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He dreamed fitfully, dreams twisting with fever and head aching even through his sleep. White arced through his dreams, great ribbons of it, sterile and cool. People dressed in white, buildings painted in it, a complex with high white walls and a man in white robes, holding out his hand. He knew the way there by heart, the high mountains that swallowed them up almost like a fortress clear in his mind's eye.
Healing. And a warning, from somewhere deep inside of him.
When he woke up, it was dark. Not quite night, but getting there. All the familiar symptoms of goat-sickness were there; the weight of his limbs, the headache, the fever, the general feeling of exhaustion. He lifted a heavy arm and wiped at his eyes. They hurt more than usual, burning as though the fever was located directly behind them.
Bell looked around for Daniel, searching the bed, then the room. Was he here? Was he safe? He'd passed out again. Anything could have happened. "Daniel," he started, sitting up. The world spun around him. He gave up and fell back into the bed, draping an arm over his eyes. He felt like shit. And really hungry.
There were burgers somewhere in the room. He knew that. But he didn't know if he could push himself up and over to them. Bell groaned. Had to get up. Had to keep moving. For now, though, he just laid on the bed, a shapeless lump.
"I know where I'm going, now," he announced to no one in particular. He could just about see it. He'd never been there, he was sure if it, and yet he could trace the roads there with certainty.
And Daniel. Where were they going to put him? This place was a half-day's driving away from this tiny town. Should they put him nearer that place? Further? What if it turned out to be a trap of some sort? His goat wouldn't send him into a trap, probably, but in case something went wrong, he wanted Daniel to be safe. No matter what, he wanted Daniel to be safe.
He struggled to a seated position and stared at the sandwiches. His legs were already warning him that walking was a no-go. Maybe he could will the burgers to him. Slumped over in a kind-of-upright position, he glared fiercely at them.
Okay was stretching it. Daniel opened his mouth to say as much, but decided it was better just to leave things as they were. He would be okay with it. He had to be. For Bell-boy and their future together.
Daniel gave Bell a slight nod.
His eyes drifted to the hand scratching at Bell-boy's chest and the mark that was there.
"I have no idea," he admitted. But going numbly forward, blindly stumbling into the general direction Bell-goat was giving, wasn't good either.
They needed to know what was going on.
It took a moment for Bell-goat to come out.
A long moment. Much longer than usual. When it did, Bell-boy's expression turned utterly blank. His head tipped forward. Everything sagged and he slumped. Daniel started, "wow, hey." No goat.
It didn't unfold like it usually did. There was no overwhelming presence or the weight of Bell-goat's acknowledging their human existence. Black eyes, flecked with gold looked up at him. A sickly black dripped from Bell's chest onto the floor, staining the carpet.
Why did hotels insist on carpets anyway?
Daniel shook his head, then staggered at the force with which the images came. Unlike before, they didn't hurt as much. He felt the goatling's presence in the background, listening in. Or looking in. Either way it shot something back and then Bell's eyes closed and he slumped to the floor. This time, Daniel's reflexes were quick enough to catch Bell-boy from face-planting. Fuck. Should've waited until Bell had finished eating before they'd started this shit.
West. They'd already been going West.
A certain location.
It was so clear, Daniel thought he might be able to visualize the road there. At the very least, he'd recognize the location. But he couldn't go with Bell. Bell-boy would have to travel alone. Daniel held the other man. It'd be better if they split up anyway. He could stay behind, get checked in to the nearest mental hospital and recover there while Bell-boy tried to mend what was wrong.
If he could.
He was okay to go into the psychiatric facility, but leaving Bell-boy to fend for himself was another matter entirely. Not that he'd be much help. He'd been keeping Bell-boy down. Holding the guy back. Daniel sat there for a while. At first he was just zoning out, but as time wore on, he started to nod off. He snapped to at long last, lifted Bell-boy and positioned him on the bed. Today they would rest. Tomorrow they'd put their plan into action.
Daniel didn't get angry. Didn't snap, or blame him, or tell him he was weak and wrong. Bell wiped his face and drew in a slow, stammering breath. It was okay. He'd been able to say everything and not break apart. He laughed when Daniel did, but it was hysterical at the edges, as if he might break into tears again. Daniel was right. He nodded. Right, but it didn't feel that way. Didn't feel like he was needed. It wasn't an easy thing to express.
