Band Member: Ashton
Type: Gang AU
Description: Your brother is the leader of the most feared “club” in your town, the Ravens. You’ve grown up around the violence and the distress, it’s second nature to you now. You no longer flinched when somebody raised their fists or felt sick when you saw the blood. But then this soft spoken boy enters your life and shows you another way to live, throwing you into calamity.
Your brother grunted again when you made the final stitch. He took a swig from the bottle of whiskey then shot you a dirty look like you wanted to hurt him. You ignored the look as you cut off the thread that was holding his palm together.
“Didn’t Mum tell you not to play with knives, Danny?” you joked while you pulled off your gloves.
“It’s not funny,” your brother said. He examined his palm miserably. “You’re getting better at it though.”
You bit your tongue before you could say you shouldn’t have to “get better at it”, you weren’t medically trained and you didn’t want to be. But this was your life. Your mother had taught you how to do stitches at thirteen while most girls your age were doing normal things like shopping and having sleepovers. Danny trusted you to help him now your parents weren’t around anymore to keep the club running smoothly.
It was no secret Danny had been the apple of your mother’s eye but you had never minded, it had kept you away from her scrutiny. However once she’d gone, you saw cracks in Danny’s new found power as club head. He was faltering without your parents so you had to help him shoulder the responsibility of the Ravens. You soon realised that this was what your mother meant by “look after him”. You knew how to survive without your parents but Danny didn’t. Danny knew only one way of life and that was one where your father protected him while your mother held your brother’s hand.
“I might have cracked it by the time Daniel takes over the club,” you replied sarcastically.
Danny ruffled your hair and shook his head. “My son will be fixed up by better nurses than you, kid.”
As if on cue, Danny’s wife walked in with the sleeping toddler on her hip.
“How’s the hand, sweetie?” Opal asked.
He held it up for her inspection. “My little sister is great at cross stitch.”
“I’ve won prizes all over the country for it,” you jested. “My favourite one is in this real nice pink colour.”
Opal nodded intensely, she was a nice girl but there wasn’t much going on upstairs. You and Danny would often tell wild stories just to see how long it took her to realise it was all an elaborate lie.
“What was it of?” she asked.
Opal always tried to show interest in the things you did. She’d grown up in a different motorcycle club so she knew how lonely it was for the girls before they became “popular” with the guys.
“It was a lovely quote Mum used to say when she was alive,” you said frankly. “It still brings a tear to my eye just remembering it. It was ‘Fuck you, Danny’.”
Danny lightly pushed your arm with his uninjured hand while Opal was still deciding if you were being serious. He shrugged his leather jacket back on and awkwardly held his stitched hand.
“What have you done with Sophia?” your brother questioned his wife.
Sophia was the latest edition to your brother’s growing family, she was only two weeks old and the guys loved her almost as much as they loved you. Almost. A newborn couldn’t provide them with a bottle of hard liquor and the medical attention they needed but the fact Sophia couldn’t sass them put your niece in the front running for favourite club female.
Opal gestured to the front of the clubhouse. “Bam has her, he’s good with kids.”
Danny laughed at probably the same memory you were recalling. Bam was great with kids because when he got drunk, he’d sing karaoke. At your ninth birthday party, he had treated all the kids in your class to a confused version of Sex Bomb. He’d fallen off the stage at the end and had to be carried away by your father and the other guys.
Opal caught the look Danny was giving her and excused herself from the office.
“Hey, sis, can you do me a favour?”
You nodded as you packed the bulky first aid kit away. You were used to the favours he’d ask for, occasionally you would say no but now he had two children under the age of two, you felt you needed to keep him away from the increasingly stupid shit the club got itself into. You knew what it was like to have your dad constantly missing from your childhood and you didn’t want your brother’s kids to experience that too.
“Can you go with Walnut, Al and Sonny to tie a job up?” Danny asked. “It’s not dangerous or I wouldn’t ask you to but the health woman is coming to see Soph and I know she already thinks I’m deadbeat because of the club–”
“Danny,” you said to cut him off. “You don’t need to explain anything to me, okay? I can handle this.”
