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Bell-boy got up.
"Hi, Will? I-..." Daniel gave Bell-boy a look, bit his lower lip and sighed out to try and control himself. Teeth pulled his zipper down.
"Yeah, I'm not coming in today... I'm not... well," he managed. "Just a fever, I don't know. Just coming down with something I think." Daniel had to stifle a moan, because right now he was sensitive as fuck from the goat-sickness and Bell-boy was abusing every trick in the book to make him feel good.
"Yeah, I heard," Daniel replied absent-mindedly. "Just make sure they put the bottles cold, I didn't get around to tha- that yesterday," he managed to splutter out. He gave Bell-boy a look and dug one hand into the man's unruly hair. It was still slightly wet from the shower Bell-boy had taken. A hand slipped behind to cup his balls and Daniel twitched in a good way. Shit.
"No, I'll call you tomorrow to let you know. Yeah, thanks Will," Daniel said and waited for the man to hang up.
Once he did, he groaned out of frustration.
Bell-boy teased him, applying a unique set of skills tailored to his every sensitive spot to make him mad. Just when he thought Bell-boy was simply going to finish the job this way, the man pulled away and pinned him against the bed. Daniel's breathing was fast by then, hips pushing into Bell-boy with neglected desire. His hands moved up as the phone fell to the floor. He pulled Bell-boy in close and kissed the man, then turned the tables on them. If Bell-boy wanted it so badly, he could get it.
The other night's tussle between the sheets had been fine, but this was something else. Despite Bell-boy's teasing, Daniel decided to take his sweet-ass time. He lavished himself on Bell-boy's form, rediscovered each blemish, each muscle, scar and mark. His hot skin met Bell-boy's sporadically, always leaving the man wanting for more.
Daniel didn't regret taking the day off.
The room didn't have much, but it had the essentials. Daniel brought out an honest-to-god tube of lubricant, rather than the cheap petroleum jelly they always resorted to, and with equally as much patience worked Bell-boy, drove him to that edge and never let pain get in the way of their pleasure.
Daniel licked his lips.
This was how he wanted to see Bell-boy; ready and on the edge, waiting for him, inviting him. He didn't wait long to take up on the invitation either. Yeah, Bell-boy had hurt him, but maybe he could forgive the man.
He let Daniel guide him back towards the bed, onto the dirty sheets. Daniel's hands delicately touched his skin, almost painful as they danced around the scar. Bell tensed, but didn't stop Daniel. He trusted Daniel not to hurt him. Even now. Always. He watched with interest while Daniel descended. His hands played with the man's hair. So pretty. No one was as pretty as Daniel, no matter where he'd looked.
"So much," he groaned, fully into whatever they were doing. He had missed Daniel. Missed this. While he'd been apart, he hadn't been looking for someone to hold him well, just someone who had enough money in their wallet. Having it be about him--about them--felt so good. Bell leaned into it, breathless with anticipation.
An alarm interrupted them. For a second, Bell thought Daniel was going to leave and go to work, but then he processed the rest of the man's words. Call in, right. A devious smirk crossed his face. Bell crept off the bed, reluctantly leaving the range of Daniel's grip, and knelt between Daniel's legs. He pulled them open and leaned in, undid the fly with his teeth. Daniel could call in. That was fine. He was going to make it a little difficult, was all.
He pulled Daniel's boxers open, revealing the growing problem they both sported. He glanced up at Daniel, then took it in with his mouth. He'd like to see the man stay on topic now. Bell watched Daniel's expression intently, careful to chase down the best places whenever he was about to say something important. His hand slipped behind to cup the balls, gently toying with them just to keep Daniel perfectly distracted.
He teased Daniel to the edge, then pulled away all at once, pleased with himself. Bell pinned Daniel back on the bed and nipped at his neck, teasing him, daring him to make the next move. He rubbed up against him. [i Come on, I want it.] He wanted Daniel to take the lead. If not, then he'd have to. He released Daniel's hands and kissed him. Oddly, he felt young again. Excited. Full of life. All because Daniel was here, with him.
[i I'll never leave you ever again,] he promised silently.
'Still you', except for the part where he evidently wasn't Lenny. Daniel decided not to comment. Back when the goatling had been a parasite inside his organs, they'd already noticed that Lenny wasn't entirely gone. He was there, at times when he felt a little less callous or boisterous or chaotic. So maybe he was still himself.
