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"Don't hang up, Landon, just...please? Talk to me, I only want to-"
Daniel hung up. His finger lingered on the button, his eyes stared at the screen, fixated. He licked his lip, swallowing down the bitter taste of regret. It wasn't smart giving his mother the address, but hopefully they'd be gone before the people who thought he was involved in several murders and disappearances -which he was- could get a clue.
"Shit..." he mumbled, then stuffed the phone deep into his pant-pocket, hoping his mother wouldn't start calling back. It'd take her an age and a week to figure out how to extract and redial the number, hopefully.
He stalked into the supermarket, peeking into the aisles until he caught sight of Bell-boy in the hardware section.
Oh. No pipe. Daniel wasn't sure which of the two screamed 'weapon' more. Apparently Bell-boy had decided tools were easier to explain that pipes were. His pipe was a bit hard to explain, admitted. The dents and stains on the metal betrayed the nature of the pipe on closer inspection.
"Hey, come here often?" Daniel said with a cheeky grin.
He scanned the products in the cart and nodded. Good enough. He felt done for the day anyway. Daniel figured he'd cut Bell's hair, leave it to the man to cook him dinner and just rest up to face tomorrow. Whatever that'd bring. Probably gallivanting through town in search of the blonde.
Or a nurse in general.
"Let's get going," he offered. "Got us a phone, but if my mom calls, just don't answer it," Daniel said demurely. The whole conversation had left him more vulnerable than the simmering fever. He actually felt decent inside the supermarket, courtesy of the air-conditioning. The car hadn't been bad either.
Daniel lead them to the check-outs and started to hoist their groceries onto the conveyor belt. He handed Bell his card. Didn't feel like dealing with people at the moment. Didn't feel like lying or dodging any more questions than he'd already done with his mother. He hadn't even been able to correct her on the name. It'd been ages since someone called him Landon. He hadn't asked her how she was either.
Hadn't wanted to know. Daniel regretted it now.
He scratched the back of his head and sighed out. Dealing with stuff like this always felt weightier when he felt less than a hundred percent.
"You cooking dinner or you want to grab something on the way back?" he offered.
THERE IS NO EXPLANATION OR REASON / Urizen
/ 20d 22h 26m 1s
Daniel was taking his sweet time. Bell slowly walked the aisles, going up and down each one like he was actually looking for something instead of wasting his time, waiting for his money man to show up. He could try just walking out, he supposed, but they'd probably stop him, and besides, a whole cart of food was pretty obvious. Maybe if he started slipping it up between his layers-
No layers. No coat at all, in fact. Bell licked his lips and raised his eyebrows at himself. And if the hunters came, how was he going to defend himself? No pipe, either. Sure, he could start wearing the jacket again, but then how did he expect to get a job? It wasn't exactly prime employment garb. He needed some gear he could carry on him at all times to protect himself, but that also wouldn't stand out as offensive to normals.
Hardware. Luckily it was the supermarket kind of grocery, the kind of place that had a little bit of everything. On the way, he passed by some beauty equipment and walked past, then stopped and backed up. Haircut. Scissors. Yep. He looked over the various shapes and sizes, then picked up the pair that looked there most normal. Good scissors. Yep. He was no beautician, and neither was Daniel, so it should work out.
In the back of his head, a little voice suggested that maybe he should go see an [i actual] beautician to make sure his hair didn't look like shit, but he dismissed it. It didn't matter that much. And haircuts cost money. Why pay when he could do it himself?
He wandered the aisles some more until he found himself in hardware. Now then, what to get? A tire iron was too obvious, and he'd have to keep it in the car. Same with a hammer, but it'd be hard to explain even having that in his car. A wrench? He picked up a big one to try the heft. Yeah... yeah, that had a nice feel to it. A nice weight. It was bigger than the wrenches that had come in the toolbox set, too. Might even end up needing it for something that wasn't the back of someone else's head.
Bell tossed it in the cart and looked around. Where was Daniel? The chicken was going to go bad eventually.
