Title: Grace Denied
Characters: Chibs, Jarry
Word count: 3,129
Author notes: Part of the …Made You King-series.. Thanks to tanaqui for betaing.
Summary: Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. It's a lesson Chibs knows all too well. He enlists Jarry's help to make sure Samcro will remember those who've gone before—and avoid repeating their history.
Chibs showed up at Jarry's place late on a Sunday evening three weeks after she'd retrieved his drunk ass from Diller Point. They hadn't spoken since that night, but she'd seen him a few times, rolling down Main Street at the head of a short column of roaring bikes. And she'd kept track of the Sons, discreetly. She knew the club had bought the ice cream parlor from the mayor, for far less than a Main Street property was worth, and that they were redecorating after the grenade attack that had nearly killed them all—herself included. She'd been planning to drop in for a surprise visit one of these days, to let them know she hadn't forgotten about them.
But here he was. Jarry propped herself up in the doorway, pretending not to notice the way his gaze automatically took in her bare legs and the faded T-shirt that served as a night shirt, before returning to her face. "To what do I owe the pleasure?" She raised her brows.
Looking as sober as a judge, Chibs shrugged uncomfortably, his expression not unlike the one he'd worn when she first suggested he take her on the hood of her squad car. "Um, need a favor," he mumbled.
Jarry rapidly rearranged her features into something that contained a mixture of disapproval and disappointment. "Sorry, Scotty, I thought I'd made myself clear—."
"Ain't that kind of favor," he broke in hastily. "Perfectly legal, I swear."
She waited, but he didn't elaborate, instead shuffling his feet, obviously torn between not wanting to push past her yet refusing to beg for an invitation.
"Come on in." Taking pity on him, she stepped aside.
She didn't tell him to sit down or offer him anything to drink. This was not a social call.
He looks tired, she thought, watching him. Wearied, like he wasn't getting much sleep. Strange, considering the peace was still holding and everybody—black, white, brown—was getting along fine. Other than some rumblings in Stockton over Barosky's turf, things had been quiet for over a month. And Stockton wasn't her quadrant.
Chibs came to a stop in the middle of the room, filling it with his presence. He looked around at the bare walls, the near-empty shelves, as if he hadn't seen them before. "You don't have any pictures up."
Jarry folded her arms. "If you came to criticize my interior decorating skills, you can leave again." Charming was a temporary assignment and, besides, she didn't have any people whose pictures she wanted to look at.
He gave her a startled look. "No." Again, silence fell. In the kitchen, the fridge thumped on.
Jarry sighed, her patience wearing thin. "If you didn't come to insult me—and this is obviously not a booty call—then, by all means, tell me what you do want, Chibs. I haven't got all night."
He stroked his goatee. "Mugshots."
"What?" She cocked her head in surprise. She must have heard wrong.
He turned to her, angling forward until he loomed over her. "I need—want the mugshots of every Samcro member ever arrested in Sanwa."
She hadn't missed the slip of the tongue, nor the effrontery of what he was asking for. "Are you insane? I can't go remove everyone's—."
"No, no." He held up his hands, palms out, to stop her. "Don't want you to remove anything. Copies'll be fine."
Jarry rubbed a tired hand across her brow. Of all the things she'd expected him to ask.... "Let me get this straight: you want me to make copies of the mugshots in the booking files for every Son ever arrested?"
"Redwood Original charter members only," he corrected. "Please, yes."
"Christ." She dragged a hand through her hair and sighed. "I'll need a few days."
Chibs smiled with evident relief. "End of the week'd be grand." He rolled the R.
Jarry laughed in spite of herself. "Get the fuck outta here."
He paused in the doorway and turned back to her. "Thank you... Althea." The door closed softly on his heels.
Friday afternoon, Jarry pushed into Scoops, a thick manilla envelope in her hands. She'd considered holding on to the copies until after the weekend, just because, but that would have been petty. Besides, she was curious to find out what Chibs was planning to do with them.
