the black goat of a thousand young

/ By kaitoXi [+Watch]

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Have fun. Sarah just nodded and turned towards the door. As expected, Rebecca noticed almost immediately.
"It's- complicated," she sighed, not quite ready to divulge so much information to a young woman who managed to give a murderer like Bellwether nightmares. Even if they somehow shared the same monster. It all felt twisted, somehow.
"Well, I guess he did," Sarah admitted. "He pushed a matter neither of us had been ready to have pushed," she said, vaguely. She waved her hand. Surely there were other topics they could talk about that were easier on her heart.

"I think he did it intentionally. I don't know which of the two is worse, honestly," Sarah admitted. She lowered herself in the front seat of the car and waited for Becky to get comfortable. Once she had, Sarah drove away from the house. It'd given her a negative vibe, but once she was some distance away, she started to successfully push those matters further and further away.

A murder that wouldn't stick. So he couldn't be killed, huh? They already knew that. The monsters couldn't be killed and they'd reform themselves into a human shape first chance they got each time. Still, to hear it being said so matter-of-factly was refreshing. Like it confirmed the findings of her research. At least something was going right.

"So what kind of movies do you like?" Sarah pitched. "They'll have action movies, some of the Marvel ones, I'm pretty sure. Maybe something more dramatic? Or an animated film?" she offered. She wasn't quite sure where Becky was at, but to draw her across the same lines as the men she'd been affiliated with seemed wrong. Surely Becky was a girl, despite how easily she managed to discuss death.
"They'll have ice-cream at the cinema," Sarah promised.

"Is it easy for you to come out?" she asked, interested. She cast Becky a look, just to make sure she wasn't offending her. "I mean... I'm sorry. I never apologized for... having you in that tube." Sarah looked back at the road. It was part of her research. They didn't have an originator now, but if one happened by, she'd do it all over again. Not that their hybrids needed it. Something about Bellwether's monster, or goat, had changed everything for them.
  THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 3d 1h 6m 9s
"I mean, it won't stick," she said conversationally. Sarah seemed to be taking all of this way too seriously. It wasn't like this was a scary serial killer thing, just the most expedient way to get his boyfriend back, provided the goat was in a good mood and also of a mind that it was Bell's turn to be out. "Bell killed me once, and that almost stuck, but you know, once you're part of the goat, it doesn't really matter. It just brings you back to life. Daniel's killed Bell a few times, too. And so have you guys. Sometimes he has nightmares about it, but mostly he has nightmares about me." She grinned at that one. Bell deserved it, the ass.

The cinema? They were going to the movies? She grinned wider. That sounded fun. "Probably not. And if he does, whatever, can't stop me now." Better to ask forgiveness than permission in this situation for sure. "Hey, where are we going for ice cream? I like hard pack better than soft serve. Ooh, or a banana split! And what's in the theaters?"

"Okay!" Becky said. She skipped outside, but not before she glanced back at the overeactive lady. Were they not taking her?

The way Sarah didn't say it spoke volumes to Alphie. She wasn't invited. Maybe never would be, ever again. "Yeah, you guys have fun," Alphie said. She sighed heavily and turned back to the wood grain, then paused, realized she was doing nothing, and hauled herself up to start for the stairs. Maybe she hadn't been in love, but she'd lost a friend tonight, and that hurt almost as bad. Maybe even worse. Now she knew no one around here. Now it'd be only lonely lunch breaks.

Becky glanced back. Had they had some kind of argument? She recognized the tension; she'd seen it in her own parents. Something bad had happened between them. "Something wrong?" she asked Sarah, concerned. What happened? "Did Daniel do something?" The guy was an asshole, so it wouldn't surprise her. Hey, no wonder he got along with Bell! It all made perfect sense.

She knew it wasn't Bell, anyways. No one was bleeding.
  Bellwether / kaitoXi / 3d 3h 25m 47s
Rebecca. Becky. Sarah nodded. She didn't mention whether or not it was nice to meet her because honestly? Sarah wasn't sure whether she was. The circumstances could've certainly been better. Now that she was reasonably dressed, Sarah noticed how young Becky really was. She sighed. Obviously her clothes didn't suit her very well. Wait. So Daniel had gone out of the way to get her clothes?
For some reason... actually. No. It made sense. She was one of the personalities locked inside the goat and was able to come out at whim, it seemed. So it was only fair Daniel provided for her, in his own demented way.
"The goat -oh... the monster, I guess," she muttered. It was inside too? Surely the monster wasn't on the same level as its personas?

