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For a few long minutes, Daniel just rested there, relishing the feel of a somewhat luxurious hotel bed. He slept for a while more, then turned and groaned. His bladder had other plans. A hand reached out to where he'd expect Bell-boy to be. Nothing. Cold, even. Daniel lifted his head to see and furrowed his brow.
Maybe he'd slept for so long that the man had gone for food.
Shreds of memories from last night flitted by; he'd had another episode. And he'd taken some pills. Mixed them with alcohol and everything. Daniel pressed his face into a pillow and breathed out. He felt sluggish and hungover now. Lovely.
He started to work his way into a sit and surveyed the room from the bed.
The weight of what he saw took an extraordinarily long time to sink in. Bell! Daniel moved out of bed, quick as he could, and floundered towards where Bell was lying on the floor. His limbs weren't quite awake yet and it felt like he was wading through a gelatinous mass, but he made his way towards Bell.
Instinct took over.
Daniel's hands moved across Bell-boy's body, searching for an injury. Fuck. Where was the goatling anyway?
Daniel's hands came back tainted. There wasn't enough to worry though. He pressed trembling, sluggish fingers against Bell-boy's neck and waited for the familiar throb of the man's heart-beat against his skin.
Right there. He calmed somewhat.
Bell was still alive. Nothing wrong with the spine either. Daniel wrestled unwilling limbs and a lifeless Bell to flip the guy over. Blood. On his chest, seeped straight into the carpet underneath where Bell-boy had been. Not a lot. There wasn't an injury either.
He could hear Bell-boy breathe, a calm and soothing rhythm. Daniel just sat there for a moment, holding Bell close to him. The man's breathing was like hypnosis to a highly susceptible person. Daniel snapped out of it when the pressing need that'd woken him up earlier announced itself with renewed vigour.
A stray hand ran through Bell-boy's hair. For a moment Daniel sat there, gathering his strength, then, with slow deliberation, he gathered Bell in his arms and put the man in his spot on the bed. Whatever had happened, there was little he could do now but wait and see whether Bell-boy would wake up.
Looked like Daniel was having a good time. Almost made him want to try it. He sighed and shook his head. Someone had to be responsible. Even if he didn't want to be.
By the time he got in the room, Daniel was a ragdoll. He set the man down on the bed, then shook out his arms, glad to have the weight off his arms. He sighed and stretched, then looked around the room.
Daniel was safe. Now what?
His stomach grumbled. Bell sighed. Daniel was out for the count. He was going to go get some dinner. Or at least order some in. Couldn't step away even after everything, after all.
It wasn't an eventful evening. He ate his dinner. Watched Daniel sleep. There was still no sex shop in the vicinity, so he couldn't get some binds.
He found himself standing over Daniel. He poked the man's face. Shifted his limbs. No response. None at all.
Bell fingered the edge of Daniel's shirt. He could push it up. Look under it. Inspect him for the darkness, search for anything suspicious.
But then where did he stop? Because if he started, he'd get more curious. He'd have to check Daniel's blood. Look under his skin. He dropped his hand. No. He wouldn't. He couldn't. He had to stay in control.
When would he get another chance, though? Daniel was out cold. He couldn't fight back. If he wanted to take a look, now was the perfect time. Subconsciously, he pushed Daniel's shirt up an inch. Pale skin was revealed, bright in the dark of the hotel room. A hunger welled up in him, a need. His hand was in the fold of his jacket before he caught himself reaching for his knife.
Bell staggered back. No! He wasn't going to hurt Daniel! He pressed a hand to his face. What was [i wrong] with him? He wasn't usually like this.
The pain spiked to life. Bell gasped. It felt stronger than before. Deeper. He slumped to the ground, clutching his chest. Shit. What'd the goatling done? What'd it done?
It dug into his skin, sliding through his veins. His heart ached with it. His lungs trembled. It felt like something was tearing out through his ribs, into the world. He could almost feel the blood dripping down his chest. The world flickered before his eyes. He felt it narrow, darken down to a pinpoint. Bell let it go. At least if he was passed out, it wouldn't hurt any...
Strong arms wrapped around him, hoisted him up and then he was just floating in nothingness. High as a kite was probably right. Daniel couldn't protest any of it. The sleeping pills were making his muscles go limp and his senses go numb. Coupled with the alcohol, lack of food and the episode he was suffering, Daniel had a hard time fighting passing out. Just go to sleep.
