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They passed through a small and unremarkable town, unremarkable except for the air of destitution and abandonment that hung almost palpably in the air. Plenty of abandoned buildings meant a decent selection of places to sleep, though like with the clothes, Bell figured there was no point bothering with that until Mindy was taken care of. And maybe Landon was going to feel generous again and they'd be sleeping inside instead; who knew.
Everything Landon had said was true. Mindy had the overwhelming advantage, and being able to choose her own footing meant something like trapping her in a mine and sending it caving in on her was unlikely. But the other option was to give up and die, and Bell wasn't ready for that yet.
Landon took the lead into the forest, and before long dump trucks were trundling past, kicking up dust and gravel behind them so that Bellwether closed his eyes and mouth and held his breath for a few seconds after each passed to protect himself. The natural reaction made him think, about breathing and mines and Mindy's knockout gas, and he glanced back at Landon. "Hey, you think they have respirators in the mines? So the workers don't inhale any poisonous fumes? If we could nab one of those for you, we might be able to catch her off guard with another ambush." It seemed a strange thing to go for, as an adaptation, knockout gas; but if Landon had hurt her last time, and she had a hard time differentiating humans, maybe it was her response, a kind of area-of-effect take them all out attack so she only had to deal with the relevant one. Ones. What would happen if there were other goats at the mine? Bell shuddered at the thought. One at a time was enough. He didn't want to deal with an ordinary goat on top of Mindy, and if the two ganged up on him and Landon, their tiny chance of victory would be reduced to none at all.
"Hope she's the only one," he grumbled aloud, as they approached the final fence before the mine. There was a chain link fence,a guard post, at long last, and a road in and out; he pulled Landon off the road and led him into the trees. The fence continued, but he kept walking, and eventually he found what he was looking for; a tree had fallen into the fence and pressed it down, so they could easily climb over it and in. "There's always a weak point if you look hard enough," he said, scrabbling up tree as much as fence, then jumping the few feet at the end to get over the barbed wire and the small vertical gap.
If only that same sentiment applied to goats as fences.
"Other than having randomly passed out -peachy," Landon remarked on his status, stepping in line with Bellwether and checking the man over. Oh, so he'd finally heard what a goat's voice sounded like, huh? Nothing like talking to a goat to bring on a splitting headache. This seemed to entertain Daniel as well, whose smirk was irritating Landon to no end.
"Yeah, figured," he confirmed Mindy must be playing; well, ex-Mindy-goat, really.
"Why do I get the feeling she won't care for whatever preparation we can toss at her?" Landon bemoaned. "If she gets to pick the location we fight her, it may not be as easy -and to her advantage," he surmised. If they were the one being hunted, then yes, they'd have a whale of a problem on their tails, but they could also lead Mindy on that way. Now it would just lie in wait like a hideous old dragon perched on a mountain of gold.
Taking a deep breath, Landon nodded.
"Yeah, let's go," he agreed. At the very least they ought to take a look at the ditch they would be dying in. By some miracle, Landon had survived several encounters with goats so far, so what was one more run-in, right?
The station wasn't much to look at and barely had a roof covering the platforms and that trend was visible in most of the small patch of buildings adjacent of the station. There was a tall, cold building towering to the right, probably some sort of old rail-way hall and to the left were several abandoned shops.
Further on in didn't get much more entertaining.
There was a bus that stopped to swallow several of the people who had left the platform in a daze and other than that there was nothing but road and rocky hills. There were trees in the distance, probably some sort of forest and Landon figured that's where they'd be headed. No doubt they'd brought down several patches of forest to clear the mine's entrance at least.
"This way," Landon alerted Bellwether.
There was a small sign saying 'mines', another saying 'city'. Sleeping outside in a place like this was not exactly on Landon's bucket-list. The mine itself was surrounded by fences, wide roads leading onto the terrain, asphalt transitioning into gravel-like roads. Large trucks occasionally drove by, carrying tons of stone, some others empty. Landon felt small. Like the mine's productivity put them to shame somehow. He wondered if Mindy-goat would just put the humans to sleep like she had at the station. If she did, Landon knew he'd be useless.
"Yeah, I'm fine, ow," he muttered, still rubbing his head. Did that happen every time a goat spoke? Suddenly, rather than jealousy towards the goat, he felt pity towards Landon. One word had been bad enough, he didn't want to even consider a whole conversation, much less multiple conversations. "You?"
