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20 March 2009 @ 11:34 pm
FIC: "Stubborn" (1/3)  
FIC: "Stubborn" (1/3)
AUTHOR: mistressmarilyn
DATE: March 20, 2009
FANDOM: 3:10 To Yuma (2007)
PAIRING: Dan Evans / Ben Wade (Christian Bale and Russell Crowe)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own 'em. They're characters belonging to Elmore Leonard and Columbia Pictures, not to mention the respective actors of the movie, and to the ages. This is a work of a fan, done for no remuneration save the satisfaction of the work.
SUMMARY: Dan Evans waits, not so patiently ...
AUTHOR NOTES: Post-movie, still-alive story.

Dan Evans woke slowly, reluctantly, like he had months before in a Contention City doctor's office, sensing rather than seeing the first invading rays of dawn. The dusty curtains of his bedroom were not completely drawn, and he rolled over and faced the window, waiting for a sign of light. The silence in the room was overwhelming, and Dan realized he was holding his breath.

He groaned, his broken body coming to life with the day. For years after his foot had been amputated, he had felt the phantom pangs of pain. Now the rest of his limbs and his aching back envied the missing part. He did a mental inventory of his woes as he waited for the sun, and marveled that at the end of the long list, he felt blessed. He was alive, and he was at home. That in itself was a miracle.

Ben Wade had said he was stubborn. "I ain't stubborn," he told Wade when they waited in those last minutes for the train to Yuma Territorial Prison.

Persistent. Patient. Persevering.


But not stubborn.

Wade's gang of outlaws had tried their best to stop Dan from realizing his goal of putting Wade on that train, and Wade's second, Charlie Prince, had shot the shit out of Dan, put holes in him both front and back. Dan had an almost even pattern of scars on either side of his spine and puckered spots on his upper and lower chest. Some of the splintered lead had been left inside, because to remove it would have just caused more damage. But despite the devastation of his flesh, Dan Evans hadn't died. It wasn't because he was stubborn, but because he just wasn't ready to die. In the frenzied hours he spent trying to get Wade to Contention, Arizona to catch the 3:10 train to Yuma, he had felt like more of a man than in his entire life. He had measured himself beside someone who reeked of bravado, of studied disdain and innate fearlessness, and he had not found himself severely wanting. He and Wade both had hearts, both had beards, both had dicks. With the exception of his left foot, Dan Evans had pretty much everything Ben Wade had, except for the mischievous twinkle in Wade's blue eyes.

Ben Wade was a man who knew how to enjoy life, even in the most uncomfortable moments. Wade took marked pleasure in removing his boots, relieving his thirst or moving his bowels. Certainly he enjoyed the kinetic heat of violence as much as the small moments of stillness that offered him the opportunity to make ironic observations and surprisingly skilled sketches. Dan hadn't really enjoyed himself in years. Even the occasional session of marital coitus with his long-suffering wife Alice was passionless and perfunctory, more like the relief of sneezing than the ardor of lovemaking.

Was it any wonder that Alice had finally packed her bags and taken their youngest son with her to San Francisco, accepting an offer of accompaniment from the circuit-riding doctor a weakened Dan had hired to escort him safely back home from Contention? Once Dan was in no real danger of dying, his 14-year-old son William had been sent ahead with orders to use some of the railroad's reward money to rebuild their barn and replenish their stock, to take over for Dan as man of the house. When Dan and the doctor pulled up in a new wagon one evening just before sundown a little more than a month later, Alice's expression held more resignation than joy.

"Have you ever been to San Francisco?" Ben Wade has asked Alice the night he sat at their table as a prisoner, his wrists cuffed but his mouth unfettered.

She told Dan about her conversation with Wade later, later after Dan had made it home and was bedridden in their room, two of his wounds still suppurating, his body propped up to keep his lungs from filling. Alice was openly curious about Wade, about why he had ultimately saved her husband's life and willingly taken the train to Yuma. Dan couldn't give her a satisfactory answer. He found himself reluctant to talk about Wade, not out of his characteristic reticence, but more from a sense of shielding a precious secret. He didn't want to share Ben Wade with Alice. Recounting his memories would have been like watering the wine, making something rich and flavorful somehow weaker and less potent. She finally gave up asking, just like she gave up trying to arouse signs of affection or excitement in the convalescent Dan.

