[center Sirens sound in the distance. Horns blare. Stoplights flicker, dim in the coming dark. People rush by on the sidewalks while cars cruise by, rumbling over dry pavement. The world is at peace.]
[center And yet it is not. A dark power crushes close, insinuating itself among humankind secretly. Velveteen claws are curled into places of security and power, sheathed only until they can strike once and decisively. Every institution has been infiltrated. The intruders are everywhere, hidden in plain sight. Until the claws are unsheathed and the trap snapped shut, even the infiltrators do not know what they are. Human in appearance, human in nature, in every way, from memory to appearance, a perfect replica of those whom they have replaced. ]
[center There is no secret organization to oppose them. There is no resistance to be had against that which does not exist. Those who discover the truth cast their eyes aside and claim they did not see, for to admit to have seen such horror is to admit insanity. ]
[center Their patience is boundless. They have waited for generations, for millennia, watched humanity claw its way towards the unknowable beyond, but now their waiting is almost done. The coil bends, the pressure plate dips, the spring is compressed. And when the trap is sprung, nothing will be left of this Earth but ash.]
The black goat's thousand young are among us, perfectly disguised, preparing their final assault upon the Earth. When the thousandth child arrives, then will their disguises be cast aside and Earth's dominion shall be transferred to those beyond human understanding.
We play a pair of humans who have been upset from their homes by imposters who are, impossibly, identical to themselves in every way, down to the very memories. My character has been displaced for some time, while yours has only just been replaced. In this time of confusion, your character finds themselves drawn to mine, and mine offers yours guidance, hope, and a way to fight. So long as all thousand are not on earth, the trap remains unshut. And we two are the only two who know, the only two who can oppose them.
I want this roleplay to be dark and mature-themed. The black goat's young cannot be told from ordinary mortal humans until after a vital blow has been struck. There will be paranoia, fear, uncertainty, and surest of all, death. This is a long, hard battle with no certain outcome, where anyone and anything might turn against us at any moment. This roleplay is strongly influenced by Lovecraft, as you might have guessed from the title. The black goat's young are beings that defy human understanding, but they can be killed, or at least sent back to the dark realm from which they come. Romance is not necessary, but I would prefer a heterosexual or mxm relationship, if you desire it. I am very much open to any suggestions you might have as to where the plot might go.
Feel free to ask questions. Please pm me the skeleton below once you are ready to apply. This is not first come, first serve.
[center [b Name: // Age: // Gender: // Personality: // Bio: // Physical description: // Picture: (illustrated) // Sample post:]]
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Rather than Daniel needing help, Bell almost felt like he was watching the villain fight. Baby goat dissolved one of the Immortals--or whoever they were--and ate it, while the goatling was busy crawling under the skin of the one Daniel held. He subconsciously put a hand to his bad arm. [i I really am holding Daniel back.] If it wasn't for him, Daniel wouldn't have waited to attack.
One of the men ran off. Bell watched him go, started to run after him, then paused and let him go. There was a chance he couldn't win that fight. These Immortals seemed weaker than the ones he'd faced in the city, but if that was one of the stronger, more tenacious ones... he hated it, hated that he had to admit it, but he didn't know that he could beat that man. Even if he was human, there was a chance that he'd lose. [i I'm an ordinary guy down one arm. I'm at a disadvantage no matter what.] He hadn't been able to use any of the goat's powers for a while now. He really was just a human. A sick, weak human at that.
Bell came up and patted baby goat. The thing was terrifying, but at this point, it almost felt like a pet. Not a kid. Definitely not his kid. But he could think of it as a pet, and that didn't feel too weird. "Not gonna go after that one?" he asked.
The baby-goat paid him no mind. Its eyes, such that they were, were trained on Daniel. Bell glanced over. The man's face surged with black. Black squirmed under his skin and lashed through his veins. "I feel like we're teaching it bad habits," he commented.
When the man finally toppled to the ground, a lifeless husk, Bell looked up at Daniel. "What'd you do that for?" He didn't mind Daniel torturing Immortals, but usually it took a little more than a whim to drive the man to that kind of behavior. Even Bell wouldn't torture just anyone. Unless it was the goatling taking over, and then... well, he didn't know. Goats were weird. Their two child goats seemed, if anything, particularly weird.
Then he glanced at the car. One of the Immortals had gotten away. "We should probably get going."
