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Going by the crestfallen look on Bell-boy's face, he looked like shit warmed over. At least he wasn't scaring the man off. Bell-boy stepped close and Daniel gave the man a loopy grin. Felt good to have Bell back.
"She kept her promise," he breathed softly in relief, eyes fluttering shut when Bell brushed his hair back.
"Hmm, what? No, you didn't...it's -long story, stupid hybrid caught me in a blind spot," Daniel explained. Someone had seen fit to clean out his gunshot-wound again, because when he tried to sit up again, Daniel could feel the bandages there tighten around his arm.
"If it hadn't nicked a vein, I wouldn't have risked it," Daniel grit with determination. He still felt a bit vague. Lingering anaesthesia, probably. He'd only just woken up from it, after all. No, no, that wasn't quite true. He recalled a nurse, in a dark and calm room with more people.
"It just -we drove away, but hmm...the uhm, the hybrid said something funny. Told me it'd marked us, so it'd know where to find us."
It was important Bell-boy knew these things right now, but he could tell him about Rebecca later. After they'd 'checked him out'.
"-have to," Daniel huffed.
He felt where Bell-boy's doubts were coming from. Even if they were going to arrest him though, they might not risk moving him either. That was good. Maybe he could risk another day, hope that having the goatling made his DNA unusable or different.
Despite his words, Daniel stopped trying to get up and just rested, eyes closed. He needed a minute. More than a minute, probably.
"...changed into Becky," Daniel muttered drowsily, foregoing his earlier plans. He opened his eyes to slits to see Bell-boy's reaction. "Knocked her out -scared the stuffing out of me, that," he rambled. Daniel realized he was tired.
"Couldn't keep her that way though, too cold, so waited for nightfall and then figured South, you know? She saved my life. Stupid hybrid would've shot me if she hadn't," he breathed. "She seemed relieved Ben continued his life and wasn't the one that hurt her. Sad too. She cried. Hated her for what she does to you though, so I didn't really care."
Daniel reached up and felt his arm being tugged at by the snares tying him down. Fluids, cold fluids entering his body.
With a bit more care, he rubbed at his eyes and sighed. He was losing the will to fight and get out more rapidly than snow melting on a beach. It was comfortable and warm in the bed. Maybe that's why they hadn't given him more painkillers. Was probably still on something.
"Hmm, need to go," he mumbled at Bell.
Daniel! Joy spread through his body, a smile cracking his face for just a second before he noticed the wires and tubes and it all came crashing down. Shit. Daniel looked like shit. He glanced back to make sure no doctors had noticed his entrance, then stepped into the room.
"Hey," he said quietly, moving closer. Daniel was in bad shape, and no mistake. He looked almost as pale as the bedsheets, the fluorescent lights only serving to make his face look paler and more lifeless yet. The guy could barely manage to sit up, forget walk out of here. He knew they couldn't stay--all kinds of bad things would get pinned on their asses, and not without reason--but he didn't know if Daniel could survive being moved. He sat on the edge of Daniel's bed and brushed his hair back. "What happened?"
It looked like Daniel had been run over by a truck. Well... no, not quite. He was pale and tired, but not that bad off. Bell did a quick scan for damage, checking his head, neck, limbs, chest... stomach. Oh, damn. Those were some heavy-duty bandages. He could see them through the flimsy sheet and gown, the bulk of the bandages alone making them stand out against Daniel's body. "Shit," he muttered. His stomach lurched, and he gave Daniel a sudden, guilty look. "I didn't...?"
They'd been at the shed, after all. He'd... passed out. He didn't remember anything, anyways. Had he stabbed Daniel while he was out of it? He wouldn't. Wouldn't... normally. But there was nothing normal about going back there. Back to her.
"Can we get you out of here?" he asked, worried. The goatling couldn't be working, if Daniel was in here. It didn't usually take kindly to people invading Daniel's body, and healed him up quick enough, so whatever was up with it, it was still--broken, for lack of a better word. Not doing its job. Though to be fair, his goat wasn't much better off. He didn't know if he could pull on it at all, and hadn't tested its healing powers, but he'd only just woken up from a couple-day coma. They probably weren't there.
