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"Let's just let everyone know there's someone living in here now, huh?" he replied to Landon's suggestion they drop the desk onto the floor below. There'd be a crash, and someone would call the police, or come take a look, and either way that'd be the end of it. "We can always break it down up here, carry it down in bits."
Landon sank down onto the couch next to him, and suddenly it was hard to pay much attention to what he was saying. Landon leaned towards him, and that was all the invitation he needed. Bell nuzzled his head into Landon's neck and nibbled at the point right where his neck met his traps, reaching out to grab at his shirts and pull him closer--
And then Landon jumped up, leaving Bell alone on the couch. His hands closed on empty air, and he scowled. "Tease," he muttered accusationally. With a groan, he stood as well. Little as he might want to admit it, Landon had a point. They wouldn't be able to do much on an empty stomach, and if there was someone else in the factory, they'd be presenting them an awfully nice chance to attack or otherwise catch the pair of them in a compromising position if they just kept going without a thought.
"Alright, fine," he said, louder. "Don't think it's much, though, besides bats and rats. I found a door down that way." He pointed towards the far wall. "That's where I was when you called me. Probably leads to the offices or something."
"I don't expect that anyone's in there, though. We've made enough noise that they would've scrammed or attacked by now, one way or another." Bell sighed again and ran his hand through his hair, then started out the door and back to the first floor. Rotten little tease. Freaking Landon. Never could make anything easy.
He surveyed the factory floor quickly, but there was really nothing to see. There was a long-cold firepit on the floor in one corner, but it looked as though no one had used it in years; the ashes were covered in dust. When he tried it, the door to the offices was locked. "Let's leave well enough alone," he suggested, giving Landon a look. If it were locked, no one would be coming in or out through that door, at the very least, and it'd only cause trouble if he kicked it open.
"Groceries, then?" he yawned, stretching. Why was he tired? All they'd done so far today was sleep. But then again, it was the most he'd moved since he'd gotten better. It seemed he was still suffering from the aftermath of the flu a little. "Dunno about hunting today, but we can always do a little preliminary survey of the town." [i If you're up for it,] he added silently. Landon had been hit harder and longer by this illness than he had. The guy was still coughing; Bell didn't want him to get sick again because he'd pushed him too hard.
Of course Bell would kick in the door. At least it was effective.
Following inside slowly, Landon looked around, keeping a sleeve in front of his mouth when Bellwether tested the couch for dust -which it contained in spades. Another few coughs escaped his lungs at the dryness of the stale air, bringing up some nasty phlegm Landon decided to swallow rather than spit inside their new office-slash bedroom.
A shudder of disgust ran down his spine and Landon picked up one of the magazines. Something about corporate businesses and their executive stories, successes and losses, though Landon suspected this particular company to have done badly.
Tossing the paper back, Landon shook his head, "those stairs won't hold that desk and both of us at the same time, I think," he mentioned. Maybe they could bring it up to the landing and toss it down instead. It'd break in convenient bits and pieces at the same time, saving them some work.
"Maybe tipping it down?"
Giving the couch another thought, Landon sank down into the cushions and felt his muscles relax, soreness more prominent when he sat still. A break was definitely in order and they probably wanted to check out the building some more for possible exits, other areas and more. Landon knew they hadn't gained access to the entire building yet -there was the side-building to consider.
"So far so good on the couch," Landon smirked at Bell.
They probably ought to get food first, hunt and then 'test the couch' later. At least it'd keep them warm tonight. "Groceries, hunt and then get warm," he suggested the order of business. That said, if Bellwether decided to change his mind right then and there, Landon probably would.
"...probably would be smart," Landon muttered as he leaned against Bellwether. Though the fever hadn't returned, he still felt a bit drained. Maybe food first was the best idea after all. A warm meal in him would probably make for a far more interesting test-ride of the dusty couch anyway. He could sleep like this, actually.
Landon forced his eyes open and sat up a little straighter.
