[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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He left a note. On the pillow beside Landon's head, a simple note.
I'm ruining your life. You could be healthy if I wasn't here. I want the best for you, so don't come looking for me. You're better off without me.
Below that, he left the car keys. It was Landon's car, in the end. Landon had bought it. He was just borrowing it for a little while.
Out into the night. It was dark out, but his eyes adjusted. He wandered for a while, then put a bit of purpose in his gait and headed out. The city was nice and big. If he walked for an hour or two, he should be able to get so lost even Landon couldn't find him.
The night got chilly fast, summer not quite set in deep enough to keep the nights warm. Bell pulled his shredded jacket tighter and found himself wishing he had his old leather jacket. This one just didn't do the trick, not like the leather one had. Somehow, no matter how much it'd gotten cut, it'd always seemed to keep out the cold. At least it didn't seem to be getting really frigid. It looked to be staying above freezing, for one, so no risk of frostbite.
Bell grimaced. This wasn't his brightest plan, was it, leaving Landon in the middle of the night before it got warm enough to be comfortable. But it was for Landon's own good. He was the weak link in the way of Landon getting better. The only way to heal Landon, was to leave.
He found a quiet alley behind a bakery and settled in. With a shiver, he wrapped his arms around himself and waited for sleep to come. It was a long time before he fell asleep, all alone. His body wasn't used to sleeping on the street anymore, the cold, hard floor uncomfortable and unfriendly. [i I should go back,] he thought, then closed his eyes harder. This was for Landon's sake, not for his. He didn't want to go, but it wasn't up to him. Not really. If he stayed, Landon would only get worse.
At dawn, he gave up trying to sleep and stood to stretch. Time to go. Landon might try and find him, so he had to make himself hard to find.
Sleeping aids. Oh. So it wasn't real. Landon looked up at Bell, searching for some kind of comfort, but he got scared to find something unexpected and looked down at the bottle of pills. He hated the things. They made him woozy in a bad way and he was already tired. Landon rubbed at his eyes and shook one out, then took it before he could reconsider.
"See you on the other side," he murmured softly as the pills started taking hold. It'd be fine. This time he'd just sleep through it all. His eyes became heavy, breathing unnaturally depressed and soon he was losing the fight with sleep at an alarming pace. Landon was dead asleep when Bell voiced his doubts.
First of Daniel, then of Bell.
They were together, laughing, and he was trapped at the sidelines. And there was something else. Something black, but its presence wasn't uncomfortable. Actually, it was something so familiar, Landon might have pegged it to be family. A goat? Bellwether-goat? He drifted like that for the longest time.
Reality returned sluggishly.
First there were sounds. They were muffled, beyond several walls maybe even and Landon couldn't quite make them out. He didn't have to either. They weren't important. He was resting on something soft, most likely a bed. Safe then?
He'd have to open his eyes to find out.
Numb fingers stretched into the blankets and Landon lifted a heavy hand to push some hair back from his face. Opening his eyes was an even greater chore, but he managed. Bright. A pale headache stabbed through his skull. If someone told him Daniel had been drinking, he would've believed it. Not enough to get wasted, enough to feel a little crappy afterwards.
That was, if hangovers liked legs.
Landon shifted on the bed and rolled over on his side. The different angle offered a broader view into the room. A hotel room? Not his apartment at least. His mouth was dry. Pills then? His fingers investigated his lips, dreamily, but then Landon shook himself and tried to sit up. Everything was a bit slow. He forced himself to take a deep breath and pushed through. Sitting up was better and worse, but at least he was up.
Bell waved it away. It didn't much matter that Landon had slept through it. "More popcorn for me," he joked.
"I don't know," he complained. It was so hard to keep track of why who was doing what. Wasn't it so much easier to pitch a villain against a hero and have at it? He'd be perfectly happy with that kind of movie.
Back to the car. Landon sat down in the passenger's seat and blinked at Bell. "Water?" he asked. There wasn't any water. [i Shit.] He rifled through their bags and grabbed out the sleeping aids. Popping the plastic packaging, he held one out. "Here, take this. Sleep through it. I'll see you on the other side, okay?"
The visions were coming more rapidly than before. He bit his lip, not sure what to do. If they kept up at this rate, he'd just spend all his time drugging Landon. [i It's gotta work,] he told himself. He'd have to make it work until Landon's serious pills showed up. Even if it meant sedating the man half the time, he'd put up with it if he had to.
