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If they ever came to that bridge.
"She hasn't been out since, you know," Daniel gestured, indicating the 'murder' they'd committed. At some point all those memories of Alice had gotten confused, mixed in with one another. They hadn't been great times. Confused times. He realized he'd said the real Alice had come before the one in his head, but that might not be entirely true either.
From the start there'd been something fragile inside of them both Lenny and Daniel had refuted.
They'd arrived at the house and Daniel heaved a sigh. Empty. To be expected. He wondered whether that meant the kid stayed at school for lunch at such an early age. Brought back memories. Before he could get all nostalgic however, Bell-boy was already looking around for something.
Probably a place to wait without raising suspicion.
"She came from that direction before, didn't she?" he pointed out. It wasn't a smart idea, but maybe they could find the school the kid went to. That'd narrow down the paths the mother could take considerably. What they needed to do was trace back where the mom went to after she'd dropped the kid off. No need to traumatize the infant.
"Maybe we can wait a little further down," Daniel suggested.
"Got to be a school the kid goes to, or a day-care," he said. He hadn't really been able to tell the child's age. Might be three. Might be five.
Though he felt better now, Daniel regretted not going down to stalk the woman earlier this morning. Could've had this shit done already and moved on.
Phobias, huh. Daniel contemplated Bell-boy's new fear and pondered on how many more there would be. It wasn't really fair. They were on equal footing where fears were considered.
They walked past an alley and Daniel nudged Bell. Dark, dank, obscured from sight; everything they were looking for and more -a dumpster, smelling quite rotten in the afternoon burn. At least no one was going to smell them if they hid there.
"What do you think? Could walk a little further?" he suggested, hoping Bell-boy would go for the latter. A nice bench by the water would definitely hold his favour over a shitty alley.
"It's been a while since we did the hunting-thing," Daniel started conversationally, trying to get rid of the sour after-taste of having several memories and a multitude of short-comings dredged up from the past.
Just a chain, sure. He knew that. Didn't mean he liked metal being put around his neck. No one would like that. Daniel unlocked it and Bell stepped away, cracking his neck and running a hand over it, half expecting the hand to come back bloody--but it didn't. Of course it didn't. There was no blood, no injury. It was just a stupid chain. "I'm relaxed, it's fine," he said, waving it away. His heart was still pounding, giving lie to his words, but Daniel wouldn't know that.
He shrugged. He really didn't want to make a big deal out of it. It'd just make him feel weak all over again. "Yeah, you know. It's like a... a phobia," he said. "Like being afraid of heights or tight spaces or the dark." Only his was a little more practical, and a little more practically earned than most phobias. Hell, a phobia of being choked made pretty solid sense. It was more of a marvel that Daniel hadn't developed one, too.
He followed Daniel, the silence awkward. Dammit. Hadn't meant to kill the buzz. Daniel was probably trying to be cute and "lock him up" or something, but nope, he couldn't deal with that. He sighed quietly and rubbed his neck again. Sometimes, he really did feel pathetic.
Daniel's voice stirred him from the loop of self-pity; he glanced up. Alice? Oh, he was explaining? Ha, he'd known it. Give him a little silence and he'd spill it on his own.
Alice was--the real Alice? Compared to the hybrid? No--no. She was the "she" Daniel was referring to. The other personality. And... so he only remembered how he'd killed the personality, not the real one? Oh. But... the personality wasn't dead? Bell forced his expression to be neutral and nodded back at Daniel, a hand raised to his chin thoughtfully. A kid personality? Daniel could already be pretty childish sometimes, but that was...it'd just be strange. And so much for worrying about a third lover in the mix, he'd just feel dirty if it was a little kid in Daniel's body. "I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," he said, shaking his head. He didn't even know how to respond. What to say.
When he looked up, they were already at the lady's house. It still looked empty to him, but they might as well stake it out. He glanced around,looking for somewhere comfortable and hidden to wait.
Not quite the reaction he'd been expecting. Almost the reaction he'd seen in the man after a hunter had strangled Bell-boy into submission. This time though, reassuringly so, there was fire behind Bell-boy's gaze. Just small enough to fit, huh? He'd thought to have made it loose. Daniel's hand was still wrapped around the lock, holding it down.