Easier said than done.
"You're- 're not see-seeing that shit though, Bell-boy," he murmured softly. How could the man simply ignore all those cogs? They were there, looming above them, as if cradling the Earth in a very large hand and with just a single thought could undo all that they were. Daniel felt fragile, but secure in Bell-boy's hold. Voices mingled in with the hallucination, but their sound made visual quickly died down in an array of unrecognizable shapes and colours.
Daniel giggled in response. Everything seemed funny then. His mind meshed physical sensation in with the auditory and visual hallucinations or dreams or whatever they were. Things turned into a mesh he failed to pull apart.
"'m nothing," Daniel protested, flailing a limp arm as if to stress his point. He couldn't quite get his feet under him, was still held up, though he felt his world slip sideways. That was fine. It felt like falling might be fine, because he knew that there was nothing that could hurt him if he should fall.
There was nothing to fall on. Not quite.
He lost all connection with the real world right then and there. Dreams continued, wilder than the hallucinations had been. Disjointed beyond his ability to make sense of it all. Daniel slept restlessly, fighting staying under. In the end exhaustion won out. His dreams tapered down.
For the first time in what felt like ages, he could actually open his eyes without being pressed back down by some unnatural influence. Daniel slowly breathed in. Still groggy, but he managed to make some sense of what he saw at last. A wall. A hotel-room? He shifted a little, but his limbs were heavy and comfortable. He didn't quite want to move yet.
Daniel was drunk as fuck. The man could hardly walk. A straight line was far too much to ask. Bell held tight onto Daniel and supported him as much as he could, though Daniel still used chairs and walls on his way out.
It wasn't even dark yet, still way too early for anyone to be this drunk. A few passerby gave Daniel weird looks as they walked by. For his part, Bell ignored them. Daniel didn't seem to mind too much, either. In fact, he highly doubted Daniel was aware of any of the passerby. The fact that he still seemed aware of Bell was a little surprising.
He started back. Daniel stopped. Connected to Daniel, Bell stopped as well. It was everywhere, huh? "You're high as a kite," he told Daniel. They wandered together, Daniel sagging with each step, body growing weak. Bell put his arms around Daniel's waist, just picking him up at this point. Daniel was clutching his coat like it was going to hold him up; Bell was kind of worried about the coat. It'd been through a lot. It didn't have as much strength as it really ought to anymore.
"Mhm, c'mon," Bell said. He guided Daniel back towards the hotel. It was a short walk, but it might as well have been on the moon. Daniel was going to fall over in a minute. Preempting that, Bell bent and picked up Daniel, hoisting him up to his chest. "Alright. Just go to sleep and I'll take you home."
Daniel was a heavy lump in his arms. But he was warm. His heart beat against Bell's. So alive. So very alive. He rested his face against Daniel's shoulder, taking a deep breath. He didn't want to hurt Daniel, not really. He didn't want to lose him. It was just when all the stress piled up, and it seemed like there was no way out, and Daniel didn't even seem to want him there, then it felt like he ought to. Because why not?
He didn't feel like carrying Daniel too far, so he just walked into the hotel carrying the man. The receptionist gave him a startled look. "Rough day?" he asked.
"You've got no idea," Bell said. The man seemed uncertain about renting them a room, but in the end, he took their money and gave them a room. Bell took the keys with a nod and headed off towards the room, hefting Daniel back up in his arms.
"You weigh a ton," he muttered as he fiddled with the keys, temporarily holding Daniel up with one hand. Daniel was slipping out of his grasp, but it'd be fine for a moment.
Love you too. There was that at least. Maybe he ought to trust Bell-boy more. The man had saved his life on numerous occasions. And he was taking care of him. Daniel smiled at Bell-boy when the man grabbed his arm. It was a goofy grin, eyes unfocussed. Black. All around them. A goat's grip, but gentle enough not to hurt.
Daniel carefully let go of the bar and stepped away from it. The floor wobbled and twisted. Walls turned to corners where there weren't any and Daniel had to put a hand out to some of the chairs on the way before they finally made it outside. Light burst on the threshold of the exit. Daniel narrowed his eyes, lifted his hand.
So much light.
