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"I carried you earlier," Bell protested. He wasn't that weak. Wait, had Daniel remembered his collapse earlier? He frowned. This was pretty confusing stuff. It'd be easier if Daniel just... stayed constant, whatever constant was. "Hey, I--"
Daniel was already heading back to the tent. Bell reached into the backseat and gathered all the materials he'd bought, the food, the bandages, everything. Even though it'd taken him the better part of the day, he hadn't bought that much. Just run around to a bunch of different shops, and that was what'd taken up all his time.
"You wanna fix up your feet while I cook dinner?" Bell asked. He tossed the bandages at Daniel. "C'mon around back with me." Even he wasn't dumb enough to leave Daniel alone right now. Not without restraining him, at the very least.
He poured some coals into the grill and stretched, yawning. Despite everything, things had worked out better than he'd hoped. The one suicide attempt had been halted, Daniel had only gotten a little injured, and he'd gotten most of his chores in. That being said, he was absolutely looking forward to getting Daniel sane again. He knelt and lit the coals, then sat back to watch as they burned down. Reminded him of Daniel a little. A bright flame here and there that smouldered down to ash before he knew it. It was just that he needed Daniel to be a bright flame instead of ash for when they broke into the facility. That, or restrained.
Bell looked at Daniel. "When we break in... what do you think we should do with you?" Would he be with it? Would it be safe to not take Daniel along? He could restrain Daniel here, but then if he ended up having to flee town, it'd be a matter of days before Daniel died of exposure and dehydration. He could take Daniel with him, but all it took was a second of tripping out and the whole thing would be blown. If he locked Daniel in the car, there was a risk he'd escape or die of some kind of car-badness situation, overheating, underheating, whatever. And there was the risk the hunters would see Daniel parked right out front and clue in to what was going on.
He shook his head. Not the back-seat. He preferred seeing where they were headed to, rather than what they were leaving behind. None of what he'd seen so far had looked good. Seatbelt. He'd rather not. Daniel looked at Bell, blinked, but found the man, rather than the monster for once. Didn't look like Bell would trust him if he didn't, so at long last, Daniel strapped in and waited for them to move.
He didn't even understand why he wanted to go so badly. Nothing good would come of it. Where did he even want to go? Get the goatling? Why though? Daniel sighed out, rested back. Things had settled for however briefly. It was tiring, fighting himself and the world like this and Daniel didn't think Bell-boy would hold up very long either. He knew how much his condition could drain a person.
He'd seen it happen, before he'd been admitted.
"Yeah, yeah, it's fine for now," Daniel breathed, trying to nudge away Bell's patting hand. They started driving at last. Daniel made it a point to stare straight ahead, keeping focus and distracting himself with traffic. He silently judged Bell's timing, but didn't say anything. Wasn't as if he could take over and drive.
It was embarrassing. He was with it enough to feel the emotion take over.
What was more embarrassing, was Bell's offer.
"Carry me? Are you shitting me? Have you looked at your reflection recently?" Daniel called out the man. Sure, he looked pretty shitty, but if they were in a competition, Bell-boy would win a lovely second prize.
"Goat got you good, huh?" he muttered, then hoisted himself out of the car.
His feet hurt, but it wasn't his main focus. The shimmers in the corners of his eyes, the shadows and ghosts lingering in every nook and cranny were. As long as they stayed at the periphery, he'd be fine. Daniel swallowed thickly and started a careful, unsteady walk back to the white tent. He clutched the boots and coat close. Fuck being cold.
At least things were improving, or so he'd liked to believe. The moments of clarity were longer, though no more frequent. He was still dead-tired.
No more fog in his head though. No more drugs. Daniel wasn't sure whether that was a good thing or not.
He wasn't...? Bell just looked at Daniel. Whatever he was trying to say, he just got confused before he kept going. He couldn't really argue them not having a home, to be honest; Daniel hadn't gotten used to his little base in the woods, even if he had.
"Alright, take a second," Bell assured him. "You sure you don't want to sit in the back?" He'd sure feel safer if Daniel sat in the backseat rather than the front. The child lock had already saved the man's life once.
