vain_glorious: (ironman)
[personal profile] vain_glorious

Title: The Eagle Weds The Dove
Author: [personal profile] vain_glorious
Fandom: Justified
Wordcount: ~4,500
Rating: PG-15
Characters: Raylan Givens, Tim Gutterson, Loretta McCready, Boyd Crowder
Genre: Gen
Warning(s): Vague spoilers for Justified Season 3. Canon typical violence.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Summary: “I think I can’t find him,” Tim says. “I think Raylan’s been missing for longer than it usually takes him to crawl out of the bottle. And I know most of the relationships he forges with other people are the kinds where they want to shoot him.”


“Marshal Gutterson?” A young female voice says.

Tim looks up from his endless pile of paperwork, sees Loretta McCready standing next to his desk.

“I’m-“ she starts.

“I know who you are,” Tim interrupts. He hasn’t talked to her much, since it’s hard to get a word in edgewise on Raylan. He know Raylan keeps tabs on her, half because she’s probably the state’s next marijuana mastermind, and half because he’s fond of her.

“You work with Marshal Givens,” she says, awkwardly.

“Allegedly,” Tim retorts, because she’s standing right next to Raylan’s empty desk and she knows it.

Loretta pauses. “You know where he is?”

Tim casts a glance at Raylan’s desk, then looks back at Loretta. “Not here,” he observes.

She frowns. “That’s why I asked you.” Irritation creeps into her voice.

“You got a federal crime to confess to?” Tim asks. “Because I can take it. Raylan’s not the only Marshal in this office.”

“I just want to know where he is,” Loretta says, warily stepping back. “I thought you was friends.”

Tim laughs. He considers the number of mean things he could say. He knows Loretta has a dumb thug act, and he also knows she entertains a terribly flawed image of Raylan that involves hanging a moon. In all likelihood, Raylan is stuck inside a bottle he crawled in, or burying a body. And Tim might have the order of those events wrong, but they’re entirely possible.

“He must have taken a personal day,” he settles on, and smiles politely. Loretta blinks at him. “Why do you need him?”

Loretta continues to stare at him.

“So that I can tell him, when I see him,” Tim offers.

“Maybe you should check on him,” Loretta says, finally.

“Why’s that?”

“I think he may have done something dumb.”

“I’m sure he has,” Tim says. “But I’m going to need a little more than that.”

Loretta scowls. “Are you gunning for his job? Why don’t you care?”

“We have the same job,” Tim points out. “Are you suggesting to me my drunk, reckless co-worker may be off doing something drunk and reckless?”

“You know what?” Loretta throws her hands up. “I give up. I tried. Tell Raylan I came here first.”

Loretta walks off. Tim sighs, rises to go after her. The heels on her cowboy boots stomp loudly against the tile, and he follows the sound. But she vanishes into a crowd in the stairwell and suddenly she’s gone.

Tim looks for her in the lobby but there’s no sign of her. He’s pissed, certain she would have given it up – whatever it was – if Raylan had tried the same track.

Except he doesn’t actually know where Raylan is.

Tim tries Raylan’s phone. It goes straight to voicemail.

He asks Rachel if she knows where Raylan is. No dice. That means he has to ask Art, which is a bad idea if Raylan really is off doing something dumb. So, Tim doesn’t ask Art.

~

Three days later, there is still no Raylan. Tim decides to ask someone else.

One of Boyd’s men sees Tim pull up. He immediately turns around and goes inside the bar to warn Boyd. Tim sits in the car an extra couple of minutes, to give them time to hide the heroin and anything else he’d feel professionally required to address. Then, he takes off his seatbelt and get out of the car, sighing. He’s made this trip with Raylan, before. Going by himself makes him feel like he may be developing some of Raylan’s less desirable attributes, the ones that tie him to Harlan with krazy glue and bungee cords.

But those bonds are the reason Tim’s here, plus the distinct lack of other options.

Tim opens his coat so all of Boyd’s henchmen can see his gun, then walks purposefully in to the bar.
If he were Raylan, Boyd would deem to meet him directly. Instead, he gets to argue with an unnamed thug pretending to tend bar, who claims the bossman isn’t there.