Knockout gas. That was new. Great, so it wasn't just strong--this goat had all kinds of brand new features, too. Perfect.
"Well, let's get a move on," he said, leading the way into the mining town. The longer they waited, the more time Mindy had to change her mind and decide to just kill them without any fuss after all.
"She's playing with us," he said, glancing over at Landon. "She said tag. So I guess that means we're it. And if you think about it, that means we've got one chance to find her, right? Because if we find her, and we tag her, then she's it, and I don't want to find out what she'll do to tag us next time." He shrugged. "But on the other hand, if she's playing by the rules, it means we've got until we find her to prepare, since if she comes near, we tag her...She's giving us a sporting chance, though I can't say I understand why. Boredom?" He shrugged. That'd be some boredom, to play with your very life for the sake of entertainment. Maybe Mindy didn't think he and Landon stood a chance. Maybe she was overconfident. But rather than overconfident, Bell felt more like she was appropriately confident. If she so much as spoke, he was down for the count--unless the goat decided to intervene, and how likely was that? Damn thing didn't seem to care about much besides its own skin; he got the feeling that they were on their own, that if it got to the point where the goat came out, it'd be curtains for him, Landon, and the goat regardless.
"Alright. So. I guess we head straight to the heavy machinery, huh?" he suggested. Clothes-shopping could be done later, once Mindy was dealt with; there wasn't really a point in buying extra clothes to face the winter chill if they weren't going to survive the night anyways. "Stake it out, at the very least, get an idea what we're looking at," he finished.
Out of instinct, Landon's eyes followed the pointing finger. The goat! What the fuck? Landon grabbed his bat and readied himself for a show-down but didn't come very far. A funny smell reached his nose and Landon felt the same pull he did whenever he'd been forced to drink the goat's blood. He shook his head, trying to fight it, but as the others went down, Landon wasn't that far behind, sinking down on his knees before full-on passing out. The last thing he noticed was that Bell didn't succumb to the effects of -whatever this shit was. Mindy-goat had become more cunning and daring, showing herself like that. Brazen. Like there was nothing to lose. In a sense, the goat didn't. Unlike Bellwether-goat, Mindy-goat would probably be reborn, only weaker.
What felt like hours later, Landon came around again, confusedly blinking up at the decrepit train-station, the train still hissing and groaning from its journey. So not much time had passed? Landon's ribs didn't exactly take kindly to having fallen down like that and Landon sat up with a hiss, realizing soon enough that he wasn't alone.
All but Bellwether were pulling themselves from the floor.
"You okay?" Landon asked Bell, the memory from before he passed out hazy. They were in the train, had exited the machine and- and then...
[i 'And then Mindy came to face-rape you all,'] Daniel supplied with a shake of his head. He was seemingly looking into the distance, presumably where Mindy-goat was disappearing off to. Without a host, as was so blatantly apparent, Mindy could become anyone other than who were currently lost standing on the platform.
[i 'She's outta your league Lenny, she's outta Bell's league,'] the non-existent man proclaimed. [i 'With just one snap of her pretty black claws,'] Daniel snapped his fingers for effect, [i 'you're out for the count and outta the game.' ]
The fact that Daniel was right didn't make it any easier to swallow.
Pulling up to a stand, Landon realized he'd have to make sure Mindy didn't see him even so much as an ant -less even. She shouldn't be concerned with his participation at all, if he wanted to do anything. Grabbing the bat, Landon sighed out, nervous. This may be one fight they weren't winning. Paranoia gripped Landon. The kill had to happen tonight, before Mindy-goat got the time to plan ahead too far. To get in power positions and do away with them. Not that Landon understood. If she could bring Bell to his knees, and knock everyone else out with just a thought -why were they still alive?
Were they being played?
Underground. Bell nodded. Fun. What were they going to do? He didn't know. Landon wouldn't talk. Now he was the one acting all hurt and stepped-upon. It seemed like the second one of them was happy, the other got pissed, and this wasn't the first time he'd noticed. Maybe they were just natural antagonists, completely unable to live with each other. But Landon's dick had felt so good...for just a moment, he relived those memories, feeling the pain and the pleasure mounting together again--and abruptly had to start thinking of math as something unhelpful took notice. Goats really were perfectly human, he thought to himself, right down to the accidental boners. You'd think maybe the stupid things could've improved the design a little.