Too complacent. Too close. As soon as he heard Bell-boy call out his name and the sounds of fighting, Daniel was reassured that Bell-boy wouldn't just go down easily. With a snap, he reached up for the hand holding the gun and pushed. The man, surprised more than anything else, fired a shot into the air. He wasn't even sure whether these were Immortals or something else and at this point, it was pointless to even care.
The man he'd hit with his pipe earlier was slowly recovering, but the other two raised their weapon. Thinking fast, Daniel elbowed the guy with the gun and twisted around until he had the man by the neck. A proverbial meat-shield. And he wouldn't need it for very long either. He gave one of the men a stare. His gun trembled. It wasn't he who the guy needed to be afraid of.
Behind mister trembling gun rose the baby-goat. Black sinew and flesh contorted and buckled to form legs, stilts more like, a hand more a skeleton of one, until colour started to seep in. Even before that could be done, the trembling-gun guy turned around and fired his gun.
"Shouldn't you help your friend?" Daniel suggested to the nervous guy back off from his friend and the baby-goat. It stretched out a hand and covered trembling-gun guy's face. The muffled screams were satisfying to hear.
"What do you think?" he whispered in the ear of the man he still had locked in his grip. "Will your guy win? How did you find us, huh?"
Arms rose up to pull at his fore-arm and this time there was an edge of desperation to it. Especially when mister trembling-gun's skull creaked ominously and the muffled screams rose in pitch. It was too much. Nervous-guy darted off and something black rushed after him: the goatling. That left Daniel with the baby-goat and two more guys. The one on the floor scrambled to stand and drew his weapon, but it only spurred the baby-goat on.
"C-call it off," dead-lock guy tried. "Stop! Call them off!"
Daniel just grinned.
"Now why should I do that, when I need only one of you?" he whispered gently.
It was only then that the guy realized he'd been clawing at black and that it was sticking to his skin, crawling underneath. If the man wasn't talking willingly, he'd get the information forcibly. Just before pipe-to-the-face guy managed to rise and fire his gun, trembling-gun guy's brains popped from his broken skull. The baby-goat dropped the body, disinterested now that meek tendrils of black peeked out from the corpse and approached the other one.
Pipe-guy, too, ran.
The baby-goat didn't pursue. Rather, it watched Daniel with interest. Black veins popped out under deadlock-guy's skin where the goatling's core thrashed about in the man's body. Daniel let the goatling defile the man's thoughts and memories. He was done being messed with and with each Immortal the goatling consumed, he felt its powers grow. Today was a feast.
Into the cold. At least it was only a short walk to the car. Bell shivered and tucked his hand into his armpit. No warmth there. He grimaced and shoved it into his pocket instead. Stupid ruined arm. It was such garbage. Why couldn't it have been something else that went first? His side. His leg. His arm was everything.
[i Well, no, my leg would be really annoying too.] He scratched his leg and shook his head. Then Daniel would have to carry him everywhere.
Bell lagged behind Daniel. His stomach grumbled. Unhappily, Bell patted the bread in his pocket. Where was that peanut butter? He wanted food. Maybe Daniel wasn't hungry, but he was. "Daniel."
Lights blinded him. Bell staggered back. Hands reached for his back. He swung his pipe blindly. A man shouted. He spun around and chased after as the man ran. [i Immortals?] He paused and glanced over his shoulder.
Daniel was surrounded by a handful of men. Instead of fighting, though, he stood still. "Daniel!" Bell called. Was there a reason he wasn't fighting? Was he hurt?
The man spun around and charged at him. Bell had to parry the man's blow before he hit. There was no time to worry about Daniel.
[i Only one guy for me?] He felt slighted. Where were the days when he'd been the big threat? Now he was almost forgotten, while the enemies focused on Daniel. It was probably only happenstance, but it still hurt his heart.
A blow flew at his head. Bell ducked and spun, then swiped at the man's legs. The man dropped heavily to the floor. Bell stomped him back down when he tried to rise and beat at his head. He could knock him unconscious, but he didn't want to. He wanted to end it. Stop the immortals from chasing them forever. Every Immortal deserved to die.
Black spurted out from the man's head. Bell didn't stop, but kept beating at the man until he stopped moving. Until the black stopped surging. He turned toward Daniel. Was he alright?
"Dark," Daniel spat at Bell-boy's 'how's it look'. A ding finally resounded, in quick succession with the rumble of the drawer opening. Daniel wasted no time pushing all the notes and big coins down his pockets.