Since he’s channeling Raylan, Tim decides it’s okay to crack the guy’s face into the bar top. It shows he’s serious, disinterested in following the law, and unconcerned with the consequences unto his career. It always works for Raylan.

Tim gets to see Boyd after that, and he doesn’t even have to shoot anyone.
“Oh, it’s you,” Boyd says, appearing from the back as his guy with the broken nose staggers off. He approaches the bar, leaning against it. “Is there a reason you’re committing assault and battery against my employees?”

“I just hit the one,” Tim says.

“I have more,” Boyd replies, face friendly but voice remarkably menacing. “And you’re all on your lonesome, Deputy. Ain’t that against Marshal protocol?” He tilts his head. “Raylan break up with you?”

Tim purposefully ignores the threat, because he doesn’t actually want to have to shoot anyone.

“He’s who I’m looking for,” Tim says. “And I know how you and he are betrothed, or something.”

“You’re looking for Raylan?” Boyd asks, thankfully declining the invitation to fight over who Raylan spends more time fucking in one sense or the other. “I take it he’s missing?”

Tim assesses Boyd’s face, trying to decide if the vague surprise is genuine or not. But then Boyd grins and lets insincerity replace everything and Tim really can’t tell.

“Missing, hiding, drunk, dead,” Tim ticks off. “I’m really unsure. Thought I’d check that he wasn’t just shitting in your sandbox and got stuck, as has happened before.”

Boyd makes an interesting face at that, then shakes his head. “I understand that belief,” he says, smirking. “And were he here, entangled in his own feces, I would gladly return him to the Marshal Service.” Tim stares at him, hard. “But the concern is greatly appreciated and, if you give me your card, I will contact you immediately when he bothers me in the future. I’d be thankful for a prompt means of removal.”

“You haven’t seen him,” Tim says.

“Joyously not,” Boyd returns. He places both hands on the bar top, suggesting to Tim that’s he’s released whatever gun he was holding. “You were the first person to punch the bartender today, and I’m sure you noticed the lack of new bullet holes in my establishment.”

“That’s true,” Tim admits. “Raylan usually leaves a trail.”

“Of property damage and personal abuse,” Boyd says. “He hasn’t been here.”

Tim sucks in his cheeks and blinks at him. “I don’t suppose you have any idea where I might find him?” He expects an indignant and meaningless monologue in response, but he has to ask. He tries to avert it, at least a little. “You know Harlan.”

Boyd smiles at him, appreciative of the peacemaking gesture. “The only attachment Raylan has to Harlan anymore is the compulsive need to shit in my sandbox, to use your words.” He pauses. “If he were here, here is where he’d be.”

“That’s what I thought,” Tim says.

“You must be an excellent U.S. Marshal,” Boyd says. “With those deductive skills and those violent tendencies.”
Tim slides his card across the bar. “I expect you’ll be celebrating before I’m out of the parking lot, but if you hear anything through your…unique…channels regarding Raylan, such as whether he’s dead, I’d appreciate a call.”
Boyd picks up the card by the edges, frowning.

“I am affronted,” he says, mildly “By the insinuation that morbid news about Raylan would be met with celebration.”

“They’re called wakes,” Tim says, shrugging. He takes a step backwards, ready to leave.

Boyd holds up a halting hand. “You really think he’s dead?” he asks, sounding sincere for just about the first time in the conversation, other than when he threatened to sick the rest of his gun thugs on Tim.

“I think I can’t find him,” Tim tells him. “I think Raylan’s been missing for longer than it usually takes him to crawl out of the bottle. And I know most of the relationships he forges with other people are the kinds where they want to shoot him.”

“The man is a dedicated asshole,” Boyd agrees. “But he usually shoots them, first.”
“Only takes once,” Tim says, flatly.

Boyd taps Tim’s card thoughtfully on the bar top. “I assume you already used all your cop means of finding him.”

Tim nods. “A conversation with you was not my first choice, no.”

“Tell you what,” Boyd says. “You should take a drive around town, observe the sights and sounds of Harlan.”

“Why should I do that?”

