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Memories came rushing back all at once, finding their rightful spot. Landon reeled, grateful he hadn't decided to get up yet. Cold made Landon's skin crawl and he narrowed his eyes. Where was Bell? Sometimes, Landon wasn't sure which he favoured hurting him; Bellwether-goat or Bell himself. Bell always seemed guilty afterwards, Bellwether-goat accomplished and satisfied. As if it'd just successfully held back on a massacre. Landon pushed to sit up and gave himself a second to gather his wits. There was a fresh bandage around his shoulder.
Bell's handiwork, by the looks of things.
Landon almost wished for more painkillers, but the fogged up his thinking and Landon rather have a clear head for now. That didn't help make the broken fingers any more bearable. Where was Bellwether anyway?
Panic gripped at Landon's chest, squeezing his heart tightly. No. No, Bell's coat was still there. Bell wouldn't have left without it. Landon got up, paused and took a deep breath before fetching a shirt that hadn't been sliced from the duffel. Wrestling into it was tricky, but Landon managed. Next order of business was a bathroom-break.
He'd been putting it off. There weren't many places you could go inside a hotel-room. Unless Bellwether somehow managed to run off in his underwear, to get drunk with the likes of Jim and Thomas again.
Landon gave the door a nudge and felt relief at seeing Bell there. Even if the other was slumped pathetically against the tub. Giving Bellwether's unruly mop of hair a ruffle, Landon stepped by and ignored his reflection on his way to the toilet. Pissing with one hand was interesting as well. Landon didn't want to recall Bell's weirdly feral look as he'd dug through his flesh in search of shadow-goat bits. Nor did Landon care to see the devastation painted across his own face or Bell's for that matter.
Finished, Landon flushed and gave his hand a wash before snatching a towel up and crouching down to face Bell. Couldn't ignore one another forever, could they?
"You look cold," Landon remarked.
Hazel eyes searched Bell's face for a response. Bell's look had been the same when choking Daniel. When choking him long enough to pass out. One day this love would be the death of him, Landon was sure of it. He couldn't help himself though. As possessive and abusive as Bell was, Landon loved the man. The goat. The package. Even if it couldn't love him back. Even then.
Landon was asleep by the time he finished with the bandages, or passed out; either one was a mercy. He didn't think he could look him in the eyes right now. Damn it. No matter what he did, no matter how good he tried to be, he always came back around to hurting Landon. It'd always been this way, hadn't it? With her, or Sam. Until he hurt them enough he couldn't deal with the guilt and left. It wasn't like he could blame it on...the bad things, either. This was in his blood. He'd been this way before anything bad had happened to him. Before the streets. Before everything.
Was the real him the same way? He rubbed at his face and realized his hands were wet, stained all over with blood. Mechanically, he rose, wincing when the bad leg hit the ground, and limped to the sink, scrubbing the blood off slowly until not a drop remained, until the water ran clear again. If it were really ingrained in him. He looked up and stared into his own eyes, feeling empty. His eyes reflected his mood; they looked dead. Like a fish's eyes in the supermarket. Was the real him hurting someone right now, fighting the same urges Bell felt and losing? Had the real him realized yet that he liked only men? It'd been hard enough for this him to accept, and he hadn't had a family to disappoint.
His thoughts were wandering. He shoved his hair back, looked away from his own eyes. It was bad this time. Really bad. He'd seen white. Bone. Landon would scar from this, no doubt. And there was no magically healing it away, either. The goat was as likely to hurt as heal.
"All I can give you are scars, so why..." Bell looked up, met his own eyes, and hated what he saw there. Guilt. Pleasure. Anger, confusion, love--his pupils shifted, suddenly emotionless and square, irises turning black--
He slammed his palm into the mirror. It didn't shatter, like the movies said it should, but it shook; by the time it settled, his eyes were back to normal, only now the him in the mirror was panting, eyes wild and not dead. He looked insane. He looked fucked up. And he was. He was, wasn't he?
Possessive. More than anything, it'd been possessiveness which had driven him to--to hurt. Was that love? Was it really? It didn't feel like love.
But how would he know what love felt like? He'd abused or been abused. There'd never really been...nothing like love. Not in his life. Was that why this bothered him so much?