"Yeah", he reassured Bell-boy. "Let's get the fuck out," Daniel urged. The longer they stayed, the sooner someone was going to be on their case for shoplifting.
"Can't tell the bills apart in this light, c'mon," he said, starting for the door. Counting their chickens before they'd hatches, was what that was. Maybe Bell-boy would take some satisfaction out of counting their haul. For now, Daniel focussed on getting the fuck out again. The two rats went ahead of him.
"Let's go for the car. I'll drive," Daniel laid out his plan. The nervousness of this kind of theft didn't sit well with him. They were murderers, not thieves. Or well, now that wasn't true. They sure had taken from the dead once or twice, but that technically didn't equate to stealing, given the dead person wasn't going to need it. Also, they were often goats. Daniel had no qualms about stealing from dead goats.
He took a deep breath once he popped out of the building, waiting for Bell-boy to catch up. If they were lucky, no one would've seen them. He didn't hear any sirens yet, but that might change. Once Bell caught up, Daniel started the trek back to their car. It was too cold, too dark, too fucking early. He hoped they'd gotten enough for a night at hotel or rather still, a warm meal. Even if it was just take-out burgers or whatever else.
Something more than the jar of peanut-butter weighing down his coat at least. Something nice and hot.
Only once he reached the car, did Daniel truly relax and allowed himself to breathe out. In the car, they had a running chance. Lights. Daniel pulled up a hand, shielding his face. A man, from the right. He knew it before it even happened -courtesy of the baby-goat. It'd sent him a jolt, more so than a message and Daniel swung his pipe sightlessly, relying on the goats to provide him with the information he needed. The metal connected and then there was a gun in his face.
"I wouldn't try it, buddy," the Immortals sneered.
So they'd caught up.
Daniel raised one hand, pipe still held tight.
"Drop it," the man bit.
When Daniel didn't, he nodded at another man, who reached out for the pipe. Where was Bell-boy? He could fight if he knew the man wasn't in danger.
Daniel had that look in his eyes again. They were all glazed over and alive at the same time, like he was watching a movie only he could see. Bell shook his head. No wonder he'd been locked in a madhouse. If he didn't know, he'd think Daniel was having an episode, seeing delusions. Even knowing what was going on, it still looked off.
The lock crumbled under Daniel's hand. Without a moment's delay, Daniel vanished into the dark interior. Bell hesitated a little at the entrance and waited for his eyes to adjust. By the time they had, Daniel was already at the till. "How's it look?" he asked, as he moved blindly toward Daniel. A ding rang out in the darkness. "It opened?"
Daniel's powers were really too convenient. Bell let out a heavy sigh. If he'd had that kind of ability all these years, everything would have been so much easier. He could've stayed indoors instead of on the streets. Could've robbed places instead of sold himself. Could've had money, cars, shelter, food, whatever he wanted at his fingertips. Instead, he'd suffered like an idiot. He hadn't even known the goat was there, much less thought to ask it for a little help.
"What'd we make? Tell me it's at least a few hundred," Bell said. He could finally start to see things, but the image was still dim. He didn't get much more than silhouettes unless he was right up on Daniel. A few hundred would mean food for a few days, gas for the car, maybe even a cheap hotel room if they were feeling fancy or particularly dirty.
"Should do this every time we get the chance," he muttered. As long as he was the one touching things, they wouldn't even have to worry about biological evidence. As far as crimes went, a little theft was a drop in the bucket. They didn't even have to hurt anyone, and chances were the victims had insurance. It was a victimless crime, and they made bank. Perfect scenario in his eyes.
"Well, I'd like to amend the latter," Daniel mumbled after the kiss. While Bell-boy went and checked the till in their little establishment, Daniel followed the baby-goat towards the wall of the other place. He searched out the goatling, found the rat and had to physically force himself across a barrier to connect to it. Once he had, it felt more than natural. Daniel put a hand to the wall. Bell-boy's voice was distant. He reached out to where he'd seen the cameras, undid some of the cables. Nothing could be heard, but Daniel wasn't sure, they might have a silent alarm or something of the sorts.
"We're trying next door," he said.
"Let's go," Daniel started, already grabbing his pipe to make his way out of this store and into the next. There was nothing on this side connecting them, so the easiest way in would be through the door around back and Daniel didn't feel like breaking down a whole wall when he only had to bust one lock.
