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For a second, he was disoriented. The room looked wrong. No... it wasn't his room at all. Just another hotel room. And there was Daniel, sitting up away from a table. He breathed out and watched Daniel wake up. Weird dream. Really weird dream.
"'S night," Bell muttered, wiping the sleep from his eyes. He felt gross. His chest ached. Not in the sick kind of way, but like a healing wound. He scratched at it and found himself able to touch his skin through his shirt, found his hand coated in flaking, dried blood.
[i Oh. Right.]
Daniel got up with an abruptness that told him exactly where the other man was going even without words. Bathroom, huh? Probably had to vomit after the goat's blood.
Sure enough, a few seconds later retching confirmed his suspicions. Bell shifted and scratched his hair. He had to pee. And drink. Both of 'em. He headed into the bathroom, where Daniel was still vomiting. Bad one, huh? He patted the man's back reassuringly and turned to the sink. Drinking first.
At the sound of running water, fluttering black feathers heralded the arrival of the crow. Bell glared at it, irritated. "What do [i you] want?" he asked it aggressively.
It tilted its head and drank out of the sink. Bell stole the water from under where it was drinking. Right now, he didn't really care that he was sharing water with a traitorous little bird-asshole; he was just thirsty. He sucked it down like it was sweet as sugar, even after the bird had had its fill and popped away.
"You need the pills yet?" Bell asked tiredly. Now that he was thinking about it, he was hungry too. And he really had to piss. How long had they been out for? How much had he missed? The last thing he remembered clearly, it was night, and it was night again now, but he got the sneaking suspicion that a whole day had passed between those moments.
Daniel's arm seemed better. The way he was propping himself against the wall with it without reservations clued him in to that. He leaned against the wall and waited for Daniel to be done, concluded it'd take a while and headed out into the room.
"There still pizza?" he asked.
Daniel sluggishly blinked at the surface of the table, which, from his angle, looked pretty expansive. For a moment nothing else happened, until finally he brought Bell-boy in focus and things slowly started to fall back into place. Goat's blood. The stupid pull and then Bell-boy's stint with a lamp.
He breathed in hesitantly, but his ribs weren't protesting as fervently as they had before. He actually felt pretty good. Daniel shifted, then slowly peeled himself off of the surface of the table. His ass felt like wood, his neck crooked and there were complains from regions he hadn't before explored.
Sleeping on tables was ill advised.
Daniel lifted a hand to brush back his hair, but it pulled and stung. He exchanged for the other hand. Better.
Still at the hotel then? Good.
The goatling seemed less patient too. It hopped from side to side, cawing softly. Had to be hungry. Or thirsty, or both. Daniel decided what was a safe first bet. And they'd probably need to pay for another night at the hotel.
"Morning," he cracked, even though it'd neared night again.
Pay for another night or just get the fuck out of dodge. Either way the wall couldn't be simply excused or forgotten. Shit. Did they even have clothes? His were a mess of splotches, dried blood and caked whatever. He didn't even want to know. And he was still tired. His stomach flipped.
Daniel rose, slowly, then shuffled off to the bathroom with measured, even paces. He didn't have to wait long either. The blood wanted out. He heaved. There was little else to throw up. Alongside the dark strands of congealed goat's blood, were thin coatings of bile and saliva. It hurt. Daniel pinched his eyes closed and waited out another wave of nausea. Best he got rid of it now.
Then wash up and leave. If Bell-boy was up for it.
He could drive.
Just not right now.
Despite having spat out some of the goat's blood, there was still a lot to throw up. He hadn't realized it on time.
His stomach clenched painfully. Daniel put out his hands against the tile wall to keep steady and tried to focus on his breathing. When it felt like he was done, Daniel held still for a moment. His head was clear at least. Hadn't taken the fucking anti-psychotics though. Skipping those was no good.
He was back at home. Ben stood up and pulled a jacket on, slinging his backpack over his shoulder. A bowl of cereal sat on the countertop, half-finished. The bus was coming, he had to go!
"Wait, Ben--" his mom called, reaching for a goodbye hug.
"The bus's here!" he'd shouted back, racing out the door. No time. No time. Had to run.