He stumbled back, head bowed so he wouldn't have to look in the mirror, and slid down the wall to slump against the tub. Worthless. Worthless. Useless, it was...He couldn't change. He didn't know any better. He didn't know any other way. What was he supposed to do? What was he? He didn't know. Couldn't someone tell him? Anyone?
Bell was relentless. The blunt knife ground and scraped against muscle, tissue and even bone at some point. Landon's resistance grew weaker as Bell's improvised surgery continued on. Warm blood slid down Landon's skin, pooled in places before overflowing and gravitating calmly towards the clean sheets underneath. There was something frantic about Bellwether, but Landon already knew this was the goat rather than Bell's choice. Or maybe a little bit of both.
When Bell clutched Landon in a hug, Landon was too out of it to respond in any way. Even if he had been, what could Landon say?
Thank you? For hurting me?
For cutting out the cancerous remains of shadow-goat?
Landon recognized an abuser easily; his father had been the same with his mother. Angry, volatile, and then apologetic. The niceties never lasted particularly long where his parents were concerned. Somehow, that was different with Bellwether. Maybe Bell tried to suppress that side of himself, which was admirable.
More fussing with the injury got Landon to come around enough to try and pull away from Bellwether's prying hands. He was easily held down though. Landon reasoned illogically that if Bell saw fit to make him bleed, he could stick the bandages somewhere the sun didn't shine as well. Love. Right.
It sounded both desperate and false.
How else did Landon envision getting the last goat-remnants out though? At least it was over now. For now.
By the time the bandages were applied Landon sank into an exhausted sleep. Between being tortured, fevered and now suffering both blood loss and invigorated pain, it was probably a blessing. Without goat-bits to fight, the fever didn't linger long. Just a simmer to deal with the minuscule bits that managed to escape Bellwether's onslaught and even a human's imperfect body was capable of doing that much. There weren't even any dreams.
Landon woke up some time later, because of pain. Confused, Landon blinked up at an unfamiliar, but known ceiling. Another hotel. A roadside one this time around, and a pretty decent one. What'd they done this time to mess that up? His gaze flitted about the room and landed on the discarded butter-knife. Well, there was that.
He barely heard Landon's protests. The other man squirmed under him, gripped his arm, but his grasp wasn't strong enough. Bell pushed past easily, mounted Landon to help push him down. The knife bit through flesh, and blood welled up, too much blood, coming out far too easily. It was in there. It was. Trying to take his Landon away from him. As a kind of confirmation, the blood was dark, almost curdled, and black smoke whisked up from it, curling past Bell's face. He cut deeper, exposing more flesh, looking for the dark blood. Landon's body itself seemed to be expelling it, as though it knew that it wasn't good for it. A section of the flesh itself looked dark, so he sliced it out, scooping it out from under skin with the dull knife. "You're [i mine,]" he growled. "No one else is allowed inside you, understand?"
The cut tried to knit closed even as he cut it open, the darkness reaching out and trying to hide away, trying to close the cut. Bell wouldn't let it. He cut it out, bled Landon until the blood that welled up was only red, until there was no more smoke at all. Then he leaned back, observing Landon, observing the mess he'd made. The way Landon's chest rose and fell, breath heightened from pain, the paleness of his flesh, the way his eyelids fluttered. Beautiful. A smile touched his lips. It was out. Landon was all his again.
Landon was--Landon was bleeding into the sheets. Landon was hurt. The smile drooped, his fingers clenched; one hand tightened around the knife, and as though he were only just realizing he held it, he glanced down. It seemed like a foreign object now, stained with Landon's blood, some terrible, tortuous implement. He threw the knife away, and it clattered against the wall, fell down into the carpet.
Ah. Fuck. He'd hurt Landon again, damn it!
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he said, hugging Landon, kissing him over and over again. "I didn't mean to. I didn't mean to. I'm sorry."
The medical supplies were right there. He'd grabbed the bag before he'd started. Holding Landon down, he disinfected the wound, strapped gauze to it, wound the bandage around his shoulder again, everything so careful, so perfectly meticulous. Careful. He had to be careful, or he'd hurt Landon. Again. Like he always did. "I'm sorry," he murmured, over and over again. "I'm sorry. I love you. I'm sorry." His hands were stained with blood. With Landon's blood. It was unforgivable. It was. How could he--over and over, how could he? How could he hurt Landon?