"Let's see what else this building has to offer before we go out again," he supplied, opening a few of the desk's drawers experimentally. An old pen was stuffed into his pocket before Landon even noticed. It didn't contain much more than stained boards, worn and faded papers and a broken stapler. Getting the desk out into the landing would be a chore.
He came to a door just as he heard Landon shout, and looked around to find that he'd been abandoned. A series of high-pitched chirps and a bout of coughing echoed through the air, and he looked up in time to see a black cloud of bats flee through a window. Yuck, just what he'd wanted to spend the night with: a bunch of winged rats. "Up where?" he asked, surveying above him as he walked. At last he spotted the office, Landon perched on the landing before it, and hurried over. The rickety staircase creaked loudly as he climbed, and the catwalk seemed to sway under his feet, but he got there alive.
"It's locked," he declared, trying the knob. He felt around the doorframe for the key and found nothing but dust and a few droppings of some kind. Wiping his hand on his jacket, he gestured Landon out of the way. "Back up," he said.
Lock-picking wasn't exactly his forte. He'd tried to pick it up more than once, but ultimately he just couldn't feel or hear or--whatever the hell to tell when the tumblers were lifting into place. And kicking was usually faster and easier anyways.
Two blows later, the doorframe bent around the lock, and they were in. He led the way inside, looking around. There was a desk and a few gritty-looking chairs, a couch to one side with a tiny side table littered with old magazines. He stomped on the couch, and dust came flying up in a cloud. The floor, too, was covered in dust, and the desk, as well. Clearly it hadn't been used in quite some time. But it was empty, unused, relatively un-drafty, and there was even a couch. It'd probably been a manager's office or some such. Better than he'd expected.
"We could drag those down and have a fire tonight," he said, gesturing at the desk and chairs. "Don't think a fire in here's a good idea--we'd choke ourselves to death on the smoke, for one--but down in the factory there oughta be enough ventilation for a little fire." He shrugged. "Or we could wait until it gets really cold, whatever."
"I broke the lock, but there's still a door. If there's any reason for worry, we can prop the couch against it, since it opens in," Bell continued. "Only issue is the stinking bats, but honestly I think this is probably the best we're gonna get, one way or another."
He clapped his hands together and thumped down on the couch, another cloud of dust rising as he sat. "So what's next? I heard you coughing, you need to take a break? Or you wanna go hunting? Pick up some groceries? Test out the couch?" The last option was accompanied by a waggling of eyebrows and a smirk.
"Said it was a sugar-factory," Landon mentioned distractedly, taking in the void of where once huge machines had been. In their absence, thick and thin pipes of all shapes and sized were left behind. Empty drums littered the concrete floor, the walls bare brick. A draft whipped up throughout the building and Landon could spot a few broken windows up high -probably kids trying to toss some rocks inside. Shards of glass were spread across the floor underneath the windows.
A thin metal stair-case lead the way up at the far-end of the giant hall.
Following the steps with his eyes, Landon figured they'd lead somewhere. It was hard to tell because the place was obscured. Landon's gaze traced Bell's path and, comforted in knowing the man would be heard because of his bell clanking, started rounding the barrels towards the rickety stairs.
It were rusted in places that didn't exactly give off a trusting sight and Landon experimentally tugged at the railing. When nothing creaked too loudly or gave way, he carefully tried the first few steps. So far so good.
It'd hold his weight at least.
Looking up, Landon could see what could be an office -several windows looking out at the hall down below. Apprehensive, Landon climbed the stairs until he came upon a door and found it was indeed locked. They didn't have keys.
Should they try to pick the lock? No use, really.
They couldn't lock a thing without the actual key. Landon pushed at the door a little more but all it did was rattle.
"Up here!" Landon shouted at Bell, and cursed himself as said aggravation turned into a full-blown coughing fit. Keeping steady on the balcony's railing, Landon spotted the bats just in time and held an arm in front of his face as they all fluttered by wildly, frightened by the stir in their habitat. Heaving gulps of air, Landon carefully lowered his arm and could see the last of the bats flee through the small windows.
