Not many people in the bar tonight. A few meth heads, all of whom headed out when they saw Raylan; a couple of serious drinkers too deep in an alcoholic haze to even notice his entrance, and a couple of rough-looking strangers at the pool table in the corner of the room.
When Raylan approached the bar, Boyd's cousin Johnny, slumped in his wheelchair next to the bar, gave him a sour look. "Suppose you want to see Boyd?"
Sighing, greatly put upon, Johnny wheeled himself slowly into the back hallway. After a minute he came out and motioned to the lawman to the rear, staring after Raylan with an irritated scowl
When Raylan entered Boyd's office, the shorter man stared at him with a dark glower on his face. "What the hell do you want?"
A little taken back, Raylan stared at him.
"What?" Boyd growled.
"Well, you're not usually in-your-face pissed off this early in our conversations." Facing Boyd a little more squarely, Raylan rested his hand on his belt, not too far from his handgun. "You don't have any flowery bullshit for me this evening?"
The tension seemed to drain from Boyd's body and he gave Raylan an odd smile. There was a darkness in his eyes that Raylan hadn't seen before in the man. The hair rose on the back of his neck.
"You know, Raylan," Boyd drawled, "I been having a real shit of a day. I'm real glad you stopped by. You're just the person to help me feel a little better about life."
He flicked a casual hand toward the office door and it slammed shut, lock engaging with an audible snap.
"What the hell?" Raylan pulled his gun out, backing away toward a corner of the room.
Boyd smiled again. His eyes flicked to matte black. He laughed at the suddenly pole-axed expression on the lawman's face. "Yeah, this is gonna be good."
He made a sudden slashing movement in the air. Raylan's gun jerked out of his hand and flew across the room.
Another chop. Raylan flew in the opposite direction, colliding with a harsh thud against the desk and spinning into the wall where he lost his hat, and then falling down onto the floor.
Without giving Raylan enough time to do more than struggle to his feet, Boyd sent him pinwheeling to the other side of the room, slamming him hard into the other wall, this last trip ending with an audible snap of bone and a hoarse cry of pain from the marshal.
Boyd walked slowly toward his victim, watching as Raylan struggled to his knees, broken arm hanging limply at his side.
Hand shaking, Raylan reached for the extra gun in his ankle holster, but before he could even get it raised, Boyd kicked the gun out of his hand. It skittered across the room and under the desk.
"Now, now, you play fair. No guns allowed. I'm unarmed, after all."
"Screw you!" Raylan gasped. Ignoring the shrieking of his arm, he threw himself at Boyd, trying to bring him to the floor.
That brave effort got a jeering laugh out of his tormenter. Face alight with pleasure, Boyd threw Raylan to his back. He put a hard hand around his throat and started to squeeze, digging his fingers into the soft flesh, watching with pleasure as Raylan's face turned red.
Then, with a resounding boom, the office door slammed open. Two men burst into the room, both of them plunging straight at Boyd. Before he could move, they'd knocked him away from the lawman and were on top of him, throwing punches.
With a roar, he managed to throw the larger one off and across the room. But in the next moment, with a snarl, the other man was holding a wicked-looking blade to Boyd's throat.
Face twisted in rage, Boyd glared up into his captor's face. "Winchester!"
"Ready to go back to hell, dickface?"
Sam lurched to his feet, holding his ribs. "Dean, don't"!"
Raylan, somehow still conscious and scrabbling under the desk for his gun, said hoarsely, "U.S. Marshal! Don't kill the fucker!"
Dean bared his teeth and pressed the blade into Boyd's neck, just enough to draw blood and sparks. "Vacate the premises, asshole!"
With a rabid howl of rage, Boyd convulsed and vomited a black cloud of smoke into the air. Twisting and coiling, it swiftly circled up to the ceiling and slithered through an open air vent. Groaning, Boyd slumped unconscious to the floor.
Dean released the man and stared across the room at his pale-faced brother. "You okay?"
Sam nodded. They both looked over at the shell-shocked lawman staring open-mouthed up at the innocent-looking air vent.
"You all right, Marshal?" Sam ventured.
After a long, tense moment, Raylan said slowly, "What – the – fuck?"
Dean couldn't help laughing. He picked up Raylan's crumpled hat from the floor and, after a quick look at the man's dangling arm, placed it neatly on the desk. "Yeah, we get that a lot."
"You like him," Dean accused.
I blushed, but didn't deny it. "I do."
"You know, he's just playing the same basic character that he did in "Deadwood", he said disparagingly.
"Just less angry," Sam chimed in.
"I know." I sighed and smiled apologetically. "I guess I'm just into bad boys."
Dean smirked. "I've been known to be pretty bad myself."
I looked at him mock-sternly. "Dean! That is totally age-inappropriate!"
Sam snickered and Dean jumped on his younger brother, rubbing a hard-edged noogie across his head. Sam squalled for help.
"Dean, be good, or I won't let you do "Baywatch!" I said warningly.
With a gasp, he stopped and looked at me, big green eyes welling up with crocodile tears.
I caved immediately. "Oh, Dean, honey, I didn't mean it. I'd never take the bikini babes away from you!"
His shoulders slumped with relief, followed by a glare at his brother when I added, "But you have to share with Sam!"