“Because when you get back,” Boyd promises. “I’ll have found Raylan for you, and you can take back that very mean thing you said about me celebrating his death.”

~

Boyd doesn’t give him any kind of time table. It takes about three minutes to fully circle Harlan, and Tim isn’t keen on doing that more than once. Harlan’s fine citizens are unlikely to respond well to an agent of the federal government cruising around endlessly.

So, Tim goes to the only place he knows in Harlan other than the various crime scenes. Well, he’s been there for that, too.

The Givens household is empty. Raylan hasn’t done anything with it, yet. Tim wonders if its vacancy has something to do with the graves in the yard. That’s hardly a selling point.
It occurs to him that he never checked Raylan’s designated plot. That’d actually be a pretty intelligent place to hide the body of a murdered U.S. Marshall, and kind of funny, too. He doesn’t think Boyd is responsible, but if he were…

The grass is undisturbed. Wherever Raylan is, he’s not in this grave.

Tim has a lot of time to explore the Givens family homestead. Boyd doesn’t call for a while. But he feels too much like an intruder, which he supposes he is, to snoop much. It’s also likely he’ll run into more evidence of Arlo’s criminal acts, both recent and lifelong. Tim is epically disinterested in becoming further entangled with the awesomely fucked up Givenses, though Raylan has made it quite clear that he enjoys finding reason to incarcerate his own father. Tim sits in the kitchen and plays with his phone, though the connectivity is shit. He doesn’t look for the guns or the drugs or whatever else Arlo has stashed in the home.

Eventually, Boyd contacts him. Via text, he instructs Tim to return to Lexington and wait there for Boyd to locate Raylan. For as loquacious as Boyd is verbally, the text message is uncharacteristically short and straightforward. He does refer to Raylan as “returning the wayward son,” but that’s about it.
Tim looks at his phone, frowning. First of all, Boyd must know something to have sent it at all. Tim would like to know what that something is. Secondly, he doesn’t feel inclined to obey orders from Boyd Crowder about anything. If he’s being told to return to Lexington, then Raylan is almost certainly not there.
He tries the direct way, sending a simple “What do you got?” in response to Boyd’s text. Predictably, Boyd doesn’t answer. Tim goes out to the car, casting a glance at Raylan’s grave as he leaves. He drives back to Boyd’s bar.

Boyd is at a table with a bunch of his thugs. They all, quite belatedly, make various attempts to hide their guns as Tim walks in. He rolls his eyes and pointedly ignores them all.

“You’re lost,” Boyd says, as he approaches. “This ain’t Lexington.”

“What’d you find out?” Tim demands, hands on his hips.

Boyd sneers. “Raylan’s alive,” he says. “Least he is ‘til he pisses off the hillbillies that got him.”

“That got him,” Tim prompts.

“Did you know there are angry Cubans in Miami who will pay to have Raylan transported to them, alive, so that they can kill him?” Boyd asks, sounding genuinely curious.

“Yes,” Tim says. “As a matter of fact I did.” He’d thought that was resolved.

“He should keep that information more closely guarded,” Boyd says. “Because Billy Bob and Billy Jack, who I understand were angry at him for various federal warrant related reasons, found out.”

“Those their real names?” Tim asks, doubtfully.

“You asking for the warrants?” Boyd replies. “You think these two geniuses, who spontaneously kidnapped a U.S. Marshall and think they can auction him to the highest bidder, are gonna have the patience and self-control to keep him breathing while you do that?”

Tim blinks at him.

“And I bet they’ll be real happy and calm-like when SWAT shows,” Boyd continues. He squints at Tim. “How eager are you to go to Raylan’s wake, exactly?” He shakes his head. “And he thinks I’m the one that’s out to get him.”

He takes in Tim’s silence.

“Go back to Lexington, like I said,” Boyd says. “I’ll retrieve him, the next Harlan census will have two fewer illiterate, unemployed assholes. Raylan can call me unkind names and try to hit me, we’ll get back to normal.” He grins. “And no one gets arrested, or has to witness crimes which he might be required to report or take action about.”

