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There was no one in the shop but him. Bell's heart stopped. His breath came short and erratic, hands clutching at nothing as adrenaline shot through him. Where were they? What had happened to them? He clawed to a stand, fighting his way up the wall, head throbbing as he reached his full height. His throat felt like a desert, hot and dry, and his head felt like it was going to burst, but he could walk, even if his lungs complained and his gut ached. Staggering along the wall, he used his new vantage point to get a better look. The store looked as empty as ever. No dog. No Landon.
Rationality filtered in past the panic. He hadn't been killed. How would he have gotten back here? No--no, the goat could have done that. He definitely felt shitty enough for that. Then--was it really--
The door wasn't locked. He locked eyes on it, then pushed off the wall and staggered over to it, shoving it open with a great heave. No one. There was no one. He really was all alone.
And then Spot came up to him, tongue hanging and tail wagging, and he caught sight of Landon sitting on a rock nearby. More relief than he'd thought it was possible to feel flooded through him, and he let out a long sigh and ran the few steps to Landon, wrapping him in a bear hug. Spot chased after him and bounced around them, excited by whatever was going on. Bell nuzzled into the hollow of Landon's neck and just stood there, leaning half his weight on Landon, heart still racing as he processed through the fear.
"I dreamed you were dead," he sighed at last, shifting a little to sit on the rock beside Landon. He didn't let go yet, though. A part of him wasn't convinced this was real, that maybe this was the dream and the other bit was reality. "You and Spot and--it was just a dream." But it was scary. Like so many of his dreams, it'd felt real, almost been real, and it--it'd just--it'd terrified him. What if the hippie really had killed Landon? What would he do? He didn't know. Murdering the hippie wouldn't be enough. It'd have to be slow. One piece at a time until he begged for death.
He looked at Landon and sighed. "I love you," he said. More than Landon could ever know.
Maybe, huh? Then again, he was schizophrenic. Landon chewed on the thought for a while as he listened to Bellwether’s breathing slow down and even out. It was good Bell was resting. Finally. Spot got up to sniff at the discarded Chinese food and Landon nudged the mutt away with a kick of his foot.
“Stupid animal, haven’t you learned by now?” Landon hissed softly, not wanting to disturb Bell. The way his breathing continued its staccato rhythm however, Landon was assured Bellwether wouldn’t wake up any time soon.
He wrestled to a sit and wrapped up the food. It wouldn’t hold particularly long in the heat of the shop, so Landon picked off some more of the rice and vegetables, eating because there was nothing else to do and he felt numb enough not to mind.
Once most of it was finished, Landon stood, straightened out and sluggishly moved to get Spot something decent to eat. Would sinewy-goat let its host die because of bad eating habits? Hah. That’d be a sight.
There was nothing to do in the shop. Nothing other than watch Bellwether sleep. Though a sight for sore eyes, watching Bell grew boring quickly. Landon sighed out, leaning against the kitchenette and closed his eyes for a moment. He was drunk enough to have his thoughts bumble about uncoordinatedly. At least no funny thoughts could surface that way.
Maybe he ought to check where their truck was, see whether they had supplies. He had the key, but no clue on where the car was parked. Actually, there was nothing to do at all. Going out was potentially dangerous, staying in was risking death by boredom. And leaving Bell alone again really didn’t sit well with Landon.
He toyed a bit with the clothes and frilly beads. A woman’s clothes -or a girl’s. Reminded him of Lily and Alice. It was strange though. The way the hippie’s gun and bits of his skin and hand had simply been ‘displaced’ elsewhere. Landon wasn’t even sure how he’d done it. He’d just been so angry. There really hadn’t been any deliberate thought of doing it though. In the same mindless way, the goatling mended his shoulder without instruction. It was weird. He was crazy. It was okay.
Landon decided to sleep off some of the alcohol, couldn’t sleep, dozed, but woke before Bell to relieve his bladder. Spot was more than elated to finally bounce out of the building, off into the fresh air after being cooped up all day.
He decided to give the mutt a little more than five meagre minutes and found a comfortable rock to sit on, lounging in the sun.