Bell-boy was already there, heading out to the door. Daniel followed, senses keenly aware of what was going on around them, courtesy of the two rats scurrying about. Cold gripped him, but it wasn't as bad as when they'd entered the stupid store. For a moment, Daniel waited, reassuring himself they were out of sight and alone, then he honed in on the lock. Brittle as coal, it fell apart in the palm of his hand, leaving a gap in the door which he used to pull the door open.
"Let's be quick, I shut off the cameras, but I don't know if they have a silent alarm," Daniel started. The layout was similar to its neighbouring store, but there were a lot of stuff in the way and less space to move.
He had to adjust to the darkness, find out where all the objects were. Again, the rats didn't suffer this human issue and so Daniel picked up the goatling and used its eyes to move quicker. The shutters were drawn. Not even the street-lights were helping them. Soon enough he bumped into the counter. His eyes started to adjust enough for him to make out where he was going now. Daniel examined the till, fidgeting a little until he found some buttons to make it work and open the drawer. Hopefully they hadn't unloaded the cash into some safe yet.
Daniel's grip tightened around his waist and said everything they wouldn't. Bell shivered a little, not from cold as much as fear. The inevitability of it all. He thought he was okay with it, but when it was dark and cold and quiet, everything came creeping back. This wasn't going to last for much longer. Daniel's heart beat away the seconds of his remaining life. Even slowed for sleep, it was still far too fast.
He didn't know when it happened, but he must have fallen asleep at some point, because the next time he knew, his back was cold and it was dark outside. Bell yawned and rubbed his eyes. "Rob a..." Memories filtered in, and he smiled. Slowly, he sat up.
"You ever think this was where you were going to end up? Robbing stores, peanut butter sandwiches for every meal?" Bell scooted closer and stole a kiss. "C'mon, let's go make some cash."
He wandered to the front of the store they were in to check out the till situation. There was a till, bolted to the floor. Bell gave it a good shove. It moved a little bit, but nothing moved inside it. No rattle. Not even a thump. "Think this one's been cleaned out. Should we try next door, or next door?" Bell pointed at the live shop and the other empty storefronts. The live shop would have money for sure, but also definitely would have alarms. They could gamble with the empty shops, but they might be alarmed and might not have any money.
Bell looked at Daniel. He couldn't undo too many locks, either. It was a strain on his body, and he was the only one who could fight nowadays. "Maybe we should go for that live shop? I don't know if the other shops will have any money in them still."
Bell headed out to the door. It was dark outside, cold but not freezing. With his coat, it wasn't too bad. [i If only every day could be this warm.] It'd still be uncomfortable to sleep outside, but it wouldn't be dangerous. He'd be less worried about Daniel then.
Bell-boy was warm against him. Daniel slipped an arm around the man's waist and pressed them close. Both of them knew what was going on, but neither had the courage or energy to bring it up. He thought that it'd keep him from falling asleep, but it didn't. Slowly, but surely, Daniel's breathing slowed and grew more rhythmically. Bell-boy's voice was soft and loud at the same time.
His sleep-addled brain caught on to the word beach. Hah!
"Told you for ages, beaches are the best," Daniel breathed out. He'd teleport Bell-boy to a nice beach and they'd rest up there. Or maybe not, since it'd seemed to undo some of Bell. Some of the goat. A heavy weight crept up into his chest, undoing the lethargy of sleep. Bell-boy wouldn't ever see even that no more, would he?
Even if they made it out of Haven alright. Even if they dealt with the Immortals. Or even if they were allowed free passage to whatever shitty beach was nearest. They wouldn't make it.
It didn't seem like Bell-boy needed a reply and so Daniel remained quiet, not trusting his voice to remain steady. His arm tightened its hold around Bell-boy ever so slightly, in what he hoped was a reassuring gesture, before relaxing again. Sleep remained evasive after that. Daniel didn't mind it; he savoured Bell's presence, tried to commit every single little detail about the man to memory. The way Bell's brown hair had grown long enough to tickle his face, the way the man smelled, the way his skin felt, his warmth.
At long last, exhaustion won over. This time his descent into sleep was absolute. Only darkness awaited him. Daniel's first recollection was that of stumbling back into reality at the sensation of a furry creature against his hand. Startled, he withdrew, only to realize it was the baby-goat. It was late. Or early. He felt a little more rested than before. No more fever at least. It was warm enough, not too cold. Daniel sat up slowly. Time to break in and see what the other store had to offer before they left, huh?