His stomach twisted with guilt, though he couldn't say why.
[i I'm not coming back home,] he thought. And it was true.
It was a normal day at school. Classes, boring teachers. Rebecca was there. She grinned at him and pulled out a comic book under her desk, scooting closer to let him read it, too. It was a dark comic, something grungy and horror-themed; a man cursed by the devil to wander endlessly at the bidding of his unholy master. Only instead of a stereotypical demon, the creature was a black mass, a ball of disconnected limbs and heavy flesh.
There was something familiar about it, but Rebecca turned the page before he could say anything.
On the way home, he found himself in a dark alley. It was quiet, peaceful. He didn't often go this way, but it was a shortcut, and he had to hurry back and find Rebecca's book to bring it back to her. She was waiting for him. Up on the hill.
Something else was waiting for him in the alley. A black mass. He stared at it, unable to believe his eyes. [i Just like in the comics.]
[i This isn't how it went,] a little voice in the back of his head said.
He stopped. The black mass advanced. It had no eyes, no mouth, just limbs, reaching out. They gripped him tightly, holding his limbs down one by one. Ben staggered back. His back hit a wall, icy cold even through his jacket.
Sound. Noise. It was trying to say something. Trying to communicate. Ben shook his head. "I don't--I can't--"
The monster threw him to the floor derisively. The front of it opened up, and suddenly it had a mouth, a huge mouth ringed with rows of teeth. It was on top of him. There was nowhere to go. The mouth descended.
He jolted awake. What--where--?
No drinking. Daniel snorted. Seemed Bell-boy was with it enough to realize who he was and what his habits were, confused as the man evidently was. Despite his reassurances, Bell-boy made a start for the goatling. It was almost comical, the way Bell was sorely ill equipped to deal with the crow, let alone a goat. Daniel sighed out. There was no way Bell-boy would get anywhere, lamp or no. In the end, that realization seemed to dawn on Bell-boy as well.
The bed was more appealing in the end.
Daniel watched over Bell-boy for a few long-drawn seconds, then sighed out. The man easily settled down, though the words that flowed from Bell-boy’s mind, badly filtered, were cause for a raised eyebrow. House?
“What’re you on?” Daniel pitched, but it was too late. Bell-boy had already lost the battle with sleep. Daniel sat there for a while. He wasn’t even sure for how long. The goatling shifted on several occasions. It tried for the cold pizza again, fluttered towards the window and finally settled on top of a chair. It’d go thirsty, Daniel surmised. He had no energy to even move. As a goat, the bird was very likely to survive. Quite easily, actually. It seemed to have some measure of awareness anyway.
Maybe it’d lose itself in crow-behaviour at a later time.
Daniel stared down at the palm of his hand.
Blood seeped between the lines, down the side of his hand and onto his lap. It’d stained his jeans. More droplets than that had stained his clothes.
He was tired. Beyond tired. And cold.
Or warm. Or just confused in general.
The symbols danced in front of his eyes. Daniel shook his head and tried to shake the pull from dragging him back in. It seemed like too much effort to move to the bed. He wasn’t sure where Bell-boy was at. House meant he’d be back at that age where the goat had taken over. But he’d recognized him too.
Even so, he’d rather not get choked as soon as Bell-boy woke up. Or be accused for being a child-molester. In the end, Daniel simply let himself slump forward. One arm made it onto the table, but the bloodied one remained resting on his lap. He was gone within seconds.
Rather than away, Daniel moved towards the monster. Bell looked at him. "You--" he started, realized he had no idea where he was going with it and just stared at Daniel like the other man could figure it out. It'd helped Daniel? His eyes flicked to the man's bloody hand. He was hurt, though. Someone had hurt him. His arm. What about his arm? It moved. Bell watched the motion and caught himself swaying with it, whole body following his eyes. He felt weird. Floaty.
Drinking? His eyes narrowed. "No drinking," he said, brandishing the lamp at Daniel. The lampshade jiggled in Daniel's direction. It really wasn't much of a weapon. But what else did he have? Everything else within reach was fluffy or weak.