"Relax, it's just a chain," Daniel eased the man. When the attendant caught sight of their strange behaviour Daniel rolled his eyes and unlocked Bell-boy's flashy new necklace.
"Relax, it's off, see? It's off," he soothed. Just to make a point, Daniel closed the padlock around one end of the chain and put it away. Huh, the more you knew.
Seemed as if they were quite similar in more ways than desired. Then again, it wasn't any news that Bell-boy was traumatized by something or other. He'd always already known. Wasn't it a barbed wire?
Bell-boy had told him something along those lines, hadn't he?
"I'm sorry -I didn't think it'd be..." Daniel shrugged, waving a hand to finish the sentence with unspoken words. 'Bringing back bad memories?' 'Remind Bell-boy of his trauma?' It'd just punctuate the man's weakness if he did.
He splayed his hands and left the bike-store, back into the open, where the sun still shone innocently on this lovely day.
Bell-boy was fine with getting fucked though. Not really. Daniel didn't need his photographic memory to recall the man's tremor, how he'd braced himself and flinched, expecting pain. Being in pain. Tense.
Daniel put his hands behind his head and just started for the lady's house. Soon enough she'd bring the kid around, for school-lunch or whatever. If she didn't, it'd just be an extra clue to add to their little time-line. They'd never really bothered staking someone out properly, so Daniel was just going off by what felt logical.
"I don't remember what happened to Alice -the real Alice," Daniel pitched. He bit his lip, looking anywhere but at Bell. "There was a personality once, she too was called Alice, after...that was after the real one died. I know that much, but it wasn't right. Lenny didn't think it felt right, so we decided to make things right. It doesn't really work that way, you may meet her one day." He looked behind, at Bell. "Or what's left."
Daniel never tried drowning himself? Well...no. He'd just cut his wrists in a warm tub, that was all. Totally different. Bell shook his head to banish that image. The two of them, honestly. If it wasn't one thing, it was another.
Though he did want to respect Daniel's privacy, the discrepancy was bothering him. He couldn't have killed her twice. Actually, Daniel would remember what Landon did, right, so he should remember the crash, if Landon shouldn't remember the drowning, but neither one of them remembered the other event. Like there were two totally different things that'd happened to this poor girl. Two distinct events, one for each personality. But it couldn't be, because people only died once.
He shook his head. He was getting all twisted up trying to figure it out. If he really wanted to know, he should just ask Daniel. But the time had passed, and now it was too late. Maybe tonight, then.
The bike shop was mostly empty, excepting them and the proprietor. A bell rang over their heads as they entered. The proprietor gave them a hard look, then moved a little closer, watching their hands carefully. Bell smirked and ignored him.
They'd need a nice heavy-duty chain. He looked through their selection, touching a few of the chains to feel their weight. Daniel grabbed one; he swiveled, taking a good look to make sure it wasn't one of the cheap ones, but Daniel had chosen well. Good. A good chain was a good thing to have. Even if they swapped "houses" tonight, they could use it on the next one just as well, and it made a decent weapon in a pinch, swung or thrown. He'd had one for a while, but the trouble with throwing weapons was that you usually didn't get them back.
Cold metal wrapped around his neck suddenly. Bell flinched and pulled away, getting a hand between his neck and the chain. Not good. Not good. His neck crawled; he could feel the barbs digging into his neck, even though there were no barbs. He yanked at it, but it wouldn't fit over his head. "Daniel, unlock it," he demanded, holding it as far from his neck as he could. If Daniel didn't unlock it, he was going to break the chain, and they'd only just bought it.
Lenny told Bell-boy a different story, hadn't he? Both were probably right. He was really messed up in the head though. This whole thing just made it shockingly clear. Bell-boy didn't push the discrepancy, though Daniel had half-expected him to. Probably hadn't aided the confusion that he'd gotten his way naming the girl at birth.
Against Lily's will. He wondered when hybrid-Alice would remember. Or maybe the hybrid already did and hadn't cared. In her naivety, the accident might just be that; daddy behaving silly. She'd lived, after all.