It had been going so well, too. Bell grimaced. [i Damnit.] This was always how it went, wasn't it? Just when things started looking up, everything would nose dive all over again.
"I'm bad for you, aren't I?" he asked the sleeping Landon. It wasn't sustainable. Landon just kept getting dragged down. There wasn't anything he could do about that. Short of leaving Landon behind entirely, but that wasn't any better than dragging Landon after him endlessly. Landon would fall apart on his own.
[i Or would he?] He'd been stable. He'd had an apartment, been getting treatment for his psychiatric disorders. He'd been doing well. And then Bell has come along and disrupted all of that. [i He came and got me,] a little voice muttered, but even so, it was still because of him that Landon was so messed up. If only they could settle down, have a routine. Then, surely, Landon would be able to live properly. But like this, that wasn't possible. It wouldn't ever be possible.
He parked in the hotel and looked at Landon. [i Maybe I should just vanish.]
A hand stroked his hair. Landon slowly woke up, leaned in and blinked his eyes open at what appeared to be a cinema. It all clicked in a short second after that. He'd fallen asleep halfway through the movie and was using Bell as a pillow.
One of his hands was warm. Landon sat there for a second, a bit drowsy, until Bell coaxed him into getting up. Landon pushed himself up with a groan and stretched out a little. His leg complained the weird position he'd fallen asleep in almost even more than the crick in his neck. Landon followed after Bellwether docilely, unquestioningly take his cues until he could shake the general feel of being sleep-drunk.
"It turned vague after the first half," Landon said in reply to Bell's teasing and gave the man a sleepy smile. Confusing, huh? He knew half of the heroes the actors were enacting, but the other half were a mystery to him and whatever story he'd cut off down the middle with sleep hadn't exactly come to fruition in the first half.
It didn't really matter.
The tingle on the back of his hand mattered more. The spot where Bell's hand had been, burning with longing and desire. Love, maybe even.
"Sorry, I didn't think it'd send me to sleep," Landon apologized for being a terrible date. He'd picked the action movie because Landon had hoped it'd keep him awake. Evidently Daniel was so used to sleeping with noise in the background, that he was easily persuaded to just give in.
"Why do they make these movies so convoluted these days?" he said with a yawn. Why not just keep the plot simple? More refined? It seemed films these days were more about mindless action rather than a good story.
Landon was glad they'd chosen to go by car. His gait was uneven and unsteady. Landon sank into the chair with a heavy sigh. Hotel was right. He'd feel a lot better after a good night's sleep. Maybe tomorrow there'd be a nice breakfast. Water? Landon stared at the water streaming underneath the car and pulled his leg inside. He blinked a couple of times.
It hadn't rained.
"Why is there water?" Landon asked Bell. Was he the only one seeing it? Fear hitched up his heart-rate.
Bell nabbed some of the popcorn. Popcorn and theaters were the perfect combination. Nothing like that salty crunch while he was watching a good movie. Or even a bad one. Either way, really.
"Yeah, to watch. Romance is nice to sleep through," he commented. Usually they were nice and quiet, which made them ideal for napping.
Landon's hand landed near his on the armrest. He glanced over and inched his hand closer, but couldn't find the nerve to reach out and grab it. [i Come on, it's nothing to be afraid of.] It was Landon. Landon wouldn't reject him. Landon wanted him to make a move. But still, he was paralyzed.
The movie played on. He paid half attention, not really minding it too much. There were too many characters, and it was confusing to see them all mixed together without any context or background.
A weight gently came to rest on his shoulder. Bell glanced over and smiled. He closed his hand on Landon's. It was alright. They'd make it through alright.
It was a long film. The popcorn dried up before it came close to finished. He ended up sucking on the unpopped kernels out of boredom. His arm was numb, but it was fine. He'd put up with it for Landon's sake.
When it finally rolled to a close, he let go of Landon's hand and gently stroked his hair until he blinked back awake. "Come on, let's go back to the hotel to sleep," he urged Landon. To get the idea across a little more strongly, he stood and waited for Landon to join him.
"What did you think of the movie?" he teased Landon. He didn't think the man had an opinion, except that it was snooze-worthy. Even the loudest scenes hadn't been enough to rouse him from his slumber. But if Landon needed to sleep that badly, he wouldn't bug the man. Obviously he needed the rest, if he was that ridiculously tired.
It was really dark by the time they left the building. Bell led the way back to their car. "I thought it was good, but a little confusing," he shared, not that it would mean anything to Landon, the sleepyhead.