Daniel sank down in the chair. Bell looked at him, then the lamp, then the goatling. Daniel had a point. He set it down on the floor. His fists would be better. Bell advanced for the goat, but Daniel was in his way. Stupid chair. He leaned up against it and tried to punch the bird, but the bird darted into the air with a burst of irritated feathers and a caw. Bell watched it go. Stupid bird was too fast. How was he supposed to keep up?
Maybe he shouldn't. Daniel looked tired. He felt tired, too. There was a nice bed over by the wall. His bed. But bigger, somehow. He gave it a suspicious look, but then climbed over to it anyways and sagged down into the mattress. "'s soft," he informed Daniel at a mutter. What was the problem, anyways? There was something... a threat. But he couldn't remember it right now. He'd sleep. It'd make sense in the morning.
Bell yawned. It was weird that Daniel was in his house. There was something wrong with that scenario. He blinked again, slowly. "How'd you find my house?" he asked, voice slurring with sleep. "Y're not suppos'd ta..."
His voice drifted off. Bell cozied down into the sheets and closed his eyes. It was bright out, but he could sleep more. That was fine. For now, that was fine. He'd figure it out when his head felt less foggy.
Fear. Daniel recognized it in Bell-boy. The man had no clue where he was or who he was in the room with, did he? A desk-lamp was the poor victim of ill assumptions and Daniel just raised an eyebrow. Honestly? After all they'd been through, a lamp didn't exactly feel threatening.
"Just... slowly put the lamp down," he slurred, exhausted and weary.
It was funny for some demented reason. He was probably due his medication. Daniel closed his eyes for a few long seconds, head rested against the wall at his back. Without it, he would've slumped down ages ago already.
The goatling's caw diverted Bell-boy's focus. Daniel opened his eyes to see what went down.
"Hey," Daniel started. He pushed from the wall, staggered a few steps towards the crow and Bell-boy and almost knocked himself into another wall and a chair. Somehow, he managed to position himself between Bell-boy and the goat.
If the goatling hadn't given him its blood, Daniel might've had the same reaction. As it was, he just couldn't believe that what the goatling had done was a bad thing. He reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose and grappled until he found a steady surface to cling to.
"Just, slow down," he soothed.
"It's helped, okay? It's helped heal me, look," Daniel ventured, moving his healed arm. He had a full range of motion with it, even if it still felt remarkably sore.
"It's...fuck," he deflated. He realized belatedly he was holding on to a chair with his bloodied hand, lifted it and was surprised that he'd now stained the back of the chair red.
"I'm tired Bell-boy, so unless we're going out drinking, I just want to sleep," Daniel started. He'd fall asleep on the spot as well, if Bell-boy let him.
Hunger gnawed at his stomach, but it felt so fierce, it could've just as well been nausea. And then there was the goat's blood to consider. Either he'd hack it up, or it would go down a nasty way.
Rather than abandon the soiled chair, Daniel sank down into it heavily. He'd sleep here then. Somewhere between the goat and Bell-boy. Daniel leaned back and watched Bell.
"Just put the lamp down. Even if it were an enemy, a lamp won't do much and you know it."
He watched the man. Symbols danced across the wall, moving with a life of their own. Some spun, showing him another angle that the man hadn't drawn, became three-dimensional shapes and danced away from the wall, bouncing around the room like balls. Others rotated or churned, catching ahold of their neighbors and compelling them, too, to turn. For a second, he saw cogwheels behind the wall, saw the missing pieces in the drawing filled in with yet more complex shapes and figures. The motion was wrong, inherently wrong. Watching it made his stomach churn and ache. Bell hugged his knees and turned away. Rather than the wall, he focused his eyes on the man.
The man was looking at him with big black eyes, deep dark tunnel-eyes that seemed to swallow up all the light. Fear leaked through the blanket of complacency, tugging him up and away from the man. His back hit the wall, pain echoing through his chest and towards his heart. Who--? How did this man know his name? His heart thudded in his chest. Bell swallowed and reached for a weapon, any weapon. He found a desk lamp and grabbed ahold, looking at the man. Any sudden movements. Any sudden movements, and he'd lunge.
