Title: Coffee, Bullets & US Marshals
Category: Action, Romance
Characters/Pairing: Tim/Raylan & Art
Warnings: No more than any episode of Justified.
Summary: Tim needs coffee and for people to stop shooting at him. It’s easier said than done with Raylan as a partner.
Word Count: 5,777 words.
Date Written: Spring, 2014.
Disclaimer: Justified is not mine. This story is. For fun, not profit.
Feedback: Bring it. dodger_sister / TheArtofDodger@comcast.net
Author's Notes: This was going to be a story about Raylan courting Tim with coffee. But firstly, I know next to nothing about coffee and secondly, my muses had other ideas and combined a completely different plot bunny to make one fic, idek. Also, what the hell with my new Tim/Raylan love? I blame menel completely. My poor Boyd/Raylan muse is sad.
Dedication: Happy birthday, babe! It took a year, but here it is! All for you! Everything for you, babe! I know you don’t mind that one bit.
Today had to be better than yesterday. Nobody would shoot at him today. That was Tim’s new motto. ‘No one’s gonna shoot at me today.’
Also, today he wouldn’t have to drive to Harlan County with Raylan and listen to the other marshal banter with a bunch of people he knew from his childhood like old friends with guns, all of whom were going to, you know, shoot at Tim. Lackeys starting conversations with Tim that he’d really rather avoid, given the fact that he was suppose to be keepin’ his eyes on Raylan’s backside. Or his back, not his backside, that was a whole other train of thought that Tim didn’t want to get into. But he really enjoyed - read: did not - rounding out these little trips by getting disgusting drive-thru chicken on the way back with that grease that never comes off your goddamn fingers, you know.
So, yeah, today had to be a better day.
“So,” Raylan said, tapping his fingers on the counter, waiting less than patiently for the coffee to finish, “you seemed to hit it off with that mercenary fellow all right.”
Tim looked up from his own intent fixation on each drip of black liquid fuel - his morning’s third cup if it would ever finish brewing - and raised a single eyebrow at Raylan. “You mean the guy that then turned around and tried to shoot me after we were havin’ such a nice conversation and all?”
Raylan just shrugged and put his back to the counter, leaned against it, legs sprawled out in front of him. “I just meant, military fellas seem to be able to bond over anything. Even in the middle of a standard hill-folk showdown.”
“It’s a secret society,” Tim said. “We have decoders rings and everything.”
Raylan chuckled, soft and light, and turned back to the coffee maker. “You think you’d have hit it off with him under different circumstances? Him not trying to shoot you and all?”
Tim’s eyebrow went up again, even farther this time. “Gee, I don’t know, we’d probably have to ask my daddy for his blessing first.”
“You’re down right hysterical, Gutterson,” Raylan said and reached for his coffee cup.
Tim went right on ahead and poured his own - they really had to get one of these things that hadn’t been made in 1987, that would be great - and then Raylan held his cup out with expectation. Tim just handed him the pot and walked away.
Tim was on hold with the office in Atlanta and the music on the hold-line was the absolute worst. It was like Kenny G had a kid with Flea and a thirteen piece drumset, with absolutely no vocals to drown out the complete and utter debacle of non-blending instruments on top of it all. The drumbeat was pretty heavy though and he must have started tapping his pen along with it at some point because the next thing he knew a wadded up piece of paper was bouncing off his head.
Tim turned in the direction of the offender and found Raylan staring at him from behind his own desk. Raylan smiled, slow and kinda creepy-like, and gestured at the offending piece of paper laying on the floor next to Tim’s feet.
He picked it up, uncrumpled it, and read aloud, “Hey, Ringo, knock it off or you’ll be the first asshole I shoot today. Probably not the last though.”
Then there was something that looked like it was suppose to be a winky-face but Raylan Givens drawing winky-faces was too disconcerting for Tim to think about it, so he crumpled it back up and tossed it in the recycle bin. When he looked over again, Raylan was still staring at him.
“I could file a complaint with HR, you know,” Tim told him casually, like he was talking about the color of rain-clouds.
“You could, but you won’t. I suspect you’ve always wondered whether or not you’d be fast enough to draw down on me. And now you have an advantage, seein’ as I just told you I was goin’ to pull.”