Everything tilted sideways. Literally. Bell's firm grip pushed Landon down onto the bed and Landon found he couldn't fight back as well as he ought to perhaps. Part of Landon was fully aware something was wrong and maybe it finally dawned on Bellwether-goat's superior attention, because the crazed look in Bellwether's eyes resembled what Landon had seen when they were drunk going after Robert.
"Wait, wait, wait," Landon muttered swiftly. Was he really going to use a butter-knife? Unsterilised? No sedation? Fingers dug through his skin and Landon hissed, squirming in Bell's grip.
"With that-?" he said in a high-pitched voice, as if trying to talk some sense into Bell. Still, there was something stopping Landon from fighting Bell off. He wanted it to come out too. It wasn't in there by choice, and neither had Betty. What a thing to be jealous about.
So Bellwether-goat did see him as property. Even though it knew nothing about love, it had altruistically included Landon in what to protect and hold close. Landon wasn't sure whether to be happy or really concerned about that.
Landon's good hand reached out and gripped Bell's arm tight.
"Not through choice, idiot!" he ground through clenched teeth. The knife wouldn't pierce his skin, and maybe that was just as well -not it wasn't. If there was anything still inside, it'd have to come out. But it was already infected, his body already fighting it.
"Stop, stop!" Landon cried out and then his skin broke under the pressure. Thick dark red blood oozed from the infected site. It looked like a congealed mess, goat's essence and blood entwined to form a syrupy goo. It hurt.
Worse than his hand, it hurt. Felt like it was burrowing deeper, almost. The air meeting the blood fumed darkness though. Thin wisps of goat's essence. Landon's grip tightened around Bell's arm. Where was Daniel when you needed him anyway?
Why hadn't they tried this using his knife and the bathroom?
Bellwether-goat wasn't about to let up control, was it? This was just one more lesson to learn, to not disobey any unspoken rules. Landon's face was a mesh of pain until everything just turned grey at the edges. Sounds turned to a buzzing and everything tuned out for a second.
"Well, but I don't mind this, either," Bell said, letting Landon grab his arm and bring it down. He was injured, after all.
Memories? Huh. At least he seemed to be handling this 'just one' much better than the usual. So wait, did that mean usually, he had...what? Multiple memories? About cogs? No, Bell didn't get it.
It tried to take over? Bell gave Landon a hard look. Was Landon going to attack him? Then again, it wouldn't be any worse than what Bell usually did to him. Though somehow the idea of the goat trying to take Landon over bothered him. A lot. More than usual. "No one's allowed to take you from me," he declared, fetching a forkful of the eggs at Landon's suggestion. No one was allowed to control Landon aside from him. Actually, somehow he almost felt jealous. The other goat had been inside Landon--was inside Landon...it was frustrating, somehow. The healed, swelled cut got a hard look. He wanted to cut it out. Get it out of Landon. His free hand reached for his knife...but it was gone, left behind at the last hotel.
No, no--no. He couldn't hurt Landon. He forced the thought away, but it stayed there at the corner of his mind, niggling away, irritating him.
Landon's shoulder felt weird? He twitched. That was it. That was the last straw. He needed to cut the goat out. Get it out before it infected Landon for good. No one was allowed inside Landon but him. He wouldn't accept this. Wouldn't accept an intruder. He wasn't so easy going. "To leave? No." He set the fork down and reached out, pushing Landon down and digging his fingernails into the cut. The blood that welled up was red, but it didn't reassure him. The goat was in there. Under Landon's flesh. Inside him. He couldn't accept that. If the surface blood was red, it only meant the goat had penetrated deeper. He scowled. How far had Landon let it go? "It needs to come out," he said, drawing the butter knife that had come with their meal with the other hand. "Hold still, I'll get it out." Landon was [i his.] Landon's body was [i his.] No one else was allowed to infringe on it. "You'll let just anyone inside you? Anyone, huh? First Betty, now this...you're getting around, aren't you?" His fingernails bit deeper, the dull knife pressed into Landon's flesh, swelled cut depressing around it. It needed to come out. [i Now. ]
So they were really going to play this game? Landon raised an eyebrow at having to say 'ah', but merely sighed and allowed himself to be fed. Apparently Bellwether was enjoying his new power-position, because next came begging. Landon gave Bell a sideways glance and snorted meekly, "thought you'd prefer me begging for other things than food," he joked.
