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Bell’s squirming was met with a smile. Who knew the man could be so sensitive? Landon let go of the cloth once Bell rolled out of the way and was awarded with affection. Unexpectedly, he might add, but very much wanted. It’d be a great distraction from feeling like something a goat puked up, for one.
A leg was slipped between his, nice and warm. Landon uncurled his arms a little to let Bellwether inch closer, hands reaching out for the man. Lazily, Landon reacted to Bell’s nuzzles, giving in to a slow kiss. This was one way to distract him from feeling like shit. A hand was pressed against his chest and Landon looked up, meeting Bellwether’s eyes. Normal.
He still had a hard time finding Bell, but at the very least they were their ordinary blue hue, and not something deformed. Even the pupils seemed a shade brighter in the upcoming sunlight, though wide with desire.
Bell forgave him for being crazy, didn’t he? He didn’t care. Landon felt safe knowing that.
Felt safe knowing Bell would never leave him.
Not willingly anyway.
Landon’s hands explored Bell’s shoulders, then down to the man’s chest, where he’d seen the bullet enter. Soft skin covered the injury. Landon flashed a look at Bell to see whether the site was still sensitive, then continued further. The soft skin of Bell’s stomach was warm and alive, comfortable.
“All better then?” he asked softly, searching out Bellwether’s lips for more kisses. He’d probably helped very little in giving Bell the rest he needed. That guilt didn’t linger for particularly long now that they’d started getting frisky though.
“You were dreaming,” Landon muttered when he came up for air, pressing kisses to Bellwether’s collarbone and neck. It was slow, his body not entirely on par with the speed at which reality paced, but he reacted all the same. Bell was attractive, even when bloodied and the man’s scent was like an aphrodisiac, even when this rich and laced with copper.
He was lazy though, feeling a bit mangled. Landon pulled Bell on top of him, generating a nice friction that would soon grow uncomfortable where their hips met.
Bell looked over at Landon. He looked pretty hungover. Not surprising, he supposed, after he'd gone and gotten drunk on his own earlier. All those times Landon had accused him of going out and drinking on his own--it'd only happened once--but the first time he let Landon go out on his own, what did the man do? Drown himself in alcohol. Well... Bell sighed. He supposed it wasn't a river this time, at least.
"Last night wasn't your fault," Bell said. He couldn't blame Landon for his mental illness. And hell, Landon hadn't hurt him. He'd swung at Spot, sure, but he'd missed. How many times had he strangled Landon? And Landon hadn't hurt himself either, which was honestly what he tended to do when psychotic, speaking historically. Last night was nothing. Didn't even bother him. No one had been hurt, so it didn't matter.
"The drinking, though," he started, shaking his head. They couldn't have any more of that. Any more of Landon getting drunk and restarting this vicious cycle.
Landon was being kind of cute, though, so he couldn't hold it against him just this moment. He nuzzled Landon back and closed his eyes, tempted back towards sleep. Why had Landon woken him up, anyways?
"There are clothes," Bell replied. He'd change before he left the room, but until then, he was perfectly comfortable like this.
Something tickling his stomach got his attention next, and he peeked down to find Landon brushing at his stomach with a sleeve of some sort. It tickled a little, and he squirmed some, then rolled over, shifting the sleeve away from the ticklish places, and faced Landon, sliding his leg between Landon's. He nuzzled Landon's face a little more insistently, aiming for a kiss. They hadn't done anything since Landon was out. Been too busy. But now they had all the time in the world. Couldn't they play around a little?
Landon was sick, but when had that ever stopped them before? He scooted closer, putting a hand on Landon's chest. And it wasn't like Landon was seriously ill, just hungover. Couldn't they?
Good morning? Landon gave Bell a look and sighed.
“Morning,” he mumbled, voice void of energy. A yawn threatened, temporarily alleviating the nausea, but as soon as Landon blinked back at the waking world, he felt rotten on the inside. What little water he could stomach hadn’t quite sufficed to revitalise his tongue either.