Daniel might. Kill her?
"He would?" Sarah's brow furrowed, but honestly? She could picture it. Which was sad. "I guess he might," she admitted.
"Ice-cream would only take a couple of hours," Sarah said with a semi-shrug. She could definitely use ice-cream right about now. It looked like Becky didn't get out very often.
"Actually, how about getting ice-cream at a cinema?" It was the next best thing after watching ice-cream on her couch at home, trying to bite back the tears with melting chocolate goodness.
"I'm sure Daniel won't kill you for going to do something like that? Surely?" Sarah tried. He might be angry, but not...

She didn't want to think about it. And she had to actually save the man's life? Or split him from the monster inside. That thought beckoned a whole slew of new questions. How much impact did the monster have on Daniel's already unstable personality? How did it affect his behaviour and sanity?

"My car is out front," she caught herself.
Theories could wait.
She debated on whether or not to involve Alphie. It would be awkward and she was sure Rebecca would catch on. She turned and roamed the house until she found Alphie instead.
"I'm taking Becky out for a while," she said, then didn't quite found the breath to ask whether or not Alphie would want to come along. She rather Alphie didn't and someone should probably stay behind for when Daniel came back.
  Landon Turner / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 3d 3h 49m 57s
Alphie shivered at that thought. A ghost, huh? And she said she'd been killed... no, no, that had to be just fanciful speaking. Some kind of joke. Besides, she'd made an omelette and eaten it, too. There weren't many omelette-making ghosts in ghost stories.

"I don't know, he vanished right around the time she showed up," Alphie commented. Actually, now that she was thinking about it, wasn't it kind of fishy? Maybe this was some monster-thing. Some kind of... teleport, or something.

Sarah wasn't happy to be there. Alphie wasn't even sure the other woman heard any of her comments; she didn't react to them, anyways. She sighed quietly to herself. To be expected. She would've given Sarah more time to cool off, but the girl-thing had... well, it had flustered her. It was surprising! Anyone would be thrown off guard!

When Sarah walked away, she sat awkwardly at the table and stared at the wood, tracing the grain with a finger. Argh. Why did everything get so complicated?

"Hey!" Becky called out, startled, and yanked the shirt down the last few inches. Whoa. The woman had just come in, huh? The clothes didn't fit right, either; the shirt was tight, the bra was too big... It made it look like she had blow-up boobs under her shirt, but it was better than nothing.

Oh, this one was trying to be nice. She seemed less fun than the other one, getting all freaked out over everything. Becky smiled politely. "I'm Rebecca. Becky for short," she introduced herself.

She opened her mouth, but the woman got there first. Oh? She'd seen...? Yeah, actually. Now that she was thinking about it... "I know you too! You're one of those nasty people who put me in that gross junk," she accused, crossing her arms. "Seriously, that stuff was ick. And it was super creepy to be stared at all the time. I'd rather be away."

"[i I] can do that," Becky stressed proudly. That was all her. The goat didn't do any of that work. "I'm the only one who can, I think. Bell doesn't know about the rest of them, so they can't climb out, you know? Goat doesn't like it much, but I think it thinks it's funny, so it lets it happen. It likes funny stuff."

Where was Bell? She made a face. Bell, Bell, Bell, he was all anyone cared about. No one ever asked about Becky. "I dunno. Where's the goat? He's probably there, too, somewhere."

"Do I--I mean, yeah, but Daniel will kill me," she said. "Metaphorically. Mostly. I think. I mean, he might one day if he thinks it'll kick Bell back out. But it's okay, Bell already did his worst." She paused to think, then looked up. "How long? And where? Like, for ice cream? I could kill some ice cream right now." She looked at Sarah with big eyes. Maybe this was her ticket to actually having fun for once! Who needed Daniel and his reluctant self? She could go have fun with the girls!
  Bellwether / kaitoXi / 3d 15h 21m 36s
"It was the best I could do, I don't really-" Her taste in clothes was obviously more mature than that of a sixteen-year old. Or was she younger? Either way Sarah shrugged. At least her clothes were a step up from Bellwether's, as if that was any consolation. She was glad she brought more than one set, so the young woman could have some choice. Sarah remembered how frustrated she'd been whenever her mother tried to pawn clothes off on her to wear.
She'd never heard anything. So stumbling, no noise.
"Like a ghost..." Sarah whispered. There was something odd about the young girl's presence. It reminded her of Bellwether. Too old to be a daughter -which was impossible because the two were in a gay relationship, no women involved. But they had carried around that dog-monster with them for a while. Did they attract more of the monsters?