The hybrid was likely to 'mend' or alter hybrid-Alice's memories to make it a seamless transition into her new little life.
"You know, I never tried drowning myself..." Daniel mentioned. Lenny had, however. If it was the truth Bell-boy wanted though, his best bet would be Lily.
Both of them killed Alice, at least in their minds; had to, in order to get rid of the third personality, but what happened to the actual child was locked away tightly behind those gruesome actions.
It was one of the memories Lenny had obscured from him and Daniel very much doubted Landon himself could now access it.
Killing a personality wasn't so easily done however. She was still there, biding her time. There were few situations Daniel could imagine bringing her out though. Lenny and him were definitely the dominant personalities, though Lenny a little less lately.
Daniel had to forcefully focus on the here and now, blinking at the bike shop. "Right," he called himself to attention, scrubbing at his face.
He entered without reservation and started browsing through the store until he found several flavours of chains. They probably didn't want anything with a bright colour, but they could strip the plastic and leave just the chain.
Even as his fingers ran over the shackles, Daniel considered how unfair it was he kept these things from Bell-boy. How was it comfortable showing anyone the extent of your insanity though? It wasn't even about trust. Daniel trusted Bell-boy plenty.
He picked a sturdy-looking chain with a heavy pad-lock and walked up to the counter to pay for the item. Once he had, Daniel approached Bell and put the chain around his neck like a necklace, pushing the padlock closed.
"There, all chained up," he joked.
He gave Daniel a look, confused, then clued on and rolled his eyes. He wasn't asking about the face-washing. Though he had to admit it seemed a futile exercise, when the rest of them went unwashed.
Not a fun story, huh? Bell nodded, turning to offer Daniel his whole attention. "Give it a try," he encouraged him. Daniel knew everything not-fun about him at this point. Bell might as well know some of the not-fun things about Daniel as well.
"She drowned? I thought she..." He frowned, then shut up. The look on Daniel's face was distant, like he was a thousand miles away. No point in asking questions. Not to mention that it'd be insensitive. It was just... Landon had said it was a car crash, but Landon had delusions. Well, so do Daniel. So who was right? Or was it that they were both right? Car crashed into the water, or something? Then again... it might be neither of them knew, exactly. Kind of like he didn't know what'd happened to the girl. And with their history, it'd almost be more surprising if they could clearly remember such a traumatic incident.
He? Who? A boyfriend? Wait, but Daniel had said his father was abusive, he remembered that. So... probably his dad, then. Wow. That was harsh. Sounded like Daniel had really had a shitty childhood.
Daniel diverted the mood before Bell could say anything. Didn't want to talk about it, huh? Bell understood. And unlike [i someone], he wasn't the kind to push. Might as well let Daniel take his time and confess it on his own. Might be he didn't ever want to confess it, and that was fine, too. He reached out and patted Daniel on the back, but that was it. Be awkward to do anything else.
"Yeah, alright, chain," he said. He gestured back over his shoulder. "I think I saw a bike shop back there, they'd have all kinds of chains and locks--you know, for locking the bikes up." Giving the river one last look, he pushed off the fence and started towards it. "Hey--and don't drown yourself, alright?" If he was doing it because someone had told him, then Bell would tell him not to. Maybe next time he'd remember that instead.
Chain and lock. Right. Because whatever they did using the goatly powers wasn't really working, was it? Daniel chuckled at that and put his sunglasses on. They were hopeless. Truly hopeless. Nothing to be found around the lady's house. It was to be expected, given raising a child didn't come cheap. Either way Daniel didn't really know which he preferred; finding someone there or not. If the lady had been at home, they'd be stuck waiting around, raising suspicion. No, it was better to just roam for a while, explore a little.
"Maybe get some more supplies, but other than that...not really," Daniel replied. Get alcohol. Drink himself into oblivion.
He took a deep breath and suppressed the urge. Time to be a responsible little Daniel Turner for once. What was the use though? Might as well enjoy today, who knew where they'd be tomorrow? At the goat's whim, they could be miles apart.
Bell-boy could be reset to resemble his age-old self and that'd be that. Memories erased. All bets off.