Well, if those were their only room-mates, he could live with that.
Maybe they were the reason the building hadn't been destroyed yet.
Catching his breath, Landon peered through the grubby windows of the door and even after wiping one down with his sleeve, could only barely make out the outlines of several large pieces of furniture. Jack-pot, maybe? A couch would be nice. Hell, even a chair would be better than the cold floor.
It'd surprise him of Bell had any lock-picking skills. The man seemed too impatient to harness such a delicate skill.
"Nah, let's try the boards first," Bell said, nodding where one of the doors had been covered with plywood. With any luck, there'd be nothing behind it at all.
Landon got it started; once the crack was big enough, he slipped his pipe in between the wood and the wall and levered it open a section at a time. It came out relatively easily, and the door behind was unlocked. "Prop it up behind you," Bell suggested, taking point to lead the way inside. If they left the wood there, maybe no one would notice that it'd been pried free.
Inside, the air tasted sweet and stale, the huge hall cluttered with drums and pipes of all descriptions. Bell made a face as he looked around. Big halls were not exactly optimal when it came to sleeping or defending against intruders. They'd be drafty, and there'd be too many angles to defend against for them to realistically accomplish such a task. He looked around, taking it all in, and started off along the wall. There'd be offices somewhere, and they'd be both warmer and more defensible.
"What do you think this was?" he asked idly, looking around. His voice echoed in the big room, the bell clanging and ringing off the pipes and drums, but he wasn't unduly worried about it. If someone else were here, they'd find out about him and Landon before the two of them spent the night. And if he and Landon could scare them off, even better. Realistically, though, he expected there to be no one. Vagrants would be headed south for the winter, or clustering together under bridges and in well-known buildings, the ones with less shame taking refuge in shelters. Not that Bellwether could talk; he'd been there, before. He doubted Landon would have much interest in one, though. Druggies had their territory, and rarely found reason to leave it; there'd been no sign that this building was druggie territory.
"Keep an eye out for the offices, they'll be warmer and if we're lucky, the doors'll lock," he said, looking around. Even with the low likelihood of other inhabitants, he hadn't put his pipe away yet. He might not expect them, but like they said, always expect the unexpected.
"What would be the odds?" Landon muttered as he inspected the building. At least they hadn't gotten any odd stares, weird visits or strange accosting of indoctrinating semi-goats yet, so Landon decided that was a positive thing. Taking in the building, Landon also glanced around, making sure there weren't any snooping people or police-officers and rounded the structure. It looked abandoned for sure, an old factory by the looks of things. With a bit of luck there'd still be streaming water, but Landon didn't really expect it.
Let alone power.
Keeping the phone charged was going to be a challenge.
Not spotting any easy entrances, Landon figured they could either bash in a window or force the lock on one of the heavy doors. With his bat, Landon was pretty sure he could smash a padlock or two -actually, that was probably one of the better ideas. Less noticeable.
"Think we should just break a lock, or crack a door?" he suggested, returning to stand next to Bell.
There actually appeared to be two buildings -one large main one, probably a hall of some kind, and a smaller one off to the side. Perhaps that's where the offices were? Landon tried to see whether he could recognize what the building had been used for, but it offered few clues on the outside. It was surrounded by dilapidated tall flats, quiet streets on either side.
If people were watching it, security had left few tracks.
Landon pulled out his phone and did a quick search.
A sugar-factory apparently. One would assume those never went out of production. There were windows up high, the tall building easily rivalling the surrounding buildings. Landon's guess was that it no longer fit amongst the suburbs, but hadn't been brought down because of some legal issue.
"Let's see if anyone's home," he said and approached the building, keeping close to the wall until he found a sheet of wood. It was boarded up on the outside and Landon took out his knife to wedge out some nails. Underneath the flimsy ply-wood they hadn't even bothered locking the door.