All the colours he could imagine were blended into the sky. As his eyes got used to it, he started to make sense of what he saw: cogs. Thousands of them. They blotted the sky in spades. They were literally covering the sky. Surrounding them. Some were grey, some were black. Daniel stood there, reeling.
If it wasn't for Bell-boy's grip, Daniel thought he might just have fallen on his ass.
"Its everywhere," he breathed, in awe.
"Can't you hear them?"
Daniel looked back at Bell, but the man was no longer there. Nor was the street or bar where they'd been stood in front. All there was, was the horizon, stretching endlessly and painted in the wildest colours, filled with the weight of the goats' cogs.
Daniel imagined this was what it would feel like to be dying.
He could still feel Bell though.
Unbeknownst to him, his body started to sag and the weight he put on Bell-boy grew heavier with each ill-coordinated footstep. Instinctively, he clung to Bell's coat with one hand, trying not to fall. Another hand joined and gripped tight to the front of Bell-boy's coat and shirt. Daniel pulled himself up and grinned.
"You're one of them..." he slurred. "That's funny, isn't it? All dancing in the sky," Daniel explained. "Painting it pretty colours," he snorted.
He felt tired. Drained. Daniel swayed and rested his head on Bell's shoulder, hands still gripping the man tight. So floaty.
Daniel hummed a tune under his breath, then giggled and tried to get a grip. It was hard. Harder still to keep his eyes opened.
He [i was] tough. No thinking about it. It was that obvious. Daniel seemed to be getting aggressive about it, though, so Bell just hid his self-satisfied smirk with a hand and sat back.
Both. It was Daniel, after all. He wasn't even surprised.
"You think you can manage dinner?" Bell asked. For one, Daniel was quickly reaching the point of dangerously wobbly, which didn't lead to being able to keep food down well. For a second, drunk and delusional usually didn't fly in a restaurant. It barely flew in this bar. At least no one seemed willing to take the next step and throw them out yet. Daniel was sitting quietly, after all.
Bell sighed. "Someone's gotta drive," he excused his behavior. Daniel didn't like being reminded that he needed a nanny right now. A sober nanny, who could fight him down from that ledge or away from that knife.
Oh, he was a shitty boyfriend? "Yeah, and you're Mr. Perfect," he muttered back. It was an ambush of a kiss. One second he was sitting there moping, the next there were soft lips pressed to his, the taste of alcohol and bitter chemicals, and then Daniel was gone again. He came back in a second, leaning into his chest. Bell patted Daniel's hair, then flicked his eyes to the bartender to check his reaction. The man was polishing a glass with a rather fixed 'none-of-my-business' expression, eyes elsewhere. He'd probably seen his share of drunken kisses before.
"Mhm, love you too," he muttered back. A warmth fluttered in his heart despite himself. Had they even kissed since he'd rescued Daniel? They must have, but he couldn't remember it.
Rather abruptly, Daniel pulled away. There was something in his expression, something troubled. Some air? Bell watched him struggle out of the chair. Yeah, uh huh. He wasn't going anywhere fast. That was one upside, for sure; drunk Daniel was slow Daniel. "You wanna go back to the hotel?" he offered, rising as well. "We could get some dinner, rest up for the night." He took Daniel's arm and started to help him out of the bar.
Wouldn’t, huh? A laugh too. Daniel grit his teeth and drank his beer. Fucker was demeaning as hell.
“Think you’re so tough, huh?” he chided. Wasn’t long ago he’d held Bell-boy’s hand while the man gripped him tight in the throws of pain, a pathetic mess of a shell, completely subservient to the goat.
“You’re such a sour ass,” Daniel stated instead.
High or die.
“Both, probably,” he murmured and took the pills. Without thinking too long on the repercussions of what he was about to do, Daniel washed them both down with some beer. There wasn’t enough alcohol in his system to make things that exciting, though the lack of food during the day was definitely helping speed things up.
“Should get dinner,” Daniel breathed and focussed back on the bar. The liquor behind the counter and bartender shimmered in the dull lights. The door to the establishment opened at more regular intervals as time wore on.
Daniel ordered his fourth beer, though less coordinated than he had been. His delusions were steadily washing out, regressing and progressing as the sleeping pills took effect. The anti-psychotics helped making him feel drowsy.
He clung to his beer.