A hand played with his hair, and Daniel understood. Somehow, it had all made sense. Bell staggered back a step, fighting the urge to run and hide. No one should see him this clearly. He shouldn't have said all that. But he felt better for having done it.
"Are you okay with that?" Bell asked quietly. Daniel never seemed to like his stints in psychiatric facilities. But on the other hand, Bell was extremely ill-equipped to handle him. He was going to break under the stress, one way or another. They didn't really have a choice.
He glanced down as well. "You think it's okay to have it out?" he asked, scratching his chest self-consciously. It felt like they were just moving right along, and he still felt on edge, still felt the overload of emotions he'd been ignoring looming over him like a boulder, ready to fall and crush him with the slightest provocation. Letting the goat out sounded like a respite, at the moment. A chance to catch his breath.
That was what he'd been trying for in the bathroom, one way or another. A pause. A break.
Bell looked at Daniel. "Go ahead," he said, holding his arms out. If they were going to call the goat out, no better place than a million miles from the hunters and a good distance from their last bout of wanton destruction. Besides, they had food at the ready. He could fall on that burger as soon as he came back.
When Daniel traced the symbol, nothing happened. Bell stood there, arms out, feeling stupid. What? Wasn't the goat supposed to--
His head tipped forward. Shoulders sagged, arms drooped. He slumped toward the floor, only to catch himself at the last second. When he looked up, his eyes were black, flecked with gold. It looked at Daniel, then down. Held a hand to Bell's bare chest as it started to bleed a sickly black. Its other hand pointed into the distance, towards the West. Images passed between them. An injured deer rising. Bones reconnected, wounds closing. Rot working in reverse. A location. White.
It closed Bell's eyes and slumped to the floor again, but this time, it didn't catch itself.
A crumbling tower. Daniel watched it happen, the stammering words, the tears of desperation that sprang into Bell-boy's eyes. He'd stabilize with the medication eventually, but it took time. It'd taken a few months last time for the worst of the episodes to simmer down into something manageable. It wasn't a miracle cure. Lenny had been on the drug for years when they'd met. Of course he'd seemed stable then.
No one could really deal with it on their own. How could he have expected Bell-boy to? His condition had made their relationship infinitely more complex.
He chuckled, "after saying all that, how can you think I don't need you?"
Even if it was just to have someone make sure he didn't hurt his ass more than his body could handle.
"I don't want to die," Daniel countered. He'd been feeling down, but after the manic episode that'd probably lead to him jumping off a building and splitting his personality again, that was to be expected.
"I don't want to die, Bell-boy," he sighed out.
"And you're not a burden."
He reached out and toyed with Bell's hair, got lost in the little game for a second and at last snapped back out of it at the sound of Bell-boy's voice.
"I get it."
Not being able to breathe; he got that.
Daniel blinked, then took in a deep breath. "It's not like we don't have options, Bell-boy." He looked down at the table, followed the pattern of the wood down its length and blinked back to look at Bell.
"I could admit myself until I'm stable," Daniel offered. That'd been what they'd done last time he'd been trying to find a semblance of normal. It was shitty, fucked up and not really that good for his health, but Lenny somehow managed to come out alright at the end of that journey. He'd even been fine under supervision the last time they'd been forced to go back on the medicine. So long as the episodes stayed away, but then, he wouldn't exactly be himself. Or was that a play on them no longer being one person? Because that's what they'd been for the longest while.
Daniel's eyes lowered to Bell-boy's chest. What was up with that anyway?
"We need to figure out what's wrong with you though," he pointed out. If Bell-boy didn't remember, maybe it was time to have a little chat with Bell-goat.
"Let me help you talk to Bell-goat before anything?"
What happened there? He didn't know. He stared at the floor and shrugged. Just wanted to lessen the burden. Just wanted to stop being so weak.
Landon? He cringed. No. Yes. It was and it wasn't. That was part five hundred of all one thousand problems he'd been dealing with.