He knew it was Bell, but...? Bell watched Daniel calm down a bit. What, was he seeing Bell as something else? Hearing his voice weird? At least Daniel knew it was him. "At least put the seatbelt on," he said. If Daniel strapped himself in, it'd be one more step before he could throw himself into the pavement.
Once Daniel was settled in the backseat, he tossed the stuff in the back with the rest of the stuff he'd grabbed so far today. It'd be a quick drive home. Hopefully Daniel could stay sane, or at least not try and kill himself on the route home.
"How're you doing? Holding in there?" Bell asked, patting Daniel on the head. He backed out of the parking spot and navigated them out of the lot onto the streets.
The roads wound around. It seemed to take longer to get back than it had to get out. He kept looking at Daniel, checking to make sure he was right beside him and still mostly in the same world. Eventually, he pulled off the main streets and onto the back ones, away from the city and the suburbs and out into the woods, where no one was. At least out here no one would hear Daniel if he went nuts and started shouting. After a beat, Bell smirked. Well, that didn't make him sound like a lunatic axe murderer.
At their home base, he parked the car and got out, then went around and let Daniel out. "Come here, I'll carry you inside and we can see about those feet," Bell said. Daniel still hadn't put the shoes on, but with his feet that cut up, it was understandable. He'd really pushed himself earlier, hadn't he? Must've really been scared.
"Fuck me," Daniel breathed. Black. It was all black. He hadn't managed to escape. Rather than try to burst through the darkness, Daniel inched back, though he was scared to take his eyes off of the creature -the thing. Why was it so familiar? Then he caught it: the scent. It smelled like Bell. He'd know that scent anywhere.
"No, no, you're not-..." he protested,
Slowly, ever so slowly, Bell's voice started to trickle through.
Calm down? Sure, he could calm down. As if it was that easy! Daniel caught his breath and inhaled deeply. Okay. Get his shit together.
"We don't have a home," Daniel tried at last.
He still saw only darkness, but he knew this was Bell. Daniel knew his perception of the man was off -or on point, however one wanted to turn it. Seeing Bell-goat really did nothing to settle his nerves though. Daniel swallowed down his apprehension and nodded. Home. Sure. Wherever Bell wanted to go, so long as he could finally get out of this tin-can.
He'd be forced to share it with...with that though.
Daniel could feel Bell's hands were normal. Could hear his voice was, could smell the man and still the sight of that monster was so over-powering and overwhelming it was hard not to act on it.
"I- I just... need a second," he breathed out softly.
His hands were shaking. Daniel closed his eyes and focussed on calming down his breathing. In and out. Slow down. Nothing was wrong. He knew it and shit still fucked him over.
He needed his medication. Mellow back out. If Lenny took over at any given moment they'd be fucked.
Daniel felt exhausted just fighting the thoughts in his head.
"I know... I know it's you but I..." he shook his head, slowly lifting his eyes. Still black. Still darkness, dangerous and an oppressive presence. Bell-goat was no joke.
He pushed a hand against his mouth and stared. He could do this. Why would he be afraid of that old goat, right? Daniel chuckled. Worst case, he'd just get impregnated again, the fucking goat.
He brushed his hair back and gave Bell a nod.
"Let's just go," Daniel tried. Get out of this place. Not that it'd salvage any of his sanity, but staying wasn't good either. People might start taking notice of their little tussle.
Oh, there was the car! And someone was in the passenger's--shit. Damnit. Daniel was acting up again, wasn't he? The man looked panicked, beating on the door and window. Bell jogged over to the car, worried that Daniel would manage to bust through the door or window before he got there. Damn, he really did not want to deal with a busted window! He unlocked the passenger's side door and braced himself, ready to catch Daniel when he burst out. At least he'd gotten there before the guy had busted through the glass. Auto repairs were no joke.
"Daniel, Daniel, calm down," Bell said, boxing him into the front seat. He held onto the top of the door and blocked the bottom half with his legs, forcing Daniel to stay put. There was enough room to stand, but not much else, which was exactly his goal. Let him move a little, calm down, but not escape. "I got you a coat and some bandages for your feet, calm down."