"Help me pull this away -best be quick," Landon muttered, putting some weight behind the fingers he'd managed to hook behind the wood. Breaking in during day-time was better; no pesky people around to see. They would all be working their nine-to-fives to get by.
As much as he might've liked the idea of having a "submissive bitch," in Landon's own words, he'd already gotten the distinct impression that Landon wasn't exactly going to bend over backwards for him. And it wasn't a surprise either that he'd do both. You couldn't fuck a woman without being a "pitcher," so to speak, but if that were all he were interested in, then why would he be into guys at all? Women were weaker and easier to dominate, after all. Or so he'd heard. He'd never tried, himself.
"I already said I'll do both. I just happen to prefer one of them," he said, tossing his head. The one that [i didn't] include walking funny as a side effect. Hard to fight goats when your ass was aching. Though he'd be lying if he said it was only for practical reasons. He didn't like feeling out-of-control. Being top was the position of control for him. No question about whether or not it was your idea, whether or not you wanted to. But he wasn't one of those guys who wrapped his identity up in being top or bottom, either. He'd be flexible. Eventually. Once he was comfortable.
Landon's hand slipped up his leg, thumb pressing a little too close for comfort, and Bell shifted away instinctively. "Oy, oy, there's kids," he protested meekly, not bothered by it as much as he maybe should've been. So Landon did want to top him? Well, they'd cross that bridge when they came to it.
All his fears about Landon holding a grudge were more or less forgotten by the time Landon tugged his earlobe to let him know they'd arrived. It was pretty obvious now that Landon wasn't bothered by it; this was the first time Bell had seen him so casually gropey, though maybe that had more to do with the fact that they'd been sick until recently than anything else.
The cold air that washed in when the train doors opened cut him to the core, and he shivered. [i This] was why he always went south before winter! God, it was cold. And it wasn't even properly winter yet.
"Fuck this," he muttered aloud, causing a matronly old lady to glare at him; he didn't care. He didn't have a hotel room to look forward to, and the guy he loved was going to be sitting right next to him and completely unavailable all night while they tried not to freeze to death under a bridge or something. Frustrating didn't begin to describe it. "C'mon, Landon," he said, gesturing the other man on. They'd have to prioritize finding shelter, now that they didn't have the money for a hotel room.
It was a pretty big city, at least, with its fair share of burned-out buildings and doorways and bridges. Bellwether stopped before a particularly large burned out building and gestured. "You wanna take our chances on there being a megalomaniac goat in this one?" The makings that he'd seen indicated that this building was unoccupied, and there were no obvious gang signs on the outside. It might not be a good place to settle down semi-permanently, but it would be better than outside, or under a bridge; they'd at least have four walls around them.
Stirred from his day-dreams by Bell, Landon took a second to catch up to the man. Pitcher or catch- oh.
He gave Bellwether a face that spelled 'really?' and shook his head a little.
"Leave those dreams of having a permanent submissive bitch behind, cause they don't exist where we're going," Landon said finally. Getting fucked in the ass was all good and well, but no, not every time. Of course, many gay men, let alone heterosexuals, thought a man was always one or the other in a relationship. Either way getting fucked up the ass was a slow and sometimes far too precarious ordeal.
You couldn't really get in there the way you could with a woman, after all.
And then there were the bruises around his neck. What was the likelihood of setting off an angry, potentially distraught Bellwether by making Bell a catcher?
"I can do both -can you?" Giving and receiving, it was that easy. Landon almost laughed, Bellwether and 'giving' something was hilarious. The man had only barely parted with the extra cash he'd 'accidentally' pocketed.
In the end it'd be a matter of trust. A challenge for Bell, surely.
Landon didn't mind either way. The catcher was in control of the game, really.
"I don't mind catching for now," Landon whispered in Bell's ear, "...but one day I'll get you to trust me." His hand strayed towards Bellwether's knee and shimmied up close, thumb pressing down through the layers of clothes. They probably wouldn't get a chance any time soon, but he failed to care.