Fighting last night? Oh. Landon had the decency to look embarrassed. He remembered waking up and trying to beat away Spot because he thought the dog was ‘wrong’ somehow. Bell didn’t seem to press the matter and Landon debated lying back down. Now that Bellwether was up and about, he didn’t have to worry as much. Bell was back before he could properly decide.
Visiting the car, were they? Landon ponderously studied Bell. The man seemed to be moving alright now, so most of the pain was probably gone. His shoulder hadn’t bothered him any more either. Maybe if he strained it, but nothing felt wrong while he was just sitting up. Or lying down.
Landon closed his eyes and rested his eyes for a bit.
Tired didn’t even begin to describe how shitty he felt.
Maybe after a drink- no. No.
“I’m sorry -about last night and yesterday…all of it, really,” Landon pushed out. He needed a little more time to feel like a proper human being again. Landon nuzzled Bell’s neck and curled up in their little clothes-pile, arms curled around his stomach. Bell hadn’t said they were leaving quite this minute, so maybe he’d feel a bit better after a few more minutes of rest. Or a few hours.
Hours was probably more realistic.
If it was in the car, it couldn’t be anything exciting anyway. Probably water and some canned goods.
“There’re clothes,” Landon pointed out the bags he’d brought yesterday. He used the sleeve of one of the frilly clothes on the pile to rub some of the dried blood on Bell’s skin off. It came off cleanly and neatly.
Blood got everywhere, but once dried, it was easy to wipe off. Maybe Daniel would’ve considered buying soap. They could use the sink and some bottles of water for a wash. It wouldn’t be fancy and it did mean getting up, but it could work. Or maybe they just ought to leave once at the truck. No sense in coming back when Hannah was gone already.
Landon shook him awake, and he yawned and stretched, looking around before his eyes alighted on Landon again. He grinned and reached out, poking Landon's chest. "G'morning," he mumbled, rolling over to hide his face in the pile. It felt really early. Probably because Landon had been acting up again last night. How long had it been since they'd slept through the whole night? Too long.
He rolled back over and looked at Landon. Was everything okay now? Landon wasn't panicking or attacking Spot, so it looked like things were okay. He did look a little sick, and more than a little shaky, but that was probably the alcohol. "I thought we were going to end up fighting last night, after all," he said, a little disappointed that it hadn't come to that. Though then again, he didn't want to really fight Landon. Just play-fight.
He considered for a moment, then sat up. There'd be no more sleeping today. And there was no tempting Landon into staying in bed with him, either, when the man looked about two seconds from puking. Why did he have to go and drink again? He was so close to getting over it, and now they were back to square one. Bell's injuries aside, they wouldn't be able to do anything about Miss Hannah--if she was even still there--so long as Landon was like this.
The dehydration headache was waiting for him, and struck the second he sat up fully. Bell groaned and climbed to his feet, staggering over to the kitchenette to grab some water. One bottle vanished into his stomach, then half of another before his body finally told him that was enough for now. The headache didn't go away, but at least the back of his throat felt less parched.
More hungry now than anything, he looked around the kitchenette for food. They'd pretty much wiped it out, though. An apple hid at the bottom of one of the bags; he grabbed it and returned to Landon, sinking into the pile beside him. He sat a little closer than usual and leaned against Landon as he ate the apple, just to be sure he wasn't going anywhere. "Need more groceries," he mentioned, between bites of apple. "Think there's more in the car. We can stop by and grab 'em."
See? Landon snorted, a desperate little noise. What he saw was far from alright, far removed from how he’d come to know Bellwether. Only the steady cadence of Bellwether’s breathing reassured Landon that nothing dangerous was actually happening. Why else could that sound continue so placidly? It slowed even further. Landon kept focussing on the whoosh of air in and out Bell’s lungs, in tune with the man’s heartbeat. Bell’s voice was a crude noise amid the comforting rhythm however.
He wasn’t sure what to do now, dread freezing his limbs. Did Bell want him to leave? Or tell him before leaving? Why was he leaving? Because nothing was quite right. The thoughts circled around, echoing and deforming, until finally the rhythm of Bellwether’s sleeping body overruled the thoughts by providing a steady white noise.