It was exhausting, taking care of Daniel. It felt like he rolled the dice every time Daniel woke up, and five of the six were some variation on "violently insane." Bell sighed. Maybe he should've gone for the goatling first. But then what if they'd put Daniel back on high alert? The goatling was a powerful, resilient little being. Daniel was only human. Easy to hurt, torture, kill. It was too much of a risk.
"Hey, it's me, it's Bell, calm down," Bell said. "Let's go back home, okay? Let's go back home together. Tomorrow, we'll come get the goatling. That's what you want, right? The goatling?" It made sense, didn't it? The goatling had been a part of him for so long, so he felt attachment to the little thing. They needed to get it out of the hunters' claws as soon as possible anyways, so it didn't matter.
He pushed Daniel down in the seat. "C'mon, let's go home, okay? Let's go home. I'll take care of your feet when we get home, and we can have a tasty dinner. I got chicken and barbecue sauce." His cooking skills weren't great, but he'd gotten better at grilling things since he'd been living on his own.
Quiet. Daniel opened his eyes and looked through the haze at what seemed to be the inside of a car. It was quiet. Some bird was chirping outside; the car itself was heating up pretty quickly. He sat up slowly, dazed and slightly confused. How'd he gotten here? He didn't remember a car. Or ending up in one. He didn't feel groggy enough for a hangover either. Daniel scrubbed at his hair and surveyed the vehicle's innards. Trash spotted the floor. An empty bottle of water, some wrappers.
Looked lived in, somehow, but at the same time not. Like someone had been taking the car for a prolonged road-trip. His head hurt as if to remember something, but it felt blocked off. He shifted, but was called back by his body. The side of his head felt funny, like he'd hit it. His feet felt like they'd been slit.
So what happened?
Daniel crawled forward, ignoring the aches and slipped in the passenger's seat. He pulled down the blind and looked at himself in the tiny mirror. Though they tended to be honest, the little mirror told it all: black shadows under his eyes, which were sunken and set in a pale face. His hair was long, beard unkempt. Daniel didn't even recognize the eyes looking back at him. They were hollow and empty from this perspective.
He slapped the blind shit and searched through the glove-compartment. No clues there either. Daniel sighed out. Shoes. He spotted shoes and there were even socks inside of them. His feet were a different matter entirely. Could he walk like this?
What was the point?
Where exactly did he want to go, looking like this?
He sank back in the chair and looked out, lost. A parking-lot, like a thousand others, with no apparent clue on where he was. Daniel looked to see whether this was the type of char that had a mechanism to open the bloody window. Electric.
That meant he was locked inside.
A faded memory sprang up of him fighting another man inside the exact same car. Was he being held prisoner? No. No, he had to escape, injured feet or no. He'd break a window. The front window could be broken relatively easily.
Daniel licked his lips and reached for the shoes. That's when he saw it: black and ominous, but also strangely familiar, the monster approached the car. Shit. Fear jolted him back into action. He needed to get out, now.
"No we aren't--you wanna charge in there right now?" Bell asked, exasperated. It wasn't hard to subdue Daniel; if anything, it was sad how easy it was. The man had lost all his strength and stamina. As long as he kept a grip on Daniel's arms, the battle was won.
Suddenly there were lips against his. Starved for it, Bell closed his eyes and leaned into it. No--fuck. This was wrong, this was so wrong. Daniel wasn't with it enough to know what he was doing. But he couldn't bring himself to pull away. Just for a second, he could pretend everything was alright.
Daniel broke it in the end. Bell pulled away a little, guilty and embarrassed over what he'd done. Daniel was the one who'd kissed him, but it still felt like he'd assaulted Daniel, somehow. He should've... pulled away more strongly, or not let it happen at all.
Bell rolled his eyes at the next statement, even through the embarrassment. "I'm not even [i trying] to keep you in this car, you idiot." Daniel really had some wild delusions, didn't he?
Daniel spoke up again out of nowhere. The pain in his voice made Bell wince. Something was wrong, but what? "Nothing's where?" Bell asked, brows furrowed. No response. Daniel's eyes went blank, muscles relaxing until he was lying flat on the backseat, not even enough in him to hold his body tension. Bell sighed and closed the man's eyes again. Alright. Should've seen this coming, really.
