John Shelby x ReaderComfort
“Where’s John?” Y/N continued counting and writing down wagers into her book along with Scudboat. Polly was pinning her hat to her head as she answered Tommy.
“John’s in the Garrison,” Tommy sighed. “Says he wants a meeting about a family matter. After he’s said his piece, he’ll come back and take his place with Y/N and Scudboat. Scudboat?” Polly placed her purse on her arm. “John will be back in ten minutes.”
“Alright,” Scudboat didn’t even look up from his counting as he replied.
“Five,” Tommy corrected, pointing to Y/N because she was paying attention, and followed Polly out the door. As they left, Scudboat finished the wager he was recording and locked up the betting house. Y/N lit a cigarette and continued recording.
She didn’t mind the job. It was a hell of a lot better than most of the work she’d be able to find around Small Heath, and it didn’t hurt that she had been rather close with John. He didn’t like that she was in the business, but he’d rather have her close, and if this was the lesser of two evils, then so be it. They weren’t dating, per say, but there was attraction from both parties and they had definitely slept with each other on more than a few occasions.
Since the passing of Martha, John had been at his wits end where the kids were involved. He had four of them for Christ’s sake, and he didn’t know if Y/N would want to get involved with that, much less the other baggage that seemed to attach itself to him. Regardless, he looked after her as best as he could.
Scudboat wasn’t much of a talker, which is why Y/N liked working with him in the afternoons. He focused on work, and occasionally had something to say, but it was usually John that wouldn’t shut his gob when he was there. When it was just the two, it was quite peaceful. Which was why a creek in the floor near the door to Polly’s flat stopped Y/N mid count.
“You hear that?” She asked Scudboat, placing her cigarette in the ashtray on her desk. His dark brows furrowed as the floor creaked again.
“John?” He called out looking in the direction of the noise, then back at Y/N. When he didn’t get an answer, he discretely gave a tilt of his head for her to go to one of the offices and lock the door. She nodded and quietly ran to the first door on the left, which was Arthur’s office. She locked the door and hid under his desk just as the sound of a door slamming open echoed through the betting house. What sounded like a dozen pairs of boots stomped through, yelling at Scudboat to put his weapon down. Y/N squeezed her hand over her mouth to stop the sounds of terror from escaping her.
“This is for Cheltenham. We’re just taking back what’s ours,” Y/N could hear the sound of something hitting skin and she could only imagine what they were doing to Scudboat. “There’s more money here. Search everywhere!” The same man shouted to his men. Y/N could hear the sounds of shattering as the men trashed the room, stealing every bit of money they could. Glass shattered, wood splintered. The fear Y/N felt was something she had never experienced before. It flowed through her veins like ice, threatening to stop her heart.
“Red lipstick? Looks like we got a mouse hiding somewhere, lads,” The men laughed and scattered, breaking down doors to closets and offices. When someone kicked the door to Arthur’s office in, Y/N couldn’t help the scream that slipped from her mouth.
“Gotcha!” Two hairy arms snaked under the desk, grabbing Y/N by her hair, dragging her out of the office and to the main betting room. She screamed and tried to pry his fingers out of her hair. She felt two of her nails painfully break as she clawed at his hands and arms. He threw her forward and she fell to her knees.
“Well look-y here,” The man that spoke when they first broke in was in front of her, holding a lit cigarette. He held her chin to tilt her face up at him and held the cigarette next to her face. She immediately recognized the red lipstick that stained the stick. “Looks like we’ve got a match,” His foul breath made Y/N’s eyes water. “Rough ‘er up. Tie her up.” Y/N finally noticed Scudboat passed out, blood leaking from a cut on the side of his forehead.
“No! No!” Y/N screamed hysterically as she kicked and hit the few men that started knocking her around. She got a few good hits in, kicking one bloke between the legs, which ended up with her getting a massive swing to her face. Her knees wobbled and if the man behind her wasn’t holding her up, she would’ve fallen to the floor. She could feel blood running down her throat and down her face.
“You stupid fucking cunt!” The man had recovered from her kick and gave a swift punch to her stomach. She hunched over, the air completely knocked out of her. He ripped her head up by her hair, grinning lecherously. “You fucking Blinders don’t learn do ya?” Y/N spit blood up at him, catching him in the eye.