Landon grew dazed, breathing matching Bell’s until he found something was off. He’d calmed since then. The world had returned to normal, though Landon still felt he was close to the edge. There was a very fine line between delusional and ‘okay’.
It was almost light outside as well. There was more colour now, a reassuring fact. Landon dared to move, very carefully sitting up. Spot was there; just an ordinary dog this time, with wide brown eyes. Ordinary. Normal.
“I’m sorry, Spot,” he whispered at the dog, who huffed and yawned widely.
Bell’s sleep was uneasy, restless.
Their supplies were almost gone too. His head was pounding and his stomach fragile. A familiar feeling; a hangover. His tongue felt dry, as did his eyes. Staying up most of the night hadn’t been reason for improvement.
Landon shook Bell, “hey,” his voice cracked.
“C’mon, up and at ‘em,” Landon encouraged the slumbering Bell.
Landon looked around, finding a bottle of water. There wasn’t much left in it, but it would suffice for now. He wasn’t that keen on splashing a huge volume of liquids into his stomach either way. His hands were shaky. As were his knees. He was tired. Landon wiped at his face and tipped the bottle back, rinsing the taste of dead animal from his mouth.
God, why had he decided to drink again? And who thought that was a clever idea?
Landon clung to him even as Bell maneuvered them back towards the pile. He was scared, huh? Yeah, Bell could see that. "Nothing to be scared of. It's just me and Spot," Bell said. Another step closer. This close, he could feel Landon's heart racing, feel the twitch and tighten of his muscles as he fought against the twisted reality he saw.
He was sorry? Oh. For attacking Spot. Bell looked at Spot. The dog didn't seem to be holding a grudge, and he didn't think Landon had hit him, anyways. It was sinewy-goat in there, after all. It was a quick little creature. "It's alright," Bell said. "It's okay. No one is hurt."
They were almost to the pile, at long last. He guided them down, leading Landon to the floor as he climbed back to lay down, and finally he breathed a sigh of relief. They were back. Safe in bed.
Landon shifted in his arms, and for a second Bell feared that he was going to break free and bolt--and if he did, what could he do? He was slower, weaker--but instead, Landon just pressed his ear against Bell's chest. Bell snorted and stroked Landon's hair, trying to calm him down a little more. "See? It's me. I'm here," he said, gentle. His other hand still held Landon tight. He didn't want Landon to run away. He didn't want to lose him.
Despite his worries, sleep beckoned. He shifted, getting a little more comfortable, and yawned. "Hmm, Landon," he said, shifting closer, "wake me up before you run away, okay?" He paused for a moment, then amended the statement: "don't run away. Don't do it. Stay here. Please." He brushed his fingertips over Landon's face, then settled down, unable to fight sleep any longer.
This time, he did dream, and his dreams were vivid. Landon ran away from him, flinched away from his touch, his eyes wild and scared. "Don't touch me!" he squealed, panic in his voice, but even if Bell just stood there, Landon watched him with horror on his face and shuddered every time Bell moved, twitching away from him like he was afraid Bell might touch him. Bell stood there, empty handed, holding his hands out to Landon, but the man wouldn't let him approach, wouldn't let him come closer. And it hurt, deep in his chest.
‘I love you’? Landon’s confusion grew, even as the previously-Bellwether figure contorted into a monstrosity. Arms were wrapped around him tightly, but he wasn’t being hurt. Sanity battled fear, making Landon a trembling mess. Bell’s voice remained a calm constant, so Landon focussed on that and gripped the man tight. Didn’t feel the way he saw it. Landon closed his eyes, but that didn’t stop reality from going around the bend on him.
“I’m scared,” Landon said meekly, swallowing thickly to get rid of the acid burning in the back of his throat. Safe? How could they be safe? No. No, him. It was him. Bell and Spot had just been sleeping there, right next to him.
Nothing made sense. When he got pulled, Landon clung tighter, eyes staring at nothing. At the wall, which wasn’t exactly a wall no more. But he could feel Bellwether, recognised the man’s arms and touch, and smell.