He sat up and pushed his hair back. What now? Might as well finish up his shopping and go home. If this was going to be anything like the last half dozen times, Daniel would be out for a while. He climbed up into the front seat and gripped the steering wheel. Right. Okay. Calm down. Everything would be okay.
He moved quickly through all the stores he visited; a quick jog in the grocery store for food, a quick pop in the wig shop for Daniel's wig. Didn't want to leave Daniel waiting for too long, in case the guy went nuts again. It was nerve-wracking. Every second he was away from Daniel felt like an hour. If the man woke up and tried to run away again, there was nothing he could do about it. He'd just lose Daniel. Maybe even forever. The streets weren't kind, and there were hunters about. One wrong move would ruin everything. He hurried out of the supermarket, a jacket slung over one arm and a box of bandages in the other, and hoped that Daniel hadn't gotten himself into trouble in the few minutes he'd been gone.
The elbow to his head was unexpected. Daniel forgot what he'd been reaching for, until a hand roughly pushed him back into the back-seat. He shook the daze. Calm down? Safe? He'd just been hit in the head, he needed to go. A challenge, huh? He'd noticed the car was now parked. If there was ever a time to escape, it'd be now. Hands grabbed at him. Daniel lashed out, but the other man deflected it.
"Let me the fuck out! You're going the wrong way!" he snapped and struggled against Bell. Wait. Bell? No, shit. He couldn't lose focus now. Daniel growled and tried to get a leg under the other man, but it was difficult. They were in a cramped space, the comforter behind him was soft and yielding, and the chairs were blocking his opportunity to pull back punched properly. Never mind that his opponent was simply stronger.
Daniel stopped when he couldn't catch his breath. He quickly ran out of steam. A stalemate was all he could manage and that was simply because his enemy wasn't forcefully trying to hurt him, but subdue him instead.
He changed tactics. Daniel reached up and kissed Bell.
If anything, it'd be a distraction, hopefully sufficient to give him an opening. It felt familiar though. Ever so familiar. Those lips. Those rough hands.
The same as in his memory, in his dream. The dream he'd had while inside the tube.
Daniel broke the kiss, breathing heavily. Shit, his stamina had sunk through the gutter for real. He wasn't feel the best either. He closed his eyes, surrendering.
"Can't keep me in this damned car forever," Daniel said once he had enough air. A shiver shot up his spine. Where were they even? How did he know this was the wrong place? He didn't. Daniel wasn't sure of anything. That clarity, that certainty, they all evaporated as time smoothed his thoughts over. He fought it.
Daniel fought being submerged in nothingness again.
"I don't want to go," he whimpered. "Nothing's there," Daniel sighed out. He was calming down now. His eyes were starting to lose the angry spark that'd fired up his rebellion only minutes ago.
He shook his head. "It's okay, I've got your money," Bell said. He had that, at the very least. Hadn't been able to grab the pills, but he hadn't been dumb enough to leave Daniel's credit card lying around. He'd been relying on his cash as much as possible, in any case. Couldn't trace cash, and he didn't mind living slim. It wasn't going to last for much longer. Not when he had to keep Daniel fed and comfortable. But as long as he could, he would.
Uh oh, that was a bad sign. A shiver ran down Bell's spine. Not good. "I'm Bell," he confirmed, already bracing for an attack. He steered the car towards the nearest parking lot. Time for them to take a little break, so Daniel didn't kill them both in a car accident. Ha, good thing he had locked the door. Daniel would be ground beef already if he hadn't.
Daniel scrambled for the front. Bell dealt him a hefty blow to the head with his elbow, not trying to hurt, just stun, and shoved him back into the backseat. He wasn't going to let Daniel get up here and start fucking things up. If they ended up in a car accident, it'd be Daniel paying the most of that price. "Calm down. You're safe," he assured the man, though he was sure the blow to the forehead did nothing to convince Daniel of that. What was he supposed to do, though? The man was beyond reason.