Another kiss pulled his thoughts away from the worries about everything that'd changed and couldn't be reverted. Hands wandered down his back and Bell-boy nuzzled closer. Fingers dipped underneath his shirt.
God, he was craving it. Maybe it was the goat-sickness, but each touch felt as if it left behind a scorching trail on his skin. He didn't want to think what Bell-boy had done or had been through, same as Bell-boy wouldn't want to know what he'd been up to and it didn't matter. None of that shit mattered because now they could be back together again. Stupidly and foolishly, they'd go in head-first and make the same mistakes all over again. Daniel decided then that he would not, and still didn't, have any regrets.
He stepped closer to Bell-boy, guiding the man's hips to step closer and closer to the bed. Once there, Daniel nudged Bell to sit on the still stained sheets and followed the man down. The hands that'd inched underneath Bell's shirt -his shirt- now pulled and pushed at the fabric to make sure it was out of the way.
It was angry, the scar he'd seen Bell-boy create to obscure the injury he'd helped heal. Daniel's fingers carefully danced around it, pressed kisses to the pale skin next to the scar and slowly went further down south. Most of the lovers that he'd joined late last night had been female, but there'd been a few males here or there. When he got drunk enough to forget Bell-boy and stop comparing.
"Did you really miss me?" Daniel asked softly, undoing Bell-boy's jeans. "Show me how much," he teased Bell and pressed his hand to the growing problem in the man's boxers. An alarm went off. Daniel cursed, "shit... I need to call work."
He got out the phone and pressed a few buttons, but stayed close to toy with Bell-boy's unzipped fly. It'd be the first time he'd called in sick.
Work hard, play hard, was usually his motto. Today would most likely be more along the lines of 'play hard, sleep hard', if he could help it.
Bell nodded. Fuck Bell-boy, exactly. For a moment, he was worried Daniel was going to say no, tell him to wait, but the lip-bite told him otherwise. Bell grinned. [i He still thinks I'm hot.] He didn't know what he'd do if Daniel wasn't attracted to him anymore.
He nodded. "Okay." They could stick around for a few days. He had to figure out how to bring the gang down, anyways. There was no rush to leave, yet. "Should probably be careful about taking down the gang, then," he commented. If they had to stick around, they'd have to be careful not to make a mess. Or wait until it was okay to leave. Either one.
"Oh," he muttered. So that was what had happened to it. A part of him felt guilty for not noticing, but in the end, he hadn't wanted a kid, and neither had Daniel. This worked out best for all of them. He felt a glimmer of worry at the idea of letting the goatling raise the kid, but figured it was fine. The kid was a goat, too. If anything, it was better off with the goatling than with them.
No longer--Bell looked up at Daniel. He'd done it. Become a hybrid. Emotions battled within him, relief and sadness and regret, and a thousand other things he couldn't name. He was cured, but Landon was gone.
Bell pressed his lips together. [i It's for the best.] Now Daniel was stable. There'd be less need to make sure he didn't kill himself. No worries about playing babysitter while he wandered off on an episode. But still, he'd miss Landon. The man he'd fallen in love with first. "You're still you," he said. That was what mattered.
Daniel gently lifted his face for a kiss. Bell felt a spark of guilt at that, a thought of the men he'd slept with while they were apart. Daniel shouldn't--wouldn't be so gentle if he knew. He'd be angry. Maybe even hate Bell. [i Just focus on the now,] he told himself. Daniel had to know something had happened for Bell to have money. Hell, he'd probably even partaken, himself. Bell didn't want to know the details, and he was pretty sure Daniel wouldn't, either.
"We'll show them," Bell agreed. He leaned up for another kiss and took it slow, letting his hands wander down Daniel's back. It was a little thinner than he'd remembered it; he'd have to make sure Daniel ate again. He nuzzled closer, slid his hands under Daniel's shirt to feel his skin. Every little scar, every blemish was right where it should be. "I missed you so much," he murmured.
Arms reeled him in and Daniel let it happen, welcomed the physical contact after so many meaningless touches. Sorry. An apology. Daniel wasn't sure what he'd been expecting, but after a second's thought figured it was the only thing Bell-boy could say. 'I love you too'. There'd been a time when those words had been difficult to express for Bell-boy. Daniel took a shaky breath in and looked at Bell-boy, who'd let go. They were in public, in the middle of the road. What next?