“Why-…why don’t you have one?” Daniel asked with a thick tongue. Shit. That stuff really kicked his ass good. He’d wanted this. In a way he’d wanted this, but more than that, he didn’t want to feel on edge no more. At least the sedative properties of the sleeping pills aided him there.
“You’re a shitty boyfriend sometimes,” he slurred at Bell. Daniel leaned heavily against the bar’s counter and looked at Bell. The man was almost all black.
He leaned in and kissed the other man. Lips. Warm, human lips pressed back against his. He almost over-balanced.
“Love you though,” Daniel muttered into the scruff of Bell-boy’s coat and sweater. Smelled nice. He had a hard time keeping his eyes open. A giggle escaped his lungs. Why was this shit so funny? Daniel pushed away with some effort, swayed on his seat and glared at Bell-boy.
Still all black. He reached out and touched the man’s cheek, though his hand drooped down to Bell-boy’s chest. It’d hurt there, hadn’t it? And then the goatling had done something. Something fucked up. Everything was fucked up.
Who even was this person he was with?
“Need some air,” Daniel announced and pushed off from his seat. His knees felt meek, so did the rest of him. All energy was simply sapped from his muscles. Fucking pills.
So he'd rather be in a blind panic over seeing things that weren't there, rather than calm, able to deal with society and go five minutes without killing himself? Right. Well, it wasn't like he hadn't known Daniel had twisted motives and weird priorities.
"I wouldn't need to drug you for that," he said with a laugh. Daniel wasn't able to resist him strongly enough for him to need to drug the guy as a first step. Sure, it'd make things easier, but then he'd have to wait longer for him to wake up on the other end. And he [i needed] to be awake. He needed Daniel awake, because otherwise it'd be too hard to tell when he was going too far. When he actually hurt Daniel.
He was going goat, huh? Made sense. It was a pretty normal thing to happen to him in Daniel's delusions. The contradiction made him snort; normal, delusions. But that'd become his reality, hadn't it? Delusions became the everyday until he almost stopped thinking they were anything special.
It was too late for that line. He didn't know where Daniel would rather be, but he knew the man would rather be somewhere else. It was fine. Who'd want to be with him, anyways? Out in the cold, living in a car, his own messed up tendencies trying to bite them both in the ass... There was a [i reason] no one had stuck around long-term before. Bell could do the math; there was a common denominator in all his breakups, and it was him. It was just another fact of life. Like hunting goats, or living on the streets. Nobody wanted to be with him.
Pills and alcohol. Classic. "I'm not sure if you're trying to get high or die," Bell muttered, but he fished through his pockets anyways. What the hell. Maybe Daniel would be a little entertaining before he passed out. He passed the man one of the antipsychotics first, then followed it up with one of the sleeping pills. The painkillers he kept close to the chest. No point starting Daniel back on that addiction. It'd been a pain in the ass to deal with last time.
"Bottoms up," he encouraged Daniel. Subtly, Bell shifted, changing from a relaxed pose to ready to grab Daniel when he inevitably passed out. Might be a while, but it was going to happen, with that mix.
"You know I mind the anti-psychotics," Daniel murmured. His hand reached for the beer he'd bought Bell-boy. If the man wasn't drinking, it'd be a waste to just leave it sat out there. Daniel decided to savour this one.
"They don't work for shit anyway. Not as if it all goes away, Bell-boy, but they just make you too apathetic to care about whatever's trying your mind," he explained with a demure snort. Maybe he ought to take the pills. Just sleep it off. Shit like this passed. But if he took the sleeping pills and they were attacked at night, he wouldn't be able to help Bell-boy fight. Not that he really could.
Guiding the goatling was only going to last for a few times. Goats were clever. And they didn't like a dependency, unless it was beneficial to their persistence. He couldn't even call it an existence. Persistence seemed more accurate. Goats didn't die. So they didn't exist.
"You were trying to dig something out of my hand, Bell-boy, I'm not dumb. You going to drug me and actually put motion to that 'thought'?" Daniel challenged. Getting drunk wasn't a really clever idea either, but the alcohol managed to calm him down a little. He could breathe a little easier. The response of fight-or-flight wasn't as strong.
Sure, he still saw things, but they were... pressed to the back more.
He was pretty sure that wasn't the alcohol either.
Just something he'd taught himself in the end.