He swallowed. Right. He couldn't bring out the goat. If he snuck Daniel out of here and things went sideways... there'd be nothing he could do. Unless he wanted to put himself in a coma, and... well, Daniel never liked that much. Maybe if sinewy goat was here, but who knew if its blood even healed in the first place? He didn't know. It was a mess.
After the embarrassment of handing the nurse his finished product, Daniel laid back, quietly contemplating what she’d said. Doctor this afternoon, but he had to disappear before that. If he was reported -no, his injury- then there’d be people wanting to know who he was. And one simple DNA-test later, using blood he’d liberally spilled on the operating table, would connect him to several murders and more.
Daniel watched the nurse leave and contemplated his next move. He needed to get up and leave the hospital. Just shifting on the bed left him feeling drained and meek though. Whatever they’d done to repair the damage had left its mark. Invasive surgery, probably. Apart from the drain, the bandages around his gut were tightly packed and firm. Probably there to keep his guts from leaking out.
Lost too much blood. Probably more during the surgery last night. He felt tired again.
Liquid breakfast. Ugh.
Daniel closed his eyes and rested back. Where were his clothes even? A closet? Had any even survived having them cut off? His shirts probably not, but the pants? Shit.
He had clothes in the car, but for all he knew Rebecca was still off with that. Daniel sighed and shifted. Despite asking him whether or not he was comfortable, the nurse hadn’t seen fit to give him more painkillers. Maybe they’d do that after breakfast. Not that he had any. More like a drink. Not that he felt like eating anything at the moment.
Daniel opened his eyes back up to a crack and stared out the window for a long few minutes. Snow. It was coming down slowly now. Despite it being warmer here than Bell-boy’s hometown, it was still definitely winter.
Movement caught his attention in the corner of his eyes.
He’d recognise that mop of hair anywhere -Bell!
“Bell,” Daniel said, voice sounding even worse for having had a breathing-tube stuck in there during surgery. He tried sitting up more, but sagged back into the pillows. Shit. He couldn’t afford weakness now. They had to get out and fast.
“Bell -get yer ass over here,” Daniel hissed, “help me up…”
No less nervy for his lack of sleep, Bell climbed out of the car and went for a walk, pacing around the hospital parking lot with long, quick strides. Okay. So Daniel hadn't come out yet. He had no idea where Daniel was in the hospital, or when visiting hours were, but maybe if he just moved with purpose, no one would stop him. In any case, he had to pee, so that'd be two birds with one stone, right? Go pee and visit Daniel. Yeah. He couldn't sit out here any longer. What if Daniel was in life-threatening condition and died while he wasn't there? The goatling would probably... he sucked at his teeth as a thought came to him. They had no idea if the goatling was stable enough to survive on its own right now, let alone heal its host. If Daniel died, forget the goatling taking over; that might be it for both of them.
Yeah. He wasn't going to let this stand any longer. He had to go check on Daniel. Bell swept his hair back with purpose and strode into the hospital.
The lady at the desk had her head down, entering data or browsing the internet or whatever--he didn't care. He breezed past, stepping lightly until he was out of sight of her. He didn't look like he belonged in the hospital, but maybe it was visiting hours, he didn't know. They'd have to work hard to throw him out before he found Daniel, in any case.
A short stop by the bathroom later, he walked the halls with purpose, consulting the signs as he passed them by for directions to Daniel's most likely location. Urology, no. Radiology, also no. Trauma? Maybe. A family passed him by going the other direction, and he considered following them for a bit, then pushed the urge away. They were probably going to visit grampa or something. Wouldn't help him find Daniel.
He came to a patient ward in the right section of the hospital and started reading the names in the halls. Daniel... Daniel... Landon... Daniel... what was the guy's last name again? Turner?