“Damn. I hate to get all bloodied up today,” Tim said. “I just got this shirt,” and he tugged at the front of his new green button-up.
“It’s a damn fine shirt,” Raylan told him. “You wear it well,” and he gave Tim a very unsettling once over before turning back to his own desk. “Try some air drumming instead. I hear it’s all the rage these days.”
Tim was about to say something clever in return, when the Atlanta office picked up on the other end and Tim went on to forget about the whole exchange. Mostly.
Paperwork was the worst, especially when it was the only thing he had to do all damn day and he was sure it was lovely outside - it didn’t look lovely from what he could see out the office windows, but Tim was sure it was lovely nonetheless - and he had to stay in the office, while Rachel gallivanted around chasing witnesses.
In hindsight, he should have seen his patience wearing thin long before the stream of curse words came spilling out of his mouth at that godforsaken piece of junk they called a coffee-maker.
“Tim, reign it in!” Art shouted from his open office.
“We need a new damn coffee machine in here, Art!” Tim shouted back. “One from this century would be nice!”
“File a request,” Art said, appearing in his doorway and giving Tim that expression that was like a smile even though the corners of his mouth were nowhere near turned up.
“I’ll file a request,” Tim mumbled to himself.
“Hmm, what was that now?” Art asked and Tim knew damn well Art understood exactly what he was muttering about.
“I’m going out,” Raylan said suddenly and stood up from his desk, sliding into his jacket in one smooth motion that, if he admitted it to himself, was often distracting for Tim to witness.
“How come he gets to go out?” Tim asked Raylan’s retreating back, but no one bothered to answer him.
An hour later Raylan came back and set a cup of coffee down on Tim’s desk. Tim looked up at him in confusion. He’d been told before that his confused-face looks a lot like all his other faces, but Tim wasn’t concerned enough to verify that for himself.
“It’s a French Roast,” Raylan said. “With a dark chocolate swizzle stick,” as if that was enough of an explanation.
“You brought me coffee?” Tim asked.
“French Roast,” Raylan said again.
“But it’s not Wednesday. You bring the coffee on Wednesday.”
“If you don’t want it,” Raylan started and reached to take the cup back.
“I didn’t say that,” Tim told him hurriedly and grabbed it up, clutched the cup of hot steaming liquid to his chest like he thought someone might spring out and grab it from him, a coffee thief waiting for just this exact moment to strike. Then he realized how ridiculous he looked clutching his coffee like that and forced his shoulders to relax.
“Uh, thanks,” he said and then, because Raylan was still just standing there looking at him, he tipped the cup towards the man in a small salute before taking a drink of the coffee in question. It was heaven, in a cup, and Tim couldn’t hold in the sigh of exquisite ecstasy that was pushing its way past his lips.
Raylan grunted at him then - there was no other way to describe the noise that came out of the man - and walked away and Tim went back to the deluge of paperwork on his desk. He figured it probably wasn’t that nice outside today anyways.
“Got a follow-up on that guy from yesterday,” Raylan said and Tim looked up to see the man standing next to his desk, coat and hat on, and Tim had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep hold of those little noises that were threatenin’ to escape at the sight of it all.
It had not alluded him that Raylan Givens was a good-looking man. It probably hadn’t alluded anyone, to be honest. Sometimes that made Tim jealous, but only sometimes.
“Wanna go for a ride, partner?” Raylan asked, eyes crinkled up at the corners in expectation.
“Uh, no,” Tim said, but it was more in protest to the use of the word ‘partner’ than it was to going for that ride, seein’ as how Tim was already slipping into his jacket.
“Art, we’re going out!” Raylan hollered over his shoulder.
“Be back in time for dinner,” Art shouted back and Tim felt one corner of his mouth tug upwards.
“He doesn’t even bother to ask where you’re going anymore, does he?”
Raylan shrugged and pushed the button for the elevator. “He knows I’m just gonna lie about it anyways.”
“Raylan Givens, you just have to be the bad boy, don’t you?”
Raylan tipped his hat at Tim with a leer. “Yeah, but I hear tell you like bad boys, Gutterson.” The elevator doors slid open and Raylan stepped inside with an added, “If you’d rather, I could try band geek on for size.”