Reaching up for Bell's arm, Landon brought it down and cleared the fork of sausage. Bell seemed distracted enough to allow for it. So what memories were provoked from feeding a sick man exactly?
Landon shrugged, "yeah, I guess." Infected. Made it sound hostile. Maybe it truly was an infection. His shoulder sure did show the signs of an infection.
"Usually there are a lot...of memories," Landon explained, "too much, but this time...it's just one." Being trapped, in water. Nothing from before that still. Was that the point where the goat had been cut off from the whole? A perfect division between the all and individuality.
"I'm not sure," Landon said slowly. "I think...it tried to...take over?" Somehow. But Landon wasn't an infant. And his body wasn't. It had an immune-system for one, and the goat had been evaporating at that point, making Landon think it had been an act of desperation. That his cut healed was probably just an unwanted side-effect of what shadow-goat had tried to achieve.
Landon nudged Bell, nodding at the eggs, indicating they ought to be served up next. This was actually kind of nice.
For as long as it'd last. Bellwether-goat wasn't one for sitting still for very long, even though it would benefit them both to take it easy for a day or two. Bell wasn't even completely healed, was he?
"I've seen some memories, that's all," Landon explained further. Maybe it'd ease up Bell's concern about Landon's confusion. Last thing Landon wanted was to be regarded as mentally insane again. "And my shoulder feels weird," he confessed. It didn't feel healed. If it had been, Landon suspected he wouldn't suffer a fever either. Maybe some goat-essence had gotten trapped underneath his skin. The thought unsettled Landon more than he cared to admit.
"You feeling the urge to leave yet?" he asked, changing the subject.
"There we go," Bell said approvingly, when Landon started to sit up. Apparently using Bell as furniture was in right now, because he leaned against Bell when he sat up rather than against the bed. Not that he was really complaining. It was nice. And warm.
Landon closed his eyes before Bell could start feeding him, so he kept eating his own food instead, patient and perfectly willing to wait for Landon to wake up a little more fully. Whatever had gotten him, he wasn't really over it, but as long as he wasn't screaming about drowning or engaging in self-harm, Bellwether really didn't care.
Finally, Landon sat up straight on the bed, managing to do it without using any part of Bell as furniture. The kiss was nice, though. Bell reached down and snagged a spoonful of Landon's beans, held them out to him. "Say ahhh," he said.
He should be glad, he supposed. Landon wasn't doing the usual mural thing, which was always annoying and a little too evidence-y. Plus the whole self-harm bit, using his own blood if he didn't have anything else...which was, on top of unsanitary, disgusting. If he'd really been infected by this last goat, then either he was getting used to being infected, or this goat's blood did something different entirely.
Him being a little out of it was nice, though. It was fun to have a willing victim. Participant, whatever.
If Landon played along, he offered up the first few spoonfuls easily, until he ran out of beans. Then he cut off a bit of sausage and dangled it over Landon's head. "Beg," he said, like he was ordering a dog to do a trick for its treat. This reminded him a little...a little of her. He'd had to feed her, too. Hadn't made her do any tricks, though. He was too shy to. And she couldn't have, anyways. Not...not like he'd had her.
"Did you get...infected," he said, for lack of a better word, "by this last goat's blood, too? Is that what's happening?" He turned to take a bite from his own plate. He was a little curious. Besides, it'd be good to know what to prepare for, if he should drag a trash bin over so Landon could puke or what.
Sit up? What was the advantage of sitting up in the grand scheme of everything? A hand tousled his hair and Landon grunted approvingly, until he got pulled up by said hair. Giving Bell a dead-pan stare, Landon tried to think up what kind of ideas Bellwether could be having, but it was pretty obvious. Landon didn't even resist being dumped back on the bed and just shivered a bit further down the blankets. Why hadn't they done this before? Beds were so good. One eye peeked up at Bell and the food he'd brought over to the bed. Fed? Landon's stomach brought Landon back to the topic at hand: food, hunger.
Using his good hand, Landon pushed up against the headboard, but had to stop and rest his head on Bell's shoulder. This was probably better than Bell's lap.
Slowly Landon's eyes drifted shut, though sleep remained distant. There were memories though, tugging at the back of his mind like the goat's blood would. Why --oh. Because it'd been cut off from the other goats, their essence could only convey what goat-lump and its pieces would know. Rather than Bellwether-goat, whose blood or essence connected it to every other goat out there. Or wait.
Did that mean?
