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There were two kinds of men in the world.

Some men had honour, some were virtuous and believed in innocence. They cherished all they considered beautiful and unspoiled by the cruelty of the world. They gave their lives for the things they considered theirs. They never succumbed to their darkest fantasies. Hell, maybe they didn’t even have any dark fantasies, to begin with.

Ax wasn’t like that.

He had none of these traits or at least that is what he believed. He was prideful, arrogant, a partial egomaniac, he was everything that was considered to be wrong yet he had let her leave.

Ax let her escape and she had walked away from him without even looking back.

But he still belonged to the second kind.

The kind that took innocence and beauty and twisted it until it didn’t resemble it’s former glory, turning it into something mundane and ordinary, spoiling its name and making it dirty like a curse.

Ax couldn’t bring himself to leave. He spent the whole night outside of her house, waiting in his car. Hoping that there would be a sign that she had not meant the words she had thrown so carelessly. That never happened. She remained locked inside her dark house and had not even peeked through her bedroom curtains.

As the hours passed Ax caught himself thinking about her reaction to his gun. She had not looked surprised or even a little bit frightened and that had made him wonder. Any normal person would be flabbergasted at the sight of a weapon but not her, never her.

Stupidly brave that was what she was.

His Spitfire, his little dove. But she wasn’t truly his, was she? Could a woman like that ever be considered somebody’s property? Wasn’t she too strong, too egotistical? Weren’t they the same?

All Ax wanted was to possess her being, he wanted to be in her mind even when he was not around. Hell, in a way he wanted to be her saving grace. Ax couldn’t help but remember how she had looked during her breakdown and how much he had wanted to destroy whoever it was that had caused her pain. Instead, he was the demon lurking in the dark, the anti-hero. The man whose intentions always are purely selfish. He didn’t know how to be anything else but for the first time, he wished he could learn to change, to be better. Not to be a man that carried a gun wherever he went.

Someone who deserved her.

A good man.

Ax wasn’t good. Never had been, never would be. Except for the occasional act of kindness, he was worse than some characters in Game of Thrones. He had done things he would never be proud of, things that would make even the gentlest of hearts harden significantly. The self-hatred clung onto him like a second skin.

He was everything that was wrong in the world. The things he had done as a prospect for the club made him sick. The actions that followed after he had earned his cut made him want to gouge out his own eyes so that he didn’t have to relive the nightmare every night.

But that’s just the thing, memories do not need eyes to be seen.

Ax was still waiting. He was a tired mess with his eyelids slowly closing and the yawns that were heard only by him. He tried to stay awake, he needed to stay awake.

Ax knew that if he surrendered to the infectious and chronical disease that was sleep, he would find himself back in the darkness. It wasn’t the kind of darkness he used to play in, the one where he would unleash the beast and let him have his way. There was something terrifyingly addictive about Ax’s darkness, something magnetic. Not many people could say they possessed that.

But his beast did not survive only on sexual gratification. No, he loved causing pain to his enemies. Loved seeing their blood stain his clothes and body. Loved hearing them beg for mercy. But most of all, Ax loved playing with their minds.

During his days as a prospect for the club, he had done quite a few things, each and every one of them ensuring that his beast was fed regularly. Some days, he could still feel how it felt to press a small Swiss blade across their bodies, feeling them flinch as the cool metal came in contact with their fragile skin.

Ax had never killed anyone, he had never taken a life even if the opportunity had arisen at some point. He had been the judge, the jury but not the executioner. He had simply played with them for the club’s sake. The victims were usually criminals so he felt no remorse at his actions. But at that moment Ax wished he could have been better, someone with a normal life.

He reminisced the few nights the little dove had spent in his house. He had watched her sleep, sometimes playing with her soft black hair and other times simply gazing at her moonlit figure.

He never slept on those days. There was this doubt inside of him and it kept him from lowering his guard in that way. It was different, he was different. His time in prison had changed him. Before he served time he was a lot more carefree, albeit idiotic. There had been so many women. Hoards of nameless, faceless women. Sex had been just sex.

A lot of people believed that during sex a person was at his most vulnerable, but he begged to differ.

Ax believed that sex was the most overestimated form of attachment. In reality sleeping with someone, just sleeping was the most intimate. You laid there, completely vulnerable and at the mercy of whoever was next to you. In those moments you revealed all your little quirks, you were vulnerable and Ax had never enjoyed vulnerability. So when somebody came and practically demanded his vulnerability he couldn’t help but feel oddly self-conscious, it wasn’t a pleasant feeling.

