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Bell-boy was moving excruciatingly slowly. One step at a time. Daniel didn’t care no more whether the stairs would hold his weight. His eyes were wild, and he couldn’t stand close enough to Bell -as if the man could ward off the delusions. The cat-creature was now at the top of the stairs, squelches resounding as whispers in the empty hallway.
‘I’m going’ wasn’t fast enough. Daniel gripped Bell’s arm tight, trying to control the infuriating fear. He knew it wasn’t real. Corpses did not rise from the dead, nine lives or no.
It changed. flesh and bone contorted to form a thin strand, reaching for the railing. Once it latched on, it pulled up the main body, which grew and restructured itself. Bone cracked, skin and flesh boiled into something new. Soon it grew legs, though the eyes were hollow and the jaw was set in a horrifying grin.
They finally reached the end of the stairs. Bell-boy stood still. Daniel dared to take his eyes off of the creature to see what the fuck Bell was doing.
He slowly let go of Bell-boy’s arm. He couldn’t stay here and wait. Daniel backed up slowly, not keen on leaving Bell alone with that -that…thing. It was now scaling the stairs, precariously balancing around the gap in the stairs Bell made.
Daniel’s breathing hastened at the sight. It wasn’t real. Couldn’t be real.
Chunks of hair and flesh fell off as it moved, close and closer.
“No…no sounds right,” Daniel stammered, blinking at Bell as if the man had only just materialised.
Not looking at it wasn’t exactly a help. He could still hear it.
He took a deep breath and ran his hair back. It wasn’t real. Daniel followed Bell-boy across the ominously creaking floor. It wasn’t real. The scraping behind them wasn’t real. It sounded like a cat’s nails being dragged across the floor. Bell moved too slow to his liking. Daniel caught up and stepped ahead, eager to get out into the sun, into the open. He put his hand to the door and opened it.
How did she get here? Daniel’s face was a mess of confusion.
‘I didn’t mean to die, daddy. Won’t you love me?’ Daniel took a step back, and then watched as Spot bounded straight through what he saw.
It wasn’t real. Daniel closed his eyes for a second and then followed Spot outside.
Daniel grabbed his shirt as he fell, the fabric pinching under his armpits and choking him hard at the neck. For a second, he struggled to breathe, but then Daniel swapped grips to hold him under the armpits instead, and he sighed in sweet, musty air.
"Yeah," he said, when Daniel asked if he could stand. "Just a little...little scraped up." He pushed himself back up using the wall and got his foot out of the hole, then firmly planted it on the lower step, moving slowly and deliberately in case this one gave out as well. The wood creaked threateningly, but held. He let out a quiet sigh of relief and continued slowly down the stairs. Slowly, slowly. Had to be careful.
Daniel was right up behind him suddenly, begging to go down. Bell glanced back, but whatever Daniel was scared of wasn't visible from this angle. Or had never existed in the first place. "I'm going, I'm going," he assured Daniel, still moving slowly. He didn't want a repeat of his previous performance. The splinters hurt, digging into his skin with each step, but he was too afraid of the stairs giving out to stop and pull them out.
A small eternity later, he stepped off the stairs onto solid ground. He moved to the side to let Daniel join him, then bent over and started pulling the splinters free of his leg. Some of them--the bigger ones--were tipped with blood, but most of them had only just pierced the skin. Spot came up, curious, and nosed at Bell's leg. Bell pushed him away before the stupid dog could get it in his head to lick the cuts, and Spot turned to Daniel instead, greeting him with a joyful sniffing, same as he'd greeted Bell.
"So," Bell said casually, pulling the last splinter free and rising to a stand, "I'm thinking a no on this dump." If nothing else, the image of that dead cat was going to haunt him for a while, and he'd rather not share a resting place with the putrid creature. He stretched, then led the way out, the creaking of the floorboards suddenly threatening. He did not want to fall into the basement.
If poking around meant they’d be driving around, Daniel was going to decline. He and his stomach had had enough of the truck driving for a good while.