"Uh, we're not open yet," the girl cleaning behind the counter said, her tone apologetic. Behind her, the jittery guy Jarry remembered seeing around the Teller-Morrow garage a few times was up on a ladder fiddling with a lamp. The whole place smelled of fresh paint and cleaning fluid.
"That's okay." Jarry scanned the rest of the store. "I'm looking for Chibs."
The girl seemed at a loss what to do, but the guy dropped from the ladder and bobbed toward the stairs at the back of the store. "I'll get him."
Not giving Jarry a chance to reply, he bounded out of sight. There were some thumps and muffled voices overhead. A minute later, Chibs came clumping down.
"Hey, yourself." She hefted the envelope to draw his attention to it. "The mugshots you ordered."
His mouth curved up until his dimples showed. "Right on time." He guided her toward a corner booth—as far from the window as could be—and let her settle in on one bench before sliding into the one opposite. They were alone now; both the girl and the guy had disappeared, though the ladder remained.
Chibs reached for the envelope, but Jarry held onto it for a moment, locking his gaze with hers. "First I want to know: what're you gonna do with these?" She'd tried to figure out what kind of need the club could have for copies of everyone's mugshots, but she'd failed to come up with a credible scenario.
"Gonna put 'em up," Chibs replied, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Here?" Jarry gestured around at their surroundings with her free hand. "Somehow, I don't think hanging a bunch of biker mugshots on the walls will convince the locals to bring their kids here for ice cream."
"Thought you were the smart one." Chibs gave her an amused chuckle and an eyeroll. "Upstairs, Jarry. Club house chapel."
"Hmph." Jarry uttered a chagrined snort and passed him the envelope. She could hardly object to that.
He untied the string without a word and slid out the stack of pictures, spreading them out in front of him. Jarry watched his face. There were so many photos, far more than she'd expected, despite her years in Organized Crime. A few of the guys she'd spoken to: Jax Teller, Bobby Munson, Ortiz. Most were men she'd never even seen and only read about in the case files she'd studied once she'd gotten the call to fill in for Roosevelt. And with a handful of exceptions, such as the man sitting before her, they were all dead.
Chibs' expression remained carefully neutral as he shuffled through the pictures, though a muscle in his jaw jumped, and Jarry had gotten to know him well enough to read his emotions as they shifted from sad to angry to melancholic in the space of seconds.
"I think that's everyone," she said, to break the silence.
"Thank you." His voice was slightly hoarse. "This is—." He was still turning the pictures over when he broke off, stiffening visibly. It took Jarry a mere downward flick of the eyes to realize whose photo he'd come across.
"I put the Sons' women in there too," she explained quickly. "I wasn't sure—." During her search through the archives, she'd not only found the dozens of Sons who'd been arrested but also a handful of wives and girlfriends, pulled in for anything from misdemeanors like disturbing the peace all the way up to conspiracy to murder. Chibs' hands were now curled into fists over Tara's picture, his knuckles white, and she suddenly felt like she was skating on very thin ice. "If I was wrong—."
"No." He took a breath, releasing it slowly through his nostrils, and unclenched his hands. "No." He shuffled the photos back into a single pile and shoved them back into the envelope. "Thank you." He clambered to his feet and tucked the envelope under his arm.
Jarry followed suit and slid from the booth. "You owe me one, Scotty."
He smiled. "Aye."
She headed for the door, feeling his eyes on her all the way . As she reached for the handle, he called her.
She turned around.
"Tomorrow's the grand opening. Free ice cream for everyone. Ye should come by."
She returned his smile with one of her own. "Maybe. We'll see."
Chibs slouched in the same corner booth he'd shared with Jarry the day before, surveying the chaos around him. The opening of Scoops was going far better than he'd dared hope. At least two dozen kids on a sugar-high were running around the shop, while their mothers tried to keep them from overdosing on scoops of free ice cream. Behind the counter, Brooke and Winsome were jumping to keep the scoops coming, while Lyla, who'd agreed to pitch in for the opening, worked the coffee machine almost to the point of overheating to keep the kids' parents supplied. The girls had Rat busy running between the shop and the stock room, lugging fresh containers of ice, bags of sprinkles and boxes of cones, while Chucky held court on a stool at the counter, removing and reattaching his artificial hands, much to the horrified delight of a group of little boys.