None of the names were familiar. Jacob Walker. Sam Tubin. Marcus Hagesly. Andrea Jones. John Doe. Tyler Goba. Bell put his face in his hands and tried to think. Maybe he'd misunderstood the note. Maybe it was an old note. Maybe the address was wrong. A hospital was a big place. Maybe he should try another ward. Maybe... wait. He'd passed a John Doe. Maybe Daniel hadn't gone under his own name?
Bell hurried back and peeked around the corner. Was it Daniel, after all?
Chatter woke him. Daniel shifted. A ward? A hospital? The gnawing sensation at his gut clued away why: he’d gotten stabbed by the stupid hybrid. A nurse was tending to one of her patients across of him. His curtain was half-drawn to offer a measure of privacy, but not much else. A gown was all that covered his chest. Plastic wires were running into his arm and he was fairly certain there was a drainage tube in his gut. Great. He lifted a heavy hand to push his hair back.
Where were his clothes?
Bell-boy? He’d have expected the man there already. So maybe Rebecca had remained in control after all. Or maybe Bell-boy didn’t know where he was. Quite possible. Daniel tried to sit up, only to be called back by his body. Okay, he wasn’t quite there yet.
Had to take a leak though. The good stuff had worn off, leaving the pain crawling through his stomach like an itch. Daniel glanced around his bed to find a calling-button, when the nurse from the other patient caught him searching.
“Good morning, finally awake?” she greeted him. Her brown hair was tucked into a bun. She looked old enough to be his mother. The nurse picked up his chart and glanced it over. “Are you in any discomfort, mister-…?”
Daniel was lucid enough to catch on to her tactics. He remembered Becky telling him ‘no names’. Just, ‘get in there and pass out’. Which was close enough to what he’d done to get himself in this situation.
“A little,” Daniel admitted, once again trying to sit up.
The nurse stepped in and found the controls of the bed to help him sit up straighter. She wasted no breath in drawing away the sheets and checking the site of the injury. Once she was satisfied, she gave Daniel a stern look.
“The doctor will be by this afternoon to check on you and it’s important you tell us your name. We can’t help you to our full ability if you don’t. Despite what you think, we might be able to help improve your current situation to prevent this type of thing from happening again,” she said. Daniel gave her a dead stare. As if.
“You were shot. We have to report this type of thing,” the nurse forewarned, her tone now softer. Police had already been notified, a standard procedure for any John Doe.
“There will be breakfast in a few minutes -liquid only.”
“I need to uhm…” Daniel waved at the general direction of the facilities. Rather than help him up or fetch a wheelchair though, the nurse brought out a whole other contraption. Right.
He had to piss in a pot.
Probably until the drain was taken out. Shit. He had to get out of this place sooner, rather than later and Daniel wasn’t sure whether he was physically able to. Where was Bell-boy when you needed him?
Bell jolted awake in the backseat of a strange car. He jumped up and reached for the handle, but recognized it a second before he jumped out; this was Daniel's car. The car they'd gotten, so they wouldn't stand out in a white van the whole time. He breathed out slowly and shook his head. He'd had a terrible nightmare. Daniel was hurt, and--
Wait. How was he in a car? Where was the shed? No, no, it was okay. He must've just passed out or something. He'd ask Daniel. Bell half-stood and pulled himself forward. "Daniel, what--"
Daniel was gone. In the passenger's seat, there was a dark, blood-red stain, barely covered by a ransacked, bloodstained first aid kit.
Bell's heartrate ratcheted up to a million beats per second, adrenaline hitting hard. What had happened? What had he missed? He pushed his hair back, and something jangled. Distractedly, he looked at his palm. Keys. Why was he holding keys? What?
Blood. There was blood, and no Daniel. Shit. Something bad had happened. Something had happened, and he'd been out for it. He had to do something. But what? He had no idea where Daniel was, or who'd taken him, if it was hunters or goats or--something else. What should he do? What [i could] he do? He ran his hair back again and bit his lip, tension building up inside him, bubbling up in his heart and his chest until he couldn't take it anymore. He punched the back of the seat in front of him, hard, then again and again. It was useless, pointless, but he couldn't stop. How--how--what could he do? What could he do?
