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"Tagliata," Daniel eased Bell-boy's surprise. Italians did meat just as well as any other country and after sicking up the lasagna the other day, he felt like having something more meatier.
"True, at least your taste-buds are still in place, memory and all," he chuckled. Leave it to Bell-boy to pick the most calorific meal. Crazy?
"Tell me about it," Daniel muttered into his glass. Crazy wasn't even half of it, was it?
The waitress returned to take their order and Daniel just smiled at her as Bell-boy spoke. Of all the people to choose to fall in love with, he'd picked Bell. Bell-boy with no memory of who and what he was, except for a few hazy shadows that'd been cast by Lilah, the bitch. Daniel hoped snapping her neck had killed her, but doubted it. Unless her goat had chosen another shell, she'd be just fine.
He sighed out and looked up in time to see Bell-boy being flirted with.
"Think she fancies you, Bell-boy," Daniel teased light-heartedly. If Bell hadn't been able to get it up for Lilah, his supposed wife, then a blonde like that wasn't going to put much weight on the scales, was she? The blush was endearing though.
Daniel sobered up a bit at the thought of Bell-boy's lost memories. What if the man did meet someone who wasn't him? What if he cheated again, unknowingly? Somewhere, a goat had a really good time watching poetry. Shit.
Bell-boy better not be sinewy-goat.
But no. Good old paranoid Lenny had made sure it was Bell-goat, hadn't he? Listened to his heart and the cogs and everything.
Daniel zoned out for a second. The way the alcohol set in with the drugs was making him a little light-headed in a weird way. "I love you, you know?" Daniel piped up. "I'll wait for you forever and... even if you decide to leave, I'll be waiting. Probably sock you one when you get back and then kiss you all the same," he confessed.
Hah, he was really fucked up, huh?
Daniel leaned on his elbows, trying to stay the slow sway from washing over his thoughts and becoming overly pronounced. He finally tore his gaze from Bell-boy when the waitress returned with some appetizers. Garlic bread; just what he needed to steady out a little.
Well, Daniel would know better than him. He shrugged and continued looking over the menu. Pasta or pizza? Which did he feel more like? The idea of a steaming pile of cheese appealed to him greatly, but he could get that cheese from a pasta dish or a pizza dish. Fettuccine alfredo, or lasagna, or pizza... he'd only just made a lasagna, though, so maybe not that.
He felt eyes on him and looked up, but before he could locate the source, the waitress had returned with their drinks. Distracted, he watched the water droplets roll down the surface of the mug. So pretty. It was almost sad to have to pick it up and disturb them. "To freedom," he returned, taking a sip. Cool and bitter, a perfect counterpoint to the heat of the restaurant.
"Yeah, let's see what's going on in this little town," he agreed, a bit belated. The bonfire seemed as good a place to start as any. "Steak, in an Italian place?" He shook his head. Italian meant pasta, and no question. Which answered his pizza or pasta question. "I was thinking fettuccine alfredo. Cheese and noodles, you know? Can't go wrong."
He leaned back in his chair and look another sip. "This still feels crazy," he commented, gesturing around them. Meaning him, and Daniel, and the never-ending road trip that was apparently Daniel's life. His life, too. Moreso, even. Crazy, but not wrong, and that was the craziest part.
The waitress came back and took their orders. Bell settled in to wait, watching people pass by. Again, he felt eyes on him, and this time he managed to catch a glimpse of the snow bunny they were attached to: a slender young woman with big lips, blonde hair, and curves in all the right places. She tossed him a wink before turning back to her salad, not at all afraid to have been caught.
Bell blushed a bit and turned back to his own table, quickly swallowing the beer to hide his embarrassment. She was probably looking at Daniel, anyways, not him. Between the two of them, Daniel was definitely the attractive one.
Daniel walked along Bell-boy quite contently. They had plenty of options, but it seemed Bell was happy enough just enjoying the icy wonder-land, snow and all. Plenty of people were out and about, having the same idea they did.
“Sure, Italian sound good,” Daniel agreed. It smelled nice at least. Not that his opinion mattered, because Bell-boy seemed pretty set on having Italian over anything else. Daniel chuckled. Even if Bell-boy had lost all his memories, he still ended up following the guy, huh? Typical.
