A/N: This story was first posted maybe around 2002 or thereabouts. It got pretty violent as it went on if I can remember, so maybe it will need a higher rating at some point. I'm going to go through it slowly and rewrite the whole second half, because I really hated the way it turned out. That's the reason it pretty much disappeared from every site it was posted to, including my own! I'm trying to get back to the place I was in when I first started it, which is extremely hard since my life is completely different these days, but hopefully when it ends I can put it to bed with a sense of satisfaction and closure finally.

This story deals with bikers, thugs, criminals. As such, it is full of violence and an extremely sexist attitude to women. I will post a warnings along the way.

That's it. If you've found this story for a second time, I hope you like the revised version and if you're new to it, hope you enjoy the ride!

X

THIS Chapter involves the rape of a woman, PLEASE do not read if this will upset you in any way.

Part 1. It Can't Rain All the Time

Texas, 1978

The old, run down house was quiet and silent, deathly still in the dark of the night. Not a creak of the floorboards, not a rattle of glass in the kitchen, no loud voices, no shouting, no violent scuffles, no crying… nothing. Just the sound of the steady patter of rain on the ground outside.

To the small boy hidden beneath the house, his tiny body curled into the smallest ball that he could make of himself, the lack of noise was terrifying. In his long five years, he had never once heard the house that silent for so long.

He stayed where he was, his clothes and ever-tousled hair wet from his mad dash outside and from the water that was coming through to soak the dirt beneath the boards of the house. He was too afraid to move, not wanting to think about why the house was quiet, but he knew. He knew why his mother had not come to look for him, she would have come to get him by now like she always did, if she could.

Her crying had stopped so suddenly, her sounds of pain and protest had been silenced long before the noise of the rumbling motorcycles had pulled away from the house. They had killed her. His father had come home again and he had killed her; him and his ugly, dirty, giants of friends. They had made her cry and scream and bleed until she had stopped moving… and he had seen it all.

When the noise of the motorcycles had reached them from up the street, his mother had gone deathly still, her hands desperately clutching the worn leather bag she had been madly stuffing clothes into. As the rumbling motors had grown louder she had abandoned her frantic packing, grabbing him and quickly stashing him in his room. With an emotional, yet all too brief, hug she had pushed his small body under the bed and told him to stay there and when the front door had flown open, little Vin Tanner had done exactly as he'd been told. He'd crouched under his bed on the tattered yet clean floorboards and listened to the heavy boots crossing over the wood, his eyes wide with fear and his heart hammering in his tiny chest.

Yet as his mother's pleas had transformed into muffled screaming, his fear had turned to something else and before he even knew what he was doing, he was out from under his bed and moving to the closed door. With his baseball bat dragging behind him, he'd thrown open the door and run at the first man he saw, writhing on top of his mother on the kitchen floor. With determination he hefted the wood above his head, wanting to crush the man with the long, red plait of hair and stop him from hurting his mother… but the bat never connected, never lifted high enough in the air before he, himself was lifted off the ground in a kicking, fighting blur of arms and legs.

It was his father, the man he only saw when he came home drunk after days away riding his bike. He didn't know where he went, didn't care, so long as he was gone, but he was here now and he had brought friends with him. The last time he had done that his mother had had to go away to hospital and he had been left alone where his father had locked him in the basement. Every time his father came, he went straight to the basement and either took things out or put things in. Sometimes men came and filled it up with wooden boxes and then other men came and took them away. He'd never been allowed in there and then suddenly he was locked in there for days within the darkness and silence of the cramped and dirty space. He didn't know it then, but it was a feeling of terror that would stay with him forever.

He was lifted by the back of his shirt and thrown on top of the orange laminate of the kitchen bench, too scared to fight, knowing how much his father's hands hurt, but he wanted to help his mother. She was not even crying any more and he was terrified for her. As his father moved to take his turn, Vin leapt off the counter and ran to help her. The mighty hand caught him across his face and he flew into the wall, his eyes half closed as he tried to understand what was happening.

She was not moving, yet he heard her voice.

"Please, leave the kid be." It was a soft plea, a final wish.

The menacing voice was filled with venom. "You spoke to the cops. You always thought you were too good for me, but I never thought you'd try an' burn me like that."

"No, they came to –"

Vin saw him shake her hard to silence her, heard her head smack onto the hollow wood beneath as the mean face moved in towards hers and leaned close, the voice harsh. "Yeah you did... but you won't do it again."

His mother was quiet for the longest time and Vin saw the gleam of a metal blade lift above her. His scream of 'No!' was cut short by a hand around his mouth and he kicked and screamed with everything he had, managing to somehow break free and lunge at his father's back.

Blood, there was blood everywhere. His mother was staring up at the roof, her mouth open, a sea of red pouring from her neck. He wasn't aware that he was screaming until he was struck again and his father rose up, the deadly knife still in his hands as he stepped towards him. He was next, he was going to cut him open too.

