A/N: I don't own 3:10 to Yuma, blah blah blah. Oh, and I'm fully aware Christian Bale has brown eyes. It's called creative license. Enjoy.
Ben Wade did not speak at all as the 3:10 to Yuma left the station. Emotions were running free in his mind. Anger towards Charlie. Pride for the boy who had just lowered his gun moments before. A sense of relief that the boy didn't shoot that still turned his stomach with guilt. He should've. Why didn't he? Was he still a strong believer that he wasn't "all bad"? Didn't what just transpired prove that? Was he good if he wanted and helped Dan to be the hero he never was? Both of them knew there was a chance he wouldn't survive. Didn't that mean he was partially responsible for Dan's death? No. Wholly responsible. If he hadn't been with him, Charlie wouldn't have shot him dead. If he wasn't there, Dan wouldn't have been avenged mere seconds later. He bowed his head, trying to rid himself of the conflicting thoughts. Now wasn't the time. But they kept coming anyway. He had watched his most worthy adversary- and maybe even friend, despite knowing Dan would disagree- die minutes before. He had come to find that Dan Evans was an honorable man. A good man. A bastard and a fool, but a good man. One who didn't deserve to die so soon after the finish. He watched as the body of Dan Evans and his son slowly shrunk as the train got further and further away. He whistled for his horse, then let memories of the short time he had spent in Dan's company flood his mind. For that, he silently prayed for the first time in many, many years- for Dan's soul, for Dan's family, but not once for himself. He could get out of the situation he was in easily, he knew that. The thought of whether or not it would be betraying Dan's sacrifice to do so crept into his mind and stayed there, attaching itself to his mind like a vice.
It only took Ben a month to make his planned third escape from Yuma Prison a reality. The previous month he had decided- yes, escaping would've rendered Dan and the old Vet he had a soft spot for's death useless, but trying to look out for Alice and the kids- if only from a distance, was worth it. He silently thanked Dan, wherever he was, saying that without him, it wouldn't have been possible. He returned to Bisbee a changed man, whether he liked it or not. He did not stay in the town long, just long enough to do one task. He would not eat, sleep, or drink until it was done.
One evening, he found where he was meant to go, did his task, then ducked behind part of a new barn as Alice Evans came out of the Evans home. He just smiled as she gaped at two bulls that were in the middle of the lawn, tied to a post. He had killed two of their bulls in their first ordeal together, so it was only fair. It wasn't much, but it would help. He knew that much. Seeing that his work was finished, he placed his hat back on his head, nodded, satisfied, then left, ready to move on to new places. Start a new life, possibly under a new name.
Weeks afterwards, he had been camping out in back of the Evan's home that the family was about to leave. He had started hiding out there during the knights, just in case Hollander and the boys went back on their word- they had done it before to others, so there was a high chance it would happen again. He was there to make sure it wouldn't. He had just managed to dose off when a touch on his shoulder woke him with a start, reaching for The Hand of God out of instinct. Old habits die hard, he figured. It was Alice who had woke him. He was surprised that there was nothing but curiosity… and was that concern in her eyes? High unlikely. He waited for her to speak, to banish him from the house. He was even more surprised when she only asked one thing:
Ben frowned. "Because I needed to," was his simple reply. He expected her hand to fly across his face, but when it didn't come, he eyed her curiously.
Alice shook her head and sat beside him. "I never expected him to help a man like you."
Ben chuckled at the comment, but said nothing.
"But he knew you were different… I saw that he did… those green eyes of his always gave him away."
Those two words froze him on the spot. He didn't hear right. He couldn't have. "His what?"
"Eyes," Alice repeated, uncertainly.
"Before that," Ben shook his head.
"His green eyes gave him away?" she repeated again, more uncertainly.
Ben stared at her for a while, then a soft smile grew on his face. He had come to terms with just what he had felt for Dan some time ago. There was no denying what he felt for the rancher that had earned his respect in a matter of days and died for the cause. But that, that small bit of information just added to it all now, didn't it? He gave into chuckling, and before long, the chuckle turned into a low, full laugh that came from the bottom of his stomach, and he found he couldn't stop for a short while. Truth be told, he didn't want to. "Well, I'll be damned…"