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"It hurts," Landon admitted. "I'll take something before I go to sleep," he said and shifted. The hand on his was nice and Landon responded by threading his fingers through Bellwether's. He gave a small nod when Bell suggested he'd be able to rest up soon. Too early. Most of the things they did had ill timing though.
Landon watched as Bellwether adjusted the rear view mirror. Alert. On edge.
Hunters? They might not even be in white vans. Some used civilian cars to get around. He shifted and tried to see, but there was nothing suspicious he could tell were hunters.
"Through choice or not," Landon remarked on the rats.
He just hoped there wasn't any rat-poison anywhere it could accidentally eat. Maybe they ought to get a nice cage for it or something. It couldn't always scurry about unattended, could it? Landon looked down at the little creature, but it seemed strangely content to just sit on his lap.
"Come on then," he urged, opening his pocket with one hand and coaxing the creature in. It hesitated at first, but there was a short burst of understanding and then it did as he wanted to easily enough.
"Sure," Landon said, warily following Bellwether's gait to the front desk. He didn't like it when they were apart when there was no good reason to be. Landon pocketed the paper bag with pills and heaved himself out of the car. His feet complained, but the pain shooting through his back and chest overshadowed all that.
Landon stood there and leaned against the car, waiting for Bell to come back and making sure no one could one-up him out of nowhere. It seemed a quiet enough place. The gentle hum of cars whizzing by provided some relatively serene white-noise and there were some people just puttering about with luggage.
Did they have luggage?
He wondered what the 'perfect' version of him would be like. Would he be more Daniel? More himself? More complete? Landon sighed out and just enjoyed the sun on his face. He was over-complicating things, surely? Landon knew he'd hurt Bellwether by asking him whether he'd even missed him.
Once he saw Bell, Landon pushed off. Did he manage to get them a room? He hoped so.
Scamper? It fit the little animal. Bell nodded his assent. Scamper it was. He smirked to himself a bit. If they had Spot back, they'd have a whole menagerie of S-named animals.
For a while, they drove in silence. He caught Landon taking the pills and silently monitored the man from his peripherals. No painkillers? Odd. He decided not to comment on it. If Landon wanted to make good choices, he wasn't going to say a thing. He usually just fucked it up when he opened his mouth on this sort of thing, so better to stay silent.
He followed Landon's finger. Up a hill, at a little suburb perched over the highway. He liked the idea. Nice and open, plenty of places to see their foes before their foes saw them. "I like the exit," Bell said. He'd had enough of cities for a bit. For just a little while, he wanted to rest up, recover, not hunt or be hunted.
The hand was a pleasant surprise. Bell glanced at Landon, then rested his hand on top of Landon's, tilting it a bit to invite the man to hold his hand. "How're you doing? Feel better?" he asked. Landon looked strained, like he was perpetually at the very end of his rope and trying to hold on. The pain had to be getting to him. "We'll stop soon enough, and you can go rest up."
He let go of Landon's hand and adjusted the rear view mirror to see behind them a little better. No white van yet. It was almost suspicious how easily they'd gotten away. Made him worry that they were somehow walking into a trap. It was ridiculous. With the goatling's help, they'd completely destroyed the hunters' base. Of course they'd be disorganized and less capable than usual. But he still couldn't shake the feeling. There'd been too many times where they'd thought the hunters were gone, only for them to pop up again when they least expected it.
The hotel looked cheap, but clean enough. Bell pulled into the parking lot. "Wonder if they let rats stay," he joked, looking at the little creature. It looked back at him; he held his hand out and invited it to climb over to him. It ignored him, preferring to sniff around Landon's clothes for crumbs. Bell sighed. "You just stick him in your pocket, and we'll sneak him in." It'd be easy enough. rats were small little critters.
He stood out of the car. "I'll go get us a room, you grab whatever you need and wait here. I'll be right back." With that, he took off at a half-jog, hurrying over to the hotel so he could get back as soon as possible.
