merry_gentry: From 'Justified' (Raylan/Boyd)
[personal profile] merry_gentry
Title: Détente 1/1
Author: [personal profile] merry_gentry
Fandom: TV - Justified
Pairing: Raylan/Boyd (very slight mentions of Raylan/Ava and Raylan/Winona)
Rating: 12/Pg-13
Word Count: 4,202 - according to Word. Nothing like jumping in the deep end, is there?
Disclaimer: Not mine...damnit!
Author's Notes: Okay, so. I'm not from Kentucky. I am, in fact, from Kent, England. This'll be outstandingly obvious once you start reading. However, I have tried my best with the speech - so please forgive any mistakes or point 'em out nicely. Pretty please?

Set post-Bulletville. Comments and con.crit welcomed. Cross-posted to my LJ and HarlanCounty and JustifiedSlash on LJ

Summary: Détente - the easing of tensions or strained relations (especially between nations), as by agreement, negotiation, or tacit understandings.




It’s three days after Boyd disappears to chase after the girl who shot his daddy ‘til Raylan sees him again. When he does it’s at the end of a very long day involving yet another dressing down from Art and Boyd’s sitting on the porch of Raylan’s motel room with his back to the door and his eyes closed like he hasn’t got a care in the world.

Boyd’s got one leg stretched out in front of him and the other pulled up so that he can rest his arm on his knee. He doesn’t look as bad as he did three days ago but, Raylan reasons, if Boyd still looked as bad – as beaten and as bruised – as he had three days ago then Boyd would’ve been dead long before he reached Raylan’s motel. The bruises on Boyd’s face have already faded a little to a sickening yellow-green but that mark on his right eyebrow still looks like it’s going to start bleeding again any time soon.

Raylan stops at the bottom of the steps up to his porch and looks for the gun – seems like nowadays there’s always a gun when it’s Boyd but if Boyd is carrying then Raylan can’t spot it. Can’t even spot any of the usual tell-tale signs that someone’s trying to sit with some sort of handgun stuffed down the back of their pants.

“Boyd,” Raylan says, deliberately drawling out the other man’s name to see what reaction he’ll get. Annoyance, maybe, or that infuriatingly blank look Boyd gets sometimes. Maybe even grief, although the chances of that are slim bordering on none, and so what Raylan doesn’t expect is the little smile that twists the corner of Boyd’s mouth when the other man looks up at him.

“Raylan,” Boyd greets him. “Well, now. This is a surprise.”

Raylan makes a show of looking up at his motel room door and then shrugging.

“Not so much, seein’ as how you’re sitting right up against my door, but I guess you could call it that, if’n you wanted,” he says – then hesitates before he adds, “you get her?”

He shouldn’t be asking, should be biting his tongue unless he wants to take Boyd down the station right this very second, because Raylan already knows the answer – knows Boyd wouldn’t have just let that woman ride off back to Florida after she cheated him out of killing his daddy.

Boyd stares at him. He looks tired, like he’s been driving hard and hasn’t slept properly, or even at all, in the last couple of days. Funny, that – Raylan’s got a feeling that’s not far from the truth.

“It’s strange,” Boyd tilts his head back against the wooden door behind him and he stares up at the cover of the porch while Raylan stands in the dry dirt with one hand on his gun and watches and waits. “I thought it’d make me feel…better, I guess. Bring me that heavenly feelin’ of salvation. An eye for an eye.”

“Killin’ the girl that shot your daddy?”

“Mmm-hmm.”

“Guessin’ it didn’t?”

“Not even the littlest bit, Raylan. Not so’s you’d notice, anyway.”

Raylan sighs and reaches up to settle his hat a little more firmly on his head. It gives him time to think and he needs it ‘cause by all rights he should be calling this in. After all, they’ve got enough – more or less – on Boyd Crowder to go ahead with a case. Maybe even enough to put him back in prison. Raylan should be doing his civic, lawful duty and be pulling his phone out of his pocket right about now or dragging Boyd to his car in handcuffs.

Instead, Raylan moves forward and up the steps before he’s even done thinking about it. He offers Boyd a hand up and his eyes narrow at the way Boyd’s left arm hugs at his ribs when Raylan hauls him to his feet like he’s got at least one bone busted in there. He probably has – Johnny always was good in a fight, even when they were all just kids and even when he was pulling those punches of his…and Raylan knows that Boyd didn’t put up enough of a defence to block a three-year-old. Couldn’t have done, because Boyd’s knuckles aren’t all bruised up and Johnny’s face hardly had a mark on it when they found him outside of Ava’s house. Breathing, but barely, and unbruised. So, no. Raylan knows Boyd didn’t hit back and he can take a guess as to how much Boyd defended himself in front of his daddy and Bo’s men and Boyd’s ‘flock’.

