Characters: Raylan, Boyd (PG)
Summary: The story of Raylan and Boyd is far from over.
Author's Note: A Yuletide Madness treat for pampermousse. Also for writers_choice (this is "fresh").
The way Raylan saw it, they were supposed to be enemies. Hadn't he been sent to Harlan solely for Boyd, tasked with bringing him in when other agents had failed?
Raylan couldn’t entirely blame those agents, because he knew how it was. You might have some notion of what Boyd was up to, but try to catch him red- handed and he'd just slip through your fingers. You could never pin anything on him. Hell, Raylan knew Boyd better than most, and he was having as much trouble as anyone.
Boyd's daddy was brutal and belligerent, but Boyd's wiliness was almost worse. You could set trap after trap for Boyd, and somehow, he still escaped. That dinner at Ava's should have been the end of Raylan's whole "Hillbilly Whisperer" mission, with Boyd drawing his gun and Raylan firing off the first and only shot. That shooting was self-defense, fully justified—at least on paper. The truth was, he should have tried to talk Boyd out of turning things into a standoff, though he'd hoped Boyd was just joking—right up until Boyd slipped through Ava's door, loaded for bear.
Afterward, Boyd had seemed almost betrayed by Raylan shooting him, and Raylan had found himself half-regretting the showdown he'd let Boyd provoke. Neither of those reactions was what he'd expected.
Boyd survived that gunshot. Was it a second chance or just more of Boyd's unbelievable luck? In the prison hospital, Boyd had thanked Raylan for sparking off some newfound epiphany. Raylan didn't believe in such things, but maybe Boyd did. Boyd had seemed sincere enough.
That was probably the strangest part of all.
Weeks later, Raylan was thinking that Boyd's newfound religion could either be real or just be a clever ploy for more of the same Boyd bullshit as ever. There was no way of telling, though Raylan had his suspicions as to which was true.
The one thing he was sure of was that he had a lot more time now to figure all of that out. Truth be damned—as onetime friends and not-quite-enemies, this could be a chance for the two of them to take a step back and start things over again.
For the first time in his life, Raylan was happy he'd failed at something—or failed enough, at least, that he happened to aim just a few inches to the left of deadly.