"Where is Bellwether?" Sarah pitched. She hadn't seen the man and knew Daniel was running her errand. Had he gone with him?
It was strangely obvious the two were missing. Maybe the girl was just a squatter; the back door was open after all. She could've stolen the boy's clothes. It was hard to tell them apart, since the two men usually wore the same things. Plain shirts and jeans.

Sarah folded her arms and hugged herself, angling her body away from Alphie. To escape the tension, she finally just made her way over to the bedroom. By now, the younger woman ought to be finished changing.
"Hey," she announced herself. "I don't think we've met -I'm Sarah." Might as well get to know this person.
"How did you get here?" Sarah pitched. They were ordinary enough questions without being too obtrusive. It was curious however. The pile on the bed looked to be Bellwether's, but she couldn't be sure. Sarah recalled all the faces, how she'd been scared to look at the originator as it put up its defences. Why did she- oh. Oh!

"You're one of the faces," she said, startled by her own revelation.
"It can do that?" Sarah said, surprised. "Wait, so... where's Bellwether then?" These things were becoming more and more miraculous by the day. Just sticking around a couple of hours had lead to another conclusion, another theory about how these things hid among humans. But there had been so many faces and Sarah was fairly sure Daniel wasn't having relationships with all of them.
It was like having a split personality, but they could all come out.
"Do you want to get out of here?" she offered.
  Landon Turner / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 3d 3h 49m 50s
Alphie watched, not really sure what else to do, while the girl made herself an omelette. If nothing else, she seemed supremely at home here. How long had she been here? How had she not noticed?

Wait, where was Bell? She started for the back door, then hesitated. No, she'd gone out that earlier, and just like there was no doorknob, there was also no Bell. "Bell?" she tried, calling out into the night. She didn't think he could, but maybe he could explain.

No answer. After a while, the darkness got to her, and she shut the door, such as it shut anymore. Why did Daniel and Bell both have to vanish right when she needed them?

She looked over at the girl. How old even was she? Fifteen, sixteen? Young. "So, what are you doing here?" she asked, trying to sound as neutral as possible.

"Making an omelette," Becky replied. Seemed pretty obvious to her.

"How do you know the boys?" she tried again.

"Bell was my friend. Back before he killed me," she said, matter of factly.

Alphie stared. What... what did that even mean. Was this that one disorder...? But then... no. She needed more information.

The door opened after what felt like forever, and Sarah arrived. For a second, she was just glad to see a familiar face; then the awkwardness settled in, and she glanced away. "Thanks. Uh... hey, you."

"Becky," she announced.

"Becky. How about these clothes?" Alphie asked.

She walked over to them excitedly, then made a face. "They're mom clothes," she complained, picking through them. "But at least they aren't greasy."

"Well, that's good, right?" Alphie said tiredly.

Becky grabbed a pair and jogged off into the bedroom, and Alphie shot a beleaguered look at Sarah. "I don't know where she came from. She just appeared. Maybe they were keeping her in one of the empty room? But she was wearing the boys' clothes and... I don't know. What do we do?" It was possible that she was a... a daughter, or a cousin, or something, as unlikely as it was, but it seemed more likely she was something nefarious. All she knew was that she needed another opinion, because this was nuts.
  Bellwether / kaitoXi / 3d 23h 46m 49s
She just finished drying her face when her phone rang. Alphie. Sarah stared at the number and swallowed, then softened. Shit. She still loved Alphie, even if she was rejected and hurt. Her hand hovered over the device until she finally gave in.
"Sarah," she said softly.

A situation? Of course. Alphie wasn't going to change her mind and Sarah felt too hurt to really be open for the idea at the moment anyway. Spare clothes?
"Why do you need-" Her?
Was there another woman there? Sarah blinked, then furrowed her brow in confusion. She'd expected the two men to be everything and anything, but not rapists or kidnappers.