He nodded before hesitating. “Dad would kill me for letting you do this, you know? You’re my little sister. I’m supposed to be protecting you.”
“Times have changed since Dad’s era, Danny. You can’t protect me from the world forever.”
You rested your leg and back against the wall. You heard the occasional scream from the depths of the valley but you tried to block it out. What was one scream compared to the dozens you’d already heard? You hated playing lookout but Al was like the overbearing uncle who insisted you were too valuable to get injured. He was your dad’s best friend so he now felt responsible for you. Al made you promise every time you were on a job with them that you’d run at the first sign of danger.
You hummed to yourself as you watched a guy hauling a drum kit into the back of a van further down the street. He couldn’t have heard anything so far or he’d have reacted, surely? The more you watched him, the more he looked familiar but you shook your head. You were in the wrong side of your patch to recognise anybody. You looked back up the street but a sharp cry caught your attention. He swore loudly a few times before you saw the blood dripping down his arm. He looked around for something to stop the flow but came up with nothing. You sighed, the makeshift nurse in you screamed for you to help. You pulled one of the spare bandages from your pocket as you checked to make sure you weren’t about to walk into a trap and get the guys caught up in a shootout.
“Hey,” you called over to him as you began to cross the road. “Let me help.”
The boy looked up at you wearily but he nodded anyway. He held out his forearm where he’d scratched it on a snare drum. You dabbed up what blood you could with an antiseptic wipe then wrapped the clean cotton bandage around his arm. He watched you silently while you worked.
“Do you usually keep a first aid kit in your pocket?”
You looked up as you secured the dressing. “I do because I see people like you don’t carry them.”
He frowned for a minute then realised you were being sarcastic.
“I haven’t seen you for years,” he said with a smile.
Your forehead creased and you finally decided it was Ashton Irwin, the boy who had made friends with you at school when all the other kids avoided you because of your gang background. He had moved away eventually and you had missed him terribly. He had been your only real childhood friend who wasn’t a Raven kid. He’d tried to show you that life wasn’t full of bad people like you had been led to believe when you saw your brother coming back with stab wounds or when your father was hospitalised with another bullet.
“You haven’t change a bit,” you commented as you ruffled his slightly curled hair. “How have you been?”
“Good, I joined a band. We’re getting pretty big,” he said with a nod. “How’re things on your side?”
“The dark side?” you joked which made him laugh. You nodded weakly. “My dad was killed in a bar fight after attacking some rival gang then that gang put a hit out on Mum. It’s been a fun few years.”
Ashton rested a hand on your upper arm with an expression of concern. “I’m really sorry to hear that.”
“A band, you say?” you said to change topic. “You always had your heart set hitting things. I’m glad you picked the drums.”
“And you picked people,” he teased. “I don’t think Lucy McCormack will ever regain feeling in her cheek.”
You rolled your eyes at the reminder of your twelve year old self’s actions.
“She was bullying you,” you argued as you tried not to laugh. “I shouldn’t have hit her but she never came near you again.”
“I moved away!” Ashton reminded you. He smirked and shook his head. “But you were the greatest best friend I ever had as a kid.”
You smiled at him then turned back to the alley when you heard the telling shot of a gun. Ashton’s mouth fell open as he began to run over to the source. You grabbed his hand and shook your head fiercely. You heard another shot and ducked out of habit.
“That’s a bad idea,” you hissed as you pulled him towards your motorbike. You threw your helmet at him and grabbed Al’s, he wouldn’t mind. He hardly wore it anyway. “Get on.”
“We can’t leave whoever that was,” he disputed.
“We can,” you stated as you started up your bike. “Either you get on the damn bike or I leave you here to get shot too.”
He bit his lip before he broke into a run in the direction of the alley, you swore at him loudly as you grabbed his wrist to stop him going any further.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing, Ashton?” you whispered as you ducked behind your bike for the little cover it offered.