It had gotten dark. Daniel gave himself a few moments to properly recognize where everything was. The rat had less trouble with that and skittered to the other wall.
"Bell? Get up, let's go rob a store," he chuckled. As if they needed to add more misdemeanours to their already impressive list of offences.
It was bothering him. Of course it was. It didn't hurt, but who wouldn't be concerned if their body suddenly turned black and began to decay? Bell shook his head. He'd rather be bothered on his own. Daniel's fear was always so much more intense than his own. "I don't want you to worry. Especially since it'll be fine in the end."
It wouldn't be. He could already feel it. He'd grasped the truth earlier, and nothing he'd thought of so far had brought along that same intense clarity that his previous realization had. The realization that he was the old model and Daniel the new. At least it meant Daniel would live on beyond him. He watched Daniel find a place to lay down and smiled faintly. It was better this way. He was a nobody who'd only ever dragged people down. Daniel had a work ethic and a brain. He knew how to deal with people and take care of himself. Compared to a piece of trash who only knew how to spread his legs to survive the winter, Daniel was much more fit to be the hunter.
He came over at Daniel's invitation and slid into the other man's arms. He was enveloped by warmth. Soft breath tickled the back of his neck. For a moment, everything was fine. He was safe and sound. Daniel would protect him and look after him forever. Or for as long as he lasted.
But sleep evaded him. He closed his eyes and tried, but it was hard. His time was limited. Every moment was precious. It felt like such a waste to sleep when he could feel the grains of sand slipping through the hourglass. He'd thought he'd last for years. Not forever, but at least longer than Daniel. Now that his life was measured in weeks, maybe even days, time was suddenly so precious.
"When we finish with Haven, let's go to the beach. Even if the Immortals stay on our ass the whole time. I want to see the sun set into the sea and rise back out if it." He said it quietly, not sure if Daniel was awake or if he'd heard. It was a small wish. Nothing worth fussing over. But maybe they could make it come true anyways.
No change his ass. He low-key fought Bell-boy's reluctance until the man yielded and felt little to no remorse for having done so. It had gotten worse, so much worse. Black spread like a poison across Bell-boy's chest, claws hooking in Bell-boy's skin. Daniel wasn't sure whether it was good or bad that it'd extended this far. He pressed his fingers against it, as if to try and temper the decay. Powerless, Daniel let Bell-boy hide the marks underneath his jacket. Sure, they'd get to Haven and shit would work out.
It always had.
"Yeah," he breathed softly. "Yeah." Only a little more conviction and a heaviness that spoke of how weary he was of it all. He was going to be left behind. Bell-boy was just going to leave him and he'd be left alone. Ironic, considering Bell had always worried about Lenny dying first.
Rest up. Daniel walked away and ran his hair back, then scoured around for a spot to sleep that was out of sight from the door, but left enough overview to see anyone come in, if it came to that. After all, the door was now unlocked. A brave Immortal might stumble into their den. There wasn't much to the empty store, so Daniel found a spot that seemed nice, on the old carpet and sat down.
"It's bothering you though," he finally piped up.
After a second thought, Daniel shook his head and just sighed out. Right. Sleep. He was tired. Things would be easier once he'd slept a little. Now that he'd eaten some, Daniel was pretty sure he'd manage to regain some of his energy.
He let out some air and tried to relax. A minute or so in, Daniel lowered himself onto his side and curled up, one arm underneath his head to cushion it from the ground. They'd slept in worse places and it was fairly warm. As expected, the wall behind them retained some of the heat from he place next door. Not for long. Soon the sun would go down and the cold would become worse.
"C'mere, you need rest too," Daniel invited, arm open. For now, he wanted to make sure Bell-boy was safe. He wanted to be reassured that Bell-boy wasn't dead yet. They couldn't afford to rest like this, but at the same time, they couldn't afford not to either. One of them had to be fighting fit.
Bell pointed at Daniel. That was a good point. They could crack that baby open before they left and take a looksee if anything had been left behind. Not right now. But when they were getting ready to leave, certainly. He wasn't going to turn his nose up at a buck or two.
"It's fine. No change," Bell insisted. He took another bite of his sandwich and casually shifted to hide his arm from Daniel's reach. Daniel didn't need to know how bad it was. It would only depress him. Bell was fine with facing reality, but Daniel struggled with it.
