A/N: This story picks up right after Deacon learns that Maddie is his daughter in season 1. It creates an AU from there with no car accident involving Rayna (literally no car accident whatsoever… ever, at any point in time). Should be approximately 4 chapters to this one.
Deacon sat at the bar, the alcohol in the glass heavy in his hand. He could smell it, and it smelled exactly like the night before his fifth trip to rehab. He brought it to his nose and inhaled sharply, feeling the burn in the back of his throat—he wanted to feel that burn going down his throat to settle in his stomach. He wanted to feel the heat spread from his stomach into the rest of his body, seep into his pores. He wanted to feel it take over his brain so he didn't have to think, so he didn't have to feel.
He brought it to his lips, closed his eyes, and started to lift it.
Thirteen fucking years she'd been lying to him. Looking at him every day, lying to him. All that time he'd thought there was something between them, turns out the only thing that had been between them was a damn lie. And not just any lie, the kind of lie so big and so deep that when its revealed you wonder if you'll even be able to survive it.
Maddie was his. That sweet little girl he used to bounce on his knee in between sets when she wouldn't stop fussing was his little girl, and he never even knew it, no one bothered to tell him. A thousand moments raced through his mind, and then memories he didn't even have started playing—a first birthday party, a scraped knee, a bouncy house just because, a bike without training wheels, washing dishes on a stepstool, playing with sudsy water at bath time.
He didn't have any of these memories because Rayna and Teddy had stolen them from him. The thought made him livid. He had a baby girl, but she wasn't a baby anymore—he'd missed out on that part.
His eyes were closed as he felt the liquor hit his lips, and he began to open his mouth to let it in when suddenly he saw Maddie's sweet face on his doorstep, screwed up in pain, tears running down her cheeks. He saw her wide eyes staring back at him from behind her big glasses, and he dropped the glass from his mouth, wiped his lips on his sleeve. He fought the urge to lick his lips—just one taste to calm his nerves.
Deacon set the glass back down on the bar, his fingers still gripping it hard. He thought about Maddie getting hurt at that concert, how he stayed with her in the hospital holding her hand like her Uncle Deacon. He didn't get to hold her hand like her father because Rayna and Teddy had stolen that from him, too.
Deacon shook his head and clenched his teeth, realization dawning on him. Teddy was so damn in love with Rayna back then he'd have buried a body for her with no questions asked. So of course he went along with it—he got to play father to Rayna's daughter, husband to her wife. No, the person who had done this to him, the person who had stolen his daughter from him was the only woman he'd ever loved. As much as he hated that smug bastard with his trust fund and stupid suits and ties, this wasn't Teddy's fault.
It was Rayna's fault. Rayna, who just last week stood on his porch and told him she loved him, that she had always loved him. Rayna, who just last week slid into his bed, let him slide into her over and over again until she came with his name on her lips, until he came with her name on his.
It was Rayna's fucking fault, and that truth made him see red. Before he knew what he was doing, he roughly picked up the scotch glass, a bit of the liquid inside sloshing on his jacket and soaking in to the fabric. He wound his arm back and threw it hard against the back wall of the bar, right into the glass shelving that held the array of different liquors. Bottles of alcohol broke as glass smashed against glass and clattered to the floor, liquor slipping out, the antiseptic-like smell immediately overwhelming to the senses.
"Hey, what the fuck?" The old man behind the bar screamed at Deacon.
Deacon's gaze was hot and rage-filled, "Sorry." His voice was hard. He grabbed a cocktail napkin and a pen and scribbled a number on it. "Call this number. Ask for Rayna. She'll pay for the damage." Deacon stood up from the bar, "She owes me one." He said. Or a fucking thousand.
He sat in his truck in the parking lot of the bar, trying to talk himself out of going back in and taking a drink. He started his truck up and backed out of the parking lot, driving down the dark road. He didn't know where he was going, but he was sure getting there fast—he drove past the first diner he ever took her to, remembering how they laughed over a shared slice of lemon meringue pie. The memory pissed him off. He shook his head; that was new.
Deacon wasn't surprised when he found himself rolling up to Rayna's gate, entering the password, and driving his truck up the drive. He shot out of his truck and knocked on the door, his fist falling heavy and hard. He wasn't sure who he was hoping would answer the door—Teddy he would probably beat the living shit out of, but if it was Rayna, he was afraid of what he would say—and of what he wouldn't say.