Something thumped into the driver's seat, shaken by his punches. He looked up, and his eyes went wide. Daniel's wallet. How-- no. That was no good. Shit. He grabbed it and went through it, hoping for some kind of sign. All the money and the cards were still there--and a torn piece of paper. In a shaky hand, someone had written an address and "come visit."
He looked at the note. Daniel's handwriting? It was a hell of a moment to realize he had no idea what that looked like. The faint bloodstains traced where the writer's hands had brushed the paper were still fresh, barely browning; had to be his. He looked at the address, then climbed up into the driver's seat. Okay. He'd take a look. See what he was dealing with.
A hospital. A hospital was what he was dealing with. Bell sucked in a sharp breath. Shit. That wasn't good, was it? Could he even 'go visit?' They'd want to know names, and shit... He rubbed his face, then leaned back in the seat. Okay, no point stressing over it. If Daniel was in there, then he was in good hands. He'd--nap, or something. Wait for Daniel to come out. Just--it wasn't over yet.
In the end, sleep was hard to find. Images of a bloodied Daniel kept flashing before his eyes, overlaid with a gun, a white van, things he hadn't seen but somehow felt familiar. And every time he pushed the images away and started to settle down, the fear of what might've happened to Daniel came back and spurred the adrenaline all over again. When dawn broke over the hospital, he wasn't sure he'd slept more than an hour in total.
Cloth was cut away. Fingers probed the injury. He was shifted on a sterile, plastic bed, so they could examine the exit-wound. Daniel could hear them whispering, mere hisses breathed under the medical jargon shouted in curt commands.
[i ‘What’s his name?’ ]
[i ‘He won’t say, he has no papers.’]
[i ‘He looks like he’s been out on the streets.’ ]
[i ‘His coat looks new.’]
[i ‘He needs surgery, whatever pierced his abdomen nicked a vein.’]
Pain. Cool metal. The scent of disinfectant. A nurse’s smile. A warm hand to his arm. Curious eyes regarding the old injuries around his neck. A gasp when they discovered another injury, older still -the gunshot wound.
Water. Cool cloths. They were preparing him for surgery. Soon enough he was staring at too-bright overhead lights, dazed and slightly confused. There was no pain though, and soon enough a mask covered his face. A nurse asked him to count down from ten, soothed him, saying everything would be fine.
He lost awareness before he could reach one.
When he woke next, it was quiet and dark. Dim lights filtered in through a hallway. Tubes snaked into his arm. Fluids. Antibiotics? He felt nauseated and bruised on the inside. Daniel shifted, forcing his eyes to take in their surroundings. More people were where he was. Most of them were asleep.
“Good to see you awake, sir,” a nurse alerted him to her presence. Daniel’s eyes lazily drifted over to her face. He didn’t feel with things. He felt like he had back at the mental hospital: sluggish and out of touch.
“Your vitals are looking good, we’ll have you out of recovery in no time,” she soothed his obvious discomfort.
Daniel moved, lifted his arm, but it felt remarkably heavy. His mouth was dry and his throat scratchy.
“Stay still for a second,” the nurse started, then adjusted a line and jotted something down. “Do you remember what happened? You came walking in with a worrying stab-wound. They had to operate on you to repair the injury to your abdomen, but luckily the doctor managed to repair the damage. You’ll make a full recovery.” The nurse caught him drifting and smiled.
“Just get some more rest.”
Rest sounded good. Daniel gave in to the ever present temptation of sleep beckoning him and he fell into a deep natural and restful sleep, rather than a drug-induced one.
"Yeah, uh... you're welcome," she said awkwardly, not sure how to deal with this. She couldn't just not save someone's life. What, did he honestly think she'd just watch him bleed out? She wasn't Bell.