He yawned as the train rattled into station, brakes squealing and sliding them to a halt. He stood and led the way off, noting the few other passengers who disembarked there. Mindy wasn't among them; likely that guise had been abandoned. There was a mother and her young daughter, barely a year old and lying in a carrier; he figured she probably wasn't a goat, if only because the goat wouldn't choose someone with a twenty-four seven liability to take care of. A burly man who looked like one of the workers he also ruled out. What were the chances she would have randomly found an actual worker to replace? Which left a family of four, mother, father, son, daughter. He gave them a hard took from across the platform. Which one of them would he be killing?
The son pointed at him, and Bellwether startled and looked away, except the whole family turned with a look of horror on their collective faces. He glared at them. What the hell, had they never seen a homeless man before?
And then the goat leapt from the roof of the train onto the platform.
Bell stared, put off beat by its sudden appearance. Landon had been right, this thing was huge. Bigger than any goat he'd seen before. But revealing itself like that? He'd never known a goat to be so reckless.
Everyone on the platform fainted all at once, bodies thudding to the ground one after the other. Bell was the only one left standing, or so he thought; he couldn't tell if Landon had been affected. The air smelled funny, though, and he raised his shirt to cover his mouth.
The goat knelt down, and searing pain roared through his head. He cried out, overwhelmed by the pain, every nerve overloaded, and the next thing he knew he was on his knees, clutching his head, only barely remaining upright. The words that had been burned into his head in return fluttered before his eyes: [i tag.] Terrible laughter echoed as the goat disappeared; with the pain from the laughter distracting him, he couldn't tell which way it had gone. But when he opened his eyes again, the others were rising, looking around, confused; the lady attended to her baby, who was crying loudly.
Bell looked over at Landon and stood slowly, rubbing his aching head. "Game on," he said.
Would cars, gravel loads and explosives even be enough to break Mindy-goat's stride? He felt like burying the goat alone wouldn't suffice. Heck, it lived through getting poked in the back with live-wire; though goats might just be naturally resistant to electricity. It wasn't too outlandish to think so. Still not in the mood to supply Bellwether with replies to his inane queries Landon merely sufficed with looking up some of the details. Most of the mine was underground these days, where workers were digging for tungsten twenty-four-seven...shit. Ground operations however were seasonal-based and no one was going to dig through freezing soil.
If they made sure to look gruff enough, they could pass for employees no problem.
Being underground meant they'd have trucks carrying off loads of rubble and otherwise, also meant they probably blasted some of the tougher areas to make more tunnels occasionally. Landon didn't think they'd have easy access to explosives however.
Didn't the mine have a day where they just stopped working?
When the attendant came by, Landon produced his ticket and just like Bellwether followed her passage out of their carriage. Was she just a very good actor? There was really no telling -if the goat had taken over an attendant, said attendant wouldn't know the first thing about them two. The goat would just have to sit back at that point, nothing more.
Even though the woman moved on, Landon didn't glance away from the door again, hand on the bat he held. A fight here would be a massacre.
When the woman didn't return after five minutes, Landon dared to glance away again, but hardly relaxed. They'd forgotten to get the pictures they had printed. Well, unlike the drawings they left at Sam's place, they could at least go back and fetch them. Probably had to anyway, considering this town was way out nowhere and probably the end of the line.
Less houses could be seen outside. It turned into full-on landscape, which Landon had to admit, had something scenic about it. If they weren't practically running for their lives.
"It's underground," Landon said finally and figured that was as much as Bellwether would need to know. The rest was best found out on site anyway. Unlike the city from before however, there were few places to actually hole up for the night if they wanted to stake out the mine. Maybe it was just as well the mine operated day and night -a lax guard would be more inclined to let them through.
They were almost there.
Landon was moody as he pushed Bellwether upright, and Bell smirked. Now he knew how Bell had felt, huh? He already knew reassuring Landon that he didn't care about multiple personalities wouldn't work--honestly, he'd been more worried it was schizophrenia or something debilitating when Landon had been talking to air and smacking at nothing. At least Landon would always be able to move and act when they needed to, with multiple personality disorder. But he wasn't going to tell him it was okay or offer platitudes. That wasn't what he did. And it wouldn't help anyways.