She never asked him why he looked tired but perhaps that had been partly his fault. He was an excellent actor when he needed to be. He had seen that she was battling her own demons and so he hadn’t wanted her to battle his too.

Perhaps, that was what he had convinced himself to believe. Perhaps, he was simply insecure and afraid due to the fact that he believed that if she knew how truly disturbed he was she would run away. He never stopped to think that maybe she would have understood his struggles.

He didn’t want to believe that there could be salvation for him.

Celia slept like the dead, never noticing her surroundings, never waking up no matter what. That was yet another thing they did not share. Ax felt everything. He could hear the floor creaking in the night or the wind blowing outside of his window. After the sound had registered in his brain it took only seconds before he found himself back in the world of senses.

“It’s too late for you to be calling.” Ax greeted the caller. He was still parked outside of her house, he couldn’t bring himself to leave. There were so many things he wanted to do, so many things he wanted to say but he could do nothing. It was pathetic if one of his old friends or even inmates saw him like that there would have been hell to pay yet somehow there wasn’t a bone in his body bothered by that.

“Oh, I’m so sorry I didn’t remember you needed your beauty sleep.” Mick’s sarcasm never slept apparently.

“Piss off.”

Mick sighed. “What’s wrong, sunshine?”

Ax frowned at nothing in particular and then stole a glance at her window. No light. “She dumped me.”

There was an uncomfortable silence stretching between them. Only their breaths could be heard. Mick was frowning not understanding his best friend’s words. When had Ax acted that way before? Never. Mick was certain that he had never sounded as defeated as he had at that moment.

“So?” He inquired.

Ax’s free hand found its way on his hair. He tugged the black tresses painfully, welcoming the distraction it provided. “God.” He said and gave a tug. “I don’t fucking know.” Another tug.

“Do you have feelings for the girl, mate? Or is your ego just hurt?”

“Why has my motherfucking ego been present in every conversation I have had tonight?”

Mick made a sound that resembled a mixture of laughter and light snoring but kept his voice low for some mysterious reason. Needless to say, Ax was not impressed or even remotely amused, for that matter. “I honestly have no idea. You are such a joy to be around.” Mick couldn’t be held responsible for his response.

“And you are such a clown.” Was Ax’s pathetic comeback.

“No, but seriously, are you hurt because you wanted her and she rejected you? Because you’ll find lots of willing women at the club.” He reasoned, needing to hear his friend’s reaction. “Besides, you’re Alexander fucking Vidal, everyone wants to screw you, hell, I’d even do you. In a very straight angry red-blooded white male way, of course.” Ax gave in and laughed causing Mick to cheer in success, albeit almost silently.

“Of course.” Ax said finally. “You know the first time we met she called me an asshole.”

“So, you want her because she was being honest?” Mick was having the time of his life. He was laying on his black leather couch while a pretty brunette was sleeping on his king-sized bed. He looked at her and smiled but the smile turned bitter in a matter of seconds, realizing that there was no way possible he could keep her.

He would be letting the little mouse run away from its protective cage soon enough.

Even if he couldn’t have her forever he could, at least, have her for a few more days, a few weeks at best. The brown-eyed devil took the thought and used it to erase all the bad things that were coming, at least for a little while. Besides, one of them had to keep his spirit and since Ax had no spirit to begin with Mick’s would have to do.

There was a smile playing at the corners of Ax’s lips as brain gifted him with an idea. “Can you do me a favour, Mick?”

“Dude, I’m not going to fuck you, I was only joking. Jesus.” Mick replied sarcastically but sobered up quickly enough to listen to his best friend’s proposition. “Tell me.”

Ax’s hand was still on his hair yet the tugging had stopped. “Tomorrow, I have to go meet with Bruce and Chris and I was wondering if you could help me with something.” He told him hesitantly.

Mick was perplexed. Since when did Ax sound like such a goddamn pussy? “Spit it out.”

“I want you to watch Celia while I’m away.” He admitted finally, knowing exactly how that favour sounded. He was crossing a line there but he knew he could do nothing to stop. He needed to know she was safe, that was all.

“You want me to stalk your girl? Man, that’s fucked up, even for you.” His words may have sounded harsh but his tone was anything but.

“So, you’ll do it?” Ax stole another glance at her window surprised to see that the lace curtain had been moved.