"I- I'll be there in a few minutes," she said softly and hung up. She didn't feel like talking any more than business right now. Finding some spare clothes wasn't hard. She'd bought new ones, but work had kept her thoroughly occupied. Enough so that there were plenty of old clothes she hadn't ever tossed out.
She brought a set, debated, then figured two would be handier, if they had a naked person running around those two's house.

Only once she was in the car, did she realize the mistake she'd made. One call of Alphie's and she was already rushing to meet demands. She didn't work for Alphie -if they were being consice, she worked for Daniel- and Alphie certainly wasn't her boss anymore. And now they weren't even friends, really. Being called out on having feelings had thoroughly destroyed that. And it'd probably be awkward as hell.

It was dark along the road to the house. Daniel's car was gone. So he'd gone to fetch the things she needed. Good.
Sarah took the clothes out of the boot of the car and took a deep breath. Right. She could do this. She wouldn't break and act normal -for as far as normal applied to their lives. Rather than ring the doorbell at the front, Sarah rounded the house and got to the broken back-door.

"Alphie? I brought clothes," she called. The door was even more broken than before. Nice. Someone had been busy.
She put the clothes on the table and plucked at them. She so didn't want to be here right now.

Daniel looked up.
"Sir? The doctor will see you now," the lady called out softly. Daniel rose, taller than her, and she almost shrank back. Casually enough, she adjusted and lead the way through a door, down a long, narrow hallway and into a small room. A bag was set on an operating table. The man behind it was accompanied by two others; guards? Daniel wasn't sure.
"Your request," the doctor nodded at the bag.
Daniel glanced around the room, then slowly approached. If this was a trap, he was doomed. Sarah wouldn't send him into a place like that, right? She'd know it'd be pointless. Even if these were hunters. Even if he was the weaker link of the two of them.
He opened the bag. Saline, sedatives, some other things he didn't know. This wouldn't be enough for the time he'd be in the tube, but these things tended to expire.

"The money," the doctor pointed at the table. Daniel reached for his wallet. The men reached for their coats. Oh. Was this that kind of deal? Daniel grinned.
"No worries, boys, steady," he cooed softly.
  Landon Turner / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 4d 23m 48s
By the time it got too dark to see properly, Bell had managed to cajole the doorknob out of the door, but not much more, leaving a gaping hole in the previously-just-cracked door. He sighed and patched the hole over with duct tape for now, then headed into the kitchen.

Alphie was still downstairs, and Daniel was still missing. The longer he waited here, the more he felt like he'd made the wrong decision. Why did he agree to split up with Daniel now, at this vital moment, of all things? He should've left the girls to their own devices--no one had done anything, in the end--and gone with him instead. At least then he wouldn't be stuck here, sitting in worried anticipation of what might happen.

Fluff against his legs alerted him to Goldy's presence. He looked down, then bent down to pet her. Was she trying to comfort him? "It's alright, I'm alright," he told her, scruffing her neck. He was just worried, that was all. Daniel might be doing fine on his own. Anything was possible.

Right. He shook his head. He'd get started on dinner while Daniel was out. He could do that much. Their pantry was decently stocked; after a little examination, he found himself a bunch of pasta and some pasta sauce. Okay, so it wasn't the fanciest dinner, but it was food.

A little bit of searching found the pot in the sink, where he'd left it. He started on the dishes, then stopped. No. He should wait for Daniel for dinner, right? Mechanically, he set a bowl in the drying rack, then stopped and looked around. What was he even doing? This wasn't like him. He should be out there, doing... things. Anything.

A nap. He'd go take a nap, and when he woke up, everything would be clear. Bell trooped into his room and laid down, letting his eyes sag shut. Just a little nap.

Becky opened her eyes. Ooh, what was this? Bell had let her out? Well. Not on purpose, but she wasn't going to fight it. She jumped up and looked around. Night again? What garbage, she wanted daylight. And what the hell was with having no curtains in their bedroom? "Bunch of exhibitionists," she muttered.

A quick search through Bell's clothes found her nothing. If her clothes were here, Daniel had hid them well. "Daniel," she called, pulling at Bell's shirt. It felt so gross and greasy and uncomfortable. "Daniel?" They hadn't broken up, had they? Though come to think of it, Bell usually only got invited into people's houses to fuck...