Daniel gave Bell a confused look when he got thumped on the back, raising a single eyebrow. It was only later that Daniel clued on it'd been because of the slick business types scurrying to and from their jobs that he'd been rewarded such praise.
He shook his head with a snort.
Bell-boy stopped at a river. He almost kept walking, but the pitter-patter of dog-paws stopped and Bell-boy's footsteps came to a halt. Daniel turned about-face and opened his mouth, wanting to ask what the deal was. Bell-boy was in one of those moods, wasn't he? Daniel could see it in the way Bell looked into the distance.
Sure enough, an introspective question darted by.
"What's wrong with wanting to freshen up, huh? Usually you're the one to complain about my personal hygiene," Daniel teased. Not what Bell-boy meant and he knew it.
"It's not a fun story," he added as an after-thought, looking at Bell-boy to size up the man's response.
"It's several things, really. Little ol' Alice drowned, considering on who you ask." Daniel's gaze got a far-away look. "We tried drowning ourselves multiple times it's 'cause he's told us, forced us...drowned us." As if he was waking up, Daniel snapped to and blinked, taking a deep breath. A smile replaced his earlier blank expression.
"So where to next? How about we get that chain?"
Daniel got ready quickly, shoving dry cereal into his mouth as a makeshift breakfast. Bell snagged a handfull as well, the apple not quite enough to last him all day. He'd put some food in his coat too, so he'd be fine. Had some nice canned tuna with him at the very least.
The chain was a lost cause. Bell gave it a look as they left it behind, then picked it up and draped it over the door's handles. It was better than nothing. Not that they'd care if someone stole anything, but it'd be troublesome if someone else decided it looked like a good place to spend the night. They'd have to chase them out or find a new place, and neither of those sounded fun. "Maybe we should buy a chain and a lock," he suggested. Since they didn't even have a chain anymore. Or Daniel could try phasing the door itself, but given how the chain had ended up, he wasn't too sure that was a good idea.
Outside, the sun was shining, a new day well and truly dawned. Spot was excited to be outside; the dog bounded ahead of them, racing down the back alley. He paused and looked back at the corner, then trotted back to the humans and jumped, dancing around as though asking them why they weren't playing with him. Bell shook his head at the dog, amused. He was such a dork. Nothing at all like Bell.
He nudged Daniel to turn, taking a route by the lady's home. The windows were empty; the woman and the child were nowhere in sight. Looked like they'd well and truly missed them, to no one's surprise. There was always tomorrow.
"There anything you want to do?" Bell asked. Aside from stalk the lady, there wasn't anything he wanted to do in particular. And since she was gone, there was nothing to do. After their recent luck with goats, he didn't want to risk hunting two at once; two Mindys would be impossible, even now. They had the day to themselves, but what did they want to do? He didn't know. Well... they didn't have the day completely off. He still had to find a few places he could drag the lady off to, to kill her quietly. But they could do that as they walked.
He wandered through the city at random, taking in the sights. There were museums and an aquarium advertised on billboards, someone's concert lit up in neon, a play going on at the local theatre billed on posters plastered to the walls. Business types hurried past, slick suits and briefcases thumping against their legs, while others sat in quiet cafes and ate; out for lunch. He glanced at Daniel, imagining him as one of those again, all dressed up in a slick suit and hurrying to his next appointment. Compared to the current Daniel, all tanned and muscular, it was a stark contrast. He grinned and thumped Daniel on the back. He'd come pretty far, hadn't he?
A few turns led him to a riverbank, a metal fence separating them from the water. He leaned against the fence, watching the water. A barge full of garbage floated past, chased by neon canoes. Reminded him of home, a little. And of dragging Daniel home, soaking wet and too drunk. Water. Always water. Landon had nightmares about it and tried to drown himself, Daniel freaked out around it. It was the strangest thing.
"What is it with you and water?" he asked.
He'd slept fine, huh? Bell-boy was in denial as well. Daniel finished up and took a deep breath before ducking back into their little hide-out. If they were going to be walking all day again, he might as well try and eat something. With some luck, it'd settle his stomach. At least Bell-boy wasn't pissed about the whole 'not killing a goat today'. Technically they still could, if opportunity rose. Daniel took a handful of cereal and looked at Bell-boy and Spot. Did that count as self-pleasure? Stroking a dog that was actually you?