Pan's blood was different too. It'd been a dream of being part of the thousand cogs. Not the actual thing. So by cutting off goat-lump, was it creating a new 'whole'? A new hive?
Robert's ambition knew no end, it appeared. Perhaps he had hoped to create a hive with the hybrids. Something new. Mindy-goat had no issue finding Bellwether, but it'd also shown a weird sort of respect.
Come to think of it; when they escaped goat-lump had known where the hybrids were. It continued to find them as long as they carried Alice, though Alice knew how to find Bellwether. So did those have a connection to both? Maybe that was why Bellwether-goat didn't mind the hybrids, but was keen to ditch Robert and its hive. Did that make Robert a deserter?
Landon groaned and dismissed the thoughts. They were all speculations. He pushed away from Bell a little to sit up proper and pressed a sloppy kiss to the man's cheek. Sitting up made his hand hurt worse. Maybe a sling or something would be nice, once they continued their trail of destruction across the land.
"I didn't think it was broken," Bell replied. Huh. The cuts had healed pretty substantially. So the goat-material had worked, like he'd thought it would. Everything wasn't completely healed, though, which was annoying. Almost made him miss the days when the goat would come out. Except that meant he'd died, which he didn't like. Ever. Well, what little was left would heal eventually. Humans were resilient like that.
"Ah--don't touch," he said, pulling the leg away. It was still tender. And he was no masochist. "I'm fine." He could walk on it, mostly. Probably once he had breakfast, he'd heal the last of it up and be fine again. So he hoped, anyways.
He grabbed the bandage and turned back around just in time for a heavy weight to plop into his lap. Bell looked down, already expecting what he saw; Landon had decided to use him as a lap pillow. "Your fingers won't get infected," he replied. "C'mon, sit up." And he'd already taken care of them, what kind of excuse was he supposed to make to screw around with splints? It'd only take them longer to heal anyways, and he couldn't have Landon down an arm for fighting. He sighed and tousled Landon's hair, then grabbed a handful and used it as a handle to pull Landon's head back so Landon had to look up at him."And get outta my lap, I'll get ideas."
The whine was adorable, though. Bell sighed. Why was Landon only cute when they weren't fucking? "I'll get it, jeez," he muttered, dumping Landon's head on the bed and walking over to retrieve the food. It smelled pretty good, actually; room service was on a whole another level overseas compared to what he was used to, apparently. Bellwether carried it back over to the bed, set the tray down, and climbed in. "Hey, wanna get fed?" he asked, patting Landon on the back. "Sit up, I'll feed you." He grabbed his plate out and started in on it while he waited for Landon to reply. He'd ordered pretty much the same thing as Landon; turned out they had a breakfast plate with wacky stuff like fried tomatoes and whatever the hell English people ate at breakfast. Beans and shit. Tasted good, surprisingly; for a country known for having bad food, they made a good breakfast. He was in a good mood, and Landon seemed malleable. Feverish and stuff. Might be fun to play with him right now.
"Eggs, 'n toast...maybe sausage, coffee," Landon summed up. Maybe just a proper English breakfast, if they served that. That'd be nice. He was starving actually. While Bell called, Landon tried to pry open the bottle of water and managed after a few botched attempts. Apparently they were making a habit out of draining bottles of water in one go. They really ought to think about refilling these things for when water wasn't so readily available.
Landon rested back and waited for Bell. Once the man sat back down on the bed, Landon edged closer. Bellwether was warm.
"Hmm?" Landon glanced at where Bell was pointing. Oh. Those.
Didn't really matter. The ones on his back were fine, stitched up and everything and there wasn't anything else no more. Which was kind of weird, but Landon wasn't questioning the absence of an injury.
Well, the place where the cut, and then slice had been was still an angry red. And swollen.
Like his fingers. Maybe he broke his shoulder. "'s fine, not broken," Landon muttered half into a pillow, dismissing the initial rediculous thought.
Bellwether could do as he pleased actually. Trying to tie a bandage around the injuries was close to impossible using one hand.
Nothing was bleeding. Landon nudged around Bell's hand and untied the make-shift knot he'd managed to make and tugged at the band-aid meant to keep things stuck. Obviously it hadn't really worked all that well, but it had sufficed for the night.
"I'm fine," Landon insisted, noticing the injury hadn't changed much.