Take whatever you need? No 'take it easy on the painkillers, addict'? Landon ponderously stared at the small bag and back at Bellwether. Some things seemed to have changed over the course of the months he'd been stable. Maybe he'd been stable enough to shirk the title of addict. Landon didn't comment on things, but ate his sandwich in silence. When he was down to the last few bites, he set it down and fiddled with the bag and the bottles of pills. It wasn't easy, one-handed.
"A name?" Landon's eyes slid to the rat. It seemed to be an ordinary lab-rat, if anything. He had no idea what would be a good rat-name. Snow? Ratty? "That just sounds funny," Landon commented on the last of Bell's suggestion.
He finally managed to open the bottle of anti-psychotics and shook one out. A bite of sandwich eased the pill down and Landon set out to repeat the gesture on the other bottle of pills, then hesitated. It'd be easier for Bellwether to get him places while he was mobile and alert. Couldn't let Bell do the heavy lifting indefinitely.
"How about Scamper?" he offered.
Landon looked down at the rat and scratched it's little head. It seemed to be pretty accustomed to handling. Was that the goatling inside the animal, the researcher or just the rat? They went west. Landon sat back and tried to get comfortable, but had trouble doing so. He kept a look-out for hotels and made sure the rat didn't go anywhere funny to distract Bellwether.
"What about there?" Landon pointed out. The exit was pretty high up and allowed them to oversee what was down it. He could already tell there were several buildings of interest. Near a city too. Maybe it was better to go into the city, lose themselves in the crowd and get away from the hunters that way.
"Could go into the city as well." Landon looked at Bellwether, trying to see what was occupying the man's mind. Not too much, he figured, but enough. Worries about whether or not they'd get away with their mad dash, most likely. He reached out to rest a hand on Bell's knee. He'd missed that. Landon felt he'd missed Bellwether in general.
Even just touching Bell like this felt novel, exciting and perhaps slightly intimidating.
The rat was like a tiny little lapdog. As soon as Landon sat down, it crawled up into his lap and started sniffing around, little pink nose twitching as it examined the tea, then the sandwich. Even though his first instinct was to find rats gross, he had to admit the way it stole the lettuce out of the adorably oversized sandwich was too cute for words. He reached back and tickled its head. The rat didn't seem to mind. Had to be used to being handled.
"Yeah, with the hunters around that'd be bad," Bell agreed, between bites of sandwich. No point in telling Landon about his injuries. Landon was worse off, anyways. He was fine, except for when he wasn't.
Somewhere safe, to rest up. A hotel, then? Landon confirmed it, and he agreed with a nod.
Bell dug through some stuff, then came up with the little paper bag. "I think it's got painkillers, too, so take whatever you need," he said as he passed it back. "Make sure the rat doesn't get into 'em or it'll poison itself."
"Yeah, I got some cash," Bell said, waving the bills. He knew the usual protocols when it came to hiding from the hunters. If they were going to stay in a hotel, it'd be cash-only. He stuck them back into his pocket, out of sight.
He started the car and pulled out of the gas station. Back on the road for now. "Hey, we should come up with a name for the rat," Bell suggested. "Is it a little boy rat or a little girl rat?" It felt wrong to refer to the rat as 'the goatling.' Like how he wasn't his goat, it was its own creature too. Besides, the goatling was three whole syllables. A mouthful. They could find something catchier.
"What about Snow?" he suggested. "Or like... uh..." He hesitated. What else did you call a white rat? "...Ratty?" He didn't know. Names were hard.
He turned towards the west. They'd stuck to the Eastern seaboard so far. Maybe there were fewer hunters out west. It was worth a try, anyways. A change of pace. An unexplored expanse. He smirked. Probably plenty of goats out that way, anyways.
At least the tea woke him up. Landon shuffled back to the car, put the cup on top and opened the vehicle up. He sat down in the passenger's seat and made himself comfortable. Landon closed the door as an afterthought. The rat was eager to crawl on his lap, but dismissed the tea as un-salvageable. It was better to sit up straight. His ribs appreciated it better than lying down in the back anyway.
"Thanks," Landon muttered half into his tea when a sandwich materialized on his lap. "Don't think I said anything," he breathed. Last time he'd been awake he'd barely been with things long enough to listen to what Bell had to say. Landon suspected he'd passed out seconds after getting into the car.