The thought made his head hurt.
Daniel hunted down his coat and wheedled out the sunglasses, then strapped the bat to his belt, all the while eating the cereal. It wasn't much of a breakfast, let alone lunch, but they could do with some decent dinner for once, right? How hard could it be to convince Bell-boy to have something warm? They could get some take-out or whatever. Something with proper meat to grow those muscles Bell-boy wanted so badly.
"I'm ready when you are," Daniel offered.
He'd been a little slow to start, shirt still wet from the water, but now that he was going, things weren't so bad. The sun was shining out, it looked to be a great day, filled with lovely opportunities. Maybe they could find a nice park, or another lake and relax, be back before the lady came home with the kid again. Get some of her patterns down.
"Not sure what we're going to do about the lock though," he muttered. Not that there was anything of value inside the abandoned store. He picked up his coat, just in case. Wouldn't want a perfectly good coat to get stolen or anything. They could ditch excess clothes in the truck. Even get a change of clothes there.
Get some more supplies.
"Let's go," Daniel said at last and went ahead. It was better to be out- than inside right now. After working all days, it felt strangely like playing he was skipping work. Free. Or a little more freedom than usual, at least.
He picked a direction at random, certain Bell-boy would correct him whenever Bell-goat decided they had something or other to kill or see. The goat did favour its poetry.
Daniel woke slowly, coming back to the world a little bit at a time. Bell sat back on his heels and watched, somehow amused by it. He rolled his eyes rather than reply. "You missed breakfast," he offered in return. Probably lunch, too, honestly. Daniel sat up, bedhead making him look almost childish, then stole a kiss, which made Bell grin. Well, at least Daniel wasn't still in whatever bleak mood that had overcome him last night. Progress.
"I slept fine," Bell replied. But he'd slept on Daniel for most of the night rather than on the pile, so maybe that had something to do with it. He watched from the door as Daniel poured a water bottle all over himself for some reason, mystified by the whole thing. Why wash his face? They were vagrants, might as well spare themselves the effort and look the part.
Bell shrugged. "It's fine, we know where she lives. It's not like she's going to up and move because she got spooked by some scary homeless guys." If anything, it'd give her a little longer to calm down, put it down to some odd resemblance to someone she knew. It was a little disappointing. He had wanted to bash a goat apart. But he'd still get to do that. Just another day. Tomorrow, maybe. Soon.
"Have fun," he wished Daniel vaguely, not particularly interested in that aspect of his morning. Daniel left, unwrapping the chain on his way out; the door swung shut behind him. Bell leaned against the counter, then shifted to the wall instead when he remembered what'd happened the last time he'd encountered the counter.
Daniel hadn't mentioned it. The dream. He couldn't imagine he wouldn't be mercilessly teasing Bell for having shown such weakness if it'd really happened. Maybe it was just a bad dream after all. That would explain a lot. His body changing shape, for example. So it was probably just a weirdly realistic dream, that was all. Nothing to worry about. He bent down and invited Spot over, petting him when he came close. Yeah, nothing to worry about. He should just forget it already.
Fingers pressed at his face. Daniel recoiled, a sharp intake of air signifying his awakening. His eyes blinked open at the pats, pulling away in earnest, reality dragging him away from the realm of sleep rather forcefully. Shit. What time was it even? Still drowsy, Daniel shifted to rest on his back and squinted at Bell-boy. Light.
Full-on light. Oh.
So he'd slept for a while then. Daniel stretched and grinned up at Bell-boy.
"Miss me?" he drawled languidly, then sat up slowly. He felt a little less shitty than earlier that morning, but not by much. Maybe it'd be better after he'd had a wash and after taking care of some business.
First things first. Daniel leaned up and stole a kiss from Bell-boy's lips.
Resting back on his elbows, Daniel let his eyes roam across the store. No shadows. No contorting reality. Just shitty, plain old normalcy. Great.
He worked his way up and stood, stretching as he did so.
"I think I prefer a real mattress," Daniel muttered, making his way to the kitchenette. Abusing one of the water-bottles, Daniel poured it over his head down the sink, drinking at the same time as washing his face and hair, giving the latter a good scrub.