He wanted to sleep, to forget this all happened, but he was too scared to relax.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he muttered, knowing he’d lashed out against Spot -if it was really Spot. For the moment, he assumed that was the truth, even if his brain was trying to convince him otherwise. It probably wasn’t the first time either.
Spot had always been around, even when Bell was still encased in the egg.
Bell guided them back to the pile of clothes. Landon knew that was what it had to be, because that made sense. It didn’t make sense for them to lie down in the grappling arms of several twisted shadows.
Still he clung tightly.
He just wanted to run, but he’d tried doing that before and that never ended well. Usually Daniel took over, though right now that didn’t seem like such a bad alternative. Landon grabbed Bell tight, pressed his ear against the man’s chest.
Slow breaths. In. And out. They were safe.
Bell loved him, even if he didn’t look like the Bellwether he’d become familiar with. Spot was still Spot. Landon was a nervous wreck, poised to either fight of flee still. He felt sick, swallowed compulsively, and breathed. Listened and breathed.
Gradually, ever so slowly, his heart slowed down. The world settled, leaving Landon mentally exhausted. Still he fought sleep, apprehensive of the darkness that would follow.
Landon tensed, and Bell did as well, worried that he'd run or attack or--do something stupid, anyways. As quickly as Landon tensed, he was suddenly scared, fear in his eyes and voice. Spot's eyes? Bell looked back at the dog, and Spot looked back at him, doggy face showing only confusion. "There's nothing wrong with Spot's eyes," Bell said. Nothing at all.
He felt so helpless. What could he do? Landon was on another world. He and Spot...who knew what they looked like to Landon? Nothing Bell could say would reassure him. Nothing he could do would help. All he could do was stand here and wait for Landon. He felt so useless. There had to be something he could do. Something...
"Shh, shhh, it's okay," Bell reassured Landon. There was something he could do. There was. "You can trust me. Here, come here. Feel my heartbeat," he encouraged Landon.
It didn't work. Landon dropped the bat and backed away, until he had his back to the wall. It didn't work, but now Landon was unarmed. Still moving slowly, Bell crossed the distance to Landon and hugged him tight. What could he do? What could he do to convince Landon it was him? "It's okay. Shh, calm down. I'm here. I love you. I've got you. It's okay now."
He peeked at Landon, trying to see if he was calming down. "Wanna go back to the bed? Wanna try and sleep some more?" he eased Landon, pulling him a little away from the wall. "See, no one's hurting you. We're all safe. All safe here."
Bell yawned, pulling a little harder at Landon. He could use some more sleep. What time was it? It was still dark outside, for one. Sleep time. "Cmon, the bed is a nice place, right? Nice and safe." He didn't really know what would work, but Landon usually responded pretty well when he lead, so Bell just drew him away from the wall and back towards the pile. It was looking more and more comfy by the second. Ah, to be back in his lovely pile, sleeping peacefully with Landon by his side. Except nothing was ever peaceful, was it? And Landon was dealing with the alcohol again--it probably didn't help the delusions.
Bell. Finally he’d woken up. Something wasn’t right; the sense that it wasn’t was so overwhelming, Landon kept searching. Spot, infected with god-knew-what, sided with Bellwether. Hid behind him. Why?
‘It’s not…” Landon wanted to warn Bell, but then realised; they were in cahoots. Working together. Bell was even commanding the dog. The beast listened. Landon’s hand curled tighter around the bat’s handle.
‘It’s me’, was it? Was it?
Landon blinked. He couldn’t shake the sensation that something was off. He slowly stood, head pounding more furiously as he did. No one’s going to hurt him, was it? Fear crawled up his spine. What if something had overtaken Bell as well? Was there even anyone or anything he could trust? Bell wasn’t holding anything though, no weapon, nothing. Spot however could attack him whilst he was distracted. Or the not-Spot, really.
But he wanted to trust them, so badly.
Confusion rippled across his face, followed by despair. He wanted to trust Bell, this Bell, he really did.