Finding a phone didn't turn out to be such a problem in the end; there were plenty to choose from at the service counter. Daniel bought the first durable thing that came with a sim-card and wrestled with the package to get it opened up. A quick phone-call later charged up some prepaid allowance. His fingers hovered the keys for a grand score of a second, before his immaculate memory came up with the familiar digits to his mother's house. Net number and everything.
He stepped away, to a quieter area and kept an eye on the registers, just to make sure he wouldn't leave Bell-boy hanging.
"Hello?" Such a familiar voice.
Daniel nearly choked. "Mom," he finally managed.
"Landon...? God, Landon? Is that you?" Worry, relief, surprise, anger, betrayal; it was all heavy in those few words.
"Do you know how worried I've been for you! For months you haven't called! Haven't sent me a word... just nothing. You just left and went missing for months," his mother blubbered. Her words turned to sobs and hiccups.
Daniel sighed. "I'm sorry. I met someone."
"Where are you?"
"What? Landon! America? Of all places, are you-...? Are you alright? Who did you meet?" she fired, shaking off the tears to sate her hunger for information on her son.
He laughed, he couldn't help it.
"It's...it's complicated. It's enough to know we're in love, but mom, I need my prescription sent to me," Daniel went straight to the heart of the matter.
"Are they taking care of you proper? Have you been taking any medication over there? Ivy was here, with Richard and they were both so worried to know you haven't contacted anyone. Especially after they found out... God, Landon, why did you do that? All that money..."
"It was... it was just there. Listen mom, I really need those pills. I'll give you an address, but you can't visit there, we won't be there for long," Daniel warned her.
"Honey, police were over and they were saying such odd things," his mother diverged.
"Mom," Daniel interjected.
"They said you've been involved in several murders."
"Is that true? Who are you with? Landon, if you love that person... if he or she is wrong for you..."
"Mom! Will you quit it. Will you send the prescription? Just, please?" he huffed out.
"It's not too late to come back and... we can deal with these things, together, Landon," she offered. She was on the verge of tears again. "I miss you. I miss you."
"Just..." He sighed. "Just send it over, okay? Do you have paper and pen?"
Oh... Oh yeah, of course. It's be an international call, that night be... "Yeah, maybe not," Bell said, shaking his head. They were going to split up? Old danger bells rang in his head, but they were quickly stifled. The goat had taken care of the hunters, and they wouldn't be here if there was serious danger from other goats, it just wouldn't let that happen. They were as safe as they could be right now. "Alright. I'll be in the store," he finished, waving Daniel away. He could get groceries and a cutting board, and whatever else they'd forgotten. Hopefully they'd be coming to the end of that list.
Daniel was calling his mom. He kind of wanted to be there, hear what she sounded like, maybe even... get her blessing. But that was stupid. No way would she accept this relationship they had going on. Even setting aside the gay thing, he was a homeless bum and a murderer. She wouldn't accept that kind of man. No mother would.
Well, that was okay, too. He grabbed a cart and headed on in, looking around for something to add. Cutting boards first. He glanced around in the cooking implements section in search of anything else they might have forgotten, and grabbed himself a collander. Yeah. In case they made pasta. Besides, pasta was one of the few things he trusted himself to make... if not well, at least passably.
Then it was off to wander the grocery store, searching for food. Chicken made it in the cart, followed by some pasta, now that he had pasta on the mind. He finished it up with breadcrumbs and marinara sauce, then some parmesan cheese; chicken parmesan sounded good, and Daniel probably knew how to make it. Some miscellaneous vegetables and a sack of potatoes joined his shopping, and then he stopped by the snack section and picked out some snacks for them. Potato chips and some little snack cakes, all the kinds of things he wanted as a kid. He held himself back to just two items, though. Didn't want them going bad.
He glanced up. Daniel should be about done, right? He needed the card. And wanted ice cream, but he'd have to grab that quick before they left so it wouldn't melt.
"Opportunities are things you create, not things that just fall into your lap, Bell-boy," he shook his head. It was like unhappy people telling they'd be 'happy' once stuff happened to them. Happiness took work. So did the rest of life. Nothing was handed to you, except for sunshine and the air they breathed -and even that wasn't a hundred percent definite. People made a living off of water, so how long before air turned into a commodity?