Rayna opened the door, and Deacon fixed her with an icy stare.
"Hey, we need to talk." He told her, his voice rough.
Rayna glanced back inside, then back at him, "Now's not really a good time, Deacon." Her voice was gentle but firm.
Deacon smirked, "Well, that's too fucking bad, Rayna, because now wasn't a really good time for me to discover that you've been lying to me for thirteen fucking years, so we need to talk."
Rayna stepped onto her porch and shut the door quietly behind her. When she got close to him, Deacon stepped away.
"You smell like booze." She observed, her voice a rough whisper.
"I didn't drink, Rayna." Deacon's voice was terse, "I held a glass in my hand for a fucking hour, but I didn't drink." He brought his hand up to his head and roughly ran it through his hair. "You owe a barman a couple hundred dollars by the way, so expect a phone call about that."
Rayna raised her eyebrows, but she didn't speak. She'd seen him like this enough to know that she couldn't cut his anger off at the pass.
Deacon's eyes were wild and full of rage when he looked at her. He raised his index finger, jutting it out at her, "You should have told me, Rayna." He brought his lips back from his teeth, trying not to cry, "You should have told me I have a little girl."
Rayna swallowed, "When?"
Deacon scoffed, "Yesterday. Last week. Last month. Last year. Her fourth birthday. When you found out you were fucking pregnant."
Rayna's voice was unsteady when she spoke, "You didn't even remember our night together, Deacon… I thought I was protecting her. I thought I was protecting you."
Deacon stepped towards her then, and Rayna stepped slightly back. "Oh, no. Don't do that, Rayna. Don't you fucking do that. I can see it all over your face, you know what you done was wrong." Deacon let out a ragged breath and ran a hand down his face, "God, you would have never even told me, would you? You would have been in my bed tonight, screaming my name, lying to me about my daughter."
Rayna felt herself flush as she shifted her gaze down to his shoes, unable to look him in the eye.
Deacon realized now why she'd seemed so off when they'd first rekindled things. "Look at me." Rayna's eyes snapped up to his, "Is that why you didn't tell me before you came crawling into my bed, Rayna? Because you knew I'd never touch you again if I knew?" Deacon sneered, "Or is it because you knew I'd never forgive you?" He narrowed his eyes at her, "Or both?"
Rayna had years of practice when it came to weathering his anger, but this time it felt different. This time it was different. She deserved it this time. She felt her stomach in her throat, and she felt like she might not be able to breathe. He was, she knew, trying to hurt her. It worked.
Rayna's voice was quiet when she spoke, "Yes." Her voice was wobbly, but she spoke anyway, "I didn't tell you for all of those reasons. And for one more: because I love you."
Deacon flinched at her words, "You don't lie to the people you love, Rayna."
Rayna let out a sad smile, "Really?" Her voice was so low he had to lean forward to hear it.
He knew she was thinking about every lie he ever told her when in the next breath he told her he loved her. But this was not her night to dig up the past and throw it back at him and she knew it.
He stared at her, the rage coming off him in palpable waves, "I'll never forgive you for keeping her from me, Rayna. Not ever."
Rayna folded her arms over her chest and looked at him, "And I understand that Deacon, I get it, and you've made it very clear," She spoke evenly, not giving away any of the myriad of emotions coursing through her, "But this really isn't about you or me right now, this is about Maddie." She dropped her voice to a whisper, "And right now, she's in there very upset and hurt. I don't know what she's going to want from Teddy, from me, from you… from us."
Deacon dropped his head—us. He'd waited fourteen years for Rayna to use that word, and now here she was using it, and instead of happy he felt sick.
He nodded, the thought of Maddie calming his anger, "Okay." He brought his gaze up to meet her eyes, "Whatever Maddie wants from me, I'll give it to her." His meaning was clear—whatever Maddie wants. Not you.
He spun on his heel and walked back to his truck. As he drove away, he glanced up at the porch, expecting Rayna to be back inside. Instead, she was watching him drive away, her arms wrapped around her stomach. He couldn't tell if she was crying, but she looked so different from the girl he first met. She looked like someone he didn't even know, someone he'd never even met.
As he fell asleep that night, for the first time he could remember he didn't think about Rayna. Only one thought repeated in his mind like a bright blinking banner: I have a daughter.