"You're sitting here and watching me drink, apparently," Daniel pointed out. "Oh, and you're going all goat," he shrugged. His eyes ran across Bell's figure. Soon the black would reach the man's mouth and then he'd have to stop listening too. Couldn't trust anything the delusion had tainted. Couldn't trust the claws of Bell's that were on the bar.
They probably weren't even there.
Daniel reached out, touched the man's hand. Just ordinary, human fingers.
He continued drinking.
"I don't like seeing shit, Bell-boy. Who would?" Daniel replied evenly. He stared straight ahead, trying to ignore the growing mess that were the hallucinations. Whispers started too, but he was used to those. They set the hairs at the back of his neck on end and that was it. They weren't real. He knew that.
And what they said was a doing of his. Just an obscure part of his brain ranting about something or other. It didn't even deserve his attention.
"Let me go where?" He hailed the bartender and the man gladly replaced his empty glass for a new, filled one.
Daniel diverted his gaze to look at Bell, since the man's eyes weren't yet overtaken.
"I don't want to go anywhere," Daniel promised.
"I'll take the pills. Just give me one of each -I don't care," he offered, holding out his hand.
"You've already ordered two," Bell pointed out, tapping the second. Was that meant for him? Daniel did like the illusion that he wasn't drinking alone. He pushed it over to Daniel. If Daniel was on his way to blackout drunk, might as well speed him on his way. It'd be the same as sleeping pills in the end. Then he could drag Daniel's sorry ass into bed and tie him up until he was stable again.
"You've got one," he said calmly, tapping the beer again.
Daniel wasn't looking at him. Was he distorting in Daniel's eyes? It'd figure. Rather than quiet down, Daniel was probably just going to make a scene in the bar. At least bars were places where scenes were often made. They wouldn't stand out too much.
"What the hell other kind of pills do you think I have?" Bell sighed, leaning on his hand. He nudged Daniel's cheek. "I'm not a fucking pharmacy. I bought you the sleeping pills, the pain pills, and your anti-psych pills. It's one or the other, and I thought you didn't mind any of those."
Logic and delusion got along like oil and water at the best of times, so he didn't have much hope for this line of thought. As usual, he was just talking to himself. "What do you even think I'm drugging you for?" he asked with a sigh. "What would my objective be, aside from helping? If I wanted you dead, I'd just walk away. You're pretty good at managing that without any help."
He sighed and shook his head. "What'm I doing here, Daniel?" he asked. As long as Daniel was out of it, maybe he could use the guy as a schizophrenic backboard to do some soul searching. "Do you even want me around?"
"I mean, you clearly just want to die," he continued, rambling. He gestured vaguely. "So why should I stop you? It's not like you like this. You don't want to be here, you said so yourself. Maybe I should just let you go." Bell leaned back and scratched his head. And then he'd go ahead and die too. Just let the goat replace him. It probably wanted to.
Well... no. He wouldn't let Daniel walk away. He wanted to cut him open first. If Daniel was going to die anyways, he might as well get his satisfaction out of it. Figure it out once and for all.
No more drinking if he made a run for it? Daniel wanted to protest, but he couldn't offer anything tangible. He might run. The delusions might overthrow him and he might not want to stick in the comfortable company of a bar and its patrons. Daniel nodded and shrugged. What was Bell-boy really going to do to stop him from getting a drink every now and again.
"Two beers," he offered up.
The bartender nodded, only seeing fit to acknowledge them now that they'd ordered. Daniel took a seat at the bar.
His hand trembled as it reached out to the cool glass of beer. He took a hard long drink from the beverage before he offered up his card. The steady burn of alcohol simmering down to his stomach was a reassuring salve. It didn't do anything for the things he saw. In the twilight of the bar's dim lighting, shadows started to emerge.
Daniel's grip on the glass tightened.
For a long couple of seconds, he closed his eyes and then started back to life, finishing the beer in one gulp. They hadn't even had dinner yet. This wasn't a smart idea, considering they were on the run from who knew what. But it was better to smell like beer than it was to reek of sweat and smoke.
"What's wrong?" he asked. Bell-boy was looking at him and it looked as if the guy was brooding. Despite his misgivings on the black expanding across Bell-boy's chest and where he'd touched the man, Daniel could still tell the man's expression was a sour one.
"It's just one damned beer," Daniel explained. He hadn't ordered a second yet.
It was still true.
His other hand held on to the bar tightly, knuckles wide.