"If I did I don't think I remember," Landon confessed. He finished his tea and started to unwrap the sandwich. The rat was way ahead of him and started to nibble on the bread, stole some lettuce and sniffed its way around some tomato.
Landon merely watched it. Maternal didn't even come close to what he felt right then.
"Somewhere save, preferably," he decided. "I- I'm not fighting-fit, unless we want to bring the goat out, but..." Landon narrowed his eyes at Bellwether. There was something wrong about forcing the goat out right this minute. He couldn't exactly put his finger on why it was wrong, but he did feel he shouldn't.
"For now let's just find a place to rest up," Landon mentioned. Bell looked about as tired as he felt. How long had he slept for anyway?
Enough for the drugs to wear off. Landon took a bite from his sandwich and swallowed it down before allowing the rat to have some more.
"Where are those pills anyway?" He seemed stable for now, but Landon knew it wouldn't last until he started taking the pills at a regular basis, "I should take them with food." Rather than be more than a burden to Bellwether than he already was, Landon wanted to get better. While Bell had been in a coma before, he'd been on the drugs relatively successfully too. Before thinking he was better and abandoning that idea.
"Let's go for a hotel. Did you get cash?" Landon pitched. The rat seemed satisfied with its share for now, so Landon worked on finishing it off. Hunger didn't come into the equation quite as much as determination did.
Landon was easy enough to spot. He had a little pile of food in front of him and a teacup in his hand, and looked basically like someone's sick grandmother who'd been reluctantly pulled from her house to go out on a trip. His jacket was askew, his hair was messy, he was clutching tea, and he had a pile of food for later; check, check, check.
Bell flashed Landon's own card at him. "I kinda ran out of cash keeping you safe and out of the hunters' sight," he confessed. "Construction isn't exactly a high paying job."
He paid while Landon stumbled back to the car, clutching his tea. "Uh, add a coffee," he said, nodding at the stuff Landon had grabbed. Needed a drink for him, if he was going to stay awake on the highway. And it needed to be caffeinated, if Landon was just going to sleep all day. He felt exhausted. It'd been a stressful day. Escaping, running from the hunters, Sarah's appearance and transformation, and then just driving all day; it'd been stressful. And it certainly wasn't a help that he had to basically take care of Landon.
He'd known he had to take care of the guy. It wasn't a surprise, by any stretch of the imagination. But somehow, he'd just... maybe expected to get a little more out of it? Instead, he was neglected and ignored. It wasn't like it was Landon's fault. He knew that. The guy was healing from a dozen injuries and getting over his delusions and adjusting to the new medication, he had enough to worry about without adding Bell to that mix. But still... He found himself wishing that he'd get a little more attention from Landon.
Unrealistic. It was unrealistic. He knew that. It didn't stop him from hoping for it anyways, like an idiot.
Juggling the bag of sandwiches and his coffee cup, Bell headed out to the car where Landon and the rat were waiting. "Food's up," he announced. He passed a sandwich back to Landon and took one for himself. It paired well with the coffee, despite his sour mood. "So, I don't remember if you said anything last time, but uh... any preferences for where we're going? West, beach? Guess we could do both, but it'd be a bit of a drive," he added with a laugh.
"Maybe," Landon muttered in reply to being offered medicine. Probably best after he'd managed to eat something.
So they'd just rushed a getaway? Sounded fair. What did he expect? For Bellwether to always take into account the rare situations? They'd known though. Landon popped the door, but didn't get much further than that. The rat did.
"I think it'll be fairly self-sufficient," Landon offered on the rat. It'd poo whenever it needed to and eat scraps of their food, he suspected. He took Bell's offered hand and managed to get to a stand between the two of them. At least the sedatives were wearing down. Landon felt steadier on his feet than he had in the hospital, though it was uncomfortable as well now. The skin trapped by the bandages itched like mad.
Landon shuffled towards the gas-station and numbly stared at the things that were on offer. He found some wrapped sandwiches that looked like they'd been prepared fairly recently and then made his way over to the coffee-machine. There was no way he could carry all of what he was meaning to get though.