Boyd is still smiling, but his tone has darkened to the extent that Tim suddenly realizes that Boyd and his collection of henchmen could probably fairly easily kidnap Tim and lock him in a cellar – if he’s lucky – until after they’ve done whatever it is Boyd is planning to do.

Tim pointedly puts his hand on his weapon to avert such an idea.

“I’ll leave my badge in the car,” he says, bluntly.

Boyd’s eyebrows fly up. “Oh, really,” he says.

~

Tim doesn’t leave his badge in the car. His intuition about getting tossed in the cellar turns out to unfortunately accurate, except that it’s less like a cellar and more like a dark room that looks eerily like a not-so-makeshift prison.

Boyd makes some sort of hand gesture that Tim only catches because it’s so obviously a ‘git him’ motion, and then an elbow slams into the side of his head. He’s relieved of his gun and his phone while too stunned to resist, then gets an up close view of the filthy, gritty floor as two thugs drag him down stairs. Someone throws a water bottle down after him, and it hits him in the head.

Tim vows to alert multiple law enforcement agencies that Boyd has an out-and-out dungeon under Audrey’s. Once his eyes adjust to the darkness, he traces the perimeter and finds solid walls, more locked doors, and tall metal fences topped with veritable barbed wire dividing the space.
The door he knows leads back to Audrey’s resists Tim’s angry efforts to kick it down. Boyd’s thugs didn’t even bother restraining him.

He decides that the fences that lead to the rest of the prison might be his best bet. The fact that no one stayed behind to take cheap shots at the disarmed U.S. Marshal who probably has a concussion doesn’t mean that won’t sound like fun to them later.

Tim pulls and bends and pushes the chain link fence, ‘til he manages to twist it enough that he can slide through the bottom.

This gets him nowhere, just inside a new makeshift cell. He curses to himself, then keeps going. Twisting at the metal fences makes his hands ache, breaks the one or two fingernails long enough to catch. He was also dumb enough to leave his water bottle behind.

He gets through – more like under – another fence, and it suddenly gets a little brighter. Somewhere nearby there’s a source of light.

Tim walks toward it, rounding a corner made by another fence. He slows, a little, but it’s too late to be stealthy. Another fence separates him from the origin of the light: a smartphone clenched in the hand of a slight figure illuminated only by its glowing screen.

“Loretta?”

The girl looks up from the screen, then takes three steps backwards like she can hide. Less quickly, she realizes why he can see her and turns the phone off. Immediately, there’s blackness.

“I can still fucking see you.”

That’s not actually true, but it doesn’t take long for his eyes to adjust. Also, he’s pretty sure she’s locked in another cell and can’t leave.

“Hey,” Loretta says, finally, from the darkness.

“You want to explain this?” Tim asks, pressing against the fence that separates them.

“Uh…” she pauses. “I went to you first.”

“You’re here looking for Raylan?”

“Yeah.” But it’s halting, like she’s composing a lie.

He decides he probably doesn’t care why or how Loretta got herself locked in Crowder’s dungeon.

“Give me the phone.”

“I don’t have a signal.”

“Bullshit.” He rattles the fence.

“Seriously.” She pats the chain link until she finds him, then holds the phone up and turns the screen back on.

And shit, there are no bars.

“No wireless, either,” Loretta says, then turns it back off.

“Fuck.”

“Sorry.” She does sound oddly apologetic.

“Boyd locked you down here with your phone?” He asks. “Because he took mine.”

“Huh?” The deceptive tone is back in her voice and she’s backed away a little.

“They locked me up while they go kill the folks that took Raylan,” Tim tells her.

“I went to you first,” her voice floats at him. She’s moved even further away.

“Your social worker know where you are?” he asks. “How about your foster family?”

He thinks she would tell Raylan what the fuck she’s doing here, but then again Raylan might already know. Tim can hear her moving around, brushing against a different fence.

“Trying to leave?” he asks.

“I’m not kidnapped,” she says, flatly.

“Really? ‘Cause I am.”

~

Tim spends maybe an hour or so in Boyd’s cellar prison. He doesn’t try to break into Loretta’s cell, mostly because he doesn’t want to spook her. Regardless of why she’s here, he’s not leaving a teenage girl in Crowder’s brothel. She might be able to move faster than he can bend fence.