Becky watched until Daniel was inside the warm glow of the ER's doors, then hit the gas and pulled away. It was just her in the car, her and a slowly-cooling seat that was stained crimson with blood. She looked around, then put the first aid kit in the seat. It didn't do much to hide the blood, but it was better than nothing.
She felt oddly calm. Her fingers gripped the wheel so hard her knuckles were white, her eyes were wide-open, but she was beyond panic, somewhere in the endless calm so far past panic that she didn't feel anything at all. She'd shot a guy. Was driving. Had dropped off Danny, the only adult who knew anything about her, in a hospital, where he might die. And now... now what? She glanced at the money. Money didn't mean shit when she was a minor. She couldn't get a hotel room or anything.
She couldn't deal with this. It was Bell's turn.
Becky parked in a quiet parking lot in the back of a supermarket not far from the hospital. She put the wallet on the glove box in between the seats where it'd be really obvious, just to be sure Bell saw it, then climbed into the back to change. The car cooled quickly, warm air turning cold on her bare skin, but then she was back in Bell's clothes, her own folded neatly on the back seat.
Becky looked at her hands, then sighed and closed her eyes. She'd take a little nap. That's all it'd take to wake Bell up, wasn't it? Just her letting her guard down for a bare moment. Nothing to it.
It was chilly in the car. Quiet, too. Then, suddenly, there were footsteps. Becky tensed, listening hard. Were these footsteps--the men? Had they come back to get her? Closer. Closer. With every passing moment, the footsteps drew nearer. Becky held her breath, whole body tense.
The footsteps passed by, a quick snippet of chatter sounding out as someone walked past the car. Becky sighed out and sat up. Just some shopper. She should relax. Too on-edge from... from everything. But... it was so hard to let go when everything was so scary.
Wait, maybe that was it. "Danny's in danger, Bell, wake up already," she said, replaying the images of blood, of the gun glinting in the darkness. Something surged up inside her, and then--
Pretend to be homeless, huh? Didn't really need to do much for that. Daniel pressed down on the injury a little harder, praying the injury would stop bleeding, but it was persistent.
"No name, pass out -got it," Daniel muttered numbly.
What Rebecca said next made Daniel furrow his brow. Let Bell out? Shit, they were parting ways here, weren't they? How much would Bell know?
"Thank you," he mumbled, then swallowed. He didn't feel much pain, but the blood loss was making him feel a bit out of touch.
"You know? You're not so bad," Daniel breathed when Becky stopped at a hospital. He was losing the car to her. But she was Bell-boy too. He'd be distraught. Daniel reached into the glove compartment and noted the name of the hospital.
His hand-writing was poor, fingers shaky and numb, but he managed to write down the address and a note saying 'come visit'. Next, Daniel got out his wallet and folded the paper in there with care.
"Use the money as you need, come visit tomorrow if Bell-boy's not out," Daniel instructed. The cards would have his name on them. He couldn't bring them if he was to play the John Doe card.
"Thanks for saving my life...you didn't have to, but you did." Maybe she wasn't a bad person. Just an ordinary girl put in an extraordinary situation. "Maybe twice," he chuckled and opened the door. Daniel used the car as a crutch and finally shut the door to let go.
It was fine. This was the best choice they had.
Unless the hunters found them. Daniel figured he'd just get patched up and escape the next day. Easy as pie. Hopefully Becky didn't have to lie and she'd bring out Bell-boy to help him escape.
He could only hope they hadn't marked Becky. But maybe they'd marked Bell-boy. Either way Daniel prayed to whoever would listen they'd be safe. Walking was more of a chore than he'd thought. Before long however, there were hands stopping him from going forward. A male nurse held him steady with one hand to his chest, barking orders to several other people once he caught sight of the blood.
The world revolved into controlled chaos not long after.
He was put on a stretcher, people asked him questions he felt too weary to answer and soon they were administering him proper pain-relief. After that, his memory started going hazy.
