Guiding Raylan around Tim's tiny cottage, helping him through the nightmares sleeping side by side in the same bed, keeping things in exactly the same place so that he learned to find things by touch alone. Tim had thought it was all part of his army training, with just a touch of OCD, keeping things squared away, prepared for anything. Keeping Raylan safe. What anyone would do for a friend in Raylan's position.
Until Winona, and doors left ajar, and loud thuds, and muffled curses, and bruises. Tim reached up to cup Raylan's cheek gently, thumb stroking beneath the slowly purpling bruise along Raylan's cheekbone.
He rested his forehead against Raylan's, they had gone way too far to back down now. It was Raylan who closed the distance, their lips met, Tim closed his eyes and leaned into the kiss, giving it all his attention. They never even heard Winona leave.
Muffins toasted, coffee poured, Tim got the fruit, jelly and curd cheese out of the refrigerator while Raylan laid the table.
"So, when are we going?"
Tim looked up from his bowl of fruit. "Ray, can you hear that?" the pounding rain on the roof, knowing full well that Raylan's hearing was almost batlike as his other senses compensated for his loss of sight. "It's pouring down."
"So, I can't believe you want to go out and get wet, to do the tour…"
"I like playing tourist, and we get to taste at the end."
Tim rolled his eyes. He didn't mind taking Raylan out to places, especially where he could experience things up close and personal. The horse farms had unexpectedly worked out well, even though Raylan wasn't all that keen on horses to start with. Tim was certain they had visited every bourbon distillery within a hundred mile radius at least twice, but the micro-brewery was a new one.
"We do." Tim sighed, and knew he was going to give in, especially as he was about to approach a touchy subject.
"Helen wants to see you."
Raylan stopped adding a thick layer of blueberry jelly over the cream cheese on his muffin. "Hmmm." Tim could see the stiffness in his back.
"I said that I would take you to her place." Tim said quietly. This was the bone of contention, Helen had tried to broker a peace between Arlo and Raylan.
"Will he be there?"
"Helen says that he won't, and she won't try that again."
Raylan finished with the jelly, and bit into his creation, neatly avoiding anything that sounded like an answer.
Helen loved Raylan, Tim knew that, but sometimes she went about that love in a very strange way. How she imagined that Raylan would ever make nice with Arlo after the VFW was a complete mystery to Tim.
Tim Gutterson had a lot of kills under his belt, but he had never rejoiced in taking life, it was simply a tragic necessity sometimes. He would happily have made an exception in Arlo Givens' case. The man was pure evil. He had rejoiced in blinding Raylan.
Tim did not want to pretend to understand that, nor an aunt who thought it was even possible to make peace between father and son, after what the father had done.
Naturally, it had ended in a shouting match, and a furious Raylan felling the old man effortlessly. Being blind had not affected his ability to punch.
Holding a shivering, distressed and angry Raylan in his arms all night while trying to get the cowboy to calm down, Tim had vowed that he would never let Helen spring something like that again.
For a long time after Helen's failed peace negotiations, Raylan had refused to go anywhere near Harlan and Tim was more than happy to oblige him.
Raylan took another big bite of muffin, "she can come here." He said through a mouthful of cheese and jelly, licking his fingers. Knowing full well that Arlo wouldn't come anywhere near their house.
Tim really didn't like Harlan intruding into their home, but he preferred that to the other option.
Though surprisingly, not all of Harlan had proved to be a threat.
Tim would have bet anything that Boyd Crowder would be around to crow over Raylan, like he had about Arlo.
Boyd had shown up while Raylan was in the hospital. It was late, and Raylan had had a bad day, so Tim was still with him. The lighting was dim although the curtains weren't closed. Raylan could sense if the curtains were closed and somehow he didn't like it. Tim wasn't about to argue about it.
They were sitting on Raylan's bed, Tim holding Raylan's hand, trying to soothe the cowboy, whose stress levels were through the roof.
They turned towards the voice. Boyd Crowder stood in the doorway.
Tim was about to leap to Raylan's protection. Back then Raylan's eyes were still bandaged in the hope that a long rest would at least partially restore his sight.
Boyd held up his hand. "I don't mean Raylan any harm."
Tim Gutterson did not trust Boyd Crowder one bloody inch, but the criminal kingpin's face held only genuine sorrow for Raylan's plight. He let Boyd move closer.
It was surreal the way Raylan's former coal-mining buddy wrapped his arms around the cowboy with such tender care, Tim could have wept. Raylan's grip no less fierce.
Whatever they were to each other elsewhere, that night Boyd treated Raylan with a gentleness that Tim had not suspected he was capable of. When Boyd left, near dawn, Raylan was sleeping peacefully. Tim knew that all bets were likely to be off now that Boyd had been to see Raylan, but he hoped that the hostilities between Boyd and Raylan were at an end, permanently.
"So… are we going?" Tim watched Raylan balance some slices of fresh strawberry on top of the other cheese-covered muffin, and bite into it.
"It's like living with an eighth-grader." Tim sighed and shook his head, the rain was coming down even worse than it had been half an hour ago. "Okay, yes, we are."
Raylan grinned, and stuffed the rest of the muffin in his mouth. "Good." He said around a mouthful of muffin.
"We ain't goin' swimming." Tim said, just to keep the illusion of control over the outing, despite knowing full well he would give in if Raylan really wanted him to.
"'kay," said Raylan, licking his fingers, before getting to his feet and stowing his dirty dishes next to the sink. "I'll wash, you wipe."
Tim quickly shoveled the last of his fruit into his mouth and added his dishes to Raylan's. The cowboy had come so far in two years, he could take care of himself in all the essentials, and Tim was proud of him, and proud that Raylan had let him be a part of Raylan's rehabilitation.