"Fuck, Bell-boy..." Daniel said with a chuckle, but he bit his lip the next second. It was tempting, even though he felt pretty shitty.
"I need to stay here for another while. They're sending me a new card," he said. Daniel ran his eyes over Bell-boy. A gang. A gang of goats. Immortal? Hah. They'd show them. A nudge made him aware of where Bell-boy was steering them and Daniel let the guy. He'd call in sick today. He probably had the fever to prove it all. Of course, the goatling had long since left again.
"The kid went with the goatling," Daniel remarked.
"Turned rat and just..." he waved at the front door. Out. Away. Close by. Closer than some and linked, like the goats from Haven were. In short, he was doing what Lilah was, but smaller.
"I'm no longer human, Bell-boy," Daniel said once the door fell closed. "The goatling, it's core was inside of me before but since they told me it could fix me and I let it, it's everywhere inside of me." Human, but not. Goat, but not. The perfect hybrid.
He was sure Bell-goat would have fun with that one.
That also meant Lenny was gone for good. There was no turning back on this one.
Daniel stepped close, aware of the silence and the privacy they found themselves in. He put a hand to Bell's cheek and lifted his face to meet up for a kiss. Daniel moved slowly, taking care not to startle Bell-boy into anything too fast. A hand slipped down the man's back, careful of any scars or healing injuries.
"We're going to show them there's no such thing as immortality," he promised. Revenge. For what they'd done to Bell-boy. A tiny part of him sparked at the thought of a gang though. Fodder. Fodder for taking down Haven.
He glanced over. At first, he couldn't believe his eyes. He stopped short, easily caught. Daniel? What was he doing here? Sure, he lived here, but--but he was done, wasn't he? That silence earlier, that meant they were done, right?
No. His chest ached. His breath caught. Bell searched Daniel's eyes for a lie, but all he saw was the truth. It was hard to believe. Hard to believe, but Daniel still wanted him. Still loved him. "I'm sorry," he whispered. He hadn't meant to hurt Daniel. He had hurt him, he knew it, but he hadn't meant to.
[i Coming home.] It felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders to hear those words. Bell pulled Daniel into his arms. They were on the street, but he didn't care. It still felt impossible. Like a dream. But it wasn't. This warmth, the scent, the shape of Daniel's body--no dream could be this accurate, this perfect. Warmth welled up in his chest, a kind of joy he'd never felt before. Everything was right again.
"I love you too," he whispered, right into Daniel's ear. He hadn't wanted to be apart. Not for a second.
He let go, suddenly aware of everyone around them. [i Probably best not to hug on the streets.] "What--what should we do next?" he asked, breathless from the force of his emotions. He looked at Daniel, barely able to wrench his eyes away. Daniel wanted him back. He still couldn't believe it. Daniel was his again.
"You've got a bed," he suggested. Maybe it would feel more real if they cemented things. Made it physical.
Or maybe Daniel wasn't ready for that. Maybe he wanted to leave it all behind. "I had a car, but it, uh. They stole it," he muttered. "There's a nasty gang in town, a bunch of goats who're calling themselves the Immortals, or some shit. They're the ones who got me." Daniel needed to know, now, if they were getting back together.
He nudged Daniel towards the room even as he said it. He wanted to reconnect more physically. Make it all feel real. He'd respect Daniel's decision if he'd rather not, but it just didn't feel like it had really happened, to just say it and move on as if that was all there was.
Was there any chance? For an 'us'? Daniel leaned against the wall outside the building, heart thundering with the weight of his decision regarding a second opportunity. Getting back with Bell-boy would certainly mean goat-shit was going to happen again, but was that really such a bad thing? His life up until now had been more than boring. Then again, once he had his card the world was open to him once more. Sort of.
Except for the part where they were now murderers. One day the repercussions of their actions was going to catch up to them.
It'd felt so fucking good to just hold Bell-boy and inhale the man's scent. He still hadn't moved from his spot. People were giving him looks for loitering, but Daniel didn't care. He pushed his hair back and his heart leapt when he caught Bell-boy exiting the building.
"Bell!" Daniel started, taking a few large steps to catch up to the guy. Of course he'd leave eventually. Had Bell-boy waited for him that day too? The day after Haven?
Shit from back then was still muddled. Not gone or obscured, just muddled. As if the days had blended into one another to form one giant mess of a memory he couldn't quite place.