He furrowed his brows when Daniel mentioned his ear, then remembered: [i Right, I got shot.] "Doesn't hurt. It's just a scratch." That one really wasn't worth mentioning.
"I'm fine. Stop it!" Bell pulled away from Daniel, but stopped when he felt a tug deep in his chest. It felt like his arm was going to fall out, but was still connected somewhere deep inside. Like pulling off a scab that wasn't ready to go. Daniel's fingers were hooked into his coat. He grabbed at Daniel's hand to try and fight him off, but Daniel had two arms to his one. It was a useless endeavor. In the end, he turned away and let Daniel grab at him, a sour expression on his face. He didn't want this. It was better to just carry on and pretend like he was fine.
The jacket came off. Underneath, the black had spread. Down to his wrist and up over his shoulder. Some of the back had spread across his chest, slender fingers of darkness that left him almost striped.
He pressed his lips together. "It's fine. It doesn't hurt." He didn't need Daniel to worry over him. He grabbed his jacket and pulled it back up to hide the marks. "We'll get to Haven and everything will work out. It's always worked out before, right?"
Bell finished his sandwich and eyed a second one. He was still hungry, but... he wasn't fighting fit. He rubbed his stomach and sighed quietly. Better to save it for Daniel. The man would need it more than him. "Let's rest up and get ready to move on early tomorrow," Bell suggested.
Bell-boy seemed to manage alright with just one hand. Or well, the weight of one useless arm and a hand. His sandwich vanished within a few bites. He had needed it. Daniel messed around with some of the shelves. There was dust covering the planks. No one had bothered visiting the place in a while then. Busting open the other shops might be a good idea.
"They might have a till," he offered. And an alarm, no doubt. But when had alarms and cameras ever stopped the goatling?
Right now the money sounded alluring. Of course, they shouldn't try that shit right now. At the very least they ought to get some sleep first and try in the quiet hour between morning and night. Daniel walked over to Bell-boy and snatched up the knife to make himself another sandwich. Just one more, he promised himself. Otherwise they'd be listening to the infinite growling of his stomach all night.
Daniel bit into the fluffy white bread and gave Bell-boy a once-over. It wasn't very bright inside the store without any of the lights, but there was some light seeping in from the front of the shop.
"I should check your arm," he said, lifting his eyes to look at Bell. He'd wrapped it up, but honestly? They didn't have the means to shield Bellboy from just slowly dissolving into the atmosphere. And it'd only get worse.
Daniel suspected Bell-boy was hiding how much worse it'd gotten. Was it already up to the man's chest? Amputating wasn't an option either. It'd just needlessly progress shit, though if the dead arm fell off, he wasn't going to try and amend the situation either.
He remembered the threads after the shout. He shouldn't have used the goatling's shout back then. And Bell-boy would've gotten hurt then anyway. It'd be bad either way. The shout didn't contribute, but neither did bullets.
"How's your ear?"
It hadn't been leaking, had it?
Daniel stepped close to Bell-boy and took a close look at the man's ear. It seemed to just be healing. Given, at a human rate, but still. So maybe he could amputate. Daniel looked around the shop. Sure. And how the fuck was Bell-boy not going to just bleed out?
"Let me see your arm," Daniel started, food finished. His fingers already started on Bell-boy's coat, pulling back the fabric.
The sandwich did it. Bell snorted, amused, as Daniel revived with the combination of peanut butter being spread on bread. "It's alright. Goat-sickness is rough," Bell said. He wasn't going to hold any grudges over that. It'd worried him, sure, but Daniel pulled tantrums worse than this all the time. Or... he'd used to, anyways. It hadn't happened in quite a while. Since the two had combined, really. He certainly didn't miss that part of them. The overbearing childishness that had made him feel like a worn-out mother.
Hands wrapped around his waist. "I've got it handled,"Bell said. He kind of had it handled, anyways. The sandwich was balanced precariously on the loaf of bread, and if he used his dead arm as a weight to hold it down, he could mostly spread the peanut butter without problems.
Daniel's excuse was unexpected. He raised an eyebrow. Did he feel guilty about it or something? They'd long since passed the point where they had to apologize or explain themselves when they got hurt or sick. It didn't matter, but it was a little odd.
With deep satisfaction, Bell placed the piece of bread atop the sandwich. The sandwich vanished from his hand before he could even appreciate it properly. Bell made a face. His sandwich, so carefully made, stolen like that!