“Help!” Y/N screamed as hard as she could, feeling like her vocal cords would snap at any moment. As she tried to scream once more, something was shoved in her mouth and secured in by cloth wrapped around her head. It took another hit to her head to get her to comply with the men tying her arms behind her. Her face was already turning various shades of blues and blood still flowed from her nose.
The fight left Y/N and all she could think about was the pain as she drifted in and out of consciousness. She could feel herself being lifted and thrown over someone’s shoulder. Her pounding head bobbed limply with each step until she completely passed out.
As she came to, Y/N blinked her eyes to clear her vision. The first thing she noticed, was that she was in the passenger of a car. And next to her Finn played with the wheel. Y/N groaned and Finn looked over with a smile on his cherub like face.
“Look Y/N, I’m Tommy!” He pretended to turn the wheel just as Tommy rounded the corner, panic clear across his face. Y/N tried to reach for the boy but her arms were tied behind her back. Her words came out as more like groans due to the gag.
“Finn, Y/N don’t move!” Tommy called out just as John and Arthur rounded the corner.
“I was pretending to be you!” Finn giggled.
“Which door did you open to come in, Finn?”
“I didn’t. I climbed in,”
“Y/N?” Y/N tried to speak, but the muffled pleas for help were all Tommy could make out. She tried to keep calm, but the look on the men’s faces did nothing to help her. Tommy took a few steps closer.
“Finn, I want you to climb out exactly how you climbed in, okay?” Finn climbed over Y/N and before she could do anything to stop him, he threw the door open. Tommy grabbed the lit stick of dynamite from near Y/N’s feet, chucking it out of the area. He grabbed Finn and ran him away from the car. Y/N sat frozen, eyes staring forward out of the windshield and watched the explosion just outside the car.
“Y/N,” John approached the open door tentatively. Y/N blinked and turned her head to look at him. He almost gasped at the blood and bruising on her face. “Love, I need you to get out of the car. Can you do that for me?” John held out his arms to grab her. John slowly inched her out, and the second she was free, he carried her away from the car much like Tommy had with Finn. When they were a good distance away, he set down her shaking, crying form. He made quick work of untying her, and as soon as her hands were free and the gag pulled out of her mouth, she wrapped her arms around John, holding him to her. She wailed into his chest as he held her.
“They broke in, John! They took everything! Is Scudboat okay? Please tell me he’s okay, John! He tried to protect me, but there were too many of them-“
“Hey, hey, you’re okay. He’s okay. You need to calm down, love. Please,” John’s large hands held her face. Tears streaked down her cheeks, blood crusted around her nose and mouth. Bruises lined the right side of her face. Most of the hair had fallen out of her bun from it being pulled. She looked a right mess. Y/N took a deep breath and looked into John’s blue eyes. She could see the fear that clouded them. Her lips trembled uncontrollably. “I’ve got ya,” He brought her head back to his chest and just held her. Her tears soaked through his vest and shirt, filling him with so much anger. How could someone do this to an innocent woman? Y/N didn’t deserve this. His lips pressed firm to the top of her head, affectionately.
John sat on the closed toilet. His vest had been removed, his suspenders hung limply at his hips, and the first three buttons of his white shirt were undone and untucked from his trousers. He leaned forward with his elbows on his thighs, hands smoothing his hair back. Y/N sat in the bath, head barely above water. John could see the bruises through the soapy water, making him bite his lip in frustration.
“You just going to sit out there or are you going to join me?” Her voice rasped from the tub. He looked to her, his lips in a natural pout. His brow furrowed. He sighed, standing, before undressing completely. Y/N sat up, giving him space to enter behind her. As he situated himself, she sat between his legs and leaned back against his stomach and chest. His arms wrapped around her shoulders, her hands came up to rest on his arms. Neither of them said anything for a while, just basked in each other’s presence.
“I thought you were dead,” John finally spoke up. Y/N tilted her head to look up at him. “When we only found Scudboat, I thought the worst had happened to you.” His voice was starting to choke up. “I can’t go through it again. After losing Martha, it tore me apart. I’ve just started picking up the pieces again, and then this?” He shook his head. “I care about you, more than I’ve cared about anyone in a long time. I need you to know that.” Y/N could tell there was something underlying his words that he wouldn’t just spit out.
“I care about you too, John.”