The doctor from Cochise County was evidently more receptive. Possessing a skill set in considerable demand west of the Mississippi, he was prepared to move to the big city with a beautiful woman at his side. Alice was still young in mind and body; she wanted more than a dusty ranch and a disfigured husband. Dan had given her $500 and a divorce, finding himself glad to be rid of her and her long, unblinking assessments; he had preferred it when Alice avoided looking at him at all. Why should he stand in the way of Alice's potential happiness? William could handle the cooking, change Dan's bandages and work the last splinters of lead from his wounds, bathe him and trim his beard. And William understood him now, better than Alice ever could. Dan felt a strange sense of relief when that new wagon, driven by the doctor and loaded with Alice, their son Mark and two trunks of things that had belonged to her mother, finally shrunk out of view.

Dan didn't think of Alice as he lay waiting for daylight before beginning the painful process of rising. As was often the case, he heard barely muffled sounds of awkward domesticity in the next room; soon after his nostrils flared with the rich smell of boiled coffee. At the same moment the Arizona sun found Dan's curtains, William tapped on the door and walked in.

"You awake, Pa?" he asked, standing in the doorway, shielding a large mug with one hand. Dan could see him clearly in the grainy light.

"Uh huh," Dan answered. "That smells good."

"You need any help this morning?"

"Nah. I can make it."

When Dan had struggled to a sitting position, William handed him the mug and he took a long, satisfying swig. "Ah. Thank you, son," he said. He reached for his pants and his prosthetic boot, taking a few moments to let the coffee and the sunlight go to work on his lazy limbs. As Dan finally hitched himself up off the bed, William bent down and picked up the piss pot. "I'll take that," Dan said, insistent on exchanging the mug for the pot. "You ain't my nurse anymore, William."

"Do you think it will be today, Pa?"

Dan limped toward the outhouse, shaking his head. "Maybe," he said, adding the phrase he had answered to that same question every morning since Alice had driven away: "I guess we'll find out."

By the time Dan joined William in the kitchen, there were several thick slabs of bacon frying in a skillet while two slices of store-bought bread toasted on the hearth. William glanced at his father, then cracked four eggs and tossed them in the pan, stirring them with the bacon grease. "You look hungry this morning, Pa. You need to put some meat on your bones."

Dan poured fresh water from a tall pitcher into a bowl and lathered his face with soap, anticipating breakfast as he scraped noncommittally at his beard. He was hungry, and it was a good feeling. Maybe today would be the day, and, if so, he wanted to have enough energy to appreciate it. He poured more water and cleaned his teeth, then washed his hands and toweled off his face.

"It's man's nature to take what he wants," Wade had said to Dan as they rode across Arizona. Dan had never really taken what he wanted in life, but he was more than ready to start.

And for once, he knew what he wanted.

He wanted Ben Wade. Maybe this would be the day Wade would finally ride up to the ranch and back into Dan Evans' life.

Wade had stayed on the train to Yuma long enough to get a few miles away from Contention. Then he had somehow managed to get out of his manacles, out of the prison car and on the back of his well-trained horse. Surprisingly, no one else had died during this daring escape; maybe Wade had gotten his fill of killing back in Contention when he gunned down the members of his own gang, including the sycophantic Prince.

In the four months since Wade's escape, Dan had mostly healed, headed home, ended his marriage and begun making plans. The new barn had been left half-finished, because Dan decided he didn't need a damn barn after all. Much of the stock had been sold off, because Dan couldn't be bothered feeding and watering the scrawny beasts. He and William rode regularly into nearby Bisbee, stocking up on canned vegetables, cured meat and cakes and breads made by the storekeeper's wife. They enjoyed the warm spring weather, basking in the sunshine, reading newspapers and paperback novels and sharing their fantasies about the time Ben Wade would ride in.