He explored the options and settled for tea. Landon decided he'd rather be asleep, than hopped up on caffeine. How was he even going to pay for all this?
Bell would, most likely. He just hoped it wouldn't be incentive for the hunters to come look for them here. Maybe they ought to just take a little cashback.
Drowsy and out of it as he was, Landon started sipping from his tea right then and there. He'd pay for it later. Didn't seem like anyone noticed anyway. He just needed something to soothe his stomach.
It'd been so long, everything seemed surreal. Or too real, honestly. Just a bit too bright and a bit too sharp. He didn't mind it. The sense of reality-overload helped ground him at the same time as it made him feel hungover.
"Are you paying?" Landon motioned to the things he'd put next to the coffee machine. He spotted the card in Bell's hand. Oh.
Guess he was, in a way.
Landon breathed out thickly. The pain was getting to him. Made him impatient. Feeling thoroughly useless, Landon started back on his tea and figured Bell could also do the carrying. Not as if he could anyway.
For a while, he drove in silence. Landon was sleeping in the backseat; occasionally, when he glanced back, he'd find the rat exploring the man's unconscious body, hopping limbs like they were downed trees, wriggling through folds of cloth. It was adorable in its own way, once he got over the rat thing. Like a really small puppy.
It was a surprise when Landon woke. Bell yawned, bored of traffic. At least now he had conversation. "I dunno. Was just getting away. You wanted to go to the beach before, didn't you? Or we could go out west. Haven't taken you that way yet." Where were they? "Dunno, some road." Honestly, Landon's guess was as good as his right now.
"Yeah, sure," Bell agreed easily. "Car could use some gas. How're you feeling? I've got your meds, if you need anything. You hanging in there?"
While he waited for Landon's reply, he scanned the horizon. An exit beckoned with the usual compliment of gas stations and fast food. He turned off into it, taking the turn a little more carefully than usual, mindful of Landon's arm. One of the gas stations was a few pennies cheaper than the rest. He turned into that one and pulled up to the tank, then started to hook up the car. "If you need help, I'll be there in a minute," Bell called to Landon.
Once the car was fueling, he went around to Landon's seat and offered him a hand up, if he needed it. "Wanna go in and pick out drinks for us? I'll be right behind you, soon as it finished gassing up," Bell suggested. "Leave the rat, though." Even gas stations had standards, and he was pretty sure they included "no vermin." "Think it needs to be walked, or whatever?" He didn't know the first thing about caring for rats, but he knew they went bathroom the same as every other animal on the planet. Probably needed less walking than a dog.
The rat crawled out of the car on its own and wandered over to Bell, slinking around his feet and examining the gas pump. The gas pump clunked at last, letting him know it had finished. Bell took out Landon's card and paid, then put the rat back inside the car and followed Landon into the gas station.
Landon woke to random squeaks and the softest of fur tickling his chin. He opened a set of blurry eyes to find himself staring at a rat. For a second his confusion started him into action, but then it didn’t seem so frightening or estranged. It seemed in its place, this close. Landon raised the hand he could feel to peel the small creature down from his face and shifted, uncomfortable. Hazy eyes surveyed their surroundings, found Bellwether at the helm of the car they were driving to nowhere.
He felt okay. For the first time in a long while, Landon decided he felt okay. That was most likely courtesy of a score of drugs that were still swimming down his blood-stream, but he failed to care.
“Where’re we going?” Landon started, mindlessly stroking the soft fur of the rat. His memory amended himself -the goatling. Right. The lady was now replaced by a rat. Wouldn’t they miss her? Somewhere?
“Where are we even?” he pitched a second time. Was this a good time to be asking questions? Landon tried to see Bell’s expression, but it was hard to make out much from this angle.
He shifted, then hissed. A sling was wrapped around his arm and shoulder. It looked mighty impressive, if anything. He also couldn’t move said arm. He didn’t recall what had happened. The car-accident that’d happened which he did remember, had happened months ago, according to Bell. It wasn’t that accident. So a run-in with a goat? But no. Bell said Daniel hadn’t even recognized him before the hospital, before he’d been out. So a suicide-attempt?