“Ugh, what is that?” Daniel said, biting back the urge to gag. The rotting smell of death permeated from the room Bell-boy had opened. He reached up to pinch his nose and cover his mouth.
“Ah, shit, that’s nasty,” he commented. The dead cat was decaying where it lay, creating a nice stain of bodily fluids seeping though the carpentry and into the floorboards underneath. Daniel wouldn’t be surprised if the dead cat would start leaking through the ceiling down below. And they hadn’t checked the basement yet either.
He kind of didn’t want to now.
Bell-boy seemed to agree. Daniel was grateful the man shut the door.
One second he was watching the back of Bell-boy decent the stairs and then suddenly, the man just fell down. The fall was paired with ominous creaking and soft wood shifting and falling apart. Daniel reacted instantly by grabbing the back of Bell’s shirt, though if the man had really fallen through the stairs, it wouldn’t have done any good.
Other than drag him along.
His heart was racing. He let go of Bell-boy’s shirt and instead grabbed the man under his upper arm, making sure he had a firm enough grip Bell wouldn’t sag down any further.
“Shit, knew this place was a dump…fucking dangerous,” Daniel muttered. Bell’s jeans hadn’t been able to protect him from the wood that hadn’t rotten. Thick splinters stuck through the fabric in jagged angles. That’d be a pain to get out.
“Can you stand on that?” Daniel pitched. He could support Bell-boy, but the stairs wasn’t likely to hold their combined weight. Not on one step anyway.
Something moved on the top floor. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. Shit. Not now. There wasn’t anything upstairs. Except for the dead cat. The door slowly started to creep open. Inch by inch, quietly, with only the sound of a shuffle coming from behind. And then the wailing began. Soft, needy, like an animal in distress. The cat looked crippled, dragging itself along the floor, leaving behind a trial of its innards that got dragged along with.
Daniel wanted to run. There was nowhere to go. The fear was inexplicable and not real. He knew it wasn’t real. But it was overwhelming.
“Shit. Bell-boy? Can we go downstairs?” His voice trembled. One of his feet was already one step down, trying to move away instinctively and it took everything Daniel had to stand his ground.
Spot didn't follow him upstairs; Daniel hesitated, but followed his lead after a moment. He understood the hesitance. The house wasn't in good condition.
"Yeah, roof is probably leaky," he commented, glancing up as though he'd be able to see the roof from here. The house must've been sitting empty for a long while, to be damaged like this, but then again; it didn't give off an air of recent occupation. Not even by homeless types like them.
The second floor was no better appointed than the first, with the exception of what appointments the previous not-so-legal residents had made to the rooms. The one Bell peered into was empty, aside from what looked suspiciously like a piss stain on the carpet. He was starting to understand why no one else was living here. It was kind of a dump. No; it was really a dump. No 'kind of' about it.
Just camp in the car? "It's an option," he said, seriously considering it. Maybe even a better option when compared to this mess. "Or we could poke around more. This is just the first place I found."
Not that he expected Daniel to want to move around more, but who knew? He seemed much more lively now that they were out of the car and walking around. Maybe a good walk was exactly what Daniel needed.
He gave the house one last look, poking around a little more. One of the rooms gave off an awful smell when he opened it, like something had died inside. Hesitant, he peered inside, ready to shut the door in case it was 'someone' and not 'something' dead, but it was only a cat, dead and rotting. A fly crawled out of an empty eye socket as he watched, and he grimaced and shut the door, swallowing down his revulsion. Gross. "Yeah, okay. Let's consider something else."
The house was a dump, and why sleep in a dump when they had a car, after all? He started back down the stairs, eager to be out of the house. Three steps down, he landed a little too hard on the stair and his foot plunged straight through the rotten wood. As he fell, he grabbed onto the railing, which held him for a second before it gave out, too. For a second, heart leaping into his throat, he feared he was going to fall all the way through and into the basement below, but then he finally caught his weight with his other leg and stopped his fall.
Bell sat there, heart racing, and just tried to catch his breath, then slowly started to pull his leg free. It was scratched to hell and impaled with at least a dozen splinters, but at least he wasn't badly hurt. Shouldn't have gone upstairs. Stupid choice.