Popcorn. Landon thought about it and decided he might as well get some, even if he didn't take any. He'd get a small carton.
"Sure, let's get some," he decided and got them some to take inside. People wondered around, but it wasn't overly crowded. In the end, finding a spot wasn't too difficult. Landon got comfortable and pulled out of his jacket before settling down. Their space was a little cramped and he'd likely regret it after a couple of hours, but all in all the seats weren't bad.
Landon habitually took some of the popcorn as they watched the commercials.
"I prefer them over comedy or drama," Landon said without missing a beat. Honestly? He'd peg Bellwether as a comedy sort of time more than anything. "I just didn't feel like comedy right now," he shrugged.
"You prefer action?" Landon asked softly. People started to fill in the seats around them. Eventually the lights went off and the trailers started. There were some good ones. He couldn't even remember the last time he'd seen a movie last. Had to have been a year or more. Ever since he'd joined Bell out on the street.
Landon looked at Bell in the darkness, but the screen-lit silhouette betrayed very little. By the time the movie started, Landon was focussing on the screen. He rested his hand near Bell's, on the rest between their chairs. The first half of the movie he managed to follow, but after a while his leg got uncomfortable and Landon found he had trouble keeping his eyes open properly. He tried sitting at an angle, stretching out the leg, but because of the awkward positioning, that didn't really do anything for the wound. Maybe he should've checked it, see what it looked like.
At this angle though, resting his head on Bell's shoulder was easy. Easy and comfortable. When his eyes closed, Landon promised himself it'd only be for a few seconds. Those few seconds turned into a few minutes and soon he sagged into Bell. Landon tried to fight it, but he couldn't. His body's demands couldn't be ignored any longer the way Daniel did. His breathing slowed and he was gone.
Action. As quiet and boring as Landon was, it was a surprise. He'd expected romance, maybe, or comedy, drama, but not action. [i Guess he is a red-blooded male after all,] he considered quietly, following Landon to the ticket booth. Landon had dated women, after all. In ways, Landon was more masculine than him, even if he liked to think of himself as the tough one in their relationship. [i As much of a relationship as it is.] Lately, it hadn't been much at all.
Landon pointed out a big blowout superhero movie, and Bell nodded in agreement. "Looks fun," he agreed easily. He lazed around as Landon picked up tickets, taking in the lights of the city at night, the brilliantly colorful movie posters, the streams of people rushing here and there. The city was alive, even this late at night. It made him feel like he was part of it, of something, even if he didn't know what that something was.
Tickets procured, he scooted over to Landon and led the way inside, holding the door for him. There wasn't much of a crowd in the theater; it seemed like most of the movies had been out for a while, so there wasn't any sort of a rush. It was quiet, but a good kind of quiet. Peaceful. The kind of place where it felt safe to bring Landon, maybe even take his eyes off the man for a moment.
"Want popcorn or soda or something?" he offered, making his way to the concession stand. "I kinda want some popcorn. But not a whole bucket." He flicked his eyes to Landon, wondering if he'd pick up the hint. "To share. If you don't want any, I'm good though."
They didn't have long until the movie started. Once they'd made true decision about popcorn, Bell headed for the theatre itself, out of a long row of theater rooms. "You're a fan of action movies?" he tried. "I wouldn't have pegged you as the type." Sure, Landon was perfectly fine running around the streets with him, so maybe he should have, but oddly enough it had never crossed his mind as a possibility. He pushed open the door to the theater, revealing darkness inside. A commerical was already playing on the big screen, something about how they should turn off their cell phones.
"It's hard to plead your sanity when there are episodes like..." Landon waved his hand. Yesterday, he supposed. Whatever Daniel had done. Try and hurt himself, apparently. Landon scratched the back of his head.
"I mean, they asked what I'd been doing at some point, I think. And they kept asking," he said with a shrug. It was hard to believe he'd been roaming the streets doing what they did, but in the end Landon figured they just accepted that he'd been roaming the streets aimlessly.
"Well, they didn't think you were good for my mental health, that's for sure," Landon said with a chuckle. It was part of the reason that when he'd seen Bell for real back at his shitty apartment, he'd been relieved and surprised at the same time.
Finally there was real-life proof that he wasn't off his rocker. Or maybe he was and it was just hard to shake the semi-reality of the delusion he suffered.
Drive. Secretly Landon felt relieved. Sitting down was much better than walking halfway through town in search of some dumb entertainment. After what felt like a short drive, they stepped out to a big theatre.