A hand ruffled his hair and Daniel felt the tightness in his chest unwind just a little. Those were the words he wanted to hear. That Bell-boy would live his life, no matter how. But to the best of his abilities, even if Bell's options were limited.
Or that he'd at least try.
"I'll try," Daniel said. Not that he thought there was anything he could consciously do, but he'd been in okay physical health before trying to end it all while lost within the crevices of his own mind.
For a moment they just looked at one another, until Bell-boy interrupted the stalemate with a kiss. Daniel leaned in. He was still a mess of emotions, but it was easier. Nothing could overwhelm him for some reason and that too felt wrong. Like it was fixed beyond perfection.
He nodded, not quite trusting his voice to be even or steady.
It was warm outside of the car, or maybe that was just him. When he'd mentioned the heat, Alphie had given him a weird look and Daniel knew the fever hadn't gone either. He followed Bell-boy towards the supermarket and nodded. Yeah, they'd let him use the phone just about where they realized it was a call that went abroad. Maybe they wouldn't notice the number. Calling his mom wasn't out there as a possibility, was it?
Except for where he had an English accent.
"Right, do you think they'll be bothered by calls going abroad?" It'd be easier to find a pay-phone and not upset the neutral balance they had with this place. Daniel imagined Bell-boy would have to do shopping here more regularly now that it was the closest store to their house.
"I'll go make the call, you just go ahead," Daniel offered. No need for Bell-boy to listen in on that one. He could always get a small phone, buy one. And then call. Maybe that'd be better and easier as well, to keep in contact with Alphie.
He snorted. "Out there" wasn't half of it. Even Daniel acknowledged his helplessness. It made him feel weak, but what was there to do? Nothing. Nothing he could do if the goatling decided to go rogue, or even just reset Daniel to that manic, psychotic state he'd been in before it had settled in. At least getting the drugs meant he'd be about to do something about that, even if it wasn't much but a patch-fix that meant taking the Daniel out of Daniel. The Landon out of Landon.
Bell shook his head. "I'm just thinking practically. It's not like I can go back to a cushy office job like you. Even if I'm not hunting, life doesn't have a lot of opportunities for me." Even if he left it all behind, managed to negotiate it with the goat, live an ordinary life, what would that look like? He wouldn't have Daniel anymore. He'd probably be more mopey than hunting.
Rogue and mopey. He snorted and ruffled Daniel's hair, a smile on his lips. "Yeah, yeah. I'll live a good life, alright? Nice enough that you'll be jealous." Empty words. He'd already told Daniel what he'd do if the other man died. But he had to say it. And maybe he'd live on, and see what happened. Maybe.
"Always," he said, more seriously. "And remember I love you, alright? No matter what the goatling tries to tell you, or--or anything."
He pulled into the supermarket and parked, then made eye contact with Daniel. "The one thing I am, is a survivor," he said firmly. And somehow, he felt like he wasn't lying. Plans aside, he survived. He'd survive this too, in the end. Somehow. "I'll be okay. I'll make it work. But you survive, alright? You survive, and make all this talk meaningless."
Bell looked at Daniel for a long second, then leaned in for a kiss. "Alright. Now let's go get some groceries," he declared, not letting his voice shake. He was going to make this work, no matter what. He'd make sure Daniel got out of it all okay. He stood and started for the grocery store, determined. They'd make this work. "Grocery store might let you borrow their phone," he offered. Might as well get that over with.
He protested -almost. The words died on his lips, a fruitless huff of air coming from his lungs. How was Bell-boy going to protect him against what the goatling would do? If it went wrong? What then? What if he was crippled? Could no longer fight? What if he was mentally crippled? Daniel knew that if it was bad, he'd refuse to take the pills and go a couple miles to prevent taking them as well, to the point where things could get violent. If that was the case, Daniel trusted Bell to do the right thing, but honestly? There were so many things that could happen Bell-boy would be powerless to stop that he could drone up a list and not be done before the ride finished.
Daniel knew Bell shared those concerns.
"It's okay... if there's nothing you can do I won't blame you. It's just -this situation is just. So out there," he finished lamely. More Lenny than Daniel, and yet, at the same time he felt like himself for once. All the worries and lack thereof. They were all who he figured himself to be at any given moment.