The house protested their entry with a squeal, rotten wood falling away with the chain. Daniel raised an eyebrow, ponderously debating whether or not sleeping under a bridge would’ve been more healthy. Especially when he caught sight of nature’s eating away at the furnishing. Empty cans provided aroma to the stale air trapped inside the house, a thick layer of dust betraying no one had been there in quite some time. Daniel could see why. The floor bemoaned their presence and for all there were walls, he doubted they’d offer any real protection from the cold.
“Whoever was here before us did a bad job at house-keeping,” he joked.
Daniel followed Bell-boy further into the house and nudged some cans out of the way as they went. Spot sniffed the floor, then promptly sneezed and pulled a face, baring his teeth. Yeah, it was a bad smell.
The house was pretty far gone.
The first door opened to a gaping darkness, leading into the basement. Daniel wasn’t impressed.
“Want to flip a coin?” Daniel offered, then realised he didn’t even own a penny with which to do said coin toss. He didn’t have to; Bell-boy decided stairs and started scaling the steps. Climbing mountains was less treacherous than the path they were taking however. Daniel noticed Spot wasn’t so eager to follow them and therefor simply didn’t. For a second, he debated doing the same.
Daniel felt out the step with his toes, then picked the sturdiest spots to stand, following in Bellwether’s footsteps. If the upper floor was in the same condition, he rather not stay here. Either the roof was going to sink out from underneath them, they’d get the ceiling on their heads or something worse. Whatever was in the basement.
“Let’s hope it won’t rain, because this looks like water-damage,” Daniel said softly. He’d believe floods for the lower floor, but the second floor? It wouldn’t stay water-logged for long. Not enough to rot to this extent.
Upstairs wasn’t an improvement to downstairs. Stained wallpaper, a faded green, set the tone. Some sunlight penetrated a destroyed window, which also invited a breeze. Several doors were lined up, two on each side. Most were unhinged. Daniel pushed at one, carefully picking his way across the landing.
A room. Or what would’ve been a room before the wreckage. Some cans littered the corner of the floor, a broken down crate in one corner betraying someone had tried to make this a home at some point. There were scorch-marks on the faded carpet as well. The mattress had all but burnt out though.
“You sure we shouldn’t just make camp in the car?” Daniel pitched.
He glanced back at Daniel's voice, but the man was only talking to the dog. Mildly amused, Bell shook his head and turned back to the chain. One quick yank and it gave, the door cracking ominously as half-rotted wood almost gave as well. It creaked open, rusty hinges squealing with all the vigor of hungry piglets, and then they were inside. The interior was dim, not nearly as dark as the shop has been;if that had been twilight, this was more of a sunset level of light. Empty beer cans and broken bottles littered the floor here and there, a stained and dusty mattress laid out on the floor in the middle of the room.
"Looks like we aren't the first ones here," Bell commented dryly. Still, for all that the mattress had once been used and abused, a layer of dust now covered it. Whoever had been using it hadn't been back in a while.
He moved deeper into the house, taking it in. Unlike the previous house, the one he'd woken up in, this house was unfurnished, save the dirty mattress. The walls were white, except where they were stained with mold or mildew. There was nothing particularly interesting about the house; it was a remarkably generic building, simple and empty but left to rot.
He came to a door and opened it to find stairs to the basement, then rounded the corner and discovered the stairs leading up. "Wanna check out the second floor or the basement first?" he asked, glancing back at Spot and Daniel. Spot mostly seemed interested in the dog food Daniel was carrying, not that he'd expected the furry creature to cast a vote. Upstairs was brighter, even brighter than where they were, but the basement was dark and gloomy, even in the middle of the day. He considered, then led the way upstairs. Probably best not to put Daniel in darkness.
The stairs groaned underneath them, the wood dangerously soft in places. Bell picked his way up them, careful of his footing. The railing gave way when he grabbed for it, cracking loudly under his hand. "Mind the stairs," he warned Daniel.