"Who--?" he demanded. There was something about the man that was familiar, past the darkness in his eyes and the black tinge that pulsed in his veins. Bell squinted, trying to figure it out.
A crow cawed and jumped. Bell spun towards it, brandishing the lamp in its direction. A crow? No, this was a monster. He remembered it growing larger and attacking him. His chest ached. It'd stabbed him right through the heart. It'd attacked him. He advanced towards it, plug popping out of the wall as he moved out of the range of the lamp's cord. "Fucking monster," he growled, eyes narrowed. He was going to take it out. Just like all the rest.
The man was too close to it. What if he saw? His eyes flicked to the man, then dismissed him. It was just Daniel. He'd never tell anyone. "Move away from the monster," he advised Daniel. He'd keep them safe.
The pen hadn't lasted. Rough lines were etched out as a skeleton for the finer and more intricate symbols Daniel felt compelled to draw. Symbols within symbols, most meaningless, some names he'd remembered, some faces, though they couldn't be recognized as such. At some point he felt they might be words, but that didn't seem right. It was as if they conveyed a structure. That this was their unique structure, of some individuals, though Daniel had no clue on who they might be.
He'd etched some of the lines with a knife. Others with his blood, drawn from the palm of his hand. His shoulder had healed. So had the other injuries.
A droplet slipped onto the floor. One of many.
He wasn't even aware.
Nothing mattered, but the pull, that compulsion that would quiet the whispers, the voices and the images. And sometimes even that failed. He'd be stood there, still, as if lost in thought, while tumbling through arduous layers of reality and comprehension. Without the goatling he was untethered and free to fall wherever the foreign blood willed him to be.
Movement broke the spell.
Daniel swallowed, mouth dry and throat parched. A dry cough escaped his lips. He blinked, tried to get the blur to leave, but it wouldn't go. It'd been several hours. Or had it been a day? More? Daniel wasn't sure.
When had the goatling given him the blood?
His hands were cramped up and bleeding. His stomach felt like shit. Daniel's eyes drifted docilely about the room until they landed on Bell-boy. A faded smile tugged at his lips.
Chapped lips cracked.
The crow was still there too. Its beady eyes seemed to survey everything. Fucking goatling. It'd intentionally fucked everything up. No.
No. It'd made things better. Probably.
Daniel swayed in the spot, lifted his hand and felt his back hit the wall he'd been working on. He was exhausted now. The pull wasn't that bad though. He could fight it now. Not easily, but he could.
"Bell-" Daniel cringed as his voice cracked. Didn't even sound like him.
His hand still bled. Daniel tried to bring the cut into focus and sighed. He was a mess. They were a mess.
At first there was dark. Dark so deep that he was drowning in it, the undertow tugging at his limbs and sucking them downward into the depths. He was aware he was sinking, but unable--no, unwilling--to do anything about it. Urgency tugged at his limbs, his heart, but only for a moment before it was dismissed. He was blanketed by complacency, weighed down by it.
In the depths, there was motion. Light and motion. The same images, same pictures, danced, repeating themselves over and over. A face. An unfamiliar face of someone he'd never seen. A distance. He saw roads, saw trees, the shape of the world unfolding around him, but always in the same direction, the same path. The sun, burning bright all around him, reaching out with tendrils of plasma and scorching away everything. A black mass. A goat? Yet not a goat. Black but imperfect. Flawed. And then comfort, a warm blanket drawn over it all, an assurance that all was fine, that all he had to do was sleep. Over and over, until he grew sick of it, until vertigo swirled in his head and all around him as the road flew past yet again, the same path, the same distance, but smaller, impossibly smaller. So big, but so small. The difference was sickening.
Bell's eyes peeled open. He was home. In his bed, where he belonged, sleeping the day away. Bright out. Chest hurt. Bell rolled out of bed, feeling weary and haggard, and staggered to the window as if in a trance. He stared out, taking in the street outside. It was unfamiliar. Wrong. He turned back to the room. A man. There was someone else?
Wrong. It was wrong.