"Action," he said straight away. Wouldn't be able to get caught up in a comedy film and unlike Bellwether, he wasn't as romantically inclined. He never thought he'd need to be around Bell, but maybe he did. Maybe they did need to take the time to get to know one another, or do the whole 'wine and dine' Bell was on about on occasion. In ways, Bell was traditional like that and coming from the era he did, it made sense.
It was warm inside the theatre. Landon unzipped his coat and looked around at the posters until he saw a couple that caught his attention.
"How about that one," he pointed one out to Bell. It felt weird. Weird, but also kind of nice. Landon hoped Bell wouldn't forget any of this when he did finally remember everything. That'd happened before. Some time had been stolen from them before. Much like now. It made him want to just hold Bell and never let go.
Instead, Landon smiled and went up to the ticket-booth.
He'd make due with what he was given and wouldn't expect more.
Watch a movie? Of all things... but then, when was the last time he'd seen a movie? Bell thought back and realized he really had no idea. He hadn't been to see a movie in ages, not since Landon, really. Maybe he'd just forgotten, but it seemed like he hadn't. Before then, he'd gone to the movies a few times, but mostly for a warm place he could take a nap in rather than for the entertainment. He'd had a different objective, too. The longest, quietest movie he could find was best, because it'd interrupt his nap least.
[i And I remember that now.] He raised his eyebrows at himself. Here he'd been thinking he'd remembered most of his past before Landon, but clearly big chunks of that had been torn out, too. [i I wonder what else I'm forgetting?]
"Movie sounds good," he said at last, realizing he'd gotten a bit lost in his thoughts.
Bell followed Landon. Back to the car. "Well, I guess the goats part didn't help you plead your sanity much," he joked. So what if Landon told people? He had the best cover in the world with being mentally unsound. If he told the world, it wouldn't change a thing. Anything he said about goats would get waved off as a hallucination.
"Kinda sucks that I sounded fake." He pulled a face. Was it that hard to believe Landon could end up with someone? Or was he just that horrible that he couldn't exist? "Did they think I was evil or good?" he asked, curious.
He nodded. "We'll drive." He didn't know how close the movie theater was, and Landon's limp had been getting worse the longer they walked. Landon needed the ride, even if he didn't want it. "Come on."
He sat behind the driver's seat and adjusted himself to the wheel. With a yawn, he hit the gas and headed out on the road.
It wasn't a long drive. He hadn't expected it to be. Bell parked in the big theater lot and climbed out, then nodded to Landon. "So what're you thinking?" he asked. "Action? Romance? Comedy?" He was down for whatever. Worst case, he'd just take a nap. Or maybe coerce Landon into making out a little. Who knew?
Anything he wanted to do? Landon thought about it and shrugged, "sleep?" Sights? Landon stepped out and realized they were in a city for once. Tall buildings crowded the horizon and people actually walked across the streets. For once they weren't in the abandoned parts of a city either. And they'd gotten a hotel. Maybe Bell was right saying they ought to enjoy that rare occasion.
"I don't know," he said at long last. Maybe watching a movie might be nice. They hadn't really taken the time to date, but with a clean slate, shouldn't that be their first course of action? Just to get to know each other again and see what kind of memories actually floated around Bell's mind?
"We can see what's in cinema," Landon decided at long last. Maybe this could be nice. Like a do-over or something. A chance to get to know one another again. Bellwether's existence was fleeting and with Bellwether-goat in the picture, it always would be. There were no guarantees to Bell's continued existence because it was so highly dependent on Bellwether-goat's whim.
He casually walked down the street, dodging several people. He remembered a time where Bellwether stole from people like these. Pick-pocket. At the time Landon felt like it'd be the worst thing they'd do. Not murdering people or burning down buildings. He'd been so green back then and not just to life on the streets.
"They thought you didn't exist when I told them about you," Landon started. "The psychiatrists," he sketched a context. "I think Daniel told them about the goats at some point too." Landon looked over at Bell to see how that fact would land. It wasn't that he meant to, but his mind had evidently been in a different place. Still was teetering near that edge, so dangerously close it felt uncomfortable.
Landon stopped at the car. "Are we driving there?" His leg said yes. The rest of his body said no. He could use some movement after being literally tied up and stuck in a car all day. He could tell Bell still didn't trust him and Landon didn't know whether to be grateful or resentful.