Boyd fuckin’ Crowder. Always making things complicated – making Raylan’s life and mind all complicated and it would be so much easier if Raylan could just hate the man.

“Jesus, Boyd,” Raylan mutters under his breath because Boyd’s no lightweight and Raylan ends up having to half-carry Boyd into the motel room when Boyd’s legs threaten to give out and pitch the other man to the ground again.

Three days ago there were two of Bo’s tattooed heavies lying dead on the floor and Arlo nursing a bullet wound and a bottle in the bathroom. Now the room’s been set back to rights – even the blood on the bed and the floor’s gone like it was never there to begin with – and Raylan’s got a Boyd to look after and, somehow, put back together. A Boyd that’s a little less lost than he was the last time he was here, but he’s still all beat to hell from what the two of them did to try to correct their daddies’ mistakes.

Raylan gets Boyd to sit on the bottom edge of the bed and he goes to wash his hands and gather the things he needs together. He comes back with a bowl of warm water, a bottle of disinfectant and some rough towelling – it’ll hurt but it needs to be done. Raylan isn’t holding out a lot of hope that Boyd managed to clean out that through-and-through properly by his own self. Boyd’s already trying to slide his black jacket off slowly, wincing and biting at his lower lip a little as the blood-stiffened cloth gets pulled away from his skin.

Raylan puts the bowl on the ground and helps get the jacket and then Boyd’s top and T-shirt off. The hole in the flesh by Boyd’s left shoulder is still tacky with new blood but the bullet seems to have gone straight through – Boyd’s got the exit wound on his back to prove that. It doesn’t have that particular scent of putrid rot, that sure sign of some material lodged inside, so Raylan’s going to go ahead and reckon on Boyd surviving if he’s managed to live this long. Even so…

“You should be in a hospital,” Raylan says quietly as he kneels at Boyd’s feet and wets the first towel with a little water and disinfectant. Boyd laughs and then hisses like laughing hurts his ribs – and then hisses a little bit more when Raylan starts to try to scrub the wound clean.

“You know well as I do, Raylan, that any hospital ‘round here’d have called the police on me if I’da come in with a gunshot wound. And enactin’ my revenge’d be a little difficult to achieve from inside a jail cell.”

“And after?” Raylan asks, keeping his eyes on his hands and the messy, bloody skin under them. “Rushin’ back here was so important that y’couldn’t even find a vet t’see to your many injuries?”

There’s silence for a beat – long enough for Raylan to start worrying and look up and when he does Boyd flutters his eyelashes and smirks.

“Well, now, Raylan,” Boyd drawls, wicked smirk still in place, “I reckon I was just so impatient t’see you again, is all.”

Raylan’s mouth quirks a little against his will into a smile. “That a fact?”

“Mmm-hmm,” Boyd hums in return. He’s starting to succumb to his exhaustion and Raylan hurries up, scrubbing out the back and dressing both sides before Boyd can fall asleep on him. He wraps Boyd’s ribs as tight as he can and hopes that’ll hold them at least until morning and it’s not until Boyd’s lying under the covers in the bed that Raylan realises he never even considered turning Boyd away. Not seriously anyway.

“There anythin’ I need to be worrying about?” Raylan asks and Boyd forces his eyes open to blink blearily up at him.

Anything I need to worry about meaning – did anyone see you? Identify you? Did you string her up like you told me your daddy did to your flock and did you lead anyone back here that might be gunning for you?

Meaning, do I need to clean anything up before I stop being the only friend you have left in the world and go back to being Deputy Marshal Givens again?

Boyd blinks a slow one-two and reaches his hand out, getting hold of one of Raylan’s own where he’s still straightening out the covers. It’s eerily like that one time Raylan checked on Boyd while he was still in the prison hospital. Boyd’s long fingers stroke over the back of Raylan’s hand twice before he pulls away and Raylan feels some of that peculiar knot in his gut unwind.

“Nothin’ for you t’concern yourself about, Raylan,” Boyd says, and now his voice is really getting slow and slurred with tiredness. Probably pain as well. Raylan makes a note to get Boyd to choke down a couple of painkillers in the morning. “Now, y’ gonna give me a g’night kiss so that I may sleep the sleep of the just and righteous or not?”