Tim snorted through his nose. “I’d take that, just for the amusement of watching you try to play the trombone.”
“Well, I am good with my mouth,” Raylan said and Tim’s foot caught on the elevator carpet, which naturally sent him crashing into the back wall with absolutely no grace whatsoever.
Raylan was gentlemen enough about it not to say anything.
They rode down to the main level in absolute silence.
There was continuing silence in the car for about twenty minutes before Raylan abruptly said, “Do you want to listen to music?”
“Uh, sure,” Tim answered him after a beat, because he couldn’t remember a time he’d been in the car with Raylan where they hadn’t just rode in silence - companionable, but silence nonetheless.
“What’da you like? Music-wise?” Raylan asked him and Tim shrugged.
“Not crap,” Tim said, because that seemed like explanation enough. “You?”
“Yeah, not crap,” Raylan said. “No rap or punk or club music. You know, just music.”
“No punk, huh?” Tim said. “Now you’re just ruining all my images of you with a mohawk.”
“You honestly thought there was ever a time I had a mohawk?” Raylan asked and for a minute he had almost lost that bored persona he carried around with him everywhere.
Tim had been told he had an air of bored persona as well, but that was just because he was actually bored most of the time.
“Not so much, but I have a very vivid imagination.”
“And you use it to imagine me with a mohawk?” Raylan asked and when Tim didn’t answer - just looked ahead out the front windshield and pushed his tongue into his own cheek to keep quiet - Raylan went on, “You were one of them, weren’t you?”
“The people under the stairs?” Tim asked.
“Those kids. The ones with the eyeliner and the jet black hair.”
“You’re thinking of goths, not punks.”
“What’s the difference?” Raylan asked and it occurred to Tim that this was the longest conversation they’d ever had that wasn’t about a case.
“Punks are trying to change the world through revolution. Goths have given up on the world. They both drink a lot of coffee though, so that’s a bonus either way.”
“Huh,” Raylan said and then, “Which ones are emos again?”
Tim laid his head back on the seat and closed his eyes. “They’re the ones that look like giant birds.”
“It was a joke, Raylan.”
“Well, it was terrible,” Raylan said. “I think you need more coffee.”
“See, now that’s why I love you. Partner.”
Raylan didn’t reply and Tim figured that was the end of that conversation. A minute later Raylan turned the radio to some 70s rock station and neither of them spoke again until they were driving through a Starbucks and Raylan was asking him what he wanted.
“Why don’t you ever take me anywhere nice anymore?” Tim asked when they pulled up to the rambling shack - no other word for what it was - and put the car in park.
“What are you talking about? Last week I took you to a very nice church,” Raylan told him with mock-dismay.
“You shot a man in that church, Raylan.”
“Oh. Yeah. Still, this is a lovely little getaway in the mountains.”
“Mountain people tried to kill me yesterday.”
“All you do is complain anymore, Gutterson. I think the honeymoon must be over,” Raylan said and got out of the car with his hand on his holster.
“Oh good,” Tim muttered. “We’re starting out with our hands on our guns. That’s always a good sign.”
He got out and followed Raylan up to the front door. When Raylan nodded his head at Tim, he nodded in return and went around to the back door - back window, as it turned out this place had no back door.
Tim counted it out from the second Raylan knocked on the front door until the back window came open - three whole seconds, but the window was kind of high up and he figured their suspect had to climb on the table just to reach the damn thing, so it wasn’t fair to take marks off for that. He would, however, be taking marks off for the way the man struggled to fit though the window and then fell face-first into the ground upon landing. Tim pushed himself up from where he had been casually leaning against the back of the shack and pulled his gun.
“Hi there,” he said to the man. “US marshal. Why don’t you just go ahead and put your hands up?”
The man continued to lay on the ground and moan.
“Hey Raylan!” Tim shouted. “I got you a present.”
Raylan came around the corner at a leisurely pace and looked down at the poor sucker on the ground. “You always get me the nicest things.”
Tim remembered Raylan’s last birthday, when he’d bought the man a bacon and cheddar sub sandwich for lunch. To be honest, Raylan would probably rather have a fugitive.
Tim would take the sandwich though.