"Something... serious," she explained. There were urgent care places, if you'd just sprained your ankle and didn't care if you risked a misdiagnosis, but they didn't do serious surgery. That was pretty much exclusively hospitals. And... well, she imagined the mob probably had something, right? But she had no idea about any of that. And Daniel was definitely seriously bleeding out over there. That much blood, she was amazed he hadn't passed out yet. Maybe he was used to it.
Nothing she could do. She knew that. It didn't make it any more reassuring to hear it, though. Becky shook her head and focused on the road. All she could do was drive. Mind the road. Give Daniel a nice ride.
It wasn't much longer before he decided he wanted a hospital after all, and Becky wasn't surprised, either. He looked like a leaky bag of water, blood seeping out both sides. The back of his chair looked like someone had been murdered in it. She took a deep breath, then looked around. "First one I see," she promised him.
Hospital. Shit, she didn't want her free ride running off on her! And if he got caught up in shit... that'd be bad, too. "Um, I'll... drop you off in the back of the lot and drive off," she offered. "If you pretend to be homeless, they shouldn't look too hard at your records. Like, I'm sure I don't have to say this, but don't give them a name, or use a fake one, okay? Just, like, pass out on them and be a John Doe." They'd still care for him, even if they didn't know his name. It'd be better than nothing, and better than her money getting caught.
She couldn't possibly go in with him. All those questions? Even a shot of her face might be too much. No, it wasn't possible. She couldn't do it.
And what was she going to do? No money, no nothing. She huffed out. She didn't know how to live like that, but she knew someone who did. "Um. I'll probably... let Bell out," she decided. "So... you can look forward to that." It might be the end of her being out at all, but... this was pretty shitty. She didn't want to live this life. Though she had a suspicion that now that she knew how to come out, she'd be able to do it again. It was risky. She was basically killing herself. But hell, she didn't want to live like that. She probably wouldn't survive on her own. Bell, though. Bell would. She'd rely on him.
A hospital came up on the right. She drove up to its parking lot, then stopped. "Alright, hop out," she said. "ER is right in front of you." He could make it that far, right?
She was better than Cat and Bell-boy at the driving thing. At long last, there was someone with their learner's license who didn't lie about it. Wait, how old did that make her? Fifteen?
"Something like what?" he muttered, distracted by trying to keep the blood from creeping through his fingers. It felt warm, moist against the palm of his hand. Might've hit a vein. Shit. He lazily shifted his head to look at Becky. She looked tense, nervous. Of course she'd be -she'd just shot a man and was driving for the first time in forever.
At least he'd gone for an automatic this time around. Daniel had meant to cater to Bell-boy's sorry excuse for driving, but this worked too.
He sighed out.
"Not really, bleeding's got to stop first," Daniel muttered. They could tie the wounds off better once it did, or stitch it, but they were no surgeons and the hybrid had gone clear through.
"Maybe keep a lookout for a hospital," he said, slightly defeated. Hopefully if he let Rebecca guide them, they might end up at a place of Bell-goat's choice, but if Bell-goat was aware enough for that, it could also simply heal him.
He had to bank on the fact that either the hospital staff wouldn't connect him to any known crimes -his name had never come up on any of it- and no one would get smart enough to check his mug.
It was risky. Really risky, especially considering he'd have to be admitted and his foreign insurance would raise heaps of flags.
Daniel hoped they'd help and ask questions later.
They could always escape something. He smiled faintly. Bell-boy had promised, but Becky hadn't. It'd be interesting to deal with hunters from jail. Maybe he would die, and the goatling -then a goat- would just come crawling out to reset its shell.
He really wasn't ready for that one.
Blood started to seep through the pads he'd stuck against the injury. He didn't even want to know what was happening at his back. Daniel shifted and reached for the first-aid kit Rebecca had brought and with meek hands unwrapped more pads.
Felt like he was plugging a black hole with light.
"A hospital," Daniel started. "Definitely a hospital. Fuck, that guy had bad timing. 've got to risk it," he explained.