He wanted another. Something stronger. His eyes caught a slither, darting across the ground with a speed that was unmatched; a goat? No. It couldn't be. Shadows and delusions was all. It still felt as if his skin was slowly being detached from his flesh. All black underneath. In the end, that's what he was, wasn't he? A goat.
There was no denying it now.
His heart thundered in his chest. The beer sat in his stomach, and only slowly settled. When it did, Daniel licked his lips, thirsty for more.
It helped him relax a little. He was almost scared to look at Bell at this point. Instead, he focussed on the bar and toyed with a coaster. "I need another. Are they really sleeping pills? How can I trust you?"
Daniel heaved a thick sigh and ventured a surreptitious glance at the man next to him.
Without fail, and to absolutely no one's surprise, Daniel made a beeline to the bar. Bell's only protest was a tired sigh. If it was this or madness, he'd put up with the drunkenness. He'd rather Daniel just take the sleeping pill and pass out, but... well, it was Daniel, after all. He was an obstinate little fucker when he wanted to be.
"Yeah, yeah," 'just one.' As if. Did Daniel think he'd never been around for any of his binges before? It'd be blackout drunk or nothing. It was a tempting idea, if he said so himself, but someone had to make sure Daniel didn't kill himself, and it wasn't going to be Daniel. Right now, he was on babysitter duty. He didn't like it, but he liked watching Daniel kill himself less.
The few patrons who were in the bar watched them enter, eyes drawn to their clasped hands. Rather than react, Bell just ignored them. If they knew the way Daniel was, they'd be holding his hand too.
Daniel started to pull away then, flicking his eyes to Bell. Bell rolled his back. What, was Daniel embarrassed mommy was here, holding his hand? Still, he let go. "You make a run for it, and that's it," he threatened Daniel. "No more drinking." Maybe that would motivate Daniel into some socially-acceptable behavior, his precious drinking. Nothing else seemed to work.
He lurked while Daniel ordered. When Daniel sat, he sat beside him. What had Daniel even wanted at the bar? Alcohol? Socialization? Who knew. A hookup? He snorted at that thought, unable to make it real even in his head. It wasn't for his lack of interest that their bed was cold. Probably all he'd wanted was to get drunk. It seemed to be his go-to self medication.
Bell leaned on his hand and watched Daniel. He liked drinking too, but he couldn't afford to just get drunk all the time. Only when he was safe. A celebration from killing a goat, maybe. When Daniel was nearby. Learned his lesson about drinking alone, after all, even if it'd been a long time ago. Though it wasn't like he'd never made a bad decision when it came to alcohol. A vision of a soaking-wet Daniel appeared before him, lips blue, shivering even in the heat. He wiped his face to push it away.
Every time he made a mistake, he got punished. But Daniel? He sighed out, watching him make one right now. The only one who punished Daniel was Daniel. And usually Bell's emotions got trampled on to make it happen.
[i Why am I even here?] he wondered. Daniel didn't want him or need him. Daniel "didn't want to be here." Maybe he should just leave, and let whatever happened, happen.
Hesitation. He could feel it on Bell-boy. The man was in no way convinced that they were fine to go somewhere, but Daniel decided he'd hold his ground. He wasn't about to up and stay inside the bloody car or be sedated into complacency. Actually, the latter might not actually be that bad, if he could trust Bell-boy to give him what he said it was. A hand folded around his.
Daniel looked down. The black seemed to infect Bell-boy's hand, but rather than shirk back, the man clung on even tighter.
Don't let go, was it?
Daniel swallowed. Maybe this wouldn't be fine. He grit his teeth. Fuck that. It'd be fine.
He'd just go get a beer, calm his bridges and they'd both feel better for it. Heck, alcohol was a kind of sedative in its own right, wasn't it?
Where did he want to go?
He looked back.
The monster had been there. They'd left it behind, but he knew how fast goats could travel. No. No. It hadn't been real. He'd seen through the goatling's eyes and screw that! He wouldn't be scared of something like that. They'd simply bash its head in and be done with it. Daniel steeled himself and looked down the street. It was a small town, with only a handfull of facilities.
And a bar.
It'd gotten late enough for it to be opened.
"Let's get a beer, to help settle my nerves?" He could already hear Bell-boy's protests, but he failed to care at this point. Bell-boy was going along with what he wanted, mostly. Except for where he'd tried to wrestle him back into the car. No way was he going to allow that to happen.