Their suspect - who turned out to be wanted on several counts of home robbery aside from being present at a murder - was tucked away in the backseat of the car, while Tim and Raylan leaned against the hood and waited for the locals to show up and take him off their hands.
They had other places to go today and their window-jumper was not welcome to join them.
“We’re getting lunch after this,” Tim said suddenly, though not so suddenly to the way his stomach was literally growling at him.
“Yeah. I know this great place…”
“Let me stop you right there,” Tim said and held up a hand in Raylan’s general direction. “No more local back-road food from some guy you went to high school with. We’re not doing that.”
“Yesterday you complained about the drive-thru.”
“Doesn’t anyone around here just eat regular food?”
“On Monday you ate a salad for lunch,” Raylan told him. “Just a salad. How is that food unless you’re a rabbit?”
“For one,” Tim told him and held up his finger, “I’m a little creeped out that you know what I ate for lunch on Monday. And for two,” and he added another finger to the mix, “if I eat salad for lunch, then I can eat beer for dinner. Just beer.”
“Yeah, that’s not how that works,” Raylan told him, but Tim wasn’t listening anymore.
He was almost completely certain he’d seen movement to the right. Which would be in the trees. Off the road.
“Hey now,” Tim said and shifted a little, hand moving casually to his gun. “My Spidey senses are a’tingling.”
The change in Raylan would have been almost imperceptible to most people, but Tim saw it out of the corner of his eye. The subtle shift in stance, so that Raylan had his feet properly under him, the way his hand pushed back his jacket for better access to his weapon.
“Where’s that now?” Raylan asked and Tim shifted nothing but his eyes when he answered, “To our right. About fifty yards in.”
“I’m gonna go for a little stroll,” Raylan said casually, like he was just popping into the woods to take a piss.
He pushed off the car and made it about four steps from the vehicle before the shot fired off.
Tim hit the ground in a roll and came up on the balls of his feet. Raylan made one long diving leap back towards the car and Tim followed him. He yanked the backdoor open and pulled their suspect out, face-first onto the ground - his seemingly favorite place to be - while the man screamed complete jibberish into the air.
It took five whole heartbeats before Tim realized they were words.
“Don’t shoot her! Don’t shoot her!”
“Then tell her to stop shootin’ at us!” Raylan hollered at him, as two more bullets fired into the side of the car.
“Don’t shoot, baby, don’t shoot!” the man hollered out and stood up, waving his arms around like a jacked up kid at a discotech.
“Get down here,” Tim said and yanked the man back to the ground. There was blood on the back of the man’s jacket.
“You can’t shoot her. She’s pregnant,” their suspect told them earnestly.
“You’d be surprised who Raylan will shoot,” Tim said, but figured Raylan didn’t think it was so funny, if the look he gave Tim was anything to go by.
“Tell her to put her gun down and come out,” Raylan said, like everyone else was stupid for not thinking of it sooner.
“Baby, just put your gun down and come out!” the man hollered.
There was a second of silence and then a response of, “But they’ll take us in!”
“Better’n bein’ dead,” the man said and Tim couldn’t see from his spot what was happening, but Raylan got up in a crouch and peeked around, then said, “Stay here,” and, “Keep your hands up!”
Tim tried to reach for his gun - always got to have Raylan’s back - but his arm suddenly felt heavy and he leaned against the car door, the adrenaline seeping out of him in a rush.
“Hey buddy, you alright?” the man asked him and Tim forced his hand up to curl around his gun, keep it safe, keep it from getting snatched and used to shoot Raylan Givens in the very back Tim was suppose to be watching.
“Hey!” the man shouted. “Hey, Marshal Guy! I think your partner’s been shot!”
“Goddamit, Raylan,” Tim muttered to the ground. “No one was suppose to shoot at me today.”
And then he promptly blacked out.
He woke up in an ambulance, which was both a relief and completely disconcerting at the same time. Raylan was in the back with him, and for a brief moment while no one noticed his eyes were open, there was nothing for Tim to do but stare at the other man’s profile.
Raylan looked tired. And grim. Not in his usual angry-got-to-shoot-a-man kind of way, but more like someone who had just watched their house burn down in front of them. Tim knew that look all too well. He’d seen it on the faces of enough of his friends to know he never wanted to see it on Raylan’s.