The rest of Chibs' brothers had taken one look at the crush coming through the doors soon as they opened, and at the kids and the parents giving them wary glances, and had quickly made themselves scarce. Chibs would've liked to escape too, except he knew he couldn't. Someone had to stay and assert the Sons' presence in the place. They owned it, after all, and nobody better forget that. Thankfully, Tig had sacrificed an afternoon with Venus to stay with him and was now sitting across from him, propped up sideways against the wall so he could keep an eye on the entire room. He looked tense, ready for anything. Old habits died hard.
The bell over the door chimed, barely audible over the din of so many excited voices. "Hey." Tig added a jerk of the head to call Chibs' attention to the newcomer, though Chibs had already seen her. "Want me to—?" Tig was halfway to his feet.
"Nah, I'll talk to 'er." Chibs raised a hand to wave Jarry over. She was out of uniform, wearing blue jeans and a simple T-shirt, and with her hair loose. "You came," he said when she reached their booth, only realizing how stupid that sounded after the words had left his mouth.
She smiled. "So I did."
Chibs straightened on the bench and patted the vinyl next to him, inviting her to slide in. Tig flicked a hand at the girls behind the counter and a couple of minutes later, Brooke put three bowls of ice cream on the table. Tig dug in with gusto while Jarry took a small bite, tasting carefully.
"Quite a turn-out you got." She gestured with her spoon.
"Everyone likes free ice cream," Tig pointed out around a mouthful of the stuff.
Jarry chuckled. "I get that. Still, looks like Charming isn't holding a grudge against Samcro."
Chibs wasn't so sure. "We'll see," he remarked. After the mayhem Samcro had brought to Charming, he reckoned it'd require more than free ice cream to get back in the town's good graces. He toyed with his spoon.
"You gonna eat that?" Tig pointedly looked at Chibs' half-melted bowl.
He pushed it across the table. "Go for it, bro."
"It's good." Jarry licked her lips appreciatively, and Chibs found it hard to look away from the tip of her tongue sliding in and out.
He cleared his throat. "We get it from a guy in Modesto. Home-made stuff."
"Nice." She finished eating and dabbed at the corners of her mouth with a paper napkin. "So, what happened to those mugshots? You get them up alright?"
The question wasn't as innocent as it sounded, Chibs knew. She was fishing for info. "Yep." He exchanged a look with Tig but Tig only shrugged: your call, brother. Chibs glanced sideways at Jarry, debating whether to show her.
Hell, why not. She'd provided the pictures; she deserved to see them. "Get up." He motioned her out of the seat and climbed to his feet after her. "Upstairs." She made her way to the staircase ahead of him and once they'd climbed to the top, he pointed her toward the chapel.
Back in Clay's day, no woman other than Gemma, and very few outsiders, had ever been allowed to see the inside of the chapel. But Clay's time was long gone.
Hap was at the table, smoking a cigarette and cleaning his finger nails with his knife. He scowled at Jarry as she entered, but whatever protest he'd been composing went unvoiced when he saw Chibs coming up behind. Unhurriedly, he slid the knife back into its sheath, stubbed out his smoke and left the room with a cautionary slap on Chibs' shoulder.
Jarry had already walked over to the wall across from the president's chair, from where he'd only need to look up to be reminded of those they'd lost. Last night, after they'd formally inducted the new chapel—they could have church anywhere, even a goddamn Mayan warehouse, but it still felt good to have a place of their own again—and the guys had been preparing to get up, Chibs had stopped them. "One more thing," he'd said, and everyone had dropped back in their seats, watching him expectantly as he toyed with the gavel.
He'd never have Jax's way with words, for sure, but no words had been needed when he'd simply brought out hammer and nails, a stack of cheap frames and Jarry's envelope.
Jarry studied the collection in silence for a few minutes. "This isn't everyone I gave you," she commented.