“I don’t know and I don’t care,” Daniel said demurely regarding the bridge. He was just glad there wasn’t one they’d be sleeping under currently. One hand wiped at his face, his expression exasperated. Bell-boy could’ve called himself the queen of England and Daniel would find himself agreeing just to avoid an argument the way he was feeling currently.
Right over there sounded as if it was close. Daniel fell in step with Bell-boy, following the man’s lead. It was a nice day -as if the gods were trying to spurn him. That said, the walk eased up the general sick feeling in his stomach some, so when the time the abandoned house popped up on the horizon, Daniel had shaken some of the dreariness he’d felt from the ride over.
The walk was too short to ease it up entirely however.
“A house, nice,” Daniel complimented Bell-boy with a wry smile. “Well…what once was a house, probably,” he added with a mutter. ‘Not great’ was forthcoming, but it beat a bridge. With some luck they could find a dry spot on the upper floors that would be relatively safe and then the house itself could be their burglar alarm.
“With this many busted in windows, a chain -really?” Daniel said with a snort. What was a chain going to do? Someone had barely bothered boarding up some of the broken windows, but not all. Not by far.
“Yeah,” he nodded, giving Bell-boy the go-ahead. They rounded the house, wading through an overgrowth of weeds and rubble. The back doors had received the same treatment the front door had; chains.
Daniel pulled a plant from his shirt and shrugged. “Have at it,” he waved. Using the goatling’s powers was only going to wear him down needlessly. Daniel was pretty sure a chain had few secrets to the goatling now. He gazed listlessly up the house. It had to have one been a majestic place, sheltering a big family or something like that. Now, it was looming, haunting almost. Daniel shivered despite the heat.
Yeah, sure. It’d make nice sustenance for his delusions. Shit. He hoped the inside of the house would be boring. Maybe some previous owner had a thing for pink.
Spot’s nose pressed against his hand and Daniel looked down at the mutt.
“I’m fine,” he soothed the creature, patting Spot’s head.
"It's not a bridge, where would there even be a bridge around here?" Bell asked him, gesturing at the flat land without any sign of water. Bridges were only really viable in cities, where they were a walk away from food and water, not in the middle of nowhere, where the under-bridge was usually just mud and far from any kind of sustenance. He stood back and watched Daniel root through their stuff, not really sure what the man was after. They'd have to take another trip into town to get water, but they'd probably do best to grab a few cans to eat for lunch. Strangely enough, Daniel grabbed the dog food in the end rather than anything human-edible. Bell raised his eyebrows at the choice, but said nothing. Spot could probably do with a feeding.
Once Daniel moved aside, he slipped in and grabbed a can for himself. Daniel might be sick, but Bell wasn't, and it was definitely lunchtime. "Anyways, it's right over here," he said, gesturing Daniel after him. He led the way towards the tree where Spot was hanging out; the dog stood at his approach and looked at him expectantly, but then laid down again when it became apparent that Bell wasn't doing anything that involved him. Past a tight-knit snarl of brambles and around a stand of trees, and he stood before an old, broken-down house chained shut and closed up. It'd once been a proud, two-story house, but that was a long time ago. It was old, the porch drooping, windows dusted up from the inside. The lawn was more forest than lawn and the driveway was crumbling, grass and even trees growing through the aged asphalt. The front door was chained shut, but when had that ever stopped them?
"It's not great, but it'll do for a night or two," he said, looking it over. He turned back towards Daniel. "Wanna take a look inside?"
Without waiting for an answer, he picked his way through the overgrown lawn and towards the back door. This, too, was chained shut; he turned towards Daniel. "You wanna do the honors, or should I?" he asked, putting a hand on the chain.
More driving around. Daniel made a little noise in protest, but knew they couldn’t hold up the line at the gas-station for much longer than they already had. To make matters worse, they weren’t even going straight; no, this little town had smaller roads, more stops and turns, everything to make him feel just that much more miserable. Daniel focussed on his breathing, one hand tangled in Spot’s fur, the other keeping his stomach in place.
At long last, or maybe after a few minutes of driving that had felt like they were a century and a half, Bell-boy called out they’d found a nice place to stay at.