“Well, guess who’s rejoined us?” a voice said, then there was light in Tim’s eyes and a figure looming over him. “Agent Gutterson, just try to stay relaxed. You’re alright.”
“Deputy US Marshal,” Tim croaked out and then the light was gone and the voice had a face to go with it; a young 20-something man with red curly hair and two sparkling green eyes, staring straight down at him.
“Alright then, Deputy US Marshal. Just try to relax. You passed out from the shock, but you’re gonna be alright.”
“Our shooter?” Tim asked and turned his head to look at Raylan.
Raylan was just sitting there next to him, staring straight at Tim with such an intense look on his face that Tim thought he might pass out again from that alone.
“She’s lucky she’s pregnant, is all I’m sayin’ about that,” Raylan offered after a beat. “Locals took ‘em both in for us.”
“Good,” Tim said. “Good,” and then went right on ahead and passed out again.
He woke up the next time in the hospital and there was a bright white light over him and Raylan was nowhere to be found. Instead there was a nurse - not unattractive in the least, if one was into that kind of thing - checking the machines next to his bed.
He meant to ask for water or ask what happened to him or ask for some pain killers, but instead what came out was, “Raylan?”
“What’s that now, hun?” she asked and gave him a sweet smile.
“Went to get some coffee,” she said. “How are you feeling?”
“Like I’ve been shot,” Tim told her and let his eyes fall closed. He suddenly didn’t want to waste any effort talking to this person.
“Well, that’ll do it,” she said. “I’ll go get your doctor.”
She left the room and Tim didn’t open his eyes again until he felt someone standing next to his bed. Raylan had that my-house-just-burned-down look on his face again and Tim suddenly wanted to take the man’s hand and clutch it to himself like he had that cup of French Roast this morning. So long ago this morning.
“Where’s mine?” he asked instead and let his eyes fall to Raylan’s cup of coffee.
“You were unconscious,” Raylan said and then, “I’ll get you one if you want.”
“Naw. Water though,” Tim said and it felt like each word was dragging out of him in slow motion. Someone was giving him the good drugs, after all.
Raylan poured from a container next to the bed and brought Tim a cup of ice water with a little straw sticking out of it. Tim reminded himself three times that he had been shot before he could bring himself to sip from a straw in front of Raylan Givens.
“Where’d they get me?” he asked, once he had resettled himself on the pillows.
Truth be told, he had clearly been in shock back at the car and now he was too doped up to even hazard a guess as to where the bullet went in.
“Clavicle and-or shoulder area,” Raylan said and reached out to touch the side of Tim’s face, soft and hesitant, before turning Tim’s head just enough to show him where the bandages were on his right side. “Half an inch down and it’d have pierced your lungs.”
“Oh,” Tim said, mostly because he was too tired to react much to anything, but at least partially because Raylan was still touching his face.
“Yeah,” Raylan said and took his hand back, sat down in the plastic chair next to Tim’s bed.
“They get it out?”
“It got itself out. Must have been that Batman-like roll you did after you got hit.”
“Good then,” Tim said and closed his eyes again.
“You good?” Raylan asked and Tim nodded, one small short jerk.
“Just tired,” and then, “You’ll be here when I wake up?”
“Yeah,” Raylan said and Tim felt a hand curl around his arm, just under his elbow. “Yeah, I’ll be right here. Partner.”
Tim was asleep before Raylan could say anything else.
The next time Tim woke up, Raylan was asleep in the chair next to his bed, legs sprawled out in front of him, head rolled to the side. If he squinted, Tim could swear he saw drool on the side of the man’s face.
It was actually a little endearing, if somewhat different from Raylan’s usual standard level of hotness.
Tim tried to reach for his cup of water, groaned, and fell back onto the pillows. He didn’t have to look over to know he had woken Raylan.
“Sorry, man,” he said and Raylan sat up and stretched his back.
“Naw, don’t worry about it. There was just nothin’ on the TV but that Judge Judy show. Reprehensible stuff.”
“American classic,” Tim said and when he caught Raylan giving him a side-eye, countered with, “Not that I watch that crap.”
“It’s clearly the drugs talkin’,” Raylan said.