To lose that was maybe worse than the prospect of death. He'd only just come to terms with being a single entity.
"Bell-boy, I swear, that goat of yours is going to live for aeons to come, what is a single life-time in that grand stretch of time? I don't-... it's not about what you did or didn't do, it's about what you can still do." And then there was the drive. That drive Daniel sometimes suspected wasn't entirely Bell-boy's, simply because he didn't believe that was Bellwether.
It hadn't been Ben either.
But Ben hadn't ever been happy. He'd messed up and never found love at all. Or with the wrong gender. Denied himself. Maybe in more ways than one. Maybe Bell-boy had lived more than he ever would've done if he'd gone through the ordinary channels.
"I don't know. I don't know. It just makes me sad to imagine you'll be all rogue and mopey when I'm gone," Daniel said, a bit of a grin playing about his lips.
"Whatever happens, I love you, you have to remember that, okay? I might not -if I regress and things get difficult, just. Remember that," he said softly, averting his gaze. His mind could play him parts. It had, in the past.
Not many people had stuck by him during that time. His mother. His sister.
And Bell. When it happened in America.
But then the goat put a stop to the whole chaos, thankfully.
They were almost back at the super-market.
"Just promise me you'll be okay, no matter what happens?" Daniel asked, turning his gaze on Bell.
Bell shrugged. "Not really," he admitted. He'd just been making conversation. Daniel seemed a capable cook, and he trusted the man's choices in terms of food. Just trying to get his mind off things, when he should really be facing them head on. But that was the problem, wasn't it? Both of them were avoiding the subject. It was a hard thing to talk about.
"Yeah, cutting boards," he said aloud, to make a note of it. Nothing else had come up yet, but he was sure there was plenty that they just hadn't thought of.
He almost asked about the recipe before he caught himself. That could only mean the drugs, right? A part of him felt relieved. He didn't have to broach that subject, Daniel had brought it up himself. But he should have. He should have. "Got it," he said shortly, nodding. If the goatling got it wrong.
And that was only one of the ways the goatling could get it wrong. What if it screwed up Daniel's heart, or forgot an arm or something? How far had it stretched? How much might it forget?
He looked over at Daniel, startled by the vulnerability in his voice. "I'm scared too," Bell said. He didn't want the man to die any more than Daniel wanted to die. "I'll take care of you. As much as I can, I'll keep you safe." He didn't know what that meant, but whatever it meant, he'd do it. No matter what was required of him.
He just worried that there was nothing he'd be able to do.
If Daniel died... What would he do? Was there anything else he could do, other than keep on keeping on? What else would he do? "What should I do?" he asked, trying to hide the edge of desperation with an even tone. "I can't do anything else, Daniel. I don't even have a high school diploma. My future... goat-hunting is the best I can do."
He looked at Daniel. He didn't expect Daniel to have the answer, but he knew he didn't have it. If Daniel died, if he was supposed to move on and do something else, more than just hunting, then... then what? What was it? Even if he had a job and settled down, he still had that... drive. The need to hunt and fight and... [i hurt.] Was there anything else to his life? Anything else he could do, but hunt?
"A game plan? Not really," Daniel admitted. He'd get them whatever was for sale or in season. No use being exotic or exuberant with their purchases, after all. Maybe some barbecue, since the weather was already picking back up after last night's torrential shower. Bell-boy slipped behind the wheel before he could even ask who would drive. Daniel shrugged at himself and resigned himself to the passenger's seat.
"You feel like having anything special?" he asked, slightly deflated. Now that he'd eaten, he was already starting to feel drowsy. If he hadn't already slept all day, Daniel was pretty sure he'd be nodding off already.
He scrubbed at his face and let out a thick sigh.
Once they cleared their drive-way, the road was fairly clear and straight-forward. Daniel tried to pay some attention to where they were going, memorizing the route so he could drive it next time.
"Let's not forget to get cutting boards," he put out there after a while. Ordinary things. All to evade the elephant in the room, but honestly? What could he tell Bell-boy?