"Just one, okay?" He'd done it before all the time. Just a few beers to help settle things, to help him settle in and not respond as fiercely. It's how he'd coped while Bell-boy had been in the egg and he'd just been doomed to wait. Daniel didn't even wait for Bell-boy's approval, but went ahead and entered the bar.
There weren't many people around yet, but he didn't really care.
"Hey," he started, realized they were still holding hands and looked back at Bell-boy. Was it okay to let go now? Surely he'd be safe here, right?
Uh huh. Daniel was perfectly fine to go inside like this. He watched the man flinch as Daniel's gesture and turned back, unimpressed. "You're sure putting up a convincing argument," he said sarcastically, with the full awareness that the sarcasm would slide off Daniel's ears like oil on water.
For a second, he thought it'd be that easy--but it was never that easy. Daniel bucked like a fish and fought him valiantly, wriggling free at last to stand up again. Bell lunged at him, expecting him to make a break for it, but he just stood there. Apologized for the gut punch, even. "And I'm sorry for punching you in the jaw," Bell replied, somewhat surprised at how civil they were being all of a sudden. He stood back up, feeling stupid for lunging, but how was he supposed to know Daniel was going to be okay this time?
Just go some place. Bell hesitated. That sounded like a bad idea. But then, Daniel was fighting getting back in the car, and he didn't have restraints even if they got in the hotel, which meant a day of playing babysitter again. The thought of a day on the town was far more tempting. "Okay," he agreed. He hesitated. This was a terrible idea. But what was he supposed to do? Wrestle Daniel by the car all day?
"Here," he said, taking Daniel's hand. "Don't let go." They could go see people, or whatever Daniel wanted to do, but he wasn't going to let the man out of his sight for a second. Not even out of his touch range. He'd watched enough suicide attempts for a lifetime, he didn't need another.
A car flashed by. Before his eyes, he saw Landon, running out into traffic, heard the impact, watched him fly, limp as a doll. Landon landed in a splat of blood, skin tearing open as his guts flopped out.
Bell's hand tightened on Daniel's.
"Alright. Where do you want to go?" he asked. There was a small town; not much, just a few houses, a few shops. Probably a bar. No sex shop, but then again, he was pretty sure Daniel would protest him buying the restraints if he took the man along to do it.
For sleep. Uh-huh. Sure. And he was the pope. Fucker. Betrayers. Daniel felt the cold metal of the car at his back and narrowed his eyes at Bell. Sit out in the parking-lot. People gave them looks. Daniel flipped the guy the bird, a snarl on his face. He'd fight them if he had to. No skin off of his back. People were all the same. Judgemental sort.
"No, we're not -we shouldn't just sit outside, fuck' sake," Daniel muttered. He was fine to go inside somewhere.
Fine to take the darkness with him. Maybe taking the pills wasn't so bad after all. He'd be able to sleep it off. No more fear, no more panic setting him on edge. Just one of those little pills. But shit didn't work that way, did it?
He'd just end up drowsy and nervous at the same time.
Bell-boy shoved him back into the car and Daniel struggled against the man until he felt the familiar feel of the couch underneath his ass. So they were going to stay outside? Bell-boy was being funny. What was going on? The black on his chest. It seemed to be expanding. Was it expanding towards the inside of Bell's chest too? Into his heart? Was that why he'd tried to stab at his hand earlier?
Was it the goat that made him do it? That goat he'd never met?
Had the goatling repaired that?
Daniel pressed a hand against his forehead and tried to stop his thoughts from racing. He was all over the place. Some of his thoughts were founded, some warped out of context. Daniel wasn't sure which was which no more.
He blinked, as if trying to get things into focus, but obviously that didn't work.
"No," Daniel decided and wrestled against Bell. "I'm not letting you stuff me back in there," he spat. He hated feeling trapped. It made the panic worse.
His jaw still hurt. He'd started Bell-boy, hadn't he?
"Sorry about the-" Daniel gestured at Bell's gut.
The hand he'd used to gesture was all black. It was still creeping up at him too. He wasn't the sort to drown. He simply wasn't Lenny, but that didn't mean episodes like these weren't uncomfortable.
"Let's just go some place," Daniel suggested. He wanted to be around people. Just be drawn out of his own head, where the fears and thoughts got free rein.
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