"What about you?" he prodded Bell's leg experimentally. It'd been broken, hadn't it? And he'd made Bellwether walk all the way to this hotel. Given, the goat had helped in that department, hadn't it? Once they'd cleared the lines. Being encased in glass and electrical fluid seemed like a bad dream now that Landon was properly awake. The sense of dread that stemmed from potential loneliness however remained. Had goat-lump been detached from the whole Bellwether-goat mentioned a while back? It seemed cruel. Like being kept in solitary confinement. Landon knew a thing or two about that.
"Fingers hurt worse," Landon mentioned. If Bell wanted to be the sadist, he might as well start off with those. He ignored Bell's attempts at anything and simply rolled over to sprawl across the man's legs, placing his head on Bellwether's lap. Comfortable. And warm. A shiver crawled up Landon's spine and he actually whined when there was a curt rap on the door and a measured 'room-service' sounding through the door.
Landon wasn't making any sense. Were they back to that? Back to muttering about water and...electricity, that was new. And this time there wasn't even a Daniel to catch Landon when he broke. Hopefully it would turn out okay, but he was still worried. Maybe this was just part of the goat-material side effects. He had to hope, anyways. "Okay," he said, and didn't try to free Landon's hands from his clothes at all, but grasped them instead. As long as Landon was holding on to Bellwether, he couldn't hurt himself or cut his wrists or anything. It was safe like this.
Go get food? But how, when Landon was still holding on to him? He smiled and raised his eyebrows until Landon let him go.
"It's okay," Bell said. He stayed beside Landon for a moment. Landon really didn't want him away, so he wouldn't go anywhere for a little while. Water? Okay. "I don't mind, you know," he said, rising at last and hurrying to get each if them a bottle of water and returning to Landon's side. "Peanut butter is fine with me." It was better than eating out of the garbage. He didn't mind a little monotony in the least. If Landon was worrying about him, he shouldn't.
But then again, maybe Landon wanted something different. Landon was used to much nicer food than he was. "I'll get room service," he offered. "What do you want?" He reached for the phone and ordered what Landon asked, plus something for him; if Landon didn't say anything in particular, he'd pick something at random.
He didn't say anything to the last comment. Landon wasn't okay, and they both knew it, but as such, there really wasn't any point in bringing it up. He shifted back in the bed to sit up against the bed board, back propped up on pillows, and sipped the water. The food couldn't come fast enough. He glanced over, then gestured. "Want me to take care of that for you?" he asked, pointing at Landon's chest. The sloppy bandage had all but come free. It couldn't be sanitary like that, and the last thing they need was for Landon to get infected. He sat up and plucked at it, trying to get a look at the cuts underneath.
Bell was so close suddenly. Just going to get food? Landon blinked as things failed to add up to a proper sum in his head. Bellwether's forehead was cool against his and Landon reached for Bell. Landon's hands clutched at Bell's clothes, until Landon hissed and realized broken fingers trapped in splints couldn't really be forced to make such actions happen. For a second Landon felt as if he was floating, but then cool sheets made him shiver and look up. Fever? Yeah, he figured that already.
It didn't matter.
What mattered was not wanting to be alone.
"Robert...Robert broke my fingers and then...he trapped me," Landon started. His expression turned puzzled. "He had this field...whenever I --the glass, the water...the glass had this electricity and I couldn't hear anything. Cut off," Landon said and swallowed. It didn't make much sense. He knew that.
Actually, yes. Landon searched Bell's face, uncertain. Water would be good.
"Alone..." Landon muttered and drifted for a second.
Bellwether would be hungry, of course he would be. Being selfish now wasn't any good. That's why Bell kept asking, huh? He wouldn't leave -it'd been a promise. Landon nodded, "I know, go...get food."
Landon's breathing was heavy, and he pondered his useless fingers. No. Well, yes. Robert had broken them, but not like this. Not even that hand. Bellwether-goat had broken these fingers and Robert had long since been dealt with.
Some reality started flooding in, filling in the blanks that had remained empty after waking up. Still feeling disoriented, Landon slowly let go of Bell.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
Maybe the last few days just finally caught up to him.
"Water would be nice," Landon expressed. "We should order something," he suggested. Something other than those damned sandwiches and bottles of water. Sometimes Landon felt like they were prisoners to Bellwether-goat, but did they really need a diet to match? Relaxing into the pillows, Landon tried to get all his ducks in a row and gave up. He felt drained after all that had happened.