It was warm and inviting inside, a stark contrast with the cool, snowy world outside. The waitress guided them to a vacant table and Daniel stripped out of his coat to get comfortable. This was better, much better, than his crappy little apartment. Finally he was back where he wanted to be.
“Sure, we’ll have a beer,” Daniel said habitually, then hesitated, but ended up shaking his head. When he’d tried, it’d been when he was on a plethora of interesting medicine. Right now he was only on two and only one should give him a little grief. Hopefully it’d end up being fine.
Bell-boy’s questioning look was absolved with a reassuring smile.
“Should be fine,” he eased the man’s mind. Not as if they hadn’t ever gotten drunk before ‘on the job’. They’d gotten away clean, or so it felt. The goatling would let him know if something was up.
Daniel opened the menu and browsed their options.
They had steak. That’d be nice.
“You want to go out and see what’s happening around that bonfire tonight, Bell-boy?” Daniel asked conversationally. They deserved a night out. A ‘date’. The waitress returned with their beer earlier than he expected and Daniel watched her put it down with great interest. It would definitely hit him harder than it might, but Bell-boy had always been a light-weight. Maybe they’d actually be at the same level of intoxication, though his was very likely to differ slightly.
He debated it for a second, then took the cool glass and raised it, “to freedom.” Daniel sent a grin Bell-boy’s way. “You decided what you want to eat yet?” he asked and took a long drink. Shit, it tasted good. He refrained from draining the glass in one go and put it down.
“I think I’ll have steak,” Daniel offered.
Out or in, it was all the same to him. They stopped by the hotel room to grab stuff; his coat, gloves, and hat, Daniel's wallet.
"Yeah, go hang by the bonfire or whatever," he agreed. Go out on the town. Mingle. He wanted to be around people right now, so anything that got him close to humanity sounded great.
He grinned. "Aren't you being fancy," he said. What did he want to eat? They had all the options in the world. [i Let's go take a look, then,] he told himself, and headed out into the evening.
Outside the hotel, the cold was waiting for him. It nipped at his cheeks and fingertips, but his core was still nice and toasty from the hot tub. He sighed out happily, watching his breath turn to clouds. Where to? Deep breath. Nothing caught his attention yet, so he strolled along down the boulevard.
The sun was still setting, not quite dark yet, but the lights were already starting to come on along the street. In the half-dark, the snow started to glitter, as if by magic. People passed them by, people of all description. Bell felt breathless just from the being there. Alive. He felt alive.
"How about Italian?" he offered, pointing the place out. It had a patio that was completely snow-laden at this time of year, but also a bustling interior, most of the tables full and the light that spilled from the windows warm and welcoming. Without waiting for Daniel's approval, he trotted over to it. The warmth and delicious smells that blasted him in the face as he opened the door confirmed that he'd made the right choice. "After you," he gestured, taking his turn to be the gentleman.
The waitress didn't bat at eye at their appearance, used to helping people in snow coats and sweatpants. "Table for two?" she asked, already taking two menus from the stand. "Right this way."
The table they were seated at had a cute little candle flickering in a glass vase. He snorted. It hadn't been his intention, but he really couldn't have picked s more romantic place. "Anything to drink?" she asked.
Bell's eyes flicked to Daniel. Were they drinking? It seemed like a bad idea, when they were monster hunters, to drink casually.
"Yeah, food's good," Daniel agreed. He stretched out and was met with Bell-boy's hand, patting his head. An eyebrow was raised in temporary confusion, until Bell-boy's comment filtered through. Daniel ran his hair back with a hand and shrugged. Nothing doing. He hadn't thought to bring a comb and his hair was at that length where it just did and didn't need one.
Bell-boy's smirk turned into a chuckle.
"As if your hair looks like it's ordered," Daniel remarked with a snort. And then Bell-boy moved in close, closer than he'd thought the man dared to get. His heart skipped a beat. His tongue darted across his lips.
Daniel's eyes traced Bell-boy's lips as they breathed a mumbled invitation to-
To leave the changing-room? Daniel looked at the men who'd interrupted their private moment and shrugged. No point in regretting what wasn't to happen. Hungry, huh?