He keeps talking to her, mostly so he knows she hasn’t peaced out somehow.

It’s a very one sided conversation, since he receives little more than non-committal murmurs from her end.
“Raylan got himself in trouble with some Miami Cubans who want to kill him for some old grudge,” he tells her, eventually.

“Yeah?” Loretta says. She sounds…fuck…she sounds like she’s lying some more.

“Less you know otherwise,” Tim adds.

“Nope.”

“You’re going to tell me how you got locked under Audrey’s,” he continues. “Because I’m sure Raylan’s going to want to know.”

“Thought you said they wanted to kill him,” she says, cleverly changing the subject.

Right around then, Tim hears the engines of cars arriving. Footsteps land above them, shaking dust and dirt on to their heads.

“They’re back,” he says.

It doesn’t take long for Boyd’s men to figure out he’s not where they left him. But once they realize he didn’t get far, they calm down. The doors open, letting light in, and they have flashlights. The beams blind Tim for a few seconds.

Boyd appears through a couple fences, giving him a grin he can’t quite interpret.

“Kidnapping a minor’s a federal charge,” Tim yells at Boyd.

Boyd strolls closer, still smiling.

“You kidnapped, Miss McCready?” he prompts.

“No, sir,” she says, immediately. “You find him?”

“I did.” Boyd gestures with his head and two thugs come inside, hauling a limp, bedraggled Raylan between them.

“Is he dead?” Loretta asks, while Tim surges forward, trying to see for himself.

“Marshal, control yourself,” Boyd says, as the gate to Tim’s cell opens. Boyd’s men drop Raylan on the ground, exit, then lock the fence again.

Raylan’s not dead.

He’s battered and bloody, though. Barely conscious.

“He needs a hospital,” Tim says, once he can feel Raylan’s pulse strumming under his fingers.

“In a moment,” Boyd says. “I’m not done.” He’s not looking at Tim, though.

“Done with what?” Tim demands. “How much of this did you do?”

“Very little,” Boyd promises. “Like one punch, because he said rude things after I had his ass saved.”

Loretta makes an unhappy sound.

“But I have more business to attend to,” Boyd says. “After which, you should probably take him to the hospital.” He taps his fist over his heart. “See, I do care.”

Boyd turns around and walks away, followed by his thugs. Loretta, Tim, and Raylan are left in near darkness.

“He okay?” Loretta asks, back up against the fence dividing their cells.

“He’s alive,” Tim says. “Why did Boyd look at you when he said he had business to attend to?”

Loretta mumbles something in response. Then she avoids the question by prompting him to attend to Raylan, like Tim can do anything that’s an improvement over lying in the dirt. Loretta wants him to pillow Raylan’s head in his lap, but Tim doesn’t want to fuck with his neck like that.

Boyd is gone again for a while. Loretta eventually picks her way through the dividing fences until she’s in with Tim and Raylan. She brings a water bottle with her.

Raylan’s not awake enough to drink any, though Tim can see his lips are parched and peeling from dehydration. Tim wets them, uses his jacket to wipe some of the blood off the man’s face. He should conserve water, but he’s counting on Boyd returning and letting them go.

Tim confiscates Loretta’s phone, which she doesn’t give up until he twists her wrist so sharply she cries out and lets it go. Then she glares at him like he’s the one in the wrong here.

She still doesn’t have a signal and there’s no internet, either. However, Tim does find a very interesting text message exchange on there.

There are no angry Cubans. Or maybe there are, but not in Harlan. It was indeed Billy Bob and Billy Jack or names along those lines who snatched Raylan.

And not for the typical anti-federal government sentiment or personal opposition to particular arrest warrants.
According to the texts, these two knew Loretta had money, and decided the best way to get it was to ransom Raylan.

“Seriously,” he says, looking up at her when he’s finally read it all.

“They contracted out to Mags,” Loretta mumbles, when she realizes he’s figured it out. “I didn’t say shit.”

He tilts his head, since that wasn’t the issue. “This didn’t seem like relevant information when you were in my office?”

“You didn’t want to help,” she says, unapologetic.