He felt a creeping sensation around his neck, a tightness. Instinctively, he pulled at his collar, but it didn't relieve the sensation. Eyes on the strange man, he backed into the corner and ducked down below the level of the bed. Something was wrong. There shouldn't be someone in his room. And yet he felt calm, detached. The calm quieted the discomfort in his stomach, the fear shivering down his back. Instead of running or screaming, he watched the man silently.
The world stood still for a precious second. The bitterness of the blood on his lips, the rugged carpet underneath the palm of his hand and Bell-boy's faltering words were all that came through. Alongside that was the goatling, which shape was already folding back into that of a crow. It cawed, defiant, or maybe mockingly. Daniel didn't care which it was.
He crawled, flailed to get to the man.
Out cold. Shaky fingers tried to find a pulse. In the end, he couldn't find one, but he could see Bell-boy's steady breathing and the injury left behind by the goatling simply wasn't there no more. Blood. So much of it.
"Fuck," Daniel breathed. He needed to think, act. The blood would try to pull him in soon. He wouldn't be able to do anything for Bell-boy then. Not that he was much use now.
"Shit," he breathed, cast a glare at the goatling, about the room and then decided he'd have to get things ready for when he could no longer fight the pull. Daniel knew he'd tried to use blood before to draw the symbols that usually occupied his compulsive behaviour, but there was a pen set out near the pamphlets.
Nothing to draw on though.
He put a hand to Bell-boy's forehead, then, with strength he didn't think he had, dragged the man towards the bed. After some wrestling with the lifeless figure that was Bellwether, Daniel managed to get him situated. He heaved in air, legs shaky and meek.
And that's when he felt it; not the pull.
It felt like the bones in his shoulder were shifting and undoing themselves. Daniel clutched at the bedsheets, sank to his knees and bit into the cloth to prevent himself from screaming out. What the hell?
Why did it hurt so much?
He couldn't even catch his breath. Tears sprang into the corners of his eyes. Sweat pearled on his brow and slithered down his back. It wouldn't go away. There was nowhere he could go. And then it receded. Other parts of his body complained, but none with the vigour of his shoulder. Daniel could only sit there and wait. He laughed.
Daniel was pretty sure he laughed at some point. A demented, worn laugh, void of emotion. And then came to pull. In the end, he hadn't been given the time to do anything about it. Couldn't restrain himself or knock himself out with drugs.
The goatling dropped Daniel. He watched as the man crumpled to the floor, too far away to catch. "Daniel!" he shouted. Had the goatling hurt him? He snatched up his pipe. That was enough. The stupid little thing died today.
Little? He found himself looking up to it, thin black form towering over him. Bell backed away on instinct. Shit. [i Missed your chance], a little voice in the back of his head muttered.
He hesitated, but the goatling didn't. An arm struck him square in the chest. He felt it break skin and cried out, and them the real pain struck. He felt his sternum crack, his ribs crumple around it. Bell staggered forward; the goatling caught him and held him upright, almost gently. Black fingers curled around his heart; he could feel them investigating as his heart shuddered. A cough escaped his throat, and he felt his lungs scrape its fingers as they swelled with air.
The ground fell away from his feet. For a second, he thought he was falling, that the pain had already overwhelmed him, as black faded the corners of his vision; then he was looking down on the goatling, it looking up at him, impaled through the center of his chest like a bug on a pin. He gripped its limb for some modicum of control, even as red blood pearled up in the gap between his chest and its limb. It streaked the black arm in red, made it look more real, somehow.
It dropped him summarily to the floor, examination compete. Information pounded into his head, a headache raging higher with every sensation it passed to him as if it were beating his temples in with a sledgehammer with every one. Comfort. A distance. The sun. A black mass. A face.
And then it turned to Daniel.
"Don't you-fucking--" Bell spat, hauling himself to his elbows and knees. Blood dripped from his chest, but not nearly enough of it. Reality began to wobble, blur at the edges. The goatling fed Daniel blood, and Bell sighed out. Relief flooded through him like a drug, tearing apart his resistance to the darkness, luring him into the black. "Drink it, you idiot," he mumbled. "Drink it and fucking heal."
And then he was gone, passed out on the hotel floor.