Not to mention he didn't mind so much, to see that kind of troubled expression on Landon's face. It was kind of attractive, really, but he felt like telling Landon that would only piss him off.
"What kind of mine is it?" Bell asked, yawning. "Like underground? Or is it a strip mine? We could dump a dump truck's load of slag on her. Or hit her with a dump truck. Mmm...maybe collapse the mine on her, if it's underground. Explode it, depending on the kind. Dunno. What do you think?" He was just throwing ideas out; he hadn't exactly killed uber-goats in mines before. This was as new to him as it was to Landon. "We could use one of us as bait. By which I probably mean me. The goat isn't saying anything," he said, poking at a part of his chest that didn't hurt; he didn't know where the goat actually resided, but the chest felt like the right place to point, regardless. "Oh, maybe it'll have one of those huge scary thresher things, you know, the huge machine with the big spinny blade on the end. It'd be cool to kill a goat with one of those."
An attendant came by, and looked surprised when she saw there were actually people in this car; Bell passed her his ticket, and she moved on. His eyes followed her the whole time, but she gave no indication that she had recognised them at all. Probably just a human, then. "Damn, let's just get this over with," he said, annoyed. What had happened to those nice old straightforward goats?
"Yeah, a real blast," Landon groused at Bellwether's laughter, surmising that having Daniel around, or Bell, was a particularly fun and entertaining past-time. So now he was compared to a goat? Nice. What if it was the other way around? Daniel could have the goat and make little spawn-goatlings. The memory of being invited to do so brought shudders to Landon's spine.
Flicking Bell the bird when he said that knowing made him feel better about things, Landon redirected his gaze. Not even the kiss could set things right. It was humiliating to talk about being mentally insane. Landon almost shoved Bellwether back into his own spot but resorted to just gritting his teeth together.
"Oh, fuck off," Landon grumbled before pushing Bellwether back upright after all, only now at the man's request. He didn't even bother using his good hand -the pain felt gratifying. Landon didn't think his short blow to Bell's chest could've done such a number on the man. How close had the goat come to dying before he'd managed to electrocute Mindy-goat anyway? Far too close probably.
Daniel sat back victoriously in his own private corner, knowing that Landon's telling Bellwether was an open invitation to taking over control soon.
It was always like that.
Once people knew, it was like tearing away some unconscious wall that kept Daniel locked up inside of him. Whatever 'love' Bellwether had gained by knowing the shitty part of his life better be worth it, because Bell was going to need it when dealing with Daniel. There was nothing Landon could do about that now though.
Landon used his phone to seek out the mine they were headed. Parts of it were on pictures and there was even a street-view to peer inside the terrain; the remainder was private. There was one part in particular that held Landon's interest: the end of the line. Large freight-trains were parked near the small stubs meant to guard a train from going off the end of the tracks, and some of those were directly against the building's walls.
With enough power, one could squash something in between, no doubt. How would they keep Mindy-goat in place though? Well. Maybe Bellwether-goat could cooperate long enough for them to make the kill. How likely was that?
They'd have better luck finding power tools and applying them to Mindy-goat.
The odds compared to what was at stake didn't sit well with Landon and his mood dipped even lower. If they could even get on the terrain without getting killed first.
"Sorry," Bell grumbled. It wouldn't come with pain if Landon wasn't so obstinate about not taking about things. He wasn't going to take the blame for that one. He'd been asking about Daniel long before he'd resorted to physical violence to get his answers. His rape was the exception, and honestly it was probably the right choice to avoid that particular topic, even if sometimes Bell wanted to bring it up.
Oh? They were taking about Daniel after all? Bell sat very still, partially because it still hurt to breathe and partially because he didn't want to startle Landon into silence. Daniel was the one who--oh. Oh. Now things were starting to make sense. "I thought you were acting kinda funny," he muttered. "So Daniel's not a person, he's a..." Bell laughed. "So he's like me. Just something someone else created. And you're the goat, except less freaky." Now it was all falling into place. Landon was already used to dealing with non-entities; at least Bell was a non-entity with his own face, even if the body was shared. Of course he could love a non-entity, if he already carried one around himself.