“Abso-fucking-lutely. Can’t wait to meet the girl that has turned you into such a softie.”

“Fuck off asshole.” With that Ax turned off his phone before throwing it in the back seat of his car, deciding not to give in to the temptation to call his little spitfire. From the other side of the phone, there was Mick. Sweet, funny, sarcastic Mick. The hero that no one deserved but everyone needed.

Mick ran a hand through his short brown hair and continued staring at the girl they had rescued days ago. “I fucking hope this works.” He whispered to no one in particular and closed his honey brown eyes.

“So, where’s Mick?” Ax feigned ignorance while looking around the clubhouse. From first glance, nothing seemed life changingly different. In fact, everything was the same. Just as he remembered it. Worn black leather jackets decorated the beige walls as did other memoirs of the brothers who had died for the club.

Growing up, Ax wanted nothing more than to serve the club and if needed, die for it and for his brothers in arms. He was a misguided child, a teenager who had to deal with a lot of anger thinking his parents did not understand him when in reality he was just a brat that needed attention. His present self felt nothing but disgust for the man he had tried to become. He was ashamed of himself for not seeing clearly and not wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“Out.” Bruce replied vaguely. “Never even bothers to answer his fucking phone.”

Ax quirked an eyebrow at the older man’s direction. “Oh?” The leader of that pretentious patriarchy was not even able to track down his own son.

“Enough talking about him.” Bruce said in a much-controlled tone. “Now, how do you feel about being in here again? You like the changes?” As Ax continued to inspect the space he observed that the only addition to the decorations was a black Harley that had been hanged from a wall near the back exit of the club. Ax tried hard to keep a sneer from being heard.

He came to the conclusion that the Juda’s Sinners were hypocrites. They tried to seem fierce and all-powerful, Kings of the city by selling drugs to kids outside of the school gates and by closing deals with men like Salvador when the reality was standing on the other side of the truth from the very beginning. They were bullies, they knew no other way of prevailing but violence.

Ax slowly returned his gaze at Bruce. “Being here again feels different than how it used to feel five years ago. You know, back when there weren’t twenty-five of your goons pointing their guns at me.” He had been ignoring their presence for the moment he had stepped into his old sanctuary but they had been growing rather impatient, stealing glances at Bruce at times wanting to see if he would give them the sign to end his life.

“Truly, Old man, what have I done to deserve such a warm welcome back?” Ax inquired as he eyed the prospects and his nostrils flared. Some of them appeared to have no knowledge about the lethal weapons they carried. “Are you afraid, Ax?”

“I’m more afraid that they’ll hurt themselves. Tell them to lower them, this is giving me anxiety.” Truth be told, Ax felt threatened. He was aware of the fact that he had walked completely unarmed into the lion’s den while his enemies were prepared for every possibility but he wasn’t about to show it.

Bruce chuckled as he turned to face the prospects and the familiarity of the sound bothered Ax to the point where he wished one of the little fuckers could figure out how to pull the trigger. “Lower your guns, boys, our the prodigal son has returned.” Of course, the sheep obeyed blindly the Shepherd.

“Since when do you let children play with guns, anyway?” He added, letting a smirk settle on his angular face.

Bruce gave a shrug. “They’ve got to learn at some point.” He replied. “But let’s cut the crap Ax, are you here because you decided to return to the club?”

The smirk on Ax’s face grew as he was ready to reply but a sudden entrance stopped him before he could.

“Well, look what the cat brought in.” Chris commented as he walked into the main room of the clubhouse. He looked at him strangely, almost sizing him up.

Ax chose not to reply.

He stared at Chris and kept his expression blank. No matter how much he longed to remove his vocal cords with his bare hands and feed them to him, Ax knew he had to stay faithful to the plan. He had to play his part so that when the storm arrived nobody would suspect him for foul play. Until it was too late, at least. He needed to be careful, if they caught him he could lose his head and it went without saying that he needed his head.

Ax despised Chris.

Always had.

Where Mick was cunning and a very convincing motherfucker when he wanted to, Chris was a waste of air and space. He took after his father in that aspect and while he might not have been particularly dangerous to anyone, except maybe himself, he was a scum bag and Ax couldn’t wait till he could free the world from his presence.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Chris, it’s unbecoming.” Bruce rolled his eyes at his youngest son.

No need to stop the fun immediately. Let me play for a while, old man. Ax thought and gave a tight smile.