But Bell-boy had come for him, after remembering.
Especially that last part stung. It still fucking stung, but that was his problem.
Daniel caught up to Bell-boy and reached out for the man's arm. Bell-boy looked better after a shower. More like himself, rather than the bloody mess that'd near enough stumbled into his room last night.
He was taken aback by the wave of emotion rushing to fill his chest. Daniel knew it was a mistake and he still chose to make it.
"I love you," he said and though he'd found it hard to make eye-contact before, Daniel met Bell-boy's baby-blues head on this time. "We can't stop them from playing," Daniel said, hinting at the goats and their penchant for human poetry.
"I-... It just. I was really hurt. I'm still..." Daniel growled under his breath, frustrated with how shitty he was doing. Any other time he could put up that facade, but he was tired and goat-sick.
"Felt like coming home last night, when I held you," he managed at long last. He searched Bell-boy's face for a reaction. Some confirmation. Anything.
He nodded. What was he supposed to say? Daniel didn't seem interested in opening a line of conversation. If anything, he was stuck on such mundane topics that it felt like he was blocking Bell out. Like they were strangers on the street. [i Maybe we are, now.] He fiddled with the plate, then set it down. Put his hands by his sides. Lifted them into his lap and looked around.
"I know, I..." he glanced down. What was the point? Daniel didn't care. [i I shouldn't have come.] It would've been better if he'd just died on the streets. Less painful.
He bit his lip. "You didn't cause me trouble." But there was nothing he'd done to show Daniel he didn't. It was his own fault. It was all his fault, in the end.
Daniel started out the door. Bell stood up, felt his legs go weak, watched his vision go black, and found himself back in the chair. He grabbed the back of the chair and sat up as high as he could, turning to face Daniel. "Is--is there any chance? For me? For us?" he asked.
He waited until Daniel vanished to try and stand again. When he did it slowly, it wasn't so bad. He grabbed the clothes and hobbled downstairs toward the showers.
[i What's the point?] It wasn't like he was going to get a job. He glanced down at himself and sighed. [i Not going to fetch any patrons like this, either.] Had to clean up.
[i What am I even doing?] Asking if Daniel was still available while he slept around like a whore. [i How selfish am I? No--how stupid?] Daniel had probably found someone else by now. Definitely. That little comment about the sheets being stained--and how had that happened, huh? He pressed his forehead against the wall. "God, Bell, you're so stupid," he muttered aloud. Why'd he said anything? Should've just kept his mouth shut.
Shouldn't have come here at all.
The showers were dark and empty. He tossed the clothes in a dry corner and washed off. There was nowhere obvious to put his dirty clothes when he was done, so he jammed them into a ball and resolved to toss them in the nearest public trashbin. [i Get your shit together, Bell.] He had to stop being hung up on Daniel and put himself together, like Daniel had said. Move on. Find someone else.
He rinsed off the leather jacket and tucked it under his arm. It got him a bit wet, but it was hot enough out it shouldn't matter. He lifted the shirt and sniffed it. [i Smells like Daniel.]
Bell dropped the shirt. [i How fucking creepy am I being?] It was time to get the hell out of here and get over Daniel. [i And how am I supposed to do that?] He'd never been that close with anyone before. Never had to break up with someone like that before.
He wandered back upstairs, locked the door, wandered out onto the street. Glanced at the street number. [i Just in case.]
And then he left.
Stained sheets? Fuck. That's all they could talk about? Daniel found himself with a craving for coffee, but he couldn't exactly take Bell-boy out to go get some, now could he? The scar on the man's stomach looked angry and red still. At least it was a scar. Daniel rested an arm on the small, uneven table and rested a shoulder against the wall. Unlike Bell-boy, food did not compel him to feed himself today. It was good to see Bell-boy, strangely.
"Wouldn't be the first stain," he entertained Bell-boy's neutral choice of topics. He wouldn't be able to get the blood out, so much like the shirt, he'd have to get some new ones. Typical.
"Thank the goatling," Daniel said with a nod. He didn't mind helping Bell-boy. Despite everything, he still liked to believe he wouldn't fail on the promise he'd made to Bell; the one where he had the man's back unconditionally.
"There are showers, on the first floor," he invited.
"You stink," Daniel said and cleared the empty trash from the table. Once the items were crammed in a small plastic bag, Daniel went to his wardrobe and took out a shirt and some shorts.