It was cute, the way Landon got flustered. Daniel would never be so abashed, never have that cute pink color in his cheeks and ears. Bell grinned and tipped his head to get a better look. Adorable. [i No wonder I liked him so much.] Landon was much more his type than Daniel was.
Maybe he would tease the guy a little. Not because of Daniel's advice, but because Landon's reactions were the best.
He nodded. "Yeah, I think that's probably for the best as well," he agreed. He wouldn't mind lazing around, but they really couldn't afford to do too much lazing. Branches would catch up to them, and then there was always Haven and the hunters to deal with, plus whatever other craziness was going on.
"Oh, yeah," he muttered. "Daniel ditched his shoes and his bat? What the hell." Next time, he'd take them off himself and stick them somewhere the guy couldn't toss them out the window; the trunk, maybe, or under the seat.
Bell finished his food and reached out to snatch the last of Landon's tacos. "Delicious," he declared. Damn, this really was some good food.
The waiter came by with their check, and they were free to go. Bell stood and stretched. "Anything else you want to do tonight?" he asked. "Could... watch a movie, go bowling, swim, go for a hike, just wander and see the sights...?" No reason they had to go straight to sleep or stay cooped up inside. Sure, Landon was a bit of a liability, but as long as he kept the man within arm's reach, it shouldn't be too bad.
Out into the night. It was still a bit chilly out; not frigid, but cool. Comfortable, but comfortable with his coat. Bell looked around as they headed back to the car. He needed a new bell. It'd been hard to find the first one, though. Maybe a farm supply store? They weren't likely to have that kind of thing in the city, but there was always an off chance they were selling one in one of those holier-than-thou knickknack shops, or an overgrown thrift store. A bit lazy, he followed Landon wherever the man wanted to go.
"Yeah, I mean. I do know, but at the same time, memories are fickle things," Landon muttered softly. On occasion he'd see something in Bell he recognized, but was certain Bellwether didn't actively remember. Those small flashes of hope helped him give the strength to carry on and see this through but there was no guarantee that there'd be a rainbow at the end of this road.
Landon chuckled and shook Bell's hand.
"Likewise," he replied with a smile. A new start was maybe what they needed. He wasn't as 'easy' as Daniel, but that didn't mean he was that difficult, did it? Just a sharp contrast, he suspected.
"My leg could be better," Landon said with a shake of his head, "but yeah, the food is good." Real well? He furrowed his brow in mild confusion, until it dawned. Oh.
"Oh," he managed, slightly flustered. He knew Daniel had gotten his kicks with Bell already, so there was no reason he couldn't, but at the same time it'd been so long. And this Bell wasn't quite like the old one, though a lot closer. It wouldn't be cheating, would it?
It was the same as if Bell were sick. He was still the same person underneath it all.
Landon managed a smile. For the first time it felt like they were talking and actually listening to one another. That hadn't happened for a while, though he was mostly to blame for that.
"I think we shouldn't wait for the pills, but move on. If the desert is that close, we can go there and come back after," Landon ventured. No point in just sitting around. Sure, his leg was uncomfortable and so were the bruised ribs, but they were healing and wouldn't hamper any fighting. Hopefully.
"I'll need a weapon," Landon said as an after-thought. Maybe Bell had taken the bat way for a reason. Daniel had tried to hurt himself, after all. He didn't know exactly how.
He ate most of his dinner, but left some. Landon felt what Bell had said; that Daniel hadn't really slept any. Insomnia wasn't a strange occurance for them, unfortunately. It made the episodes worse and more frequent. Landon wasn't sure which caused which, in all honesty. Bell now had sleeping pills at his disposal though, so they should be better with those.
Angry, no. Apathetic was more what it felt like. In a way, it was almost worse than anger. If he'd cared for Landon, it would have been devastating. As it was, he barely felt a thing. He wasn't sure what that meant, but he knew it wasn't good.
Bell shot him a look. Landon had only just suggested he leave. How was he supposed to take that, other than as intentions to leave?
Adjust. Sure. He'd seen enough of that to know that was true. The joy, depression, apathy Landon had gone through. He listened, though. Quietly, slowly munching on chips and salsa.
"Amen," he muttered. Time Landon got over it and moved on. Stopped wandering around and started getting stuff done.
He shrugged. "Hard to say how full the cup is when I don't know how big it was in the first place, you know?" He didn't really have anything to compare it to in order to be able to say how much he'd remembered. "I remembered how we met. Remembered you, and what you're like, you know? I dunno. Hard to put a measure on it."