"He'll come in the evening, after dark," William prophesied, happy to explain his reasoning. "He'll want to be sure nobody can see him ride up, and he'll wait and watch to make sure there's no one around before he comes. He'll watch for when we've put out most of the lamps, then he'll come."

"You don't think he'll just appear on the horizon like a dark speck, and then get bigger and bigger as he gets closer and closer?" Dan asked, squinting into the distance, scanning the vast vista for a man-like shape.

"That would be crazy. He won't do that."

"You sure?"

William nodded. "I know how he thinks."

Dan silently agreed. William did know how Ben Wade thought, because he had some of the same instincts. Wade himself had tried once to comment on the similarity, but Dan had cut him off. Like any father, he had wanted his son to be like him, to want to be like him. But now he enjoyed the reflections on how his son was really more like Wade--more assured, more confident, full of defiance and danger and pluck. The quality he shared with Dan was the one Dan himself denied.

William was as stubborn as his father.

There was no point arguing and telling William what he didn't know about Wade, what at only 14 he couldn't possibly guess. He was still too young to understand that whatever time of day it was when Ben Wade rode toward the Evans Ranch, he would keep coming until he got there. Nothing, not a fugitive's wariness or a killer's animal instincts, not the need for cover or the threat of capture would slow Wade's inevitable approach. He had to get to Dan as much as Dan needed him to come. The longer it took, the more desperate it got. Wade would ride his favorite horse to death if it meant covering those last miles a little faster. Their reunion was going to be momentous, monumental, cataclysmic. Everything that came before was just a prelude, like tuning a fiddle before lifting the bow, like tilling the soil before planting the bulbs. Dan found himself holding his breath while he waited, forced over and over to remind himself to breathe as he pictured Ben Wade's weathered face and merry eyes.

"Damn it," Dan whispered. "Where the hell are you?"

He couldn't help worrying that Wade might have been recaptured, or, worse, that he might have been sidetracked by a buxom barmaid or a pretty boy. Ben Wade was a man of varied tastes and legendary appetites. While Dan was convinced that Wade wanted him, what if he found something or someone he wanted more?

Dan couldn't remember exactly when he had realized he loved Ben Wade. The few days he spent with the man, he found himself constantly reminded that Wade was a recalcitrant killer, a man whose criminal instincts were so ingrained, they were inseparable from his other qualities--his innate charm, his sense of fairness, his natural leadership. Their respect for one another had come easily, their friendship more grudgingly, their affection inescapably. At some point on the ride Dan's responsibility for Wade had become a sort of ownership. There was nothing right or righteous about their ultimate pairing. It just had to be.

Sometimes in the middle of the night Dan would hear sounds outside the house and believe it was Wade. He would stiffen beneath his sheet, limbs and cock, holding his breath as he imagined Wade silently entering the room and climbing into the bed. The anticipation was actually painful. Finally Dan would gulp in air and lift himself off the pillow, actively listening. "Is that you, William?" he'd call into the night.

"Sorry, pop. I just needed to take a piss."

Dan would slowly relax, swallowing his disappointment and fighting frustration. Ben Wade would come eventually. He knew it. He was persistent, patient, persevering. He could wait.

When they were finished with breakfast, William scraped the plates and stacked them in the dishpan, then announced, "I'm goin' rabbit hunting," interrupting Dan's reverie. "I'll be back in time to make supper."

"Enjoy yourself. I'm fine." Dan managed not to say 'be careful.' His son was nearly 15 now; he didn't need a warning any more than he would heed one. He knew how to handle a rifle and a horse. Dan wondered how much longer he'd want to stay saddled with his gimpy father. "I'm just gonna snooze here on the porch," Dan said, shaking off the thought.

The afternoon sun was warm, pleasantly presaging the impending Arizona summer. As Dan drifted off, he wondered where he'd be when the days got longer and longer and hotter and hotter. Somehow he doubted he'd still be clinging to the piece of land that had once seemed so precious; he imagined himself clinging to something far more tangible, far more responsive, and he sighed as he finally fell asleep.

