vanillafluffy: (Justified -- Boyd/Raylan)
[personal profile] vanillafluffy
The Harlan County Fairgrounds has sprung from the fields overnight. Whirling rides, flashing lights and colorful booths compete in a cacophany of over-amplified music and hucksters urging fair-goers to "Step right up!"

Amid the crowds, Boyd broods. This year, he is alone; last year, he'd come with Ava. Barring his deployment, he can't recall the last time he missed the county fair, and simple solitude isn't going to dissuade him. There are ample ghosts to keep him company.

Some memories bring an unconscious smile to his lips. Johnny and him playing matador in a pen of Four-H calves, going to the hoochie-cooch show with Raylan back before either of them was old enough to shave. Less auspicious are recollections of his father, always drunk at the fair, fighting or furious about losing all his money on the midway, playing games of chance that even a ten-year old knew were for suckers.

The air is perfumed with diesel fumes and cotton candy, hot dogs, cheap aftershave and a whiff of manure from the Agriculture pavilion. "Tell your fortue, mister?" a woman lounging in front of a gaudy tent suggests. "Only twenty dollars."

Well, why not? Not that he actually believes in such foolishness, but it might be amusing. Right now, Boyd is a man in dire need of amusement.

He peels a twenty from a roll of greenbacks as he steps into the tent. The interior is festooned with a few strings of white Christmas lights. Two folding chairs face each other across a card table. The woman, about his age, with a hairstyle that's straight from the '80's, tucks the bill into her clevage and indicates one of the chairs.

"What would you like to know about?" the fortuneteller asks him once they're seated.

If he had any faith at all in this hocus-pocus, he might ask about Ava's fate, or for advice about how to handle Johnny, or any of a number of nuisances that threaten his interests. But he's not that gullible, and certainly isn't going to confide his business to this Breakfast Club dropout.

He thinks of Raylan--not the boyhood friend who'd been up for any mischief, but the law-and-order version who's forgotten how to have fun, who seems to exist now only to thwart him. "Tell me about my friend," he says to the woman. "Is there any hope of things going back to the way they used to be?"

She has Boyd cut a deck of cards and begins dealing them face-down onto the table in a pattern he can't discern. When she has them arranged to her satisfaction, she begins turning them over, seemingly at random.

"A very old friend indeed," she says, studying the picture. "Since you were boys, yes? You were as one, like brothers. But Cain and Abel were also brothers, and yet one slew the other."

Indeed, Raylan had slain him, shot him in the chest in cold blood, and whatever entity, benevolent or malign that had spared him had brought him back from deep darkness to do so.

"Your friend...he is quarrelsome, it is his nature. He is like a knight who leads the charge into battle, whatever battle that may be...". The fortune-teller's voice is soft, as if she's reading a bed-time story. "He is a warrior...he is War"

Raylan is War? That would explain a lot, not that he puts any stock in such mumbo-jumbo, but it certainly is the distraction he'd come in here seeking.

"Death has touched you," she continues dreamily. "It's all around you. Friends, loved ones...all corrupted by this darkness. You are Death ..."

"Excuse me?" Boyd says sharply, and the fortune-teller blinks as if she's forgotten he was there. "That's a hell of a thing to tell a man!"

She seems bewildered. "I'm sorry, what?"

He doesn't think of himself as a superstitious person, but the shiver that ran down his back...his mama would've said someone just walked over his grave.

"Your friend," the would-be psychic says, as if he'd just asked the question. She peers at the cards in front of her, a little notch appearing between her brows. "You were close long're still close. You're two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other, but sometimes, you're too much alike and so there's conflict."

"Any suggestions?" he asks, an edge to his voice. True, he has killed people here and there, but he isn't exactly the Grim Reaper.

"Light is the answer to darkness," she says simply.

Whatever the hell that means. He stands up to leave, and she says, "That will be twenty dollars, please."

Boyd absently fishes a twenty out of his pocket for her, and gets out of there before she can say anything else. He's well away down the raucous midway before he realizes he's been suckered.

(From a prompt:

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