Somehow it made him feel better to hear that than all Landon's assurances. Probably the sick part of him that rejoiced in breaking people was delighted to find out that Landon was also sick and broken. But it was more than just that. It was reassuring. He had something normal to hold on to, to point to and say, look, I'm just like him, I'm a real person, too.
"Yes," Bell replied, simple and honest. Now he knew he wasn't the only one with problems. Of course that'd make him feel better. About himself. About them. About the fact that it was mostly the other half of Landon that loved the goat,, and not this part. And then he broke his usual rule about pubic affection and leaned over to give Landon a kiss on the cheek. Stabbing pain shot down his ribcage when he tried to sit back up, so he was forced to lean on Landon's shoulder instead. He tried to push himself up with his arms, but that only triggered the pain as well. "Landon, I'm stuck," he said, annoyed at himself.
"Oh, definitely two...I'm starting to believe I'm a masochist, I must be, being with you," Landon muttered under his breath. "Sorry," he said as an after-thought, because he really didn't enjoy hurting Bellwether like that. Neither would Landon just sit back and let himself be so blatantly dominated again. Whoever tried to strike up a conversation about something serious by aggravating old injuries? Only Bell.
It felt like being tested, again and again.
Landon looked up at Bellwether as the other settled down beside him. Some of the anger seemed to have been drowned in pain and Landon relaxed a little. It felt right, sitting closer.
"Do you think that's strange? Every time you want to talk about something serious it comes with hurt, and more often than not I'm at receiving end," Landon said, almost in disbelief to think Bell could be so short-sighted.
"It's not just about sex for me, it's...a nice part of it, but not the main reason why I want to be with you," he said with a brief sigh. Even telling Bell about Daniel wouldn't suffice; the truth wasn't good enough. Sinking back in the chair, Landon contemplated what Bell must've been going through, coming to terms with un-existence. Was that even a thing?
How different from a human being was Bellwether anyway? Sure, his body was different, but if any regular old human died, they left behind a shell as well. So what if Bell's happened to be a goat?
"It's Daniel who loves the goat for some demented reason," Landon finally propped up after some silence. "You've seen him before...I don't usually remember what happens when Daniel takes over but he made sure I recalled the fight with Berny, killing you and talking to the goat afterwards."
Landon cringed, "well -talking..."
More like getting his head split open and examined under a thousand watt light.
"I wasn't ever formally diagnosed with having multiple personality disorder, I just got treated for the psychosis, there. Happy now?" Landon growled more so that spoke, arms folded in front of his chest tightly.
"Do you love me even more now you know I'm sick in the head?"
Landon's fake smile sank almost immediately, and he sighed out, chagrined and checked his phone. It wouldn't take much longer to arrive at their station -it wasn't far. Landon made sure it hadn't been, because he'd rather not spend too much time with Mindy-goat on their tails.
"No, that was you. Unless he's your evil twin who replaced you, and then un-replaced you, and I know I killed your goat," Bell said accusationally. He cleared his throat, then chuckled. "Or are you a goat, too? Daniel's a pretty vanilla name for a monster."
He doubted it. Landon had responded to Mr. Pan's blood when he hadn't. Landon had chatted with his goat which seemed exceptionally unlikely for a shell; the goats would have just spoken to each other directly.
"Oh, I wonder," he said, rolling his eyes. This was back to the whole "begged it to keep you around" thing, wasn't it? Like he owed Landon for existing. Who cared? If he didn't exist right now, everything wouldn't hurt so badly. Everything wouldn't be ruined. And he didn't feel any kind of debt to Landon for it, either. If he hadn't aggravated the wound, maybe the goat wouldn't have come out at all, and then he wouldn't have had to beg it to keep Bell around. "Probably because it's a sadist," he deadpanned. "Which makes two. Or is that three? You sure don't mind laying on the hurt when it comes down to it." He shifted and grimaced meaningfully, eyes on Landon.
Though then again, Landon had asked it to keep him around, specifically. Landon did love him. As strange as it was, he did love the shell. He knew that. Understood it at an instinctual level. The problem lay in the fact that he couldn't understand why. Why did Landon love him, even though he was only a fake? It wasn't possible. It couldn't be possible. So he had to reject it.
"No," he muttered, annoyed. "Who would want that?" He paused a beat, then glared at Landon. "You're fucking weird. I don't understand you."