A confused-looking woman appeared from a door. They both exchanged a confused look, and then Becky put her hands on her hips. "Hey, do you know where Daniel hid my clothes?" she asked.

Alphie's confusion turned instantly to horror. What--what the hell? What was Daniel doing to this young girl? "Your... your clothes?" she managed.

"Yeah, I had a cute skirt, and a nice shirt, but I lost them somewhere," she said. "Who are you? Did Bell break up with Daniel? Can I borrow your clothes? These are gross." She picked at the shirt, pulling it away from her skin again. It was really uncomfortable.

Alphie raised a hand. Too many questions. And she was trying to process--a girl? Was Daniel really that kind of guy? He was bisexual, right? So... maybe? Wait, no, she should get the girl out of here. "Uh, I don't have any clothes--i don't live here, but I can take you back to my apartment," she offered. "Daniel didn't--what's your relation to Daniel?"

"I shouldn't leave," Becky insisted. Bell would be so mad. Not that she cared, but... Daniel would probably not let her have fun if she vanished. "And it's complicated."

"It's..." Alphie pushed her hair back, trying desperately to process everything. Shit, what the hell was this? What was going on? She put her hand up. "Stay right here, okay?"

"Okay," Becky said. Ooh, a pantry. She opened the drawers, curious what was inside. She was kind of hungry.

Alphie stepped outside, pushing away the bounding dog who came with her. She hesitated a moment, then pressed the button. They had to talk eventually, and she needed help, now. "Uh, Sarah, hey, sorry. Um, we have a.... situation. Can you come back? And bring some spare clothes? I wouldn't ask, but I don't want to leave her alone..." Not when Daniel was doing God-only-knew-what to her.
  Bellwether / kaitoXi / 4d 4h 13m 40s
It was fishy. All of it. As soon as the sun had gone down, Daniel grew more and more wary of what part of town he was being guided into by the navigation on the phone. Not long after he’d entered the shady part of town, the phone announced they’d reached their destination. Daniel picked up the phone.
Sarah’s little list didn’t state much, aside from the address and a name. He hoped she hadn’t forgotten to make a call, announcing his visit, otherwise Daniel was pretty sure he’d be fucked. Just to be sure, he took the bat from the trunk of the car and tucked it away underneath his clothes. Couldn’t hurt to come prepared.

Just around the corner of where the navigation told him to pull over, he could see a badly lit pharmacy. It seemed to be open all night and currently was serving people Daniel was fairly certain had no health-related ailments. Rather, they came for their usual fix. Or something else entirely. He didn’t quite fit in, all cleaned up as they were recently. He didn’t care.
Daniel decided confidence was the way to go and casually strut over to the place. Inside was actually somewhat decent. It was clean, first of all. There were three people behind a long desk, all servicing different people. Things seemed calm and controlled. An air of respect kept things calm.

People who needed something, who were down-trodden like this, knew better than to bite the hand that fed them. Cameras. Daniel noticed them straight away. He was pretty sure some kind of security-detail was watching and would come out of the woodworks the second someone showed any sign of causing trouble.
He queued up. What else was there to do?

It didn’t take all that long for the line to diminish and he finally looked into the face of an intelligent, but vigilant woman.
“How can I help you?” she asked.
Daniel slipped the note over. For a moment, she merely raised an eyebrow, but then a name on the note caught her attention. “You’re here to see the doctor? Please, take a seat and wait,” she notified him and called the next person over.

Daniel sighed. Seemed he was condemned to playing by their rules for now. He took a seat. They made him wait quite a while. Daniel glanced at the phone. Minutes drifted by. The tepid darkness from before turned to full-blown night. Hunger set in. He’d gotten money on the way, but no food. He could just walk away from it all. Cede to the goatling and a life of semi-immortality. Surely his copy would love the idea. Him; not so much. His chest ached again.
It was going to be a boring night, like this.
  Landon Turner / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 4d 4h 53m 53s
Fixing the door was proving to be much more difficult than Bell had first anticipated. For one, the doorframe was broken. Not badly, but he had kicked the little metal thing the doorknob closed into well out of place, so they'd need a replacement. And a replacement doorframe, while he was at it. The doorknob wasn't in great shape either, kicked half out of its place in the door, with the wood cracked around it. At first glance, he was tempted to just throw the whole thing out and start over with a fresh door and fresh doorframe, but then he sighed and started to take apart the door knob. At the very least, he could give it a try and see what happened. He was already prepared for the worst.