He tossed them on the table.
"Get cleaned up and get your shit together," he instructed.
"Shit like that," Daniel motioned at the man's gut, "... shit like that shouldn't happen."
Because he needed to believe Bell-boy was stronger than that. "I'm fine, see? So I'm not there to drag you down or cause you trouble," he spat, somewhat bitter, but with less energy than before.
"I've got to get some shit sorted before I go to work. Just lock up after yourself," Daniel said and stood, looked around and grabbed his wallet before moving to leave the cruddy room. If Bell-boy wanted to take any of the things in there, it was fine by him. All that was there were clothes anyway. He hadn't had the time to gather anything else or the motivation to entertain himself in a different way. Maybe a forgotten book or two.
He didn't think Bell-boy would want to take those.
Daniel looked at Bell-boy and opened his mouth to say more and faltered. He snapped his mouth back shut. What was there to say?
"Take care," he spluttered in the end and looked away.
He tried to assist Daniel with getting over to the bed, but his whole body was so heavy. It wasn't possible. His eyes were already shutting as Daniel set him down. He wanted to say something else, apologize, thank him, but he couldn't find the energy. Everything ran down to nothing, and he passed out.
A pat. Bell's eyes fluttered open. [i Who?] He glared fiercely at the interloper, recognized Daniel, and smiled. Oh, okay. Just Daniel.
[i Wait wait wait, Daniel?] He frowned and furrowed his brows. That... couldn't be possible. Daniel was done with him. Was this some sort of dream?
He shoved up to a sit and nearly fell back down in bed. The world spun around him, dizzyingly fast. Black lurked, threatening to steal his vision. [i Not a dream, then.] So how...?
His chest was caked with blood. Bell grimaced. [i Right.] He peeled up his shirt. An angry red scar greeted him, smudged with blood all around. Daniel had helped him. He remembered that.
[i What next?] Daniel didn't look happy to see him. Helping him was one thing, but actually getting back together was a whole other world. [i If it's possible at all.]
His stomach grumbled, pushing him from his reverie. Bell slid his legs off the bed and slowly stood. His path to the food was wobbly, but he made it and sank down in the chair. "I um. I stained your sheets," he informed Daniel. It seemed like a neutral enough topic. Something they could talk about without too much issue.
Nervously, he picked at the food. After the first bite, hunger got the better of him, and he tore in. It was a bit stale, but it was better than the garbage he'd been eating, when he'd ate anything at all.
He glanced at Daniel once or twice, too nervous to maintain eye contact. Daniel had let him in, at least, but no more than that. He knew it was crazy of him to expect anything from the guy who'd turned him away. Just healing him was more than enough. But his heart still tightened when he looked at Daniel, still yearned for more.
"Um, thanks," he said at last, when the food was gone. "For the, uh, for the food. And for healing me. It's--a big help." [i Awkward.] He grimaced at himself for just a second. What was he supposed to say, though? This whole situation was weird and uncomfortable.
Bell-boy nearly passed out. Daniel pushed them both against the wall to prevent an unlucky fall onto the filthy floor of the small room, but he had to admit even he was feeling the effects now. The goatling had returned from its reached inside Bell-boy's body and beyond. Daniel shuddered at the memory of Bell's organs wrapped around his hand. He felt a little sick, the alcohol in his gut no longer agreeing with him to make things less sharp. A murmur. Bell-boy's voice was soft, but he could still hear it.
He wasn't sure how to react.
Daniel decided he didn't need to, for now. Bell-boy was quickly losing the fight against sleep. After a short moment, Daniel gathered himself enough to move Bell-boy onto the one bed he owned and plied the man into a comfortable position. Looked rough.
Same as he did, probably.
Daniel looked down at his shirt and the amount of blood on there and sighed. Yeah, fuck. He plucked at the cloth. Stained. Even his pants were. Fuck.
He didn't own that many. Daniel staggered back until his shoulders met the wall and he slumped down to sit on his ass, thoroughly drained. The tarp floor was no less comfortable than the crappy mattress on the bed, he knew from experience, so it didn't matter much who slept where. Between the two of them, the room warmed up quick too.
He ran his hair back and just watched Bell-boy sleep. How hard could it be to leave that all behind?
Blood stained his finger tips. Daniel looked at the red hues and stifled a hiccup. He swayed into the wardrobe and rested there, in the corner. Exhaustion whisked his mind away for a few meagre hours, before he woke with a pounding headache and the pressing need to relieve his bladder.