He parked the car. It was an empty parking lot outside of a derelict gas station, the perfect place. "Alright, come here," he challenged Daniel, turning around in his seat. Too bad the bindings were at home. He'd have to tear up a shirt, or something.
He pushed out of his seat and grappled Daniel in the backseat. In another context, he reflected, as he deflected a blow, he'd be really turned on by this. He'd never been able to talk Daniel into a sexy wrestling match. The hate and anger etched across Daniel's face now, though, was more than enough for him to keep it professional. "Calm down, calm down!" he snapped. Alright, point taken: changing up Daniel's location promoted delusions.
"That guy," he waved at the black dude. It didn't blink, merely stared at him. Daniel got even more on edge when that gaze turned to Bellwether. No one was there? Confusion crossed his face, followed quickly by doubt. But he could see it! It was right there. Words. Bell-boy was spouting more words at him and he didn't know where to focus.
Something about food.
"I don't care -not hungry," he muttered.
His eyes were focussed on the guy next to Bell. One wrong move and he'd pounce the darkness, no matter how ferocious. No matter how shitty he felt.
Daniel narrowed his eyes at Bell, momentarily forgotten they weren't alone and when he snapped back his head, the haunting ghoul was gone from his sight. Daniel blinked and reached out, but there was nothing. So he had been seeing things after all? Well, shit.
"I don't have any money," Daniel said at last. He didn't have anything. Actually, he wasn't even sure how long it'd been. Bell hadn't mentioned how long he'd been trapped inside the tube, or the institute for that matter. Could've been years, not that he felt like it'd been. The world was as confusing as ever though, so he couldn't be a hundred percent sure.
"You're Bell, right?" he asked, slightly suspicious now that the shadow had gone. Was this man now the shadow that'd been there a second ago?
Maybe he'd been taken over.
It itched, under his skin. He couldn't sit still or hold his thoughts in place. Each time he wanted to focus on something, they escaped his grasp. Daniel shifted. Bare foot. Blood. How did that happen? Did this man want to keep him prisoner? Prevent him from running away like this?
He could still run. Daniel steeled himself, then reached for the door. They weren't driving fast, he'd be- fuck. Locked.
"Why the fuck are the doors locked?" Daniel spat.
"I want out. Let me out," he commanded. Rather than wait for the guy to open the doors, Daniel started for the passenger's seat and the controls. Child-lock, had to be. If he could just reach that button and press it- then he could...
Do what? Then he could do what?
No. That didn't matter right now. This man had him trapped in a car and was going the wrong way. He'd get out and run.
Bell looked over at Daniel. Was he really cold enough to need to huddle up like that? It was getting chilly, but it wasn't that cold out yet. "No, they probably will. I'll get you a wig, too."
A wig was the least of it. What was he going to do with Daniel? He still didn't know the answer. Tell him to sit outside? But what if the delusions got bad enough that he started roaming, or the hunters found him? Take him inside? Right, and then when he started hallucinating that Bell was some horrible tentacle monster, he'd be screaming his head off right in the middle of the enemy's base. He wasn't dumb enough to think that the disguises would hold up under any kind of scrutiny, much less the kind that would come from an event like that.
He sat back and watched the world go by. At one point, he checked on Daniel and found the man staring at nothing with a blank look. It'd been a pretty long bout of clarity, he had to admit that. Bell turned around in his seat and reached back to shut Daniel's eyes, so at the very least his eyeballs wouldn't get dried out. He didn't seem to blink much when he got like that, after all.
A cleaning truck trundled up to the back of the hunter's building. Bell grinned. He'd been right after all! From beside the front seat, he puled a pad of paper and started taking notes. [i Elite Cleaners,] was it? Typical attire, too. And a hat? Sweet. He could find most of it at the local store, aside from the patch on their shirt. Well... it wasn't like he needed to pull a long haul this time. Could just knock one of them out and grab their shit.
More time passed. A blonde chick emerged. Bell sat up, excited, but it wasn't Sarah. The cleaners left, bundling their equipment away. Bell waited for them to get a head start, then followed them. It'd be better to ambush them somewhere on their route far away from the hunters' prying eyes.
