Author's Note: I do not own Justified or any of E.L.'s characters. This is a long involved story. Read at your own risk. If anyone, at any point, feels that this should have an 'M' rating, just let me know and I will change it pronto - no questions asked, no explanation needed.
We all know that Raylan is busy in Harlan, we watch it all during the regular season. This is how Tim and Rachel keep busy when they're not passing him files or providing cultural lubrication for his investigations. Long live the minor characters.
Charlie is named in honor of 50ftQueenie. Stereotypes unite, and take over the fan fiction world.
Incorrect facts are my fault, feel free to comment. I live to learn.
If I've used your name for an original character it was COMPLETELY accidental, and it means it's cool - be proud.
This is fiction - suspension of disbelief is required.
My eternal respect to any war veterans.
Thank you to RedMolly for fact checking and lol's. More guns.
Roll to your Rifle – Chapter One
Once Charlie Bremner had accepted the fact that his wife, Sheila, was going deaf, he started to enjoy it. He would slip quietly out of bed before 6am and have the house to himself for a brief time. He would brew himself a nice strong pot of coffee, add a little something without Sheila knowing, and sit out on the porch enjoying the Kentucky morning. He and Sheila had moved into the house right after they were married and had lived there ever since. He loved it, loved the porch, loved the early Kentucky autumn. They would have to carry him off his property feet first. Nothing changed, nothing happened. It was peaceful, just what he wished for at his age.
He finished his first cup of coffee, pulled himself out of the porch chair and headed into the kitchen for a second, with a little something extra. He let the screen door go too soon and it thudded onto the frame. He paused, listening for movement from the bedroom but all was quiet. The squeaky springs on the bed, the click of the bedroom door latch, the coffee brewing, the clinking of his mug on the counter, nothing disturbed her anymore unless he shook her awake or the dogs started barking.
He was reaching for the bourbon when the dogs started barking. He lumbered over to the back door as fast as he could, unlatched it and stepped out onto the stoop.
"Roger, Frieda," he half-whispered, half-shouted, "stop it!"
The two dogs were on the edge of the yard fighting over something that was too interesting for them to pay heed to their master. He stomped down the steps and marched over, repeating his commands and interjecting a few good curses.
"Goddamned dogs!" he growled. When he got close enough he grabbed Frieda by the collar and reached over for Roger. He yanked them apart. The object they'd been bickering over fell out of Roger's mouth at his feet. It was an arm, or at least part of one, the part with the hand on it.
"Jesus Christ!" he cursed again and staggered backwards. He turned and ran as fast as he could back to the house yelling for Sheila.
Tim's cell phone buzzed twice on the kitchen table then stopped. He reached over and flipped the phone right side up, peered at the display and smiled. He'd met a marine at sniper school, also from Kentucky and, like him, with no family. The two of them had trained together, bonded over bourbon, crossed paths once or twice on a dusty base in "the suck" as the marines liked to say, raised hell on leave and called it quits about the same time in the same year. Tim had filed the necessary papers, been debriefed, received his DD214 and an honorable discharge and headed back home.
His buddy however had left with style. He was hit with mortar fire near the Durand Line, somewhere in that grey area that was Afghanistan one day and Pakistan the next depending on the need. He was medivaced and later buried at Arlington cemetery. But through it all he'd kept in touch, texting Tim a couple of times a year. He'd even driven to Lexington once after Tim had been assigned to Kentucky with the Marshals Service and they'd ordered pizza and gotten drunk. He made Tim promise to put some flowers on his grave if he ever got up to the capitol.
The CIA loved a sniper with no personal ties, one they could 'kill off' and re-brand and slip across international borders. They'd gone after them both, the poor orphans, but Tim wanted nothing to do with it. He'd had enough. The way he saw it, his buddy was playing his own version of Harlan roulette, but with luck asking the questions.
His buddy's name was also Tim. Tim Weaver, the marine, had introduced himself on their first day at sniper school. Tim, the Ranger, had replied that he was Tim, too. It had stuck. Everyone had called him Timtoo from then on, even the instructors.
Hey Tim2, the text read, stopover at SDF, sat nxt 1400. Drink?
Roger that, Tim replied, his smile now stretching all the way across his face. His buddy always had good stories. He'd reciprocate and tell him about Raylan 'disarming' Quarles and the whole piggy bank incident and his buddy would think it hilarious and say how much he missed Kentucky. Tim was looking forward to next weekend.
