Characters: Raylan/Boyd (Slash)
Summary: There are all kinds of truth, and some of them won't stay hidden forever.
Author's Notes: My Harlan Hillbilly Remix story, inspired by this excerpt from a story by thornfield_girl:
“Need some help getting him upstairs?”
Boyd gave him a considering look, almost but not quite a smile, and said, “No, I believe I can handle it. Don’t worry, Marshal. Raylan’s safe with me."
There were things Boyd Crowder was not prepared to admit. His various illegal activities were obviously best kept private, but some of his secrets weren't illegal so much as unsettling. No matter how he denied it, the truth was that despite his threats and his reputation for menace, he tended to become toothless where Raylan Givens was concerned.
At times, he was certain everyone knew it. Raylan sure as hell did—he had to. Every time the two of them faced off together, some mysterious undercurrent of feeling always changed the actual outcome. Raylan had shot Boyd across Ava's dining room table, but the bullet had gone a hair wide and Boyd had survived. Boyd had not only forgiven him for it, he'd come to see it as divine intervention. Later, when his faith had died alongside his flock at his Daddy's vengeful hands, Boyd had turned to Raylan—the only person left who could possibly have cared even if he hadn't understood.
He and Raylan both overlooked too much, even when they knew they ought to be cautious.
Reason said they should have given up on each other years ago, but they kept drifting back into those unexpected moments of honest conversation. Something about Raylan made Boyd want to be a better man. Those few times there'd been a chance of that happening, he'd confessed his new intent to Raylan in a burst of earnest sincerity, truly meaning every word he said.
How things twisted afterward to become something else—the destruction of his newfound salvation, and getting pulled into the robbery at the mine—caused Boyd no end of regret. He tried and he tried, and it was like the universe wanted him to be forever at odds with Raylan. But Boyd was a stubborn man, and Raylan Givens was not someone he was prepared to give up.
The two of them met from time-to-time and did some drinking. Maybe Raylan was hoping Boyd would inadvertently let something slip, and maybe Boyd was hoping Raylan would look at him and really see who Boyd was trying to be, but on the surface it was cordial and addictively similar to the easy way things used to be between them.
Usually, they got together on Friday evenings. Sometimes they just drank, other times they shot pool. Neither of them was so much better at it that things got overly competitive. Boyd practiced sometimes when Raylan wasn't around, just to keep things even. He figured Raylan probably did the same.
This particular Friday night, they were supposed to meet at seven, but Boyd got hung up. He could feel the minutes ticking away, but Junior Waddell was in the middle of making a compelling business proposition and Boyd couldn't just interrupt him to call Raylan. Especially when the business in question was not entirely legitimate.
By the time Boyd was finished—having neither rejected nor committed to Junior's offer—it was almost nine o'clock. Raylan would be having fits, Boyd figured, or he'd be full-out drunk. Hard to say which might be worse.
When Boyd got to the bar, Raylan was drunk, all right. Drunk and in the company of his boss, who'd never liked Boyd much anyway, and probably wasn't feeling any better disposed toward him now.
"I'm sorry I'm late, Raylan," Boyd said. "Marshal Mullen," he added.
"I thought you's never comin'." Raylan threw an arm around Boyd's shoulder, leaning in heavily.
"I'm sorry," Boyd said again. He looked at Marshal Mullen. "I can handle this from here."
The Marshal eyed him suspiciously. "You gonna take him out to the highway and let him wander around in traffic?"
Boyd blinked. "No, sir," he said, "not for a minute. Whatever else you may believe, I assure you that Marshal Givens is safe with me."
"Is that a fact," Marshal Mullen said. "Well, Raylan? That true?"
Raylan's head was leaning so low, it was almost on Boyd's shoulder. "You bet."
"All right, then." Mullen picked his hat up off the bar and put it on. "Need help getting him upstairs?
"No, I believe I can take care of it myself."
Mullen walked out the door, and Boyd watched him go. "Man probably thinks we're dating now," he muttered to Raylan.
Raylan waved the idea away. "Art thinks a lot of things," he said.
Boyd thought about the look the Marshall had given him, both judging and forgiving. "Yeah," he said. "Guess so."
Boyd gathered up Raylan's hat, and steered him toward the stairs. "You ready?"
"Sure," Raylan mumbled. "Let's do it."
Boyd put his arm around Raylan's waist and Raylan leaned on him as they climbed up to Raylan's room. Boyd waited as Raylan fumbled with the key, then helped him turn the lock and get inside. "Easy, now," he said, guiding Raylan toward the bed. But Raylan didn't sit down.
"Where were you tonight, Boyd?" he asked, his voice sounding far off and lonely.
Boyd looked away, still anxious to avoid that conversation. "I said I was sorry."
Boyd put his fingers against Raylan's lips, buying time or inspiration. "Shhh," he said, searching for the words to evade the question.