"Let's eat out," Daniel offered. He didn't feel like sitting in the hotel restaurant. Either way it'd be difficult to evade drinking any alcohol; it seemed that was all these people came here to do. Sober up with snow, drink until they couldn't feel a thing and then the same thing the next day.
What was one beer, right? He could drink one measly drink at the very least, right? Without getting utterly doped up on how the alcohol interacted with his drugs? Yeah. Sure. As if. Daniel sighed and casually ambled towards their hotel-room to fetch his coat. Might as well make sure he wouldn't freeze to death. Their track-record of going out wasn't very good. Goats tended to happen in public more often than not.
He made sure to take his wallet and smiled at Bell-boy.
"Let's find a nice place to have a quiet meal, huh?" Daniel offered. "And then, maybe see what's going on in town?" He wasn't going to get lucky with Bell-boy without some wining and dining, or at all, so they might as well have fun in town. Daniel was fairly sure that the party wouldn't stop when the sun went down, but it'd only be escalating. He was hoping for it. Daniel grinned at Bell and opened the door for him, "After you, sir," he said theatrically.
"I'd say I know just the place, but I have no clue, so whatever smells good is going to be the winner," Daniel chuckled.
He smirked a bit when Daniel called him out on it. Okay, so he wasn't particularly sorry. It'd been fun, honestly.
Inside, warm air battered against his face, then swallowed him up. A shiver coursed down his spine at the warmth, like it was chasing off the chill. He'd half expected more harassment, but Daniel made a beeline for the showers. Grabbing his towel, Bell followed the other man's example.
When he stepped out, he felt as steamy warm as the mirrors looked. He dressed quickly, and was immediately stifled by the heat of the room. With clothes on, the locker room was unbearably hot and humid. Yawning, he tipped his head at Daniel. "Should we go grab some food?" he offered.
Daniel's hair was stuck up at all angles from being towel-dried. He grinned and patted the spikes. "Porcupine," he said. His was probably no better, but Daniel's was right there. All spiked up in his face.
For a second, he imagined Daniel with that hair in a business suit, doing serious business things. The grin turned into a smirk, and he chuckled to himself. Now that would be something to see.
The locker room was empty, aside from them and the stifling heat. He moved closer, watching Daniel's face. He wanted Daniel to be all his. To only look at him. Wasn't this--? Wasn't it? "Should we make it a date?" he mumbled, casting his eyes away.
Only it sounded more like "should we make it--" because at that moment the door squealed open, letting in the roar of outside conversation and a couple of rowdy, slightly-drunk men, all talking at the top of their voice for no reason.
Bell breathed out, both annoyed and relieved. What was he thinking? Daniel didn't want to remember the date-thing, so whatever. He'd forget it, too. He patted Daniel's back as he passed by for the door. "It's too hot in here," he complained. "C'mon, I'm hungry."
They had options when it came to food. The hotel had a fancy restaurant and a bar, while outside, cute, expensive-looking bistros stood all in a row. He considered his options. The hotel restaurant would be too fancy, wouldn't it? They'd stick out, looking the way they were. Maybe one of the little bistros was better. Then again, they looked expensive too, so who knew?
Bell-boy's startled reaction was priceless. Daniel laughed, even as a snowball made it back and exploded into a flurry against his turned shoulder. Just before he could throw a third, Bell-boy can rushing at him and tackled him to the ground. All the air escaped his lungs as they landed in the snow. A startled yelp escaped his lungs.
Bell-boy's laugh was cut short and the man bounced back up as if burned. Daniel hated to admit it, but he was grateful for the hand up. His shivering was deep and his toes were turning to little ice-cubes. Daniel narrowed his eyes at Bell, flicking them between the man's face and the hand that still held his.
That was a little more like play.
Daniel wrapped an arm around his gut, unconsciously warding the fresh injury off from any danger. The cold made it numb, so it was fine either way. His teeth were chattering even as he dipped his toes into the hot water slowly. So good.
The warmth was good.
Daniel waded in slowly, casting a smirk at Bell-boy's apology.