He felt refreshed. And still miserable.
Nothing he couldn't work his way through though.
"Shit, slept through the opportunity to catch the lady," Daniel hissed. "Sorry," he apologized, knowing it was mostly on him. Actually, all on him. Sad thing was, all he could think about was how this whole day was one big opportunity to get his hands on more alcohol. At least it'd stop him from feeling feeble. But it wasn't a solution.
Not a long-term one anyway.
Daniel figured using the toilets without running water wasn't a good idea, so it'd be going outside to find a nice little bush or tree to water. From the looks of things, Bell-boy had sorted Spot out and more. Made him wonder just how much he'd slept through this morning.
"I going to water the plants for a second," Daniel gestured to the door. Without waiting for Bell-boy's reply, Daniel undid the chain -which was broken beyond repair- and popped out the building. The fresh air was nice. He found a nice corner that, by the looks of things, had already been abused once, and added his own flair.
He gave in easily and stopped nudging Daniel in favor of going back to sleep. It was comfy on the pile, though a little warm this close to Daniel. It'd be fine. It'd stop feeling warm once he closed his eyes and stopped moving. It didn't take long before he drifted off again, lost to the world.
Sleep didn't last too long this time, however. The light of morning steadily intruded, waking him slowly. He fought it, but he'd had a full night of sleep, and in the end, there was only so much longer he could sleep for. Wakefulness won the day, and at last he sat up and stretched, yawning. Daniel was still asleep. Which reminded him, if that wasn't a dream, then Daniel had been up at least before and after he woke up. Had Daniel gotten any sleep? He frowned, considering. Daniel usually slept, but he'd been acting weird lately. What was going on with him?
He watched Daniel sleep for a minute,then got up. He copied Spot in taking a quick trip outside, not wanting to make the toilets in their home smell like fresh piss. It'd just wash away like this.
Back inside, he picked through their remaining food and settled on an apple, then walked back to Daniel. Still sleeping. "How long're you gonna sleep for, anyways," he muttered. Hadn't he slept at night? ...had he?
There wasn't much to do with Daniel asleep. He ran through some exercises, sit-ups and push ups, even managing pull ups on the shelving until it started creaking uncomfortably. There wasn't much to lift, but he gave it a try. Spot came over and sniffed, curious, then barked and shoved Bell towards the kitchen. Right--food for Spot.
He poured out a measure of food and left Spot to it, then went to check on Daniel. He looked troubled, brow furrowed in his sleep. Bell knelt and pressed at the wrinkles, trying to even them out, then patted Daniel's face. "Hey, nightmares," he called. "It's a nightmare, wake up." It was the least he could do. Daniel did wake him up every time, and he had a history of strangling Daniel--at least he didn't have to worry about that.
At some point Bell-boy left. Spot too. Silence reigned. Daniel fell back asleep, only to wake up some measure when Bell-boy returned and reclaimed his place on the clothes-pile. He reached out for the man and huddled close, heaving a deep sigh before giving back in to sleep. It was easier to give in when there was day-light. Less reality-altering sights to view and start at.
Bell-boy nudged him and Daniel bemoaned the man's treatment, feeling slightly sick.
"Don't," he breathed, reaching out with an uncoordinated hand to stop Bell-boy's nudging. Was it warm inside? He was sweating a little. Maybe because he was still wearing all those clothes. Sure, that was it. That was why he was feeling fragile and sick to his stomach.
It'd be better with a day or two. He'd been there before.
"Just sleep," Daniel urged. Screw the consequences. They could hunt the lady the next day. In fact, that might even seem less suspicious, give the woman a some time to relax back into her old routine. If she saw them following, they were in for a ball.
"I'm tired," he excused his behaviour to some extent. He was. Staying up all night, through no choice of his own, had worn him out already. Just a few hours of sleep, that's all he needed to safe-guard his sanity.
Then again, they could follow the woman to where she worked, assume she did that the majority of the day, and then get some sleep. It wasn't realistic. As a mother, she wouldn't work a full-time job. There was just no way.