At least Landon didn't ask him to sing. That would've been a bad thing for everyone involved. A heavy head rested on his lap, and he tangled his fingers in Landon's hair. Like this, he could feel if Landon got up or moved, so he would be woken up if Landon got up to get more alcohol. He rested back against the wall, eyes sliding shut. Maybe he should just rest. Get some sleep.
Just before he drifted off, Landon's voice sounded again. He shifted a bit, not bothering to open his eyes. Crazy? "You are...schizophrenic," he sighed out. That was the condition people usually referred to as crazy. And he was definitely off his meds. "Hmm, it's alright though." He didn't mind. Clearly.
Bell snorted lazily. Just figuring that one out, was he? A beat passed, Bell sliding between asleep and awake. "Maybe," he breathed at last, too sleepy to come up with anything better. The last bit of wakefulness left him, and he sagged against the wall as sleep took him. Landon could talk to himself or Spot, but Bell was down for the count.
In his dreams, he fought the hippie again, only this time, he didn't win. The gun went off, once, twice; he staggered back and fell to his knees, and a hot barrel was rested against his forehead. The shot was louder than anything he'd ever heard. But the dream didn't end there. He fell to the ground and watched as the man rounded on Landon, took him down with one shot. Then Spot, leaping bravely in their defense, was brought down, the man sidestepping to shoot the mutt in the spine. No one survived. No one made it through. Only the hippie was left, standing over their bodies with a smoking gun, sides heaving and wide eyes maddened with rage.
Bell jolted awake. The sun was lower than before, the light filtering into the shop dimmer, sunset-colored. He stirred and stretched, looking around the room. Something was wrong. Something was very... Landon. Where was Landon? And Spot. Were they alright? The hippie hadn't--it'd just been a dream, right? Right?
“What? Can you even sing? No, I don’ want you to sing, just…talking is enough,” Landon muttered, holding back a yawn. He smiled when Bell said he couldn’t live without him either. Bell was tiring out; after eating, his body would demand rest and it was a visible struggle.
“If you’re tired, just sleep,” he encouraged. The man wouldn’t exactly get better if he fought the process. At least not before tomorrow. Landon’s shoulder was all but healed. Only a little sore, and that soreness couldn’t be felt through the numbing properties of the alcohol he’d consumed. He put his head down on Bell’s lap again, half-dazed and drunk. The alcohol was finally setting in. Sure, it’d been a small bottle, but the alcohol percentage was way higher than the beer Daniel favoured.
And he hadn’t drunk anything the last couple of days.
It felt nice to be so relaxed.
Soap. Should’ve gotten them a bar of soap. Maybe there was some in the truck. Daniel had gotten supplies before too, hadn’t he? They could use it to wash up. Sort of. Might forego washing up. If they kept it up long enough, their hair would stop being greasy all the same. People before the nineteen-fifties hadn’t ever used shampoo of any kind either. Soap wasn’t a necessity.
Landon’s breathing slowed, but he wasn’t asleep, just dazed. He’d slept earlier and last night, though not much, it was enough for him to be awake now. The world was slowly bobbing and weaving about in a comforting way. Unlike what it contorted into when he had the delusions.
“Bell, do you think I’m crazy?” Landon pitched.
It wasn’t normal to see that kind of thing, was it? If Bell thought he was crazy though, he still wouldn’t want to be without him, right? The fuzzy feelings brought about a smile.
“Maybe I’m a little drunk,” he admitted. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t. He’d fuck up in the morning like this, being hungover and sluggish. And still, if Landon had the choice, he’d pick alcohol again. They were free, weren’t they? There wasn’t a schedule they kept but their own. He thought of meetings, of ties and suits, long tables. What would they look like in that world?
Bell sighed. It wasn't Landon's fault but Daniel's, huh? Figured Landon was dodging responsibility. Just as he was thinking that, Landon started blaming him for getting shot. What was he supposed to do, dodge the bullets? Then again, maybe he could. He'd never tried. Next time. It was something to think about.
Landon leaned back against him. He patted Landon's head. He'd have to keep a closer eye on Landon in the future. Clearly he wasn't responsible enough to keep himself from drinking, so someone had to do it for him. As usual, really. Landon had never been the responsible one. Always just followed Bell's lead. And without Bell there... what did he follow?