He gestured to the alley like you hadn’t noticed what was happening.
“Somebody might be hurt!”
“You go down there, you’ll be a walking target for both sides,” you murmured. “Let me go, at least I have half the risk.”
“I’m not letting you walk into something like that by yourself,” he argued back. “Let me come with you at least.”
“Stay here,” you demanded as you forced him to sit on your bike. “If you don’t, I’ll shoot you myself.”
Ashton held his hands up and gestured for you to go. You saw the discontent with the situation on his face, it took you a while to realise why. You were so used to this now, you didn’t even bat an eyelid at the thought you could be killed these days.
You pulled out the gun from the waistband of your jeans and took off the safety before walking down the empty alley. You ducked into the doorways as you travelled towards the bottom of the alley. You caught sight of the body and felt a twisted sense of relief when it was the guy Walnut, Al and Sonny were after rather than one of them.
Al caught sight of you and shook his head. “I told you to leave if there was trouble.”
“Two gun shots aren’t classed as trouble anymore, Al. Maybe like five and it’s getting closer.”
He rolled his eyes and pointed to Walnut who was cradling his thigh.
“Nurse, you’re needed,” Al said plainly.
You sighed as you put the safety back on your gun and shoved it back into your jeans. You pulled out the wads of bandages you had stashed into your pockets earlier and knelt by Walnut. You started with a couple of bandages pressed against the wound and applied pressure to it to stem the bleeding. It wasn’t long until you felt the warmth but it no longer bothered you anymore, you were used to the sensation and it just another warning sign to what you needed to do next.
“Call an ambulance,” you said calmly. “I can’t treat it here and he sure as hell can’t ride a bike back to the clubhouse.”
“We have a fucking body,” Sonny pointed out. “We can’t call the damn paramedics when we have a fucking body.”
Al sighed and ran a hand over his thinning hair. “Sonny, dump the body back in the bastard’s meth lab and burn it after we’ve gone.”
“Just fucking do it,” Al shouted as he crouched next to Walnut who was groaning at the pain. “What happened to the ‘ask no questions’ attitude you used to have?”
Sonny grumbled as he began to drag the body back into the abandoned building on the right side of the alley. He slammed the door behind him angrily.
“He’s not my biggest fan,” you said with a small laugh as you managed to wrestle some gloves on while maintaining the pressure on his leg. “I upset him a couple of days ago when I shipped him off to the doctor’s office and the doc shoved a finger up his ass.”
“I don’t need to hear anymore,” Walnut said with heaving breaths.
You added a couple more clean bandages and sighed. “Neither did I but Sonny gave me the full report. Now, Al can you get the ambulance? I’ve spent enough of my day covered in blood.”
You lifted up Walnut’s leg much to his protest. Al wandered down the alley as he spoke to the controller about how Walnut was simply shot by a mugger in a completely random attack.
“You need to have it elevated,” you explained as you rested his boot against your shoulder. “Less blood loss means less chance you’ll kick the bucket.”
“You could do a better job than those paramedics,” Walnut sighed with a wince. “They aren’t as pretty as you, sweetheart. Some of them are as ugly as hell.”
You laughed softly as you drummed against his leg with your fingers. “Walnut, I don’t tell you enough that you’re my favourite.”
“That’s good to hear,” he said as he smiled. “But if you’re being nice, does that mean I’m dying?”
You shook your head with a small eye roll. “Over my dead body, Walnut, I haven’t lost any of my guys yet. I’m beginning to think Ma was the one who was cursed.”
Walnut let out a throaty chuckle as Al walked back over to you and nodded his head to something behind you. You dismissed it until he opened his mouth.
“We don’t need help, son,” he said in a low voice. “We have everything under control.”
You turned your head to find Ashton stood mesmerised by your work. He smiled at you like he’d seen you in a whole new light. You sighed at the sight of him but a part of you was impressed he hadn’t turned pale at the sight of the blood.