Landon moved some things on the back-seat and sighed out.
“Can we pull over? I need to take a leak,” he asked. He wasn’t even sure how long they’d driven. Plenty long for his feet to itch and ache, for his shoulder to flare up fiercely and for each breath to feel like he was trying to sand down his ribs to some fine powder. The pain was making him feel a little sick.
Maybe he needed a break from the car for several reasons. They hadn’t always had a car. Walking, though more tiring, sounded like a better alternative right now. His feet disagreed. Basically, he was a mess. Should’ve stayed at the hospital a while longer. Landon realized it wasn’t the car or the pain making him feel off, but a very familiar drug he long since knew the side-effects of.
A rat? Bell raised his eyebrows at that one but didn't comment. Looked like the hunters needed to hire new janitors! Or had it picked it up at Sarah's house? The hospital, maybe? Either way, it was gross.
"We can't slow down," he said urgently. The hunters were up their ass. They had to get the hell out of dodge before they got a proper perimeter set up.
At least there was no resistance all the way to their car. No hunters to point guns their way or jump out at them. He climbed in the front seat, only to glance back at a series of odd noises--and immediately regret it. "Oh, gross," he complained. It was much better when it settled into the shape of a white rat with bulging red eyes. Anything would've been better than the horror show of the between stages.
He turned back around and started the car, putting it into drive. Time to blow this town. "Yeah, she did," he said. "Ugh. Should we bolt for it, or head back to base? I've got a little..." he glanced back. Landon had passed out.
"Right, well," Bell muttered. Looked like this decision was up to him. The turnoff was approaching, his two options diverging just in front of him. Which way? Hide away, or rush off?
At the last second, he turned into the interested. Time to get out of here. Enough of this hiding crap already. He was tired of it. It was high time they were back on the open road. He bid a silent farewell to the grill, his cooking companion, and the bed and tent he'd stolen to make a little home. He'd miss that grill, he really would. It'd been a solid little thing.
The one upside to their car was that it was generic as hell. Not as generic as the white van, Bell reflected, flinching for the millionth time as yet another innocent electrician, window-washer, or other blue-collar work vehicle pulled into his field of vision, but still generic enough to pass a quick glance. As long as she hadn't caught their license plate, they might stand a chance at a clean escape yet. Bell drummed his fingers on the wheel and grinned to himself, glancing at his boyfriend and their new pet in the backseat. It'd all worked out in the end.
Alphie? Who was Alphie? Oh, a lover? A lesbian lover? Images popped up in his head; Sarah's memories. Convenient as that supplement was, he had no need for knowing the local gossip.
"Did she even know I was here?" Landon said. Not up until now. So why had she risked finding him alone? Probably to try and protect Alphie. Or something.
"Sure," he agreed. The goatling would pretty much do whatever he felt convenient at the moment, he felt. Something about the way it had followed them so effortlessly made him suspect it was still connected to him somehow.
"It can turn into a rat?" Landon suggested. "Oh, yeah, I guess." Poor dog though. It'd have to pretty much consume the animal. It was only a dog though and not a person. Still. Landon felt kind of sorry for the hapless dog that'd get consumed. Goldy. Had she been intended to serve that purpose?
He wondered whether the mutt survived the goatling's grand escape.
"Hey...slow down," Landon complained. His feet were sensitive and to illustrate their injuries, his boots weren't laced up. Walking had been a sluggish, clumsy affair up until now and it wasn't getting any better with speed. They turned a corner. A white van passed by. A jog was all Landon could force himself to do. Sweat popped out on his brow, slithered uncomfortably down his back. Despite the painkillers, he was wheezing and puffing by the time they made it to the car. His ribs weren't grateful, neither was his shoulder-blade. The thudding ache pounded at his back.
