Hi guys! So this is just a one shot that I have been thinking about since last week's episode. At one point, I know that Juice and Chibs had a really good, strong friendship, and I have missed that this season. I hope that a conversation this this happens at some point. Anyway, I hope that you enjoy this! Read and review, friends!
It was late by the time Juice got home. The block was absolutely pitch black, with the exception of the street lights casting a sick yellow glow over the corner. There were no lights in windows, no porch lights turned on, ready to welcome anybody home. There never were. He didn't exactly live in the most warm, welcoming neighborhood. His house was a bachelor's dream, and pretty much no one else's.
Juice liked that it was so quiet and empty. It gave him some much needed time to think. He had more than enough things to think about. He had backed himself into a no win situation. He was faced with a kill, or be killed scenario. He was a rat. That much was true, and there was nothing at all that he could do about it now. Regardless of how much he wished he could go back in time, change his mind, make different decisions, trust different people, there was no changing the facts. All he could do now was try and make things better.
Jax wanted him to dig, to find dirt on Clay, and use it against him. Clay wanted his trust and support. Juice did not kid himself. He knew that Jax wanted Clay dead, and knew that Clay wanted his seat back. Unfortunately, that was about all he knew. Things were so murky, so convoluted. He briefly wondered what happened to the days of him just being the tech guy and telling jokes. What happened to loud parties, easy women, and rough boxing matches? What happened to smoking weed, fixing bikes, and drinking way too much? Forget all of that, what happened to brothers loving brothers?
More than anything, Juice wished that he knew who to trust. He knew that he should not trust Clay, knew that Clay would look out for himself above anything and everything else. He hated that he even gave a damn about the man, hated that he clung to anybody who showed him the least bit of fatherly affection. Clay had done wrong, Juice knew that. But did that mean he deserved to die? Who was he to make that decision? And even if he did deserve to die, did Juice have to be the one to set the wheels in motion?
He also knew that he should not trust Jax. Since coming out of lockup, since seeing Opie killed in front of him, Jax had not been the same. None of them had. SAMCRO had sent four guys inside, and three men had come back, changed forever. Juice really didn't blame them. Opie's death had been brutal, on the Club, on the guys, but especially on Jax. He had become more hard, more cut throat, more brutal. Juice could not say, with 100% certainty, that Jax was thinking clearly on anything he was doing these days, and a man whose head was not clear is a man who could not be definitively trusted.
Juice pulled up to his dark, empty house and parked his bike. As he shut off the bike, he was stricken with how absolutely silent it was here. There was a time when he had considered getting a pet, a dog or a cat to greet him when he came home, but he had always known it was a bad idea. He could barely take care of himself, much less a helpless animal. He hadn't been spending much time here lately. He had pretty much been at Clay's beck and call since the shooting. He was glad to finally be home, and would be glad to sleep in his own bed tonight. He could not stop the part of himself from wondering how many more chances he would get to sleep in this lifetime.
He unlocked and opened the door, where he was greeted with the usual scene. The walls were a light brown color, painted to cleverly hide stains. The carpet had been removed long ago and replaced with hardwood. He remembered the guys coming and spending two whole days helping him with that. The room setup was the same as always: sparse furnishings, giant big screen, various video games systems, stacks of movies and games, computer station on the corner, and an old, incredibly comfortable leather couch in the middle of it all. And in the middle of the couch, sat Chibs.
The sight of him there both startled Juice and made his blood run cold. Had they sent Chibs to kill him?
"Jesus Christ, man. You scared me," was the best thing Juice could come up with to say.
Chibs didn't say anything, and instead just looked at him. Juice felt like he was being x-rayed. He had never been able to hide anything from Chibs, knew that the Scot in front of him could probably figure out any and all of his deepest, darkest secrets if he just stared at him hard enough. Chibs was a lot smarter than anybody gave him credit for, and Juice knew almost immediately that he was in trouble. He just stood still, in the dark, in the middle of his own living room, waiting for whatever would happen next.
"Sit down," was all Chibs said. If Juice thought it was at all strange for a guest in his home to be telling him to sit down, he didn't show it. He didn't bother to turn on a light; instead he just sat like he was told.
Juice didn't know what to say, and Chibs was not helping him out at all. Juice watched as the other man just quietly took out a cigarette and lit it. He didn't even bother telling Chibs that he really preferred that nobody smoke in his house. He couldn't think of what to say. Juice knew that Chibs was waiting for an explanation, some sort of excuse as to why he had turned rat, but he couldn't form the words. There was literally nothing he could say that would make things right.
"So. I hear you've made some new friends," Chibs broke the silence, but not the stare down.
Juice figured that honesty was really the best policy. Anything short of the absolute truth would get him nowhere, except possibly dead.
"Not friends. It wasn't a friendly thing. I didn't have a choice. I thought you guys would excommunicate me if you found out about my father, which is worse than being dead to me. I know now that it isn't a big deal, but I thought it was! I really thought it was," Juice struggled to keep his composure, literally begging Chibs to understand.
"And you didn't think we would kill you if we found out that you were talking to cops?" Chibs asked calmly. Juice could tell that the anger was there, somewhere below the surface. He wished that Chibs would just yell at him, hit him, kill him, or do whatever he came here to do. This calm silence was too much for Juice to handle.
"No! I was going to think of a way to fix it! I was going to make it right! Nobody was ever supposed to find out," Juice explained, knowing that it was all bullshit.
"How did that work out for you? We did find out. Your little plan fell apart. That's what happens when you talk to cops; things fall apart," Chibs said, still maintaining his calm facade. Juice wondered how he was doing it. If it were him, Juice knew that he would be screaming and punching by now.