“You didn’t tell me that Raylan was a hostage.” He pauses. “Did you not want to pay?”

She crosses her arms and stalks across the floor, away from where Tim sits next to Raylan’s still form.

“I paid.”

He stares after her. “You paid…” Then it dawns on him. “You paid Crowder.”

She refuses to answer.

“That’s why he locked you down here. And why he’s still got ‘business’ to attend to.”

“Don’t tell Raylan,” Loretta says, finally. “He’ll be pissed.”

“Yeah,” Tim says, astounded.

Boyd returns shortly. He looks unusually cheerful, which Tim can only assume means Loretta’s reefer inheritance was successfully transferred.

“Your weapon and your telephone are in your car,” Boyd says, brightly. “I suggest you depart this here location and bring that poor, abused man to a hospital.”

He opens the gate and grins at Tim.

“You’re not going to get to keep that money,” Tim tells him, flatly. “Raylan will make sure of that.”

“What money?” Boyd says, innocently. He looks sideways at Loretta.

“He took my phone,” she answers. “For the record, I agree that there is no money.”

Boyd scowls and gives one of his thugs a head toss. Tim doesn’t resist when the man takes Loretta’s phone from him and smashes it on the ground.

“Hey,” Loretta complains.

“You have a lot to learn,” Boyd tells her.

“About evidence tampering.” Tim says, not that quietly.

One of Boyd’s thugs helps Tim support a staggering Raylan out of the prison and back to Tim’s car. Loretta follows, only because Tim orders her and yells every time she dawdles like she might stay.

“Get in the car,” he says, after Raylan is laid out in the back seat.

“I can find my own way home,” she says, as if getting not one but two U.S. Marshals held hostage wasn’t entirely her doing.

“Get in the god damn car or you’re under arrest,” he says, even though his handcuffs are in the car next to his gun and he’d prefer to get out of this situation without reintroducing firearms.

Loretta blinks at him like he’s overreacting. “Okay,” she says. “Chill.”

Boyd finds this exchange eminently amusing.

“Best not to argue,” he says, as if imparting great wisdom. “This one’s almost as likely to shoot as that one.” He tilts his head at Raylan in the back seat. “And he’s declining to arrest anyone, which is for the best.”

“Stop giving her advice,” Tim grinds out. “Get in the car, Loretta.”

“I didn’t do anything,” she says, “Can’t arrest me.” But she opens the passenger side door and climbs inside.

“Any parting words?” Boyd prompts him, while Tim imagines jamming his car keys into the man’s neck.

“How much did she pay for Raylan?” he asks.

“I know not of what you speak,” Boyd says, of course. “But you can be assured that you are transporting a very expensive pain in the ass. Try to keep an eye on him,” he adds. “I believe his guardian angel’s broke.”

“Your business with her is done,” Tim says.

Boyd chuckles. “You can’t curtail my freedom of association, deputy. But I’ll thank you to keep both those troublemakers out of Harlan.”

Tim glares at him some more. “I can’t control either of them,” he admits, shaking his head. He opens the driver’s side door and slides one leg inside while Boyd just grins at him. “But I can come back and shoot you in the head if it’s called for.”

“He saved Raylan,” Loretta says, next to him.

“You shut the hell up.”

Boyd gives him a little salute, but the rest of his men still have their hands on their guns. Tim pulls his door shut and starts the engine. The motion makes Raylan stir in the backseat, moaning.

“I imagine you have some elaborate marijuana-based plan to get your money back,” he says to Loretta.

“No,” she says, innocently. “I was just going to invoice Raylan.”

“Boyd was as likely to kill him as give him back,” Tim tells her, directing the car on to the road and heading towards Lexington.

“Boyd came to me,” Loretta corrects. “He was going to kill those guys before he realized there was money in it.” She scowls. “Robbing me was just a bonus.”

“Oh,” he says. That makes a sick kind of Harlan sense.

“I think he likes Raylan more than you do,” she accuses.

“Yeah,” Tim says, agreeably. “Probably.”

He steers on to the highway that will take them out of Harlan, at least for today.

~the end~

~please feed the author~

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