Landon shifted, looking up at him, and he raised his eyebrows. What? Oh. "Yeah, sure. Clean house if she's still around and the police don't crack down." If it was a nice enough neighborhood, there was a decent chance the police would dig in and look for whoever had fired the gun, even if there weren't any casualties. That was what he was worried about.
At least he was a cute drunk. Still didn't excuse the drinking, but at least Bell got to enjoy Landon being drunk, too. He reached out and ruffled Landon's hair. It was pretty greasy, now. They seriously needed showers. "I couldn't live without you, either," Bell said, meeting his eyes. He couldn't, not anymore. He'd gotten accustomed to it. To being loved. It'd hurt too much to go back to... before. Go back to the world where no one cared and no one wanted to love him.
"My voice?" he asked, almost laughing. Nothing remarkable about that. "You want me to sing for you, or something?" No one wanted him to sing. He was awful at it. But really, it was his first time hearing that. Somehow, it meant a lot to him. It was stupid, but... well, it was his voice. Not his face, or his body, it was... something else.
He took another few bites of the noodles, then sat back with a sigh, eyes half-shut. Just being awake was exhausting. But he had to stay awake. If he slept, who knew what'd happen? Maybe Landon would go drinking again. Maybe this time, he wouldn't come back. He sat up and started eating again. As long as there was food, he could stay awake.
“It wasn’t my drinking, it was Daniel’s…” Which was technically him as well. “He just left me feeling like shit, why would I put up with that?” Landon complained around his egg-roll. He didn't even notice Bellwether stealing one from him. Frustrated, was he? Yeah, okay, maybe it was frustrating, but feeling on edge all the time was pretty frustrating too. Without Bellwether there at his side, Landon just didn't know how to cope. Things were just easier this way; he could be the strong one when needed this way.
“Next time don’t get shot, then you can come along. Your treat,” Landon called Bell out.
So they’d contemplate skipping town regardless of their choices? If that Miss Hannah hadn’t left yet, they could easily go and deal with her. The parade had already started, what was a little extra confetti? The hunters might take notice.
Tomorrow or tonight? Bell would be healed up by then? Fat chance. Well, maybe. Landon sighed out and rested his back against the clothes-pile, the back of his head resting against Bellwether’s leg. The egg-rolls were almost tipping out of their container, but Landon failed to care. He was comfortable, for the first time in a long while. Bell was there, and Spot, they had food, nowhere to go; they were safe.
Okay, so maybe he was a little drunk. He was fine. Emphasis on was. Bell did practically everything possible to brutally murder his buzz.
“I say we kill her, if she’s stupid enough to’ve stayed,” Landon offered. He lowered some food into his mouth and looked up at Bell. His eyes followed the trail of old, dried blood down. This close, he could see the epicentre of the injuries. They were coming along nicely. No more open wounds at least.
Landon closed his eyes. He no longer questioned whether this was real or not.
“I can’t live without you, you know?” he rambled, defences lowered due to the alcohol. “I tried, I did, even…’cause you’re there, but in the egg, it’s hard. So close.” Landon swallowed his food and then forgot about it. He wasn’t really hungry anyway. Landon set it aside and propped himself up on his elbow to look Bell in the eye.
“Missed your voice.”
"You're homeless. You'd strange out less if it looked like you were high on something," Bell argued. He wasn't buying that excuse. Landon hadn't looked that high, anyways, compared to when he got really tweaked out on his paranoid or whatever. At least he felt guilty about it, though Bell wasn't exactly placated by that. They had to be alert, the police were looking for them and they had probably just lost their chance at the lady, Hannah or whatever, and here Landon was getting drunk the second Bell took his eyes off of him. He wouldn't give a damn, except he was worried that this relapse meant they'd be back at square one, and it was Daniel's attempt at detox in the first place that had put them behind on killing Hannah and lead to this situation.
Bell caught the aspirin and shook a couple out, chasing them with some water. He gave Landon a look, unimpressed with his arguments. "You understand why I'm frustrated, yeah? It's your drinking that put us in this situation in the first place." Landon had to get over this somehow. More drinking wasn't the answer.