"I know," Juice whispered, finally raising his eyes and really looking at Chibs.
He looked…old. And tired. His hair was greyer than ever, and his face had thinned out and taken on a more sunken appearance. There was no mistaking the bags under his eyes. In the wake up the club upheaval and Jax's pain at losing Opie, it had been so easy to forget that Chibs had been there, too. Juice knew that Chibs and Opie had grown a lot closer while the rest of the guys had been in Stockton, and he hadn't really thought about how this shit might have been affecting the new SAA. Not for the first time, Juice wished that Fiona and Kerrianne were here. At least they would have looked out for Chibs, helped him take his mind off of things.
Juice watched him snuff out his cigarette in a half empty soda can, before taking a deep breath and running his hands through his hair. The worst was about to come.
"You could have told me," came Chibs's unexpected statement. "You had every opportunity to come clean, to tell me what was going on. I would have understood, you know I would have. I have been there myself. Instead, you gave me half truths and never once said that you had sold us out."
"I tried. I wanted to. I just couldn't," was all Juice could say.
"We were friends, Juice! I trusted you! I had you look after my family! I let you be friends with my daughter! And you betrayed us. Do you have any idea how that makes me look? How it feels to know that I trusted the safety of my girls to a rat?" the Scot yelled, finally getting angry. Juice felt the tears he had been holding back finally overflow and make their way down his face.
"No, man, I swear. It hasn't been going on that long, I promise you," Juice pleaded, trying to make Chibs understand.
"Don't you get it? It doesn't matter. Nothing that happened before now matters. You are a rat! Once a rat, always a rat. That's how it works, boyo," said Chibs, managing to reign his anger in, and now just sounding sad. Juice didn't have to look at his face to know that Chibs was disappointed. He had taken a chance on trusting Juice, and Juice had thrown that back in his face.
"I'm sorry," Juice whispered, choking on the words. He could handle Chibs being angry, but the disappointment was more than Juice could stomach. Disappointment came from caring, and knowing that Chibs had cared about him enough to be disappointed absolutely gutted Juice.
He was sorry. Without a doubt, if he could do things over again, he would make some very, very different choices. There was nothing he could do to change what he did, but that didn't mean that he didn't wish for it more than anything. Turning on the club would have saved his life, but he knew that it also would have put Jax, Chibs, and probably a few of the other guys in jail for life. Without even thinking about it, Juice knew that his life wasn't worth theirs. God, how had he been so stupid?
"I know," Chibs responded with a shocking amount of kindness, causing Juice to raise his head and look at him in wonder. "I know you're sorry, kid. I just don't know if that is going to be enough. If you are a rat, they are going to kill you."
Juice took a deep breath, and then let the words come rolling out. He explained what Clay had told him, and what Jax was asking of him. He explained what Roosevelt had done and why, and what lead him to make the choices he had made. He admitted to Chibs that he was lost and really didn't know where to turn, didn't know who to trust. He talked until there were no words left to say. When he was finally finished, even if his situation was just as shitty as it had always been, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted.
"What do I do, Chibs? Who should I trust?" Juice asked, genuinely wanting any advice the Scot could offer.
"I can't answer that for you, kid. If it were me, considering their track records, I would put my faith in Jax. But that's the whole point, isn't it? It's not me. It was you who made these choices, and it will have to be you who finds your way out. Just be smart, Juice. Don't let people fuck around with you. Man up, for Christ sake," Chibs said, standing up and making his way to the side door, clearly having gotten whatever it was he had come for.
"So is this it then?" Juice blurted out before he could stop himself.
Chibs stopped in his tracks, and Juice could almost hear his internal struggle, the argument between staunch SAMCRO member and die hard friend that was most definitely happening right now.
"I don't know, Juice, and that's the truth. This isn't something that can just be forgotten. I hope that you can figure this out. I hope that Jax keeps his word and this never comes to the table. But if it does, Juice…I won't vote for you to die. I promise you that much. Any more than that, I just don't know," Chibs said, before turning and walking out the door, leaving Juice alone with his thoughts.
Juice just sat in silence for a long, long time, just thinking about what Chibs had said, and what he had said to Chibs. He had fucked up badly when he had talked to Roosevelt and Lincoln Potter, but he had fucked up even more when he had not gone straight to the club. He had taken another wrong turn when he started allowing himself to be manipulated and taken advantage of, by Roosevelt, by Potter, by Clay, and now by Jax.
Somewhere over the past few months, he had lost himself. He used to be useful, doing actual things for the club that needed to be done, instead of driving Clay around and washing his dishes. He used to have fun and party and just hang around with his brothers. He couldn't remember the last time he did that, the last time he had just had fun. He used to like himself, used to believe that he was a good person. More than that, he used to like his brothers and believe that they were good people. Now, he wasn't sure about Clay, he wasn't sure about Jax, and he sure as hell wasn't sure about himself.
But Chibs still somehow had at least some faith in him, at least he still believed that there was some good in him somewhere, and that gave Juice hope. Maybe he really could fix this, maybe he could make this right somehow. He sure as hell could start making better decisions and stop letting himself get dicked around. Chibs seemed to believe that there was still something in him worth keeping alive. He had promised Juice that he wouldn't vote death for him, and even though Juice did not trust the word of any other person in the world right now, he trusted the word of Chibs. There was no way Chibs would break that promise, and that meant something to Juice. He would do whatever it took to prove himself worthy of the trust that Chibs had placed in him.
But right now, he would go to bed and sleep more soundly than he had in months