A shadow fell across Dan's face, and some instinct shook him from slumber and urged his fingers toward the revolver stuck under his chair.

"Don't shoot me, Dan," said the familiar voice, and Dan opened his eyes and squinted up at the looming, dark figure.

"Is that finally you?" Dan said gruffly. The outlaw Ben Wade's face slowly came into focus.

"I had to cover my tracks, Dan. I couldn't lead a posse to your door, now could I?"

"Why didn't you get rid of that thing?" Dan asked, referring to Wade's distinctive, rounded hat. "Anybody could recognize you."

Wade squatted down in front of the chair, his face at Dan's knee, a hand out to touch one leg. "You don't look half bad, Dan. You really fooled 'em all, didn't you? You sure as hell fooled me." Even with the sun behind Wade's head, Dan could make out his smiling blue eyes.

"I'm all healed," Dan said.

"Where's Alice?"

"She's gone. William stayed with me."

Ben nodded. "Course he did." He licked his lips. "You know, I could use a cool drink of water. I rode hard today."

Dan grunted as he slowly stood up; Ben Wade was still at his feet, touching his leg. Dan reached down a hand to help him up, and as Wade rose, he managed to crush the full length of his body against Dan's, sharing a substantial amount of trail dust and horse sweat and sexual promise. He grinned as Dan was forced to grab his arm to steady himself.

"When are you gonna fuck me, Dan?" Wade whispered into Dan's ear.

After a few seconds, Dan swallowed and said, "I thought you wanted a drink."

"That can wait. This can't." He indicated the distended crotch of his black trousers.

"I'm no Charlie," Dan said.

Wade nodded. "That's for certain."

Dan's fingers dug into Wade's arm. He wondered if he could wait until they made the short walk to his bedroom to launch himself at Ben Wade. He pressed his face so close to Wade's, their beards brushed, and he imagined other parts of their bodies sliding together once freed from the fetters of their clothes, nipples, bellies, cocks. He wondered what Wade would do if he kissed him, gently, like a woman. His mouth watered at the thought.

Dan doubted he had the strength to be gentle.

"I feel like one of us should be carried over that threshold," Wade said, kicking at the door. "But then we already spent a lot of time in the bridal suite in Contention, didn't we?"

"When did you know?" Dan asked.

"I always knew, Dan."


"Slow down, Dan. This is the easy part." They walked into the bedroom, and Wade lifted his hat and tossed it in a corner.

"Is it?"

Ben Wade chuckled, his face crinkling. "Maybe not. You're not an easy man."

Dan pushed Wade toward the bed, wondering how he'd get his clothes off in time. He didn't want to spill his first passionate tribute on Ben Wade's dusty trousers, but he sensed his lust and loins were both ready to overflow. "Hurry up," he said.

"There's no hurry. We're not on the clock now. There's no train to catch."

No doubt Ben Wade had found physical comfort several times during his long trek to the Evans Ranch. He hadn't tossed in his bedroll, lying awake, imaging what it would be like when Dan was finally touching him. He hadn't had to summon his will power to quell his need or finally use a busy hand to satisfy it. His lack of urgency was almost infuriating. Dan shoved him now.

"I should have known you were too stubborn to die," Wade said, allowing himself to be forced down on the bed.

"I ain't stubborn," Dan insisted.

"Let's find out," Ben Wade said, looking up at Dan, his eyes challenging. He started to laugh, only stopping when Dan's mouth covered his, chewing at his dry lips. By the time Dan pulled away, he was laughing a little himself.

"I want you so bad it hurts," Dan said. His voice sounded youthful and plaintive.

"We're gonna have some fun, Dan. It's all right to have fun. Haven't you ever had any fun in bed?"