Raylan rolls his eyes and finishes settling the covers before he stands from his crouch beside the bed. On impulse, he brushes a quick, fleeting kiss to Boyd’s forehead and gets a huff of genuine laughter from Boyd in return.

“Boyd,” Raylan says as deadpan and serious as he can like he’s about to impart the wisdom of the ages. Boyd forces his eyes open a little bit more and waits, looking curious. “Y’couldn’t sleep the sleep of the righteous even if your life depended on it.”

That gets him a grin from Boyd but the other man’s already halfway to sleep. In Raylan’s bed, no less, and Raylan has slept on the floor before – and he knows just how comfortable it isn’t. Same goes for every last one of the chairs in his shitty little motel room.

Still, it’s not like they haven’t shared a bed before. When they were younger and stupider, admittedly, running around like they were invincible and no one could touch them…and with at least one of them fancying himself to be in something like love. (Maybe even both of them – Raylan can’t speak for Boyd but the other man sometimes had this look in his eye…) Before the Marshal service, before Boyd joined the Army, before prison and Florida and shootings and blowing up churches and meth trucks and before Ava had even graduated high school. Back when they were young and foolhardy and digging coal together.

So Raylan strips down to his boxers and crawls in on the other side of the bed. It’s early, yet. Barely half-ten but it’s been a long week and Raylan’s tired enough to just not give a damn…and the bed’s big enough for both of them to share with room to spare in between.

***


They started out on different sides of the bed last night – Raylan’s pretty damn certain about that. Still, sometime in the night, they both must have gravitated to the middle. Now Raylan’s got one arm around Boyd and Boyd’s head is pillowed on Raylan’s shoulder. It isn’t, Raylan thinks, an altogether unpleasant thing to wake up to and isn’t that something he’s going to have to think long and hard about?

“I’ve got y’gun,” Boyd says quietly. “That one you lent me when we went to go get Ava back from my daddy?”

“I’m gonna need t’get that back,” Raylan says. Neither of them have moved yet – they’re still pressed up full-length against one another but it’s warm and both of them are still somewhat tired.

“I figured. It’s in my jacket pocket. Ain’t loaded.”

“Good.”

“I forgot t’ask about Ava last night. She okay?” Boyd asks, lifting up just enough that they’re looking eye to eye.

“She’s fine. A little…y’know. Bein’ abducted repeatedly takes it out of a person, apparently,” Raylan tells him. In actuality, Ava’s precise words were ‘I need t’not see you for awhile, Raylan’, but it was probably the trauma talking. “And y’cousin Johnny’s still alive, by the way. Don’t know rightly how, but he survived. He told us Bo shot him, like Ava said.”

“He probably did, then,” Boyd mutters, lying back down. “Nephews don’t mean the same as sons, apparently, an’ sons didn’t mean all that much. He was the sane one, y’know? Me and Bowman and our daddy, well. We ain’t exactly paragons of clear thinkin’ sometimes. Johnny been charged with anything yet?”

“Well, Ava ain’t pressin’ charges,” Raylan says slowly. Without him telling it to, his thumb’s tracing absentminded patterns on Boyd’s scarred and tattooed skin. “All we got is Johnny shot on Crowder land by someone who’s since died. Ain’t hardly enough to convict someone with. ‘Less you wanna press charges for what he did t’your face’n ribs?”

“I earned my pain,” Boyd tells him. “It was a test and I failed but I still earned it. So, no, I don’t think that pressin’ charges would be somethin’ I’d plan on doin’. Not ‘gainst Johnny.” He fall silent for a moment, then shifts just a little like he’s testing something. “Raylan? Can I ask you a question?”

“Mmm?”

“Y’plannin’ on lettin’ me go anytime soon?”

Raylan prays that it’s still too dark in the motel room for Boyd to see his blush – although the other man’s not even looking at him anymore – but then Boyd can probably feel the heat of it. Raylan hopes not. Sometimes it feels like Boyd knows entirely too much about him.

“Gotta get up f’work some time,” he says at last, because it feels more mature than saying Boyd started it when he doesn’t know that for a fact and because Raylan doesn’t want to admit that, no, actually, he’d rather not let go if given the choice. After all, there’s no telling where Boyd would run off to and what kind of havoc he’d create if Raylan takes his eyes off of him.

Boyd watches him the entire time that Raylan’s getting ready with the exception of the shower he takes with the bathroom door shut. In the dim light of the room, Boyd’s eyes glitter bright and dangerous and tempting from where he’s propped up in the bed.

Raylan pauses by the door after he’s settled his hat on his head. “You plannin’ on stickin’ ‘round?” he asks. He refuses to admit even to himself that maybe he’s hoping there’ll be a yes in answer to that.

