Title: Children Of Their Fathers
Characters: Chibs, Lyla, Tig
Word count: 1,382
Author notes: Epilogue to the ...Made You King-series. Thanks to tanaqui for betaing.
Summary: Ten years after Jax's death, Chibs has settled comfortably into the club's presidency.
Children Of Their Fathers
Chibs pulls himself up onto one of the heavy wood picnic tables that, in the years since the old club house was blown up, have reappeared in the garage yard. His knees are audibly creaking and Lyla, setting out their lunch, hears them over the distant whine of an engine being tested and the staccato rhythm of power tools coming from the bays.
"Getting old?" she asks, with a chuckle.
Chibs grimaces. "I'd show ye old, if we weren't in public," he grouches.
Lyla's smile widens as she rests one hand on her belly. "That a promise?"
"Aye." He leans over to cup her face between his hands, thumb running along her jaw, attempting to convey the affection he feels for her without words. He may not be in love with her in the fierce way he once loved Fi, or the crazy push-pull-push he had going on with Jarry, but he loves her just the same. She's been good to him, has done more for the club than any other old lady he could name, and he's very fond of her. Plus, she's carrying his child. A boy, the doctors are saying. A son to carry on the Telford name. He lowers his hand to rest it briefly on hers, lying on top of the swell of her stomach to feel the baby move.
They got together about four years ago. It hadn't been a surprise to anyone—except Chibs himself. He married her a year later, after Fiona died in a car bomb in East Belfast. Thankfully, Kerrianne was safe in London at the time. He'd mourned his beautiful wild Irishwoman, but it had been a muted, quiet grief. In reality, he and Fiona had been over ever since they'd been reunited in Belfast when Abel was taken, after he'd declared Ireland was Kerrianne's home and he wasn't gonna take her from it. His promise to visit often had been harder to keep, even after he'd killed Jimmy O. Over the years, he and his daughter have grown further apart until now their only contact is to exchange Christmas cards.
But Fi's death freed him to make Lyla an honest old lady. And then, six months ago, she came to him with the startling news she was pregnant. Scaring the fuck outta him. He's too old to have another kid. Almost sixty, for Chrissakes, and with his stepchildren—both Ope's and Lyla's— nearly old enough to have kids of their own. But neither he nor Lyla considered any other option, even for a minute, than keeping the kid.
For him, it was a matter of faith as much as anything. For Lyla, a way to correct past mistakes. Weeping quietly, she'd confessed one of her greatest regrets was never having had a child with Ope, and she'd told him about the abortion, explaining she'd been too frightened, thinking she and Opie weren't in the right place for kids. Chibs had brushed the tears from her cheeks and quietly asked, "And now, luv?" She'd smiled shakily and, turning her face into his palm, whispered, "Now I know it's not where you're at that matters. It's who you're with."
"Earth to Chibs." Lyla's laughter and a light elbow to his ribs brings him back to the present.
The sun is out, after days of cloudy gloom, and he lifts his face to soak up its rays, enjoying the spring warmth. "Nice day."
"It is." Lyla offers him a tinfoil-wrapped package and, even before he's removed the wrapping, Chibs knows today's meal is a low-sodium turkey sandwich.
He bites into it, grimacing out of habit, though truth be told, he's kinda gotten used to the taste since the doc told him he should watch his sodium intake. While he chews, he surveys the lot. Garage has come quite a ways since the club bought the place from Wendy a decade ago. The reapers are long gone, as are the Sons of Anarchy banners and the Teller-Morrow Auto signage. These days, the billboards announce Redwood Auto & Bikes, though the paint's no longer as bright as when they were first put up. Where the club house once stood, there's a new building, stocked to the rafters with used bike parts and a wide selection of vintage Harleys in various stages of restoration, while the bays are full of cars. Most are American classics; they usually send anyone coming in with a computerized Asian cage to Dezarian Motorworks over on Tenth. Even so, the garage has plenty of work with repairing and maintaining real cars. It might not be a sound business strategy forever but, for the time being, everyone's far happier with grease under their finger nails and unwilling bolts or rusted wires than learning how to work a diagnostics tablet.
From where he sits, he can see Winsome at the reception desk in the office, flirting with her old man in between answering internet calls. Nero's suggestion to shift her to the garage was golden. Once she got her GED, she took evening courses in business management and marketing at the community college, and with the help of her old man—then a prospect—set up a website that's bringing in custom bike business from Seattle to Albuquerque. Most of her excited ideas have been beyond Chibs, but he's trusted she knows what she's doing and she hasn't let them down yet.
Despite all the changes, the place still smells the way it always has: hot pavement and engine grease and gasoline and exhaust. If Chibs closes his eyes, he can see again the long line of gleaming black bikes on the apron, hear the thundering roar of straight pipes echoing against the club house, and taste the steaks Bobby grilled in the fire pits.
In his mind's eye, it's also all too easy to call up the many brothers he's lost, or to imagine Jackie-boy rolling in through the gate, long hair flying and that cocksure smile lighting up his face. A smile he'd worn less and less as the burdens of presidency and family bore down on him.
At Chibs' side, Lyla breathes a quiet, "Oh my God," and he realizes his eyes are open and it's not old age sending his imagination off the rails. A cocky kid on an old Harley really has just come through the gates, dirty blond hair sticking out from under his skull bucket. The bike's engine backfires and, while the kid kicks the stand and shuts off the engine, Chibs automatically diagnoses an air leak somewhere in the exhaust system.
As if the noise of the backfire has been a summons, Tig pops out of the garage, limping painfully across to where Chibs and Lyla are sitting. A nasty spill out on 18 took out his knee five years ago, but the stubborn old fool refuses to use a stick. "Who the fuck's that?"
Tig's gruff tones mirror the shock Chibs is feeling. And, like Chibs, Tig must surely already know the answer. The kid looks so much like his father, it takes Chibs' breath away, and his heart is hammering against his ribs as the boy struts over to them.
"You Chibs?" he asks, eyes dropping briefly to take in the flashes on Chibs' chest.
"Aye." Chibs feels Lyla's hand lightly on his back and senses Tig stepping closer. They probably should've seen this coming. The boy can't help it; it's in his blood.
"I wanna be a Son," the kid announces, as if it's already a foregone conclusion he will be.
"Really?" Tig drawls. "You think you got what it takes?" He adds dismissively, "How old are you, anyway, kid?"
The boy squares his shoulders, eyes flashing with the fire of the young. "Fifteen. Sixteen, next month. And I ain't a kid."
Chibs rubs his palm over his face, gathering the courage to ask the question none of them have dared voice yet, too afraid to hear the answer they've all already guessed. "What's yer name, laddie?"
The kid pulls himself even straighter. "Abel," he says, like it's a challenge. Sunlight sparks off a heavy silver ring on his hand that looks old and uneven, like it's been enlarged inexpertly to fit his growing finger. "Abel Teller."
Author's note: This is the last story in the ...Made You King-series that I've been planning to tell, so I'll mark the series as "Complete" (on AO3). That said, it's not unthinkable the occasional filler fic may pop up in the future, as the muse goes where the muse wills.
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.