Would it be better? He'd asked Daniel to come out for a reason. Had needed that stability. And even Daniel was a crumbling house of cards. The only difference was that his had a little glue dabbed on the corners, so it would hold for a bare second before everything went tumbling down again. But that second wasn't enough. He just wanted to be there with him, not to have to take care of him, make sure he didn't run off, make sure he didn't die, keep an eye on him every waking moment because to look away meant he might look back and find a cold body.
It wasn't about the goat. Not really. He laughed. Not really.
"I just--" he started at last, paused, put this face in his hands. Strong. He had to be strong. He looked up and sighed. "I just, it's, it's a lot, Daniel, it's a lot."
He paused and gestured vaguely. "I thought--you know, it's you two. I knew. I knew it might be both of you again. I thought I was prepared. But I wasn't. It was just me, you know, for the longest time. And I got you back at last, and I was so happy, but you didn't recognize me half the time and hated me the other half and--and then you split again, and that was okay, but there was no break, no-- I went from living on my own to watching Landon twenty-four-seven to make sure he wouldn't kill himself. And then I asked for you out, so there's going to be hell to pay when Landon comes back anyways, and I fucked up with him, too, and no one even looks at me--it's just, I feel like you don't want me or need me and..."
Shit. He was crying. Like a fucking baby. He wiped angrily at his face. He was stronger than this. He could push through. "And I'm hurt and it feels like I can't keep up, I can't, I couldn't keep you safe and you hurt your arm and almost died, and again, and again, and you want to die and you don't want to be here and I'm just--just another burden."
And there were the things. The things he thought when he was alone that he knew he shouldn't think but thought anyways. About tying him up and hiding him away where no one could find him.
Bell put his face in his hands. And he'd probably fucked up again just now by putting this all on Daniel, because the last thing Daniel needed was to be stressed right now. "It's not you. It's not you, it's just-- I need to breathe. And I can't." He couldn't. There was so much weight on his shoulders that he just couldn't breathe.
Sorry. Not sorry enough to face him. Or too guilty to meet his eye. Daniel would've been angrier, but as it was, his emotions were dulled, numbed by medication. He sighed, found the boxers he'd been wearing and tossed them in the tub. If they were staying, he might as well try to clean things out. Daniel prevented the water from draining too much, added soap and watched Bell-boy waddle into the room, lured there by the promise of lunch. He added a few more of their clothes, rinsed them and blinked, confused. Why was he doing this shit? Bell-boy had just tried to fucking kill himself.
Shouldn't he at least be angry? Feel something?
His hands were still shaky.
A fake grin. So fake.
Daniel left his clothes to soak and followed Bell-boy into the room.
"What happened there, Bell-boy?" he pitched, venomous words dying on his lips. He wasn't even sure of his anger. How could he be? What the fuck was this even? Why?
He wanted to ask why, but Daniel knew that was the hardest question to answer, so he didn't. There might not even be a clear defined reason. It might be that it was just everything accumulating and aggravating to a single breaking-point.
Daniel sat down heavily, distracted. He picked at the fries, some of the bread and the lettuce. All hunger had fled. It felt like his high had turned into an extremely bad trip.
"Is it 'cause what happened with Lenny? Told you, Bell-boy, I'm not Lenny," Daniel tried. Fuck, shit had gotten awkward and his head wasn't in the right state to deal with this. Or any of it.
He gave up on eating, even if it'd been well over a day since he'd last eaten. His stomach turned at the thought that it might've been the goat. That he'd made Bell-boy so miserable that the man wanted to die.
"Maybe it'd be better if Lenny were out, maybe," Daniel breathed. He rested his head on his hand and wiped at his face. No real thoughts clung. No real emotions either. The fucking medicine made sure to level all of that out. No mania. No depression. Just a whole ball of nothing.
Maybe the goat wanted to be out. There were easier ways to do that.
Could show it the symbol.
"Want me to ask the goat to just- I just don't... just don't kill yourself," he practically begged.
Firm hands yanked him from the water. Bell gasped, taking in sweet, sweet air. What [i was] he doing? This wasn't like him. He didn't give up. He had to be strong. His hands wrapped around Daniel, holding onto him like he was an anchor. He buried his face in Daniel's shoulder, hiding from the world. Had to be strong. If he wasn't, Daniel wouldn't be able to survive. He knew that. He knew that, and yet. What had he been thinking?