"We didn't get off on a good start, yeah, but we can always start over, right?" he suggested. "Nice to meet you, and all." He offered Landon his hand to shake with a smile. They could always start over again. If Landon wanted to, he was open to it.
Their food came. Bell dug into his with all the gusto he could muster. "So there, everything is gone. Fresh slate. You doing well? Like the food?"
Bell nodded. "I wanna get along with you, Landon, I really do. Even... Well, you know. Get to know you... really well." If Landon was interested in that. He honestly wasn't sure. Sometimes it was hard to tell what he wanted or didn't want.
He nodded and pointed at the food. "This is really delicious, though. Great restaurant." It might be worth coming back to, if they stuck around or came back to grab the pills. Besides, food was a neutral topic. No one's feelings would get hurt over his opinion on the food. Even if Landon didn't want to get to know him again, food was an easy topic for the both of them.
No map. When had they ever gotten a map? Bellwether-goat knew exactly where to steer them, so having one was fairly pointless. Not too far.
"Right," Landon said, nodding a bit. They'd get to where they needed to be eventually no matter what. There was no way around that. Their waiter returned and Landon followed Bell's example and took some of the crisps. For a while the silence lingered. They'd quickly run out of neutral topics, it seemed.
Landon raised his eyes to look at Bell after being called out.
Bellwether's blue eyes pierced straight through him. Landon looked away and toyed with the food for a bit before deciding it'd be better eaten.
"I'm not angry," he started wheedling away the forest of assumptions that'd somehow started to sprout. "And no, where would I even run? Did Daniel tried to leave?" He hadn't tried to leave. Sure, he'd suggested they part ways, but that-. Landon sighed.
Bell would take that the bad way, wouldn't he?
"I just.. It's taken me a while to adjust, is all. I'm fine now, honestly," Landon said. He would stand by his earlier resolve to just man up and help Bell do what needed to be done while he was out. Apparently they'd both thought the other wanted to leave.
"It's... hard, you know? It's so weird, being split like this again. For the longest time I questioned whether or not I should just..." Landon waved a hand in the air, as if dismissing the thought before it could sprout. "Should just disappear." He searched Bellwether's face for a reaction, but didn't really expect any.
He shook his head.
"... and then you don't even remember me. It almost justifies those feelings." Even though they'd tried to convince him otherwise. Maybe that's why he'd tried to be Daniel more roughly than intended. His fingers ran across the long gash across his wrist. It was scabbed over and healed in places now.
"But it's time I get over that shit and just get on," Landon said more firmly. He was here. There was little he could do about that fact, so what was the point?
"As for us... I don't know what we are currently. I mean, you say you remember, but I don't even know how much and... We didn't get off on a good start. I guess... I don't know."
Tacos. Bell considered. Tacos did sound tasty, but he was in the mood for something more substantial. Something that came with rice and beans, at least.
There was silence. What was there to discuss? Landon didn't want to get to know him, and Bell wasn't in the mood for pushing boundaries after playing jailer-babysitter for the last few hours. He'd chat, but he wasn't going to go further than Landon was comfortable going. There was no point in it. No reward but Landon's frustration and a surly outburst, if he was lucky.
"Hmm? I was thinking enchiladas, maybe," Bell said. Something nice and meaty. Plenty of food, a vivid red sauce... Something big and sloppy to finish off a big, sloppy day.
Where were they headed? What a question. Bell grimaced. "The desert?" he tried, not sure if Landon would let him get away with that. "Uh, no. No map. I don't think it's too far, if it's the desert I'm thinking of." It wasn't like he knew precisely where he was going. Ten second images didn't usually help much. He didn't see street signs so much as a saguaro or two and lots of sand. "You know, I don't have a precise location, so.. I can't really say for sure."
A waiter returned with a bowl of chips and salsa, and left with their orders. Bell yawned and grabbed some chips. The salsa was a bit mild, but it wasn't awful. Tasted enough like tomatoes that he didn't mind, and the chips were still warm, a plus.
More silence. Bell glanced around, bored. Silence was all nice and fine, but he'd really rather talk. "So," he broached at last, "we uh, are we good?" He leveled Landon with a stare. "I know you aren't exactly passionate about me, and that's fine, that's..." he waved his hand, "whatever. But are we good? You aren't angry or anything? Don't want to run away?"
Landon had offered to leave a few times already. Made him a bit nervous, though he wasn't sure why. He should probably be happy to see the back of them. It wasn't like Landon was doing anything for him. Even conversation seemed too much to ask sometimes.
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