It dropped Daniel. For a second, that infinite attention, that childish examination toying with his pain, shifted towards something far more interesting. Daniel felt insignificant, even as he tried to catch his breath. Pain stabbed through his chest and shoulder. He curled around the centre of pain instinctively, but didn't quite black out or fail to see the goatling approach Bell-boy.
"Oy," he choked out.
It didn't listen. Why would it listen to such a rudimentary life-form's crude way of communicating? It already knew everything Daniel thought. Rather, it chose to ignore the man on the floor and with a few long, supple strides, closed the distance between Bellwether and it.
Without hesitating, it struck Bell's chest.
"Bell!" Daniel shouted. Shit.
Pain forgotten, Daniel staggered to a stand and fumbled his way towards his bat. He knocked himself into the wall, disoriented and hurt.
Yet the sense of urgency he had quickly died down. Soothed. By the goatling? Daniel wasn't certain. He wavered on the spot, dazed and confused.
The goatling towered over Bell-boy, but unlike the other goats, it wasn't hideous. Rather, it had taken meticulous care to form itself in a way that seemed almost appealing. It still had proportions that couldn't be natural, still looked black, still had those deep eyes with the flecks, but somehow it withstood the atmosphere's degrading properties and stood there inspecting Bellwether with mild curiosity. One of its extremities was inside Bell-boy's chest.
"What the-...stop..." Daniel pushed, trying to find his sanity. Somehow, no thoughts would come. It felt like the goatling was blocking them all. He couldn't even-
Daniel grit his teeth, frustrated.
"You can't just," he faltered, took a step and hissed. Pain.
It seemed to lift Bell closer, higher, for better inspection. Its head tilted, and then it let go of Bell entirely. Images. Voices. Daniel braced himself, but couldn't prevent himself from sinking through his knees. And then he tasted the familiar bitterness of goats' blood on his tongue. His eyes went wide.
No! Fuck. He'd loose all sanity- Bell!
He had to make sure Bell was okay. Daniel didn't even notice the goatling had been keeping him up until it let go. He dropped onto his good arm and spat out the blood. Shit. Not now. What was it thinking?
What had it done to Bell?
He played pillow hackysack for a while before he grew bored of it. The pillow was a little more deflated for its impromptu performance as a ball, but he didn't care. Hotel could deal with it.
There was still excess energy flowing through him, so he kept up with the physical activity; jumping jacks, situps, pushups, anything to keep him moving. Was it nerves? The high of a kill? It felt like both and neither. He wanted to go out into the world and pick a fight he knew he could win, drink, something, but Daniel was here. He couldn't abandon Daniel, not even for a minute. If the man was more stable, then he'd be gone, but it wasn't even a joke right now: if he took his eyes off Daniel, chances were he'd go straight to suicide. Or at least, that was how it felt.
When he finally climbed into bed, he was exhausted and sweaty. At least Daniel was already passed out, and couldn't complain. It took him a while to fall asleep, a while for his racing heart to calm and his breathing to even, but eventually darkness overwhelmed him and he passed out.
He woke up just as sunlight was piercing the horizon shivering and confused. Why was he cold? He was under the blankets and snuggled up to Daniel, he should be warm. But no, he was sweaty. Cold and sweaty. It felt gross, hot and cold at the same time, his body aching.
The first dagger struck deep into his chest and twisted, the maze of bruises darkening, veins twisting across his body. Bell folded in on himself and curled up tight. His knuckles clenched the blankets hard enough to turn white, jaw winding shut. He shuddered as the veins twisted through him like worms, bladed worms wriggling under his skin and chopping him to pieces. He couldn't breathe, could barely move. The worms dug deeper, daggers piercing his chest, tangling in his lungs, squeezing around his heart. The world went black, squeezed away to no more than a pinhole.
[It'll pass. It'll pass. It'll pass.] Bell clung to the words like a safety blanket. He didn't know anything but the feeling of pain and the darkness around him, no sensation or sound getting through. He squeezed his eyes shut and curled up tight.
Slowly, it faded. He opened his eyes and relaxed a hair. Daniel was up already? And the goatling--he jumped to his feet. "The hell is it doing?" he asked, glaring at it. If it made a move for Daniel, he'd tear the stupid bird apart.
