and ran to where there was a row of tennis shoes, including a green pair that, again, matched what Kenny was wearing. If he didn't name the bear Kenny, Juice would be surprised.
"You're so good with them. I'm definitely going to be good to you tonight." He felt a shiver go up his spine and a grin split his face when Milla's sultry whisper invaded his ear. It would definitely be worth this hell in the end.
Soon enough it was over and Juice breathed a sigh of relief. He thanked god he could get out of the noisy store with the screaming brats and the obnoxious civilians. He and Milla were taking the kids to lunch, and then they were going to a movie. Finally some activities he could enjoy, but as they left he saw the box in Milla's hand and knew he had to tease her.
"Get yourself a little something?" His voice held a teasing edge and she smiled.
"Naw, I would have liked to though. That Harley stuff was adorable. This is for Ellie's friend Danielle, she can't afford to get a Build-a-Bear of her own and Ellie wanted to give her one so this is one of Ellie's presents." He grinned wider as he looked at his girls. Ellie was so kind-hearted and generous, just like her Auntie Milla and her Mom, and Milla was just amazing. He knew that he had to reward his girls and as much as it hurt him, it meant going back into the dragon's den.
After they had lunch and before they went to the movie theater Juice excused himself and went back, ignoring the smiles on the staff's faces and the civilian's stares. He knew what his girls liked so he was in and out in record time and a quick stop at RadioShack provided the cover. As he held Milla to his side through the crappy kid's movie he smiled, today had been a good day and tonight would be better.
Milla woke up to the feeling of fur tickling her nose. As she blinked awake she saw what could only be a paw brushing her nose and her eyes moved up. There was Juice in nothing but boxers petting her face with the bear's arm. She smiled and stretched lazily, moaning a little as the muscles they'd spent a good part of the night making sore protested.
"Who's your friend? He's a cutie." He laughed before he plopped down on the bed and handed her the bear in his leather vest and jeans with chaps over and biker boots.
"Meet Clutch, he's goin' to be watching over you when I go on runs and if..." He let it slide remembering how she felt whenever he brought up bids or jailtime. "Anyway, I figured you might need somethin to cuddle with and since I won't always be there to cuddle he'd do the job."
She swallowed thickly. Sometime Juice could be a moron and would pretend a bravado he didn't fully possess yet, but then there were times like this when he so effortlessly did the right thing. She didn't say a word as she set the bear on the dresser and got on her knees to straddle her man. She may have been sore, but he was worth a bit more pain.
About 2 years later...
Milla hugged the bear to her chest as she sobbed. She knew as soon as she got home that sleep wouldn't be possible that night. Not even with Koz on the couch down the hall and the nurse outside the door. He was gone, in jail and he'd be there for a while. He wouldn't hold her at night, wouldn't be there when his daughter was born. If he survived the bid it would be fourteen months before he was where he was supposed to be...home. She hugged the bear tighter as she tried to talk herself out of her tears. She was a goddamned Old Lady. She knew what she signed up for when she got her crow. It was going to be tough but she had to survive, had to prove that she was worth his ink. With a deep breath she dried her eyes and blew her nose. She could do it, she could survive this and if she needed someone to cry to, someone to hug she had Clutch. One of the many things Juice got right.
Author's Note: I went to Build-a-Bear Workshop this weekend and saw this biker couple and wondered what it would be like if one of the guys went. This fic was born of that. It's something cute and funny to tide myself and everyone else over until I can update my fics again. I'll be going home for a few days over Christmas and I won't have internet while I'm there. I hope you all enjoyed this and that you all have very happy holiday season!