Tugging lightly at Bell's ear-lobe, Landon pushed to a stand, "we're almost there," he announced. The train was already crawling to a slower speed. Houses and other tall buildings shot by, graffiti on the grey and bricked walls along the tracks. More people were getting up and collecting their things. Landon secured his bat and followed the parade towards the door, looking out the windows with interest.
When the train screeched to a halt and the doors finally opened, Landon immediately regretted having arrived some-place else. Cold seeped through the layers of clothes Landon wore and he shivered slightly. At least they weren't full-blown chills, but it wasn't very comfortable either.
"Good idea," Bell said, when Landon suggested they change before they arrived. With this crowd, no one would notice a few passengers extra, or fewer. It might be a different story on whatever station they were headed to. Changing now was for the best.
He felt closed in in the narrow bathroom stall, his elbows all but bouncing off the walls as he changed. Once, while he was wrestling his way out of the shirt, he slammed his funny bone against the wall and had to stop for a full minute while pain tingled down his arm. Eventually, though, he managed to squirm out of his fancy clothes and back into his usual gear. He felt like a snake, shedding his skin. He'd been tied up in those nice, fancy clothes, but now he was freed and dangerous again, and the world had better watch out. The nice clothes were rumpled into a ball and stuffed into his pocket. Never knew when they'd come in handy, as kindling or dish rags or something like that.
He glanced at the mirror before he left. It showed him the same thing it usually did, only more gaunt and haggard, the bags under his eyes a little darker than usual. He touched them, making a face. Was that the sickness, still? Or did this come from worrying about Landon? What a problem love was turning out to be. He never would've worried about something like that before, not with someone like Sam. Probably because Sam didn't matter, didn't mean anything to him. He could pick up another Sam at the nearest street corner, if he wanted. Landon wouldn't be so easily replaced. Even without the love, where would he find another softy who'd just up and abandon everything to go hunt with him? It was insane. It was...incredible. And it didn't hurt that Landon was hot, either.
"Love-bird," he accused his reflection. It had nothing to say in its defense.
Back in the carriage, he had to look around a bit before he finally found Landon; it really was getting packed in here. He squeezed through the crowds and thumped down next to Landon, draping his arm around the other man's shoulder. "Oh, right, I've been meaning to ask," he said conversationally, but there was a smirk on his face already. "Do you prefer to pitch? Or are you more of a catcher? I'm more of a pitcher myself, but I've caught a few times before." He observed Landon's face slyly from the corner of his eye, already anticipating his response.
"Apparently," Landon replied, taking the carton of juice and using what remained of the juice to wash away the dry taste of sleep. Observing the crowd quickly taught Landon they weren't going to some tourist-attraction, but rather a big city. Which was good, all things considering, as it was easier to disappear in a large city. There'd also be more homeless to blend in with. Out of habit, Landon tried to push back his hair, but it was short and cropped down. Right.
Still half-way to waking up, he couldn't help but wonder what the hell he was doing sometimes. That question was likely to return very quickly when winter came and the weather turned sour for real. Getting frost-bite underneath a bridge while trying to get some sleep didn't exactly sound appealing.
They should've travelled towards Europe's main-land and then further south to avoid the chilly weather. Maybe they still could, when the money came in.
Sitting back, Landon stifled a yawn and tried to wake up a little more but found it difficult. His body preferred the restful state they'd been in just a few minutes ago and with his thirst sated there was no reason to not go back to that happy place.
Drowsily he wondered whether the goats knew through the system where the Bellwether-goat was. Only a thousand on a couple billion, yet they managed to run in on goats fairly frequently.
Or the thousand had been a lie, but that was contradicting the visions. Maybe it was the other way around; maybe Bell knew instinctively where they were. Actually, that sounded fairly plausible. Next time Landon would have to let Bell choose their destination again.