Why wasn't he in bed-? Oh.
Right. Daniel reached up to run his hair back and was just in time to interrupt himself from smearing Bell's blood all over himself. A shower first. Bell would need food and water if he was to recover. Never mind that whatever did this to Bell was still out there.
He stood with a groan and decided to get to work, ignoring the general feeling of sickness in his bones. Hadn't used the goatling in a while. The hangover wasn't helping either, he surmised. At least the showers were quiet and hot. Daniel felt better after dressing in fresh clothes and shoved the soiled shirt in the bin.
Breakfast wasn't much; some sandwiches and salad, but there was orange juice and some other tenant had left some cake out for people to take. Daniel ate a few bites, but his stomach revolted against the idea of more, so left it at that.
"Hey," he started. Daniel tapped Bell-boy's cheek.
"Food. Eat it," he encouraged.
Bell blinked up at Daniel. It was him. Somehow, it was really him. He didn't know what to do. What to say. [i He hates me. I don't know what he'll--]
He glanced down. "I am," he agreed. It was so ridiculous that he almost laughed, this conversation of theirs. Daniel didn't hate him? It seemed impossible. And then Daniel's arms were around him. Bell held on with his good arm and breathed in Daniel's scent. It felt like home, these arms, this warmth.
"I'm hurt bad," Bell said. He felt Daniel take his weight and didn't fight it. He was exhausted. He could barely keep standing as it was.
Without having to say a thing, Daniel knew what was wrong. Bell flinched at the man's touch--it hurt, pressing on the cut like that--but didn't resist when he was dragged inside.
He felt something push into the cut, glanced up and saw black in Daniel's eyes. And then it hurt, a pain that cut straight through to his core, twisted up in his organs and uncomfortable. Bell latched onto Daniel, tightening his grip in the man's shirt as he pain grew sharper, deeper. "Daniel," he gasped through the pain. He couldn't get away. Daniel had him pinned against the wall. He couldn't help but squirm, but he didn't seriously fight Daniel's grip. He needed to be healed. Needed this.
Black vapor tickled past his stomach. Bell felt the material inside him fight. It dug in claws and held on. He grabbed Daniel's hand, but didn't pull him away, as much as he wanted to. He couldn't. They had to run it out.
At last, he could feel it weaken. The goatling shot through it like a bullet, a sharp bolt of pain that bit him to the core, but the sick, awful sensation of having goat-stuff in him faded. Bell leaned against Daniel and pulled on the goat. He felt the wound on his stomach close, felt his arm snap into place. Then his vision began to go black. Bell let go and came back to the world, panting.
"I missed you," he murmured. He leaned against Daniel and sighed out. He couldn't help but react, when Daniel was this close, though he knew he didn't have the energy to act on it, even if Daniel was ready to take the next step. "I missed you so much." He closed his eyes, exhausted. [i Please don't throw me out.]
A knock to the door. Daniel stared at the swaying wall and blinked, pulled from a comfortable numbness back into a sickeningly drunken reality. He pushed himself up with some effort and stumbled to the door.
"That you, Missy?" Daniel started and opened the door. It wasn't his neighbour. Instead, the bedraggled shape in front of him was painfully folded into the memory of Bellwether. Sort of.
"You're dripping blood," he pointed out with a slur. He'd been falling asleep. Hazy eyes lifted to regard Bell-boy. All the anger from before had gone. Even the hurt over having been left had dulled into regret and a simmering ache. Loneliness was a greater bitch than even betrayal.
Daniel stepped forward and he couldn't help himself. His arms folded around Bell and he held the man close. It smelled so familiar, safe and comforting. Like he was finally home. He didn't even notice Bell-boy was smudging his work clothes with blood and whatever other gore stained the man. There was a reason he wore black button-ups rather than white ones at the club.
"Y're hurt?" he concluded after a moment, mindlessly taking on more of Bell-boy's weight. Unlike the other man, he was in fine physical shape and regularly fed himself. Sort of. A tickling at the back of his neck pushed him to act. Something more than just an injury? Daniel regarded the man and let the goatling supply him with what he needed to know; the fight. The injury and what was wrong. Black shimmered across his eyes. Daniel put a hand to the injury and the goatling crawled up his arm, drained his energy and forced itself into the open skin of Bell-boy's. Daniel had half a mind to drag Bell inside, out of plain sight and into his shitty little room.