“I don’t know what to do,” Landon said, closer to tears than anything else.
“It’s not, Spot it’s his eyes, they’re, they’re…wrong, you’re not, are you?” He couldn’t even form a decent sentence. Landon grew frustrated with the constant fear, with feeling like shit. He sighed, trying to relieve some of the tension, but the hairs on the back of his neck were on end without any sign of relenting.
He was scared more than anything.
The bat hung loosely in his grip. Landon was too distracted by his inner turmoil to truly focus on anything for particularly long.
“I don’t know who I can trust,” he bit out, angry. With himself. With the way his thoughts behaved. “Can I trust you? How can I trust you, you’re just like him…” Landon pleaded. He’d seen the flickering of goat’s eyes in Bellwether’s face and it was contorting the man’s physique, altered his form.
Landon recognised what was going on but was helplessly caught in the throws of another psychosis. He wanted out. He wanted them to stop. God, he’d attacked Spot. No, no -it wasn’t Spot. It was. But it wasn’t.
Landon dropped the bat, scared of what he was capable of and backed into the wall.
Something was wrong. Bell shifted, grimacing. He didn't want to wake up, but he couldn't stay asleep. Something was very wrong. In his dreams, he could hear the insistent ringing of his old alarm clock, the red one that'd sat on his bedside since he was little. He had to get up. Had to wake up. But he was so tired. Just another minute more. "Lemme...sleep another five minutes," he grumbled, trying to get back to sleep.
Spot pulled away from him, shifting his position on the pile enough that he couldn't help but wake up. With a yawn, he rolled over and looked around, patting the pile beside him for Landon. Someone needed to let Spot out. Damn dog had to pee or something.
His hand touched empty space, still warm, but empty. Landon was gone--where was he? Adrenaline kicked in at last, and he sat up sharply. Spot was looking into the room, and he followed the dog's gaze and finally found Landon. For some reason, the man was crouched on the floor, clutching his bat. Spot approached, curious, but the second he got close, Landon swung the bat at him, something mad glinting in his eyes. Spot recoiled with a whimper, surprised but not hurt. He looked at Bell, confused, and backed away from Landon, returning to Bell's side instead.
Bell fought the urge to sigh. Looked like Landon was off on some delusion or another. He stood slowly and approached Landon. Spot trailed behind him, head lowered in concern, but Bell stopped dead. "Stay," he ordered Spot. Landon didn't seem to be reacting well to Spot right now. It was probably better if he stayed back.
Come to think of it, he might not react well to Bell, either. Bell paused, considering. Well--he looked to the left and found his pipe, lying on the floor nearby. They'd cross that bridge when they came to it.
"Landon, hey," he tried, putting his hands out, palm-up, and trying to use the most soothing tone he could. "Hey. It's me, it's Bell. Everything is okay. You wanna tell me why you're trying to beat up Spot?" He moved closer slowly, wary to put himself between Landon and the door. If the man bolted, it'd be better if he ran inward. "No one's gonna hurt you, okay?" He didn't expect his words would get through, but as long as he kept talking in a soothing tone, maybe Landon would figure things out.
Sleep came out of sheer laziness more than anything else. It was a hazy sleep. He felt Spot settle between them, felt how Bell clung to him, was aware of the birds outside, the occasional car swishing by, but not much else. It was long dark when Landon woke properly, missing several hours time-wise. He felt sick. His head was pounding and Landon wasn’t sure his stomach agreed with the food he’d eaten atop of the bottle of alcohol he’d consumed. Spot was there, dark eyes glistening in the meagre light offered up by the street-lights and he could see the outlines of a sleeping Bellwether.
Something shifted along.
Something that ducked into the corner, just on the outskirts of his field of vision. Landon stiffened, breathing shallow and quick. Was that-? What was that? Was someone in here? Spot just looked at him, but that glassy bauble of glistening eye slowly turned into something more demonic and ferocious in nature. Landon finally shifted, his fight-or-flight response banking to flight at last. Distance. He needed to put distance between him and that -that thing that was inside Spot.