Boyd stretches out in Raylan’s bed like a big, satisfied cat and even in the gloom Raylan can see him wince as the motion pulls at his rib cage and the dressings on his shoulder. “Now, Raylan,” he says, laughter colouring his voice, “y’didn’t think you were gonna get rid of me that easily, didja?”

Raylan rolls his eyes at that and tips Boyd a sarcastic salute before he slips out of the door so he can get to work. And if his grin shows once the door’s shut firmly behind him, the corners of his mouth turning up without his say-so…well. There’s no one out and around this early to see, is there?

***


Raylan hasn’t been able to wipe that smile completely off his face all day. Even Art noticed. He’d pulled Raylan to one side for a moment and flat out asked him if he’d been taking anything. Raylan had just grinned at his boss and wandered back over to Tim and Rachel. He’s got a feeling that just simply grinning worries Art more than any words ever could – and it’s just plain fun to wind the man up sometimes.

Still, he does expect Boyd to be long gone by the time he gets back to the motel that night. Even considering Boyd’s parting words that morning, Raylan still expects to be dining alone…

…Which doesn’t quite explain why he’d picked up a double order of fried chicken and mashed potatoes from the take-out place on his way from work.

Boyd’s sitting propped up against the backboard of the bed with his long legs stretched out in front of him. He’s bare-chested, the dressings standing out bright white against his skin, but he’s got on a pair of what look suspiciously like Raylan’s own sweatpants. He looks up and grins when he notices Raylan standing in the doorway.

“Hope you don’t mind,” he says, waving one languid hand to the material covering his legs. “My tailor jus’ couldn’t quite make it into work today.”

Raylan rolls his eyes and walks over to the table to dump the sack of food. He bites at his bottom lip to hide that grin that wants to surface again for the hundredth time that day and keeps his back turned when he hears Boyd moving against the sheets as he stands up.

“You brought dinner?”

“Fried chicken,” Raylan says, and smirks when Boyd’s reaching hand falters.

“And that’s a meal that’s just full of meanin’ for the two of us, isn’t it? Y’plannin’ t’shoot me over dinner again, Raylan?”

Raylan turns and leans back against the edge of the table, crossing his arms over his chest. He watches as Boyd narrows his eyes, watches as he flicks his gaze between the sack on the table and Raylan’s own smirk.

“You plannin’ on givin’ me a reason to shoot you tonight, Boyd?”

“Not ‘til I get some of that chicken. Y’know that all y’had in this dump of a kitchen was cereal? And that was stale anyway.”

“I’m guessin’ I don’t even have that anymore.”

“Could be. Y’gonna share that chicken?”

“Y’gonna turn that TV over to somethin’ other’n reruns of ‘Wheel of Fortune’?”

“I like ‘Wheel of Fortune’.”

“I don’t.”

Raylan had picked up some gravy and biscuits to go with dinner – and if Boyd hadn’t been there, over half of the food would have gone into the fridge for the next night. Boyd, however and despite his too-thin frame, had always had an ability to pack food away like Judgement Day was coming and he’d been told there’d be nothing to eat in Heaven.

Which, Raylan muses, would make for a pretty lousy Heaven.

They sit opposite each other at the battered old table, once Raylan’s got rid of his suit jacket and necktie and his hat. Boyd’s still barefoot and half-naked. It’d be a good look for him, if it weren’t for the dressings on the front and back of his left shoulder and the wrap around his ribs.

Boyd sits awkwardly in his chair, trying to keep his back straight instead of slouching a little like he might normally do. Raylan pretends to be fascinated with his chicken and watches Boyd shift and then bite back a curse.

“Gonna have t’wrap those ribs again tonight. You know, if you’re stayin’.”

Boyd glares at him, dark eyes flashing fire. “Raylan, if you think you’re gonna kick me out when my only raiment in this world is either at that godforsaken camp or here and all shot up an’ bloodstained, then you’ve got another think comin’. ‘Sides,” he says, picking up a chicken leg as his glare turns itself into an insolent grin, “your bed’s more comfortable’n a sleepin’ bag an’ a drafty old tent.”

“I’m flattered.”

It really is getting hard not to just out and out grin at Boyd – what would it matter when Art and the others at work already think that the shootout up at Bogey Holler addled what little common sense Raylan had left? Boyd’s never been what anyone could safely call ‘sane’ by any definition of the word and so next to Boyd? Raylan’s downright normal in comparison.