Dan didn't stop to consider the answer; he was only vaguely aware of what Wade was saying. He tugged at Wade's belt, and then plucked at his vest. The room was warm and completely lit with afternoon sunshine, and Dan Evans couldn't remember a time he had made love in the middle of the day instead of a more appropriate hour when the acts would be cloaked in darkness. The idea was somehow decadent and pure at the same time, both appealing and a little frightening. He would stare into Ben Wade's face at the culmination of passion, and his own paroxysms would be equally revealed.

Dan looked at Wade and smiled. He was right. Dan could afford to be patient. For just a few seconds more.

Part 2

rekindle956rekindle956 on March 21st, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)
This was as everything I ever read from you, great. First 3:10 To Yuma fic?

I have to confess, just to get it away, that upon first reading I had some conflict with William and "Like any father, he had wanted his son to be like him, to want to be like him. But now he enjoyed the reflections on how his son was really more like Wade--more assured, more confident, full of defiance and danger and pluck." But then I remember something about Dan and how he told William that he was now a man and everything good Dan had William had too. As you write following. It's been a while since I saw the movie.

I love what you did with Alice, I had thought about it too but I will refrain from posting long winded plotbunnies from now on.

"I always knew, Dan." Me too, me too! Its like painful because, even if I was spoiled for the movie I had no idea. I love Charlie, but it was just magic between Ben/Dan since they first met. And Charlie knew too and pain, pain!

"The room was warm and completely lit with afternoon sunshine, and Dan Evans couldn't remember a time he had made love in the middle of the day instead of a more appropriate hour when the acts would be cloaked in darkness." Loved that.

You have consider moving this into the smut territory, right? right? Even if you don't this is such a nice one-shot, thank you so much for sharing it with us!
Mistress Marilyn: alfred hand-on-facemistressmarilyn on March 31st, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I always appreciate your detailed fb.

In watching the movie again (it's playing constantly on cable right now . . . in fact it's playing right now), I really believe Ben fell for Dan the first minute he laid eyes on him.

I've started a sequel to this, actually, but haven't gotten far with it. Um, yeah, it's going to have more STUFF.
rekindle956: MobsterPartyrekindle956 on March 31st, 2009 07:31 am (UTC)
siriala: Dan Evans1 by tattooedravensiriala on March 21st, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
Too bad it ends here ;) but I like a lot everything that led to this end. I like especially Dan's certainty that Ben will come and his easier relationship with William. And then, the reunion of Dan and Ben was just as enjoyable as all their moments together in the movie. Thanks a lot for sharing with us :)
Mistress Marilyn: Brit-groovymistressmarilyn on March 31st, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Thanks so much. I actually have started a sequel, but it hasn't gotten very far.

I love your icon, btw.
brushed_velvet: danbrushed_velvet on March 21st, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
The feeling of anticipation in this piece really jumps off the screen. Also Dan's physicalness - his amputated foot, his wounds, his little routines, is just spot on.

I also love the developing relationship between Dan and William. All the way through, I wasn't sure if Ben would actually turn up by the end so I'm very glad he did!

In my head, Ben would top - at least at first anyway, but these things are subjective.

This is a damn fine fic for a damn fine pairing! :)
Mistress Marilyn: dragon-tattoomistressmarilyn on March 31st, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
Thanks for the fantastic feedback! I really appreciate it. Glad you enjoyed the story, and I hope to write another soon.

(I love your icon. There are some really beautiful icons in this fandom.)
zooladyzoolady on March 22nd, 2009 11:23 pm (UTC)
Why did it end there...boo hoo hoo
All the anticipation. Would Wade turn up or not? And when he did arrive the promise of what would happen came into play.
Reckon William would have to be a hell of a long way a way rabbit hunting not to hear them having fun :)
Mistress Marilyn: aaron-smokemistressmarilyn on March 31st, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
hehe, I actually started a sequel with William returning from that hunting trip . . . haven't gotten anywhere with it, really.

Thanks for reading and commenting!
shelley6441: Dan and Ben Wadeshelley6441 on February 15th, 2011 01:43 am (UTC)
Great start.

Their respect for one another had come easily, their friendship more grudgingly, their affection inescapably.

I like how Dan is honest with himself about what he wants. Off to read chapter 2.