Getting up from the table he stretched and shuffled to the counter to get more coffee. It was Saturday morning and he was usually a little slower getting going that day than any other day of the week. He'd managed to curb his weekday drinking, mostly, so he tended to indulge a bit too much on Friday nights. But that was okay. It was getting better. He was back in shape again, working out and running every day. The nightmares were dogging him less, maybe because of the distance of a few more years, maybe because he was keeping himself busy and getting a routine back. Adjusting to life outside the military was never going to be easy, he knew that. He just kept telling himself it was getting better. It had become his mantra.
His cell phone buzzed again, but this time it kept on going, vibrating its way to the edge of the table. Tim lunged to catch it before it hit the floor. He glanced at the clock – 7am. It had to be Art or his SOG team leader. He hoped it wasn't the latter. He didn't feel like running off to Louisiana this morning, or any morning.
He mentally crossed his fingers and checked the display. It was Art.
"Yep," he greeted him.
"Got a pencil and paper, or a pen and some skin? I've got an address. And I told Rachel you'd pick her up on the way."
Tim grabbed a pen and wrote the address on the back of his hand and hung up without saying anything else. Art didn't sound in the mood for pleasantries.
The address was on a back road in Clay County, an hour and a half drive out of Lexington. A few wrong turns later Tim and Rachel pulled up on the side of the road at the back of a string of vehicles and sat together in silence looking at the mayhem.
Tim was the first to speak. "What the fuck?"
Rachel had nothing to say, she just turned her wide eyes to him then back to the scene. They climbed out of Tim's truck and worked their way past the row of vehicles to the lane attached to the address. FBI, DEA, County Sheriff personnel, a US Marshal jacket belonging to Art, a coroner and paramedics, all mingled on the gravel in front of the house. Art caught their attention and waved them over.
"What a circus," he said by way of a greeting. "There's so much jurisdicking going on I don't think anyone's even bothered to check the crime scene yet. I wish they'd just waited and called us later. I was enjoying my coffee."
Art huffed in disgust, collected himself and turned his attention to Tim and Rachel.
"Okay, here's what I've gathered so far from one of the locals," he started. "Yesterday, some poor old codger a couple of miles east of here got his morning coffee rudely interrupted - pulled a human arm out of his dog's mouth. He called the Sheriff, and he and his boys spent most of the day chasing down the dog when it ran away with the evidence. I guess they finally caught up with it and then figured they'd call in their own dogs to try and track down the other bits. Sometime in the wee hours they found this." He waves at the house. "Apparently we have the remains of four people over there, minus an arm."
"Any idea what happened?" Rachel asked. She and Tim could make out two bodies on the porch of the house.
"Not sure yet. Lots of destruction though and not just to the bodies. Odd thing is, apparently some of the closest neighbours have already been canvassed and nobody heard anything. They found wallets and ran names and all kinds of shit starting popping. Apparently the Feds were working up a case on one of the deceased, so they got a call. The DEA have been watching one of the others, so they got a call. And, wouldn't it just figure, but another one is up on a federal warrant for interstate trafficking, one Franklin Westman, so I got a call. So here we all are." He threw his hands in the air and caught them again on his hips. He looked like he wanted badly to chew someone out. "Now all we need is a bowl of punch, some beer and a band."
"It's a BYOB," said Tim. "Bring your own body." He tossed a grin at Rachel.
"Not funny," she replied flatly. Art's frustration was contagious. It was going to be a long day.
While Art was explaining the findings to his team, the Feds and the DEA seemed to have come to some sort of arrangement. The FBI's lead agent was taking charge and passing out orders to the others. The three Marshals watched the party. Eventually the agent in charge walked over and introduced himself. Art thought he looked young, but they all did these days. He was conservatively dressed, and had just enough confidence and swagger to make him the obvious choice to take charge, but just enough ease and charm to make him likeable despite it.
"Special Agent Paul Darling," he said, shaking Art's hand.
"Chief Deputy Art Mullen," Art replied congenially. "This is Deputy Brooks and Deputy Gutterson."
The agent smiled and acknowledged them perfunctorily. "Sorry for the confusion. I understand one of the deceased is a federal fugitive. We'll let you on the scene after the DEA and my agents have had a look."
"That's fine. We're not likely to lose him."
"I appreciate your cooperation," recited Special Agent Darling without really listening to Art's reply. He opened his mouth to say something else then closed it and gave Art a funny look before heading back to the house.
Art sighed heavily and crossed his arms. "Anyone pass a gas station on the way in? I could use a coffee."