Landon felt dizzy. If it wasn't for Bellwether helping him into the car, Landon felt like he might've passed out entirely. At Bell's trepidation, Landon raised an eyebrow. It only took a few short messages for the goatling to take its opportunity. It climbed into the car to be out of sight of any cameras and then shifted. Sarah's body contorted, bones broke and shifted, until it was all wrapped in the tiny package of a big rat. Landon cringed at the sounds, but then held his hand out to the rat. It readily climbed on and got comfortable on his lap.
"Let's just go," he breathed.
Landon wondered if Bellwether had thought about painkillers. His were wearing thin now. He rested back, drained, heart thundering.
"Did she see the car?" Landon asked. He tipped his head back and closed his eyes. They needed to change vehicles. Be clever about things. No hotels. Stay under the radar. The adrenaline slowly wore off and with it, his energy.
Landon followed him docilely. Bell kept his head down as they passed the nurse's station just in case, but the nurses were busy with another family. No one gave him and Landon a second look. As long as he moved like he belonged, he figured, it'd be fine. That was how it usually worked.
"We, uh. I ran into her in the parking lot. Not literally, but..." Bell shrugged. "It wasn't great, but whatever. Alphie's here. Sarah likes her, so she was probably visiting. Just happened to be leaving as I was getting here, and we made eye contact... she probably came here to hold you hostage or something."
He glanced back at Sarah. "Let me know if the goatling decides to let her take control again, alright?" He'd need some warning on that front. If it just popped her back into control, their great escape would be fucked.
It'd ended up as Sarah, huh. There was something awfully ironic about that. Inconvenient, though, if it wanted to come with them. "Can it turn into anything else? Like if we found the dog, could it... you know," Bell said vaguely. He led Daniel out of the hospital and into the light of day. The back of the hospital was full of big open spaces, empty parking bays and unused overflow lots. Hunters could see them from miles away. Bell hurried towards the streets, leading his little parade.
"Guess she can sit in the back with you for now," he muttered. He turned the corner just in time to watch a white van speed past, flinched back, then hurried the opposite direction. The second traffic slowed, he led the way across the street at a run and slid into the relative safety of a narrow alley. Just a little further, and they'd be at the car. He glanced at Sarah. How much information had she relayed to the hunters? Was the car safe? They might have license plate numbers, color, make, model... might need to get a new car. It was pretty nondescript, but he knew better than to count on that to dissuade the hunters from following them to hell and back.
He opened the door for Landon and helped him into the back seat. Sarah stymied him for a moment, but then he opened the door on the other side and let her in, too. "Think we should tie her hands?" he asked Landon. Seemed a bit dangerous, all told.
Pants. Bell was helping him? Okay. They were closer than they had in the days he'd been hospitalized and this pleased him, somehow, even if the actions Bellwether performed were devoid of intimacy. He looked almost normal then. The sling made it hard to wear a shirt, but the coat was nice and warm regardless.
Following Bellwether was easy. Landon held the man's hand in turn and followed docilely.
Images flashed between the two of them. Goldy was still out there, somewhere. A rat though. It could become a rat. Bell's 'no' stopped the flow of images and words. They'd bring her along as she was. Controlled by the goatling, that'd be fine, but as soon as it receded, the woman was likely to protest. Landon was fairly certain the shell knew nothing of the goatling's presence.
She was kind of pretty. A shame, really.
A hunter too. Or a researcher. The enemy, somehow.
Strange how things panned out like that. He chuckled. No they wouldn't. They hadn't hesitated to shoot in public, drive them off roads with people all around them and stuff like that. What was one little person going to change about that? Not that it mattered. Would the rat be like this shell, or like the goatling? Bell tended to still be semi-aware. Just like Spot. Perhaps their personality was closer to their goat than they'd liked.
"Why is she even here?" Landon said with a dazed yawn. Was it the goatling just coming to visit him? That seemed unlikely, especially seeing as there were hunters on the way. It was the first time seeing the hospital from another angle than his bed.
Landon felt dazed, like he was gliding across the floor, anchored only by Bell's guiding hand holding his.
Sarah wasn't far behind. The only difference was that she held her head down, directing her eyes down to the ground. Actually, Landon was fairly certain there was no black to see no more this time around.
Outside was bright.