"Let's change before we arrive," Landon suggested, hinting at the train's facilities. If they sat down some-place else, none would be the wiser and they'd just seem travellers the vehicle had picked up along the way when timed right. Also, Landon felt cold. The kind of cold that came from being sleepy.
It'd get worse when they stepped outside, dressed as they were.
Stifling some coughs, Landon gathered his bag and looked back at Bell. "Meet you in the next car," he pointed out the signs guiding travellers to the toilets. It was a good thing the train wasn't going at break-neck speed because the space in the toilets was limited. After some wrestling, Landon decided to keep the fancy-cloths layer underneath the other layers for added warmth.
The mirror still wasn't extremely kind.
It was getting better though. Landon figured he'd just need something proper to eat and a few nights of rest before feeling like himself again. Lifting a collar, he tried to hide the bruises on his neck and was mildly successful. He'd seen Bell stare. Nothing Landon could do about that. Exiting the toilet slightly out of breath, though he still had some energy to spare, Landon found a seat and waited for Bell to catch up. It felt better to be a homeless again. Like they'd closed off a chapter and went back to 'normal'. As if goat-hunting was just that, but whatever. It wouldn't be long before the train arrived either.
Seemed like Landon was always on the verge of passing out. Well, no helping it; train rides weren't exactly the most exhilarating way to pass the time. And there was the sickness, of course. "Yeah," he agreed, though he still didn't think that was a good enough reason to wear these stupid clothes. Who'd decided that this was what dressing nice looked like in the first place? He wanted to have a word with them...
"Mmm," Bell replied. Any amount of money would be enough. Even if it was two thousand, it'd be a couple thousand more than he'd expected to have any time in the near future. He watched sorrowfully as the money he'd handed over disappeared into Landon's pocket, but it was for the best, after all. In his hands, he'd waste it before he knew what he was doing. And Landon seemed to have some sort of plan, which was better than he did at the moment.
Eventually Landon fell asleep against him. Bell alternated between watching him sleep and watching the world pass them by, equally fascinated by both. Just watching the steady rise and fall of Landon's chest was calming, especially now that he wasn't falling over sick anymore.
He didn't notice, but he must have fallen asleep, because the next thing he knew Landon was nudging him awake. He patted through his pockets blearily for a minute before he remembered he was wearing the fancy clothes and switched to rifling through the bags instead. He came up with his bottle of orange juice and what little remained of the carton thereof. "Just this," he said, offering it; he sipped on his bottle and felt the liquid fill him up a bit. He hadn't bought more than one meal; he hadn't really been thinking ahead. At least the orange juice had sugar and vitamins and stuff.
He shifted, still waking up, and looked around, taking in how busy the car had become. "We going somewhere popular?" he asked, glancing at the name on his ticket. It didn't mean a thing to him, but maybe Landon would know something.
Despite himself, he was looking forward to this new town. Just being able to straight-forwardly kill ordinary goats sounded great right now, compared to Mr. Pan's madhouse. He couldn't wait to slip into his coat and unclamp the bell for the first time in days.
"They're fine for inside," Landon reasoned calmly, "...'s not cold here," he added after a moment's thought. In fact Landon felt so warm he was getting sleepy -it didn't help that Bell's presence eased his mind about letting go and appearing vulnerable or that the train sounded like a monotonous drone across set tracks.
Landon sighed. Yes, selling the house would get them money, but it was a far-cry from what he'd get when Richard's end of the deal finally came through.
"It will, but not as much as you'd hope," Landon sighed out as he made himself a little more comfortable against Bell's shoulder. "Debts gotta be cleared too," he mentioned the mortgage. Or what was left of it.
Landon played things smart and had paid a lot in advance, making for cheaper living on a monthly basis.
That said, smart didn't make for warmth on the streets. Bell was right to an extent, but Landon only felt more determined to become stronger, more durable, or at least rival Bell's human strength to defend himself if he had to. The whole ordeal at Mr. Pan's was embarrassing. He'd had to resort to the most underhanded tricks just to resist -and even that hadn't really measured up to what was necessary. Given, the homeless under Mr. Pan's control were hardly human, but neither would the goats they were to face be.