His breathing quickened as his fear grew exponentially. Landon scurried into a corner, watching. Spot, confused, whined and cocked his head. Landon’s eyes were wild, unfocussed, trying to make sense of a world that had stopped making sense. More movement, to the left this time. Shit. Where’d he left the bat?
Bell. Damn it. He couldn’t leave Bell that close to…to whatever that thing was. But how could he approach?
At last he spotted the bat. Landon crawled over to it. Spot moved, thinking it was some sort of game, approaching Landon without fear. Landon reacted instantly, grabbing the bat and making a swing. If Spot hadn’t been sinewy-goat, it would’ve struck home. Missing just worsened Landon’s fear; confirmation that this wasn’t right. That something was very, very wrong.
He felt like he was going to be sick. The contents of his stomach shifted precariously, threatening to come back up. Landon could already taste the acid at the back of his throat. But he couldn’t back down. He couldn’t show weakness. He had to protect Bell.
The kitchenette, was it? He smirked a bit at that and wandered off to find the kitchenette. Water came to hand first; he drained the bottle in a single long gulp, then grabbed another, sipping at it while he looked for the leftovers. Oh, there they were! In a plastic bag on the edge of the counter. He opened it up and looked inside, then found his noodles again and started munching. Wasn't as good as the first time around, but it was better than nothing.
Landon came up behind him and gave him a hug. He turned to see what the man wanted, but by the time he'd turned, Landon was making his way over to their makeshift bed. Bell snorted and followed, bringing the noodles with him. He could eat in bed. Be easier than eating and standing.
Tomorrow Landon would be hungover, and it'd start all over again. He wasn't looking forward to it. At least this time, he was fucked up too. Would they be able to check on her by the morning? By the night? How long would it take? He was feeling a lot better. Should be okay to move around by the morning, if not perfect.
He finished the noodles and closed the styrofoam container. Spot came over and sniffed it, but the bit of sauce and few stray bits Bell had left behind didn't tempt even him. The dog climbed up into bed with the two of them, settling between them. Bell patted the dog's head and settled down, lying down this time. His lung was healed enough he should be able to lie down now; he wasn't spitting up blood anymore.
He'd have to keep a tighter eye on Landon from now on. They couldn't keep getting set back by alcohol like this. But sleep was already pulling at him, dragging him down into the depths of darkness. He reached out and grabbed ahold of Landon's shirt, making sure he had some kind of contact. Maybe this time he'd feel it when Landon moved and wake up, be able to stop him from going somewhere Bell couldn't see.
Before he knew it, he was already asleep. His dreams were dark and empty, nothing much happening in them. A few pleasant scenes floated by, but nothing that made any sense.
Emotionally better versus physically better; the difference in replies hadn’t escaped Landon. Thirsty and hungry again, was he? Landon looked at Bell and tried to judge whether the injuries had gotten better, but most of the healing would be internal now. There was still plenty of dried blood flaking off of Bell’s body. It’d be easy to rub off with a dry cloth by now. Not entirely pleasant for the sensitive patches, but easy.
“There’s some leftovers on the kitchenette’s counter,” Landon replied numbly. A yawn threatened from his lips. He wasn’t tired, just lazy. His shoulder complained now, as he was sobering up.
He’d been too careless with it.
“It’d be nice to know whether she’s actually left?” Landon offered when Bell asked him what the point was. He was right though; they’d be in a disadvantageous position, with little they could do about her presence if she was still there. Perhaps she’d lead them to a whole group of goats, all banding together. That’d be something.
“Yeah, you’re right,” he sighed out.
He watched Bell wobble back into the store and stood, calling Spot over. They’d been outside long enough. Spot seemed to think so as well, panting as he was. He locked up behind, figuring they’d have an early night and see where they were at the next morning. Bell wasn’t going to be awake for long, Landon suspected. Water, food, and then back to sleep.
Landon found Bell and hugged the man from behind, gently, careful of the injuries. He’d been stupid, drinking again. There was no way Bell would let him get any alcohol, so he’d have to go through the whole process of feeling miserable all over again. Why couldn’t it be Daniel? But he needed help. Landon knew he was weak; he’d go and find the easy way out when given the opportunity.