"Sure, you're sorry," he teased. For a moment there was a connection and then Bell-boy abruptly let go of his hand. Daniel's face fell for a second, but he caught it and just smiled instead. It wasn't as open or earnest as a second ago, but that was fine.
He warmed himself on the hot water until Bell-boy decided it was time they made a second attempt to get inside. Daniel nodded, got up and waddled over the cold path back to the inside of the building. The air was nice and warm. It hugged them as they entered. Showers were set off to the side. Daniel stepped underneath one and washed off. Might as well look the part if they were going to have a nice romantic meal at the restaurant.
The goatling's handiwork ached a little after their little tumble, but it seemed to have held up just fine. Daniel was never a hundred percent sure what it did to heal him. He knew there was no goat's blood involved, because he wasn't suffering any of the hallucinations he usually got when high on Bell-goat's blood.
It just seemed to like playing surgeon or whatever.
He felt warm again when he dressed. Warm and refreshed, for some reason. Maybe a holiday wasn't a bad thing.
He hadn't expected the anger. Didn't know what to do with it, either. There was nothing they could do. Haven was behind them. Better to focus on the present.
Daniel was the first out of the tub. Bell got out a bit slower, stretching as he climbed the stairs, still caught in his melancholy. Cold exploded against his gut. Startled, he grabbed his stomach, catching a handful of snow, and found Daniel already forming a second ball. "Oh, alright," he growled, playful more than angry. He snatched up some snow from a deck chair, ignoring his freezing feet, and tossed it at Daniel, gratified as ice exploded over bare skin. The second snowball hit the back of his neck as he ducked away. Bits of snow slid down his shirt; he shivered. Ooh, that was unpleasant.
Already, Daniel was busy forming his next one. Bell glanced around, reached for more, then stopped short. Fuck snowballs, he had a better idea. Bare feet sliding over tile, he charged Daniel and tackled him into the snow. They fell together into a soft snowbank. Snow puffed up into the air around them and prickled as it landed on his skin. He laughed, triumphant. He'd got him.
A second later, the icy cold of the snow set in. [i Cold, cold, cold--] Bell bounced up, offering Daniel a hand. He was shivering uncontrollably, his shirt suddenly an icy sheath that clung and leached his heat. When Daniel took his hand, Bell led the way back into the hot tub. Hot water ached its way up his toes, then his calves, then he crouched down, bringing himself to the heat. "Whoops," he muttered through chattering teeth. Maybe that hadn't been the best idea. "Sorry."
He looked at Daniel and laughed. At least he had him sometimes. Wasn't that enough? Their hands were still linked. Bell let go abruptly, then stood. "Okay, let's go in for real this time," he decided. He rose, but this time he kept an eye on Daniel to make sure he wasn't going to attack again. One eye on Daniel, and the other on the nearest pile of snow in case he needed to grab a snowball and retaliate.
Home. Sure, fuck, he knew what home felt like. Daniel stared ahead at the thought. It’d been Lenny. All their childhood had been Lenny, except for the parts where their stepfather turned abusive. Except for the part where he’d fought back and won. Fuck yeah he knew what it felt like to be free, to be out, to learn that the norm wasn’t that world. Daniel looked back at Bell-boy, stared into those baby blues and sighed out.
How was Bell-boy one of the cleansed ones anyway? How did that work? Pure his ass. A trap. Yeah, he knew that.
Cleanse-goat hadn’t exactly done what they’d expected however.
“But they let other people hurt pure ones?” Daniel said with a sharp retort. Fuck them. Anger rushed through him, more ferocious and intense than anything he’d felt in a long while.
Bell-boy must’ve noticed because he changed the topic.
Daniel saw the pain in Bell-boy’s eyes, but didn’t think the memory of Haven had anything to do with it. He looked at it and thought for a second, then dismissed the idea. Whatever. If Bell-boy wanted him to know, he’d say something.
He blinked and shook himself.
“Sure, sure why not?” The anger seeped from him into the cold. Daniel sat up a little and took a deep breath. “Think the way out is shittier than the way in,” he said with a smirk. Hot skin on cold ice, yeah, that’d be fun. Daniel got up first, braving the cold and he only need a few brisk steps to reach snow. With a few unpractised motions, he formed a snow-ball and tossed it at Bell. Reminded him of when they’d played with the snow before sinking themselves into a cold river.