Registering the amount of money Bellwether had held back, Landon merely took the wads and stuffed them away for safe keeping. It didn't matter much which of them held on to it -they had something of a shared fund going on after all. That said, it would be enough for one or two more nights in a cheap hotel, something Landon didn't care to waste all in the same week. Richard would come through next week, somewhere.
And that would be the mother-load.
If he had that in hand, Landon could start making them some real money buying and trading stocks.
The dull drone of the train got to him eventually. Dozing peacefully against Bell's shoulder, Landon wasn't even aware of the passage of time until the train gathered a bit more people, making their cart busier. How far had the news about the burning building carried anyway?
Sitting up a little straighter, Landon rubbed at his eyes.
His head felt a little foggy -probably a mild fever, the back-lash of that nasty flu.
Nudging Bell, Landon looked at the other man, "did you bring anything to eat or drink?"
Bellwether hadn't realized how tense he was until Landon leaned against him, and he relaxed, all the fear and worry slipping away. So everything was okay. Everything would be just fine. He put an arm around Landon's shoulders and pulled him in, careless of their surroundings for once. For all that these clothes were uncomfortable and paper-thin, they did provide a disguise, and he knew no one on the streets would cast the pair of them a second glance. Who cared what the normal idiots thought of them? Once they went back to their usual, warmer clothes, they'd be forgotten all over again.
"It's nothing," Bell said, when Landon apologized for Lily. And really, it was. The meeting hardly even stood out in his mind. That she'd stalked them down was a little unnerving, but Landon said he had that under control. If she did it again, Bell would have some serious words for Landon, but once was no big deal. If anything, it was slightly comforting that both of them had had personal issues to deal with; this way he didn't feel so guilty about the drama with Sam.
He looked over the papers alongside Landon, but quickly lost interest in the dense and legal text. More stuff about selling the house or something...something he knew nothing about, anyways. Instead, he pecked a kiss on Landon's head and turned out the window to watch the terrain roll by, happy that he'd been somewhat forgiven.
"Mmm? Yeah," Bell said, nodding. "Unless you've got a pressing desire to freeze to death, but I'm going straight back to my usual clothes the first chance I get. How'd you ever wear these things? They're awful and itchy and stiff. And cold as fuck."
At a thought, he nodded at the papers. "Is that gonna get us more money?" he asked, curious. Houses cost a lot, right? Like, thousands and thousands of dollars. That was a lot of money right there, if he was correct. "Cuz winter's gonna be here before you know it, and I don't think your delicate bones would survive a winter outside. Not up here, anyways."
Usually he went south for winter. As far south as he could get. Staying up north was a death sentence. But with Landon-the-liability, he'd already lost time on his southern journey, and somehow he doubted they'd get anywhere warm enough in time for it to matter. But if Landon had money, then it didn't matter.
Speaking of which...
He reached into his pocket, shifting against Landon to get a better angle, and pulled out the cash. "You wanna hold on to this?" he asked shyly. "I, uh...forgot to give it back. Got so many pockets, you know..."
It was a dumb excuse, but it took a lot of will to even mention to Landon about the money. Every bone in his body told him to hang on to it, to not tell the other man...but it wasn't his money, and if anything, it was Landon who knew what to do with money. He couldn't hold on to it forever. In fact, it was already burning a hole in his pocket. He was bad with money, and he knew it, and right now their lives might depend upon being able to use money well--or at least Landon's life. So long as they were living together, the fewer secrets, the better. And they were living together; even after countless issues and temptations, Landon was still here, a warm and comfortable presence against him. Maybe he could actually learn to trust him. Maybe. Just a little.