Then he smiled. "Guess you really needed that, huh?" He grabbed out another two pieces of bread and jabbed the knife back into the peanut butter. Daniel's health mattered more than his now. He'd never be fighting fit again, but Daniel could heal up still.
"Yeah. We could bust open the other shops and see if they're empty, but chances are..." Bell shrugged. The only one really worth trying was the active one, and that was too dangerous. He finished his sandwich a little quicker than he'd made Daniel's, and bit into it. Delicious peanut butter lit up on his tongue.
The first and second time Bell-boy asked what was going on, the man's voice sounded distant and Daniel didn't have the strength of mind to reply. Nothing was wrong. Not with him. It was Bell-boy who they ought to be worried about. He couldn't bring himself to say as much. Daniel watched the empty store from his sideways vantage point and took slow, deep breaths to help steady out the lingering dizziness. Food would help. They hadn't eaten anything that day, not really. Bad burritos that hadn't seen fit to stick around. He listened to Bell-boy rummage around, closed his eyes for a second and just rested. After a while of that, the scent of peanut-butter coaxed him into pushing up to sit. A shaky hand dragged down his face.
"Sorry," Daniel started, staring longingly to the sandwich Bell-boy was making.
He watched the man, an unfamiliar sensation in his chest. He'd never had to deal with death in this way. As if Bell-boy was terminal. Haven wasn't going to be able to stop whatever ailed Bell-goat. Maybe they hadn't been able to kill enough branches on time. Maybe they should've won against Rebecca. Daniel felt she'd be vital to Bell-goat's recovery.
And now it was too late.
He wondered if this is what would happen to the Immortals once they took down the origin. Whether the others would start to decay once they'd been injured. Probably. Daniel shook the thoughts and worries. Fuck that.
Such a Lenny thing to do.
For now, he would savour the moments he had with Bell-boy.
"Do you want me to help?" Daniel offered after a second. Making a sandwich with one hand sounded like a struggle. He got up and approached Bell, wrapping his arms around the man's waist.
"I just felt dizzy for a bit, I'm okay now," he explained his earlier behaviour. It couldn't explain it all, but Daniel figured Bell-boy wouldn't be able to do anything with what he'd learned anyway.
They already knew shit was bad.
Once the sandwich was ready, Daniel took it and bit into the fluffy bread. Even the sweetness of the peanut-butter was a blessing on his tongue. His stomach was less happy, but after the first few bites, settled nicely. Bread had a way of soaking up excess acid.
"Nothing in this fucking place," he concluded for himself. "At least it's not freezing," Daniel shrugged.
Daniel disassembled the lock with ease. Bell started to move past him into the shop, but Daniel stood there, dazed. Pitch-black eyes stared at him. It was unnerving at the best of times, but somehow, it was more intense this time. Emotions rippled over Daniel's face. Bell frowned. What was going on? "You alright?"
Without a word, Daniel pushed open the door and just about fell inside. Bell reached out to catch him, but without his second arm, his grip fell short. He could only follow Daniel inside.
"Hey, Daniel. What's wrong?"
The other man sank against the wall, down to a seated position, head hung between his legs. Bell hovered, confused and concerned. "Does your gut hurt? Are you okay?"
After a while, Daniel sagged to the side. Bell sighed out and moved back to the back of the shop to shut the door. Once everything was settled, he looked around.
The shop was empty. There were a few racks in the back, but unlike the clothing store they'd stayed in a while back, they were all empty. He peeked out at the storefront. It was safe to walk around in it; the windows were boarded up. But then, there wasn't any reason to go out there. The shop was empty, except where a few shelves clung to the walls. A big counter took up the majority of space in the room. He wrinkled his nose. Looked like it had once been a food shop of some sort.
It was boring, all alone in the shop. Bell opened the peanut butter after a while, then realized: they hadn't bought any silverware. He'd once had a knife, but that was jackets ago. And a little bloodied. He wandered back into the shop. Maybe they had knives. Even a fork would work. He'd take a spoon if he had to.
Bell pulled open one drawer after another. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. He crouched down and peered under the counter on a thought. Plastic-wrapped silverware sat amid the dust bunnies where it had fallen a long time ago.
He grabbed it and went back to his peanut butter. [i Better than nothing.] Maybe once he made Daniel a sandwich, the man would be in a better mood and talk to him again.
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