It didn't even come close to the apartment he'd had when trying to regain his sanity. He didn't have his own shower or kitchen, for one. Daniel kicked the door and just held Bell-boy up close to him. He felt the man's organs, felt how the goatling chased through flesh and innards in search of the foreign agent. Daniel propped Bell-boy up against the wall, black hand against the man's gut, the other against the wall for support. It felt like a strange mating ritual, almost and he snorted.
It was taking a lot of time. He'd been tired before, but now he felt worse. Black vapours began to trail from Bell-boy's injury, but Daniel couldn't tell if it was the goatling or the foreign invader taking up host in Bell-boy's body.
His car was gone.
Bell stared. Of course it was. He'd left the keys in the ignition. It was a pile of crap, but even a pile of crap was worth parts. Or maybe they just wanted a joyride. Something to junk up. It didn't matter: he was out his house and his car.
He staggered down the alleyway, watching his feet. It took all the effort in his body to pick up one foot and put it in front of the other. Then again. Again. He sucked in a breath and closed his eyes. [i Maybe I should just give up. Where am I going, anyways? No one's going to help me.]
A rat scurried out from under his feet. Bell glared at it. "Get out of here, stupid thing," he grumbled. It looked up at him and chittered, and Bell paused, considering. [i How much meat is on those little bones?]
It darted off, then circled back to him, still chittering. [i Wait.] "Goatling?" he asked. It didn't respond, but kept circling, waiting for him to follow.
Heaving a sigh, Bell followed it. [i Better than nothing. I'll laugh when I end up at a dumpster.]
Slowly, he wandered through the city. The rat vanished every now and again, but always turned up again just when he thought he'd lost it for sure. It led him past a few increasingly scuzzy bars, past houses that had bars on the windows, past nondescript, government-funded apartments that all looked the same.
Then the goatling stopped. Bell looked at it, then at the apartment. "This one?" he asked, turning back to the goatling.
The goatling was gone.
Bell sighed and knocked on the door. At this point, he was already living the worst case. Things could only get better. He opened his mouth, then shut it. Daniel might not let him in if he knew who it was. He hated Bell right now, after all.
He sagged against the wall, eyes shut. [i Please be Daniel. Please be Daniel.] A pause. [i If it's Daniel, please help me.] Bell raised his hand and knocked again. His arm hurt. His body felt heavy. He could feel the goat-stuff eating at him from the inside. "Please," he muttered at the unfeeling metal door. It had to be Daniel. Daniel had to help him.
"You were talking in your sleep last night."
Daniel looked up from the sandwich he wasn't eating to find Lissa smirking at him. He shook his head and stood up straight, carried the glass of water up with him and drank some of the water to calm his acid stomach.
"What about?" he said at long last.
Rather than try and eat, he continued rinsing the glasses and lining them all up in preparation for tonight.
"Something about a bellwether? What is that?" Lissa asked. Rather than stay stationary, she too picked up a chore that would allow her to linger nearby without too much fuss.
"A goat," Daniel replied. "It's the goat the herd follows as it guides them to slaughter. But the Bellwether never dies," he said, with less confidence than he felt. Of course, Lissa wouldn't know. Actually, her face was a picture of confusion now.
"I talk shit in my sleep when I've drunk too much," he played it down.
"You said you loved Bell. Ben?" This time, Lissa's blush betrayed how uncomfortable that had made her feel.
"My ex," he said and smirked at Lissa, before tossing the food in the bin and moving on to get the tables ready. Lissa was left behind and watched Daniel work.
He was different from the other guys she'd been with, but she couldn't quite put her finger on the difference yet.
Last night had proven to her beyond a doubt he wasn't gay, but Ben didn't sound like a woman's name. And he still loved this person.
It was a busy night. Daniel felt grateful for the distraction. The silence upon returning to his crappy little room was almost deafening. Reality felt as if it was oozing in and out of existence, but at this point Daniel couldn't tell whether he was just tired or whether the alcohol was taking a foot-hold in his brain. He could feel them both then, close by; the baby and the goatling.
Why were they lingering here? He pushed at the goatling, told it off for lingering.
Didn't it have a better place to be?
Daniel sat on the bed and reached for his laces, gave up and just let himself fall sideways onto the crappy little pillow. He wanted nothing. Everything should just go away.
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