He'd run then, dodging the big arms that swooped down to grab him and sprinting for the back door, one step ahead of the massive black boots that thundered after him. He was under the house in his safe place before they even reached the wooden door.

"Find the little bastard!"

"Fuck him. What the hell's a kid gonna do? Let's get the stuff and get outta here."

He peered through the darkness of the gap he had crawled through to get under the house, holding his breath as a pair of big black leather boots stopped outside on the sodden ground. They were the same boots his father wore, with shiny metal buckles on the sides. They cut, those buckles. He knew to dodge them when they kicked his way.

He felt a warm drop on his hand and he turned it slightly, watching in fascination as it caught the light that filtered through to him. The drop was red and followed quickly by another. It was leaking through the boards above him, but his mind was trying not to realise that.

Finally the boots moved on and after a moment he heard movement start above him on the floorboards inside. It was the longest hour of his life before he finally heard the motorcycles tear away back down the street… and still he stayed where he was, not knowing what to do as he began to shiver violently. His face was throbbing and his arm hurt where he'd gashed it deeply on the piece of broken wood he'd scrambled past to get under the house. He'd fallen asleep eventually, the shock and blows to his head had overridden the cold and he had slept long and deep in the chilly dirt. When the police had eventually come to examine the house days later, tipped off by a neighbour, it was by pure chance that Officer Murphy had found him, having been alerted by his canine partner.

Thirty one year old Douglas Murphy would never forget the sight of the skinny, dirty, desperately sick child that he had finally talked into coming out from the tiny gap under the house. The sight of the bruised face, covered in what they'd soon realised was his mother's blood seeping through the cracks in the floorboards, peering through hair in long need of a cut, showed glimpses of soulful blue eyes that had torn at his heart and those of his fellow officer's.

He could not imagine a child so young having to face what was inside that house. The cute looking kid with the too-old eyes had not spoken a word to them, but they suspected he had seen his mother killed. There was not a cop there who's throat was not tight with emotion when he was taken away, his eyes wide but dry as he'd watched the ambulance doors close and had been led away by a female paramedic. He would not take her hand, would not let anyone touch him. The stark bruises on his cheeks covered most of his face and made every person there want to find the bastard who had struck the defenceless child.

They'd found out later the house was owned by one of the states largest motorcycle outlaw gangs. The government had long been working to stop the massive movement of drugs that the gang was responsible for running across the border from Mexico. These were bad men, with no regard for the law and no regard for human life. Every officer present that day would forever remember the sight of the woman lying on the floor, her throat cut from ear to ear with her blood let out onto the floor around her, stained now into the wood.

Douglas himself had never forgotten the slight weight of the tiny child he had briefly held in his arms as he had lifted him into the back of the ambulance. Even then, the boy had been absolutely still as he had endured the human contact in silence. It took no genius to realise that this kid did not trust adults and from what they had seen, he had good reason to feel that way.

He'd transferred out of Texas not long after, with the decision that he wanted to make a difference, for kids like that one who were subjected to the darker side of life right from the word go. The police officer applied for a position with the Drug Enforcement Agency, which he finally got a few years later.

Meanwhile the outlaw gangs had continued to grow in numbers, despite efforts from local and federal agencies and specialised task forces to stop them. This gang in particular was notoriously ruthless and considered itself a law unto itself, as did most. There was still a lack of resources spent on targeting these clubs, although over the years a higher awareness of their criminal activities had been established. Many states tended to focus on the high profile issue of street gang violence, which was a higher priority to the general public. Some departments saw the need to keep the public happy as a higher priority, rather than educate them on another evil that was lurking beneath their doors.

No matter what a persons opinion of outlaw clubs, no matter what they had seen for themselves or experienced, chances were, the drugs and guns that seeped into their neighbourhoods largely came from this source. While there were legitimate clubs whose soul purpose was to ride their bikes, there were also the element who liked to sell themselves off as misunderstood men who simply enjoyed riding their motorcycles together - law abiding citizens involved in community projects. The reality of this was far from the truth.

The more Douglas learnt, the more he realised the fact that they were mostly camouflaging their real interests, which included everything from an extensive involvement in the importation and trafficking of drugs, to theft, loansharking, extortion, prostitution, strip clubs, illegal selling of alcohol and tobacco and possession and trafficking of illegal weapons, amongst other things. The longer he investigated them, the more incidents he saw of bikers using tactics ranging from intimidation and assault, to attempted murder and murder to promote and protect their interests... and the more determined he got to stop them. No matter what they professed, which was little given their secrecy to 'citizens' outside of their clubs, these men had to earn their money somewhere, and it was a sure bet it wasn't through a nine to five job every day.

Often, over the years, as he'd moved on and finally wound up in Denver as head of his department, Douglas Murphy had found himself wondering what had ever become of that child back in Texas. Nobody had ever been charged for the woman's murder and the child had been placed in the system, not having given them any insight into what he had seen. He'd done all he could to get information regarding his welfare, but the files were off limits, no matter what angle he tried. He hoped he'd had a good life, far removed from the violent start he'd been given.