"I'm sorry," he mumbled. Daniel pulled back. Bell looked at the floor rather than meet his gaze. He knew how much it hurt to find the one you loved trying to kill himself, and yet, and yet, he still had tried. It was different, for him--or was it? Was it different? Daniel would suffer the same way he would to know he'd tried to die. "I love you, too, I'm sorry."
He reached down and pulled the plug, started to get up. The world went a little swirly, but it was fine. He put a hand on the toilet to steady himself and hoisted himself over to the towels to dry off. It hurt, sharp pain lancing across his chest, but at least he knew he was alive. He was alive. He wasn't going to leave Daniel alone. Wasn't going to bring the goat out for no reason. He was smarter than that.
Guilt settled, low in his stomach. He--he should've stopped before Daniel saw. He wanted attention, love, to be wanted, but not like this. And who was he to decide this much stress, this much lonliness, was too much? Daniel was going through worse and put up with it. He could too. He was the strong one. He didn't just give up like that.
With some effort, he swallowed that guilt. Strong. Firm. Stable. That was him. That was what he had to be. He found a towel and hid his face in it. Daniel shouldn't see this weakness. Shouldn't know how stressed Bell felt. It was all okay. Deep breath.
When he pulled the towel away from his face, he'd managed to hide it all away. "Um, lunch? That's a thing, right?" He dried off quickly, being rough with himself on purpose, a punishment for his own stupidity. "Smells great."
No clean clothes. He found his old shorts and pulled them on. It'd be good enough. His shirt was a lost cause, but he'd deal with that later. He shot Daniel a forced grin and wobbled his way over to lunch.
Daniel sat there for a second. He'd have thought Bell-boy would've been there by now, considering the man's eyes lit up at the mention of food. Or was that something else? His eyes drifted over to the bathroom and he slowly registered the silence. So much silence. Suspicious, Daniel got up then and shuffled over to the bathroom. He wouldn't be surprised if Bell-boy had passed out or had fallen asleep in the tub or whatever. Instead, he saw the man was submerged, forcefully, his expression one of struggle.
Daniel furrowed his brow. Huh?
It was kind of funny. Kids tried this on occasion. Where they'd drown themselves in water, but like this, there was not even a threat. It hardly ever worked, unless there was some kind of mechanism preventing them from leaving the water when their bodies screamed for air. Daniel surmised that's what Bell-boy was fighting right now.
It was kind of funny, but also worrying.
Daniel reached into the tub, grabbed Bell-boy by both upper arms and pulled him out.
"The fuck you think you're doing? Having a contest with the water?" he started, though his hands were somewhat shaky, his gait somewhat unsteady. The mirth he'd tried to express didn't quite convey.
Instead, he wrapped his arms around Bell to hide his expression.
"Don't do that shit. I know... it's hard, but please don't do that shit," Daniel whispered. He made Bell-boy watch his stupid attempts at suicide, but it shouldn't be a contest. He never did that shit because he was thinking clearly or when he was in a right state of mind. Only when he was already confused and agitated. Hypocrite.
"I'm sorry," he muttered. "I'm sorry."
It was his fault. He very well knew that. He'd been out of it and neglecting Bell-boy. Not that- fuck. Why was shit so complicated? He'd told Bell-boy to sort it out with Lenny, that it was different with him. Bell-boy's rejection had just made him hesitant while he shouldn't have been.
Why was he even thinking about that kind of shit? It wasn't like him.
Nothing was really like him while he was on the stupid drugs though. And soon it'd only be Lenny out.
Daniel slowly let go and allowed some room to look at Bell.
"Please...? I love you."
Hands broke the surface of the water, sent it sloshing against his body. A shallow wave crested the surface of his chest. Water was chased down by those same hands. Bell leaned back and let Daniel work his magic.
This was a rare treat. Daniel didn't often like to wash him, not the way he liked to for Daniel. And he was being unusually careful. He felt like every single inch was being tended to, not the kind of sloppy quick wash he'd been meaning to do. Fingers in his air felt perfect. Massaging his scalp. He closed his eyes and sighed out. Felt nice. Warm water, careful fingers, it was perfect.