Okay. She was going to drive. She took the keys carefully. Her hands were shaking; it was hard not to drop them. She could do this, though. How much could driving change in a few years?
Daniel was bleeding out. This wasn't good. It really wasn't good. Mechanically, she climbed into the driver's seat and let muscle memory take over, guiding her through the actions of starting up the car. How did the medical system work? "How would I know?" she asked. She'd been out for twenty or so years!
No, no, think. He'd want to know about the system... because, well, because he was with Bell, and they were probably doing illegal shit. She shook her head. "It's, uh, yeah... Something like that, you'd need a hospital, and..." And they'd have records, and look him up, and probably find out whatever he didn't want them to know about him. Though maybe he'd be able to squeeze by, if none of it was in his name? She didn't know.
She guided the car out of the parking lot and down the road as Daniel directed. Her heart was still racing, adrenaline still shooting through her veins. She could see that her knuckles were white on the wheel, but when she released the tension a little, they started to shake. She swallowed and pushed her hair back, then gripped the wheel again. She could do this. All she was doing was driving. It'd all be okay. No one had any reason to suspect her. Just...drive. It was all she had to do.
"Oh--okay," she said, voice high and tight, nerves clearly audible. Anyone following them. Her eyes went to the rearview mirror. Everyone was following her. How did she know who was following her in particular? Her breathing sped up, coming in short huffs, and her eyes darted from side to side. Anyone could be an enemy. Anyone.
No. She couldn't panic. Becky took a deep breath. She had to calm down. Calm down. She'd get out of this okay.
"Is--is there anything I can do?" she asked, worried. Daniel looked really pitiful. Honestly, if he died right now, she wouldn't be surprised. And she couldn't have him die now. Someone needed to fund her beach trip!
Between the truck and Becky's help, Daniel hoisted himself from the van. Now that the adrenalin was fading fast, so was he. Pain forced his gait to be a slow one. One hand was still pressed up tightly against the bandages on the front, to try and stem the bleeding. They needed to leave, get distance between them and the dead hunter.
"I can drive," Daniel grit, but then paused. A hospital? Shit. He hadn't thought about that. Without the goatling, he wouldn't be able to heal this. Bell-goat could, but... He needed medical help. It wasn't like a broken bone or foot. He wouldn't heal any faster than usual and gut injuries like these could get dangerous quick.
Daniel rested an arm on the top of their car, closing his eyes for a second. Okay. No, he wouldn't be good to drive for an extended period -he'd already been weary from driving most of the day.
A hospital though?
Maybe a clinic? Did they do free health-care in America? Some place he didn't have to explain who he was? They'd be wanted for several things; arson, murder, obstruction of justice and who knew what else. And Becky.
They'd get separated for sure. She couldn't prove to be anything of his.
But at the hospital, they might find out whether he had anything on him with which the hunters were tracking them. Or was it something -no. The man had clearly said they'd been 'marked'. So there was definitely something.
He took out the keys and pushed to stand straight a little, though kept a hand on the car just to be sure.
"You drive," he ceded.
At least that much. Wouldn't exactly be beneficial if he crashed them into a tree or anything. The thought made him chuckle. Sweet irony if he did.
"How does the medical system here even work?" Daniel pitched, letting Rebecca know he was contemplating seeking medical help. He moved carefully, gently easing his back against the chair. The pressure of his body weight would help stem the bleeder there, at least. It wasn't that bad. Right?
Shit. It hadn't even stopped bleeding yet.
"Just...get us out of here," he waved a hand at the nearest road. The pills were kicking in, at long last. Slowly some of the pain eased, the sharp edge smoothed out into something manageable.
"Keep on the look-out for anyone following us," Daniel ground out. He would just rest his eyes for a second. Or two. Maybe it'd feel better. It didn't. The darkness almost made it worse, because there was nothing else to focus on.