Not even drunk. The classic last line of the drunk. Bell didn't dignify Landon's protest with an answer. They both knew that was a lie. "Thanks for getting the food," he said, figuring he should at least be a little kind, "but next time I'm coming with you." Didn't matter how badly he was injured, because Landon getting drunk was a recipe for more disaster.
Chicken lo mein met his eyes when he opened the styrofoam package, the noodles shiny with delicious grease. He grabbed one of the egg rolls from Landon and dug in, eating whatever came closest to his mouth at the given moment. He was starting.
No one was officially looking for them? "Good," he said, wiping his mouth with the back of his sleeve. "But we don't really have a reason to hang around anymore, either. Tomorrow--tonight, if I heal up--we stop by Miss Hannah's place, see if she's fled the coop. If so, we go, too. If not, then we've got to consider: stay here, or go until things quiet down?"
“What, can’t I be happy now? I thought you hated it when Daniel was being all mopey, make up your mind,” Landon reasoned. He started unpacking the food. Bell already reached for the water, as Landon expected the man would.
“What -no,” he countered. He wasn’t Daniel. Once the bag was all empty, Landon turned the plastic bag inside-out, he’d use it to clean up Spot’s mess. Before he could get that far though, Bell pulled him in close by the scruff of his shirt. Landon was surprised, blinking at Bell. So close. Those lips were tempting.
Shit. Caught. Landon had the decency to look embarrassed. Should’ve gotten mints. Should’ve hidden it better. But his mind hadn’t been entirely with things. Still wasn’t.
“I -I just felt like a nervous wreck, I just had enough to help me relax,” Landon excused, setting about clearing away the dog-vomit. “They don’t know much, just the shooting’s been mentioned on television, and I figured it’d stand out more if I looked like I was high on something,” he shrugged and folded the bag around the dog-puke. He’d gotten most of it, and used the complementary tissue from takeaway to clean up the rest, then tied off the plastic bag.
At least the smell wasn't half as bad this way.
“I got us clothes, oh, and aspirin, got you aspirin,” Landon rambled, tossing the box over at Bell. How much did he drink? A bottle.
Landon shrugged half-heartedly, reaching for some of the egg-rolls. His stomach was definitely feeling better now. Well enough to stomach a decent meal. “Will you quit it? I’ll bring enough for both of us next time then, yeah?” Landon shook his head. He knew he shouldn’t have, but he just felt so much better for it.
“It’s not -I’m not even drunk,” he excused. He wasn’t that far off either though. He just hadn’t eaten enough, that’s why it all went straight to his head.
“If they’re looking for us, I don’t think they made it a public thing,” Landon discussed business instead, trying to divert Bell from having another go at him about the drinking.
Eventually, Bell drifted off to sleep, hands still curled in Spot's fur. An uncharacteristically bright greeting woke him, Spot's departure the real clincher for forcing him into the wakeful world as his hands were dislodged from soft fur. Bell sat up a little more and yawned, rubbing his eyes. Baking in the sun for an hour or so hadn't done the dog vomit's reek any favors; the yawn transitioned into a grimace as the scent hit. As if that wasn't enough, his throat was dry, and he could feel the makings of a headache pounding away behind his temples, ready to strike the moment he made a move. Ugh. Thank goodness Landon was back. Except Landon was acting strange, and that was never a good sign.
"You're cheerful," Bell commented, slightly suspicious. He reached for a bottle and cracked it open, taking a sip of the water, watching Landon as he moved around. Something was definitely off. Landon would still be a ball of nerves right now, paranoid that someone had seen him or followed him, or at the very least, relieved but not excited to be back. Something was wrong. "...Daniel?" he tried.
No, that didn't seem right either. "C'mere," he said, reaching out. He wasn't at his full strength, but he was still strong enough to yank an unsuspecting Landon close by the collar. He didn't even have to kiss the man to figure it out. Once he was within a foot, he could smell it on his breath: alcohol. Bell sighed and released Landon. "I thought you were trying to kick the habit?" he asked, mildly annoyed. They'd already gone through it once, he didn't want to deal with Landon sicking up from withdraw again.