Daniel pulled away. Bell sat up a bit, confused. Oh, food? Okay. He found the soap, pulled himself upright, and finished the job. Daniel didn't want to touch him? He sighed out. No, it was fine. Daniel was still psychotic half the time. He was in bad shape physically. Even if he hadn't been feeling off about the idea lately, after his mistake with Landon, it wasn't a good idea. It'd just be a repeat if it somehow pushed Daniel over the edge and back into a psychosis. Better to keep his hands off until they were in the clear.
[i Will we ever be in the clear?] Even at the best of times, they'd still had bad days. Bell wiped his face off and stared into the dirty water, then ducked his face into it. He didn't want to think about it. If he didn't think about it, it was okay. It'd all be okay.
Water swirled. Bubbles drifted past his face. Maybe he should just kill himself. If he brought the goat out, it would heal him, wouldn't it? Unless the goat was hurt. But then it wouldn't get worse. He should try. Try and lessen the burden.
His chest grew tight. He swallowed, wanting for air. Daniel wouldn't notice. Wouldn't notice or care. Probably just laugh. It didn't matter. Nobody wanted him around. Not Landon, not Daniel. They'd rather be somewhere else.
He wanted to breathe. So badly. Maybe if he breathed in, it would lessen the hurt, even if it was water. His body tensed. It wanted to live. But did he? He didn't know.
Not a shower. A bath. Daniel leaned against the door frame, arms folded, watching the man roll around in hot water.
"Maybe," he suggested. His eyes roamed Bell-boy's body. Even if he offered up 'that', it wasn't going to happen, was it? Bell-boy thought he'd raped Lenny and Lenny hadn't been out since, never mind that Bell had just miraculously passed out, without any warning. Still. He could 'help'.
Daniel stepped further inside and sat on the edge of the tub, reached for the soap and used some of the water in the tub to get some suds going. Before Bell-boy could protest, or get the wrong idea, Daniel started to wash the man's chest. His hands dreamily dwelled across Bell-boy's skin, making sure not an inch was missed.
Daniel washed Bell with the same meticulous care that signalled he wasn't entirely aware of what he was doing. Slow, it was slow.
He spent some extra attention to Bell-boy's hair, washing out all the grease and dirt. The water was dirty by the time he'd washed Bell up. The one part he'd skipped however, was the Southern regions. No point.
Bell-boy had skipped that same part as well. For al the desire that he figured was there, he didn't think Bell-boy would be ready. Or maybe. Either way he wasn't with it enough to go through the whole trauma-part of Bell-boy's issue with fucking him. Daniel rinsed his hands in the tub and dried them on the towel.
"Don't really have clean clothes though-" he started.
A knock at the door. Daniel secured the towel so that it covered most of his privates and waddled over to open the door and let the food in. The scent was a dead giveaway. Greasy burgers. Hunger tickled at his gut, though it felt a bit fragile. Daniel wasn't sure whether he was hungover, still on a high or just past it all. Probably the latter.
"Food's arrived," Daniel called out. He set the items down on the table and sat down. For a while he just stared at the bag, then, with slow deliberate motions, started to unpack their food. It smelled good.
Maybe he was hungry then. Still drunk maybe. Hah. That'd be funny. Especially since he'd only had a couple of beers.
Neither of them looked well. Bell shrugged and pushed himself to his feet. They felt weak, but took his weight, knees barely buckling. He'd figure something out. They always did.
Could just rest up. Daniel had a point. They were a good distance from the arson and there were no hunters chasing them down that he'd noticed. Nothing to stop them from taking a day to rest. As long as the goatling didn't come back and decide to stab him again. He grimaced and rubbed his chest. That hadn't been a pleasant experience.
The sounds of Daniel ordering food--music to his ears--faded as he shambled his way toward the bathroom. He started to shed his clothes at the door, leaving his jacket, his shirt, his pants strewn across the floor, mixed in with Daniel's clothes. It almost looked like they'd been together in the shower like this, but he knew that wasn't the case. The closest thing they'd had to intimacy for a while had been a stolen kiss at the bar, and he was pretty sure Daniel didn't remember that, either.
He sighed and slumped beside the tub, running the water to fill it up. The floor was a little damp from condensation. It felt gross against his bare ass, but he didn't feel like moving, either. His chest was stained with blood twice over; he poked at it. Gross. Everything was gross.