At least they only had the threat of hot-tubs here.
“Catch!” Daniel warned Bell-boy and threw a second.
“Ah, it’s cold,” he hissed, going for a third. His hands were freezing, skin chilling. Daniel decided playing for very long wasn’t exactly smart. The scar on his gut looked fresh and tender. It was tender. A quiet dinner would be a better idea, but he didn’t exactly work that way. Lenny was more one to take that kind of responsibility.
Bell glanced at Daniel. He wanted to know about Haven? He hadn't realized he wanted to talk about it until Daniel was already asking, the words spilling out everything he'd wanted and more. He sighed out, feeling a weight lift off him, somehow, just by the asking. [i Someone] cared.
He took a moment to answer, face dipped half into the water. The chlorine stung his eyes, sharper than a pool, or maybe just evaporating faster for the heat. Then he sighed out and sat up, pulling the upper half of his torso out of the water. There was enough heat on the lower half to support icy cold on the upper. "It felt like home," he said. There was no other way to describe it. "Like I belonged. And like..." He hesitated, then shrugged. "You know when you're a kid, and this is the only thing you've ever known, so it seems normal to you because it's all you've ever had, even if it's dysfunctional and broken? Like if your mom had the best food in the world, and then you went out into the world and discovered she couldn't cook at all, you just had no point of comparison. That's what it's like, leaving Haven."
He rested his head on his knees and looked at Daniel. Something told him not to continue, a little voice warning him that he'd crossed a line, or Daniel wouldn't care, or maybe both. The old him, shouting from a mile away so he could only make out the echoes. He ignored it. "I wouldn't have gotten to beat your head in. They don't let the pure ones hurt other people." He sighed out, hoping the disappointment wasn't too obvious, that it could be disguised as something else. "But I was supposed to lead you into a trap. They don't take kindly to people trying to figure them out. Figure they won't understand. Unless they need Haven, and then we welcome them."
Daniel's attention was wavering. He watched it chase people passing by, wander to the restaurant, and felt the pain in his chest at the same time that he realized what the voice had been warning him about. [i He doesn't care. Not really. Can't care, maybe. Not Daniel.] Not unless it was about Daniel, or something "fun." Was that what Landon was for? He sighed out. How had he ever fallen in love with this mess of a human being?
"You hungry?" he offered, because it was less painful to acknowledge Daniel's desires and play along than to pretend like he could hold the man's interest if he wasn't offering something Daniel wanted. He resolved to never to touch Daniel and decided to give himself to the man immediately with the same breath. The first, because Daniel didn't deserve it, the second, because more than anything, he wanted to be reflected in those hazel eyes. Even if just for a second.
Daniel snapped out of his daze by Bell-boy calling about some locker. His eyes roved the man's frame, but found little of interest. The clothes he'd gotten Bell-boy covered up most things of interest. He stuffed his clothes in with Bell's and followed Bell-boy outside at a slower pace. It was cold. The crisp, frozen air bit at his skin the second he stepped outside. Rather than run and rush, Daniel savoured the moment as one in which he felt alive. It didn't feel unlike what he'd felt after killing those hunters, just less intense. He ambled towards the hot-tub and carefully stepped in. His toes and fingers protested the hot water at first, but soon Daniel felt all the tension drift from his body on the hot water.
He sagged down a little.
"This is good," Daniel breathed softly.
He watched Bell-boy, but the man seemed satisfied with just enjoying the hot water for now. "So what was Haven like, Bell-boy?" he pitched. Bell-boy didn't seem to like talking about shit he couldn't remember, so maybe talking about the stuff Bell did know would set the man at ease more. It was worth a gamble anyway.
"I mean, they didn't really sell me on it. Fuck, I thought you were going to bash my head in or something at that chick's command," Daniel chuckled under his breath. Small puffs of air crystallized in the cold air as a visible vapour.
Daniel decided he didn't like the cold much. He preferred beaches and mix-drinks. Bell-boy would know, if only the man remembered. Daniel watched people giggle by, chasing each other with cold snow. Some hid in the hot tubs, like they were, uneasy about the cold just an inch away. It was getting later and people were taking to alcohol. He figured they ought to get something to eat soon.