Raylan clears his throat and Boyd looks up from his food. “Picked up a bottle a’bourbon on my way back. Ain’t moonshine, but…”

“…But we ain’t nineteen no more either. You tryin’ t’get me drunk, Marshal Givens?”

“Boyd…” Raylan starts, making it sound like the warning it is. Boyd holds up his hands like he’s surrendering and Raylan’s got a gun trained on him.

“Jus’ askin’, Raylan, that’s all. Jus’ wonderin’ how far this Christian charity of yours is gonna go.”

“Push any harder an’ you’ll soon find out.”

Boyd leans back a little and grins, all slow and cocksure. “If’n you say so, Raylan. Wouldn’t want to press a man for answers in his own home now, would I?”

Raylan’s starting to think he’s losing this little game of theirs. He didn’t even know they were playing anything.

“I do say so,” Raylan mutters and diverts his attention back to his dinner – diverts his gaze away from Boyd, ‘cause Boyd’s looking entirely too amused for Raylan’s comfort and it’s starting this warm burn up in Raylan’s belly. He’d forgotten just how easy it was just to sit and talk and eat with Boyd. Forgotten how natural it felt to crawl into bed with Boyd – even if they aren’t going to be doing anything until those ribs and that shoulder heal a little more.

Forgotten, even, how easy it was to be friends with Boyd.

Boyd laughs, then, at something on the TV and darts a glance at Raylan that Raylan meets without any hesitation. He gives a little grin back and Boyd’s laugh softens a little and fades to a genuine smile. They split the bottle of bourbon between them and stay up later than the night before, Boyd running his mouth over the commercials and the shows that fade one into the other under the rolling drawl of Boyd’s words.

When they do go to bed, Boyd ignores any invisible line that might have been drawn down the middle of the mattress and he quickly arranges the two of them into a near-semblance of their positions when they woke up that morning. Raylan goes along with it – lets Boyd drape himself over him and ignores the little sigh of what might be comfort or content that Boyd lets loose. They put the ceiling fan on low earlier and the soft swoop of it is what lulls Raylan to sleep in the end, long after Boyd’s stopped talking and stopped holding himself so carefully like he thinks one wrong move would make Raylan kick him out of bed.

And when Raylan wakes up in the morning, Boyd’s already awake – propped up on one elbow in a position that can’t be comfortable for him in the slightest and staring down at Raylan with, maybe, something that’s a little like fondness. A month and change ago they were finding ways to kill or, in Raylan’s case, arrest each other. Now they’re lying in bed together and Boyd’s hair’s all messy like he’s been doing something a lot more interesting than just sleeping. Raylan reaches up and runs his fingers through that mess, sifts strands of hair that feel softer than a baby’s. He waits for Boyd to lean into that touch a little and then tumbles Boyd as gently as he can down onto the mattress, moving so that he’s the one leaning up and over Boyd. He’s got to get up and go to work soon and there’s no guarantee that Boyd will be there when Raylan gets back in the evening – short of tying Boyd to the bed, that is, and even that’s not certain.

Still, Raylan’s got a few minutes. Enough, anyway, to lean down and press a kiss to Boyd’s mouth that becomes somewhat less than chaste when Boyd opens his mouth and licks at Raylan’s lips with his tongue. Boyd always kissed dirty, putting every trick he had into it. Raylan likes that that hasn’t changed.

Likes that, when he’s nearly ready and just settling his jacket over his shoulders and knotting his necktie, Boyd’s watching his every movement from the bed and lounging back with a little smirk. Raylan pauses, when he’s done. Hesitates halfway between the door and the bed and turns back to Boyd, moves over to the bed and leans in to meet Boyd in a kiss that feels like the kisses he and Winona used to exchange before work in the mornings. It feels strange, to be sharing those kisses with Boyd instead of his wife – ex-wife – or Ava, even.

Strange, Raylan muses as he leaves and tugs the door shut behind him, but maybe not entirely unwelcome. He can live with that, this strange twist of contentment and apprehension in his belly, even if he’s got a feeling that he’s going to have to tamp down on yet another day’s worth of grinning like a fool.



Date: 2011-04-04 12:00 am (UTC)
beadslut: (Default)
From: [personal profile] beadslut
:-D

Date: 2011-04-04 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] runcible_spoons
I love this so hard.

Date: 2012-03-20 10:22 pm (UTC)
halfshellvenus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halfshellvenus
Lovely code to the first season-- I can't get enough of these after having just seen it.

The more Raylan/Boyd, the better. I'm so glad you gave this a shot, and I know the voices are challenging-- especially across different cultures. But you did a great job of it!

August 2011

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