The problem solved itself when Daniel fell asleep. At first it just felt gratifying to close his eyes, but within minutes after doing so, he was steadily sinking into deeper levels of consciousness. Couldn't feel shitty while you slept, so Daniel embraced his body's need for rest this once.
Nightmares were hovering just below the surface. They were fevered dreams that made little sense, almost obscured by a fine barrier. As if Daniel's nightmares weren't his own, but someone else's. Lenny's.
That didn't stop his sleep from growing uncomfortable though.
Bell just laid there, unwilling to move much and a little embarrassed by last night. Honestly, he wasn't sure it wasn't just a nightmare. Getting older and younger and older and younger? It seemed like a nightmare. The only thing was, the goat had a way of making nightmares come to life.
Daniel would know. If Daniel would wake up enough to communicate. He looked at the other man as Daniel burrowed into him, but a grunted 'go back to sleep' was the only thing Daniel offered, giving Bell a clue as to his current mood. And sleep was good. He could sleep more.
...except for Spot, trying to squeeze between them and lick his face or Daniel's face or whatever annoyed them most. When he started jumping on Bell's back, Bell shoved him away. "Stupid dog!" he grumbled. "I can't open the chain anyways. Go use the toilet."
Spot whined and dug at Bell, paws scratching at Bell's bare back thanks to Daniel having shoved his shirt up. Bell groaned and got up at last, leaving Daniel behind in a deep depression in their little pile. He walked to the door and yanked at the chain, then sighed, drew on the goat's power, and yanked the chain apart. Spot bolted out the door as soon as he kicked it open and squatted just outside to take care of things. Bell watched sluggishly, holding the door until Spot came back in. Then he slung the chain around the door and walked back over to the pile, climbing right back in where he'd been. Enough of that. Now back to sleeptime. He could still get another hour or two in.
Wait, but they'd been meaning to get up to stalk that lady. Bell grumbled, then nudged Daniel. "We gonna... go follow the ol' lady?" he asked, practically groaning the whole thing. He didn't want to. He wanted to sleep more. But they really should. They'd have to get up early eventually, might as well be sooner rather than later, right? But he still didn't want to get up. It was the ass-crack of dawn. No one was up. Even the old lady was probably sleeping. Even the kid was probably still asleep. He wanted to be asleep, too.
Even after Bell-boy had simmered down and his breathing eased, Daniel kept soothingly running his hands down the man's back. It was lonely without Bell-boy there. Every time Daniel closed his eyes, he'd see something shift, move, in the corner of his eyes, forcing them back open to look. Nothing was ever there, of course. Only when the darkness started to lift and take on a less tangible atmosphere, did Daniel dare to relax and allow himself to doze off.
Never too far though. Nightmares lurked just around the corner.
By the time Bell-boy stirred however, Daniel had finally fallen asleep in earnest, given in to the weariness of a whole night's vigilance. He woke sluggishly, listened to the distant screams that penetrated the sleepy haze, then demonstratively closed his eyes again, shifting a little to get comfortable on their little shitty pile of clothes.
It'd actually gotten to be a fairly decent sleeping place.
Or maybe he was too tired to care at that point.
It'd been a long night. The tremors in his hands had simmered down considerably when compared to last night, but Daniel still managed to feel pretty miserable. He burrowed his face in whatever part of Bell-boy was closest to block out the light. His head hurt. Not as bad though. Nothing close to what a full-blown hangover made him feel.
"G'back to sleep," Daniel murmured under his breath, aware Bell-boy was awake just by how the male was breathing. He'd listened to Bell-boy's breathing practically all night. Enough to be able to tell the difference.
Spot seemed to find it a great circumstance that both his human companions were now awake. A great opportunity for either of them to let him outside. To stress his point, Spot started to crawl closer and tried to find any part of Daniel's face to lick.
A displeased grunt was all Spot managed to coax from Daniel.
When his tactics proved less than successful, the mutt set its eyes on Bellwether instead.
Daniel was too out of it to care. He was slowly, steadily, falling back asleep. He shouldn't. Daniel knew they ought to abuse the fact that they were up early to intercept the mother and follow her, see what her routine was, but he just couldn't find it in himself to care.
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