One of the screws was half-sunken into the door. Bell grimaced and leaned in real close, trying to navigate the screwdriver in so he could turn it, but also keep it in the screw. The stupid loose wood kept getting in his way, though! He grumbled wordlessly and lined up again--

The basement door slammed open. Bell stiffened and spun, some part of him expecting an attack, but it was just one of the women. The blonde one. Sarah. "Hey," he tried, but she was gone before he'd gotten it out. He stared after her, flabbergasted. Talk about rude.

In any case, it looked like the talks hadn't gone well. Looked like he and Daniel were wrong; they weren't fucking, after all. But maybe Sarah had wanted to be? Who knew.

He'd just turned back to his work when the other one came up. "Sarah leave already?" Alphie asked.

"Yeah," he said, finally loosening the screw.

"Damn,” Alphie muttered.

Bell ignored her. That screw was just about out, just a little more...

"Must've been easy for you," Alphie said conversationally, not at all talking the hint that he didn't want to talk. "You're both gay, after all."

"Nah, Daniel's bi," Bell spoke up. The screw wasn't moving anyways. Fuck that screw. "Even had a wife and shit when I met him. I'm a real homewrecker, you know."

She nodded. Yeah, that was right. She'd forgotten--it wasn't the part that had interested her--but it was in the file. "Huh," she said.

"Actually thought he was straight at first and almost gave up before I started, because fuck, man, falling for a straight? Kill me now," he said.

Alphie frowned. "Is it that bad?" she asked.

Bell nodded emphatically. "It's shit." Nothing worse than having the one thing you wanted the most hanging in front of you, untouchable.

"Well, shit," Alphie muttered.

"You're straight, then?" Bell asked. He snorted. "Could've fooled me." Between the two, she was definitely the butch one. Sarah was way hotter and took care of herself way better. He almost felt bad for her, but then didn't. Fuck her. Born of 'em. It was what they got for torturing Daniel.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Alphie asked, suspicious.

Bell just shrugged and turned back to his screw. She could figure that out herself. But boy, did he have some juicy gossip for Daniel.
  Bellwether / kaitoXi / 4d 15h 22m 14s
A great person, right. Meaningless words. Sarah bit her lower lip to prevent from bursting out into tears and she couldn't meet Alphie's eyes. She kept her eyes trained on the door, on the steps back towards the upper floors and to the way out. Love didn't work that way. She couldn't just up and 'find' someone she loved more than Alphie and forget everything. Let alone someone who loved her back. Alphie saying those words made it even more obvious that she really didn't have any feelings for her.
Sarah pulled free and finally rushed up the stairs, chest overflowing with hurt.

Why? Why had Daniel forced it?
Sarah knew Alphie wasn't ready and probably never would be ready. This made it all the more difficult to work with her now. She closed the door to the basement and squeezed her eyes closed. Hot tears of regret slipped down her cheeks. Shit.
She'd known, so why did it still hurt so much?
A great person, hah! What a load of bullshit.

Sarah wiped her eyes on the back of her sleeve and pushed away from the door to the front, avoiding Bellwether. The last thing she needed was an encounter with one of the two men. Actually, she ought to just report the place and be done with it. Their organization could finally do away with the fugitives and then everything would just go away.
She stepped into her car and with shaking hands started the engine. When finally the car roared to life, she pulled away like a bullet shot from a barrel of a gun.
It was embarrassing.

Somehow, she made it home in one piece. It was only then that she broke down in earnest. Sarah sagged down her front door in the hallway of her small apartment and cried. Only after the sobs died down with the light of day did she peel herself off of the floor and carried herself over to the bathroom.
The make-up stains made her feel even worse about herself, for only but a second. Then, she wiped all of it away. She was stronger than this and there was a job to do. She leaned against the sink and raised her eyes at herself. It was time to get stronger and smarter. Especially while dealing with these two men. She needed a proper plan.
  Landon Turner / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 4d 16h 27m 3s
The house felt quiet without Daniel. Even the girls downstairs didn't add much life. All the noise from Alphie earlier had gone quiet. It was just quiet and empty.