“Hmm, great,” Daniel muttered.
The car was standing still; that was the great thing about it. He didn’t move for a few long seconds, but then rose as if from the dead.
One of Daniel’s arms reached out for the back of the driver’s chair and used it for leverage to hoist himself into a sit, then reached for the door and kicked it open. Fresh air invaded the truck. Spot was eager to get out, as usual and Daniel watched the mutt bound off to investigate the first tree that came up. Then the dog found a nice stick to chew on and mauled the dry branch to small bits, watching them from his perch in the grass.
“Yeah, I can walk,” he told Bell. Did he look that bad? He was just feel sick, that’s all. Oh, look. A strip-mall. Daniel sat looking outside for a minute or so, giving his body the time to adjust to being upright. His stomach approved of the situation at long last, though not extremely eager and Daniel stepped outside.
He didn’t have much to throw up no more, so he’d probably feel marginally better after a little walking around.
“Please tell me it’s not a bridge you found us?” Daniel bemoaned, reaching in to pull some of their things closer. Canned food, most of it. No more water, sadly. They ought to get some if the place they’d be staying at was cruddy.
His hands were shaky. He was thirsty. Daniel despondently tossed a can back into the truck and reached for the dog-food instead. At least they ought to cater to Spot a little, huh?
Daniel gave him a look of disbelief, but Bell shrugged back. What? They weren't desperately trying to get anywhere. The hunters were a long way off. The only thing he was moving away from was alcohol, and he already knew that was an impossibility. This place looked quiet enough, in any case, a kind of small town without much in it; not as small as the place he'd been in the egg, but a small place.
Give Daniel a few minutes, huh? Sure thing. He shook his head. Daniel was not going to be okay in a few minutes; if he was, then they wouldn't have this trouble in the first place.
Where was here? "Middle of nowhere," he said with a shrug. "I dunno, I didn't read the name on the exit sign." Some little town. Didn't matter. It was somewhere they could chill while Daniel was sick, just sit and wait for him to recover. He pushed Daniel's legs in gently, whistling for Spot. Daniel's 'just a second' or no, they couldn't sit here and nap at the gas station. The other cars were going to start honking at them any second now.
Spot hopped in, and Bell shut the door behind Daniel. "I'm gonna drive around and look for somewhere to hang out," he explained, climbing into the driver's seat.
The car grumbled into life, no more pleased with being made to run than the last time it'd started. With some effort, he pulled it out of the gas station and onto the road, then cruised through town. There wasn't much town, and not much abandoned; a small motel stood by the exit ramp, but he didn't think they needed that much luxury, with their money running low. A dilapidated house caught his attention; looked empty, and looked like a great place to hang out.
He pulled into a nearby strip mall and parked, then looked over his shoulder at Daniel. "Found us a place," he offered, tilting his head to try and gauge if Daniel was awake. "You good to walk around?" He sure hoped so. It was way too hot to carry Daniel around. Spot gave him a curious look, then stood and shook himself, eager to be out and about.
He was getting sympathy-looks; even Bell-boy didn’t think he looked healthy enough to be credible apparently. Once back outside, the sun assaulted him with how nice it was that day and Daniel sort of picked his way back to the car under the strain of good weather and one happy mutt, before opening the car’s door and sitting down. Sitting soon became stretching out over the back-seat with his eyes closed while Spot was keen to see what he was doing. The mutt was about to climb aboard entirely when Bell-boy came around.
Daniel’s legs were dangling from the door’s opening.
He felt better now. Now that the car was standing still and he’d expelled most of what had been breakfast that morning.
Stop? Daniel furrowed his brow and dared to crack open one eye to give Bell-boy a look of disbelief. They’d only been driving for a couple hours, but even at just having one eye glaring up at the audaciously good weather Daniel felt his stomach turn all over again. So no, he wasn’t overly keen on having to drive much further at the moment. Or moving in general apparently.
He put a hand to his stomach, reassuring the organ he wasn’t actually trying to actively move or do anything of the aforementioned plans.