Even with a gut wound, Daniel was surprisingly strong. She felt herself be lifted and tried to comply, but it was hard. Bell was half-awake. Daniel being hurt--it woke him up, out of the nice dream he'd been having and closer to reality. She could feel him reaching out, pressing at the boundaries; could feel his confusion, the muted, half-awake urgency in his search to escape. Daniel was hurt. He couldn't sleep. Had to--take care of Daniel!
"It's just a nightmare. Go back to sleep. Just a nightmare," she chanted to herself under her breath, soothing him, trying to send him back to sleep. She didn't want to go back yet. Not yet.
Daniel called her name. Her eyes snapped open, back in the present. She could feel Bell sliding back to sleep, and then nothing. Then she was in control again. "Yeah. Yeah, I... yeah," she said, nodding. She looked around, noticed the sloppy bandage-work on Daniel's gut, grabbed what remained of the first-aid kit, then climbed out.
She offered her hand to Daniel to help him out of the truck. "Let's go."
Looked like they weren't going to spend the night in the hotel after all. She hurried towards the car, swiveling as she moved, on the lookout for any more attackers. That man... she'd never seen a goat like that before, so close to the surface, so... rotten. Whatever it was, they had to get out of here. He'd said something about--more coming.
Becky looked at Daniel, not at all sure about his health. If he died--well, Bell could come out, for sure, and that was assuming she survived the death. If he was driving and he just passed out... she swallowed. Not a pretty picture. "Danny, can you drive? I had my learner's, I can drive if you're hurt. Should we go to the hospital?"
Shit. Talk about a horrible day. She'd finally come back, only to be bopped in the head, then attacked by some deranged gunman of a goat. Maybe she should just swap with Bell. He'd know how to deal with this--this bullshit. Whatever was going on. But she didn't want to go back so easily. Not after all her effort to come out.
Just as he said it, the man complied. Not willingly. Daniel's eyes went wide for a second, but then he noticed Rebecca holding the hunter's gun. Shit. No time to be distracted! The man grabbed at his shoulders. Daniel got a good look at the black dripping from the hole in his head. How was this man still up?
What he said was interesting though.
It tells us? That meant there was another goat. Us. There were more. More hunters still. Not a surprise. He'd run into small bases and facility so often with Bell-boy, it'd be odder if there weren't any left at all after the chaos they'd instigated back at the main facility -if it was even the main. Before he could ask for more details, the man sagged through his knees, body decomposing into black liquid, which quickly dissipated into a gas.
Goats left no trace.
Daniel stepped back, deflated, and rested his shoulder and hand against the van. Rebecca's eyes were wild and panicked.
"No one heard -'s silenced," he muttered softly.
Shit. It hurt. His gut felt like it was on fire. Becky stated the obvious. Daniel took a couple of steadying breaths and then steeled himself. There'd be supplies in the van.
He put a hand to the bleeder and picked up the gun Rebecca had dropped. She seemed to have some kind of fit. Rather than sit and wait it out, Daniel bent down near the evaporating corpse and looted the car-keys from the man's body.
Daniel opened the back of the truck and stepped back for Rebecca. He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her along, into the back of the van.
There, he sat her down next to him and pulled the door. Supplies. Right, he needed supplies. All thought of cold had gone. Sweat pearled on his brow, the combination of adrenalin and pain making him uncomfortable.
Bandages. The first aid kit. Daniel's hands were trembling as he opened the box and took out some pads.
"Hey...you okay?" Daniel asked, glancing at Rebecca. He felt a cold patch on his back -through and through then. Shit. The blood he was losing was dark, at least. Still, it was in a nasty spot, low in his gut, probably damaged some intestines.
He pressed some pads against the injury, then unfolded more to get the spot in the back before unrolling bandages. It was a sloppy job, but it'd hold until he could find something better. To off-set the pain, Daniel took some pills, then raided the ammunition for what he hoped was the silenced gun.
"We need to leave, back to the car. Becky?" Daniel tried softly. If this hunter knew their location, so would others. Technically, Bell-goat had been out when Becky had come out. They still didn't know how.
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