"I love you too, Bell," he said. "I'm okay, really," Landon comforted. Back to reality. A reality in which they killed goat-lump, not lived through its memories.
Landon stood as he left. Bell glanced back. "Yeah?" Guess that decided the question for him.
"Um, going to get food," Bell said, gesturing at the bag not far from the bed. Something was wrong, though. Landon seemed out of it. Wait, his shoulder had been smoking, hadn't it? What if some goat had gotten in? He turned back around when Landon asked about Robert. That definitely wasn't right. Landon was confused, no question.
"I'm not going anywhere, no, shhh," he said, returning to Landon's side. He petted Landon's hair back to press their foreheads together. Heat met his forehead, almost burning heat. It explained the flush on Landon's cheeks, the confusion, everything. Not where the fever came from, but if there was goat in Landon's body, fever was the least of the side effects. "No, shhh, I promise, I'm right here." He reached down and scooped Landon up bridal-style, then set him back down in bed. "You've got a nasty fever, you know."
His bid to get breakfast interrupted, he sat beside Landon and pressed gently on his good shoulder, trying to keep him down in the bed. With Landon confused like this, he really couldn't take his eyes off him for a second, even to get food. As much as he wanted to. Argh, so hungry. Wasn't Landon hungry? Or wait, he had a fever. Maybe he felt nauseous, too. "What's going on, huh? What's wrong? I'm right here." Had he forgotten they'd beaten Robert? Hopefully whatever it was would fade with the fever. He didn't want Landon to have forgotten all of that. Or rather, couldn't he have forgotten all the pain they'd gone through at Robert's hands, instead? He might not have minded that.
Damn, he was starving, though. Couldn't Landon just lie still for a second? "Hungry?" he asked hopefully. "I can grab some food. Water. Anything. Just let me know, huh?"
Somehow, it reminded him of their first time, and he chuckled a little. He'd been sick too, then. "You know I love you, right?" he said, patting Landon on the shoulder. "Can I go get food? It's right there, I won't even be out of your sight, I promise. Yeah?" Course, he hadn't been starving then, either. There'd been tea involved somehow...
Fragmented, that's how it felt. Pieces of a shattered mind, broken by the hands of another, were cast away. Some were mindless and detached, overruled, while others fought. Those pieces in turn were put in glass cages as well, to be kept and tormented. They shared the pain between fragments, because there was nothing else to talk to. Landon waited and waited. People walked by, changed some things and left. Some were poured over vile concoctions, some tried taking its essence. And then 'that one' arrived. It felt almost pleased when the cage burst. Finally, freedom. But freedom hurt. The air tore at its skin, at its flesh and confusion set in.
Landon's eyes shot open.
"Bell...?" he croaked meekly.
Why was he walking away? Where was Bell going?
He was coming with.
Landon wrestled the sheets and sat up. His body forced a pause. It faltered in staying upright and Landon put out his hands to clutch the bed, but one didn't respond and he fell over. Landon was caught by more mattress. It felt cool to his fevered forehead. No. Wait, there was something wrong. Right, Bellwether.
He'd been there to free him and after that he'd left and abandoned him. No...no, that wasn't right either, since Bell was right there.
"Where...? Where are you going?" Landon asked with a thick tongue.
Where was he? What was this place? This wasn't the hotel they'd been staying at. Or his home. Weren't they home? Where was Lily? And Alice?
Landon distinctly recalled Alice being there with him as they rode a cab to the hospital. Did someone die? Landon gaze lowered down to the broken fingers and he recalled breaking them because of Robert. Did Robert chase them down?
"Where's Robert? Is he-...we? Did we go to a hospital?" Landon rubbed at his eyes and tried to keep the heat from forcing his eyelids shut. Closing his eyes didn't help anything. Pushing himself up again made Landon aware of his body's need to eat something. He hadn't eaten anything, only gotten drunk. The egg -where was the egg? Was that where Bell was going?
"...can't go, you can't go Bell," Landon begged. "I...don't want to be alone," he chased down the sentence. Being locked up in the glass cylinder had been far too long. There hadn't been any other voices, nothing to listen to, like it was really on its own that time. With nothing. None of the others were there...it had been...scared?
Landon blinked. That wasn't him. He'd never been locked up like that. Goat-lump had been.
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