Category: More Gen than Het (AU)
Disclaimer: If I owned Justified, there'd be way more Rachel.
Spoilers: Through 2x4
Summary: Rachel + cowboy hats.
Notes: I've had the idea for this fic since I saw the episode that my icon comes from, which is to say I've had this idea forever. I wrote this some time last year (late last year) and am now finally ready to post it. It's true what they say: Leave the work for a while and come back to it. This is better than I remember it being.
“Don’t you look mighty fine in that hat.” He’s standing where she can see him in the mirror. His lips are upturned in a smile and his eyes are saying so much about what he thinks of her in this moment. His hat, white, is in his hands. He’s leaning on one of the racks, waiting.
Of all the days for him to show up in this shop. And of all the moments. All she wanted was to get a hat for her nephew who is now on some cowboy kick - about five years too late if you ask her but no one did - after some movie. She can’t remember the name of it right now.
She was trying on a hat, just to see. She’s lived in Tennessee and has been in Kentucky for quite a while so of course she’s tried on cowboy hats before but it’s been years. She’s forgotten how they look on her.
“I’ve never started a trend before. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I kinda like being the only one with the hat.” He’s standing by the mirror now, facing her as he rests against it, twirling his hat in his hands.
She hasn’t known him long. Long enough to know what’s true and what’s not in that sentence.
She meets his eyes then. “Don’t worry Lone Ranger. Just curious.” He raises an eyebrow. “Not that it’s any of your business.” She resists the urge to roll her eyes at him, to sigh as he would expect. “I came in here for a hat for Nick.”
“How is he?”
“Good. Good.” She could say more but doesn’t. He doesn’t push.
“You should really have him with you. Make sure the hat fits.”
“So Mr. Rayburn said.”
He smiles again at her, says, “Well, I’ll leave you to your curiosity.” If he was wearing his hat, he’ll tip it in her direction.
He’s the kind of guy you love and hate, when the hate isn’t really hate at all. The way he walks and talks and seems to know more than anyone else can unnerve you yet put you at ease at the same time. Prodigal son and Golden Boy, a combination not many people can pull off. She’s been stuck with him for two days on a stakeout outside some guy’s house who messed with the wrong people.
It’s been tense at the office because of some new policies handed down. They didn’t exactly see eye to eye on their last case together either. It’s a typical hot Kentucky day. Add all that up plus the absolute boredom of stakeouts and she can’t wait for this assignment to be over.
He’s sleeping now. Hat pulled down his forehead to cover his eyes. She reaches across the space between them, feeling her shirt pull across her back. She’s going to need a long shower at the end of the day because the van they usually use for this is being used for some more important job. She carefully picks his hat up, more nervous than she should be. He probably won’t care.
The hat is a little loose, a little damp. She’s too close to the mirror in the visor to get the full effect.
“Don’t you look mighty fine in that hat,” his voice is clear as if he hadn’t really been sleeping.
She should’ve noticed him stir. “Just curious,” she says, taking one last look before slipping it off her head.
“Better this way than you knocking it off my head one of these days.”
It’s the first time she smiles at him all day.
She more than likely shouldn’t be walking around barefoot on the brownish, red carpet. It was probably vacuumed recently by the maid. It still looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in forever. The only shoes she has at the moment are the black heels she went to work in since she had court today. They wouldn’t be comfortable at the moment.
She’s got bare feet and bare everything else, except for the black cowboy hat on her head, as she stands in front of the full length mirror in the room. She looks at herself, turns from side to side to check every angle. It almost fits perfectly. She could take this home with her if she wanted. She’s sure she could convince him to let her have it. She’d only wear it with him of course. No need for folks’ tongues to be wagging as her grandmother used to say.
“Don’t you look mighty fine in that hat.” She turns at the sound of his voice to see him propped up on his elbows, hair mussed. His eyes are open and bright, too much for someone that just woke up, like the sight of her does that to him.
She poses, smiles, asks, “You like?”
“Very much so.”
“I was thinking of borrowing this one for a while.”
“Oh, really?” His left eyebrow arches in that way of his.
She walks over to the bed, makes her way up until he has to lie down again. “Yes, really.”