Without giving Bellwether a second glance, Landon sank down next to the man and tipped his head back with a weary sigh. At least it was warm inside the train -very much so, actually. The fact that his heart was going in overdrive to accommodate the flow of oxygen to muscles which had little else to burn didn't help, of course. Allowing himself to slip down a little, until his knees hit the seats on the opposite side of the cramped arrangement, Landon closed his eyes and sighed out.
"Better," he muttered and rested his head on Bellwether's shoulder.
Would it be odd to find two men sitting so close to one another? The way Landon was slipped down the seat though practically obscured him from sight, unless someone happened to pass by and look across.
"Sorry about Lily," Landon said softly without bothering to even open his eyes.
Eventually he did though, because despite feeling run ragged, Landon had slept more than enough the other day. Instead, he pulled out the papers to the house and let his gaze wander the pages. Nothing seemed funny -not even the small print.
Everything seemed legitimate. Perhaps a request on Lily's part?
If Richard bought the house, she wouldn't have to move. Then again, would she still want to live there after everything?
Whatever. It was none of his business.
Rooting around for a pen proved useless. Sam had offered the last one and Landon was fairly certain he'd all but molested the object. The blisters on his hand were now rough scabs. Technically they'd both left someone behind for one another. In the end Landon just tucked the papers away carefully with the intent to sign and post them at the first opportunity he got. Shouldn't be too hard to find a post-office around, right?
Dazed eyes took to the scenery and Landon relished in the warmth and peace of having another human being that loved you -supposedly- sitting next to him. Soon that'd all change drastically. No shelter, no money, uncertainty about the next meal and oh -goats.
Bashing another goat to death would feel both satisfying and unnerving. Bell was a goat. Bellwether would be killing his own kind, living up to his name.
"You think we can dress up again in the next town over?" Landon asked softly, so his voice wouldn't be all over the place in terms of pitch. His throat still hurt, but that symptom was easier to combat than a fever.
Staying out in the dark with just these clothes would be suicide for both of them.
Bell cast an interested glance at the phial as it disappeared into the trash, but didn't pursue the topic further. Like Daniel, Landon seemed supremely uninterested in continuing the conversation--which made it intriguing, but right now he figured he ought to cut the guy some slack. The bruises were still there, after all, almost illuminated in his vision every time he caught sight of Landon's neck.
Bell conceded to pay without a fuss. It was all Landon's money anyways, and he wasn't even sure Landon still had enough to pay for both tickets. He didn't feel the need to explain to Landon where his money had come from. Landon would know, and if he was going to fuss at Bell for it, he'd fuss at him either way. It was annoying how he hovered, though, as though Bell didn't know how to buy a train ticket, and Bell shot him an annoyed glance. Sure, mostly he ditched fares, or hitchhiked, or walked, but that didn't mean he didn't know how to pay them. And the way Landon was, doing anything that involved being outside for a prolonged period would probably only make him get sick again, and Bell didn't want that. Now that Landon was a potential lover, his priorities had changed. Landon wouldn't be a good fuck while he was sick, so he had to get better, and soon. Unless he'd managed to completely scare Landon away. But until he knew for sure, he'd act as if everything were still the same.
Tickets procured, the pair of them found a place relatively sheltered and huddled there until the train came. It seemed to take ages, and Bell's fingers were more-or-less numb by the time it had arrived, his whole body shivering. He hated this whole disguises thing. It was uncomfortable and annoying. The sooner he could get back into his normal, warm clothes, the better.
He followed Landon eagerly onto the warm train and settled down in a seat far enough from the doors that they wouldn't freeze every time the train stopped at a station. A thought occurred to him suddenly, and he shot a nervous glance at Landon. Would Landon even want to sit next to him? Or would he sit apart, find another seat? He hadn't shown the least interest in being any sort of intimate with Bell since last night. Mostly it'd been Bell who was touching; Bell doing his dye, Bell who sat next to him on the bed. Landon hadn't touched him once, except to use him to stand up off the bed--though that hardly counted.
It was the moment of truth. He cast his eyes away and straightened up, pretending not to pay the least attention to what Landon was doing.
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