No real need, huh? Maybe Bell-boy was on to something. Daniel’s eyes slowly slipped shut again and he sighed.
“Just give me a few minutes,” Daniel muttered. He was feeling sick, shaky and miserable. After having just been sick, he hoped to at least feel a little more like himself.
“-feel better in a sec,” he promised.
It wasn’t very likely the way his body refuted any input. A shiver tore up his spine. How could he be feeling chilled? The way the sun beat down on the truck’s roof had the temperature inside at a cosy level. Even Spot seemed to think so, because the mutt favoured being out of the truck rather than inside, even with Daniel there.
“Where’s here anyway?” Daniel pitched from his stretched-out position on the back-seats of the truck. Maybe staying wouldn’t be too bad. They could find a decent place to hole up for the day where he could be nice and miserable for the coming hours. It’d be better than continuing driving. It hurt his pride to give in like that, but he felt too shitty to care.
He watched Daniel wobble into the store, mildly concerned. Why weren't they going after the hunters, huh? Well--there was his answer. Daniel was a dozen miles from being okay after his little alcoholic snap. He had to hope the guy wouldn't buy any beer while he was in there; usually gas stations didn't have anything stronger, thankfully. How drunk could Daniel get off a beer or two?
Even so, he didn't want Daniel to touch any alcohol until he was well and over this.
Rather than concern himself with Daniel too much--he had to give the man some trust, or he'd only act out forever--Bell worried himself with buying gas. They were at half a tank, but he figured it wouldn't hurt to top it up. Spot was wandering around, sniffing at the grass and pumps with bland interest, and Bell agreed. Nothing interesting here. Just had to wait for Daniel and move on.
"Watch the truck, alright?" he asked Spot; Spot gave him a blank look, and he shook his head and headed inside to pay. Daniel was just coming out of the bathroom when he entered, and he nodded at the man. Looked like it'd be more driving for him, the way Daniel looked, all strung-out and pale.
A surprising chunk of their cash vanished to pay for the gas. Bell raised his eyebrows at what was left, then ventured into the bathroom himself. The acrid scent of vomit lingered; hadn't been able to hold it after all, huh? He grimaced to himself, a little concerned. If Daniel kept vomiting everything up, he'd get really sick. He'd have to keep an eye out for that.
Having made use of the toilet that Daniel hadn't besmirched, he emerged and stretched, looking around in the sunlight that shone down from above. It was a warm day for spring, which probably didn't help Daniel's feeling sick. "You wanna stop here for today?" he offered to Daniel. Wasn't like they urgently had to get anywhere, and this place looked as quiet as any other. They could wander around, find somewhere to sleep, and not have to worry about Daniel puking up in the car. "No real need to move fast," he explained with a shrug.
They stopped not long after, at a gas-station. Great. Plenty of people around to enjoy the show. Bell-boy opened the door and Spot jumped out ahead of him, puttering around to sniff out their new surroundings. Daniel took Bell-boy’s hand and sighed out. Everything was just too bright, too overwhelming.
“Thanks,” Daniel breathed, getting up out of the car. He squinted at the glaring sun.
The fresh air made him feel better, but moving around made things worse. His body appeared confused.
“I’ll just…find a rest-room,” he gestured at the gas-station’s facilities. Walking distracted him marginally, told his body to do something else with his meal other than throw it up. Not for long. The second Daniel opened the door to the toilets, the smells coming from inside tipped him over the edge. He was only barely able to make it into a stall before he felt his stomach clench painfully.
There wasn’t even much to throw back up either. What fluids had churned around in his stomach gushed out in an involuntary heave. Most of it was petty far gone and tasted acrid. At least he could barely recognise the toast and coffee on the way back up. The mixture splashed into the toilet and Daniel leaned against the wall with both hands, heaving for air.
He spat at the bowl and waited for the worst of the nausea to pass.
Or maybe throw up again, if there was anything left. He felt a bit better though. Shaky, clammy, but less weak. He closed his eyes, finding himself wanting a drink. Or two. Just a fresh glass of beer. Nice and cool.