Bell sighed and picked up the books to leaf through them. He really wasn't in the mood for reading, though. Maybe a nap, while Daniel was out? He'd wake up for sure if the girls started making noise.

Nah, the back door. He'd fix that, at long last. He started to look around for the tools and got to work, Goldy an interested, fluffy nuisance.

Argh, now Sarah was going to cry. She hadn't meant to hurt her feelings, dammit. She'd known it would. She was rejecting Sarah, wasn't she? Feelings were always hurt when rejections happened. Alphie frowned, trying to hide a grimace. Why did it always go like this? She liked things to be clean, simple, clear-cut. So why did things get messy, even when she tried so hard to keep them clean? "I'm sorry," she said, reaching out towards Sarah.

Content just loving her? "You shouldn't be," she said, annoyed. Wrong-headed thinking, right there. That was the kind of thing that made things messy. "Go find someone who'll love you back. You deserve better than me."

Alphie reached out and grabbed Sarah's arm. "No, look, Sarah, I'm sorry--I wish I could love you back. You're a great person. Alright? Take care of yourself. I'll see you tomorrow. Oh, um--I'll stay down here. Don't drive like this, okay? Take a minute to calm down. I don't want you to get hurt."

Then she let go. Reluctantly. Was this the end of their friendship? That was... Sarah was one of the few people she liked. She'd never had a successful relationship, and probably for the same reason, she didn't exactly have many friends. That'd be the worst. Just the worst.

With a deep sigh, she turned back to the tube. Daniel really was cruel, wasn't he? He was the real asshole of the two of them, even if the other one was the real monster. And he did it in a way she didn't even feel like she could blame him, because it wasn't his fault Sarah had fallen in love. It wasn't anyone's fault, really. Maybe her fault for not being able to love back.
  Bellwether / kaitoXi / 5d 35m 4s
Daniel could almost see the thought-process in Bell-boy's head. Ever so reluctantly, Bell agreed to staying behind to man the house. He didn't like it any more than Bell-boy did, but Daniel felt there was no other choice. If the girls' conversation did get emotional, there was no telling what eithers' wrath might be capable of. He rather not find out.
At Bell-boy's well-wishing, Daniel nodded and smiled. "Yeah, I'll be fine," he promised. With a few mechanical motions, Daniel had the car's engine roaring and the gears shifted. Once the pedal went down, the car sped away from the house, left the bumpy road behind and started for the mystery location. The phone's monotone drone dictated where he needed to go. Not for the first time, Daniel wished he'd gotten himself some new sunglasses.
The glaring sun seemed to seer his skin, even through the glass windows of the car.
It reminded him of his mortality. Of the goatling. A shiver rushed up his spine. Fuck. It really didn't feel right. None of it did.

'We can't'. The words sounded harsher than they had to be and Sarah swallowed. "It could," she muttered demurely. It could work. They were just her feelings, she didn't need... she didn't want to hear--
But Alphie did. Sarah knew how Alphie was. She could've predicted this outcome. She'd have theories about how the conversation would be different, but in the end, it was exactly this type of reaction that had kept her lips sealed.

"I know... you don't have to..." Of course Alphie was straight. She'd know from the start. Someone else. Sure. Because she just didn't fit in the clear-cut structured life that was Alphie's personal life. Love wasn't like that. It couldn't be measured or quantified.
Sarah looked down, trying to fight back the tears that threatened.
"I get it," she said softly.
It wasn't Alphie's fault. It was Daniel's. The man had called things out as he'd seen them and this was the fallout from all of that.
"I get it."

"I was content the way things were," Sarah said softly, voice almost a whisper. "I was content just loving you." And that's all it would be; a stupid crush. She was foolish.
"I have to go," she started. "I'll come by tomorrow to help you." Sarah turned and moved towards the stairs. If she didn't make it now, she was pretty sure she'd burst out into tears. She's rather cry in private.
  Landon Turner / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 4d 16h 35m 49s
Daniel seemed indecisive, a weird reflection of the nerves Bell felt boiling in his own stomach. "Yeah, feed the girls," he parroted back, not sure what else to say. He'd love to reassure Daniel, tell him everything was fine, but he couldn't do that, could he? Not like this. Not when he wasn't sure of anything himself.