"Oh, if you see somewhere I can make a phone-call, pull over. Need to call my mom to send over my recipe, just in case," Daniel decided. It felt awkward mentioning he might actually need to be on medication again and a very responsible, Lenny thing to do to boot. If it were just him, Daniel knew he wouldn't have even given Bell the chance to dope him up. It changed how he was, what he felt. Everything.
And Bell knew that.
The first time Bell-boy had been in a coma, Lenny had been facing charges and had only escaped them by playing the mentally incapable card. And going back to therapy and the drugs. It'd changed him, and not in a favourable way.
"Just... in case, you know. In case the goatling doesn't get it right," Daniel added, softer. Now that they had an address, having stuff sent over wasn't that difficult.
"I'm scared of dying, Bell-boy... I don't want you to give up, if I die. I don't want you to just, timelessly spend your days randomly killing goats. There's so much more to life," he decided. Daniel looked over at Bell and almost figured that it'd be easier to just write it down. Just in case. So it wouldn't have to be read if he survived.
They were just going to leave Alphie all alone in the house? Well... fair enough, he supposed. If they couldn't trust her, better to find out now than after Daniel was locked up and immobile in the pipe. It'd put them back significantly, but it wouldn't put anyone's life at risk. Besides, he didn't really think Alphie was going to betray them. Not yet, anyways. She hated him, but the intellectual puzzle they presented her with... he imagined she didn't get that much in the university. At least until the question of Daniel was solved, he was pretty sure he could trust her to at least not ruin the experiment.
"Yeah, I'm coming," Bell replied, jumping up from the table at the invitation. He put his plate in the sink and gave it a quick rinse before heading to the door to put this shoes on. Goldy followed him, tail wagging a bit at the prospect of going out; Bell ruffled her scrub and shook his head. "You stay here, okay?" he said softly. Then, a little louder: "Watch Alphie for me."
"Watch me," Alphie scoffed from the other room.
Bell decided to ignore her just this once and stepped outside. "Groceries, huh? Do we have a game plan for dinner?" They had to think about that, now, didn't they? Couldn't just decide they wanted chicken at the last minute; they'd have to plan ahead. It felt weird. Felt... wrong, or fake, or something. He snorted at himself; yeah, if someone had told him he'd be living in a house with his lover just a little while ago, when he was still out on by the streets, he would've beaten them up and spat on them for good measure. But here he was. House, dog, car. All they needed was two-and-a-half kids to be living the perfect American Dream. Or was that outdated now? Maybe it was fewer kids now.
He slid into the driver's seat. Daniel was back to being sick again, and he was back to taking care of him. This time, it was his fault, so he couldn't even be annoyed. "Off we go," he muttered, starting up the engine and driving off down the potholed driveway to the road. They really needed to take care of that at some point.
Right, because they were dump lugs who didn't know the first thing about wiring up machinery, connecting pipes and shit like that. Daniel got the feeling Alphie underestimated them, that she lumped them in with some of the dumber hunters and she wasn't entirely wrong. Not entirely, but a little short-sighted. Like Bell-boy mentioned though, he was nowhere near his normal 'flabby' office-looking, even if he'd shaven. Daniel snorted. Too dumb to help.
It'd be some knee-fall when she finally did need help.
Daniel decided then they'd ask the blonde. Shouldn't be too hard to find her if she worked at the hunters' facility and frequented the university. He had a feeling she might say yes, if only to make sure someone had Alphie's back at all times.
That, and for some reason her face and Alphie's had been the ones imprinted on his memory by Bell-goat. Surely the goat had to have had some kind of intention with that.
"Right," he broke some of the tension.
Seemed Alphie enjoyed his curry well enough anyway. "Guess we'll be food shopping then," Daniel decided. He got up and put his plate in the sink, running a little water to wash off the worst stains so it'd clean easier later. He needed to make a phone-call as well. Put in place some fallbacks, just in case. Either way it'd be good to hear his mother's voice again. She'd be the only person he actually missed seeing.
Like Bell-boy, she tended to care about Daniel just as much as Lenny. It'd be weird talking to her as both at the same time too. It'd definitely leave her guessing, but she needed to send his prescription over, which was possible now that they had an address.