Sleep came easily. Daniel shifted, wanted to rest on his side and was immediately reprimanded for trying to do so. His ribs complained just about as much as his shoulder. Fuck. His eyes fluttered open to find a barely present sun illuminating their room in the early morning. Oh. So the painkillers had stopped working. Made sense. He still felt groggy and out of it though. The crow was there.
Why didn't it heal him? Maybe it couldn't, the way they were seperated. Daniel slowly pushed himself to sit, owlishly blinking at the room. At least he didn't feel as heavy or tired no more. Felt like he was back in his own body, with all the troublesome sensation that came with that. Pain wasn't something he'd longed for feeling again. Inside the tube it'd been the only thing that had penetrated the flimsy barrier standing between him and reality.
Daniel scratched at the back of his head and surveyed their room. A hotel.
He recalled asking Bell-boy to go get them a room. It'd been a good choice. Though just a bed would've sufficed. Daniel snorted. Shit, he was really in a bad way. If they kept going like this, they might as well just amputate his arm.
He sighed and shifted, the carefully got up. His joints felt creaky and misused. Sore.
"Remind me not to make a rollercoaster out of the car again too," he mumbled. Seatbelts, for sure. He loathed using the things. They made him feel constricted.
He waddled over to the crow and stroked its head.
"Why won't you heal me, huh?" Daniel asked softly. Damn, so soft. Who knew fluff and feathers could feel this soft?
As if spurred by his question, the black of the crow seemed to drip from its wings. Its eyes, beady and round, grew in volume. Slender, graceful limbs unfolded from the tiny body. Daniel stepped back, but he didn't falter.
The goatling created limbs, proper limbs and stepped around him. It seemed to hone in on where the pain was bad. Daniel's eyes went wide.
"No, no, no- why you..."
The goatling grabbed him, gently, but it hurt. God it hurt. It seemed interested in that reaction. Daniel cringed and grit his teeth. "No it's not pleasant," he groused moodily. Another shift. More pain. It seemed to like this action and reaction game. Like having a toy.
It could do different things too. Aside from healing. Perhaps improve upon it? Change it?
Daniel got up at his coaxing, slowly climbing to his feet. Bell sighed. At least he didn't have to carry him. Still, there was something ponderous in the way Daniel moved, like he weighed a hundred pounds more than he did. He watched the man, thoughtfully, until he was suddenly approached.
"Hey," Bell objected. He yanked his shirt back closed. What was Daniel doing?
Going to bed, apparently. His mind was made up. No goat, yes bed. One out of two wasn't bad, right? Bell shook his head. At least resting up should help him recover, one way or another.
He settled back down with the pizza to watch Daniel. There was something secure about watching the man settle down to sleep, something absolute. At least for a little while, Daniel couldn't hurt himself. For a little while, he was safe. He took another bite of pizza and glanced at the crow beside him. "You gonna heal him?" he asked it. Crow ought to, right? It was like... it was part of him. Maybe.
The crow tilted its head at him. Bell reached out and petted its feathers back. Black eyes closed, and the crow nudged at his hand with its beak. It was neat, being able to touch a crow like this, so freely. Though... he smirked to himself. Really made them look like a bunch of homeless bums, keeping a crow as a pet.
There was more pizza than even he could eat. Honestly, he'd been expecting Daniel to account for more than one and a half pieces. Bell stood and stretched. He felt tired, but also energetic. They'd just beaten a goat! He wanted to celebrate. But Daniel was out cold already.
"Too bad you didn't turn into something big," Bell told the crow. He would've liked having something to wrestle while Daniel was sleeping. Instead, he got up and looked around. He really shouldn't leave the room, not with Daniel like this. What could he do, though? He wanted to move. Wanted to fight or fuck. Wanted to feel alive.
Bell explored the room, searching all the drawers and cabinets There were a couple extra pillows in one drawer; perfect. He grabbed one and set it on the floor, then tried to kick it up to his hands. Not much of a celebration, but at least he was moving. And--he lunged to catch the pillow on his knee, even as it flomped off towards the floor--surprisingly difficult.
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