Might as well enjoy what the hotel's restaurant had to offer. Or maybe he ought to make due on his promise and take Bell-boy out for that dinner-date. It felt... too late now. Like he'd missed some critical marker. Maybe Bell-boy had already moved on. It felt like the man was fine with the way things were at the moment. Daniel wiped his face down with a soggy hand and brushed his hair back.
He was idly scanning the newcomers when Daniel appeared again. It was odd how he was never startled by the man's presence. The sound of his footsteps, the way he moved, something clued Bell in to his arrival before he said anything or moved into his sight.
"I'm fine," he said, raising his eyebrows in response to Daniel's narrowed eyes. He was just standing out here, people-watching. Was there something suspicious about that?
The moment passed. Off to the hot tubs, then. He fell in line behind Daniel and was surprised to discover the hot tubs were outside. A grin spread over his face. An outdoor hot tub in this weather? That'd be sweet as hell. Apparently the rest of the hotel thought so, too, because the hot tub was packed. A grin spread over his face. He wanted to be around people right now. Just... among the crowd.
It was his turn to narrow his eyes at Daniel. Especially that dumb lick. A little warmth tickled through him against his desires, but he managed to shove it away. If he was going to do that, now was [i not] the time. "Uh huh, I can manage that by myself, thanks," he said. Daniel shook his head and retreated; Bell rolled his eyes at his back. Honestly.
He changed quickly, grabbing a hotel towel as he passed them by. A quick pass by the mirrors to adjust his shirt to make sure it hid everything, and he grinned at himself. Everything looked good.
There were deck chairs settled around the hot tub, heaped with snow; Bell opted to leave his clothes inside, in one of the little lockers they offered in the changing rooms. "Here, Daniel," he offered, patting the locker. Daniel could put his stuff in there, too.
He didn't wait for Daniel before heading outside. The ground was icy on bare feet, the cold prickling at bare skin. Bell clutched his arms around his torso and jogged to the nearest hot tub. He wasted no time before sinking down into the tub with a sigh. The heat and the cold made a wonderful contrast. "Water's fine," he coaxed Daniel with a grin.
His eyes slid over all the other occupants of the tub. An older man with a big belly was sunk low, one hand curled around a beer. A young woman in a camisole and her underwear and a young man in his sat all-but-entwined, gazing deep into each other's eyes. A kid of about twelve kicked her feet in the water, while at the same time hugging herself tight from the cold. A nice, quiet evening by the hot tub. Sounded great to him.
In the end Bell-boy resigned to getting some things too -and a swim-shirt as well? Daniel raised an eyebrow, but then thought of the bruises he'd seen. Fuckers. It angered him all over again, or well. He knew there was supposed to be anger. All he felt was a desire to murder someone, preferably the people from Haven for doing this shit. How could Bell-boy even believe that shit was normal?
"Sure," Daniel said stoically, then went ahead and got them the swimming-gear as well. He could Bell-boy smiling to himself, standing around doing shit-all, watching some kids.
"Hey, got us the things," he said with a smirk.
Daniel narrowed his eyes at Bell-boy, but then let his suspicion go. If Bell-boy had something to say, the man better just spit it out before he choked on it. "Let's see how those hot-tubs are then, shall we?" Daniel started with renewed energy. The longer ago it was he took the medicine, the better he felt, generally.
He took the lead and followed the signs, taking his time to leisurely look around and see the sights. Snow everywhere. Daniel was glad he'd kept the sunglasses on. It looked like some of the hot-tubs were set up outside. The contrast could be nice. People were already out there, playing in the snow and enjoying the heat of the tubs. Some were just relaxing, others were causing mischief. Daniel grinned.
Yeah, this was definitely the life.
The lady behind the desk raised an eyebrow, but when he flashed the room's keycard, they got in easily plenty.
"You going to be okay, Bell-boy? Or you need me to help you get changed?" Daniel grinned at Bell, unconsciously licking his lips at the offer. Of all the emotions and sensations that did penetrate the medical haze, lust was a pretty strong one and Daniel didn't feel much for denying it either. Bell-boy knew they'd been an item. It must've dawned on the man that he found Bell attractive.