"Nay." He wasn't surprised she'd noticed. Some of the mugshots she'd brought had been of out-of-town Sons from other charters who'd simply been picked up in Sanwa. Others, such as Clay's, had been quickly tossed, their betrayal too deep for forgiveness. But everyone else who'd died for the club was there: the guys who had once graced the walls of the old clubhouse, as well as the more recent losses: Bobby, Opie, Piney, Kozik... poor Half Sack, who'd gotten his patch posthumously. Even Juice had made it up: after some heated arguing, they'd agreed he'd earned it back, despite the shit he'd brought on the club. Chibs was glad for it. Juice had fucked up badly, but he'd been dealt a bad hand to begin with.
He walked over to stand beside Jarry, lightly touching the frame that hung front and center. The picture of Jax had been taken after his arrest for Tara's murder, evidenced by the haunted look in his eyes as he stared into the lens. Mistakes and Mr Mayhem and suicide should all have kept him off their wall, but there hadn't been any doubt in anyone's mind that he belonged there.
"I see you put these up, too." Jarry had moved a few paces to one side, to where another, smaller collection hung. Not as prominently positioned as all the patched members they'd lost, but not hidden from sight, either. "Isn't this... breaking protocol?"
Chibs huffed. "Aye, 'tis."
Jarry was right that old ladies and daughters had no place in a Sons' chapel. Yet, when Chibs had suggested it, he hadn't gotten as much push-back as he'd expected. Sure, the guys had given him some dubious looks and there'd been a few awkwardly shuffled feet, but in the end, they'd hammered in the nails and hung the frames. Not all of the Samcro women's pictures were mugshots, either: Donna's was a cut-out from a family photo Lyla had brought in, and Dawn's showed creases of wear and tear after having been in Tig's wallet for years.
Noticing the look on Tig's face as he'd laid out Donna's photo along with the rest, Chibs had asked, "You okay with this, brother?" He was remembering how Tig had sought him out the day after Jax had died, uncharacteristically quiet, clutching the VP flash that he hadn't sewn on yet in his fist.
"Something you need to know," Tig had muttered. "Before I put this on." Chibs had raised an eyebrow, already suspecting what Tig would say, but inviting him to speak. "When Donna—."
Chibs had held up a hand. "I know, Tigger." Over time, he'd put two and two together, until, at last, shortly after taking the gavel, Jax had confirmed it to him. "That shite's in the rear view. Now, you gonna sew that on?" Chibs had dipped his head at the VP flash in Tig's hand. "Or leave me in the lurch?"
Tig had swallowed but, when Chibs had squeezed his shoulder, no further words had been necessary.
Even so, after seeing Donna's picture in the chapel, it had taken Tig a good minute, throat working, before he'd been able to nod. A moment later, he'd been fumbling with his wallet, producing Dawn's photo, and finding another frame.
"You know we're gonna get flack for this, right?" Quinn had warned, after they'd finished with the women Samcro had lost.
Chibs had shrugged. "Don't give a shit." They'd gone fully legit and patched in the first ever obviously black brother, so what could it matter that they were abandoning yet one more unwritten rule? "Times change." And these girls deserved it. Even Gemma, despite the end.
"So, what happens now?" Jarry asked, moving toward the window overlooking the back alley. She gapped the blinds and sunlight streamed in. Chibs didn't know if she was talking about the shop's opening, or the club, or them.
He joined her at the window, looking at the handful of bikes in the alley outside. "Wanna go for a ride?"
Jarry shot him a startled look; he'd caught her off guard for once.
"You, me, on the bike," he clarified, glad he'd brought the Glide, which had a bitch seat.
He smirked knowingly. "Unless you're afraid I'll make you squeal...."
Jarry's brows shot up and Chibs struggled to keep the grin off his face. He'd known she'd be unable to resist a challenge.
She slapped at his cut. "Oh, hell, you are so on, Scotty!"
Disclaimer: this story is a transformative work based on the Fox 21/FX Productions/Linson Entertainment/Sutter Ink television series Sons of Anarchy. It was written for entertainment only; the author does not profit from it. Please do not redistribute elsewhere without author attribution.