Daniel came back to life with a jolt. "What guy?" Bell asked, looking around. No one in the car but him and Daniel. No, no. It was just a hallucination. He waved his hand through the seat beside him. "It's fine, Daniel, there's no one there."
"What're you thinking for dinner?" he asked, steering the conversation away from men who didn't exist. "I've been cooking out mostly, so the hunters don't ambush me in a restaurant again." That'd happened too many times already. Now that he had to be more careful, he couldn't take the risk.
Cleaners and janitors? Daniel had a faded memory of seeing Bell inside the facility, though it was clouded and obscured by drugs. Oh, so it'd been that easy to sneak inside? Or maybe he'd just been in an easily reached part. That made sense, right? If he didn't have all his ducks in a row and he was human now, what was the point in heavily securing him? Daniel yawned, tired for some reason, though it felt like he'd been asleep. Maybe he hadn't been. He didn't want to know what happened when his memory cut out. Did he just turn into some zombie?
'Fine', sure. Daniel didn't even know why he'd said it, so let the man have his little protest. He'd be there to help, hopefully.
Daniel cursed himself. Were they really going to try this right now? Even he knew that seeing things on a consistent basis was no good ground for a sting-operation. That, and he felt pretty shitty overall. Daniel huddled down in the comforter and docilely stared out the window.
"You think they wouldn't recognize me?" he posed. A wig was all nice and dandy, but the reason Bell gave wasn't for people 'driving by', was it? The man planned on going in already.
The thread of thought and accompanying clarity slowly washed away.
Faces. The dark people next to the street had gruelling faces. Some were hidden by dark hoods, but others grinned at him almost merrily.
Prescription? Oh. Maybe.
It felt like they were going the wrong way. The darkness was trying to tell him that, but he trusted Bell. It took one second to be in a different place altogether. To be lost from the car and inside the tube instead. He was suspended there, calm and observing. Daniel tried to stretch out, but was met with resistance. The goo they held him in was too constricting, made it difficult to breathe almost.
And then he was back in a car.
Daniel shook his head and wiped his eyes. He wasn't sure how much time had passed. None? Hours? Bell was there, driving. In the passenger's seat was one of the dark shrouded people. Daniel felt glad he was sat in the back.
"Why're we taking that guy? Liked them better when they were just on the side," Daniel confessed. The hooded guy turned at Daniel's voice and grinned to the back; rows of pointy teeth revealed themselves. Shit.
"Okay," he said, palms open to show he was no threat.
"You just stay there then."
Words and motion. Bell glanced back at a stoplight and confirmed it; Daniel was up and moving. It wasn't yet clear if he was sane, but what he was saying made sense, so that was a start.
Daniel really hated the wig, didn't he? It wasn't that bad. "Don't want to get recognized if the hunters drive by," Bell replied. It wouldn't bear up under scrutiny but on a quick drive-by the hunters might not notice it was him. Besides, he planned to be doing a bit of following and sticking his nose in places it didn't belong today, so the wig made sense.
"The hunters' base, first. I'm gonna stake out the back end for a bit. I'm willing to bet they contract for cleaners rather than have their own janitorial staff." It wasn't something he'd paid attention to earlier, but it was important now. It'd be easier to sneak in as a temp if they contracted the janitors rather than had their own staff. "And if they do, I gotta see what they wear so I can look like one."
He didn't know why he was explaining it all to Daniel. The man wouldn't remember, or understand, or care. Force of habit? Sheer loneliness? Either way, he was started for conversation. It wouldn't be so bad to hold one, even a nonsensical one.
"I'm fine," Bell said, waving it away. Did Daniel remember the fit earlier? No way. He hadn't even been with it enough to recognize Bell was there for most of it. This was probably just something random. "We've gotta get the goatling, right? Before the hunters fuck it up."
They couldn't wait. Not for Daniel to be sane, not for him to get over whatever that stupid goat had done to him. They needed to get in and get out and be in their way. Then they could deal with all the problems. All the bad stuff going on with them.