But then Bell-boy wanted to make that choice himself all over again, didn't he? Daniel prayed to whatever would listen that Lenny wouldn't take over to fuck shit up for them both. He shook his head, dismissive, then went ahead and found a changing booth. All by himself. See? He could be a good boy and behave.
He followed Daniel's lead in finishing his hot chocolate and subsequently stuffing his mouth full of cookie. Out into the hallways. There was something nice about being surrounded by people. It made him feel alive. Like he had a meaning in being here. Like someone cared about him and his life. Maybe it was stupid. None of these people would recognize him tomorrow. But still, there it was.
Buy swimsuits? "We're only going there for a--" it was too late. Daniel had already vanished into the flashy, doubtlessly overpriced shop. With a long-suffering sigh, Bell followed.
The noise from the bar and the lobby made a dull background roar in the shop. He didn't mind it. He was a part of it, that dull roar. Part of the big faceless blob of humanity.
Standing apart from the blob, distinct for being too handsome--and he wasn't sure if he was jealous of the fact or attracted by it--was Daniel. Bell moved closer to inspect the swim trunks and sighed. "Yeah, let's get a pair for me, too, as long as we're here." Didn't make sense to come to the shop and only buy one pair. He grabbed a pair of black trunks with a swath of blue down the side and passed them to Daniel. A suspicious part of him questioned whether this was some kind of ploy to see him naked, but he instantly refuted it. Though open in his desires, Daniel had been excellently behaved so far. Why would he suddenly change?
He spotted swim shirts as well and nabbed one quickly, passing it to Daniel as well. No need to show off his scars. "I'll be right outside," he told Daniel, and stepped out into the lobby. No need for him to hover while Daniel paid.
The mass of humanity that had been reduced to a single anonymous roar was more distinct stood out here. Skiers rushed past, bringing the chill of the slopes with them. In the bar, behind him and to the left some, the roar became raucous laughter and good-natured conversation. A lost-looking family, young children taking everything in with big, round eyes, checked in at the front desk. Bell smiled to himself. He'd missed this sort of thing. Missed it since Haven, and somehow, missed it in Haven.
"Sounds like a good idea," Daniel said. A hot tub was just the thing he needed right then and there. Their room wasn't anything remarkable, but it had some of the nicer things to be found in a hotel-room they'd likely never even use. Bell-boy called dibs on the bed before he could, evidently happy or neutral about his decision to make it two separate ones. Daniel tossed his bags down and sipped from his coffee, exploring the room before staring out the window. So much snow. He pulled off the beanie and ditched the gloves. Didn't seem like they'd be leaving the hotel no more today.
A nice hot-tub, a hearty meal and they'd be sleeping off their food-comas before morning.
"Sure," Daniel agreed languidly.
Exploring the hotel sounded like fun. He finished his coffee in one big gulp, grimacing as the bitter liquid burned a trail down his throat. He wished it was alcohol, but no dice. It was best he remained sober for now, especially considering Bell-boy was a more vulnerable target. Less aware. Less attuned to danger, somehow.
Daniel stretched and opened the door. The hallways were busy with people coming in and out in the most ridiculous getups. Some were ready to ski, others were ready to venture towards the saunas and spas, while others were going for a meal or a drink after having had fun in the snow. Daniel smiled at the sight. It felt good. Felt like they were actually enjoying a vacation for once.
"Hey, we might be able to get some swimming-gear before we go in," he offered, spying a small store at the first floor of the hotel. There were more small stores in the large lobby, set off to the side. Very likely they'd be competing with the stores outside, but that didn't matter. What was a dollar more or less at this point anyway?
Daniel entered the store before Bell-boy could object.
It was busy, like most things.
The closer it got to night-time, the louder the music and party-noises got. He was pretty sure the hotel's bar would be crowded, catering to a group that didn't enjoy being in one of the après-ski huts or whatever.
Daniel found something suitable in his size and eyed it up. It'd do fine for a couple of dips in the hot-tubs and springs and whatever.
"Want me to get you some too?" he offered and held up the item. Even if they went back to warmer regions, it'd be nice to hang onto some swimming trunks. If they could.
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