A/N: I was rewatching episode 5 'Move It On Over' and I started wondering what would have happened if Rayna had picked up the phone after Deacon got arrested. This is my first Nashville fic, hope I do it justice. Thanks to Megan for calming my nerves. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: If I owned Nashville, Teddy wouldn't be a problem.
. . .
She's not surprised when she gets the call. Even after their fight about that stupid commercial, a fight that was probably about something else entirely, she still knows that this late at night, it cannot be anyone else but him. As an automated voice relays the nature of the call, she silently slips out of bed and into the bathroom.
Finally, it's his voice that greets her, "Rayna?"
She leans up against the sink, speaking in hushed tones so that she won't disturb Teddy, "What's going on, Deacon?"
He doesn't tell her why he is there, and she doesn't ask. She refrains from asking him if he was drinking, the question caught in her throat, but even as she listens to him talk she can tell that the answer is 'no'. Deacon's voice is quiet and almost timid when he asks if she can pick him up the next morning. He was always pretty good at getting himself in trouble and she has gotten used to bailing him out when he did, so she reluctantly agrees. He's grateful; she can hear it in his voice when he thanks her.
When she doesn't say anything, he lowers his voice, "Listen, Ray, I'm sorry-,"
His words remind her of when she would have to pull him out of bars at all hours of the day, and how they would walk, with his arm slung over her shoulder as she stumbled under his weight. He would lean into her so that his mouth was next to her ear and he would apologize incoherently, low and husky with whiskey on his breath.
The memory stings, always will, and she has to cut him off, "It's fine. I-I'll be there."
She hangs up the phone and goes to bed. When the morning comes and Teddy asks her where she's going so early, she kisses him on the cheek and tells him she has a meeting with Bucky.
. . .
When Deacon walks out of the detention center, he can tell she is there without even lifting his eyes from the pavement. He can feel her eyes on him from across the street.
Once he gets in the car, they just look at each other, both of them at a loss for words. Her gaze trails over him, lingering on the bruise near his eye and the cut on his lip. Her hands fidget with the bottom of her shirt, trying to stifle the instinct to reach out and touch him.
"Hey," she says, worry and something like disappointment in her voice, although he can't say he blames her.
"Hey," he replies tiredly. He tries not to think about how many times they've been in this position. He wishes it wasn't so easy to remember.
She tilts her head, blue eyes boring into him, "You okay?"
He absent-mindedly runs a hand over his face, lightly touching his injuries and says, "Nothing that won't fix itself," even though he knows that it's not what she meant.
"Rough night?" She asks simply, as if he hadn't just spend the night in jail.
He takes a deep breath and looks away from her, "Somethin' like that."
Rayna nods. "You wanna talk about it?"
She's asking him a lot of questions, too many for a simple ride home, but this is what they do now. Deacon looks over at her. He could tell her how he punched a guy and ended up on the pavement of The Bluebird last night. He could sit here and can try and explain why he did it, why he's so damn angry, when he doesn't fully understand it himself. Maybe he would tell her how it's been getting more and more difficult not to take a drink lately, because whenever it gets like this, for either of them, he used to be able to call her to write or just take a walk under the guise of 'rehearsing', but he can't do that now. He doesn't have a reason to just see her anymore. And when he does see her, it's to argue about things that shouldn't even matter, fights that would never be so goddamn painful if they weren't fueled with everything they have suppressed over the last decade.
He looks out the window, "Nothin' to really talk about."
Rayna can tell he's lying. But she doesn't call him on it, because she knows it's for the best. Conversations like these just tempt them to a place they both know they cannot go anymore.
The drive to his house is silent and short, and when she pulls up in front of his house, she looks over at him, half expecting him to just get out without so much as a goodbye. His eyes betray him for a moment, telling her without words that he isn't quite ready to leave and she knows she should never have answered that phone call because she knows her eyes are saying the same thing. She asks him if he needs anything else.
He smiles, "No, I'm fine. You've helped me quite a bit already today. Besides, I've got to meet Juliette at the studio soon."
Rayna's hands tighten around the steering wheel. More than anything she wants Deacon to be happy, but that still doesn't mean she likes to think about him working with Juliette Barnes instead of her, and she especially does not want to think about what they have done together other than make music. No one ever said she had to pretend that the thought doesn't make her sick to her stomach.
"You should probably get going then," she says, because it's true, even if she doesn't really mean it.
"Yeah," he replies, his hand ghosting over the door handle, but he retracts it. "You surprised the hell out of me last night," he continues, "I thought you wouldn't pick up."
Rayna furrows her brow, "So why'd you call?"
"A habit, I guess."
He's grinning, it's small, but it's there. She forces herself to look straight ahead. "Me too," she sighs, so softly he almost doesn't hear it.
A silence envelopes them, no longer than a breath, then he says, "I'll see you 'round, Ray."
The words "I'll see you around, Deacon" are barely out of her mouth before he's out of the car. As she drives down the street, he turns to see the car disappear around the corner, well aware that even though he's out of jail, he's still not out of trouble.