He spat once more for good measure and then flushed. While there, he decided the other end might use the toilet too and he stepped out after a minute or so to wash up. The water was cool, refreshing. Daniel rinsed out the taste of vomit several times over before splashing some water on his face and washing his hands. His reflection looked like shit. He probably hadn’t slept for very long then. Just a few hours at best?
No wonder Bell-boy thought he’d be a liability.
“Pathetic,” Daniel muttered at himself and took several tentative sips of water.
Daniel seemed to catch on that Bell didn't want him to drive, which simply made Bell shrug. Whatever was right. Daniel wasn't in his right mind, and Bell was going to do whatever it took to keep them safe.
He still couldn't help himself from shooting the man a glare through the rearview mirror when he immediately fell asleep. Leaving Bell to do all the work, as usual. Well, that wasn't true. Daniel drove him most of the time. This was just him paying Daniel back for what he'd done earlier.
What was their relationship? He pondered while he drove. He loved Landon, but Daniel... well, he loved him too, but it was different. And that was fine, there were different kinds of love, but... he and Daniel didn't really get along. Never had, either. Either they were fucking like rabbits, or they were at each other's throats. It felt like a purely physical relationship, even if Daniel insisted there were emotions. How did Daniel show affection, anyways? He'd never been able to see it. Claimed from the start that he loved Bell, but tore him apart at every opportunity. Sex was nice, but it wasn't a very secure way of showing affection. Didn't make him feel loved.
Then again, that was probably his own issues, and nothing at all to do with Daniel, who probably thought sex was a plenty-fine way to show affection. 'Wouldn't do it unless it was someone I loved;' Daniel was that kind of person. Or professed to be. His wandering eyes made Bell wonder, sometimes.
He yawned. He was making problems from nothing, when they had real things to worry about. Ought to just stop thinking about it.
Daniel shifted on the backseat, then sat up. Bell glanced back, then nodded. Daniel looked green--hadn't even thought that was really a thing, but he did. Bell pulled off at the next exit and pulled into the first gas station they came to, figuring he'd fill up the tank while Daniel puked or whatever. He got out and walked over to Daniel's door, opening the door and offering him a hand out. More than anything, he really didn't want to clean puke out of car-floor carpeting.
It could hurt a lot, but Daniel shrugged. This had to be the first time Bell-boy agreed with him. Maybe he was still delusional, imagining it all. Wouldn’t surprise him to wake up and hear Bell-boy cry out that they were supposed to kill goats, not recruit them. Bell’s silence spoke volumes, not aided by the fact he posed Spot drive. The mutt -the man- hadn’t ever driven a car before either. He’d had about one lesson before they’d split up.
“Whatever you say, Bell-boy,” Daniel muttered.
He was tired and not in the mood for a fight. Daniel decided to crawl into the back so he could stretch out a little, rather than use the door as a pillow and made himself comfortable. Spot did the same. Soft fur was nice.
He’d thought to doze, what with the car’s noise and the traffic around them creating a distraction, but Daniel all but dropped off into a coma. Shreds of dreams fluttered by, each as discombobulated from the previous as the following images. They didn’t make sense. Daniel wouldn’t remember them.
When he woke it felt as if no time had passed.
He hadn’t felt extremely tired, but he did feel awake now. And nauseous. That was likely the reason he was awake, rather than sleeping. Daniel’s hands curled into Spot’s fur and he made a sound of malcontent. Maybe he’d feel better sitting up. He was working up a sweat too.
Daniel reached for the window and rolled it down to have a little more air venting around the truck. This again. Shouldn’t have drank as much. But he wanted to drink more. It was such an easy cure and it’d make him feel better instantly.
But he couldn’t. He’d promised. Lenny had too.
“Can we stop for a minute?” Daniel called out to Bell.
Maybe it was just motion-sickness. As if. Whatever. Maybe it’d be better if he drove, because then he’d be to focussed on the road to feel as miserable. He ran a shaky hand through his hair, and sat up. Not for long. He slouched down the seat a second later, taking deep breaths. If Bell-boy didn’t stop soon, he’d paint the road a different shade at several dozens miles an hour.
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