It wasn’t even that bad. It wasn’t as if he was shit-faced every single day. Just a few glasses to calm himself down and feel better. Usually he didn’t even get enough to feel drunk. He kissed Bell’s cheek and left the man to it, wandering off to their ‘bed’. Things would be better in the morning. Hopefully. Landon was already dreading the night.
"It's okay," Bell sighed. Of course Spot would want to be out. He was the stupid one for freaking out. They were just outside. Just right outside, enjoying the sunlight. It shouldn't be a big deal.
Then again, Landon should understand. He was the one who usually blew nothings into big things.
"Now that you're here," he said to Landon's question if he was feeling better. Now that he wasn't dreaming that Landon was dead. He let go but leaned against Landon, sighing. Felt good to be by someone alive.
Of course, that wasn't exactly what Landon had meant. After a moment, he sat up. "Yeah. Thirsty as a dog and kinda hungry, but better. Where'd that food from earlier go?" It hadn't been too long, right? It should still be good.
Spot seemed to be enjoying himself. Landon was right; you couldn't keep a dog locked up all day. It just wasn't in their nature. Seemed to be enjoying sniffing around the area, checking out the old stores and such. The dog looked up, checked to make sure they were still there, then went back to sniffing. Just watching Spot nose around the weeds was kind of therapeutic. Enjoyable, in a quiet way.
"What's the point?" Bell asked, tired. They were both injured, and now Landon was going to have to go through withdraw all over again. Even if she was home, they wouldn't be able to catch her before she left. And if she wasn't leaving, no point popping around and being suspicious if they couldn't act on it. Besides, it'd mean sending Landon out alone again, and if the last time Landon had gone out alone was any indication, that was not the greatest idea. "Let's save that for when we can actually do something about it," he said.
He stood, then, a bit wobbly on his feet, and wandered over to the bush behind Landon to relieve himself. Once that was done, he walked back over to Landon and patted his shoulder. "I'mna go back in. Need some water," he excused. And he'd take a look at that food, too. He didn't even know what else they were going to do with this day. Laze around and eat and drink were at the top of his mind.
Footsteps started him from his daze, followed by two strong arms wrapping around him. Bell. Landon put a hand to Bellwether’s hand, chuckling a little.
“What’s gotten into you?” he asked. The answer was no real surprise. After everything, it wasn’t odd for Bell to have another nightmare. This time, for once, it wasn’t about the girl, or being raped on the cold street while being strangled with a wire. Death wasn’t a great alternative.
He watched Bell slump down beside him, not quite sober, not quite drunk any more. Somewhere in between, where the hangover wasn’t making an appearance yet. “We’re fine,” Landon reassured Bell.
“I’m sorry -just figured Spot would like to be out for longer than five minutes at a time for once,” he excused. “Didn’t leave you or anything,” Landon soothed Bell. Maybe their absence had triggered the nightmare in the first place. “Feeling better?” Landon asked, watching Bell as the man proclaimed to love him. Landon smiled at the confession -or more at how it was delivered very matter-of-fact.
“I love you too.” There’d never been confusion about that part of their existence. Not once. Well, on several occasions there’d been confusion about how many Bellwethers he could love at one time, but that was a different matter entirely. Two, apparently. With a bit of compromise.
Spot continued his thorough examination of their little yard. Concrete slabs lay amid overgrown weeds, nature trying to reclaim what was rightfully its. Landon wondered whether the goats would witness the fall of humanity in a similar fashion. It had to be a lonely existence, to be for such a long time.
If goats even knew what loneliness was to begin with.
“We can check tonight -see whether the woman’s house has lights on,” Landon offered. “Or I can, at least.” He hadn’t failed to notice Bellwether’s injuries were still mending. It’d take time they might not have. Landon wasn’t sure what they’d do if they caught the woman leaving though. Attacking another goat now would be suicide. Or well. It’d hurt. A lot.
“Not that it’ll do us much good,” Landon sighed out.
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