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He came to and immediately wished he hadn't. Pain felt like an understatement for what he felt. It was agony. Everything hurt. There wasn't a limb that didn't have a complaint. His arm was a nexus of hurt, red hot and throbbing in a way that demanded his attention. He tried to twitch his fingers and was assaulted by a fresh wave of pain. [i Broken for sure.]
It stunk. Blood and vomit did not make for a pleasant scent after a while in the sun. Bell shifted slightly and froze as a dozen places complained the motion. His stomach turned over. He fought to hold it back, but couldn't. There was no strength left in him to sit up, so he rolled onto his side and vomited down the side of his face.
There wasn't much. The dregs of beer he hadn't vomited last night. Acid that stung on his lips, in his mouth, down his cheek. He spat. It did nothing to clear the acrid flavor out of his mouth. He laid still, miserable. A shiver wracked up his body, followed by a wave of heat. Bell closed his eyes and waited for death.
When it didn't come, he started moving again. Up to a sit. Slowly this time. It hurt when his bad arm moved, no matter how it moved. His good arm ached, but it held his weight. His legs trembled, but obeyed his commands and held him up, however unhappily. Black clouded his vision as he reached the peak of his height; his heart labored, complaining the loss of blood. His head pounded, and he wasn't sure if it was the lack of blood or the hangover getting him.
[i Okay. So how bad is it?] Bell glanced down, taking stock. The bad arm hung loose in his jacket sleeve. When he stood, it swung at a place it should never be able to bend. Bell stared at it and swallowed. [i That's a bad one.]
Blood soaked his shirt and jacket. He plucked at it, uncomfortable. Pain lanced through him where the shirt had dried into the cuts. Bell held back from looking at them, too tired for now too put in the effort. He'd have to clean them out, and that was going to suck, he could already tell.
[i I need help.] He shoved the thought away in the next second. Daniel didn't want him anymore. He didn't even know where the guy was, anyways. There was no point.
He patted down his pockets. Cash and his knife, both. They hadn't taken his money, though he didn't have much left. He needed a new patron, but no one would take him in like this. He needed to heal.
Bell closed his eyes and focused. He felt the goat's strength meet him. His wounds started to close.
And then it fell away. Sharply, as if it had been cut off. Bell gasped, startled. A wave of weakness passed through him, unexpectedly. [i I've felt this before.]
He tore at his shirt, pulling it open. The cuts stared back at him, barely scabbed, one still leaking a thin, reddish liquid. Black lines traced from the cuts, dark black glimmering in the depths of his body. [i Shit!] Goat-stuff. They'd left some behind in him. [i I can't do this alone.] He bit his lip. How was he supposed to find someone to help him, though? Daniel would know what to do, but--he laughed aloud. The cuts pulled at his chest, and he supposed short. [i Good luck finding him. ]
He fell against the wall, tired. [i I'm dead.]
It was sloppy, but Lissa didn’t seem to mind. Daniel didn’t care how drunk he was, because he could still hear those familiar moans, could feel that familiar involuntary tightening that whispered to him they weren’t lies, such as a woman might like to do. Fingernails dug into his back, signalling he was a little too rough, maybe, but she liked it for this once. She liked the quickness and absolute need he pushed onto her and made it her own compliment. They were the involuntary contractions that near enough sent him over the edge, but the alcohol made him distracted and hazy, not entirely with it enough to sync their climax, and that was fine. She was still riding the waves down when he came to a shuddering stop himself.
Daniel collapsed next to Lissa and held her for a while, listening to both of their breathing tapering down from their harsh, ragged intakes. He thought to have fallen asleep then, or passed out. Either way Daniel found himself watching through the goatling’s eyes at a horrifying scene and he wasn’t sure whether it was a simple nightmare, poetry or a mind-fuck.
Piercing Bell-boy’s body.
There were many there. Pain. He felt it as strongly as if it was his own. Daniel shoved the goatling unconsciously, sending a clear message for it to sod off and leave him alone. Bell-boy had made his decision and regret ought to have no place there.