At least the drunkard had remembered food. Though the greasy smell of Chinese food clashed disgustingly with the dog vomit, it still made his mouth water. He snagged the bag closer and pulled out whatever container was closest to hand. "How much did you drink, anyways? Didn't even bring any to share, huh?" he asked, just ribbing Landon at this point. What was he going to do with Landon? Honestly.
It was on the news. Landon caught sight of the silent television broadcasting the news inside the Chinese restaurant while he waited for their order to be prepared. It was a small bulletin; nothing more. Not yet. ‘The sound of shots was heard…’
The street-name followed, followed by a reassuring message that the police was taking the matter seriously and would investigate the matter further. It concluded by saying that no apparent victims were found. No. Of course not, the body had evaporated.
Blood remained however. The press didn’t need to know that, or toss that out in public. It was easier if they didn’t.
He got called out for the food and approached, trading the plastic bags for cash. One more chore down. He’d gone to the stores, just to get water. Well, not just water. The bottle was small, filled to the brim with alcohol and he’d gotten aspirin -anything heavier was likely to raise some flags.
Either way Bell would heal fast with this food. Soon they wouldn't need any painkillers no more. He drank on the way. Finally his body relaxed. The shaking of his hands stopped, he felt relaxed. Better. He felt better.
More like himself.
He ditched the evidence in a container. The soiled clothes too. It was easier to lose something in a container so far removed from the crime-scene, than it was by burning it. Setting a fire near the clothes-store would only attract unwanted attention.
Opening the pad-lock wasn’t any easier with ‘steady’ hands however. Landon leaned against the door and puttered around until finally, the heavy lock gave way.
He tossed the bags inside and was greeted by Spot. The mutt abused the time to go out and do his business. Landon waited for the dog to finish before going inside and locking the door behind.
“Honey, I’m home!” he called into the store. It smelled weird. Acrid. Like vomit. Bell? Landon made a disgusted face at the pile of dog-vomit. Spot then. Nice. Real nice.
“It smells like something died…stupid mutt,” Landon muttered, padding over to Bell. He set the bags down and unearthed the water first, setting the bottles down in a row. He’d use one to clean up the dried blood. There were spare clothes now to abuse. Well, they had plenty of those lying around, to be fair.
Spot was staying with him, huh? He didn't agree, but what could he do about it? Bell just nodded and settled back, too tired to do much more. They kissed, and then Landon pulled away, giving Bell's shoulder a squeeze. Be back in an hour, he said, but it wasn't like that meant anything to Bell. He didn't have any kind of clock. And what was he going to do if it took Landon longer? He didn't have the strength to go look for him. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that. Hopefully everything would go fine. That was all he could wish for.
"Grab some painkillers if you can," he called out after Landon. If nothing else, they were useful to have around.
The chain rattled against the outside of the store, and he heard the padlock click shut; then Landon was gone, and he was alone. Well, almost alone. Spot wandered blithely around the shop, sniffing at things that he'd already sniffed a hundred times. Bell snorted. It was good to be a dog, wasn't it? Everything was so nice and simple. You didn't get shot at so much, either. He shifted, uncomfortable. It really was good to be a dog.
Spot paused, suddenly, then leaned forward, his body trembling; there was a small noise, and then a half-digested burger and a handful of fries came back up and splattered on the concrete floor.
Bell laughed, then winced as both wounds complained. Maybe being a dog wasn't all that great, after all. "That's why you don't eat people food," he admonished Spot. The dog didn't have anything to say to that, but turned and heaved some more, more fries and some food too digested to make out joining the first pile.
Spot heaved some more, but nothing came out; he stood there, trembling, then gave the vomit an apprehensive sniff. "Hey, no," Bell called. Spot was not eating that up and puking it out again. "Come here. Don't eat that."
Spot gave the vomit a longing look, but obedience took over. He trotted over to Bell and gave him a questioning look. Bell reached out and scritched his ears. He'd just pet Spot. That'd help him ignore the pain. "Good boy," he praised the dog.