"You offering?" Bell asked, peering up at Daniel. Rather than wait for a reply, he pushed off and crawled head-first over the lip of the tub and into the shallow water like a seal. Warm water enveloped him completely, dulling the world to quietude. He sighed out, then pushed off the wall and rolled over. The surface broke around his face, cool air finding his lips. His legs were folded under him, his body floating on the surface, bruised chest slightly cool where it met the air, the same as his face. He didn't need help. But he wouldn't mind it, either.
"...I might get the wrong idea, though," he admitted. His ears weren't above the water, so anything Daniel said was muted. Made it safer. Easier to say things that he was almost afraid to say.
A pat on the back got his attention. Daniel watched Bell-boy with a questioning expression. "I'll dry it in a minute," he said pre-emptively. He couldn't help being a little out of sorts today. Daniel scratched at the back of his head and yawned again. Food. He ought to arrange some food for Bell-boy. Usually these strange 'passing-out' things were joined with weird bouts of goat-hunger and whatnot.
Daniel reminded himself to ask the goatling whether it'd done something detrimental or beneficial to Bell-boy's health. As it stood, it was left somewhere in the middle. He knew the goatling hadn't bothered getting locked up in a hotel-room again. Flashes of the sky, trees and rooting through dirt for some juicy worms had managed to make their way over.
He didn't care to know that either.
It looked painful. Just watching Bell-boy sit up looked painful.
Daniel sighed out softly, but got up to give Bell the space the man needed to get where he so obviously wanted to be.
"Could take it easy today. You don't look well," Daniel pointed out. And he still needed to rely on the man to guide him through whatever episodes lurked in the future. He hated it. Hated admitting that he still hadn't quite stablized. Yesterday had been a right mess.
"Yeah, maybe," he breathed.
"My head's not right," Daniel admitted. Combining alcohol with sleeping pills and his medication -which wasn't meant to be mixed in the first place- really had done him in. He'd slept alright though, for probably the first time in a while. Strange dreams though. Daniel found some pamphlets covering local food-suggestions and rifled through them in search of a number. With the phone in hand, he punched in a number and decided he'd just get two lunch-specials from the local burger place. Fries, meat and grease. What could go wrong?
Once he hung up, Daniel paused for a moment, then turned to see where Bell-boy was at.
"Need help showering, Bell-boy?" he questioned. If Bell had trouble getting out of bed, a shower might prove an even greater challenge. Falling apart sounded right. They were falling apart. Him mentally, Bell-boy physically. It was a shitty place to be and they'd still managed to get the jump on that goat.
Daniel was there. He seemed with it today. Dazed, but with it. And dazed was fine. Safe. Everything was fine. Bell stopped fighting so hard to sit up. When Daniel came over to him, he let the man push him back down. "Morning," he muttered.
He was tired. Felt like he hadn't rested at all. He scratched his hair and sighed out. "Chest started to hurt," he muttered. Bell shrugged, awkward. He didn't want to admit weakness to Daniel while he had to be strong.
Bell took the cup and rolled his eyes at Daniel. He'd just passed out once, he was fine. He was fine, he could drink for himself. "Yeah, food," he said vaguely. Food sounded good. Food always sounded good. He iddn't really care what it was, as long as it found its way to his stomach.
"No more than I've already been," he said, trying to quash Daniel's worries. Not that Daniel seemed particularly concerned. More like he was making conversation. Maybe this was just their normal now. Him hurt, Daniel nuts. He snorted. Yeah, sounded about right.
Blood was new, though. It didn't usually bleed. He grabbed his shirt and looked at the blood on it.Weird. The skin underneath looked fine, aside from the ever-present bruise.
"We're just falling apart," he muttered. He sighed and let the shirt fall out of his hand. He reached out and patted Daniel on the back. So clean. So smooth. His eyes drifted over the curves and lengths of Daniel's body, searching. Searching for what? A blemish. A mark. A place where the goatling was hiding.
Bell ripped his eyes away. No. He wasn't going to go there. Not again.