This wasn't the main entrance either. Not that he recalled arriving at the hospital. Landon blinked at the light, eyes pinched. He didn't feel ready to face the world, but he had to. They didn't have a choice. At least he wasn't in pain, yet.
Sarah didn't react at all. At first he thought she was just frozen with fear, but the longer it went without a twitch or a peep, the more suspicious he got. Was she up to something? Was this some kind of hyperrealistic mannequin?
"Yeah, I faked something up and got them for ya," Bell said. "They're in the car, but we've got to move fast."
Luckily, Landon could stand, walk, even. Bell let go of Sarah at Landon's urging when she still didn't move. He circled her and peered into her eyes. "Weird," he breathed, at the sight of the darkness and the sparks of light. It was the goatling. He'd known she was, but not that it could take over like that. "The goat ever done that to me?"
He watched Landon greet it, feeling a bit like he should be filming it, whether for a nature documentary or just because it was Landon's first time meeting this creature he'd helped to grow. It felt special, somehow. Like they were communicating in a language only they knew.
And then Landon moved away and broke the spell. He pulled on some clothes, but neglected pants. Bell stepped over to the closet and grabbed them out, then knelt in front of Landon. "Right, just, uh, step into them, and I'll..." he nodded. Once Landon had stepped in, he threaded them up the man's legs and firmly into place.
"Yeah, I can tell," Bell agreed. Landon was more than a little out of it. At least he was here, with Bell, now. Honestly, since Landon had been in the hospital, he'd been much more cohesive as a whole.
Sarah moved to come with them. Bell looked at her. The goatling wanted to come? "I mean, I appreciate the hostage, but..." he shrugged. "Should've copied the dog if you wanted to come with!" They couldn't exactly lug Sarah around with them, could they? ... Could they?
"No, you know what? Let's bring her along for now," Bell decided. He took Landon's hand and led him out of the room, giving a quick glance to make sure no one was looking at them in the hallway. "Hunters will probably hesitate some if we've got one of their own under our control." He didn't know if she'd called anyone or what, but he wasn't going to take risks he didn't have to, and right now, it looked like the goatling was offering them up a perfect bargaining chip.
Sarah didn't react. The goatling didn't react. Landon's eyes were drawn to the knife Bellwether held. "I don't think she'll scream," he breathed sluggishly. Bellwether's eyes raked across his body and Landon raised his eyebrows. Honestly?
"Okay," Landon decided. They had to go. He'd wanted to go as well.
"What about the pills?" he asked. He was meant to be on those. Bell undid the restraint around his arm and Landon slowly sat up. It was weird. The cast around his arm and the sling made his balance feel off. Never mind that they had him on some good concoction of medicine right now. Enough for everything to be a little fuzzy around the edges.
"You can let her go -it's the goatling," Landon offered. He reached forward and undid the restraints. His fingers felt numb and it was more difficult than he thought it'd be with one hand, but he managed.
Bell urged him on and Landon swung his legs over the edge of the bed. He felt funny, light-headed. Clothes. Did he need shoes?
Bandages were wrapped around his feet. It itched underneath. The floor looked dark, like an oil-stain. He stepped onto it hesitantly, but was met with a funny sensation. It didn't feel all that bad.
His legs were numb too.
Landon moved forward and put his good hand against Sarah's cheek. Black stared back at him. Sparks of light shone in the black haze. Landon smiled. It felt so familiar. Felt nice to finally meet it. Made it real.
Clothes. Landon pulled away from the woman and the goatling. He waddled over to the closet and got out some clothes. Landon ponderously stared. Just one hand. He wasn't yet dexterous enough to pull on any type of clothes with just one hand. They could always buy new ones. In the end, Landon shoved his feet into the boots without lacing them and pulled the coat on to shield him from the worst cold.
He looked at Bell and the woman.
"They gave me something," Landon admitted and wiped at his eyes. "Bad night," he said by form of explanation.
"Let's go." He was ready to go. Sarah started to shift and turn as if by his command. It was the goatling who picked up on it. Landon gave it a weird look. They couldn't have someone else following them around like that, could they?
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