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fight or wait

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The office is buzzing with activity, with strangers, when Raylan steps out of the elevator, and he doesn't even make it to his desk before Art's calling Raylan and Tim into his office and shutting the door behind him. He doesn't close the shades, and Raylan can't be sure if that's a mercy or not. Tim sits when Art gestures for him to. Raylan doesn't, and Art sighs. Unsurprisingly.

"You make my job harder, Raylan," he says. "I hope you know that." And then he turns to Tim. "And you, you need to stop letting him be a bad influence on you. Barring that, you can at least stop making a mockery of your badge in my direct line of sight." Raylan opens his mouth to explain, again, and Art cuts him off with a sharp Ah-ah sound, like you'd yell at a cat after a pitcher of milk on a countertop. Tim apparently has the better sense to keep his mouth shut, but Raylan can't look over to check on him.

Art deflates into his desk chair. "It's obvious that you two have a world's weight of Daddy issues between you, and as much as I may feel like handing down a whupping from time to time, I am not your Daddy. So go," Art makes a shooing motion towards the door. "Unless you are giving a deposition, and I pray to God that neither of you feel called to try to be honest about it, I don't want to see you in this building, or anywhere else, until I have a chance to resolve this mess. Try not to stumble across any fugitives on your way to wherever the hell is not here."

Tim finds Raylan on the Friday that also happens to be three days after Lindsey's given up trying to do anything but pour Raylan's drinks.

Tim's got to have better places to drink. Even Raylan would have better places to drink if he weren't living above this one, and Tim's never ceased to give off the impression that he's comfortable around people, strangers, in ways that Raylan just isn't built to be.

"Hell of a thing," Tim says. Raylan toasts him with his current glass, and signals Lindsey to bring another and keep them coming. She doesn't trust him with the bottle anymore, either.

"When you've got a calling," Tim says, "I've found you don't often have the blessing of choosing your colleagues. I have worked with idiots and with mean sons of bitches. Luckily more of the latter, than the former, but not by much."

Raylan grunts. "Arlo has the distinction of being both by turns."

Tim doesn't disagree with him, and Lindsey finally delivers his glass and tops Raylan off. Tim doesn't say anything else through the first drink, which he damn near shoots, or the second, which he sips at a more reasonable pace. He's more successful at keeping his back to the door than Raylan typically manages, but he keeps his eyes on the mirror more often than not. Sometimes he looks at Raylan like he's about to speak, or like he's expecting Raylan to. Doesn't take long for that expecting to bear fruit, but Raylan's half-surprised to realize that he maybe wants to talk to Tim, for Tim to be the one to hear this. It's likely that he's drunker or lonelier than he'd thought, and he keeps his gaze focused on his hands and the bourbon sloshing in the tumbler he's holding.

"Boyd's got my whole life now. Always had, I guess, always had the life I left behind me in Harlan, but now he's got my... he's got Ava, and he's got Arlo."

Tim lets the statement hang for a long moment, unremarked. Raylan has no plan to look up and see if anything is written in Tim's expression, or his own in the mirror. "Unless he's suddenly taken up with Winona as well," Tim says, "you've got a thing or two of your own life yet."

Raylan looks up sharply at that, and his vision swims for a second before he realizes that Tim isn't looking at him. Tim's scanning the room again, as reflected in the mirror, but he turns when he notices Raylan's attention.

He doesn't know Winona's left him again, of course he doesn't, because Raylan hadn't told him, hadn't told anyone. He'd kept that secret so close, except for Art, who come to think of it, might be a bit more of a father figure than Raylan had previously realized. It's too much, Boyd, and Arlo and Winona and every missed opportunity of the past twenty-some years, he hadn't meant to give that much away, but there's still time to walk them back to solid ground.

"I expect Boyd would take a liking to polygamy if the thought occurred to him," Raylan says, with a hint of a smile that's not all for show. "It's got that questionably biblical ring that so appeals to him. Ava wouldn't abide it, of course, so it wouldn't do. Boyd's not often a fool, and he's definitely not enough of a fool to go against Ava."

Somewhere near round ten or eleven - for Tim, Raylan's long since lost count of his own - Tim sets down his glass with purpose and turns on his stool so that he's facing Raylan. He's got one foot on the rail under the bar, and the other on the bottom rung of Raylan's seat.

"How come you ain't asked about my daddy issues?" he asks. It comes out different than Tim's usual, and as a passable imitation of Art, which Raylan could do without, as close to him as Tim is sitting.

Raylan swallows hard, thankful that he'd been paying attention and not drinking when Tim spoke.

"I suspect," Raylan says, reluctant to give voice to the answer, "I've already caused enough trouble where I'm not wanted."

Tim considers him for moment, steady as can be expected and Raylan does his best to meet Tim's eyes, but then Tim leans in, not quite close enough to be intrusive, and Raylan has to look away.

He can just feel Tim's breath against his cheek, and his gaze flicks up reflexively, checking if anyone's paying them any mind. His heart's doing its best to beat out of his chest, up in his throat and drop into his shoes, all at once.

"How would you like to cause some trouble where you are?"

"How come you haven't asked about my daddy issues?" Tim asks again. This time, though, there's a solid door shut between them and the rest of the world, and Raylan's hat is on the back of the chair where they can't accidentally crush it.

"I thought you might not be done runnin' yet," he says.

When Raylan wakes up the next morning, he's under the sheet in nothing but his undershirt and briefs, and there's a glass of water and a bottle of aspirin on the table next to his head. Tim is passed out on the bed next to him, shirt untucked and boots still on.