Bruce stepped closer to Ax, ignoring the presence of his son who had begun closing the distance between himself and his father. That simple action gave Ax a small sense of satisfaction and even though he couldn’t stand the prospects he had to keep himself from snickering quietly along with them. It was no secret that Bruce treated Ax more like a son than he did Chris but seeing him degrade his own flesh and blood in front of the potential club members was enough to drive anyone rogue. Who knew perhaps when Xavier had finally played his part everyone would believe that Chris had been the traitor all along.

Bruce was standing next to Ax. “You are one of us, son. You are a part of a family ready to defend, kill and even die for one another. Like it or not, son, I know you, I know you are rotten to the core. Just like me. You belong here.” What a heartfelt confession. Ax’s subconscious murmured sarcastically.

Too bad the roles had been reversed and everyone was playing his game.

He was the puppet master and they were the puppets.

Ax nodded and a defeated look took over his striking features. “I want to return to who I was. I’m back.” Bruce grinned like the Cheshire cat at the younger man’s response and slapped his shoulder in a fatherly manner of approval. How I long to cut that fucking hand off.

“Boys, let’s welcome Ax back. Chris, bring his jacket.” Bruce commanded. He seemed to thrive under the circumstances. So much in fact that it became unnerving. Ax took notice of Chris as he walked to the back room to retrieve his old jacket but nobody else seemed to give a damn about his whereabouts. It had been left there since the night he had been caught, the night Bruce threw him under a bus to save his own pathetic existence.

The rest of the occupants of the space welcomed back the black sheep with their loud, practically obnoxious laughter as if they weren’t pointing their guns at him just minutes ago. Fucking hypocritic sheep

Chris returned moments later holding the leather jacket in his hands. For a second, Ax felt longing as he remembered his old life, his old place in the world. But that moment left as soon as it had arrived. Chris’ steps were filled with angst as he made his way to the Prez and the Prodigal son. When he reached Ax he practically threw the material at his awaiting hands and moved away with a bitter ‘welcome back’. He gripped the jacket tight and raised it in the air like it was a prized jewel and not a symbol of his hellish background.

Bruce laughed at the mechanic’s expression. “Always knew that you’d come back, son.”

As the charade continued Ax realized that Mick’s words had managed to find their way into his brain and were able to fill him with doubt. Was he capable of finding his way out of the abyss? He would be using some quite unorthodox methods but didn’t the purpose justify the means? All he could do was hope.

Sometimes Mick’s idealistic character came in handy. Ax could lose himself in Mick’s plans to turn the M.C back to what it had been during its glory.

Back when Bruce was nothing more than a lanky, pathetic prospect who tried to do everything in his limited power to make the old Prez happy. When Lorenzo, his father, had told him about Bruce’s true nature on the day that he was waiting for his trial, he hadn’t been sure he had been hearing correctly. But Lorenzo had assured him that it was the truth. Bruce was nothing more than a power-hungry worm ruling until there came someone to crash him. In his sick mind, Bruce was the king of his little world but that wasn’t enough for him, he wanted to be the king of everybody else’s world too.

Neither Ax nor Mick was going to allow that.

They always had a problem with hypocrites and dictators.

Mick dreamt of the club being a call to arms for all the misguided youths, for all the kids who couldn’t find their peace and felt angry at the world. It seemed far-fetched but Ax had faith in Mick and his abilities and would never give up on him, just like Mick never gave up on him.

After the charade had finished and at least half the members were passed out on every surface of the clubhouse Ax drove to Celia’s house. He knew that he was being ridiculous and overbearingly protective of her but he couldn’t help himself. By leaving, she had taken away the only drug he wanted: her presence and he wasn’t about to let that go without a fight.

He watched her room for the second night in a row only this time he was rewarded. Celia’s curvy form appeared as she went to close the window and pull the lace curtains and Ax groaned as he took in her attire. From his viewpoint, he could tell that she was wrapped in one of his black shirts. Needless to say, his imagination ran wild. He thought about her soft skin which was hiding under the fabric, he thought about touching her, caressing her body and teasing her until she was a whimpering mess and completely at his mercy.

Ax was agitated. It may have been a relief to know exactly where she was and what she was doing but knowing that he couldn’t be near her for the time being was killing him. She should have been in his bed, wrapped around his body, exactly where she belonged.

The thought had been welcome but at the same time, it caused him great unease.

One thing was certain: Meeting Celia and not staying away from her had been a distraction he couldn’t afford but he couldn’t do anything to let her go.

She had to be his.

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