He was in the middle of getting the GPS on the phone to show them the way to the address when Daniel spoke up. What? Stay behind? He gave Daniel a weird look. What good was that going to do? If the hunters came, then--well, sure, Daniel would get away, but...

Maybe Daniel wanted some time alone with his thoughts. At the same time, Bell wasn't sure he trusted Daniel alone with his thoughts. They tended to lead him astray. Sure, he wasn't delusional [i now,] as far as they knew, but if the goatling needed out, maybe it would stop pressing whatever switch kept Daniel sane.

No. He could trust Daniel that much, right? And someone should stay home to make sure the girls didn't burn the house down or fuck in their bed or whatever. "Okay," he said, climbing out of the car. "Be safe, okay? If you think you see hunters, or whatever, just run."

Bell watched from the front porch until the car disappeared.

With a heavy sigh, Alphie turned to face Sarah. As much as she might want to, it just wasn't possible. "We can't," she said. "I'm old enough to have seen that play out, and it doesn't work, you know? It just doesn't." All those boys who'd wanted to 'just stay friends,' ha! Fifteen seconds later, they were either gone forever or back to the same irritating flirting they'd been up to the whole time.

A lot of questions came to the tip of her tongue. Questions like "how long" and "are you lesbian, or bi, or what?", but she bit them back. Now was not the time.

She set the tool down and stood, facing Sarah on even footing. "Look, this is... You've always been a really good friend. And I've always been... well, straight. As far as I know. Because I'm a boring woman who'd rather take apart an RC car than explore her sexuality." Some people were all about that kind of thing, really getting into delving deep into what they felt and who they felt it about. Not her. It'd always been secondary, a kind of irritating 'thing' she had to deal with every now and again when it seemed least convenient. She was attracted to males, so it seemed easy enough: she was straight. That was all the more thought she'd ever put into it.

"I don't know. You're a wonderful woman and a close friend, and it's an honor, really, but... I think you'd be happier with someone else. Someone your own age, who..." she gestured vaguely, "I don't know, fits you better. Or whatever." She pushed her hair back and looked at Sarah, not sure at all how the other woman would take this.
  Bellwether / kaitoXi / 5d 3h 50m 52s
As he expected, Bell-boy went into the kitchen to check for what food they still needed. Daniel walked out and took a breath of fresh air. The atmosphere in the basement was stifling and he could still recount the flashes of nightmares he'd been suffering the last few nights. Everything there had seemed so real. As if someone was toying with the order of his memories. The goatling?

Bell didn't take long. Daniel steeled himself and swallowed away the rising nerves.
"I don't know. I -they can feed themselves, I'd say they could use the kitchen... actually. We probably have to, don't we? If they'll be working here instead of their regular job," Daniel offered. At the very least they ought to provide that small luxury. Especially if Alphie could only be there after hours.
He didn't know how Sarah was going to solve things with her work. Maybe a hiatus, or a long break? It wouldn't even be an odd request or anything.

"I don't know," he sighed. "I don't know."

He slipped behind the wheel of the car and tossed Bell the phone.
"Better find a map of sorts," Daniel muttered. He had no idea where exactly that address was and whether or not Sarah was leading them on a wild goose-chase to buy Alphie and her enough time to leave the house and 'disappear'. Trust.
"Maybe one of us should stay here," he offered. He didn't like splitting the party, but honestly? This was stupid.

"I'll get the medicine and some food on the way back," Daniel offered. "You just stay here and watch the girls."

"Alphie?" Sarah started softly. "About what Daniel said -I..." She bit her lower lip and slowly let go of the stair's banister. The basement was poorly lit, the only light coming from the torch Alphie had aimed at what she was working on. The dark-haired woman's back stiffened. Sarah winced.
"I-I... we don't have to... things don't have to be awkward," she stammered at long last. Sarah hadn't meant to tell Alphie. Ever. She didn't even know whether her feelings were or could be reciprocated, but she couldn't deny the truth of them either.
"Let's just pretend it's... that it's all a lie, just some story he made up to get to us." And he had, in ways Sarah found far too intimate.
  Landon Turner / THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen / 5d 12h 26m 15s
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