"The hunters have your prescription, too. That Sarah bitch stole it," Bell complained. He nosed the car into a parking lot not far from the back of the hunters' building and yawned, stretching out a bit. He glanced back at Daniel, then nodded. "If you see her, give me a holler, cuz we need to organize a little break in at her place, too. Probably right before or after we get the goatling, since we don't wanna cause a big scene before everything goes down."
They were already moving. Daniel tried to conjure up how he'd gotten to be in a car, but came up empty. At leas there was one constant: the comforter. And that man -no. No, not just 'that man'; Bellwether.
Shit. His head felt like sandpaper.
"You look dumb," Daniel called out hoarsely. Water. There was a bottle, rolling on the floor and he clumsily grabbed for it. Where were they even? His head felt clear. For now. It felt like a waxing and waning of sanity. He cracked the plastic cap and screwed it off. Sweet, sweet water.
Freedom. To an extent. He hadn't realized it until then, but for what felt like the first time in forever, he didn't feel trapped or cornered. He felt safe. Like he belonged. Even though he had trouble getting to grips with a great many things and the world was flashing him by in slightly too vivid colours, too imposing, he felt at ease.
"What's with the wig?" he called out, head cocked. His eyes narrowed, sensitive to the influx of light, despite the slight cover of clouds. How much time had been lost? He recalled something of earlier that morning. A conversation. Eating a banana. Mundane things. Resting against Bell. The goatling. Trapped in a tube.
It felt reassuring to remember things, even though they weren't the most exciting of things. Brought along some context. He pulled a foot close and winced at the dried up blood and gunk attached to his soles.
At least he wore clothes. Sort of.
"Where are we going?" Daniel tried.
He was pretty sure Bell was getting tired of him continuously asking, but he failed to care. Daniel shifted to sit up better and finished the water. It felt like they had purpose, driving like this. Shadows flickered at the side of the road. Ghouls, watching him, skidding by every now and again. He could never see their face in any detail, but felt his neck-hair bristle at the sight of them. He knew it wasn't real.
Daniel knew that.
And still he was scared.
On edge. Daniel brushed by his neck and sighed. Nothing he could do about that- other than get back on drugs. It felt good being clean for once though. It'd take another while to be completely clean though. He zoned out, looking out the window.
"You're not fit to do this," Daniel said. He didn't even know where it came from. "You're hurt."
The weight of Daniel's head on his shoulder was familiar. He patted Daniel's back gently, just to let him know he was here. "Me too," he said to being tired. Less so than Daniel seemed to be. It was nice, though. Just simple conversation. Just getting a reply back.
He just hummed when Daniel mentioned losing it. He knew. He knew, and it scared him, so he didn't want to face it.
Wait. Go to the goatling? Was that where he kept trying to go? Bell frowned. Then maybe... maybe he wouldn't get better until they had the goatling, at least. Maybe that was the key. What a fucking catch-22. Couldn't get the goatling until Daniel was sane; Daniel wouldn't be sane until they got the goatling. Not that he had any proof that Daniel would get better with the goatling nearby, but it was worth a try.
"What? You can--you can communicate with the--?" Bell asked, startled. No, it couldn't be. It was just some facet of his schizophrenic delusions, probably. But he was so clear right now. So... with it. Maybe he was like Will, now. Or was Will able to communicate? He couldn't remember.
He looked at Daniel. "You think this means--"
Blank stare. Empty eyes. The hope that'd flickered in Bell's chest for a single heartbeat was extinguished. "Fuck," he muttered, then stood and took the peel out of Daniel's hands. Should've known better than to hope he'd be back.
But he was getting better. Improving. Bell stood and walked out into the sunlight to toss the banana peel away. They should get moving. He didn't want to sit here until the cows came home, and Daniel didn't look to be seriously improving, either. His moment of clarity aside, there was no coherence to his actions, and he knew Daniel could have moments where he was there and still be completely insane. Might as well put his plan into motion.
He walked back inside, picked up Daniel and carried him into the backseat of the car, then jogged back, grabbed the wig, and yanked it on as he climbed into the front seat. "Let's go take a look at those hunters, huh?" he suggested. With one last check to make sure he'd put the child locks on, Bell drove off towards the city.
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