Feel fine, was it? Landon tried to stifle the nerves from rushing through his stomach, making him feel physically ill, but his body wasn’t having it. Each time he pushed the nerves down, they just rose back up. Lock Bell in? Right, right he had a key. He’d forgotten about that. Clothes and food. Nutritious food. Burgers were fine for the moot of the healing, but the finer parts needed more healthy food. Landon was worried about how much pain Bell was still in. Sure, it was broad day-light, so no one should venture close to the building, but what if?
“No,” Landon shook his head.
“Spot stays here,” he commanded, putting a hand to Spot’s head.
“You stay here, shift if you need to, but protect Bell, okay? Please?” Spot didn’t seemed to agree entirely, but the mutt listened well enough when Landon was stern enough.
Something between habit and his dog-brain that triggered the obedience.
He wished they still had the phones. Landon leaned in for a goodbye kiss, which tastes sweet and metallic all at the same time.
“I should be back in an hour,” Landon said, pulling out his wallet and checking their monetary status. Why wasn’t it Daniel? At least Daniel had the ability to ignore the nerves and get on with things. Play pretend. Because Daniel had ample experience playing pretend, pretending to be normal and belong.
“Get some rest, okay?” Landon wished Bell, squeezing the man’s shoulder -more for his sake than anyone else’s.
Landon stood, took a deep breath and steeled himself. In and out; quick. Without leading people back to their hide-out. It should be fine. Even if police were looking for them, what were they going to do? The gun only had the hippie’s fingerprints on it and there was no body.
The sun almost blinded him outside. Landon got out the sunglasses and locked the door. The small little key was almost actively trying to wiggle from his fingers but finally he managed to lock up and leave. Normal. Casual. It became something of a mantra. He relaxed a little, slowly. The weather was nice, sun heating his back. He hadn’t realised he’d been somewhat cold. The nerves made his hands cool, that’s what.
He found a thrift-store first. Landon ducked inside and browsed the clothes-section, picking out bland, used items to wear that would fit them -hopefully. He got a funny stare at the counter, but Landon kept his head down and paid to get rid of the woman and take the clothes. His paranoia was for once justified, it felt like. The first alley he saw that offered some shielding from onlookers, Landon entered and used to change into clean clothes. One task down; now for food.
Bell shrugged. It was hot in here. He'd appreciate it if Landon got on with it. At last, the coat was undone and opened to the air. He took a deep breath and sighed out. Fresh air felt good. Landon's hands felt better, nice and chilled after their little rest. He scratched his own stomach while Landon explored; all the dried blood was making it itchy. Landon pressed right on the wound, and he winced and flinched back. "Careful," he muttered. It didn't hurt as bad as before, though. Probably just some remnant pain now.
Landon moved the cup closer, and he reached out and grabbed it. It tasted shitty, but it was sugar water, and that part felt good. Different clothes, huh? He laughed, following Landon's gaze to his pants. "Yeah, maybe," he commented. Couldn't exactly walk around soaked in blood, now, could they?
"It's not like I tried to choke," Bell said, shifting to sit a little more upright. "But I feel fine, so it should be okay." He grinned and gave Landon a thumbs-up. Besides, the blood he'd spat out was pretty congealed now, so there probably wasn't an open bleeder in his lungs anymore.
"I'll be fine, you'll lock me in and I'll be snug as a bug," Bell reassured Landon, pulling a few of the things the other man brought to him closer. Landon was the one he really had to worry about; he'd be going out there, looking for stuff. And what if he got brought in? It wasn't like Bell. The goat couldn't just take care of his fingerprints and stuff the way it could for him. Or maybe the goatling could. He didn't know. "But you be careful, okay? Come back quick. Don't do anything you don't have to, don't go anywhere you don't need to, oh, and don't look into any cameras," he added, grinning a bit at the last one. "You wanna take Spot, just in case?" Their weapons were soaked in blood still, but Spot was just a dog. He could go along and protect Landon.
"Hey--c'mere. Goodbye kiss," he said, pursing his lips. "See you soon, okay?" He grinned and waved Landon goodbye, not nearly as okay with this as he was acting. This was Landon. If he got hurt, if he got caught, it was game-over. If he started seeing things, if something went wrong... there was a river in town. He didn't want to have to make another trip down there. But he smiled until Landon was out the door. Didn't want him to worry too much. It'd all be okay.
Landon snorted when Bell raised a non-existent cup, secretly relieved he wasn’t throttled at first sight. “Can I now?” Coughs interrupted their little moment. Blood came up, a nasty-looking dark red clump of old blood hit the concrete and Landon grimaced. That didn’t look healthy. Better out than in, he supposed though.
“Eager, much?” Landon remarked, then started to undo Bellwether’s coat. His eyes ran over Bellwether’s torso. Lots of dried blood -no surprise there. He’d cleaned some of it, but it had been a sloppy job at best and a fast one to boot.
He let his hands roam Bell’s skin, carefully pressing where he recalled the area to be tender. Closed. Most of it was closed now. Good.
“I don’t recommend it,” Landon said, but pulled the cup in Bell’s sight. He stifled a yawn and took stock. His pants were decent. Other than the blood that had sprayed due to Bellwether’s coughing, it’d gotten off pretty well. The same couldn’t be said for Bell’s pair. The shot to the gut ensured Bellwether’s pants were dark with blood more so than the staple blue of jeans.
“I need to get us different clothes -and we need to burn these,” Landon pointed out. Get rid of any incriminating evidence. The hippie would be missed, even if he wasn’t a priority for police. Miss Hannah might have a thing or two to say about that, if she hadn’t already fled town.
“Are you going to choke again if I leave?” he pitched, trying out his shoulder. It felt a lot better than before. Only a little stiffness remained. Like the bone was sore. He figured the bullet bounced off of bone to cause that kind of damage, but it wouldn’t prevent him from using the arm no more.
Landon climbed to a stand and picked his way through the piled up rubble towards the kitchenette. Rather than the faded fizzy drink, they did have water and some cereal left in their limited supply. Might need to get some of that too.
He brought the things over to Bell.
“Will you be okay on your own?” Landon asked, concern shimmering through. Sure Bell had always worked alone, but still. He worried. The blood was worrying. Landon wished Bell could come with, but he’d been in trouble with the hippie before. He might be recognised. It’d take longer to get clothes and supplies than it would to find a fast-food place.
Landon took in a deep breath.
The bat too would have to stay.
His dreams were empty, his body too exhausted and too busy healing to waste energy on dreams. He didn't even register when Landon took the cup, too far gone to notice. Darkness was all there was, darkness and pure, utter peace, devoid of any intrusion, be it pleasure, anger, or fear. When Landon moved and the pile shifted, he slid a little further down the wall but didn't register a thing. He was gone. Dead to the world.
Hands grabbed his clothes. Bell startled awake, scrambling back from the intrusion. He hit the wall and slid up it, going from slumped prone to sitting up straight. Who was it? What little punk thief thought he'd make a good targ--oh. Landon. He snorted and raised his hand to sip from his cup, only to find that the cup had vanished. "Thought you were a pickpocket for a second there," he commented, amused. Bell made a kissy face at Landon and smirked. "[i You] can pick my pockets anytime, though."
He turned his head and coughed. The blood that came up was darker, clumped, and stuck in his mouth. Making a face, he spat it out; it splattered against the concrete floor like a lump of jam. Bell pulled a face. Gross.
"Well? Go on," he encouraged Landon, gesturing at the jacket he'd done up before he'd gone to sleep. Whatever Landon's intentions were for undressing him, he was down for it. He strongly suspected, though, that Landon's only intention was to check his wounds. He looked around, taking in the store. Still light out. Good. Bit warmer. He pulled at his jacket collar. Actually, he'd really appreciate it if Landon did undress him. It was unpleasantly warm in here. Very unpleasantly warm.
Spot seemed pleased with himself. Bell frowned. Why? His eyes wandered until he found the fast food bag, now wrinkled and torn. He snorted. Stupid dog. A lot like him, though. Opportunistic little dog.
He looked over at Landon again and grinned. "Where's my drink?" he asked. It'd vanished somewhere, but damned if he wasn't hankering for it. Sugar water was exactly what he wanted right now.
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