And then the goatling changed it up; adrenalin, rushing through his veins. He could’ve been fighting there too -and get himself killed. He’d only have gotten in the way. Daniel woke in a sweat. Lissa was long gone. Good.
At least that would save him an awkward morning.
Daniel stumbled from the bed towards the small sink and leaned over. No sooner did he do that and vomit gushed from his mouth. Thick, stale food, acid laced alcohol and bile splattered onto the porcelain. It didn’t drain. Daniel watched the vomit and spat at it. Fuck. Drank too much last night. And he was pretty sure Bell-boy was in trouble. His hands clung tightly to the sink. What was it to him? Other than being child to the progenitor, what was it to him still? There was no point in risking his life for nothing. They’d never figured out why the goats did what they did. They’d never come to an end. There’d been so many more goats than they’d realised and in short they were too stupid to comprehend the reason for their presence.
He spat into the sink once more, barely keeping the trembling in his sore gut at bay. The goatling would and could fight if it had to, even if it was just one. Daniel leaned over the sink and closed his eyes. He felt more bile rise. Why was it so hard to let go?
They circled one another. Bell felt alive for the first time in a long time. Adrenaline poured through his veins. His heart pumped. The alcohol in his stomach slowed him down, but everything else was ready to go. He waited, watching for the first strike.
One of the kid's friends handed him a baseball bat. A pang struck through Bell's heart at that. [i He was right to leave me.] He hadn't been able to do a damn thing with his life. Somewhere, Daniel was probably doing fine. Living his life.
The bat was in his face before he saw the kid swing. He flinched back and felt the wind from the bat slap him in the face. [i Focus!] He tightened his grip on the pipe and jumped back, putting distance between them again.
The kid followed him. His swings were wild, but powerful. Bell weaved backwards. He kept the pipe at the ready, waiting for a moment.
"Stop running away!" one of the kid's friends shouted. The circle booed him.
"What, you scared, old man?" the kid asked. He leaped into the air, raising the bat over his head to slam it down on Bell's.
Bell stepped inside the kid's reach and swung at his gut. The kid grunted as all the air came out of him, but he still brought the bat down on Bell. A second later, the kid fell on him. Bell stumbled, unprepared for the weight.
"Get him!" the kid shouted.
All the kids swarmed Bell. Not kids, he realized again, just before they reached him; grown men, better fed and stronger than him.
He shoved the first man off him. The man grabbed at him. Caught off-balance, Bell staggered a step. His head snapped forward as one of the men punched him from behind. Bell swung blindly backwards. The pipe struck flesh. Sometime grabbed his hair from the left. Bell tried to swing at them, but his pipe was caught between bodies. He dropped it and punched instead. Blows flew at him from all directions. Bell screamed, more angry than hurt, and threw himself at the nearest man. He tore at the man's hair, dragged him down, beat him until he saw blood. Even as blows rained down on him, as pain spiked through the numbing effect of the alcohol, he still attacked the same man. "I'm gonna take you down with me!"
The man fought back, but Bell was determined. With one last blow, he shoved the man's nose back into his skull. The man went limp. Bell grinned madly. He'd taken one of them down. [i Fuck these idiots!] He'd at least hurt them.
Black welled up from under the man's skin. Bell stared. [i No.] He was a goat? What was his luck? He backed away. "Get back!" he shouted.
One of the men laughed. Another one kicked him back towards the goat. Tendrils spiked through him, sharp as blades, wriggled through his body. Bell grabbed at them and tried to shove them out. Blood poured, staining his new coat.
The first man grinned at him, amused, as the tendrils retreated and his friend reformed. Bell grasped at the holes, desperate to keep his blood in. It spilled out, pooling on the streets. "We're the Immortals, you fool! You can't kill us."
The other men closed in around him. Blows rained down. Bell tried to break away, but hands shoved him back into the circle. A blow to the back of his knees forced him down. He tried to recover, but they shoved him down, forced him to the floor. He curled up, hiding his face behind his arms. He couldn't escape.
A kick found his stomach. Pain struck through his whole body. He tried to hold on, but his stomach rebelled. He vomited. Frothy liquid came up, mostly just alcohol and stomach acid. It tasted vile, putrid and sour. Another kick forced him to roll into it. The men laughed. Pain struck through every part of his body. He heard the bat crack against his bones, felt pain burst from the spot. Bell curled up tighter and waited for them to stop. Blood leaked into the streets. Cold crept in. Bell closed his eyes and waited for it to end. [i Come out already, goat. Kill these fools.]
"Leave him alive," the leader called out, that first man he'd attacked. And then the world went dark.
"Danny, come on," Lissa called him out and he fumbled with the keys to the bar, until her softer hands grabbed his and locked the place up. As usual, he'd slipped a few beers behind the bar and then maybe a few shots too many along with their patrons. It was all good, a lot of them did the same thing and their boss didn't mind it so long as people paid.
"Hey," he protested light-heartedly and looked at her, a smirk on his face.
"I'll give you a lift," Lissa offered, nodding at her car.
Daniel pursed his lips in thought and regarded her.
"I'm- I need some fresh air," he waved away her offer.
"Then I'll walk you -you live nearby, right? You're drunk," she giggled.
"Hey, I may be drunk, but I'm not gone enough to forget where I live," Daniel said, but soon Lissa's arm was looped through his and they were walking down the streets. He was a little less stable than he'd liked and now that the speed and adrenalin of work didn't keep him focussed, Daniel felt a little more drunk than he should've gotten. Stupid.
"You're new in town, aren't you? Have you ever had lunch at Murphy's before?" Lissa asked. She was just making conversation.
"Nah, work too many hours," Daniel shrugged off. Not that he usually ate lunch. Usually he made something to eat at the bar, then worked and went out for dinner. A boring routine.
"Did you see that party of girls tonight? I think one of them was getting married, she was utterly plastered," Lissa chattered on.
"...y ... Danny?"
"Are you even listening?" Lissa giggled.
Daniel waved a hand. The last drink he'd had was hitting him a little hard, maybe. They'd arrived at the shitty place he'd rented a room at.
"Is this it?" she asked, almost in disbelief.
"Yep, my little shitty palace. Thanks for taking me," Daniel said with a languid grin.
For a second there was nothing, just her soft body pressed up against his and then their lips met. Daniel didn't even resist it. Why would he? It felt good. His hands moved as if following some estranged directive. It wasn't Bell-boy, but maybe it was for the best. The sharp contrast between the two wouldn't remind him of what he'd lost by leaving Bell-boy.
Soon he found himself pressed up against the wall of his small room. Lissa's hands dipped into his pants. Daniel shuddered despite the alcohol; it'd been fucked up long since anyone had touched him there. He felt a pleasant kind of dizzy when she pushed him against the bed and unbuttoned his shirt.
He managed to get to grips with the situation and actually reciprocated. Because why the fuck shouldn't he get laid?
He hadn't eaten in days. Alcohol sloshed in his stomach, the only thing keeping him from starvation. Bell lurched down the alley and clambered into his car. No one has come for him yet. [i Probably cuz no one cares.] Another drunk on the streets, that was all he was. All he'd ever been.
The seats were confusing. He gave up trying to figure out how to sit up and sprawled across the front seats, tired. Daniel was gone. Everything was shit. Might as well die.
Loud noises awoke him. Bell struggled to a sit, his head pounding with every beat of the music. "Shut up,"he mumbled. Then, louder, when the music didn't go down a decibel: "SHUT UP!"
"Deal with it, grandpa!" someone shouted back, a sneer in his voice.
Bell kicked his door open and climbed out. A bunch of kids with sagging pants lounged around a big car, their hats turned backwards. They laughed at him. Bell glared back, adjusting the collar of his jacket. He felt the pipe against his leg, heavy and reassuring. "Turn that music down. People are sleeping," he snapped. Or tried to. It came out slurred, his voice thick with sleep and alcohol.
"Make me," one of the kids challenged him. He stomped closer and looked over Bell. Up close, he was huge, and... [i older than me?] It was hard to say. He kept wobbling around just a little bit, a slow spin that made it hard to focus.
It didn't matter. Bell whipped his pipe out and swung at the kid. He jumped back. The pipe snagged his shirt, but that was it. Bell lurched after the pipe, too much power in the swing to stop dead.
"Whoa! What the hell? You crazy?"
Bell lunged after the kid again. He danced away and avoided the blow by an inch. Bell could feel the wind from his blow push against the kid. The pipe snagged the shirt again, and this time it tore.
The kid looked down at his shirt, then up at Bell. "You're dead," he growled.
All around them, the other kids closed in, forming a ring. Bell raised his pipe and grinned. Perfect. "Just try," he replied, lifting the pipe. Kid had no idea what he was getting into.
"So why are you looking for a job?" the lady asked. She looked up from the sheet in front of her and smiled at him kindly. Daniel just smiled back, surprised and disgusted by the ease with which he'd slipped into the role of submissive servitude to society.
"I just moved cities. I guess... I guess I'm looking for a new challenge and a little more human connection," he spoke out.
"You're not from here, are you?" she noted, reading through the curriculum he'd made for himself. Not that it mattered. If she didn't like him enough he was fucked anyway. He wasn't an American and didn't even have a visa. Daniel could hardly explain to her that he'd made it here by abandoned freighter either.
"No, I'm not," Daniel admitted.
She bit her lip.
"You have experience?" she said and looked at Daniel.
"More than five years," Daniel said, boasting his skills. They'd be a little rusty, but he knew how to make all the mix-drinks, knew how to entertain guests from behind a bar and he knew how to listen and encourage. All the makings of a perfect bar-tender. And he was old enough to serve a drink and have some presence. It helped that he was tall and muscular too, he surmised.
"I could really use someone solid for the late night shifts," she said.
Daniel smiled broadly.
"Then I'm your man," he said, hands splayed out.
She extended her hand.
"You can start tonight, we'll show you the ropes and then we'll talk rosters and schedules, benefits and all that stuff after," Mary said with a nod.
Oh? A trial run.
Daniel shrugged. So long as they fed him a meal, he'd be fine with that.
"I'll see you here around six," she said and smiled.
Six. He was out of the bar before he knew it, savouring the exhaust-fumes laden air of the big city. A job. Things were going well. Soon he'd have a proper card again, access to some more money and then the world was open to his every whim once more. Haven was still fresh on his mind, but Daniel pushed the memories down. Bell-boy had saved him from that place, same as he'd saved the man.
Now, he regretted ever setting foot inside.
It'd broken so much more than just Bell-boy's memories
The sun was peeking over the horizon when the last bar kicked him out onto the streets. Bell belched and staggered against the wall. The whole world was wobbly. Someone needed to tell it to settle down and relax. An almost magnetic force held him hard against the walls. He was helpless to resist. Every time he pushed away from the wall, he fell right back against it.
He dropped the cards in a trash can as he made his slow way down the alley. [i Shouldn't have used them to drink.] It didn't matter. Worst case, what, he'd end up in jail? Yeah, that'd last. Without Daniel, what did it matter? No jail could hold him for long.
His feet slipped out form under him, and Bell fell heavily onto his ass. He tried to stand, failed, and sagged back against the wall. [i Whatever.] Nothing mattered anymore. His eyes closed.
He woke up with a dry mouth and a pounding head. Bell groaned and blinked his way awake, then fell back against the wall. [i Stupid... stupid sunlight.] The whole world was against him. The wobbly earth. The blinding, painful sunlight. Nothing was going his way.
"Daniel," he complained, then fell silent. [i Right.] No Daniel. He fell silent and sunk lower against the wall. There was no point to anything. If he got up and ate, he'd only survive longer. [i I'm just a pile of fuck-ups. I can't do anything right.] Daniel was right to ditch him. He had only made mistakes. This whole time, he'd taken Daniel for granted. He'd even been so stupid as to push the man away. The memory of walking away from Landon came back, and his gut churned with self-disgust. [i Stupid! How can I be this stupid?] Things never went well for him. Why'd he had to go and fight it the one time things had?
Bell let out one last groan and struggled to his feet. The world whirled. His vision went dark. His stomach twisted, and he fell against the wall. A second lurch told him there was no holding back. He bent over and puked into the street. The last of it burned in his throat and mouth, putrid and sour. He chuckled, still bent over, unable to find the will to stand back up. [i Daniel was right to leave me.] He was pathetic.
In the end he'd settled on a cheap-ass room from some random ad in the restaurant's newspapers. It had shared facilities, which was fine, and a bed. For now, it'd do. He didn't need many luxuries. Another set of clothes, perhaps, but he wouldn't need that until after a few days anyway. Daniel looked at the small confines and sat down on the bed.
"Home sweet home, mother-fucker," he said to himself.
There was a small desk with a light, a wardrobe that was currently empty safe for some spiders and a small sink in the corner. Daniel approached it and washed his face, then ran his hair back. At least they'd have somewhere to send his card to now. That was, as soon as he could get around to calling them. Daniel checked the money he had spare and decided he'd better find a job before long. He wasn't going to last a month, so a job that had food involved might be key.
It was early next morning he was woken up by some other tenant playing loud music. It was barely seven AM.
"Fucking Christ," Daniel mumbled and sat up. Okay. Time to scurry along and find some way to look presentable enough for an interview or two. At this point, he'd take any old job. And then what?
And then get the fuck out of dodge.
Probably. Daniel sighed and sat on the bed for a few long moments, scrubbing at his hair and thinking. There was no point to moping around. Daniel took a deep breath and figured he'd go see how shitty the showers were inside the building. Turned out they were alright, so long as you were the only one showering. As soon as another one started up, the water-pressure was divided between the two and turned to shit.
He stepped out only mildly cleaner than he'd started after stealing someone's soap, but it'd do. Food was going to be a challenge too, but he'd eaten last night and his money needed to last a little longer. One meal a day was more than they usually stopped to have anyway.
He stepped out of the building and plodded around the city, keeping an eye out for businesses that were looking to hire. Daniel figured he could do bar-tending again, or work in a restaurant cleaning dishes or whatever else simple. He'd done that loads before, so he had some experience, if people gave him a shot at it.
Time was ticking. He hadn't bothered to hide the body. Who cared? They couldn't put it back to him anyways. Even if they decided it was his doing, they couldn't put his DNA on this death. It was fine. Nothing mattered anymore.
The shop smelled of leather. The clerk gave him a suspicious look, and a few seconds later, a brawny man appeared to shadow him around the room. Bell picked out a jacket and took it to the front. Still suspicious, the clerk took his card. She looked no less suspicious when it passed, but printed him out a receipt and handed the coat over. "Thank you, Mr. Santo," she said.
He nodded and slung the jacket on.
Next was an animal supply store. This one required no browsing, no suspicious bouncers. He grabbed his cowbell and handed over the card, and was out the door barely ten minutes later. Everything was going great.
What next? He paused. [i What am I even doing? What's the point?]
He sighed out. There was no reason. There never had been from the start. He'd just deluded himself into thinking he had purpose. [i Nothing has changed. Just keep moving.]
[i So what else do I need? A car, probably.] It would help, anyways. Bell considered as he walked, kicking the bell to give the anger simmering under his skin an outlet. [i I want a goat to hunt.]
But he hadn't found one yet, so best to keep figuring things out.
A car dealership wouldn't take a card, but maybe a shady used car lot wouldn't mind. It didn't take long to find one. He circled the lot once, and a salesman miraculously appeared. "Can you afford a car?"
"You take card?" Bell asked.
The salesman considered. "What're you looking at?"
Bell shrugged. "Something cheap."
He nodded. "I think we could take card. Let's take a look."
The car was a piece of shit, but now he had a roof over his head and a bed to lie on. Bell drove off, mentally writing off the credit cards. The man would be found soon if he wasn't already. Better to quit while he was ahead.
Where to next? The sun had begun to set. Bell parked the car and stretched. Back to the bars. If he didn't find a goat, he'd find his next victim.
Clothes really did make the man. Daniel checked himself out in the mirror and sighed. Did it matter? Had it ever really mattered? He could get any old lame job to sustain himself. Life wasn't that difficult. And he sure as fuck never had to look posh for Bell-boy. Actually, the man seemed to make it a point to ruin every single article of new clothing that came into their possession other than the staple leather coat. Now, even that was lost. Fuck Haven. He needed a proper plan however. And maybe an army. Something stronger than a two-man chaos on a rampage.
At least Lilah was dead. That'd keep them preoccupied for a short while.
But the hydra had multiple heads.
And why? That was the question now. They'd always hunted goats because Bell-goat enforced its will upon Bell-boy. Without the man there, why fight? Bell-boy had been right. He could go home and live life, and then Bell-boy could fight and not worry his sorry little ass was in any danger.
Daniel sighed and turned back into the dressing-room.
He'd get these clothes and dive into some bars, see what was open and if they were hiring. Any old simple things would do right now. Until he managed to come to terms with the time he'd lost in Haven and the things the goatling had changed for him to make his mind sane again.
The streets were starting to simmer down. A different type of crowd came to life. Daniel roamed the poorly lit busy side-walks, sniffed at the fine food at the many stalls and decided he had a decent enough amount to get something to eat. He needed to make a good impression. A guy needed to eat.
The decision was an easy one.
No Bell-boy. Right.
Daniel felt remorse. He had no way to even tell Bell-boy that, other than pull a trick using the goatling. Wherever it had gone with the Bell-spawn. Probably a rebellious phase. He felt ripped apart, stripped of any connection he'd once had. Sure, he could get to know people again, but it'd feel dull and dreary in comparison.
A place to sleep. Daniel considered his options as he scarfed down his meal. Could take a motel, rent a room or whatever for a short while -it'd last longer, but less luxuries- or try to just break into some abandoned place. If he did that, he'd also need a gym-subscription or whatever to stay clean. It felt mundane. Mundane and shitty. He needed to get a new bank-card.
His hands tightened. He could feel the gravel marks on his arms. His body hurt. His head spun. [i Wrong, wrong, wrong.]
The man under him bucked. Meaty paws clawed at his grip. Bell squeezed tighter yet. The man gasped for air, a strained, choked sound.
"Don't touch me. Don't touch me, motherfucker," Bell snarled. The man went limp, and he didn't let go. Not until there was no motion. Not until the man was still and cold.
The world faded back in around him. A sleazy hotel room. One bed. He glanced down. The man he'd been strangling looked different, now. Heavy and hairy, nothing like the man he'd thought he'd been attacking.
He let go and stepped away. [i Shit.] That was a human for sure.
It didn't matter. He grabbed his clothes and threw them on. Rifled through the man's pockets. He had cash and a couple of cards tucked away in a fat wallet. Bell slid the wallet into his pocket. [i I'll take the cards for all they're worth, then ditch them.] As long as he made his big purchases here in the city, no one would know where he'd gone.
Like Daniel. Daniel wouldn't know.
"Shit," he repeated, aloud this time.
He left the man on the bed and stumbled off to the bathroom. He felt used and abused. Bell stared at himself in the mirror until the fog ate up his hollow-eyed face. This was all he was good for. He wasn't worthy of anyone's love. Let alone Daniel's. [i How stupid am I?] Anger welled up in him, directed at himself. [i I did everything wrong. Why do I think Daniel should still want me?] His face grew hot, with shame, rage, disgust, he didn't know. He paced toward the shower. Spun. Punched the mirror. It shattered. Shards of glass splattered over the sink. [i Fucking idiot!] he shouted silently at himself. Stupid, stupid, stupid. [i Why did I leave Daniel? Why?]
Blood dripped on the floor. He glanced at his hand. His fingers were scratched and bleeding, some of the cuts deep enough to look scary. [i I don't feel a thing.]
Numb, he stepped into the shower. [i What now?] Back to the usual? It seemed pointless. Everything was pointless. There was no point to saving this Earth from the goats. The goats weren't even that dangerous. What was his reward, anyways? Nothing. [i Maybe I'll just die.] If he died enough, the goat would find someone else. Probably.
It'd have been easier if he actually had any tools. Daniel still felt like a wet noodle from teleporting and breaking a car-window apart just added to his misery. After that however, it was easy pickings. Soon, the roar of an engine firing up resounded from the parking basement. Daniel sat up and started to cater to the car's needs. A little gas and he was out of here. Sure, he'd have been picked up by cameras, but fuck it. He had to start somewhere. Out on the streets, down the road, blending in with traffic. Quick, through the busy streets of the large city.
It was overwhelming, almost, but Daniel soon left the city's core in exchange for the outer layers, the shadier layers. He was an ill match in his white garb, but that didn't matter. He soon enough found what he needed to: a dodgy garage that was still open. And he wasn't afraid either.
He didn't have to be.
He wasn't even human.
Bell-boy had wanted him, no, had made him promise, to stay human. And he hadn't. Not to say he'd been replaced, but at the same time, he had. In a way. In many ways he'd become the ultimate hybrid now. Robert would be proud.
"Lost?" someone howled at him.
Several of the mechanics and other shady characters laughed as well. Daniel put on a grin and leaned against the car. Not in the last place for support.
"Maybe, that is... if you're not buying cars," Daniel proposed. At least one person's interest was piqued. Another started to circle the vehicle and sized Daniel up. Despite his little stint in Haven, he hadn't lost much muscle tension. These blokes were bigger though. Not that it mattered. If he wanted to, he'd tear them all to shreds. The lack of fear in his stance made the buyers reconsider pulling something off. That much confidence had to be based off of something.
In the end he still got a shitty price, but it was enough for a week's worth of motel and some clothes. Enough time to get himself cleaned up and land a job. Or whatever. Save up money to travel on. Without Bell. Daniel swallowed. This time it was on him. He'd told the guy to shove off, while really, it hurt. Anger and hurt both vied for top dog. Daniel wasn't sure how to work with either at the moment. In the end, he hitched a ride on a bus back into town. It was easier to forget and disappear in a city this large.
Bell stared at the empty space where he'd left Daniel. No Daniel. No baby. Not even the goatling. His hand dipped to the two sandwiches in his pocket.
[i Dammit. Too late.]
He left. What else was there to do? Daniel wasn't interested in him anymore. There was no more hope. He hadn't thought it would be easy, but he hadn't imagined it would be impossible, either. [i Just goes to show how stupid I am.]
At least he'd been dumped in the city. Bell wandered for a bit. Ate the sandwiches. They tasted like ash, but his stomach shut up afterward.
It didn't take long to find a bar. Didn't take much longer to find a gay bar. He lurked by the door, fiddling with something in his pocket. A large group swarmed past the bouncers, and he slid into the group and vanished inside.
It was dark. Music pounded against his eardrums, too loud to think. The scent of unwashed bodies mingled with alcohol and cigarette smoke and the sickly-sweet scent of e-cigarettes. Bell took his coat off and lounged at the bar. The bartender ignored him, smart enough to tell he had no money.
He stared at the surface of the bar, watching his reflection stare back from the polished wood. Anyone would do. It didn't matter who. Someone would get drunk enough to talk to him.
A drink appeared in front of him. Bell glanced up. "From down at the end," the bartender muttered, tipping his head. A heavyset man with thick body hair winked at Bell.
He wasn't Bell's type at all, but tonight, it didn't matter. Bell raised the drink in thanks and tossed it back. [i It's gonna take some alcohol to get me drunk enough for that guy.]
The man scooted up beside him. Bell didn't look up. "Haven't seen you around before. New in town?"
He nodded curtly.
"Not much for talking?" the man asked.
Bell looked at him. Did it [i look] like he wanted to talk?
The man smiled. "That's alright. We don't need words, do we?"
[i Now] he got it. Bell shook his head and tipped the empty cup at the man. "Couple more of those and you can do whatever you want."
A smile spread across the man's face. "Bartender, keep 'em coming." .
In the end Bell-boy didn't put up much of a fight. Maybe that was for the better. It'd be more embarrassing if Bell-boy did push things than if the man just took his pride and take it. That didn't mean he was emotionless under it all. Daniel swallowed and sighed out. He tricked himself into thinking that things would be better this way. A clean cut. Sure, it hurt like a bitch now, but it wasn't as if staying together was going to be such a good thing either. It'd only serve to remind him in what creative ways Bell-boy had betrayed him. He could've forgiven Lilah -heck, Bell-boy's killing of the woman did amend some of his pain- but the betrayal felt like acid burning in the pit of his stomach.
Or maybe that was simply hunger.
When was the last time he'd felt any of it? Daniel sat like that for a while. When the baby fell asleep, so did he. The goatling was there, around him, but it detached at some point and scurried around as the rat that it was. The baby, keen on the goatling's peculiar existence, started to try and grab the animal. Daniel only needed to give the infant a small nudge before there were two rats. It was simple for goats to change shape. Like this, it would be protected from humanly needs.
He sat like that for a while, dreamt and followed the goatling and the child as they scurried through the building and found themselves food and water.
It was hunger at last that got him to move. He had nothing. It'd be a tiresome road to prove who he was, never mind get a new bank pass. All that had been taken from him by Haven. The only other logical solution was to go home, as Bell-boy suggested. He didn't even have the means for that.
So a job.
He needed money. A place to stay. Food.
Daniel moved slowly, gently. The building's lights were off, mostly. Maybe a cleaner or two would still be roaming the building. He found a small kitchen and drank his fill, then checked the fridge for any food that'd stayed behind. A coat was left hanging on a chair, so he took that and the forgotten sandwich as a starter.
If there were cleaners, there'd be a car.
Daniel set out to find it and pressed the lowest floor he could find on the elevator. There had to be a service-entrance to this place, right? Time to get his head back into the game and now that he wasn't clinically insane, it'd be that much easier.
Leave him here? What would that accomplish? Bell looked at Daniel. He'd need food. The baby would need food. He had a roof over his head, he guessed, but that was about it. If he slept now, he'd just wake up more tired and less willing to move.
But on the other hand, it was his chance to ditch Daniel and the baby. Daniel didn't want to be with him anyways. He didn't want to have anything to do with the baby. It was the perfect solution. The perfect split.
"I'm not going to--" Bell sighed. What was he arguing for? Daniel didn't want him around. Why was he wasting his time?
He headed out into the building. The lights were dimmed. [i Must be after 5pm.] He glanced around, but no logos stood out to him on the walls. Soulless cubicles mazed away into the distance, each one as dull and grey as the last. He found the elevator and took it to the bottom of the building. At the front door, he paused and pulled a dirty shirt out of his pocket. He stuck it in between the door and the door's lock to block it up while he was gone. [i In case I need to come back.] He could always check on Daniel. Make sure everything was going okay.
He wandered down the streets. At a nearby street corner, he plopped down and put his hands out to give passerby a pathetic look. [i This sucks.] But he had nothing else. Daniel didn't have anything else either, anymore. It was all gone.
Besides, he could keep an eye on Daniel this way. Even though he should move on already, he couldn't. [i How many times has Daniel tried to push me away?] Maybe if he stuck this one out, like he'd stuck out all the rest, Daniel would change his mind again. He hoped so. [i It would suck to end up alone.]
Money accumulated slowly. Pennies. Change. A few ones. As the streets thinned and people made their way home for the night, he counted up his money. Enough for a meal, if he spent it right. Two meals, if he was careful. He glanced at the building one last time, then stood. [i Daniel hasn't left yet. Maybe he isn't going to leave.]
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