“That’s what I’m sayin’,” Tim told him and smiled at the man.
Raylan chuckled, that soft little laugh that he always did under his breath, and something inside of Tim hurt. Maybe it was where he had been shot. He had to keep remindin’ himself that he’d been shot.
“You’re a sight, you know that?” Raylan said and reached over to smooth down Tim’s hair. “It’s actually kind of cute.”
“Flirting with a man in a hospital bed is just sad,” Tim told him, but let himself press into Raylan’s hand for a brief moment. He could always blame it on the drugs later.
“I’m sorry I got you shot,” Raylan said then and let his hand fall back into his lap.
“I’m goin’ to say that this time it wasn’t actually your fault,” Tim told him. “Of course, I’ll vehemently deny sayin’ that if anyone asks.”
“Naturally,” Raylan said.
“When do I get out of here?” Tim asked then, eyes falling closed once again.
“Most likely when you can stay awake for longer than five minutes at a time,” Raylan told him.
“The five minute rule? That’s hospital policy? I can totally do that,” he said and forced his eyes open again.
Raylan was staring at him with that intense look on his face and something else that Tim didn’t want to think about too much.
“Go to sleep, Tim,” Raylan said and brought his hand up to curl around Tim’s own. “Go to sleep.”
The next time he woke up, Tim actually managed to stay awake for a whole half an hour. Art was in his room then and Tim tried to recount what had happened as best he could recall, but truth be told, all he could really remember was the way Raylan had been lookin’ at him in the ambulance.
He figured it was best to omit that part from the official record.
“I promise, you get back on your feet and I’ll make Rachel do all the Raylan-partnering for awhile,” Art told him before he left the room.
“I’d appreciate that,” Tim said, even though honestly he was a little jealous to think of Raylan directin’ all that attention Rachel’s way.
He really had to get a hold of himself.
Raylan came back in the room as soon as Art left, two cups of coffee in his hand, and Tim found himself reaching out for one of them before Raylan was even bedside again.
“You don’t have to stay,” Tim told him, as Raylan handed over the coffee.
“Got nowhere better to be,” Raylan said.
“Gee, thanks,” Tim deadpanned and then took a sip of the coffee. It zinged through him in a hot flash of ecstasy. “Oh my god,” he muttered and looked over to find Raylan smiling at him with the expression of a mischievous little boy.
“Irish,” Raylan said and glanced sideways to make sure no nurses could hear them. “Thought you might be in need.”
“Oh, this is gonna go great with the pain killers,” Tim said.
“If you’re gonna complain,” Raylan started, but Tim just shook him off.
“No complaints here. Except for the whole ‘getting shot’ thing. That kind of sucked.”
“Naturally,” Raylan said.
“You really don’t have to stay,” Tim told him again and Raylan just shrugged.
“I figure the nurses’ll kick me out eventually. Then I suppose I’ll have to go do the paperwork on this, since you’re going to use that whole ‘I got shot’ thing as an excuse to get out of it.”
“I did get shot,” Tim said and when he looked over this time, Raylan’s expression had turned back to that intense stare that made Tim shiver all the way through his body
Or that may have been the alcohol. Probably the alcohol.
“You gotta stop it,” Raylan said then. “Gettin’ shot.”
“I’m workin’ on it,” Tim told him and closed his eyes.
He was almost asleep again when Raylan said, “Hey, Gutterson. Don’t scare me like that again,” and then his fingers were curling over Tim’s own and Tim was falling asleep in a warm haze.
When he woke the next time, Raylan was gone.
When Tim got released from the hospital, Raylan gave him a ride home. Tim leaned his head back against the passenger side seat and closed his eyes. He could feel Raylan’s gaze on him most of the way home, which was a little disconcerting considerin’ Raylan’s eyes were suppose to be on the road.
Raylan followed him up to his apartment and Tim fumbled with the key in the lock. He didn’t often have people inside and he tried to remember what sort of state he had left the place in, but his brain felt all fuzzy and Raylan was warm at his back and Tim just couldn’t bring himself to care.
A hand reached around him from behind then, curled over his fumbling fingers, helping him slide the key into place.
“I got shot,” Tim said by way of excuse, though honestly it was probably all the pain pills doing their job.
