almosthonorable: (mine is an evil laugh)
[ "Now, Sparklehead, don't you know it's armageddon out here?" ]

Ben's tired.

His arms are heavier than iron, and his breathing is labored.

But Jesus Christ and all twelve disciples, it's not like he can just quit fighting these swarms of monsters and demons.

So he fires every bullet he can finagle; he attacks with the pike until it snaps in a mammoth, razored mouth; he resorts to fists and elbows and feet; and, when he's driven back, and back, and back by a fire-spitting serpent, he finds himself near the forge once more.

He dives inside, and hefts the first weapon his fingers close around: a samurai sword, as beautiful as it is deadly.

But Ben has precious little time to appreciate the aesthetics. He has a serpent to behead.

He doesn't expect to be thrown backward upon the kill stroke, as if he's ignited a powder keg by mistake.

Hurtling through the air, Ben twists, and — 

shit damn shit shit shit shit

— he's sailing into the forge, headed for a workbench covered in all manner of sharp, certain death.

Two heartbeats later, he blinks in the Texas sun.

He's standing just outside the Acme, sword still in hand.

He doesn't feel like an overgrown pin cushion, but he takes stock of himself, all the same.
almosthonorable: (infamous)
[ "I'm just here lookin' for steady work, and prayin' I find it." ]

Blending in is almost too easy.

Simple is as simple does: Under the name Thomas Cowan, Ben takes care not to dress too fine, or too raggedy. The pistol he wears at his hip is plain, nowhere near the quality of his beloved Colt. After a haircut, and without his customary beard, he looks almost nothing akin to his wanted posters or those damned dime-novel likenesses.

Four days after he rents his room at the Acme — two days after a profitable bartending shift in Milliways — he accepts just the job he was hoping to land.

Thomas Cowan, widower and former rancher, is now a carpenter in the employ of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
almosthonorable: (infamous)

[ an out-of-body experience ]

Dan had been damn good to Ben's body; Ben's clean, his stomach is full, and his head feels clearer than it has in a while.

The Lieutenant's presence in the bar makes it all that much sweeter.
almosthonorable: (baleful)

[ "'tis an ill wind that blows o'er us all" ]

His dreams bend and breathe.

Shadows bleed down and up the walls, a menagerie of shifting, squirming shapes.

The Bible in his hands turns to ash; when he opens his mouth to cite Scripture, his tongue falls to the floor, a torn, ragged mess of atrophied muscle.

His gun is gone, his holster empty.

He imagines he's gripping the Colt, the gold crucifix branding his palm with red lines.

If wishes were horses, Ben would have a ranch right now, but that voice -- that goddamn voice -- never stops talking to him. It may as well be inside his head, and for all he knows, it is.

You could live forever, it says, and while Ben can't say the thought's not appealing, he'd bet his missing hat Eve thought that serpent was her friend, too.
almosthonorable: (i keep my enemies closer)

Ben's mostly certain he put those cross-ties back where they belong in the tack room.

Which is why he's striding out to the stables, late hour and icy air be damned.

When he hears the horses -- panicked whinnies cutting straight to his eardrums, raising the hairs on the back of his neck -- he breaks into a run.
almosthonorable: (horseback)

[ honor among thieves ]

It's less than a day's ride from Tombstone to Benson; the town itself isn't much to speak of, but it's growing -- all thanks to the Southern Pacific.

Ben dismounts and ties up Gabriel, then steps over to offer a hand to Saffron.

(She's already attracting appreciative stares from passersby squinting in the afternoon sun.)

The train carrying the payroll they're after won't roll in for another hour; they've got time to canvass and prepare.
almosthonorable: (drawin')

Ben's settled in the armchair in his room, head bent over his sketchbook.

This is a little harder without a certain Russian pilot in the room for comparison, but so far, he's making do.
almosthonorable: (god forgive me)

[ halos and horns ]

It's too damn still in Ben's room.

(but it's not the stillness, it's the emptiness)

Which is why he finds himself outside Esfir's door, knocking quietly.

almosthonorable: (this desert life)

[ "ready to go visit your big hole in the desert?" ]

They spend a long damn time looking at Esfir's crater -- not that Ben minds. He doesn't know if he's ever seen her this still.

It's well past mid-afternoon when they clamber down and return to the horses.

"Y'know, you handled yourself awful well in town, Lieutenant," he says once they're in the saddle and heading southwest with no real destination in mind. "Diablo's meaner'n Dodge City and Tombstone put together."

A beat.


Another beat.

"Reckon it depends on my whereabouts at the time."
almosthonorable: (i can't think of a non-sexual metaphor)

[ cowboys and russians ]

The fourth morning, Ben's awake well before dawn. Despite the hour, he's downright jovial from a night spent in an actual bed and the chance to wash away the dust from the trail.

(Of course, sharing that bed with Esfir's no hardship.)

They've still got a twelve-mile ride ahead of them, but he doesn't wake her just yet; the pads of his fingers are stroking the back of her neck in a steady, featherlight rhythm.
almosthonorable: (bang bang)


A dented tin can falls.


And another.


And another.

Ben's at the practice range.


He's having a good morning -- or, at least, his aim and depth perception are. Sneaking up on him isn't exactly advisable, but he'll say good morning to anyone who wanders up.
almosthonorable: (bedhead)

[ ride a horse, save a cowboy ]

Just outside Curtiss, it's cold.

(Hell, it's cold in Curtiss.)

Which is why Ben's got a good-looking fire and a good-looking woman to keep him warm.

This beats the hell out of that ride to Contention; the only time he got near anybody in that camp was when he forked Tucker to death.
almosthonorable: (silhouette)

Ben's more than a little sorry he poked fun at the Lieutenant when she suggested a trip to Canyon Diablo.

Now, the thought of getting out of the bar -- space to ride, space to breathe -- couldn't be more welcome.

(Even if it is to see a giant hole in the ground; Esfir's clear excitement alone is worth the week-long ride.)

He adjusts his hat on his head and swings open the Front Door in Milliways; just beyond is a saloon at the edge of Tombstone, Arizona.

"After you, Lieutenant."
almosthonorable: (sleepin')

[ the lonely light of morning ]

He's blinking in the darkness, already upright and swinging his legs over the side of the bed before he knows why.

Then the rapping -- light but insistent -- registers.

"Hold on just a minute, gotta -- "

He yanks on his pants and pulls his undershirt over his head, then pads to the door barefoot.

"The hell's the -- "

He's squinting, running his free hand through his impressive case of bed-head.

" -- Kate?"
almosthonorable: (Default)

[ after a departure, a funeral and a promise ]

keeping his word )
almosthonorable: (Ben - Skeptical)

It had been easy.

Feigned acceptance, slumped shoulders. A (deceivingly) docile smile.

Then an elbow to the guard's nose and rough wood sliding open beneath nearly numb fingers.

The clack-clack-clack of the 3:10 to Yuma as it sped along the tracks.

Tensed knees and a leap. A shoulder hitting the ground (too hard), and rolling through dirt and scrub.

A short, sharp whistle, an answering nicker. A hard ride to the southwest, toward Mexico.

Finding a ranch, and suitable tools for the manacles, then a single shot between the rancher's eyes.

And now, near the border, Ben Wade is thirsty.
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:59 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios