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Bell got out of the car and stretched. It was night, deep, dark night, and here they were on the prowl like the predators they were. It made him feel powerful, somehow. Strong. And also a little sleepy. Now that the Italian food was starting to really digest, he felt like he could take a nice little nap somewhere. He glanced at Daniel, but the other man didn't seem to be feeling the same.
Well, of course not. His life was on the line here. He'd be antsy, too, if he only had so much time before he died. He shook his head at himself and headed into the cheerily-colored gas station, bright colors besmirched by the usual accumulation of gunk and dirt.
Coffee. He gravitated over to it immediately. There were steaming hot pots, and also a few machines that promised sugary frou-frou drinks. Bell considered, then filled his cup half with coffee and topped it off with the mocha from the machine. There. Sugar [i and] caffeine. That'd keep him awake tonight!
Daniel wandered over before too long to grab his own concoction. "Yep, let's go," Bell agreed. The cashier couldn't scan his cup fast enough.
Back out to the car for now, until they found somewhere to park it for the night while they went walkabout. Bell climbed into the passenger's seat and waited for Daniel to join him, but this time kept an active eye on the scenery as they headed into the city. Goats, hunters, a base if they were lucky; he was on the lookout for anything.
What he found was a bombed out old mall with a couple of cars strewn around its parking lot.
"Wanna park there? We can walk from here," Bell suggested. They were closer to the heart of town, too, where bars and nightclubs would be still open and there'd be people--and maybe goats, and hunters too--still hanging around at this hour. It was slightly dangerous, since Daniel, well, was Daniel, but at least this time Bell would be right there beside him to make sure he didn't do anything too stupid, like get drunk while they were trying to figure out how to save his life.
"It's tempting to stop," Daniel confessed. Maybe they could find a nice place to leave their car and just go walkabouts. If they followed their goat-instincts, the odds of them finding something were fairly high. At the very least they'd find other goats to kill. Now that he was still gifted with the goatling's powers, Daniel hoped that killing one wouldn't be as much of a chore. When was the last time they'd gotten a straight-up hunt though?
Bell-boy seemed to suffer the same nervous energy he was and his meal had gone down enough that he felt like being active too.
"Let's just pull over, get a drink and see what's in town?" he offered. There'd be enough of a hubbub that he'd be nicely distracted from everything going on in his head. At the same time, a lot of people weren't venturing on the streets -why would they at night? So they'd miss out on spotting a goat that way, maybe. Then again, the hunters didn't have a set schedule either. Finding them at night or during the day was a fifty-fifty, really.
He pulled over at a gas-station and shut off the engine.
"We need gas too," Daniel noted before he got out and searched out the right kind of fuel to feed their vehicle. With the lights of the gas-station so bright, it almost felt like day. Emphasis on almost. Just beyond the platform, a deep, dark night beckoned, only interrupted by the lights further down the road.
Daniel snapped from his daze when the pomp clicked and took the nuzzle from their car's butt-end. There, a full tank. They needed to figure out where they were going in a little more detail. A city this big...what would be the odds of hunters-? Daniel shook his head.
He really had to stop being so distracted. He wiped his face and casually strut over to the building. It smelled clean, like nothing. All the other smells were taken by the gasoline and he'd already gotten used to that.
At least the coffee tried to break through. Daniel found the machine and pressed a few buttons for it to spit out the dark brew.
He took a long breath to inhale the scent and then glanced over the snacks. To bring something or not? No reason to, honestly. They could easily find some breakfast in a place like this.
"Ready to get into town?" he offered Bell as he moved to pay for their things.
He rolled his eyes at Daniel, but couldn't quite hide a grin. At least he'd taken it well. Sometimes he didn't know.
It wasn't like he wouldn't love to see Landon again, but it was nice to just have one boyfriend, instead of the two-for-one deal he'd had going for a little while there. And the hassle of keeping Daniel medicated... he wasn't looking forward to that. On top of all the insane logistics they'd have to figure out to keep a supply of pills coming while they were on the road, it wasn't like Daniel or Landon had been down for being medicated. Both of them had seemed pretty against it.
He was getting ahead of himself. None of these things were problems if the goatling decided to leave some material behind, let alone if Daniel didn't make it in the first place. That was the part Daniel wasn't getting. If he got turned into a shell, that was it! He was dead! There was no future, no nothing. There'd be an imposter in his place, who looked just like--acted just like--felt just like him, but it wouldn't be him. It wouldn't be Daniel, actually experiencing any of those things. He frowned and turned out the window. Maybe Daniel just didn't want to admit it to himself.
A city loomed up on the horizon. Bell watched it approach out his window, the tall skyscrapers reaching to the sky from its heart, lower, broader buildings clustered nearby, a few factories spewing smoke on the very edge. A coffee? "Sure," he agreed. He stretched in his seat, getting ready to get up. "We gonna stop here or press on?" A city was a good place to find goats and hunters both; might be a good place to hang out for a while, poke around a bit.
Or they could keep moving. He could feel both desires pressing him on; he wanted to stop, search this city with a fine-grained seive, and get Daniel what he needed, but he also wanted to keep moving. What if this city had nothing? What if it was the wrong place? He didn't know. It was making him nervous, just thinking about it. He grimaced at his reflection in the window. Why couldn't it just be something he had to kill? If all he had to do was bash the goatling's head in, it'd all be so easy. He clenched the edge of his seat without realizing it, then breathed out and forced himself to let go. It'd be okay. They'd figure out something.
This? Daniel raised an eyebrow at Bell and smirked. "Well, I mean, 'this' is a pretty good deal, I'd say," he boasted half-heartedly. If there was anything he hadn't ever been lacking confidence about, it was his body. Even while he was still in the office and his muscles were a lot less defined than they were right now, Daniel hadn't ever experienced any problems trying to get a girl -or guy for that matter.
"Oh, you mean that," he joked. The two of them together, was it really what Bell-boy preferred? There'd been a time when the extremes wore Bell down, but Daniel had always thought Bell-boy loved Lenny more. Something about Lenny's docile nature, maybe.
Sure, they'd beaten the odds plenty of time, but Daniel wasn't sure they were able to beat them now. They had to consider the alternatives. Not that they had much choice in the matter: let the goatling take a new shell or have the goatling take his body. Either way he died.
"Hmm, somehow, I don't like the odds this time," he muttered.
Even if they succeeded, he'd be back in that black hole that was now all to familiar to Bell-boy as well, what with Becky on the prowl for some time in the spot-light. Always waiting for Lenny to lose his shit so he could take over.
"It's fine," Daniel sighed.
They had to be patient. He could hear himself say it against Bell-boy: patience. Lights kept zooming by. Daniel followed the signs at random, taking whatever route seemed most crowded. They were headed towards a big city. On the horizon, small little lights turned into a roughly shaped skyline.
Daniel felt drawn to it for several reasons. The anonymity of such a big city was appealing, same as the facilities and opportunities such a vast city would offer. The likelihood of there being hunters in a city that big was fairly decent. Finding them would be the problem. The same mass of people that offered them security would also obscure the hunters from standing out.
"Feel like grabbing a quick coffee?" Daniel offered. They needed gas anyway. Might as well indulge. He flicked his gaze at Bell. In the unnatural orange glow of the street-lights, the man's profile stood out sharply. For a split-second, it felt like Bell-boy was a stranger, but the sensation faded before it could take root.
Bell nodded. "It'll keep me young and healthy so I can keep fighting, but... I mean, it makes sense, right? Why else switch shells at all? You know? I feel like if it was going to keep a shell forever, it'd have chosen one long before I came along." It seemed ridiculous that the goat would just stop taking shells suddenly, now that he was its shell. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe it had nothing to do with the shell's lifespan, maybe it'd just get bored eventually or find a better hunter or something. But eventually, he wouldn't exist. He had a best by date. Whenever the goat decided his time was up... that was it. Everything was over. Might be tomorrow, might be two hundred years from now, unlikely as that was.
Oh, shit. Yeah. He'd known, but he hadn't exactly thought of it yet. Thought hard on it. There'd been a reason they'd gone through all this. If Daniel and Landon went back to the way they'd been... they'd have to find something. It just wasn't possible to leave him go without medication. The guy just straight up tried to kill himself over and over until he succeeded.
"It's true," he acknowledged. "But I like... this." He gestured vaguely at Daniel. "The two of you together." They worked better as one than as two. He missed Landon sometimes, but... now that he'd adjusted to Daniel, he didn't know if he'd want to go back.
He nodded, then looked at Daniel. "But hell, when have the odds ever been on our side? It'll work out in the end. We have to believe that." They'd taken down the main base against all odds. They'd even managed to keep the hunters from being on their tails all the time. Hell--he considered finding Daniel, someone who could love him back, as being against the odds. "It's not like we're out of options. We have all the options in the world right now. We can find those researchers if we need to, make a deal with the devil. I don't care. As long as you survive."
Because that was all that mattered in the end, wasn't it? That Daniel survived. That he came out alright after everything. He wasn't about to give up now, before he'd even tried anything.
Even if the goat would find a shell after Bell-boy, he'd still be there, wouldn't he? Just like Becky, Bell-boy would be forced to forever be a participant, docilely dreaming until the moment he got an opportunity to take over from the new host. Or would it even be like that? Bell-boy was something the goat created, not something it'd consumed. Maybe the shell would then simply cease to exist. Daniel wondered whether the goats thought of that as death.
"You think so?" he countered on Bell-boy living out his natural lifespan.
Benjamin was way older than Bell, so odds were Bell-goat was fond of Bellwether as a shell. That, and he'd specifically asked to have more time with Bell, rather than any other shell. If Bell-goat honoured at least that promise, chances were Bell-boy would be out a while. Maybe the goat would go dormant and forget its shell was Bellwether. Hah, now that'd be rich.
Don't sacrifice himself, was it? They might not have any other choice. If they couldn't find everything they needed for the goatling to safely make the transition, then the only other option it'd have was to take the shell that was already available to it.
"You realize if the goatling doesn't do as Will-goat has, then I might..." Daniel pointed at his head, then swirled his fingers around. Go back to being crazy.
"On the upside, you might get Lenny back too," he noted. A silver lining, maybe? Last time it'd been without the goatling's intervention he'd tried to walk into oncoming traffic. Definitely needed to get him back on some kind of medication then.
Whatever deal Cat had made with the goat, Daniel wasn't sure he'd been in the right mind to accept it back then. All he'd been thinking about was Bell-boy's pain and how to take it away.
"It's just... very unlikely we find everything we need, you know?" Daniel said sourly. They had to be realistic about this sort of thing. Finding a hunters' base was going to be hard enough, never mind clearing it and it having the right kind of setup they could use for a period of time. And that left Bell-boy's plan to defend him.
The road zoomed past. Leaving town was the only option they'd had, if he wanted Daniel to give his most recent promise of not disappearing to get drunk even a bit of a try, but it didn't mean he didn't regret it a bit. Oh, sure, it was frustrating to have to be there and see Will-goat and not kill the damn thing, especially after it'd stabbed him, but Italian places that good were a rare occurrence. And besides, the night had been going so well. He shot a surreptitious look at Daniel's crotch, then sighed and looked back out the window. It wasn't like it'd been forever, he was just horny. Horny and hopeful.
Daniel spoke up. Bell blinked, startled completely and utterly out of that chain of thought. "No--but then, you're already dead," he said blankly, unable to even process any more than that. It wasn't that Daniel was never going to die; he was going to die immediately, then.
He sighed deeply and looked out the window. He knew Daniel didn't necessarily see this the same way he did. And if... if it happened like that, then...
Then... then if it was his only choice at happiness... but he didn't want to betray Daniel. And Daniel would die. He had to remember that. It wasn't he same thing. Wasn't the same person.
Bell realized he'd been silent for a while and sighed again, then spoke. "I don't know. I don't think I'd be able to forgive it for killing you," he said, leaning his head against his arm and looking up at Daniel. "And I mean... it's not like I'm going to be the goat's shell forever. There were shells before me. It'll find someone after me. I think... I dunno, this is just a guess, but I think it might keep me around for my original lifespan, and then replace me. You know?"
He shrugged. He didn't know for sure, but he knew that there'd been others. So many others. And it made sense that Bell-goat changed its shell with the times. Didn't want it to have clashing memories coming back after it erased some time, or get recognized as being the wrong age, or not be up with the slang for his age, or anything like that. Goats took shells for camouflage. If the camouflage wasn't effective, why keep the shell around?
"I might not be around for much longer--from a goat's sense of time, anyways. A while for us." [i Maybe not even enough to keep up with you, if the goat is strict enough,] he added silently. His original self was a good few decades older than Daniel, after all. "So if that's why... don't, don't sacrifice yourself for something like that."
"If it's the only choice--I'll, I'll think about it. But don't just... don't give up, okay?" Bell said, looking at Daniel's face. He wasn't going to lose Daniel over something so dumb.
Silence passed between them. Only the whizzing of the road drifting by off-set the silence. Daniel didn't mind the grey noise, unlike times where he felt the need to fill the void with useless thoughts and words. Maybe he was a little more Lenny than he was Daniel at the moment, but it didn't really bother him as much. Might not be bothering him at all, once the goatling was out of his body -was that even possible? Will-goat had made it out as if there was something special about leaving the core behind and Daniel didn't know whether the goatling would go for full independence.
If it didn't, it'd always be in service of Bell-goat, to some extent. Would it, like sinewy-goat, simply be 'one that was closer than some'? Daniel furrowed his brow. Was that what sinewy-goat was? Another goatling Bell-goat spawned.
He'd never know.
And Daniel wasn't set on asking either.
After a few hours of watching tail-lights drift on the horizon and head-lights flash by, Daniel flipped on the radio. There were a few choices they had: just roam until they found a goat, kill it and wait to see whether the activity sparked the hunters' curiosity. Bring Bell-goat out, which was always an interesting tactic, but not one Daniel was keen to try so quickly after Bell's recovery. And lastly, actively search out hunters they knew or invade a base they'd already stripped.
It felt rushed.
All of it.
Where had the promise of 'a long time', gone to? Sure, he'd live extremely long if the goatling used him as a shell, but that wasn't living. Not by a human definition, anyway.
On the upside, Bell would never have to be alone anymore that way. He'd never have to fear growing old alone, because neither of them would have to. In a sense, that meant immortality. Daniel breathed out softly and tapped along with the melody of the radio's music without meaning to.
"What if... What if we let the goatling just take over?" Daniel pitched.
"I know," he said, to catch any premature protests, "but listen -I'd never...I'd never have to leave you. Unless, you know, we broke up over something stupid and then well, you can still kill me then. I'm just... saying... Maybe it's not so bad."
"Oh, c'mon, I've driven my fair share, haven't I?" Bell protested. He didn't like driving, sure, but he'd do it if he had to!
Daniel was just joking, anyways; he could tell by the smirk. Bell shook his head at Daniel with a smirk of his own.
It didn't take long for Daniel to decide that driving might be a good turn of events. Bell nodded, then felt his breath catch she turned, barely predicting the coughing fit before it was upon him. By now, barely anything came up, though it did make him feel as though he was going to vomit when he coughed too hard--he'd eaten way too much.
By the time he straightened up, Daniel was already sitting behind the wheel. "Yep, alright," he agreed, sliding into the passenger's seat. He'd be second shift, he was fine with that.
He'd barely settled in before Daniel was roaring off into the night, hurrying out onto the open road. Bell gave him a look. Daniel was acting weirdly antsy--almost like Landon, except Landon never took control. Maybe he was annoyed about not being able to kill Will-goat, too? Bell raised an eyebrow, then shrugged. Daniel taking charge and being the motivated one was kind of nice every now and again, as long as he understood that Bell was the one who was really in charge.
Maybe he was nervous about finding everything in time for the goatling to be born. Was there a timeline on that? A due date past which the two would become inextricable? Bell swallowed, suddenly worried as well. They might have to hurry, and they'd have no idea. That was the problem with goats, wasn't it? Vauge-ass little bitches never wanted to be clear about anything! Though, to be fair, he supposed, they seemed to have a hard time comprehending time at a human pace, so maybe it was just like that.
Before long, they'd passed out of the city onto the highway. It wasn't late enough to be really empty yet, but it was hardly rush hour, either; they mostly had the place to themselves. He stared out the window, watching the streetlights flash by. On and on and on. Felt like they were going nowhere, with all the darkness to obscure the details. Going nowhere, fast.
Was he that obvious? Daniel stuffed the last of their clothes in and ponderously stared at the blood-smudged plastic bag in his hands. He slowly pushed it back from being inside-out and sighed. Bell-boy was being silly. Daniel smirked.
"Wait," Daniel started, giving Bell a suspicious look, "did you just suggest...driving?" Shifts meant Bell-boy would be driving, wouldn't it? He closed the boot of the car and approached Bell, looking the man over. Was Bell alright to drive? But he'd done the driving from the hotel to here before. Daniel hadn't quite forgotten the migraine Will-goat so kindly donated to the both of them.
"Maybe, yeah," he decided after a moment's thought.
Sleep wasn't going to happen and he could tell Bell had caught on to the nervous energy still buzzing about his gut. If he'd be alone, he'd drink. Bell-boy's blood hadn't even worn from underneath his fingernails yet. Next time there might not be a goatling to heal Bell-boy up. He'd have to deal with Bell-goat again.
Daniel snorted at himself.
Maybe Bell-goat would give him a pat on the back for safely delivering its spawn into this world. He felt cynical about the whole ordeal. And that was assuming he'd survive the whole splitting-up part. Hopefully the goatling wouldn't have any hurt feelings over it -which was ridiculous, considering goats didn't 'do' emotions.
"Guess I'll take first shift?" Daniel pitched, already rounding the car to sit behind the wheel. It felt familiar, being back behind the wheel. Images, shreds of what Will-goat had shown propped up as vivid as a memory. Daniel shook his head and searched for the keys.
"Let's get going," he muttered.
He finally caught hold of the keys and eagerly started the car. Inside the confines of the factory, the car's engine sounded loud. Daniel didn't care. He waited for Bell-boy to climb inside and once the man finally slammed the door behind himself, steered the car towards the doors. He was just a little overzealous, a little too eager, a little too quick, but only people that knew him well would be able to tell.
It was almost as if something else was spurring him on.
No one bothered them on their way back to the factory. While Bell wouldn't have minded it, he didn't mind being ignored either; right now he was so full it wouldn't even take a [i good] punch to the gut to get him to puke.
For the last time, he passed by the twisted factory gates into the courtyard behind. Such destruction. And soon that goatling would no longer be inside Daniel, but out in the world, to decide to attack them if it saw fit. Bell shuddered a bit at the thought. That much power in anyone's hands--he hated to think of it. Hopefully the goatling settled down and went to sleep like all the other goats once it was settled into its own shell, instead of parasitizing Daniel's body. Otherwise...
What was he doing? Worrying about the goatling attaching them when there wasn't even a guarantee either would survive the separation? He shook his head at himself. He should worry about saving Daniel first; then they could worry about the goatling.
Speaking of which... Bell watched as Daniel put the clothes away, hair silvering in the faint moonlight. He looked restless. Something about the way he moved, the sharp motions as he shoved the clothes in. So much for his plans, huh? He already knew how it'd end if he made a move on Daniel here: with the man vanishing into the night and coming back drunk off his ass. There was no need to repeat that.
But there was no reason to hang around either, now that Will-goat wasn't a threat. Might as well get a move on, right? He'd gotten a good nap in today, and so had Daniel, so he wasn't worried about anyone falling asleep at the wheel for another good while yet. It'd work the restlessness out of Daniel without him having to go drink it away, with any luck.
"Should we get going?" Bell suggested, leaning against the roof of the car to look up at Daniel. "It's not too late yet. We could get a few hours of travel in before we sleep." He shrugged, then added, "or drive all night, even, take it in shifts. What do you think?" He gave Daniel a grin. It'd also stop anyone from asking too many questions about the car leaving the factory if they snuck out at night.
Daniel stood after Bell-boy, following the man out of the restaurant at a leisurely pace. There was no sense of urgency at the moment; they were done here, he could clearly feel it. Even if they hadn't managed to kill any goats here. Today had really been one of their lazier days. Sleep all day, a luxurious, grand meal and then some laundry as the epitome of their activity today.
The streets were no kinder for nightfall, though Daniel didn't feel one bit threatened by the hard looks they got. What was a human really going to do? Try and stab them to death? Bell-boy was living proof of the fact that that didn't work so well.
That, and this he was there to deliver a swift retribution.
Bell-boy found his way back to the laundromat with considerable ease. Daniel watched the man extract their clothes and took the pile. He took a minute to sloppily fold the items before deciding the plastic bag he'd use to carry them in was in no way suitable to do the same thing for clean clothes. Daniel sighed and merely turned the bag inside out, then stuffed their clothes in regardless.
'Home'. Daniel snorted.
A car inside a factory was home to them, wasn't it? At least they had something to return to. Hadn't taken too long for Bell-boy to get accomodated to that kind of luxury, even if it made hunting a bit more dreary. America was too vast to just keep roaming on foot though. The trail of destruction they were leaving behind didn't allow for a prolonged stay anywhere either.
Daniel gave Bell-boy a nod and started back to the factory. The streets weren't any kinder this time, but quieted down by the time they were close to the factory. No one really wanted to get into an argument with the two of them anyway. They had enough of a fighting presence to get any foolish youngster to back off and decide robbing someone else.
He gave the gate a push and stepped into the garden. They were really a destructive force, weren't they? Daniel tried to shove the thought back and instead focussed on putting their clothes in the boot of their car. Everything was still as they'd left it. He still didn't really feel like sleeping however. Could already start driving some place.
Where there was smoke, there was fire. Where there were goats, there'd be hunters. He nodded; it made sense. And Daniel had a point, though he wasn't as convinced as Daniel that "the goat that kept finding them" wasn't the same as vat-goat--but that was an argument for another time. But the plan made sense. So they'd hang around after their next hunt to capture the hunters that would inevitably show up--
He caught Daniel's look at last and raised his eyebrows. Oh. OH. Bell-goat, of course. He was being dumb. It was Bell-goat who'd hidden them, so of course it'd be able to briefly un-hide them. "Let's try bringing out other goats first," he cautioned Daniel. He didn't want to be weakened immediately before they took on a whole base of hunters, in which Bell-goat would probably come out again. He'd be pretty useless after that, and if they managed to bring the goat out after that...
But if it was what it took to save Daniel, he'd do it, no matter what.
He nodded and sat back, putting a hand on his very-full stomach. Somehow, the dessert had disappeared, and he was glad for it. He'd have kept eating if he'd had it, and he'd only make himself sick if he kept eating.
"It'll all work out," he agreed, meeting Daniel's eyes. And if it didn't, he'd make it work. They had a plan. He'd make the damn thing work. No way was he going to lose Daniel over a dumb baby goat.
The check came. He watched docilely while Daniel paid, feeling a bit like a cow, digesting everything three or four times over. Then he stood and led the way out, back towards the laundromat. Had to pick up their clothes before they headed back.
Night had well and truly set in by the time they were back on the streets. Whores regarded them with dead stares from dark alleys and hustlers lurked around corners. Both largely ignored him and Daniel all the way back to the laundromat, though the pimp who'd carved out his territory at the laundromat's corner gave them a hard look.