He rose again to sit beside Landon, only this time he kept his hands to himself. "You love a fake and a monster. You won't choose one or the other. Or rather, you say you love me...us, but you never want to talk about anything serious, about me or you." Landon had rejected every attempt, whether it was about Daniel or the goat or about Bell's rape. "So I'm wondering, is that really love at all? Or is it just lust?" He shrugged. "Not that I mind. Lust is fine, too. But I want to clear the air. Clarify some expectations." Not that he'd had great and lofty expectations, but...there was a difference between being lovers and having sex, and it'd be nice to know what Landon wanted from him--which he wanted to be.
Some guilt ate at Landon for making Bellwether suffer, but another, more ferocious part was pleased. Who the fuck gave the man the right to just hurt him like that and with the same hands love him. Maybe the latter would never happen again though. Landon watched as Bellwether's confused expression rippled with pain and then to despair before Bell finally inhaled oxygen and started coughing. It lasted quite a while. Agonizing minutes. When it seemed Bell was at the end of it, Landon tore his gaze away again.
Landon snorted, "I didn't wait for anyone's permission," he mentioned. So Bellwether did remember that bit, but not Daniel? Daniel introducing himself to Bell, now that would be something different.
"I didn't kill you either," Landon supplied, considering he'd be talking to a ghost otherwise. Perfectly possible, but very unlikely.
"That was Daniel," he said with a soft hiss, realizing Bell couldn't really do anything to hurt him as long as the injury still bothered the male and smiled innocently, then shrugged. Bellwether wasn't going to buy into that, was he? Whatever.
"The goat matters just about as much as you do," Landon waved away Bell's protests. On the other hand, the goat was -or could be- in complete control. It was like a driver-car relationship. Saying either one didn't matter was moot. They needed one another to be effective. The driver got to pick the car however.
"But I guess it does -get to choose. I wonder why it chose you after everything that's happened," Landon told Bellwether suggestively. Let the man think about what Landon had said for once. He'd bloody asked the goat to keep Bellwether around! Why would Landon do that if he failed to care or love Bellwether?
Could Daniel love the goat when it was in another body? Had a different shell?
Maybe Bell was just about agreeable enough to Daniel's taste to keep the man around and not try another murder to talk to the goat-part.
"You'd rather have suffocated to death, get sent to a hospital, get your DNA reset or altered to keep out of prison and flee off to do whatever the goat enjoys you do?" Landon surmised, toying with a bit of loose fabric on his shirt.
Landon's expression turned hurt, and a part of Bell rejoiced while another part cringed away. [i You don't want to do this. Do you really want to do this?] that part of him asked the rest of him, but the rest of him replied with a resounding [i yes]. It was so much better than just hurting any old person. He'd forgotten. The betrayal, the hurt, the fear...it meant so much more when it came from someone who mattered. A grin spread across his face--only to fade sharply when Landon jabbed a blow into his solar plexus.
Pain burst out, radiating down his ribcage and stomach, air forced out of his lungs, and he bent over sharply, coiling in on himself, and just tried to breathe. His hands fell from Landon's chest without resistance when the other knocked him away, and instead they braced against the chair, holding on tight while he shuddered, struggling for air through the pain, vision darkening. [i Shit, I can't breathe,] he thought, hands tightening into the seat; he tried to call out, but there wasn't enough air. He could only gasp pathetically, pain spiking every time his lungs expanded. [i Fuck.] Was he really hurt that bad? Was that enough to incapacitate him? Forget starting a fight, he'd just get ko'd the first time someone shoved his chest.
[i Wouldn't it be embarrassing if the goat showed up from that,] he thought, and then he caught his breath and began to cough dryly. Each cough was more painful than the last, but he couldn't stop coughing; one cough triggered another, and then another, and he was helpless before the chain reaction. It seemed like an eternity later that he could finally sit back and breathe, and he wiped his chin; drool had been flowing freely down his chin. He hadn't had the air to take a moment to swallow it.
"Gonna kill me again?" he asked Landon, his voice hoarse. His eyes were cast down, still trained on the floor. "Oh, you won't kill me without the goat's permission, huh? But you seemed all too happy to twist that knife in back in the alley. That wasn't a dream, was it?" He glared up at Landon. "I'm not the one who really matters, am I? My decisions can't effect the both of us. But what about the goat? It's just allowed to choose, is it?"