Tensing as his chest ached and his ribs pulled at the bruise, Bell pulled himself up to a sit. "I should go shower," he said, scooting towards the edge of the bed. He was nasty and dirty, blood on top of blood on his chest. Feet hit the floor. Bell leaned forward, but his legs were like jelly. Rather than push it, he just sat there and waited a moment. Didn't want to show any weakness. "You gonna go back to sleep?" As long as Daniel was out, he wouldn't have to worry about anything bad happening.
Noise snapped him to. Daniel blinked and shook his head. Shit. He was still way too out of it. Last night's chemical combination definitely made for a fun hangover. Daniel took his time, clumsily dried his hair some more and finally stepped into some boxers. The towel he left draped across his shoulders, even as he stepped out into the room. Bell-boy was finally awake. A lazy smile stretched across his face.
"Hey, morning," Daniel greeted the man. He didn't seem to be comfortable though. Daniel approached the bed and stopped Bell-boy from struggling against gravity.
"Slow down, Bell-boy," he suggested. "You look a bit pale still," Daniel offered up. He hummed, then sighed out. Everything felt so slow today. Daniel didn't realize his hand was still against Bell-boy's shoulder, until a few drops of water dripped onto the covers. Huh. He hadn't been as meticulous about drying either.
"Found you passed out on the floor," Daniel rambled. "Wasn't quite sure what'd happened, so I checked you over and put you on the bed to rest. You remember what happened?" He stood, searched for something, failed and dried some more of his skin.
"I was going to order something to eat. You feel like anything? Water?" Daniel offered, already pouring a plastic cup using one of the complimentary bottles of water. He served Bell-boy the drink.
"Want me to help?" he chuckled softly.
A yawn escaped his lips. Damn. He really was still out of it. He could use a little more sleep, but Daniel decided now wasn't the time to selfishly give into those basic desires. What was the point anyway? While on the ridiculous anti-psychotics, he was going to be like this for quite a while longer still. Just numb. Not to say that it was bad.
He blinked and snapped back to.
Maybe a short nap would sort him fine. There was no need to be on the road and the way Bell-boy looked didn't really sit well with him.
"You hurt, Bell-boy?" he asked. Daniel knew Bell was hurt too. It was easy to see. "There was blood." He gestured limply to the stain on the floor. A shiver shimmied up his spine. He needed some fresh clothes, but there weren't any. Daniel sat back down on the bed and figured he could just sleep some more, once he made sure Bell-boy had everything he needed.
He felt as though he was being torn apart.
Two forces were battling. He wanted to join in, but he was weak, sick. His body felt heavy and oddly discombobulated, like he was in pieces, not quite put together. Something was running through his veins, something that made him feel heavy, something cold. His skin twitched, body trying to throw it off, but it was no good.
Above him, the two forces clashed. One was laced with gold, streaked with it so it was almost a work of art. The other was black and huge, and a nameless horror soaked through him at the sight. Wrong. It was [i wrong.]
The golden one was small but strong. The black one was big and bloated, but still powerful. For a second, the golden one had the upper hand, only for the black one to envelop it, almost devour it. He stared, not sure who he wanted to win, what was going on. Where was he? What was this?
His eyes opened. Bell shifted, confused. His fingers grasped fabric. His face nuzzled into a pillow. Bed. He was in bed. What bed? Whose bed? He shifted, then pushed himself up. His arms ached like he'd just spent the whole day pounding iron. He was hungry, too, and his head hurt. He half-sat, and suddenly his chest protested, aching with a fierce, sharp pain. Bell sagged on the spot, drooping back to the bed. What? Why? It didn't--didn't usually--
Hotel. Hurt chest. Tired. Daniel wasn't there. Panic ran through him, only to be stifled--Daniel wasn't here anymore--only to resurge--[i but I freed him!] He rolled onto his back and took stock.
The hotel was simple, standard. No boots, no jacket, no sign of Daniel. There was a spot of blood on the floor. Bell tensed. Had he been hurt? Had something happened? He couldn't remember anything, but he'd passed out last night. Anything could have happened.
"Daniel," he called, forcing himself to sit up through the pain. If Daniel was in trouble, he wasn't just going to sit here. He had to find him, make sure he was safe. He wasn't stable right now. If he got away, it might be the last Bell ever saw of him.
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