"Aight, let's get back home," Bell said, already pulling clothes from the dryer. So mundane. It felt weird to be doing laundry while they were planning an assault on a paramilitary organization. But that was their life, wasn't it? He snorted to himself and handed Daniel a pile of clothes. Just the way things were.
Finding one was only part of the problem, wasn't it? Hunters would find them, if they were careless enough. Daniel toyed with his spoon, then gathered some ice-cream and let it melt on his tongue. Bell stole the words right out of his mouth; this place was good. What about Sam? The other people forming the rebels against the hunters? Maybe they had some kind of clue, though Daniel was pretty sure that people like Stevens would've sought them to disperse and hide amongst the crowd like they had before they'd met.
Daniel docilely stared at their dessert and picked off a few spoonfuls.
"Well, where there're goats, there must be hunters," Daniel figured. "And...we never really killed the goat that found us all the time. If it's even a goat and not a hybrid. Vat-goat wasn't that goat, so potentially, we could draw some attention by bringing out a goat...or two." He looked at Bell. It didn't necessarily have to be Bell-goat, but Daniel was a hundred percent certain Bell-goat would set off the hunters to their trail.
And then there was the infection Bell-goat caused. He wondered what sort of effect it'd have. Bell-goat as originator. Would it give them a carte blanche with some of the hybrids?
Daniel was pretty sure the bad blood they'd set wouldn't be undone by a mere goat-infection.
"Hmm, it really is too bad," he remarked on the food.
Before he realized, dessert was all but gone. Daniel sat back. He felt stuffed, but satisfied at he same time. His mind was still racing with a hundred and one thoughts, but his body felt good. Healed. Or healing, anyway.
When the waitress popped by Daniel smiled.
"You got the check for us, please?" he offered, bringing out his card. She left to see to the bill and Daniel sighed out. Now that they had a plan, things had just turned more complicated, it seemed.
"We'll find something. Things have a way of working out, don't they?" Daniel said with optimism he didn't quite feel. And if things didn't work out, then. Well. He swallowed and clenched his fist. Then they didn't. Least he could do was go out with a bang. One that wasn't instigated by a suicidal streak, madness or otherwise. He'd die sane and clear-minded.
He grinned back. "Yeah, I was starving. Hungrier than I thought, you know?" He gave his chest a pat. "Feels better, mostly. Nothing like some hot noodles to warm you up from the inside out, right?" He'd probably need to cough some in a bit, but his chest seriously felt better. Still a little tight, but overall much lighter and more open, more full of air.
"The devil we know or the devil we don't," Bell replied, summing up the issue with the bases. "I mean, there's a few--like the first one we hit up way back, you know, with the nasty lady and stuff, before you had the goatling--where we could pop by and see if they're up and running. I mean, if they haven't recovered that one by now, they probably won't, right? And they were taking the last of the material out of it last we saw, so maybe they really did abandon it. "Though I guess there's no guarantee they left anything functional behind..." And the goat they'd released had fucked that one up pretty bad to boot, so there'd probably be very little salvageable.
"Yeah, you're right," he agreed at last. A new one was probably better. It'd have up to date equipment and materials, and everything they needed to keep Daniel alive for however long it took, including, possibly, researchers or nurses they could blackmail, strongarm, or otherwise recruit into service. He looked up and met Daniel's eyes; still an issue with that idea, though. "Any ideas on how to find one?"
The tiramisu and ice cream arrived, neatly plated beside one another. Bell reached out and snagged a bite of the espresso-soaked dessert, letting it melt on his tongue. "Damn, this place is good," he mentioned, swallowing, as he reached out for another bite, this time stealing a bit of the ice cream as well. The two went well together, the vanilla ice cream complimenting the coffee-cream flavor of the tiramisu. He could've eaten here every day, if he'd known about it. "Too bad we found it on our last day here."
And then on to the next base. Hopefully, whatever their method, they wouldn't find one like the sketchy little barracks in the city that'd been barely more than a hostel. No, this time they needed a big base, which made it all the more intimidating to consider.
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