He curled up in the chair, turning his head away sharply and refusing to look in Landon's direction. He didn't like fights he couldn't win. If he tried to start something again, he'd just end up in the same place; he wasn't confident at all that he could continuously guard his chest against any attack. His chest was still burning with pain, the slightest movements aggravating it to agony. It was useless to try and hold still; the train would rattle underneath him and jostle it anyways. Instead, he focused his energy on trying not to grimace or flinch every time it hurt, and mostly failed. What the hell had Landon done to him?
[i "Just let me, Lenny, just gimme a go at the guy -look at him, his chest is a mess...one push, one little nudge, we might have a goat to toy with instead,"] Daniel egged him on.
"Is that a threat?" Landon said, glaring at Bellwether as he sat down next to him, hands exactly on bruises, which had healed some, but was still enough to sour Landon's expression into one of hurt. More so hurt for the reason why Bellwether would do this. If Bell loved him, why hurt him? But that wasn't exactly what happened in Bell's head, was it?
He liked seeing people in pain.
Why should Landon be exempt from that sort of treatment?
Landon's eyes were on Daniel. The other was far too eager. His train of thought was harshly beat down by Bellwether's hands pressuring his sore ribs. What the hell? They had a thousand enemies -literally- and here they were fighting one another? And over what? Over some misplaced love?
Over fucking love?
"I'm sorry," Landon said, and then stretched out his arm, a short, stubborn little blow to Bell's solar plexus, exactly where Mindy-goat had ravaged the goat's body and where it'd tried very hard to heal.
"But there's nothing more to fucking say," he bit sharply, beating Bellwether's arm from his chest and getting up. With nowhere to go, Landon sank down in the spot where Bell had been earlier. Daniel was still watching the whole progression go down and this irked Landon more than anything. At least the bastard was silent.
Sometimes, if he let Daniel, Landon didn't wake up for days afterwards.
He never knew what the people around him did to notice or revert the changes either. Lily knew what to do, his mother too. Apparently they had an understanding with Daniel, but that wasn't something little old Danny was ever going to spill.
Didn't Bell already know anyway? There was a moment of black when Berny had started to beat in on him. Maybe Bellwether didn't recall because he'd died shortly after at Daniel's hands. And Daniel had seen fit to allow that memory to stick.
If Bell kept bordering his questionnaire on cruel however, Landon didn't see any reason to tell the man anything at all. He could go fuck a goose for all he cared.
They were sitting opposite, huh? Well, he couldn't blame Landon. It'd freak him out to have to sit next to a goat, too. But the seating arrangement did nothing to calm the anger simmering inside him. Landon didn't want to talk, he didn't want to sit beside Bell, he didn't want to look at him. Why were they even still together if Landon was just going to ignore him the whole time?
At last Landon broke the silence. "Yeah?" he asked, hoping that this would finally be the explanation he'd been waiting for, but instead Landon fell silent again. He shifted and glared, leaning his head on his hand, deceivingly relaxed while his whole body tensed. Was Landon trying to test his patience? It wasn't going to end well for him if so.
His eyes drifted lazily to the empty seat beside Landon, then back, a single brow raised. "I thought I told you to cut the crap?" he said, voice dangerously calm. "Say it, Landon, what the hell. What's so scary about telling me? I'm going to tell you right now, it's a lot less scary than not telling me."
He stood and shifted across the aisle, sitting beside Landon instead of across from him. "It doesn't take much," he said, his hands set gently where he remembered seeing bruises last night, here and there on Landon's chest and side. "Just a few words. What's so scary about words?" he asked, pressing a little harder. "Why're you so scared of talking about him?"
If it came to a fight, he'd win, but it didn't mean Landon would talk. It'd be better if he could pressure Landon into speaking through a little pain before it got to that point. Though honestly, getting Landon to talk was one of two options at this point. If it came to a fight, he probably wouldn't even care about Daniel anymore. At least, not until the next time Landon brought him up. Or until the next time he felt like screwing with Landon, as opposed to screwing him.
"It's just you and me in here, no one else will know," he urged, pushing harder with his fingertips, bringing his nails into play. More of a threat than an attempt to talk him into it, in case Landon hadn't noticed the emptiness yet.
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