Well that or the way Raylan was now pressed against him from behind, chest to Tim’s back, mouth pressed to the side of Tim’s head, Raylan’s laughter brushing its way through Tim’s hair.
“Let’s get you inside,” Raylan said and Tim stumbled his way into the apartment. It didn’t look as bad as Tim had thought it would, though he was with it enough to know there wasn’t going to be any food in the fridge. Which was just as well, since the thought of eating was making Tim’s stomach roll.
“Can I do anything for you?” Raylan asked. “Want me to stay?”
“Naw,” Tim said, kicking off his shoes. “I’m just gonna crash.”
“Alright then,” Raylan said, but he seemed reluctant to go. “I’ll call and check on you later, see if you need anything.”
“Coffee,” Tim told him with a half-hearted grunt. He wanted it now actually, but he knew he’d never stay awake long enough to drink it.
Raylan laughed. “Yeah. Coffee. Got that. Maybe some food too?”
“Maybe,” Tim said and slid out of the flannel shirt he was wearing, dropping it to the floor, his undershirt rising up momentarily as the flannel slid from his shoulders.
Raylan was still standing in his apartment, watching him, so Tim raised an eyebrow at the man and said, “I’m takin’ my pants off now, Raylan. You wanna watch?”
“Well,” Raylan started and then tilted his head at Tim with a leer.
Tim sighed. “Get out of my apartment, Raylan.”
Raylan chuckled that ‘under the breath’ laugh of his that made Tim’s insides swirl, before heading for the door.
“If you need anything,” Raylan said and he was lingering there, in the doorway, that same soft look of ‘something else’ on his face that he had given Tim before, in the hospital, that made Tim want to look away.
But Tim was tired now. Tired of not taking chances. At least, not the ones that mattered. Tired of not getting what he wanted. Just tired.
He took two steps toward Raylan and grabbed the front of the man’s jacket.
“If I need anything,” Tim said and pulled Raylan in close, “I know who to call.”
He could see the way Raylan’s eyes dilated at the motion and Tim swallowed hard around it.
“One thing I do need though,” he said then, voice cracked and broken.
“Yeah? What’s that?” Raylan asked, voice just as raw as Tim’s own.
Tim almost smiled and then he was pulling Raylan Givens into him, crushing their mouths together and there was a flood of adrenaline through his body that made Tim shiver against Raylan’s chest.
Raylan’s tongue pushed its way past Tim’s lips and Tim let him in, let Raylan put his hands around Tim’s waist and press their bodies together and Tim knew what he wanted, but nothing in his limbs seemed to be working right and his legs suddenly felt like rubber bands and he had to push back against Raylan’s chest.
“Got what you needed?” Raylan asked him, breath coming in short little bursts.
“I hope so,” Tim answered, barely audible as his energy seeped from his body and spilled out beneath him. He gestured back towards his room. “I gotta sleep though.”
“Yeah,” Raylan said and he seemed almost, possibly, a little uncertain.
“Bring me coffee later,” Tim said and it came out like an order, so he added, “Partner,” to the end of it and watched Raylan smirk at him.
“Bring you somethin’ else, if you want it,” Raylan said and Tim snorted at him.
“Get out of my apartment, Raylan,” he said, but for once in his life, Tim couldn’t stop the smile that slid across his face.
“Art, this thing is a piece of crap!” Tim hollered.
“File a request!” Art hollered back.
“I got shot and you can’t even go out and get me a decent coffee-maker. Where’s the love, man?”
“Hey,” a voice said, interrupting Tim’s fit of coffee-withdrawal rage.
There was a warm body pressed up against his side then, as casual as could be to any passerby’s eyes, and when Tim turned his head, Raylan was giving him that half-lidded gaze that had come to be the bane of Tim’s existence.
“Brought you somethin’,” Raylan said and handed over a cup of coffee. “Vanilla almond,” Raylan told him and Tim made a noise that even he had to recognize was pornographic.
“Oh, you know the way to my heart,” Tim said and Raylan chuckled against his ear.
“You can do me a favor later then,” Raylan told him, voice rough and low.
Tim shrugged. “Alright. But you have to do all the work. I was shot, you know.”
But, to be honest, getting shot may have worked out in Tim’s favor. Just this once.