He padded to the bedroom and sighed out.
Though he felt better, he wasn't quite there yet. Fever hadn't really let up and was simmering in the background. Not that that'd ever stopped them for very long. Besides, it felt good to be up and make himself useful, over spending all of his time in bed. Daniel found some clothes to wear and chucked his feet into his boots.
"Just let yourself out if you're done before we get back," Daniel told Alphie.
"You coming with?" he asked Bell. Might as well just let Alphie work in peace.
It was his turn to be met with big eyes and a piteous expression. Bell sighed and petted her head instead. "I shouldn't feed you this," he told her. "It's people food." Those big eyes, though. She pouted a little, eyebrows furrowing at him. He sighed. How could he resist that face? How could anyone? He picked out a piece of meat and snuck out down to her.
Goldy gobbled it up and went right back to begging, eyes still on full force. "No, stop it," he told her, pushing her away. One piece was enough.
Groceries for Alphie? He scoffed. He wasn't going to buy her anything, when he was making his own money. She could suck it. As it was, Alphie shook her head silently, refusing the offer. Good. She could eat whatever they wanted, and she'd like it.
Wow, she was really against the blonde one being associated with them, wasn't she? It seemed that was a surefire way to get under her skin. He made a note of it, adding it to his little compendium of things to get Alphie with. Maybe he shouldn't be making it, since he was supposed to work with her, but damn if she didn't get under his skin just by existing.
"We could help," he offered, reluctantly. If it got this whole thing over with a little sooner, he'd do anything.
"No, you'd only get in the way," Alphie said dismissively.
Bell raised his eyebrows at his curry and didn't say a word. That said it all, huh? She needed help, but not theirs, and also they couldn't invite anyone else in to help her, but she was going to complain about it anyways.
Goldy nosed at his knees again. He pushed her away, annoyed. "Dumb dog," he muttered, sighing. Shouldn't have fed her the curry. But she'd asked so cutely.
They made an odd threesome. Alphie, who looked to be Daniel's elder by a year or two, then Daniel, then him. An outsider looking in would assume he was the one butting in on the two of them, not that Alphie was the interloper. He snorted. That was fine. It'd provide good cover for him and Daniel, at least until it was just him again.
It was so obvious the two of them were at odds. Daniel sighed at the tension that built from the moment Bell-boy grimaced. And even though he could've done something to defuse it, Daniel didn't feel up for it. Instead, he focussed on eating. Despite not having taken as much time as he perhaps should've, Daniel still enjoyed the curry. It was nice and spicy, without drowning out all the flavours of the meat and vegetables.
Goldy tried begging for scraps and Alphie was dismissive of the mutt. Disappointed, Goldy came up to him to try, before she'd go up to Bell-boy last. Sure bets last, huh? Daniel reached out and ruffled the mutt's scruff -not what she was after, but it'd do.
"You're cute, but I'm not feeding you curry either," Daniel explained. Goldy's puppy-dog eyes couldn't be larger or darker at the words. He rolled his eyes. Maybe Bell-boy was right and he ought to feed the dog more often. Bell-boy claimed he wouldn't be attached to the dog, but honestly? He already was, wasn't he? Bell was banking on the goatling to keep the animal alive, like Spot, in a way.
"Go on," he urged the dog.
Goldy, predictable as she was, went straight to Bell to perform the same trick. It was actually quite stunning how well the dog had adapted to her new masters.
"We're going to fetch some more groceries later on. Anything we can get you?" Daniel tried. She'd be there for a while. Maybe juice and curry weren't her thing. Or maybe Alphie wouldn't want to spend that amount of time in the house regardless, with them around. She'd only be at ease once Bell-boy wasn't hovering and he was secured in the tube.
He could respect that.
Daniel finished his food and sat back, enjoying the faint lingering burn of spices in his mouth. He wasn't as hungry or dazed for once. It seemed all they'd been doing was recovering. Well. He was. They really had to cut out the teleportation thing.
"How long do you think it'll take to get that thing up and running?" Daniel asked Alphie. He leaned his elbows on the table, simply looking at Alphie.