Raylan's eyes drifted shut and his mouth softened under Boyd's fingers, and whatever the hell else Boyd might have said went up in smoke. He stroked his thumb over Raylan's bottom lip, just to see what would happen, and Raylan gasped a little and swayed against his touch. Two decades of holding back all his longing for something exactly like this fell prey then to Boyd's unsteady heart.
"Raylan," Boyd whispered, pulling him close and kissing him like a drowning man finally escaping water.
Raylan had the sweet, smoky taste of Kentucky bourbon, the taste that had made Boyd think of home when he'd been in the army in Kuwait, trying to forget how Raylan had left Harlan without ever looking back. Kuwait, prison, his posse, the mine—even Ava—hadn't changed the fact that Raylan was the only thing Boyd had ever truly wanted.
He kissed Raylan with the sweetness of old apologies, and Raylan kissed him back with the heat of Finally,God damnit, more. Just like always, they pulled in slightly different directions even when they were headed down the same road. Boyd could feel the hardness where Raylan pressed up against him, felt dizzy with it as Raylan backed him up against the bed and lay down next to him, his arm across Boyd's chest like there was someplace else Boyd might decide to go.
"You sure about this, Raylan?" Boyd asked at one point, while he still had enough presence of mind that he could.
Raylan's hand stopped its slow journey down Boyd's body toward his pants. "Damn, Boyd, d'you know how many years I've been thinkin' about this?"
Not half as many as me, Boyd thought. "Just don't want you having second thoughts."
Raylan rocked his hips against Boyd's thigh. "Does this feel like doubt to you, Boyd?"
Words fled, and Boyd was left with nothing but incoherent images. A little cut-off moan escaped him, and he turned and rolled into Raylan and set about devouring him whole.
Raylan kissed the same way he did everything, slow and intense and not easily distracted. Boyd, usually so careful, abandoned himself to the moment. Raylan's hands on him, and the way Raylan's ass barely yielded to the crush of his grip, spiraled around Boyd's senses and pushed his breathing faster.
He slipped his hand under Raylan's shirt, stroking the smooth, soft skin hidden beneath. Then he slid it down the back of Raylan's pants, his stomach stirring with the sense of getting away with something that both of them knew was forbidden.
Raylan wrestled with Boyd's belt, finally loosening it enough to work the zipper down. He reached inside, warm fingers brushing against sensitive skin and making Boyd shiver and gasp.
Boyd almost couldn't breathe, with what Raylan's touch did to him. He felt like he was dangling on the edge of losing his mind, it was all so good—so damn amazing. Raylan worked him over with real skill, strong fingers kneading and pulling until all Boyd could do was just go with it and hang on for dear life. A few more twists and a slick sweep of Raylan's thumb, and Boyd let out a moan and came in a swift flood all over Raylan's hand.
"God," Boyd whispered, his face buried against Raylan's neck.
"Nope, just me," Raylan said.
Boyd decided right there that he was going to make Raylan lose some of that composure.
He teased Raylan's neck with his lips, kissing and sucking his way up along the edge of Raylan's jaw.
Raylan moved against him, breathing faster as Boyd lightly stroked the front of his jeans. Boyd took his time, edging close to the areas Raylan wanted him to touch, without quite giving them his full attention.
Raylan wriggled closer, and Boyd moved his hand just out of range, as casual as anything.
"Boyd," Raylan grumbled.
Boyd kissed his way over to Raylan's mouth and caught Raylan's lower lip gently in his teeth. "Yes, Raylan?"
Raylan arched up and kissed Boyd long and hard, his arm tight enough around Boyd's back to bruise. "Don't leave me hanging," Raylan pleaded.
That was all the triumph Boyd needed. He grinned with open pleasure and murmured, "Well, all right."
He licked his palm, watching Raylan watch him do it, and reached down to grasp Raylan with a firm, certain grip. He pulled up—the sound Raylan made was like music to him—and off to the side, repeating the motion again and again in a rhythm driven by Raylan's breathing and the words he muttered under his breath. Boyd's strokes were sure, and Raylan's gasps grew harsher against his skin until Raylan suddenly pressed his head against Boyd's shoulder and groaned in sharp, welcome relief.
Boyd wiped his hand off on the sheet, then slid his arm across Raylan's waist and up his back, pulling him closer. Twenty years ago or right now, he'd take what he could get. It was pretty damn close to perfect.
"You gonna stay?" Raylan asked, sounding almost hopeful.
"You bet," Boyd answered. Ava was out of town until Sunday, and he'd need time to think about all of this anyway.
Raylan made an indistinct noise in his throat, his body growing loose and then heavy almost within seconds.
Boyd lay there in the dim light from the bedside lamp, listening to Raylan breathe.
Tomorrow, he vowed, he would definitely get back on the road that led to becoming a better man.
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