“I told you to stay by the bike,” you complained.
Al frowned at you and pointed at you with an accusatory finger. “He’s with you?”
“I think ‘with’ is a little strong, maybe I’d say I found him if you pushed me for an answer,” you rambled as you shifted Walnut’s boot on your shoulder slightly.
“We’ve talked about this,” Al growled. “No boys outside the club.”
“This isn’t what you’re thinking, Al,” you said defensively. “I just helped him. That’s all.”
Walnut raised an eyebrow. “So it’s like that? You scratch his back, he scratches yours? What do they call that these days? Benefit friends?”
You felt a blush threatening to grace your cheeks so you turned your back on Ashton again and focused on checking the wound.
“Shut up,” you mumbled which made Walnut laugh.
“You can deal with him then, kiddo. I’ll go with Walnut to the hospital.” He looked over at Ashton curiously. “Can you ride a motorbike?”
He nodded slightly. “I can, not legally but sort of.”
“I don’t care about legal,” Al said gruffly. “Take Walnut’s bike back to the club for me then if you’re sticking around.”
“No,” you said quickly. “Ash, you can leave if you want. I don’t want to force you into anything.”
You looked over your shoulder to see his reaction. He shook his head which you feared he would. You were used to people walking in and out of your life: Guys from the club who warned you against the outsiders, the women who would pat your cheeks and say that they were your mother’s friends, even your own family waltzed in and out when the mood took them. You never knew who was going to leave next so it was easier to keep everybody at a safe distance. You learnt at a young age that it was less painful when they eventually left if you didn’t get too attached. Sure, you were lonely but it was better than feeling the ache of missing somebody.
“It’s just a bike,” he said with a shrug.
You sighed as you heard the slam of some doors and watched the paramedics approaching. You handed over to them giving them the basics of Walnut’s condition, age and the other stuff you’d picked up from when the ambulance was called.
“Impressive,” Ashton muttered to you when you walked back to the bikes. “Where did you learn all of that?”
You shrugged and glanced at him, you saw the amazement again and felt the same confusion. Why was he so astonished by what you did? Nobody else was, it was just expected. Some of the guys seemed to think your life purpose was the patch them up when they did stupid shit like have a practice fight with daggers.
“My mum started to teach me when you moved away,” you explained as you ditched the bloody gloves. “She said now I was spending less time with that happy kid, I could resume my miserable outlook and learn something useful.”
Ashton laughed and it was like meeting an old friend. You had missed that laugh more than you wanted to admit. You got your helmet on and started up your bike with a roar. He followed suit, pulled on the helmet and sat on Walnut’s motorbike. He stroked the body work and nodded approvingly.
“Let me guess,” he began, “if I crash this bike, I can kiss goodbye to my life.”
You nodded with a smirk. “And the afterlife. Walnut will drag you back from the dead just to kill you again to get the satisfaction for the second time.”
Ashton sighed as he started up the bike. He revved the engine to get a feel for it.
“I better follow you. It’s been a couple of years,” he shouted.
You pulled your visor down and finally smiled because he couldn’t see. He hadn’t freaked out and ran at the first opportunity like you expected.
You pulled into the street. You took the easiest route back to the clubhouse but Ashton managed to keep up the entire way. You pulled up outside the clubhouse and pulled your helmet off. He swung in beside you, smiling when he took Walnut’s helmet off.
“You were going easy on me.”
You shrugged and led him into the clubhouse. Danny was waiting by the door impatiently. He saw you and pulled you into a hug.
“I heard somebody had been shot, I thought it was you,” he mumbled into your hair.
You shook your head. “Walnut did, he’ll be fine.”
Danny pulled away and studied Ashton for a minute. To Ashton’s credit, he stood there and didn’t speak. He simply looked around, taking in the sights of the clubhouse. The bar, the snooker table, the dartboard, the hardly clothed women.
Danny leaned back in and whispered to you.
“He’s an outsider, sis. You can’t have him.”