Alphie toyed with her food and shrugged.
"Maybe a week? Maybe less," she sighed. "It'd be quicker if I had help."
Daniel raised his hands. "Okay... sorry I asked. Calm down."
Food? He gave the stick one last hard toss and watched Goldy fly off after it, then turned and headed inside. Goldy could open the back door if she wanted to get in, or she could chew her stick outsider. Either way, she'd be fine.
The scent of curry had filled the room in his absence, heady spices tingling in his nose. Smelled delicious. "Smells great," he said, grabbing his plate.
At the sight of Alphie, he grimaced. What was she doing at their table? Couldn't she just eat in the basement? Ugh. Daniel was being polite, and it was killing him. He'd rather not be reminded about Alphie butting her way into his life every time he turned around, damnit. But he had to work with her. They'd have to keep Daniel alive together. He swallowed the grimace and sat down opposite her, ignoring her presence utterly. Maybe if he didn't talk to her, she wouldn't talk to him.
Ugh. And there was no way to broach the topics he wanted to discuss when Alphie was sitting right there. She'd just freak out if she knew Daniel needed to be on anti-psychotics, or snark off if he tried to talk about something else serious. He glanced at Daniel, then sighed and continued eating in silence. At least the food tasted good.
Goldy shoved her way in through the door, drawn by loneliness or the scent of the curry, he wasn't sure which. She wandered in and butted her head against Alphie's thigh, then gave her puppy-dog eyes, begging silently for a bite of curry. Alphie pushed her away, uncomfortable with the whole situation. This cute dog was going to die soon. Just looking at it made her sad, let alone interacting with it. She didn't want to be reminded about what she was helping these men do, not by the innocent creature who'd die so they could do it.
"Not a dog person?" Bell asked, grinning a little. Ooh, he could use that against her, couldn't he?
Alphie shot him a dirty look. Bell's grin deepened. He'd take that for a yes. Goldy really had been a good choice, hadn't she? A cat wouldn't have been nearly as good.
It was quiet. Alphie was still working downstairs. Goldy and Bell-boy were outside, playing. She'd made some headway, Alphie had, even if the setup looked like a total wire-mess, it hadn't seemed that outlandish to think it might be finished in a week or two. Maybe even sooner. Daniel wiped at his eyes and sighed out.
There were too many variables to take them all into consideration. How could he possibly prepare for something that might turn him back insane? Something that might kill him, or might turn him into something else entirely. What if the goatling did manage something akin to what both Wills had done?
And what did he tell Bell before he went in?
He hadn't really been able to discuss it very well. The topic seemed too heavy, too complicated for their relationship, even though they'd dealt with much worse. Maybe it was for that reason Daniel didn't feel like adding his own shit to the pile. He'd rather ignore it and carry on.
Daniel stirred the curry and dipped a finger into the sauce on the ladle for a taste-test. Nearly there. He heard footsteps before he felt Alphie's presence.
"Thanks...for the juice," she said, awkwardly repeating her earlier sentiment.
Daniel gave her a nod.
She leaned in a little, as if observing him more closely.
He raised an eyebrow, as if asking her what the hell she was doing. Americans tended to have a less expansive personal bubble, but she was extending his. Realizing, Alphie withdrew.
"Are you ill?"
Daniel shrugged. "Not really, something like it," he explained vaguely.
Alphie wasn't stupid. She knew they'd gotten the chemicals overnight.
"Could give Bell-boy a shout?" Daniel asked Alphie. He took out some plates and started to divide the food over them. There was even some spare, for a second serving or whatever.
"I'd rather not," Alphie said sternly, folding her arms.
Daniel rolled his eyes, decided Alphie and Bell-boy were too much alike and put down a plate in front of Alphie.
"Fine," he said, resigned. He was resigned to relinquishing his life to two people who hated each other and were more likely to forget him in the fight they'd be having than anything else. What else could he do?
Even mitigating seemed pointless, considering they'd be left to their own devices sooner rather than later.
He opened the door and looked at Bell. Goldy was panting, but didn't show any signs of letting up on chasing that stick around.
"There's food," Daniel called out.
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